Interview with 'God Hates You. Hate Him Back' author CJ Werleman (Part 2)

Jake Farr-Wharton 501 comments
Interview with 'God Hates You. Hate Him Back' author CJ Werleman (Part 2)

UPDATE: ‘God Hates You. Hate Him Back’, by CJ Werleman is available at Amazon.com RIGHT NOW - here is the link -

Picking up from where we left off with Part 1 of this interview of CJ Werleman, author of 'God Hates You. Hate Him Back'.

JFW: If I may probe into your beliefs somewhat; what are CJ Werleman’s theological or philosophical beliefs and have they themselves evolved over the course of writing this book?

CJ: I was an anti-theist before I began this journey for researching and writing this book. The Bible’s claims, and the claims of the Church never made any logical sense to me. Then 9/11 happened, and that event really made me want to investigate what was actually written in these texts. If anything, I believe an end-to-end understanding of the Bible has only strengthened my conviction. That conviction being that man made God and not the other way around. That man built mythology, clumsily, around the life of Jesus so that he would be more marketable to Romans, Greeks, and Macedonians. In fact if Jesus had actually met Saint Paul, I am pretty sure he’d have put his size 10 thongs square on the base of his nut sack - for not only preaching to non-Jews, but for also making proclamations Jesus would never have said. To this end I feel more liberated or reassured that the beliefs I did have going in, are stronger coming out. And that’s a nice feeling.

Similarly, I am becoming increasingly convinced that an ever growing number of people that still call themselves ‘believers’ have already made an unconscious decision that sky-god religion is nonsense. I mean c’mon Mohammed flying to Jerusalem aboard a winged-pony? Or at the moment of Jesus’ death, thousands of dead people climbed out of their graves and met with still living relatives for a drink at the nearest pub? I think we, as a species, as beginning to grow up, but, having said that, the fear of death thing is still a high fence for most to climb, at least for their conscious mind. I can only speak from my own discussions with friends who have made that leap of reason, and almost unanimously that mental-transition brings them a tremendous feeling of personal liberation. Liberation in the sense that they are now free to live their lives without being punished for eternity in the sulphur pits of Hell. Liberation that comes from knowing we have just one short lifetime to give love, receive love, taste and touch everything that earth has to offer. This opposed to living your life in serfdom to a celestial dictator, grovelling and hoping that your god is the one true god, and you get the magic VIP back stage pass.

Further, this path has more than convinced me that religion got its morality from man, and not man from religion or God. To suggest otherwise betrays an ignorance of how our species organizes itself in societies.

JFW: Your Twitter persona @Rationalists is hilarious! Am I correct in assuming that you are really a vain egomaniac with (if you’ll excuse the pun) a ‘Jesus complex’ who only cares about the number of Twitter followers you have? Was this ultimate motive behind writing this book?

CJ: Nice question! You have put me a position whereby I am forced to lie if I am to escape this with any shred of credibility, but the truth is yes I am an attention whore. Well that maybe too fine a point, but I have always been the guy that will do almost anything to get a laugh. I don’t care if someone is laughing at me, or with me, if they are laughing then I am happy. I live for comedy. I live for telling jokes, hearing jokes, or reading a funny story. And for pure comedy, religion is hard to beat.

I really do find everything funny. I don’t know why it is. I don’t know why it seems as if I am the only one laughing at a funeral, but it is. That’s the way I’m wired I guess.

As far as ultimate motive is concerned, it really is to hear someone say, “CJ. I read your book, not only did I get a good laugh but I now know something I never really knew before.” For me, hearing words similar to that is, I’m guessing, better than group sex with my wife, Kate Beckinsale, and Kate Hudson. (Only if the latter had busted up with the A-Rod, of course. I don’t want mess up his awesome hitting form, and risk a Yankee fatwa slapped on my ass).

JFW: On Twitter still, why do you think human cheese graters like Dane Cook and Ashton Kutcher have millions of followers when the funniest thing either one of them have ever said was, “Dude, where’s my car?”

CJ: Interesting isn’t it? I actually made a tweet some months ago that read, “If Twitter is a meritocracy then can someone please explain to me why Dane Cook has 2 million followers?” I guess people are just obsessed with celebrities. I have no idea why you want to receive a tweet from Denise Richards that didn’t involve her with her clothes off, and instead read, “I’m having dinner with my kids.” How does that improve your life, or make you any smarter?

I am following some genuinely funny people. Just everyday Joes or Janes that continually bust out comedic magic, and no one has ever heard of them. But this is the faith I have in Twitter, I really believe it is the new discovery ground for hidden talent. So all you TV executives out there, start paying attention to the little people, way funnier than Kutcher!

JFW: Does God Hate Fags?

CJ: Are you trying to set me up to be assassinated by those lunatics from the Westboro Baptist Church? Oh well any group of people that can stand outside the homes of parents that have lost their sons or daughters in Iraq with placards reading "Your Son died because God hates fags!", well quite frankly that vulgar radical fringe can go fuck itself. So here comes my answer, and I hope they are reading.

Yes, God hates homosexuality. Although you could argue that the passage in Leviticus more shows that he hates the actual act of travelling down the peanut butter highway rather than homosexuals themselves. But probably that's just playing the game of semantics. After the death of Jesus, comes along Saint Paul, who most of the New Testament is based upon, writes in his sadomasochistic, vicious, and barking mad epistles that indeed homosexuality is detestable, in all forms.

BUT, and this will have Westboro in a lather, was Jesus himself a homosexual? I mean Jesus never uttered a single word about homosexuality. Moreover there is nothing in the New Testament that hints whether he was straight, bi, or gay. In fact I like a group in America called the Red Letter Christians; they call themselves this because in the old versions of the Bible everything Jesus had to say was written in red ink. They recently put out a brochure with the front cover titled, "What Jesus had to say about homosexuals". You turn the front page over, and it is completely blank. I love that!

Further, here are some deliciously curious clues that Jesus kept a pair of crotchless chaps, and a Policeman's uniform in his cupboard:

1. Mark writes about a naked man fleeing from Jesus’ side at the moment of his arrest: “A young man wearing nothing but a linen garment, was following Jesus. When they seized him, he fled naked, leaving his garment behind.” (Mark 14:51)

2. “There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him.” (Mark 7:14-16)

3. At Jesus’ crucifixion stood Jesus’ mother and the disciple that he loved. While one may argue he loved all his disciples, John does go to somewhat extravagant lengths to individually identify THAT disciple he loved: “When Jesus saw his mother there, and THE disciple whom he loved.” (John 19:26)

We can only ask the question can't we?

JFW: Throughout history, people have used god to justify terrible and abhorrent acts, can you tell us about any insight that you may have gained into their motivations while you were analysing their source of inspiration?

CJ: If you believe the Koran or the Bible to be the written or inspired word of God, then all the justification you require for killing non-believers, homosexuals, adulterers, apostates, and blasphemers is right there. If you don’t murder your son because he has a statue of Buddha in his bedroom then you are disobeying a black and white command of God (Deuteronomy 13:6). Which means those that do obey that straight forward command are actually more righteous and pleasing to God than those who don’t.

Thankfully most religious followers have dismissed this command in the 21st century. But the issue becomes what do we leave in, and what laws do we omit? And who decides? And if we are going to apply our own developed morality to determine what is morally sound today, then why not disregard all of these ancient texts, and place them on the shelf next to Homer’s Iliad?

But if political correctness continues to prevent us questioning the absurdities that are asserted throughout religious texts, then it will continue to flourish, and at the detriment of progressive civilization. Use Indonesia as example, the province of Aceh has reinstated Sharia law, think Old Testament law, which now means a woman can be stoned to death for adultery, as can two homosexual men caught expressing their love for one another. If you want to know what a worldview with religion as its central doctrine looks like then you should have visited Afghanistan in the months prior to 2002. If you follow God’s law to the letter then you have a society that behaves like the Taliban. The only reason we think of these types as barbaric today, is that we in the developed world have dismissed most of the Bible’s laws.

JFW: On that note, do you have any plans to dissect the Koran or other holy books in a similar way in the future?

CJ: Umm (*nervous laugher*) I’m not sure about the Koran. Those guys get pretty jumpy when you start dissing their book. If one billion Muslims wanted to murder a Danish cartoonist for a drawing, what do you think they will do to me if I wrote an Islamic sequel to this? P.S: Praise Allah.

With this in mind I may go after the Amish next. I mean c’mon who lays awake at night worried about Amish suicide bombers?

JFW: What message does CJ Werleman have for the people of Earth?

CJ: That's a question for Depak Chopra not CJ Werleman, but I will give it a crack anyway....

Let go of fearing what happens after this ride. C’mon we know there isn’t a Hell, and there is no Heaven that you are missing out on. Besides even if you still want to believe the whole box n dice there is no one in Heaven anyway, not until Jesus descends to earth riding a white cloud morphed as a lamb. And do you really think that will happen? Really? So stop living for the phony promise of a mythical after life, and max out your time spent with loved ones here on earth.


‘God Hates You. Hate Him Back’, by CJ Werleman is available at Amazon.com RIGHT NOW - - and at all good book stores. Alternatively, you may be able to liberate a copy at your nearest Christian sponsored book burning. In the mean time, why not check out the first chapter of 'God Hates You. Hate Him Back.' for FREE! Or vistit CJ's website. Or

Mikey

Mikey

Thursday 19th November 2009 | 01:35 PM
235 total kudos

Excellent stuff. CJ fits right in here :-)

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No Remorse

Friday 20th November 2009 | 12:31 AM

Great interview. You should write about the Koran, or the Talmud. Both books are just as disgusting.

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Tyler V

Friday 20th November 2009 | 08:50 AM

Rather than posting my response here, you can see it on my blog:

http://logical-theism.blogspot.com/2009/11/response-rustylimes-interview-with-god_19.html

Courtenay is just as illogical in this half of the interview as the last. For those who dont want to sit in an isolated bunker looking at your own navel, but what to actually see responses to the worldview, check it out.

Jake Farr-Wharton

Jake Farr-Wharton

Friday 20th November 2009 | 09:14 AM
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...in response to this comment by Tyler V. Tyler, when you respond to a blog post, if you seriously want people to read it, then respond to it on the blog you're responding to. I for one won't be going to your blog to read your response, but as I said, you're more than welcome to post it here.

Lastly, I think that if you read the interview again you will agree, CJ is in fact quite logical in this second part of the interview. Then again, you neglected to post your response here, so alas, I guess we'll never know why you object.

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the being

Friday 20th November 2009 | 09:18 AM

...in response to this comment by Tyler V. I was going to respond to your comment responding on another blog by responding on another blog but you know - sane people don't do that.

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Tyler V

Friday 20th November 2009 | 09:31 AM

My response, again, was long. So i spared everyone this time.

But no, Court was not logical in this one either. He was a little better on some points, but all in all, not much better. And he was only better because only about 1/2 the questions had to deal with the book or his worldview.

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CJ

Friday 20th November 2009 | 09:31 AM

Tyler has set up a website/blog purely for me? Can't wait to see naked pictures of myself on there. Won't be long I'm guessing with his man-crush he has on me.

But as I told him before, I will not dress like a ballerina just so he can masturbate in the corner, no matter how much he offers me. Well, depends how much of course. Ok one case of Coronas and I will do it!

Jake Farr-Wharton

Jake Farr-Wharton

Friday 20th November 2009 | 10:35 AM
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...in response to this comment by Tyler V. We don't put a limit on words here, so if you'd like for us to read and maybe even respond, please post them here.

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Tyler V

Friday 20th November 2009 | 02:47 PM

you lambasted me last time for my post being too long. So I respected you wishes and posted it on my blog.

Jake Farr-Wharton

Jake Farr-Wharton

Saturday 21st November 2009 | 06:14 AM
202 total kudos

...in response to this comment by Tyler V. Bilbo, you're welcome to participate in which ever way you'd like; that said, I'm still not visiting your blog to comment. Again, feel free to deposit your thesis here and we can debate.

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Tyler V

Saturday 21st November 2009 | 06:52 AM

Alright... but its long. So if I get yelled at for it being "too long" I'm gonna blame you. :)

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Tyler V

Saturday 21st November 2009 | 06:53 AM

This can be found at logical-theism.blogspot.com

1. The first questions ignores the fact that Courtenay’s entire book is based on his naturalistic presuppositions which he uncritically applies to the Bible. Nothing of what he believes changed because nothing in his worldview was confronted. As pointed out in my response to the first part of this interview, Courtenay did not research and dissenting opinions for this book and thus nothing in his worldview was ever confronted. He isolated his worldview, making it unfalsifiable, and thus found precisely the conclusion that he wanted to find. It was like the fundamentalist who looks for God everywhere and thus finds affirmation for God in everything. (Much like the aesthetic argument for God that is only one premise: The music of Mozart exists: Thus God exists.) Courtenay always assumes his conclusion and so he will always find what he wants to find, whether it’s a valid interpretation of the data or not.

2. What is strange about his 1st claim is the jump from 9/11 to the Bible. Forgive me for asking, but I believe that it was Islamic Fundamentalists who were attempting to kill Western, Christian Infidels… The leap from 9/11 to investigating the Bible is invalid and shows that Courtenay was LOOKING for an occasion to attack the Bible and contrived one.

3. He then claims that he gained an “end-to-end understanding of the Bible” which, if you actually read his writings and the many dialogues that I have personally had with him, it is crystal clear that Courtenay has absolutely no understanding of the Bible. This can only be expected when someone completely ignores historical/textual/literary/theological context, original languages, and Biblical scholars. Courtenay is a prime example of the outcome of subjective and pervasive eisegesis rather than careful and studies exegesis.

4. The irony of this is that Courtenay clearly does not understand even basic Biblical interpretation but then presumes to build arguments regarding what Jesus “would have said.” That would be like me trying to say what Mohammed would do just because I have given a quick cursory reading to the Koran. I know that my reading of the Koran was simplistic and really just in an attempt to get the basic story line, not an in depth understanding to where I could give critical analysis of the debatable issues.

5. Notice that his response is also a priori presuppositions and not a posteriori conclusions. He assumes that miraculous events cant happen. While he doesn’t specifically use the argument here, he has in several of our conversations, that the Bible is false because miracles occur in it, and that miracles cannot occur. The problem is that “miracles cannot occur” is actually a faith based premise. He assumes it to be true and thus he begs the questions by assuming the conclusion in his premises. He wants humanity to “grow up” but bases it on an invalid argument.

6. He then strangely argues something like a modern day preacher. “Believe and you will be liberated!” It’s like holding out the carrot of experience in order to gain a convert. Strange for a son of the enlightenment to argue this way. In fact, he explicitly betrays the illogical nature of his premise when he posits the “leap of reason” in experiential terms (i.e. “liberation” and moral freedom apart from any culpability, which strangely sounds more like the warning of Dostoevsky, “without God, all things are permissible” and of Judges, “everyone did what was right in their own eyes” than like Walden’s Pond.) It seems that he is actually taken evangelistic methods from the Prosperity Preachers! Promise them health, wealth, and happiness and it doesn’t matter how illogical your argumentation is. His personal liberation smacks of post-modern existentialism, which is, if true, ironically the death knell for absolute laws of logic.

7. He also slips in an unsubstantiated version of “human flourishing” that is entirely at odds with his own worldview. In a naturalistic, neo-darwinian worldview, why should I “give love, receive love, taste and touch everything that the earth has to offer”? What is the possible basis for that statement if my sole purpose is gene preservation? If I am going to die soon and ashes to ashes, dust to dust, with no consequences for my actions, what possible basis is there for maintaining that view of human flourishing, besides “you just should because community says so”?

8. He then again attempts to base morality on the organization of societies. This is a path he and I have trod before. Maybe he thinks he will fair better this time. Let me simply paste the section from my response in the previous interview’s comment section: “If morality is a social contract, who in the society picks the contract? In America the Christians think abortion is murder and the secular liberals dont. Who's contract? Is it subjective down to subculture? If its subjective down to subculture, then who's subculture? Maybe Dahmer had his social contract and his victims simply had another? Who are you to judge another person's social contract? Or imagine society changed. Lets say suddenly all the women in the world decided to never have sex with men (sorry Vanessa). Well according to your worldview the major premise of neo-darwinian theory is the survival of the fittest, and so the only way for men to reproduce to pass on their genes is to rape the women. Now, is rape suddenly a moral action because it is best for the survival of the community? You see, as a theist I can say morality is rooted in the nature of God and thus rape is ALWAYS immoral. You want to base it on entirely subjective and relative social contracts.” To claim that morality is based on the nature of God does not betray ignorance but is the only possible basis for our use of universal, absolute, immutable moral codes. Anyone who wants to debate not only with the basis but also the conclusion that we use universal, absolute, immoral moral codes are easily proven wrong by simply doing something in which they feel wronged (punch them in the those, give their paper on relativism an F no matter how well written, steal their car, etc.). What will their response be? It will always be an appeal of some kind to a universal concept of justice.

9. The only valid thing that people will be able to know after they read his book is that he has no clue what he is talking about. Any person who thinks that they have learned anything about the Bible is simply the blind following the blind (something Courtenay admits to off the record). He has admitted that the book is not for scholars (those who know better) but for the uneducated masses who wont know any better.

10. He laughs at funerals and wants to involve his wife in three-way? And this man wants to critique the moral actions of God? (let alone he may be a Yankees fan, which should automatically rule him as irrational.)

11. As for God hating “fags.” Christians are just as repulsed by those crazies who picket with signs like that as Courtenay is. The only thing that that I think I have agreed with him on is that those people are the “radical fringe.” Strangely He can differentiate between radical fringe on this issue but not on the difference between orthodox Christian faith and the Islamic extremists? But if he did make that decision, there would be no book, no ego stroking, and no money to be made. So what else should I expect.

12. Strangely enough he also admits the old adage, “love the sinner, hate the sin.” There is a very strong distinction, and no it is not just semantics, between hating an action but not hating a person. As a Christian I have always been perplexed why homosexuality became such a central point of contention? God hates adultery but does he hate adulterers? God hates lying, but does he hate liars? Don’t we do the same thing? Do we hate when our children disobey? Yes. Do we then hate our children? No. Do we hate when the neighbor’s kid beats up our kid? Yes. Do we hate our neighbors kid? No. (even if we don’t like them and tell our kid not to play with them because they are a bad influence.) It is not semantics. It is a common distinction that we all make every day of our lives.

13. But Courtenay, when he gets to Paul, out fundamentalists the fundamentalists again. Paul does not single out homosexuals believe it or not. They are rebuked yes. But so are idolators, liars, thieves, adulterers, murderers, deceivers, schemers, gossips, etc. In fact, Paul’s “sadomasochistic, vicious, and barking made epistles” are intended to show, not that homosexuals are wicked, but that “ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” even Paul himself! He calls himself the “chief of sinners” and that even his most righteous deeds are like “dung.” His point is that all people have sinned and thus all people deserve death and thus all people can only be saved by grace. In fact, the idea that Christianity requires self-righteousness simply misunderstands the gospel that we are NOT saved by how good we are or how morally superior we may be, but it is only when we recognize that we are NOT good that we can be saved. In C.S. Lewis’ words, “we are one beggar showing another beggar where to find bread.”

14. The funny thing is that when Christians are harangued for calling homosexuality sin because it goes against the designed order of the sexes (something clear from the function of the organs) the accuser will often hold similar convictions for similar reasons. Why is it that pedophilia is wrong? Beastiality? Necrophilia? Christians just draw the line closer than further. But all the same objections launched against Christian “bigotry” can be launched against all those other prohibitions.

15. As for Jesus not saying anything on homosexuality, that is actually an argument from silence. Why should Jesus have to address what was already so clear? Jesus usually only addressed issues that the people of God had strayed from. If the people of God at that time hadn’t strayed on that conviction, why should he bring it up? He also didn’t say anything about pedophilia. Does that mean he was for it? The line of “reasoning” Courtenay uses here is just so absurd.

16. Your question about injustices done in the name of God also commits an informal logical fallacy. You see, the actions of adherents does not verify the truth of falsity of a worldview. The premises of its claims and the logic of its syllogisms do.

17. Lenin, Stalin and Mao alone killed nearly 100 MILLION people under atheistic regimes… you really wanna compare body counts of worldviews?! That’s not including the reign of terror of the French Revolution, Enver Hoxha (who called Albania an “atheist state”), Castro, Pol Pot… and the list goes on an on. What about even explicitly Darwinian science such as the eugenics programs that did medical experimentation, forced sterilization, and flat at genocide of the “unfit.” You REALLY wanna try and compare body counts? Especially considering that theists can at least say that those people were acting contrary to their own religion where as naturalism’s only universal is “survival of the fittest.” You can’t even say Stalin acted against his own worldview because his worldview said if he was strong, he should exert his power however he wanted! Dog eat dog baby! I recommend seeing that it’s not a valid argument anyway and just let it go.

18. It should also be noted that the major crimes of the church happened centuries ago in highly specific and unrepeatable contexts. What are the chances of inquisition coming back to Los Angeles? Whereas the crimes of atheism, which vastly outweigh the crimes of the church, occurred in the Modern era and in many instances are still going on today. They are repeatable and actually likely to occur again. In fact, what most people miss is that Nietzsche predicted the outcome of his own worldview, that with the death of God, the 20th century would be the bloodiest century in the history of the human race. Dostoevsky anyone?

19. Christians have not dismissed the command, but we read it in the light of the entire revelation of God within its historical/textual/theological context. In fact, what Courtenay entirely misses is that civil and ceremonial laws (which is what most of the Old Testament is since it was primarily the constitution for geo-political Israel) are much like laws today. They are the EXTENT that is justified by the law. They are not REQUIRED actions. Hence the law of eye for an eye is the EXTENT that one can go for reprobation. They cannot exceed equal punishment for the crime. But Jesus says, yes that was the extent, but what a loving person would do is turn the other cheek. In modern society imagine that for 2nd degree manslaughter the state statute says the maximum penalty is 15 years. Does that mean that the judge is obligated to execute a sentence of 15 years? No, not at all.

20. Christians also recognize that is the law giver who is the rightful law judge. Not us. Hence God telling us that vengeance is his, not ours; that we are not to judge those outside the church; and that we are to love our enemies, not just those who agree with us. This is a prime example where Courtenay betrays his ignorance on Biblical theology and its applications. This is obvious to anyone who has even a preliminary understanding of Christianity or Islam when he compared Shaira law to Old Testament law. This is like comparing apples and oranges.

21. Ha, I have to laugh that Courtenay refers to Depak Chopra. Im not sure if this was a backhanded remark or a compliment to Chopra. It seemed like a compliment which would be ironic since Chopra is actually seen as more blindly religious that most Christians are. Strange for someone who is so diametrically opposed to faith.

22. He then claims omniscience: “we know there isn’t a hell.” Really? How do you know? Have you explored the entire non-physical, supernatural world? For someone who says beliefs are only valid if based on evidence (a belief which itself is not based on evidence) what is the empirical evidence for this claim? Do you really wanna try and support a universal negative?

23. His argument is a kind of appeal for a new “common sense.” The strange thing is that for the vast majority of the human race, it is actually this very common sense that tells them that God exists, that there is more to life, there is something after this life, that all life must have purpose, that we cannot get an entire universe from nothing, that moral absolutes exists, and that people get what is coming to them.

All in all, his worldview, his book, and our many dialogues, have shown that he is hopelessly irrational, unquestionably unqualified for any real analysis of the Bible or any worldview criticism, and so biased that he cannot be called anything but an anti-theistic fundamentalist or ideologue. Does no one see the irony of Courtenay’s critique of the Biblical authors based on their own “agendas” that make them “unreliable” in a book so blinded by his own agenda that he cant even tell the difference between historical narrative and moral imperatives?

Jake Farr-Wharton

Jake Farr-Wharton

Saturday 21st November 2009 | 07:29 AM
202 total kudos

...in response to this comment by Tyler V. It's too long. I'll disect later. Remember in future, if you can't make you point in one sentence. Don't.

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V2

Saturday 21st November 2009 | 08:12 AM

calm, fair, clear, informed, reasonable, and thought-provoking
Thanks Tyler

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Tyler V

Saturday 21st November 2009 | 08:17 AM

Jake, so the only things worth saying can be said in one sentence? lol. Then Courtenay's BOOK is WAY too long. As are the vast majority of responses to me that YOU have given. Sorry, I wont let reason be reduced to simplistic sound bites without any argumentation or nuance.

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Tyler V

Saturday 21st November 2009 | 08:29 AM

Thanks V2.

Jake Farr-Wharton

Jake Farr-Wharton

Saturday 21st November 2009 | 03:26 PM
202 total kudos

...in response to this comment by Tyler V. Misinterpretation is you're forte Bilbo, clearly I would be a hypocrite if I thought that. No, to be specific, I meant keep your points concise - then again, I realise who you are, what you do and the colour of your underpants clearly restricts (or constricts, as the case may be) the way that you argue your points.

Ciao

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Gina Squitieri

Saturday 21st November 2009 | 04:14 PM

Jake,

Tyler didn't misinterpret anything. You appear to have been shut up by Tyler's posts, so you tell Tyler to "keep it short/concise/one sentence." If that's what you want, go blog on YouTube.

No, no. Tyler, you keep those posts rolling. I, for one, want to read what you have to say because so far, you make one heck of a lot of sense.

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Gina Squitieri

Saturday 21st November 2009 | 04:23 PM

...in response to this comment by Tyler V. "Does no one see the irony of Courtenay’s critique of the Biblical authors based on their own “agendas” that make them “unreliable” in a book so blinded by his own agenda that he cant even tell the difference between historical narrative and moral imperatives?"

There are a few of us here who have been given eyes to see, so do keep your posts coming along, Tyler. You're a breath of fresh air , and thank you for taking the time to be so thorough and precise.

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Vanessa

Saturday 21st November 2009 | 05:21 PM

Apart from obviously CJ & Tyler has anyone else actually read the bible?

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Moral Crusader

Saturday 21st November 2009 | 08:53 PM

I have been watching this argument unfold with keen interest, and thought i'd weigh in with my own two bob for what it's worth.

Firstly, I don't envy CJ Werleman, he has picked a fight against the enemy of reason, and thus a fight one can never win. How can one defeat an opponent that uses the invisible as their shield. It is a pointless battle. But kudos (that's the term that seems to be used on RustyLime) to him for trying. I will buy the book and based on what I've read in his sample chapter I am sure the rest will be as entertaining. Looks like a good read. Someone said in an earlier post that Tyler misses the point of comedy, and that does seem apparent.

Having said all that, Tyler has raised some interesting points but the one I will absolutely side with Werleman and Jake on is the issue of morality. It is incredibly naive, stupid, and ridiculous to suggest our morality is based on an objective God or scripture.

Morality should be seen in terms of the German word Zeitgeist. The spirit of the times.

Our morality evolves without scripture or God, this is without question. We abolished slavery in the 19th century despite the Bible's endorsement of it. Thomas Huxley who by the standards of his own time was an enlightened secular progressive, but he wrote in 1871 that the "negro is inferior in intelligence to the white man". We look back on this now with aghast.

If Abraham Lincoln had said the things he said when he said them he'd be locked for hate crimes against African Americans, despite him being the symbolism for ending slavery. If Donald Rumsfeld was Military Commander in the 40s he'd have been called a bleeding heart liberal, but the zeitgeist changes and now he is viewed with in our moral developed sense as a war monger today.
It was only 60 years ago that it was still politically correct to call black people or Jews as inferior to Anglo Saxons, but if anything said today, they'd be locked away.

It has been only in the past 40 years that we have regarded women as equals despite God equalling them as little more than man's property or livestock in the Bible. Women still can't vote in some religious societies because of scriptures. But now a man would be shamed for saying that a woman has no right to vote. Again we came to this conclusion that women are equals despite of God and the Bible.

These examples of moral zeitgeist change without belief in a God, and without any holy scripture. They become self evident. And with the world become wired together on the same communication frequency with cable TV, 24/7 radio, internet - we hear and read the same opinions of right and wrong. We think of going to war in terms of 'collateral damage' now. Yes we will vote for a war but only if our leaders now assure us of minimal suffering inflicted upon the local populace. This moral view would have been unheard of when we fire bombed Dresden or bombed Hiroshima. Again our changing morals on collateral damage have nothing to do with a universal morality from a deity or scripture. (Read Jericho in the Bible)

We as a society frown upon rape and genocide despite God and the Bible being for it. We as a species appreciate the difference between love and suffering, and we despite of the Bible being for rape and suffering are developed enough to view it as morally unjust.

There's my bit. I do resent theists who make the claim that we can't have morality without God. It is naive and ignorant and the usual attempt of theists to add credibility to an incredible claim, that being the existence of a god.

We don't fully understand morality and we can't explain why millions of people donated money to complete strangers on the other side of the world effected by the tsunami in 2004, but pretending we did so to please an objective god in the clouds is a horrible indictment against humanity. Let's not replace what we don't know with the supernatural.




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Tank Top

Saturday 21st November 2009 | 09:48 PM

...in response to this comment by Moral Crusader. I am saluting Moral Crusader. Clap clap clap

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Tyler V

Sunday 22nd November 2009 | 01:26 AM

Moral Crusader,

You said a lot, but you made some basic errors. First, you assume that faith is the antithesis of reason it isnt. The antithesis of reason is irrationality and the antithesis of faith is unbelief. Thus you can believe or disbelieve with or without reason. Neither of the former are mutually exclusive of either of the later. The problem is that to deny God as the basis for laws of logic, the atheist must then give a naturalistic/darwinian basis for immutable, universal, absolute eternal laws of logic. Or are those Zeitgeist also? Be careful where you tread on this one...

I also have a very good sense of humor. I get that what Courtenay says that he is trying to do is "humor." Courtenay has made me laugh a lot. He is witty and has some funny one liners sometimes. The problem is that he is not being funny to be funny. He is using humor as a communication method for a very specific agenda (indirect communication). He is trying to pass his "comedy" off as truth. THATS the problem.

Then you launch an extended version of the "morality is relative to culture" position. That is basically what Zeitgeist is. Its is moral relativism repacked with a catchy title to get the atheists to buy into it even though they never would be foolish enough to accept flat out relativism. I've said it before on here, but I'll ask you the questions again. If it is culturally based, "the spirit of the age", who's culture decides? The pro-lifer and the pro-choicers are within the same culture. So is it just the most powerful of the two who can get their agenda across? Might makes right kind of deal? And if it is relative to culture, or apparently down to subculture, then is there no such thing as a culture just being flat out immoral? I mean, if the definition of immorality is what the times say, then if a culture "evolves" to something opposite is it not possible that it was objectively immoral before or after or both? And if morality is based on Zeitgeist, then who are we to impose our morality on to other contexts? Lets grant Courtenay and Jake and you your premise that God was evil because he endorsed slavery (which he didnt) and was wicked and unjust and all of that. Could the Christian not just respond "Zeitgeist!" Who are we to judge a society or a being from 1500 BC with 2009 standards?

Here is a thought experiment that Jake nor Courtenay can respond to besides saying "its imaginary thus false" because they have clearly not understood that hypotheticals are a valid philosophical device. Imagine a culture 100 years ago before artificial births, where all the women opt to not have sex with the men. The main Darwinian ethic is survival of the fittest. Having just read The Origin of Species, all the men (the majority of the culture) decide to rape all the women so that they can pass on their genetic codes. If morality is like social contracts, then would rape be moral in that situation?

You bring up American Slavery and Hiroshima. Why dont we throw Nazi Germany in there too. All you are doing is pointing to a variety of events and saying that because there is diversity, there cannot be objectivity. That seems patently false. You seem to have no category for the possibility that the American culture during the slave trade and then American and Germany during WWII, were just WRONG. Think of it like a single person. I have my own Zeitgeist (for after all culture is divisible down to subculture to subculture until you reach the person since no two people share absolutely ALL convictions in the same way at the same time), and yet I clearly recognize times when I have been immoral and felt guilt. Could we not see things like the Underground Railroad or Abolition as national GUILT over an immoral practice? (By the way, at this point Courtenay usually throws a huff, does character assassinations and then ducks out of the conversation, and Jake... well Jake was more comfortable saying that the Nazis were moral in their context for killing over 6 MILLION Jews than simply admit that a whole culture can be objectively immoral and that Zeitgeist is false. And you blame Christians for blind faith...)

Your final mistake is to think, like Jake and Courtenay both did, that when a theist says that we cannot have morality without God that we mean that no individual can be moral without BELIEF in God. That is definitely NOT what we mean. My atheist friends can be just as moral, noble, honest, and loving as any Christian I know. We mean that you cannot have an objective BASIS for morality without God. You must either accept moral relativism (which you have) and give up all ability to give praise or blame (Hitler was no more/less moral than Mother Theresa) or come up with an objective basis within an impersonal, uncaring, chaotic, Neo-Darwinian universe for objective morality (something that Atheistic philosophers say that they are trying to do, but have not yet done.)

Sorry Moral Crusader, you do not get to just make hasty generalization that just because someone is a theist, that they are irrational and hide behind an invisible shield.

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Tyler V

Sunday 22nd November 2009 | 01:27 AM

And Jake, what do the color of my underpants have to do with anything? ha

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V2

Sunday 22nd November 2009 | 08:49 AM

...in response to this comment by Moral Crusader. Mr Morals
"Our morality evolves without scripture or God, this is without question. We abolished slavery in the 19th century** despite the Bible's endorsement of it***. Thomas Huxley who by the standards of his own time was an enlightened secular progressive, but he wrote in 1871 that the "negro is inferior in intelligence to the white man". We look back on this now with aghast."....

Can you elaborate on that comment
You know the Bibles endorsement of slavery part.
Its one think to see blaze comments written based on what ever, but another to justify those same silly statements based on what ever
Mr Morals show me where the Bible endorses slavery


Jake, stop the name calling...Mind your manners

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CJ

Sunday 22nd November 2009 | 09:26 AM

For those interested in the conversation of morality there is a book titled 'Toward a New Political Humanism', authored by Theodore Schick. (Strongly recommend it)

In this book Schick comments on unreasonable it is to follow commands simply because they originate from a powerful authority rather than because they are based on self evidently clear and reasonable principles.

He asserts that if no moral principles exist apart from God's will, God's moral choices cannot be principled, and a being that makes unprincipled choices is not a being worthy of worship. Further, if actions are neither right nor wrong independent of God's will, then God cannot choose one over another because it is morally better. Thus, any moral choices God makes must be arbitrary. But a being who acts arbitrarily does not deserve our praise. So not only is the divine command theory implausible, it is impious as well.

It's curious that theists would be consider defending such a position. Who would praise a god for doing something completely arbitrary? Wouldn't worship of such a god be nothing more than the worship of power — the worship of a being merely because it is powerful enough to do whatever it wants? It's strikingly similar to toadying to a powerful king, a despot, or other ruler who holds people's fate in his hands.

What's especially ironic about this is the fact that atheists are so often accused by conservative Christians of not being able to offer any reasons for being good and instead merely following the arbitrary whims of society, culture, or rulers. It's theists ,or at least theists who subscribe to the divine command theory of morality, which tends to include conservative Christians — who are the ones following arbitrary whims. In the end, they also can't offer any good reasons for doing so — just the prudential "reason" of having to avoid hell.

Why is this an inferior form of morality? First, there is no real moral merit in following an order — anyone can follow an order while not all orders should be followed. Second, the ability to follow an order is more characteristic of robots and serfs, not free ethical individuals. If a person is to be lauded for their behavior, it should be because they choose the right path, not because they simply followed instructions correctly. Finally, a morality such as this can be the most arbitrary that exists. Decisions are completely separated from their consequences for others and the impact upon one's personality. Orders are followed simply because they are given — not because they reduce suffering, not because they increase happiness, and not because they are in any way virtuous.



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CJ

Sunday 22nd November 2009 | 09:49 AM

...in response to this comment by V2. Hi V2,

Couldn't resist jumping in and answering your question regarding slavery in the Bible, although not directed at me. (Apologies M.C)

As you know our morality has evolved to now view slavery as one of the most immoral actions a person can do to another person, arguably outside of murder or child abuse - it is right at the top of the evil tree.

The Bible not only sanctions slavery but ENDORSES its practices in countless number of passages throughout the Bible. God even gets into HR policy & commercial specifics with Moses on the issue. He gives instructions as to tell how to obtain slaves, how hard you can beat them, and when you can have sex with the female slaves. (Rape)

Many Christians will try to ignore the moral dilemma of slavery by saying that these slaves were actually servants or indentured servants. Many translations of the Bible use the word "servant", or "manservant" instead of "slave" to make the Bible seem less immoral than it really is. While many slaves may have worked as household servants, that doesn't mean that they were not slaves who were bought, sold, and treated worse than livestock. Most slaves of the Hebrews were acquired via conquest.

The following passage clearly demonstrates that slaves are merely property to be bought and sold like livestock.

"However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way." (Leviticus 25:44-46)

NB: God says it is permissible to separate children from their parents if being bought for slavery. Can you imagine the horror of that?

The following passage describes how the Hebrew slaves are to be treated.

" If you buy a Hebrew slave, he is to serve for only six years. Set him free in the seventh year, and he will owe you nothing for his freedom. If he was single when he became your slave and then married afterward, only he will go free in the seventh year. But if he was married before he became a slave, then his wife will be freed with him. If his master gave him a wife while he was a slave, and they had sons or daughters, then the man will be free in the seventh year, but his wife and children will still belong to his master. But the slave may plainly declare, 'I love my master, my wife, and my children. I would rather not go free.' If he does this, his master must present him before God. Then his master must take him to the door and publicly pierce his ear with an awl. After that, the slave will belong to his master forever. (Exodus 21:2-6 NLT)

Did you get the gist of this? God is giving the Hebrews a device of manipulation to keep a male slave as a permanent fixture on his balance sheet by recommending that a Master keep the slaves wife & children as HOSTAGE!!! What kind of morally twisted evil is this?? God makes Machiavelli seem strategically angelic!

These are just a couple of the hundreds of examples of slavery in the Bible. Even Jesus endorses the practice in the gospel of Luke. Bastard! Just yet another example of Jesus' moral cowardice.

But there's but a little sampler for you.

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Tyler V

Sunday 22nd November 2009 | 10:38 AM

So Courtenay, first, the book ‘Toward a New Political Humanism’ is not written by Schick. It is actually not WRITTEN by anybody since it is a collection of essay EDITED by Seidman and Murphy. Schick writes an article in the book called “A Humanist Theory of Ethics: Inference to the Best Action.” It is also ironic because Schick actually doesn’t agree with you either. You want to base morality on culture. For Schick’s scathing criticism of Cultural Relativism see:

http://www.secularhumanism.org/index.php?section=library&page=schick_18_4

So you can cite him, but you realize by doing so, that even he invalidates all or your previous posts?

Beyond that, great, you read Schick’s article (notice that the book is toward political ethics as well and that Schick is referring to political ethics not a grand objective moral standard). And you “Stongly recommend it.” Tell me, have you read anyone who disagrees with him? Not to cite the Bible to you, but there is a proverb that transcends religion. It reads: “The first to plead his case seems right, until another comes and examines him.” Prov. 18:17. Of course you will agree with him because you are NEVER willing to read any counter points. So let me give you just a few.

1st – your summation reveals an incorrect understanding of proper basics (things that are the basis for other things.) Let us take your statement that rather than being based on a “powerful authority” that they must be “self evidently clear and reasonable principles.” There are two problems. A) Subject his own standard to his statement. Are we taking his statement as true because he is a “powerful authority” in his field? Well you seem to be so you are unreasonable to do so. B) If you say no, then surely it is because that truth itself is “self evident”? Well no. In fact, that mere fact that most philosophers, unless they are of the narrow secular humanist stripe, would disagree. So it is not self evident like “all bachelors are single” or “all circles are round.” So his criteria is either false or self-refuting.

2nd -The criticism ASSUMES that if the moral principles are not independent of God, then they cannot be principled (by this he means that they are arbitrary predicates without basis on anything). There are several problem with this. A) why not? While he assumes it, it is baseless. It is not a logical necessity that something which exists of necessity is thus arbitrary. In fact, it seems quite obvious that it is not arbitrary. If they are rooted on the IMUTABLE (that is eternally unchanging) then they are neither arbitrary or changeable. B) It states that “God cannot choose one over the other because it is morally better.” Well that is in fact untrue. They are based on his nature and thus he ALWAYS chooses what is morally best. This again is not arbitrary. So his critique that an arbitrary deity is not worthy of praise, while TRUE, is a strawman that simply does not apply since God is not arbitrary.

3rd- the parallel between God and a despot is actually quite good, but for reasons other than what you would think. The despot is not arbitrary, but chooses his moral actions based on his whims or his convictions, that is, his moral make-up. The problem is that you want to make God HUMAN in essence. A despot’s nature is a moral quagmire, while God’s moral action is based on his eternally immutable moral nature. Thus God always acts in accordance with his own nature, which is good. You also miss the point that in attempting to compare the despot to God, you actually use an objective moral standard. Why is the despot immoral from times? Even further, why would it immoral to be arbitrary? You see, in your critique of God, you actually slip in objective morality through the back door. Sorry mate. No sneaking it in this time.

4th- the rest of your argument (which is actually your own spin on Schick’s argument, since you don’t even get his right on all points… I’m beginning to questions your reading comprehension), thus does not follow since it is predicated on the previous problems. Theists still have a proper basis for objective morality more than “you’ll go to hell.” Not only can we base it on the nature of God, but we can actually say we should be moral and value humanity because it is OBJECTIVELY RIGHT to do so, not just socially beneficial.

5th – there is no moral merit in following an order. I agree. So why would following the orders of a social contract be any better? You say Christians threaten hell, well you threaten ostracism, exile, punitive justice, etc. Why should I abide by a culturally derived moral code outside of fear of reprisal? So is your threat better because it is less severe than hell? Would criminals and serial killers to be admired since they have bucked the restraints of a Cultural Command Theory of morality? All you have done is do a bait and switch between an eternal, objective, omnipotent, immutable, universal basis (God) and replaced it with a subjective, finite, ever changing, and impotent basis (Culture) and hoping to get the same results. Sorry, again that wont happen. Lets imagine that your criticism is true and if the basis for the moral system “could do otherwise” (and thus be arbitrary) how could culture EVER avoid arbitrary since it could ALWAYS do otherwise. After all there is NEVER a moral consensus and thus if the minority had gained enough power, culture could have done other wise.

6th- You slyly change the semantics from “commands” to “orders.” The rhetoric of barking orders is slipped in, when that is actually your own spin on the nature of the moral command theory. A command can be as harmless as your wife saying “honey, hand me the phone.” But you like to always make things unnecessarily emotional and so I shouldn’t be surprised that you swap words when it suits you.

7th - The ability to follow commands is also a characteristic of children, employees, military to maintain order and save lives, and quite often on a small scale, between husbands and wives. Often we willingly follow commands and see no problem with them. There is actually nothing inherently immoral about commands. The immoral nature of a command is determined by the content and the intention of the command itself, not the imperatival nature of the statement.

Sorry Courtenay, but you are thoroughly out of your league again.

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Tyler V

Sunday 22nd November 2009 | 10:43 AM

Court,

two problems with your slavery diatribe. As you have been shown at every turn, your handing of the text is ignorant at best, purposefully misleading at the worst. But rather than showing that AGAIN, let me ask you this:

You believe that morality is culturally derived, and thus one culture has no right to judge another culture. So why do you see fit to apply our 21st century moral sensitivities (since it couldnt even be fairly called a moral standard since it is subjective) to a 1500 BC culture? How do you justify your criticism that requires you to apply YOUR social contract to a completely different culture?

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V2

Sunday 22nd November 2009 | 12:29 PM

##These are just a couple of the hundreds of examples of slavery in the Bible. Even Jesus endorses the practice in the gospel of Luke. Bastard! Just yet another example of Jesus' moral cowardice. ##

Can you elaborate on this comment as well. **Even Jesus endorses the practice in the gospel **

This is going somewhere, but it would help if you could show me how you came to this understanding so my answer will be brief and concise

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CJ

Monday 23rd November 2009 | 05:29 PM

Tyler:

Are morally good acts willed by God because they are morally good, or are they morally good because they are willed by God?

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V2

Monday 23rd November 2009 | 06:40 PM

Can you answer the question CJ

##These are just a couple of the hundreds of examples of slavery in the Bible. Even Jesus endorses the practice in the gospel of Luke. Bastard! Just yet another example of Jesus' moral cowardice. ##

Can you elaborate on this comment as well. **Even Jesus endorses the practice in the gospel **

This is going somewhere, but it would help if you could show me how you came to this understanding so my answer will be brief and concise

........................................ any answer yet CJ
Am waiting

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CJ

Monday 23rd November 2009 | 07:29 PM

...in response to this comment by V2. Hi V2,

It's in my book :) LOL

But here is a sample:

In the following parable, Jesus clearly approves of beating slaves even if they didn't know they were doing anything wrong.

"The servant will be severely punished, for though he knew his duty, he refused to do it. "But people who are not aware that they are doing wrong will be punished only lightly. Much is required from those to whom much is given, and much more is required from those to whom much more is given." (Luke 12:47-48 NLT)

This would have been a marvelous opportunity for Jesus to condemn the institution of slavery and its abuse of slaves. But he is not recorded of having bothered to taken it:

"The owner of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. And that servant, which knew his owner's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more." (Luke 12:45-48 NKJV)

Cheers
CJ

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Tyler V

Tuesday 24th November 2009 | 01:13 AM

Courtenay,

The answer is neither. You question is a false dichotomy that only gives two possible answers when there are actually a lot more. The answer, as I have stated above, is that things are not morally good by nature of being a command of God, they are good so far as they are rooted in the nature/essence of God himself. Thus they are not good by simply being a command, nor does God submit to a moral code exterior to himself. Sorry man, the question is simply invalid.

Ha, and as for your citation from Luke, you do realize that it is the summation of a PARABLE and not a command right? Who was the servant? A fictional character in a PARABLE to illustrate a point, not to make a moral ground for approving of slavery. ha. The fact that you proof text it without context again shows your inability to understand basic contextual issues.

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Gina Squitieri

Tuesday 24th November 2009 | 01:37 AM

...in response to this comment by CJ. CJ: Matthew 22:29 But Jesus replied to them, You are wrong because you know neither the Scriptures nor God's power.

CJ, Parables are not literal. This is the definition of a parable. Read it!

parable |ˈparəbəl|
noun
a simple story used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson, as told by Jesus in the Gospels.
ORIGIN Middle English : from Old French parabole, from an ecclesiastical Latin sense ‘discourse, allegory’ of Latin parabola ‘comparison,’ from Greek parabolē (see parabola ).

CJ, I noticed how you left out Luke 45 and launched the parable beginning with verse 46. Were you trying to be sneaky or does it just come naturally to you?

This is the verse CJ left out:

Luke 12:45 (Amplified Bible): But if that servant says in his heart, My master is late in coming, and begins to STRIKE the menservants and the maids and to eat and drink and get drunk, Verse 46 The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour of which he does not know, and will punish him and cut him off and assign his lot with [p]the unfaithful.

(Seeing how you don't really understand the scriptures, CJ, I'm here to tell you that this "casting off," is only for a time--until the WICKED servant who strikes the menservants and the maids learns to do what is right: i.e., NOT strike the menservants and the maids.)

As for Jesus condoning slavery: No! Jesus clearly does not condone slavery as He came to set the captives free. By the way, CJ, did you know that there are many forms of captivity/enSLAVEment? Take those held captive by meth or any other drugs that addict them and won't let them go. Or the many men who are held captive by porn, a need to be richer - regardless of the cost to others, etc.

John 8:34 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant [slave] of sin. 36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

And, again,

Luke 4:18 The Spirit of the Lord [is] upon Me, because He has anointed Me [the Anointed One, the Messiah] to preach the good news (the Gospel) to the poor; He has sent Me to announce RELEASE to the CAPTIVES and recovery of sight to the blind, to send forth as delivered those who are oppressed [who are downtrodden, bruised, crushed, and broken down by calamity],

Revelation 13:10 Whoever leads into captivity will himself go into captivity; (again, for a time)

Ephesians 4:8 Therefore it is said, When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive [He led a train of vanquished foes] and He bestowed gifts on men.

CJ, "He led captivity captive" means that He is taking away all that captivates/enslaves, and once there is nothing to lead into captivity there can be slaves no more. (Say, did you know, CJ, that even the richest men and women on Wall Street (bankers/stock brokers) are held captive? Oh, yes they are -- they are held captive by their own greed. Wouldn't you want them to be set free from that kind of enslavement, thereby setting the rest of us free? Well wouldn't you?

Now, I say all this not for your benefit, CJ, because I can see that you are blind and you are held down (mentally) by that blindness at this time. Rather, I say it for the benefit who have eyes to see.

We are all held down, if you will, by someone or something (whether that is our own selves and our own stupidity, and weaknesses, or someone else's). All of us are held down in one form or another at some time or another. Take for instance your own inability to understand the scriptures. Now, here you have a book you've published for the WHOLE world to see eventually just how stupid your ability your reasoning is. And you unfortunately have no ability to take it back. You can't undo it and you are going to be shocked and be feeling very SMALL when you realize you, by your own hands with your own ramblings, have done this to yourself and you cannot ESCAPE it. You will BEAT YOURSELF up. (Not literally of course.) It's okay, CJ. This is only for a short period of time until you LEARN not to answer a matter until you have all the facts.

Proverbs 18:13
He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.

God will have mercy on you, CJ. (1 Tim. 4:11)

(Keep up the good work, Tyler. You're giving great answers.)

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V2

Tuesday 24th November 2009 | 08:22 AM

As I thought CJ
You have no idea what you are talking about, and no desire to hear the truth
Pearls and pigs dont mix

Jake Farr-Wharton

Jake Farr-Wharton

Tuesday 24th November 2009 | 09:45 AM
202 total kudos

...in response to this comment by V2. Pearls and pigs? are you claiming moral superiority?

I sincerely hope not! I dare say that my lime green man-kini gets more use than your morality.

For the record Christians, there is a particular verse in Deuteronomy which I love. It adresses the New Testament, Jesus and his travels.

Bilbo, Gina, V2; Deuteronomy 4:2.

I love you all.

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CJ

Tuesday 24th November 2009 | 09:51 AM

...in response to this comment by Gina Squitieri. Wow you Christian fundamentalist zealots really do play an incredible game of mental gymnastics to twist, contort, bend scripture to shape into some kind of credible argument. I guess I am being punished for being so glib in my previous post, unwittingly unaware that you guys had your Billy Graham editions of the Bible at the ready. Wowzers!

How you can forgive God for endorsing the use of a man's children as a tool for extortion in the slave trade is an incredible leap of logic.

As a matter of fact the only restraint God advises on the subject of slavery is that we not beat them so severely that we damage their eyes or teeth. (Exodus 21)

There is not a SINGLE sentence in the New Testament whereby Jesus objects to the practice of slavery. The point is he had the opportunity to denounce it, but didn't!

But Paul, who Christianity is really incorrectly named, and should be Paulanity says, just as a tasty sampler:

"Slaves, be obedient to those who are your earthly masters, with fear and trembling.."(Ephesians 6:5)

"Let all who are under the yoke of slavery regard their masters as worthy of all honor.." (1 Timothy)

This is the end of my posting on this thread. You guys go for it. Your ability to pollute the data is impressive. I had an argument with Tyler on another thread, who failed to understand the Hebrew origin of Alma, but convenienty twisted the word rape to suit another argument.

You guys would have done very well working as White House Press Secretaries during the Bush years, because you guys can twist the evidence better than Ari Fliesher.


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Tyler V

Tuesday 24th November 2009 | 10:29 AM

You guys sure are resilient. Courtenay is proven wrong time and time again and rather than continuing on with a debate (cultural relativism, his "one question", his post of the article above, etc) and yet he keeps throwing up chaff like a jet escaping missiles.

Besides being completely wrong on all his contexts, Paul also tells slaves (who by the way were often more well off then common citizens and most slaves CHOOSE slavery to in the Greco-Roman world to learn a trade or get out of debt) that they should TRY and earn their freedom if they could. Sorry man, your twisting of the Bible is just getting absurd now. You inability to read is making you come across as either so desperate to sell books that you will say anything, so blinded by your axe grinding that you really cant tell, or completely without even a shred of capability for reading comprehension.

You also have this weird thing where you assume all Christians like fall over everything that Billy Graham of Jerry Falwell say when in fact... most really could care less.

And Jake, nice try. but as i pointed out before, the civil/ceremonial laws spelled out in Deuteronomy have more to do with geo-political Israel at that time than they do for the church. Your wooden literal reading of the text is so flat and uneducated that its almost sad.

p.s. And as for Courtenay's snide reference to 'alma', well... I'll just post the conversation for all to see here:
Courtenay said:
Ha I see how you retreat to the ‘lost in translation’ defense only when it suits your argument.
Equally, I’m sure where two of the Gospels don’t bother to mention Jesus’ virgin birth, and Matthew who does, mistakenly mistranslated the Hebrew word ‘Alma’ from the Book of Isaiah to mean virgin rather than it’s proper Hebrew meaning YOUNG WOMAN, then it’s inconvenient to play the translation game. Isn’t it Tyler Falwell?

Then I said:
I dont retreat to it because I NEVER claim that the English versions are inerrant, only the original autographs. And so yes, when there is a seemingly difficult passage in the English, the FIRST thing to do is see if it is a problem in the original language or just a problem of translation. Thats not a retreat, thats common sense.
Then your argument that two gospels dont mention the virgin birth is an argument from silence and thus absurd. They also dont all report the exact same miracles, sermons, or parables. Does that mean that none of them tell a real event? No, they all chose what parts to tell. Do you REALLY think arguments from silence are VALID?
And again you show your complete ignorance of study. Tell me, what Biblical ScholarS did you read about the Isaiah passage? Did you just read one who agrees with you, or did you read the vast majority who agree that ‘alma’ does mean young lady but it is more nuanced than that. That it actually means something like our “maiden” which is a young, unmarried girl? And that in ancient societies young and unmarried meant virgin? Now does it mean that in actuality every young unmarried girl would be a virigin? No of course not. But that was what was MEANT by the word.
Man, you REALLY have no clue what you are talking about on any of this do you?

