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Dutchess_III's avatar

Does the fact that sin keeps changing into not-sin, and things that would earn a stoning in Jesus' day are now accepted, even overlooked, enough proof that religion is man made?

Asked by Dutchess_III (42474points) July 2nd, 2015

God is supposed to be unchanging. The Bible is supposed to be his infallible word. Yet through history humans keep revising his infallible word into something they’d rather live with.

Isn’t that proof enough that religion, God, is made up?

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46 Answers

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Religion is most definitely man made, I would like to believe that God is real.
But Religion or Religions are definitely man made, while something is totally cool with one religion,another wants to cut off your head for it.
But people are sheep and seem to need something to cling to,and they will take whatever comes along even if it’s a crazy ass man made religion.

stanleybmanly's avatar

It is for some. But for others “faith” must supersede even common sense.

Apparently_Im_The_Grumpy_One's avatar

Do you have a specific example? Or is this another one of those pat-each-other-on-the-back-for-hating-religion threads?

canidmajor's avatar

No. Your continued assertion that “religion” equals “Christianity” is ill-informed and silly.
Your continued assertion that any kind of deism and/or theism equals Christianity is also ill-informed and silly.

Your definition of “proof” also needs revision.

johnpowell's avatar

“You are to keep My statutes. You shall not breed together two kinds of your cattle; you shall not sow your field with two kinds of seed, nor wear a garment upon you of two kinds of material mixed together.”

gorillapaws's avatar

One could argue that the religion i.e. the religious text is unchanging, but the INTERPRETATION of the text evolves (usually for the better) over time. This is not unlike how the Constitution has remained constant (except the amendments) but the interpretation of that document has evolved.

Coloma's avatar

Looking for a 10 foot pole right about now. haha

stanleybmanly's avatar

Once again, why must labeling a scam for what it is be interpreted as hatred? The comments might be taken as hurtful. But I would greatly appreciate any proponent of faith or true believer here to explain in what way their particular cult differs from any other superstition in its validity or credibility.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@Apparently Im The Grumpy One Religions evolve. They must in order to gain acceptance among the believers. For example, any religion following the common precept 200 years ago that you would burn in hell for working on the Sabbath, must have short shrift in a place locked to the tracks of predatory 21st century capitalism.

Inara27's avatar

Like anything, any given religion must evolve to stay relevant (as @stanleybmanly mentions), otherwise it is replaced with something new. There are plenty of dead religions, sects, etc. in history.

Evolution is problematic if a religion promotes itself as the one true path to heaven/enlightenment/etc. If it really is the right path, then how can it change?

Dutchess_III's avatar

^^^^ Right. By rights, it shouldn’t change. Nothing about it should change. What was sinful 4000 years ago should be just as sinful today. The societal norms from 4000 years ago, which are written in the Bible, should still apply today.

“Women should be silent during the church meetings. It is not proper for them to speak. They should be submissive, just as the law says.”

josie's avatar

Every idea that man expresses in one form or another is man made.

The only thing that is not man made is whatever it is that man is trying to explain with ideas, whether correctly, or incorrectly.

The fact that people in different times, and different locations, perhaps with no technical ability to intercommunicate, have tried to interpret what they sense as mysterious is proof that it is man made.

And so what?

Why does that make it any more or less relevant to the human “journey”?

My conclusion that there is no knowable or influential deity does not by necessity make me antagonistic to those who do.

The fact that some religious people act crazy does not mean that all religious people are crazy.
I know plenty of my atheist friends who are equally or more crazy.

Being man made, does not make something unreal.

kritiper's avatar

What you put forward may not be proof in entirety, but it helps.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

As you already pointed out, the Word is what the Word is, it is the folly of man to try to cram it into the wickedness man wants to do. Sin has not changed, the difference is ow it is treated and the punishment thereof. A cop pulls you over for speeding; he can give you a ticket or a warning. Just because he gave you a warning instead of a ticket doesn’t mean you get to drive all over town at breakneck speed ignoring the speed limit. It is still illegal to drive over the speed limit, and if he seen you do it again, he can give you a ticket, and most likely will, he is under no obligation to give you a warning every single time he catches you speeding. Just because he gave you a warning doesn’t mean the traffic laws were not real.

