Talk:Essay:Questions "Learned" Atheists Cannot Answer

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Here's my attempt, based on what I know. How did I do? LewisS 13:02, 6 September 2009 (EDT)

  1. A book that sells 30,000 copies qualifies for the New York Times bestseller list. How many copies of the Bible sell each year? (Ballpark estimate for the United States would be fine.) I thought the Gideons gave them away. About 10 million a year, since 1450. (Based on sales of 6 billion)
  2. How many Gospels are there, and what are their different styles and messages? 4, not sure about the rest
  3. Which of the Gospels are attributed to eyewitnesses? 2 - Matthew & John
  4. In which language are the oldest manuscripts for the Gospels written? Hebrew, Aramaic, with the NT being written in Koine Greek.
  5. Who wrote the most books in the New Testament? Paul
  6. How long is the New Testament compared to an average book on the New York Times bestseller list? I assume the NT has a longer word count.
  7. Who first translated the New Testament into English based on the oldest manuscripts? Some would say John Wycliff, but they'd be wrong. The Venerable Bede and Aldhelm both translated bits of the Bible into Old English around the 7th Century.
  8. Was the English translation banned after King Henry VIII split from Rome? No, Wycliff's Bible was banned as anti-Catholic heresy before the split happened and his body was exhumed by the then-Catholic government and burnt posthumously, 30 years after his death.
  9. In what language is the Gutenberg Bible? Latin
  10. How many books are in the Bible? (Approximation is fine.) 66 - 39 OT; 27 NT
  11. What are some of the oldest books in the Bible? Some say Job, most agree on the Pentateuch being the oldest
  12. Who wrote the Acts of the Apostles? Paul
Score: about 50%. Not good, and I wonder if you looked some of the answers up. Most atheists would score far lower, however, so there is solace. Thanks for trying.--Andy Schlafly 14:16, 6 September 2009 (EDT)
The person who provided the above answers admits elsewhere that, just as I suggested above, he actually looked up the answers: "And yes, of course I looked up the answers ...."[1] Scoring only about 50% after looking up the answers is awfully pathetic.
His conclusion? "Don’t you dare tell me that you or anybody else on Conservapedia knows them off the top of your head." Ignorance loves company. Yes, atheists who claim to be learned and well-read are abysmally ignorant about the most influential book ever, and are determined to remain that way. Unless they open their minds and open a Bible, they'll be just as uninformed twenty years from now.--Andy Schlafly 09:01, 7 September 2009 (EDT)
I'd be very interested to see how well everybody - including Christians - would score on your quiz. Is there a way to conduct a test of it? Posting answers to the talk page may be unreliable, because of the temptation to see what others have answered. I know there are some web-based programs which can be used to create and automatically grade a multiple-choice test. Because it seems to me that many of those questions are far from simple, and I wouldn't expect the average person to know the answers unless they had studied theology or biblical history. For what it's worth, here's my attempt:
1. I have seen figures of 8 million mentioned before.
2. 4. (this is the easiest question, but part two is trickier). Mark's Gospel is the shortest, and linguistically the least polished, of the four. He writes about Jesus's life and works in a series of unconnected episodes; the Gospel gives the impression of being written in haste. He focuses on Jesus's miracles, particularly casting out demons and conquering evil. Matthew was written for a well-educated Jewish audience. His Gospel focuses on Jesus's teachings to his disciples, and his reaction against the Pharisees. Luke, a former physician, concentrates on Jesus's healing of the sick. John's gospel is written using much use of symbols and metaphors. His Jesus makes many pronouncements beginning with the words "I am...", and focuses on Jesus revealing Himself to man.
3. Mark and John.
4. Greek.
5. Paul.
6. Difficult to judge, as most copies of the NT are written using much smaller type, and on thinner paper, than contemporary bestsellers. If the NT was printed the same way as a modern novel, I'd guess it would be maybe 300 - 400 pages long. But I really don't know.
7. John Wycliff and his team were the first to translate it in full.
8. No.
9. Latin.
10. 72
11. Assuming that they're collected in approximately chronological order, the oldest would be Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.
12. Luke.
--Eoinc 07:36, 7 September 2009 (EDT)
Very well done! 8/12. I doubt you're an atheist, unless you looked up the answers beforehand (and I doubt you did). Thanks for your impressive effort.--Andy Schlafly 09:15, 7 September 2009 (EDT)
Au contraire, Andy, I am in fact a nonbeliever. It just happens to be a topic that interests me. But thank you for your kind remarks. --Eoinc 12:52, 7 September 2009 (EDT)
Interesting, but incomplete. Every atheist I've met has an attitude of deliberate ignorance towards the Bible. It's not just a lack of knowledge, but also a determination to lack knowledge. Perhaps you acquired some knowledge of the Bible before the atheistic school system worked its influence?--Andy Schlafly 15:00, 7 September 2009 (EDT)
Well, unlike the public schools in the United States, religious instruction was and is a compulsory part of the school curriculum for children between (approximately) ages five and twelve. However, the level of instruction is of a very simple kind: we learned Bible stories and the Golden Rule, but certainly nothing as sophisticated as the answers to your quiz. When I left primary school at the age of 12, having been Confirmed along with the rest of my class, I could have named the four evangelists for you, but I could not have told you which two were purported eyewitnesses, or what the differences were in their writing styles.
Our secondary schools (age 13 - 18 approx) are perhaps more similar to your public schools; there, Christianity was only studied as part of a course on comparative religion. In our final year, speakers were invited to talk to our religion class. It was at about that time that I became interested in discussing, learning about, and thinking about, religion.
In contrast to the other atheists you have met, I have no desire to be willfully ignorant. If I am to reject the Christian faith, I need to know exactly what it is that I am rejecting. So, for that reason, I read religious books extensively, particularly the works of Christian apologists and anyone who advances a view different to mine. I engage street evangelists in discussion whenever I have time. I would learn nothing by living in an echo chamber (I never enjoy discussing religion with other atheists), and if I am wrong about Christianity, or any religion, I would want to know about it. --Eoinc 15:50, 7 September 2009 (EDT)
Your attitude is admirable, but highly unusual among atheists. You may not remain an atheist long with your commendable approach. The Bible is the most logical book written, and I'll think you'll find that atheism contains logical contradictions. That bothers some more than others. For me, I'd never accept a belief system that has a logical contradiction.
As an example of one (of many) logical contradictions in atheism, atheists insist on the one hand that physical constants (like radioactive decay or the speed of light) have never changed, and yet admit on the other hand that they must have been different soon after the beginning of the universe. Another contradiction is the view of atheists toward classroom prayer: they insist on censoring it even if all want to participate in it.--Andy Schlafly 15:59, 7 September 2009 (EDT)

