did Jewish people make up God

Did Jewish People Make Up a God of Their Own Imagination?

Peter Guirguis Apologetics 59 Comments

Do you think it’s possible that the Jewish people back in ancient times made up a mythical God of their own imagination?

You know, like what if the God found in the Torah or the Old Testament of the Bible isn’t real, and the events are just made up?

This was a question that I used to think about from time to time when I was an atheist.

Whether you believe in God, are an atheist, or you’re experiencing spiritual doubts, this is a fascinating topic to think about.

That’s because it’s conclusion is intriguing, and is something that can have a profound impact on your spiritual beliefs.

But First, You Need to Have Some Background Information

For the sake of this article, we’re only going to be discussing the first five books of the Bible.

These five books are:

  • Genesis
  • Exodus
  • Leviticus
  • Numbers
  • Deuteronomy

These five books are commonly known as the Pentateuch.

It’s a widely held belief that the author of these five books is Moses.

However, there are passages of these books that are thought to have been written by someone else.

In particular, the passage that refers to Moses’s death is believed to have been written by his assistant, Joshua.

Some scholars believe that there are several different authors who wrote these five books.

But the most important thing to focus on is that the contents of these 5 books were written and shared among the Jewish people of that time.

So Here’s Where It Gets Interesting

There are certain passages in these five books that reveal a supernatural intervention.

If these stories were lies and were presented to the Israelites of that time as truth, then these stories wouldn’t have survived.

So here are some examples:

1. God Parting the Red Sea for the Children of Israel

The children of Israel were captives in Egypt for 400 years.

Then after several miracles, they were set free.

However, once the Israelites left Egypt, Pharaoh and his army felt remorse for letting them go.

They ended up pursuing the Israelites so that they can bring them back to Egypt.

As the Israelites were fleeing from the Egyptians, they came across a dead-end.

This dead-end was the Red Sea.

So the story goes that Moses called upon God.

God told Moses to lift up his rod,  stretch out his hands, and that the Red Sea would part.

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According to the story, Moses did just that and the Red Sear split open.

The Israelites were able to cross the Red Sea while the Egyptians were held back.

Then once the Israelites crossed to the other side, God caused the Red Sea to close again, and the Egyptians ended up dying.

See Exodus 14 for the full story.

Now whether you believe in this story or not, it’s entirely up to you.

But here’s what I want you to think about…

If Moses wrote down the story and then shared it with the Israelites of that time, and that story was a lie, then the people would have responded by saying, “Moses, what you be smoking? This story that you made up is wild and imaginative!”

But that’s not what happened. And this story was written in the Hebrew Bible, and was passed down as fact.

call to me and I will show you great and might things which you did not know

Ok, here’s another one.

2. God Leads the Israelites As a Pillar of Cloud By Day And a Pillar of Fire by Night

So when the children of Israel were freed from the Egyptians, it says that God appeared to them in a supernatural way.

Here’s what it says in Exodus 13:21:

And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night. He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day or the pillar of fire by night from before the people.

So if Moses wrote down these words and shared it with the people at that time, and he was lying, then wouldn’t the people have responded with,”Moses, what you be smoking? This story that you made is wild and imaginative!”

The Israelites of the time would not have passed this story on to the next generation as something that actually happened.

See what I’m getting at?

Ok, here’s the next example.

3. The Israelites Are Afraid of God’s Presence

In Exodus 20, you’ll find the story of how God gave Moses the 10 Commandments on top of a mountain.

Moses writes that when the people saw God’s presence appear on top of the mountain, that they became crazy scared.

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Here’s what’s written in verses 18 and 19:

“Now all the people witnessed the thunderings, the lightning flashes, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood afar off. Then they said to Moses, ‘You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die.’”

So if the story was written and shared by Moses back then to the people, and if it wasn’t true, then wouldn’t the Israelites have been like, “Moses, what you be smoking? This story that you made up is wild and imaginative!”

The Israelites of the time would not have passed this story on to the next generation as something that actually happened.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

God is the God who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that you can think or imagine.Click To Tweet

Here Are Some Answers to Objections

 

So I originally had thought of several objections that people might have to my blog post, and I began to answer them in this section.

But then I thought that it would be a cool idea to let the Not Ashamed of the Gospel community come up with their own objections to this blog post by writing a comment.

Then we can all have a discussion about this topic.

So do you think it’s possible that the Jews in ancient times made up a mythical God of their own imagination?

 

About the Author

Peter Guirguis

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I'm the Technology and Social Media Manager of Calvary Chapel South Bay, a church in Gardena, California. My passion is to see people give their life to Christ both online and offline. I've created the free guide to getting thousands of Twitter followers to show ordinary people how to get extraordinary results on Twitter.

 

Comments 59

  1. Q: Do you think it’s possible that the Jewish people back in ancient times made up a mythical God of their own imagination?

    A: Yes, just like most cultures (both ancient and modern) did or have done.

    The pertinent question should be “Is there any good reason or evidence to believe in the Jewish deity (Yahweh) over other cultures gods?”.

    The follow up question would be “Why don’t people with a particular god belief give credence to other belief systems gods?”.

    R

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      Hi R, that is a good point that you bring up, and it’s definitely one of the objections that I thought about when I was writing my article. So you mentioned in your comment that just like most other cultures, the Jewish people did make up a mythical God. So with that in mind, can you give me just one example of a culture that comes to mind that we can use for comparison?

      I know that there are many out there to choose from, but just give me one, please, so we can discuss this further. Thanks R

      1. P,

        There is definitely a vast array to choose from! The first culture that popped in my mind from the same time period you referenced above is ancient Egypt. Check out the Egyptian god Aten.

        And just as a bonus, check out the Moab god Chemosh. Pretty interesting story from the Old Testament.

        R

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          Hey R, so I went to go read up on the Egyptian god named Aten. I found a few articles including one on Wikipedia. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find an article that pinpointed exactly how this god first got created. However, I have a feeling that there are similarities to the other mythical gods out there.