Then Courtenay said:
Oh Tyler you really are a douche. You’re so blinded by preconceived belief that you will bend, twist, contort any piece of writing to help shape your pathetically and pitiful argument.
The word almah is part of the Hebrew phrase ha-almah hara, meaning “the almah is pregnant.” Since the present tense is used, in Isaiah, it is argued that the young woman was already pregnant and hence not a virgin. As such, the verse cannot be cited as a prediction of the future. The Jewish tradition has accordingly never considered Isaiah 7:14 as a messianic prophecy.
Furthermore, Jewish scholars, and they should know Hebrew wouldn’t you think, that the word BETULAH is used instead of almah in verses where a reference to a virgin is clearly intended (see Genesis 24:16, Exodus 22:16-17, Leviticus 21:14, and Deuteronomy 22:13-21)
OH IN YOUR FACE DIPSHIT!!
Furthermore your childish assertion that an argument from silence is no argument at all really paints as you as a desperate man clutching at the last piece of straw as he tries to hang onto his hot air balloon.
Mark was the first gospel to write, 70 years after death of Jesus, and he mentions no virgin birth. What biographer with a shred of credibility would look at all the facts of a story, then decide “Oh he was born to a virgin. Ah I will leave that out, that’s not important”???
It’d be like writing about 9/11 in 100 years time and not including that planes were used in the attack!!
Matthew only includes virgin because he misinterpreted Isaiah!!
You need to stop skipping your classes at the Moody Bible Institute.

Then I said:
1st nice way to start by showing that you have no clue how to answer and resort to character assassination to begin.

2nd Since you are an expect on Hebrew grammar, tell me, how many tenses are there in Hebrew? Does the present tense always refer to a present reality? Wanna know the answers? There are only TWO tenses in Hebrew. And the present tense does not refer to a present reality… why? Because THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS PRESENT TENSE IN HEBREW! There is a perfect and an imperfect tense. The perfect tense is LIKE our present tense in that it usually refers to a completed action with no on going consequences. An imperfect is LIKE our present, imperfect, and FUTURE tense in that it is either an incompleted action, a completed action with FUTURE ramifications, or a FUTURE action. (Oh yeah, I have studied Hebrew for 2 years at seminary level… have you?) So the fact that to IMPERFECT tense in 7:14 actually has nothing like what you want to make it to be (though Im pretty sure your hasty scrambling on the internet to find ANY answer that you could polish up and use as your own let you down on this one). Let’s even allow your “present tense” argument to stand. If the miracle did in fact happen (since this was a PROPHECY of Isaiah given to Ahaz that was to prove that God was with Him, Immanuel) then what would the miracle be if a non-virgin was pregnant? Even the context of this being a prophecy concerning a miracle supports that this word means virgin. Also, if the present tense did mean that she was already pregnant, if the miracle was that a virgin was pregnant, he already being pregnant wouldn’t suddenly mean that she was not a virgin because it is not referring to HOW she got pregnant. If Mary was a virgin who got pregnant, guess what… there was a time when she was actually pregnant… and was still a virgin. Not only is your argument inaccurate to the Hebrew, but it also doesn’t get you what you think it does.

As for Jewish Scholars, they never claimed that ‘alma’ meant anything other than “virgin” until they wanted to deny the virgin birth of Jesus. How do I know this?

1. None of the ancient languages or versions gives any evidence to show that “alma” ever meant a young married woman.

2. A “n’ara” may not have been a virgin. Otherwise it would scarcely have been necessary to define her five times by the word “bethulah” (virgin). Thsu an “alma” must have been presumed to be a “virgin” since it is never defined by “bethulah.”

3. Since the Septuagint version was made in the case of Genesis 280 years B. C. and in the case of Isaiah 200 years B. C., it is to be presumed that their rendering of “alma” by “parthenos” (virgin) in Genesis 24:48 and Isaiah 7:14 was in their minds a justifiable rendering. So far as we have any evidence, the citation of Isaiah 7:14 in Matthew 1:23 is thus justified by the Jewish interpretation up to the time when Matthew was written.

4. Since the Peshitto Syriac version of the Old Testament was probably made by Jews, their rendering of the word “alma” by “bethulah” in Isaiah 7:14 must have been considered proper even as late as the second century A. D.

5. Jerome, who studied Hebrew under Jewish rabbis of his time (about 400 A. D.), still thought it possible to render “alma” by “virgo” (virgin) in Genesis 24:43 and Isaiah 7:14.

6. The rendering “ulemta” of the Targum to Isaiah 7:14 cannot possibly argue in favor of the meaning “young married woman” in view of the following three facts: a) “Alma” in the O.T. never has this meaning anywhere else. b) “Ulemta” translates not merely “alma” but also “n’ara,” “yolda,” and “bethulah,” none of which means young married woman. c) “Ulemta” is used of Rebecca when she came to the well and met Eliezer; of Miriam when she was set to watch the infant Moses; of the 400 virgins of Jabesh Gilead (Judges 21:12); of Esther and the other virgins who were selected for the choice of Xerxes as wife.

7. All the versions of the Greek “parthenos” (virgin) — Coptic, Armenian, Ethiopic, Harklensian, Syriac, and Arabic — render the word in both Isaiah 7:14 and Matt. 1:23 by the best word for “virgin” which they possess.

8. The evidence that Mary was a virgin does not after all depend on the meaning of the words “alma” and “parthenos” alone; for it is said, also, of Mary that “she had not known man.” This phrase is used in the Old Testament of Rebecca “a virgin that had not known man” (Gen. 24:16); of Jephthah’s daughter (Judges 11:39); and of the virgins of Jabesh Gilead (Judges 21:12).

Thus we can see that Jews and their scholars had no problem with ‘alma’ meaning virgin (because it universally did) until the Christians started to point to Is. 7:14 and they found themselves wanting to deny the virgin birth.

3rd – So I am “childish” because you use a logical fallacy? Tell me how that is childish to point out that arguing from silence is a logical fallacy recognized by EVERY philosopher, historian, and scientist?

4th – You then make a flat out FALSE statement that Mark, the first gospel written was written “70 years after the death of Jesus”. So Mark wrote around 103 AD? I know of NO scholar that argues that. In fact, we Mark was written ATLEAST in the early 50’s to the LATEST of 70 AD. But Mark’s intention was to not give the genealogy of Jesus or where he came from. In fact, he STARTS with his baptism because Mark was concerned with Jesus’ ministry and actually dedicates almost HALF of his gospel to the final week of Jesus’ life.
Sorry, you can package your argument from silence in as much sarcasm as you want, but it is still a logical fallacy.

And your 9/11 illustration is not valid because the purpose of the 9//1 writer is to write about the 9/11 event specifically. It would actually be like writing about 9/11 and not going into the founding and early formative years of New York City. Would you then say 9/11 didn’t happen because the author didn’t talk about the same thing as the director did in the movie Gangs of New York?

It is then also ironic that you say Matthew misinterpreted Isaiah (even though he was from that culture, faith, worldview, language) while you are not and you have a track record of being completely inept at interpreting the Bible because you ignore contextual/literary/historical/cultural/theological contexts.

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Tyler V

Tuesday 24th November 2009 | 10:53 AM

yeah... he really showed me....

How much hubris does it take for someone to write a whole book on something that they clearly know NOTHING about?

Jake Farr-Wharton

Jake Farr-Wharton

Tuesday 24th November 2009 | 11:05 AM
202 total kudos

...in response to this comment by Tyler V. Clearly quite a bit Bilbo, it took them two testaments and a whole lot of individual authors to put it together... and then translate it over and over so that you can read it in plain english today.

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Tyler V

Tuesday 24th November 2009 | 11:34 AM

ha, the mere fact that you call it "translate it over and over" betrays that you have no understanding of manuscript transmission. Im guessing that you even think that the game of telephone is a good illustration of how it was done? ha, you and Courtenay both really love to be over dogmatic about things that you know absolutely nothing about.

Jake Farr-Wharton

Jake Farr-Wharton

Tuesday 24th November 2009 | 01:41 PM
202 total kudos

...in response to this comment by Tyler V. More assumptions Bilbo? Why do you assume I don't understand what manuscript transmission involves?

I wasn't aware that you had access to my tertiary transcripts.

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Gina Squitieri

Tuesday 24th November 2009 | 02:23 PM

...in response to this comment by CJ. Hell hath no fury like an atheist who's just been shown the truth.

CJ, you quote Eph 6:5

"Slaves, be obedient to those who are your earthly masters, with fear and trembling.."(Ephesians 6:5)

But you overlook this verse:

Ephesians 6:9 (Amplified Bible) You masters, act on the same [principle] toward them and give up threatening and using violent and abusive words, knowing that He Who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no respect of persons (no partiality) with Him.

If God was for the mistreatment of those who earn their livings working for another person, don't you think this verse would have been left out of the scriptures?

As for the OT laws, this is what the Word of Lord has to say about that:

Hebrews 7:11 , 18 & 19, 28 Now if perfection (a perfect fellowship between God and the worshiper) had been attainable by the Levitical priesthood--for under it the people were given the Law--why was it further necessary that there should arise another and different kind of Priest, one after the order of Melchizedek, rather than one appointed after the order and rank of Aaron?

(18) So a previous physical regulation and command is cancelled because of its weakness and ineffectiveness and uselessness--(19) For THE LAW NEVER MADE ANYTHING PERFECT--but instead a better hope is introduced through which we [now] come close to God.

(28) For THE LAW SETS UP MEN IN THEIR WEAKNESS [frail, sinful, dying human beings] as high priests, but the word of [God's] oath, which [was spoken later] after the institution of the Law, [chooses and appoints as priest One Whose appointment is complete and permanent], a Son Who has been made perfect forever.

As for obeying those who have "rule" over you, didn't you ever notice while reading the Gospels and Paul's accounts how many times neither Jesus nor Paul obeyed those who claimed to have rule over them? Didn't you ever notice the way Jesus spoke to the Pharisees and the Saducees? Of course, we are to obey those who we work for but only insofar as what they're asking of us doesn't require the breaking of the commands of God. I'm mean, what's wrong with doing these things that God commands:

# Matthew 5:44
But I tell you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

# Luke 6:27
But I say to you who are listening now to Me: [ in order to heed, make it a practice to] love your enemies, treat well (do good to, act nobly toward) those who detest you and pursue you with hatred

# Luke 6:35
But LOVE your ENEMIES and BE KIND and DO GOOD [doing favors so that someone derives benefit from them] and lend, expecting and hoping for nothing in return but considering nothing as lost and despairing of no one; and then your recompense (your reward) will be great (rich, strong, intense, and abundant), and you will be sons of the Most High, for He is kind and charitable and good to the ungrateful and the selfish and wicked.

Did you catch that last verse in Luke 6:35, CJ? God isn't only good and kind to those who obey His commands, but He is also kind and Charitable and good to the UNgrateful and the SELFISH and WICKED.

Now, I agree that it is HARD to love ones enemies (as you plainly do) and to do good to those that persecute me. In fact, it is not only hard, but IMPOSSIBLE at times. But that's the only way to stop the cycle of abuse and violence, don't you agree?


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Tyler V

Tuesday 24th November 2009 | 03:23 PM

Because no one who knows how manuscript transmission occurs would describe it as "translate over and over". It would be an entirely in accurate way of referring to the process.

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Moral Crusader

Tuesday 24th November 2009 | 04:07 PM

...in response to this comment by Gina Squitieri. Gina Squitieri wrote: "Now, I agree that it is HARD to love ones enemies (as you plainly do) and to do good to those that persecute me. In fact, it is not only hard, but IMPOSSIBLE at times. But that's the only way to stop the cycle of abuse and violence, don't you agree? "

My answer: Many ways to ending the cycle of abuse and violence. One must be the end of mono-theistic faith which runs counter to peaceful coexistence.

You can't be for peace when you are for a doctrine which quite clearly calls for the destruction of non-believers or those of other faiths. Gina, I'm not saying you do but the Bible and the Koran both do not mince words when summoning death for infidels. You cannot promote peace when one of the 3 must beliefs of Christianity is that anyone that doesn't believe Jesus Christ was the son of god and that he died for our sins will spend eternity in hell.

What I have seen from this entertaining debate is that the believers' corner have added color and pink ribbons to what Werleman has quoted directly from the bible. For example the passage regarding slavery makes it evidently clear that God was pro-slavery, not only pro but he is evil in using children as hostage negotiation pieces. You guys can wax lyrical all you like about external texts, and historicity etc but God says it in black and white.

Gina, you also added a couple of examples from Paul saying more enlightening things about slavery, but CJ used an example where Paul said that slaves must obey their masters. Ok he said both maybe. Which do we believe? If he contradicts himself which is the truth. And isnt this just a clear example that falliable man wrote this, and there is nothing of profound that only a deity could have written?

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CJ

Tuesday 24th November 2009 | 04:36 PM

Tyler, V2, G.S: Thank you for the lesson on the definition of a parable. If you read my post again I do make mention that it was a parable.

The message is clear: Serve me, the father, or the Ghost, or all three, or two of us...no wait we're all the same. But who was in the sky while Jesus was on the earth? Does that mean there's two? Oh the Ghost comes after the death of Jesus. But then what happened to Jesus? Now it's just the father and the ghost? Sorry I still can't figure the whole triangle of love out.

Anyway, the illustration was given to show that Jesus spoke about slavery but never denounced it, and whether he was talking his usual jibberish to his small band of followers or not, he seemed quite comfortable in talking about smacking a slave with a 4' x 2' if they didn't please their master. Just a little reminder that your love for him, or the Ghost, should be based on you being scared shitless of punishment!

We have names for regimes that work on the principle of fear and heavenly rewards - we call them Cults. We have countries like this we call them North Korea.

Sweet dreams.

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Tyler V

Tuesday 24th November 2009 | 05:14 PM

Moral Crusader,

I notice you completing evaded, ignored, or disavowed my previous response… why?

I find it ironic that to instill “peaceful coexistence” you want to eliminate the vast majority of the people of the world. Ha. Just a little ironic.

As for “a doctrine which quite clearly calls for the destruction of non-believers and those of other faiths.” There is a MASSIVE difference between the Christian doctrine of Hell (by which God, at the end of the world, judges all people and determines there eternal destinies, and not Christians during their life on earth) and the Islamic doctrine of Jihad. If you cant see the PLAIN difference between the two you either misunderstand one or both, or purposefully don’t care to handle what either of them ACTUALLY say.

You also show that you are unable to read the Bible any better than a fundamentalist who would read it “black and white” as well. You both see it as woodenly literal with no literary, cultural, theological, linguistic, or historical context. You, like Courtenay before you, tend to out fundamentalist the fundamentalists. The problem is that MOST of Christendom has not in the past or present, read the Bible with the same woodenly literal hermeneutical methods of the fundamentalists from the past 150 years. And actually it is quite clear, when you understand the historical, cultural, literary, theological context that God in fact is NOT pro-slavery. And using children as negotiation pieces… what are you talking about?

Plus there is nothing contradictory about saying that slaves (who again were NOTHING like what we tend to think of but often became very wealthy, and attained high government positions) should try and earn their freedom, but that they should obey their masters if they could not. Paul was concerned about the MORAL BEHAVIOR of the slaves. So rather than encouraging them to uprise, get violent, steal, cheat, or run away (since most of them CHOSE to serve masters for financial gain in the Greco-Roman world), he wanted to make sure that they were good examples and worked hard, were honest, etc. That is not contradictory in the slightest. It has nothing to do with adding “color” to the text, it is ACTUALLY reading it’s authorial intent.

And Courtenay, you STILL trying to make points based on arguments from silence? Jesus never spoke out against bestiality so I guess he was all for it! Jesus never spoke out against political assassinations, so he is definitely for it! Jesus also never talked about Nazi Germany! Maybe he was for that too! The fact that you think that arguments from silence are valid is SHOCKING!

Now again, I basically told a parable about an entire civilization where women refuse sex for men and the men rape them, to prove a point. Does that mean that I am FOR rape? Nope, not at all. So does the fact that Jesus tells a story involving a slave (a COMMON job at the time) mean that Jesus was FOR slavery? Nope!

But what urps me about this argument, is that you still think that you can pass moral judgments on God or Jesus from the 21st century when YOU think that morality is culturally relative! You have no basis for your moral judgment and you are either inconsistent with your own worldview or you are intolerant? Which is it? Do you want to maintain that you can pass moral judgment, but then give up that morality is culturally based but then be stuck with the dilemma that you cannot ground morality in your own worldview, or do you want to maintain moral relativism and give up your ability to judge Jesus/God? I mean, if morals are culturally relative, by your OWN admission, since slavery was perfectly acceptable back then (it was part of their social contract) then Jesus would be 100% moral in affirming slavery. Ha, if you are right about moral relativism, you actually make my life EASIER! lol. Jesus is moral within his own social contract. So you are wrong.

Its surprising how often you can be proven wrong and then you just ignore it and throw out some other absurd claim. You were proven wrong about laws of logic, your "what can theists do" question, your ability to interpret anything about the Bible, you in ability to understand scholars, your ahistorical method for studying history, your cultural relativism, slavery, "alma", and the list goes on and on. I sign on here just to see what crazy absurd thing you will say next!

Seriously... do you REALLY believe any of what you say? I mean I have a hard time believing that anyone is really THAT illogical!

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Tyler V

Tuesday 24th November 2009 | 05:17 PM

Oh yeah, and you talked about regimes of fear. Tell me, even in a culturally relative moral system, why should I obey what culture says? Since there is no objective "good" the only reason can be fear of reprisal, arrest, fees, exile, ostracism... what are those? FEARS. So even your own culturally relative system is reliant on a fear based motive! Atleast theists can say that we should do right BECAUSE it is OBJECTIVELY right and good, not just for fear.

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ozzie_z

Tuesday 24th November 2009 | 07:05 PM

Hi Tyler et all

Could you guys clarify some points please...

In the first 2 chapters of genesis what references are made to creation?

How many ribs did Adam have? Did he grow a new rib to achieve 24 or did he have the spare 25th to begin with? If God made Adam, why couldn’t he make Eve in the same manner? Or is this a misunderstanding of what happened.

Does the bible say that the great flood covered the whole earth? An as an extension upon this what did the biblical authors know of the earth at that time?

Is there any evidence of Moses outside the bible?

Are there any references to homosexuals being put to death or disobedient children being stoned to death?

Interestingly is right and wrong that which is hardwired in us?

Cheers oz

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ozzie_z

Tuesday 24th November 2009 | 07:14 PM

Tyler said:

"But what urps me about this argument, is that you still think that you can pass moral judgments on God or Jesus from the 21st century when YOU think that morality is culturally relative! You have no basis for your moral judgment and you are either inconsistent with your own worldview or you are intolerant? Which is it? Do you want to maintain that you can pass moral judgment, but then give up that morality is culturally based but then be stuck with the dilemma that you cannot ground morality in your own worldview, or do you want to maintain moral relativism and give up your ability to judge Jesus/God? I mean, if morals are culturally relative, by your OWN admission, since slavery was perfectly acceptable back then (it was part of their social contract) then Jesus would be 100% moral in affirming slavery. Ha, if you are right about moral relativism, you actually make my life EASIER! lol. Jesus is moral within his own social contract. So you are wrong."

So are you saying then that slavery was perfectly acceptable to Jesus? Should we look at the majority viewpoint of that era and conclude that Jesus is driven by that?

cheers oz

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ozzie_z

Tuesday 24th November 2009 | 07:26 PM

Some food for thought which I am sure will raise some eyebrows

To say that before anything existed, a God existed, is an oxymoron. Such a statement can neither be understood nor conceived by our minds. It can not possibly be true and here is why. If a God existed, then that God is something. And something is not nothing. So the universe could not have possibly come from nothing. It must have come from something. Thom's law explains that.

Thom's Law
"Nothing can not produce something. If there was ever a time when there was nothing, there would STILL be nothing."

So even a God (which is something) could not be produced by nothing. Therefore, if a God came into being, he must have come out of something. The only "something" which exists now and has always existed is that of energy and/or matter.

So, any God (or anything else) must be, or must have been, the product of something. Everything which is, must be a product of energy and/or matter.

cheers oz

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V2

Tuesday 24th November 2009 | 07:43 PM

...in response to this comment by CJ. CJ?
I might refer to you as Tree beard from now on, no just kidding. Name calling is beneath me
If Christ had called for an end to slavery and even suggested an uprising, what do you think the outcome would have been?
The outcome would be you complaining Christ started a war, and thousands of slaves died because they had no chance against the Roman army
Think CJ, actually think about what Christ could have done to make you happy 2000 years latter. Tell me what he could have done for the slaves, that would have made them better off, and then explain your reasoning.
You clearly havnt thought this issue through

"he seemed quite comfortable in talking about smacking a slave with a 4' x 2' if they didn't please their master."
Care to elaborate.................once again........You know, reference it.


Hey Ozzie
Q1 Lots go read it
Q2 24 Ribs, the lowest rib in the human body grows back. The only bone in the body that does it
Q3 The whole Earth. Biblical authors? Noah would have passed on the story to his children.
( After my research, Noah was probably Chinese, probably)
Q4 Yes Heaps
Q5 Dont recall any, probably happened under Jewish law

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V2

Tuesday 24th November 2009 | 07:57 PM

...in response to this comment by ozzie_z. Hey Ozzie, you know the universe just keeps going on and on, it is hard to imagine or conceive, but it does. It doesnt stop, does it
Do you accept that it does or doesnt
It has to be beyond your understanding, clearly we cant understand everything, yet you seem to assume you can understand God, God states he is beyond what we understand.
Did time start, will it finish
Could you understand God, God the creator of everything

Thoms law negates the big bang, yet here we are. How?

Cheers

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Gina Squitieri

Wednesday 25th November 2009 | 12:55 AM

...in response to this comment by Moral Crusader. MC wrote: "You cannot promote peace when one of the 3 must beliefs of Christianity is that anyone that doesn't believe Jesus Christ was the son of god and that he died for our sins will spend eternity in hell."

Well, it just so happens that the penalty for sin (sin means to "miss the mark") is death, not an eternity in some fabled (1 Tim. 1:4, 6) eternal torture chamber. And most Christians never ask themselves, "Why would God command me to love my enemies while He tortures His own forever and EVER? Am I supposed to be more compassionate than God?" And they also never ask themselves this: "If everyone sins and Christ came to save sinners (1 Tim. 1:15), why does my pastor teach that Christ is going to end up a total failure at the very thing He was commissioned by the Father in Heaven to do -- namely, SAVE sinners?" No, most Christians NEVER ask themselves those questions.

Read on:

Article from: http://bible-truths.com/lake16-A.html


The Lake of Fire

Installment XVI—Part A

"HELL"

[Hebrew: sheol translated—"pit" and "grave"]

The word “hell” is found in most modern language Bibles. This was not always so. There are numerous translations, which do not contain the word “hell” even once. Why is this? Furthermore, new translations are dropping the word hell from their versions. Do you know why this is happening?

The teaching, that when wicked people die they go to a place of eternal torture in fire is a pagan/heathen belief and doctrine. This teaching far antedates the Christian era, and the Old Testament knows nothing of a place of eternal torture in fire upon death. And so it is impossible to believe that the ancient pagans borrowed the concept of an “eternal hell of punishment by fire” from the Christian Bible? Is that where the pagans and heathens learned of this supposed fate of the wicked? Or rather, did some Christian translators borrow this damnable doctrine from the pagans, and attempt to make it sound Biblical?

It is astonishing how much of Christian theology is pagan in origin. Job was inspired by God’s Spirit to write, “Shall MORTAL man be more just than God?” Job 4:17). It is dead people who are raised in the resurrection, not cadavers which once belonged to living people (I Cor. 15:51-54). Did the Old Testament patriarchs believe in the “immortality of the soul?” No. Did Paul believe in the “immortality of the soul?” No.

Did the pagan Egyptians believe in the “immortality of the soul?” Dah! Have you ever heard of the pyramids? The pyramids were the supposed launching pads for the Pharaohs’ IMMORTAL souls to be transported into the heavens! First Century Christians never believed their souls went into the starry firmament of heaven at death—it was the PAGANS AND HEATHENS that believed in such mythological nonsense. God brought Israel out of Egypt, but it doesn’t look like the paganism of Egypt ever came out of Israel.

ARE THE DEAD, DEAD?

How is it possible to teach Christian indoctrinated people the Truths of God? Well, of course, without the spirit of God it is completely impossible for them to understand. When people cannot even wrap their minds around the truth that “dead people are really DEAD,” there is little one can do to help them. Dead people do not “GO” anywhere. Good dead people do not go to heaven to float on clouds and walk streets of gold, and bad dead people do not go to a place called hell to be tortured in fire for all eternity. Dead people are dead and will remain dead until the “Resurrection from the DEAD,” and that resurrection is yet FUTURE.

Just one Scripture from God Himself, and we will move on. When people die, are they dead?

“Now after the DEATH of Moses the servant of the Lord, it came to pass, that the Lord spoke unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ minister, saying, MOSES MY SERVANT IS DEAD…” (Joshua 1:1-2).

When Moses died, God Himself said that Moses was dead. God didn’t say that Moses’ “body” died, but that Moses was still alive with the Lord, at His side. NO. The Lord said, “Moses My servant is DEAD.” When the dog “Rover” died; he died ALL OVER. And when Moses died; he too, died ALL OVER. Physically alive people can be spiritually dead, but physically dead people can not be spiritually alive!

When I tell people that when we die, we’re DEAD, they call me a heretic. When I talk to theologians about the “resurrection of the DEAD,” they don’t know what I’m talking about. The “Resurrection of the DEAD” has absolutely no place in Christian theology. Amazing… absolutely amazing. The entire 15th chapter of I Corinthians deals with the resurrection of the dead!

Paul tells us that if there is no resurrection of the dead, then our faith is vain and we don’t have a Saviour. Yet the Church teaches by her heathen doctrines that the resurrection of the dead is less than USELESS when it comes to living forever in a place they call heaven. They tell us that all believers go to heaven (ALIVE) at DEATH, and this “resurrection of the DEAD” stuff that Paul talked about is totally unnecessary for eternal life in heaven. Well, what can I say—they lie.

And there are hundreds and hundreds of Scriptures which speak of “judgment,” yet the Church teaches that people by the BILLIONS are sent to an eternal hell of fire and are not even judged before they go there. Another Scriptural doctrine (judgment) bites the dust of Christian heresy.

Who ever heard of sentencing something to life in prison without even being judged guilty of anything? But, according to Christendom, it happens thousands of times a day all over the world, and the sentence isn’t for a short number of years, but for all eternity.

Whenever we refuse to BELIEVE THE SCRIPTURES we become hopelessly lost in a maze of theological confusion that has no end.

Is there a Scripture that states that man is “immortal” or has an “immortal soul” as the Egyptians taught and believed. No. Does Christendom believe that man has an “immortal soul?” Yes, absolutely.

Is there a Scripture that states when a man dies, he is DEAD? Yes. Does Christendom believe that when a man dies, he is DEAD? No, of course not.

Is there a Scripture that states when a man dies, he is still alive? No. Do Christians believe when we die we are still alive, albeit it a different geographical location (heaven or hell)? Yes, of course.

Are the fundamental doctrines of Christendom based on the Scriptures? I’ll not ask any more foolish questions—read the rest of this Series!

HELL IS A WORD AND A DOCTRINE

Hell is not only a word found in many Versions; it is also a doctrine based on that word. The doctrine of hell is an invention of men and is nowhere found in the Hebrew or Greek manuscripts. As the King James is the most well known of all versions, and because Christendom as a whole embraces the pagan doctrine of “eternal torture in a place called hell,” it behooves us to deal with this subject in some detail.

Protestant theologians cringe at the accusation that their beloved “inerrant” King James Bible owes much to Jerome’s Catholic Vulgate, and to the Latin language as well.

Much of the King James is “Latin” and not “English.” It is from the Latin that our Bibles contain such words as substance, redemption, justification, sanctification, perdition, perish, punish, torment, damnation, dispensation, predestination, revelation, priest, minister, congregation, propitiation, disciple, parable, eternal etc. Although not found in Scripture, the word trinity is also Latin.

That is not to say that these are not perfectly fine words, they are, but we must be aware that the meaning of words change, and when words change to the very opposite of what they meant hundreds or thousands of years ago, it behooves us to take note of those changes as I am doing in this paper. The Latin aeternum and eternalis (from which we get “eternal”) never meant “endlessness” or “without beginning and end” in the first century AD. Neither did the common use of the word hell back in Old England, mean a place where living people are tortured in literal everlasting fire.

But make no mistake about it; the King James Bible is “Catholic” in many ways. Anyone with a copy of the 1611 King James Bible knows that it contains the fourteen books of the Apocrypha still retained by Catholic Bibles to this day. Protestants who teach the “inerrancy” and “flawlessness” of the King James have a difficult time explaining why fourteen whole books have been cut out of this “inerrant” Translation. Those of us who try to teach the proper use of just two King James errors (hell & eternal) are met with frightening opposition. Yet they drop FOURTEEN WHOLE BOOKS from their own Bible without a blush.

TWO DEFINITIONS OF HELL

First the “hell” of four centuries ago:

Webster’s Twentieth Century Dictionary:

“hell, n. [ME, helle; AS, hell, hell, from helan, to cover, conceal.]”

Second the “hell” of the 21st Century:

The American Heritage Collegiate Dictionary:

“The abode of condemned souls and devils... the place of eternal punishment for the wicked after death, presided over by Satan… a state of separation from God… a place of evil, misery, discord, or destruction… torment, anguish.”

If the English word “helan/helle/hell” had retained its Middle English/Anglo Saxon meaning, of to “hide,” “cover,” and “conceal,” it might still be an acceptable (albeit it not the best) translation of “sheol/hades.” But as this word has long since taken on the meaning of the pagan teachings concerning the realm of the dead and the supposed evils contained therein, it is absolutely out of place as a translation of any Hebrew or Greek word found in the manuscripts.

My how times have changed. Tell a person to “go to hell” today, and it is an insult of the highest level. Tell a person back in the dark ages of England to “go to hell” and he would probably go to a cool cellar and bring back some potatoes for dinner. For that is where they stored potatoes—in hell.

One more definition—the word “grave:

American Heritage Collage Dictionary:

“grave 1. An excavaion for the internment of a corpse. b. A place of burial."

Remember that the Hebrew word sheol and the Greek word hades are both translated into the two English words “hell” and “grave.” Are you following this? The Hebrew word sheol is translated “hell” 31 times and is also translated “grave” 31 times—the SAME Hebrew word.

But are “hell” and “grave” the SAME word? NO. Do they both have the same meaning? NO. Then WHY are they both the translation of the ONE Hebrew word sheol?

There is something sinfully wrong here.

Sheol is translated: “grave—an excavation for the internment of a corpse, a place of burial”

AND:

Sheol is translated: “hell--the abode of condemned souls and devils... the place of eternal punishment for the wicked after death, presided over by Satan… a state of separation from God… a place of evil, misery, discord, or destruction… torment, anguish.”

So how can the word “sheol” (and “hades” in the New Testament) have for a definition and for a translation two words that have TOTALLY OPPOSITE AND TOTALLY DIFFERENT MEANINGS? Well, in honest scholarship and honest translating, THEY CAN’T AND THEY DON’T!

IS HELL FIRE A LITERAL FIRE IN A LITERAL PLACE?

It is this latter definition of hell that most of Christendom believes to be a doctrinal teaching of Jesus Christ. The idea that Jesus spoke of a place where people will be tortured with literal fire, can be totally negated by examining just two verses of Scripture used by our Lord. We will see whether the Words of Jesus regarding "hell" can possibly be taken literally or not.

First though, I found the following statements on the web site: GotQuestions.org:

QUESTION: "Can/Should we interpret the Bible as literal?"

ANSWER: Not only CAN we take the Bible literally, but we MUST take the Bible literally. This is the only way to determine what God really is trying to communicate to us." (CAPS taken from their site)

"Literal, literal, literal," shout Christian theologians—"the Bible is literal!" One of my "literal only" detractors (with whom I had a few email exchanges) provided the two Scriptures I will use to destroy this damnable doctrine of an eternal hell of torture in fire. In the following email my detractor presents to me the Scripture, which he claims proves my teaching on Judgment is wrong, and that judgment does not produce anything of value, but rather is nothing more than the inflicting of insane pain on sinners for all eternity in a place called "hell fire."

Ray, "Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet TO BE CAST INTO EVERLASTING FIRE. And if your eye offend thee [cause you to sin], pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes TO BE CAST INTO HELL FIRE, (Matt. 18:8-9)…"

From: Douglas(CAPS are mine).

Dear Douglas: "Surely you don’t take all the words in this Scriptural quotation from Jesus regarding "hell," LITERALLY, do you?

Sincerely, Ray

Ray, "I surely do take these Scriptures literally. They were given to be taken literally. These were not examples, stories, analogies or parables. These were warnings. You surely don’t believe the Bible. You have decided that your god wouldn’t do that. You’ve made a god you’re comfortable with, and that makes sense to you. You are an idolater. No idolater will enter the kingdom. Repent…"

From: Douglas

Here is God’s answer to Douglas, and to all pastors, teachers, professors, theologians, and Christians worldwide who also believe that Jesus’ words regarding "hell" are LITERAL:

For all those who insist that these verses are to be taken literally, I merely ask them to:

"Show me your missing EYES; show me your missing HANDS; show me your missing FEET."

Have not your "hands" ever offended you? Your "feet" ever offended you? Your "eyes" ever offended you? Seeing that: "For all have sinned," (Rom. 3:23)!Well?

How is it then, as you believe all the teachings of Jesus regarding "hell" are literal, that all of you STILL HAVE your HANDS, and your FEET, and your EYES? I submit that your literal eternal hell theory once more bit the dust. You have not a leg to stand on even though you have not cut off either one of them. If you claim these verses are literal, but you still retain your eyes, hands and feet, I submit that you are defenseless in your claim that the "fire" of hell is literal, anymore than the method Jesus presents in how to avoid this Judgment is literal.

Well, here, of course, is where a billion professing Christians and their leaders begin to shuffle their feet, and play with their hands, and turn up their eyes (all of which were supposed to be cast from them), and they try to back pedal their way out of their self-inflicted enigma. They will all have to modify their unscriptural, and blasphemous, and hypocritical stance on this subject by stating something like this:

"Well, maybe, not ALL, that Jesus said is literal concerning hell. Only this part, or that part, or the other part, but not these parts or those parts… well… ah… really… just whatever parts I say are literal are literal."

Now before any of my readers head for the kitchen drawer and a huge butcher knife, let me boldly state that: THE WORDS OF JESUS ARE NOT TO BE TAKEN LITERALLY. You are not to literally, cut off your feet or your hands or pluck out your eyes. The words of our Lord are figurative, symbolic language, which have to do with a higher spiritual truth, but have nothing to do with literal dismemberment of your physical body.

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It is what you sinfully touch with your hands and your mind that must be repented of in your HEART.
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It is where you sinfully walk with your feet and your mind that must be repented of in your HEART.
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It is what you sinfully lust after with your eyes and your mind that must be repented of in your HEART.
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It is the HEART that is, "Deceitful above all things and exceedingly wicked," not our eyes, hands and feet, (Jer. 17:9).
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It is out of our HEART that, "…proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies," not from our eyes, hands and feet, (Matt. 15:19).

And NO, we will NOT enter the Kingdom literally "lame and maimed" with missing hands, or missing feet, or missing eyes, but rather we will have spiritually amputated the lust and sin in our HEARTS. Those who do not meet this qualification in this life, will be brought into the Great White Throne/Lake of Fire Judgment were these sins will be eradicated, but not with physical, literal, eternal torturing fire, but through the "CONSUMING FIRE" of God’s Spirit and His "FLAMING MINISTERS" (Heb. 12:29 & Psalm 104:4).

WHAT ‘LITERAL’ MEANS

American Heritage Collegiate Dictionary: "literal, adj. 1. Conforming or limited to the simplest, nonfigurative, or most obvious meaning of a word or words."

Webster’s collegiate Dictionary: "literal, adj. 1a: According to the letter of the scriptures b: adhering to fact or to ordinary construction or primary meaning of a term or expression: actual c: free from exaggeration or embellishment…"

I am well aware that many just hate it when I get specific, factual, and exact. (I receive many emails stating such). They prefer nebulous explanations and beliefs. They prefer things that cannot be nailed-down or stated as actual fact. And I also understand why: It is very difficult to continue exalting heresy when one sticks to Biblical facts.

So what does all this mean? It means that one cannot take the words of Jesus regarding how to avoid "hell" (regardless of what hell actually means, for the moment), as being literal. Jesus plainly states (albeit in figurative language) that if one wants to avoid hell fire, he must "CUT OFF his hands and feet and PLUCK OUT his eyes."

But our Lord’s words are not to be taken literally, as we have just demonstrated. Yet, that is what the Scripture literally says (Matt. 18:8-9). And as no one on earth does this, it is clear that no one on earth actually and factually believes that these words of Jesus are to be taken literally. I could right here and now, rest my case. But I won’t.

CAN HANDS AND FEET AND EYES LITERALLY OFFEND?

Let’s examine these two verses a little closer: Matt. 18:7:

"Woe unto the world because of offences! For it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence comes!"

Verse 8—Wherefore if your hand or your foot OFFEND you…"

My King James center reference says for "offend"—"causes you to sin."

Even this phrase of Jesus is "figurative," and not literal. How, pray tell, can a member of your body such as an eye, hand, or foot, "cause" one to sin? Seriously, can your "foot" cause your heart and mind to sin? This is nonsense if we take it literally. An appendage of our body absolutely cannot cause us to offend. Jesus Christ tells us plainly were offences come from:

"For out of THE HEART [not the eye or the hand or the foot] proceeds evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies…" (Matt. 15:19).

This is figurative language so simple that a ten-year-old can understand it, but theologians with six doctorates cannot (or will not).

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We cannot blame our foot for KICKING SOMEONE.
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We cannot blame our hands for STRANGLING SOMEONE.
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We cannot blame or eyes for LUSTING AFTER ANOTHER MAN’S WIFE.
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We cannot blame our tongues for DESIRING JUNK FOODS.
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We cannot blame our knees for BOWING DOWN TO IDOLS.
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We cannot blame our mouth for SPEAKING BLASPHEMY AND CURSES.
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We cannot blame our ears for listening to RAP—sorry, I hate rap.
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We cannot blame our nose for STICKING IT INTO ANOTHER’S BUSINESS.
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We cannot blame our fingers for BEING STICKY AND STEALING.

Are you getting the picture? It is the HEART that is the seat of emotion and desire that is to be blamed.

And so literally, an eye or a hand or a foot, does not and cannot "offend God" unless it is first motivated to do something evil by the heart. Therefore it is the heart that offends, but the physical appendages of our body do not have the ability to offend. Hands and feet do not have a consciousness of their own.

So what does all this prove? It proves the words of Jesus regarding "hell fire" are not to be taken literally.

CAN CUTTING OFF YOUR HANDS FORGIVE OFFENSES?

"Wherefore if your hand or your foot offend you, CUT THEM OFF…"(Matt. 18:8).

Someone tried to contradict what I teach on this verse by suggesting that if we would repent of our offenses, then we don’t need to cut off our hands and feet. My point exactly. But if taken literally, repentance is not an option. Repentance is only an option if these words are NOT taken literally.

Jesus didn’t "literally" say a word about "repentance." The literal words of Jesus say, "cut them off and cast them from you." The word "repent" is nowhere found in these verses. But you say, "Well, no, but that is what it means." Well, if these words are never meant to be understood literally, then why does the Church demand that the "hell FIRE" part of the very same verse, is literal fire? All I am trying to establish at the moment is that the first half of this verse is not figurative while the other half is literal.

Absolutely nothing regarding this first statement of Jesus is literally even possible:

Your literal eyes, hands and feet cannot "cause offence." Christians who claim that these words are literal do not literally obey them.

If one literally "plucked out his eyes," how could he see to find a knife to cut off his feet? If he literally "cut off his hands," how could he then pluck out his eyes or cut off his feet without any hands?

And if one were to "cut off his hand," how pray tell could he literally "cast them" away. Once you were to cut off your hands, you wouldn’t have hands to cast away anything.

But, do those who teach this heresy that Jesus was speaking literally, really care if these things are not literally possible? No. Will they now see the light and stop teaching this "literal, literal, literal" heresy? No. Do they care anything at all about the Truth? No.

THE GOSPEL THAT NO ONE UNDERSTOOD

"From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, ‘Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand'" (Matt. 4:17).

Did anyone know what Jesus was talking about? No. Did anyone know what "repent" really meant? No. Did anyone have even a clue as to what Jesus meant by "The Kingdom of Heaven?" No. The "Kingdom of Heaven" was the gospel that Jesus preached. But did anyone really know what it was? How many even today know what "the gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven" really is? Do you know? Could you teach a class on exactly what the Kingdom of Heaven really is?

One will never know what Jesus preached until they understand how Jesus preached.

When will we begin believing what Jesus taught us concerning the words He used to teach? If you will pay heed to what Jesus taught, you will learn more in five minutes than you would otherwise is 50 years. Listen:

After reading parable after parable, beginning in Matt. 13, we read this:

"And great multitudes were gathered together unto Him… and He spoke many things unto them IN PARABLES…" (Verses 2-3).

"Another parable put He forth unto them…" (Ver. 24).

"Another parable put He forth unto them…" (Ver. 31).

"Another parable spoke He unto them…" (Ver. 33).

"ALL these things spoke Jesus unto the multitude in PARABLES; and without a parable spoke He not unto them" (Ver. 34).

"And with many such parables spoke He the word unto them, as they were able to hear it. But without a parable spoke He not unto them: and when they were alone, He expounded [‘explained’ John 10:6] all things to His disciples" (Mark 4:33-34).

"These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs [Gk: ‘figurative language’]: but the time comes, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall show you plainly of the Father" (John 16:25).

Remember that John 16 is recording the last words of our Lord before the crucifixion the following day. So up until that very last night with His disciples He had spoken His own public ministry in proverbs and parables—figurative language, symbols and signs. And we have a further verification of these statements when Jesus said: "…the WORDS that I speak unto you, they are SPIRIT…" (John 6:63)! Has anyone ever heard of a seminary which teaches these truths of Scripture?

BETTER TO ENTER LIFE HALT OR MAIMED

Jesus said that it would be:

"…better for you to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting [eonian] fire"(Matt. 18:8).

We have seen that our Lord’s instructions to cut off an offending hand or foot, or to pluck out an offending eye is not literal, but figurative, spiritual, symbolic language. It is really the offenses of the heart, which are to be cast off, not our physical limbs. Well then, can it be true that any actually will enter into life "halt or maimed" if the halting and maiming itself is not literal. Of course not. Imagine living an eternity with God maimed and crippled like some wartime amputee? What kind of a heaven would that be? It is hard to believe that Christians (and even professional theologians), pay little or no attention to the many many words that contradict their heretical doctrines. But in their crazed addiction for their "literal, literal, literal," interpretation, they become scholastic fools.

Okay then, as the "cutting off of hands and feet" is not literal, and the "entering into life halt and maimed" is not literal, by what law of logic or language should the "everlasting fire" be considered literal?

There is nothing in the context of these two verses that would suggest in any way that part of the verses are figurative, symbolic language, and part are literal. However, that does not mean that what Jesus said is not true. Of course what He said is true, but it is not literally true; it is figuratively, symbolic, and spiritually true.

If this "fire" of which Jesus speaks is literal, then the only literal way to stay out of this literal fire according to these two Scriptures is to literally cut off your literal hands and feet and pluck out your literal eyes whenever they offend you. And, since not one single Christian in two thousand years has done this, I submit to you that this teaching is not literal, but figurative and symbolic and spiritual. It cannot be both ways.

By what laws of grammar or language are we to figuratively cut off our hands and feet and pluck out our eyes, to stay out of a literal fire of hell?

Notice how Jesus taught in parables:

"And why behold you the [figurative—not literal] mote [tiny, tiny speck] in your brother’s [figurative—not literal] eye, but consider not the beam [huge plank] that is in your own [figurative—not literal] eyes?" (Matt. 7:3).

Or are you so naive as to believe that a plank of lumber could literally fit into any human eye? Clearly a spiritual novice can instantly discern that Jesus is not speaking of a literal plank or beam, mote, or even a literal eye. He is speaking of large and small defects of character in the heart.

Excuse me, but is this not the SAME Jesus Who is: "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and forever" (Heb. 13:8)? Then how is it that Jesus consistently speaks of a "plank, mote, and eye" being figurative, and the "hand, foot, and eye," being figurative, but then changes in mid verse to the "everlasting fire" being literal? The Truth is that Jesus does not change the way He teaches in the middle of a verse. This is all unscriptural, human speculation and conjecture.

As the "cutting off of hands and feet" is figurative language, so likewise, staying out of this "fire" is also figurative language.

WHAT IS "HELL" TRANSLATED FROM?

I think most of my readers realize that Jesus did not speak Archaic King James English. And most also realize that the King James Bible is not the one that the Apostles used. There were no "bibles" during Christ’s ministry; there were only the Hebrew Scriptures, and a popular Greek translation of those Hebrew Scriptures called the Septuagint. What we call the New Testament was not even written until near the end of the first century, and was not put into book form untill much later, and was not printed until many centuries later.

The word "hell" is an Old English word that was used to translate several words found in the Hebrew and Greek manuscripts. What words? And why did they choose to use the Old English word "hell" as a translation? We shall see that it had absolutely nothing to do with scholarship, but everything to do with forcing pagan religion into the teachings of Jesus Christ. You don’t have to take my word for it; you will be able to judge for yourself as we go through it.

Here are the words for which "hell" was inserted as a "translation" into English:

The Hebrew word sheol (31 times)

The Greek word gehenna (12 times)

The Greek word hades (10 times)

The Greek word tartarus (1 time)

That’s it.

Every time the word "hell" is found in the King James Bible it is translated from one of these four words. We find the word "hell" 31 times in the KJV Old Testament and 23 times in the KJV New Testament for a total of 54 times. Later we will look at all 54 verses containing the word "hell," plus the 31 times that sheol is translated as "grave."

ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT POINTS OF THIS WHOLE SERIES

Listen to what I am about to say very very carefully: If the word "hell" is the most accurate and correct English word available to translate, the Hebrew word sheol, and the Greek words gehenna, hades, and tartartus, then these four words must all have the same meaning. But in reality only two of these four words have the same meaning.

The Hebrew word sheol and the Greek word hades are synonymous in meaning.

And here is the proof from the Scriptures and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that the Hebrew sheol and the Greek hades are identical in meaning:

Acts 2:27: "Because You will not leave My soul in hell [Gk: hades], neither will You suffer your Holy One to see corruption" is quoted from:

Psalm 16:10: "For You will not leave My soul in hell [Heb: sheol]; neither will You suffer your Holy One to see corruption."

And so the inspiration of the Spirit of God proves that the Greek word hades is the right and proper translation of the Hebrew word sheol.

Whatever "hades" means, "sheol" means the same, and whatever "sheol" means, "hades" also means the same.

We know for a fact that the Hebrew word sheol is translated "hell" 31 times in the KJV of the Bible. But… BUT, we also know for a fact that the same Hebrew word sheol is translated "grave" 31 times in the KJV Bible.

Why is this? Why should this be? Why is there a 50/50 split on the translation of this word? Ask any theologian or your pastor if the words "grave" and "hell" mean the very same thing in the Bible, and see what they will say. They will tell you, NO, that they are NOT the same, that they are very much different. Then I have a childish question for them all: "Why, oh, why then are both "hell" and "grave" translations of the very same Hebrew word, "sheol"? Which should it be?

And let me frankly state that neither will their "context, context, context" theory solve this dilemma for them. It will take wholesale lying and deception to extricate them out of this theological box---or maybe I should say, "can of worms." Not only is there absolutely no justifiable reason to translate sheol 31 times as "hell," but there is no justifiable reason to translate this word as hell, not even once!

As we go through the 31 Scriptures in which the KJV uses the word "grave," it will become abundantly clear that "grave" is the proper translation. But when we come to the 31 times that KJV uses the word "hell" to translate this same Hebrew word, it will also become abundantly clear that word, "GRAVE" should have been used in all of those 31 verses as well. Yes, the "context" will show that "grave" or its literal meaning of "the UNSEEN" can be consistently used in all 62 verses without jeopardizing or violating the context.

While it is true that a number of verses use sheol—the unseen, the grave, in a poetic or figurative sense, absolutely nowhere is sheol used to represent a place of life, consciousness, fire, or torture—nowhere, absolutely nowhere.

About once a year I find something useful in a Bible Dictionary. Well here’s one of them. After discussing numerous problems with translating sheol as both "grave" and "hell," my Wycliffe Bible Dictionary says on page 1573:

"Sheol is much used in poetry and often parallels ‘death’ or the ‘grave.’ A uniform translation ‘grave’ would solve several problems of interpretation."

Those "several problems," however, are not to be thought of as minor. They are in reality, the most major problems in all theology.

Recently I pointed out to one of my detractors, numerous contradictions between what he said and what the Scriptures say. He retorted: "They don’t contradict; they COMPLEMENT." Translating sheol 31 times "grave" and 31 times "hell" is not a contradiction to theologians; it is a complement. How can one even talk with people like that? How? You DON’T! Admitting to this contradiction would destroy their damnable doctrine of eternal torture, and I don’t believe the powers that be in today’s Church will allow that to ever happen.

ALL OLD TESTAMENT SCRIPTURES ON HELL

In the Old Testament of the King James Version of the Bible we find the word "hell" 31 times. All 31 times it is translated from the very same one, Hebrew word, sheol.

Therefore, it would seem logical to assume that "sheol" means "hell." That "hell" is in fact, the right and proper English translation for the Hebrew word sheol. Wrong. Not true. Not even close.

Why is that? Because although "hell" is always the translation of the word sheol, sheol is not always translated "hell." No sir. In fact, sheol is also translated 31 times as "grave." And just for good measure, the Hebrew sheol is translated 3 times into English as "pit." Is there any rhyme or reason for this nonsense? No, none.

Try to keep the following straight in your mind as we go through all of these Scriptures. Remember that every time we come across the word sheol (no matter how it is translated in the particular verse we are examining), it is the same word and never changes from that same word, whether the translators render it "pit," "grave," or "hell."

If the word sheol can be properly and accurately translated by the English word "hell," then there must be present in each and every verse some form or semblance of the definition of the word "hell." Am I going too fast for anyone? Am I overstepping the bounds of sane scholarship? Is this too logical and rational to be good theology? Have I violated any Scriptural principle? Then let’s proceed.

Here is every verse of Scripture in which we find the Hebrew word sheol, translated in the KJV as either "pit," "grave," or "hell." Judge for yourself what this word means.

SHEOL TRANSLATED "PIT"

The word "pit" is found 77 times in the Old Testament, but only 3 times is it translated from the Hebrew word sheol:

1. "If these men DIED the common DEATH of all men, or if they be visited after the visitation of all men; then the Lord has not sent me. But if the Lord make a new thing, and the earth open her mouth, and swallow them up, with all that appertain unto them, and they go down quick into the PIT [Heb: sheol]; then ye shall understand that these men have provoked the Lord."(Numbers 16:29-30).

2. "And it came to pass, as he had made an end of speaking all these words, that the GROUND clave asunder that was under them: and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods. They, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the PIT [Heb: sheol] , and the EARTH closed upon them: and they PERISHED from among the congregation"(Numbers 16:31-33).

Now then, what can we learn from this word "sheol" in these verses? We learn that sheol is in "the GROUND… under them."Korah and his men all "died" an uncommon "death" in this sheol--pit. And it says that "they PERISHED."

While the ground was "opened up," it was a PIT. After the ground closes up the pit, it was a GRAVE. This whole episode was a supernatural "mass burial in a mass grave," and nothing more. All these men are "dead and perished."

What does the word "perished" signify? Are they lost for all eternity, because God caused them to "perish?" No, not at all. Even righteous people "perish."

"The righteous perish and no man lays it to heart…" (Isa. 57:1).

Also consider, if sheol is a hell of torture in fire, did you notice that God consigned the "houses" of Korah and his men to this same fate. Do we reckon that the "houses" of Korah and his men will also be "tortured in the fire of hell for ever?" Good, so we are making progress—two down and 61 to go.

3. "If I wait, the GRAVE [Heb: sheol] is mine HOUSE: I have made my BED in the DARKNESS. I have said to CORRUPTION, You are my father; to the worm, You are my mother, and my sister. And where is now my hope? As for my hope, who shall see it? They shall go down to the bars of the PIT [Heb: sheol] , when our REST together is in the DUST" (Job 17:13-16).

Wow. See anything wrong with this picture of "sheol" being an "eternal hell of torture in fire?" What I see here is: "grave, house, bed, darkness, corruption, worm, pit, rest, and dust." There are all kinds of problems with these verses if we desire to pervert them into an "eternal hell of fire."

A "grave" is in the ground. A "house" is an abode, not a place designed for torture in fire. A "bed" is where one sleeps, and God likens death in the grave [sheol] to "sleep" "…lest I sleep the sleep of death" (Psalm 13:3).

"Darkness" is something that is found in a grave beneath the earth, not something you would find where there is a huge fire present."Corruption" is what happens when a corpse decays in a relatively short period of time, not something that is never accomplished in even an eternity of burning in the fabled Christian hell.

"Worms" live in the ground in dead bodies, and in garbage where they continue to live and multiply as long as there is food present, but they don’t do very well in literal fire.A "pit" is "a hole in the ground" according to Webster’s Dictionary. We would hardly be at "rest" if we were being eternally tortured by literal fire. And "dust" is what bodies return to when they are dead. God formed man from the "dust of the ground," not from "eternal hell fire."

Besides all this proof, does anyone think that God would eternally torture Job (apparently the most righteous man on the face of the earth in his day) in literal fire when he died?

This completes the 3 times that sheol are translated "pit."

SHEOL—TRANSLATED "GRAVE"

1. "And all his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted; and he said, For I will go down into the grave [Heb: sheol] unto my son mourning. Thus his father wept for him" (Gen. 37:35).

Here "grave" (sheol) is used figuratively. Jacob did not literally go into the grave of his son Joseph, seeing that Joseph was not even "literally" dead at this time.

