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Bill "Papa" Lee

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Pa Pa,

Assuming you are representing accurately the experience and reasoning of this unnamed former evangelical, the reasoning is quite fallacious. From the premise that much of the Bible was passed down by "oral tradition" it does not follow that Abraham might never have existed. Oral traditions in the ancient world could and often did preserve historically accurate memories of the past. We don't have good historical evidence from outside the Bible to verify the existence of Abraham, but this isn't surprising since he lived about four thousand years ago.

We do have good evidence for at least some of the more crucial aspects of the Exodus, though archaeologists generally dismiss this evidence on chronological grounds. See my book 20 Compelling Evidences that God Exists, 140-44, for a brief discussion of this important issue.

One of my favorite EV posters is no longer an EV

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Pa Pa,

Assuming you are representing accurately the experience and reasoning of this unnamed former evangelical,

His name is Chris Smith a former pundit here and still posts...what do you mean "Assuming you are representing accurately"? Do you think I just make this stuff up? It was his intense study of the Bible that led to his disbelief thereof. He was studing for the ministry. And will probably respond.

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Pa Pa,

I didn't mean to suggest that you would be deliberately misrepresenting him. I apologize if I offended you.

His name is Chris Smith a former pundit here and still posts...what do you mean "Assuming you are representing accurately"? Do you think I just make this stuff up? It was his intense study of the Bible that led to his disbelief thereof. He was studing for the ministry. And will probably respond.

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Pa Pa,

I didn't mean to suggest that you would be deliberately misrepresenting him. I apologize if I offended you.

No offended it just seems to be a common response when similar debates are directed at the Bible

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One of my favorite EV posters is no longer an EV

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We don't have good historical evidence from outside the Bible to verify the existence of Abraham, but this isn't surprising since he lived about four thousand years ago.

Sure we do.

The Book of Mormon.

The Pearl of Great Price.

And even The Doctrine and Covenants.

All outside the Bible and all verify the existence of Abraham.

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Vance:

Technically true, and technically false. From our LDS perspective a better way to say it would be outside of the Scriptures we have no independent sources for a whole host of events and people.

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Vance:

Technically true, and technically false. From our LDS perspective a better way to say it would be outside of the Scriptures we have no independent sources for a whole host of events and people.

Sorry, but that doesn't make anything in my post "technically false".

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Sorry, but that doesn't make anything in my post "technically false".

I think TSS was just trying to find a nice way of saying that if the only evidences you have are those that must be already believed by those you are trying to convince, they probably won't add much to the conversation.

Not to mention that even some LDS acknowledge that some common teachings (even in scripture) may be the result of earlier mistaken or misunderstood teachings and so multiple attestations (even in scripture) may not indicate truthfulness.

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Vance,

Perhaps you missed the words good and historical.

Sure we do.

The Book of Mormon.

The Pearl of Great Price.

And even The Doctrine and Covenants.

All outside the Bible and all verify the existence of Abraham.

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Vance,

Perhaps you missed the words good and historical.

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Vance,

Perhaps you missed the words good and historical.

Nope, I didn't miss them. That is why I provided those sources.

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I think TSS was just trying to find a nice way of saying that if the only evidences you have are those that must be already believed by those you are trying to convince, they probably won't add much to the conversation.

Not to mention that even some LDS acknowledge that some common teachings (even in scripture) may be the result of earlier mistaken or misunderstood teachings and so multiple attestations (even in scripture) may not indicate truthfulness.

I was just responding to the post AS WRITTEN.

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I was just responding to the post AS WRITTEN.

What are you thinking man! :P

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Vance:

Are you now my malevolent stalker?

There is precious little physical evidence for a King David. A single scrap of pottery that has been interrupted a hundred different ways from Sunday. Before that all bets are off the table. Hebrews invading Canaan? Nada. Joshua leading them across a dry Jordan River? Zilch. Hebrews 40 years in wilderness of Sinai? Zero. Moses? Nyet. ANYTHING before then. Good luck.

Yet I believe in all those people and that those events did happen. Go figure.

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Vance:

Are you now my malevolent stalker?

Nah, I am your benevolent stalker. Can I get you some green jello?

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Hi PaPa,

While you're correct that I don't particularly think Abraham was a historical person or that the Exodus/Joshua narrative occurred as reported in the Old Testament, there was more to my apostasy than just that. The following factors all contributed:

1) I came to the conclusion that many biblical texts were mythical and/or pseudepigraphal, including not only Genesis, Exodus, and Joshua, but also Deuteronomy, Daniel, and the Pastoral Epistles.

2) I became increasingly disturbed by biblical teachings that I believe are immoral, including animal sacrifice, human sacrifice, genocide, sexism, arbitrary smiting, etc.

3) I became increasingly distressed by the narrow-mindedness of my religious community, which was committed not only to creationism, sexism, and heternormativity, but also to a militaristic Republican political agenda.

4) I came to reject the idea that God saves or damns people based on their religious beliefs, which I consider cruel and unfair.