          So here is where I was going with this, R. And of course, as always, I welcome and respect your feedback. The difference that I find in the Hebrew God of the Old Testament and other mythical God’s is that there seems to be claimed eyewitness testimony by millions of people at singular points in time.

          So for example, imagine that on January 1 of this year, millions of people in the city of Manhattan gave an eyewitness testimony that they saw a strange spherical like object at 11:30 am. People from their buildings saw this strange object, it was caught on videotape, and every person walking the streets of Manhattan saw it.

          So therefore, when people go to those eyewitnesses and they asked them about it, they all have very similar observations. This is what I see as happening in the Old Testament Bible and the examples that I wrote in my article. All of the Jewish people during the time of Moses were eyewitnesses to seeing a pillar of cloud in the day and a pillar of fire by night that guided them through the desert.

          And these eyewitness testimonies were so powerful, that they were passed on to the next generation who did not see the same thing but they believed their parents who saw it. So do you see where I’m going with this?

  2. It is impossible for the Bible not to be the inspired Word of God, even though it was written down by people.
    The Bible is not just an intellectual exercise, and cannot be dealt with on that basis.
    One cannot look at a building, and understand it just by looking at it.
    One has to consider everything about that building.
    I have probed the Bible in-depth for about 45 years now, and I find the more results I find, the more the vista expands.
    Humans, no matter how clever they are, can create something that has ever more intrinsic depth, the more you probe.
    The problem is not the Bible or the God it talks about, but lack of on-going research into what it is dealing with. The Holy Spirit will show you more and more, if you ask Him.
    And everything I have talked about here, is completely testable.
    Can certain things be shown to be so?
    What variations are there?
    Why are they there?
    Is the central theme consistently consistent?
    etc., etc., etc…………………………..

    The other so-called ‘religions’ are thought systems of varying depths of profundity, and thought systems no matter how profound, can never provide ultimate truth.

    1. Doug,

      How did you determine that “It is impossible for the Bible not to be the inspired Word of God”?

      I’d also be interested in you sharing the “completely testable” methods you mentioned above and results that these tests provided.

      Thanks!

      R

      1. That’s easy. Spend time in the Word of God, and explore everything as much as possible. The Author of the Bible will assist you in your endeavors, leading you to further knowledge. Don’t just read the Bible, explore it, sentence by sentence, phrase by phrase , chapter by chapter,1 book by book, context by context, etc., etc.
        You have to prove it yourself, otherwise you will say, ah it is just that, or this, because you don’t have the background to what I am saying.

        1. Thanks Doug – even though you didn’t answer my question I appreciate the response. I was hoping you had actual, verified, repeatable demonstrations of “completely testable” evidence for “ultimate truth”. I’ll keep searching.

          And so you know, I spent years “in the Word” – both growing up in a strict Christian environment and in formal Christian based education. So far, nothing I have seen, read, encountered or experienced has led me to believe that God (or any gods/deities/supernatural anything) exists. Even though I did try very ernestly to justify my beliefs. I desperately wanted to know that things I believed were true – that actually matters to me very much.

          However, along the way I have discovered that “proving things to myself” isn’t the most reliable path to truth. People can convince themselves (or be convinced) beyond any doubt of just about any proposition. I certainly encourage anyone to examine their beliefs very critically. If you have found ultimate truth then a little examination shouldn’t pose a threat!

          Just my thoughts. I appreciate the discussion and the time!

          Peace,

          R

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            Hey R, this is the first time I see you mentioning that you grew up in a strict Christian environment and in formal Christian-based education. May I please ask you if you belonged to a certain denomination when you were growing up?

            1. Peter –

              Yes sir – Southern Baptist born and bred! Attended just about every church service available growing up while at the same time attending private Baptist prep school from k-12 grade. Making that altar call at a young age (12ish?). Embracing my beliefs and denomination well into adulthood.

              The funny thing is when I went to work for a Catholic institution as an adult I seriously dug into my beliefs to make sure my Southern Baptist doctrine was the correct one I was sure it was! Once I applied a little critical thinking and research into where and what Christianity and god beliefs in general were, along with comparing other religious views and claims …. my worldview fell apart and I saw religious beliefs for what they are – man made constructs based on superstition and a need to explain our surroundings with very limited knowledge. Morphing into codified dogma over the centuries.

              Its a difficult thing to be willing to consider a thought, worldview, religion or mindset other than the one a person has become indoctrinated into and feels that comfort in finality. Change is a supremely uncomfortable prospect for us to embrace. Julie Guilbaud said something that rings very true for me – “The main reason why Christianity is false has nothing to do with Evolution, Astronomy or other scientific discoveries (although they do badly hit it). It is a matter of History, Archaeology and comparative studies of Religion. All the supernatural stories of the Bible point undoubtedly towards Human imagination.”

              My challenge to the faithful remains – be willing to scrub your beliefs against those of other viewpoints. I’m pretty sure your God would appreciate putting the intellect you posses to good use. He has however created this mystery which demands investigation- correct?? In my world of fitness, the only way to grow is to constantly push past your comfort zone and break through plateaus. We have a saying – if you hate change, you’re really going to hate irrelevance.

              On another thread concerning the validity of the Hebrew faith based on eyewitness accounts – do sheer numbers make things correct? Although I question putting credence in witness accounts from those who have a bias in the discussion, especially ancient accounts, I will admit it adds an interesting twist. One shared my other veins of faith- Islalm, Buddhism, Mormonism, Peoples Temple……… you could interview hundreds (maybe thousands) who have seen and interacted face to face with aliens, How is this information vetted and confirmed?

              Haha how do we get to the bottom of this??!1 Keep dong what you do my brother! Peace and kick ass this week!

              R

              ps – Did you check out the story of the Moab god Chemosh. Seems to prove that Hebrews where aware of other gods. They just embrace their Yahweh as the more powerful (seems like a pretty common human thread right?? “Mine is better than yours!” Puts the commandment of “Put no other Gods before me” in a whole new light!

