An email conversation with a Christian concerning “God” and Bible

1.From: Christian

Sent: Wednesday, 13 March, 2013 11:27 AM
To: undisclosed-recipients:
Subject: Fwd: Say a prayer

———- Forwarded message ———-

SAY A PRAYER

Little Johnny and his family were having Sunday dinner at his Grandmother’s house. Everyone was seated around the table as the food was being served. When Little Johnny received his plate, he started eating right away.

“Johnny! Please wait until we say our prayer,” said his mother.

“I don’t need to,” the boy replied.

“Of course, you do,” his mother insisted. “We always say a prayer before eating at our house.”

“That’s at our house,” Johnny explained. “But this is Grandma’s house and she knows how to cook.”

 

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2.From: richard woo [mailto:rwookc@singnet.com.sg]
Sent: Wednesday, 13 March, 2013 1:40 PM
To:  Christian

Subject: RE: Say a prayer

 

Hahahahohohoho – is prayer effective or defective?

 

As an ex-Christian I have a great deal to say.

But some Christians, or should I say, Christians generally, are close-minded and have a low threshold for holding a civil discussion in areas such as this.

 

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3.From: Christian

Sent: Wednesday, 13 March, 2013 3:02 PM
To: richard woo
Subject: Re: Say a prayer

 

Praying is universal for the faithful except perhaps for the atheists.

 

Discussion is useful only one is seeking for the truth. For religion is strictly a relationship between  a believer and his god/gods. Hence, if a person is honestly in search for the truth to enhance his belief in his faith he cannot be considered close-minded if he chooses to agree to disagree on the topic under discussion. We therefore have to respect and accept people belong to other faiths. 

 

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4.From: richard woo [mailto:rwookc@singnet.com.sg]
Sent: Thursday, 14 March, 2013 12:37 AM
To: Christian
Subject: RE: Say a prayer

 

Tks for the feedback. That’s great.

 

1. Praying is universal for the faithful except perhaps for the atheists. No argument here.

 

2. Discussion is useful only one is seeking for the truth. Grey area where “truth” is concerned.

 

3.  For religion is strictly a relationship between a believer and his god/gods. Needs amplification – room for discussion.

 

4. Hence, if a person is honestly in search for the truth to enhance his belief in his faith he cannot be considered close-minded if he chooses to agree to disagree on the topic under discussion. Room for discussion/clarification

 

5. We therefore have to respect and accept people belong to other faiths. Yup, this is something about the freedom that people, generally, enjoy, to be a believer or non-believer, to embrace religion X instead of religion Y, etc.

 

I shall stop here, for the moment.

 

G, I will write another piece in the next email and see how we can proceed from there; if at any time you think that the discussion is not beneficial or productive and you do not wish to continue with it, please do not hesitate to state so.

 

I must say that I had made some discoveries late in life. But they were discoveries nonetheless.

 

R

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5.From: richard woo [mailto:rwookc@singnet.com.sg]
Sent: Saturday, 16 March, 2013 12:15 AM
To: Christian
Subject: Views

 

What exactly is the Bible? Answers to questions such as this can be found aplenty in the Internet.

 

Needless to say, different people may have different views concerning the Bible. My first contact with the Bible was during my primary school days and my understanding of the parts I read at the time was no doubt superficial. However, I continued reading the Bible on an on/off basis long after I left primary school; but my Bible-reading had never been on a critical basis, until I got immersed in it, about 30 years ago. Ironically, it was my critical reading of the Bible that led to my de-conversion. I now consider myself as an atheist peppered with agnosticism.

My image of God as an omnipotent, omniscient, all-loving being was turned upside down by the image of God as portrayed in the Bible. I was really shocked over how ignorant I was with regard to biblical narratives concerning God, about his alleged actions, speeches and interactions with human beings. How on earth did certain attributes – the so-called 3Os- come to be heaped on God is beyond the comprehension of people like me. One reason may be that some people, including Christians/Catholics, have never even read a single page of the Bible, but have a preference in following the crowd.

 

The Bible is teeming with innumerable discrepancies and/or inconsistencies and passages that seem to be celebratory of killing, genocide, cruelty, barbarism, racism, hatred, freakishness [God’s freakish zest or appetite for animal meat and blood], etc.

 

If my memory serves, passages such as these have never been read out by the priest during Mass:

 

Book of Numbers [New International Version]:

 

5.11. Then the LORD said to Moses,

5.12. “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘If a man’s wife goes astray and is unfaithful to him

5.13.  by sleeping with another man, and this is hidden from her husband and her impurity is undetected (since there is no witness against her and she has not been caught in the act),

5.14. and if feelings of jealousy come over her husband and he suspects his wife and she is impure—or if he is jealous and suspects her even though she is not impure-

5.15. then he is to take his wife to the priest. He must also take an offering of a tenth of an ephah of barley flour on her behalf. He must not pour oil on it or put incense on it, because it is a grain offering for jealousy, a reminder offering to draw attention to guilt.

5.16. ” ‘The priest shall bring her and have her stand before the LORD.

5.17. Then he shall take some holy water in a clay jar and put some dust from the tabernacle floor into the water.

5.18. After the priest has had the woman stand before the LORD, he shall loosen her hair and place in her hands the reminder offering, the grain offering for jealousy, while he himself holds the bitter water that brings a curse.

5.19. Then the priest shall put the woman under oath and say to her, “If no other man has slept with you and you have not gone astray and become impure while married to your husband, may this bitter water that brings a curse not harm you.

5.20. But if you have gone astray while married to your husband and you have defiled yourself by sleeping with a man other than your husband”-

5.21. here the priest is to put the woman under this curse of the oath-“may the LORD cause your people to curse and denounce you when he causes your thigh to waste away and your abdomen to swell.

5.22. May this water that brings a curse enter your body so that your abdomen swells and your thig[ wastes away.”  ” ‘Then the woman is to say, “Amen. So be it.”

5.23. ” ‘The priest is to write these curses on a scroll and then wash them off into the bitter water.

5.24. He shall have the woman drink the bitter water that brings a curse, and this water will enter her and cause bitter suffering.

5.25. The priest is to take from her hands the grain offering for jealousy, wave it before the LORD and bring it to the altar.

26 The priest is then to take a handful of the grain offering as a memorial offering and burn it on the altar; after that, he is to have the woman drink the water.

5.27. If she has defiled herself and been unfaithful to her husband, then when she is made to drink the water that brings a curse, it will go into her and cause bitter suffering; her abdomen will swell and her thigh waste away, [f] and she will become accursed among her people.

5.28. If, however, the woman has not defiled herself and is free from impurity, she will be cleared of guilt and will be able to have children.

5.29. ” ‘This, then, is the law of jealousy when a woman goes astray and defiles herself while married to her husband,

5.30. or when feelings of jealousy come over a man because he suspects his wife. The priest is to have her stand before the LORD and is to apply this entire law to her.

5.31. The husband will be innocent of any wrongdoing, but the woman will bear the consequences of her sin.’ “

 

And also in Numbers [New International Version]:

 

25.4. The LORD said to Moses, “Take all the leaders of these people, kill them and expose them in broad daylight before the LORD, so that the LORD’s fierce anger may turn away from Israel.”

25.5. So Moses said to Israel’s judges, “Each of you must put to death those of your men who have joined in worshiping the Baal of Peor.”

25.16. The LORD said to Moses,

25.17. “Treat the Midianites as enemies and kill them, because they treated you as enemies when they deceived you in the affair of Peor and their sister Cozbi, the daughter of a Midianite leader, the woman who was killed when the plague came as a result of Peor.”

31.1. The LORD said to Moses,

31.2. “Take vengeance on the Midianites for the Israelites. After that, you will be gathered to your people.”

31.7. [Moses said] Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man.

 

How should the Bible be read?

 

The Bible can be read in several ways: [a] literally [b] metaphorically [c] literally and metaphorically. Option [a] seems right where the text is clear and unambiguous. Giving a literal interpretation as a first step seems sensible. Where the text is incoherent or does not make sense if read literally, the option is to disregard it or to adopt presumptions as a necessary expedient, for example, whether it is meant to be read metaphorically for any hidden meaning, such as in a parable. If one prefers to think there is some hidden meaning other than what is expressed, one can also take the view that every passage in the Bible contains a hidden meaning. However, such thinking may make a mockery of what the text says. There is a difference between acting rationally and acting irrationally. The so-called Ten Commandments allegedly given by God to Moses are clear; no one who believes in these commandments would think they should be read metaphorically.  It appears that about one-third of the adults in the US, the largest Protestant nation in the world, take the Bible as the word of God. Whether the Bible is the word of God, there is nothing contained within its pages that in my perspective can be considered dazzling or profound.

 

Making a metaphorical interpretation when it is uncalled for can lead to complications and unnecessary dispute as it can mean interpreting in accordance with one’s personal bias or template. A metaphorical interpretation would obviously make better sense for any text couched in parabolic terms, whether or not the underlying parable is a true story. The parable of the Good Samaritan is an example; whether the two principal characters—the man who fell victim to thieves during his journey from Jerusalem to Jericho and the man [Good Samaritan] who cared for him—were real or fictitious characters remains a mystery but is not important. The importance is the underlying message in the parable which in this particular case is about who is a neighbor and how one should behave toward that neighbor. Therefore, a parabolic story from the Bible is not intended to be read literally but metaphorically for the underlying message.

 

Your views?

 

R

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6.From: Christian
Sent: Wednesday, 27 March, 2013 9:37 PM
To: richard woo
Subject: View- Bible

 

Hi Richard,

 

Apology for the late response.

 

I do study and reflect on the bible. However I do not undertake it as an academic approach to obtain a degree on theology. Tend to avoid the old testament as I feel I have learned enough on the history leading to the new testament which I tend to concentrate on the latter. Agreed with you different people interprete differently, more in manipulating to justify their ulterior motives. Which explain why there are about 400,000 different Christian sects claiming their religious teachings are the correct one.

 

For me, I believe in the existence of a creator  during school days. However I only decided to become a Catholic in 1960 convinced that is the religion for me to lead my life. Over the years I did some study on other religions and how the mainstream protestants were formed and also their main teachings. I admire the Muslims in the practice of fasting, charitable works, and fidelity to their kinsfolk, but not other beliefs such as treating other faiths as infidels and they have Allah’s authority to kill them and also the right to enforce and punish other Muslims for disobeying the Koran teachings.

 

I do believe in God’s gift of freedom to his children in choosing to be free thinkers, atheists, or any religions, or to be indifferent.

 

At the end, I believe one will face him at the end of our lives on earth for accountability how we conducted our lives while on earth.

 

Most Christians, and some Catholics, tend toward outward appearances in their devotion, such as bible study in cell groups, praise and worship singing and praying, and observing other religious practices.

Actually it is more than that. See Matthews 25 31-46

 

Need to stop here for the time being.

 

Regards,

 

G

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7.From: richard woo [mailto:rwookc@singnet.com.sg]
Sent: Friday, 29 March, 2013 1:43 AM
To: Christian
Subject: RE: View- Bible

 

G, tks for your thoughts.

 

There is no way that Christians can avoid the Old Testament, whether as an outcome of a personal preference for concentrating more on the New Testament or of something else.

 

For Catholics, particularly, the Bible [a codex of 66 books] is considered to be a representation of God’s revelations to humans:

 

Encyclical issued by Pope Leo Xlll on 18 Nov 1893

 

 “For all the books which the Church receives as sacred and canonical, are written wholly and entirely, with all their parts, at the dictation of the Holy Ghost: and so far

is it from being possible that any error can co-exist with inspiration, that inspiration not only is essentially incompatible with error, but excludes and rejects it as absolutely and necessarily as it is impossible that God Himself, the supreme Truth, can utter that which is not true.”

 

Encyclical [Divino Afflante Spiritu ] issued by Pope Pius XII on 30 Sep 1943

 

“…In our own time the Vatican Council, with the object of condemning false doctrines regarding inspiration, declared that these same books were to be regarded by the Church as sacred and canonical “not because, having been composed by human industry, they were afterwards approved by her authority, nor merely because they contain revelation without error, but because, having been written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they have God for their author, and as such were handed down to the Church herself…”

 

Dei Verbum  – one of 16 documents issued by Second Vatican Council on 18 Nov 1965

 

The Dei Verbum can be expressed, in a nutshell, as a dogmatic document stating what is already stated in the two encyclicals mentioned above – the Bible is a representation of God’s revelations to humans.

 

The New Testament, rather than the Old Testament, may be preferred reading material to Christians but in truth the Old Testament is the backbone [incurably diseased] of the Bible. People familiar with the New Testament will recall comments allegedly made by Jesus concerning the Old Testament, for example: In Matthew 5.17 we hear Jesus saying: Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. In effect Jesus is confirming that the laws as laid down by, for example, Moses on behalf of God, calling for the death sentence for violation, are still applicable; death for anyone who curses his parents [Exodus 21.17]; death for anyone who desecrates the Sabbath [Exodus 31.14]; death for homosexuals [Leviticus 20.13]; death for mediums or spiritists [Leviticus 20.27]; death for blasphemers [Leviticus 24.16]; death for a stubborn or rebellious son for disobedience to his parents [Deuteronomy 21.18]; death for adulterers [Deuteronomy 22.22].

 

So the Old Testament is telling us that we are to honor our parents; yet in Luke 14.26 Jesus exclaims: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple.” And Jesus is supposedly God, or the so-called 2nd Person, in the context of the Trinity doctrine.

