I'm going to chime in here not having read what all's come before so forgive me if this has been brought up. I tend to stay away from religious debates because of the close-mindedness of many atheists. I've run into many people whose greatest argument is "There can't possibly be a God and you can't prove that there is" then just ignore everything I have to say about the subject.
I hear these stories a lot, especially from Americans: "an atheist said he was 100% certainly right and that there was no way that there could ever be anything that could be called God and then he tried to put me into a gas chamber".
But I have never heard any atheist, in real life, in the old media or on the interbutts, who has said "there can't possibly be a God". All of them agree that the chance of there being a God is lower than the chance of there not being a God, but I've heard none say what you just said.
Clearly, we live in different worlds.
The creation story in the Bible is honestly like any other creation story. It attempts to give an explanation of why things are the way they are. It might be largely fictional, especially in the time it took to do certain things. Biblical scholars agree with a large degree of certainty that Moses commissioned Genesis to be written along with the remainder of the Pentateuch. It was all oral tradition passed down in a father-to-son manner. I'm not sure anything can be taken as 100% fact until the story of Abraham. This includes Eden, the Great Flood, and the Tower of Babel. These stories were either made up to fill in a gap of history or composed of some half-truths of what really happened as a way to explain how it all went down.
I'm fairly sure that nothing before Abraham is true, except for things that might be true purely by co-incidence. Most of the stuff after Abraham is false too. It's interesting that the other literate cultures in the Middle East don't mention the huge, historic events that are mentioned in the Bible. The Egyptians, for example, say nothing about any conflict with the Jews, and Israeli archaeologists have found no evidence for the exodus.
How could you explain to a bunch of mentally underdeveloped proto-humans that their planets took billions of years to form and for them to evolve into what they are today. They have no concept of "billions" of anything nor evolution. The story of creation basically glosses over all that and just says "God made it in six days".
Was the order in which things were created also too hard for these people to understand? Genesis seems to imply that the Earth is older than the sun and that there were birds before land animals.
Evolution without a guiding force has some HUGE problems with it.
I don't see any problems with it at all.
However, I've noticed that a lot of creationists, no matter how intelligent or well-educated, seem to have very little knowledge about evolution and seem to believe that the theory of evolution states things that it absolutely does not state. I therefore can't help but wonder how many people are wilfully
ignorant of the theory.
The Great Flood likely did occur.
Indeed it did. One occurred in Japan a few months ago, and in south-east Asia a few years ago. Many must have occurred in the eastern Mediterranean or in areas whose myths would have influenced the Jews. If you're thinking of saying that the kind of tsunamis we see today are not of the same order of magnitude, try to think of how the Japanese tsunami would have seemed to an ancient, primitive people who thought the Earth was the size of Belgium. Then imagine how this story would have been elaborated over time. They'd report the story as if the entire world had been flooded.
Since catastrophic tsunamis are so common, it's no surprise that myths of this kind should exist in many cultures.
So why are there different languages? It may have been possible that there once was one language that all men spoke and they've deviated over time. It's more likely that men developed over a wide area of the Earth and just began creating their own languages isolated from each other.
This is a very well studied topic. There's a whole field dedicated to it. I happen to find philology very interesting. However, in philology, the idea that all languages came from the same source is actually quite controversial. It's perfectly possible that complex language arose after humans split off from each other.
Can you honestly say you know EVERYTHING about science and evolution?
No, but I don't need to. I know enough for me to be confident that they offer a much better explanation of the world than any religious text does.
Can you explain how gravity works? Maybe you can, many cannot. There are plenty of atheists that know next to nothing about their world-view as well.
This is true, but trivial. Many people believe true things for the wrong reasons.
And the fact that many atheists don't know their sh*t doesn't let Christians or Muslims or Scientologists off the hook. It's merely a tu quoque
Annnnnd Christians have far less to learn than we do. They only need one book. It's not a fair comparison!
I see this statement as a contradiction. If you think the Bible was written by "fallible humans" (some of it is), then why advocate looking at other literature, written by a different set of fallible humans, as a different moral guide?
Because other literature admits to being written by fallible humans, thus preventing people from saying that any or the views they choose to adopt are in fact the will of God.
There is also plenty of literature that doesn't contradict itself, isn't the work of primitive people and doesn't show massive historical inaccuracies. All moral guides are fallible, but some more than others.
You'd have to ask the Council of Trent why they included what they did.
I've just sent them an email. They haven't replied yet, but I assume their answer will be that they included what was most politically convenient.
The Old Testament was compiled as a set of laws and history of the Chosen people before Christ came. After that it requires faith to believe that the New Testament is a faithful account of the teachings of Jesus and what the first century of Christianity looked like.
It requires not so much faith as double-think.
There is a large amount of evidence to prove that there WAS a rabbi named Jesus (other than the shroud of Turin). That's as far as fact can take you. The rest is faith almost in the way that you have faith that the Earth will continue to revolve around the sun. You have no control over that and you just accept that it will continue happening.
For the Earth to stop revolving around the Sun in the near future would require either an unexpected cataclysmic event, and we have no evidence that one of those is going to happen, or a complete contradiction of everything we know about stars and Newton's first law of motion. It therefore seems to me that believing that the Earth will continue to revolve around the Sun, at least for as long as we are alive, is a very well-grounded belief.
To believe the Gospels means believing a set of miracles, most of which were present in other myths that were popular in that region at that time, and a set of books that not only contradict independent sources (there was no King Herod alive at that time, and if there were, it seems unlikely that no Roman historian would have cared to remark that he killed every newborn baby in Judea), but even contradict each other, and were written 100 years after the events they describe. It also requires believing in the wandering Jew (has anyone found him? He must be tired by now), since Jesus said he'd come back during the lifetime of at least one person present.
To compare believing in all of that to believing that the Earth will continue to revolve around the sun is somewhat questionable.