              1. Ha ha, thanks R! This is one of my favorite comments that you’ve written on my blog so far. I think it’s because you talked about your story which I found to be extremely fascinating!

                So was there an event in your life that triggered you to start applying your critical thinking to your belief system?

                As far as your comparison between Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and Mormonism, here is my two cents. From my study of those religions, I cannot find a single event that is a parallel to the ones that I mentioned in my article.

                It’s estimated that at the time that the Jewish people exited Egypt and were in the desert, that there were approximately 3 million of them. These 3 million people allegedly saw divine manifestations of Yahweh and because of those eyewitness testimonies, they passed along their stories to the next generation who did not see them. I’m unable to find any other similar examples from both mythology or other world religions. But if you can find any, please let me know. As you said, it does add a certain interesting twist to the discussion.

                Do eyewitness testimonies add credence to a belief system? I think it depends on the type, and the corroborating evidence. However, doesn’t our current court system accept certain forms of eyewitness testimonies as sufficient evidence?

              2. Thanks Peter –

                The only “event” that would qualify as a trigger to honestly study my Christian beliefs was going to work for a Catholic organization. As a Southern Baptist I felt like a prophet in a strange land. Obviously I wanted to make sure my doctrine was correct because I was pretty sure the Catholics had it wrong…..!!

                What I discovered after a few years of humbling research into paganism, the beginnings of Christianity, strands of Christianity, Gnosticism, other world religions, canonization of the Bible, on and on……………… is that if I had to pick a religion to follow it would DEFINITELY be Norse mythology – it doesn’t get much cooler than that!!

                No, but seriously what I found was that by applying the outsider test for faith on my own belief system as well as mixing in a little knowledge of indoctrination, history, archaeology, comparative studies of religion, critical thinking and a dash of common sense…….. was that I was absolutely unconvinced that ANY god claim had merit or legitimate evidence to back it up.

                It truly made me sick to realize everything I had been taught to believe was unsubstantiated. BUT, then I realized something magical – I don’t need a fairy tale belief system to be the same moral, fun, loving, excited to be alive, mortal being that I am!! I was totally free to maximize this one life I’m 100% sure exists. Its’ easily the greatest revelation I could ever hope for.

                I know religion provides all kinds of comfort – social, emotional, etc., but believing in true things matters to me so therefore I embrace the discomfort of being human. I still love the discussion because its a true thrill to see someone have a critical thought about something for the first time. I’m not here to destroy anyone’s religion – only a monster would deny people things that they cherish – I’m just here to provide a viewpoint from the “other” side.

                As always, I honestly appreciate the forum and the time/effort you put into this blog. Thanks for allowing me to be a part of your community!

                R

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              4. Peter –

                Yes – married 27 years to the same beautiful and nutty girl of my dreams, 2 boys (22 & 18 years old) who now tower over me and cost me waaaay to much $$$$ in food and tuition.

                I’m still curious what the one thing is that convinces you that any religion is plausible and that your particular version of Christianity is the right one.

                Enjoy the weekend!

                R

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                Wow, R, that is super cool! I’m sure if you found a woman to put up with all of your shenanigans for 27 years, then she’s definitely a keeper 🙂 Ha ha, just kidding and yanking your chain a little 🙂

                May I ask you if your wife is an atheist too?

                As for your question about what is it that convinces that my religion is possible, then I would have to say that my number one reason is the personal experience that I had. I know that there are some apologists that like to dismiss personal experiences because they say that transformation stories are a dime a dozen even in different religions out there. However, my personal experience was very much in tune with the Bible so that is what got me started down my faith journey.

                And the rest, as they say, is history. But my story is posted on my blog, I’m not sure if you ever saw it over here http://notashamedofthegospel.com/testimony/peterguirguis/

              6. Peter –

                NO KIDDING!! Kinda crazy that she’s put up with me for so long huh?!? The extra crazy part is that she grew yup one year behind me, attending the same church, private religious school, college…… we’ve know each other our entire life and shared the exact same upbringing!

                I’m not certain she would classify herself as an atheist. She would dearly love the idea of an afterlife to be true (so she could visit with special people from her life) but realizes the possibility of any religions claim of “heaven” is slim to none. Its funny to me that rather than the cold hard facts that drove me away from religion and its claims, she was/is actually pushed away more by the hypocrisy that she sees in religious leaders of all faiths. Her logic makes sense to me as well – first off trying to decipher what claims if any are true, then factor in religious leaders and followers behavior…. you wind up with a very murky picture of reasons to want to sign up! She definitely agrees with me that secular humanism makes WAY more sense as a moral code to live by than other options presented.

                I’d agree with you that personal experiences are hard to beat as far as proofs to ones self go. I also think you’d agree with me that as proof to anyone else they aren’t very convincing. Like you said, lots of people have “experiences” that don’t line up or agree in any way. I sought that personal experience in earnest for many years and it never came. As I became more educated, less indoctrinated and more skeptical of supernatural claims I realized that the true miracles in this world were right in front of me – family, fiends, love. I don’t need a God to see or appreciate any of those things. As a matter of fact they are sweeter without the burden of religious baggage.

                Hope that all makes sense – I’m in a rush to kids activities. Later my friend!

                R

              7. Oh, and one other quick thing………

                There is no solid evidence (archaeological or otherwise) that supports the story of 3 million Jews being enslaved by Egypt. Therefore “eyewitness testimony” of events that transpired as a result of them being set free into the desert do not carry much weight in my opinion.

                R

              8. Not sure this posted??? So I’ll try again:

                Oh, and one more quick thing –

                There is no evidence (archaeological or otherwise) that 3 million Jews were enslaved by Egypt. Therefore, any “eyewitness testimony” of events that transpired once they were set free don’t carry much weight in my opinion.

