(95 stellingen) - 200 Questions for the Believer!!

Christendom en Judaïsme, contradicties in de bijbel, de ethiek van de bijbel etc..

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(95 stellingen) - 200 Questions for the Believer!!

Bericht door PietV. » 29 nov 2011 16:08

This is an English translation of part of the questions. The original version can be viewed here. Suggestions for improvement or bashing in general please send to me as PM.

1. Where does your god come from?

2. What is your god made of?

3. What gender is your god? The Bible speaks of a male.

4. Why did your god need to make the earth?

5. What is the purpose of millions of galaxies?

6. Why didn't this omnipotent god create the universe in a single stroke with a clear vision in mind?

7. How can an all-knowing god be disappointed in his creation?

8. Why does your god need people to spread his word, why does he not do this himself?

9. How can a loving god allow that there is a hell for those who do not believe in him?

10. If a person is fully capable of saving another but doesn’t do so, we disapprove of it. We call such a person wicked and unethical, and this person can even be punishable in some cases. Why don’t we condemn a god who, according to many believers, is able to save people out of misery every single day but doesn’t do so?

11. What evil did plants and animals do that died in the Great Flood? Why is there no separation between primary and secondary suffering?

12. Why is your god mercilessly indifferent as to how nature works? It’s eat or be eaten.

13. What happened to those people who weren’t familiar with the Bible before it was written?

14. With 10% to 20% of women having miscarriages, is your god the greatest abortionist?

15. Leprosy was not an unknown condition in the time of the Bible. There were even rituals performed by priests to cure the disease. In Leviticus 13-14 it is clearly proscribed what the priests need to do. The ritual requires two clean birds of which one is to be killed, and the other dipped in its blood together with some cedar wood, scarlet and hyssop. The living bird is then set free and the sick person sprinkled with the bloody mixture once daily for seven days. After a further seven days of isolation, washing and bathing, and shaving and cutting hair, the patient must take a lamb to the priest who will slaughter it for a trespass offering. The priest will daub some of the blood on the patient’s right earlobe, right thumb and right big toe.

“And the priest shall dip his right finger in the oil that is in his left hand, and shall sprinkle of the oil with his finger seven times before the LORD: And of the rest of the oil that is in his hand shall the priest put upon the tip of the right ear of him that is to be cleansed, and upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the great toe of his right foot, upon the blood of the trespass offering: And the remnant of the oil that is in the priest's hand he shall pour upon the head of him that is to be cleansed: and the priest shall make an atonement for him before the LORD.”

What does Yahweh achieve with bird blood and blood on right thumbs and toes? Wouldn’t it have been easier to give a description of an effective cure instead of these primitive voodoo rituals?

16. Why does your god let Lot and his daughters live so that they can commit incest later? And what father would give his daughters to a sex-mad mob?

17. Why was Jesus not recognised by the Jews as their promised Messiah?

18. In 2 Kings 2:23-24, forty two children are dismembered by two she-bears because they mocked Elisha for being bald. Were they some kind of super bears?

19. Why did your god interfere many times in human affairs in the Bible but did nothing during the Holocaust?

20. When you speak of an all-good god, how does this square with the god in Isaiah 45:7 who says that he creates evil?

21. The Bible is often pointed to as a source of morality. Why are war and slavery not forbidden?

22. Can the bloodthirsty and vengeful god of the Old Testament be reconciled with the loving god that is preached about? A god who lets the children of wicked people be exterminated. Or who commits genocide (Midianites).

Child sacrifices were in fact quite popular. Isaac, the only son of Abraham had to be offered. What trauma does a child suffer? And many know the upsetting story of Jephthah. He promised Yahweh that he would offer the first person he met if the battle ended in his favour. The first one he met after the war was his only child, his young daughter. More child sacrifices can be found in Genesis 42:37; Joshua 6:26; 1 Kings 16:34; 2 Chronicles 17:31, 28:3, 23:10 and 20; Jeremiah 8:30-31; Psalms 106:37-38; Ezekiel 16:20-21; Leviticus 20:2.

23. If the Bible is the word of god, why does it contain so many internal contradictions?

24. If there are so many religions the followers of which are completely convinced of their accuracy, how do you know so surely that your religion is the true one?

25. If Adam and Eve only had three sons, where do we come from?

26. Is a religion that says faith is more important than using one’s reasoning abilities reliable?

27. Why is the number of atheists in prisons proportionally much smaller than you would expect based on demographics?

28. When you ask an atheist if he will provide proof against the existence of the Bible’s god, will you then provide proof against Zeus, Odin, Ra, etc.?

29. Do we have to turn away from our families to be good Christians (Luke 14:26)? Isn’t this a recurring theme in many sects?

30. There are countless myths about people born of a virgin who do special things. Why is the myth about Jesus true but the rest not?

31. Is Christian belief founded on fear?

32. How reliable are the four gospels?

33. How is it possible to be happy in a heaven while your non-believing friends and family members must suffer forever in hell?

34. Why doesn’t everyone have the same opportunity to receive the gospels? Millions of people are born in places where one seldom or never hears of Jesus? And what happened with people who died before Jesus came?

35. How can a benevolent god punish people just because they don’t believe in him?

36. Why did Jesus curse a fig tree for bearing fruit outside the harvesting season?

37. Why did Jesus behave violently at one occasion? Why didn’t he turn the other cheek? Does this agree with his earlier declarations?

38. Why does your god use deceitful spirits and live among them (1 Chronicles 22:19; 2 Chronicles 18:21; 2 Thessalonians 2:11)?

39. Why do venomous fangs, sharp claws, viruses, toxoplasma and all parasites and pathogenic bacteria exist?

40. Why does Jesus announce to the spectators (Matthew 16:28) that many of them will see him return? Why does he not keep his promise?

41. Why doesn’t the god of the Old Testament just create a new earth?

42. Who were the mythical giants of Genesis 6 who were also known as Nephilim? What became of them?

43. How loving is a god who commands the impaling of children and the raping of captured women?

44. Aren't a talking donkey, a flying axe and a motionless sun examples that should convince us of the Bible’s truth?

45. Matthew 4:8 “Again, the devil taketh him [Jesus] up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;” As most people know, the world is round. To be able to see the kingdoms in, for example, South America, something more than a high mountain is needed. Must we give the lord a bad mark for geography?

46. Where did all the water for the Great Flood come from? And how did Noah assemble all those millions of animals? How did Noah get all their food together and how did he prevent them eating each other until they got back on land?

47. When there are 1,500 creation myths, why should the story of one nomadic tribe from the Middle East be true?

48. Is there proof available that a god exists outside the ideas and conceptions people have in their heads?

49. Why is there nothing about Herod's infanticide to be found in history books?

50. There were dozens of scribes in Jesus’ lifetime in the area he inhabited. Why did no one write anything down?

51. Jesus could read and write but an autobiography is lacking. Did he not have the time for this?

52. Where was Jesus between the ages of 18 and 30?

53. In which year was Jesus born? There are disparate versions that indicate a difference of more than ten years.

54. What is the use of letting billions of people suffer who are all forced to participate in a game of good and evil?

55. Why do Christians not kill any women in accordance with Deuteronomy 22:21 when they enter marriage as anything but virgins, but they oppose homosexual marriage?

More passages from which the believer has strayed: “And the man that committeth adultery with another man's wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.” (Leviticus 20:10; Deuteronomy 22:22)

Sex during menstruation: “And if a man shall lie with a woman having her sickness, and shall uncover her nakedness; he hath discovered her fountain, and she hath uncovered the fountain of her blood: and both of them shall be cut off from among their people.” (Leviticus 20:18)

56. Why are there two creation stories in Genesis that are contradictory?

57. Why would an infinite, almighty, etc. god demand worship from a being he himself created? This being, angel or human, is infinitely insignificant compared to god himself. Would any person wish to be worshipped by a bacterium? Would any person be offended if a bacterium doesn’t believe in him/her? And the difference between a person and a bacterium is indeed huge, but finite. The difference between god and a person is infinite.

58. How can one conduct a census under the reign of Quirinius when there is no citizenship? What is the use of returning to the place your ancestors came from, in a land that is permanently in a state of war? Is this Christmas story indeed credible?

59. In Matthew it is written that Jesus did not come to bring peace but a sword; in Luke it says that all those who reach for the sword will die by it. Where do these conflicting statements by Jesus come from?

