Having a wonderful (really!) conversation with an atheist, but I'm stumped


#1

OK - so this woman on one of my other forums had her car leafleted by a Christian group and she got mad, well, I private messaged her and we started talking (she is Pagan) Well, I really have made HUGE headway with her, and honestly I’m proud of myself :slight_smile:

But, she asks REALLY good questions, and while I should probably ask this on the apologist section, you guys have always helped me out - so what do you think:

This is what she wrote:

*Actually my question was why weren’t the first people Jewish, as I know Christ didn’t come till later (if you believe what the bible says). And you didn’t really answer me. Adam knew god, Eve knew god. Why would the first men have not known god? And for that matter how are we really supposed to believe that two people created all of the people in the world? Do you know what happens when cousins have kids together? Look at some of the royal families, their bloodlines are sooo tied up it is scary, and as a result they had all kinds of health and mental problems. No it still doesn’t work. **God makes people, talks to them everyday, and they look like us, but then suddenly there is Cromagnan man, and he doesn’t know anything about god? ** IT doesn’t add up. Then there is Noah and suddenly again the whole world is started over from one family line? As are all of the animals? And for a god who does nothing in present day he sure was active (and cruel) in the begining. Either the bible is literal fact or it isn’t. *

I"m sorry but I think this is a great question, and wanted to know how you guys would answer it? :slight_smile: Oh, and please dont say I’m not supposed to say that there were not cromagnan men, because her argument is still valid in the sense she will say well, what about Ancient romans who believed in Zues, etc. Her argument is still functional without that. :slight_smile:

Vester


#2

All religions have some part of the truth. Even the Romans and Greeks had part of the truth. In fact, St. Paul used the Greek statue of the unknown god to teach them about the one true God. The Jews were God’s chosen people, but that doesn’t mean they were the only people, and it doesn’t mean they had the fullness of truth. They had a greater part of the truth than the gentiles but not all of it, until Jesus Christ came and gave us the fullness of God’s revelation.

As far as the caveman question. The Catholic Church does not deny that there were cavemen or prehistoric humanoid beings. The Church teaches that God created two human beings and gave them the “Breath of Life” a.k.a. an immortal soul.

Cousins in today’s world having children will cause problems, but how do we know it would have caused problems thousands of years ago. Even many scientists admit that all humans came from a common genetic line.


#3

One specific female, in fact.

The OP should ask her friend where cro-magnon man is today?

The story of Noah does not require that the whole planet be covered with water but only the known world. Where did the dove get the olive twig?

We read Scripture at several levels of meaning. And while we believe it is inerrant, we understand that it expresses truths in different ways. Check the *Catechism *on that. Paragraph 115 and following.


#4

That’s just it - the Bible is NOT literal fact. If you look there are two creation stories. But that does not make it any less real. God created humanity, and over time humanity has evolved. The Catholic church is not against the teaching of evolution, but creation must be included as well.

I had a Pastor one time that had a wonderful quote - “Everything in the Bible is true and some of it actually happened”. That’s the way I approach such issues. I mean if you want to take it literally then there should be a lot of one handed people walking around because the Bible tells us that if our right hand is our problem to cut it off.

I hope that helps.


#5

I would never try to argue Genesis from a literal standpoint. It suffices that the general outline of creation matches quite well with the scientific. (as in the order of creation) Beyond that it is a story designed to fit the cognative capabilities of the readers at the time.

My view on any creation story, or on any of the ancient texts is that God reveals himself at whatever level the people are capable of at the time. Thus in the old testiment Genesis, Adam and Eve could easily be seen as the first two “intelligently aware” beings. the possiblities are abundant.

Also in the old testiment, God is portrayed in a more Majestic, Powerful, Angry, Vengeful way than in the new testiment. Why? Because God sees and encourages our curiousity and rewards us by revealing himself more fully and in greater depth than before.

Sorry if this is a bit disjointed but hope it helps.

James


#6

Humans naturally have a sense of the transcendent, but in vague terms. Most of us feel there’s something more than this, a kind of ‘force’ (even George Bernard Shaw called it the “Life Force” in his debates with GK Chesterton).

So in that sense yes people knew about God before God revealed himself to Abraham. Christianity teaches about a God who actually said, “hey, you know that force you’ve been thinking about? well, I’m the One, that force, and this is who I am”).

And for that matter how are we really supposed to believe that two people created all of the people in the world? Do you know what happens when cousins have kids together? Look at some of the royal families, their bloodlines are sooo tied up it is scary, and as a result they had all kinds of health and mental problems. No it still doesn’t work.

Actually, AFAIK, there was a genetic Eve and all of humankind descended from one woman. Evolution does not teach that humans popped up simultaneously all around the world. A first ancestor with the right mutation is needed. There’s various theories out there about a lack of recessive genes.

God makes people, talks to them everyday, and they look like us, but then suddenly there is Cromagnan man, and he doesn’t know anything about god?

There’s nothing to suggest Cromagnon or Neandertal Man was not religious. In fact, this is where I want to be really clear- we don’t know much AT ALL about these races. We know so little that we find one scrap of this or that, then build fantastic theories upon theories about how his name was Grok-Grok, if he had one, (or some one-syllable name that a beast could manage to utter) and he lived in a cave and whacked his woman on the head and raped her to make babies. When in reality, we know nothing- that’s why it’s called “Pre History”. We do know, however, that these people were artistic, and if you look at their art you’ll be suprised at how good and even modern looking it is! In fact, some of that art from 20,000-12,000 BC looks more detailed and creative than European art from 1200 AD! These people wore clothes too, and caps, boots, ornaments, the whole works. These people loved, they lived, they sang, they made works of art, they had all the concerns that we have. And what you see in archeology is that at some point, humanity emerged- Man did not finish well the poorly drawn pictures that apes started. All of a sudden, in a flash, Man starts being Man, a qualitative adding of something to the ‘dust’ of the material soul of animals- the nephesh or Spirit.