                R

              9. “the strangely elusive and counterintuitive character of the quantum world has encouraged some to suggest that the idea of entities like electrons which can be in unpicturable states such as superpositions of being ‘here’ and being ‘there’ is no more than a convenient manner of speaking which facilitates calculations, and that electrons themselves are not to be taken with ontological seriousness. The counterattack of the scientific realist appeals to intelligibility as the key to reality. It is precisely because the assumption of the existence of electrons allows us to understand a vast range of directly accessible phenomena—such as the periodic table in chemistry, the phenomenon of superconductivity at low temperatures and the behaviour of devices such as the laser—that we take their existence seriously.”
                ― John Polkinghorne, Science and Religion in Quest of Truth

              10. Doug –

                Trying to figure out how John Polkinghorne figures into whether or not the Jewish people created Yahweh out of imagination. What am I missing?

                R

              11. R. I am taking a new approach. I will just post what I deem to be relevant answers to your questions. The Lord has blessed me to live to currently 81, and He has told me that He still has plans for me. So R if we were having a discussion on the subject matter I would do my best to share with you what I think, but not where it causes a disparaging remark on my person, that is not a discussion. That is a slinging match. Different points of view is not a problem, but when it is not dealt with in terms of the merits of the case, it falls apart.
                I am taking the new approach because it de-peronalises things, if you choose to take your approach with said people, that is your choice.

              12. Sounds good Doug, and I appreciate it!

                I just really don’t understand what John Polkinghorne wrote or how it applied. It flew right over my not so smart head!

                If I disparaged you in any manner I sincerely apologize – certainly wasn’t/isn’t my intention.

                R

              13. O.K. R, I will risk it then.
                When I was in junior school there was short little lady, bookkeeping and arithmetic teacher, who would teach, and then at the end of the lesson would say Q.E.D.! Qoud et demonstrandum [it is demonstrated], and on the chalkboard at the bottom right hand corner write Q.E.D.in big letters.
                She succeeded, because it is a lesson I have kept with me all my life, if it can’t be shown to be so, it is questionable whether it is the truth. I have demanded that it be demonstrable.

                What are the laws of probability?
                In probability theory, the law (or formula) of total probability is a fundamental rule relating marginal probabilities to conditional probabilities. It expresses the total probability of an outcome which can be realized via several distinct events—hence the name.
                The term law of total probability is sometimes taken to mean the law of alternatives, which is a special case of the law of total probability applying to discrete random variables.[citation needed] One author even uses the terminology “continuous law of alternatives” in the continuous case.[4] This result is given by Grimmett and Welsh[5] as the partition theorem, a name that they also give to the related law of total expectation.

                There is much more surrounding the subject of chance, but for space sake we will leave it there.
                It is impossible for the universe to have come about by chance, the laws of chance prohibit it, because you are then no longer dealing with chance.
                This has been stated by many individuals of far,far, far greater minds than mine.

                The universe as a whole operates on givens at every level conceivable, and at the quantum level it even uses the laws of chance so it can be there and not there at the very same time.
                And only an incredibly supreme being, with incredible intelligence could start the whole thing [the big bang] and then keep the whole thing going and growing, the more the instruments penetrate the universe, the more constellations keep getting found.
                And which one of all the religions, philosophies on earth, etc., are able to explain the above, and not only that contain the above in its writings, I have looked through as many as I could find, and only the Bible has the same qualities of incredible depth, the more you find, the more there is. And I am not talking about theological descriptions of the Bible, but the Bible explaining itself, and all the facts, therein.
                Data from inside the Bible compared to data within the Bible, and is the data found within the Bible testable by further data? Yes, very much so, try it for yourself.
                Then what the Bible says should be taken note of!!!!
                The message as a whole is what is relevant here, not getting bogged down in the detail, although the data is explainable when sufficient data is brought to bear on the individual items.
                And end result is so wonderful that I could start another whole long posting.
                I apologize for the length of this one, but it is the only way the point could be made.
                Blessings to you and yours everyone
                Doug

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  3. How do we know the stories didn’t start out as simple truths easily explained but get embellished as time went on to make them more interesting? Like my Dad who keeps telling the same stories but they get a little crazier each time. To God be the glory!

    1. marknc,

      So, you’re suggesting that the Bible is not the inerrant, perfect, factually true words from the mouth of God that we’ve been led to believe?

      R

      1. I believe it is, I was offering that as an objection that people raise to refute the Bible as truth. It’s probably already on Peter’s list though. Thanks!

  4. Playing the opposition again… The Bible itself mentions that pharaohs magicians were able to reproduce several of the same feats that Moses did. How do we know that Moses wasn’t a better magician than the Egyptians – but a magician none the less? Although granted, that would be some big smoke and mirrors to part the Red Sea. Maybe he had help? To God be the Glory!

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  5. There are a multitude of reasons for a person to not believe in Christ or the Bible, if they really don’t want to believe. A person could come up with “objections” to every biblical argument in existence.

    “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Cor. 1:18)

    It takes a certain meekness and humility to accept the gift of salvation, something that we can’t earn nor do we even deserve. We like to be the hero in our own story, but in the story of the Bible, Jesus is the hero. And that is a stumbling block to many people.

    Now I’m not saying discussions such as this that Peter has started are unworthy. I’m just saying that it’s gonna be near impossible to “prove” to someone that Jesus is real and the Bible is truth if they really don’t want to believe those things. For example, “that guy” will NEVER be convinced. At least not but by us anyway.

    1. Hi Emi,

      Couple of things stand out to me from your post.

      First – I don’t see belief as a choice. I do not choose to “not believe” in Christ, Bible stories, deities, unicorns, flying spaghetti monsters, etc. – there just isn’t enough evidence for any of these things to make me confident they are true. Belief is something we have no control over; it is simply a stance of confidence taken by our brains after having considered the available evidence.