 

If the Bible is the gospel truth, then let us review some of these so-called “truths” that are biblically presented, about the evil or intolerance of God. In my previous email I provided excerpts from the Book of Numbers; now let’s review some more horrible passages:

 

            Murder of Onan

 

Genesis

38.6. Judah got a wife for Er, his firstborn, and her name was Tamar.

38.7. But Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the LORD’s sight; so the LORD put him to death.

38.8. Then Judah said to Onan, “Lie with your brother’s wife and fulfill your duty to her as a brother-in-law to produce offspring for your brother.”

38.9. But Onan knew that the offspring would not be his; so whenever he lay with his

brother’s wife, he spilled his semen on the ground to keep from producing offspring for his brother.

38.10. What he did was wicked in the LORD’s sight; so he put him to death also.

 

            Murder of son born to David and Bathsheba

           

            2 Samuel

 

12.11. “This is what the LORD says: ‘Out of your own household I am going to bring

calamity upon you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one

who is close to you, and he will lie with your wives in broad daylight.

12.12. You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel.’ “

12.13. Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.” Nathan replied,

“The LORD has taken away your sin. You are not going to die.

12.14. But because by doing this you have made the enemies of the LORD show utter

contempt, [a] the son born to you will die.”

12.15. After Nathan had gone home, the LORD struck the child that Uriah’s wife had

borne to David, and he became ill.

12.16. David pleaded with God for the child. He fasted and went into his house and

spent the nights lying on the ground.

12.17. The elders of his household stood beside him to get him up from the ground, but

he refused, and he would not eat any food with them.

12.18. On the seventh day the child died. David’s servants were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they thought, “While the child was still living, we spoke to David but he would not listen to us. How can we tell him the child is dead? He may do something desperate.”

 

So God can be seen to be acting in accordance with his principle, announced presumably with godly pride and seriousness in Exodus 20.5, 34.7, Numbers 14.18 and Deuteronomy 5.9 – to punish the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.

 

Such passages are, so to speak, just the tip of the iceberg. As I mentioned before, Christians attending Mass have probably never heard such passages from the pulpit.

 

If people or rational or reasonable people are able to distinguish between the immoral and moral aspects of the Bible, it is evident that they may be using standards of morality that cannot be claimed to have emanated from Yahweh aka God. To me Yahweh is not worthy of human attention or worship and the Bible can be likened, to an extent, to a huge garden teeming with weeds with their unsightly, invasive presence overwhelming anything else that can be found there, including the existence of some flowers which by their appearance alone seem to be neither exceptional nor evocative of our special attention. In another perspective, the Bible can be compared to a huge dunghill containing a small quantity of usable material.

 

There is so much else to say, but I shall postpone to future exchanges.

 

Best,

 

Richard

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8.From: richard woo [mailto:rwookc@singnet.com.sg]
Sent: Friday, 29 March, 2013 11:07 PM
To: Christian
Subject: FW: View- Bible

 

G, just a follow-up.

 

The number of different Christian denominations is said to be around 34,000 – that’s a huge number, notwithstanding divisions or differences already existed in Christianity’s early years.

 

From which source did your figure of 400,000 come from?

If the so-called Holy Spirit inspired the writings of the Bible, it is indeed strange for Christians to be having different interpretations of the Bible; it is also strange or bizarre that the Bible [OT and NT] is found to be littered throughout with contradictions and/or inconsistencies; and it is bizarre that despite the so-called descent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost Day, there are so many distinct or different Christian sects today.

 

Some clear-cut contradictions and/or inconsistencies of the New Testament:

 

Christians, it can be assumed naturally, believe that the miracles reported in the Bible [OT and NT] happened as alleged, but many Christians, arguably, have no idea how the four canonized gospels came into being or when they were written.  These gospels are believed to have been anonymously written during a time span estimated to be somewhere between 60 years and 110 years after the death of Jesus. “Mark”, “Matthew”, “Luke” and “John” have been thought by Bible scholars as names being added subsequently to provide authorship-identification convenience for these gospels or to show that they were actually written by Jesus’ close disciples or disciples of his disciples. However, the New Testament, apparently, did not come to public attention until much later, centuries after the death of Jesus. What this means is that by the time the New Testament came into public readership, people who had supposedly lived during the life-time of Jesus were all dead including those who might have witnessed and those who might have been completely ignorant of the events that had allegedly occurred as described. It is possible that some people might not have even heard about Jesus, if he had existed or produced miracles.

 

Matthew and John are believed to be the apostles of Jesus during Jesus’ ministry, while Mark is believed to be a disciple of Peter and Luke a disciple of Paul. Anyone who has closely reviewed the gospels of Mark, Matthew and Luke may agree with the opinion of Bible scholars of apparent plagiarism by the author[s] of the gospels of Matthew and Luke through copying of text from the gospel of Mark, widely held to have been written before that of Matthew or Luke. Notwithstanding the possibility of plagiarism, one glaring discrepancy between the gospel of Matthew and the gospel of Luke is in the genealogy of Jesus; many of the names of so-called ancestors of Jesus mentioned in Luke are not listed in Matthew. There are also discrepancies in lineage as presented in Matthew and in Chronicles; in Matthew 1.11-12 the lineage from Josiah to Shealtiel is presented as Josiah to Jeconiah to Shealtiel whereas in 1 Chronicles 3.15-17 as Josiah to Jehoiakim to Jehoiachin to Shealtiel. In Matthew 1.8-9 we see one generation [Uzziah] separating the lineage between Jehoram and Jotham, but a careful reading of the narrative in 2 Chronicles chapters 22-26 would reveal that there were four generations [Ahaziah/Joash/Amaziah/Uzziah] between Jehoram and Jotham.

 

Besides discrepancies in the presentation of genealogy, the existence of numerous discrepancies can also be found in other areas and seems to be a common feature of biblical accounts.

Another discrepancy is that, in Matthew, Joseph and Mary reportedly moved to Nazareth after the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, whereas in Luke, Joseph and Mary lived in Nazareth before

moving on to Bethlehem, where Jesus was allegedly born. Jesus supposedly began his ministry at the age of 30 years. Except for a few brief lines in Luke about Jesus sitting among the

teachers in the temple courts, listening to them and asking them questions, the four gospels are conspicuously silent with regard to the first 30 years of Jesus’ life. Was there something

wrong about Jesus in his earlier years that the authors found unworthy for the record? In Mark 6.3 we hear people asking [allegedly referring to Jesus]: Isn’t this the carpenter? In Matthew

13.55 we hear them asking: Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? So, was Jesus himself a carpenter, or a carpenter’s son?

 

There is nothing in Mark about Jesus being born of a virgin, or anything about Jesus’ delivery of the so-called Sermon on the Mount or the Lord’s Prayer. According to Mark, Jesus was just a man, but Matthew and Luke treat him as a demi-god; John considers Jesus as God himself. Biblical discrepancies notwithstanding, one thing is clear and that is, no historical Jesus’ data of the kind found in the canonized gospels or in the epistles of Paul or other New Testament authors have been recorded in the writings of any non-Christian writers or historians who lived in the first or second century or who can be considered to be contemporaries of Jesus. For example, writings of Pliny the Younger, Tacitus and Suetonius, although they contain passages with general references to Christianity or early Christians they do not record any details of a historical Jesus.

 

Flavius Josephus’ Testimonium Flavianum appears to be the maverick with its first passage: About this time came Jesus, a wise man, if indeed it is appropriate to call him a man. For he was a performer of paradoxical feats, a teacher of people who accept the unusual with pleasure, and he won over many of the Jews and also many Greeks. He was the Christ. When Pilate, upon the accusation of the first men amongst us, condemned him to be crucified, those who had formerly loved him did not cease to follow him, for he appeared to them on the third day, living again, as the divine prophets foretold, along with a myriad of other marvellous things concerning him. And the tribe of the Christians, so named after him, has not disappeared to this day [excerpted from Wikipedia, Sep 11,2009]]

 

“But concerns have been raised about the authenticity of this passage, and it is widely held by scholars that at least part of the passage has been altered by a later scribe”—Wikipedia.

 

One of the reasons for the skepticism for this passage is that “not a single writer before the 4th century—not Justin, Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Cyprian, Arnobius, etc.—in all their defences against pagan hostility, makes a single reference to Josephus’ wondrous words.”

http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/josephus-etal.html [Sep 24, 2009]

 

No amount of praying can move a mountain, that’s for sure and regardless of how credulous one may be of the teaching of Jesus about prayer in the New Testament; similarly, no amount of praying can cause a lost limb to re-grow. Jesus can be found to be guilty of lying in the context of his promise to re-appear “in this generation” since this generation has passed away two thousand years ago and there has been no sign of his appearance, with or without his so-called angels. We can’t detract from the fact that Jesus, having lied about his so-called second coming, could also have been lying in his pontification of the existence of Heaven or Hell, or of being the Son of God or God himself. The greatest flaw in Jesus’ teaching, as reported in the NT, is the claim he allegedly made of being God.

 

Some writers have described the Bible-God as:

 

“The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”

 

“If you must seek a god, then at least don’t limit yourself to the psychotic bastard in the bible. Any god worth a hoot is light-years beyond that unhinged, genocidal, bloodthirsty nutcase.”

 

““barbaric, bellicose, bloodthirsty, capricious, chauvinistic, cruel, destructive, freakish, genocidal, malevolent, manipulative, prejudicial and revengeful.”

 

 In fact, based on what Jesus had allegedly spoken, Jesus can be demonstrably shown to have lied at least on two other instances: [1] he is reported to have said [Luke 24.46]: “This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day.” These words were allegedly spoken by Jesus to his disciples after he had allegedly resurrected. But nowhere in the Old Testament can any statement be found that talks about the messiah [Christ] dying and then rising on the third day, not even a narrative that can claim to be representative, whether closely or only marginally, of such a statement. In other words no such prophecy was made in the first place and [2] he is reported to have said [John 7.38]: Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him but nowhere in the Old Testament can such a statement be found.

 

G, any rebuttals?

 

Best,

 

Richard

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9.From: Christian
Sent: Saturday, 30 March, 2013 2:07 PM
To: richard woo
Subject: Re: FW: View- Bible

 

 

First let me comment on my reflection of your 2 quotations of the New Testament.

 

Matthew 5-17

Moses received the tablet of the 10 commandments from God to be followed by the Jewish people. From then now the Mosaic Law was expanded over time. The coming of Jesus fulfilled the prophesies as proclaimed in the old testament and God’s covenant to the people especially the Gentiles. Jesus did not change the old laws but simply them to Love God [ first three of the ten commandments  ] and Love your neighbours [ remaining 7 commandments]. Additionally to follow the spirit of the laws rather than the letters of the law. Hence to read and reflect on Christ’s teachings is of great importance.

 

Luke 14-26 – Christ teaches us to forgive and love our enemies. Therefore he cannot contradict himself by literally interpreting this passage. We often come to the crossroads in life – one leading to God and the other away from God and have to make a decision. I can recall 2 incidents relating to this passage.

 

1. Lim Boon Heng appeared on TV where he explained he had to support the cabinet decision to build the two casinos because this could create 35,000 jobs. Meaning the end justifies the means. I find the scene disgusting when he sobbed while making the remarks. Crocodile’s tears? We all know he was not prepared to lose the prestige and monetary rewards by remaining with PAP cabinet.  It’s just human.

 

2 . I know of two Jesuit priests who joined priesthood with their fathers’ consent causing great unhappiness to their fathers as they were then Taoists and preferred their sons to lead a normal life. Through God’s providence the fathers were lovingly supported by some of the parishioners and overtime they too became converted and died peacefully.

 

I heard over the tv news regarding the number of Christian sects perhaps I made a mistake instead of 40,000 to 400,000 . Nonetheless still a very huge divisive number. The explanation I concluded that many harvest the worldly desire of serving themselves – the honour, prestige of leading the followers and remuneration that go with it. Hence many capitalize the tithings [10% of income ] as God’s command though I could not 

find any justification of such claim arising from the sources in the Bible which my Christian friends provided me. 

 

Richard, as I mentioned previously I wouldn’t want to engage in the debate particularly as to the validity of the Bible in totality or in parts saved to say that  for myself whether I believe as defined in the Nicene Creed to be the true faith and live my life in according to Christ’s teachings . Simply put –

Christianity is not only the outward appearances but the feel of constant internal conversions and to live Christlike in one’s journey and be ready to meet and unite with the Creator when the time comes. For me, despite the ups and downs in my life I have been contented, grateful, and thankful. Each day comes when I wake up is a bonus.

 

I also recalled the incident of meeting Glen Knight descending from the steps of the Novena Church carrying a bible. He was exACS boy and known to be a devout Methodist. At that time the govt was all out to convict him in court. This reaffirms my belief that the Church is not only for religious devotion but also a refuge and comfort for sinners.

 

Cheers!

 

G

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10.From: richard woo [mailto:rwookc@singnet.com.sg]
Sent: Saturday, 30 March, 2013 11:20 PM
To: Christian
Subject: RE: FW: View- Bible

 

G,

 

“Richard, as I mentioned previously I wouldn’t want to engage in the debate particularly as to the validity of the Bible in totality or in parts saved to say that  for myself whether I believe as defined in the Nicene Creed to be the true faith and live my life in according to Christ’s teachings . Simply put – Christianity is not only the outward appearances but the feel of constant internal conversions and to live Christlike in one’s journey and be ready to meet and unite with the Creator when the time comes. For me, despite the ups and downs in my life I have been contented, grateful, and thankful. Each day comes when I wake up is a bonus.”

