Monday, October 13, 2014

The imagined void or emptiness

My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Psalm 84:2


My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? Psalm 42:2

The two verses cited above are two of many which refer to mans so called longing for God. Often you hear evangelists preach about the so called void or emptiness in ones being that can only be filled by Jesus the Christ. This is the general position of all theists of all sects and denominations regarding their basic beliefs. 

Some have gone as far as stating that there is a so called God gene that is built into our DNA that drives us to want and long for the Lord! This is one of the reasons that theists claim that without God (their god in particular) one can never find happiness or fulfillment in this life. 


Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6

Jesus is made to affirm this by stating that he is life! As a former evangelist and theist I too believed and held this position. I thought in those days that nothing that we could do on this earth would ever fill the so called void in our hearts and our being for God. Some define hell not as a place of fire and brimstone or burning torment but as a place where ones soul is eternally separated from the presence of God.

As an atheist since 1994 till the present I have come to believe that this position is false and not the result of a necessity for God, but rather a result of indoctrination and cultural influence. Many here in the states whether they are practicing believers or not in the Christian deity are taught that he is somewhat of a loving father figure. We are told from youth by family, friends, and even people in positions of authority in our lives such as counselors and school teachers that God is watching over us and that angels protect us from harm etc. 

Many people I know today are not practicing believers but claim to believe in God and acknowledge in their behavior that he exists. They wear crucifixes as you would a good luck charm, they bless themselves by doing the sign of the cross before stepping out of their homes every day. They thank the invisible guy in the sky for every small bit of fortune that happens to come their way. They don't do these things because they have carefully studied and considered their Bible's and critically analyzed their belief claims; they do it because they have been indoctrinated to believe. 


As you can see by the above definition you don't need a religious authority to teach you about religion. It is the beliefs that we are exposed to in our society and culture that influence how and what we believe in. The fact that many of us are surrounded by the religious and that their position is a majority belief in this country (United States of America) is sufficient proof of indoctrination and not no imagined longing for God in our souls or any other parts of our being. 

I found that as an atheist we as individuals are responsible for finding in this life those things that bring us joy and satisfaction. I myself have no need nor longing for the Christian God nor any other god for that matter. I have found through my life and experience as an atheist that this life has many things that can have meaning in our lives. 

I find joy in the fact that I have been able to work and provide for my family. The fact that I have two lovely daughters and a grandson and a pain in the ass yet caring wife is enough to make and keep me happy. I don't long for a better world because I have come to the realization that this world and this life is the only one I am going to get. My head is not in the clouds imagining some divine utopia after this life, but rather it is firmly planted on the ground and the reality that is this life. 


I love this definition because it is precisely what Christianity teaches: that there is a place where if we are obedient to God and submit to his will in this life we will be happy and abide in a perfect place where all of the failures and maladies of this life will not exist. God will be the ruler and there will no longer be sickness and death but eternal bliss as we rejoice in the presence of God forever. That my friends is the definition of an imaginary place. It doesn't matter if it is a spiritual place somewhere up in the clouds or space or whether it will be here on this earth in what is called in the scriptures "New Jerusalem" this place simply does not exist. 

Every once in awhile you will find some bits of fact in the fiction that is the Bible and the following is one of my favorites. 

The LORD said, "If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Genesis 11:6

That last part is significant "nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them." All it takes is a change of mind, a mental shift to achieve all the things you plan to achieve including happiness. Life is truly what you make of it. If you choose to mope about your circumstances in life and do nothing to get out of them then you will die moping and in utter misery. I've always said that when you have reached rock bottom there is only one way to go and that is up. Or you can choose to remain at the bottom and do  nothing to better your situation. You can take a huge hit from life and choose to lay there like a helpless victim or you can get up, brush yourself off, and claw your way out of the hole you find yourself in. 

I find that even though I don't have everything I would have wanted out of life that I am happy and I have achieved a lot more than most. I have taken some heavy hits and my life has not been easy. In fact, I should have been just another story of a failed life, a statistic but I have managed to rise above all of that. I've done it with hard work and conscious effort which did not require a god or some spiritual being to guide me. There is no emptiness in my life or sense of something missing I have done and continue to do and make every second of this life count for something positive without gods and ancient myths, rituals, and superstitions, and so can you. 