60. Were the writers of the gospels creationists or evolutionists?

61. Why isn’t it a problem for some Christians to label accounts that don’t please them, for example Jonah in the whale, as metaphors? And on what basis does one draw the distinction?

62. How is it possible that a god who sees all asks Adam where he is (Genesis 3:9)? Also in this text: “And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know” (Genesis 18:20-21) indicates that the biblical god Yahweh needs first take a look to see what is going on.

63. And how unlikely is it that in one city, 50 righteous infants or children cannot be found who couldn’t be condemned for sodomy?

64. A god that created billions of galaxies approaches Sarah to eat a pancake. Is this realistic or plain superstition?

65. The Gilgamesh epic is the oldest source describing a Great Flood. Why are the Hebrews not being accused of plagiary?

66. Why are many Christians unaware of the influences of Celtic and Germanic rituals and customs on their faith? The feasts and festivals are Celtic, and sainthood Germanic.

67. The Old Testament describes countless despicable things that the Jews did. Why are these laws no longer upheld as Jesus made it clear that he doesn’t repeal them but respects them (Matthew 5:17-19 and Luke 16:19)?

68. Tens of millions of people have fallen victim to other persons/groups who used texts from the Bible for this purpose. Is Christianity a peaceful movement?

69. Archaeologists have attempted to reconstruct biblical stories. After thorough investigation, it appears that many incidents never occurred, for example the exodus. Does this alter Christianity’s starting point?

70. The witnesses who described Jesus many decades later lived in a cultural climate where superstition featured prominently. Could this have influenced how they interpreted the traditions?

71. “God created man in his image and likeness.” Our bodies show countless non-functional vestiges that are characteristic of an animal background. Piloerectile muscles (arrectores pilorum), vomeronasal organ, apocrine glands, appendix, etc. From these it has become clear that it is a widely-branching pedigree consisting of countless hominid forms. Was the resemblance ape-like?

72. What is the meaning of a blessing given to a marriage when the divorce rate among Christians is higher than among atheists? (Source: VS)

73. What is the use of “Thou shalt not kill” if Christians depart en masse for war zones?

74. In many communities “Keep the Sabbath” is proclaimed every Sunday. Isn't it hilarious that nobody ever complains about the fact that the Sabbath takes place on Saturday so nobody actually obeys?

75. Why can you get good results with a faith healer when suffering from asthma, eczema and MS (where psychological influences can affect the condition) but is it pointless to go there with an amputated limb?

76. It becomes ever more clear that religious feelings have a physiological basis and that it is easy to arouse “supernatural experiences”. Why search outside people’s heads when these phenomena can be explained this way?

77. Why does religion claim a moral high ground? This while faith has thwarted people and restricted their freedoms for centuries. Ever since the Enlightenment the position for many groups has improved significantly.

78. Wouldn't it be better to change NDEs (near-death experiences) to BLEs (barely-living experiences), so that the emphasis is shifted from supernatural to natural causes of these experiences?

79. How was Moses able to describe his own death?

80. At several locations during archaeological excavations, inscriptions have been found that link Yahweh with a female counterpart Asherah. Why is this not seriously looked into, and the story remains limited to one-sided monotheism?

81. In biology you see social structures built around a basic ethic of fairness. In several cases, you even find assisting of the weaker and sacrifice. Do the roots of our human morality not lie here?

82. Religious movements are always at the forefront concerning matters of life and death (immortality) even as there is no concrete proof of the latter. Can they then be considered reliable discussion partners?

83. In Psalm 82:1, “God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods.” Who were these gods and what was their role during the meeting?

84. Why did your god put people on earth and send wicked angels there too? He surely knew that this would be a mistake and that people would be influenced by Satan. You simply don’t put children into a pit of snakes.

85. Equality principles, for example between men and women, are put under pressure by various religions. Are religious scriptures not a source of discrimination? When a woman bears a child and it is a boy, she is unclean for seven days. If the child is a girl, the mother is unclean for fourteen days (Leviticus 12:2-5). The value of a man and a woman translated into money (silver shekels) is different. For example, between the 20th and 60th year, the ratio was 50 to 30 (Leviticus 27:3-4). Making a vow to Yahweh: If a woman is married then it is the husband’s prerogative to divorce her (Numbers 30:9-13). The link provides further examples.

86. He tells his followers that his work on earth is done and he is ascending to heaven. When he said it, he was lifted up before their eyes and taken in by a cloud so that they no longer saw him. Is heaven above us or did Jesus leave in a UFO?

87. Cognitive dissonance is a psychological term describing the uneasy tension that arises when absorbing facts or concepts that are at odds with one’s own beliefs or opinions, or at behaviour that is contrary to one’s convictions. This feeling of discomfort leads one to reconsider one or more opinions or attitudes unconsciously to bring them more in line with each other, to make them compatible. Usually, others notice such a change in opinion or attitude sooner than the person himself does. Does this apply to the steadfastness of a religious belief? Even when there are sufficient arguments to prove the opposite?

88. In several passages, Jesus says people must give away their property and live in poverty. Why don’t Christians do so? Does religion then become a question of suffering deprivations, and is this asking too much?

89. Is it desirable to raise children religiously? And to do so seven days a week for many years? What is the difference from the indoctrination the communists considered for bending people to the ideas of the Party?

90. Does it benefit society when children are pressed into all kinds of separate schools? Each denomination can establish its own schools where children are isolated and only hear what their particular church considers to be important.

91. Where in the Bible is hell mentioned? In Judaism the “Gehinnom” (Hebrew: גהנום, Greek: Gehenna, γέεννα) is recognised. The name is derived from the Valley of Hinnom, which together with another valley surrounds the Old City of Jerusalem. It is a precursor to Olam Ha-Ba (the world to come, cf. heaven) where one stays only temporarily (a maximum of 12 months) and where one’s soul is cleansed of sin. This involves a spiritual purification: The devil and physical pain and suffering also don’t occur in Judaism (Wikipedia). Evangelicals also speak only of Gehenna and thus refer only to the Jewish concept, not hell.

92. Why is there so much reverence for church forefathers when they were anti-Semitic (Luther) or callous murderers (Calvin)? You regularly hear that they were filled with the “Holy Spirit”. Did the “Holy Spirit” break free of god?

93. In Matthew 27:51-53, the corpses of saints rose from their graves. These living zombies were seen by many. Decades later, not a single eyewitness took the trouble to give this due consideration. Where did the zombies go? Did they die a second time?

94. Lazarus was raised from the dead after a few days, an extraordinary event to which only one writer (John) gives any attention. Was this a conscious choice of the remaining writers or did they know nothing about it?

95. Is attempting to reconcile the trinity with the Bible into a dogma a futile excercise? Where are the relevant passages saying that there are three in one, a father, a son and a holy ghost (for Catholics, are there more still)? Can one still rightly speak of monotheism?

For the marathon runners, here are a few more. Originally, 95 questions/propositions were put forward to correspond with the 95 propositions against evolution or to correspond with those of Luther. The number has symbolic relevance and facilitates searching. It represents a starting point for the target audience.

96. Wandering a little through the bible shows it to consist of traditions handed down from the Bronze Age. In proportion to the earth’s entire history, it’s a mere lick of paint at the top of the Eiffel Tower. An atheist looks at the whole picture from a distance and assesses the questions easily with certainty: For him/her it’s no more than gross superstition. These answers smoothly point towards mythology. Why are believers so hotly intent to beat matters straight with a crooked stick?

97. Research has shown that prayer has no effect at all on patients. It may even have a negative effect as a by-product. Would it not therefore be wise to abandon prayer?

98. Hebrews 6:4-6 states: “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance;” Why do believers make such an effort to convince ex-believers when this passage makes it clear that it is pointless?

99. He was the channel between heaven and earth, between god and man. Descended from heaven, at his birth shepherds revered him and brought him fruit and firstlings of their herds. Later he ascended to heaven and the sun god set him upon a throne, his omnipotence having become divided. It was believed that someday he would return to raise the dead and to lead the world. This person was already known in Egypt three centuries BCE. This culture later spread rapidly to parts of Africa and Western Europe. We have this to thank for Christmas and Sundays. The cult also branched off into the Roman Empire, and was familiar with seven sacraments, including baptism, confirmation and communion. On Sunday the priest spoke holy words about bread and water. They believed in the soul’s immortality and the resurrection of flesh. Eventually this movement was prohibited by the Catholic emperors. There are notable parallels also with Asclepius, Heracles and Dionysus, and the aforesaid is the story of Mithras, not Jesus. Christians often insist on the independence of their stories, but where does this tale come from and why would an existing cult take over elements from an emerging religion, one that was even persecuted in its early stages? Is it not more likely that Christians simply borrowed stories that they knew already, including those where they only needed to change a name?