 

My presentations/arguments are offered on a generic basis; my presentation of excerpts from the OT is to show that the Bible-God aka Yahweh – regardless of his existence or non-existence – cannot be viewed as a god supposedly all-loving, all-powerful, etc.

Info about the Bible-God or Yahweh can be gleaned from reading the OT, and scriptural narratives are clear in providing us with an image of the kind of god that is being portrayed.

In my previous email I appended three descriptions of Yahweh [Bible-God] from some writers:

“The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”

“If you must seek a god, then at least don’t limit yourself to the psychotic bastard in the bible. Any god worth a hoot is light-years beyond that unhinged, genocidal, bloodthirsty nutcase.”

““barbaric, bellicose, bloodthirsty, capricious, chauvinistic, cruel, destructive, freakish, genocidal, malevolent, manipulative, prejudicial and revengeful.”

And I can tell you that the OT contains more than enough material to justify every single pejorative or adjective used in the abovementioned descriptions. So, based on the Trinity doctrine, the Christian cannot have his cake and eat it, too. He has to agree that the portrayal of Yahweh in the OT is also representative of a portrayal of Jesus. Would you agree with this argument?

Christians came to know about Yahweh principally through the writings of the Bible, the founding document for Christianity, and what Christians can, strictly, say about Yahweh is in terms of Yahweh’s portrayal in the Bible. But what do we actually know about Yahweh apart from the Bible? The answer is “NOTHING.” The OT is nothing but a simile of the Tanakh – the Jewish Bible. The Tanakh is about Hebrew prophets, Hebrew angels and Hebrew God. Probably about Hebrew mythology and Hebrew bias for Hebrew consumption. And it is mind-boggling that many non-Hebrews have bought into the creation propaganda and all the rest, with the natural consequence that what is myth is no longer seen as myth but as reality, as the truth. If they want to treat all this as truth, then they should also accept as truth that Yahweh is portrayed as an obnoxious creature, regardless of course of the question of his existence or non-existence.

 

[I suspect you may not be aware of the two contradictory accounts of creation as narrated in Genesis, or of the myth of a young Earth as conceptualized by a Christian bishop (1581-1656)  named James Ussher who made a claim that the Earth was about 6,000 years’ old. Ussher was the Archbishop of Armagh, Primate of All Ireland, and Vice-Chancellor of Trinity College in Dublin and was highly regarded in his day as a churchman and as a scholar. He determined the age of the Earth by adding up the genealogical lists from the Bible, in other words, he used the ages of the characters mentioned in the Bible—from Adam [supposedly the first human] down to people in his own generation, from birth to death to the present. It is obvious this Christian bishop had implicit faith in the Bible, which in the Book of Genesis gives an account of how the Earth came into being. By his own reckoning he allegedly made the claim that the first day of creation happened on Sunday 23 October 4004 BC. He also allegedly calculated the dates of other biblical events and allegedly made several conclusions, for example, that Adam and Eve were driven from Paradise on Monday 10 November 4004 BC and that the ark, the ship allegedly built by Noah, touched down on Mt Ararat on 5 May 2348 BC, a Wednesday.

G, do you believe in science’s claim about the age of the Earth – that it is about 4.5 billion years’ old? Would you accept the age of the Earth as being about 4.5 billion years or would you believe in so-called creationist-take of the Earth being around 10,000 years’ old?

Allow me to remind you that various scientific studies—radiometric dating of rocks and meteorites, radioactive study of uranium, thorium and lead isotopes, soil erosion, fossil and plant remains and salinity of the oceans — had been undertaken to gauge the age of the Earth and all pointed to the age as being around 4 to 5 billion years; to be more precise, around 4.5 billion years.

 

To be sure, Yahweh exists as a character in the pages of the Bible, no different from the gods/goddesses narrated in religious books of other religions, and in fact no different from Homer’s gods/goddesses on so-called Mount Olympus. Christians would not want to believe that they are atheists themselves; this quote, from Stephen Roberts, is something worth remembering: “I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”

 

Here’s a philosophical argument: Yahweh’s existence or non-existence is beyond empirical proof. People who are rational [or intelligent] would not have difficulty in understanding this. And we would be just logical in stating that the real test of the hypothesis of an omnipotent, beneficent being is empirical, and the empirical facts of this world would seem, more than anything else, to tell against such a being. So, Christians who are not irrational may concede that belief in Yahweh is all but a matter of faith. But faith in anything, let alone a supernatural being, without a measure of reason, is intellectual bankruptcy.

 

No one who is not intellectual dishonest can ever claim that the Bible is free of contradictions/inconsistencies, if they have read the Bible, from cover to cover. On the contrary, and as I have said, the Bible is littered with umpteen contradictions/inconsistencies [including contradictions/lies made by Jesus himself, as biblically scripted]; to say the Bible was written with the inspiration of God is to make a mockery of the evidence of written text.

Now I want to move on to something about the Book of Revelation – which Catholics are bound by Catholic dogma to assume as words emanating from Jesus/God:

 

Vide Revelation 21.3: And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God”—this proclamation sounds familiar, not unlike some of the stuff we see in the Old Testament, for example, in Exodus 40.34 we are presented with the impression that God allegedly descended to Earth and that his glory “filled the tabernacle” built by Moses and his team in strict compliance with God’s instructions. We can consider “the Holy City coming down to Earth from Heaven” as God’s fifth experiment, with a high probability of ending up the same way as his four previous experiments, regardless of his so-called omnipotence and omniscience. By making his kingdom here on Earth, as Revelation is telling us, God is contradicting the  assertion he allegedly made during his sojourn on Earth after his so-called incarnation [John 18.36]: “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.”

 

God’s previous experiments can be critiqued as abject failures in the circumstances: [1] Alleged rebellion in Heaven by angels he allegedly created [2] Eviction of Adam and Eve from so-called Garden of Eden [3] Use of Noah and his family for reconstructing the human race [4] Incarnating on Earth. Maybe, as others have challenged, there is no question of any divine incarnation and the person who allegedly died on the cross was just a human being with human traits. But what good or efficacy, if any, has been achieved from all these actions or initiatives, one might ask? The answer must fall in the negative, since evil and suffering continue to be pervasive and millions or billions of people today do not believe in God and thus are not interested in his teachings or the doctrines that his so-called disciples established. Furthermore, many of God’s so-called followers have apparently split into so many sects with discrepant beliefs and practices.

 

Lastly, to close off, I will touch on the point you raised concerning Moses and the so-called Ten Commandments.

 

Before Moses there was Abraham. In the story concerning Abraham, Yahweh allegedly came down to Earth, talked to Abraham and his wife Sarah in a friendly manner, ate and drank the food prepared by members of Abraham’s household and communicated with Abraham face to face, and Abraham allegedly bargained with God face to face in his attempts to save the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah from destruction. In fact, according to script, God allegedly appeared to Abraham on several occasions.

 

In Exodus 33.11: The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend; in Exodus 24.9-11 we get the impression that Moses, Aaron and seventy two others from their camp went up to Mount Sinai and “saw the God of Israel” and “they ate and drank.”

G, you say that “Moses received the tablet of the 10 commandments from God to be followed by the Jewish people…” Would you agree the biblical passages I have just cited or referred to convey the impression that God appeared to Abraham, face to face, and also to Moses and some of the Jewish elders, also face to face? Yes/No?

 

 

Richard

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11.From: Christian
Sent: Sunday, 31 March, 2013 11:04 AM
To: richard woo
Subject: View- Bible

 

Hi Richard,

 

My brief response to some of your issues –

In my previous email I appended three descriptions of Yahweh [Bible-God] from some writers:

“The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”

And I can tell you that the OT contains more than enough material to justify every single pejorative or adjective used in the abovementioned descriptions. So, based on the Trinity doctrine, the Christian cannot have his cake and eat it, too. He has to agree that the portrayal of Yahweh in the OT is also representative of a portrayal of Jesus. Would you agree with this argument?

Reply == I prefer the image of God as conveyed by Jesus in the New Testament.

[I suspect you may not be aware of the two contradictory accounts of creation as narrated in Genesis, or of the myth of a young Earth as conceptualized by a Christian bishop (1581-1656)  named James Ussher who made a claim that the Earth was about 6,000 years’ old. Ussher was the Archbishop of Armagh, Primate of All Ireland, and Vice-Chancellor of Trinity College in Dublin and was highly regarded in his day as a churchman and as a scholar. He determined the age of the Earth by adding up the genealogical lists from the Bible, in other words, he used the ages of the characters mentioned in the Bible—from Adam [supposedly the first human] down to people in his own generation, from birth to death to the present. It is obvious this Christian bishop had implicit faith in the Bible, which in the Book of Genesis gives an account of how the Earth came into being. By his own reckoning he allegedly made the claim that the first day of creation happened on Sunday 23 October 4004 BC. He also allegedly calculated the dates of other biblical events and allegedly made several conclusions, for example, that Adam and Eve were driven from Paradise on Monday 10 November 4004 BC and that the ark, the ship allegedly built by Noah, touched down on Mt Ararat on 5 May 2348 BC, a Wednesday.

G, do you believe in science’s claim about the age of the Earth – that it is about 4.5 billion years’ old? Would you accept the age of the Earth as being about 4.5 billion years or would you believe in so-called creationist-take of the Earth being around 10,000 years’ old? 

Reply === The Chinese history as most Chinese can relate the historical stories is more than 5,000 years old. I know the creation is very very old. Various studies have been made to its age and claimed to be absolutely correct. This has no impact on my life and I do not have to decide which is correct or not.   

To be sure, Yahweh exists as a character in the pages of the Bible, no different from the gods/goddesses narrated in religious books of other religions, and in fact no different from Homer’s gods/goddesses on so-called Mount Olympus. Christians would not want to believe that they are atheists themselves;  this quote, from Stephen Roberts, is something worth remembering: “I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”

Reply – This is his view which he is entitled to . But I don’t have to agree.

In Exodus 33.11: The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend; in Exodus 24.9-11 we get the impression that Moses, Aaron and seventy two others from their camp went up to Mount Sinai and “saw the God of Israel” an
George, you say that “Moses received the tablet of the 10 commandments from God to be followed by the Jewish people…” Would you agree the biblical passages I have just cited or referred to convey the impression that God appeared to Abraham, face to face, and also to Moses and some of the Jewish elders, also face to face? Yes/No?

  Reply – Being God he is not confined to appear as humans envisaged. Borrow quotation in today’s Sunday Times pg. 45 on article by Lee Wei Leng, self proclaimed atheist,  ‘ God does have a hand in everything. He works in wondrous ways and His unseen hand is everywhere’.

Regards,

G

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12.From: richard woo [mailto:rwookc@singnet.com.sg]
Sent: Sunday, 31 March, 2013 12:36 PM
To: Christian
Subject: RE: View- Bible

 

G,

Reply == I prefer the image of God as conveyed by Jesus in the New Testament.

This answer misses the point of the question completely. You may have a personal preference for A to B, but A and B are synonymous or identical in this case.

 

Hence what is said of A or applicable to A is also said of B or applicable to B – that ‘s the thrust of the argument.

 

To having a belief in Yahweh is not necessarily the equivalent of having a belief in Jesus; Judaists and Muslims believe in Yahweh aka Allah but NOT in Jesus.

Christians, particularly those who embrace belief in the Trinity doctrine, cannot avoid the image of Yahweh as portrayed in the OT – the Bible is NOT made of the NT alone. The reason the OT cannot be divorced from the NT is that Jesus allegedly made the claim of Yahweh being his father.

In terms of the Trinity doctrine, what Yahweh allegedly said and did as narrated in the OT can be attributed as the speeches and actions of Jesus; this is only basic reasoning.

Christians cannot have their cake and eat it, too. It amounts to a fallacy in reasoning.

You can sweep the dirt under the carpet, but the dirt is still there.

 

Reply === The Chinese history as most Chinese can relate the historical stories is more than 5,000 years old. I know the creation is very very old. Various studies have been made to its age and claimed to be absolutely correct. This has no impact on my life and I do not have to decide which is correct or not.   

 

The age of the Earth may not have an impact on our lives, that’s for sure. But the question is: How old do we think the Earth is?

 

Scientific findings are NOT the same as religious beliefs – beliefs are just what they are, beliefs [or imaginations]. Scientific findings are subject to rigorous standards of research and testing/experimenting  before they are released as theories or facts to the public.

 

The answer you gave cannot be interpreted as no answer, but it does not answer “What is the age of the Earth, in your opinion?”

But that’s OK, G, Your answer is not atypical of Christians from whom non-Christians have had difficulty in extracting answers in discussions about God/religion.

Reply – This is his view which he is entitled to . But I don’t have to agree.

No one is asking you to agree; Yahweh-believers or Christians think they are not atheists, but the fact is they are when it comes to the god[s] or goddess [or goddesses] of other religions.

Robert Stephens was merely stating a fact – a logical fact. But as with everything else in life, people are not precluded from ignoring facts; and if they a have a preference for fiction, they are free to do so. You can find probably find a lot of Christians in a hospital at any time; these Christians, arguably, have discovered that pragmatism [medicine/medical attention from physicians] is far more reliable or practical than prayer alone or the scriptural teaching of healing the sick from laying one’s hand on the head.

 

 Reply – Being God he is not confined to appear as humans envisaged. Borrow quotation in today’s Sunday Times pg. 45 on article by Lee Wei Leng, self proclaimed atheist,  ‘ God does have a hand in everything. He works in wondrous ways and His unseen hand is everywhere’.