2. "And he [Jacob] said, My son [Benjamin] shall not go down with you; for his brother [Joseph] is dead [Jacob thought Joseph was dead], and he is left alone: If mischief befall him by the way in the which you go, then shall you bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave [Heb: sheol]" (Gen. 42:38).

Gray hairs can only figuratively "sorrow." And "hair" does not do well in fire.

3. "And if you take this also from me, and mischief befall him, you shall bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave" (Gen. 44:29).

Once again, Jacob uses the word "grave" (sheol) figuratively, and there is no mention of fire.

4. "…and thy servants shall bring down the gray hairs of thy servant our father with sorrow to the grave [Heb: sheol]" (Gen. 44:31).

5. "The Lord kills, and makes alive: He brings down to the grave [Heb: sheol], and brings up" (I Sam. 2:6).

And so, just as surely as God "brings down to the grave," He likewise, "brings up [from the grave]." Therefore, the "grave" [sheol] is not an eternal place. Plus, no mention of "fire" in this place called sheol.

6. "Do therefore according to your wisdom, and let not his hoar head go down to the grave [Heb: sheol] in PEACE" (I Kings 2:6).

Obviously, this verse tells us that the "grave (sheol)" is a place of "peace," and that is why David didn’t want his enemy’s death to be a peaceful one.

7. "Now therefore hold him not guiltless: for you are a wise man, and know what you ought to do to him; but his hoar head bring you down to the grave [Heb: sheol] with BLOOD" (I Kings 2:9).

King David is called a "bloody man" in the Scriptures. David liked blood and violence. His dying words are for His son Solomon to be a "hit man" for him, and to violently destroy David’s long-time enemies (for which David will have to bitterly repent in the Great White Throne Judgment). David wanted Solomon to make their deaths painful and "bloody," as even David himself knew that his enemies would merely "sleep the sleep of death" once they were killed. But again, no "fire" in this "grave"—only "peace," even for David’s worst enemies.

8. "As a cloud is consumed and vanishes away; so he that goes down to the grave [Heb:sheol] shall come up no more" (Job 7:9).

Job was inspired to write that a person "vanishes away" in sheol. No fire there.

9. "O that You would hide me in the grave [Heb: sheol] …If a man die, shall he live again? All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come" (Job 14:13-14).

Job knew that he would not stay in sheol forever. No fire there.

10. "If I wait, the grave [Heb: sheol] is mine house: I have made my bed in the darkness"(Job 17:13).

Same words Job used previously.

11. "They spend their days in wealth, and in a moment go down to the grave [Heb: sheol]" (Job 21:13).

Job goes on to say in verses 23-26 that those blessed and those cursed, "They shall lie down alike in the dust, and the worms shall cover them."

12. "Drought and heat consume the snow waters: so does the grave [Heb: sheol] those which have sinned"(Job 24:19).

"ALL have sinned," and so all "consume" away in the grave until they return to the dust from where they came.

13. "For in death there is NO REMEMBRANCE of Thee: in the grave [Heb: sheol] who shall give You thanks?" (Psalm 6:5).

King David knew and was inspired to write that if he were to die, he knew that there would be no remembrance of God in the grave. No fire here either.

14. "O Lord, You have brought up my soul from the grave [Heb: sheol]: You have kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit [this time pit is not translated from sheol]" (Psalm 30:3).

Here King David is likewise speaking figuratively, as he was not literally killed or put into a grave.

15. "Let me not be ashamed, O Lord; for I have called upon you: let the wicked be ashamed, and let them be silent in the grave [Heb: sheol]"(Psalm 31:17).

Well, so much for all the supposed cries of anguish in sheol. David knew that sheol was a place of complete "silence."

16 & 17. "Like sheep they are laid in the grave [Heb: sheol]; death shall feed on them; and the upright shall have dominion over them in the morning; and their beauty shall consume in the grave [Heb: sheol] from their dwelling" (Psalm 49:14).

There is "death" in the grave (sheol). There is not living torture in fire.

18. "But God will REDEEM MY SOUL from the power of the grave [Heb: sheol]: for he shall receive me. Selah" (Psalm 49:15).

Well there you have it! Souls can be "redeemed from the power of sheol"! No eternal torture in fire where souls can and will be "REDEEMED"! It should be self-explanatory as to why the translators didn’t translate this particular "sheol" into the English word "hell." They sure didn’t want anyone to know that souls will be "redeemed from hell."

19. "For my soul is full of troubles: and my life draws nigh unto the grave [Heb: sheol]" (Psalm 88:3).

King David knew that when he died he was going to be placed in sheol.

20. "What man is he that lives, and shall not see death? Shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave [Heb: sheol]. Selah" (Psalm 89:48).

And so according to this verse of Scripture, there is not a man who ever lives (that’s all humanity) that shall not go to sheol when he dies. Everyone goes to the grave; everyone goes to sheol. But it is silent there. No remembrance. No pain, suffering, or fire.

21. "Let us swallow them up alive as the grave; and whole, as those that go down into the pit" (Prov. 1:12).

This too is speaking of the grave in figurative language.

22. "…There are three things that are never satisfied, yea, four things say, not, it is enough. The grave [Heb: sheol]; and the barren womb; the earth that is not filled with water; and the fire that says not, it is enough" (Prov. 30:15-16).

The earth is our "grave," and it can hold billions of bodies.

23. "Whatsoever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave [Heb: sheol], where you go"(Ecclesiastes 9:10).

The word "device" means "contrivance, intelligence and reason." And there are none of these in sheol. Neither is there any work, knowledge, or wisdom there. Since there are not any of these faculties of consciousness there, how can "sheol" be translated "hell" which is supposed to be a place of eternal torture in fire?

24. "Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm: for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave [Heb: sheol]: the coats thereof are coats of fire, which have a most vehement flame. Many waters cannot quench LOVE, neither can the floods drown it…" (Song of Solomon 8:6-7).

I included verse 7 here so that no one would be confused and think that the "flames of fire" are in "sheol," but are rather the "coats of fire and flame" of jealousy.

25. "Thy pomp is brought down to the grave [Heb: sheol], and the noise of your viols [harps]: the worm is spread under you, and the worms cover you" (Isa. 14:11).

This is figurative language once more. Seeing that "pomp," a character flaw, and "harps," musical instruments do not literally go anywhere, but they do cease to exist from the perspective of the person possessing them.

26. "I said in the cutting off of my days, I shall go to the gates of the grave [Heb: sheol]: I am deprived of the residue of my years" (Isa. 38:10).

If one were to continue living in a place called hell, he could hardly declare that his days and years would end. If hell is eternal, then he would continue to live forever.

27. "For the grave [Heb: sheol] cannot praise Thee, death can not celebrate Thee: they that go down in to the pit cannot hope for Thy truth"(Isa. 38:18).

Of course "sheol cannot praise Thee," seeing that there is no intelligence or reason in sheol, as we just learned a few Scriptures above.

28. "Thus said the Lord God, In the day when he [Pharaoh] went down to the grave [Heb: sheol] I caused a mourning: I covered the deep for him, and I restrained the floods thereof, and the great waters were stayed: and I caused Lebanon to mourn for him, and all the trees of the field fainted for him" (Ezek. 31:15).

Ezek. 31:16-17 again contain the word "sheol" again, but there it is translated "hell" which we will cover when we cover all the verses with "hell" in them. But there is no eternal torture by fire in this verse.

29 & 30. "I will RANSOM them from the power of the grave [Heb: sheol]; I will REDEEM them from death: O DEATH, I will be your plagues; O grave [Heb: sheol], I will be your destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes" (Hosea 13:14).

This verse all by itself destroys the whole eternal torture in fire theory. If sheol is "hell," then this verse plainly tells us that [1] God will "ransom" those who are in sheol. [2] God will be the plague of DEATH.[3] God tells us that sheol itself is to be "DESTROYED." And isn’t this exactly what we are told in Revelation 20:14 — "And DEATH and hell [Gk: hades/Heb: sheol] were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second DEATH."

31. "Our BONES are scattered at the grave’s [Heb: sheol] mouth, as when one cuts and cleaves wood upon the earth. (Psalm 141:7).

Once more King David is speaking figuratively in a poetic style. The grave does not literally have a "mouth."

That concludes the 31 places sheol is translated "grave." Not one of these 34 verses cited uses sheol to mean a place or condition of conscious torture in literal fire for all eternity. Why then would we suppose that the next 31 verses that use this exact same word, sheol would change the meaning to a place of conscious torture of wicked people in literal fire for all eternity? How can such a travesty of scholarship, ever be accepted by those who still possess a functioning mind?

CAN CONTRADICTING OPPOSITES DEFINE ONE WORD?

The Hebrew word laban means "white"—like milk, like teeth—WHITE. First, imagine we would translate this word laban in 31 verses of Scripture into the English word "white." So far; so good. But next, imagine we translate this word laban in 31 different verses of Scripture into the English word "BLACK." Does anyone see a problem with such scholarship?

It’s crazy, and yet this IS what has happened in the KJV with regards to the Hebrew word sheol—31 times "grave," and 31 times "hell." And what does UNCONSCIOUS DEATH IN THE GRAVE have in common with A CONSCIOUS LIFE OF ETERNAL TORTURE IN FIRE? Nothing—absolutely NOTHING! It’s as different as "black" and "white."

I do not even contend that this is bad scholarship. This is NO scholarship at all. This is nothing less than FRAUD—a Christian HOAX! Show me where else in historic academia we find such reckless abandonment of the facts? I am not contending for my personal preference in translating the scriptures, but to merely translate accurately and consistently what we find in ALL THE HEBREW AND GREEK MANUSCRIPTS.

ONCE MORE: In the Hebrew manuscripts, we find the word sheol 65 times, therefore, in our English translations we should find ONE WORD for all 65 times sheol appears. But, no, we find ONE Hebrew word translated into THREE DIFFERENT ENGLISH WORDS—"pit, grave, and hell."

And in the New Testament we have the opposite of this Hebrew fraud: We have the ONE English word "hell" translated from THREE DIFFERENT GREEK WORDS—"gehenna, hades, and Tartarus."

Then we come to the greatest New Testament fraud of all regarding "hell." One time and one time only we find the Greek word hades, translated not "hell," but "grave." Why? Why just one time, "grave?"Why? Because the translators did not want us "dumb sheep" to ever know what hades really means.

If "grave" and "hell" had very similar meanings, then their use would not be so damning, but as they are opposites in every way there is no justifiable reason for their use. And if the Greek words "hades" and "gehenna" were very similar in meaning it might be justifiable to translate them into the same one English word, but they are not; they are totally different.

At least half of the translations in the Old Testament are correct, in that sheol can be translated correctly as "grave." But in the New Testament, not even once is the English word "hell" a justifiable translation for any Greek word found in the manuscripts.

WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED SO FAR ABOUT SHEOL / HADES?

We have now seen 34 verses of Scripture in which we find the ancient Hebrew word sheol, and how it is used in context.

We have seen "sheol" used in poetic figurative language as a place, condition, or realm of "sorrow and mourning," as for a dead or presumed dead child. Only figuratively does someone still living go down to "sheol." It is decidedly the realm of the dead, and therefore is figuratively used sometimes to represent something very ghastly or frightening (as we will later see was the case with Jonah).

When God kills someone, it is said that God brings them down to "sheol."

When someone goes down to "sheol," he is not able to come back up.

In Job we learned that when we die we are hid in "sheol" until an appointed time when we will be changed from whatever our condition in "sheol" is.

Also, Job likens "sheol" to a bed in a dark place (not unlike sleeping in our bedroom with the lights off). And Job also informs us that the blessed and cursed both go to "sheol."

We consume away in this place called "sheol."

In "sheol" there is no remembrance or communication with the world of the living.

The hand of "sheol" is called death, and every one who lives will be drawn to it.

Ecclesiastes 9:10 is probably the most telling Scripture of all with regards to what we do NOT find in "sheol." No work, device [intelligence/reason], knowledge or wisdom.

Not even the righteous can celebrate or praise God in "sheol."

Hosea informed us that God will be death’s PLAGUE. In other words, God will be a plague to "sheol" itself, not the dead people who reside insheol. In fact God says He will RANSOM AND REDEEM those in "sheol." Oh yes, God will ransom and redeem them ALL who go down to sheol, but not all at the same time. Remember there are TWO resurrections—One to life with Christ in His Kingdom, and Another to the great white throne/lake of fire/second death, Judgment.

In Part B we will go through all the remaining verses in the Old Testament in which the word sheol is erroneously translated into the Old English word "hell."

A CLOSING THOUGHT

Although everyone has a perception OF death, and many actually experience the process OF dying, absolutely no one will ever experience anything IN the death state itself. There is no experience or perception in death.

And although no one desires to go to sheol [the grave]; that is no one desires to DIE, but nonetheless, it is a safe place to be while we await resurrection. Nothing can harm us there. There is no fear or darkness there, because there is NO PERCEPTION THERE. Sheol is truly like a deep, sound SLEEP, from which our Father will awaken us in the morning. Let us be comforted by that thought.

[Next part: The word "Hell" as found in the New Testament]



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Tyler V

Wednesday 25th November 2009 | 01:43 AM

Oz-

First, your first set of questions is off topic and would require a TON of speculation. Sorry, another time another place.

Second, no I don’t ACTUALLY believe in the cultural relativism that Jesus was morally driven by the social contract of his day. My point was that since Courtenay and Jake DO, I could just assume their argument true and still make their criticism invalid because by their own admissions, morals from other social contracts are equally valid today so by extension they were equally valid back then. So by their standard, even if Jesus did endorse slavery (which he didn’t) He would still be moral because he was working within the 1st century social contract.

Third, an oxymoron is to say something like “jumbo shrimp” or “military intelligence” (ha). The problem you are having is not of concept but of imprecise vocabulary. It is obscure to say “God existed before anything existed” since God is a something. What is meant is “God existed before the universe and everything contained within or entailed by it existed.” Thus, no ambiguity, no problem.

Fourth, you also make the really simple error of assuming that because all things need a cause that God needed a cause. Again, your error is one of ambiguous vocabulary. The formulation is that “All effects (all things that COME INTO being) need a cause.” Since God is not an effect (He never CAME INTO being but eternally existed) he requires no cause.

And Gina, I am not even sure what you were arguing for. I think we are on the same “side” but even I didn’t follow the point of that post.

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Tyler V

Wednesday 25th November 2009 | 01:44 AM

BTW, I'll be gone for the next 5 days for Thanksgiving and visiting family. I'll respond when I get back.

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Gina Squitieri

Wednesday 25th November 2009 | 02:11 AM

...in response to this comment by Tyler V. Maybe you didn't follow it because you didn't follow it. And, please, I'm not here to "argue."

Have a NICE Thanksgiving Tyler.

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V2

Wednesday 25th November 2009 | 06:54 AM

...in response to this comment by Jake Farr-Wharton. Pearls and Pigs Jake
What has that to do with Morals? What the hell are you on about

Deuteronomy 4.2...........Go read it Jake and then apply your own mind as to why it is invalid in the context you assume to use it
Go on, try

Jake Farr-Wharton

Jake Farr-Wharton

Wednesday 25th November 2009 | 08:31 AM
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...in response to this comment by V2. Hi V2,

Thoms law does not negate the big bang at all. In fact, one of the interesting models coming out at the moment, one which Hawkings postulated in his first published book 'Brief History of Time', is that there exists a cycle of big bang and big crunch. Certainly the intense gravity, or as you might know it, intelligent attraction, with so much matter tightly packed into a zero point, or point zero, the resulting explosion/expansion would have been incredible.

Of course, the current expansion of the universe, which is observed to be accellerating, violates the 2nd law of thermodynamics. That is why the discovery of dark matter is so exciting.

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Jake Farr-Wharton

Jake Farr-Wharton

Wednesday 25th November 2009 | 08:43 AM
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...in response to this comment by Tyler V. Bilbo, you've either just said that god IS the universe and thus in the ancient's naivety in trying to understand what they had no chance of understanding, they explained away 'is everything, in everything' with the word god. OR you've just admitted your god was created, hence the question, who was your god's creator?

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Jake Farr-Wharton

Jake Farr-Wharton

Wednesday 25th November 2009 | 08:45 AM
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Deut 4:2 is freaking simple. Any testament past this point is made up of bullshit laced with fabrication.

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V2

Wednesday 25th November 2009 | 03:46 PM

...in response to this comment by Jake Farr-Wharton. "In fact, one of the interesting models coming out at the moment, one which Hawkings postulated in his first published book 'Brief History of Time', is that there exists a cycle of big bang and big crunch. Certainly the intense gravity, or as you might know it, intelligent attraction, with so much matter tightly packed into a zero point, or point zero, the resulting explosion/expansion would have been incredible. "

Oh Now thats rational
So what you are suggesting is that their was no initial BB
Big Bangs have always existed
Do the Dawkins, and say aliens seeded the Earth
That comment is a furphy Jake, it doesnt answer anything
Where did the first Big Bang come from them

Jake Farr-Wharton

Jake Farr-Wharton

Wednesday 25th November 2009 | 04:29 PM
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...in response to this comment by V2. Zacheria Sitchin believes that his translation of the Emerald Tablets left by the ancient Assyrians suggests that aliens seeded the earth. They're in your bible too, the Nephilim, angels...

Dawkins suggested such things are possible, and logic dictates that since abiogenesis has not yet been established as a viable theorem, though it is conceivable, it is certainly a possibility.

Your blatant alien bigotry is clouding your judgement.

Also, I quite clearly said that a big bang occurred, however as a constant string/cycle of big crunch & big bang.

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ozzie_z

Wednesday 25th November 2009 | 05:53 PM

Jake said:

"Thoms law does not negate the big bang at all. In fact, one of the interesting models coming out at the moment, one which Hawkings postulated in his first published book 'Brief History of Time', is that there exists a cycle of big bang and big crunch. Certainly the intense gravity, or as you might know it, intelligent attraction, with so much matter tightly packed into a zero point, or point zero, the resulting explosion/expansion would have been incredible.

Of course, the current expansion of the universe, which is observed to be accellerating, violates the 2nd law of thermodynamics. That is why the discovery of dark matter is so exciting."

Jake there is a whole legion of Christians out there who who say that a God preexisted nothing. Or, as some say, a God coexisted with nothing. That is, while there was nothing, there was also a God. (Unless, of course, you wish to claim that God IS nothing. I could accept that claim, but then I would not be here would I? Where is the simple proof. I am here.) So, you can not have a God (which is something) and say that before him, there was nothing. You must either start with a God, which is something (and came from something) or you must start with nothing. You can not have it both ways. If there is a God, he is something and something can not come out of nothing. Furthermore since there was something which must have predated a God, God could not have created everything. He could not have created himself if he was not himself to start with. God himself/herself/it would have to be developed from something that was NOT a God. God is claimed to have knowledge and character. Knowledge and character MUST be developed. It can not be decreed. It can not be magically waved into existence. Knowledge and character is a PRODUCT of life and living. It is a product of making wise and foolish choices. It is a product of growth. Did a God have the knowledge to create or make a universe? Where did he develop that knowledge? It is inconceivable that God simply sneezed and the universe came into being. I don't think even the Christians would believe that.
To have the knowledge to create, or even to make a universe, God must have had some prior experience, some development, some trials and errors in how and why this worked and that did not. Also, the Christians attribute lots of wonderful attributes to their God. God is all good. God is all great. God is all just. God is all wise. God is all knowing. God is everywhere. God is all powerful, and so forth.

That is, the Christians give God a good, moral and powerful character. Now character can not be developed in a vacuum. Character must be developed by trial and error. Character must be developed by finding out what is good and what works. To do this one must also find out what is bad and does not work. Character must always answer the question, "Why?" in order to develop. Character is a growth process.
Therefore, there must have been other individuals and intelligences with whom God could interact in order to develop a good character. There must be at least a family of them. Therefore, God is not alone. So, other intelligence demands some type of setting in which they could interact. They must have a place, a home of sorts. So we now must allow God to have at least a family, a home and a setting, or a place of operating, in order to develop his character. So that is strike two against a creator God being by HIMSELF, and at the same time having both a good character and ultimate science knowledge. God could not decree himself a good character or vast scientific knowledge. He would not know what was good or what to decree. He must have developed that knowledge.
Now is there a section in the bible where God talked? Methinks he did:) How could a God language develop without other like beings with whom to communicate.
If there was something out of which God came, then there was already material available to make a universe. That is, God could not possibly have created the universe. However, God could have MADE the universe. That is, he could have taken the material which was available and MADE the universe out of that.

I will leave it at that for now. Hopefully I am not boring too many people here with this. Tyler there is no issue with the vocabulary. Can I suggest to you that the vocabulary is a signpost which is pointing you in a direction that you do not like.

cheers oz

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Vanessa

Wednesday 25th November 2009 | 08:58 PM

Move over Tyler here's Gina!! It's like watching the Lord of the rings, never f.... ends..... Like a game of chicken but everyone gets hits by the train!

My questions is, as I have asked before, if a person does not believe in Jesus and or God are they less moral than a person that does believe - yes or no please.

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V2

Wednesday 25th November 2009 | 09:13 PM

...in response to this comment by Jake Farr-Wharton. Yeah Aliens? and you call me religious. You accept aliens as plausible, but not God.
Tell me Jake if you can, aliens came from?
Nephilim, Angels both created, created by God Jake. Tricky, I know

Big Bang issue, was there ever an initial BB or have they always been banging away.
Do you really believe that or is it more a conviction. Any evidence or do you accept it by faith

Aliens Ha ha hu
Alien Bigotry Grasping at straws Boy

Oz are you a woman? Cos you do go on
I stopped reading when I realised you tried to explain God
Clearly if God can create everything, do you think you could understand him, that he would fit in your box

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V2

Wednesday 25th November 2009 | 09:22 PM

...in response to this comment by Vanessa.
Nessy, everybody, all of us are individuals.
Real Christians change over time, its not instant and never perfect
Nobody would suggest Christians are better than non Christians
Maybe Christianity teaches us to try a little harder, some do better than others. We are human
What going to judge us?

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Gina Squitieri

Thursday 26th November 2009 | 12:00 AM

...in response to this comment by ozzie_z. Ozzie,

Actually, most Christians do believe that it is conceivable that God basically simply sneezed and the universe came into being -- they believe in the six literal days of creation. I did. Until I came across a verse in the NT that said, "He [Jesus] LEARNED obedience by [from] the things that He suffered." [Heb. 5:8] So then I asked myself, as I'm sure one or two maybe three other Christians have:

Jesus is God in the flesh (that is, Jesus is the outward expression of God) and God is all-knowing and all of that, so why did Jesus have to LEARN? And, not just learn but learn to be obedient. Seems strange that a perfectly created being would have to learn to do right.

God had to learn how to create the universe. He [Or rather, "It," since God is a title and not a name] couldn't have learned all of it in a vacuum. But if there were other things before God then I don't know about you, but I automatically ask WHERE OH WHERE DID THOSE THINGS COME FROM? WHO PUT THEM THERE? HOW DID THEY GET THERE? Much the same way you ask where did God come from? When I was a child I remember asking who was God's mommy. The answer was: God has always been (no mommy - just always existed). But I'm still wondering where God come from. And, unlike a lot of Christians out there, I no longer believe it's sacrilegious to ask questions.

Ask, and keep on asking and the answer will be given you. That's what Jesus said. But an answer is one that can be comprehended and makes SENSE. If it doesn't make sense, if it isn't sound reasoning, then it's not an answer. So, I would encourage you to keep on asking.

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V2

Thursday 26th November 2009 | 07:37 AM

Wow Gina
You seem to think you understand the mind of God also, understand God. Yes it is good to ask questions, very important
Just silly if you think you will ever understand what is beyond mans mind

Tell me, why couldnt God create the world in six days?

Anders

Anders

Thursday 26th November 2009 | 07:52 AM
55 total kudos

...in response to this comment by Gina Squitieri. "[Next part: The word "Hell" as found in the New Testament]"

Please no! That comment is longer than some books!

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Gina Squitieri

Thursday 26th November 2009 | 08:59 AM

...in response to this comment by V2. Have you ever heard of a mountain being formed in one day, let alone a tree, a bird, a diamond, granite stone, a canyon, let along a fully formed human being? I could go on and on. Do you know how soil is formed and how long it takes to be formed? Did you know that it takes YEARS for a full-grown apple tree to bear fruit? That is decidedly not the way you or I see this world or the universe operating today and "God changes not," so it stands to reason that God didn't create the universe in six literal days.

The world and this universe are at least 12 billion years old. It goes completely against all the laws of nature as we see them in operation today to say that God made the universe and this world six days. Think about it, for God's sake! Don't just think you know everything just because someone said so. Listen, it took Jesus 30 years YEARS! before He would arrive on the scene, if you will, and another 3-1/2 YEARS to do all of His works, but God CREATED all of the things that He would need in order to then fashion or MAKE the world and the universe in six days? I don't think so.

I read where you said your children would be ready to poopoo the big bang theory as all a bunch of hog wash, but you really aught to think about it a little longer and do some real searching. FIRST, consider the fact that the universe was discovered by scientists not that many years ago to be expanding and that the planets and galaxies were all on top of one another, basically -- that's how close they were together. Why? Because it had to start somewhere. NOW, what do we find in the OT? We find that God "stretches out the heavens." (click the link: http://www.biblegateway.com/keyword/?search=stretches+out+the+heavens&searchtype=all&version1=45&bookset=2 )

And we read in Psalms 104:24 that "IN WISDOM" God made all His works and creatures.

Psalm 104:24
O Lord, how many and varied are Your works! In wisdom have You made them all; the earth is full of Your riches and Your creatures.

God did His works in Wisdom. What is Wisdom:

wisdom |ˈwizdəm|
noun
the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment; the quality of being wise.
• the soundness of an action or decision with regard to the application of such experience, knowledge, and good judgment : some questioned the wisdom of building the dam so close to an active volcano.
• the body of knowledge and principles that develops within a specified society or period : oriental wisdom.



Now answer me this:

Upon reading that definition, V2, do you believe that Wisdom is something that comes from much experience or no time or experience at all?









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V2

Thursday 26th November 2009 | 01:15 PM

Wow a mountain in one day
How about an Island, beaches gravel huge cliffs, soft undulating land, surf worn boulders, faultscarps gullies. Should I now turn my attention to its Flora and fauna for you?
Surtsey Island didnt exist till 1963
Gina can you offer me some empirical irrefutable evidence that suggests the Earth is older than say 6000 years
Peer reviews are not evidence
Wisdom? That is a definition of mans wisdom Gina
The Bible clearly defines the one and only place where wisdom can be found: "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." (Psalm 111:10)

God stated the world was created in 6 days, why should I choose to believe you over him?

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V2

Thursday 26th November 2009 | 01:19 PM

Gina, did all the dinosaurs die before Adam and Eve showed up?

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Tank Top

Thursday 26th November 2009 | 03:30 PM

V2 "you want empirical evidence that the earth is older than 6,000 years old"

As a Christian you now want empirical evidence to base your belief? But you accept Jesus is the son of God based on second hand accounts of people who never met him? (Assuming CJ correct which is what I have read too)

Have you opened a science book??

The only evidence you need that the earth is only 6000 years old is the citation of a psalm?

You are a Christian lunatic!!

Thank God for CJ Werleman's book. People like you need to read it.

Gina at least you are smarter enough to disregard the bogus parts of the Bible but you still choose to believe in irrational beliefs. You will never know that Jesus was born from a virgin, so don't pretend you are anymore intellectual than V2.

What a pair of retards. Jesus H Christ

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V2

Thursday 26th November 2009 | 04:39 PM

...in response to this comment by Tank Top. Nice citations
You should get that comment "Peer Reviewed"

My problem TT is I havnt seen the evidence. You obviously have, but wont share it
or
You havnt any evidence, you just accept evolution and the Earths age...............RELIGIOUSLY

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Tank Top

Thursday 26th November 2009 | 05:29 PM

...in response to this comment by V2. You are a throw back to the first century V2.

Visit your local library and take a look under paleontology, cosmology, biology, etc etc

Really? You need ME to provide you the proof of the earth's age? Were you awake at any stage during Grade 4?

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ozzie_z

Thursday 26th November 2009 | 05:32 PM

Hi V2,

Now there appear to be some people like yourself who have an issue with Thom's law, so lets pursue this a little more. There are many christians out there who will argue that God did come out of NOTHING. So V2 does that mean then that God is greater than the universe? As a christian you would say yes. Then why didn't NOTHING create something less sophisticated or less significant than a God in its first effort at creation? Curiously one asks why NOTHING did not create something simple first. You see how would NOTHING have the intelligence to make something more important and more complex than itself, more important and complex than the whole universe? Why didn't NOTHING make the universe first and then make a God? Now how did nothing make a GOD when it hadn't even entered into the territory of making say the hydrogen atom. You see NOTHING would have had to utilise all of its resources to make a GOD yet its available resources would have been nothing or zero. Now lets test zero a little. Add it to itself. Multiply it. Divide it. Piss on it from a great height. Guess what it is still zero. Nothing is zero and zero is nothing. You cannot get anything out of zero no matter what you do. So if you cant get anything out of zero or nothing then how do you get GOD out of it?

cheers oz

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V2

Thursday 26th November 2009 | 05:43 PM

Yes a throwback
but you are a religious nut job TT.
You believe what you are taught without any evidence, by scientists. Mere men.
Scientists basing there reviews on faith in modern dating techniques. Yeah and I am religious.
Your faith and religion is atheism, you are blinded by the pseudo science that is evolution
You can not and will not show me evidence of the Earths age or evolution, because none exists.
Peer reviews and faith make a religion, over to atheism and its beliefs
Big Bang= Evidence= None (Jake states it has always happened, never initially started, whatever that means)
Abiogenesis= Evidence= None (Aliens again says Jake, and they came from?)

Lots of talk TT, but little common sense
Here is a simple little question
Prove the Geological Time Scale. If you do that I will concede defeat and accept atheism, immediatly
Rally Ho and Huzzah

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V2

Thursday 26th November 2009 | 05:48 PM

...in response to this comment by ozzie_z. You have a lot of built up oestrogen Oz because you talk a lot and make no sense
God came first, hope that helps
By the way, do you believe in the Big Bang? How did that happen?

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Tank Top

Thursday 26th November 2009 | 06:15 PM

...in response to this comment by V2. V2 wrote: "You believe what you are taught without any evidence, by scientists. Mere men."

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA who the fuck does she think wrote the Bible? Does she think God picked up a quail pen and authored it himself?

Do you have any idea how science works? Do you know the difference between a theory and a hypothesis.

Let me tell you this Jesus Freak - evolution is a theory (so is gravity btw)...GOD IS NOT EVEN A FUCKING HYPOTHESIS!!!

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the being

Thursday 26th November 2009 | 07:35 PM

...in response to this comment by V2. "You believe what you are taught without any evidence, by scientists. Mere men."

Wow what do you say to that? That's priceless. If you had any credibility at all you've surely lost it now.

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V2

Thursday 26th November 2009 | 07:51 PM

Lots of talk, and yet no evidence
Hmmm, not at all suprising

Jake Farr-Wharton

Jake Farr-Wharton

Thursday 26th November 2009 | 08:10 PM
202 total kudos

...in response to this comment by Tank Top. Tank Top, there is no such thing as gravity, it's called Intelligent Falling.

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CJ

Thursday 26th November 2009 | 10:23 PM

...in response to this comment by V2. Dear V2,

Notwithstanding the catalogues of evidence available at your fingertips that will put your mind at ease that the earth is older than 6,000 years - have you considered the fact that 6,000 years ago is one thousand years after the Sumerians had invented glue, and the Babylonians beer???

CJ

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Gina Squitieri

Friday 27th November 2009 | 12:39 AM

...in response to this comment You are one angry, angry person, Tank Top.

Where do get the notion that I believe that Jesus was born of a virgin? I never said it, so why did you?

Gina

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Gina Squitieri

Friday 27th November 2009 | 12:43 AM

...in response to this comment by V2. All of the dinosaurs died LONG before humanity/mankind roamed the earth.

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Gina Squitieri

Friday 27th November 2009 | 12:56 AM

...in response to this comment by Tank Top. http://bible-truths.com/Notes/Nashville08_6.htm

This alone proves the earth is older than 6,000 years.

Now, I don't believe that posting this information you will actually believe it at this time, but you will have to concede eventually because there is no denying fact-based evidence.

If you follow this link below, you will find other notes under "Nashville Conference 2008" that will provide further evidence, though I don't expect that you will concede that any of it is true. There are videos there as well.

http://forums.bible-truths.com/index.php/topic,8227.0.html

Have a good one everybody. Especially you, Tank Top!

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Gina Squitieri

Friday 27th November 2009 | 01:50 AM

My comment just above was meant for VS, not Tank Top.

Friendo

Friendo

Friday 27th November 2009 | 04:21 AM
119 total kudos

...in response to this comment by Jake Farr-Wharton. No, Jakemeister...

It's: "There is no gravity..the Earth sucks."

F-

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V2

Friday 27th November 2009 | 08:36 AM

All said and done I have never found a Jot of hard evidence..............ever to support evolution or the age of the Earth

Now Gina, I assume you dont believe the Bible is Gods inspired word.
Tell me if you dont believe some of it, why believe any of it?

Anyways, look what science has found
http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/090817-dark-energy-alternative.html
Do you understand that?
That is a theory, mind, based on some evidence that we, that is Earth obviously, are in the approximate centre of the whole shebang, the whole rootin tootin shootin match.
That everything else has moved away from us here on the blue planet.
Literally God stretched out the heavens, away from approximately the centre of everything, approximately Earths orbit
Anyway its just a scientific theory

Dark matter Tee hee hee

CJ 4000 years ago I was speaking to this old Babylonian fella and he said he was the first person to invent beer, so I recon you made that story up, just like I made my story up
Catalogue of evidence, show me

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Still stands

Friday 27th November 2009 | 08:39 AM

Here is a simple little question
Prove the Geological Time Scale. If you do that I will concede defeat and accept atheism, immediately

Jake Farr-Wharton

Jake Farr-Wharton

Friday 27th November 2009 | 09:53 AM
202 total kudos

...in response to this comment by V2. V2, you are not a member of the fraternity of science, and while this is not surprising considering your inability to understand the difference between quantified, verified evidence and a book writen when the most complex application of science was how to construct basic tools and friction = fire.

V2, to put it simply for you, wich I suspect is still not enough to get through your seemingly impenitrable skull, humanity has proven the age of the earth through many scientific media. If you want your bible to be taken seriously, the burden of proof is on you.

Theory, in commonplace conversation, refers to a supposition, a guess, a hypothesis or assertion. In Science, 'theory' is completely different. Scientific theory on the other hand comprises a collection of concepts, including abstractions of observable phenomena expressed as quantifiable properties, together with rules (called scientific laws) that express relationships between observations of such concepts. A scientific theory is constructed to conform to available empirical data about such observations, and is put forth as a principle or body of principles for explaining a class of phenomena. I.e we use evidence from experiments and observations to quantify scientific theory, you, on the other hand, just guess. The burden of proof is on you.

Seriously V2, having an argument with a creationist such as you is like playing chess with a pigeon, you knock over all the pieces, you shit all over the board and then you fly back to your flock claiming victory. Science has insurmountable evidence. The burden of proof is on you.

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Jake Farr-Wharton

Jake Farr-Wharton

Friday 27th November 2009 | 09:56 AM
202 total kudos

...in response to this comment by Still stands. Study biology and chemistry and chances are, you'll become an atheist anyway.

Science has all the proof that is needed in order to form acurate and constantly improved on theories (see the above comment from me to learn the difference between commonplace and scientific theory) to create the models relating to time line, age, etc. The burden of proof is on you.

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V2

Friday 27th November 2009 | 12:15 PM

Evidently a smarter pidgeon than you Jake
Check mate!
Answers go begging
Can you define what science is, for me Jake. I can answer that for you if you like

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Gina Squitieri

Friday 27th November 2009 | 12:33 PM

...in response to this comment by V2. V2, ponder this:

Proverbs 21:19
It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.

Proverbs 27:15
A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike.

James 1:23 For if anyone only listens to the Word without obeying it and being a doer of it, [s]he is like a [wo]man who looks carefully at his/her [own] natural face in a mirror; 24 For [s]he thoughtfully observes him/herself, and then goes off and promptly forgets what [s]he was like.







Jake Farr-Wharton

Jake Farr-Wharton

Friday 27th November 2009 | 01:21 PM
202 total kudos

...in response to this comment by V2. Please indulge us all V2. While you’re at it, can you also get the meaning for luddite, ignoramus and verbal masturbation.

Seriously V2, there is no reason for you to claim superiority, though please feel free. Ultimately, I enjoy debate, I do it for fun and intellectual stimulation. If your kind, however, stop debating, you will fade into insignificant obscurity as only a smear in a history book.

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Moral Crusader

Friday 27th November 2009 | 02:55 PM

Good to see this debate still running. I'm sure plenty of more posts to come.

FYI my copy of God Hates You arrived on Tuesday. 1/3 of the way thru already. One word: Very very very GOOD. ok so that's four words. Anyway much better than i expected.

Well done CJ

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Vanessa

Friday 27th November 2009 | 07:18 PM

Do you disagree that, from the time that you believe Jesus walked the Earth, there has been no sign of evolution?

Jake Farr-Wharton

Jake Farr-Wharton

Friday 27th November 2009 | 08:34 PM
202 total kudos

...in response to this comment by Vanessa. Yes I absolutely disagree. In fact there are many species of birds living in the tropics that have begun mating seemingly selectively and as a result, their offspring is better able to cope in the heat.

Also, bacteria, another carbon based life form on our planet, change and evolve all the time to survive. This is why we have such incidence of multi resistant (to antibiotics) bugs.

But that is just the start, if you want to go into humans, people at high altitude have higher haemoglobin and while this is adaptation, their offspring are born better able to cope. People in frigid temperature have higher metabolisms.

Evolution (broad use of term) can be used to describe the different colours of humans. We adapt to better suit our environment.

Jesus has f*ck all to do with evolution, well, except for the FACT that his actions have influenced 2 millennia worth of people to breed ignorance into their children.

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V2

Saturday 28th November 2009 | 09:41 AM

Science = Observability, testability, repeatability
Now Jake, tell me what part of your evolutionism religion, falls in to those categories

Here is a simple little question
Prove the Geological Time Scale. If you do that I will concede defeat and accept atheism, immediately
Call me every name you can imagine Jakesta belaxta..............but till you answer that question I am rubber and you are pooh...Oops, I meant glue. (School yard humour)

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V2

Saturday 28th November 2009 | 10:02 AM

...in response to this comment by Gina Squitieri. Well now you ponder this Gina

"Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.(Proverbs 30:5 )

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, says the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55:8-9)

"O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out! For who has known the mind of the Lord? or who has been His counselor? Or who has first given to Him, and it shall be recompensed to him again? For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to Whom be glory forever. Amen." (Romans 11:33-36)

Yes Gina God is bigger than your mind

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Gina Squitieri

Saturday 28th November 2009 | 10:49 AM

...in response to this comment by V2. 1 Corinthians 2:9-11 (Amplified Bible)

9But, on the contrary, as the Scripture says, What eye has not seen and ear has not heard and has not entered into the heart of man, [all that] God has prepared (made and keeps ready) for those who love Him [[a]who hold Him in affectionate reverence, promptly obeying Him and gratefully recognizing the benefits He has bestowed]

10Yet to us [that is, to me, Gina and a few others] God has unveiled and revealed them by and through His Spirit, for the [Holy] Spirit searches diligently, exploring and examining everything, even sounding the profound and bottomless things of God [the divine counsels and things hidden and beyond man's scrutiny].


See, V2, YOU and the many called like YOU cannot possibly understand the mind of God because you are yet carnal:



1 Corinthians 3:1-3 (Amplified Bible)

1 Corinthians 3
1HOWEVER, BRETHREN, I could not talk to you as to spiritual [men], but as to nonspiritual [men of the flesh, in whom the carnal nature predominates], as to mere INFANTS [in the new life] in Christ [unable to talk yet!]

2I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not yet strong enough [to be ready for it]; but even yet you are not strong enough [to be ready for it],

3For you are still [unspiritual, having the nature] of the flesh [under the control of ordinary impulses]. For as long as [there are] envying and jealousy and wrangling and factions among you, ARE YOU NOT UN-spiritual and of the flesh, behaving yourselves after a human standard and like mere (unchanged) men?

# Romans 8:7
[That is] because the mind of the flesh [with its carnal thoughts and purposes] is hostile to God, for it does not submit itself to God's Law; indeed it cannot.

# Jude 1:19
It is these who are [agitators] setting up distinctions and causing divisions--merely sensual [creatures, carnal, worldly-minded people], devoid of the [Holy] Spirit and destitute of any higher spiritual life.

Simple enough for you, V2?

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Gina Squitieri

Saturday 28th November 2009 | 11:38 AM

Re Geologic Column

Taken from http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/geocolumn/

Morton begins:

"This article is a detailed examination of the young earth creationist claim that the geologic column does not exist. It is shown that the entire geologic column exists in North Dakota. I do this not to disprove the Bible but to encourage Christians who are in the area of apologetics to do a better job of getting the facts straight. "

And he goes on:

"The definition of the geologic column that I will use is the one used by Morris and Parker (1987, p. 163) in the following quotation:

'Now the geologic column is an idea, not an actual series of rock layers. Nowhere do we find the complete sequence. Even the walls of the Grand Canyon included only five of the twelve major systems (one, five, six and seven, with small portions here and there of the fourth system, the Devonian.'

They are saying that there is no place on earth where all twelve of the periods are found. Given that the precambrian is always found if one drills deep enough we merely need to find places with the 11 phanerozoic periods. What we will see below is that such situations do occur. In point of fact Morris and Parker define the geologic column in a silly fashion. There is no place on earth that has sediments from every single day since the origin of the earth. No geologist would require this level of detail from the geological column. But if there are sediments left at a given site once every hundred thousand years or so, then at the scale of the geological column, the entire column would exist.There would still be erosional surfaces contained in that column and that would mean that some days left no sediment at a given location to mark their existence.

Woodmorappe has written an article for Creation Ex Nihilo Technical Journal which he has published on the web. He says:

Creationists do not say that every single day’s deposits must be preserved! The fact is that Morris and Parker are not talking about a little of the daily sediment being missing. If we read the Morris and Parker quote again, we can see that the 100- or 200-mile column is not the presumed product of daily sedimentation. Rather, the 100- to 200-mile column represents the sum of the thickest sections from the field of each of the ten Phanerozoic systems and/or their major components.

Now what does all this mean? Common sense teaches us that 16 miles (at most) which exists, out of a total of 100 or 200 miles, is a very incomplete column!

Woodmorappe rests his entire case upon this 200 mile thick column which he says must be there if the geologic column is to be real. We will examine that statement. Woodmorappe writes:

There are a number of locations on the earth where all ten periods of the Phanerozoic geologic column have been assigned. However, this does not mean that the geological column is real. Firstly, the presence or absence of all ten periods is not the issue, because the thickness of the sediment pile, even in those locations, is only a small fraction (8-16% or less) of the total thickness of the hypothetical geologic column. Without question, most of the column is missing in the field.

This of course is NOT the definition of the geologic column that ANY geologist would use. If we can show that Woodmorappe's logic is flawed, then we can show that his case falls flat on its face. Woodmorappe and other young-earth creationists are trying to say that if we add the thickest sediments in each period from anywhere in the world this defines the entire geologic column. This is a ridiculous and silly argument. This is like saying the following:

The Antarctic region receives less than 1/10 of an inch of snow per year. Places in Colorado Ski country recieve up to 5-10 feet of snow per year and Houghton, Michigan receives up to 20 feet per year. Let us add up the maximum snow fall anywhere in the world each day of the year. Most likely we would tally up something like 200 feet of snow as the total maximum daily snow fall. If we then conclude that this means that Antarctica only gets 1/2000 of the yearly snow fall and therefore Antarctica doesn't represent a full years snowfall, we would have done the same thing that Woodmorappe is doing with the geologic column. This is rather spurious to say the least. Antarctica received a full year's worth of snowfall--it is just a smaller amount than Vail, Colorado. Similarly to add up the maximum sedimentation in each geologic period and then expect that that represents the entire geologic column is perverse. Woodmorappe's argument doesn't stand up.

Today, Woodmorappe claims that the real issue with regard to the geologic column is the small percentage of the maximum sedimentation that exists. If Woodmorappe really felt that the existence of the 10 periods was of no importance, if Woodmorappe really thought that the small percentage of the 200 miles was the real issue, why did he spend his entire 1981 article talking about where the 10 periods existed? One would think he would spend the most time on the most important issue. He spent the most space discussing the 10 periods and I can't find a single paragraph on what he now says is important. Woodmorappe's entire article belies his current claim.

We will now examine the strata that form the entire geological column which is found in North Dakota.

The Geologic Column in North Dakota

The Cambrian of this region consists of the Deadwood Formation. This formation consists of a lower sandstone with scolithus burrows (Wilmarth, Part 1, 1938, p. 578.). These scolithos burrows are widely found in similar basal sandstones around the world. They are found in Newfoundland, Scotland, Antarctica, Greenland always in Cambrian sands. Thus, the basal sandstone appears to have been the tranquil home for whatever animal made the scolithos burrows. Sedimentologically, these basal quartzites are nearly pure sand and must have taken a lot of time to winnow the shale out from them. It is unlikely that this winnowing could be accomplished in a yearlong flood with all its turbulence. There are some trilobites found in the Cambrian strata.

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V2

Saturday 28th November 2009 | 12:14 PM

He does go on

Yeahh, but that doesnt prove the Geo column and its dating is accurate. Just proves layering
Big Whoopy
Dating rocks by fossils and Fossils by rocks is not science. You study that part of it sweety

Isnt it funny that a little Christian girl is the only person silly enough to argue this, not a single educated scientist in geology would even try.



"See, V2, YOU and the many called like YOU cannot possibly understand the mind of God because you are yet carnal:"
So I am carnal and you are not, so you understand the mind of God, so you are what? A Mormon, Jehovas Witness, what branch and belief do you adhere to.
Obviously dont accept the Bible, or do but have an addition.
Just wondering.
Its not my business, but I am interested.

Jake Farr-Wharton

Jake Farr-Wharton

Saturday 28th November 2009 | 12:27 PM
202 total kudos

...in response to this comment by V2. In much the same way that a neurologist has to dumb down the science in order to explain a condition to their patient, a geologist would have to do the same. In doing so, we risk making dodgy and sometimes confusing errors.

Every creationist and fundamentalist I know, and I know a few, spend so much energy defending their religion based on the assertion that science is incorrect and lying. The problem is though, that none of these fools, much like you, are able to grasp the science of science. We have to dumb it down for you, then you criticise us for our explanation.

Get a science degree, then see what becomes of your agenda. Science isn't sensitive or fickle, it will always endure, evolve and diversify. You and your like will just get left behind... well that is if you don't end up blowing us all up trying to defend your stupid religion.

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Gina Squitieri

Saturday 28th November 2009 | 02:24 PM

...in response to this comment by V2. I'm none of those, V2. I'm just a little female branch who enjoys using the brain God gave her to study His Word - intelligently. I don't attend any organized institution of man. I left brick and mortar temples (seeing how God doesn't dwell in temples made with hands) about a decade ago and have been studying mostly online and mainly at www.bible-truths.com.

And you? Wait, don't tell me. Kent Hovind. It's written all over your posts. No offense.

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Gina Squitieri

Saturday 28th November 2009 | 02:37 PM

V2,

You know that God's Word says that in the latter days, knowledge will increase (Dan 12:4), and then you have the audacity to put down science. Well, if you consult a dictionary, you will find that the origin of the word science is from Middle English (see ORIGIN below, taken my from computer's dictionary) and the word denotes:

K-N-O-W-L-E-D-G-E

ORIGIN Middle English (denoting knowledge): from Old French, from Latin scientia, from scire ‘know.’

I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou didst hide these things from the "wise" and understanding, and didst reveal them unto babes (like little ol' me) (Matt 11:25)

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Gina Squitieri

Saturday 28th November 2009 | 02:44 PM

Just one more before I go and watch "The Good Shepherd" with Robert De Niro and Matt Damon.

Proverbs 19:25 (Amplified Bible)

25 Strike a scoffer, and the simple will learn prudence; reprove a man of understanding, and he will INCREASE IN KNOWLEDGE.

That last one could be you one day, if you're smart, which I seriously doubt, but then I have to remember that Jesus said, Is anything too hard for God?" So, I suppose God could grant you the ability to understand and having been reproved you will also increase in knowledge. It's not too farfetched an idea, don't you agree?

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V2

Saturday 28th November 2009 | 04:39 PM

Is anything to hard for God?
Virgin Birth?
Six day creation?


You tell me Gina.
Strike a scoffer? I scoff none of Gods word, none.
What does that say to you.
.

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V2

Saturday 28th November 2009 | 04:48 PM

Just one more before I go and watch "Kent Hovind" with Kent Hovind.
I am not scoffing science
I am scoffing stupid science

and dear Jake
Is that your scientific answer. No less than I expected. Stupid answer, stupid science

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Gina Squitieri

Saturday 28th November 2009 | 04:58 PM

Nothing's TOO hard for God (too has two oo's in the word, V2), but that doesn't mean that some things have not been very, very hard for God.

And, I never said I didn't believe that Jesus was born of a virgin. I only asked Tank Top where he saw me say that I did believe it, simply because I never even hinted that I believed or didn't believe.

So, you think God ordered and fashioned the universe in six, literal 24 hours days? Okay.

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Gina Squitieri

Saturday 28th November 2009 | 05:05 PM

V2, you think the universe was created in the span of a 24 hour day! The ENTIRE UNIVERSE. Something tells me you wouldn't know stupid science if jumped out of your computer screen and smacked you in the face!.

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V2

Saturday 28th November 2009 | 05:06 PM

Yes I think 6 days was enough to make the world perfect, as is the words of the Bible

So, you think L ray smith is, nah, I wont go down that road
You dear girl believe what you like and any man you wish to follow
But
Dont think ever, that any mans words are more accurate than Gods words from his book.
If you are to lazy to read it, then thats your choice
For mine I was right
so you are what? A Mormon, Jehovas Witness

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Gina Squitieri

Saturday 28th November 2009 | 05:36 PM

You apparently don't read! I just told you I'm none of those. And you don't know what a day is if you think a day is 24 hours long. Let's read it from the bible:

Genesis 1:5
And God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night.

The LIGHT is the DAY. The DAY is only when there is LIGHT.

Jesus even said, Are there not 12 hours in a DAY? John 11:9 (He didn't say, Are there not 24 hours in a day?)
So there is no such thing as a 24 HOUR Day.

You'd know these things if you did a little searching/seeking and used the brain God gave you.

So, if God didn't create all things in six literal daytimes, how long did it take God to create them?

A very, VERY long time, V2. As Jesus said, nothing is too hard for God, but that doesn't mean some things have not been very, very hard for God.

And there are days spoken of in scripture that denote periods of time that are clearly longer than a literal 24 hour day, as in the Day of the Lord. I'm sure you've seen the phrase, "... and in that day" meaning an age, or an aion, an era; not a literal 12-hour day.

Well, all I can say is, if you don't understand any of that, God definitely has His work cut out for Him. Good thing He saw you before you did. Yes?

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V2

Saturday 28th November 2009 | 06:21 PM

Charles Taze Russell, Joseph Smith or L Ray Smith, They are all cult leaders to me
If you choose their teachings to the Bible then God bless you
http://www.o-bible.com/cgibin/ob.cgi?version=kjv&book=gen&chapter=1
Interlinear, That means you can research the original Hebrew
Gen 2:2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.

I will take the word of God from the Bible and my comprehension of it over you and your teacher any day
and this verse
Romans 5 12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned.
states clearly that death didnt exist till man sinned
But hey, I am carnal, and you know Gods mind

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CJ

Saturday 28th November 2009 | 09:20 PM

For my money I think it deliciously delightful to peak through the curtains to leer at the lingerie pillow fight taking place between two Christians, Miss V2, and Miss Gina.

Shouldn't it alarm either one of them that God's word, from his one and only book, be so contradictory, and so incoherent that it would not only be complex and problematic for free thinking rational minds, such as atheists, but it also creating doubt, suspicion, and angst between those that actually do believe the Bible to be divinely inspired?

Is this why we have three monotheistic faiths stemming from the one nomadic tribe of sand dwelling sheep shagging Hebrews? Is this why we now have 38,000 denominations of Christianity and counting?

Wouldn't believers be on firmer ground if God's book was one that contained profound wisdom and insight that stood the test of time rather than have its assertions knocked off one by one with human progression?

Wouldn't the Bible be on firmer ground as a basis for inspiring morality and human solidarity if it were more than a sand farmer's guide to growing crops and preparing grain offerings?

If the Bible can only teach me how to sacrifice a lamb; how to murder my newly wed wife at her father's doorstep upon discovering that she is not a virgin on our wedding night; how to murder our children if they talk back to us; how to use a slave's children as bargaining chips; and how to marry the man that raped you - then isn't it obvious that the root of the conflict between believers vs believers is based on the attempt to rationalize the barbaric personality of God?

If the Bible isn't adequate enough of a document to bring solidarity to Christians, then what hope for the other 65% of the world that believes Christ worshipers to be intellectually retarded??

Anyway, don't let my post stop your pillow fight.

CJ

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Vanessa

Saturday 28th November 2009 | 10:17 PM

I believe I have seen evolution in my short 36 years here, the internet, my i pod, electric windows, seat warmers, cable TV, free speech, women voting - and not having to give up work when the marry, sex before marriage, acceptance of sexual preference, disposable nappies, My children putting their pocked money towards sponsoring a 7 year old girl in Rwanda, the world knowing children in Rwanda need their help, Barrack Obama... I could go on and Billy Joel could record it!

When "The Good Book" was written it was believed if you rowed too far you would fall over the edge of the earth, to where I wonder?

Although I can't stand the copy and pasting in many responses this one is short - The dictionary meaning of evolution= A gradual process in which something changes into a different and usually more complex or better form.

Question for you Gina, lets assume your god exists, how do you know the genda?