      Second – I’m absolutely able to be convinced!! Convinced of practically ANYTHING if presented with plausible, verifiable evidence that leads to confidence in a proposition being true. Please convince me! I’ll will say that “biblical arguments” don’t sway me. I don’t think the most important message in human existence should need to be propped up by arguments (cosmological, telelogical, ontological, etc) to make it convincing. It seems like that info would be a slam dunk no brainer if there truly was a deity who cared about us mortal humans and where we would spend an afterlife.

      My questions for you would be – Why do you believe in the Christian God? Why don’t you believe in other proposed gods?

      Thanks for the discussion!

      R

      1. thatguy,

        Why do I believe in the Christian God? Because I fell in love with Him, with His love, mercy, FREE gift of salvation, His holiness — I could go on and on. No other gods from any other religions paid the punishment for my sins. No other god offered me freedom from the bondage of my sins. No other gods promised to never leave me or forsake me no matter how wretched I am. In fact, every other god requires me to earn my own salvation, but Jesus gave me salvation for free. All I have to do is believe. Yes, God requires FAITH. Not blind faith, but faith nonetheless. God reveals Himself through nature, through the laws of science and logic, just open your eyes. In fact, in your heart of hearts, you KNOW that God is real. You just don’t want to give up yourself to Him, you want to think that you’re in control. You don’t want to surrender yourself. That is really the only reason people don’t accept Jesus. But yet something in you isn’t satisfied. You are still yearning for more.. and I believe that is why you frequent these blogs by Peter. All I can do is pray that you will take that step of faith, surrender yourself to Jesus who will save your soul and satisfy all the desires of your heart.

        Emi

        1. Emi,

          I can sense from your response that you are a truly thoughtful, loving and caring person – I admire and applaud people like you. You truly make the world a better place!

          My hang up with using faith to justify belief in a God, in particular the Christian version of God, is that I can’t think of any proposition or position that I couldn’t use faith to justify. So, I’m left searching for more concrete answers and evidendences.

          Again, thanks for thinking of me!

          R

    2. I have a book called Qou Vadis Codis Maximus, Whither goes thou Highest Truth, the central concept of which is to seek the highest truth, no matter what. It takes real courage to do that, because one has to be able to leave ones pet theories and concepts behind, which sometimes can be a source of comfort, and look the truth squarely in the eye, and then accept the consequences.
      In my search I wandered for many years through all the topical religions, philosophical concepts, etc., all of which initially sounded good, but as I drove forward dealing with their claims, they all came short as I drove them into a corner. Their core foundations did not hold up under scrutiny.
      At the core they are all about self, and what I can get out of it.
      To my surprise the harder I pushed the Bible the more depth I found, and the more depth I found, and the more depth I found, and now I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that Jesus Christ is the only name by which salvation can be found.
      The Bible is about caring for others, and finding yourself in the process.
      However, I can’t spoon feed you a journey like that, you have to do for yourself, you have to do the search for yourself, that is if you have the courage of your present convictions. Why are you holding them, and above all are you prepared to let the truth do what it has to do with them?

  6. Hi ‘that guy’
    However, along the way I have discovered that “proving things to myself” isn’t the most reliable path to truth. People can convince themselves (or be convinced) beyond any doubt of just about any proposition
    Right here is one of the problems, – a negative intellectual attitude preempts any logical discussion, no matter one says it will be like blowing into the wind, an exercise in futility.
    However, lets look at some basics –
    We are spirit, soul and body.
    When we are born something makes us alive, when we die something is different, something is gone from us, the vital part of us, the part that makes us alive, that we call our spirit. It has to have a name of some kind – that quality. Testable statement.
    As we ‘live’ it can be observed that what we call the ‘soul’ is the will, intellect and emotions.
    We make choices, even to eat, etc., therefore we have a will.
    We ‘think’, we call that the intellect, and that is the part that makes choices on a continuous basis, a process that we are unable to stop. We can either make negative choices, or positive ones, or graduations in between. Life experience shows that predominant negative leads to destruction/death. A predominant positive is shown to contribute and build up ones life. Testable statements.
    We have a body that screams at us if we don’t take care of it, it needs positive contribution to it to stay alive, or it dies.
    If we can’t agree on these basic things, then there is no point in discussing anything further.
    Basics provide a foundation, if one has no foundation, how can one then build anything? People who have tried to build with no foundation, find the building collapses around them. Testable statements.
    Peace
    Doug

    1. Doug –

      A ” a negative intellectual attitude”?? I’m not quite sure what you mean by that but i assume you’re speaking of critical thinking and skepticism. Logical discussions (or logic as a basis for reason) don’t begin with a conclusion then mold the “facts” to fit. This is why its very difficult to have meaningful discussions with theist who are convinced they have have found absolute truth. It’s telling to me that every religion claims to be the true, correct one – to the exclusion of all others. Obviously they can’t all be right! So, the default position must be that they are ALL wrong.

      I’d challenge you apply the outsiders test for faith to your own particular beliefs and see how they stack up against your thoughts on other religions. Would you be willing to take an honest stab at this and share the results with this bliog community?

      One other thing – you keep making the claim of “testable statements”. In what way are they testable? Can you explaint to me the difference between a testable and non testable statement? I’m trying to be clear on what you are describing and the methods behind reaching your conclusions. Thanks!

      R

      1. HI Thatguy
        Search Results
        test·a·ble
        ˈtestəb(ə)l/
        adjective
        adjective: testable

        able to be tested or tried.
        “a testable hypothesis”

        Therefore non-testable is the exact opposite, it a hypothesis that is not testable.

        Clearly, in the search for truth –
        truth
        tro͞oTH/
        noun
        noun: truth

        the quality or state of being true.
        “he had to accept the truth of her accusation”
        synonyms: veracity, truthfulness, verity, sincerity, candor, honesty; More
        accuracy, correctness, validity, factuality, authenticity
        “he doubted the truth of her statement”
        antonyms: dishonesty, falseness
        that which is true or in accordance with fact or reality.
        noun: the truth
        “tell me the truth”
        synonyms: what actually happened, the case, so; More
        the gospel (truth), the honest truth
        “it’s the truth, I swear”
        fact(s), reality, real life, actuality
        “truth is stranger than fiction”
        antonyms: lies, fiction
        a fact or belief that is accepted as true.
        plural noun: truths
        “the emergence of scientific truths”
        synonyms: fact, verity, certainty, certitude; More………
        things need to be testable, as to whether they are true or not.