100. The greatest sinner or criminal can plead for mercy and forgiveness at the last moment and make it into heaven, for example the murderer on the cross. Thus Adolf Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot could get inside with the right timing. Yet the atheist who works hard his whole life for the benefit of others has no chance. Is your god a bit hypocritical and more absorbed in himself than with altruistic charity that doesn’t rest on faith?

101. The claim that Genesis must be seen as a metaphor still sounds far-fetched. Many Christians agree that evolution cannot be denied. Even the Catholic Church has confirmed it. This natural process where common descent plays a key role has meanwhile been proven. Even if the weight of evidence doesn’t convince some, there still remains an insurmountable problem. If the story of Adam and Eve is only symbolic, what then is left of Original Sin?

102. In Q. 37 an example of Jesus showing contradictory ideas concerning violence is given. Here follow three more examples whose reliability you should rate on a scale from 0 to 10 where 0 is unreliable and 10 is very reliable. Intermediate ratings can of course also be assigned.

Example 1: Jesus calls for swords when the time has come for his arrest, and at the moment he meets his captors he is suddenly fundamentally opposed to violence. A confrontation occurs and Peter hacks off Malchus’ ear, which Jesus heals before being taken captive. Peter runs after the abductors and soon begins a leisurely discussion about the capture. Imagine that you shoot a firearm during the arrest of a friend. How likely is it that as an assailant you’ll just be let off by pleading with the arresting officers? It is also strange that those who resisted Jesus’ arrest went free.

Example 2: Jesus makes a whip of rope and storms the temple courtyard. The guards do nothing. He beats all the merchants on the run and doesn’t allow anyone to escape the courtyard. The next day, Jesus still wanders casually around there. A comparison can be made with a similar one-man action done at Amsterdam’s Albert Cuyp market. How far will you get with a whip, probably against city police, guards and hundreds of merchants? And would you succeed in keeping it occupied until the next day? This doesn’t just concern the ideological question of a centuries-old tradition where it was necessary for people to come from far to obtain offerings.

Example 3: According to the gospels, Jesus was well known in Jerusalem, daily preaching there in public. Suddenly he is so unfamiliar that it is necessary for Judas to identify him (with a kiss) from among his followers. It would be the same as if Pim Fortuin puts up a poster in Rotterdam to ensure that an innocent person is arrested.

103. We must look at Paul’s Christological view, specifically why, as a genuine reformer, Jesus didn’t tackle any concrete practicalities. He didn’t repeat any pronouncements that Buddha had made so often to the point of monotony, and thus we have only a single declaration of “Stop the slavery.” There is nothing about women being equal to men with a few female disciples as living examples. Suppose the described person had said, “The people must choose their own leaders who must serve the people,” thereby presenting the basis of democracy. No nonsensical assertions about you having to give everything to the poor, which is impractical and just creates more poverty. Or just a little business sense such as each year you give 5% of your belongings to people who are less fortunate.

104. Do you find the above picture pleasing?

105. This question comes from a Jehovah’s Witnesses booklet in which it is proposed that the wise men who came from the east were astrologers (Matthew 2:1-2). This practice is forcefully condemned in the Bible (Deuteronomy 18:10-12). Their question is (without answer): “Would God have led people who practise things He condemns to the newborn Jesus?”

106. Is eternal damnation not fairly callous with regard to humans who spend just a short while here on earth, and whose lives consist mostly of avoiding all the pitfalls that would undermine their faith?

107. Here are a few YEC questions (Young Earth Creationists, variously Great Flood supporters).

A. Fossils are usually found in well-sorted geological strata with more primitive sorts found lower down, and thus not as jumbled-up hotchpotch. How do creationists explain this?

B. How do you explain salt deposits between different layers?

C. As an aside, what was actually found recently as a result of research at the Black Sea?

D. Much is frequently said about a great flood(Great Flood Theory). Growth rings of some trees go back as far as 10,000 years but show no evidence of such a flood. Why not?

E. Deposition layers of snowfall (varves) go back some 50,000 years but here too you do not encounter this catastrophe. Why not?

F. In ancient cultures (e.g. Egypt) there is no trace of a deluge. The pyramids have never been submerged. Why is evidence lacking here?

G. Why do some varieties of whale have a pelvis and vestiges of hind legs? Young ones are born covered in hair and sometimes you see whiskers.

H. What is the purpose of piloerectile muscles (arrectores pilorum), vomeronasal organs and the apocrine glands around the anus?

I. Why don’t we see any isotopes occurring naturally on earth with a half-life below 16 million years?
Isotope | Half-life | Found naturally on earth
Vanadium-50 | 6,000,000,000,000,000 years | Yes
Neodymium-144 | 2,400,000,000,000,000 years | Yes
Hafnium-174 | 2,000,000,000,000,000 years | Yes
Platinum-192 | 1,000,000,000,000,000 years | Yes
Indium-115 | 600,000,000,000,000 years | Yes
Gadolinium-152 | 110,000,000,000,000 years | Yes
Tellurium-123 | 12,000,000,000,000 years | Yes
Platinum-190 | 690,000,000,000 years | Yes
Lanthanum-138 | 112,000,000,000 years | Yes
Samarium-147 | 106,000,000,000 years | Yes
Rubidium-87 | 48,800,000,000 years | Yes
Rhenium-187 | 43,000,000,000 years | Yes
Lutetium-176 | 35,000,000,000 years | Yes
Thorium-232 | 14,000,000,000 years | Yes
Uranium-238 | 4,470,000,000 years | Yes
Potassium-40 | 1,250,000,000 years | Yes
Uranium-235 | 704,000,000 years | Yes
Samarium-146 | 103,000,000 years | Yes
Curium-247 | 16,000,000 years | No
Lead-205 | 15,000,000 years | No
Hafnium-182 | 9,000,000 years | No
Palladium-107 | 7,000,000 years | No
Caesium-135 | 3,000,000 years | No
Technetium-97 | 3,000,000 years | No
Gadolinium-150 | 2,000,000 years | No
Zirconium-93 | 2,000,000 years | No
Technetium-98 | 2,000,000 years | No
Dysprosium-154 | 1,000,000 years | No

108. Why do creationists remain so contrary? At Talk.Origins, the replies to the 95 propositions against evolution were readily available. They can be read here. Is it a case of unbounded naïveté or foolishness?

109. Satan is often portrayed in Christian circles as a sly fox. Meanwhile, he has got enough time to read Revelation and sees billions of people entering his hell, the majority of the world’s population. What permits this crafty guy to capture such enormous numbers before the final battle? After some hard training, it would be child’s play to eliminate all those softies from heaven for good. Thus, is the outcome already determined?

110. There are many cranks here who believe in heaven and hell. From this belief they set upon their opponents with arguments that are supposed to convince these critics that they would be better off becoming believers. But let’s look more closely at just one aspect of those imaginary places, namely the temperature: Which one is hotter?

111. Joshua 23:1-14: After exterminating many races, a joyful report was received, forbidding mixed relations with the survivors. One’s own people always first. Such nationalism was in its full glory under Joshua’s leadership. What do you think of those politics? Do they agree with the apartheid regime as shown in South Africa?

112. Why do creationists try so hard to disprove evolution when the creationist theory cannot be explained scientifically on any of its points? Doesn’t this fall under the category of measuring with two different yardsticks, which is therefore intellectually dishonest?

113. Forty years to cross a piece of desert? The overland distance between Cairo and Jerusalem is 424 kilometres. In a car this takes five hours, an hour in a plane, and as a hiker doing an average distance of eight kilometres a day, it would take 53 days. It took the Israelites 40 years, i.e. over 14,600 days to walk that stretch, and thus the distance they covered each day was a few tens of metres. Did they walk in circles?