[quote]IT doesn’t add up. Then there is Noah and suddenly again the whole world is started over from one family line? As are all of the animals?

The flood myth is almost universal, Aztec, Semitic, Chinese, Tibetan, Norse, I don’t claim to understand how to interpret it, but every culture has it! Something must have happened!

And for a god who does nothing in present day he sure was active (and cruel) in the begining.

No, he does do things. Look at:

Lourdes
Fatima
Padre Pio

There’s just three randomly chosen with good evidence.

Either the bible is literal fact or it isn’t.

[/quote]

True, but literally true can mean different things.

“It was raining cats and dogs”

Does this mean cats and dogs were falling out of the sky?


#7

Ok I hope to sort of narrow the field here.

Take creationism out of this argument.

Her position is that if Adam and Eve “knew” God - why havent we always known God…?

Her POINT (and its a good one, I think) is that if God knew us in the beginning and talked to us, why did he stop and let us think that there were Amazon gods, and Roman gods, and who knows what else?

Vester


#8

As to the question of incest - Adam and Eve were genetically pure and their offspring would have pure genes too. Over time the effects of lifestyle and mutations have taken their toll on mankind.


#9

Those other gods came as men who searched thorugh human reason alone and came to these errant conclusions. Revelation by God guided our reasoning.


#10

What does it mean to know God? Are you talking about some kind of cognitive acknowledgement or a deep personal relationship? Others may have had some kind of acknowledgement of forces in the universe greater than themselves, but did they “know” God and did God “know” them?

Just think about the story of Joseph in Egypt. After Pharaoh died, the new Pharaoh said he did not “know” Joseph, so he put the Israelites into slavery. Sure he knew who Joseph was, but what he was stating is that he had no personal relationship with him.


#11

just a brief digression: i think “cro-magnon” refers to anatomically modern humans so the answer to the question “where is cro-magnon man today” is – all around us. they are the direct ancestors to today’s modern human population and are identical to us anatomically.

i think the original poster meant to say “neanderthals” which were a subspecies of homo sapiens and had distinctly different traits – shorter, more robust build, prominent brow ridges and less evidence for sophisticated cultural behaviors.

the neanderthal subspecies died out and/or intermarried with anatomically modern humans, whereas cro-magnons survived and flourished, perhaps due to their superior mental and cultural abilities.


#12

Ok I’m a little frustrated because I know all of you mean well, but you arent addressing the point.

God spoke to Eve and Adam. They KNEW him. They had a relationship with him in the sense that they knew there was only ONE God and that He was the Creator of everything. NO questions, and he SPOKE to them DIRECTLY (nothing indirect.)

Now - if this is true…why did God STOP talking to Man directly (he did, that is a fact) and allow humans to go for millenia without knowing that He existed…

Sigh…I’m frustrated because I’m trying to ask this question and it seems like everyone is focusing on creationism etc. :slight_smile: hehe!!!

Vester


#13

I think since science has replaced religion for alot of people today, you can look at the scientific evidence alone. We are all traced back to a single set of parents. That’s becoming pretty universally accepted. Here’s just one article on the discoveries being made in ancestral dna. There are alot of them out there.
foxnews.com/story/0,2933,201908,00.html


#14

Umm…why was this moved from the family forum? I wanted to have my friends there answer me - which is where I originally posted it? Just curious. I know its an apologist question, but not really - its more of a CHRISTIAN question, not Catholic, and also I wanted people there that I know to answer, which is why I posted it there?

Vester


#15

That’s easy “SIN”!!!


#16

Okay. Exactly which millennia did God decide to stop talking to us? Adam and Eve fully knew God until they fell into sin. After that point everything became distorted and twisted. God never stopped talking to us we just stopped listening.


#17

The Fall? Fallen Man (remember the angel with the sword of flame?) could not remain in the presence of the TREE of live, much less the AUTHOR of life. And God did not leave mankind without guidance for “millennia” – he dealt with Noah, Abraham, Jacob . . . When MAN changed (becoming a counterfeit god, knowing good and evil [good AS evil?] he could no longer KNOW God as God IS. The intimacy was broken.


#18

No, not exactly. There is a Mitochondrial Eve, who is the ancestor of all currently living humans through matrilineal descent; however, she was not the first female human, nor was she the only female human alive at the time. The wikipedia article I liked explains this.

The existence of a Mitochondrial Eve (or Y-chromosomal Adam) doesn’t prove that humans descended from a first couple.


#19

it seems to me you are asking God to follow human conventions about time and space. if God is infinite in every respect then He doesn’t perceive time the same way we do. a thousand years could be a blink of an eye for Him.

i don’t know if this answers your question (and i think i’m repeating what someone else said in their post), but it is catholic belief that even pagan religions had some dim echo of the truth in them. he appeared to the israelites and their prophets in biblical times and then sent his only son as a direct revelation to us. so He has never absented himself from this world, even if it might appear that way to us mere humans.


#20

Catholic dogma is that we are all descended from the original pair. God created them with preternatural gifts.


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