        Before we proceed, at no stage did I say that ‘all’ religions are right, in fact I said that only one, the Christian, is able to be tested to the full, and the more you probe, the more truth emerges, all other religions and philosophies fail the more you probe.

        Search Results
        log·ic
        ˈläjik/
        noun
        noun: logic

        1.
        reasoning conducted or assessed according to strict principles of validity.
        “experience is a better guide to this than deductive logic”
        synonyms: reasoning, line of reasoning, rationale, argument, argumentation
        “the logic of their argument”
        a particular system or codification of the principles of proof and inference.
        “Aristotelian logic”
        the systematic use of symbolic and mathematical techniques to determine the forms of valid deductive argument.
        plural noun: logics
        the quality of being justifiable by reason.
        “there’s no logic in telling her not to hit people when that’s what you’re doing”
        synonyms: reason, judgment, logical thought, rationality, wisdom, sense, good sense, common sense, sanity; informalhorse sense
        “this case appears to defy all logic”
        the course of action or line of reasoning suggested or made necessary by.
        “if the logic of capital is allowed to determine events”
        2.
        a system or set of principles underlying the arrangements of elements in a computer or electronic device so as to perform a specified task.

        ‘It’s telling to me that every religion claims to be the true, correct one – to the exclusion of all others. Obviously they can’t all be right! So, the default position must be that they are ALL wrong. ‘

        The logic in that sentence is based on a miss-statement of something that was not said, so it cannot fit within the rules of logic. In fact the exact opposite to the sentence was being said.

        So I come back to my example and say that each of those statements is ‘testable’ because it falls within the parameters for testing, – it can be seen to be seen to be so on a continuous basis, unless the observer chooses to put on mental blinkers, and chooses to stay with their invented hypothesis, and will not accept the presented evidence.

        Blessings to you and yours
        Doug

  7. Realized that I did not cover ’emotions’ in my previous posting.
    The choices we make produce emotions/feelings, either as we make the choices, or in the ricochet responses from our choices from our environment. Anybody who tries to negate or kill the emotions, often ends up as a criminal, or in a mental asylum, because it is actually a state of utter selfishness, a type of emotional state of centralized emotion. Testable statements.

  8. Hey wassup that guy, I use to question the Bible a lot too. I’m not here to condemn you or to tell you something is wrong with you or your thinking. I’ve been a Christian for 13 years and I still have questions and struggle with sin. I believe the biggest evidence that Christianity is true is the Holy Spirit. He leads you into truth but he also gives you great super natural experiences like his presence. You can still resist the Holy Spirit however. My friend had 7 spiritual experiences with the Holy Spirit and still doesn’t believe. Also as you walk with Christ and obey you will begin to have super natural experiences. Many gain super natural gifts as well. that will boost your faith. God promises that if you search him with all your heart you will find him. Thomas doubted God too but Jesus didn’t reject him, instead he let him touch his wounds. If you want to find out if He’s real just search him with all you got and He will show up in your life to prove to you he’s real. I know you might think I’m living in Lala land for saying this part, but please be aware that demons might try to hurt you too on this journey. No one warned me of this when I was a new Christian and I wish they did, cuz these demons bug you a lot when you try to seek God. Just pray for Gods protection when they do try to harm you. Any ways I believe you’ll believe because you will witness the supernatural. And remember just because people out there are doing fake supernatural things for money or fame doesn’t mean the real events don’t actually occur. You want proof and that’s cool. Super natural things will be the proof.

    1. Hey Peter,

      Good to hear from you! You know we’ve taken opposite paths – I’ve found my way out of religious beliefs after being a staunch Christian for nearly 40 years. I definitely appreciate you advocating for your beliefs, but I just can’t get my head around appeals to the supernatural to prove the supernatural. As I’ve maintained, if this or any other religion were based on actual facts and absolutely true then there should NO doubt or need for questions at all.

      What we have evidence for is a muddy mess of supernatural stories, etc that look suspiciously man made. Trying to advocate for believers to take a critical look at the things they believe is like punching smoke (see conversations with Doug above). It’s
      away to scary to for people to question their views.

      As always I thank you for the forum and look forward to what you post next.

      Peace to you and yours!

      R

      1. Hi, that guy
        So you reckon I am punching smoke?!?
        Proof yet again of that age old saying – There is none so deaf than those who choose not hear.
        At least those that are biologically deaf, have an excuse.
        I also said in the beginning that it would be an exercise in futility.
        However, there are those on this forum that are able to hear, so I thought I would start a discussion starting from the basics to addressing the question that you raised.

        You challenged me to present my case so I did.
        The evidence I presented, which would directly address the question you raised, obviously goes in one ear and straight out the other ear, not being looked at with any degree of comprehension. It bounces straight back to the reading platform.

        You are not going to like what I am going to say, but I will go ahead anyway, because I care about your eternity.
        The adversary to christians has gotten hold of your soul, will, intellect and emotions, clouded your mind, which is obviously a good mind.from your postings, so that you are now under his control.
        This is obvious from your responses, and the fact that you are choosing to make disparaging remarks elsewhere in the forum.
        The adversary always has the same strategy “Did he really say ‘this or that’. Sowing doubt wherever he goes. He has no originality, he just peddles the same old, the same old.
        Once doubt becomes king, the person then is unable to see the wood for the trees.

        The only hope then is if the person decides that they are not going to be controlled by some outside influence. With the adversary there is always casting aspersions.

        With God the Father, Jesus, the Son of God, and the Holy Spirit there is ever increasing freedom at every possible level, that is Who they are, and that is who they are surrounding themselves with.