114. Mary was inseminated by the Holy Ghost, not Joseph. The role of father was thus taken, so how can Jesus be a descendant of David? (Matthew.) Were adoption papers signed? In Mark 6 it is written that Mary bore six more children. Were they also produced by the Holy Ghost? In the proto-gospel of Jacob it says that Salome put her finger in Mary to check her suitability. Can someone solve this problem of dogma?

115. Are the miracles of Jesus historically reliable or not? If the answer is yes, then on what grounds?

Changing water into wine: Jesus could just as easily have said, “Then we will drink but water. No more wine, enough is enough.” There were allegedly dozens of witnesses but it is described only in the gospels. Similar events described by classicists include Ellis (3rd century BCE), the peripatetic student Teos (90-20 BCE), Diodorus of Sicily, and countless wine wonders wrought by Dionysus.

The multiplication of bread (all gospels in different variations): Motivated by Psalm 104, 2 Kings 4:32-44. Multiplying bread occurs in the gospels but that of Elijah is the best-known instance. Both stories show striking agreements. Other classical sources tell of similar events. In the Talmud the stories about Rabbi Yehuda, Rabbi Simon and Rabbi Rad describe the multiplication of cucumbers, grain, figs, bread, etc. Perdikas (7th century BCE) tells of a cake that grew to a large size. Various stories about Buddha of which those about the merchant Maccharokosiya and the wedding at Jambunada are most familiar. Mohammed at the wedding celebrations with Zainab, and a food shortage in Medina, etc. Miracles concerning blessings in the Catholic Church are too numerous to mention.

Bountiful catching of fish: This crops up in Luke, and John adds a scoop to it with the exact number of 153. Why is this not more neatly rounded to 100, 120or 150? It is strange that this doctrine only emerges later. The “dread that made itself master” according to Luke was not big enough to be mentioned in the first stories. There seems also to be a legend about Pythagoras and a fishing expedition. Pythagoras considers some fishermen approaching him and suddenly states the number of fish they will catch. The fishermen laugh at him and say, “If you are correct, we’ll throw back the fish.” The number was correct and this story was duly included in the narratives about Pythagoras (529 BCE).

Fish containing items: Things remained quiet for tens of years about the wonderful fishing trip. But Matthew soon came with the next story. In Matthew 17, Jesus orders a fishing expedition. When Simon catches the first fish, he must open its mouth and with the coin inside he can pay the church tax. Finding things in a fish was not unusual in antiquity. In the Babylonian Talmud is the tale of Joseph’s pearl that he retrieved from a fish. The rings of Polycrates and Solomon are recovered from a fish. Pearls, rings and money are favourite objects found in fishes’ innards. Many “saints” have experienced this (Ambrose, Attilanus, Egwin, etc.)

Walking on water: Already in Job 9:8 Jahwe walks over some waves, and Yahweh seems to master the same trick in Psalm 77:19. Stories of Jesus’ water acts already began in Mark and are expanded on in Matthew. There are some inconsistencies between these stories. In one, the boat is sent to Capernaum and in the other to Bethsaida. In Buddhist literature there are many walking-on-water examples to be found. Think of the Bhagavata or the Buddhist saint Sura Acharya. In the Rig Veda (1,500 BCE), the story of Bharata, King Dilipa and Vania is told. In Egypt, there was the god Khnum who walked on water in sandals. This list could be extended but these examples should suffice.

To be continued. (@t.p- 2011)

This part of the questions is under construction. With Google translate you could get the point. I wrote them for the liberal believer.

Vragen aan gelovigen die een rationele blik werpen op de Bijbel en een theologisch traktaat schrijven wat voldoet aan hun persoonlijke behoeften.

1. Hominids, the chapter "Becoming Human". There are believers who assume there really was an Adam being the first and oldest human within our ancestral family tree and whose lifestory found its way into the bible. This question doesn't address the obvious problem regarding the when and where of this Adam when taking evolution into account, but focuses on the 'finetuning hypothesis'. Why is homo religiosis, if I may call him that, aimlessly stumbling around worshipping all but naught and adhering to so many different religions instead of a simple onedimensional focus on Christianity? Wouldn't that make perfectly clear the fact that religion is of obvious Jewish-Christian origin and evolutionary backtracable to its biblical origins?
2. Why, taken that Religion evolves according to some Christians principles who claim the advance of humankind in the direction of their god, do we see the opposite happen? Why the ongoing dismantling of holy scripture by new findings in archeology, critical textual research and in natural science?
3. Those who wield power by spreading faith have near to no tolerance for those that doubt, especially when displayed in public in the form of skeptical questioning. Are comfortable thoughts on religion reconcilable with how a scientist researches, compares and excepts outcomes for what they are, even when he doesn't like what he sees?
4. Isn't a society that is permeated by religious doubt and doubt about religions the best safeguard against negative aspects of faith?
5. Isn't a pluralistic and secular society the best startingpoint for any individual?
6. There is a struggle between 'the spirit' of free inquiry and of fundamentalistic thought.
Which of the above has your approval? Could you stomach the idea of the first dismantling the latter?
7. Teleological evidence for the existence of god stays out. Scientific researchresults that point to autokatalysis, selfreplication and symbiogenesis, indicate a significant autonomous character (of life*). Supporting evidence for this keeps piling up to the degree that the influence of integrated viruses, for instance, is considered even bigger then anticipated. Do you think there is still room within that paradigma for the assertion of an invisible entity?
8. Can you describe your theological stance in plain and logical consistent language without resorting to feelings and without asserting gods existence ad ignorantiam?
9. Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem (entities must not be multiplied beyond necessity); an important philosophical criterion also known as Ockhams razor. What happens when you read the bible with this criterion in mind?
10. Bertrand Russell wrote: "There is something feeble and a little contemptible about a man who cannot face the perils of life without the help of comfortable myths". What's your position on that assertion?
11. What's your position on the logoi spermatikoi? If positive, can you explain where this philosophical concept's influence first applies and in which way? Is its acclaimed originality saved hereby?
12. Isn't the old testament fatal for Christianity when looking at the stories of outrageous cruelties not seldom accompanied by obscenities. Isn't the discrepancy between the old and new testament uneasing to the point that those old testament stories are seldom told? Is the vengeful Jewish god even slightly compatible with the evangelical idea of loving your enemies?

Some believers opt for the statement: "The Bible is a declaration of love", but what is supposedly loving about: 1 Sam 27? Every single time David invaded the country he left nobody alive, man nor woman, as shown for example in the story revolving around the inhabitants of Rabba. He put them under saws, iron axes and pins or brought them to the stone furnace. For those that love these kind of horrorstories in the Bible that you won't here in your local church, You can click on the following link, but be warned.

13.Ralf Bodelier said: "I am not only an atheist, I'm a theologian as well, although I prefer to say that I used to stúdy theology. I used to teach it at a university on top of that. Almost every week I had the opportunity to answer students' and colleagues' questions on how, in gods name, a theologian could also be an atheist. My answer was rude and of rhetorical nature, although I am of the opinion still that it strikes home beautifully. It goes like this: "Why the surprise? Do you have to have cancer to be an oncologist?" There is much in favor of being skeptical of theologians who believe in god. Just as an oncologist is no longer capable of proper diagnosis while in severe pain due to cancer, a theologian is not capable of objective judgment while his thinking is clouded by religious mist."

Can you imagine where he is coming from?

14. A plane crashes and all but one of the 450 passengers die. "It's a miracle!", certain people tend to proclaim immediately after. "Thank the Lord!" But what about the fact that the other 449 human beings just died horribly?
15. De factor taal in religie. Woorden kunnen waar, onwaar of onzinnig zijn. Is taal van wezenlijk belang voor religie? Gebeurt er iets na het gebruik van woorden? Wordt de functie van taal niet zwaar overdreven?
16. Zijn semantische woordspelletjes een probaat middel om anderen te overtuigen van je eigen religieuze gelijk?
17. Is ontologische bewijsvoering valide? Zo ja, noem een succesvol voorbeeld?
18. Waarom is atheïsme de dominante levensbeschouwing onder Nobelprijswinnaars?
19.Onterecht denken wij vaak dat anderen onze mening delen. Dit is kenmerkend voor ons sociaal inlevingsvermogen. Je zou God een product noemen van het inlevingsvermogen van iemand. Als je dit concept doortrekt dan kun je verwachten dat Zijn mening overeenkomt met degene die gelooft. Nicholas Epley heeft hier onderzoek naar gedaan. In morele kwesties bleek dit te kloppen. Tijdens het onderzoek werd de mening van de proefpersonen op slinkse wijze bijgesteld. Het bleek dat “God’ ook meedraaide. Een soort kompas wat gerelateerd is ons eigen sociaal inlevingsvermogen. Waait deze god dus met alle winden mee?