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Gina Squitieri

Saturday 28th November 2009 | 11:47 PM

...in response to this comment by CJ. Have a good day, CJ.

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Gina Squitieri

Sunday 29th November 2009 | 12:10 AM

...in response to this comment by V2. Okay, V2, sweetie pie, let's keep this going, because CJ's getting an education and it's driving him nuts!

If death wasn't in the world before mankind sinned, then lions and other carnivores ate plants rather than killed their prey. And, if you believe that, then you have to also believe that carnivores had to evolve into being carnivores. And vultures, likewise, must have evolved. Vultures today don't kill, they simply cleanup. What did God create vultures for way back when? To look pretty?

And there had to be death in the world because trees and plants and berries and herbs that bear fruit and are fit for human consumption can only grow in soil, and soil is made up partly of organic material--and organic material consists of things that were once alive and then died and decomposed. If there were not any soil, there couldn't have been any trees or herbs or berries in the "garden." So, what did Adam and Eve feed on? Please think about these things.

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Gina Squitieri

Sunday 29th November 2009 | 12:17 AM

...in response to this comment by Vanessa. I'm sorry, Sweetie. What is "genda"?

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Vanessa

Sunday 29th November 2009 | 06:38 AM

Too funny, should be banned from the computer unless sober, sorry honey gender, I am assuming you were smart enough to work that one out, thanks for pointing it out though, very christian of you.

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V2

Sunday 29th November 2009 | 07:42 AM

...in response to this comment by CJ. CJ CJ CJ
With all due respect my educated friend
Lots of people think your are a moron, be they right or wrong is irrelevant.
We as a community are all individuals who have a right to exist with each other. You and your silly little book teach only hate and disrespect. You bring nothing but hate
I recon you a moron and a fool a evil

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Gina Squitieri

Sunday 29th November 2009 | 07:56 AM

What do you care what I think, Vanessa? First you accuse me of not being very smart because I asked you a question to gain clarity, so as not to make the mistake of assuming (you know, you really shouldn't assume). But in so doing, you accuse yourself, because YOU asked ME a question. Would you prefer that I now tell you that you're not very smart and should be able to figure it out for yourself? Because you claim to be very smart, so I suppose I could take your word for it and say, "Work that one out for yourself, Vanessa - you are, after all, smarter than I." And, yes, I agree: you should be banned from the computer. You know I'm smart, but you desire to make me look stupid. However, in trying to make me look stupid, you fell right smack dab into the very pit you laid for me. You fault me for asking what you meant when you used a word that DOESN'T EVEN EXIST in the English language! Not very smart of you, Vanessa.

In answer to your question, however, God is not a man for sure.

Numbers 23:19
God is not a man, that He should tell or act a lie, neither the son of man, that He should feel repentance or compunction [for what He has promised]. Has He said and shall He not do it? Or has He spoken and shall He not make it good?

Now, that only says God is not a man. So, in your mind you might be tempted to think that God is a woman. Ah, but don't rush to judgment too quickly, Vanessa. While there is no verse in scripture that spells out the fact that God is not a woman so plainly as the verse above explains that God is not a man, I would strongly caution you against assuming that He is a woman. God said, "Let Us make man in Our image." Well, what image could that be since God is Spirit. (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John%204:24&version=NASB) And, then to make matters even more confusing for the nonbelievers, God then goes on to create both male and female (mankind) in a physical form, with flesh, not in a spiritual form! Gee whiz. Is your head busting now from all of that thinking and figuring? But we've not even scratched the surface. Who was God talking to when God said, "Let US make mankind in OUR image"? Well, that's another topic for another day, perhaps, but let's just be happy with the fact that for now, we've established the fact that God is not human, so how could God say, "Let Us make man(kind) in Our Image"? when it's clear that God is not a man, but is SPIRIT?

Tell ya what, why don't you use the brains you were given and sit and think about that and try and figure it out for yourself. Here, I will give you a few hints to help you in your quest: God is Spirit. Period. God's not a man, but that doesn't mean God's female. And try to remember - God is a title, not a name. Get back to me when you find the answer. I will now hold my breath..........................................................................


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CJ

Sunday 29th November 2009 | 11:42 AM

...in response to this comment by Gina Squitieri. Hi Gina,

I commend you for being a little more rational V2 in your belief of Christianity, but this is my problem with moderates or apologists such as yourself.

There is little doubt of V2's fundamentalism, but at least fundamentalists have the dubious honor of being ignorant of only science. Whereas you as a moderate, by definition, means you are not only voluntarily ignorant of (parts of) science but also of scripture.

For example, there is no where in the Bible that God says, "Dear Hebrews, when you finally establish yourselves as a civil society in the 21st century, forming three branches of a democratically elected government, that you may discard all the endorsements I gave for genocide, rape, slavery, misogyny, and homophobia in the Old Testament."

The Bible is a perfect engine for lighting the flames of fundamentalism and intolerance. And things don't improve when gentle Jesus comes onto the scene either. In fact Jesus' doctrine is even more wicked than the barbarism of the Old Testament. At least in the Hebrew Bible, as violent as it is, there is no Hell of afterlife, no punishment for the dead.

BUT Jesus, and before him John the Baptist, comes along and says if we don't follow his doctrine we will be confined to a eternal punishment in Hell. Infinite punishment for finite sin. This is one of the most wicked ideas anyone could ever preach. An evil teaching that has caused the emotional suffering of millions of children throughout the ages.

NB: Every child is born an atheist, and to scare them into worshipping the memory of a dead man that no one who ever wrote about him ever met him - is morally depraved. It's just that simple.

Finally, if you want to mix scientific discovery with your Christian beliefs then essentially this is what you must believe:

That man has roamed the planet for 100,000 years, up to 250,000 years according to Richard Dawkins, but let's stick with the low end of the range. You choose to believe that God watched human suffering, and misery of early man for those tens of thousands of years - life expectancy 20 years, famine, war, disease, the whole 9 yards - then after sitting back with arms folded for 98,000 years then God decides to intervene - and by intervening I mean by the disgusting, vulgar bloody gruesome sacrifice of his Son, as an apology for a man who never existed (Adam) for eating an apple.

Therefore your moderatism makes you no less intellectually or rationally advanced than the Westboro Baptist Church Jesus freak that is V2, despite your superficial understanding of scripture and science.

Regards
CJ

P.S: The 2nd last paragraph is paraphrased from a debate Christopher Hitchens was involved in recently.


Papa

Papa

Sunday 29th November 2009 | 11:50 AM
98 total kudos

Unfortunately the type of scholarly debates and knowledge that have been circulated for over 200 years in academia have not yet reached the churches nor those who have faith in their so called "god breathed book".

Until that happens, those who are educated in universities and legitimate credited organizations will constantly have to argue with those who just think they know everything. Hence, Christians.

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Tyler V

Sunday 29th November 2009 | 01:44 PM

Well Im back. Not gonna lie, I’m not gonna read half of those posts since they seemed tangential on both sides. So I’ll start with Courtenay’s post from 2 posts up.

Aw, Courtenay. Still pulling at the thread that every Christian who isn’t a fundamentalist is a “moderate” and is “ignorant” not only of “(parts of) science but also of Scripture.” Ha, ironic that you lambaste Christians for “having the corner on God” but then you seem to think that you have the corner on what the Bible says, even though you assume its false in your premises and thus almost always beg the question, commit special pleading, create strawmen, or posit red herrings.

Your “dear Hebrews” is an excellent example where you disregard major Biblical distinctions between geo-political Israel and the “people of God,” “Israel within Israel,” “true Israel,” “the elect,” “the Church,” etc. This is a BASIC category within Biblical studies and scholarship that you are blissfully unaware of because you are hopelessly unqualified to write a book (and Im beginning to think even to talk about) the Bible. Not only that but your interpretation of the passages about “genocide, rape, slavery, misogyny, and homophobia” and almost everything else is so ignorant, uniformed, unresearched and hopelessly biased that it is not even clear if even YOU believe what you say or if you just find a witty argument somewhere and uncritically try to pass it off as some valid criticism.

NB: The Bible never says sin is finite, so your claim about “infinite punishment for a finite sin” is just ignorant. All sin is infinite because sin is determined by the offended party who is God. Plus you make a category mistake. Hell is not “infinite” it is eternal. It is an eternal punishment for an infinite crime.

By the way, WE do this is our societies when we have capital punishment. From an atheists position death is eternal (the person will be dead FOREVER, NEVER to return). But they committed a crime in time and space. But do you ever argue that capital punishment is inherently unjust because it is an “infinite punishment for a finite crime”? No, because it is a foolish argument there, and it’s a foolish argument against Christianity.

It is also ironic that you will criticize God (even in direct contradiction with your own morally subjective worldview) for allowing evil, (that’s unjust!) but then when he says that he will punish evil once and for all, you also criticize Him (that’s unjust!). Which is it?

Is preaching hell wicked? If God is holy, and if we have sinned, is it wicked? OR is it just because you want to be morally unaccountable and able to do as you please that you reject the authority of the court like Saddam Hussein shaking his fist at the court reigning of his trial as an “illegitimate authority”?

You say that hell is “morally depraved.” Tell me, what is the basis for your absolute assertion that it is morally depraved? Is it morally depraved in ALL social contracts? Or is moral depravity a product of your social contract? And tell me, if God exists to be called “morally depraved” is it not ridiculous to call him “morally depraved” since his essence is actually righteousness, justice, and holiness?

Tell me if you can, is it innately wrong “that God watched human suffering, and misery of early man for those tens of thousands of years - life expectancy 20 years, famine, war, disease, the whole 9 yards” or is that an evaluation based on your subjective social contract? If it is not, what is the basis for your objective moral claims?

Also, do you claim to be omniscient? Do you know that God has no reason for allowing suffering? Have you created the best possible universe? Do you know that the best possible universe does not involve suffering?

As for the “vulgar bloody gruesome sacrifice of his Son, as an apology for a man who never existed (Adam) for eating an apple.” Have you NEVER read the Bible? The crucifixion as an apology? Wow! Your shocking misrepresentation of the most BASIC of Bible doctrines is appalling! It actually is not an apology but an ATONEMENT. Rather than US dying the death that we deserve, God died the death FOR us, in our place. Even kindergarteners get the difference.

Now to you Papa, you are simply erroneous on the most basic level. You assert that “those who are educated in universities and legitimate credited organizations will constantly have to argue with those who just think they know everything. Hence, Christians.” Thus you make a false dichotomy between those educated in the universities and legitimate credited organizations and Christians (implying that Christians are uneducated and uninformed). This is just patently false. There are theists in every field at nearly every university. Cambridge, Oxford, Princeton, Yale, Harvard, Boston, USC, and the list could go on to the hundreds all have seminaries in their undergraduate and graduate programs. There are Christian scientists, historians, politicians, authors, doctors, and every other field imaginable. You actually miss that even YOU imply this in your first premise. Who do you think is debating this at the universities!? Is it atheist on atheist? No, Christians debating Atheists! In fact, much of the confusion that atheists have is that they try to enter into what has traditionally been in-house debates by trying to evaluate them from their own naturalistic worldview. It would be like a theist trying to get involved in the debate between atheists and antitheists.
Tell me, what “scholarly debates and knowledge that have been circulated for over 200 years in academia” are Christians universally unaware of?

Aw, aren’t you guys glad that I am back? :)

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Vanessa

Sunday 29th November 2009 | 03:29 PM

Gina, Are you still holding your breath darls?

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CJ

Sunday 29th November 2009 | 06:33 PM

Tyler,

Good to see you back. I assumed you were busy encouraging little old ladies to tithe at your local church. BTW what's your cut? Seems like a good racket. Oops that right you said you were celebrating Thanksgiving Day. You know what they call Thanksgiving Day in Great Britain? They celebrate 'Thank Fuck we got those weird Jesus bastards on a boat Day'

Oops I said "Fuck" - God I can only imagine how turned on you are now that the object of your obsession (me) is finally talking dirty to you. Pretty hot huh?

1. Ok pick me up on for misspeaking re: atonement. Yep you got me. I pump these responses out on the fly, and I was thinking of another bridging point as I wrote that. If you refer to one of my recent blog posts titled 'Debunking Christianity with a Single Question', a post you replied to - you will see I quite clearly refer to the atonement of Adam's sin. But the point remains: God killed himself for a fictitious event of a person that never existed! That's insanity, and you know it Preacher racketeer.

2. You really are now down to grasping for straws in making the distinction between punishment for ad infinitum vs eternity. When the definition of eternal is: Having infinite duration. Stuff that in your Kirk Cameron brochure for the Origin of the Species and smoke it.

3. Of course sin is finite. It's a finite action. If I were to make love to your wife while you were despicably converting an atheist child to the way of Jesus i.e. indoctrination - then her and I have committed a one time act of adultery. Finite! A finite sin. With you the aggrieved party. OR are you suggesting that all sins are only an insult against God and not against one another. Therefore there is no basis for moral accountability or responsibility amongst ourselves?

Oh vicarious redemption? The repugnant idea, stolen from ancient scapegoating mythology, that I may saddle an unaffected 3rd party with my crimes that I committed against party #2. For example, I sleep with your wife, I say sorry to Jesus, and all is forgiven. But where's the justice for you? You really think a doctrine that presupposes such a revolting ideal is beneficial for a healthy society? If so you are more intellectually retarded than I gave you credit for.

4. My point regarding 100,000 years is that he watched man fumble and bumble it's way thru conditions of misery for 98,000 years and then his first act of intervention is the ghastly slaughter of himself, or Jesus, or the ghost - in a remote part of Palestine. An event that some parts of the world are still to even know of this story 2000 years later?

5. It is morally depraved to convince children that if they don't believe something without evidence based, coerced by adults, that they will spend eternity in sulphur fires of Hell. You can play the nuance game all you like of moral objectivity blah blah blah......we can view Hitler's action as immoral without a sky god universal standard for morality, and we can view child indoctrination as repulsive - and I assure you this, that off the back of the growing success of my book I will lobby hard for laws preventing religious indoctrination of anyone under the age of 18.

I share Richard Dawkin's opinion on religious child abuse when he says that it is just as serious as child molestation. How heinous is it to tell a child that if they denounce the ramblings of an eccentric Jew they will spend eternity in Hell? It is reprehensible!!

6. Yes you in America still have capital punishment, and you are also the most religious western nation in the UN top 30 developed countries. Your nation also rates #27 in social dysfunction within that top 30. Social dysfunction measured by crime rate; gender equality; teen pregnancy; adult illiteracy; per capita income; etc etc.....Strangely the nations at the top of that list fucked off religion a long time ago, and likewise capital punishment also.

What does the above mean, it means you're still young & dumb. But with atheists the fastest growing minority in America - you will soon enjoy the fruits of secularism. (As long as people like you don't get the Palin/Beck ticket elected in 2012)

Anyway that's enough for now. You must be all hot and bothered. (Psst naked pics of me on my blog tomorrow. Be early)

Regards
CJ

P.S: 'God Hates You. Hate Him Back' is now ranked not only in the Top 10 now for religion/humor, but also in the Top 20 for Christianity Interpretation. Well I'll be damned!!

Papa

Papa

Sunday 29th November 2009 | 07:09 PM
98 total kudos

...in response to this comment by Tyler V. Well, my degree has focused almost solely on the historical critical aspect of the biblical texts. Unfortunately, I have found that most of those who do not study in this field have almost no knowledge pertaining to it. In this case, you.

Maybe my term "Christians" was too broad for you, however, I have found in my experience, most christians could not even tell me what is the oldest biblical manuscript of the new testament. Nor what language it was written it. And if they could tell me what language it was it, they couldn't even read it. It seems rather odd that I can read a religious man or women's text in the original language, and they would rather read the NIV.

My conclusion is this. I have met with, read, discussed with many professors view points. All that teach at those institutions that you describe. While they do consider themselves "Theists" too a certain degree, I would never include them in the category of christians. And nor would they.

Again it all comes down to this. Topics, ideas and facts that have been circulating through academia for hundreds of years are chosen to be ignored by the church. In fear that it may uprest certain faiths that have known to be held dear those who give the most money to the church.

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Gina Squitieri

Sunday 29th November 2009 | 11:35 PM

...in response to this comment by CJ. CJ,

I am not looking for any commendation from you. You could have just let that one go, but you obviously want to pillow fight with me. Well, I'm not gonna pillow fight with you.

I'm not voluntarily ignorant, CJ. CJ, you didn't even read the post I put up about the hell doctrine and how it's a Christian hoax, so I, too, could accuse you of being voluntarily ignorant.

And, you find fault with God for standing around and watching human suffering way back when, but there is a TON of human suffering going on in the world right now. Since you're so compassionate, why don't you leave this debate and go help someone who's suffering right now! Don't wait another second! Do it now! Because if you don't do it now, or if you have ever come across an internet story of someone suffering and read it but didn't do anything about it, by your own words you stand accused!

You can no longer find fault with God for "standing idly by while there's loads of human suffering." Gather all your friends and do something quickly!

Don't you know that there are many atheists in the world who have caused loads of that suffering? Oh! But you think that if God existed He should have shouted out or come down and said "HEY, Don't do that! I'm here!" What, CJ? You think people can learn to do right in a vacuum where there is no evil, no suffering, where there is only happiness?

Unlike the Christians who believe that God will torture that atheist who kills and tortures and rapes in the bottomless pits of some fabled Christen hell, I believe that God will bring a judgment on that atheist to the point that that atheist never has any desire whatsoever to do anything like that again. You, as an atheist, because you don't even believe that God exists, don't even CARE whether you ever see that atheist alive again. You HATE that atheist for what he's done and you don't ever want to see if ever have life of any sort again! Your own HATE is infinite for a sin that was finite!!






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Gina Squitieri

Sunday 29th November 2009 | 11:48 PM

...in response to this comment by Vanessa. Oh, haha! Hi Jake! I had a feeling that was you. You're the only one here who addresses me as "darls."

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Gina Squitieri

Monday 30th November 2009 | 02:07 AM

...in response to this comment by CJ. And, CJ, it's not all that you and other atheists are bothered by the fact that there is suffering or torture or killing or even that someone/thing stood or stands idly by and watches it happening, or EVEN that someone/thing CAUSED/is causing that suffering. No atheist can't sustain his own life except by the slaughter or killing of another animal or plant or fish for their food. So are they to be accused of sitting idly by? Atheists will sit and dine on flesh that was once alive and won't even think about the fact that the animal or fish was slaughtered or had a hook in its mouth just weeks or days before it arrived on their table, having gotten that way NOT by "chance." If it was suffering and slaughter that bothers atheists, then atheists EVERYWHERE would be just as appalled by the suffering and killing across ALL kingdoms. But as you speak, it is only the suffering in the human kingdom that bothers atheists. Why, all atheists everywhere should only be water drinkers only and turn their backs on solid food and drinks that come to their table by the slaughter of plants and animals and fish, that is, if they are truly upset that something had has life is slaughtered and killed. Oh, but they are not. And, they would turn their rantings also to animals and fish (their brothers and sister) that kill animals and other fish and eat plants for their food, seeing how they too cause suffering because they sustain their life by the killing and slaughter of other animals and plants and fish. But atheists only talk of human suffering, as if there was no life at one time in the dead, cold flesh of the plant or the animal or fish they scarfed down for dinner the night before. As if it died peacefully in its sleep and if it were an animal or fish, its skin fell off seamlessly and it bled itself and removed all it's bones, and then it walked up to an oven or stove and threw itself on the fire and basked in the warmth of the cooking oil.

Oh, but many atheists gladly stand idly by and let another do their dirty work (slaughter and kill) and they don't have to think about it since that slaughter and killing means they can stuff their face. Are those atheists who allow that kind of suffering while standing by idly, isn't that atheist by your own definition, a hypocrite and accused by their own words there as well? I believe that atheist is.

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Tyler V

Monday 30th November 2009 | 07:14 AM

Courtenay, infinity is a matter of dimension, eternity is a matter of time. Sorry, no grasping at straws. They may be related in some respects but they are very distinct concepts. This again just proves that even though you label yourself a “rationalist” you are really quite a sloppy thinker. (and who is Kirk Cameron?)

And yes, God is ALWAYS an aggrieved party in our sin. He created us in His image and so when we sin, we sin against that image. This no way necessitates the abandonment of a basis for moral accountability to each other. In fact, there is only REAL moral accountability when there is REAL ABSOLUTE OBJECTIVE moral standards (something that you deny). Just because God is an aggrieved party does not mean that he is the ONLY aggrieved party either. Do these sound more rational in your head than when you type them?

Indoctrination is simply a pejorative way of insulting instruction that you do not agree with because you assume that the subject is not allowed to question. Sorry, just not the way it happens. In fact, my Sunday school class has a question box for questions to be posed, and I often will play “devil’s advocate” to get them to think critically about their own beliefs. So sorry your character assassination does not apply.

Vicarious redemption… tell me, is it absolutely repugnant or is it only repugnant in your social contract from which you have no basis to pass moral judgment on other social contracts? Plus you miss that God’s vicarious atonement is in regards to his eternal justice, not my reconciliation to you for having slept with my wife in your example. There are over 100 times where God’s focus is on reconciliation between the two parties. Notice God says that he would rather see justice and mercy than sacrifice, that if we bring an offering to God but remember that we have a dispute with our brother we are to leave the offering and go and be reconciled before we offer to God, etc. Reconciliation is actually one of the BIGGEST themes in the entire Bible! Atonement and Reconciliation are two peas in a pod. They are never to be mutually exclusive.

You are actually party right…. That God WOULD slaughter his own son is ghastly! It is unheard of! It is supposed to set up back and shock us! But not in the way you do. We all sin and deserve death but God, the one who is the universally aggrieved party who is just and holy, takes OUR death for us! See, we ALL use vicarious atonement in our lives. Say I come over to your house and I break your lamp, accidentally or not. One of us will pay the price. Either I will have to pay you the price of the lamp, or you will have to eat what you paid before and, if you want to replace it, pay extra. But one of us is going to pay. If you sleep with my wife, in order for you to be reconciled to me, the offended party (me) can be the only one who makes restitution. You can apologize until you are blue in the face, but it is only by grace (something you dont deserve in light of your actions) that I am able to forgive you. But sin is more. Sin is the breaking of a moral law which demands JUSTICE. It is not just a broken relationship between friends. It is a relationship but it also involves law which means it involves justice and a penalty must be paid. And either we pay it, or God pays it. And the penalty is death. So either we pay it (and thus all die and no one spends an eternity in heaven with God since we are all dead) or God pays it for us and those who accept that payment get to be reconciled to God.
So we can view Hitler’s actions as objectively moral? Tell me, what is your basis for that if there are no objective universal morals, but only subjective social contracts? What is the basis for those objective morals then?

So it is wrong to teach children religion? Tell me, is it wrong to teach them irreligion as well. Both are presuppositions of a worldview believed by faith and can never be proven by evidence. See, you are like the person who says Christians are bigoted for claiming to be the only right ones and should not try and convince people to believe like they do. Well, that person believes that THEY are right and they are trying to convince people to believe like THEY do. It’s hypocrisy. Plus your statement, like many of your statements, does not live up to its own criteria for “evidence.” What empirical evidence do you have that it is in fact morally depraved to teach children in such a way?

It also again begs the question. It presupposes that Christianity is false in its premise and argues to its conclusion. Sorry, you again are irrational.

You also assume that religion is the only deciding factor in things like social dysfunction, education, capital punishment, etc. when in fact that is only a small piece when compared to things like social tensions, class struggle, economic, political will/power, history, psychology, and hundreds of other factors. You simply draw your conclusion that you WANT to draw and try and label it as fact.

Plus atheism is NOT the fastes growing minority in America. Do you assume that all the “no affiliation” people (which IS the fastest growing group, followed by the pentacostal/charismatic) are atheists? Ha, it is simply people who do not identify with a set religion or even who do not like titles (I know Christians who don’t like being labeled Christians for political reasons and so they mark “no affiliation”.) I would even venture a guess that those who mark “no affiliation” are much more influenced by pluralism than secularism. And are most likely pluralists, not atheists.

You also show your ignorance in assuming that all Christians are the same. (nice ad hominems by the way). So all Christians are right wing, gun toting, camo wearing, Palin/Bush supporting Neo-cons? That would be like me saying all atheists are raging liberal, fem-nazi, leftwing lunatics. Some are, but most atheists I know (like Christians) vary in their political, social, and economic convictions.

You sound like Dawkins. Dawkins admitted that his book was soundly criticized by scholars, philosophers, scientists, and historians. But he was glad it was rated well on amazon… the uneducated masses may like it. But what does that say when the people who know better pan it, while the people who have no clue like it?

As for you Papa. What is your degree? You assume too much again. You assume that I am blissfully unaware of “historical critical aspect of the biblical texts” but you have no idea what I have studied and know. And I would much rather read the original Greek and Hebrew than the NIV as well (yes I can read and translate both), something that has frustrated Courtenay to no end because I actually like to find out what original text says, not poor translations like the KJV or in some cases the NIV. So you would never consider the Christians at Princeton Seminary, Harvard Divinity, Cambridge Seminary, Oxford Seminary, Boston College, Notre Dame, etc to be Christians when they often admit that they are? Ha. It doesn’t matter what category YOU would include them. Francis Collins, head of the Human genome says he’s a Christians, Alister McGrath (a colleague of Dawkins at Oxford) says he’s a Christian, John R. de Laetner emeritus professor of physics at Curtin University of Tech in Australia, Gary D. Gordon, professor of aerospace engineering at Oxford, John Baumgardner, Bruce Metzger, Richard Bauckham, John Polkinghorne, Peter Kreeft, Louis Pojman, Alvin Plantinga, F.F. Bruce, and the list goes on and on to the thousands! You are simply just flat out wrong.

I could say that most of the scholarly debates about science don’t trickle down to the lay atheist, high school biology class rooms, and even most non-ivy league or advanced universities and therefore atheists choose to ignore ideas circulating through academia for hundreds of years for fear of being widely discredited. You argument is not only based on false premises, but it also is illogically argued.

Papa

Papa

Monday 30th November 2009 | 07:32 AM
98 total kudos

...in response to this comment by Tyler V. I have never met someone who has learned of the many contextual and historical issues with the texts, and yet speaks as you do about "God". I suppose there is a first for everything.

And I highly doubt you can read and translate the greek and hebrew. It takes years to master such a craft, it took me two years just to be able to have the skills to read luke. What text book did you learn Greek from? How about Hebrew?

All of your posts sound exactly like someone who has no idea what they are talking about but attempts to throw their opinions around like they are actually worth something. Hm, that sounds a lot like my definition of a Christian.

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V2

Monday 30th November 2009 | 08:43 AM

The one thing about you CJ and the mass hordes that follow you and your religion of science is your fundamentalism
Yes religion of science. Science like anything else that is good, has now been hijacked by selfishness and greed. No longer is science a mathematical outcome or a quantifiable concept. A provable answer from rigorous testing, based on evidence and due responsibility of keen unbridled minds.
It is nothing more than a religion of peers with power and financial greed motives
Immoral and self important, no not science, the scientists
Science is dead, it was killed off many years ago by your kind
####
A week ago, hackers released 160 mb of emails, data, and computer code from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia. The data extends back a decade, and rather clearly documents an astonishing pattern of manipulation of evidence, concealment of doubts about whether the validity of global warming, destruction of data not favorable to global warming, fantasizing violence against prominent climate skeptic scientists, and a long series of communications discussing how best to squeeze dissenting scientists out of the peer review process. The data reveal extensive scientific misconduct and even criminal fraud in the top echelons of the pro-global warming scientific community.
###
That is what you and your lemming like followers do daily. You follow a lie
You call me a Fundy
Well so are you, a Fundy, following the lie of science. Your faith in it, in those scientists far exceeds my faith
Global warming is probably false, its not proven
Evolution is false, its also not proven, of course I accept creation is proven. I have studied it
Science is a religion controlled by high priests with unbelievable powers, and no longer can that be argued

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V2

Monday 30th November 2009 | 08:56 AM


Therefore your moderatism makes you no less intellectually or rationally advanced than the Westboro Baptist Church Jesus freak that is V2, despite your superficial understanding of scripture and science.



That is a blatant LIE CJ
You plum the depths when you have to make up lies like that to justify your comments CJ
If I ever have the joy of meeting you personally, I will hold you accountable for that comment
Westboro Baptist Church? Never would attend and never have
I would demand an apology, but I now know your standard
There is no low you wont sink to to justify yourself
A despicable lie.
No doubt like your petty little book written to cause hate and animosity, you have guessed, or made up lies to further your own need for attention
I will hold you accountable
Blatant Lie. Blatant Liar

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V2

Monday 30th November 2009 | 09:04 AM

I will have an apology CJ
Evidently the legal term is defamation

##
Therefore your moderatism makes you no less intellectually or rationally advanced than the Westboro Baptist Church Jesus freak that is V2, despite your superficial understanding of scripture and science.
##

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CJ

Monday 30th November 2009 | 09:17 AM

V2 - I apologize for hitching your caravan to WBC, but in all honesty I can't tell you fundamentalists apart. Prejudiced people all look the same to me.

Sure the WBC hate homosexuals, but so MUST you. Or did you not read the part in Leviticus. Sure we can argue sin vs sinner. But that's not made clear in the Bible. And, besides, Paul in Romans makes it evidently clear as to his feelings for anal delight.

Gina - I don't use evidence of human suffering as an argument against disproving God. I use it as a reason for not worshipping such a being. What benefits has God brought to the table? How has he enriched the human experience?

I mean c'mon even when God travelled to Earth in the form of Jesus, he couldn't even shed light on harmful bacteria. So that women and babies could stop dying in childbirth at the rate of 250 out of a 1000 deliveries back then. Hec, mother and child were still dying at the rate of 10% in the best hospitals in Europe as late as 150 years ago because we still didn't understand the germ theory. (Oh it's just a theory - so you don't believe in this do you V2?)

Which makes protesting against abortion kind of strange in my mind....because in the Son of THE CREATOR OF EVERYTHING choosing to withhold this information from humanity - this makes God the single greatest abortionist of all time. He loves killing babies!! Loves it I tell you! Even demands Moses, and Joshua put babies to the sword as a nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Even wrote a nice little ditty in Psalms 137 to sing along to:

"Happy is he who dasheth thy infants on the rocks"

Kumbayah my Lord, Kumbayfuckingyah my Lord

Peace
CJ


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Tyler V

Monday 30th November 2009 | 09:30 AM

Papa, then you are not aware of a vast majority of scholarship on the issues like you say you are. Read Metzger, Bauckham, Bruce, Craig, Brown, and on and on. There are hundreds of scholars who are aware of the contextual/historical issues with the text that believe that they are still inspired Scripture and are devout Christians. If I am your first then you have only shown that you, like Courtenay, only read those who agree with you. Strangely the German Higher Critical method has been so roundly refuted in Biblical scholarship that its even passé to hold in German scholarship!

And I have spent years studying Greek and Hebrew, so I agree, it does take years to learn. But I also didn’t learn it on my own, I have taken years of Grammar and Exegesis for both languages. For Greek I’ve studied Croy, Mounce, Metzger, Wallace, Carson and have even worked through some of the works by Porter, Campbell, McKay, Decker, Goodwin and others on issues dealing with verbal aspect in the Greek verbal system. My Hebrew isn’t as good as my Greek is, but I have gone through Ross, Pratico, Waltke, and some of Munk’s work on the theological insights of the alphabet itself.

Tell me, what opinions am I throwing around “like they are actually worth something.” It is strange since I have been arguing primarily for a valid basis for our laws of logic and moral assessment, while it is you who make hasty generalizations, rash assumptions, and ad hominmen arguments and try to pass them off as “actually worth something.” Your definition of a Christian is also not a definition but a vague generalization. A Christian is someone who adheres to the teachings of Jesus Christ as the promised Messiah in the Old Testament; the Son of God. It is the height of elitism to try and dismiss a whole worldview by simply defining it in such a way to fit your own argument.

Now, while I may not go as far as V2, I would agree that in many areas science as a discipline has been confused with or "hijacked" by philosophical naturalism. It has been defined in such a way that it is unassailable and therefore unfalsifiable; something explicitly forbidden by the scientific method and sound reason. A good example is the naturalistic community's rejection of the ID movement. Regardless of whether or not ID is true or not, for a long time ID was called "unscientific" because it was not published in peer-reviewed articles (a strange standard since neither was Darwin's Origin of Species and thus a case of special pleading) but then when it did begin to appear in articles it was denied because it "wasnt science." The circular nature of the rejection is obvious. There are many cases where naturalists would only consider experiments successful that agreed with the conclusion they were seeking to find, and all contrary evidence was scrapped or called a "failure." The massive up swell of scientists who are becoming more and more vocal about the massive problems of naturalistic evolution (neo-darwinainism) and the courage it takes for them to stand up against the current scientific inquisition is symptomatic of what is taking place. Simply look at books by Michael Behe, David Berlinski, Stephen Meyer, Dennis Johnson, Alister McGrath, David Wilkenson, Cornilius Hunter, and to some degree, even Hugh Ross.

On an article called "Atheists Against Darwinism" see: http://www.philchristi.org/library/articles.asp?pid=66

Or on Gould's article "Darwinian Fundamentalism" see: http://www.nybooks.com/articles/1151

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Tyler V

Monday 30th November 2009 | 09:34 AM

Courtenay, you realize your whole last post was one long "If I were God I would have done...." Well, last I checked, you were omniscient. So again, have you created the best possible world? Do you KNOW that it would not contain exactly what ours contains and that a perfect God wouldnt havent sufficient reason for what He has done?

V2 is right about one thing: your argumentation is no less faith based and biased as any religious fundamentalists.

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Gina Squitieri

Monday 30th November 2009 | 11:05 AM

...in response to this comment by CJ. Oh, CJ, don't try to appeal to me as a woman or a mother, because you don't care about me. Don't bore me with that. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

If you cared about the pain a woman experiences in childbirth or that she could die giving birth, you would (1) stop having sex with women IMMEDIATELY (assuming you're heterosexual) and (2) would warn of all your guy friends (assuming they're heterosexual) to never have sex with a woman ever again, but you won't because that wouldn't make you happy, now would it. You don't care about our pain. What a CROCK! You speak of the physical pain in childbirth, which dissipates rather quickly (assuming the pain doesn't involve a C-Section) and which doesn't always end in the death of the mother, but then turn around and uphold the homosexual agenda being fully aware there is a very high percentage of homosexuals living and DYING with AIDS. Som you don't care about them either.

So you don't want to worship a being because it kills and is the cause of suffering? But that's NOT why we ARE to worship God. You are off your rocker and slander (I'd watch your mouth if I were you) if that's why you think I want to worship God. I want worship (obey) God because He always does what is right. Now, to your feeble, immature, infantile mind, the way in which God operates might not appear to be right. But it's right.

If you have children, would you not provide for and protect them anyway you could if YOU thought it was right? You would! You will kill, you will slaughter, or will let someone else do the slaughtering and killing for you and them.

If you had to kill an animal for them to eat because there were no other food around, you would. And if you're son or daughter had to assist or were to watch, they'd likely be just as appalled by YOUR "grizzly" act. But if you're doing it for their life, you could justify it, though they might NEVER forgive you!

Now you're saying to yourself, but if we're all of God's creation, why does He kill some and keep others alive? He's God, why can't He do things nicely and not kill anyone and make everyone good and never kill them?

You childish, foolish, simple man!

Why do YOU allow some animals to live and others to be slaughtered?

And you're worried about the fact that God kills babies, but you lie and you slander when you say He "loves" killing and killing babies and insinuate that all who choose to worship God are loving it, too!


Ezekiel 33:11

Say to them, As I live, says the Lord God, I have NO PLEASURE in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live.

Jeremiah 19:5

and have built the high places of Baal to burn their sons in the fire as burnt offerings to Baal, a thing which I NEVER commanded or spoke of, nor did it ever enter My mind;

I'll bet you a million dollars that if any of those babies grew up to be CHRISTIANS or believers in God, you wouldn't mind Him killing them then, you hypocrite! You don't mind suffering or torture and killing at all as long as it serves YOU. You find fault with the fact that God is the giver and taker of life because you can't see beyond death or the reason for suffering and claim that God delights in suffering. But it's YOU who by your own mouth who condemns yourself for that very thing:

"For my money I think it deliciously delightful to peak through the curtains to leer at the lingerie pillow fight taking place between two Christians, Miss V2, and Miss Gina."

You don't want to worship God because He kills? That's good! But don't act like you care about the suffering of others when you don't. You could care less.

God bless

Papa

Papa

Monday 30th November 2009 | 12:18 PM
98 total kudos

...in response to this comment by Tyler V. A Christian is someone who adheres to the teachings of Jesus Christ as the promised Messiah in the Old Testament; the Son of God

Anyone who is what you describe above does not have the knowledge of the various historical issues that formed the Old testament. Period. What is below doesn't even scratch the surface....

To begin, most of the biblical stories of the Moses and other Jewish figures are not found in any other writings. There are no extra biblical evidence for Moses, Abraham, the exodus, etc.

There are almost no credited extra biblical evidence for the life and miracles of Jesus. Actually, the extra biblical accounts that we do have is agreed upon by all major scholars that it has been edited later on.

There are more differences in manuscripts of the new testament, than there are words in the New Testament. Before we found the dead sea scrolls, our new testament manuscripts out dated our old testament manuscripts. We have a credit card size of john, which is our earliest manuscript of the new testament which dates to around 130. Over 100 years after we believe Jesus died.

There are storys which we know were added. And if you were a true scholar you would know that there are dozens and dozen accounts that were added later on. How do we know? Because I know you don't know. Our earliest and best manuscripts do not have the storys that were added thousands of years later.

The ending of mark was added over a hundred years later. Verses in John, Luke, etc. And if you were really educated, you would know the skill that early christians had in copying texts. Since we have no original of the new testament or the old testament, there is no possible way to determine how much change has been done to the texts from the originals from copying, to translating, to simple distribution.

I came to the biblical text with an Christian opinion. However unlike my fundamentalist colleagues, I treated it like any other historical document than made my assessment based on the vast amount of information out there. You on the other hand are a Christian. You believe Jesus is Lord, and then you read the text and study the various contextual problems. And then attempt to reason them so they do not trouble your faith.

I moved from the American south for a reason, to get away from people like you. I have a Biblical theological degree. I highly doubt you know any greek... read Machen...

I am done, Tired of arguing my point to deaf ears. You believe what you believe, nothing that I can say (no matter how true and logical and most agreed upon it is) and you have no degree, no certificates nothing to substantiate your opinions besides your own traditional fundamentalists beliefs. Done!

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CJ

Monday 30th November 2009 | 01:05 PM

Is it just me that notices what Tyler does with his completely subjective nuanced play on words?

He writes, "A Christian is someone who adheres to the teachings of Jesus Christ as the promised Messiah in the Old Testament; the Son of God. It is the height of elitism to try and dismiss a whole worldview by simply defining it in such a way to fit your own argument."

We can dismiss it as readily as the Jews dismissed it. The early Christians, after Jesus had died, pieced together the biography of Jesus from Old Testament prophecy. Matthew, whoever he was, was the clumsiest at doing it. He has Jesus riding into Jerusalem simultaneously on a horse and a donkey because he misread what the prophet Zeccariah had written in the OT. Rather, Zechariah had written it would be on a donkey only. Henceforth, the other three gospels get this passage right. (One of the very few events of Jesus' life whereby a majority, 3 out of 4, tell a reasonably consistent story) But Matthew misunderstood old Hebrew and mistook the word 'AND' to be an added and not a word used for emphasis.

So there's Jesus, according to Matthew, with one leg wrapped over a horse, and another leg flung over a donkey - as he rides into Jerusalem triumphantly. HAHAHA! Can you imagine how 'triumphant' one would look crying out, "Oh shit whoa horsey, whoa donkey" as your falling from one mule to the other? Picture that in your mind's eye!

This is the body of proof that Tyler uses to structure his worldview. And we are elitist for dismissing this? If we can't dismiss such obvious absurdities, and fictional reports - then what can we dismiss?

On this basis how does Tyler dismiss anything as absurd? How can he dismiss the Lochness Monster? Or Neptune?

There are plenty of people that get only 1 hour yard time per day that share his worldview. Sociopaths!!

Think that's a stretch? Consider that 15% of America are atheists, but atheists represent only 1% of the US prison population. When we distort reality we become dangerous to ourselves and others! (Data supports this unequivocally)

Peace
CJ

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Tyler V

Monday 30th November 2009 | 02:02 PM

Papa,
What an irrational thing to say: “Anyone who is what you describe above does not have the knowledge of the various historical issues that formed the Old testament. Period.” There is nothing mutually exclusive between those two sets of propositional beliefs. The one does not necessarily deny the other and to claim so is just absurd.

1. Your first point is basically an argument from silence. Just because there is no extra-biblical sources is not an argument. It also begs the question. It ASSUMES that Bible is not a valid source. “Ok there is the Bible… but give me another ancient source…” It is also blindly ignorant to the fact that ancient writers simply did not write down everything but only that which fit there agenda. By this same standard, we have no contemporary proof for the existence of Alexander the great for almost 4 centuries after his death. In fact it is interesting that Plutarch is validated by the following line of reasoning: “Contemporaries who wrote accounts of his life include Alexander's campaign historian Callisthenes; Alexander's generals Ptolemy and Nearchus; Aristobulus, a junior officer on the campaigns; and Onesicritus, Alexander's chief helmsman. These works have been lost, but later works based on these original sources survive. The five main surviving accounts are by Arrian, Curtius, Plutarch, Diodorus, and Justin.” This is the same historical method used to validate much of the Bible’s own writing and the attestation of outside sources about it. Yet when it comes to the Bible, this very kind of reasoning is called “unjustifiable.” (notice even some of your own criticism.)

2. Actually you lump in a lot of extrabiblical sources into one statement, that they have all been edited. Actually most scholars agree that while some have been edited (usually by additions not subtractions or alteration so it is clear what has been added like in the case of Josephus), you are actually entirely incorrect that EVERY extra-biblical source has been edited by some kind of redactor.

3. Wow, you know for a while there I actually believed that you may have actually studied at a high level the text critical issues, but from your arguments which are so elementary that it is clear that you are just regurgitating some blog that you may have read somewhere else. And not a very good one at that. The fact that you point to the massive amount of differences between manuscripts (which I assume you think is a good argument.) is proof of this. I agree, there are over 150,000 variants. But 99% of those variants are things like misspellings, missing letters, and word order (something much more dynamic than in English). That leaves about 1500 other kinds of variants of which about 97% are different forms of a participle or some grammatical issue. The remaining variants (about 50) are not critical to the meaning of any passage or Christian doctrine. Now, can we be sure what the variants are and what the original autograph said? Well yeah. We have over 24,000 manuscripts from within the first 500 years in Greek, Coptic, Syriatic, etc. and we have over 86,000 sermons or quotations by the early church. All we have to do is look at them side by side. No manuscripts will make all the same variants as the others. So lets say we have a manuscript with variant A, well we have tens of thousands that do not make that same mistake. We can easily rebuild the original. And your example of John shows that you should have studied a little bit more, if you studied at all. Sure, we have P52 dated at around AD 125, but then you argue that it was written 100 years after Jesus… (which even if this were a valid critique would still be EXTREMELY close by ALL other ancient standards). But my major response is… So what!? We are talking about manuscript transmission, and if John was written in AD 90, our first extant manuscript is only abut 30 years + from the ORIGINAL autograph, that is like a news flash by ancient standards! See, if we were to buy your criteria, we would be unable to accept EVERY other ancient document since NONE are written with in the same timeframe, multiplicity of manuscripts, universal attestation, and consistency over time. We lose Homer, Alexander the Great, Plato, Aristotle, Pliny, and on and on.

4. Yeah, things like the end of Mark and the Woman caught in adultery were later additions. Even basic study Bibles like the NIV make note of this. Nothing hinges on those passages and the reason that some accept those passages is extensive and not really to the point here.

5. The fact that you say that “there is no possible way to determine how much change has been done to the texts from the originals from copying, to translating, to simple distribution.” Really betrays that you have either lied about studying or you really weren’t a good student. No offense, but stop reading the blogs and pick up Metzger, Wegner, Bruce, or any other scholar on the issue.

6. Great, we both have our presupposition. Im a Christian, you’re not. (even though I came to the Bible initially as an atheist and took a different road than you. I came to faith by studying the Bible, text criticism, manuscripts, history, philosophy, science, hermeneutics, theology, etc.) But the fact still remains that you impose a criteria upon the text and the manuscripts that no historian in their right mind would EVER impose on any ancient text. You use modern day news reporting techniques and expect that this is the way it was done back then. It simply is not the case. See Ben Witherington III’s blog on Bart Erhman:

part 1: http://benwitherington.blogspot.com/2009/04/bart-interrupted-detailed-analysis-of.html

part 2: http://benwitherington.blogspot.com/2009/04/bart-interrupted-detailed-analysis-of_08.html

part 3: http://benwitherington.blogspot.com/2009/04/bart-interrupted-detailed-analysis-of_13.html

part 4: http://benwitherington.blogspot.com/2009/04/bart-interrupted-part-four.html

part 5: http://benwitherington.blogspot.com/2009/04/bart-interrupted-detailed-analysis-of_16.html

7. And you mean J. Gresham Machen? Author of Christianity and Liberalism? One of the first professors at Westminster Seminary and an ARDENT Reformed Christian? Ha, yeah… his Greek really shows why Christianity isn’t accurate to the Greek. I’m not sure how that helps. As great as Machen was almost 80 years ago… I’ll stick with the guys I listed who are on the cutting edge of Koine Greek scholarship.

8. And actually I have a degree in English and Philosophy and a degree in Biblical Studies with a dual emphasis in Historical Theology and Original Languages. So thanks for assuming, but sorry, youre just way off. Besides, it is painfully clear that rather than actually dealing with any of the facts, you throw up some of the most tired and weak arguments that even most scholars would NEVER do. I thought I was gonna actually have to handle some of the tough questions from the higher critical models, but your arguments were so elementary that even books for the lay reader like Strobel’s A Case for Christ easily answer your objections, let alone major works like those of F.F. Bruce, Bruce Metzger, Richard Bauckham, Ben Witherington III, D.A. Carson, Gary Habermas, etc.

Sorry to tell you, but in your attempt to dismiss those who are blindly attached to their own worldview and unwilling to examine the evidence that proves that they are wrong, you have only exposed that you are actually referring to yourself.

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CJ

Monday 30th November 2009 | 02:08 PM

...in response to this comment by Papa. This could be the most poignant post made in this debate thus far.

Papa wrote to Tyler:

" I came to the biblical text with an Christian opinion. However unlike my fundamentalist colleagues, I treated it like any other historical document than made my assessment based on the vast amount of information out there. You on the other hand are a Christian. You believe Jesus is Lord, and then you read the text and study the various contextual problems. And then attempt to reason them so they do not trouble your faith. "

An interesting, and horrifying study on religion and morality was conducted by a US professor who lived in Israel for many years, his name George Tamarin.

His study included the written replies of 1066 high school students to two questions posed to them based on the siege of Jericho as described in all its genocidal glory in the Book of Joshua.

The students were asked two (2) questions:

1. Do you think Joshua and the Israelites acted rightly or not? Explain why you think as you do.

2. Suppose that the Israeli Army conquers an Arab village in battle. Do you think it would be good or bad to act towards the inhabitants as did Joshua towards the people of Jericho (and Makkedah)? Explain why

To the first question 95% of responses were in the following vein. The response below an actual:

"The objective of the wars was the conquest of the country for the Israelites. Therefore, the Israelites acted well in conquering the cities and killing the inhabitants. It is undesirable to have a foreign enclave in Israel: The people of the different religion could have influenced the Israelis. . . "

Even more chilling was the fact that Thirty per cent of the answers to the second question were categorically in favour of wiping out the inhabitants of a captured Arab village.

HERE COMES THE KICKER!!!

On a similar sample, but 1006 different school children the kids were given the Book of Joshua to read but the names and places were changed. Instead of Israel, the story was set in China. Instead of Joshua it was not General Ling Wang. Instead of Jericho it was Mongolia.

The children were asked the same two questions: THE RESULT - ONLY 7% said General Ling Wang's actions were justifiable.

Need we say more?



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CJ

Monday 30th November 2009 | 02:17 PM

Clarification: I meant Papa's post be the most poignant thus far. Was not referring to my own :)

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CJ

Monday 30th November 2009 | 02:28 PM

Tyler's reply to the fact there are no eye-witness accounts for the life of Jesus is always the same. i.e. "Well then by that basis we lose Homer, Alexander the Great, Plato, etc So what?"

SO WHAT??

Psst Tyler. Come a little closer......close enough to hear this? Good!....NONE OF THOSE HISTORICAL CHARACTERS CLAIMED TO BE THE SON OF THE CREATOR!

Although I do like the idea of Homer being the one true God, with his yellow skin, and blue haired wife. Always wondered if the carpet matches the curtain with Marge??


(*Oh boy here comes the explanation that I've got the wrong Homer! I'm such a fricken idiot)

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Tyler V

Monday 30th November 2009 | 03:54 PM

And Courtenay, have you ever even READ the Bible?! As easily as the Jews dismissed it? Yeah… really easy with the mass conversions and all. Oh, and you clearly have no idea what you are talking about when you refer to Matthew’s use of Zechariah. Here is the Zech. 9:9 prophecy: “9 Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” And here is the Matthew passage: “The disciples went and did just as Jesus had instructed them, 7and brought the donkey and the colt, and laid their coats on them; and He sat on the coats.” Where in the world do you get that Matthew has Jesus riding into the city on a horse and a donkey? Ha, the prophecy says that it will be a donkey and its colt and Matthew says it was a donkey and its colt… Now you are just flat out making things up! And as for the passage in Zechariah dealing with one animal and not two (thus you assume that Matthew inserts the “and”) your unfamiliarity with Hebrew, LXX, and 1st century exegetical methods simply shows your ignorance and lack of qualifications to speak to the issue. 1st, in Hebrew parallelism can often be used just as often to distinguish between two things as it is used to unite two things. Thus the parallelism itself often functions as conjunctions, disjunctives, and prepositions like “and”, “but”, “also”, “with” etc. We see this in the LXX (Septuagint) translation of the OT long before Matthew that renders the phrase as: Xαῖρε σφόδρα, θύγατερ Σιων .κήρυσσε, θύγατερ Ιερουσαλημ . ἰδοὺ ὁ βασιλεύς σου ἔρχεταί σοι, δίκαιος καὶ σῴζων αὐτός, πραῢς καὶ ἐπιβεβηκὼς ἐπὶ ὑποζύγιον καὶ πῶλον νέον. (sorry for those who read Greek, the font didnt work that well here). The final KAI is the Greek conjunctive “and” which the LXX (a JEWISH document) renders as a viable translation of the Hebrew centuries before Matthew wrote his gospel. In fact, Matthew probably was reading the Hebrew alongside the LXX and found them both to be accurate.

I’m also not sure where you get that Jesus was riding a horse. The term is πῶλος and while in ENGLISH a colt is almost always a young horse (though it is still correct to call a young donkey a colt as well, just less universal) in Greek, the distinction was not made since the term actually meaned something like a “young beast of burden” and would actually carry more of the meaning as our word “foal.” Again, youre hopelessly unqualified to make the arguments that you do.

Again, these are only “obvious absurdities” when they are framed by people who have no clue what they are talking about to other people who also have no clue what they are talking about. Anyone with even a preliminary lexical understanding of Greek or Hebrew knows that your just grasping at straws.

And I don’t have to dismiss the Lochness Monster or Neptune, or anything of the sort. I’m not the one writing books outside of my own field of expertise… remind me… what is yours again? Human Resources?

Again, you appeal to ad hominem arguments where you assume the actions of a person validate/invalidate the truth or falsity of their worldview. Should I bring up Stalin and Mao again? Enver Hoxsa?

I don’t know what in the world led you to actually think that you were qualified in any way shape or form to write this book. You clearly are unable to handle history, text critical issues, theology, hermeneutics, philosophy and even basic reading comprehension.

Now you also have posted accusing me of not answering your questions (which I did multiple times and then repeated again). Yet you NEVER answer mine because you ave NO answer for them.

Tell me, based on your naturalistic worldview, what is the basis for the immutable, universal, absolute, eternal, immaterial laws of logic? Are they social contracts like you say morality is? And what is your basis for your moral judgment of other cultures from other ages when you say that morality is a social contract itself?

Furthermore, what did you study in school? What are the scholars that you researched in order to write this book who provided contrary arguments to yours? Or did you just shelter yourself and only read people who you agree with you so as to shelter you’re a priori atheistic faith from any damage? And you say that empirical evidence is the requirement for truth. Tell me, what empirical evidence do you have for the universal negation of miracles, God, souls, universal morality, etc.? What empirical evidence do you even have for the assertion that it is only by empirical evidence that we know truth?

You lambaste me for faith, but you have WAY more faith (and blind faith at that!) than I ever would be comfortable having. And you are more dogmatic and fundamentalist than any Christian I have ever met! I know of no Christian seeking to pass laws that would forbid teaching atheism as child abuse! Do you not even notice the vitriolic, hypocritical irrationalism of the hate-mongering that you spew in your book, blog, and here on this thread? Look in a mirror! Wake up! You are seeking for a more peaceful world by slandering, falsely representing, and illigitimizing the vast majority of people who live and who have ever lived on the planet earth. Do you have THAT much prideful hubris as to think that the Billions of Christians who have ever lived and live now are stupid, hateful, irrational, blood thirsty wicked people? Some of the greatest minds like Augustine, Anselm, Aquinas, Pascal, Descartes, Locke, Berkley, Kant, Plantinga and the list goes on to the tens of thousands of brilliant thinkers down through the centuries, have all been professing Christians. Are you really THAT blindly intolerant?!

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Tyler V

Monday 30th November 2009 | 04:13 PM

Ha, to be brief, the survey asked high school students with little to no understanding of context, history, lexography, theology, etc. to interpret one of the hardest passages in all the Bible… yeah… Im really gonna take their word for it over the scholars… have you really resorted to having high schoolers pick your fights for you? Should we also survey high schoolers on string theory, dark matter, and quantum mechanics and cite their responses as factual or even remotely helpful? Ha. Sorry Court, now youre just being silly.