        Theology is not Christianity, the dictionary defines theology as opinions.
        The facts in the Bible are what is true Christianity.

        1. Wow Doug – that’s a LOT to digest!

          What I meant was trying to nail down a theist to a concrete answer is like punching smoke – they never offer much substance. And predictably you haven’t offered anything new for me to sink my teeth into or truly consider new. You do however have quite a way of producing many words to say very little.

          I’ll stick to my original questions to you – 1. How did you determine that “It is impossible for the Bible not to be the inspired Word of God”? 2. What are the “completely testable” methods you’ve performed and what results have these tests provided. 3. Are you willing to consider you’re beliefs from an outsiders perspective.

          I honestly don’t expect anything more substantial than what you’ve provided so far but it’s worth a final shot.

          I believe wholeheartedly that you have found the ultimate answers/truth and now have zero need to consider questioning your stance. For some of us however, believing true things really does matter and accepting the uncomfortable answers discovered in the process of vetting information is just part of the deal.

          I bet Peter will attest to my willingness to have the conversation and thoughtfully consider claims, arguments, evidences that I haven’t seen or studied before. I enjoy the blog and the viewpoints offered so I’ll still be reading every word of every post and response in hopes that someone will offer something that approaches a valid reason to believe that any religious claim is legitimate.

          Thanks again for the time. I look forward to your thoughts on Peter’s next post!

          R

  9. Hey that guy,

    I think it’s good that you are seeking for answers. The Bible says those who seek him will find him. I really don’t know what else to say because I’m not that great at socializing about ideas like you. I speak from the heart mostly. I want to apologize for the church and its lack of spiritual power in the western world. The miracles signs and wonders usually follow those who are obedient to the word and truly committed to God. I personally have felt his supernatural presence in the past. For two years I prayed at a prayer house in Long Beach ca and experience his love. I also experience feeling other people pain when praying for them. I would get words from God and asked them if that’s what’s going on in their lives. They would say yes and then I would pray for them. The church I prayed at had the gift of prophecy. We would use it to help heal wounded souls that ended up in our church. I went through a season of deep darkness however and fell back into sin. The demonic attack on my life was just too much for me. The spirits would even physically hurt me. I know I have authority over them, but during that season I just wasn’t winning. I hope you don’t think I’m making this up. Lately I haven’t been operating in the supernatural but I want to get back to it again. My gift of prophecy has also been hindered by demonic activity. I’m going through a season of healing and deliverance right now.

    I’m sorry if you had been hurt by the church. Sorry if the church has not lived up to the biblical standard of love that God desires from us. The church is suppose to come with power and not just mere words. I pray you find a church that operates in the super natural daily so you can believe. Hopefully you will run into some one with the gift of healing. Maybe you can witness some one healed of cancer or AIDS so you can believe. Maybe God can give you a supernatural vision. I hope you witness miracles. You just have to ask God to bring you to the right people that witness this on a daily basis. The evidence you seek is occurring around the world. You just haven’t witnessed the miracles yet. I have been lucky enough to get a taste of it. Just keep seeking and you will find evidence that Jesus Christ is real and that his words are true. Also when you read the Bible you will learn truth; however, you will not truly understand Gods heart until you have fellowship with the Holy Spirit.

    Imma pray for you.

    God please save that guy and baptize him with the Holy Spirit. Manifest your power in him. Let him witness your miracles.

    I pray in Jesus name. Amen.

    God bless brother.

    1. Peter –

      Thanks for the thoughts my friend. I was in no way upset or hurt by religion as a catalyst to drop my beliefs in God/gods. I was truly motivated to prove to myself that the beliefs instilled in me that I truly cherished were indeed correct. I had no idea that I would discover little to no reason to think that my beliefs held any more water that those of the Egyptians, Vikings, Muslims, Latter Day Saints, Scientologist, and on, and on.

      Everyone has their reasons to believe what they believe (you have many that have been discussed in this blog), and everyone is quite sure their “evidence” is beyond reproach. I haven’t found anything compelling in any of these religions when compared to each other – even though you are convinced Christianity is unique for the many reasons you’ve laid out over the course of this blog. The reality is that every Christian point of dogma is found in another (usually previous) religion – virgin births, resurrections, eye witnesses, feeling the spirit move, miracles…….. the list goes on and on.

      When I tell you that I’m searching what I mean is that I’m looking for a fresh argument (which IMO are a very weak path to defining God into existence so far) or actual evidence of the supernatural. I’m not sure what it would take to convince me but I’m totally open. If God does exist and wants me to know it, he should know exactly what to show me. And just so you know, the illogical and evasive musings of Christians/apologists like Doug only provide to further push me away from religious belief. I’m very wary of anyone who won’t turn a critical eye towards themselves and honestly evaluate their thoughts and beliefs.

      Stay strong my friend – I appreciate and enjoy what you do!

      R

      1. Hi that guy.
        I sincerely apologize for my failure in your eyes. God will be the final judge.
        However, your comment –
        And just so you know, the illogical and evasive musings of Christians/apologists like Doug only provide to further push me away from religious belief. I’m very wary of anyone who won’t turn a critical eye towards themselves and honestly evaluate their thoughts and beliefs.
        You have not lived my life, and are not a mind reader, as far as I know, so your statement is entirely without foundation, God knows that I have constantly evaluated my thoughts and beliefs since I became a conscious being, because of the things that have happened in my life, I had to to survive.
        You could not be more wrong, my friend.
        I pray that that the Lord lead you to where you should be.

        1. Cool – thanks Doug. Hopefully you didn’t/don’t take my comment as mean spirited. I’m after simple, succinct answers to the 3 questions I’ve asked you. I truly feel like those answers might help me understand who and where you’re coming from. If no answers come I understand. Its a very difficult and private matter to share with the internet world!

          I wish you the best my friend. Peace!