20. Asking “why?” plays an important role in the development of a child. It is a “teleological” way of thinking. It is especially useful for their personal development. Through it they unconsciously learn many things. In terms of intuition, for example, young children know no limits. For every problem there’s a fitting solution. In this regard they are unhindered. With them, intuitive thinking enjoys preference before a rational explanation. Indeed, a person’s cognitive development progresses and reason increasingly gains prominence. Aren’t adults who put forward a teleological explanation really still stuck in their childhood?

21. My soul mate has a magnificent article at his website. It’s about the Israeli psychologist George Tamarin. He did research from 1966 to 1973 into the effect of “non-critical Bible instruction on the formation of prejudices”. The investigation encompassed 1,066 Israeli children between the ages of 8 and 14 years. The story of the fall of Jericho and the extermination of everything that lived there is read to the children (Joshua 6). Thereafter, the children are asked the question, “Do you think that Joshua and the Israelites acted justly?” The answers were supplied as follows: Fully just 66%, Fully unjust 26%, Neither fully just nor fully unjust 8%. The reasons given for approval were God’s promise to bestow the land, God’s command to do it, the danger of mixing with other evil cultures and religions. The 8% of children who had some qualms gave, among others, these reasons: “Joshua was foolish to kill all the animals too, he could have used them better himself”, “The city and all the property didn’t need to be destroyed”.

There was no difference in percentages between girls and boys.

As a control group, 168 children are read the same story with “General Lin” replacing Joshua and “The Chinese Empire of 3,000 years ago” instead of the people of Israel in the main roles. General Lin received 7% approval, 18% partial approval and an overwhelming 75% complete disapproval.

Is it here not entirely plain that education influences one’s conceptualisations? And that human morality works with Biblical texts? Is such a dual morality desirable?

22. Het scheppingsverhaal wordt steeds vaker als een metafoor weergegeven. In verschillende varianten. Ik voeg er nog een aspect aan toe. Namelijk het Stanford Marshmallow Experiment. De uitkomsten laten zien dat verleiding iemand enorm kan beheersen. De psychologische druk om even van het snoepje (of appel) te eten is enorm. Uiteindelijk bezwijkt men. Een schepper met enig psychologisch inzicht weet dat natuurlijk. Een paar fimpjes als toegift.
Wat denk je zullen we deze toevoegen aan de reeks?

23.Is Pascal's wager (gambit-gok)een serieus te noemen argument of een wanhoopskreet? Kan je trouwens op een god (welke) gokken? En houdt deze specifieke god wel van mensen die op hem gokken?

24.Een vraag aan fideïsten: Waarom zouden we minder strikte criteria gebruiken voor de toetsing van geloofszaken dan bij de toetsing van andere beweringen? Steunt gematigd fideïsme op antirationalisme? Is blind geloven trouwens een domme manier van geloven? Waarbij elke vorm van dogmatische tegenstelling gewoon opzij wordt gezet.

25. Als er sprake is van een “eerste oorzaak” (kosmologisch argument) verteld dit ons iets over de eigenschappen van deze “ eerste oorzaak”. Kan Jahwe (of elke andere god) hierin opboksen tegen het begrip probabilistische causaliteit?

26.De vrome dooddoener “afwezigheid van bewijs is geen bewijs van afwezigheid”. Dat kan in bepaalde omstandigheden waar zijn en in andere gelegenheden dus niet. Bijvoorbeeld in het rioolstelsel van Amsterdam zwerven leeuwen rond; slechts zichtbaar voor degenen die zich begeven in het riool en hiervoor open staan. De gemiddelde lezer zal gelijk beamen dat dit niet mogelijk is en trekt op voorhand de conclusie dat het niet waar is. Waarom zou een “opzettelijk verborgen entiteit” zich wel onder bovenstaande definitie mogen scharen?

27.We kunnen doelen nastreven die objectief de moeite waard zijn. We kunnen zin bij onszelf vinden. We beleven als sociaal dier genoegen aan het gezelschap van anderen en leven mee met het leed van anderen. Godsdiensten verordonneren de waarden van primitieve stammen; liefde voor de eigen stam, haat jegens andere stammen, een geloof wat de geest afsluit en kruiperige gezagsaanbidding. Wat voor zingeving kunnen we uit religie halen? Is de mens die zegt: “Als God niet bestaat heeft het leven geen zin”. Niet slechts een verwend individu die nooit met compassie naar zijn medemens heeft gekeken?

28. Paul Davies denkt dat er misschien een levensbeginsel in natuurwetten is verwerkt. Maar waar vinden we dan een levensbeginsel in de natuur-scheikunde of biologie? Hij suggereert dat er ergens een niet onderkende holistische en teleologische natuurwet is. Het niet-reductieve fysicalisme is voor sommigen een denkwijze. Echter kan een levensprincipe niet een emergent principe zijn van de chaos- en complexiteitstheorie. Een natuurlijk product van puur lokale wisselwerking van materiedeeltjes. Ingewikkelde dingen ontstaan uit eenvoudige. Maakt dit een alomvattende op het geheel werkende besturing niet overbodig?

29. I am inverting the anthropic principle. If a god created a universe that is fine-tuned for human life, then one can expect that human life could easily arise all over. Why is the universe then so dismally inhospitable with so much matter and energy wasted?

30. There are enough theologians who regard the theory of evolution as manifest fact but who have difficulty with the apparently accidental evolution of humans. They believe that it is guided somewhere. But then isn’t one is talking about intelligent design and abandoning the natural process based on randomness, even if that should happen just once?

31. Either one has criteria with which to accord a privileged status, wholly or in part, to Christianity and the Bible, in which case one must be able to lay these criteria out clearly, or one does not have these criteria, in which case all religions and sects and their revelations are equivalent with respect to their claims to truth.

This according to etiennevermeersch. Where are the relevant criteria?

32. Atheists are often accused of also having faith. Some theists have devised the following explanation: “Atheism” contains the word “theism”. This is very playful and extremely original. The philosopher Herman Philipse proposes in his Atheist Manifesto that all believers are in fact “semantic atheists” because all descriptions given to the entity “God” remain limited to words. This too is clever, but does it perhaps touch a deeper point?

33. Een bekende internetpersoonlijkheid schermt constant met de uitspraak: “Alle geleerden zijn het eens”!. En u raadt het al, het gaat om Jezus. Of het nu argumentum ad populum of argumentum ad verecundiam is, laat ik in het midden. Het inzicht dat het evangelie slechts geringe historische waarde heeft en men slechts met behulp van de brandstapel meer dan 1000 jaar kunnen onderdrukken. Is de ultima ratio theologorum volgens Schopenhauer. De leerstellingen van de katholieke theologie worden overgeslagen, omdat de onderzoekers daarvan niet in staat zijn tot vrij onderzoek. De pausen hebben hun theologen gebonden door dogmata, alles loopt uit op contrarationele en bovennatuurlijke absurditeiten. In 1910 is nog de antimodernisten eed ingevoerd. De theologen moeten zich neerleggen bij de beslissingen van de pauselijke Bijbelcommissie. Hier bovenop komt nog het beginsel dat “testimonia pro domo” te verzamelen. Geen beschrijving van historische feiten maar de dogmatische tendentie moet worden nagegaan. Er zijn genoeg theologen die tegen deze stroom oproeien. Het merendeel is protestants. Bultmann deelt zijn conclusies in zijn “Geschichte der synoptischen Tradition”. De uitkomst zal menigeen niet verbazen. Het oude en nieuwe testament vallen onder de definitie sprookjes uit de wereldliteratuur. Nu laat ik de vele tientallen namen van dissidente theologen maar liggen. Waarvan Schweitzer, Dibelius. Schneider, von Soden etc. belangrijke opponenten van zijn, maar achterwege.

Maar wat zullen we met bovenstaande uitspraak doen. Een kanttekening bij plaatsen of gelijk doorsturen naar de prullenbak?