And Courtenay, Courtenay, Courtenay. You again show your shockingly low ability to understand (or atleast relay) the context from which you pull a statement. My “so what” statement was regarding the supposed 100 year gap between the death of Jesus and the 1st manuscript we have of John because the manuscript evidence does not deal with when Jesus was crucified, but how close the ORIGINAL is to the extant copies we have now! So my “so what” was because Papa’s point was well… ABSOLUTELY besides the point!

Plus you are clearly still stuck on the “extraordinary… blah blah blah.” Sorry. That is just untrue. The claims of Jesus happened in time and space just like every other statement ever made by anybody. We verify them in the same manner that we verify any other statement, claim, or historical reality. They do not require extraordinary evidence, they require the same sufficient evidence as any other historical event. Sorry, but your imposed higher standard is simply unwarranted. Only someone completely unqualified would assume that it is an equitable standard.

The problem with you is that you dont actually believe in of your own bogus arguments. That is why once you can no longer defend them, you simply throw up another smoke screen to distract and change the topic and never address any of the problems raised against you. Just look back over this thread and the other thread on part 1 and you will see the trend that when you get cornered you just change topics to another bogus argument until that one stops working but rather than admitting that you were wrong, you just ignore it like it never happened. For those who followed us here from facebook, they will even notice that you try and recycle arguments (presumably to gain new "converts" who dont know any better) to objections that were proven false elsewhere. Youre a zealot and a fundamentalist. Im beginning to think that YOU are the dangerous one for our society. If you had your way we would have theists as second class citizens, no meaning to life, no moral standard, and philosophical naturalism as the new God. It would be like 1984, Brave New World, and Thus Spake Zarathustra all in one.

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CJ

Monday 30th November 2009 | 05:12 PM

Tyler,

Look at you making great men out of Augustine and Aquinus!!

Aquinas: "All heretics should be murdered"

Augustine: "All heretics should be tortured" (aka the father of Anti-semitism)

Where was their inspiration found? Oh yes 'that' book!

Ok my little stalker - here's your Biblical lesson for the afternoon:

Over twenty times in the gospel of Matthew, this unknown author goes out of his way to tell of OT prophecy fulfillment. By doing so, the author of Matthew had to misquote, misinterpret verses in his favor, take verses out of context, or simply make them up to reach his goal.

Matthew CLEARLY misinterprets Zechariah 9:9, riding on an ass, on a colt, the foal of an ass, as meaning two animals.

"riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey" (Zechariah 9:9 NIV)

Matthew quotes the above passage in the narrative BUT writes:

"They (Disciples) brought the donkey AND the colt, placed their cloaks on THEM, and Jesus sat on THEM" (Matthew 21:1-7 NIV)

SAT ON THEM!!! Do I need to teach you much good English along with your self proclaimed chest thump that you are well versed in Greek and Hebrew???

What does John say:

"Jesus found a young donkey and sat upon IT, as it is written" (John 12:14 NIV)

Tyler, stick around buddy I'm making you a smarter man much more brighter. (Just showing you some bad english)

Peace
CJ

P.S: "Giddy up horsey, and donkey. Uh, wait. Peter, why the fuck am I riding two animals at once? This shit is crazy you dumb muthafuckas!" (John 12:16 Hidden passage)

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Tyler V

Monday 30th November 2009 | 05:40 PM

Ha, you dont need to teach me good English (proper English) but you do need to learn proper Greek. The pronoun always refers to the previous subject (the same is actually true in English unless there is good reason not to). If you look at the Greek the sentence is:

7 ἤγαγον (they brought) τὴν ὄνον (the donkey) καὶ τὸν πῶλον (and its colt), καὶ ἐπέθηκαν (and they placed) ἐπ’ αὐτῶν (upon them) τὰ ἱμάτια (their garments/cloaks), καὶ ἐπεκάθισεν (and he sat) ἐπάνω αὐτῶν (upon them).

This is the same word order in the ESV. (just for future reference, the NIV is a dynamic equivalence translation. At least use the more literal translations like the ESV or NASB if you wanna even begin to sound like you know what your talking about). So what was the THEM that he sat upon? Well its the nearest subject. The CLOAKS! In fact, this is so obvious that the NASB, the most literal to the original languages, translates it as: "and brought the donkey and the colt, and laid their coats on them; and He sat on the coats," because the referent of the final "αὐτῶν/them" is so obviously the coats.

It has nothing to do with any "self proclaimed chest thump." We do the same thing in English! The pronoun refers to the previous noun/subject unless there is reason to assume otherwise. We could say, "Bill brought his boats to the lake to catch fish, and he sailed on them" and know that in that case, because it would be absurd for him to have sailed fish, that it refers back to another subject. But if it said, "Bill brought his boats to the lake to catch fish, and he ate them," we would know he meant the fish, and not the boats. This is a rule in English, and a rule in Greek. This is called the Pronoun/Noun Agreement. (Didnt you know my first degree was in English, even though sometimes in my haste I may not type like it.)

So why does John say that he sat on it? Because in that context the pronoun refers to the previous noun, the colt, not the cloaks.

You gonna keep pretending that this is a valid argument or are you ready to pull your M.O. where you can no longer sustain the argument and simply pretend it never happened and move on to a new topic?

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ozzie_z

Monday 30th November 2009 | 06:28 PM

Tyler,

You said:

"And I would much rather read the original Greek and Hebrew than the NIV as well (yes I can read and translate both), something that has frustrated Courtenay to no end because I actually like to find out what original text says, not poor translations like the KJV or in some cases the NIV."

Now Papa made the following comment:

"You believe Jesus is Lord, and then you read the text and study the various contextual problems. And then attempt to reason them so they do not trouble your faith. "

The above comment Tyler is very telling.

I have a real passion for the DaoDeJing and have consumed the 100 or so translations over the last 2o years from the endless number of academics who strive to tell you that they have discovered the real meaning of Dao. In that time I spent 13 years training with a taoist master. One day I asked him: "what is dao?". His response: "there are no words to describe dao. If you know you can't say and everyone that doesn't know says".

Tyler you will fight to the death to ensure that your faith is not destroyed before your eyes.

cheers oz

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CJ

Monday 30th November 2009 | 07:13 PM

Tyler,

The 1006 Jewish HS students, in Israel, that undertook the Jericho study have no understanding of history and context?? ROTFLMFAO (That's a dandy! Even a new low for you my distorting friend)

The Jerusalem Triumphant Entry story is nearly universally accepted as Hebrew misinterpretation cock up. Matthew with is poor or understanding of Hebrew text misunderstood that in Hebrew the word ‘and’ was used to give emphasis to a narrative and not used as an added. You should know this but clearly you don't.

Ok back to the Bible 101 for you my evangelical buddy. Here is what we know about the mysterious author known as Matthew, based on the Biblical text:

(1) IF he was Jewish, he knew very little Hebrew and did not understand the Hebrew Bible, and

(2) He knew very little about Jewish law, since he relied so much on the Greek Septuagint.

The author of Matthew was using the Septuagint 'LXX'―the Greek version of the Hebrew bible compiled in the 2nd century BCE for the Greek―speaking Jews of the Diaspora.

The Jewish Scribes and rabbis only translated the first five books of Moses in the LXX Septuagint. There is no record who wrote the rest of the Hebrew bible, presumably they were not Jews. That means that the Greeks translated Isaiah and the prophets and are responsible for the changing of the word “young woman” in the Hebrew to “virgin” in the Greek ― a blatant mistranslation. And thus your entire faith is built on a literal fuck up.

Mathew wrote; “…from the blood of righteous Abel unto Zacharias, son of Barachias, whom you slew between the temple and the altar” (23:35). According to Tanakh, it was Zechariah (Zacharias) son of Jehoiada who was killed by the Temple (ll Chronicles 24:20―21). There is no evidence in the Hebrew bible or in any other writings that Zechariah the Prophet was murdered, let alone killed in the Temple. The First Temple had already been destroyed in Zechariah's time.

When you find one or two events that are clearly not true, you MUST have huge doubts as to overall reliability of this book. When you find over 20 events that are not true, altered, questionable (based upon no facts or distorted facts) or contradicts the other writers, the whole book ends up being fiction or questionable as to just how truthful is it.

Oh the truth shall set you free.

CJ


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CJ

Monday 30th November 2009 | 07:19 PM

Oops forgot to add to the end of that first paragraph. The Book of Joshua is a core subject in the Jewish High School curriculum.

Yeah they don't know their own history. Touche.

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Vanessa

Monday 30th November 2009 | 10:39 PM

So you are still breathing.... PS off and of are very close, but yet so far.....

Sorry, have to comment on this one -

"If you cared about the pain a woman experiences in childbirth or that she could die giving birth, you would (1) stop having sex with women IMMEDIATELY!

No you would use protection (if you were worried) .........

Google Lily Allen and download her albumn, lots of great tips darls xx

Papa

Papa

Monday 30th November 2009 | 11:44 PM
98 total kudos

...in response to this comment by Tyler V. You need to stick with the Seminary Tyler. Intellectual debates and historical critical methods are beyond your abilities. You can not objectively look upon any biblical text without believing god wrote it. Which is why I have no respect for you, or your continuing pursuit to persuade this online community that your opinion actually matters.

Having said that, my beliefs upon the biblical texts are agreed upon by the wider realm of academia all over the world. Can you say that? I will answer for you, you can't. You belong to a small sect of conservative scholars who try too push the "god thing" into the biblical manuscripts. Thank god for the enlightenment, or else I would still be tithing my money away to people like Benny Hinn.

P.S. I wish I could get paid millions to hit people on stage with my coat jacket... hence Benny... wait, isn't he one of those "christians"?

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CJ

Tuesday 1st December 2009 | 08:37 AM

Tyler still continues to make the false and ignorant claim that the gospels were eye-witness accounts of the biography of Jesus. Although reading some of his more recent posts, it does seem evident that he's backing off from this far flung/radical position.

For a laugh here's a cartoon I include in my book, borrowed from a website at russellsteapot.com, which highlights the wild contradictions of the gospels on just one of the key moments of the Jesus myth. Contradictions that Tyler and his flock are comfortable in dismissing in accepting these events to be historical facts when quite evidently these testimonies would be laughed out of Court.

Priest: Thanks everyone for participating in this year’s Easter Pageant.
Alright kids we need to rehearse the part where it’s Easter morning and the first visitors arrive at Jesus’ tomb. Now who’s in this scene?

Child 1: I am! Matthew 28:2-5 says an angel came down from heaven to greet them.

Child 2: No, it wasn’t an angel! It was a ‘Young man’, Just look at Mark 16:5!

Child 3: Hello! Luke 24:4 says very clearly it was ‘Two men’.

Child 4: Well according to John 20:1-2 nobody was there.

Priest: Children the contradictions don’t matter! What matters is that we unquestioningly accept the magic of the resurrection even within the face of such glaring contradictions within the story.

Child 4: Father that was the most wonderfully concise summary of Christianity I have ever heard.

Priest: Thank you child. It is blind submission to authority that got me where I am today.

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Gina Squitieri

Tuesday 1st December 2009 | 11:06 AM

...in response to this comment by Vanessa. But if you were smart, you wouldn't count on it.

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Gina Squitieri

Tuesday 1st December 2009 | 11:36 AM

You know, CJ. You asked me what God has brought to your table [to eat]. Now, I was thinking about this just a few minutes ago. You wouldn't have been able to write your little book if it weren't for the fact that God exists. You curse Him and you hate Him and you incite others to do the same. Okay. Have your way. But will you cringe when you learn that it has served only to cause believers to dig deeper for real answers, in which case their faith will be strengthened and not diminished or forsaken? I personally want thank you very much in advance for that wonderful meal! (I'll thank God privately.) :-). Anyway, I hope the meals you buy from the money you've gotten off the book are tasty and satisfying and feel really good to you, too, CJ. No, really! I want you to see for yourself how if it weren't for God (the God you hate), you wouldn't have the money to put them on your table. I love the fact that God is kind to and blesses the wicked and the ungrateful! He always does whats right. You?

Papa

Papa

Tuesday 1st December 2009 | 11:57 AM
98 total kudos

...in response to this comment by Gina Squitieri. Your "little book" CJ... remember that...

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CJ

Tuesday 1st December 2009 | 12:30 PM

...in response to this comment by Papa. Papa,

LOL! If Gina knew how little I made per book she'd laugh with me too :)

It's amusing that after two days of digesting my question, "What benefit has God brought to the human experience or endeavor?", her reply is he has made me money.

Can't argue with that can I?

I makes me recall Kathy Griffin's Emmy Award winning speech from last year, when upon accepting her Emmy she said,

"A lot of actors when they come up here, onto the stage, thank Jesus for helping them win this. Well, I'm going to be honest with you - Jesus couldn't have done less to help me win this. From now on this trophy is my god."

Cheers
CJ

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Gina Squitieri

Tuesday 1st December 2009 | 02:21 PM

https://rustylime.com/show_article.php?id=3813#comm29812

"What benefits has God brought to the TABLE?" (emphasis mine) is the exact sentence you used. Now, why should anyone trust you to always properly quote the bible when you can't properly quote yourself? I mean, you only wrote that 48 hours ago, not forty-eight hundred years ago. I'm afraid I gotcha on that one, and I can't lie --That's funny! You're truly are a funny guy. I mean that genuinely. :)

And, I believe you are being modest when you say you aren't making much off your little book. It's selling for $26.66 here in the U.S., you're putting it out all over the net. That's good! I got back almost 8,500 hits when I did a search for "God Hates You Hate Him Back" and you should have seen the hits I got when I searched your name "Jake Farr-Wharton" Der, I mean CJ Werleman. Geesh. It's just that you and Jake sound so much alike in your mannerisms and in the way you tend to cuss and use colorful language when you get upset and all.

Anyway. Good eats!

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CJ

Tuesday 1st December 2009 | 02:27 PM

...in response to this comment by Gina Squitieri. Gina,

8500 hits for CJ Werleman on google? Oh no this could be embarrassing. That photo of me in Tijuana after 2 bottles of tequila, a small donkey, and set of lederhosen is bound to show up. I'm dead!!

Cheers
CJ

Jake Farr-Wharton

Jake Farr-Wharton

Tuesday 1st December 2009 | 02:50 PM
202 total kudos

...in response to this comment by Gina Squitieri. Gina, when have I ever gotten upset?

Passionate, maybe, but I'm Italian, we're only good at 3 things and the first two are sex and growing hair, I'll let you work out the rest.

Peace and Love Gina.

P.s. CJ and I aren't the same guy, he's a tall Brazilian transsexual, I'm none of those things.

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Gina Squitieri

Tuesday 1st December 2009 | 03:05 PM

...in response to this comment by CJ. Uh-huh. Well, God have mercy on you when people come to this site and find out you can't even quote yourself after (after!) 48 hours, and after they read the back cover of your book-- What was that you said about the cross examination techniques of a seasoned attorney? tee heeeee. I actually laughed at that one. But see, the real laughter will ensue when an actual seasoned lawyer reads the back cover further down and sees that you spelled the word "its" - "it's"(*scroll down for a little English lesson), seeing how you claim to be proficient in Greek. Oh, they'll laugh. You can trust me on that one. Suffice it to say, I wouldn't want to be in your shoes.

I'm not knocking you. I'm not that good at the English language either.

____________________
(*) http://www.stormloader.com/garyes/its.html

It's vs. Its page

If you're confused by these two little words, you've come to the right place. (Not that there aren't other right places.)

It's is a contraction for it is or it has.

Its is a possessive pronoun meaning, more or less, of it or belonging to it.

And there is absolutely, positively, no such word as its'.
A simple test

If you can replace it[']s in your sentence with it is or it has, then your word is it's; otherwise, your word is its.
Another test

Its is the neuter version of his and her. Try plugging her into your sentence where you think its belongs. If the sentence still works grammatically (if not logically) then your word is indeed its.
Examples

It's been good to know you. Contraction: it has
It's a bird! It's a plane! Contraction: it is

The dodo bird is known for its inability to fly. Possessive pronoun: its inability = the dodo bird's inability

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Gina Squitieri

Tuesday 1st December 2009 | 03:07 PM

...in response to this comment by Jake Farr-Wharton. haha! You've been reading!

I hope you and your family are well.

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Gina Squitieri

Tuesday 1st December 2009 | 03:51 PM

CJ,

I'm very saddened to learn that you experienced firsthand the Bali bombings in 2005. I really am. That must have been horrifying. I hope neither you nor your friends or family (if there were with you) were hurt.

Peace-out.

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CJ

Tuesday 1st December 2009 | 04:20 PM

...in response to this comment by Gina Squitieri. Hi Gina,

Appreciate the note re: 2005 bomb. That's kind of you.

All i can do is laugh with you at me in regards to the its! The typo-it-sitis!! The bane of my existence.

The cover on the site is actually the publisher's first cut, that typo has long been removed. BUT there are still one or two typos in the book itself. Kind of like a where's Waldo!!

The editing required to proof a 122,000 word manuscript is a monster. Thankfully I didn't have to do much of it. But the publisher had 3 staff do 5 final edits looking for the mongrels.

Cheers
CJ

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Tyler V

Tuesday 1st December 2009 | 05:50 PM

Oz, I am not referring to interpretation, but translation theory (this is also not some eastern mystical philosophy that recites zen cones and stuff) There is a big difference between literal translation (word for word) and dynamic equivalence (thought for thought). NIV is pretty good, but sometimes because it is thought for thought translation it misses some of the contextual, historical, literary or theological nuances. It has nothing to do with my worldview. It is basic translation methodology. (See the book “Translating Truth” by Grudem/Ryken/Collins/Poythress/Winter.)

Courtenay,
Who cares their religious preference. They are high school students… only an amateur would actually appeal to high school students as an authority. Besides, the study only revealed that subtracting all historical context can make any event absurd. I could frame WWII in such a way by taking out all historical context and make the Nazis come across as the victims. Propaganda is all how you frame it.

Ha, I like how you, a 21st century westerner with NO knowledge of Hebrew, says that’s a 1st century Jew had poor understanding of the Hebrew. Ha. If the Septuagint translates it as meaning “And” (regardless of when it was written, like you seem to think is a big deal) shows that this was a common and accepted reading of the Hebrew (since the Septuagint was widely used and ACCEPTED by the Jewish community PRIOR to the 1st century). Ha, I backed my statements up with sound exegesis of the Hebrew and Greek texts… you just submit potshots since you really have no clue about Greek or Hebrew. And are you STILL on “alma”?! sorry man, you were wrong about that a LONG time ago, why are you trying to recycle it now? Again, I gave you dozens of exegetical facts from the original Hebrew text. Example, alma is NEVER anything else but “virgin” anywhere else in the Bible and “bethula” is almost always modified by an adjective to make it mean “virgin.” So you have it completely backwards. A good example is in Joel 1:8, “Mourn like a virgin (bethula) in sackcloth grieving for the husband of her youth.” Now is she a virgin or is she married? Compare that to Exodus 2:8 in which Moses’ 8 year old sister is called an ‘alma’. Plus EVERY SINGLE translation of the Hebrew into Greek, Coptic, Syriatic, etc. ALL translate “alma” into their word for virgin and the Jews had NO problem with that until the birth of Christ.

As for Jesus’ reference to Zechariah. The fact that you think it is just as simple as pie, shows once again that you have no clue the depth that these debates go in scholarship. There are MANY ways that this can be cleared up:

1. The Zechariah referenced is the father of John the Baptist. This suggestion was made by Origen. It would make some sense; Zecharaiah was a priest, and having a son like John the Baptist surely didn't win him any popularity contests. It would also be in line with a theory by Betz [HS.UDS, 209] that John was raised by the Essenes, who according to Josephus did take in young children for education; and if John's father had been killed, and his mother was aged, then it might have been a natural thing to happen. However, if this is who Jesus is referring to, we have no other direct evidence that Zechariah, John's father, was killed in this manner.

2. It is Zechariah the OT prophet. This fits inasmuch Zechariah's father was named Berekiah (Zech. 1:1). There is also an indication in Jewish tradition, in the Targum Yonatan, that this particular prophet was killed in the Temple.

3. It is the Zechariah in 2 Chronicles, and Jehoiada is his grandfather; Berekiah, his unnamed father. The Bible does skip generations in genealogical lists at times; it was customary for the Hebrews (and other cultures) to do this in their genealogies.

4. Berekiah is another name for Jehoiada. Several Biblical personalities had dual names - Simon was also called Peter, for example, and Saul switched his name to Paul.

5. Transmission error. This may have happened, inasmuch as Jerome noted that a Hebrew version of Matthew in his day read differently: "In the Gospel the Nazareans use, we find 'son of Johoiada' instead of 'son of Barachia.'" It could have been an error created by the transition from Matthew's Hebrew/Aramaic original to Greek.

6. The Zechariah in question is simply unknown. This solution is advanced by Albright and Mann in the Anchor Bible Commentary on Matthew's Gospel.

7. Some have even speculated that Jesus was book ending his statement with two famous martyrs in history. The first is Abel, and the second is actually a prophesy regarding Zechariah who was killed right about the time as the destruction of the temple. He WAS the son of a man named Barachias and was killed exactly how Jesus said (a fact attested to by Josephus). I know because of your anti-supernatural worldview this one will be absurd, but it is the final thing Jesus said before stating, “I tell you the truth, all this will come upon this generation. 37"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. 38Look, your house is left to you desolate.” Jesus was predicting the destruction of the temple within the lifetime of his hearers so it is entirely possible that the death of Zechariah the son of Barachias would be the sign that God was about to judge Israel by destroying the temple. He then begins his Olivet discourse which is classically seen as eschatological in nature.

The point is, there are a multiplicity of other ways to read this passage that you so smugly think that you can do away with. Scholars have been debating this for CENTURIES on either side of the debate. Only an egotist could think that he could come and poo-poo it with the wave of his hand and a pithy comment even though he has no education on the topic whatsoever. What unbalanced hubris.

Papa, interesting again that I argued with proofs, evidence, and original languages and you still can only comment with ad hominems, generalizations, and dismissive remarks. Rather than interacting with ANY of the facts, evidence, arguments, or proofs, you duck and dodge and deflect and divert and by casting insults on me. And no, Benny Hihn is not a Christian because he denies basic Christian orthodoxy regarding the Trinity and Christology and who has given over a dozen false prophecies (something explicitly said to be proof of a false prophet.) Just because someone calls themselves a Christian does not make them one. Do you actually think that everyone who attaches themselves to Christianity is actually a Christian? I bet you think Mormons and JW’s are Christian also.

Then back to you Courtenay. You have NEVER given one shred of evidence, proof, argumentation of even footnoted a single statement to back up your claim that they are not eyewitness accounts. Lets see… Matthew and John were disciples (eyewitnesses), Mark is actually a scribe for Peter (eyewitness) and Luke says that he went and interviewed eyewitnesses who his readers could go check with if they didn’t believe him. Paul made a similar comment about those who saw Jesus after the resurrection and even named names of people to go talk to. Until you read Bauckham, I’m gonna assume that you are more interested in toeing the party line and remaining in your unassailable tree-house of blissful ignorance rather than actually wanting to look at data, and history, and argumentation. At least READ the scholars who disagree with you or you are just as blindly ignorant and rely on blind faith as all those fundamentalists you love so much.

And actually by all historical and legal counts, the Bible stacks up better than any other ancient document we have. I dare you to go to any philosophy department and tell them to scratch Plato or Homer. And yet the Bible is drastically better attested to those they are. Yet ahistorical lay thinkers like yourself seem to think that the Bible should be subjected to its own critical standard, one that assumes it is false before even a shred of evidence is allowed in. Bravo, youre a real free-thinker.

Ha, and wow, really… the angel/man argument? Wow… I almost don’t even wanna dignify it with an answer… the word in greek for “angel” is actually the same word for messenger… so there are two basic responses. First, there was no angel. It was a man/messenger. So easy. Second, Hebrew audiences, since angels almost always would show up as men, know the inference (especially considering the lightening and the white robes and all) while gentiles would need it spelled out more clearly.

And one man or two… ha. Seriously? Tell me, if “I said I went to the store today” does that mean “I, and only I, went to the store today”? Ha no. I could have gone with my wife, my friend, my neighbor. I may say that if it is MY action (the subject) that is being focused on. (the action of the ONE angel who actually SPEAKS is focused on). Where my wife may say, “My husband and I went to the store today” (where the focus is not on the action of the main subject, but on the sum total of the events). We are both absolutely correct. Mark focuses on the importance of the message of the speaking angel (so just refers to him), Luke the historian is trying to tell the whole event (and tells that both were there), and John is focused on Mary and so just doesn’t see fit to mention either.

You do realize that these simplistic objections are laughable in the field? I mean there are serious text critical questions that you could ask, and you bring up these bush league ones?

And you have NEVER answered my questions! So I’ll ask…. AGAIN! (how long are you gonna dodge these?

And I’ll answer the question, what benefit has God brought to the human experience or endeavor? Well, our very existence is one. Meaning, purpose, a uniform creation, a basis for morality, logic and consistent natural laws, a promise that absolute justice will be vetted out, and for the vast majority of the people in the world, hope, peace, love, joy, charity, and value. Any historian who studies the Reformation also knows that Christiandom, for all of its blemishes, has also brought us education, universities, hospitals, modern forms of democracy, inalienable human rights, separation of church and state, and even the basis for scientific enquiry. So even to claim the “benefits of atheism” will often have some deep roots into Christendom. Sorry man, like it or not, but you are just as much a product of Christendom as the rest of us.

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ozzie_z

Tuesday 1st December 2009 | 06:16 PM

Tyler,

Lets have a look at a book by Michael Behe which you were good enough to mention, that is
Darwins Black Box. Interestingly, it was in 1996, Behe published his ideas on irreducible complexity in this book, which was rejected by the scientific community. Scientists argued that Behe's comments and examples were based only on a refined form of "argument from ignorance", rather than any demonstration of the actual impossibility of evolution by natural processes. Furthermore, Behe aimed the publication of this book at the general public, gaining maximum publicity while avoiding peer-review from fellow scientists or performing new research to support his statements, contrary to normal interpretations of the scientific method.

Now Tyler, Court has repeatedly stated that his book was never meant to be interpreted as a scholarly thesis but you have gone to the trouble of mentioning the name of an academic to give strength to your argument and it seems that the opinion of this academic needs to be viewed with caution in relation to his arguments for Intelligent Design. I probably would have gone to the trouble of at least using someone who had passed his ideas via peer review.

cheers oz

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CJ

Tuesday 1st December 2009 | 07:03 PM

Tyler,

You dismiss Jewish high school interpretation of the Book of Joshua? A core subject in the Israel high school curriculum. Like it or not the study shows conclusively how religious indoctrination perverts our judgment of morality. You don't have to agree but then I don't think anyone really gives a flying intercourse what Tyler Vela has to say except for the little old ladies that give you their hard earned at your local church.

Then you write: "Sorry man, like it or not, but you are just as much a product of Christendom as the rest of us."

Funny that you write this now. For when I said to you that you are a Christian ONLY because you are born in a predominately Christian nation you chided me. I said that if you were born in Saudi Arabia you'd most likely be a Muslim. If India a Hindu. If Israel a Jew. If Greece 3,000 years ago you'd be worshipping Apollo. If Egypt 4,000 years ago you'd be burning candles for Horus.

BUT you denied my above assertion as poppy-cock! But here we are now and you are claiming that we are by-products of our socialization. (NB: All children are born atheist)

You keep claiming there were eye-witness accounts to Jesus' life like it's some kind of self reinforcing mantra. YOU ARE WILDLY WRONG! That is universally accepted as bullshit albeit for the few radical fundamental Bible schools such as the one that you belong to.

Does the cartoon of the resurrection I posted prior look like they were four eye-witnesses? It's like they all saw four completely different set of events. If you read my book you will see that the gospels conflict with one another on just about every single event of Jesus' make believe life.

Your argument can't even stand up to a cartoon. A fucking cartoon!!

You keep saying Matthew was Jewish. Scholars are overwhelmingly in unison that Matthew was not a Jew because his Hebrew was woeful. Yes even worst than yours you pathetically conceited little twat! (I have lived in China and Indonesia is my home for the past 7 years, and still my Bahasa is mediocre at best - thus I know from EXPERIENCE that you cannot learn a language without immersing yourself in it! In Texas they would call you "All hat and no cattle") It is Matthew's lack of Hebrew linguistics that results in his 29 interpretative fuck ups, including Jesus being born to a young woman (alma), and including that by that prophecy Jesus' name should be Emmanuel!! Who the fuck is Emmanuel?

How does your mental gymnastics allow you to leap the pummel horse, fly over the Roman rings and onto the rhythmic floor in rationalizing these disturbing contradictions?

Mark's was the first gospel and no virgin birth mentioned, and very little by the way of miracle whipped bullshit too, but then Matty boy comes along and just fucks the whole show up for you Bilbo. And imagine if I got to analyze the gospels that were arbitrarily omitted at Nicea, that show Jesus to be a real schmuck. But of course you have an answer for this, don't you?

So how you pin your life, your future, your beliefs to events you can't be sure occurred? Even if you were to witness a man walking across the Pacific Ocean this evening, you would still have to question what it was that you saw? If you witnessed the suspension of natural order you'd have to question your sobriety. Whether you'd taken a fall, or a hit to the head, or whether someone spiked your drink with acid. And then you'd have to find other people who claimed to witness the same guy walking on the water before you could be certain that you witness the suspension of nature. BUT you choose to believe these kind of things happened on 3rd, 4th, 10th person accounts recorded 70-100 years after they were said to occur. Sorry, that makes you insane and a borderline basket case by any other standard other than the mental protection that mainstream religion is afforded. (I know you torture kittens. I can sense it in you)

P.S: You posted like 5 times on my blog today. Don't you think you're becoming a little obsessive over me? Ok for $10 I will post you a pair of my used underwear. You got paypal account?

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V2

Tuesday 1st December 2009 | 07:50 PM

...in response to this comment by CJ. Sadly CJ your complete and utter ignorance is not amusing, it is amusing though, that somebody so completely and utterly ignorant can find somebody as equally ignorant to publish your drivel

Do you know the difference between a Jew and a Christian, fundamental or otherwise
You have the wit and inteligence of a rotten turnip
The fact you cant differentiate between a Jewish book and its laws and Christianity speaks volumes, volumes more than any one with a gram of cortex would understand. Fortunately, here, you are safe

CJ, The New Testament, the Christian part. Show me where hating homosexuals is advocated, hell, show me anything that justifies any hate, any violence, any disrespect

Papa

Papa

Wednesday 2nd December 2009 | 03:38 AM
98 total kudos

...in response to this comment by Tyler V. Your going to compare the bible with plato and homer? Last time I checked, there are not people attempting to credit Athena with writing the entire Ilidad or Odyssey with out errors or contradictions.

Not to mention that these works were written hundreds of years before your so called Jesus walked on the scene. And not to mention again, the only surviving texts we had of the hebrew bible (untill the 1900s) were outdated by the new testament documents we had. The bible is more historically sound? You actually believe in the mass exodus don't you?

Man I thought I was I done, but the fundys get too me...

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Tyler V

Wednesday 2nd December 2009 | 09:05 AM

I'm gonna start making these brief because, well, I have a life and you guys are clearly just getting more vitriolic and angry because you obviously have NO answers and so you must make hasty assumptions, rash generalizations, ad hominems, and bald faced lies.

Oz,

Behe is peer reviewed and pretty well supported by a lot of other people in the scientific academic community. And Behe has written WAY more than just Darwin's Black Box. So sorry, youre wrong. I also listed off previously a dozen or so other scientists who teach at universities like Oxford, Harvard, Stanford, etc, who agree. Courtenay didnt write his book for scholars because he is not one and would be universally panned. You criticize Behe for not being peer reviewed (which he was) but it doesnt seem to bother you a lick and Courtenay's rantings go untouched by the hands of any scholar in the field?

Courtenay,

Youre just making things up, skimming other people's blogs, and never looking at a single person who disagrees with you, so i'm not going to get wrapped up in arguing in a tit-for-tat fashion about history. Youre just simply ignorant about almost every topic related to it.

I'm glad you caught on that I was being inconsistent in what I said. It was called SARCASM. If you want to blame my belief on environment, then I can blame yours on environment. And if our belief forming faculties cannot be trusted to tell us anything real about the world, but onl what our culture tells us to think, then the same goes for you. The scalpel cuts both ways.

Plus you have been COMPLETELY unable to answer A SINGLE question posed to you. Why? because you are terrified to actually evaluate your own worldview. So i'll post the questions AGAIN!

Tell me, based on your naturalistic worldview, what is the basis for the immutable, universal, absolute, eternal, immaterial laws of logic? Are they social contracts like you say morality is? And what is your basis for your moral judgment of other cultures from other ages when you say that morality is a social contract itself?

Furthermore, what did you study in school? What are the scholars that you researched in order to write this book who provided contrary arguments to yours? Or did you just shelter yourself and only read people who you agree with you so as to shelter you’re a priori atheistic faith from any damage? And you say that empirical evidence is the requirement for truth. Tell me, what empirical evidence do you have for the universal negation of miracles, God, souls, universal morality, etc.? What empirical evidence do you even have for the assertion that it is only by empirical evidence that we know truth?

Dont make me ask again.

And lastly, Papa. No one is claiming that God wrote the Bible (or do you not know enough to know that inspiration is not the same as dictation?) The Bible was penned by the hands of men. So when we are talking about manuscript evidence, external testimony, historical reliability, etc. we are to use the SAME standard for the Bible as we use for any other historical document. To use a different standard just because you dont like what it contains is a case of special pleading and if totally intellectually bankrupt. So yes, I can compare the writings of Matthew and Luke to Homer and Plato.

Im not sure what this statement gets you, "Not to mention that these works were written hundreds of years before your so called Jesus walked on the scene. And not to mention again, the only surviving texts we had of the hebrew bible (untill the 1900s) were outdated by the new testament documents we had." Um... ok. Homer and Plato were written before the NT... the point is that they have under 1000 manuscripts each, and each is over 1000 years removed from the earliest copy. Whereas the NT we have over 24000 manuscripts in dozens of different languages, not to mention over 80,000 lectionaries and sermons which quote the NT (which if that was all we had, we could piece together the ENTIRE NT), and the gap between our earliest manuscripts in some cases is about 30 years (P52).

Read Bauckham Jesus and the Eyewitnesses.

Or you can go to :
http://www.learnoutloud.com/Podcast-Directory/Philosophy/Philosophers/The-Veritas-Forum-Podcast/17928#3

Here are lectures by Alvin Plantinga on Religion and Science, Gary Habermas on the resurrection, and John Rittenhouse on the Reliability of the Bible.

But I doubt any of your atheists will go since most of you like to mock Christians for blind faith, even though you NEVER actually read or watch any scholar who can actually bring challenges to your worldview. You like to stick with the fundamentalists and the Ken Hams and pretend that is the best we theists have got. Sorry, if you believe that, you are just knocking down strawmen.

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Tyler V

Wednesday 2nd December 2009 | 09:07 AM

And the fact that you consider me a "Fundy" shows that you also clearly dont understand the theological, hermeneutical, or sociological factors that play into the development of fundamentalism. I am FAR from a fundamentalist. But you like to just lump all people into one pejorative insult so you can dismiss everyone who disagrees with you without ever dealing with any of the evidence or arguments head on.

Papa

Papa

Wednesday 2nd December 2009 | 09:23 AM
98 total kudos

...in response to this comment by Tyler V. You can take it as insult if you want too, living in the south has taught me that Christians tend to ignore any evidence (no matter how sound and factual) that could upset their faith. Even the "non fundys".

"we are to use the SAME standard for the Bible as we use for any other historical document."

That has been the most intelligent thing you have posted on this forum. I adhere to that statement with every biblical and non biblical account I read. Hence, why I don't believe in it. We take into account the various presuppositions that the writers had when writing it, and try to filter out what is historical and what is not.

I don't even understand why you adhere to the bible as your source of faith, what about all the other writings that also claim they were written in faith? We don't even have any of the original documents from the Council of Jamnia, or Nicea. How do we know that what you have now in your bible was actually the same books chosen by that council?

Because if you suggest that god helped in some way of writing the biblical texts, than you have to admit that he also helped encourage the council men in deciding. And then you also have admit that they helped in later councils to concrete christian doctrine. Which councils was he in? Which ones was he not in? Not mention the whole "free will" predicament that comes along in that situation.

Your belief is based upon thousands of years of tradition snow balling into what we have today. If you truly wanted to become a "Jesus follower" you would have to read and obtain the ORIGINAL documents of the new testament. Since that is impossible, it is impossible to know if your faith is actually "of god", or simply the product of the ever evolving christian faith.

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Tyler V

Wednesday 2nd December 2009 | 09:42 AM

Papa,

Where did you get your degree?

I am not catholic so I dont hold to the inerrancy of Church counsels. So that argument fails.

And, IF you had actually studied manuscript and text critical issues, you would know that we have over a 99% certainty rate of what the original authographs were based on the 24000+ manuscripts, and the 80,000+ lectionaries and sermons.

Again, I'm done just going round an round with you guys. You clearly havent read a single person who disagrees with you and you are trying to refute old tired fundamentalist arguments with old and tired anti-theistic arguments.

Papa

Papa

Wednesday 2nd December 2009 | 09:52 AM
98 total kudos

...in response to this comment by Tyler V. I received my degree from a Fundamentalist pentecostal school in the south. I was lucky enough to have chosen the liberal educated professors who studied the wider realm of text criticism.

And are you saying that there is a 99% certainty rate of our manuscripts today matching to those of the originals?

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Papa

Papa

Wednesday 2nd December 2009 | 09:54 AM
98 total kudos

...in response to this comment by Tyler V. You have to have some type of faith in the councils if you believe in the biblical books... and the trinity... and Jesus as son of god... and etc. etc.

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Gina Squitieri

Wednesday 2nd December 2009 | 12:08 PM

...in response to this comment by CJ. Well, in my view we're all going to be brothers and sisters eventually, so rather than take all this too seriously.......

I can totally see where your anger comes from. I would be very angry too. I can completely understand that kind of anger, believe it or not and I do not judge or condemn you for it.

Okay, glad we got that out of the way. Now, on with the show! Lights! Camera! ACTION!

;-)


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Tyler V

Wednesday 2nd December 2009 | 02:08 PM

Ha, so you tout you education but then you say you got it at a crappy fundamentalist pentecostal school. Well there is your problem. Your lack of quality education on the topic is apparent.

And there is a BIG difference between agreeing the early church counsels and seeing them as inerrant. Do you really think that you are being logical?

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ozzie_z

Wednesday 2nd December 2009 | 06:25 PM

Tyler,

You are deliberately ignoring what I said in my original post so I will refresh your memory.
Here is what I said:

"Lets have a look at a book by Michael Behe which you were good enough to mention, that is
Darwins Black Box. Interestingly, it was in 1996, Behe published his ideas on irreducible complexity in this book, which was rejected by the scientific community. Scientists argued that Behe's comments and examples were based only on a refined form of "argument from ignorance", rather than any demonstration of the actual impossibility of evolution by natural processes. Furthermore, Behe aimed the publication of this book at the general public, gaining maximum publicity while avoiding peer-review from fellow scientists or performing new research to support his statements, contrary to normal interpretations of the scientific method. "

Behe was widely panned by academia in response to his publication of Darwins Black Box which I was directly referring to and for you to suggest otherwise is wrong Tyler. I stated the argument that he put forward in relation to the concept of irreducible complexity and the reasons why it was so heavily criticised. Whatever support from academia Behe had for that text was without a doubt a minority of scientists whose similiar faith in Intelligent Design has as much credibility as the value of condoms on the ethiopian stock exchange: NONE. I have no issue with Behe expressing a reluctance in the value of Darwins Theory or any other scientist for that matter, but you are deliberately cherry picking academia who have the support of an inner circle but no one else in the field. And it is this inner circle who show comfort in giving respective support to one another whilst the wider community shows contempt for their ideas. You can go to the trouble of mentioning as many names as you want who give support to widely panned viewpoints from legitimate peer reviews, but I would be careful going down this path if I were you as it will only give rise to revealing the negativity that is directed to these individuals.

I understand that your viewpoint is one where Intelligent Design is in direct competition with Darwinism and as such you are fossicking for support to promote your position. The problem is that you are a betting man and right now you have your money on a donkey. If you disagree then lets compare the form guide for each. Lets see what the broader scientific community has to say on this matter.

cheers oz

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V2

Wednesday 2nd December 2009 | 06:37 PM

Hey Mr Oztrich
Your beliefs in evolution are naught more than religious
Based on no evidence at all, zip, zilch, nada
Big Bang=0
Abiogenesis=0
That is a total of nil
The foundation to evolution, scientifically speaking, does not exist.
Evolutionism has no facts behind it
You have a roof and a house built on squat. No foundation or ground.
The three little pigs are all cleverer than the average evolutionist. They may have built with dodgy materials, but at least they built there abodes on solid foundations.
Evolution, has none, cept maybe aliens and faith; in a Big Bang, yeah faith
Evolution is a religion Baby, yeaahh
I can challenge those issues and the best you can do is call me names
Loser

Jake Farr-Wharton

Jake Farr-Wharton

Wednesday 2nd December 2009 | 07:37 PM
202 total kudos

...in response to this comment by V2. Thanks Kirk Cameron, the burden of proof is on you fundamentalist creationists to prove your biblical version of genesis. To say that there is no evidence for evolution just says that you are unable to understand the evidence that exists, which is insurmountable.

Science can't disprove the notion of god, but it has already pissed all over your biblical timeline, which is what genesis relies on. Blow that out your bung hole.

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V2

Wednesday 2nd December 2009 | 08:49 PM

Oh contrare dear Jake
I accept my beliefs are faith based Jake
You though, believe "Scientifically" you are correct.
That means the proof is your burden, not mine dear.
Now I have seen no evidence to prove that the Earth is over only several thousand years old.
Proof? Got any? Scientific evidence
You cant lose, surely, can you?

and if you cant provide the scientific evidence, that will make you a evolutionism religious nutbag. It fits, so get use to the new costume
Very You Jake

You should start a topic, I am all tooled up

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V2

Wednesday 2nd December 2009 | 08:50 PM

CJ
CJ
Hello
CJ

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Tyler V

Thursday 3rd December 2009 | 02:55 AM

Again, I'm not going to get into a round and round and round debate with you were we are just listing of who has more scholars. But Ozzie, the point is that Behe was panned by some, and praised by others. Did some who panned him have legitimate critiques? Sure. It was a new theory and that was its first testing ground. Ofcourse it had some kinks. Still does. Did some who praised it praise it for ideology instead of science? Ofcourse. There will always be people who agree even for bad reasons. But my point above is that the scientific community has largely become the new inquisition that anything that even smacks of a threat to their worldview, will be shut out of the conversation from the get go, will be suppressed, mocked, and denied out of hand. If you want several examples, look at the Ben Stein's Expelled, David Berlinski's The Devil's Delusion, Philip Johnson's The Wedge of Truth, etc.

If you actually believe that the scientific community is not largely influenced by philosophical naturalism and a commitment to defending that worldview at all costs, then you are simply deluded. Look at the absurd lengths that Courtenay and Jake and Moral Crusader were willing to go to defend it. Nazi Germany and Slavery in America were morally acceptable in their cultural contexts but a holy and just God cant punish sin without being called objectively wicked!? If that isnt absurd I dont know what is. If you ACTUALLY believe that scientists are universally objective people who do not defend their worldview in the same way that all worldviews do (that I do, that you do, that Courtenay, Jake, Moral Crusader, Papa, etc. ALL do) then you have made an idol out of them and are more faith based than most Christians I know.

Papa

Papa

Thursday 3rd December 2009 | 04:20 AM
98 total kudos

...in response to this comment by Tyler V. "I was lucky enough to have chosen the liberal educated professors who studied the wider realm of text criticism."

You don't read too good son!

Again, I ask. And are you saying that there is a 99% certainty rate of our manuscripts today matching to those of the originals?

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Tyler V

Thursday 3rd December 2009 | 04:34 PM

you assume liberal education is better and you assume liberal education gives you better breadth of learning. Well sorry, but you CLEARLY didnt learn some of the basics.

And yes, from the 24000+ manuscripts and the 80000+ lectionaries/sermons, we can recreate the original text with about a 99% accuracy. you really think THAT many manuscripts are going to make the same mistakes in the same places? Besides, the VAST majority of errors are errors of spelling or word division. Not content. See Bauckham, Metzger, Bruce, Wallace, Carson, Geisler, Ryken, Wegner, Rittenhouse, etc.

But i'm guessing youre gonna have a "nuh-uh" kind of comment even though you obviously either are lying about your education or really didnt pay attention in school and are arguing the kind of pop-level criticism that litter the blog-o-sphere but never take root in academia or scholarly debates.

Listen to D.A. Carson's lecture on the resurrection: http://veritas.org/media/talks/482

Listen to Francis Collins (head of the Human Genome Project) on why as a scientist he believes, http://veritas.org/media/talks/685

Listen to Gary Habermas on the Resurrection Argument that changed a generation of scholarship, http://veritas.org/media/talks/615

Or listen to talks on dozens of topics related to this presented by top scholars in their fields, Like Collins a top scientist, Craig Blomberg and expert in NT studies, or Alvin Plantinga one of the premier American Philosopher of the past generation. All at http://veritas.org/media/

But something tells me you wont listen. You'll shoot of a pithy comment to deflect and remain completely unable to subject your worldview to any kind of scrutiny that may present a challenge to you. And you say Christians follow their faith blindly.

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Moral Crusader

Thursday 3rd December 2009 | 05:54 PM

185 posts on this blog now. I bet CJ Werlemen is happy. I wanted to again comment on Tyler's continued babble that the basis for morality standards can only derive from a god.

Admittedly we don't know why humans, and other primates who are absent of deities and religious doctrine, behave in an ethical manner towards one another. But we don't fully understand the human mind, enough yet to make conclusive claims.

But a rational approach to morality or ethics becomes possible once we accept or realize that matters of good vs evil are purely matters of happiness and suffering. If we start with happiness and suffering we can see that what conservative christians concern themselves with most, certainly in the political arena, has nothing to do with morality.

If I like Reverand Ted Haggar smoke meth while performing oral sex on a male prostitute in the privacy of a hotel then this is not an unethical act. Is it? I have inflicted no suffering on any other individual. (I am single btw)

Sam Harris writes in End of Faith: "It's time we realize that crimes without victims are like debts without creditors - they do not exist."

The fact that people of different times and cultures disagree about these kinds of ethical matters should not concern us. It implies nothing at all about the status of moral truth. The idea that religion is somehow the source of our ethical intuitions is nothing short of obscene, absurd, and ignorant. We no more get our sense that cruelty is wrong from the Bible than we get our sense that one plus one equals two from a text book on mathematics. Any person that does not have some innate sense that torturing a small child is ethically abhorrent is unlikely going to learn that it is so from some book on the subject. The FACT that our ethical intuitions have their roots in biology reveals that theist efforts to ground ethics in religious conceptions of moral duty are misguided and absolutely false.

If one of us saw a child being mauled by a dog, most of us would step in and do something about it. We simply don't need religious ideas to motivate us to live ethical lives. Once we begin thinking seriously about happiness and suffering, we find that our religious tradiitions are no more reliable on questions of ethics then they have been on scientific questions generally.

There is a whole scientific field of endeavour in learning more about ethics and the the sciences of the mind. Questions of why we only care about the well being of things that faces with human like expressions. Why we can raise money to save cuddly panda bears but we don't care for the torture of chickens, even though they are claimed to have higher intellect than dogs.

The further problem with religion and ethics is that it makes you see the other side less worthy or deserving of your happiness or concern in much the same way we care more for dogs than chickens. Why were regular Lutheran or Catholic Nazi rank n file officers able to go to work every morning, throw a few dozen Jewish kids into an oven alive, then return home for dinner with their families every night? Because once you believe that the other side is not deserving of god's love (because they won't accept Jesus, and Jesus says non believers will suffer for eternity anyway), and if god doesn't care for their happiness why should the nazi in the example i just gave?

CJ put at the bottom of one of his posts, "America is young and dumb" as the reason that religiosity is so high in america compared to the rest of the developed world. I really believe Christians are young and dumb when it comes to researching the information we now have on the mind, and ethical behavior.

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Tyler V

Thursday 3rd December 2009 | 06:54 PM

SO to disagree with me, youre gonna fall back on the “we just don’t know” argument? So you will knock Christians for blind faith, and me for “babble” but then your counter is, “yeah,… we just don’t know.”

You then say matters of morality and ethics are really matters of happiness and suffering. Sorry, I disagree as do most philosophers and ethicists unless they are the very small fringe (like Singer for example) who are utilitarians. Sorry, but most moral actions are in direct CONTRADICTION to what would make me happy. Our conscience often contends with what we want and would make us happy.

Also, you then leap from morality to politics. Do you actually think that you are being logical and consistent or do you realize that MASSIVE leaps that you are taking without any basis to do so?

Since I disagree with your premise, most of what you say after does not follow. So the only things that are immoral are things that cause pain? (and by the way you keep sliding from moral to ethical, which are two very different things) So would adultery be acceptable so long as your wife never finds out?

You also seem to miss the point that you still have not provided a basis for moral obligation. If morality is only what causes happiness, where does the OUGHT come from in the idea that I OUGHT to seek happiness? I assume you mean the overall quantity of happiness not just my own happiness because I don’t think you are foolish enough to think that personal happiness suffices as a basis or I could do a LOT of things that would make me happy but cause a lot of harm to a lot of people. But if I ought to seek the most possible happiness for the most possible people, where does the OUGHT come from. See, you have denied universals by positing a universal.

And if God exists, then there is ALWAYS and offended party when we perform immoral actions.

You then say, AGAIN showing that you either cannot understand or choose not to understand what my position is, “The idea that religion is somehow the source of our ethical intuitions is nothing short of obscene, absurd, and ignorant. We no more get our sense that cruelty is wrong from the Bible than we get our sense that one plus one equals two from a text book on mathematics.” I have NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER (should I say it again…) NEVER claimed that we get morality from religion, the Bible, our faith, anything like that. I have NEVER NEVER NEVER said that it takes belief in God to be moral or believe in morality. What I have said, is that for their to be absolute OUGHTness, there MUST be a God. Morality is based on the NATURE of God, NOT on the Bible.

But my argument is, you claim that people should INNATELY know that torturing children is wrong. I agree. But I believe that is because it is universally, objectively, really and absolutely wrong to do so because it is rooted in the eternal nature of God. What do YOU base it on? Why is it innate? Did it evolve? Is it by social contract like Courtenay and Jake say? You say that it is a “FACT” (though capitalizing “fact” doesn’t make it so), that our ethical intuitions are based on our biology. Tell me, is our morality genetic? What is the moral gene? If I stole from you, or punched you in the face, and you wanted to tell me I was wrong, or take me to court, why should your moral gene or any judge’s moral gene impose any moral obligation onto me? Is the biology (which is a drastically vague concept that you left undefined) which our morality is based on still evolving? So does our morality evolve? Should we see people who are immoral as less evolved and therefore less fit and damaging to our race? Should we not then seek to purge them or atleast force sterilize them to keep them from infecting our species further? (I hope you see the tarpit you have now stepped into.)

You continue on to argue against the strawman that morality does not need religious sensitivities. Again, I never claimed that so you can waste your breath against that all you want. But at the end of the day, you never even addressed my argument.

You then say we only care for things that have human like faces or can express emotion (You didn’t say the second part but I gave you the benefit of the doubt.) Tell me, are you an environmentalist? Do you think we have an ethical obligation to save the rainforest? To stop global warming? Did you ever see an ice cap smile? Do trees whimper?

I’m wondering… have you ACTUALLY thought these through or are you just shooting from the hip?

Then you show your shocking ignorance regarding the situation regarding state churches in Nazi Germany and their involvement in the holocaust. This really is a pointless argument because again, I am not claiming religious belief creates morality, I said GOD does. (Although I could raise the objection that your inferred conclusions are simply false because they are unfounded generalizations as we can see from even worse atrocities commited in Stalin’s Russia, Mao’s China, Hoxha’s Albania, etc.

You also make the false assumption that Christianity believes that the “other side” is “not deserving of God’s love.” In stating that you show that YOU don’t understand Christianity in the slightest. The idea is that NOBODY deserves God’s love. That’s what GRACE is, UNDESERVED favor. Thus we aren’t better than anyone else. C.S. Lewis said it best, “We are just one beggar showing another beggar where to get bread.” The church is the only institution where you have to first KNOW that you DON’T deserve to be a part of it, before you can be a part of it.

Your name, Moral Crusader, is ironic since you are completely unable to ground any kind of moral obligation to anyone, anytime, anywhere. You say we are young and dumb? I is clear that you have either never thought about these before and are just shooting from the hip, or you haven’t ever thought deep and been challenged about these before.

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Tyler V

Thursday 3rd December 2009 | 06:57 PM

p.s. you will also notice that Courtenay calls us "young and dumb" but then is entirely unable to address my questions for him. He deflects and dodges, and when he really gets backed into a corner he lashes out with vitrioloic ad hominem statements because he knows that he has no answer and that no matter how he answers he either has to give up his ability to critique, or his atheism. He is a good example of the blind leading the blind here.

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Chonggy

Friday 4th December 2009 | 03:11 AM

"then your counter is, “yeah,… we just don’t know.”

I've got no problem with 'I don't know' its when you fill the 'i don't knows' with the 'God did it so we don't need to find out' that I have trouble with.

V2 - seriously. All the evidence; radioactive dating, stratigraphy, plate tectonics, paleontology.. the volumes of information showing the world to be several Billions of years old is all a sham. And we've all been sucked in, except for you! You smarty.. you know better than to trust scientific evidence, especially when the Bible says it ain't so.

So now that I am the only one to have risen to this (CJ, MC, Jake and Papa were way to intelligent) lets hear the "real" science that you've read about in your evangelistic monthly magazine.
Or have you done your own backyard experiments proving the grand canyon was formed from the flood in 15 minutes.

If your Pa had of let you go to school you would have found out that evolution has substantial evidence backing it. Yeah i know.. wheres my proof! Pick up a fucking science book you retard.