All religion is manmade the disciples did not call themselves Christians, but the people of the area of Antioch. Why were they called Christians because they followed and believed Christ. The name has been watered down and generictised so much it is basically useless now, but it has nothing really to do with Christ and sin and what is sin and what isn’t. Basically Christian today, is just a brand of worship in actuality.

jerv's avatar

@Apparently_Im_The_Grumpy_One The laws in many places are a reflection of society. Things that are tolerated get legalized, things that are not get criminalized. Look how many places same-sex marriage is legal. More importantly, plot the number of such places over time and tell me whether that number is rising or falling.

@canidmajor Islam also has similar issues; they just aren’t on our doorstep the way Christianity is. Swap “Allah” for “God” and “Quran” for “Bible” and the question still stands. However, int he US, Christianity is the most relevant religion. In fact, it’s the only one that the majority of people in this country know anything about; not too many people in this country are really into any theology other than their own faith.
Take a look at these figures from the Pew Research Center. If you combine all of the Americans of non-Christian faith and lump them under one heading, you’re still under six percent. About 93% of Americans are either Christian or non-religious. Until that changes, equating religion with Christianity in casual discussions with mostly Americans is inevitable. Now, if Fluther had the same standards as professional journalism or a Masters thesis or the demographics of our nation were dramatically different than they are, then I would be inclined to agree with you.
As for OP needing to revise her definition of “proof”, that really boggles my mind. Maybe it’s because I equate “proof” with “evidence”. So does Merriam-Websters, and The Oxford Dictionary agrees. I can follow the chain of logic without even thinking about it, and each of the assertions made are corroborated by history, so the only question that remains is, “Is that proof enough?”, and the answer to that will pretty much fall along party lines; those of faith will NEVER have enough proof while non-believers don’t need any proof for what they already figured out years ago.

keobooks's avatar

I could maybe see this being an argument that religion is man made, but I don’t see how revising the Bible changes the nature of God. If all of the Bibles in the world were burned up, it wouldn’t make God disappear. If Bibles were never written at all, God would still be God. The Bible is considered to be the word of God, not God himself. Also, the interpretation of the Bible is not the Bible. The interpretation can vary quite a bit….but most interpretations all draw from the same original text. Changing an interpretation doesn’t change the original text.

Also while the bible’s interpretation of many verses have changed, I think the Bible itself has been pretty stable since around 500 AD or so, with the exception of Protestants removing the apocrypha around 1600 or so. It’s a young religious work. There are many religions with much older sacred texts, but except for a mass culling and reorganization right around the beginning of the text existing, it hasn’t changed much. Unless you want to throw in the Book of Mormon, and nobody outside the LDS church takes that book as canon.

There are many different versions and translations, but almost all of the scholars who create the versions always translate from the original source material. The changes you see are usually a different choice of words that the scholar believed made the verse easier to read or understand, or the scholar picked a specific word over another because he believed the word to be a more accurate translation. Many words in Biblical Hebrew, Aramaic and Koine Greek have no direct translation into modern English. So sometimes there are very heated arguments over which English word is the most accurate translation of a word in one of these languages. Because of this, Bible versions will vary slightly, but will almost always have the same meanings for each verse.

jerv's avatar

@keobooks If God exists then you would be entirely correct. However, the existence of God is a matter of faith, so you won’t get a consensus in any discussion that involves both Christians and non-believers. Regardless of whether God exists or not though, even the most ardent Atheist would agree that the Bible and Christianity do exist.

For the sake of discussion, I will stipulate for a moment that God does exist just to keep it simple. What is God like? How do we know that? From a book that was written by the hand of Man? There is no doubt that the texts and tenets are interpreted by Man. Therefore, our knowledge of God may be entirely unlike the actual God.