34.Het ontbreken van religie heeft volgens de onderzoeker van Der Spiegel sterke invloed op de moraal. „Mensen zonder religie verzetten zich meer dan gemiddeld tegen oorlog, doodstraf en discriminatie. Daarnaast hebben ze minder bedenkingen ten opzichte van buitenlanders, homoseksualiteit en drugs.” De moraal van de religielozen kenmerkt zich dus door humanisme en tolerantie, waarden die zij sterker uitdragen dan gelovigen.

Afkomstig uit het reformatorisch dagblad.. In een discussie met een gelovige kwam het volgende naar boven drijven. “Niks hemel, hel en eeuwige verdoemenis, onze dominee preekt elke zondag over naastenliefde”! Prachtig natuurlijk om dat wekelijks te horen, maar is één keer niet genoeg? En wat blijft er over van deze naastenliefde als de naaste met iemand wil trouwen van hetzelfde geslacht, zijn leven wil laten beëindigen, zijn foetus weg wil laten halen, de voorkeur geeft voor een ander geloof of geen geloof , op zondag lekker winkelt. Hoopt dat de wetenschap het defect in een gen kan oplossen. Graag naar houseparty’s gaat en zijn kinderen niet wil indoctrineren met teksten uit de bronstijd.

35.De woorden van Jezus in Johannes 49: “ Uw voorvaders aten manna in de wildernis. Ze zijn echter gestorven.” Inmiddels heeft de archeologie de exodus bestempelt als mythe. De ene mythe gelooft in de andere? Geldt dat ook voor de teksten in Matteüs 24:37-39; en Lucas 17:26, “En zoals het eraan toe ging in de dagen van Noach, zo zal het ook zijn in de dagen van de Mensenzoon: 27ze aten, ze dronken, ze huwden, ze werden uitgehuwelijkt, tot aan de dag waarop Noach de ark binnenging en de vloed kwam die iedereen verzwolg. 28Of zoals het eraan toe ging in de dagen van Lot: ze aten, ze dronken, ze kochten, ze verkochten, ze plantten, ze bouwden; 29 maar op de dag waarop Lot wegtrok uit Sodom, regende het vuur en zwavel uit de hemel en kwamen allen om”.

36. Religies zijn uiterst conservatief. Veel denkbeelden zijn inmiddels weerlegt. Echter men koestert ze en probeert ze nog lang te bewaren. En meestal zijn de aanhangers erg gevoelig voor kritiek. Ligt hier niet de basis voor de intolerantie en vijandigheid die ze atheïsten verwijten; als deze argumenten inbrengen die stroken met hun overtuiging?

37. “Convert the world to religion and peace will follow” for the people a complacence. This is about the worldly variety and not the heavenly one. If we compare countries such as Iran, Afghanistan, United States and Sudan just to name a few, with a high percentage of religious people with countries such as Finland, the Netherlands and Sweden with a low percentage of religious people; than how do they compare in tolerance towards homosexuals and the weak in society? Don’t you think that this is slogan is just based on wishful thinking?

38. Science cannot make statements on the whole of reality. Can you give some reasons in why you think religion is able to do so? Is it not more correct to say that religion doesn’t make any statement about reality? If you disagree; which existential questions does religion answer? Are these concrete answers that have research data associated with them?

39. The Bible is used in discussions as a source of authority. Were the writers of that book specialists who used well-validated investigative methods or were they inspired by an omniscient godhood? What is the result of centuries-long Biblical study concerning this question? If the finding is negative, must we then rule out the Bible as a source of authority?

40. Interpretation is one way to discover what the writer intended with a text, which is a logical consequentiality that is maintained in science. Is the reinterpretation of a text whose construal has become unacceptable not unscientific? Is such methodological selectiveness at home in a university? On what grounds can theology depart from the consensus that one must evaluate writings within their historical context? Is it a sort of joyriding when an antique text is enveloped in the wishful thinking of the contemporary reader?

41. Do you not think it is ironical that Christians who believe in an infinite and unknowable being, record this same entity in closed systems and rigid doctrines?

42. Hebrews 11 gives an account of faith. Countless aspects are dealt with: The crossing of the Red Sea, Noah’s Ark, Sarah’s pregnancy, etc. Everything stands or falls on belief. Can the whole chapter be reconciled for someone who thinks metaphorically? Does it not stand in opposition to findings of archaeology, for example?

43. Many centuries before Jesus, the Golden Rule was a dictum of several luminaries. Buddha, Confucius and Mencius had it as a moral value many centuries before the arrival of Christianity. Meanwhile we have found that goodness is inherent in certain spheres of conduct. One also finds this in animal species. The capacity for morality is refined or blunted culturally. Do Christians not merely take what Mother Nature has already provided humans with for promoting charity and tolerance many centuries before their movement, and call it their own? Nowadays Christians have put their own label on human values. Is this not an act of falsifying history?

44.If every trace of any single religion were wiped out and nothing were passed on, it would never be created exactly that way again. There might be some other nonsense in its place, but not that exact nonsense. If all of science were wiped out, it would still be true and someone would find a way to figure it all out again.” Is this quote by Penn Jillette correct?

45. In “Misquoting Jesus” professor Bart Ehrman (New Testament scholar) indicates that various passages in the New Testament were altered or supplemented. A good example is that of the adulteress (John 7:53 — 8:12) where Jesus says, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her” (KJV). This anecdote is not found in the oldest manuscripts of the Gospel of John. Are these important things to know?

46. Jesus confirmed that the Old Testament is reliable (Matthew 26:54), free of errors (Luke 16:17) and that its prescriptions remain in force (John 10:35). There are some significant narratives that are subject to exaggeration. Just think of archaeological insights, Gilgamesh or our present-day views concerning the origin of the world. Has reality caught up with Jesus on these points?

47. Anyone who is part of a religious denomination or sect can claim to have had “paranormal” religious experiences. How can a third party establish that such claims rest on truth rather than on delusion? Does a subjective experience set aside the principle that we must speak of objective onus of proof? Does a subjective experience carry more weight than objective proof?

48. Does the god of the Old Testament evolve when there is talk of an improved moral canon after the coming of Jesus? According to Christians then, a god can improve himself. Does this mean that imperfection is to be reduced through progressive revelation?

49. Onfray beschreef Jezus als volgt: "De Messias heeft geen honger of dorst, hij slaapt nooit, kent geen stoelgang, copuleert niet en lacht niet". En dan voeg ik er nog aan toe; er worden wonderen aan hem toegeschreven en woorden in zijn mond gelegd. Haal je dus alles weg, dan blijft er niets over. Hebben de mensen die het bestaan van Jezus betwisten niet in zekere gezin gelijk? Is de zoektocht naar de historiciteit van een persoon niet een kwestie van afstrepen?

50. De Heer is uw herder, behalve als u een moeilijke puzzel maakt. Mensen die analytisch denken , zijn daarna minder geneigd om in een god te geloven. Ook hardnekkige gelovigen blijken na experimenten minder gelovig te zijn. De suggestie is dat er twee denksystemen bestaan. Een onderbuiksgevoel voor godsdienst en een meer analyserende manier van denken. Analytische denkstrategieën zijn een krachtige bron van ongeloof. Zorgvuldig nadenken schakelt een god uit. Herkent u dit fenomeen of opereert u voornamelijk vanuit een intuïtief gevoel?

51.De vroegste teksten zelf onthullen een lang verhaal dat uitgevonden, verzameld, ontleend, vervalst en eindeloos gereviseerd werd. Alle bewijzen zijn het eens: het Nieuwe Testament werd door menselijke, geen goddelijke handen gemaakt en uitsluitend voor menselijke doeleinden. Er is geen originele Bijbel die we kunnen bekijken, en zelfs geen vroege Bijbel die we kunnen lezen. Bestaat de Bijbel eigenlijk wel?

52. Godsdienst verdeelt; het verhoogt de inzet van conflicten. Mensen vermoorden elkaar omdat ze denken dat hun schepper dit van hen vraagt. Of men raakt in conflict, omdat ze hun morele gemeenschap definiëren in termen van hun godsdienst. Het fanatisme en haat die gemeenschappen verdeelt houden zijn vaak het product van hun godsdienstige identiteit. Is het beeld van een vreedzame religie een sprookje als je de geschiedenisboeken erbij pakt of de kranten openslaat?

