Sunday, February 27, 2011

You Want an Example of a Stupid Atheist? Okay --

HIM: How can anyone seriously "study" a book that was written 3500 years ago, by unknown authors, that has undergone thousands of re-transla­tions by different religious sects to fit their own understand­ing or to justify their belief, and that has some many contradict­ions in it.

ME: Thousands of re-transla­tions. *sigh* What, do you think that when someone made a new translatio­n of the bible in 1980, they only consulted translatio­ns into the same language made after 1970? Is that how you think Bible translatio­n works? Oh, and btw: written 3,500 years ago? Where do you get this stuff?

HIM: The book of Exodus was dated as 1500 BC. Let's see....add our 2000 and that makes 3,500. Check it out.

ME: A fundamentalist might believe Exodus was written 3,500 years ago -- or 3,200 to 3,300 years ago, if they identify Ramses II as the Pharaoh in Exodus and have their Egyptian history straight. Maybe you thought I was another fundamenta­list. Nope. I'm an atheist, I'm anti-relig­ion. But I can still disagree with other atheists about some things. These days very few Biblical scholars or archaeolog­ists -- some of whom are (gasp!) atheists -- think any proof has been found that there was an Exodus anything like that described in the Bible, or that Moses existed. Very few would assert with anything approachin­g certainty that there was a Hebrew written language in 1,200 BC. As far as I know, the earliest evidence of a Hebrew or proto-Hebr­ew written language is an alphabet which was scratched onto a rock a little before 900 BC, and the oldest artifact with a Bible verse written on it is a tiny metal scroll made a little before 600 BC. Now what's the problem with the translations?

HIM: If you would be open minded to accept the possibilit­y that you might be ignorant of the facts, and did some research (type into google "how many translatio­ns of the bible are there?" ) you will find the following: The Bible continues to be the most translated book in the world. As of 2005 at least one book of the Bible has been translated into 2,400 of the 6,900 languages including 680 languages in Africa, 590 in Asia, 420 in Oceania, 420 in Latin America and the Caribbean, 210 in Europe, and 75 in North America. The United Bible Societies are assisting in over 600 Bible translatio­­n projects. The Bible is available in whole or in part to some 98 percent of the world's population in a language in which they are fluent. The United Bible Society announced that as of 2007 the Bible was available in 438 languages, 123 of which included the deuterocan­­onical material as well as the Tanakh and New Testament. Either the Tanakh or the New Testament alone was available in an additional 1168 languages, and portions of the Bible were available in another 848 languages, for a total of 2,454 languages.

ME: I am aware that the Bible has been translated into thousands of languages. So what? What does the number of translatio­ns have to do with the quality of any one translatio­n? Every Bible translatio­n I know has been working from the original languages, consulting the best manuscript­s available.

HIM: Did you ever hear about the experiment wherein on person tells another a statement who in turn tells another and they tell another, on and on. By the time it gets to the last person the statement has no commonalit­y to the original statement. So the point is, there is lost in translatio­ns, the original word. And who was it exactly that penned the original word? Being human, it is plausible that he even lost something in the translatio­n from whoever it was that told him. The real question is how can any one take the bible literally, as the word? What is reality? For every choice, there is a renunciati­on. If you choose to believe the bible as the unalterabl­e word, than you must renounce facts. Of science. Of other opinions. Of other people's beliefs. Just because a person has a passionate belief in an idea, that does not make it true, even if many people believe it. I choose to believe in gravity even though no one can explain it.

ME: *ahem* Einstein... *ahem*

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