I am a Christian who has gone through the atheist experience and finally discovered unsurprisingly that religion has a lot to offer people. Yet many Christians destroy religion with their warped ideas of truth.
BIBLE NOT LITERALLY BUT RATHER SPIRITUALLY TRUE. One problem is with many Christians claiming that only a literal reading of the Bible is correct. They forget that Jesus said some things that were untrue without bothering to explain Himself. (John 6:53,60,66 Jesus therefore said to them. "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. 60. Many therefore of His disciples, when they heard this said. "This is a difficult statement; who can listen to it?" 66. As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew, and were not walking with Him any more.) Many literalists insist that because it was so obviously untrue that it needed no explanation.
My understanding of His refusal to explain is that much of the scripture (including His words) is expressed metaphorically. He wanted us to stop and grasp the deeper spiritual meaning of God's words. We could have taken the 10 commandments literally, but Jesus said to watch out for literalism. (Matt. 5:38-39 You have heard that it was said, 'AN EYE FOR AN EYE, AND A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH.' 39. "But I say to you, do not resist him who is evil; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also.)
Even in the Old Testament, God used metaphors. (Gen. 2:16-17 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, "From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; 17. but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die.") We know well that Adam did eat from the tree and he only died spiritually -- and 930 years later he finally died.
It's interesting that Jehovah's Witnesses claim that eventually we will live again here on this earth if we have lived an exemplary life. The Witnesses however take too much of the Bible literally and add many unsubstantiated ideas to it. (I will not discuss the Witnesses further here.)
Also when scripture seems to contradict the facts, maybe it literally does. (Luke 12:56-57 "You hypocrites! You know how to analyze the appearance of the earth and the sky, but why do you not analyze this present time? 57. "And why do you not even on your own initiative judge what is right?) For example, evolution is a reasonable explanation of creation that does not contradict creation by God. Let's realize that the length of a day is not always 24 hours. When there was no earth and sun, how could a day be expressed as 24 hours? Isn't it more reasonable to think that a day as a metaphor could be millions of years?
RIGHTEOUSNESS. All Christians are not praiseworthy people. In fact many Christians are unknowingly or knowingly worshiping Satan with their improper belief system. (II Cor. 11:14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.) People fall away from true religion not only in Christianity but also in other religions. (I Tim. 4:1 But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons,) However we need to recognize that it is not proper to go around labeling people who disagree with you as ministers of Satan.
Despite these bad Christians, Christianity will nevertheless stand as a virtous, heaven-bound religion.
SALVATION FOR ALL RIGHTEOUS PEOPLE. I also want to note that Jesus welcomes people of all faiths as long as their life embodies the spirit of a righteous God. To say that all Muslims, Jews, Zoroastrians, Bahais, etc. are going to hell is a preposterous premise. If people of other faiths are trying to practice true righteousness but fail, God will forgive them. If people of these other faiths practice the two greatest commandments they will enter heaven. (Matt. 22:36-40 "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?" 37. And He said to him, " 'YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.' 38."This is the great and foremost commandment. 39. "The second is like it, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.' 40. "On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.")
Muslims also believe that people of all faiths can enter heaven. (Surah V:69 Lo! those who believe, and those who are Jews, and Sabaeans, and Christians -- whosoever believeth in Allah and the Last Day and doeth right -- there shall no fear come upon them neither shall they grieve.)
Atheists too can be saved according to the foregoing scriptures. I believe that the first commandment classifies God as truth.
DIVINITY OF JESUS. The question about the divinity of Jesus Christ is an interesting one. It has caused Mohammed, the founder of Islam, to condemn Christians for saying that Jesus is fully God and fully man. My explanation, which I have seen no one discuss, is that Jesus obviously didn't have all the traits of God, since he was a man. He was a man who didn't know everything. (Matt. 24:36 "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.)