Note: All biblical citations in this post have been taken from the New International Version of the scriptures. All word definitions have come from the online version of the Merriam Webster dictionary.  

Monday, September 8, 2014

There is no logical reason in apologetics


A long time friend of mine Mattshizzle posted this on Google plus yesterday. After providing my brief response to this post I have decided to address it directly here. The commenter has committed several blatant logical fallacies in this post that demonstrate to me that he/she has no idea about what logical reasoning is nor even how to go about it.

The first logical fallacy this poster commits is that he presupposes that God exists. Not just any god but his god of choice. He also assumes that this gods knowledge supercedes the knowledge of man and comes itself from this yet to be proven supernatural source. The theistic presuppositionist position for the existence of god is supposed to be the equivalent of an a priori argument. The main problem with the presuppositionist position is that if you don't presuppose the existence of god then the entire argument fails.

a priori

The term a priori is used in philosophy to indicate deductive reasoning. The term is Latin, meaning “from what comes before”, refering to that which comes before experience.
Something that is known a priori can safely be considered to be a true statement, assuming that the logic (or deductive reasoning) used to arrive at that conclusion is conducted using valid arguments.

Theists believe that they have sufficient evidence through their version of philosophical arguments (apologetics) for the existence and therefore the assumption that god exists. But to date it is my opinion that they have not been able to prove their gods existence through valid arguments utilizing deductive reasoning. Through apologetics they misuse and abuse philosophical concepts and methodologies to suit their rather unsubstantiated claims and absurd beliefs.

Another fallacy this poster commits is often referred to as the argument from ignorance. Because his gods existence cannot be disproven definitively he assumes that this is sufficient reason to affirm that his god exists.

appeal to ignorance/argument from ignorance

The fallacy of appeal to ignorance comes in two forms: (1) Not knowing that a certain statement is true is taken to be a proof that it is false. (2) Not knowing that a statement is false is taken to be a proof that it is true. The fallacy occurs in cases where absence of evidence is not good enough evidence of absence. The fallacy uses an unjustified attempt to shift the burden of proof. 

I consider myself an atheist because I do not feel that there is or ever has been sufficient evidence to prove definitively the existence of any god whatsoever. Faith or subjective "evidence" are not in my view valid means of obtaining knowledge of truth when it comes to things of a supernatural nature. It this were the case then I would have to accept that tribal religious adherents that claim to be possessed by their dead ancestors and act it out during their services must be true. By the standard of faith witches are real, demons exits, and a voodoo curse can kill you!

In fact, this poster forgets that the Bible itself is a work of man! It says so right there in the book itself.

16All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 (other tranlations use "inspired" instead of "God-breathed.")

The fact that believers presuppose the existence of God because the Bible tells me so which is more commonly a fundamentalist position is known as the fallacy of circular reasoning.

circular reasoning

Circular reasoning occurs when the reasoner begins with what he or she is trying to end up with. The most well known examples are cases of the fallacy of begging the question. 

While begging the question is mentioned let's look at the definition of that fallacy as well.

begging the question

A form of circular reasoning in which a conclusion is derived from premises that presuppose the conclusion. Normally, the point of good reasoning is to start out at one place and end up somewhere new, namely having reached the goal of increasing the degree of reasonable belief in the conclusion. The point is to make progress, but in cases of begging the question there is no progress.

As you can see based on the definitions provided above, that begging the question is just another form of circular reasoning. Apologetics is guilty of all of these fallacies and more. All arguments proposed for the existence of God by Christian or Muslim apologists are fallacious and lacking because they all presuppose that their god exists as a starting point and try to manipulate the facts to fit their presuppositions.

In contrast, the scientific method takes a more logical and completely reasonable approach to discovery. They start with an hypothesis based on observations, they then formulate experiments to prove or falsify their hypothesis, if it passes it goes on to becoming a theory.

theory

A scientific theory summarizes a hypothesis or group of hypotheses that have been supported with repeated testing. If enough evidence accumulates to support a hypothesis, it moves to the next step—known as a theory—in the scientific method and becomes accepted as a valid explanation of a phenomenon.

When used in non-scientific context, the word “theory” implies that something is unproven or speculative. As used in science, however, a theory is an explanation or model based on observation, experimentation, and reasoning, especially one that has been tested and confirmed as a general principle helping to explain and predict natural phenomena.