Papa

Papa

Friday 4th December 2009 | 04:19 AM
98 total kudos

...in response to this comment by Tyler V. You know what, your right. Because I could sit here and explain to you that the earliest text we have dates 100 years after Jesus. Mh, I guess texts can't change very much in a illiterate society in a 100 years. Or I could explain to you that almost every major scholar world wides admits that there is NO way to reconstruct a very very old text to 99% accuracy, biblical and non biblical alike. But your right, I don't want anything to change my view. Like blind statements like you say above.

It couldn't be possible for thousands of manuscripts to have the same error! Woh, that sounds like some logical research to me!

The fact still remains that we don't have any of the originals of any biblical text, period.

Let me make this clear enough for you...

IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO KNOW HOW MUCH CHANGE HAS BEEN DONE TO A TEXT, WHEN THE EARLIEST ONES WE HAVE DATE HUNDREDS OF YEARS AFTER THEY WERE SUPPOSEDLY WRITTEN.

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Tyler V

Friday 4th December 2009 | 04:29 AM

Chongy, the problem is that I am not using the "i dont know" argument as a valid argument like you are. Im also not saying we dont know so I'm not filling anything like you claim I am. If I could object to whatever you said by positing "i dont know, therefore youre wrong," you would NEVER accept that as an argument. ha. but for you its ok? special pleading anyone?

And Chongy, you are deluded if you think that all Christians are the fundamentalists like Ken Ham. There is nothing necessarily contradictory between the Bible and science. The contradiction is between 6 day fundamentalists and neo-darwinian theory based on philosophical naturalism.

You wanna know how off base you and Courtenay and Jake are? How many scientists are theists? (Not Christian, but some kind of theist.)

The following is cited from Livescience.com staff writer Robert Roy Britt. (http://www.livescience.com/strangenews/050811_scientists_god.html)

About two-thirds of scientists believe in God, according to a new survey that uncovered stark differences based on the type of research they do.

The study, along with another one released in June, would appear to debunk the oft-held notion that science is incompatible with religion.

Those in the social sciences are more likely to believe in God and attend religious services than researchers in the natural sciences, the study found.

The opposite had been expected.

Nearly 38 percent of natural scientists -- people in disciplines like physics, chemistry and biology -- said they do not believe in God. Only 31 percent of the social scientists do not believe.

In the new study, Rice University sociologist Elaine Howard Ecklund surveyed 1,646 faculty members at elite research universities, asking 36 questions about belief and spiritual practices.

"Based on previous research, we thought that social scientists would be less likely to practice religion than natural scientists are, but our data showed just the opposite," Ecklund said.

Some stand-out stats: 41 percent of the biologists don't believe, while that figure is just 27 percent among political scientists.

In separate work at the University of Chicago, released in June, 76 percent of doctors said they believed in God and 59 percent believe in some sort of afterlife.

"Now we must examine the nature of these differences," Ecklund said today. "Many scientists see themselves as having a spirituality not attached to a particular religious tradition. Some scientists who don't believe in God see themselves as very spiritual people. They have a way outside of themselves that they use to understand the meaning of life."

Ecklund and colleagues are now conducting longer interviews with some of the participants to try and figure it all out.


Other resources:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2009/dec/01/evolution-curriculum-intelligent-design-school

See what you dont realize is that what you are calling "science" and "evidence" is actually unscientific and lacking in evidence because you are not arguing for testable, repeatable, verifiable scientific method, but philsophical naturalism. You are arguing not for evidences, but a presuppositional worldview.

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Tyler V

Friday 4th December 2009 | 05:04 AM

Papa,

You AGAIN show that you either lied about studying this at a college level, or you never paid attention in class. Here is why.

1. Sure, the earliest manuscript that we have is 100 years after Jesus. P52 is 100 years after the crucifixion. Now this argument would be meaningful IF what we were talking about was the ORIGINAL being 100 years after the event, or if the original had been written during the same moment as the crucifixion. NEITHER are the case. We are talking about the reliability of manuscript transmission to recreate the original autograph. The original John was written in early 90AD. So P52 is only about 35 years after the ORIGINAL. This is completely unheard of for any other ancient document. The runners-up are not just a couple years longer, but CENTURIES longer.

2. As for the “illiterate” culture. I’m sorry, do you think it was the “illiterate” people who were doing manuscript transmission? Ha, what would that even look like for an illiterate person to do manuscript transmission? The objection is ABSURD. It was the SCRIBES and the MOST educated in society that did transmission because paying for the materials was EXPENSIVE back then. IT was very costly to copy a document in ancient times and that is why often manuscripts didn’t even keep full spaces between words to conserve space.

3. Tell me, these “almost every major scholar worldwide”, who are they? Name some and tell me in what book (with page numbers) or articles that they make that assertion? I’m tired of you making things up. I have given you citations and authors and books and video lectures. You just make wild claims (that I know are false because I am actually IN the field.)

4. That is correct that it is not possible for thousands of manuscripts to make the SAME mistake. Lets say that the original said, “In the beginning was the word. The word was with God, and the word was God.” Each of the FIRST three manuscript goes to the ORIGINAL (since that is what a first manuscript is, a copy of the original.) They each make one mistake as follows (I’ll capitalize the mistakes to make this really simple for you):

Manuscript A: “In the beginning was the word. The word was IN God, and the word was God.”
Manuscript B: “ON the beginning was the word. The word was with God, and the word was God.”
Manuscript C: In the beginning was the WORLD. The word was with God, and the word was God.

Now, we can look at those three and perfectly reconstruct what the original was because we can see that for each error, the majority of the manuscripts will not make the same mistake. Now this was for one sentence. Imagine it for the entire length of say Matthew, or even a short book like Jude. The second generation manuscript of Manuscript A will continue the same mistake as Manuscript A, but it the second generations of the others WONT. Multiple this by 24000 manuscripts and 80000 lectionaries and sermon citations, and you have a VERY consistent system of checks and balances where in if a mistake is made, it only survives in a relatively small strand of the actual manuscripts. So when we line up all the manuscripts it is OBVIOUS where the errors are. The only VALID problem that you have EVER raised on here is when WHOLE sections like the long ending of Mark or the story in John 8 don’t appear until late into the second or early 3rd century. But those are a handful of instances and any good study Bible will set those sections apart in brackets and most Christians are not married to inerrancy in those cases. So its actually not that big of a problem at all and it has nothing to do with our ability to reconstruct the originals with near certainty.

You then say that “we don’t have any of the originals of any biblical text, period.” Well guess what… we don’t have any originals of ANY ancient text… period! If not having the originals means that we cannot trust the source, then again I dare you to walk onto any university and tell them to scratch Plato, Aristotle, Shakespeare, and any ability to know pretty much anything before the advent of the printing press! Again, you simply show your complete ignorance on issues of the historical validation of any ancient text. Lets see, the first manuscript of the Bible we have is at about +30 from the original… other ancient texts are at BEST about +300-400 and are actually USUALLY at 1000+ or more. Other works have a handful of manuscripts and at best (like with Homer or Pliny) maybe a couple hundred from over 1000 years after, and the Bible has combined over 100,000. Other texts show drastic degeneration in transmission, while the Bible shows an unprecedented stability. You know why the Dead Sea Scrolls amazed so many people. Before that, the earliest copies of the Old Testament that we had were from about 900AD. With the DSS we had an entire collection of the Old Testament (minus either Ruth or Esther… I always mix up which of them were left out) from prior to 100 BC. That moves our earliest manuscripts back 1000 years. And how much did the DSS differ from the Masoretic text of 900AD? Over 1000 years they varied in accuracy from about 95-99%. That’s 1000 years of transmission with the vast majority of degeneration being issues like spelling, space breaks, and word order.

Your final statement shows your sheer ignorance of the topics. You screamed, “IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO KNOW HOW MUCH CHANGE HAS BEEN DONE TO A TEXT, WHEN THE EARLIEST ONES WE HAVE DATE HUNDREDS OF YEARS AFTER THEY WERE SUPPOSEDLY WRITTEN.” That is BLATENTLY false as seen from above. First, it is very easy to evaluate what errors have been made when we have over 1000 manuscripts to compare, and when the earliest manuscripts are not 100 years after they were supposedly written, they are only 30 years after they were written and 100 years after the events that the original autograph described.

Are you REALLY going to keep up the charade that you know what you are talking about?

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chonggy

Friday 4th December 2009 | 05:55 AM

Tyler
Believing in a god may not be incompatible with science but believing the world is 6000 years old is. How many of the scientist that believe in God believe in a young earth. Two fifths of fuck all is my bet.
And yes I am arguing for testable, repeatable, verifiable scientific methods. You need to read into it more

Papa

Papa

Friday 4th December 2009 | 06:01 AM
98 total kudos

...in response to this comment by Tyler V. You know what I could do, is list the dozens and dozens of scholars world wide that agree with me. But it wouldn't matter would it? Your a Christian.

Your going to believe that the bible is historically accurate (which it is not). Your going to believe in your jesus, HS, and whatever you believe in.

Again, your argument rests on the fact that it is possible to construct an accurate representation of the original with documents that date years and years and years after they were written. Yes, John is thought to have been written somewhere in 90s. So now your going to put supreme faith in a document that was written some 60 years after the death of Christ. Than was edited, translated circulated for another 40 years, and then we have P52. And then your going to sit there and tell me that we know what the originals look like within a point of a percent?

John Collins, George Nickelsburg, Loren Stuckenbruck, Patrick Tiller, James VanderKam, Gwendolyn Sayler, Bart Ehrman, Any one who has ever written in a Hermeneia series, World Biblical Commentaries (as well as dozens of other commentaries) Leonard L Thompson, Michael Knibb, James Dunn, Koester... Just to name a few... To be honest I forgot most of them...

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Papa

Papa

Friday 4th December 2009 | 06:09 AM
98 total kudos

...in response to this comment by Tyler V. The Christian faith in its infinitial state was a persecuted and shunned belief system. The romans and their appeal to antiquity, allowed the Jews to practice to their beliefs for the most part.

However the christian faith at this time was small pockets of poor, uneducated and perseucted people. Can you tell me the literacy rate for the 1st century? Its something like 2%. And as seen by the theology of the NT, the christian faith was a poor man's religion. Christians were most likely not of that high elite 2% that could read and write. It depended on the help from scribes that wouldn't copy a damn thing without being paid. And again, even the best scribes made mistakes. Made small theological errors and spelling mistakes. All of these mistakes are not known because again...

I could have 3 million copies of a document that dates to the 1100s. But if It was written 500 years earlier, and I have none of those copies. How am I possibly going to state that I know exactly what happened to a document for 500 years? You argument is based off the fact that we have a lot of something. Well if you look at the dates of what we have, only dozens date to the first 3 centurys, if even that.

Then they made copies, of copies of copies of copies. Just because I copy a document and now I have two doesn't mean that someone didn't make an error of the one I just copied. I am not really sure how to explain this to you.

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Tyler V

Friday 4th December 2009 | 06:52 AM

Chonggy, great. Then we agree. The universe being 6000 years old is stupid. Besides the fundamentalists, I dont know a single Christian who is a young earth creationist. In fact, the 6000 year old young earth creationism is a Johnny Come-Lately on the Christian theological scene much like the rapture is. They dont represent most Christians and definitely are not the historic confession of the church. So great. We agree. But again, since thats not my position (or most theists for that matter) youre fighting the fundamentalists and strawmen. Good for you. Now, you wanna stay on track?

You dont have to list dozens and dozens. Give me 5 with footnotes. Tell me their books and where it says what you say they say. Thats all.

Ha, and I like how rather than dealing with ANY of what I said you still just say "than was edited, translated circulated for another 40 years, and then we have P52." Well we have no evidence that it was edited, p52 is written in Greek and so there was no translation, and yeah it was circulated which means that a bunch of people read it and if the manuscripts were wrong, they would have been scrapped. It would be like if I decided to "manuscript" Romeo and Juliet but in the end they lived happily ever after. It wouldnt fly because people are familiar with the original.

So yes, since I have studied this and you obviously have just skimmed some blogs til you felt sufficiently cocky in your skeptical faith, I can say, with scholars who I am able to cite and provide books and lectures and articles from, that we can reconstruct the original with almost absolute certainty. Now does that mean that the Bible is inerrant or true? No, thats a totally separate argument. It just means that we can be sure what the originals said. The originals could have said that purple elephants used to rule the world and be totally wrong, but we would atleast know what the originals looked like.

Ha, and nice list. Some of those guys are scholars who BELIEVE the Bible (James Dunn, Hermenia, World Commentaries, etc. even if they are critical in some regards, especially Dunn. ha. you might as well try to say NT Wright or something. haha). Others, like Erhman, represent a very small fringe in the SBL, something in the order of less than 1% who are still tied to German Higher Criticism of almost a century ago that even most German critical scholars have already rejected. Another example is Loren Stuckenbruck who's expertise is in intertestamental literature (like Tobit and Enoch) and writes alongside evangelical scholars like Richard Bauckham.

But I saved the best for last to PROVE beyond a shadow of a doubt that you have NO CLUE what you are talking about. John Collins was one of the two contributing editors to the Catholic Study Bible. In the introduction to that Bible it says, "Surprisingly, although some variants exists, there is still remarkable correspondence between the state of the Biblical text in the first century and in the third or fourth century AD - testimony to the accuracy and care with which ancient peoples handed on the Biblical tradition." Yeah, that sounds like a guy who doesnt think we can know what the originals said... the guy who is the EDITOR of the Catholic Bible and who says the correspondence is "remarkable."

So I absolutely KNOW that you are just picking out SBL and Biblical scholars and citing their names even though you have NO clue what you are talking about.

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Tyler V

Friday 4th December 2009 | 07:23 AM

Not all Christians were poor at all. We see people who were land owners selling large parcels of land to raise money to give to the poor, we see people in civil government, We see people like Lydia who dealt in purpose cloth (a VERY expensive material and she would be in the upper echelon of society) etc. Were they poor for the most part? It’s a mixed bag. They became more poor until Constantine because of the persecution and because they often sold everything they had to give to the needy. And poor didn’t mean uneducated. Look at Paul, as a Pharisee he would be poor but his greek is excellent, he was well versed not only in the Hebrew Bible but also in the greek philosophers. Look at Peter and James and John… fishermen yet their Greek varies from simple (John) to quite complex (Peter). Basically you are making a TON of ridiculous assumptions that don’t even stack up to the simplest of scrutiny.

And yes, 500 years would be a lot. So do you scratch Plato? Homer? Aristotle? Pliny? Ptolemy? Etc. They are often not just 500 years of time between the original and the first extant manuscript, but 800, 900, 1000 + years later! But we have p52 at +30 and from there the flood gates fall open. We have hundreds (not dozens) of manuscripts within 100-150 years. But lets say its only dozens. Lets say it was only 60 within the first 100 years. What do we have?

The earliest manuscript of Aristotle is 1400 years after the original and we have about 5 from that time period. For Pliny we have the earliest at about 750 years and we have 7 of those. For Tacitus we have a span of 1000 years and that one has about 20. And these are some of the BETTER attested ancient works. So even if we have dozens (60) or even just 2 dozen (24) within 100 years, that is ridiculously better than ANY OTHER ancient text.

The point is that when the Bible compares to ALL other ancient text, nothing even can hold a candle to the Bible, yet skeptics freak out about the Bible and yet completely accept other documents as perfectly acceptable. They use a different standard because they don’t like the content of the Bible. It has NOTHING to do with manuscripts or transmission because if that were the case, the Bible stands head and shoulders above ALL other ancient documents.

And you clearly don’t get how copies of copies work.

If I have Manuscript A, B, C, and D, and then copy them as A-2, B-2, C-2, D-2. then again I have A-3, B-3, C-3, D-3. But instead of just 4 manuscripts, lets just say the first generation was about 100 (that’s a low estimate too). B-48 for example wouldn’t copy from D-47. It would remain in the B family and would thus carry on its own unique variants that none or VERY Few of the other manuscripts would make. (what are the chances that 100 scribes would all make the same errors in the same place). It also misses that when they wrote a new manuscript, they didn’t throw out the older one. They kept both. So in some cases we can even tell at what generation the mistake was made.

Besides, what kind of variants do we find? Is it injection of new material, redaction, change of content, etc.? No, the variants are almost exclusively spelling, word division or word order (if you know Hebrew or Greek you know word order is VERY fluid, NOTHING like English.) So lets say I was copying a letter and I wrote “I SEA the sun rising.” Would you say, “oh my gosh! I have NO clue what word that was supposed to be!!!” No, spelling and word division problem are easily recognized!

Again, is is just simply clear that you don’t know what you are talking about. Stop reading the lay bloggers or other lay anti-theists like Courtenay and pick up a scholar. Read the people who disagree with you. Stop being the blind following the blind.

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V2

Friday 4th December 2009 | 08:10 AM

...in response to this comment by Tyler V. The universe being 6000 years old is stupid. Besides the fundamentalists, I dont know a single Christian who is a young earth creationist. In fact, the 6000 year old young earth creationism is a Johnny Come-Lately on the Christian theological scene much like the rapture is. They dont represent most Christians and definitely are not the historic confession of the church

Well Mr V, care to elaborate. I would be happy to accept the Earths older than several (6) thousand years, strangely though,the evidence, seems to be lacking

Your Bible? I guess states : Romans 5 12 Therefore, just as through one man (Adam?)sin entered into the world, and death (No death before Adams sin) through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned.
..............states clearly that death didnt exist till man sinned
Is the Bible wrong. Itd be only a little error really wouldnt it?
Stupid word, did I read that somewhere?

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Tyler V

Friday 4th December 2009 | 08:28 AM

Well considering that the young earth creation was such a minority view in the church until the Darwinian debate I would have to say I'm on pretty solid ground to say that its not the best or even typical position of the church.

As for Romans 5:12, it seems pretty simple that "death" is a reference to human death not death in general since the phrase is "so death spread to all men." I do not think it is necessary to say that a lion killing a gazelle is a product of sin. Sin morality is a curiously human attribute rooted in the nature of God, animals do not sin. Now, is there some precident to the notion that human sin has had adverse effects on the created order? Sure, but I dont think we should build an entire cosmology around one vague verse that can be read numerous different ways. I tend to stick with the principle that the clear passages should interpret the unclear ones. And I also believe that God wrote two books. One is the Bible, the other is the natural universe, and we learn truth from both. So if the Bible does not tell us how God created or why or when, but the advances of science can date things, then I dont have a problem with that. The problem is when people committed to philosophical naturalism try and hijack science and make it say more than is proper within its own boundaries.

Jake Farr-Wharton

Jake Farr-Wharton

Friday 4th December 2009 | 08:31 AM
202 total kudos

...in response to this comment by V2. Evidence for the age of the Earth is not lacking sir; your ability to either comprehend or accept such evidence is the only thing in lacking.

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Tyler V

Friday 4th December 2009 | 09:00 AM

Jake, for once we agree. The evidence for the age of the earth is not lacking. But you also CLEARLY did not understand what I was saying. I AGREE that the earth is over 4 billion years old. I was pointing out to V2 that the age of the earth is NOT a Bible question, it is a science question. The Bible makes no assertions about it. Its not a science book. I disagree with fundamentalists who insist on a 6000 year old earth and much as you do. So no, my ability to comprehend evidence is not lacking at all. Unless yours is lacking too since we both AGREE that the earth is NOT 6000 years old.

Papa

Papa

Friday 4th December 2009 | 09:24 AM
98 total kudos

...in response to this comment by Tyler V. None of us understand you huh? We are just a bunch of blind leading the blind around here Tyler.

I studied my ass off for my degree, spent hours and hours and hours writing papers. Doing critical exegesis. Learning Greek, reading greek. Learning church history, learning about manuscripts and how theologically manipulative scribes were. Worked for the director of grad programs, who by the way had Stuckenbruck as his advisor for his doctorate dissertation.

And this is just ignorant.
"Well we have no evidence that it was edited"

Every document in antiquity is subject to being edited and modified. Assuming that it wasn't modified is like shoving your head in the sand. And if you assume for some reason that books in the bible are not subject to the same modification, than thats why your a fundamentalist. The fact that you even think you know how exactly how documents were translated and edited shows your ignorance. No one knows, but we do know that if we compare documents like any book in the bible with other documents pertaining to the same time period. WE will see the same edits, being malicious or simple spelling errors.

I guess I could say I am surprised that you actually believe this stuff, but its the internet. And to top it off your a christian. But the fact remains is that, I study this stuff without god deciding my decision. You on the other read everything into the text, make false claims about how we know exactly what the originals are like and then criticize people like me who challenge your claims with FACT and scholarly research. I say early christians are poor you say, nope. Well unfortunately we have more research to support that early christianity (1st and 2nd century) was predominantly poor and uneducated persecuted people. Almost all the books in the NT hint at a target audience of the poor and oppressed. Don't even get me started on Revelation.

Oh but what do I know? I just skim blogs all day and pick and choose what I want to believe. Again like I said before, the wider realm of scholarly research supports my statements. You can read your conservative group of traditional christians all day long and disagree. But untill you have sampled from the small group of conservatives (which I was required to in my conservative school) or you can open up your mind and actually start reading some other research that hasn't been written in the south.

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Papa

Papa

Friday 4th December 2009 | 09:29 AM
98 total kudos

...in response to this comment by Tyler V. "so there was no translation"

And I am pretty sure, that it is widely accepted that Jesus most likely spoke Aramaic. Now, I think that when you attempt to change something in one language into another, thats called a "translation". I could be mistaken?

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Papa

Papa

Friday 4th December 2009 | 09:34 AM
98 total kudos

...in response to this comment by Papa. That last paragraph didn't make any fucking sense. I need a martini...

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V2

Friday 4th December 2009 | 03:37 PM

...in response to this comment by Tyler V. Funny Mr V
I didnt believe in a young Earth creation till about a year ago. I was never for creation or evolution prior to that and stayed out of most conversations due to ignorance.
I was challenged by a friend from church to prove evolution or old Earth creation
*I found no solid evidence, none. Not a drop. Plenty of theory and peer reviews, but no evidence
oh and By the way, I was not brought up in a Christian home
I was never taught creation, I went out and studied it at about the age of 38

As you stated earlier Mr V "Read the people who disagree with you. Stop being the blind following the blind."
You know the Pope does not believe in creation. Maybe thats where you get it from

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Tyler V

Friday 4th December 2009 | 03:55 PM

Well Jake was assuming that I was arguing for a young earth creationist model. Which if I was, would be a shock to me since I don’t hold that position. Ha. So yes, he didn’t understand me.

Tell me again where you went to school? Who was the director that you studied with? And I studied under a professor who was Dispensational, Premillennial and Arminian but I am Reformed, Amillennial and Calvinistic. Studying under someone doesn’t mean that you agree with everything or even most things. So great, you worked for the guy who’s advisor was Stuckenbruck… good for you.

And yes, no evidence that it was edited. The near exactness of the DSS and the Masoretic text 1000 years later is a pretty good sign that there was no editing taking place. Although it is again clear that you are well… unclear on this issue because you lump in “simple spelling errors” with editing. Ha. If you are using “editing” in place for variation, then we have no disagreement.

And great, we BOTH study manuscripts without God “deciding my decision.” Manuscript verification has NOTHING to do with the truth of the claims within the document. Manuscript transmission is an objective standard about the transmission quality, chronological distance, and autograph reconstruction that occurs on any book of antiquity. The fact that you are also wholly unable to differentiate between historical study of manuscripts and historical study of the content of Scripture also shows that you have a blog understanding of the issues, and not an educated one.

You then say that I “criticize people like me who challenge your claims with FACT and scholarly research.” Again, capitalizing “FACT” doesn’t make it so. You cite no sources, you give no examples, you give no data, heck, you don’t even give any logically thought out argumentation. What you give are generalizations and bald assertions that are more frequently than not, just flat out false. Should I remind you that you tried to pass of John Collins as someone who denies the Bible?! So no, you don’t follow up ANYTHING with scholarly research, arguments, facts, or anything of the sort. And if you think that you actually HAVE, then that is even more sad than if you were just bluffing!

Ha, and great, the target of the Bible is poor and oppressed. What does that get you? Obama writes speeches targeted at the poor and oppressed. Does that mean Obama is necessarily ignorant, illiterate, or irrational? In fact, your boy Dawkins (and Courtenay) said that their books WERENT written for those in the know, but for the lay people who don’t know any better! Where is your critique of him?

Besides, if you have studied Greek for even one semester, you know that it is greatly varied in its sophistication. Revelation and the epistles of John being elementary all the way to Hebrews being intensely complex and intricate, even to the point where Hebrews has been compared to some of the best ancient texts in regards to its mastery of the Greek language.


You again say, “the wider realm of scholarly research supports my statements.” Again, footnotes please! And I dont know who are talking about “research that has been written in the South.” I read F.F. Bruce (who got his degrees from the University of Aberdeen, Cambridge University and the University of Vienna and who teaches at Edinburgh, Leeds, Sheffeld, and then Manchester), Bruce Metzger (educated at Princeton and was professor at Cambridge, Oxford and Princeton and was Bart Erhman’s Doctoral advisor at Princeton), Richard Bauckham (educated at Cambridge and St. Johns and is professor at St. Andrews and Cambridge), William Mounce (educated at Aberdeen and professor at Gordon-Conwell) and on and on. So no, these are not some conservative fringe.

I think that anyone still reading this who has half a mind can tell that you really have no clue what you are talking about, and say you are providing evidence and “scholarly research” but have not provided a shred of either outside of listing off a bunch of names, most of which DON’T even agree with you!

And wow. Not to be rude but your “Jesus spoke Aramaic” is some stinkin’ thinking’. Its just so sloppy that I almost don’t know where to start.

Sure… Jesus probably spoke Aramaic… he probably almost assuredly spoke Hebrew and Greek and probably had some exposure to Latin as well. People in that area spoke and understood most of those because Aramaic was your daily language, Hebrew was the language of the synagogue, Greek was the international language you had to know to do business there, and Latin was the language of the government. But even with all that said, ha, we are talking about MANUSCRIPTS!!!

Guess what… Paul, John, Matthew, etc…. they wrote in GREEK. So since we are talking about MANUSCRIPTS of what the AUTHORS wrote, not what Jesus said, Jesus’ language really has absolutely NOTHING to with the discussion. So since John wrote in greek, and since P52 is in greek… and a lot of the earliest manuscripts are in greek…. then yeah... that would be NOT translation.

Again, the fact that you cant even keep focused on what issues are even involved in manuscript transmission is a pretty clear sign that you are lying about either having studied it at all, or that you aren’t getting your sources from blogs worse than this one, or both.

Are you so prideful to keep up the charade that you are going to KEEP trying to pass it off that you know what you are talking about? Just let it go man. Its obvious to anyone that you don’t know what you are talking about. I’m not trying to be mean. I’m trying to spare you any further embarrassment.

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Tyler V

Friday 4th December 2009 | 04:03 PM

V2, I’ll keep this brief. I wasn’t raised in a Christian home either. I came to faith in Christ after studying philosophy, science, text criticism, etc. I don’t care if you’re a young earth creationist. I think youre wrong, but I don’t care. My entire point is that the Bible is not a science text book. I think Christians make the same mistake in trying to marry the Bible to any specific scientific theory as atheists do in trying to marry science with philosophical naturalism. I’m not trying to defend old earth, young earth, God of the gaps, fully realized creationism, fully gifted creationism, theistic evolution, etc. I’m defending that God created. I’m not defending how, just that He did. God is necessary for the uniformity of the laws of logic which are required for science, he is necessary for universal, absolute, eternal, immuable laws of logic, and he is necessary for objective, absolute morality and moral judgments. That’s my argument.

And I’m not sure what the Pope has to do with this. I’m not catholic. I’m Presbyterian. So, Pope has no influence over me besides maybe some cool fashion tips. haha

Papa

Papa

Friday 4th December 2009 | 04:57 PM
98 total kudos

...in response to this comment by Tyler V. "So great, you worked for the guy who’s advisor was Stuckenbruck… good for you"

You asked for scholars, I listed them. And then you criticize me for saying my boss wrote his dissertation under Stuckenbruck?

"The near exactness of the DSS and the Masoretic text 1000 years later is a pretty good sign that there was no editing taking place"

The earliest manuscripts of the Old testament (which were included in the Dead Sea Scrolls" dates to around 200 years CE. So assuming your theory is correct, no edited took place after 200 CE. What about prior to 200 CE? When was Job supposedly written?

"The fact that you are also wholly unable to differentiate between historical study of manuscripts and historical study of the content of Scripture also shows that you have a blog understanding of the issues, and not an educated one"

The historical critical technique requires a true scholar to dissect the theological statements made in the text and then extrapolate the certain sociological context that the author is writing in. Hence, if an author is constantly pushing towards a divine apocalypse imminent on their enemy, it is most likely thought that they are being persecuted by that enemy. Easy logic, that you for some reason have problem seeing.

"Besides, if you have studied Greek for even one semester, you know that it is greatly varied in its sophistication"

And? There are some people that attempt to use big words to impress others (like you and Luke). And others that like to keep it simple, like John and Matthew. There are greek words in Luke that don't appear any where else in the New Testament. So, what is your point again?

"Sure… Jesus probably spoke Aramaic… he probably almost assuredly spoke Hebrew and Greek and probably had some exposure to Latin as well. People in that area spoke and understood most of those because Aramaic was your daily language, Hebrew was the language of the synagogue, Greek was the international language you had to know to do business there, and Latin was the language of the government"

You criticize me for not providing scholarly research? Where is your evidence that they spoke Latin and Greek? Hence most of early christians were uneducated and could not speak greek. I thought that we already established this?

"Guess what… Paul, John, Matthew, etc…. they wrote in GREEK. So since we are talking about MANUSCRIPTS of what the AUTHORS wrote, not what Jesus said, Jesus’ language really has absolutely NOTHING to with the discussion."

Weird, last time I checked were talking about translations last post? As I recall you said that John was not a "translation". Well, if Jesus spoke aramaic, than guess what. It would need to be translated in order to be written in greek. And sense there is no "fact" in your posts as you inherently point out, I must assume that Jesus did in fact spoke aramaic. And that John as well as the other gospels were translations.

Also, there are no signatures on any of the manuscripts (last time I checked). We do not know the authors of John or Matthew. So if you assume that Matthew or John wrote these documents, you are fundamentalist in nature.

"Again, the fact that you cant even keep focused on what issues are even involved in manuscript transmission is a pretty clear sign that you are lying about either having studied it at all"

No, it means that I can keep focused. You attempt to convolute every argument to confuse this forum community. Just like how you attempted to explain how early documents were translated and copied. I am sorry but again no one knows how it is done. Did you forget that little conversation we were having a few posts earlier?

You remind me of someone I knew once. Man she could argue anyone under the table. She would just tire them out with incoherent nonsense and attempt to change the topic every time she knew she knew she was caught. Everyone would just give up because they were tired of dealing with her... Good thing I have some experience with idiots or else I would have given up a long time ago... Go ahead with your babble dude, I will reply.... :)


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Papa

Papa

Friday 4th December 2009 | 05:12 PM
98 total kudos

...in response to this comment by Papa. Shit I need to proof read my posts. BCE! BCE! For the Dead Sea Scrolls....

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Tyler V

Saturday 5th December 2009 | 05:02 AM

I asked for scholars and CITATIONS. Your listen a bunch of scholars, many of whom DON’T support you position because you have never actually read them. And Metzger was the Doctoral Advisor for Erhman. Just because someone is an advisor doesn’t mean anything about if they agree or not.

You said that we must ASSUME editing of all ancient texts. Well we have clear evidence that NO editing took place for 1100 years from 200BC to 900AD. To rebut this you ask “what about prior to 200 BC?” Well I think the point is that we should not ASSUME editing if there is no definitive proof for it and when we clearly see that the scribal tradition was NOT to edit it. You say my worldview colors how I understand manuscripts, but look at you. You are LOOKING for ways to corrupt the text that aren’t there. You don’t get to ASSUME editing. You have to PROVE editing.

Great, historical critical technique requires us to dissect theological statements. You still make two errors. You say we dissect theological statements to “then extrapolate the certain sociological context that the author is writing in.” Actually, you have that entirely backwards. We do not learn about historical/cultural context FROM theology. We learn about then from historical/cultural studies and we read the theology IN LIGHT of the cultural context. That’s like saying we learn about 1st century Gnosticism by reading 1st John when in fact we study 1st century Gnosticism and then read John as a response to that. Your second error is that MANUSCRIPTS ARENT THEOLOGICAL STATEMENTS! They contain them sure. But when we are talking about manuscripts we are NOT talking about the truth of the statements contained within. The Bible could be 100% false and we could still say that we can reconstruct the originals with 99% certainty, and that they are the best attested ancient text that we have. It has nothing to do with whether or not the text is TRUE. Just if it has come down to us uncorrupted. So no, there is no interpretation/extrapolation involved in manuscript studies. This is again you being foggy on what is even involved in manuscript studies.

I’m disagreeing with your “easy logic” because it has NOTHING to do with manuscripts, it has to do with content. And you are trying to blend the two.

You said, “There are some people that attempt to use big words to impress others.” Wow, now I KNOW you haven’t studied Greek, at least not past basic vocab. Vocab is a TINY sliver of what is involved in the mastery of a language. There is grammar, structure, style, rhetoric, flow, allusion, etc. Ha, the fact that you think Luke or the author of Hebrews are trying to show of with vocab is actually laughable. They MASTERY of the language is what we notice. Hebrews is a MASTER of Greek, VERY educated, erudite, articulate, and well argued.

How do we know Jesus spoke Aramaic? Well you even agree there so no contest. How do we know Jesus spoke Hebrew? Because he was able to read the scrolls in the Synagogue and was able to argue with the Scribes. How do we know he spoke Greek? He spoke to the Centurian and gentiles. How do we know he spoke latin? Because he conversed with Pilate. How else do we know all this? Because any introduction to life in 1st century Israel will tell you that Aramaic was the local dialect, Hebrew was the language of the synagogue, Greek was the lingua franca of the region and that especially in Galilee in Israel there were more Hellenistic Jews than any other kind, as well as Greek speaking gentiles. And we know that people were familiar with, even not fluent in Latin because it was the language of government and on coins, signs, government documents, legal pronouncements, etc. We see even on Jesus Cross his sign was in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. This was his seal of punishment: Sedition. He said he was King of the Jews and so his placard read “King of the Jews” in all three languages so everyone watching would know his crime. Common practice back then.

You then say ” Hence most of early christians were uneducated and could not speak greek” even though you previously said that the NT was written to the poor and oppressed! Well the NT was written in Greek. So which of your two faulty arguments do you want to keep? That the Bible is uneducated, or that the people are? You don’t get both (and actually neither is true in the way you have formulated them).

I said the MANUSCRIPTS weren’t translations of the originals like you were claiming. As for the originals in some cases being translations of the words of Jesus. Yeah, in some parts they probably are, and in others they aren’t. First, this would ONLY affect the “Red Letter” portions of the NT which makes up probably 1% of the entire Bible and maybe 4 or 5% of the NT and so it doesn’t get you very far in the 1st place. And chances are that only some of what he said was translated since he more than likely PREACHED in Greek so that ALL the masses would understand and not just the locals who understood his Aramaic dialect. So maybe passages like the upper room discourse, or the times we see him speaking to the disciples privately. Sure. Translation on those few passages. But that doesn’t get you anything. Ha. Especially since we are talking about MANUSCRIPT TRANSMISSION.

Ha, you yet AGAIN show that you have no idea how ancient documents worked. No signature. Well WE don’t have the signature, but the original would have. How do we know? Because we know that in the 1st century they would have been written on Papyrus or some similar material and would have been rolled like a scroll. (They didn’t have books). But scrolls are LARGE and heavy and lay flat in slots like we store wine. So lets say you wanted to speak in the synagogue and you wanted to read the brand new scroll of Matthew. How would you know which one was Matthews? We know that scrolls had something like toe tags, similar to what we use in the mortuary. So you would go look at the tags and pick out the right scroll. So the originals had a tag, and the scribes copying it would have copied the TAG as well as the text. So we have UNIVERSAL attestation to who wrote Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, etc. If they didn’t know, they didn’t make up a name (notice Hebrews, they could have made it more acceptable by saying Paul or Peter wrote it. But since there was no tag, they left it blank). This is one difference between NT books and 3rd century pseudopigraphal books like the Gospel of Thomas, Judas, or Mary.

Ha, you say you stay focused by saying that I try to convolute things? No, actually I’m the one drawing distinctions between manuscripts and truth of the content… I’m not convoluting anything. You then say we don’t know how its done? We sure do! We even know in detail how it was done! We know details like when the scribes would come across the personal name of God that they would put their quill down, they would wash their hands, they would use a brand new quill, write the name of God, then discard the new quill, wash their hands, then pick up the original quill and continue on. We know that they would count the CHARACTERS of a book, and if they were off even ONE character they would either destroy the manuscript, bury it, or seal it up and put them in hiding so they would not be used. Ever wonder why the Essenes put the DSS in caves!? These manuscripts had ERRORS. Which is surprising since, for example the Isaiah scroll is over 99% accurate. Well that less that 1% is probably WHY it was in the cave! We actually know A LOT about how manuscript transmission was done! Ha, keep it coming. Your sheer ignorance mixed with your over confidence makes my life REALLY easy since you are SO obviously wrong!

You then compare me to the girl who would tire people out with “incoherent nonsense” and then call me an “idiot” and say I’m babbling. Yet you NEVER have given evidence, arguments, documentation, citations, or even any viable reasons. All you ever make are generalizations, and flat out false statements like that we don’t know anything about how they copied, or that guys like John Collins was on your side. Or that the only people who disagree with you are some conservative southern fringe of radical fundamentalists. In every case I have given evidence, arguments, citations, links to lectures, etc.

You are getting frustrated because you have met someone who knows more than your blog informed worldview. Maybe youre a smart guy and your façade that you know what you are talking about is never challenged or the Christians that you meet aren’t educated either. But just give it up man. You are obviously out of your league and are making so many false statements that you are sinking your own ship. Seriously, its embarrassing. Just swallow your pride and admit that you really don’t know what youre talking about?

Tell me again, what school did you go to? Who was your advisor?

Papa

Papa

Saturday 5th December 2009 | 06:15 AM
98 total kudos

...in response to this comment by Tyler V. This is why I think your an idiot.

You make statements such as, we know Jesus spoke latin and greek because we have biblical accounts. Since I think those are edited and not reliable, your logic falls apart. You use a questionable and debated document like the bible to support your so called "facts". Its like saying I know that the bible is 99% accurate because it tells me so.

"Actually, you have that entirely backwards. We do not learn about historical/cultural context FROM theology"

Not sure what to tell you bro. But we attempt to learn about people's sociological surrounds by what they write. I am not sure how it can get any clearer than that? Most of the goal of reading and studying manuscripts is an attempt to understand the writer and this community. And why not read 1st John? Every book I have, and every professor I have taken as admitted to a slight gnostic feel in 1st John, as well as the rest of the letters. If your logic is correct that we would have never believed Marcion to be a real person! He arguable was the first one in history to have a christian bible. And all that survives of him is his opponents writing against him. We read these accounts and attempt to construct a community, or a society that is dealing with certain problems. Hebrew bible, don't worship false idols. Well, the community was probably having some problems with idol worship. If you can't understand that, I am sorry. But that is Historical Criticism 101.

"though you previously said that the NT was written to the poor and oppressed! Well the NT was written in Greek"

Sorry, I was assuming you had a understanding of how early communities circulated stories. These early stories of Jesus were most likely spread through oral accounts. I do not deny that there was most likely a few educated christians, however the christian community was over all a poor and lower class people. Except for a few such as Paul or Luke. The few that could afford it or could actually write themselves began writing these stories down that were already targeted to the poor and oppressed via oral transmission. I thought you could have made that distinction, my fault.

"We actually know A LOT about how manuscript transmission was done! Ha, keep it coming. Your"

Again you use biblical accounts in attempt to substantiate what you "know". So yes, we have a pretty good idea of how the hebrew bible was copied, hence the different spellings of Yahweh and Elohim so they didn't have to wash themselves every 30 seconds.

But you can't tell me you know exactly how early new testaments were copied and translated and exactly what errors and theological blunders were made. We can make generalizations, due to the vast amount of extra biblical documents that we know were copied and the errors that were made in those copies. But to attempt to say you know exactly how every document was copied is just asinine. We have no idea how many early scribes copied these texts. Can you show me some biblical or extra biblical evidence for how books in the new testament were copied and translated?

We have some documents that were copied and the copier left his calling card on the document. One example is Petaus who was a local village scribe. This document we have has multiple spelling errors. And as I hope you know, Greek did not have any spaces. Words that were mis spelled or mis place could literally change the entire meaning of a scentence. So, I find it very difficult to believe that you can actually sit there and say you think we have the original manuscripts down to 99%. For even Pataus was a professional scribe, and even he was making mistakes.

We have an account from Celcus which he writes to Origen and accuses Christians of being uneducated and a lower class people. Origen responds to Celcus, and even admits that Christians are wise. Not in "wordly matters" but in faith. Even Origen admits to the lack of intelligence of early christians.

"But just give it up man."

Haha, it won't ever happen. 5 years of my life spent actually doing research and reading and diving into the texts. And hell if I am going to give you my school and my advisor. Professors have been fired for less at that institution.

What it comes down to is this. You say I don't provide any "citations" well strange that you haven't either. But last time I checked I am not writing a Turabian style paper. Its a blog. But for some reason you attempt to ascertain that my education is simply "blog attained" and that I should just "give up". It seems to me that you would like me to quit so you can attempt to push your christian agenda on this forum without any opposition.

Oh yah, by the way. No one knows the author of matthew, mark, or john as well as most of the rest of the books of the NT. They are most likely pseudepigraphas. For even the date that was set by the earliest gospel suggests that who ever actually wrote it down for the first time, was not anyone who was in direct contact with Jesus.

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V2

Saturday 5th December 2009 | 08:12 AM

...in response to this comment by Tyler V. Wow, thats comprehensive
Be it as it may, I dont think you understand the damage the religion of evolution has wreaked on this planet
Maybe when you have some time, a study on creation may help you understand God, that much better.
Science in the Bible, is like froth on a beer
http://www.newchristian.org.uk/scientificfactsinbible.html
Dont make the mistake of thinking God is not the God of science

Truly Tyler I am stunned by your patience with some around here. It is inspiring
Just dont put God in a man made scientific box

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Tyler V

Saturday 5th December 2009 | 08:14 AM

We know Jesus spoke Greek because EVERYONE at the time in that region of Israel almost assuredly spoke Greek. It would be like living in America and not speaking English. Sure, some people don’t, but the VAST majority are fluent or atleast close to fluent. And we also know that they would have been familiar with latin because it was the language of the civil government. Most scholars and historians, even ones who deny the Bible don’t have issue with this. Its just who spoke what languages. Ha, not sure why you think this is some big controversy when its really not. In fact, the Bible being true or not has absolutely NOTHING to do with this topic. I’m not sure what you think your argument gets you. Ha.

Ha, so my LOGIC falls apart because you disagree with me? Ha. Ok, the vast majority of the world’s population are theists and disagree with you. So your logic is wrong. I didn’t know logic was contingent upon agreement? Lol

You said, “Since I think those are edited and not reliable, your logic falls apart.” Well, we have good evidence that it WASN’T edited (1100 years of NO EDITING from the sources that we DO have) so you assumption is unsupported by anything but a kind of hunch (and as we have seen, an uneducated one.)

I never said you don’t read the content to help in determining the historical content. You said we read its THEOLOGICAL statements in order to gain and understanding of historical/cultural context. That’s just invalid. So no, we don’t get historical/cultural context from THEOLOGY. That doesn’t mean the original documents don’t help us understand, but we don’t get it from their theological assertions. Although this is a strange argument for you to make. So we should read 1st John to understand Gnosticism (and most scholars do not attribute Gnosticism to John since he is reacting AGAINST Gnosticism. That would be like attributing capitalism to Marx. Ha) but I cant read Jesus’ story to determine what languages he spoke? So you want to have it both ways?

Plus Marcion didn’t have a Christian Bible. He rejected the Old Testament and only accepted his own writings and 10 of Paul’s epistles. He was excommunicated for this and many other reasons, showing that other people possessed the full canon since they knew that he was deficient. And yeah, the community was dealing with idol worship (Gnosticism, Judaizers, the greek Pantheon, Caesar worship, etc.) We agree. I’m not sure what that gets you either.

Again, youre mixing issues. Sure, there was oral transmission for the first couple decades. But again, since we are talking about MANUSCRIPTS it doesn’t matter. Can the WRITTEN manuscripts be edited by the ORAL tradition that PREDATES them? Ha, so yeah… that terrible anochornism is your fault.

Well seeing as how those who were the ones making the manuscripts and passing them on were the ones who were highly literate and pretty affluent to be able to afford the process, and we know that scribes were very careful in their transmission regardless of whether it was OT or NT (consider that the early church was still HEAVILY Jewish), there is no reason to assume that much of the scribal practices changed. The problem is that you ASSUME corruption when we have no evidence for it! You WANT it to be there so you just say it is when there is no evidence or reason to do so!

Haha Greek didn’t have spaces!!! Are you kidding me!? Greek DEFINITLY had spaces! What you are referring to, which I even said earlier, is that because of the cost to create a manuscript some manuscripts would eliminate word spaces to save room on the papyrus. Ha, but it had NOTHING to do with the Greek language! There is SOME speculation that in the classical period when Greek was being formed that there may have been no spaces, but by the time we reach the Koine period there is absolutely space usage. Ha, no spaces in Koine Greek. Wow, I almost like reading this just to see what crazy uneducated thing you will say next.

And since you clearly don’t know Greek, let me give you a little lesson. The misspelling of a word would never change the meaning of a sentence. Every noun, adjective of verb is gendered and conjugated. If there is a misspelling it is always obvious (like if it had written “obvious” instead) or it would be absurd. The sentence “The red dog went to the store” would have every word except the preposition “to” conjucated. For Nouns it would be by its gender, its number, its case (case meaning its function in the sentence. Dog would be the nominative because it is the subject). For verbs it would be by tense, voice, mood, person, and number. So lets say that the spelling of the word “store” was not something that was obvious but either created a different word or, more likely, changed its case ending. Lets say the error was that “store” was misspelled to be a nominative as well. So dog and store were both spelled as the subject. It would be clear that the store cant GO to the dog! And what does the adjective describe? It takes on the same gender, case, and number of the noun it is modifying! So we know exactly where it goes! Word order has almost NOTHING to with sentence meaning because the words themselves MARK their function in the sentence! So no, you are dead wrong when you say “or mis place could literally change the entire meaning of a scentence.” Greek did not have strict word order like we have now! Word order was often for ease of reading, ease of speech, or for emphasis. Ha, but not for brut meaning.

Ha, Origin was also brilliant, well read, well versed in the ancient philosophers, etc. You clearly don’t understand what “wise” means. Ha, it has NOTHING to do with intelligence in the Christian context. Do you remember nothing from your Christian upbringing? Does not being “wise in worldly matters” mean that someone is not good at math or science or literature or so on? Ha, no. it means that they do not follow to foolish worldview of the world. It has much more of an ethical/moral connotation than an intellectual one.

Have you really stooped so far as to flagrantly misquoting Origin?

Ha, so you wont say WHERE you went to school or who your professor was. So basically you have been caught in a lie and you dont wanna admit to it. Its now just getting sad. I think this conversation is going to end soon. We are now just going in circles and you haven’t even given a single shred of evidence or anything resembling a sound argument.

And me telling you to give up has nothing to do with me not wanting opposition. Can you not tell I have no problem with opposition? I’m telling you to quit because you are embarrassing yourself and I’m sure most of the educated atheists are probably thinking that with friends like you, they don’t need enemies. It is painfully obvious that you don’t know what you are talking about. You call yourself educated and tout your professor, but then at the same time you bash the school as wildly fundamental (which from my experience if they are THAT fundamentalist they simply DON’T hire people like you say you professor was) and you cant even give you school name or your advisor! What is it, an NSA secret! Ha, its Biblical studies! You’re not James Bond!

And then you end with one of your most absurd statements! They are most likely pseudopigraphas. Hahaha. Sorry. I shouldn’t laugh, but wow… wow. Yeah, Luke was written most likely between 37 and 41 AD at the earliest (if “Theophilus” is Theophilus ben Ananus the the Roman-imposed High Priest of Israel during that time and would explain why Luke gives him a traditionally GREEK homage, “Most Excellent”) or 62 AD at the latest since Luke is written prior to Acts and even at the end of Acts there is no mention yet of the death of James (a prominent figure in the book and head of the Jerusalem church) or of Paul which is THE main character of the book. The book is basically a lead up to, and then a biography of the life of Paul! But it ends with Paul in about AD 62 because that was the most current information! If this was written much later, we would assume that the author would mention the rest of Paul’s life, the Neronian persecution or the destruction of the temple as the fulfillment of Jesus’ promise that “not one stone would be left on another.” But we find NONE of that. (Read Carson, D.A.; Moo, Dougals J., Leon. Grand Rapids, (1992). An introduction to the New Testament. Morris MI: Zondervan. pp. 116.)

Plus, if the early church was interested in Pseudopygraphal writings, why wouldn’t they ascribe Hebrews to someone like Paul or Peter or James or any other number of apostles to strengthen its authority?! They don’t because they were honest. You ASSUME everything you say because you ASSUME the Bible is invalid. You arguments are then built on those ASSUMPTIONS. But it is like building a house on sand.

But now this conversation has gone on long enough. I’m at the point of “argue with a fool long enough, and you will become a fool yourself.” We’ve both said our parts and you clearly are so uneducated on this but so prideful that you will continue to try and pass on these wild unsubstantiated claims as truth. But you obviously just don’t know anything about this other than what other blogs have said. So I think this topic should wind down and we should get back to the more pressing issues that were being discussed before this topic sapped the life out of the thread.

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Tyler V

Saturday 5th December 2009 | 08:15 AM

V2, I have studied what you are suggesting I study. I continue to. We simply disagree. Its a hermeneutical issue. We both agree that God created, we wont agree on how. Let it go.

Jake Farr-Wharton

Jake Farr-Wharton

Saturday 5th December 2009 | 08:49 AM
202 total kudos

...in response to this comment by Tyler V. Tyler, sorry to come in after you'd already responded to other posts... I'm a busy man!

Genesis, evolution and the ascent to and of man has significant biblical relevance to Christians, Muslims and Jews. Why? Because it is the cornerstone of their religion. It describes in detail how god made the universe and all the compositions therein, i.e. by magic.

If you don't believe the biblical story, then you're not claiming you're not a fundamentalist, you're claiming you're not a Christian, Muslim or Jew. If you pick and choose from the bible to support your own belief then you are an agnostic, and as such, you need to stop labelling yourself as one in the flock.

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Papa

Papa

Saturday 5th December 2009 | 08:59 AM
98 total kudos

...in response to this comment by Tyler V. Well I hope this post will put and an end to you and your high horse.

I didn't even read your whole post. I feel like an idiot for arguing with you, I thought you actually had some idea of what you were talking about. You criticize me for not knowing greek?

Here is a link that has a database of many manuscripts that date to the 9th century and up.
http://www.csntm.org/Manuscripts.aspx

Here is another website with early greek manuscripts.
http://codexsinaiticus.org/en/manuscript.aspx?book=33&lid=en&side=r&zoomSlider=0

I stopped reading your post after these quotes...
"And since you clearly don’t know Greek, let me give you a little lesson... Ha, no spaces in Koine Greek. Wow, I almost like reading this just to see what crazy uneducated thing you will say next."

Unfortunately, since there was no spaces in early and even later greek manuscripts. A mis spelling of a word could change the entire meaning of a sentence. Sorry dude, I don't know what to tell ya... See above links if you would like to continue arguing your point.

It is clear you have never seen a greek manuscript. And I can imagine you are going to feel real smart after you click on those links above. Maybe after I pick myself off the floor laughing, I will bring myself to read and comment on the rest of your thread. But this will be sufficient for determining who the "uneducated" one is. Peace!

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amgeorgey

Saturday 5th December 2009 | 09:05 AM

Hi guys,

Did you all happen to notice that Courtenay has slipped out the back door and is probably sunning himself at the beach right now !?

Jake Farr-Wharton

Jake Farr-Wharton

Saturday 5th December 2009 | 12:38 PM
202 total kudos

...in response to this comment by amgeorgey. That's crazy talk!

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Tyler V

Saturday 5th December 2009 | 03:27 PM


Jake, you’re creating a false dichotomy between evolution and Christianity by saying that “Genesis, evolution and the ascent to and of man” are “the cornerstone of their religion”. I’m sorry, I thought things like God, sin, redemption, resurrection, and Jesus were the cornerstone of Christianity, not vague ambiguities like HOW God created the universe. I like when atheists try to tell us what our beliefs are. Ha. And no, the Bible does NOT describe in detail how God made the universe. It is actually not surprisingly vague since the science of it was NOT the concern (since SCIENCE was not a concern at all back then!) And no, since magic is the manipulation of objects, God creating the universe ex nihilo is not magic. Nice pejorative labeling though.

You seem to think that the only people who take the Bible seriously are the fundamentalists when they are actually a very late addition to the landscape of Christian thought. I absolutely believe the Biblical story, its just that I don’t believe the fundamentalists have the best understanding because of their wooden literalism that does not allow for things like allegory, poetry, or polemics. So it has nothing to do with “pick and choose from the bible to support your own belief,” but it has everything to do with hermeneutics. I mean even Augustine didn’t believe Genesis was woodenly literal and he believed a kind of day-age theory. In fact MOST Christians throughout history have. The problem is that the rise of fundamentalism has made people think that that is what all Christians have believed when it is actually relatively few throughout the centuries until our modern era. If you think that 6 day creationism is the only viable interpretation then you are just as deluded as Ken Ham and the other fundamentalists that you are debating.

I like the strategy though. Tell the other person what THIER position HAS to be in order for you to more easily defeat it. Oh there is a term for that… what is it… oh yeah, STRAWMAN.


Papa, you gave up reading because it was too hard to follow and you had no idea how to argue back.