But G, you are not answering the question: the question is ” Would you agree the biblical passages I have just cited or referred to convey the impression that God appeared to Abraham, face to face, and also to Moses and some of the Jewish elders, also face to face? Yes/No?

As a Catholic, you believe or are obliged to believe in the inerrancy of the Bible, and my question is based strictly on scriptural text.

What you have quoted re article by Lee Wei Ling [page 45?] is irrelevant to the question posed; if you are familiar with biblical script your answer would be yes because that’s what is projected in the script.

 

To round off, there are no logical arguments for the existence of God or any god, apart from wishy-washy propositions that say little or nothing, and that no empirical evidence has ever been offered in support. Arguments must be decided on the basis of their being factual or non-factual, persuasive or npersuasive, logical or illogical. Furthermore, any stalemate needs to be resolved, if necessary, through further arguments, but still on the basis of logic and/or facts. Where a point in contention is all but metaphysical, it may not be possible of resolution through the use of logic or reason.  But where an argument can be resolved through logic and/or facts, we can expect logic and/or facts to prevail.

 

Of course there are people who cannot understand the thrust of the message in the preceding paragraph.

 

R
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13.From: Christian 
Sent: Monday, 1 April, 2013 11:08 PM
To: richard woo
Subject: View-Bible

 

Dear Richard,

 

Been rather busy over the week . 

 

From the outset, I mentioned that I do not pursue the study of the bible like a academician studies the bible for his master degree.  But for the purpose to live a meaningful life conforming to the wishes of my creator which I believe exist. Hence I  concentrate more on the NT and less on the OT. The OT briefly describes the earlier creation and the rest about historical events and stories relating the the chain of the Chosen People to the birth of Christ and the fulfillment of prophecies. We know the NT is all about Christ and his teachings and more importantly now no longer confined to the Jewish race but extended to all mankind.

 

As a Christian, one chooses to live a life to be Christlike and hence needs to focus on Christ’s teachings and occasionally reflects how the progress and adjusts where needed. I am sure generally other believers of different faiths do likewise. Hence I do not agree that it is a must to pay equal important to all sections of the bible. I believe at the end of our lives, we will be judged how well we lived according to the level of talents given to each of us .

 

I don’t understand why I need the know the actual or about age of this planet. As far as I am aware the people whom we associated with over the years, they are also in my position -Yes. It is very old, millions of years. Yes , there are many scientists and more sophisticated equipment  available to help in their works. Despite all the achievements, R and D still continues because we know there are still a lot of things we do not know and what we thought have been absolutely accurate are no longer the case. Simple examples,  chi is known to the Chinese especially those who practise martial arts since ancient time, and the application of acupuncture to treat sickness cannot be proven by science. However, more and more  western trained doctors are using acupuncture as supplement treatment.

 

What Robert Stephens labels other religious practitioners does not bother me. There will be hundreds and thousands like him out there . You cannot stop people giving their views even though they sound downright stupid and like trash.

 

Moses and the 10 commandments – I am of the view that God does not appear to humans like you and I meet personally when gospel writers wrote instances of God appearances or intervention,or people claimed their encounter with God in recent times. As God, he can use many means effectively. 

 

Before concluding, I would like to stress that Christianity spreads outside the Holy Land started two thousand years ago and there were civilisations existed long before, e.g., China, India, and America. Naturally the people then did not know about Christ and they practised religions of their own formation. Similarly, at the present time there are people in other countries have not heard about Christianity and they believe sincerely in the religion they practise. Of course there will always be atheists, agnostics, and free thinkers. We have to accept and respect their choosing.

 

Cheers and happy Easter.

 

G

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14.From: richard woo [mailto:rwookc@singnet.com.sg]
Sent: Tuesday, 2 April, 2013 1:12 AM
To: Christian
Subject: RE: View-Bible

 

Tks, G.

 

My messages have been mainly attempts to sketch out impressions of God [Yahweh] in terms of his portrayal in the Bible and to impress upon the Christian [any Trinitarian follower] that, based on the Trinity doctrine, the obnoxious portrayal of God in the OT must also be evaluated as a portrayal of Jesus, no more no less. That’s what I meant when I said we can’t have our cake and eat it, too.

 

The OT is brimming with passages of God ordering the killing of people of non-Jewish tribes, and some genocides were allegedly carried out by God himself. The so-called Ten Commandments notwithstanding, God was still killing after these commandments were allegedly handed out to Moses. Someone has described the Bible as the biggest catalogue of killing and brutality, from start to finish. Having read the Bible myself, I found myself agreeing with this description.

 

If I were still a Christian, I would march straight to my parish priest with Bible in hand and ask him to explain to me these passages:

 

5.11. Then the LORD said to Moses,

5.12. “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘If a man’s wife goes astray and is unfaithful to him

5.13.  by sleeping with another man, and this is hidden from her husband and her impurity is undetected (since there is no witness against her and she has not been caught in the act),

5.14. and if feelings of jealousy come over her husband and he suspects his wife and she is impure—or if he is jealous and suspects her even though she is not impure-

5.15. then he is to take his wife to the priest. He must also take an offering of a tenth of an ephah of barley flour on her behalf. He must not pour oil on it or put incense on it, because it is a grain offering for jealousy, a reminder offering to draw attention to guilt.

5.16. ” ‘The priest shall bring her and have her stand before the LORD.

5.17. Then he shall take some holy water in a clay jar and put some dust from the tabernacle floor into the water.

5.18. After the priest has had the woman stand before the LORD, he shall loosen her hair and place in her hands the reminder offering, the grain offering for jealousy, while he himself holds the bitter water that brings a curse.

5.19. Then the priest shall put the woman under oath and say to her, “If no other man has slept with you and you have not gone astray and become impure while married to your husband, may this bitter water that brings a curse not harm you.

5.20. But if you have gone astray while married to your husband and you have defiled yourself by sleeping with a man other than your husband”-

5.21. here the priest is to put the woman under this curse of the oath-“may the LORD cause your people to curse and denounce you when he causes your thigh to waste away and your abdomen to swell.

5.22. May this water that brings a curse enter your body so that your abdomen swells and your thig[ wastes away.”  ” ‘Then the woman is to say, “Amen. So be it.”

5.23. ” ‘The priest is to write these curses on a scroll and then wash them off into the bitter water.

5.24. He shall have the woman drink the bitter water that brings a curse, and this water will enter her and cause bitter suffering.

5.25. The priest is to take from her hands the grain offering for jealousy, wave it before the LORD and bring it to the altar.

26 The priest is then to take a handful of the grain offering as a memorial offering and burn it on the altar; after that, he is to have the woman drink the water.

5.27. If she has defiled herself and been unfaithful to her husband, then when she is made to drink the water that brings a curse, it will go into her and cause bitter suffering; her abdomen will swell and her thigh waste away, [f] and she will become accursed among her people.

5.28. If, however, the woman has not defiled herself and is free from impurity, she will be cleared of guilt and will be able to have children.

5.29. ” ‘This, then, is the law of jealousy when a woman goes astray and defiles herself while married to her husband,

5.30. or when feelings of jealousy come over a man because he suspects his wife. The priest is to have her stand before the LORD and is to apply this entire law to her.

5.31. The husband will be innocent of any wrongdoing, but the woman will bear the consequences of her sin.’ “

 

So we have here a sign of an ignorant, asinine, barbaric god imparting bizarre ideas, or further ignorance or imbecility, to his already barbaric, ignorant or gullible followers. The words are clear, and there is no way one can say God was telling Moses to instruct the husband to take his wife to the disco or to the perfume shop for a bottle of Chanel perfume.

 

And also in Numbers [New International Version]:

 

25.4. The LORD said to Moses, “Take all the leaders of these people, kill them and expose them in broad daylight before the LORD, so that the LORD’s fierce anger may turn away from Israel.”

25.5. So Moses said to Israel’s judges, “Each of you must put to death those of your men who have joined in worshiping the Baal of Peor.”

25.16. The LORD said to Moses,

25.17. “Treat the Midianites as enemies and kill them, because they treated you as enemies when they deceived you in the affair of Peor and their sister Cozbi, the daughter of a Midianite leader, the woman who was killed when the plague came as a result of Peor.”

31.1. The LORD said to Moses,

31.2. “Take vengeance on the Midianites for the Israelites. After that, you will be gathered to your people.

31.7. [Moses said] Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man.

 

The God of the Bible is a moronic, unstable, cruel, freakish god with a zest for killing or genocide and, unfortunately for humanity, so many people are afflicted with the God-virus. People who are so afflicted are not in the least bit aware of it. They can no longer see the fault-lines, the irrationality or ridiculousness in their beliefs.

 

These passages and others of similar ilk – that are littered throughout biblical pages – were enough to put me off; I have read numerous de-conversion stories – arising, ironically, from reading the Bible. One female said reading the Bible left a hole in her heart.

A Catholic was shocked when I showed him the various passages concerning actions/speeches allegedly initiated by God; this Catholic was apparently totally ignorant of biblical contents.

 

Anyone familiar with the Old Testament accounts cannot be faulted for thinking of God as an uncivilized character requiring human psychiatric treatment. If we want to believe in an omniscient and omnipotent god, then we cannot assume this god to be God, for God is portrayed as an imperfect God, as one having no foresight, being error-prone with the many errors he allegedly made, being battle-hungry, bloodthirsty, capricious, chauvinistic, destructive, egotistic, genocidal, vengeful, covenant-crazy with a flair for  dispensing draconian or suck-eggs type of moral standards, biased by favoring one particular group, barbaric with his strange or freakish obsession with animal sacrifice and sprinkling or splashing of animal blood around his so-called altar, hopelessly in need of human worship and highly dependent on human support or services for the achievement or satisfaction of his ungodly aims or objectives including of

course his needs for praise and recognition. What, possibly, can be the cause of the attraction between God and animal sacrifice? The answer can be found in Exodus [29.18] and Leviticus [1.9]—these passages imply that burning an animal carcass would give off an aroma pleasing to the Lord. In fact, the Bible is brimming with narratives of God demanding that young, unblemished, innocent animals be torched to satisfy his so-called omnipresent snout and his barbaric appetite for blood and meat.

 

It has been and still is, of course, mind-boggling to me how anyone who has read the OT can still keep faith with the Bible-God [aka Yahweh].

 

I would have no problems with anyone believing in the existence of a “Supreme Being.” A hotel CEO who was based here before returning to Canada once said to me: “I believe in the existence of a Supreme Being, but I don’t believe in the Bible-God …” However, when I quizzed him to furnish additional info, he shook his head. So there is nothing with which to go on when one believes in something supreme but is unable to provide further feedback; no room for further discussion.

 

G, there is no requirement for a reply – just read what I have said.

 

I shall keep you updated further on many aspects of Christianity some of  which may not be in your repertoire. For one thing, the OT has more info about God than the NT.

I shall also write on other aspects that I think are interesting enough for me to write about and perhaps, for you to read or hear.

 

Best,

 

Richard

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16.From: richard woo [mailto:rwookc@singnet.com.sg]
Sent: Tuesday, 2 April, 2013 11:31 PM
To: Christian
Subject: Food for thought

 

G, in an email to me recently you made a reference to an article by Lee Wei Ling [LWL] concerning “an atheist ‘sent by God.’” This story is about a patient who after having been helped by LWL [an atheist] took the view of LWL being “a God-send.”

 

A person like me reading the story may ask the patient mentioned above to define God. Furthermore, asking: What is God? by someone who has been brought up strictly in a secular environment cannot be seen as unusual or invalid. There are people in the world who view the term “God” as meaningless.

 

But for this patient, no doubt a God-believer, the attribution to God of anything that can be explained naturally is, it seems, only natural.

 

Let’s review some stories about help purportedly rendered by God to some people in response to their prayer.

 

An article by Reuters, reprinted in The Straits Times, Dec 10 2004, front page, is a story about how four people including a 14-year-old boy were rescued from the rubble of a collapsed building 10 days after it was devastated by a fierce storm that hit several provinces in the Philippines. The boy after his rescue allegedly said on television: “…God heard our prayers.” His comment is a clear indication of his belief in God which, presumably, is something nurtured in him. Even if he was aware of the death of other people trapped in the building, it may not have occurred to him to question as to why only he himself and three others were saved out of a total of about 100 people. In view of his age, a question of mental immaturity cannot of course be ruled out. He probably thought that God having heard their prayer directed the rescuers. Obviously, to the boy it was a case of God, not other fellow human beings, who rescued them, since the boy and the other three survivors had prayed to be rescued. This boy had been probably brought up by his parents or guardians to believe in God or to believe that God would answer one’s prayer. Hence, it was not unnatural for him to conclude that it was God who answered his prayer. With a belief in God that appears to have been ingrained since early childhood there is every plausibility of this boy growing into adulthood burdened with a mentality that is incapable of secular or logical reasoning but which is prejudiced with a penchant for using God as an explanation for things or events that can be explained naturally, or cannot be explained because we have no information or facts presently to account for them. Final analysis, based on facts: 100 people were trapped in the collapsed building; 94 died; 4 were rescued. Conjecture: Did the others also pray, or did not pray, to God? Many [or all] of the dead were presumably Filipinos.

