More good news!
First, it was your site that brought me to the realization that a couple of items that I believed was an absolute lie. I thank you for the audacity to publicly challenge my belief system. I grew up as a Christian but as I found inconsistencies in what the preachers said compared to what the book said, I began to question everything. Especially after I learned Hebrew and found that what was said in the Bible, wasn’t copied correctly or translated properly from what was written. My evaluation of the Christian god being vindictive is from the belief that “if someone doesn’t like you, it doesn’t give you the right to torture them” as in the lake of fire belief. I will not bow to anyone or any god who is vindictive. Also, I was trying to be concise without wasting too much space and wasting your time with detail with my overly simplistic evaluation of the gods of the religions. I actually do have a much deeper understanding of the religions belief systems based on my studies into the paleo-Hebrew language, land and culture. For instance. There a piece on your site suggesting that it took more than “one” designer for a 747. And that is a very true statement. The KJV states that: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The Hebrew TaNaKh states: When our existence began, “gods” (plural) fattened the heavens and the earth. (They added from substance to what was already here.) The Christians believe in something from nothing, the Hebrews do not, and it was not stated as such. There are many such corruptions of scripture to reflect personal opinion rather than state what is written. Anyway, I would hope that you stay in touch as I would love to know a little more of what you know and why you believe what you do.
I had a similar experience to yours — finding that the Bible said different things than the preachers. This lead me to do a great deal of reading about the process of translating the Bible, and about the context in which it is written. It was, as you already know, very enlightening.
I see what you mean about the Christian god being vindictive. You may not be aware of this, but the Catholic church no longer has the “lake of fire” belief as a tenant of faith. They consider hell to be the suffering one endures because they are not in the presence of God — there is no torture involved. Protestantism, for the most part, is another matter.
Your pointing out that Genesis indicates the presence of multiple gods in the original Hebrew brings me to a subject dear to my heart — the real, original meaning of scripture. As you indicate, there are many places in the Hebrew Bible where it is indicated that there are other gods than God. What amazes me is that people don’t pay more attention to this, even when it isn’t obscured by apparently biased translation. I have read many translations of the Bible, as well as the Interpreter’s Guide and other commentaries on translation. The subject is immensely fascinating.
You asked about my beliefs and where they came from. Here’s a little summary.
1) I believe that any worthwhile philosophy must not contradict itself.
2) I believe that nobody should condemn other for thinking in the same way that they do.
3) I believe that we should try and leave the world a better place than it was when we entered it.
4) I believe that understanding others is more important than trying to convert them to my beliefs.
5) I believe that intelligence gives humans great power, and that with that great power comes great responsibility.
The first two beliefs are the distillation of years of trying to find a way to sort good philosophies from bad. The second two beliefs are personal opinion. The final belief is something I learned from years of reading Spider-Man.