And great, you gave me a link with some of the manuscripts from AFTER the 9th century… I’m not sure how this helps in any way at all except if you look at the pictures they many of them disprove your “no spaces in Greek” theory and show that many times there ARE spaces and when there aren’t, usually there is a dot, and it is clear that since some have spaces and some don’t, that it depended on if the scribe could afford to use the space to maintain the spaces.

The second site that you sent doesn’t have multiple Greek manuscripts, by ONE manuscript known as the Codex Sinaticus, with the entire Septuagint and the entire NT. It is not surprising that a codex of this size has no spaces because the cost to produce this large of a manuscript would have outrageously expensive. And again, I’m not sure how you think that this helps you at all. I have seen these. Have you!?





And you say you stopped reading when I pointed out that there are spaces in the Greek language. LOOK at the manuscripts you sent me! In fact, the FIRST two on the lists, clear spacing can be seen! SEE!!!

http://images.csntm.org/Manuscripts/noGA_Minuscule_Tirana_ANA_10/noGA_Minuscule_Tirana_ANA_10_0074b.jpg , http://images.csntm.org/Manuscripts/noGA_Minuscule_Tirana_ANA_12/noGA_Minuscule_Tirana_ANA_12_0095b.jpg

And again, a misspelling would not change the meaning of the sentence any more than it would in English! A misspelling is almost always CLEARLY evident either as the jumbling of a word (like “wodr” for “word”) or it would be clear from context like “I went to the see” would be obviously “I went to the SEA.”). Not to mention that EVERY word in Koine with the expection of particles and prepositions are conjugated and not only match any modifying word in case, number, and gender, but also are CASED and mark their precise function in the sentence (subject, object, direct object, etc.) which would make it EVER more impossible for a word to alter the meaning!

But fine, lets imagine that my YEARS of Greek study, my professors, the writers of my text books, Wallace, Metzger, Mounce, and even your favorite Machen are ALL wrong and a word can indeed change the meaning of a sentence. Give me ONE example where the manuscript SPELLING variant changes the meaning of the sentence in a way that is less than obvious. Tell me the reference, the manuscript, and the misspelled word. You claim that they are all over the place, so give me one.

And amgeorgey, I don’t know why Courtenay left. Maybe it’s because he has no possible way of answering the question so he told Papa to just make a bunch of bogus arguments up and keep up the charade for as long as possible to try and distract me. That would make sense of how Papa could be SO dead wrong for SO many posts and still pretend to ACTUALLY know what he is talking about when it is so painfully obvious that he doesn’t. ha, Greek doesn’t have spaces and Manuscripts are corrupted in transmission by the oral tradition that predates them. Ha, what crazy thing will he make up next.

I mean this is a guy who will brag about his education, then bash his school, but not even say where he went! Are you kidding me! How do you tout your education to get people to believe you, but then not say WHERE you went! LOL

Jake Farr-Wharton

Jake Farr-Wharton

Saturday 5th December 2009 | 08:01 PM
202 total kudos

...in response to this comment by Tyler V. Mate, you can't say that certain biblical accounts of history are correct and others aren't, you're creating your own religion if you decide to do that. If you do that, you're not Christian and you have no right to use their sexy bible as your whipping boy.

You sir, have crossed me for the last time. I demand satisfaction, I challenge you to a duel... pistols at dawn!

Shit, where did I go just now?

Nonetheless, don't pick an choose, my ninja, doing so makes you an agnostic.

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Tyler V

Sunday 6th December 2009 | 02:01 AM

Ha, I'm not saying that certain accounts are true and others arent. I believe the creation account is absolutely true. I just read it polemically instead of scientifically, like the vast majority of the church has until the fundamentalists. You are setting up a false dilemma again. Like it or not, there are several ways of reading Genesis 1-3. In fact there are several ways of reading many passages. This is why Christians disgaree on things because we read things differently and use different hermeneutics.

You also are defining Christian falsely. Believe it or not, inerrancy is NOT a requirement for someone to be a Christian. That too is up for debate among Christians. N.T. Wright calls inerrancy "that stupid American doctrine" but he is the arch bishop of Canterbury and a very devout Christian. What makes someone a Christian? They believe in God the Father, the Son, and the Spirit, they believe our sins deserve death and that we all sinful, that Jesus was incarnate, died on the cross for the payment of sins, resurrected on the 3rd day, and then ascended into heaven.

You again are setting up a strawman. But your argument the only REAL Christians are the fundamentalists. Sorry man, thats just not how it is. The fact that you think that again shows that you really only have a superficial understanding of the Bible and Christian theology and thought.

And an agnostic is someone who says that we dont/cant know that God exists. Someone who believes only parts of the Bible, which I'm not, is not an agnostic.

Papa

Papa

Sunday 6th December 2009 | 03:04 AM
98 total kudos

...in response to this comment by Tyler V. We are just a bunch of idiots around huh Tyler?

In Romans 12:11, the word for lord "kuriw" which is in the dative. Dative of respect to be more specific, is often abbreviated as KW in many manuscripts. Which some scribes mis read and copied as "kairw" which means time. So in some surviving manuscripts, Paul explains in Romans 12:11 to "serve the time".

1 Cor. 12:13, the word for spirit "pneuma" would had been abriavted as PMA. Scribes mis read and copied PMA into "poma". So in this instance we have some manuscripts that say "drunk of one drink" instead of "drunk of one spirit".

Also look up Periblepsis and Homoeoteleuton.

You can thank your friend Dr. Bart Ehrman for those examples above... Please continue telling me I don't know what I am talking about.

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Tyler V

Sunday 6th December 2009 | 04:43 AM

You prove my point. If a word is misspelled, it is clear from the from the context ("Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Time" would make NO sense and would be out of context with the passage or any other Pauline concept). And as for 1 Corinthians again, the context makes it clear (since it is referring to the Spirit the entire time) that the intended meaning is Spirit. How else do we know? Because that variant is only found in ONE manuscript and NO OTHERS, even ones that PREDATE it!

So yes, you dont know what you are talking about. Especially since you just copied Erhman not anything that YOU actually know.

Where did you go to school? oh right... its hush hush but we are supposed to be impressed by your "training" that you wont tell us where you did it, or your adviser who you wont tell who he was.

Papa

Papa

Sunday 6th December 2009 | 05:01 AM
98 total kudos

...in response to this comment by Tyler V. "Also look up Periblepsis and Homoeoteleuton. "

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Tyler V

Sunday 6th December 2009 | 06:02 AM

AND the manuscripts where that "dunk of the same drink" tradition AROSE (since we have manuscripts that PREDATE it that dont have that) was only in one western line and was a later development.

But even if that werent the case, it wouldnt change the idea since it would be a clear reference to communion which only finds significance after we have partaken of the Spirit.

Yeah, I know what periblepsis and homoeoteleuton are. Are you giving me a vocab test now? those dont help you any. Its kind of like plastic surgery, where you can recognize it, you know its been done! How do we identify cases of Periblepsis and Homoeoteleuton? Because we hundreds of other manuscripts where it HASNT been done. Those are explanations of errors that we know. It would be like if I tried making a manuscript of the Genesis 1 English Bible and started it "In the beginning, the heavens and the earth." We would say, thats an example of periblepsis because we have texts that DONT have that error.

Moving on, this manuscript discussion has run its course. You're just throwing out anything now to try and have it pass mustard and it has dragged this entire thread to a screeching halt. We have both said out pieces, its up to the people reading to decide for themselves.

Jake Farr-Wharton

Jake Farr-Wharton

Sunday 6th December 2009 | 07:35 AM
202 total kudos

...in response to this comment by Tyler V. Tyler, did you hit your head?

An agnostic believes in a cosmic higher power and has that view based 0n the premmise that most civilisations throughout history have had their own notions of supreme deities. They pick and choose doctrines to suit their own beliefs.

An Atheist is someone who, as you say, that we don't can't know whether gods exist.

You've totally screwed yourself there mate. You ARE an agnostic. You ARE NO LONGER A CHRISTIAN.

See, I can make big claims too.

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Tyler V

Sunday 6th December 2009 | 10:45 AM

Jake, you have NO idea what you are saying.

Agnostic (A- meaning "no" and gnostic from the Greek for "knowledge" means no knowledge). And Atheists (again A- meaning "no" and "theist from Greek for "god/deity" means that no god exists.)

An agnostic is someone who says that dont/cant know whatever they are agnostic about. In the religion realm that means that say that they dont know/cant know that God exists. But they dont say that God does, doesnt, can, cant exists. They claim no ability to know. Here is the Miriam-Webster dictionary definition:

"1 : a person who holds the view that any ultimate reality (as God) is unknown and probably unknowable; broadly : one who is not committed to believing in either the existence or the nonexistence of God or a god"

Or from the Oxford English Dictionary:

"a person who believes that nothing can be known concerning the existence of God. "

An atheist is one who says that we can know if God does or doesnt exists and that the verdict is in: God doesnt exist. Hence A-Theist. Again, here is the Miraim-Webster dictionary definition:

"one who believes that there is no deity."

Or from the Oxford English Dictionary on atheism (of which atheist is a derivative):

"the belief that God does not exist. "

Then there is the new breed of anti-theist who say that even if God exists, which they dont think he does, but even if he does, they are in active opposition to him. Again see the Oxford English Dictionary definition of an antitheist:

"One opposed to belief in the existence of a God." These are people like Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris and your friend Courtenay. But even to other atheists they are extremists: See Thomas Nagel's blistering review of the God Delusion in the New Republic: http://www.tnr.com/article/the-fear-religion, or Allen Orr's panning of Dennet's book in the New Yorker: http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2006/04/03/060403crbo_books?currentPage=4.

And these reviewers are atheists! they just dont go along with the rhetoric and secular fundamentalism in the same way not all Christian go along with the radical fundamentalists in our groups either. Any worldview can be taken to extremes. You gonna let Dawkins, and Harris, and Courtenay hijack yours? They may not fly it into buildings, but they are trying to influence culture to make raising your OWN children according to your OWN religion illegal! Thats one step away from Orwell's 1984! They might not be suicide bombers, but they are trying to be the thought police! if THAT doesnt scare you, I dont know what should.

Jake Farr-Wharton

Jake Farr-Wharton

Sunday 6th December 2009 | 12:53 PM
202 total kudos

You've taken the dictionary meaning to illustrate the same point that I made... why did you do that?

I already made that point, did you purposely reinforce it for me? Thanks though.

As I said, an agnostic is someone who picks and chooses bits and pieces of religion to form their own belief, an atheist is someone who says that we can't or don't have any evidence for gods and don't bother believing in them.

Don't worry about confusing yourself any further buddy, I already agree!

Just stop calling yourself a Christian or return to believing every ounce of what the bible says.

If you believe in it, go nuts, but if you only believe in bits and pieces, well, you might as well just bite the bullet and admit that you're an agnostic.

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Tyler V

Sunday 6th December 2009 | 01:45 PM

Ha, I now know why you never make sense. You don’t ACTUALLY read the posts. Haha. An agnostic is not someone who picks and chooses. An agnostic is someone who says we cant or don’t know if God exists or not. Agnosticism has nothing to do with inerrancy or partial inerrancy. Haha. The dictionary definition was NOTHING like what you are saying. Do you have reading comprehension problems.

You said “an agnostic is someone who picks and chooses bits and pieces of religion to form their own belief” but the dictionary (and every philosopher in the world) says, “a person who believes that NOTHING CAN BE KNOWN concerning the existence of God.”

You said in your previous post, “An Atheist is someone who, as you say, [which by the way I didn’t] that we don't can't know whether gods exist.” But the dictionary says, "the belief that God does not exist."

Ha, the dictionary says NOTHING like what you are claiming. Haha.

Ok, I’ll deinfe atheism in a strawman manner to make myself win. An atheist is someone who has an IQ of 20, draws their name in crayon, and is too stupid to tie their own shoes. So hey, call yourself an atheist all you want.

The problem is that you, not a Christian, are trying to say that there is only ONE way of interpreting the Bible. I DO believe “every ounce of what the Bible says.” I just don’t agree with the narrow reading of the fundamentalists, for the same reason many atheists think that Dawkin, Harris, and Dennett are wrong on their atheism as well!

I believe Genesis 1. I just don’t believe that a Hebrew in the 1500BC was making a case against evolution and so I think it is anachronistic to read Genesis 1 (a prime example of Hebrew POETRY) as a science textbook. But I believe it is inspired by God 100%. I just think, along with the VAST majority of Christians until the fundamentalists freaked out about Darwinism and hijacked the text with their woodenly literal hermeneutic.

The fact that you think that Christians are only Christians if they are fundamentalists shows you are either inexcusably ignorant, or so intellectually dishonest that you are willing to try and set up that strawman just to help you sleep at night.

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Tyler V

Sunday 6th December 2009 | 01:50 PM

how incredibly arrogant do you have to be to tell Christians what does and does not make them Christians when what you are saying has NOTHING to do with what any CHRISTIAN says makes them one?! I just am floored by the level of arrogance and ignorance that you have. And you think that you are a free thinker? rational? you blame Christians for being divisive and intolerant, but wow, are you just intolerable.

You know, before this I thought you were a little rash, kinda uneducated and a little ignorant to make hasty generalizations about things you dont know much about, but now I just think you are so prideful and intolerant that its almost not worth talking with you.

Not only to you give set philosophical worldviews your own novel meanings to suit your purposes, you actually tell another person what their own faith SHOULD be. This coming from a man who thinks that agnosticism picks and chooses within religion. I feel bad for anyone who knows you offline who tries to have these discussions with you. You will always be wrong because you NEVER listen.

Jake Farr-Wharton

Jake Farr-Wharton

Sunday 6th December 2009 | 02:21 PM
202 total kudos

...in response to this comment by Tyler V. I'm being nothing but objective my friend. I tell it like it is and I feel no need to hide behind the pointless cloak of a book that some ancient tribespeople thought was the answer to the universal question of why.

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ozzie_z

Sunday 6th December 2009 | 07:15 PM

Tyler said:

"Like it or not, there are several ways of reading Genesis 1-3. In fact there are several ways of reading many passages. This is why Christians disgaree on things because we read things differently and use different hermeneutics."

No doubt Tyler you appeal to the demythologization of the resurrection narratives. I imagine Tyler you will argue that the resurrection narratives are expressed in terms of concepts held in that day which cannot be taken literally today.

cheers oz

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Tyler V

Monday 7th December 2009 | 12:29 AM

Jake, the problem is that "how you see it" is often rash, brash, and intolerably ignorant mixed with enough arrogance to be dogmatic. You give your own new meanings to words and then act like thats how it has always been used (agnostic, atheist, Christian) when in fact NO ONE uses them the way that you do.

Actually Oz, I'm not talking about demythologization at all. I'm not talking about using a Jefferson Bible. I'm talking about reading the Bible on its own terms, in its own historical context, by its own literary genre of the passage and in line with the rest of later revelation. It is hermeneutics. Not editing.

As for Genesis 1, its called a Framework interpretive structure. Most recently it has been written about by Scholars like Meredith Kline, Gordan Wenham, and Herni Blocher but can be seen in the writers of the church father Augustine.

If you want to read a short synopsis of it (which I doubt you will since most atheists here are unwilling to read anything because they are happy making mud pies in the slum) see:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Framework_interpretation_(Genesis)#Historical_and_cultural

Trent Greguhn

Trent Greguhn

Monday 7th December 2009 | 07:18 AM
105 total kudos

First of all, I'd like to call attention to the Null Hypothesis and Occam's Razor. As such, it is not the atheists job to disprove God, it is the theist's job to prove him. And such as it cannot be done, due to Occam's Razor, athesists have no reason to believe in God or the Bible.

If we're going to call attention to moral imperitives and the word of God being the source thereof, apparently no one here has heard of/been to/lived in Scandinavia. Scandinavia is one of the least religious territories in the world, but has one of the measurably best societies along with some of the lowest homicide rates. See for yourself--

http://hdr.undp.org/en/statistics/

Norway, Japan, the Netherlands and France, not to mention Denwark and Sweden top that list, all considered to be very irreligious countries.

Over 90 percent of Americans claim to believe in God, while only 24 percent of Danes and 16 percent of Swedes claim to beleive in what they consider a personal God. Belief in life after death may be as low as 30 to 33 percent among Danes and Swedes respectively-- compared to 81 percent in America. Only 18 percent of Danes and 31 percent of Swedes believe in heaven-- compared to 88 percent of Americans. Only 10 percent of Danes and Swedes believe in hell-- the lowest rates of hell-belief in the world. Concerning the nature of the Bible, only 7 percent of Danes and 3 percent of Swedes belive that the bible is the actual/literal word of God, comapred to 33 percent of Americans.

When measuring lack of corruption among public figures and politicians, Denmark ranks fourt h, and Sweden sixth. When it comes to giving charity to poor nations Denmark ranks second, Sweden third, and of the top 20 countries many are distincltly irreligious. I could go on and on with more percentages.

My point is this. You cannot suppose that religion or God or God's word determines a person or group of persons morality. Whole countries have been known to do just fine without belief in God.

As far as Darwanism, many would make the debate that we have evovled to be a moral species, as the helping of one person also mutually benefits ourselves more often than not. This has also been observerd in several ape species.

I'd also like to call attention to the juxtaposition that Tyler made between gays and bestiality and necrophilia. How trite this is, especially in Mormon Utah. You can't compare a relationship between two humans to a human and a lesser animal, and between a live human and a dead human. You speak of apples and oranges, how right that is. This is apples and oranges. Pedophilia is slightly more complex and circumstantial, especially between a couple of 17 and 19 years. I find nothing wrong with a relationship like that. But you can stretch those ages to either extreme and then it is society's place to deal with it the way it believes it should be handled.

So many strawman arguments have been formed during this discussion that I cannot address them all, however I will say this. Just like "normal Christians" don't want to be lumped in with the Westboro Baptist Church, either do non-believers with people like Stalin and Lenin. When you are an atheist, you don't have a belief system, you have a lack of belief. As such, no two atheists opinons are alike, so to compare Stalin or Lenin or whoever terrible historical figure you'd like to draw attention to so that you can compare all the athesists together is completely foolhardy. It's more correct to say that they were terrible people, and we all know that, but it has no bearing on the atheistic soceity as a whole, much of whom are dedicated humanists.

From what I've read CJ has a very good understanding of the bible. Though I'd probably be indifferent to someone laughing at a funeral, and completely disagree with someone who wants to have a threesome with his wife, his other views on the Bible and religion aren't too far off the mark.

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Trent Greguhn

Trent Greguhn

Monday 7th December 2009 | 07:20 AM
105 total kudos

Wow... for some reason my above comment listed me as a vistor. Rest assured though, the person speaking of Scandinavia is me, and I only clarify so I can be replied to by name.

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Mikey

Mikey

Monday 7th December 2009 | 08:07 AM
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...in response to this comment by Trent Greguhn. Thanks Trent - I can't imagine why that happened. I've added your name to the comment. I'll do some testing to see if I can duplicate the problem. What OS and browser are you using if you don't mind?

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Trent Greguhn

Trent Greguhn

Monday 7th December 2009 | 08:22 AM
105 total kudos | 1 for this comment

XP and IE 7. I'm at work currently and their computers are anything but reliable. I appreciate the fix Mike, thank you.

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Tyler V

Monday 7th December 2009 | 11:34 AM

First, Occam’s Razor is a rule of thumb meant to keep people from supposing unnecessary steps in an explanation, that is, any UNECESSARY steps in an explanation for a conclusion should be eliminated as extraneous. It is not a logical rule or necessary condition for a truth claim and is only two be employed when two or more competing hypotheses ARE EQUAL in other respects besides conciseness. But this is a PRINCIPLE and not a LAW. There are many things that are true but are not the most simple explanation. Even your position on evolution is much more complex than mere creation, or even other forms of evolution for that matter. Occam’s razor, when used as you have, is an escape hatch, not an argument.

But I do agree that the positive claim for God’s existence does rest with the theist. Though I should also point out the strange nature of the atheistic claim does muddy the water. It is one of the only worldviews predicated on a universal negative. SO either atheists must defend a universal negative, or they must predicate the positive state of affairs in which God does not exist. In which case the burden of proof rest with both.

You also make the same erroneous conclusion that a country’s societal “success” is primarily a function of its religious make-up, when in fact there are literally dozens of other factors that play just as much, if not more, a role in determining the outcome of culture such as economics, education, population, history, governance, structure, taxation, poverty, health, etc. To draw a thick line between religion and societal success is simply invalid. There is also in the mix a concept of human flourishing that may be defined in numerous different ways.

You also have some other problems. Many of your stats are wrong or misleading. A prime example is your “charitable” stat. First, it is misleading because while you lambaste America (one of the most religious of the western countries) you quietly leave them off as the #1 charitable nation in the world, by FAR in both % of GDP (1.67%) and in total moneys given (295 billion to charities, and 22.739 billion to developing nations). So your stats conspicuously leave out data contrary to your theory. Some are just flat out wrong. Again, on the charitable stat you list Denmark as 2nd, and Sweden as 3rd when in fact following the US was the UK, Canada, Australia, Rep. of Ireland, then the Netherlands, New Zealand and on.

Now, if you had also read any of the previous posts, you would know that the theistic claim is not that religion or belief in God determines a persons morality. The argument is that the only possible basis for universal, absolute moral obligation is the existence of God.

You are actually repeating some of the old objections that have been hashed out in this thread, but to save you the time of reading over 200 posts, I’ll respond again.

You posit that possibly Darwinian evolution can account for us having evolved to be a moral species. There are several problems with this.

First is the reduction ad absurdum argument. If morality is evolved we could imagine a society in which women cease to have sex with men. It doesn’t have to be in the future, it could by equal logic have been in the past before modern science. In order for the species to survive, the men must rape the women. If evolution is the answer, morality is only something that helps us survive. Thus rape would be a moral obligation in such a case.

Second is the problem that there is no basis for moral obligation in an evolved system. Since morality would be synonymous with benefit, then goodness/badness are actually terms like helpful/unhelpful. We could no longer call lying bad, rape bad, murder bad, but just varied degrees of unhelpfulness. Well to this I could ask, why OUGHT I be helpful? In order to answer you must commit circular reasoning (you must be helpful because it is helpful to be helpful) or a tautology, (because it is right to be helpful). In either case no explanation has been given.

Third, if morality is involved there is no such thing as REAL morality. Morality again is merely evolved and thus there is nothing inherently RIGHT or WRONG within the actions themselves. There is no OBJECTIVE wrongness about me murdering you. The act is determined to be right or wrong by the society and thus the labels are arbitrary.

Fourth, morality then becomes hopelessly relative. Morality then becomes something like a social contract. In which case no society has the moral justification to impose their moral code on other cultures. Thus we would have to say things like “America was outside of its moral rights to invade Nazi Germany.”

Fifth, morality then becomes hopelessly subjective. If morality is relative to culture, culture is merely the sum of its subcultures. And those subcultures the sum of its subcultures, all the way down to each individual (since no two individuals share identical value systems) and thus we have no right to impose our morality on any other person. So if you were to steal from me, I have no right to impose my moral indignation upon you to seek justice. (Justice would cease to exist as a moral category or justified course of action.) In addition, we would not be able to give moral praise or blame. We cannot tell our children that they are good when they give to charity or bad when they steal a classmates lunch money.

Sixth, there can be no moral progress. When we say things like “America has progressed since the days of American slavey” we are actually making a statement of measure. Statements of measure only make sense if there is a terminus. How do I know if I am getting closer to NYC on an airplane? Only if NYC is a fixed location to which I am progressing. If NYC does not exist, then it makes no sense for me to say that I am getting closer to it. Thus nations cannot become “better,” (which throws out all of your stats) nor can individuals get better. They can only become more helpful to society’s procreation. (Thus prison must be entirely rethought since no REAL rehabilitation can occur.)

Seventh, the evolutionist will often claim that morality is evolved but then appeal to our innate moral ability. This, as seen from above is a nonsensical statement since morality would be an illusion and those nothing about it would be really innate. Therefore we would not expect our consciences to be real either. Yet we all, hopefully, have some form of a conscience.

Eighth, if animals can evolve a moral system (you posited apes) then we should put them on trial like we do humans when they break with moral convention. Yet this seems obviously absurd.

I am glad that you objected to my juxtaposition of homosexuality with bestiality and necrophilia. And you even grant SOME forms of pedophilia. You say that I “can't compare a relationship between two humans to a human and a lesser animal, and between a live human and a dead human.” You sneak in universal, absolute, objective morality through the back door in order to object. Well what about ALL forms of pedophilia? Why is it wrong for a 40yr old man to marry a 9 year old? Why is it wrong for me to compare homosexuality to other sexual dysfunctions? Why can you impose your moral system on one person’s moral actions in one case but not in another? Is it objectively wrong to have sex with a dead person? Is it objectively wrong for one person to have sex with an animal? Tell me, is it only because it is not beneficial to the species? In which case, why does it matter so long as it is not destructive? What is the universal BASIS for your position?

You also say “When you are an atheist, you don't have a belief system, you have a lack of belief.” Well put, but entirely wrong. EVERY person has a worldview. All Christians are NOT Westboro Baptists, but all Christians are THEIST. All atheists may not be like Stalin, but all are philosophical naturalists or secular humanists (though there is often much overlap). EVERY person on the face of the planet has a belief system because ever person has a worldview from which they form their thoughts.

With that said, I should also point out that in your skimming of the posts you clearly did not UNDERSTAND them. My point in bringing up Stalin and Mao and the like was NOT to lump all atheists in with them. I only bring them up as a rebuttal to the argument that Christianity is wrong because of the crimes that have been committed by its adherents throughout the ages. The problem is that the scalpel cuts both ways. Those who want to argue against the crusades and the inquisition, must then answer for Stalin’s Russia, Mao’s China and so on. I believe that a systems truth/falsity is based on the truth of its premises, not the actions of its adherents. So I use Stalin and Mao to refute those who think otherwise. Trust me, I know that not all atheists are like Stalin and I know that a worldview is not proven false by the crimes of its people.

And from what you have read, if you think Courtenay has a good understanding of the Bible, you only betray that you yourself don’t have a good understanding of it. Courtenay has time and time again shown his complete inability to understand historical, theological, or literary context. He never reads to understand, only to pull things out of context. (It would be like if I read Dawkins admission that he would allows for life to have not formed on earth so long as it formed by evolution somewhere else and then if I said that what Dawkins was arguing for was the existence of aliens that evolution didn’t occur on this planet.) In order to refute something you MUST understand it otherwise you are simply knocking down strawmen. Courtenay has shown that he has never read a single Bible scholar (not even the skeptical ones who address the issues) but only pop level critics like Harris and Hitchens who are also outside of their realm of expertise. The only one in the realm that he ever appeals to is Erhman, but even then he gets Erhman wrong. (Im beginning to doubt Courtenay’s reading comprehension skills.) He has also NEVER read a single scholar who disagrees with him and thus he is hopelessly narrow and unwilling to subject his own positions to any kind of scrutiny. Anyone who has done any kind of academic work on the Bible can easily tell what Courtenay’s book is: an ideological axe grinding based on little more than sarcasm and text twisting by a vitriolic antitheist who just wants to take a shot at fame (infamy?) like his heroes Dawkins, Harris, and Hitchens.

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Peter

Monday 7th December 2009 | 01:51 PM

I'm bored with this now

Papa

Papa

Monday 7th December 2009 | 11:23 PM
98 total kudos

Man I keep trying to read that guy's whole post but everytime I try I have to I stop myself...

"He rejected the Old Testament and only accepted his own writings and 10 of Paul’s epistles. He was excommunicated for this and many other reasons, showing that other people possessed the full canon since they knew that he was deficient."

How did the "people" possess the whole "canon" when during Marcion's life there was only the Hebrew canon? The new testament had not even been formed yet. And if you had read his opponents they were objecting to him rejecting the Hebrew Bible. During this time, documents that were later to be called the new testament were being read. There was no New Testament canon during Marcion's life.

He was arguably the first in history to combine early christian documents into some kind of canon. Yes I know he edited texts, and rejected certain passages of Paul referring to the hebrew Bible. Those accusations are also in his opponents work. But it hardly "historical" of you, to base your critique of "heretic" of Marcion. Why? Because we have none of his writings, works, etc. All we know is based off his opponents. Its like basing your opinions of jesus simply from the Pharisees notes.

And I'm bored with as well...

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Trent Greguhn

Trent Greguhn

Tuesday 8th December 2009 | 02:49 AM
105 total kudos | 1 for this comment

@Tyler

I'm glad you understand Occam's Razor. It also disallows the most hypotheticals in which the Bible has many. The Null Hypothesis to God would state that to first claim that God exists they would both have measure the universe with a God, and the universe without. And since they cannot disprove or prove either, then it's moot. You say it's a principle but not a law, and that sir is an escape hatch. A little get away so you don't have to follow by it. Evolution is not more complex than Creation which is full of hypotheticals and as such should be dismissed. On a long enough time line evolution is small and uncomplicated.

Atheists don't believe a negative. They don't believe anything supernatural as it is immeasurable. Again, you make the mistake of assuming that God exists and not to believe is a negative. The burden of proof does not rest with both, you might as well ask everyone to present positive proof that a unicorn doesn't exist. There wouldn't be any positive proof because there's nothing to present. Again, the burden lies with the theist.

You're right. There are many variables that contribute to a nation's well being and prosperity. And I don't deny that America would be on the top of the list-- but you missed the point. I was explaining that a belief system, or a lack of belief system has nothing to do with prosperity. That's the point. It doesn't matter if you have God in your life or not, we can all get by and be good people. So what's the point of a religion?

Another mistake you make is that you suppose there must be an absolute, all-encompassing moral authority when in fact there doesn't have to be. There doesn't have to be any moral authority at all, but there is one. Human beings along the way learned to develop beneficial behavior for the good of small tribes to compete with others.

And no Tyler, it is not a fallacy to suppose that we evolved morals.

"If morality is evolved we could imagine a society in which women cease to have sex with men."

This is completely contradictory to what evolution states. In what world could we imagine a society in which women ceased to have sex with men? You're honestly proposing that a species would evolve to try it's best to stop procreation? THIS statement, is logically absurd. But I'll play along.

Let's imagine where women have evolved to stop having sex with men. You're absolutely right. "Rape" would be a moral imperative for the males of the species to continue their lineage. But rape would also have a differing perspective in a society like that. We consider rape terrible because it is pointless and harmful to the person being raped. But in your hypothetical society it would be anything but pointless. It would be necessary. Circumstances dictate action.

But you had to make up a hypothetical to prove your point. I was using our current factual society as an example.

I don't like to think in black and white so let's talk about helpful/unhelpful. Lying can be good or bad. Tyler, have you found yourself lying to someone to make them feel better or to help them save face maybe? I sure have. Circumstances dictate action. How about murder? Well I doubt anyone here would argue with killing any number of historical figures to save any number of lives. Unless you think every war is unjustified as well as every murder? Circumstances dictate action. Though I will agree with you entirely with rape, I'm hard pressed to think of one instance where rape could be beneficial.

Why ought you be helpful? You can't mean to say that your moral compass is completely guided by God, I have a hard time believing that. But there are any amount of reasons why you ought to be helpful, or not to be harmful. Don't steal because you wouldn't want to spend time in jail; help someone simply for the feeling it gives you-- that feeling which is heavily influenced by evolution. A Golden Tamarin lives in a society in which everyone contributes and the father gets his hair pulled out carrying around his children, all of them taking care of each others hygiene. Neither God or the Bible is telling them to do so, it's become ingrained in their system. We sometimes forget that we're still animals, just animals with high brain function. We've by no means transcended what it means to be an animal.

You use such black and white language Tyler.

"Morality again is merely evolved and thus there is nothing inherently RIGHT or WRONG within the actions themselves. "

There would be an objective wrongness in you killing me, that is if I weren't slaughtering everyone in the village. However, let's say I'm... ah hell, the hunter for our tribe. A good one at that. And then you kill me. The tribe would likely kill you because you had harmed the society and took away a helpful person who wasn't hurting anyone, and they'd be scared of you. Again, circumstances dictate action.

"In which case no society has the moral justification to impose their moral code on other cultures. Thus we would have to say things like “America was outside of its moral rights to invade Nazi Germany.”

Actually, no. Looking at the rate at which Nazi Germany was growing and the intentions of Hitler, I'm sure America would have taken action sooner or later to ensure the continuation of their nation how they envision. But your argument has no basis anymore there I guess.

You talk of morality being relative to culture. You're right on one level, wrong on another. As we are all human we will all have a basic core morality. Though because of our higher brain functions this can be overruled depending on the circumstances. If I were to steal from you you have every right to appeal to the community. As we do now. It makes me wonder what you think people did before Jesus Christ. I mean-- we've been around for at least 6500 years before Jesus was born. What did we do then Tyler?

Progress is a state of mind and fluctuates by definition, as is someones interpretation of better. I think it's better that we don't have slaves. I know of a lot of people who would think it'd be better if we did have slaves. There is no moral destination, just perceived variations of progress and better.

Putting apes on trial, though admittedly hilarious, would be absurd because they do not have higher brain functions in the same manner we do. If they did, then here comes Planet of the Apes. Or any number of Sci-Fi films in which there is a species deemed to be lower than another.

I do grant some forms of pedophilia. Because I grant that circumstances dictate action, again. There's nothing wrong with homosexuality. There are sexually transmitted diseases that happen specifically with necrophilia, as well with animals, and therefore would be considered bad and harmful for one to do. A 40 year old marrying a 9 year old is entirely questionable as to whether the 40 year old had the best interests for the 9 year old and not just sexual urges.

Yes, atheists have a belief system of sorts, but it is nothing of the supernatural, it's backed by evidence. Atheists don't so much defend themselves as much as they're presenting evidence to the contrary of what theists are presenting. And in so much that our belief system is backed by evidence in the measurable world, we just lack belief in the supernatural. Therefore our belief system is entirely different then a theists.

"I only bring them up as a rebuttal to the argument that Christianity is wrong because of the crimes that have been committed by its adherents throughout the ages."

That I can understand and condone.

In regards to your last paragraph; do you follow every rule in the bible Tyler? I highly doubt it. And if not, why? Why NOT follow every rule if that's what you're going to have your basis off of. Why pick and choose? Where do you get your basis for deciding what's right in the bible and what's wrong? I'd really like to know. Because if you're just picking and choosing then why follow it at all? And if you ARE picking and choosing, then you've shown the ability that you can choose your morals and actions contradictory to the bible. At least CJ has a sense of humor for cryin' out loud.

I've studied theology at the University of Utah. I've read the Old testament both in English and through the helpful translations from my Hebrew professor. She thinks that there were two omnipotent beings in the Genesis. She also thinks that the bible is a very matriarchal book. There's a lot of people who would disagree with her. But she's studied it her whole life. Know what that tells me? You can interpret this book any way you want and at the end of the day it doesn't amount to anything. Why people put so much energy in stock into these texts I will never understand.

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Papa

Papa

Tuesday 8th December 2009 | 03:13 AM
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...in response to this comment by Trent Greguhn. "She also thinks that the bible is a very matriarchal book."

I had the privilege a taking a Contemporary Theology and Feminist Theology class where our professor (a very intelligent and well spoken woman) presented theories for a female God or gender neutral God. I found it very enlightening and refreshing to the typical view of God as a bearded man.

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Trent Greguhn

Trent Greguhn

Tuesday 8th December 2009 | 03:13 AM
105 total kudos

...in response to this comment by Papa. I agree with you completely. Look how long my posts have become as a result...

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Trent Greguhn

Trent Greguhn

Tuesday 8th December 2009 | 03:18 AM
105 total kudos

...in response to this comment by Papa. My professor also taught the same sort of theories. It was in my Bible as literature class and she was a native of Israel. It was inredible to hear the old testament from the hebrew passages, and the interpretation our professor had made you really think.

On a related note, I remember writing a paper for that class for the story of Saul, and I used certain quotes to make the argument that God was inconsistant-- whereas another student used the same quotes I did to argue the opposite. Just goes to show you right?

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Papa

Papa

Tuesday 8th December 2009 | 05:06 AM
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...in response to this comment by Trent Greguhn. Thats very true. Same passages, same story read completely different.

I had the unique experience of hearing from a guest speaker a few times in that class. Dr. Augustine was in Bulgaria during the communist reign and fall of the Soviet Union. She had a very unique take on the influx of western ideas into a communist culture.

This is off topic but I think worth sharing.

She argued that Communism sustained a complete equality between women and men, and seen as equal participates and contributors in every way of life, schooling, jobs, economy. Celebrated not only as contributed as equals but bearers, givers and mothers of life. While the Russian Orthodox church under communism had a drastic different view on women as opposed to the rest of the society. Which maintained the typical notion of women as sub-servant. And the Russian Church didn't actually start teaching women until 2 years after the fall of Communism. While she did have critiques, and admitted that communism obviously wasn't perfect, it was again refreshing to here her experiences and view points.

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Tyler

Tuesday 8th December 2009 | 07:27 AM

Trent, what is with atheists on here not being able to practice reading comprehension? Although I have to say that you are a breath of fresh air on this thread. While we disagree, you are one of the first atheists on here who is level headed, clear, and who does not resort to name calling, ad hominems, or rash generalizations. You are a good example to these other atheists.

First, Occam’s razor does not disallow hypotheticals because hypotheticals are tools of rhetoric, not causal explanations of which Occam’s razor exclusively applies. Me pointing out that Occam’s razor is not a law of logic is not an escape hatch, it is pointing out that has been invalidly extended and applied.

Occam’s Razor, again, deals with theories are that are equal on all accounts with the exception of their conciseness. To use the watchmaker example, what is more simple? To assume that the watch had a designer who made it, or to assume that it evolved over millions of years into an increasingly complex system, complex enough to actually have no design but to give the illusion highly intricate design? The longer the evolutionary line, the MORE complex the theory becomes. If Occam’s Razor is to apply, then you must have already conceded that Creation is an equally valid theory (for Occam’s razor does not determine truth but trims extraneous premises that are not necessary to the explanation) and thus you must accept creation as viable. But if creation is viable, then it is also the simpler of the two. It only requires one unprovable premise: God (“unproveable” on your terms since I believe that God is proveable) but for evolution there must be multiple unproveable premises: existence of the universe from nothing, the appearance (illusion) of design, the innate uniformity of the laws of nature, logic, morality, etc. Thus, if you want to bring Occam’s Razor into play, it actually works AGAINST your position. Now, I simply think that Occam’s razor is out of place in the discussion so I would never bring it in. But if YOU bring it in, I simply must point out that it works against you, not for you.

I find it interesting that you say “Atheists don’t believe a negative” but then define atheism with a negative “they don’t believe anything supernatural.” Would the “don’t” not make it a negative? Would not the assumption that God does NOT exist make it a negative? In fact, I’m not sure why you oppose this. It is precisely because atheism assumes a negative that it does NOT require the burden of proof. Which was my point. Although I think you are a bit muddled. You say its not a universal negative but then you define it by a universal negative, but then you try to defend the universal negative with your unicorn example, but then you claim another universal negative of no proof for a universal negative. So I think you are just unclear on what you are arguing for.

However, if atheists, like you, want to avoid the problem of positing a universal negative as the basis for your world view, then you must make a POSITIVE claim about the state of affairs in which God does not exist. But it is the positive claims that carry the burden of truth. Thus the theist carries the burden of proof for God’s existence, but the positivistic atheist carries the burden of proof from the state of affairs in which God necessarily does not exist. Thus, both have their own burden of proof. The only way to avoid it is to say atheism is a universal negative (which then runs the problem of argue for a universal negation).



Great, then we agree, a RELIGIOUS belief system has nothing (well, I don’t want to say nothing, but comparatively little) to do with the prosperity of a nation. I never made the argument to the contrary so I don’t know who you were arguing against. You also seem to make the mistake to assume the religion is exclusively moralistic. That is, religion is only beneficial so far as it makes us “good.” It seems obvious however, that while moral transformation is a pivotal aspect of religion, to only construe it in moral terms is to drastically misunderstand it. It is also valuable so far as it is an adequate portrayal of the metaphysical reality of God, the human make-up/purpose, history, the future, sin, promise, redemption, etc. It would be like me saying that evolution (your basis for morality) is only good so far as it promotes morality, but there are people who don’t believe in evolution who are moral. Well you would object because you believe it is a true representation of the metaphysical reality of the world and that it is good because it is true. Don’t reduce religion to pragmatism or moralism. To do so is to show that you simply do not understand religions in general, and definitely not Christianity in particular.

Ok, so you deny the need for moral authority but posit that there is on: Humans. Tell me, what is the basis for moral authority? Why OUGHT I seek the beneficial “good” of others? What is the basis for your evaluation of what the “good” of others is?

My hypothetical is not inconsistent with evolution because evolution cannot say that something MUST occur. There are many NEGATIVE mutations. In fact, Dawkins says that our need religious belief is actually a misfiring of religion that didn’t even help our species survive. So why could their not be a misfiring where the female sex found sex repulsive?

So in our society, rape is only wrong because WE say that it is wrong because it is pointless and harmful (although in my scenario it may not be pointless, but it would certainly still be harmful)? So an action is moral if it serves a point? Ends justify the means? Circumstances dictate the action means that morality is not a REAL thing, but only a word we describe for pragmatic functionality. So who determines functionality? Why was Hitler wrong in killing the Jews if he had a purpose for it? By what standard to you evaluate his purpose? American Slavery served an enormous economic purpose. Was it morally justified until other economic means could take its place? Thus making moral progress only economic progress?

And tell me, why should social function trump my personal function? Why OUGHT I concern myself with the function of others? Where does the moral OUGHTness come from? Is it innate? Evolved? Social contracts? And you may not like my hypothetical, but it is a common philosophical device to show the logical absurdities that can occur when an argument is taken to its logical ends. (Reductio ad absurdum).

You actually then intentionally cast morality in the helpful/unhelpful cast. You use white lies as an example. Are white lies as bad as murder? No. are they immoral. Yes. You may disagree. But lets see where this takes you. You then bring up murder. The problem here is that you actually confuse murder (unjustified) with killing. Deaths as a result of war (so long as they are in battle and not something like shooting unarmed prisoners for fun) are not murder but are examples of killing. Thus I think wars, so long as they are just, are not immoral, while I think that every murder (by definition) is immoral. I do not think that circumstances will ever dictate that MURDER is moral or that justified killing is immoral.

SO yes, I still ask why OUGHT I to be helpful. I don’t mean to say that I must for every decision appeal to God, no. I’m asking what is the metaphysical and epistemological bases for moral obligation? Do we act morally JUST to avoid punishment? Because then there is no moral obligation just fear of reprisal from the society, which would make morality merely illusory and arbitrary based on what is good for the culture at that time. Do I help someone just for the existential “good feeling” that I get from it? how often did your mom make you help grandma even though you HATED it? How often does you conscience tell you to help even though you DON’T want to and you DON’T feel good afterward? You again have not been able to provide a BASIS for moral obligation? In fact, why am I morally obliged to be moral in any given case? Why do I have moral obligation to my species? To my community? To my family? Is it gene preservation alone? Morality then becomes fictional, and we should speak of pragmatics, not morality.

Why is it morally objective “wrong” for me to kill you if you were slaughtering my tribe? “Wrong” is a moral term. Should you not say that it is “helpful” of me to do so? Ok, I’ll grant you your hunter example for now. But you want concrete., black and white. We don’t live in a hunting tribe. I live near Los Angeles and have not hunted a day in my life. Lets say I am impotent and am unable to bear children with my wife. You, wanting to be helpful to the species, rape my wife and impregnate her. The purpose of evolution has been fulfilled. Is that a beneficial action since it helps our species? Obviously not. So lets say, me, in a jealous rage (which is actually pointless since there is no objective moral standard and thus while you may have been “unhelpful” in the long run, you broke no real moral law) I kill you. You are not the prime hunter of the society. You are maybe a bag boy at the grocery store, you are single and no prospects of helping the society at large. No one depends on your for survival. Am I allowed to do so?

Or lets not even talk about murder. I see you walking down the street and I think you are ugly. So I walk over and punch you in the face. No major damage done, I make sure to hit your cheek so I don’t cause you blindness or any damage that may cause you to be unable to be a fit member of society. Did I do anything objectively wrong?

Or again, lets say you have a girlfriend or a wife who you find has had sex with other men while she was with you. Why do you get mad? Many animals, most actually, are not monogamous. Are you justified to cast moral judgments upon her?

So America was justified to invade Germany for economic,geo-political reasons, but if it was merely to stop genocide we were outside of our rights to do so?

You again clearly do not understand the argument before you. I never said religion is the basis for morality. Thus people before Jesus were moral in the same way people after him were. Because morality is an INNATE function of the universe based on the eternal nature of God, the only possible basis for objective, REAL moral standards.

You say you think it is better not to have slaves? Why? Is it objectively better? So if the majority of the culture decided we wanted to strike up the slave trade again for economic reasons (thus you have the majority community on board and the pragmatic requirements met) then you would raise no moral objections?

As for apes, yes… it would give new meaning to the scopes trial. Ha. But seriously, you said that we see moral aptitude in apes. Do we calls things crimes based on higher brain function or moral breaches? Admittedly things like mental dysfunction and insanity are things that lesson sentences and relieve moral culpability in our courts, but we still go through the legal processes and say that a crime has been committed. (Although I confess I really was positing the apes more the be cheeky than anything else.)

You grant some forms of pedophilia but not others, but instead of giving a basis, you just give examples. Tell me, WHY must a 40 year old man have the “best interest” (an objective moral statement) of the 9 year old girl in mind? Why is he morally OBLIGED to have any concern for her? And necrophilia and bestiality are only unhelpful (for you cant call them “wrong”) because of negative viral consequences? Well what if the person doesn’t care about the viral consequences? Who are you to tell him what he OUGHT/OUGHT not to do with his sexual expression? There are also viral consequences with casual sex as well. Protection is a partial solution. So what if necrophiliacs and bestialics promised to wear protection (though even we don’t legally tell people that thy are obligated to wear protection for casual sexual relations)? Would it be acceptable to you then?

No, atheists do not have a belief system “of sorts.” Atheists have a belief system period. There is not such thing as a “worldview of sorts.” Ha.

Now, you say atheists are “presenting evidence to the contrary of what theists are presenting.” This raises two concerns. 1) the atheists say that God is “unproveable” and that there is no “empirical” evidence that God exists. So tell me, if God is such that there can be no empirical evidence for his existence, how is it that there can be empirical evidence that he DOESN’T exist? In fact, how can there be EMPIRICAL evidence of a non-existent thing? 2) are things only true that are demonstrably true by empirical evidences? If so, is the statement that things can only be true empirical evidence ITSELF true by empirical evidence?

And I’m glad you agree that beinging up the skeletons in the closet in a worldview is an invalid measure of truth/falsity of that worldview. I’m glad we agree on something.

Asking me if I follow every rule of the Bible also betrays why you think Courtenay understand the Bible: because you don’t. I TRY to follow every law of God that I am OBLIGED to. And when I don’t, I recognize that I sin. But I know that I am not obliged to follow many of the laws laid out in the Old Testament. If you understood anything about the New Testament view of law and grace/gospel and the difference between the Mosaic Covenant and the New Covenant then you would know why. It has nothing to do with picking and choosing the laws I like or don’t like. The Old Testament Law of Moses was given to geo-politcal Israel. It had three various kinds of Laws. Civil dealing with the governance and kingly duties of geo-political Israel. Since I am not a citizen of that country I am not obliged to follow them any more than a Russian citizen is obliged to follow the laws of America. The next are the civil/cultic laws that governed the religious life of the Jews. This was things like sacrifice, dietary laws, offering, purity, cleanliness, etc. These were given to deal with the sin problem of Israel and to regulate proper worship. With the advent of Jesus, his death on the cross as the final paschal lamb given as the once-for-all atonement for sin, there is no more need for the sacrifical system with all of its regulations (this is the MAIN point of the book of Hebrews.) Thus I am not obliged to follow the ceremonial/cultic laws (see Paul and the other NT writers saying that Gentiles did not need to become Jews to become Christians, that all food is now permitted, and that any sacrifice done after the cross in the temple are not idolatrous because they deny the last sacrifice offered by God himself). So what laws am I obliged to keep? Love your neighbor as yourself. Do not lie. Do not steal. Do not commit adultery. Do not commit blasphemy. Have no other God’s before YHWH. Etc. It is the moral laws that I am obliged to keep. Again, does this mean that Christianity is primarily moralistic? No, because my desire to keep the moral law is an aspect of my humanity and my desire to please God rooted in the ontological reality of God’s existence, and the historical reality of the works of God in history, the incarnation, crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension. The common phrase is that the indicatives are the basis for the imperatives.

I’m glad you are willing to atleast verify where you have studied. What was your degree in? While I disagree that there are two omnipotent beings in Genesis (I would have to see her work to know specifically how to respond to her) I DO agree that there is a strong matriarchal aspect of God: he is creator, nurturer, sustainer, lover, etc. Do I think God is masculine, absolutely. I think his “gender” (if it is proper to use that word) is more of what we would traditionally consider masculine but that many traditions have taken that too far to an extreme to say that God is male. Jesus in the incarnation was male and is conceived of as the “Son” and there is “the Father” but what gender would the Spirit be. But then again, these are questions of speculation not bearing on the truth/falsity of theism, Christianity, or the Bible itself.

I would agree that the concept (put forth by Courtenay and others) that the Bible is oppressive to women is entirely invalid and thus to that degree it could be called matriarchal. It is not a misogynistic text. But her conclusion that you can get whatever you want out of it, is true in one sense and not in another. It is true, that people can get whatever they want out of ANY text. Anyone can be anachronistic, eisegetical, and ahistorical, atheological, aliterary, and twist it to their own wants. But she is wrong that this invalidates the text itself. If we can do this with ANY text why do we not scrap ALL texts? You see, the problem lays with the interpreters, not with the texts. It is like saying that because we fail at understanding say, quantum mechanics, then we should scrap it. it seems obvious that the fault lays with the interpreter, not the text.

Trent Greguhn

Trent Greguhn

Tuesday 8th December 2009 | 08:22 AM
105 total kudos

...in response to this comment by Tyler. I'm going to be as concise as possible.

Tyler, you and I are completely and diametrically opposed. Though we disagree with where morals stem from and whether there is an absolute uniformity caused by God, we would probably agree with where our morals lie. I hope anyway.

In your post I've realized that we are on two different planes of thought, neither reconcilable with the other, and as such, it's a chore to continue debating. As is such, you're right with Occam's razor and Null Hypothesis as it is I don't find a belief in God or Creationism worth merit, they also cannot be measured by scientific principles. Which further re-inforces my disillusionment of the realization that both religion and philosophy is just mental masturbation. However much I love it.

I studied and my major is theology for several years, though I've recently changed to a specialized education in American Sign Language Interpreting.

I'm sorry to have wasted your time writing that big long response, but after reading it I am positive that it will never end; I have rebuttals as sure as you are to have rebuttals for me. I'll save us both the energy of trying to sway the other by stopping it now.

You have interrupted these texts completely different than I. You've also interpretted philosophical readings different to what I have. You're not an unlearned person, so don't feel you have to prove yourself to the atheists. But I understand completely the majority's argument here, as I also agree with it.

All that's left is agreeing to disagree.

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Trent Greguhn

Trent Greguhn

Tuesday 8th December 2009 | 08:28 AM
105 total kudos

Hehe, interuppted... "You have interpretted" is what I meant.

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Tyler V

Tuesday 8th December 2009 | 10:06 AM

Tell me, can your assertion that God/creationism do not deserve merit because they cannot be scientifically measure, itself be scientifically measured? What lab test is the basis for that epistemological conclusion?

You say philosophy is "mental masterbation." Tell me, did you come to that conclusion logically?

But I do agree with one thing. Because of our presuppositional logical precommitments we will almost certainly disagree on most things. My goal in this thread has not been to prove God's existence, but to expose the logical problems of the presuppositions of philosophical naturalism. (i.e., lack of a basis for its own commitment to laws of nature, laws of logic, insistence on objective morality, etc.) I do not carry the burden of proof here because I am not trying to prove God. The atheists carry the burden of proof because of their positive stance on the state of affairs in which God necessarily does not exist.

And there are some cases where it is less an issue of worldview (like you and I who can objectively attempt to discuss the issues but still disagree), and more of an issue of axe grinding by ideologues (i.e., most of what Courtenay and Jake assert).

Trent Greguhn

Trent Greguhn

Tuesday 8th December 2009 | 11:14 AM
105 total kudos

What theological or philosphical conclusion can be measured scientifically? God/creationism are supernatural events and as such are by definition not obervably measurable. You've implied you believe God to be outside of natural order; the ultimate creator of nature and of scientific laws, thereby immesaurable by definition. Again, if you posit that God and creation are not supernatural, then we're back to square one. Agreeing to disagree.

I've discussed philosophy for many years with different people. Between the problem of evil, teleological, ontological, cosmilogical, moral law argument (which you seem to be fond of-- but again I believe morals and truth to be subjective and relative), transcendental argument, anthropic argument, argument from reason, etc. and all of the arguements against each of those arguments, it's an endless back and forth with no answer, only opinion, perspective, point of view; something we don't agree on and won't agree on. Of little or no practical purpose. Mental masturbation.

There is no burden of proof an an atheist because an atheist believes God is not observably measurable. You're just playing with semantics, back and forth we go, we won't stop. Ever. Again, differing views, nothing is going to change.

Though you're not out to prove God, having your goal to expose logical problems of philospohical naturalism is flawed, as there is error in every debate in argument for or against any topic that is not measurable.

I do appreciate your stance on this matter, as it is good to have an opposition to my beliefs to keep me grounded and practice my patience and tolerance of those who do not agree with me. You remind me of my philosophy of religion teacher, though he would never reveal his true stance, he always posed the opposite side of everything I ever said. Though I still disagree with you, I respect your right to believe what you'd like.

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Tyler V

Tuesday 8th December 2009 | 01:24 PM

But must something be measurable to be known? to be true? to exist? what is the measurement of the law of noncontradiction?

do you believe truth is relative absolutely? would i be wrong to believe that truth is not relative? if morality is relative, then what sense can you make of saying that we as humans have moral obligation as you have? Do you believe that your own position, that truth is relative, is not practical? if not, why come and post your position at all?