 

In another disaster that occurred some years ago, also in the Philippines—a landslide killed scores of people but one person escaped death because of a tree that stood in his way, preventing him from being swept down to his doom. This person thanked God for saving him, by ostensibly planting a tree on that particular spot. It would be mere speculation of course to wonder whether he had questioned God, on a private basis, as to why God had not prevented the landslide in the first place. Could giving thanks to God for emerging as a sole survivor from a disaster that killed lots of other people be viewed as self-centeredness or narrow mindedness? The answer is probably one or the other, even though you may wish to see it as faith-based.

 

This survival story is not dissimilar to the survival story of the few people who were fortunate to have survived the disastrous attack on the World Trade Center in New York on Sep 11, 2001. For the World Trade Center disaster, save for a few survivors, close to 3,000 people died. One or two of the survivors claimed that it was divine Providence that saved them. So God had allegedly intervened to save only a certain individual or certain people and left the others to their destruction? Typical examples of God acting in mysterious ways! Or should they be seen as a reflection of theistic imagination or irrationality? Would a theist agree that if God is praised for saving one or two individuals from a group of hundreds or thousands, then God should be blamed or ridiculed for not saving all the others?

 

If a certain cancer has a high mortality rate, say 95%, what this says is that of 20 people who are unfortunate to be stricken with it only one is expected to survive. So despite the fact that all of them may have prayed to God for a cure, 19 are expected to die from the disease. And the lone survivor would think his/her prayer has been answered by God. Maybe; in which case, we can say God did not, or chose not to, answer the prayer of the others; God acted selectively, in terms of his whims or fancies or God took the view that the others were undeserving of his intervention. Or maybe, there is no question of the existence of God, and these people were merely praying to their imagination.

 

Emerging successfully from a surgical operation in a hospital can also be attributed to God’s will but not to the professional expertise and care of the surgical and nursing teams. I recall reading a media report, but this was some years ago, of someone recovering from a surgical operation and then thanking God for his recovery. All this shows the kind of thinking religion can induce in a person; not dissimilar to the case of the 14 year-old boy discussed above.

 

Evidently, some people have developed a preference to believe than to reason. It seems there is a reluctance among people generally to think logically or rationally when it is about an issue concerning God. “Why” questions may have a logical appeal and may require answers based on rationale or logic, which in matters of a metaphysical nature may be difficult to deliver, as no empirical evidence is possible. The typical answer when “why” seems unanswerable is “Only God knows” or “God has his reasons” or “God acts in mysterious ways”. Why introduce God if he seems unable to prevent calamities from happening in the first place? If a believer thinks that only God knows, then the believer would do well to ask God for the answer.

 

The so-called Asian tsunami that occurred on Sunday 26 Dec, 2004 claimed the lives of over 200,000 people [about one-third children] and caused displacement for about 1.6 million people. The massive earthquake that struck Haiti on Jan 12, 2010 reportedly left 2 million people homeless and allegedly claimed the lives of about 200,000 people. Pakistan, a Muslim nation, was horribly crippled, for several days in August 2010, by a flood considered to be its worst in the nation’s history, as 14 million of its people were left homeless and starving and critically dependent on international assistance. Yet, no Pakistani Muslim, or any Muslim for that matter, has been heard criticizing Allah for the disaster. People, needless to say, can be not only rational but grossly irrational.

 

God-believers? Their take concerning the disasters mentioned above?

 

Best,

Richard

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17.From: Christian
Sent: Thursday, 4 April, 2013 11:22 AM
To: richard woo
Subject: Re: Food for thought

 

I brought up the article by Wei Ling, apart from the God’s help comes in all ways which I and many faith believers have faith in , which link to the articles I read relating to her parents portrayed themselves to the public as atheists or apostolic. In her blog responding to Catherine Lim’s article on LKY, Joan, daughter of Hon Sui Sen, wrote on one of her annual visits to the Lees in their home that she and her sister asked LKY for permission to pray over Mdm. Kwa who was already in coma for some time. After praying, Joan looked up and saw a picture of our Lady and the Child hanging at the wall. Voluntarily, LKY told her that Mdm. bought the picture herself. In the Straits Times appeared an article regarding LKY meeting the foreign press which he revealed that through one of his good friends, a top civil servant and a devout Catholic, that he was learning meditation from a monk in London, which I found out was a Dominican monk, chanting ‘marathana.’     I was somewhat  intrigued as he was an intelligent and analytical person. A wait up call?

 

In my travels, I always marvel at the natural beatiful scenes which are fantastic and awesome. I can’t explain the reasons for the natural disasters and other man-made calamities and which God allows them to happen. I suppose He has own reasons for doing so. Some wait up calls and more importantly how humans react especially toward the victims. When things are going well, people think and behave that they can do without God or religion. However, when things are getting bad, either they curse at God and shout ‘Why me?’ while others flock to the church and pray earnestly. You can see on every Satursday, big crowds flow to the Novena sessions which devotion started during our schooldays and still continuing. Why? Many feel comforted and are hopeful. Some one up there is watching and listening.

 

Regards,

 

G

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18.From: Christian
Sent: Thursday, 4 April, 2013 1:59 PM
To: richard woo
Subject: Re: View-Bible

 

Richard.

 

I did not bury my head in the sand regarding the OT. Over the years I read the passages many times. All I said was I focus more on the NT mainly on Christ’s teachings on how we should live our lives. 

 

As you said previously you can interpret the Bible passages literally, metaphorically or a mix of both.

 

The articles in the OT were written by holy men at that time. The style adopted reflect their behaviour , culture, tradition, the level of civilisation at that time. i.e. cruel and harsh as shown by the punishment meted to offenders , and also the demand of the Scribe and Pharisees of the people to follow the letter of the Laws. As stated before, God does not appear and talk to the people face to face. These writers received aspirations from God and wrote in their own words.

 

Christian community comprising Catholics and other denominations is huge in number. Among them are scholars, scientists, researchers, lawyers etc. besides the humble workers and housewives including illiterates and semi illiterates. We all know lawyers are notorious in sighting for discrepancies in documents and evidence and expound on them in their argument. In my parish, we have 3 chief justices, the late Wee Chong Jin, Chan Sek Kiang, and the current c.j. Sudarash Menon, all practising Catholics. Menon still involves in conducting bible study in the evenings for adults. I don’t think they also bury their heads in the sand regarding the imagine of God as described in the OT.

 

I like in concluding that the God I believe is some one as described in the parable of the prodigal son – a father waited each day from the hill for his erring son to return because he missed him. And when he saw him he quickly ran down to meet him, hugging him with great joy, and ordered a grand feast in celebration. All because the son discovered his failings and decided to return home.

 

Regards,

 

G

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19.From: richard woo [mailto:rwookc@singnet.com.sg]
Sent: Friday, 5 April, 2013 1:13 PM
To: Christian
Subject: RE: View-Bible

 

G,

 

 

Being in the same parish as CSK and SM, do you know them personally, as friends, for example?

Do you think they would be interested in our discussions?  Ask them, perhaps?

 

I would be happy to include them as observers [cc to them, for instance] or even engage them should they wish to participate.

 

Best,

 

Richard

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20.From: Christian 

Sent: Friday, 5 April, 2013 6:27 PM

To: richard woo

Subject: Re: View-Bible

 

Know them but not well. As you know judges and top civil servants are

inclined generally not to be too friendly. At best just smile and move on.

 

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21.From: richard woo [mailto:rwookc@singnet.com.sg]
Sent: Thursday, 4 April, 2013 4:30 PM
To: Christian
Subject: RE: Food for thought

 

Tlks, G.

 

It seems to be a difficult if not near impossible task for someone to convince a God-believer that there is no God/god, nor can a God/god-believer convince a non-believer, particularly one acculturated strictly from a secular environment or someone like me who has already de-converted, from a theistic position to one of atheistic, as a result of personal discoveries.

 

The question of whether there is a God/god is one that has been debated for thousands of years and the jury is still out; but as long as there are theists, atheists and agnostics, the question will continue to be discussed/debated. However, if one is rational, one has to agree that the onus of proof lies on the theist; and, moreover, if one is rational, one has to admit that there is no empirical evidence for the existence of an entity supposedly all-loving, omnipotent and omniscient.

I have read and heard umpteen debates between people considered to be highly qualified or educated, for example, professors of philosophy/theology, science, psychology etc; in some instances the theistic side had no choice but to concede that belief in God/god is strictly a matter of faith; but that was just being rational, as existence or non-existence of a supernatural entity is not capable of proof of an empirical nature.

 

In an email dialog with a professor of philosophy in a foreign university, I made this comment:

 

It has been said that each of us is unique, in some ways, and I have no argument with that. I asked those questions because it has always been mind-boggling for me how highly educated, highly intelligent people, such as university professors, could believe in the existence of a being supposedly omnipotent, omniscient, and morally perfect. I have come across numerous debates between theists and non-theists concerning “God,” including debates that were conducted at a highly sophisticated or philosophical level, like the one between you and Prof Schellenberg, and could not help thinking that if I had to exercise judgment between any two debaters [say between a theist and a non-theist], it would go against the theist. But that’s me. Maybe it may not be wrong to use the term “prejudice.” Maybe, my thinking thus can be ascribed to my atheistic position. However, during the time when I was a God-believer, a Catholic, I had read transcripts of God-debates and thought that the non-theistic argument sounded more rational or logical than anything proffered by the theistic side

 

There are many wonders we can see in this world but astronomers can tell us there are millions or billions more wonders that they can see with their space telescopes. There are billions, yes, billions of wonders that can be plausibly found in the universe. This observation has a high degree of relevancy: Isn’t it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too? Douglas Noel Adams [1952–2001].

 

G, take a look in front of you: there is some space between you and the physical object[s] you see; behind your back there is space, and when you continue to think about it, you will realize that we are all in space [Earth is suspended in space]. Is the universe infinite? Albert Einstein thought so; Stephen Hawking thinks so; lots of other people think so. If we think that the universe is infinite its infinitude is beyond human imagination or proof, since the term “infinite” means “endless, having no bounds or limits”. Thus there is no possibility of ever finding out even if we are immortals with a spacecraft with unlimited fuel and the ability to fly at the speed of light. If the universe is infinite it can never have a beginning. If the universe is finite, then in principle its boundary can be established, provided we have the requisite technology or capability, but in this scenario there is a possibility of us facing this conundrum: What is behind the boundary, whatever the boundary is? Hence the question of whether the universe is finite or infinite can be all but a matter of speculation.

 

If we think there is a creator to all this, why should that creator have to be God? Because some or many people take the Bible [or the Koran or any religious book, for that matter] as a catalogue of “facts”?

 

Who wrote the Pentateuch? If Adam and Eve were the first created humans, who heard God saying this or doing that, at the time of so-called creation of the stars, and the Earth?

The writing of a character in a story is no proof that the character exists, would you agree? Sherlock Holmes? Just a character in a fictitious story or real? Zeus, Hera, Mars, Venus etc in literature written by Homer – do/did they exist?

Why do some people take the Bible as true and the Koran as untrue? Brain-washing from childhood, perhaps?

 

I was corresponding with a Catholic sometime ago and in one of his emails there were these three lines [in red]:

 

… we pray for unity in the world n healing of our hearts

… beginning with ourselves … our family n community …

…  YES! we pray as pride comes fr the Evil1… who is the father of division n hate n suffering

 

And I responded on these terms:

 

These three lines represent a huge area of contention. If praying gives you a benefit, makes you feel better, psychologically or otherwise, then please do not stop praying. My advice is that you should a take step back, review the big picture and not only a small, isolated area or portion of it. I suppose you are familiar with human history, some if not all of it. The number of people killed in World War l and World War II is estimated at 76 million. Did people – the God-believers – pray for an early end to either of these wars? WW I started in 1914 and ended in 1918; WW II started in 1939 and ended in 1945. What about the umpteen other wars in human history? What about deaths, in the millions or billions, due to natural disasters and diseases? What about the pain and suffering we see around us? If you believe in the existence of an omnipotent, all-loving God and you have been praying to him, have you prayed for an end to pain and suffering, for all of humanity? You may have considered, or may still be thinking, that this is something not possible to achieve via prayer. Assuming you are a Christian, you would probably be aware of Jesus’ teaching: ask anything for in prayer and it shall be granted; faith or faith combined with prayer can even move a mountain. So why should you, as a Christian, have any doubt about what your praying or prayer can achieve? Next time, set a time-frame, since your God is believed by you to be all-powerful, such as creating by just voicing out – let there be light and, wham, there is light. Pray, for instance, that poverty in the entire world be eradicated [overnight, in one week, in one month, in 1 year?] and then monitor the situation.

 

A caution, however; remember the case of the exorcism/prayer incident that allegedly occurred at the Novena Church in Thomson Road a few years ago?  The priests concerned claimed that it was only a prayer session. From which angle you prefer to look, the repercussions for them were unfavorable. Here, the priests or their superiors appeared to have put the teaching of Jesus on the back burner – that the Holy Spirit would guide them [whisper in the ear, for instance] on what to say should they be engaged in court proceedings – by employing lawyers to fight the case for them. In this case, the Church clearly took the view that engaging lawyers, and not praying, was the right thing to do. They preferred to be realistic or pragmatic, and apparently jettisoned the idea of prayer as a wonder-productive tool out of their mind.

 

And who or what is the Evil1? Who allegedly created the Evil1? Are you conversant with your Bible?

 

It can be readily seen that some God-believers seem to be constricting themselves [for private doubts known only to themselves, maybe].

 

Posted by someone by the name of Raymond Anthony Fernando, 12 Dec 2011, theonlinecitizen website.