Anyone who has had the priviledge of arguing the existence of God or read sufficient books on the matter recognizes this very common way that apologists misuse and in this case abuse language. For instance many state that evolution is not a proven fact but rather a "theory," but when they use the word theory they are doing so in its most commonly used non-scientific context. This of course they fail to tell their followers. 

In conclusion our poster forgets that the Bible or any so called sacred texts for that matter are all the works of men. That's right! They have been composed, compiled, edited, propagated and distributed by men. By adding inspired by god simply begs the question as to who this god is and where or how did he/she/ or it come to exist etc.

Note

All biblical quotations are from the New International Version of the Bible. My sources for philosophical terms and for the scientific definitions are taken from the following links.

http://www.philosophy-index.com

http://www.iep.utm.edu/

http://www.livescience.com
A scientific theory summarizes a hypothesis or group of hypotheses that have been supported with repeated testing. If enough evidence accumulates to support a hypothesis, it moves to the next step—known as a theory—in the scientific method and becomes accepted as a valid explanation of a phenomen

Saturday, September 6, 2014

I don't miss Jesus

As of late I have been pondering the matter of former believers who have embraced atheism. I find deconversion stories interesting and at times sad. As a former fundamentalist evangelist and fully committed believer myself, I can honestly say that I left the church and the faith behind with a bitter taste in my mouth. I was angry at myself for being duped into not only believing the nonsense I did at the time but in the fact that I also helped to spread those ridiculous beliefs.

The first seeds of doubt began to germinate in my mind when I first read the Bible from cover to cover for the first time. I began to doubt some of the experiences I had in the church and even some of the normal practices during service. The chaos that would ensue when nearly everyone in the congregation began speaking in tongues at once and passing out and writhing on the floor allegedy under the power of the Holy Spirit brought to mind the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 14.

26What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up. 27If anyone speaks in a tongue, two—or at the most three—should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. 28If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and to God. 1 Corinthians 14:26-28

39Therefore, my brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. 40But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way. 1 Corinthians 14:39-40

I was a member of the Pentecostal faith and in our church there was no order. Women were often pastors despite the biblical mandate that women remain silent in the church (1 Corinthians 14:34-35).

34Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. 35If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.

Some atheists claim that they miss the music and the social aspects of religious services and so they attend services from time to time. I personally do not feel this way and find religious services to be embarassing and primitive at best. I feel sorry whenever I see other believers who are currently where I used to be. They speak in tongues and raise their hands in the air believing that these are their gods way of confirming to them the truth of their beliefs or the integrity of their standing with God. Little do they know that all of these manifestations are nothing more than the projections of their own minds under the influence of doctrinal beliefs and church dogma.

Today, I personally find worship abhorrent and would not set foot inside a church for any reason. I find the music repulsive and the so called outpouring of brotherly love in Christ by church adherents overwhelmingly hypocritical. I've never liked liars, hypocrites, or thieves and I feel that the church is chock full of all of the above. It took me six years but I have managed to cleanse my psyche from all of the ridiculous influences of the church in my life. I don't believe in an afterlife nor eternal punishment for sins. In fact, the idea of sin is outright absurd!

I don't miss being a mental and physical slave to absurd beliefs based on nothing more than faith. I don't miss bearing a charge of guilt on my shoulders for simply being born. If there was a god and he was offended by my existence and insisted that I submit to him and worship him I would tell him to fuck himself. I live a good life and do not bear any guilt for imaginary crimes I might have commited against an imaginary deity. I don't miss Jesus and have lived the past 19 years happily without him.

Note: All biblical quotations are taken from the New International Version of the Bible. 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Venerating the cross


When I was first converted to Christianity I used to wear a gold cross around my neck. When I began preaching the gospel and making the rounds around the local churches I was approached by a church elder who asked me why I wore the image of the cross. I replied that it was a reminder to myself of the things that the Lord had suffered for me and the rest of humanity. He responded by simply asking me if Christ had been executed on an electric chair would I wear the image of an electric chair on my neck? It was right then and there that I realized that he had a good point. After some thought I came to realize that it was not the cross but the person who died on the cross that was the source of my salvation. I took off my crucifix and never wore that image again.

Venerate: to feel or show deep respect for (someone or something that is considered great, holy, etc.)