53.Dennus schreef het volgende: Nu kun je dat kaboutersconcept vanuit verschillende invalshoeken bestuderen: sociologisch, psychologisch, historisch, filologisch, linguïstisch, wijsgerig, en zelfs cognitiepsychologisch (…)Mijn eigen kabouterologische specialisme begeeft zich op het grensvlak van systematische kabouterologie en kabouterfilosofie. De systematisch kabouteroloog probeert een ordening en structuur in de resultaten van de voorheen genoemde wetenschappelijke onderzoekingen te ontdekken of eventueel aan te brengen. De Kabouterfilosoof onderzoekt (…).” Is dit een correcte weergave van theologie? Zou het in beginsel verstandig zijn om alle theologiefaculteiten om te vormen tot volledig seculiere faculteiten der godsdienstwetenschappen. Omdat het geloof in een god irrelevant is voor deze studie.

54.Een enkele keer wordt door gelovigen gewezen op het homogene karakter van de papyri. Er zijn 92 stukken en stukjes specifieke christelijke papyri. Genummerd van 1 tot 92. Van moeilijk leesbaar tot aan enkele centimeters groot. Echter kunnen deze schamele restanten representatief zijn voor al die stromingen die zich ontwikkelden. Met al hun locale varianten en theologische theorieën. Met vijftig verschillende evangeliën. Met geretoucheerde teksten, divergerende teksten, ketterijen en het totaal ontbreken van centraal gezag. Is dit op voorhand niet een onmogelijke opgave?

55. Een vader die zijn zoon laat executeren voor door anderen begane misdrijven en wandaden teneinde de werkelijke schuldigen straffeloosheid te bezorgen, zou overal ter wereld gerechtelijk worden vervolgd als zijn daad aan het licht kwam. Iedereen zou er schande over spreken. Toch vormt een dergelijke primitieve, wrede, onredelijke misdaad de grond van het christelijk geloof. Nu zal dit in de belevingswereld van de gelovige een afwijkende mening zijn. Echter hoe kijkt de mens achter de gelovige naar dit voorbeeld?

56.Als religieuze mensen het gevoel hebben dat het waar is, zonder bewijs dan noemen ze dit een openbaring. Dat kan ook na “rijp” beraad, waarbij men zich afsluit en lang nadenkt tot het gevoel sterk genoeg is om de vaak voor de hand liggende conclusie als een openbaring te zien. Voor sommigen is het de voornaamste reden om vast te houden aan hun geloof. Zijn louter innerlijke gevoelens een goede graadmeter?

57.Er zijn mensen die een filmster stalken omdat ze denken dat deze persoon van hen houdt. Ze gaan zelfs zover dat alles in het teken staat van hun idool. Hoe sta je tegenover iemand die denkt dat iemand van hem of haar houdt zonder die persoon ooit ontmoet te hebben? Of uit eigen mond een liefdesverklaring te hebben ontvangen. Toch is dit een speerpunt bij veel religieuzen.

58.Wint een verhaal aan waarheid door het eeuwenlang over te dragen. Want hoe ouder een traditie; hoe meer waarde er vaak aan gehecht wordt. Echter is dit voldoende gezaghebbend?

59.Zet tientallen kinderen uit alle windstreken bij elkaar. Vraag of ze hun religieuze overtuiging bekend maken. Wat blijkt vaak. Ze vertellen hetzelfde als hun ouders. Het is een traditionele overtuiging. Mensen vertellen hun kinderen wat ze moeten geloven. Alle sprookjes kunnen geloofwaardig worden als de ouders hier in geloven. Bent u behept met een vicieus cirkel geloof?

60.Is het nodig om je opponent zo ver mogelijk tegemoet te komen. De politiek van agnostische verzoening. Grenst het niet aan het toppunt van belachelijkheid. Dat elke drogreden serieus moet worden genomen. Bijvoorbeeld: Geen bewijs is ook bewijs, iets wat niet valt te bewijzen kun je ook niet weerleggen etc. Is een toenadering die zich bevindt op dit terrein niet een exercitie in intellectuele oneerlijkheid?

61. Omdat een ieder geboren wordt in een omgeving en de daarbij behorende geloofsovertuiging die het beste bij zijn natuur past, is bekering volgens het hindoeïsme niet nodig. Het kan zelfs tot verwarring of ontworteling leiden. In hun ogen is bekeren volstrekt achterhaald? Is het fanatisme die sommige christelijke groeperingen aan de dag leggen in bepaalde streken niet vaak de voorbode van toekomstige religieuze conflicten?

62. Twee stellingen die ik met een knipoog naar Klaas Hendrikse hier neer zet.
1. Kun je geloven in een god die niet bestaat;
2. Intelligent Design is keukenhoftheologie.
Is het mogelijk om je als atheïst de allure te geven van een vrijzinnig gelovige. Waarbij de samenleving door een doolhof moet, om jou te bereiken?

63. Vaak werpen mensen de vraag op: “ Wat was er voor de “ Big Bang”. Wat ligt het meest voor de hand?

1. Optie we weten het niet;
2. Niets is "onstabiel";
3. 1 van de duizenden goden of godinnen (of een samenwerkingsverband);
4. Een eerder universum;
5. Parallelle universa;
5. Het "no boundary"model van Hawking;
6. subkwantum krachten die nog ontdekt moeten worden;
7. Een explosieve uitvergroting van de quantummechanische oersoep;
8. Hypotheses die nog niet genoemd zijn.

64. Een vraag van HenkM: "Deze god van de liefde, in de persoon van paus Innocentius III, bestond het een heel dorp (Béziers) uit te laten moorden, waarbij de uitvoerder, abt Arnaud Amaury (als bevelhebber van de Albigenzische Kruistochten) het volgende bevel gaf:
Doodt ze allemaal. God herkent de 'zijnen' wel (aan gene zijde)".
Dat was toen de militaire bevelhebbers een probleem hadden om de Katharen te onderscheiden van de 'gewone' katholieken.
Deze kruistochten telden een miljoen slachtoffers (vnl in Zuid Frankrijk), waaronder veel 'onschuldigen'.
Noem je dit, als gelovige, een daad van liefde? Van erbarmen?
Zie ook deze online informatie over de Katharen!

65. “De Heer zei”. Een cliché waar veel gelovigen nogal veel waarde aan hechten. De Bijbelwetenschappers Marjo Korpel en Johannes de Moor hebben in een originele studie laten zien dat dit een stijlicoon is. Woorden kwamen nooit direct uit de hemel , maar werden via een lang en ingewikkeld proces geanalyseerd. Het volk, schrijvers en de koningen moesten er maar achter zien te komen of boodschappen wel of niet van goddelijke oorsprong waren. Ze gingen op de tast de profeten langs en hun boodschappen. Geen wonderspeeltuin, maar een tamelijk machteloze poging rond een zwijgende god. Of een fictief godsbeeld. Is dit de zoveelste onttovering van de Bijbel?

66.Kan alleen twijfelachtige en oncontroleerbare kennis dienen als bouwsel voor een religieuze ideologie. Discussie zou twijfel kunnen wegnemen. Waarom verstrekt godsdienst niet aan iedereen controleerbare en toegankelijke waarheden. En stappen ze af van de eenvoudige vooroordelen over de werkelijkheid die zekerheid moet verschaffen. Is religie een presentationalistische beweging die denkt dat de werkelijkheid zich voegt naar haar ideeën?

67.Faust: “Waar toe is al dat scheppen goed als ieder schepsel weer in het niet verdwijnen moet”? Een interessante stelling in het licht van de ongelooflijke verkwisting van soorten. Er wordt gesproken over de teloorgang van 100 miljoen soorten. In de loop van de evolutie. Het aantal individuele exemplaren is natuurlijk niet te schatten. Pleit dit niet tegen een ontwerper?

68.De dood werd door ons ontdekt en ontkent. Er bestaan verschillende pogingen om de sterfelijkheid niet onder ogen te zien. Godsdiensten praten over reïncarnatie, waardoor het lijden zin heeft. Of ze propageren een heilstaat waar geen plaats is voor ongeluk, dood en verderf. Een leven lang worden wij achtervolgt door het noodlot van de dood. Moeten wij de lagere primaat niet benijden die enkele minuten doodsangst kent en daarna is alles voorbij. Zijn de bezweringsformules niet eerder een last dan een lust?

