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  • Richard Amiel McGough

    by Published on 06-17-2012 12:50 PM  Number of Views: 5016 

    My wife Rose and I were discussing her research concerning the Christian concept of marriage as between one man and one women. Most Christians try to support their opinion by citing Christ's reference to Adam and Eve becoming "one flesh" (Matt 19:5). Recalling the high frequency of divinely sanctioned polygamy in the Old Testament, which contradicts the Christian position, Rose wondered if there were any Old Testament verses that spoke of being "one flesh" as in Genesis 3. We found none. This sparked our curiosity, so we searched for any reference to Adam and Eve. We found no reference to Eve, and only two references to Adam; one in a genealogy (1 Chronicles 1:1) and a tangential mention in Job 31:33. This seemed very strange. How could it be that the entire Old Testament was missing references to Adam and Eve and the events in the Garden? So we looked to see if there was any mention of the Tree of Knowledge. We found none. So we looked for references to the flood of Noah, and found almost nothing. Noah is mentioned in only two passages of the Old Testament outside of Genesis and they are both very late (Isaiah 54:9, Ezekiel 14:14,20). So we looked for the tower of Babel and found nothing.

    The picture then came into focus. The entire Old Testament is almost entirely bereft of any reference to the ten chapters of Genesis 2-11. These are the "mythological" chapters that tell of the garden of Eden, a woman made from a rib, a talking snake, magical trees, the flood of Noah, the rainbow covenant, and the tower of Babel. Their character is very different from the rest of Genesis, including its first chapter, and almost none of the authors of the Old Testament show any awareness of that material at all.
    ...
    by Published on 06-13-2012 10:05 AM

    I received this message to my article Why I Quit Christianity. It is a good post so I am answering it here in a new article:

    Quote Originally Posted by David
    Dear Richard,

    I don’t know why but I keep stumbling onto your site even though I am not looking for anything on it. But perhaps I can tell you my answers to your questions. I believe God has shown me certain truths:

    (1) The scriptures are simply human writings, which reveal what their authors believed. They contain errors, but also contain a clear testimony of God and his
    ...
    by Published on 05-30-2012 07:35 PM  Number of Views: 15266 

    Quote Originally Posted by jce View Post
    Hello to you Richard!

    There are times when your posts seem to imply that the true followers of Christ's teaching are what's wrong with the world today when in reality they make significant contributions to society and science.
    Hello my friend,

    I am very happy with the turn this conversation has taken. You and I share a common background since I once was where you are now (in many respects, not all!). And we seem to have a common interest in being understood and clarifying confusions. This combination is relatively rare on the internet. I think many will benefit from our interaction. I know I find it interesting and satisfying.

    Quote Originally Posted by jce View Post
    Thank-you for your apology. I trust what the Scriptures teach because they instruct us on how to conduct our lives in a peaceful way and they impart the hope of Eternal Life.

    Simply because we do not understand why God gives an instruction in a certain area does not render it unimportant, invalid or inappropriate. Anyone of us could learn something tomorrow that would trigger a paradigm shift in our world view. Could that be the reason why God places an emphasis on obedience? The Scriptures teach that obedience is better than sacrifice. In reality obedience often requires the sacrificing of ideas that are contrary to God's Word.
    The apology was heartfelt, and I rejoice to see the fruit it bears.

    I'm glad you understand that "Anyone of us could learn something tomorrow that would trigger a paradigm shift in our world view." That's what happened to me and Rose. In spades! But I understand you are applying that to the problematic verses. And I agree to a degree. For example, it is possible that Paul was replying to false statements he received in a letter when he said "It is good for a man not to touch a woman." If we had the letter we would have known that he was quoting the false statement in the letter and correcting it. That's one approach folks have taken to resolve the sexism in the Bible. But that approach is a piecemeal approach and so does not convince me because it is trumped by the "Big Picture" of sexism that saturates the Bible from beginning to end. The image of God is fundamentally male - indeed, a Trinity of Males. And this is why the emphasis on obedience is so problematic. Who really has an interest in obedience? RULING MALES. The literal "male kings" which are the basis of the primary Biblical metaphor for God. Christianity hinges on the concept of sin as "disobedience" and that is a concept I categorically reject. It has nothing to do with morality. Obedience to religious dogmas is a primary source of evil in the world. Steven Weinberg put it well when he said, "With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion." Even the reference to "good people" collides with the Christian dogma that there are none. It is here that Christian dogma collides with reality. We all know that there are good people in the world, and there is no correlation between goodness and religion.
    ...
    by Published on 05-23-2012 11:55 PM  Number of Views: 5030 
    Article Preview

    This website has been online for over eleven years. I have used it to share my faith and strongly encourage people to believe Christ and the Bible. I have expressed my personal religious beliefs very publicly. But my beliefs have changed a lot in the last couple of years, so it is time to discuss why I came to be a Christian.