Idolatry: the worship of a picture or object as a god

Worship: the act of showing respect and love for a god especially by praying with other people who believe in the same god : the act of worshiping God or a god
: excessive admiration for someone

After becoming an atheist and examining my former beliefs more closely I came to realize how pathetic and weak Satan and his minions were for fearing the sign of the cross. It's akin to Dracula and his vampires hissing and cowering in fear when shown a cross in the old vampire movies genre.  Today many claiming or professing to be Christians wear these images (especially Catholics) and rely on them for protection as you would if you were wearing some kind of magic talisman. They kiss their crucifixes and bless themselves before going out by making the sign of the cross across their own bodies. This is not veneration it is worship and in the end it is nothing more than idolatry. 

4“You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5You shall not bow down to them or worship them;... Exodus 20:4-5

According to the ten commandments as outlined in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5 God prohibited the making  of images. But later on in Numbers 21 this same God punishes the Hebrews for complaining about their lot and so he sends snakes to bite and kill many of the Israelites. In response to this Moses prayed for the Lords mercy and he commanded Moses to make a bronze snake!

8The Lord said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” 9So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived. Numbers 21:8-9

I guess like the rest of the commandments it's only a sin when God says so. Every once in awhile he makes exceptions to his own rules. For instance the famous "thou shall not kill" commandment is repeatedly violated by the Hebrews in the O.T. under the direct or indirect orders of God himself. 

Have you ever wondered what happened to that snake? The Bible said it was destroyed by King Hezekiah because they (Israelites) began worshiping it by burning incense to it. 

4He removed the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles. He broke into pieces the bronze snake Moses had made, for up to that time the Israelites had been burning incense to it. (It was called Nehushtan. ) 2 Kings 18:4

Many of today's Christians are guilty of the sin of idolatry not just on the matter of the cross but in their excessive devotion to the Bible. Some like to put an open Bible in their rooms or in the dashboard of their cars to ward off evil or to obtain God's blessings. Using the cross or the Bible in these ways is simply idolatry no matter how you spin it. Catholics like to burn incense and candles to saints and even for the dead. All of these acts are not based on biblical principles. Nowhere in the Bible does it say to pray to dead saints for favors. In fact, the role of intercessor belongs to Christ alone. 

Those of you who do the above mentioned acts should read your Bible's before you try to refute atheists about matters you yourselves know nothing about. The cross itself has no power Christ was not the first man to have ever been crucified in history. This was a very common form of execution utilized by the Romans in the first century. The Bible by itself is just a book it's not the book itself that has power but the words contained in the book. Now that is a lesson for you from you friendly atheist.

Note: All word definitions are taken from the online Merriam Webster Dictionary  which I have linked to and all scripture citations are from the New International Version of the scriptures.


Saturday, July 19, 2014

Christians it's about the language!





When discussing the God issue with Christians I am often asked the following question: "If God does not exist then how were we created?" After some thought I have come to realize that one of the biggest barriers between atheism and theism is the language we use to describe what we believe or don't believe. Of course there are many other barriers such as our definitions of evidence and what we may consider to be valid evidence in favor of either position, but atheists rely on science and objective and impirical evidence while theists rely on faith and subjective experiences.

As a former fundamentalist believer myself, I do not accept subjective experiences as evidence for the existence of God. There are many reasons for this and many of those reasons are also based on some of my own personal experiences as a Pentecostal charismatic evangelist and believer. I've been so called "slain in the Spirit," have spoken in togues, prophesied, believed I was interpreting tongues, through faith imparted apparent healing, etc. But I have come to realize that these experiences are not unique to Pentecostals. In fact, they are quite common and widespread in many other world religions. I have come to the conclusion that these expriences are not the result of divine intervention or communication with the gods or the Christian God, but that they are all nothing more than different states of conciousness. In other words; it's all in the mind.

Faith in my opinion is not a valid means of obtaining valid knowledge about anything in the world. Through faith anything is possible and it is because of this that I do not accept any claims made entirely on a faith position such as the claim that God exists. The fact is that there is no objective nor empirical evidence for the existence of God or any gods for that matter. When you have no evidence faith is automatically the default position. It's like saying God exists because I believe that he does and I know it in my heart. If that's the case then Santa Clause, the tooth fairy, Bigfoot, Pegasus, Zeus, Thor, Odin, Satan, all exist because I believe that they do. This is the opposite of logic and is not proof of anything.