69.Mensen met hogere scores op de Autisme Spectrum Quotiënt. Waarin een grotere fascinatie voor getallen en meer moeite met sociale situaties naar voren komen. Hebben statistisch gezien een zwakker geloof of ze geloven helemaal niet. Het biedt een mogelijke verklaring waarom mannen over het algemeen minder gelovig zijn dan vrouwen. Deze kant is bij hen sterker aanwezig. Antropomorfiseren heeft dus een neurologische basis. Die verschillende gradaties kent. Autisten hebben deze eigenschap maar ten dele of helemaal niet. Magisch denken of een teleologisch patroon volgen is waarschijnlijk een natuurlijke uitbreiding van ons alledaagse denken. Bestaat een god dus bij de empathie van de persoon die hier meer aanleg voor heeft? Het bovenstaande biedt slechts ten dele een verklaring voor iemands ongeloof. Naast bijvoorbeeld; culturele en educatieve aspecten die aan de basis kunnen liggen van iemands atheïsme.

70. Ga met 4 mensen op een plein staan en kijk omhoog. Tientallen zullen volgen. Doe het met 50 en honderden mensen doen hetzelfde. Veel publiek trekt publiek. Een verschijnsel wat sociale validatie heet. Het geeft een misleidende suggestie. Het doet er namelijk niet meer toe of het zinnig is of echt iets voorstelt. Denk daar eens aan op de EO-jongerendag of flevofestival. Bent u ook iemand die hetzelfde doet als de rest? En legitimatie voor het standpunt ziet bij het op de been brengen van grote mensenmassa’s?

71. Een kwestie van oefenen en je beheerst tongentaal of glossolalie. Taalachtige klanken zonder betekenis. Ook kleine kinderen en sommige schizofrenen bedenken soms hun eigen taaltje; en allemaal klinken ze als dialecten van een en dezelfde ‘internationale taal van de betekenisloosheid’. Die taal lijkt maar vijf klinkers te hebben: ie, oe, aa, ee, oo. Alle lettergrepen lijken te eindigen op een klinker of, soms, een n, een l, of een r. Andere medeklinkers worden weinig gebruikt. Het verschijnsel komt verder onder andere voor bij de Inuit, Saami, verschillende sjamaanse culturen en in de voodoo-cultuur. Ook in het christendom komt het terug bij een aantal groeperingen en kerken (vooral die van de pinkster- en charismatische beweging). In The Psychology of Speaking in Tongues beschreef John Kildahl nog een opvallende overeenkomst. De glossalisten schijnen volgens Kildahl meer behoefte te hebben aan autoriteitsfiguren en hebben vaker een crisis in hun leven doorgemaakt dan de controlegroep (bron:wikipedia). Zullen we het gebeuren maar met een zekere skepsis bekijken?

72. Dat u aan uw omgeving meedeelt dat eenhoorns niet bestaan, zal waarschijnlijk geen opwinding veroorzaken. Echter u kunt na een zorgvuldige afweging tot het besef komen dat er waarschijnlijk geen god bestaat. En dat de grondslag voor een geloof wegvalt. Wat is de grootste drempel om de laatste stap te nemen.

a. De psychologische aanpassing van deze nieuwe situatie kunt u niet in kaart brengen;
b. Emotionele gronden weerhouden u hiervan;
c. Sociale structuren zitten u dwars;
d. Religie geeft u status en financiële armslag;
e. U bent bang dat anderen hun mening over u veranderen in negatieve zin;
f. De enorme hoeveelheid tijd en energie die u heeft gestoken in een geloofssysteem belemmeren u om er afstand van te nemen;
g. Indoctrinatie en geïndoctrineerd worden is uw grootste hobby;
h. Elke andere reden of combinatie die alleen u kan bedenken. Gezien het persoonlijke aspect van deze toch ingrijpende beslissing.

73. De messiaans acapolyptische stroming is al actief ver voor het begin van de jaartelling. Wat blijkt uit teksten uit de Dode Zee rollen. Visioenen van Daniel en een eschatologisch geschrift waarin de priester Melchizedek voorkomt, laten een eindstrijd zien. De persoon Jezus was een Jood en wandelde in deze tradities. Hij deed acapolyptische uitspraken en legde de nadruk op dat het einde nabij was. Binnen een generatie was de teneur. Nu zijn we 2000 jaar verder en het lijkt er op dat Jezus de Harold Camping was van de bronstijd. Waarom geloven nog zoveel christenen in een wederkomst, die alsmaar verder wegschuift. Moeten we Jezus niet gewoon zien als een valse profeet? Een van de velen die inmiddels ontmaskerd zijn.

74. If miracles should be viewed as metaphors; Angels, Satan, demons and Hell should also be seen as metaphors. Than the Fall as well as the Resurrection of Jesus should be viewed in the same way. If metaphors are the guide line of your religion; when are you recognising that God is a metaphor also? And if god is a metaphor; then are you not in essence an atheist?

Still, there is this:

Now there are believers who after all these questions reply to me by saying, “I believe anyway!” That of course isn’t any problem. Abandon logic, negate proof, believe in contradictions and impossibilities, and teach yourself and others that somewhere there sits a god ready to destroy this planet. And in this way overcome the fear of your death or the death of others. But if you seek a view of life without god, with writings that are full of deeper wisdom, that embrace reason and science, are progressively respectful of human rights for everyone, that have the advantages but not the disadvantages, then the Buddhism of Pali is suitable, as is the Taoism of Lao Tzu or Chuang Tzu. Another approach is pantheism, which Richard Dawkins described as “sexed-up atheism”, entailing a positive and reverent feeling for our planet, respect for science and logic, no belief in supernatural beings or powers. Nature is used as a basis for handling stress, sorrow and mourning.


I'd like to give special thanks to Mefiante of SA Skeptics for her tremendous effort to translate these questions!!

Questions from Marlies de Jel:

21 Questions for Christians/Theists:
Since christian's claim that they know their god and his mind, then these question should be a breeze to answer for the god-fearing believer.
1. If a hundred different religions have to be wrong for yours to be right, does this show that people from all over the world like to invent gods that don’t exist?
2. If your parents had belonged to a different religion, do you think you would belong to that religion too?
3. If people from the five major religions are each told conflicting information by their respective gods, should any of them be believed?
4. How can you tell the voice of God from a voice in your head?
5. How can you tell the voice of God from the voice of the Devil?
6. Would you find it easier to kill someone if you believed God supported you in the act?
7. If God told you to kill an atheist, would you?
8. An all-knowing God can read your mind, so why does he require you to demonstrate your faith by worshiping him?
9. If God is all-knowing, why do holy books describe him as surprised or angered by the actions of humans? He should have known what was going to happen.
10. An all-knowing God knows who will ultimately reject him. Why does God create people who he knows will end up in hell?
11. If God is all knowing, then why did he make humans in the knowledge that he’d eventually have to send Jesus to his death?
12. Why did a supposedly omnipotent god take six days to create the universe, and why did he require rest on the seventh day?
13.Is omnipotence necessary to create our universe when a larger, denser universe would have required more power?
14.While in the desert, Jesus rejected the temptations of the Devil. He didn't censor or kill the Devil, so why are Christians so in favor of censoring many Earthly temptations?
15.Given that the story of Noah’s Ark was copied almost word for word from the much older Sumerian Epic of Atrahasis, does this mean that our true ruler is the supreme sky god, Anu?
16.If humans declared fire to be a miracle thousands of years ago, would we still be huddling together in caves while we wait for God to fire another lightning bolt into the forest?
17.If religious people don’t respect their children’s right to pick their own religion at a time when they're able to make that decision, how can society expect religious people to respect anyone’s right to freedom of religion?
18. If someone promised you eternal life, the protection of a loving super being, a feeling of moral righteousness, a purpose for living, answers to all the big questions, and a rule book for achieving the pinnacle of human potential… and all in exchange for having faith in something that wasn't proven, would you be suspicious?
19/20. Why does religion appeal more to poor, weak, vulnerable, young, ill, depressed, and ostracized people? Could religious promises be more of a temptation to these people?
21. If your desire is to convert atheists so that they become more like you; do you think that you’re currently better than them?
Any original thoughts theists?
Is de leegte niet een weldaad, geeft stilte niet veel rust, waarom moet onder leiding van dominees, goeroes, therapeuten en anderen alles kapot gezingeeft worden?