But that begs the question, “If our knowledge of God is inaccurate, if we are wrong about some things about God, could we be wrong about God even existing in the first place?”. If God is merely a fiction Man invented to comfort himself in a universe where some things are beyond human comprehension, then changing the Bible or interpretation of it will have a pretty dramatic effect on the nature of God. Or maybe God exists but Christians worship someone else with the same name and wrote a book of his word instead. At my last job, I worked with four guys named Jesus (and nine named Jose), so it’s not like that’s impossible.

canidmajor's avatar

@jerv : I wasn’t making any statement about the differences or similarities between the Abrahamic (or any other) religions, or about existence (or not) of any form of deity.
I was referencing @Dutchess_III‘s ongoing and uneducated bashing of Christians. Her specific reference to the Bible in her details was indicative of that specifically; by capitalizing the “B” she removed it from generic reference.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@canidmajor So, your problem isn’t with the question, it’s with @Dutchess_III.

canidmajor's avatar

My problem is with the fact that @Dutchess_III has so worded the question as to make it meaningless. Substituting the word “religion” when she means “Christianity” is misleading, then claiming that she knows what the doctrines of a religion that she has, again and again, claimed to not follow is a questionable premise, at best, on which to base her query.
A differently worded question would probably yield a more thoughtful and broader based discussion.
Her history of Christian-bashing taints the premise.

Personally, I don’t care how she feels about Christians or anyone else, but yes, I get annoyed by the sloppiness of her expression.

jerv's avatar

@canidmajor Let us check what Grammarly has to say about the rules of capitalization. Well, since it’s the title of a book, a capital B seems to be warranted. And we’ve already discussed how, in this country, religion generally equates to Christianity simply through the Law of Averages.

As for implying that not following a religion meaning that one has no real knowledge of it’s doctrines, the truth is that many non-Christians know more about the Bible (and theology in general) than most Christians. Take a look at the numbers and you’ll see that a lot of Christians know less about their own faith than Atheists, Agnostics and Jews. The Mormons are rather well educated when it comes to religion as well, but at only 2% of the US population they are outnumbered by Catholics (~20%) and Protestants (~46%) and thus not exactly representative of the Christian faith. In general, if you want to know about the Bible, your best bets are Jews, Mormons, or Atheists.

Yes, it probably should’ve been worded a bit better, but c’est la vie.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@jerv However, the existence of God is a matter of faith, so you won’t get a consensus in any discussion that involves both Christians and non-believers. Regardless of whether God exists or not though, even the most ardent Atheist would agree that the Bible and Christianity do exist.
Then why do people keep trying to inject scientific proof into it when they address it? They may believe Bible exist, but that they are no more real than a Daniel Steel novel.

For the sake of discussion, I will stipulate for a moment that God does exist just to keep it simple. What is God like? How do we know that? From a book that was written by the hand of Man? There is no doubt that the texts and tenets are interpreted by Man. Therefore, our knowledge of God may be entirely unlike the actual God.
This is rather simple, we are going on the fact God exist. If one believes that God exist, and that He is sovereign Lord of the universe, then you will believe Him when He says He will give you and intercessor, the Holy Spirit. The things you do not know or understand because like human children need to learn and understand things while becoming an adult, saints need to learn and understand things before coming to spiritual maturity. That is why just reading the Bible as a book will never get you anywhere; it will make little sense without the help of the Spirit. Look at it this way, say the government comes up with a program they made to help people get their first home, or to cut their mortgage if they already have a home. They send out a rep, a lawyer, to give out the legal details on who qualifies, how to qualify, the obligations of the recipients, etc. you would never be able to reap the benefits of the program if you never trusted the lawyer, the representative, you, therefore, would never do the program. There is where she is @Dutchess_III at, she thinks the contract is a fake and the reps are lying. You being human, if you wrote a manual on machining you would not allow someone who was going to check if for typos to just redo your work especially when you know that is what they are going to do. You would not let them take out this chapter because they thought it was too long, or add words her because they thought that is the way it should go but not the way you explained it. Why would God, having infinitely more power allow His work not to come forth as He intended it, word translations notwithstanding? You want to know God, you ask GGod, and He will start to reveal it to you as you gain the spiritual wisdom to understand.

