First of all, I feel the way I do (and I say 'feel' because faith/belief is just that, emotion) because of my experiences and my research.<quoted text>
To WN: I saw your comment about having a conversation and being civil. I can be quite civil. I get that you have your own views that you don't feel that I should be correcting. I'm okay with that. What else would you like to discuss? I'm entrenched in my views because of my experiences and research, not because I have a need to be right. I consider my standards to be realistic regarding the historical evidence for Jesus and Christianity. It's taken me years to reach this point in my personal quest for truth, and I'm not about to stop now. We are each entrenched, and neither is willing to concede or compromise our respective understandings of what we hold true. So would you care to tell me what your views are and why you hold them?
For years I felt the need to do exactly what you do, and explain my religious beliefs to people. I did the research because I had questions....questions no one could answer. Those questions involved why God could find no way to correct the problems of his creations without committing genocide; why millions of children not only suffer in this life and go to bed hungry every night or are abused; why good people who are just as devout in their devotion to God should be punished because they do not wear the title of 'Christian'. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.
Just like you, I used the apologetics I found that agreed with my beliefs for decades. Finally, when I could no longer be dishonest with myself, I truly started on a search to confirm my faith.
It was only when I took of the 'suit of armor' that so many Christians talk about that my research, prayer and finally, honesty with myself that I left the church. I found that the suit of armor is ignorance. As long as you wear it, you'll blind yourself to all reason and all things divine. You will only have a fleeting sense of either safety or truly knowing the divine. When I say God, I am not talking about a man-God who made himself a divine being and then came to earth as a man and got himself killed for being a rebel. Nor am I talking about a man-God who, according to Paul, couldn't teach everything he was supposed to teach so that Paul had to come along and straighten out the things Jesus was mistaken about while Jesus/God himself went back to living in heaven with no problems while the fate of those he came to save is exactly the same. Believe or be abandoned/burned/annihiliated/ whatever.
I do not discuss my beliefs because they are personal. Telling the honest truth, all beliefs are personal. Each person's beliefs are just what you said yours are...based on personal experience and their own research. So if all beliefs are based on personal experience, none are universal. That's the reason there are 38,000 sects of Christianity *listed*, while in truth it is multiplied by the number of practicing Christians.
One example of you needing to be right is posted right here on Topix for the last couple of days. You stated III & IV Kings had was changed to 1 & 2 Kings. You said that I and II Esdras was changed to Ezra and Nehemiah. You said it was just a case of the names of the books being changed and nothing more.
I posted text from all the books under question and showed you that they are not the same books with just a name change. If it was a case of name change as you said, the texts would have remained the same as does Ezra and Nehemiah after the book of Ezra was split into two books. When you compare the older book of Ezra, you will see that it contains both Ezra and Nehemiah. The same is not true in the way you stated it. But you dismissed it without even looking further. I would have done the same at one point in my life.
And you never gave me your source for believing that they are all the same.*shrug*