 

The power of prayer

 

I have also discussed the power of prayer in my book, for it is through prayer and my faith that I have managed to overcome huge adversities in my life. Adversities which I will continue to face in my life as my journey in taking care of Doris is going to get tougher and tougher as her advanced arthritis condition continues to deteriorate.

Any psychiatrist in the world will tell you that if you practise a faith, your journey in caring for a sick relative will become lighter. This brings to mind what took place during the SARS outbreak in 2003 when my wife suffered a serious relapse of her schizophrenia. Her psychiatrist, advised me to go back to church and to pray because I found that her recovery was slow. During that time, I had given up on God and refused to go to church. It was only when I faced a crisis that I visited my priest and pleaded for help. He advised me to return to church and prayed for both Doris & myself. Indeed, prayer did help, but it was a long haul- 9 months before she fully recovered.

 

 

Posted by me on 22 Dec 2011 [in response]

 

Dear Raymond Fernando,

I cannot help thinking that your comments about the ‘power of prayer’ are in need of an appropriate response. So here goes:

First, I don’t think I am wrong in saying that you are presumably a Christian, probably a Catholic; right/wrong?

Saying that not everybody believes in prayer or praying is no different from saying that not everybody believes in God, although there are billions of God-believers. Agree/disagree?

However, whether every single religious person or God-believer knows of this fact is a moot point. What is more interesting is the question: Is prayer or praying productive or ineffective?

By basing strictly on the three major monotheistic religions—Judaism, Christianity and Islam—we can say about 3.5 billion [ballpark figure] people may be praying to God, though not necessarily at the same time. Are there extra-terrestrial creatures having a similar interaction with God? It has been estimated that in the Milky Way Galaxy alone there is a huge number of stars—somewhere between 100 and 400 billion. If there are stars there are likely to be planets. And science has posited that there are billions of galaxies beyond the Milky Way. With all these billions running plausibly into trillions, God is presumably having a very busy time keeping track of every individual praying to him, assuming of course he exists and is listening not only to human beings on Earth but to all creatures in the universe he allegedly created, who may be praying to him.

People who believe firmly in the existence of an all-loving and all-powerful God and in prayer or praying to this God as an effective means of fulfilling their temporal needs are probably thinking superficially but not rationally, and giving scant or no regard to the millions or billions of people who are suffering every day from diseases, hunger, malnutrition and other poor living conditions resulting in death in the thousands on a daily basis, and to the thousands of other people who are dying, also on a daily basis but from other causes ranging from natural disasters, accidents, homicides, suicides, acts of terrorism, etc. Are people who believe in the power of prayer ignorant of such calamities?

If you are pragmatic, however, and start thinking of the millions who had suffered or died in the past from wars and natural disasters, and the millions who are presently suffering from poverty, warfare and other disasters that can only be described as making life miserable, you will have to be honest in your appraisal of the value of prayer. Look at these grim statistics: 97 million children in the Asia-Pacific region remain underweight; 4 million children die before reaching the age of five; some 566 million people living in rural areas have no access to clean water; fewer than a third of rural inhabitants have access to basic sanitation; in India alone, almost 87,000 farmers committed suicide between 2001 and 2005 [statistical information excerpted from an article by Noeleen Heyzer, published in The Straits Times, Mar 27, 2008, p 29; Ms Heyzer is undersecretary of the United Nations and executive secretary of the UN’s Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific].

How many people have had their prayers answered or how many people have been prayingbut feeling disappointed for not having received is anybody’s guess. To be realistic one cannot assume or define 0.05% as a “success rate” or as sufficient evidence, in any evaluation regarding the effectiveness or non-effectiveness of prayer. And one should not be so irrational as to suggest that it was a case of God saying “No” to innumerable supplications that accounted for the failure rate of 99.95%. It is definitely more rational to acknowledge an uncomfortable truth than to argue spuriously over a comfortable lie. If a certain type of cancer has, say, a survivorship rate of only 5%, and if twenty people are currently afflicted with this cancer, it can be assumed that only one of them will survive. Assuming, as a matter of fact, that only one survives, for all their fervent praying to God for a cure or remission, this lone survivor may not of course be aware of the death of the other nineteen people who have also prayed, or of the relevant statistical ratio of survivorship for this particular disease, and may attribute his recovery to his prayer or divine intervention. Being ignorant can be blissful. Could any positive result from your praying have been coincidental? But you are confident your prayer outturned effective?

It has also been reported that there are about 350 million children living in poverty in Asia and one out of every 10 people in the world today is an Asian child in poverty, lacking one or more of the essential services some of us take for granted. According to the International Labour Foundation, roughly half the world’s population still scrapes together a bare bones existence on the equivalent of about US$2 [S$3.30] a day.

It seems reasonable to question: Why would or should a believer who firmly believes in prayer bother with medication when afflicted with, say, a bacterial or viral infection? They are probably aware that medical treatment, rather than prayer, is what they really need to get well. Should we ask the thousands or millions of people who have been to a medical clinic or hospital, or those who are currently warded, about their personal beliefs or non-beliefs, chances are that many of them would be God-believers. If prayer or praying can provide a cure, medical clinics, hospitals and pharmaceutical companies may be out of business.

According to Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prayer [Dec 13, 2007]:

…Several studies of prayer effectiveness have yielded null result. A 2001 double-blind study of the Mayo Clinic found no significant difference in the recovery rates between people who were (unbeknownst to them) assigned to a group that prayed for them and those who were not. Similarly, the MANTRA study conducted by Duke University found no differences in outcome of cardiac procedures as a result of prayer. In another similar study published in the American Heart Journal in 2006, Christian intercessory prayer when reading a scripted prayer was found to have no effect on the recovery of heart surgery patients; however, the study found patients who had knowledge of receiving prayer had slightly higher instances of complications than those who did not know if they were being prayed for or those who did not receive prayer… [end of excerpt]

If you think that God is not bound by the laws of nature, then you are free of course to pray for anything, such as moving a mountain, or growing a new limb, for, say, someone you know who has lost a hand or foot as a result of an accident or disease. Have you been restricting yourself to only a very narrow confine, with regard to your prayer? Because God cannot perform a miracle like growing a new hand or foot?

Maybe it’s time for you to pray far more magnanimously; like praying for the entire world, for everyone, for the eradication of hunger, poverty and all kinds of suffering. Please evaluate the effectiveness of your praying by making a note of the day you made this supplication to God [aka Yahweh] and monitoring the situation; what sort of time-frame would you assign to God/Yahweh for working this miracle: one hour, one week, one month? Should your prayer for this miracle outturn ineffective, would you admit it?

 

 

Best,

 

Richard

 

PS: G, pl try to respond specifically to each point or question.

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22.From: richard woo [mailto:rwookc@singnet.com.sg]
Sent: Thursday, 4 April, 2013 7:00 PM
To: Christian
Subject: RE: View-Bible

 

G, tks for the feedback.

 

A Christian may be steep in his Christian faith, but the Bible is the foundation of his faith.

 

The NT may be pleasant reading to some, but the NT rests on the OT as its backbone. And the OT, notwithstanding the horrible passages strewn throughout its pages, is really a translation of the Tanakh, the Jewish Bible.

 

You hold the view that the stories in the OT were written by “holy men.” There are priests/pastors who have de-converted after discovering that they could no longer keep up with the pretense. The Bible, to these people, and to many others of course, was written in the main by people who were ignorant. The term “holy” is meaningless to non-believers. Whether believers are wont to believe in the Bible being the result of inspiration of “God,” the Bible is seen as a catalog of myths by many non-Christians.

 

I find it hard to fathom that people who are only vaguely familiar with the Bible can still believe in the Bible-God as a being omnipotent, omniscient and all-loving. Before I start quoting further passages, just to give a flavor of the revolting experience one can get from reading so-called divinely inspired writings, let’s see what we can glean from the terms “omnipotence/omnipotent” and omniscience/omniscient.”

 

According to The Cassell Concise Dictionary—omnipotent: almighty; having unlimited power; omniscience: infinite knowledge.

 

It is clear that concepts such as omnipotent and omniscient have no practical application in our lives and are good only in the imagination. Anyone familiar with the definition for the term “omniscient” and with accounts of the biblical portrayal of God would agree that it would be wishy-washy to think of God as being omniscient. Only the faithful who are blinded by their faith would continue with their belief in an omniscient, personal God, notwithstanding how unsupportable or incredible such a belief appears to be. Fairy-tale notions about God being omnipotent and omniscient are clearly at odds with how he is portrayed in biblical context and thus such notions must be separated from facts. Facts are associated with reality or with real life events; but fairy-tale notions are the result of an imaginative mind.

 

Let’s cast our mind to the story of so-called Adam and Eve as narrated in Genesis. Why did God endow the serpent with such eloquence or persuasive power, if he knew full well that Eve would be persuaded? Free will? [an area to be discussed separately]. Still, being allegedly omniscient he was already aware what would happen. Maybe it was no blunder; maybe God had no power or only limited power, in which case God cannot be said to be omnipotent. And neither can he be said to be omniscient. His inaction, passivity or impotence [call it what you want] is a clear betrayal or falsification of such theistic beliefs.

 

Would a loving father knowing the adverse conditions affecting his children just stand by and do nothing? A yes answer seems plausible and not unusual, if the father happens to be powerless to do anything, as for example, the father being a paralytic cannot move or speak but is not visually impaired. But what if the father happens to be omnipotent, able to do anything and everything? A Yes answer in this case would sound illogical. But if the father does nothing despite being wishfully thought or believed to be omnipotent, omniscient and all-loving, then it would probably give rise to some contentious issues; one can then say that the father may be all-loving as he is believed to be but the belief that he is also omnipotent may be false; it would be illogical to believe he is omnipotent and all-loving in view of his apparent apathy or passivity in the face of adverse conditions affecting his children; the fact he does nothing can be seen as an indication of his impotence or powerlessness to intervene or influence. On the other hand, he may be omnipotent and omniscient, a combination that is not totally without difficulty, since it can be evaluated as being contradictory or illogical, but the belief in his being all-loving seems irrational, since despite his almighty powers he still does nothing to save his children. By his apparent inaction of staying on the sidelines as a bystander one can logically conclude that the father can have only one or at most two of the three attributes cited above, notwithstanding that such human constructs can come only from wishful thinking or belief. Thus the father can be [1] omnipotent [but cannot be all-loving at the same time], or [2] omniscience, or [3] all-loving, or [4] omniscient and all-loving. Being both omnipotent and omniscient can be seen as conveying something contradictory or illogical; if God [assuming he exists] is omniscient, then God can predict with 100 per cent accuracy anything or everything that is going to happen, including your future actions and those of his own; however, being omnipotent he can do whatever he wants, including doing or behaving differently from his predictions or expectations, thus making his predictions or expectations uncertain and fallible. Hence, by this argument, he can’t be both omniscient and omnipotent.

 

G, at this stage, please reflect deeply on the arguments laid out; these are scholarly arguments you may not have heard of before, but they can be attributed to people high up on the intellectual scale.

 

OK, now for some revolting reading:

 

Exodus

12.29. At midnight the LORD struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh, who sat on the throne, to the firstborn

 

Leviticus

10.1. Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu took their censers, put fire in them and added incense; and they offered unauthorized fire before the LORD, contrary to his command.

10.2. So fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed them, and they

died before the LORD

 

Numbers

11.1. Now the people complained about their hardships in the hearing of the LORD, and when he heard them his anger was aroused. Then fire from the LORD burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp.

16.35. And fire came out from the LORD and consumed the 250 men who were offering the incense.

25.4. The LORD said to Moses, “Take all the leaders of these people, kill them and expose them in broad daylight before the LORD, so that the LORD’s fierce anger may turn away from Israel.”

 

Deuteronomy

7.2. and when the LORD your God has delivered them over to you and you have defeated them, then you must destroy them totally. Make no treaty with them, and show them no mercy.

7.16. You must destroy all the peoples the LORD your God gives over to you. Do not look on them with pity and do not serve their gods, for that will be a snare to you.

12.2. Destroy completely all the places on the high mountains and on the hills and under every spreading tree where the nations you are dispossessing worship their gods.

 

Book of Joshua:

3.7. And the LORD said to Joshua, “Today I will begin to exalt you in the eyes of all Israel, so they may know that I am with you as I was with Moses.  

 

6.20. When the trumpets sounded, the army shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the men gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so everyone charged straight in, and they took the city.

 

6.21. They devoted the city to the LORD and destroyed with the sword every living thing in it—men and women, young and old, cattle, sheep and donkeys

 

6.24. Then they burned the whole city and everything in it, but they put the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron into the treasury of the LORD’s house.

 

8.1.Then the LORD said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Take the whole army with you, and go up and attack Ai. For I have delivered into your hands the king of Ai, his people, his city and his land.

 

8.2. You shall do to Ai and its king as you did to Jericho and its king, except that you may carry off their plunder and livestock for yourselves. Set an ambush behind the city.”

 

8.24.  When Israel had finished killing all the men of Ai in the fields and in the wilderness where they had chased them, and when every one of them had been put to the sword, all the Israelites returned to Ai and killed those who were in it.

 

8.25. Twelve thousand men and women fell that day—all the people of Ai.

 

8.26. For Joshua did not draw back the hand that held out his javelin until he had destroyed[a] all who lived in Ai.

 

8.27. But Israel did carry off for themselves the livestock and plunder of this city, as the LORD had instructed Joshua.

 

10.28. That day Joshua took Makkedah. He put the city and its king to the sword and totally destroyed everyone in it. He left no survivors. And he did to the king of Makkedah as he had done to the king of Jericho.