Now on to what I mean about the language barrier. Christians think in terms of everything from the universe, life, and everything that exists as being created. They are stuck in that position because they believe in a sole source for the existence of everything; namely, God the creator. Secularists and atheists on the other hand don't believe in a creator but rather we think based on objective and empirical evidence that all things came into existence through a gradual process of evolution. Contrary to religious beliefs this is not a faith based position but rather a position based on all of the evidence gathered to this point. The naturalistic view of life does not require a god or some mysterious creator.

At times the jargon can get confusing especially when you are not thoroughly familiar with the subject matter. There is a huge difference between things being created and those things naturally evolving and adapting to the environments in which they are exposed to.

I personally like the process of reverse engineering. When you look at the human body and its parts you will come to realize that we are entirely made up of and function via a series of chemical processes in  our brains and our cells. It is this very fact that makes it in my opinion quite obvious that we came into existence gradually via the process of evolution. It is not hard to imagine a primordial soup as the beginning of life when you think of chemistry and how chemicals react to each other and to the environments in which they are used in. We are the product of an innumerable amount of chemical processes that continue on even today.

To state emphatically that we were "created" is to presuppose a creator and it is this aspect of all theistic arguments in favor of belief that make it so hard for theists to accept evolution. Their religious indoctrination has made the idea of an invisible guy in the sky a logical assumption. Yet they never question the absurdity of an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent beings existence. Considering that fact that there are slightly over 7 billion people inhabiting this planet it is hard to imagine a being who can keep track of them all. A being who knows their individual thoughts, intentions, hears their prayers, knows when they sin, and acknowledges their prayers!

Theists believe this being sits on a throne in his invisible realm called heaven surrounded by angels and other strange beings who do nothing but worship him day and night! (Read Revelation chapter 4). This does not sound any different than the Greek myths about Zeus and other ancient deities. Once you come to realize that your beliefs are based not on facts but on ancient myths and superstitious beliefs then you will be able to take that next step forward in your search for origins. Once you eliminate the gods you are forced to look for a natural solution in nature.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Christianity is a superstitious belief system

In this post I would like to take the time to address one of my claims regarding religious beliefs in general and  in particular the three religions of the book: Judaism, Christianity, and  Islam. Often when I am engaged in discussions or debates about Christians and their beliefs I refer to those beliefs as ancient myths and superstitions. Before continuing let me go ahead and define those two key words for the sake of argument and then begin to lay out my case.

Myth






Superstition





Now that we've defined these words let's look at why I personally think that god beliefs in general are based on myths. According to the definitions I have taken from the Merriam Webster dictionary online a myth has several characteristics.

1. tradition
2. stories
3. unverifiable history

The three religions of the book are based entirely on stories collected in a book known to us as the Bible. In fact the word Bible according to its etymology actually means book. These stories in the Bible contain a large amount of fantasy and occurrences which we know from our own life experiences to be impossible events. For example the sun and the moon standing still in the sky and not going down for the length of an entire day! 

So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the nation avenged itself on its enemies, as it is written in the Book of Jashar. The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day. Joshua 10:13

Now when you read this it obviously doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that this story also reflects the beliefs of the period in which it was composed; that the we lived in a geocentric universe. In other words, that the earth was the center of the universe and that all the other planets and heavenly bodies revolved around it. The science of astronomy has shown us that this view is outdated and in fact incorrect. This is just one of the many impossible events that are narrated in the Bible. 

Finally, the believers of the religions of the book refuse to recognize the fact that because of these so called fantastical and miraculous events that allegedly occurred, make a lot of the so called history in the Bible unverifiable or at least falsifiable through archeology. One example of this is the destruction of Egypt when God allegedly hit them with his plagues to demonstrate his power to the ancient Hebrews and liberate them from slavery. 

If the above mentioned story were true then Egypt would have perished and been a complete waste land. The Bible says that God killed the Pharaoh and his entire army in one fell swoop! That he killed all of the livestock of the Egyptians including all of the plant life. He also killed all the first born sons of Egypt, so based on this tale there would be no successor to the throne after the death of Pharaoh. But yet history has shown that Egypt is a culture that goes back for thousands of years and still exists even today. 

Now let's move on to the element of superstitious beliefs and how they relate to the three religions of the book. According to the definition given for the word superstition, there are several elements that make a belief a superstition.