I understand your points, but opinions about physics or classroom prayer (logically consistent or otherwise) are not necessary components of what it means to lack belief in God. One could be in agreement with Seneca in thinking that the gods are "seen by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful", and therefore be in support of classroom prayer, for example.

I don't think that classroom prayer ever did me any harm. But I agree with those who say that it should not be the government's job to teach religious (or anti-religious) beliefs. Teach math, english, history, and all the rest of it, but leave questions of faith to the families and to their churches. --Eoinc 19:38, 7 September 2009 (EDT)

Atheism is a belief system, and opposition to classroom prayer is central to it. Your statement confirms it. It doesn't make any sense to censor what people want to do (pray), and which you admit they may benefit from. Clearly something more is at work in the atheistic belief system to take such a view.
Logical contradictions in the origin of the universe, and of life, are also central to the belief system of atheism.
It's axiomatic that once someone accepts a logical contradiction, then he can justify anything. Perhaps that's the real appeal of the atheistic belief system. But the end result is not pretty for those who subscribe to it.--Andy Schlafly 20:16, 7 September 2009 (EDT)

OK, I'm an agnostic, I'll give it a try

I'm an agnostic, though I'm going to college, and therefore don't really consider myself "learned."

No cheating, I promise.

1. A lot of copies, definitely in the millions somewhere. I don't know the exact number.

2. Matthew seems to be aimed at a Jewish audience, and focuses on fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies. Mark is a simpler style, and reads like a pamphlet or a tract. Luke was probably intended for Gentile audiences. The author of this Gospel was most likely an educated man, and wrote very skilled prose. John explores Jesus' nature as God and man more deeply than the other Gospels.

3. OK, according to tradition, I think that Mark was supposed to be Peter's eyewitness account. If the disciple John actually wrote the book of John, that would make that an eyewitness account, too.

4. Greek

5. Oh, that's tough. Would it be YHWH, or Elohim, or possibly Adonai? I'm not quite sure on this one.

6. Paul

7. (Rough guess) About 300-400 pages, or so.

8. Oh, no! I'm stumped.

9. I'm pretty sure not. If it was banned, it would be when the British Crown was still tied to the Vatican in some way.

10. Latin

11. Rough guess - fifty

12. As far as the oldest manuscripts I'm pretty sure we have some very old extant copies of some of the Prophets. As far as strictly the oldest books, I'd have to say the Torah. Those books were first written down during the Kingdom period, and were based on hundreds and hundreds of years of oral tradition.

13. The same person who wrote Luke

14. Stumped