 

10. 29 Then Joshua and all Israel with him moved on from Makkedah to Libnah and attacked it.

 

10.30. The LORD also gave that city and its king into Israel’s hand. The city and everyone in it Joshua put to the sword. He left no survivors there. And he did to its king as he had done to the king of Jericho.

 

10. 31. Then Joshua and all Israel with him moved on from Libnah to Lachish; he took up positions against it and attacked it.

 

10.32. The LORD gave Lachish into Israel’s hands, and Joshua took it on the second day. The city and everyone in it he put to the sword, just as he had done to Libnah.

 

10.33. Meanwhile, Horam king of Gezer had come up to help Lachish, but Joshua defeated him and his army—until no survivors were left.

 

10. 34 Then Joshua and all Israel with him moved on from Lachish to Eglon; they took up positions against it and attacked it.

 

10.35. They captured it that same day and put it to the sword and totally destroyed everyone in it, just as they had done to Lachish.

 

10.36. Then Joshua and all Israel with him went up from Eglon to Hebron and attacked it.

 

10.37. They took the city and put it to the sword, together with its king, its villages and everyone in it. They left no survivors. Just as at Eglon, they totally destroyed it and everyone in it.

 

10.38. Then Joshua and all Israel with him turned around and attacked Debir.

 

10.39. They took the city, its king and its villages, and put them to the sword. Everyone in it they totally destroyed. They left no survivors. They did to Debir and its king as they had done to Libnah and its king and to Hebron.

 

11.6. The LORD said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid of them, because by this time tomorrow I will hand all of them, slain, over to Israel. You are to hamstring their horses and burn their chariots.”

 

11.12. Joshua took all these royal cities and their kings and put them to the sword. He totally destroyed them, as Moses the servant of the LORD had commanded.

 

11.21. At that time Joshua went and destroyed the Anakites from the hill country: from Hebron, Debir and Anab, from all the hill country of Judah, and from all the hill country of Israel. Joshua totally destroyed them and their towns

 

Judges

3.29. At that time they struck down about ten thousand Moabites, all vigorous and strong; not a man escaped.

4.15. At Barak’s advance, the LORD routed Sisera and all his chariots and army by the sword, and Sisera abandoned his chariot and fled on foot.

4.16. But Barak pursued the chariots and army as far as Harosheth Haggoyim. All the troops of Sisera fell by the sword; not a man was left.

8.17. He also pulled down the tower of Peniel and killed the men of the town.

 

1 Samuel

6.19. But God struck down some of the men of Beth Shemesh, putting seventy of them to death because they had looked into the ark of the LORD.

15.1. Samuel said to Saul, “I am the one the LORD sent to anoint you king over his people Israel; so listen now to the message from the LORD.

15.2. This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt.

15.3. Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.’

 

2 Samuel

5.19. so David inquired of the LORD, “Shall I go and attack the Philistines? Will you hand them over to me?” The LORD answered him, “Go, for I will surely hand the Philistines over to you.”

5.23. so David inquired of the LORD, and he answered, “Do not go straight up, but circle around behind them and attack them in front of the balsam trees.

Isaiah

13.15. Whoever is captured will be thrust through; all who are caught will fall by the sword.

13.16. Their infants will be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses will be looted and their wives ravished.

13.17. See, I will stir up against them the Medes, who do not care for silver and have no delight in gold.

13.18. Their bows will strike down the young men; they will have no mercy on infants nor will they look with compassion on children.

34.2. The LORD is angry with all nations; his wrath is upon all their armies. He will totally destroy them, he will give them over to slaughter.

34.3. Their slain will be thrown out, their dead bodies will send up a stench; the mountains will be soaked with their blood.

60.12. For the nation or kingdom that will not serve you will perish; it will be utterly ruined.

 

 

G, from such passages I have to say that Christians are worshipping a genocidal maniac, not a loving god as they seem to think. And this same god is the one Jesus allegedly claims to be [Trinity doctrine]. That was a huge flaw of Jesus; and Jesus, if he had existed, was born of human parents. His “divinity” arose as a result of discourse among early Christians in the 4th century, that gave rise to the Nicene Creed. The God of the Bible is the god of the Jews; leave this god to the Jews.

 

There is no historical account of Jesus, apart from the NT; no authors [other than NT authors] who could be discerned as contemporaries of Jesus wrote anything about him.

 

“Mark,” ” Matthew,” “Luke” and “John” were just names added after the gospels were written, to give a degree of authenticity. These gospels, in the views of some Bible scholars, were written anonymously. A huge chunk of Jesus’ life – 30 years – appears to be missing from these gospels. That chunk is too huge to be brushed under the carpet.

 

Best,

 

Richard

——————————————————————————————————————————————–

 

23.From: richard woo [mailto:rwookc@singnet.com.sg]
Sent: Sunday, 7 April, 2013 11:03 PM
To: Christian
Subject: NT

 

“You can see on every Saturday, big crowds flow to the Novena sessions which devotion started during our schooldays and still continuing. Why? Many feel comforted and are hopeful. Some one up there is watching and listening.”

 

G, my first reaction to this observation of yours is to say that if a belief is false, it would still be false even if it were embraced by billions of people.

 

A quote by Albert Einstein, resulting from his personal observation, presumably: Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.

You may not be aware of this, Christianity in Europe has lost much of its vigor or attraction, with attendance in Church, even over the week-ends, being restricted to only a handful of people, mostly elderly people. Our friend and ex-colleague, Johnny Wong, after returning from a trip to Europe once told me and others in a get-together that soccer was the in-thing in Europe, attracting huge crowds, whereas attendance in Church for religious services was pathetic, confined mainly to elderly people in their winter years. Of course, John was not the only eye-witness; snippets of news on or coming out of Europe in the past few decades bore reference to the waning of interest in Christianity in that continent.

 

In Singapore mosques or some mosques, can also be found to be crowded, particularly on Fridays. The same can be said for religious service attendance by followers of other religions, such as Hinduism and Buddhism.

In the Middle East today, the only nation that is non-Muslim is Israel. What seems strange is that although Jesus allegedly professed to be God himself, or the Son of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, his teachings and Christian principles somehow have little or no impact on people living today in the Middle East. Today, with the exception of the state of Israel [Judaism], Islam is being embraced by all countries located in the Middle East and of course by many people in other parts of the world. Amazing, when we consider that Muhammad arrived in this world about 650 years after Jesus! In fairness, though, we have to emphasize that in the world today there are more Christians [2.1 billion?] than Muslims [1.57 billion?].

 

There is an irreconcilable dogmatic difference between Islam and Christianity. To Trinitarian-Christians, Jesus is God. But to Muslims, Jesus was only a human and died a human; and Muslims do not believe in Jesus ever suffering a crucifixion. In terms of the Principle of Contradiction or Principle of Non-Contradiction, contradictory statements cannot both at the same time be true, for example, the two propositions A is B and A is not B are mutually exclusive. “Jesus is God” is true to mainstream Christians but “Jesus is not God” is also true to Muslims and Judaists. Obviously, both statements cannot be true; if one is true the other must be false; and there is the plausibility that both are false.

 

G, you said your familiarity with the Bible rests more on the NT than on the OT. Are you aware that the earliest writings of Christianity are the writings [epistles] of Paul? And besides the four so-called canonized gospels, several gospels were also allegedly written, for example, Gospel of Andrew, Gospel of Barnabas, Gospel of Bartholomew, Gospel of Judas, Gospel of Marcion, Gospel of Matthias, Gospel of Philip, Gospel of Thomas, etc. For certain reasons known only to then Church leaders, all these were ostracized as unfit for inclusion in the NT.

 

The placing of the four canonized gospels as the opening pages of the NT has been construed by Bible scholars as an attempt by the Church to mislead the reader into thinking that they were the first writings of the NT, for reason[s] that appeared obvious to some people.

 

In none of Paul’s epistles can we find anything being said of Jesus being born of a virgin; Paul evidently had no inkling of the things being said by the authors of Matthew and Luke who, apparently, were the only ones among all the New Testament writers to have presented the story of Jesus’ virgin birth. It seems Paul’s epistles say nothing of the miracles allegedly performed by Jesus and reported in the four canonized gospels. The consensus among some people is that these miracles had not as yet been invented when Paul was writing his epistles.

 

To be sure, the virgin birth reported in the New Testament is just one among the many virgin birth stories written before the advent of Christianity.

 

List of other so-called saviors and their virgin birth:

 

Adonis – Syria

Apollo – Rome

Astarte – Carthage

Attis – Phrygia

Baal – Babylon

Bacchus – Greece

Balder – Scandinavia

Buddha – India

Hercules – Rome

Horus – Egypt

Jesus – Israel

Krishna – India

Mithra – Persia

Osiris – Egypt

Serapis – Alexandria

Yu – China

 

• Osiris was the Sun-god born to Virgin Ceres.

• Krishna – Lord Krishna (Chrish-na) of India was the 8th Avtar of India (1200 BC). His Virgin Mother Devaki had been overshadowed by the Holy Ghost (Naraan) of the Supreme God, Brahma.

• Serapis of Alexandria was born to Virgin Isis.

• Buddah was supposedly born to the married but Virgin Maya.

• Mithra the Sun-god of Persia belonged to the Church of Nativity (He too was supposedly born through ‘Immaculate Conception’).

• Attis of Phrygia was born to Virgin Nana.

• Jesus was supposedly born to Virgin Mary through Immaculate Conception.

• Hercules, a prominent mythical figure of the Sun-worship cult, was born to Virgin Prudence through Immaculate Conception.

• Bacchus was the Only Begotten Son of Jupiter through Virgin Semele. We also find historical references to the Grecian Crucified Savior, Bacchus Son of Virgin Minerva.

• The Sun-god Balder was called the Healer the Savior of mankind. Virgin Frigga conceived him of the All Father, Odin.

• In China, the Sun-god Yu was born to Virgin Shing-Mon, like all others, through Immaculate Conception.

 

Christianity, it seems, has many similarities to the pagan religion of Mithra that preceded it by  approximately 600 years and which was widely embraced by people in the ancient world. For example, Mithra, was born on December 25, died, was buried, and resurrected in three days. He had twelve companions as Jesus had twelve disciples. He also performed miracles, was called “the Son of God”, “the good shepherd,” “the way, the truth and the light,” “redeemer,” “savior,” “Messiah.” The Mithra religion had a Eucharist or “Lord’s Supper” and Mithra’s sacred day was Sunday. If you are in Rome and visiting the catacombs, be on the look-out for an image of the infant Mithra seated in the lap of his virgin mother, while on their knees before him were Persian Magi adoring him and offering gifts.

 

In Galatians 1.11-12 we hear Paul asserting: I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ. So when we hear him saying, in 1 Corinthians 11.23-25: For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me,” it has to be assumed this speech of Jesus was not something he gathered from the other apostles but a product of revelation from Jesus, not dissimilar to the numerous other instances of revelations received by Old Testament prophets from Yahweh or the revelations allegedly made to John as reported in the Book of Revelations.

 

A skeptic familiar with Mithraism is likely to offer the explanation of Paul copying, probably with some modification, from Mithraic communion liturgical practice. Part of the Mithraic communion liturgy included the words, “He who will not eat of my body and drink of my blood, so that he will be made one with me and I with him, the same shall not know salvation.” And it would not appear unreasonable for the skeptic to conclude that Paul’s theology was incorporated into the gospels by the Church to reflect that it was Jesus who spoke those words at the Last Supper. Whether these words [1 Corinthians 11.24-25] were actually spoken by Jesus or a fabrication by Paul, the Jews are religiously forbidden to taste blood. Jesus is biblically portrayed as an observant Jew who allegedly came to fulfill Jewish religious laws and thus can be viewed as having acted strangely or inconsistently if he had indeed established a practice, merely symbolic or otherwise, for drinking his blood.

 

Best,

 

R

 

 

24.From:Christian

Sent: Monday, 8 April, 2013 3:00 PM

To: richard woo

Subject: Re: Food for thought

 

Richard,

 

What happens to an atheist after his death? If he lived a life doing good? and one every wicked?

 

We know there must be o.b markers where freedom of speech is allowed and also freedom of action to maintain order, justice and peace.

 

I believe that God gives mankind complete freedom to decide what they want to do including the choice of religions, of course, some religions may not agree especially Muslims.  Hence I accept and respect the beliefs of my non-Catholic friends, including atheists and free thinkers.

 

You mentioned that you don’t care the number of people attending Novena, temples, mosques, and other places of worship and maintain there is absolutely no such thing as God. Of course you are entitled to your prerogative to stick to your decision.  The fact remains that there are people out there in huge numbers and growing believe there is a higher and superior spiritual being whom they call by various names – God, Yawehs, Allah, Buddha, or deities named after various animals, etc.

 

You and I know the popularity of Novena Church, thongs of people going there Saturday after Saturday ever since the devotion started in the early 50’s.  Most of the attendees are not Catholics. They are people who have troubles in their lives, spiritual and temporal problems of many kinds. While they try hard to solve the problems themselves they realise they need additional help. Some continue to come because their prayers have been answered and are grateful and thankful. It is also a fact the number has grown over the years. The church now has plan to expand the place of worship from a seating capacity from 750 to 1500.

