Vince (Login MoxiFox) Von Klumpen Posted Oct 12, 2011 9:28 AM
...because I don't recall having interaction with you back in 2002 or before ... unless you used a different name?
But you're right: it was sometime in 2002 that I underwent a significant change of perception about Christianity. I read a book, written by a fellow back in 1929 or so, called IS IT GOD'S WORD? It was a pretty long book -about 750 pages- with a styling that's not easy to read. It mostly covered the OTestament.
I then read his second book entitled, FORGERIES ... which mostly covered the NTestament.
I thought my approach was pretty unique because I started reading the first book with an attitude of open-mindedness ... deciding to "hear him out" and then check him out on everything he said. I decided to ignore his dripping sarcasms and simply check out his claims to see if I couldn't refute him on most of his claims.
Now the SETTING from which I started was rather interesting as well. I had been participating on Christian forums (and even atheist forums) and had held my own relatively well on the atheist forums ... making a lot of atheists pretty mad -(I guess, because they swore a lot and called me names)- but then ... most atheists (and Christians too) ... don't have a very good grasp of the Bible in the first place ... so it wasn't that hard.
What really griped me about Christian forums though, was the constant fighting. I myself was serious; I wanted to discuss Christian stuff and discuss Biblical meaning ... but I CONTINUALLY kept getting nothing but grief or ignorance. I was either attacked or ignored but there was (seemingly) NEVER any discussion at all!
Perhaps I was no different myself!~ I was always keenly watching for DOCTRINAL deviation from my own "understanding" and so I would concentrate on ARGUING with JW's ... 7th Day Adventists ... New Agers ... etc. etc. Anything that sounded too different was suspect to me and I felt I had to attack and expose that.
So anyway ... I'd had this electronic book IS IT GOD'S WORD for quite some time already but I hadn't looked at it. The original Moderator of this here board, (Wide Open Bible Discussion), had sent it to me in an email and I just put it away on my hard drive for later perusal. (It was only about 1 mb in size in its original plain text form).
One night I was particularly annoyed by this one particular Christian on the forums who ALWAYS had to buck me on everything I said, whether she understood what I was saying or not ... and just fed up with the forums in general ... and decided I might as well look at this book because forum participation seemed to be a complete waste of time and so I might as well waste my time in a different direction eh?
And so I started reading the book with eyes wide open, ready to "get him" on anything he claimed that he couldn't back up with hard Bible references.
What was so interesting too, is that the author of this book -Joseph Wheless- had started his OWN search of the Bible for much the same reason! He'd been a firm believer but his wife was not and so he set out to PROVE the Bible's veracity from top to bottom in order to convince his wife that it was all gospel-true. In his own effort, he'd bought numerous Bibles and then cut out portions that pertained to particular passages and put them into category boxes ... and then compared all the scraps he'd collected in the different boxes! What a tedious method eh? Today, it's so EASY to do because we can simply enter key words in an electronic Bible and get instant lists generated which we can compare ourselves. On top of that, he learned Hebrew and Greek too ... so that he could read the "original" in it's unadulterated context. Talk about dedication!
And so, it was nigh impossible for me to catch him on any mistakes. I would look up the passages he cited and read them for myself to make sure he wasn't playing tricks with wording. I caught him on very little "opinionating."
By the time I finished IS IT GOD'S WORD I was a different person. Not only could I see for myself, how many contradictions and impossibilities there were in the OTestament but also got clued into something else -very significant and unavoidable- which explained a lot of questions I'd had for years ... about certain puzzling inconsistencies in the OTestament books.
That discovery changed my perception of the OTestament completely.
The discovery was that there are in fact, TWO different religions described in the OTestament. An older, more "pagan" religion, dominated Hebrew history until about 600 BC and THIS religion encompassed ALL of the Kings described in the OTestament .... INCLUDING David and Solomon. It was only near the end of the King period -at the time of King Josiah in 612 BC- that the religion was usurped by ANOTHER religion. This new religion was written and promulgated by an upstart priesthood -the Zadokites- through a child King who had been reared by the priests themselves. That king was Josiah.