          R

  10. Psalm 19:1 To the chief music-maker. A Psalm. Of David. The heavens are sounding the glory of God; the arch of the sky makes clear the work of his hands.
    Psa 19:2 Day after day it sends out its word, and night after night it gives knowledge.
    Psa 19:3 There are no words or language; their voice makes no sound.
    Psa 19:4 Their line has gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them has he put a tent for the sun,
    Psa 19:5 Who is like a newly married man coming from his bride-tent, and is glad like a strong runner starting on his way.
    Psa 19:6 His going out is from the end of the heaven, and his circle to the ends of it; there is nothing which is not open to his heat.
    Psa 19:7 The law of the Lord is good, giving new life to the soul: the witness of the Lord is certain, giving wisdom to the foolish.
    Psa 19:8 The orders of the Lord are right, making glad the heart: the rule of the Lord is holy, giving light to the eyes.
    Psa 19:9 The fear of the Lord is clean, and has no end; the decisions of the Lord are true and full of righteousness.
    Psa 19:10 More to be desired are they than gold, even than much shining gold; sweeter than the dropping honey.
    Psa 19:11 By them is your servant made conscious of danger, and in keeping them there is great reward.
    Psa 19:12 Who has full knowledge of his errors? make me clean from secret evil.
    Psa 19:13 Keep your servant back from sins of pride; let them not have rule over me: then will I be upright and free from great sin.
    Psa 19:14 Let the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart be pleasing in your eyes, O Lord, my strength and my salvation.
    Bible in basic english

  11. a·pol·o·get·ics
    əˌpäləˈjediks/
    noun
    plural noun: apologetics

    reasoned arguments or writings in justification of something, typically a theory or religious doctrine.
    “free market apologetics”
    is a way of approaching things in terms of reasoned arguments, in terms of these lines –
    Psalm 19:1 To the chief music-maker. A Psalm. Of David. The heavens are sounding the glory of God; the arch of the sky makes clear the work of his hands.
    Psa 19:2 Day after day it sends out its word, and night after night it gives knowledge.
    Psa 19:3 There are no words or language; their voice makes no sound.
    Psa 19:4 Their line has gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them has he put a tent for the sun,
    The more one digs along this line, the more one understands what David was saying in that Psalm.

    The person in the world today who does this supremely –
    Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM)
    rzim.org/
    Intended to touch both the heart and the intellect of the thinkers and opinion-makers of society with the Truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
    ‎Just Thinking Broadcasts · ‎Media · ‎Zacharias Institute Events · ‎Events

    Ravi Zacharias International Ministries – YouTube
    https://www.youtube.com/user/rzimmedia
    YouTube channel for Ravi Zacharias International Ministries videos and other related media.

    I am not even remotely in the class of Ravi, but the Lord has given me my own apologetic understanding of Him and His creation, and that is what I was presenting.
    Ravi does some of the most penetrating thinking I have ever heard, and is well worth listening to.

  12. Ravi has stated, “What I believe in my heart must make sense in my mind,” and he possesses the unique and rare gift of weaving culture, history, philosophy, theology, and current events into a tangible context for all walks of life. He has given addresses at the White House, Pentagon, CIA, and at United Nations at their annual national prayer breakfast, which marks the beginning of the UN General Assembly each year. He is sought internationally, and regularly advises world leaders. He has addressed writers of the peace accord in South Africa, military officers at The Center for Geopolitical Strategy in Moscow, and, at the invitation of the President of Nigeria, he addressed delegates at the First Annual Prayer Breakfast for African Leaders held in Mozambique. In addition, Ravi has spoken at countless universities including Harvard, Princeton, Johns Hopkins, Cambridge, Oxford University, and The University of Pennsylvania. He has received seven honorary doctorates.

  13. Doug –

    I’m starting a new reply, looks like we’re running out of room on the old one!

    First, thanks for the response which I’ve read very carefully a few times trying to get my mind around what you are saying. I have a couple of questions/thoughts – mostly just to help me understand your logic and the conclusions produced.

    1. I need a better understanding of “the laws of chance” because I don’t see how it can be demonstrated that its impossible for the universe to have come about by chance. To my understanding, not every possibility (including ones we aren’t aware of) has been ruled out. If you have resources to help me understand this please send them my way. I’d really like to dive into the material you have studied and catch up on thoughts of how probability theory can be applied to the universe beginning – I’m incredibly ill equipped to discuss probabilities with any amount of intelligence!

    2. If indeed the universe does have a point of origin (beginning, big bang, etc), how and why would we assign the cause of this event to an incredibly supreme being? If we can’t determine what happened (at least not just yet), how can we demonstrate that it was intentionally caused by an outside agent?

    3. If the universe did have a beginning, if that beginning was caused by an outside agent, if that agent was an incredibly supreme being…… how do we demonstrate that the agent is a “God”? And more specifically the God of the Bible.

    Thanks!

    R

  14. I think Doug said it best up above when he talked about exploring the depth of the Bible and the more he pushed and the more depth he found…and that you must conduct this search for your self. And THIS becomes a galactic piece of one’s proof – But it’s not something that will resonate with those who have not made the search – nor considered the courtroom type proof they are searching for. In other words (as to how this is proof) the more one probes the more one becomes absolutely convinced this cannot be the stuff of man or the stuff of a myth. Again, won’t resonate with those who haven’t done it and I wouldn’t expect it to. When one combines this (search of scripture) with prayer and begins to recognize the changes in one’s heart (i.e the other things) then watch out. It becomes even stronger than the type of material proof others in this blog are seeking…maybe that is why God does it that way – in other words because it becomes an even stronger proof and because it requires a choice/act of will and because it results in love of him – the latter of which I don’t think would happen were he to provide the type of proof non believers seek.

  15. Have a look at what prof Robert dick Wilson wrote about the OT, ‘That no one knows enough to challenge its accuracy.’
    A bold statement but one based on the fact that he was fluent in Evey biblical language, had studied those languages, studied every known inscription in those languages, as well as applied that knowledge to the OT.
    He claimed it was what it claimed to be, eyewitness accounts of history.

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