 

You mentioned that I am not aware that people attending church devotion has declined in Europe.You are way off the mark. If you refer to my previous messages I stated categorically that Christians of the developed world, notably, Europeans and North Americans,do not feel the need of God or religion although majority of them still claim they are Christians but non practising. They opt for the time being to enjoy the pleasure of the secular providing them. Despite all these depressive news, I remain optimistic. There is such thing as wait up calls. Signs in both continents are slowly appearing.

 

Your related the discussion which you had with John Wong. We all know that Europeans, including South Americans, have a passion for soccer. I don’t see anything wrong with such passion and strong attendance of soccer matches. This has nothing to do with religion. John, his family members including grandchildren are still active practising Catholics.

 

You narrated the many evil events ocurred over time, wars,disasters of all kinds etc and why the God mankind believed seems to be indifferent and doing nothing to stop them. As I said God gives the freedom of choice.  The horrible events are mostly man made or contribute over time destroying the environment for selfish personal gains, exploitation of fellow beings and other resources. There are also good people doing the opposite. And, of course, there are people who decide and direct what God should do. I know the Lord is watching the  events in his judgement throne and that he is very patient. He will decide what, when, and who to implement his remedies.

 

I try to be open-minded in reading your arguments, quotations, etc.  However, I remain faithful to the religion that I adopted 50 years ago. It is because over the years I learn more and more of the religion and follow the teachings and am convinced that is what I want to do for the rest of my remaining years.  Despite all I read from your point of view, I exercise the god-given prerogative to read the bible frequently on the NT which my late parish priest advised me when I confided in him the difficulty I faced when reading the Bible. He told me be free to read what I feel comfortable with and help to improve my life. In reading the NT I often discover new mystery revelations which enrich my understanding of the gospel. I continue to pray daily as it is my belief and experience that the Lord often answered my prayers. Those not answered I accept the Lord’s decision but the problem eventually lightened or solved by some other means.

 

Regards,

 

G

 

25.From: richard woo [mailto:rwookc@singnet.com.sg]
Sent: Tuesday, 9 April, 2013 12:42 AM
To: Christian
Subject: RE: Food for thought

 

G, tks for the input.

 

My comments given in blue

 

Best,

 

R

 

From: Christian
Sent: Monday, 8 April, 2013 3:00 PM
To: richard woo
Subject: Re: Food for thought

 

Richard,

 

What happens to an atheist after his death? If he lived a life doing good? and one every wicked?

 

The short answer is that no one knows. And the same applies to everyone else, whether they are Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Mormons, Scientologists, etc.
To ask whether a person has a soul is no different from asking whether there is a God/god.
It would be a metaphysical question not capable of being answered with any empirical evidence.

 

We know there must be o.b markers where freedom of speech is allowed and also freedom of action to maintain order, justice and peace.

 

The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in 1948, provides, in Article 19, that:

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

 

  1. 1.     We – all human beings – must be free and able to express ourselves, and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas, regardless of frontiers.

 

  1. 2.     We defend the internet and all other forms of communication against illegitimate encroachments by both public and private powers.

 

  1. 3.     We require and create open, diverse media so we can make well-informed decisions and participate fully in political life.

 

  1. 4.     We speak openly and with civility about all kinds of human difference.

 

  1. 5.     We allow no taboos in the discussion and dissemination of knowledge.

 

  1. 6.     We respect the believer but not necessarily the content of the belief.

 

  1. 7.     We are all entitled to a private life but should accept such scrutiny as is in the public interest.

 

  1. 8.     We should be able to counter slurs on our reputations without stifling legitimate debate.

 

  1. 9.     We must be free to challenge all limits to freedom of expression and information justified on such grounds as national security, public order, morality and the protection of intellectual property.

 

I would not demur in saying I agree with every single proposition listed above.

 

The laws of the land to which one is subjected are paramount, whether there are o.b markers or not.

 

I believe that God gives mankind complete freedom to decide what they want to do including the choice of religions, of course, some religions may not agree especially Muslims.  Hence I accept and respect the beliefs of my non-Catholic friends, including atheists and free thinkers.

 

G, kudos to you for holding a position of respect for the beliefs of your non-Catholic friends, including atheists and free thinkers.

 

You mentioned that you don’t care the number of people attending Novena, temples, mosques, and other places of worship and maintain there is absolutely no such thing as God. Of course you are entitled to your prerogative to stick to your decision.  The fact remains that there are people out there in huge numbers and growing believe there is a higher and superior spiritual being whom they call by various names – God, Yawehs, Allah, Buddha, or deities named after various animals, etc. 

 

It was clear I didn’t put it that way, G. You can have thousands of people attending a church, mosque, or any other place of worship but numbers alone cannot be taken as an indication that what they believe in is not false; to repeat, if a belief is false, it would still be false even if billions of people embrace it. To be sure there are about 21 major religions today,

 

You and I know the popularity of Novena Church, thongs of people going there Saturday after Saturday ever since the devotion started in the early 50’s.  Most of the attendees are not Catholics. They are people who have troubles in their lives, spiritual and temporal problems of many kinds. While they try hard to solve the problems themselves they realise they need additional help. Some continue to come because their prayers have been answered and are grateful and thankful. It is also a fact the number has grown over the years. The church now has plan to expand the place of worship from a seating capacity from 750 to 1500.

 

Please see my comments above; the truth or falsity of a belief cannot be decided by the numbers of its followers.

 

You mentioned that I am not aware that people attending church devotion has declined in Europe.You are way off the mark. If you refer to my previous messages I stated categorically that Christians of the developed world, notably, Europeans and North Americans,do not feel the need of God or religion although majority of them still claim they are Christians but non practising. They opt for the time being to enjoy the pleasure of the secular providing them. Despite all these depressive news, I remain optimistic. There is such thing as wait up calls. Signs in both continents are slowly appearing.

 

G, my line was clear: “You may not be aware of this, Christianity in Europe has lost much of its vigor or attraction, with attendance in Church, even over the week-ends, being restricted to only a handful of people, mostly elderly people.”

Just to ensure that I didn’t overlook your so-called categorical statement about Christians of the developed world, notably Europeans and North Americans, I re-read all the emails I have received from you concerning our discussions, but I could not find any mention made by you in this regard.

Please point out the email of yours that contains the comment/statement in question.

 

Your related the discussion which you had with John Wong. We all know that Europeans, including South Americans, have a passion for soccer. I don’t see anything wrong with such passion and strong attendance of soccer matches. This has nothing to do with religion. John, his family members including grandchildren are still active practising Catholics.

 

G, the reference to soccer was a rehash. John Wong recounted to us what he observed when he was in Europe. What he also noted was the poor attendance in Church services. And as I have said, news on or coming out from Europe in recent decades also gave the impression of poor attendance for Church services, in terms of headcount.

 

You narrated the many evil events ocurred over time, wars,disasters of all kinds etc and why the God mankind believed seems to be indifferent and doing nothing to stop them. As I said God gives the freedom of choice.  The horrible events are mostly man made or contribute over time destroying the environment for selfish personal gains, exploitation of fellow beings and other resources. There are also good people doing the opposite. And, of course, there are people who decide and direct what God should do. I know the Lord is watching the  events in his judgement throne and that he is very patient. He will decide what, when, and who to implement his remedies. 

 

I try to be open-minded in reading your arguments, quotations, etc.  However, I remain faithful to the religion that I adopted 50 years ago. It is because over the years I learn more and more of the religion and follow the teachings and am convinced that is what I want to do for the rest of my remaining years.  Despite all I read from your point of view, I exercise the god-given prerogative to read the bible frequently on the NT which my late parish priest advised me when I confided in him the difficulty I faced when reading the Bible. He told me be free to read what I feel comfortable with and help to improve my life. In reading the NT I often discover new mystery revelations which enrich my understanding of the gospel. I continue to pray daily as it is my belief and experience that the Lord often answered my prayers. Those not answered I accept the Lord’s decision but the problem eventually lightened or solved by some other means. 

Regards,

G

Needless to say, every person has to live by their principles notwithstanding these principles are guided, or not guided, by one’s religious faith or dogma, subject, however, to overriding considerations, such as the governing laws/statutes.

 

R

 

 

26.From: richard woo [mailto:rwookc@singnet.com.sg]

Sent: Tuesday, 9 April, 2013 2:00 PM

To: Christian

Subject: Discussions

 

G,

 

What I have said or represented so far can be deemed as nothing extraordinary, being basically pointers of the discoveries that came to me late in life.

 

My intention of writing was/is NOT to debate on the existence or non-existence of God; I have heard/read scores of debates on this area and am, shall I say, familiar with the argument points offered by both sides. Rather, my principle objective was to highlight biblical passages that render Bible-reading so revolting [such passages have never been read in Church insofar as I can tell from my experience as a Catholic] and to expose the innumerable inconsistencies/contradictions that a careful or critical reading of the text will reveal and render as invalid or unfounded any conception one may have of the so-called inerrancy of the Bible.

 

Most of the Christians I know and have discussed with concerning Christianity have convinced me how little they knew about Christianity and about what’s contained within the covers of the Bible. A Catholic who was a member of my staff in SCB was literally shocked when I showed him some of the passages taken from the OT.

 

You can argue that everyone is entitled to their opinion. But it would be foolish or irrational to disregard opinions that are supported with facts or evidence. The Bible is too huge a dunghill for anyone to inspect in minutiae every single bit of its dung. And of course the dung relates not only to the revolting passages relating to the cruelty, freakishness, hatred, intolerance, malevolence, racism and killing or genocidal instinct of Yahweh – for which I have given ample examples and which can be found littered throughout the pages of the Bible.

 

Citing examples of inconsistencies/contradictions was part of my objective, but as you are familiar with the NT, I guess you are also familiar with the inconsistencies/contradictions that the NT, not unlike the OT, is saturated with. The so-called crucifixion/resurrection account of Jesus is brimming with so many inconsistencies/contradictions that one cannot fail to miss them even through a casual reading of the text.

Nevertheless, I think I have said enough. So I shall consider this email as a closure to my side of the discussions, leaving the last word[s] to you.

 

Best,

 

R

 

 

27.From:Christian

Sent: Wednesday, 10 April, 2013 10:25 PM

To: richard woo

Subject: Re: NT

 

When large crowd of football fans queue up to buy tickets to watch Manchester United / Manchester City, the fans expect a great match.

 

When there is a long queue wait for sitting places at a restaurant, it indicates that the food must be delicious.

 

When large crowd gathers to worship, the faithful display their devotion and seek solace, peace and reconciliation.

 

The important issue  that matters is the people involved what they feel and believe and not what other people think of them.

 

It seems that the draft reply I did got lost in the process when I used the new Google format for mailing purpose. My mistake. Nonetheless, it is a well known fact that more and more people in the western world are not attending place of worship, not only affecting the Catholics but all religions except the Muslims. As previously mentioned, they are attracted to the good living  of the secular world, The Americans and Europeans have been spending more than they earn and are now in debt and paying the consequences. I am hopeful of the new pope when he chose the name ‘Francis” reminiscing the founder of the Franciscan Order in the twelfth century when he responded to God calling him to ‘ rebuild my church’.

 

I think our discussions have reached to a concluding stage -to agree to disagree as to the reading and interpreting of the Bible. I remain firmly in my belief to follow the teachings of Christ as to be found in the NT. Perhaps apart from the experiences of my life, the ups and downs, I have the privilege of knowing the Jesuit priest in Macau who spent his whole life until he died at the age of 94 serving cheerfully the Aids/Hiv victims, the lepers, and abandoned old poor folks in China, and the Vietnamese nuns serving the orphanages, abnormal children and old folks.  I admire them tremendously. I also believe my God is loving, forgiving and merciful and full of compassion to his errand children and waiting for their return to him. Always be hopeful and never to fear.

 

Regards,

 

G

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2 Responses to “An email conversation with a Christian concerning “God” and Bible”

  1. Choong Says:

    No points arguing with die hard believers. They always refused to look at facts pointed out to them and go in circular thinking. And I noticed it has nothing to do with their IQ or intelligence.

    Ask the N Korean if they still love the Kims, ask the abused wife if she still loves her husband after he is released from jail, and the answers are the same.

    Some people get addicted easily to alcohol, smoking, gambling but not others. Some are hard wired to crave a spiritual life either for emotional or whatever reasons. I called it the Religious Quotient. Except here the lower the better for mankind.

  2. richardwkc Says:

    Tks, Choong.

    This particular Christian happens to be an old friend of mine and was my colleague when we were both working in an international foreign bank. We are still swapping emails touching on almost everything, but mainly on the political scene in Singapore. Anyone analyzing the exchanges between us cannot help noticing that he was not challenging head-on the many comments I made about his God.

    I have not as yet come across a Christian who is not close-minded.

    My daughter has a friend who is said to be ‘intelligent,’ having graduated from an university in the UK and is now in the civil service. He is a Catholic.

    I told my daughter [who became a Catholic when I was plainly ignorant] that I would engage with this friend of hers concerning his religious beliefs, local politics and the govt of Singapore.

    I have my doubts that this person will turn out as an exception; the probability is that he will turn out as no different from the other Christians I have discussed with – with not much depth in the arguments they offered.

    I have had a short exchange with a professor of philosophy in a foreign university; this prof said he believed in God but when I queried him:
    “…Of course it is not clear from your answers whether you are a believer of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob [BibleGod] and whether you think of the BibleGod as omnipotent, omniscient, and morally perfect.”

    Regrettably, there was no response. I think he knew the difficulties he would face if he were to make an admission of his God being the BibleGod and thus might be asked to account for the revolting passages that are found littered throughout the Bible.

    Rgds

    Richard

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