The new priesthood used the power of their king to totally and ruthlessly scrub the old religion out of existence and then ... they actually RE-WROTE the history of religion for the Hebrews retroactively to fit their own agenda!
And so, it's the NEW religion which Jews follow to this day and believe they're following a very old, old religion of King David! It's also this new religion which shapes much of Christian perspective in the New Testament.
The old religion had few rules (but it involved child sacrificing and so I won't say it was a particularly "good" religion.) The new religion was all about the "Law of Moses" ... the "book of the law" etc. The book of the law was essentially the book of Deuteronomy and the other 4 books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers (and part of Judges) were written subsequently and retrofitted into place by this developing priesthood.
If you look at events unfolding in TODAY'S world, you'll see a similar pattern. Freedom and Democracy is being rapidly replaced by rules and regulations, in the name of "security" ... (promoted by a new "priesthood" ... the makers of the "new world order"). This "law of Moses" religion put the Jews into incredible repression and their struggle -the struggle of Christianity- was to BREAK AWAY from that incredibly repressive state of mind.
The new religion was STEEPED in rules and regulations. It was supposedly a pile of stuff that God gave to Moses to write down on stone tablets to "guide" the Children of Israel when they arrived in their "promised land" from out of Egypt. If one stops to think about it logically, it would have taken Moses hundreds of years to chisel the first five books of the OTestament onto rock tablets ... and it would have required quite a hefty freight train to transport all of that rock across the desert! So logic itself dictates that those 5 books were NOT written by Moses at all ... and they weren't written onto rock tablets either. In fact, Hebrew writing didn't come into existence until around 700 AD and then it only GRADUALLY developed.
What happened then, is that the new priesthood WROTE DOWN the old stories which had been passed from generation to generation verbally ... but then they also wrote their OWN agenda into that "record".
And so ... it was this VERY problem of commandment-steeped-religious-oppression which had the NTestament people -"Jesus" and Paul- battling in their own oblique way. They didn't even know exactly WHAT they were opposing because both of them seemed to believe that the commandments HAD been issued by God but that there was something very wrong with the way those rules and regulations were being exploited by their high priests.
Well then I got into Wheless' second book -FORGERIES.
While reading the first book, I'd simply put all of my own arguments on hold. I didn't try to project my discoveries into anything that Jesus said in the NTestament. In fact, I just forgot about Jesus -put him on the shelf for the time being- so that I could concentrate TOTALLY on the OTestament itself.
With FORGERIES I came to realize that there are many contradictions amongst the Gospels which are impossible to reconcile in a logical and honest manner.
The Christian Apologist method of "proving" the Bible to be true is somewhat akin to a method one Jewish kid told me that his furniture-selling dad used for hiding flaws. Take some dirt ... spit in it ... and rub it into the scratches to hide them long enough to get the furniture delivered and approved!~ Anyone with any honesty will quickly see that the Christian apologist system is one of concentrating on very narrow context while avoiding -at all costs- looking at the overall picture.
By the time I finished FORGERIES I was left in a bit of a vacuum. While Wheless never made any claims on the NON-existence of Jesus Christ ... I could easily put together for myself that if such a fellow had ever actually existed ... he had to have been a pretty strange guy! Something like Johnny Cash's car, created from years worth of smuggling car parts out of the assembly lines in his lunch bucket and then putting all those years worth of parts together into a "car"!~~
So there you have a synopsis of my story. I started out in full faith that I COULD prove the Bible's veracity -just like the author of the books I read- but by the time I finished, I had to face the fact that if I wanted to continue to believe in Jesus, I would have to depend entirely on my imagination.
I didn't lose anything; I GAINED a realization of the truth ... and while it put me into a bit of a depressive spiral for awhile ... in the end I feel MUCH freer than I ever did before, in nearly 50 years worth of Christian believing. I no longer have to fracture my belief system by "interpreting" and avoiding.