    Religious beliefs are largely determined by the mere chance event of where you were born. Folks tend to adopt the dominant religion of the region of their birth unless their immediate family follows a different tradition. But neither geography nor family fully determines religious belief. Temperament and life experience play important roles. Not everyone is satisfied with their inherited religion, while others simply have no interest in the big question of "what it's all about." Some are looking for certainty in this disturbingly chaotic world. Religion gives answers, like a parent telling a child "everything will be alright." Others are catapulted into a search for meaning by the traumas of life. Siddhartha, who became the Buddha, left his sheltered home to begin his famous quest for enlightenment after encountering suffering, disease, and death. Though I can't claim to have achieved his goal, my motivations were largely the same.
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    by Published on 05-05-2012 07:50 PM  Number of Views: 36593 
    Article Preview

    Since I began this website back in 2001, and during most of the decade that followed, I identified myself as a “Bible-believing Christian” in no uncertain terms. For example, here is how I described myself in my old FAQ (which remains on the archive of my old site for historical purposes):

    Are you a Christian? Protestant? Catholic?

    Praise God, I am a man saved by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesian 2:8). I am a non-denominational blood-bought Bible-believing Trinitarian Christian. I believe that the true “faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3) is well stated in the early creeds of the church that Christ founded.

    Likewise, here is my testimony about the purpose of my website on the old homepage:
    ...
    by Published on 05-05-2012 05:49 PM  Number of Views: 3693 
    Article Preview

    This is the third version of the site I founded on February 11, 2001 to share my discovery of the Bible Wheel, which is a simple two-dimensional representation of the 66 books of the Bible as three wheels within a wheel of 22 Spokes, corresponding to the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet. I was a devout Christian at that time, and spent the next decade writing hundreds of articles to explain my discovery, as well as a 412 page hardbound book. I felt it was proof that God had designed the detailed structure of Scripture. Unfortunately, it also had the deleterious effect of drawing me into a rather conservative form of Christian fundamentalism since I did, after all, feel that I had objectively verifiable proof of the divine inspiration of the Bible. But as the years rolled by, I began to notice that there were problems with the Bible that I just could not ignore and after a couple of years of serious discourse with my wife Rose, we both came to understand that the Bible was not the "Word of God." I explain my reasons in a post called Why I Quit Christianity.
    ...
    by Published on 12-03-2011 08:44 PM  Number of Views: 319358 

    La Parade by Seurat

    If there is a vortex about which the Western mind has revolved as it evolved through the dark ages to the enlightenment and beyond, it is the book that contains, according to literary critic Northrop Frye, the Great Code of Western civilization. What book might this be? No one would have asked that question fifty years ago, for then there was only one book spelled with a capital B and known by a single name like Cher and Madonna, the north star of both the exo- and esoteric Western spiritual traditions, the Bible.

    This was the vortex that enraptured my soul as it captured my mind twenty years ago. I had an intuition I was entering a trap, but my intellect was quickly hooked. There were too many patterns, too much perfection. The glory of the book and its message - amplified a thousand times by numinous symbols with profound mathematical relations - blinded me to the darkness it contained, a darkness that has titillatingly tormented the collective soul of humanity for two thousand years. It is so attractive! Yet filled with such pain and sorrow. Confusion and wisdom united as one. What kind of book is this?

    This website is the result of my encounter with the Bible. I founded it in 2001 to share my discovery of the Bible Wheel and other intriguing Scriptural patterns. The vortex, empowered by my discoveries, soon pulled me in to its center where there is only one point of view. I became somewhat fundamentalistic and lost touch with my soul, my own groove. A person with only one point of view is like the pointillist Seurat trying to paint with one pixel. And that's what freed me - the realization that a single-pixel camera can't do shit. I could not deny the urge rising up from my spine - it was time to open my eyes and check out a few new points of view.

    So welcome to the Bible Wheel Vortex! You are amongst friends here. Our tongue may follow our wit at times, and be a little sharp, but our hearts are warm and our intuition tingles, so if you are looking for this kind of fellowship check out the Bible Wheel forum and see what's cooking. We share our food freely with all.

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