But that begs the question, “If our knowledge of God is inaccurate, if we are wrong about some things about God, could we be wrong about God even existing in the first place?”
Through the Spirit, He will be made known, if you are open to it, and you know when and ways it can happen because the Bible tells you, so when it is present you recognize it. Goes back to what you said, if you are looking for lakes parting, or burning bushes, you will likely miss His more subtle ways because you were focusing on some big showy act.

jerv's avatar

“Then why do people keep trying to inject scientific proof into it when they address it?”

To refute the validity of the information conveyed by the ink squiggles laid upon the bound sheets of paper.

“Why would God, having infinitely more power allow His work not to come forth as He intended it, word translations notwithstanding?”

That’s one of the factors that led me towards Agnosticism.

“You want to know God, you ask GGod, and He will start to reveal it to you as you gain the spiritual wisdom to understand.”

I left a message on His voicemail but He still hasn’t got back to me.

kritiper's avatar

@jerv GA! I’ll be laughing for days!

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

^^ I left a message on His voicemail but He still hasn’t got back to me.
Maybe you dialed Pizza Hut instead. If you really did seek Him, maybe when He contacted you back you were too busy waiting on the cable guy to notice. ~~~

Dutchess_III's avatar

Another thing…Christians make so many excuses for God when he falls down on the job. How can an omnipotent being fall down on the job? How can he possible fail? But he does. All the time.

talljasperman's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central I suspected the pizza guy was god. Now I have no doubt.

Haleth's avatar

@johnpowell Leviticus is my go-to example of ridiculous rules from the bible.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@Dutchess_III Another thing…Christians make so many excuses for God when he falls down on the job.
How do you know what His job is? You figure He fell down because you could not rub Him like a genie and have Him do what you felt He should have done?

@Haleth Leviticus is my go-to example of ridiculous rules from the bible.
You want to bypass Romans chapter one? I guess so, it might be your go-to book on the depraved and wretched state of man….but I think you really don’t want to know that book and chapter exist.

jerv's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central I have yet to see anyone with a verse from Romans tattooed on themselves. However, many seem to like putting something from Leviticus on themselves, which is quite ironic if you happen to know Leviticus 19:28.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central, well, according to the infallible word of God, Matthew 21:22 says exactly that: “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”

keobooks's avatar

@Dutchess_III So that’s why one football team wins against the other. One team had more believers praying in the “Lets win this game” locker room prayer.

Dutchess_III's avatar

God takes football super seriously. Volleyball, not so much. At least that’s been my experience.

Wait….the only real fairy is the Football Fairy. Am I right? ;)

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@Dutchess_III […well, according to the infallible word of God, Matthew 21:22 says exactly that: “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”
You do know that is not a standalone verse right? As nearly all verses, there are accompanying verses. That is the folly of most of the verses that have been posted by unbelievers, they launch the ship but had no rudder.

It means nothing to you, you believe the book is a fake so the passage you present has no teeth anyhow, so why post it?

Dutchess_III's avatar

So post the rest of it.

Oh, I like this!

jerv's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central A rudder aimed straight at an iceberg isn’t really any better though. When navigating through the twists and turns of a text that is self-contradicting in some places and ambiguous in others forces everyone to rely more on interpretation than on the text itself, which is no way to run a railroad.
You have your own interpretation of the Bible while many of us non-believers use Occam’s Razor to simplify things by regarding the whole text with skepticism. As for who is right, well, you are but Man so who are you to judge?

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@Dutchess_III So post the rest of it.
Let’s start with these two and then by how you try to spin it I will know if showing you the rest will even sink in or will be a waste of time.

Matthew 6:33
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

James 4:3
3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.