Nevertheless with a different understanding of what it means to be God, I propose that being God only means having the maximum intelligence which a human being can have while being without sin. Even the Jews understood that. (John 10:33 The Jews answered Him, "For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.")
It's interesting that many Muslims claim Mohammed to be perfect.
Many Christians claim that all Muslims are condemned to hell. They cite the following verse: (John 14:6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.) However the Muslims do believe in Jesus, but they believe the Bible words were changed or written incorrectly. (Surah III:45-46 (And remember) when the angels said: O Mary! Lo! Allah giveth thee glad tidings of a word from Him, whose name is Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, illustrious in the world and the Hereafter, and one of those brought near (unto Allah).46. He will speak unto mankind in his cradle and in his manhood, and he is of the righteous.)
EXISTENCE OF JESUS. There is an idea going around that Jesus was a fictional person. Probably this got started because Jesus worked many miracles for which there is presently no scientific basis for being able to do so.
Consequently atheists have decided to call attention to the fact that there are few early non-Christians writing referring to Jesus as a real person. The historian Josephus in the 1st century wrote a book referring to Jesus (Christ), but several editions of the book do not refer to Jesus. Atheists say this shows that probably the name of Jesus was added at a later date. However later people could have removed Jesus's name to avoid giving Jesus credibility.
Nevertheless other early non-Christians have expressed belief that Jesus was a real person. These people are Cornelius Tacitus (ca. 56-120); 2. Caius Suetonius Tranquillus (ca. 69-140); 3. Pliny the Younger, the Roman legate of Bithynia-Pontus in the early second century.
Frankly it's interesting that no non-Christian ever doubted Jesus's existence until a group of 20th century atheists decided to see if they could prove his non-existence.ISLAM VS. CHRISTIANITY (Re: lying)
There is a true divide between Islam and Christians. Muhammad said: "Lying is wrong, except in three things: the lie of a man to his wife to make her content with him; a lie to an enemy, for war is deception; or a lie to settle trouble between people" [Ahmad, 6.459. H]
Therefore, based on the Koran
Surah (9):4-5 Excepting those of the idolators with whom ye (Muslims) have a treaty, and who have since abated nothing of your right nor have supported anyone against you. (As for these), fulfill their treaty to them till their term. Lo! Allah loveth those who keep their duty (unto Him). Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolators wherever you find them, and take them (captive), and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush. But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then leave their way free. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.
we can say that all non-Muslims are the enemy which Muslims must eventually slay. So it's okay to lie to Christians in order to slay them. Muslims are in perpetual war against the Christians who must not be true friends.
Surah (5):51 O ye who believe! Take not the Jews and Christians for friends. They are friends to one another. He among you who taketh them for friends is (one) of them. Lo! Allah guideth not wrongdoing folk.
Interestingly, Muhammed said in the Koran:
Surah (2):256 There is no compulsion in religion. The right direction is henceforth distinct from error. And he who rejecteth false deities and believeth in Allah hath grasped a firm handhold which will never break. Allah is Hearer, Knower.
A Muslim I met who converted to Christianity says that Muslims no longer consider this verse to be true. He says after Muhammed converted the local Arabs to Islam, freedom of religion is no longer valid. People may convert to Islam, but they may longer convert from Islam to another religion. Such conversions (apostasy) away from Islam are deserving of death according to many Muslims.
And the above Surah 9:4-5 says to kill the unbelievers having a religion different from Islam.
Osama bin Laden attacked the United States on September 9, 2001 first because the United States is a stronghold of Christianity -- and is therefore the enemy of Islam. Some people are trying to say that Osama had nothing to do with that attack, but Osama calls it a "blessed happening." It therefore appears that if Osama didn't plan the attack, he would have liked to have been the planner.
The foregoing discussion shows lying against Christians when there is no ongoing war is an acceptable way of fighting Christianity. Truly Islam is a religion strongly espousing war against Christians -- and can therefore be called a defensive war even during peacetime.
More to come later.