I might have been able to reconcile myself to all that if not for number 5, the real dealbreaker:

5) I began to question the life and teachings of Jesus. How do we know Jesus wasn't just as bad as any modern cult leader? The Jesus of John's Gospel comes across as extremely narcissistic. Jesus did not return in "this generation" as he said he would. Atonement theology is nonsensical. And so on.

I don't expect anyone else to find all of this persuasive. For me, it was a process that took years, and I fought and clawed against it the whole way. Finally, though, there was just such a critical mass of problems that I couldn't live with it anymore. It was a relief to finally let go, even though I look back fondly on some things I miss about it.

Peace,

-Chris

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Chris,

If you don't mind my asking, when you "let go" because of these problems, what did you do with all of the positive evidence for the truth of Christianity? In particular, what did you do with the evidence that Jesus rose from the grave?

Hi PaPa,

While you're correct that I don't particularly think Abraham was a historical person or that the Exodus/Joshua narrative occurred as reported in the Old Testament, there was more to my apostasy than just that. The following factors all contributed:

1) I came to the conclusion that many biblical texts were mythical and/or pseudepigraphal, including not only Genesis, Exodus, and Joshua, but also Deuteronomy, Daniel, and the Pastoral Epistles.

2) I became increasingly disturbed by biblical teachings that I believe are immoral, including animal sacrifice, human sacrifice, genocide, sexism, arbitrary smiting, etc.

3) I became increasingly distressed by the narrow-mindedness of my religious community, which was committed not only to creationism, sexism, and heternormativity, but also to a militaristic Republican political agenda.

4) I came to reject the idea that God saves or damns people based on their religious beliefs, which I consider cruel and unfair.

I might have been able to reconcile myself to all that if not for number 5, the real dealbreaker:

5) I began to question the life and teachings of Jesus. How do we know Jesus wasn't just as bad as any modern cult leader? The Jesus of John's Gospel comes across as extremely narcissistic. Jesus did not return in "this generation" as he said he would. Atonement theology is nonsensical. And so on.

I don't expect anyone else to find all of this persuasive. For me, it was a process that took years, and I fought and clawed against it the whole way. Finally, though, there was just such a critical mass of problems that I couldn't live with it anymore. It was a relief to finally let go, even though I look back fondly on some things I miss about it.

Peace,

-Chris

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Hi Chris,

I am sorry to hear about your loss of faith.

I hope that you find it again.

Jesus did not return in "this generation" as he said he would.

Well, here one Rob Bowman promises to address this issue to one Matt the rug rat.

http://www.religiousresearcher.org/2009/02/18/don%E2%80%99t-be-so-picky-fallible-prophets-errant-scripture-and-the-missouri-temple-prophecy/#comments

I haven't been able to find were Bowman actually addresses it.

But later Matt the rug rat does post this.

http://www.religiousresearcher.org/2009/02/25/not-that-temple-this-temple-re-reading-the-missouri-temple-prophecy/#comments

I hope this helps.

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In particular, what did you do with the evidence that Jesus rose from the grave?

If such evidence exists, I should surely like to see it.

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If you don't mind my asking, when you "let go" because of these problems, what did you do with all of the positive evidence for the truth of Christianity? In particular, what did you do with the evidence that Jesus rose from the grave?

What do you do with the evidence that Joseph Smith had golden plates?

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Hi PaPa,

While you're correct that I don't particularly think Abraham was a historical person or that the Exodus/Joshua narrative occurred as reported in the Old Testament, there was more to my apostasy than just that. The following factors all contributed:

1) I came to the conclusion that many biblical texts were mythical and/or pseudepigraphal, including not only Genesis, Exodus, and Joshua, but also Deuteronomy, Daniel, and the Pastoral Epistles.

2) I became increasingly disturbed by biblical teachings that I believe are immoral, including animal sacrifice, human sacrifice, genocide, sexism, arbitrary smiting, etc.

3) I became increasingly distressed by the narrow-mindedness of my religious community, which was committed not only to creationism, sexism, and heternormativity, but also to a militaristic Republican political agenda.

4) I came to reject the idea that God saves or damns people based on their religious beliefs, which I consider cruel and unfair.

I might have been able to reconcile myself to all that if not for number 5, the real dealbreaker:

5) I began to question the life and teachings of Jesus. How do we know Jesus wasn't just as bad as any modern cult leader? The Jesus of John's Gospel comes across as extremely narcissistic. Jesus did not return in "this generation" as he said he would. Atonement theology is nonsensical. And so on.

I don't expect anyone else to find all of this persuasive. For me, it was a process that took years, and I fought and clawed against it the whole way. Finally, though, there was just such a critical mass of problems that I couldn't live with it anymore. It was a relief to finally let go, even though I look back fondly on some things I miss about it.

Peace,

-Chris

Interesting. I appreciate you taking the time to share that Chris. I think (contrary to some of the more strident among us) that many LDS who leave the fold go through a very similar process.

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