Those are two verses that go along with the one you cherry picked and tried to squeeze out of context to make God sound like a genie that will grant any ridiculous wish. Go on, spin those….if you try hard enough I am sure you can spin it quicker than a top.

@jerv […a text that is self-contradicting in some places and ambiguous in others forces everyone to rely more on interpretation than on the text itself,..]
As I just showed, if you use the Bible as a whole to gain context, there is no iceberg, those who see it might have spiritual dust on their goggles and refuse to clean it off to see clearly.

keobooks's avatar

Why are you allowed to call people out for cherry picking, but when you do the very same thing it’s A-OK? My guess is that it depends whether or not the cherry picking makes a verse work out in your favor.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Uh @keobooks it works well in politics,why not this avenue as well?
And cherry picking is always A-OK as long as it’s in your favour, politicians have been doing it for years.
So have Bible thumpers, come to think of it, H-C is a true believer and nothing will change his view of that,I have no idea why he keeps this fight going.
He isn’t going to turn any non believer,any faster than they will making him stop following his guiding light.

keobooks's avatar

I can’t speak for why anyone else does it, @SQUEEKY2 but I think it’s a fun hobby to keep it going. First, I get to look up lots of interesting things so I have a reply. Even if he ignores my reply, others won’t. And I try to make sure that my replies contain links and information that others will find useful. Almost everyone I know has some annoying neighbor or relative who says stuff like @Hypocrisy_Central says. It’s nice to look and see that their interpretation of the bible is not the only one out there.

Also, when he gets really riled up, he gets extremely creative with the insults. If you can read through the run on sentences and the other stuff, you’ll see all kinds of crazy stuff like toddlers with chainsaws, Smurfs, carnival rides and “more hat dancing than Gregory Hines”. Good stuff!

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Well in that case do carry on.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@keobooks _Why are you allowed to call people out for cherry picking, but when you do the very same thing it’s A-OK? _
There is a major difference, if I state a verse that has several other verses that confirm it, that is what it says. If I choose a verse that cannot be confirmed by other verses or is used out of contact, such as a verse telling one how to treat their slaves, without any other verse I can enslave someone and say ”see, God says if you are a slave (hence mine), you have to work hard for me as if unto the Lord”. I can conveniently omit the verses that said though God allowed man to practice wickedness because of His mercy and long-suffering and make it appear as if God condones my poor behavior. If someone wants to tie together a coherent argument using the versed in concert and not out of context I am all for them.

Also, when he gets really riled up, he gets extremely creative with the insults.
I am trying to paint a simple picture of the equality of the folly of trying to combat an enemy you do not believe with toy weapons you don’t believe have any power. When the ungodly get vexed then comes the insults, bigot, narrow-minded, homophobe, delusional, Sky Daddy, etc. If I sued the equivalent slights, this place being chalk-full of atheist they would go running helter skelter to the mods claiming I was unkind to them. If I wanted to be insulting, and the mods were even-handed, there would be people’s blood burning hotter than the lake of fire.

@SQUEEKY2 So have Bible thumpers, come to think of it, H-C is a true believer and nothing will change his view of that,I have no idea why he keeps this fight going.
Bible Thumper? Why thank you @SQUEEKY2, that lets me know I certainly know my Word. I see no fight; if anything the fight is over I am trying to rescue some prisoners of war, but some love captivity. I can say the same thing, why keep trying to poke holes in a book you do not believe? Just go one about trying to maximize your life here because that is all you will get by your imaginings. Don’t worry about if I am right, if you die and know you are dead, and then worry.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central I would think the clarification to Matthew 21:22 would at least be somewhere in the vicinity, not 15 chapters before, and 19 books later.

Me thinks the Bible was not very well written.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

^ Well, no matter how it was written you would not care to believe, go go your way, put faith in things that will not endure, my you be blessed with some peace and mercy…..

Dutchess_III's avatar

Oh shut up!

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Testy…. God bless anyhow….

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