1. ignorance
2. fear of the unknown
3. trust in magic
4. false conception of causation

As I pointed out in the previous section ignorance about how things work is one reason why people believe some things that would be otherwise irrational and formulate erroneous beliefs. In today's world science has helped to dispel many of the worlds  erroneous beliefs due to a lack of knowledge and understanding. Fear of the unknown is another important force that drives religious beliefs. In an age before science was established and had managed to collect the innumerable amount of discoveries it has to this point, people lived in fear. They believed in magic and the supernatural was quite natural. They believed in gods and other supernatural deities, good and evil forces working in our world, etc. 

Even as late as 1692 right here in the United States in Salem Massachusetts there were actual witch trials being conducted! The people were driven by religious fervor and they were ignorant and afraid of the world around them and how things worked in nature. They attributed their misfortunes to devils working through the medium of witches in Salem. All this is due to a false conception of causation. 

For all the followers of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam it is important to know that your "God did it" claim for everything that is unknown at this time even for science is itself a false conception of causation. You're still living in the dark ages full of magic, ignorance, and fear. What you call truth is nothing more than ancient myths and superstitions imagined and invented by man himself. 

Note: All definitions used were taken from the online Merriam Webster dictionary. The links to my sources are contained within the text itself.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Things Christians don't agree on

Considering the fact that there are literally about 35,000-45,000 Christian orgnizations or sects around the world. It is quite obvious that believers don't seem to agree on what it is that their so called holy book actually says about God and many other things. This is mostly due to hermeneutics (methods of interpretation). The most commonly used methods are the literal and allegorical methods of interpretation.That being said here are some common points of contention amongst Christian denominations.

1. The trinity: Some believe that God is somehow manifested as three separate entities; the father, the son, and the Holy Spirit. Some churches reject the idea of the trinity altogether while others regard the whole matter a mystery that somehow we cannot fully comprehend or know. I personally believed that the three were separate entities but that they were one in plan and purpose.

2. Baptism: Some churches baptize children while others don't believe that children should be baptized till they reach the so called age of accountability where they can conciously choose to worship God through accepting Christ as their Lord and saviour. Other churches only baptize older kids and adults and believe that if a child is not capable of making a decision for Christ and dies that he/she will automatically be saved through God's grace.

3. Miracles: Not all churches accept the idea of God working miracles through his believers as he allegedly did in the Bible through his disciples. Some believe that the miracles were only necessary to establish the church and that once that had been accomplished that they were no longer necessary.

4. Idols: Many protestant churches don't believe in the so called veneration of idols and they equate it with idolatry. Catholics call it veneration but many Catholics I know of actually pray to these idols for favors etc. I personally think that it is nothing more than idol worship and that it is clearly condemned in the scriptures.

5. Creation story: Depending on which church you belong to and what denomination they represent you will find that some consider the creation story to be allegorical and not a literal and actual historic event.

6.Adam and eve: Were the first pair according to the scriptures actual historical figures or were they fictional? I personally believe that the author or authors of the narrative believed that they were literally historical figures. Adam is given an age of death and a geneology why would someone do this if they were not historical figures? Also, the author of Romans and other New Testament writers also believed in a literal Adam. "Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned--" Romans 5:12 

7. Paradise: Some believe that paradise will be here on a renewed earth after the so called tribulation and judgement. Others believe in an eternal abode in some heavenly spiritual realm.

8. Predestination: Some believe that not everyone will be saved that some are predestined to salvation while others are not. Others believe that salvation depends on your acceptance of Christ and faith in his redeeming act. The latter believe that everyone has an equal opportunity of being saved. 

9. Faith: Some believe that all you have to have is faith to be saved while others believe that faith is just one part of salvation. They believe that you have to also do good works and make some life changes that reflect what you believe. 

10. The rapture: Some believe that we will all be caught up into heaven literally. Others believe that the verses referring to the rapture are not to be taken literally.

11. The resurrection: Some believe that Jesus rose from the dead bodily (physically) while others believe it was a spiritual resurrection. 

These are just some of the many contentions that believers have about the scriptures and what they mean. Religionfacts.com has a nice list of some of the more common Christian churches and what they believe here.  

Notes: Biblial citations are taken from the New International Version of the scriptuires. All other citations have been hyper linked in the text itself.