The burden of proof is not on the atheist to disprove God, the burden of proof is on the atheist to prove their philosophical naturalism. It is not their universal negative that requires proof, it is their positive claims within their worldview that does. Its not semantics. (Though I could be cheeky and press you if it is absolutely true that I am playing semantics?)

So my attempt to show the problems of philosophical naturalism is flawed because inherent in every world view (including philosophical naturalism) is error? So I shouldn't point out error BECAUSE there is error? My point in is not even to just point out that it has problems (i concede that we all have problems) but that it is fundamentally flawed on its most basic presuppositions.

And I'm glad we both think the other is intelligent and civil. Though it is surprising that someone as level headed as you supports an ideologue like Courtenay who actually wants the fame ("infamy"?) that he gains from his book to be able to help him to influence the passing of laws that would make it illegal for religious parents to raise up their children in their religious heritage as a form of brainwashing/child abuse! So Christian parents would not be able to raise their children in Christian homes or teach them Christian values, traditions or beliefs. its like one step away from Orwell's 1984.

Papa

Papa

Tuesday 8th December 2009 | 01:37 PM
98 total kudos

...in response to this comment by Tyler V. You accused me of lumping all Christians into the same group, as well as fundamentalists. You are doing the same with Atheists.

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Tyler V

Tuesday 8th December 2009 | 03:20 PM

Papa, I didnt lump ALL atheists together, especially since I said that Trent STANDS out from among the crowd as honest, insightful, and who discusses these issues with integrity. I drew a distinction between antitheists, atheists, agnostics, materialists, philosophical naturalists, secular humanists, etc. You AGAIN knee-jerk react and it has once more caused you to completely misconstrue anything the person says who disagrees with you.

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ozzie_z

Tuesday 8th December 2009 | 06:52 PM

Tyler said:

"It is true, that people can get whatever they want out of ANY text. Anyone can be anachronistic, eisegetical, and ahistorical, atheological, aliterary, and twist it to their own wants. But she is wrong that this invalidates the text itself. If we can do this with ANY text why do we not scrap ALL texts? You see, the problem lays with the interpreters, not with the texts."

It is all very well to say that Tyler but as soon as someone interprets the text to the displeasure of the elders, they argue that the person is somehow missing the point of the text. Ultimately they are attempting to direct the reader into a particular direction to suit their own agenda, whatever that may be.

What do you say to Court and those out their that share his perspective? That he is wrong perhaps, that his interpretation is far removed from the real meaning. You see this is where the real problem lies for you theists. You simply can't ignore the multiple viewing angles which all seem to have legitimacy depending on who you speak to. Are you in a position to say that I have misunderstood the text? Why should I accept your viewpoint. Tyler you have to question the value of a text if one requires extensive biblical training to see what the writer was trying to convey. That kinda makes the bible elitist. But then again that did coincide with the literacy levels of the time didn't it.

If you have a look at some of your recent posts, you spend an awful lot of time constructing a wall for the inevitable defence for the apparent atrocities that take place in the bible, hence the long winded summary of right and wrong. Frankly it is all too predictable this approach you are taking. I get the feeling the authors did not anticipate the eventual backlash. So much for all knowing I guess.

Cheers Oz

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Gina Squitieri

Tuesday 8th December 2009 | 08:17 PM

"Are you in a position to say that I have misunderstood the text? Why should I accept your viewpoint."

Ozzie,

You are not in a position to understand the text. Why? Well, the best way I can explain it to you is to draw you a picture of a man who has just scaled Mt. Everest who can see much more and much farther than his buddies down at the bottom of the mountain range. He radios down to his buddies, who have made the assumption there's nothing beyond the mountain (all because they can't see over it -- they weren't in a position to be able to view it) all that he can see. Follow me so far? Okay. So, does it make the man at the top of Mt. Everest a liar when he tells them all he can see all because the guys at the bottom don't believe that he can see things they cannot? Are the men at the bottom in any kind of position to be telling the one who has just scaled Mt. Everest that he's a liar? Or should they have the audacity to be telling the man at the top, "Tell me, sir --what kind of a position are you in that you can say that I can't see these things clearly?" Well, the answer is obvious.

I grant you that men most certainly do have a tendency to exaggerate truths or see things that are not there -- such as the case with those who think aliens exist! They've never seen one or seen any solid evidence of one, but actually believe they might exist. Actually, some people at Rustylime have more in common with the Catholic church than I think they'd like to admit. And those same people who are willing to believe that aliens exist WITHOUT A SHRED OF SOLID EVIDENCE will not hesitate to turn around and those who believe God exists silly--even though there is a ton of evidence that God exists. It's like I've said before: some (certainly not all) atheists can sense that there is something beyond them, but they'd rather attribute their suspicions to a creature that some man dreamed up -- which is ironic because that is the very thing that many, many atheists accuse believers in God of doing all of the time ("Oh, you just believe what was written by fallible man, you idiot sheep!"). It's a clear case of self-reflection: "I calculate that way and can't see beyond, so therefore others calculate that way, too."

I believe that when a person is clearly not in a position to see beyond their own limitations, then that person should remain quiet and let others who can actually see (as evidenced by sound judgment) be heard. Do they have to believe it? No, but they are no in position to call what they can't see hogwash, seeing how the are in no position to view it themselves.

Thank you.

Papa

Papa

Tuesday 8th December 2009 | 10:13 PM
98 total kudos

...in response to this comment by Tyler V. I would hardly call it a knee jerk reaction, but thats your prerogative. Personally I would describe a "knee jerk" reaction as someone who continually contends there are some how spaces in early greek manuscripts.

On a side note, I went back and read one of Erhman's more "popular books". If you like, I can forward you the pages which he speaks of how biblical texts are selected and chosen as authentic. And you can most likely preview the book on google books or something like that. I think you will find that where ever you got your education from, did not teach you how manuscripts are deemed authentic.

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Tyler V

Wednesday 9th December 2009 | 01:56 AM

Oz,

First, Ive never met an elder like that unless it is something that is completely off base with the text. Speaking of off base with the text, your comment about Courtenay. I didnt say that all those interpretations were valid. Just like if I read Plato to be talking about pink bunnies or something. Ultimately the text has ONE meaning. We are trying to discover the meaning. Some of us are closer than others but there is a range of plausibility. When someone like Courtenay comes along and doesnt even consider context, history, literary devices, theology, etc. he frequently steps outside of the range of possibility. We do the same thing when reading any other book.

The Bible is clear in its basic assertions (Courtenay and those like him miss them because they are too busy finding ways to twist them to their purposes). Its not hard to tell that the Bible portrays man as sinful, that God works through covenants, that Jesus is the promised Messiah, that he died on a cross, etc. Its not hard to get the basic story line. But when we are talking about interpretation, it is a book written at a certain point in history that is far removed from us. The Bible, in and of itself, is open to all people. In and of itself its not elitist. The problem is that it is now, in relation to us, an ancient text in an ancient culture, with ancient assumptions, in an ancient language, etc., and so it requires much study.

And I dont understand your last paragraph. My wall about the atrocities of the Bible (so you say) and the Bible writers not anticipating it? What? And no... the Biblical authors werent omniscient... God is.

Papa, ha still pulling at that thread? ha, in the pics that YOU sent me, spaces can be seen. the lack of spaces was aproduct of the high cost of manuscripting, not some inherent in the Greek. ha. but i guess your make believe school didnt teach you that.

I'll re-read Erhman (since I have read most of what he has written) if you read for the first time Bauckham, or Bruce, or Metzger?

Trent Greguhn

Trent Greguhn

Wednesday 9th December 2009 | 04:49 AM
105 total kudos | 1 for this comment

"But must something be measurable to be known? to be true? to exist? what is the measurement of the law of noncontradiction?"

Depending on which branch of Quantum Physics we're speaking of, yes. But let's take something invisible to the human eye-- say, an atom. Atoms existed well before our capacity to measure it. Didn't make it any less true or take them out of existance. Still, there was no reason to believe something like atoms existed without proof.

"do you believe truth is relative absolutely? would i be wrong to believe that truth is not relative? if morality is relative, then what sense can you make of saying that we as humans have moral obligation as you have? Do you believe that your own position, that truth is relative, is not practical? if not, why come and post your position at all? "

This paragraph is bizarre. I don't think you'd be wrong in believing that truth is not relative, I just think you'd be pretty naive. I don't believe in terms of good and evil in the traditional sense. Good and evil is relative and I believe in perspectives and points of view. Morality is relative on the whole, but not on the core, as I've explained. Truth being relative and circumstantial is practical to me and it's for that very reason that I engage in conversation to understand those points of view from people who disagree with my point of view. I don't believe you're wrong in your point of view, I just disagree with you. I don't think the human race needs a God, or a bible, to be kind and thoughtful. Just like I don't think there should be a reason we "OUGHT" to be kind other than common sensical ones.

"The burden of proof is not on the atheist to disprove God, the burden of proof is on the atheist to prove their philosophical naturalism. It is not their universal negative that requires proof, it is their positive claims within their worldview that does. Its not semantics. (Though I could be cheeky and press you if it is absolutely true that I am playing semantics?) "

Didn't you say that we needed to prove a negative earlier? Or was that in jest? On any account, the problem with proving what you want is the human race hasn't come that far yet. And that's the point. I don't need a quick answer to the universe; and science is rapidly working on getting the proof so you often demand. But just remember that proof for God and the bible is just as lacking. If not more so. I would definitely say more so.

"My point in is not even to just point out that it has problems (i concede that we all have problems) but that it is fundamentally flawed on its most basic presuppositions. "

You only view it flawed because it is not reconcilable with your supernatural belief of God. I fail to see how the principle underlying all modern science could be so flawed as you assume. The only way in which you could is if you take it to the materialistic extreme; always black and white. It's about living in the grey and finding the balance.

You say that fundamentalism religion is fairly new, at least in the Christian belief system. Nonetheless it is ever present and concerncing. We live in an ever increasing fundamental state of things that gets with religion lying at the heart of a lot of it. Especially in America, believe me, I know. I don't disagree with having children not be subject to religious beliefs until they reach the formal operational stage, in which they then have the reason to believe what they'd like. I especially disagree with baptizing children at the age of 8, which is almost the definition of indoctrination as a child of 8 does not have the ability to process the abstract ideas of religion or faith.

You can teach a child Christian values, sure. Depending on which Christian values you're speaking of. But I would definitely hold off on traditions and beliefs until the age of 12. Would you raise your child in your political shadow as well? I would provide children with as much history and information of all religions and beliefs as possible until the age of 12 and let them decide. I think that's the opposite of 1984.

"Though it is surprising that someone as level headed as you supports an ideologue like Courtenay who actually wants the fame ("infamy"?) that he gains from his book to be able to help him to influence the passing of laws that would make it illegal for religious parents to raise up their children in their religious heritage as a form of brainwashing/child abuse! "

This is silly Tyler. I mean, really. I doubt Courtenay is out for fame or infamy. You can't put someone down for wanting to publish a book for their beliefs, especially when every religion and religious leader has done the same. At least he's not telling people with AIDS not to use condoms. And if Bill O'Reilly can publish several books, I see no problem here.

It would be interesting to see what you have to say about the atrocities in the Bible Tyler, of which there are many, especially in the Old Testament.

I just get the feeling you want so badly to be right Tyler. And that's okay I suppose, but neither of us will be right in the context of perception. I don't think you're getting anywhere with your discussion.

----

Hi Gina. Good to see you back.

I think your metaphor flawed though. You're presuming for some reason that Oz isn't on the same level or plane that you or Tyler are. That's just not true. He has the some reasoning and logic skills as you and the same source material as you. It'd be more correct to say you're all at the base of Mt. Everest and are debating what's on the other side. But this metaphor is flawed as well, because there is a measurable way to find out what's on the other side of the mountain. Very unlike interpretting a text.

"I grant you that men most certainly do have a tendency to exaggerate truths or see things that are not there -- such as the case with those who think aliens exist! They've never seen one or seen any solid evidence of one, but actually believe they might exist."

If you know about statistics then you'd also know that the probability of life existing on another planet in one form or another is almost a certainty. The only thing that's unlikely-- incredible unlikely-- is that aliens have visisted our planet.

"--even though there is a ton of evidence that God exists."

Please present your evidence.

"I believe that when a person is clearly not in a position to see beyond their own limitations, then that person should remain quiet and let others who can actually see (as evidenced by sound judgment) be heard. Do they have to believe it? No, but they are no in position to call what they can't see hogwash, seeing how the are in no position to view it themselves."

Every average human being is in the same position to see something as another. Though some may be more talented than others in certain areas, it is by no means beyond the understanding of an average humans brain capacity. Oz and you have the same limitations, though I think he recognizes his.

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Trent Greguhn

Trent Greguhn

Wednesday 9th December 2009 | 04:51 AM
105 total kudos

(Sigh...) Sorry to do this again to you Mike. It listed my comment above as a vistor again. I think it may have something to do with my browswer timing out while at work.

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Mikey

Mikey

Wednesday 9th December 2009 | 06:14 AM
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...in response to this comment by Trent Greguhn. No problem. I still can't duplicate the problem. When you login do you have the 'remember me' option checked?

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Trent Greguhn

Trent Greguhn

Wednesday 9th December 2009 | 06:16 AM
105 total kudos

...in response to this comment by Mikey. I do not, but I will make sure to remember to use that from now on. We don't have assigned computers where I work so I never thought to click it before.

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Papa

Papa

Wednesday 9th December 2009 | 07:12 AM
98 total kudos | 1 for this comment

...in response to this comment by Tyler V. I picked one of his easier books to read since you seem to misconstrue any scholarly knowledge I attempt display.

And that insult of my "imaginary school" simply won't play. I am very confident in my level of greek and scholarly knowledge that I have attained during my years of study. And I promise, if you are still on this forums, after my graduate director gets a new post I will be glad to post my school and professor. His tenure is more important to me than satisfying your curiosity.

Try reading pages 127 through 138 in Misquoting Jesus. I think if you can must up the cognitive ability to actually comprehend these pages, it should put an end to your idea that more manuscripts means more authenticity.

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Papa

Papa

Wednesday 9th December 2009 | 09:37 AM
98 total kudos

...in response to this comment by Tyler V. All of the below manuscripts date pre 6th century. And are taken from the website I mentioned earlier. The one where you looked at later manuscripts and attempted to substantiate your asinine claim. Have you even seen P52?

All of the below manuscripts are in Greek and contain no spaces between words. Meaning, no spaces between things like Nouns, Personal Pronouns, Adverbs, Participles, Adjectives, Prepositions, and so on and so forth.
Sometimes I think actually I know its not worth my time but I enjoy looking at these manuscripts anyway.

http://images.csntm.org/Manuscripts/GA_032/CodexW_023a.jpg

http://images.csntm.org/Manuscripts/GA_043/GA_043_0014b.jpg

http://images.csntm.org/Manuscripts/GA_0312/GA_0312_0007.jpg

http://images.csntm.org/Manuscripts/GA_0313/GA_0313_0002.jpg

http://images.csntm.org/Manuscripts/GA_01/GA01_001b.jpg

http://images.csntm.org/Manuscripts/GA_03/GA03_009b.jpg

http://images.csntm.org/Manuscripts/GA_043/GA_043_0103a.jpg

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Gina Squitieri

Wednesday 9th December 2009 | 12:30 PM

...in response to this comment by Trent Greguhn. Hi Trent,
I'm sorry but I don't recall ever having seen you on the Lime before, but thanks for the warm welcome anyway.

You know there is plenty of evidence - just look around you, look at yourself, your own body and how it operates. Look at the universe! Where did it come from and why is it here? Why are we here? Open your eyes and look at it! You'll be amazed! Ah, but you can't see. I'm sorry. Now, I agree that the bible isn't elitist. But I'm here to tell all that God doesn't open up everyone's understanding and wisdom at the same time. God is not calling all at this time -- He is only calling some in this age (1 Corinthians 15:22-23). But I'm not like all other believers. I truly believe that God will open your eyes one day and not for the purpose of condemning you to an "eternity" of hell of torture for ever and EVER either. I know that's not how a loving God operates. What a cruel joke to make humanity and then punish it when it doesn't work as desired. That would be like making a motorcycle and when it malfunctions burning it in a firey pit to punish it, as if it made itself malfunction! I believe God will open everyone's eyes one day, but for now your eyes are closed, Trent. You can't see over the proverbial mountain at this time. (2 Corinthians 4:3-5) That's how God works. It's been said before: The blind can't see. You can put it right up in their face real close in front of their eyes and even describe what you've got to them, but the blind CAN'T SEE! I'm not saying that to disparage you -- for God loves the WHOLE world! And I hope that doesn't discourage you from continuing to seek the truth. Definitely continue to seek the truth.

Take care, Trent

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Tyler V

Wednesday 9th December 2009 | 12:41 PM

Trent

So how do you measure laws of logic? What is the height, width, depth, weight, temperature, density, mass, etc. of the law of non- contradiction?

And your argument about the atom makes no sense. Sorry, but if something is true, then it is true regardless of whether or not we can measure it or even know it exists. Imagine a blind man denying that something like colors exist because he cannot perceive them. In fact, if you are going to go down this road, then you will end up with Hume in a radical skepticism of everything. We may have sense perception, but how do you know that your sense perception is real and that you are not just a butterfly dreaming?

You don’t think that I am wrong to not think that truth is relative but just naïve. Well if I am not wrong, then am I right? Is it relative that 2+2=4? Is it also relative that truth is relative? Is evolutionary theory relative so that those who say it is false are just as correct as those who say it is true? What would the point of the scientific method be if every theory is equally true?
And you actually DO believe in traditional “good/evil”. You believe that it is “good” for me to seek the benefit of the collective, and “wrong” for me not to. You just couch it in different terms to get away from it. The problem with relativism is that no matter the form, it is wholly unlivable.

How can morality be relative on the whole but not on the core? So what morals are relative, and what is the core that is not? If truth/morality is relative, then WHY do you disagree with me? Is it a matter of preference like a favorite flavor of ice cream? Are scytzophrenics also just as true in their beliefs? So is the actions of your girlfriend when she cheats on you not morally invalid? Would you be mad about it?

You also say that there is not such thing as “ought” but that we should just use common sense to act morally. But Jeffery Dahmer’s common sense and Charles Manson’s common sense told them VERY different things that their victims. So were they equally “moral” as their victims? Or does it not make sense to call their actions “immoral” because they were not morally obliged to not brutally kill people? Was the government morally obliged to try and catch them?

Yeah, you CANT prove a universal negative. So in so far as atheists do not need to PROVE atheism (though for them they must adequately disprove theism which has yet to happen), but I didn’t say the burden of proof was for their theism. Read the quote that even you cited. The burden of proof is on the atheist when it comes to their worldview: philosophical naturalism. I don’t think that proof for God/Bible is lacking at all. Again, in this thread my concern is not to defend theism, but to object to atheism/philosophical naturalism. But as I stated briefly, I think the philosophical necessity of God to exist to base laws of logic, the uniformity of nature, the laws of nature, moral obligation, moral evaluation, linear history, the existence of the universe, etc.

Do you assume that atheism is a principle underlying all modern science? Or that philosophical naturalism is? Because in fact, neither is the case. Science is a method. It can be adopted by any worldview. The fundamental problems that I was referring to within the atheistic worldview is that it uses absolute, universal, eternal, immutable laws of logic, nature, and morality (see Courtenay’s major premise that God is objectively “evil”) while being entirely unable to base any of those within their worldview. Notice that your worldview, in order to avoid this dilemma, has driven you to a kind of inconsistent relativism. If truth is relative, then how can you say scientific truth is absolute? How can you reason if apart from universal, absolute, immutable, immaterial laws of logic? Etc. This is a form of the Transcendental Argument by which God is necessary basis for these realities. This does not mean that atheists don’t have reason, but when they apply laws of logic they are being inconsistent with their own worldview. When they make moral evaluations they are borrowing the basis that the theistic worldview provides. They are basically on borrowed ground.

And I agree fundamentalism is ever present and concerning. Many Christians feel the same way. But I also believe that there are fundamentalists of EVERY worldview. Every worldview has its ideologues who would rather grind axes than try to find ways toward a more tolerant society.

And I am surprised, I must admit, that for how level you are, that you are actually for FORCING parents to not raise their children up in their own religious heritage. Especially considering that you believe truth is relative. Besides, it is a back door way to try and sneak in a different kind of indoctrination. No matter what worldview is foisted upon children it will always come in the form of indoctrination. It is a slight of hand really. It is saying that theists cant instruct their children with their worldview, but philosophical naturalists can. But the WORST part apart that is that this is basically legislated thought control! As a “free-thinker” I am surprised that this kind of antitheistic fundamentalism doesn’t shock you! Have you never read Orwell’s 1984? Especially if you REALLY are a relativist! How can a relativist me SO dogmagtic to impose one way of thinking on other people!?

So as a Christian I can teach them Christian values (which is meaningless by your own account) but not tradition (which should be relative by your standard) until they are 12? So while MY children are growing up in MY house I cant pray for our meals? Take them to church on Sundays when my wife and I go? Read them Christian books? Do you really think that you, a moral/religious relativist is not WAY outside your justified rights in making those claims? Lets say the Christian MAJORITY in the US decided that all people MUST impose theism. Parent could NOT teach their children evolution, naturalism, etc. in their own home? How pissed would the ACLU be!? Ha, and rightly so! No one has the right to tell parents what they can and cant teach their children in their own homes. The inconsistencies in your own position are rapidly multiplying.

If you don’t think Courtenay is out for fame/infamy then you either haven’t followed his blog or chatted with him long enough. That is one fact that is abundantly clear. I wouldn’t put him down for publishing what he believed. The problem is that Courtenay did not write a book on what he believed, but on bashing what OTHER people believe. He did so without study, without scholarship, without… comprehension.

And tell me, is it WRONG to tell people with aids NOT to use condom? I think it is absolutely wrong, but then again I believe in objective morality. This is a good example of where you reject objective morality but then try and sneak it in when you think no one is looking. Oh, and I think O’Reilly is a right wing ideologue with an axe to grind.

You say that there are many atrocities in the Bible. Tell me, are they absolutely wicked? Are you within your moral justification to evaluate it as such? If morality is relative are the actions of the Bible not equally moral? And if morality is evolved, how do you know that those acts aren’t at the peak of moral justice at those times? I’m not saying that this is ACTUALLY why I don’t consider the acts in the Bible to be atrocities, but to point out the inconsistency of your own position by your own standards of moral relativism and evolution.

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Tyler V

Wednesday 9th December 2009 | 12:49 PM

Papa, awesome. All you are proving is that manuscripts didnt use spaces. Like I said, we agree. But i know it is because they were saving the cost to make the manuscripts.

Ha, you wont name your school on a little nothing blog because you worry about your teacher's tenure. Ok, I had a professor at the ivy league but secular university I went to who disproved Darwinian evolution beyond a reasonable doubt but if he were found out, then he would be fired there... so trust me... its true... but I cant tell you where I went or who he was.... but really... its true... haha. so youre asking me to take your word on FAITH. Arent you the one who says we should only believe things by EVIDENCE? well so far from what I have seen, you have misconstrued the arguments of scholars, you have tried to take scholars like Collins and make him a skeptic, you confuse interpretation, translation, and transmission, etc. So no, you make a lot of simple mistakes that are more likely the product of self-education through blogs than training by real scholars. Sorry. sad but true.

Now, like I said, the conversation about manuscripts has ground to a screeching halt. let it go. We are going to just butt heads and have a "my scholar beats your scholar" debate. You want me to read Erhmans (which I have) but you wont read any one who disagrees with you. I have sent you lectures, articles, and books and you have been utterly unwilling to read those. you are entirely uncritical about your own worldview and your own belief system. it is much easier to just insult and dismiss those who disagree with you than to actually read them and subject your own position to scrutiny.

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Gina Squitieri

Wednesday 9th December 2009 | 01:53 PM

And here is a double witness to show you that though the lost are blinded to the truth for a time, those lost will be saved:

# Matthew 18:11
For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.

# Luke 19:10
For the Son of man is come to seek and to save (bring salvation/healing/health to) that which was lost.

The lost don't always immediately know that they are lost. They only admit it when they can't possibly deny it any longer to themselves.

God will not fail at saving a single lost soul.

Some believe those words. Many (including many in the church) do not. But does that mean that because those words aren't believed by you and many others that God will FAIL at bringing salvation to you and the many others? No.

God is love. (1 John 4:16)

Love never fails (1 Cor. 3:18)


# Matthew 18:11
For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.

# Luke 19:10
For the Son of man is come to seek and to save (bring salvation/healing/health to) that which was lost.

Paul of Tarsus wrote:

1 Timothy 4:10 (New Living Translation)
10 This is why we work hard and continue to struggle, for our hope is in the living God, who is the Savior of all people and particularly (not EXCLUSIVELY) of all believers.

Paul (formerly Saul of Tarsus) also wrote:
1 Timothy 1:15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners (who sins/misses the mark? Every last one of us. Believe it? No? That's not going to stop God from saving you); of whom I am chief.

Am I writing this thinking you can see these truths now and will agree with them, Trent/Oz? No. I'm still fully aware that the blind can't see. I wrote those verses only as a reminder to and for the edification of those who have been given and who are being given eyes that see.

I hope you have a pleasant day/night - whichever side of this big blue bowling ball you're on at the moment.

Gina

Papa

Papa

Wednesday 9th December 2009 | 02:13 PM
98 total kudos

...in response to this comment by Tyler V. These following are quotes taken from Tyler V's posts.

"...didn’t even keep full spaces between words to conserve space." – December 4th 2009 5:04Am

Oh, so there were no spaces in Greek according to your own statement? Well thats good because I agree with you. So when Greek was being produced for what would be later canonical texts or biblical texts (koine Greek) there were no spaces. Well your right! But wait a minute!

"Haha Greek didn’t have spaces!!! Are you kidding me!? Greek DEFINITLY had spaces!... but by the time we reach the Koine period there is absolutely space usage. Ha, no spaces in Koine Greek. Wow, I almost like reading this just to see what crazy uneducated thing you will say next." - December 5th 2009 at 8:14Am

And again...

"ha, Greek doesn’t have spaces and Manuscripts are corrupted in transmission by the oral tradition that predates them. Ha, what crazy thing will he make up next" - December 5th 2009 3:27Pm

And yet, what did you say on December 9th 2009 at 12:49 PM.

"All you are proving is that manuscripts didnt use spaces. Like I said, we agree."

Unfortunately your posts disagree with one another. I would spend some time viewing some old manuscripts before ascertaining there are no spaces in Koine Greek. Again tell me, how many spaces are in between the words of the oldest surviving New Testament manuscripts?

For the Forum community, google.... John P52.

"Ok, I had a professor at the ivy league but secular university I went to who disproved Darwinian evolution beyond a reasonable doubt but if he were found out, then he would be fired there... so trust me... its true... but I cant tell you where I went or who he was...."

And yet you criticize me for not naming my professor and yet you admit in the above quote that you had a professor in a similar situation? And you admittedly won't name him/her either? And you discredit my arguments because I won't name my professor nor university. Strange.

"You want me to read Erhmans (which I have)...."

And yet you won't comment on the pages that I sent you. Please enlighten this forum community on the information that those pages contain. I would love to hear it. Because if you won't, I will.

"I have sent you lectures, articles, and books and you have been utterly unwilling to read those."

I have not seen one lecture or article or book posted on this forum under your alias "Tyler V". You know what, I will even give you the benefit of the doubt and say, I may have missed them. Considering I have a hard time reading an entire post of yours because of the headache it gives me.

" it is much easier to just insult and dismiss ..."

My ideas and concepts of Historical Criticism are not my own, nor do I dare claim they are. My knowledge is built upon hundreds of years of scholars critically analyzing canonical texts. My views are built upon the sweat and labor of hundreds of scholars world wide who have studied and published their findings. For you to claim my knowledge is supplied by blogs and forums, only shows me one of two things.

Either A, you have no education. Or B, your conservative fueled biblical knowledge has provided you with an elitist attitude to which you cannot fully appreciate a argument unless a credential or some type of degree can supplied behind it.

And yet you have taken a large majority of your time to attempt to convince this community that I have no degree, and I am "uneducated". I am staring at my "liberal arts degree" right now on the wall from my university. And it makes me chuckle....



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Tyler V

Wednesday 9th December 2009 | 04:10 PM

Papa, I’m going to say this as clearly as can because your posts proves that you have no reading comprehension and take everything out of context. Example? You say that I said, “"...didn’t even keep full spaces between words to conserve space” when in fact, in context, what I said was 9caps not in original but added here for emphasis), “IT was very costly TO COPY A DOCUMENT in ancient times and that is why often manuscripts didn’t even keep full spaces between words to conserve space.” From that you try and cast me as saying, “there were no spaces in Greek according to your own statement.” Ha, NO. That’s not even close to what I said. You also quote when I was summing up YOUR argument “, Greek doesn’t have spaces and Manuscripts are corrupted in transmission by the oral tradition that predates them. Ha, what crazy thing will he make up next,” and try to pass it off as MY argument! Why would I say my argument then deny my own position by saying that I’m making crazy things up one sentence later?! You have MASSIVE reading comprehension problems; either intentionally or unintentionally. I don’t know which would be worse…

Look, I’ll make this as clear and as concise as I can. The Greek language and grammar had spaces. Most manuscripts however did not have spaces because they wanted to save space. Thus you are right when you show manuscripts not using spaces. But it is NOT A FUNCTION OF GREEK GRAMMAR BUT OF THE PROCESS OF MANUSCRIPTING. I have said this the entire time. I have conceded that most manuscripts DON’T have spaces. What I have maintained is that this is NOT because of Greek but because of cost efficiency.

So no, my posts don’t disagree with eachother. Your faulty misconstural of some of what I said does. I’m not arguing that there were spaces in the manuscripts. I’m saying it’s a function of manuscript transmission not of the greek. But really, this is such a peripheral issue that I’m not even sure why you are dragging this out. Ha, and you keep appealing to look at manuscripts to solve the problem… sorry, but the fact that you cant differentiate between Greek grammar and manuscript transmission just shows that you are a sloppy thinker who frequently just makes category mistakes.

You again show that you have low reading comprehension skill. I DON’T have a professor who disproved evolution. Its called irony. I was pointing out the irony of you lambasting Christians for believing things on faith, and then you asking us to believe your credibility based on your unnamed school and your unnamed professor, for a stupid reason like tenure. If your professor was worried about tenure, he wouldn’t be teaching his students things that would get him fired. Especially when, if he was a scholar worth his salt, he would not have a hard time finding another job at a university that pays better than a small southern Pentecostal fundamentalist school. Outing him would be doing him a favor. But the fact remains, you don’t get to claim credentials that you are unwilling to name. And I HIGHLY doubt your ability to evaluate Biblical narrative and its complex literary devices, if you cant even tell my irony of point out your absurd claims. Ha, you take MY statements out of context (and mine aren’t ancient or complex) so what would you do with scholarly writing, ancient writing, cultural or historical writing, etc.?

So yes, I STILL criticize you for not naming your professor or you school. Ha. Its absurd. I hold you to your own standard. If you cant prove it with evidence, then its false.

Because I’m not here to give you a book report on Erhman. Why don’t you read or listen to any of the links that I have posted and respond?

I have listed a ton of sites, scholars, article and books. But so you don’t miss them, here you go:

Article by Gary Habermas: http://www.theapologiaproject.org/WHYIBE~1.pdf

Article by Michael Patton: http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/2009/10/textual-criticism-in-a-nutshell-2/#more-3130

Article by Richard Bauckham: http://www.biblicalstudies.org.uk/pdf/gp5_traditions_bauckham.pdf

Audio lecture(s) by Habermas: http://veritas.org/media/talks/615, http://veritas.org/media/talks/592

Audio Lecture by McDaniel: http://veritas.org/media/talks/530

Audio Lecture by D.A. Carson: http://veritas.org/media/talks/482

Audio Lecture by Craig: http://veritas.org/media/talks/598

3 part lecture by Osbourne: http://veritas.org/media/talks/199, http://veritas.org/media/talks/207, http://veritas.org/media/talks/206

And then there are books by scholars like Richard Bauckham (“Jesus and the Eyewitnesses”), Erhman’s phd advisor Bruce Metzger (“The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, And Restoration”), F.F. Bruce (“New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable?”), Craig Blomberg (“The Historical Reliability of the Gospels”)

There, you have citations now. Go educate yourself.

And you say that you build your knowledge on the sweat of hundreds of scholars worldwide… Well if you read them like you read me and he Bible (out of context and with no regard for authorial intent) then that’s really not saying much.

And telling me that youre looking at your “liberal arts” degree from you unnamed school doesn’t help any. No evidence. No belief. Don’t get made, its YOUR standard. Even though you are the one who assumes that editing ALWAYS take place even though we have things like the Isaiah scroll in the DSS that went unedited for 1100 years!

Ok, manuscript transmission is now a DEAD topic. we have hit a wall; an impasse. this is a debating blackhole that will suck everyone down with us and we will never agree. let it go.

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Tyler V

Wednesday 9th December 2009 | 04:15 PM

And rather than ME giving a review of Erhman, here is Ben Witherington III's review of Erhamn. Since Witherington studied under Metzger about a decade before Erhman did, I think he is more qualified than I am to respond:

part 1: http://benwitherington.blogspot.com/2009/04/bart-interrupted-detailed-analysis-of.html

part 2: http://benwitherington.blogspot.com/2009/04/bart-interrupted-detailed-analysis-of_08.html

part 3: http://benwitherington.blogspot.com/2009/04/bart-interrupted-detailed-analysis-of_13.html

part 4: http://benwitherington.blogspot.com/2009/04/bart-interrupted-part-four.html

part 5: http://benwitherington.blogspot.com/2009/04/bart-interrupted-detailed-analysis-of_16.html

Trent Greguhn

Trent Greguhn

Wednesday 9th December 2009 | 04:49 PM
105 total kudos

Hi Tyler.

I thought we agreed to disagree? I thought we did, but here we are chopping away at the same philosophical wood. I'm going to say this again, we will not agree. The only possible explanation is that A) you don't understand what I'm saying or B) want to be right. I'm fully free to discuss topics that haven't been brought up as I have with Gina, but we aren't getting anywhere. That being said, here I go again.

"So how do you measure laws of logic? What is the height, width, depth, weight, temperature, density, mass, etc. of the law of non- contradiction?"

Come on Tyler. You're asking me to measure philosophical reasoning? Although, there is some error on my part to try to answer two questions you asked me in one way. So let me clarify--

""But must something be measurable to be known? to be true? to exist?"

That first paragraph I wrote was in response to these questions.

"what is the measurement of the law of noncontradiction?"

The answer to this question is that there isn't one. The principle of contradiction (law of noncontradiction) is not true because any proof or disproof must use the law itself prior to reaching it's conclusion. It doesn't exist in the physical, only in the realm of thought to which it is known only to ones personal perspective. Therefore it is neither verifiable or falsifiable.

"And your argument about the atom makes no sense. Sorry, but if something is true, then it is true regardless of whether or not we can measure it or even know it exists."

I thought's that what I said... let's take a look.

'Atoms existed well before our capacity to measure it. Didn't make it any less true or take them out of existance. Still, there was no reason to believe something like atoms existed without proof. '

Yeah, that's what I said. I think where you were misled is that I said there was no reason to believe an atom existed before we knew about them. However, that being said, in Quantum Mechanics while measuring a wavefunction the original system ceases to exist as an independent entity. Measuring it took it out of existence, in other words.

"You don’t think that I am wrong to not think that truth is relative but just naïve. Well if I am not wrong, then am I right? Is it relative that 2+2=4? Is it also relative that truth is relative? Is evolutionary theory relative" etc.

I thought we were talking philosophy here. 2+2=4? This is a measurable, verifiable fact, yes. Though when I spoke of the relativity of truth I thought it'd be implied that we were speaking of morals as that is what our conversation has been about from the first sentence. If you're going to instruct people to take things in context, please be sure to do so yourself.

Evolution is considered by very few to be a theory. It is evidenced in bacteria. Why people can believe that small changes can happen over a small period of time but can't believe that large changes can't happen over a large period of time is beyond me. The former almost precludes the latter. Those who say evolution is false in my opinion are uneducated in the matter.

"What would the point of the scientific method be if every theory is equally true?"

I just dealt with this question. But the small answer is evidence. You can't treat scientific progress the same as philosophy.

"And you actually DO believe in traditional “good/evil”. You believe that it is “good” for me to seek the benefit of the collective, and “wrong” for me not to. You just couch it in different terms to get away from it. The problem with relativism is that no matter the form, it is wholly unlivable."

This is MY version of good and evil. Good and evil is relative, it is not static and measurable, it is based on societal and individual opinion. I am couching nothing. You are failing to understand.

"How can morality be relative on the whole but not on the core? So what morals are relative, and what is the core that is not?"

Because on the whole we have different cultures and societal norms and on the core we have laws like don't steal, don't kill, etc. I'll explain this later on in my response, right now isn't necessary.

"If truth/morality is relative, then WHY do you disagree with me?

I don't understand. It is because truth and morality are relative that I disagree with you. If truth and morality were absolute, I could not disagree with you by definition. That we're disagree at all, if anything, proves truth and morality are relative by this reasoning.

I'm only on your fourth full paragraph and my post is this long already-- moving on.

"You also say that there is not such thing as “ought” but that we should just use common sense to act morally. But Jeffery Dahmer’s common sense and Charles Manson’s common sense told them VERY different things that their victims. So were they equally “moral” as their victims? Or does it not make sense to call their actions “immoral” because they were not morally obliged to not brutally kill people? Was the government morally obliged to try and catch them?"

And here is the heart of the matter Tyler. Thank you for getting to it. It's true we should use common sense, but some people are born unbalanced or their point of view allows for what they believe to be good but society as a whole to be bad. And here is where my point shines. It is the society's decision as to what is bad, and what is good. The society deemed what Charles Manson had done to be bad.

But let's do a social experiment.

Let's say Charles Manson kills a father of four children who treats his wife excellently and contributes to society in a helpful manner. Society would deem this unsuitable and deal with him fittingly. However, were Charles Manson to kill a father of four children who treats his wife excellently but who is also simultaneously committing genocide, then society would label Charles Manson a hero for killing him. Here we have the same action-- being murder-- with two different results based on the circumstances of who the victim was. This is why truth and morals are relative. Morals are not black and white and there is no absolute, only perspective. If you can't understand this concept, then don't bring it up again. We are agreeing to disagree.

"Do you assume that atheism is a principle underlying all modern science? Or that philosophical naturalism is? Because in fact, neither is the case."

You're wrong here (at least from my perspective right?). Let me quote and define do you what Naturalism means. Naturalism "is specifically concerned with practical methods for acquiring knowledge, irrespective of one's metaphysical or religious views. It requires that hypotheses be explained and tested only by reference to natural causes and events. Explanations of observable effects are considered to be practical and useful only when they hypothesize natural causes (i.e., specific mechanisms, not indeterminate miracles). Methodological naturalism is the principle underlying all of modern science." You think God not to be supernatural so you disagree, and here we are again, agreeing to disagree.

"And I am surprised, I must admit, that for how level you are, that you are actually for FORCING parents to not raise their children up in their own religious heritage."

Tyler my friend, you're putting words in my mouth. As you've said, this is a strawman. I never said force. Hell, it wasn't even implied. Let's quote what I said--

'I don't disagree with having children not be subject to religious beliefs until they reach the formal operational stage'

I think it wrong to do indoctrinate kids in this manner. And you don't understand the stages of learning I think.

"Besides, it is a back door way to try and sneak in a different kind of indoctrination. No matter what worldview is foisted upon children it will always come in the form of indoctrination. It is a slight of hand really."

There is a difference from religion and baptizing someone into a faith system at the age of eight and from presenting a child points of view as they grow until they can decide for themselves. If you don't believe things like this are relative, and that there are certain ways of teaching that are less harmful than others, then I don't know what to tell you. I see nothing wrong with raising a child on the scientific method, and from here we'll just agree to disagree again.

"So as a Christian I can teach them Christian values (which is meaningless by your own account) but not tradition (which should be relative by your standard) until they are 12? So while MY children are growing up in MY house I cant pray for our meals? Take them to church on Sundays when my wife and I go? Read them Christian books?"

No no, this is fine, and by all means please continue doing so if you wish. I think what I, and a few others here wish is for the parents to present at least both sides. Again what you're saying above sounds nice, but it's also within the context you're doing it. If you're reading a Christian book that we call the Bible, and then telling your seven year old children that homosexuals are an abomination (which a great deal of America does) then yes, huge problem there. From your implications I think I'm right in guessing you're a homophobic person and anti-gay. From my perspective this is debasing to the human race and unacceptable. Though I may be wrong and if so I apologize. But what you've described above is essentially un-harmful and I'd urge you to continue doing so. But if only it were always that simple.

"lets say the Christian MAJORITY in the US decided that all people MUST impose theism. Parent could NOT teach their children evolution"

So you believe evolution and theism to be mutually exclusive? I personally find this a bit off, as I've said before, evolution is all but proven.

"If you don’t think Courtenay is out for fame/infamy then you either haven’t followed his blog or chatted with him long enough. That is one fact that is abundantly clear. I wouldn’t put him down for publishing what he believed. The problem is that Courtenay did not write a book on what he believed, but on bashing what OTHER people believe. He did so without study, without scholarship, without… comprehension."

I'll no longer presume to know what CJ intends or what he doesn't intend. But I don't think you have the right to either.

"And tell me, is it WRONG to tell people with aids NOT to use condom? I think it is absolutely wrong, but then again I believe in objective morality. This is a good example of where you reject objective morality but then try and sneak it in when you think no one is looking. Oh, and I think O’Reilly is a right wing ideologue with an axe to grind."

Tyler, you tie your own noose sometimes buddy. I absolutely think it's bat crazy to tell people with AIDS not to use condoms. So you and I believe the same thing. But the Pope doesn't. And because the Pope doesn't, Catholics don't agree with us either. That means that morality is relative to an individual or a group of people. You only think it's not relative because you believe that you are right. I believe it to be relative because I don't think I'm right, I just agree with my opinion.

"You say that there are many atrocities in the Bible. Tell me, are they absolutely wicked? Are you within your moral justification to evaluate it as such? If morality is relative are the actions of the Bible not equally moral? And if morality is evolved, how do you know that those acts aren’t at the peak of moral justice at those times? I’m not saying that this is ACTUALLY why I don’t consider the acts in the Bible to be atrocities, but to point out the inconsistency of your own position by your own standards of moral relativism and evolution."

I believe them to be absolutely wicked, but many people didn't, and many people still don't. Proving that morality is relative to opinion.

I asked for your perspective on the atrocities in the bible, not for you to tell me mine. In fact, all you've done is tell me what I supposedly do or don't believe, you haven't focused on your own beliefs or judgment our entire conversation. This says a lot. You're not posing questions to me out of curiosity, you're posing questions to prove you're right. A discussion cannot progress in this matter and is frowned upon in a great deal of communities of thought. I'm open to discussion by hearing your opinion and posing questions for mine, but the way you've been at it so far is what I deem to be disrespectful.

------

Hi Gina. I'm fairly new, but I'm familiar with your past posts on this site.

"You know there is plenty of evidence - just look around you, look at yourself, your own body and how it operates. Look at the universe! Where did it come from and why is it here? Why are we here? Open your eyes and look at it! You'll be amazed!"

Yes, this is the proof given from a religious perspective, I understand that, but I was expecting measurable proof, not philosophical proof.

"Where did it come from and why is it here? Why are we here?"

This questions preclude that there must be a reason for it all when in fact it does not.

"Ah, but you can't see. I'm sorry. "

Why is it that I cannot see? All I get from this statement is a sense of superiority from your end.

"Now, I agree that the bible isn't elitist. But I'm here to tell all that God doesn't open up everyone's understanding and wisdom at the same time."

Then God is elitist. Unless you can explain why he only shows the truth to some and not others. But if you say some are chosen, then he is elitist.

"You can put it right up in their face real close in front of their eyes and even describe what you've got to them, but the blind CAN'T SEE! I'm not saying that to disparage you -- for God loves the WHOLE world!"

He loves the whole world? Is he all powerful and all present and all knowing too? Then perhaps you can enlighten with the solution to the problem of evil for me. I would love to know.


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Trent Greguhn

Trent Greguhn

Wednesday 9th December 2009 | 04:54 PM
105 total kudos

"This questions preclude that there must be a reason for it all when in fact it does not. "

Let me rephrase this.

These questions preclude that there must be a reason for it all, when in fact there does not have to be a reason.

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Papa

Papa

Wednesday 9th December 2009 | 06:42 PM
98 total kudos

“I'll re-read Erhman (since I have read most of what he has written)…”

And you have yet to respond on the pages that you yourself said would read. But, wait!

“Because I’m not here to give you a book report on Erhman.”

Hm, Weird last time I checked you agreed to read 10 pages out of a Dr. Bart Ehrman book. And yet you have not responded on those 10 pages.

“Why don’t you read or listen to any of the links that I have posted and respond?”

How about because this is the first time you posted such links? And trust me, I can actually read unlike your so called claims of "re-reading Ehrman".

“Ha, and you keep appealing to look at manuscripts to solve the problem… sorry, but the fact that you cant differentiate between Greek grammar and manuscript transmission just shows that you are a sloppy thinker who frequently just makes category mistakes.”

How about because I am not a Greek scholar, I am a biblical scholar. Does that make any sense? I don’t care about any other period other than Koine Greek. Because every early manuscript we have of the New Testament is written in such greek, and without spaces! Why would I care about any other manuscript other than early new testament documents? Last time I checked I am not trying to read Homer in Greek. I am attempting to read early biblical manuscripts.

“If you cant prove it with evidence, then its false.”

Very well then, I can then assume despite the thousands of scholars world wide that would agree with me, that this is a false statement.

“…we can reconstruct the originals with 99% certainty…”

Good luck attempting to find any crediable scholars or any sound research in the world that will agree with that statement. Which if I have to remind you, that is your quote.

“Ok, manuscript transmission is now a DEAD topic. we have hit a wall; an impasse. this is a debating blackhole that will suck everyone down with us and we will never agree. let it go.”

Afraid not, your knowledge of manuscript study is so construed that I cannot let it go. Its not a minor difference, whatever you learned from your so called “degree” will get you no where in any leading scholarly school. If it is true what you are saying, I feel sorry for you. No leading school in the world would ever accept you, much less pass you if you actually hold to such claims. Sorry dude! Which by the way, where did you get your BA from?

I will come back tomorrow and post what Ehrman’s findings were since you some how can’t read 10 pages of a book… If you then begin to argue Ehrman's findings as you argue against mine than I will have definite proof that you are a fundy. good night yall…!

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Gina Squitieri

Wednesday 9th December 2009 | 11:54 PM

...in response to this comment by Trent Greguhn. Trent:

Evil is a backdrop for good. You see, it's like this: white won't show up if there is not a "darker" color to contrast it to. For instance, you wouldn't be able to see the words I'm writing if their color were the same as the background. Likewise, evil makes good show up. If there is only good, who would ever see it? There is a reason for all the madness. God is in control of all of it. He didn't make humanity and wind them up like a bunch wind-up toys and let them run amok--even though to you from your vantage/viewpoint, it appears that way. I know it's frightening, but God's in control of all of it.

And, no, God is not elitist. God is no respecter of persons. It only appears that way from your perspective/viewpoint. I already showed you verses that every man will see and be saved, but IN HIS OWN O-R-D-E-R. There is an order to all of it. You have order in your home, you have order in a court, we humans have an order to how we grow, and go about how we enter buildings and our homes and exit them when there's a fire. God does things in an o-r-d-e-r-l-y way, too. It's really not that complicated, Trent.

I hope you have a nice day. Talk to you later. Keep seeking.

Trent Greguhn

Trent Greguhn

Thursday 10th December 2009 | 01:59 AM
105 total kudos

...in response to this comment by Gina Squitieri. Good morning Gina.

Okay, since you're unfamiliar with the philosophical problem of evil, let me explain it. This is God's definition as accepted form the Judeo-Christian point of view.

God is all powerful.
God is all knowing.
God is all loving.

So why does evil exist?

And no, it's not so that we can learn lessons. If God wanted us to learn lessons evil would not be necessary, because he is all knowing and all powerful he would know of a better way to have us live our lives without evil and he would be able to do so because he is all powerful. No philosopher has solved this problem, and no one ever will because it is a direct contradiction to life, or at least how we perceive it.

Let's suppose God does things in an orderly manner. It still doesn't tell me why he shows some the truth and not others. Especially if he loves us all; if he's willing to show the truth to some, then why not to all at the same moment? And I don't take quotes from the Bible as proof or explanations because I believe it to be man made.

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Tyler V

Thursday 10th December 2009 | 03:48 AM

Trent
You said that truth AND morality are both relative. My first section was the see how you can construe TRUTH as relative and still argue for truth claims. But if you MEANT that moral truth was relative but that truth itself is not, then my first section was a preaching to the choir (though I disagree that the LoNC is only perceptually true since I think it is true by definition like saying “all bachelors are single”).

Then we move on to moral relativism. I DO understand your position. Its nothing new. You say morality is relative except for core (murder, stealing, etc.) But that is PRECISELY the question, WHY, under a naturalistic, evolutionary worldview, OUGHT I keep the core morals?

You then say it is BECAUSE morality is relative that you argue, and if it was absolute you wouldn’t. That’s actually not true. I believe morality is absolute and so does the Islamic fundamentalist. It is BECAUSE we are absolutists that he and I can disagree. Because I think that one of us (or possibly both of us to a degree) are objectively and really WRONG. If morality is relative then no one’s moral actions can be wrong because they are relative! They are all equally valid! There is no point in having moral dialogue if every person’s moral code, no matter how divergent, is equally true!

So lets say the society deemed that it was right to keep millions of people in bondage as slaves again? It would have economic and social reasons. We would revert back to slavery in America. We as the stronger more fit culture, would steal people from a weaker, unfit culture, and bring them over to do all our work, to live in squalid conditions and to be seen as less than human again. If society decided that, it would make that a moral action?

Your Manson example is also flawed. It confuses killing and murder. If manson murdered a good father who wasn’t committing genocide = bad. But if he murdered (with his same psychotic intentions and not to avoid the death of untold millions) he would still be seen as a socio-path, indicted and convicted of murder (unjust, unauthorized killing). But if Manson was say a sniper who was commissioned by the government for the sole purpose of assassinating Hitler to keep untold millions from dying, this is an example of killing, not murder. And it is not the consensus of the government that makes it so, it is the innate moral quality of the intention/authorization to commit the act. Now, while even this I think is a sound rebuttal, it actually allows you to get away with a blurring of the lines between morality and political ethics.

So Nazi’s were moral in exterminating the Jews because their culture accepted it? Stalin was MORAL in slaughtering TENS of millions of people because society accepted it? And the inquisition was acceptable? The crusades? I’m not trying to bash any certain worldview by the CRIMES of its people, I’m trying to point out that they are OBJECTIVELY CRIMES! I’ll grant that we may disagree on of it is immoral to tell your wife she looks good in a dress when she doesn’t, or to tell a kid their dog when to a nice farm to live. Or those morally grey areas. I’m trying to point out to you that when hold objective morals at the CORE of your system but you cannot ground them in culture, society, common sense, or consensus. You are right to say that if those are the basis, then all morality is subjective. The problem is that you say all morality is subjective but then you posit objective morals and moral obligation.

And to say that evolution is a fact, and not a theory is to confuse science with philosophy. Science can gather the evidence, do measurements, etc. Evolution is the EXPLANATION of the evidence, which must necessarily be philosophical, it requires deduction, syllogisms, etc. Science can tell us WHAT. It cannot tell us WHY, at least not on any meta level. Most scientists believe evolution is a fact because it works. But most philosophers of science know that it is a theory. Now it might be a TRUE theory, but it is still a theory. Calling something a theory doesn’t make it false, it just makes it non-empirical. Now the problem is that the theory of evolution, which I believe is accurate so far as it goes, tells us nothing of the WHY or even the prime HOW. So the evidence can show us one animal to another (and I am unsure of “macroevolution” even though I know the term is wholly inaccurate because it seems to require the insertion of new information, not the mutation or deterioration of existing information), and evolution can tell us that it was by small successive mutations, etc. But can it tell us if the process was guided or unguided? No. This is where evolution is hijacked by the philosophical naturalists who said evolution DISPROVES God. It CANT disprove God because it CANT say if the process is guided or unguided. It is simply outside the realm of the theory’s capabilities.

Oh, and I agree, METHODOLOGICAL naturalism IS the base of modern science. That is, we cannot insert not natural “evidence” into the study of the natural world. But as I just stated, PHILOSOPHICAL naturalism is something completely different. The problem is that most atheists, and EVERY antitheist presupposes that PHILOSOPHICAL naturalism is the underlying principle of all science. THAT is what is simply untrue. (Here is an audio lecture by Alvin Plantinga on this issue: http://veritas.org/media/talks/620, or you can see a bunch of talks on issues like this at: http://veritas.org/media/topics/72)

Now, why did I summarize your argument as force? Because you say we cannot force a religious worldview on children. Well then what should we teach them? You see, a worldview is ALWAYS foisted on children. We cannot escape it. We cannot be neutral to worldviews. So if we are not teaching our children a theistic worldview (the RIGHT of every parent to raise their own children) then we are foisting a SECULAR worldview onto a children. Like it or not, not matter WHAT worldview we teach children, it will ALWAYS be forced upon them. You say that they cant be taught religion until they reach the “formal operational stage” thus admitting that Children prior to a certain age are unable to critically examine the worldview that they are being subjected to. Thus no matter what worldview is taught them, it will ALWAYS be by “indoctrination.” (though I think that word is more of a pejorative term used to denounce the instruction of a worldview that one disagrees with.

And I never asked if it was right for you to raise your children on the scientific method (although as I have shown, there is nothing inherently contradictory between METHODOLOGICAL naturalism in science and theism as a worldview). You can raise your kids how you want. The problem comes in trying to pass legislation that would force parents to raise their children a certain way. This, it seems to me, cuts across the very core of freedom and liberty.

So we can read the Bible to our children but not actually believe what it says? We can teach the children the Bible so long as we tell them it is false?

As for homosexuality. Lets not make this post about that but let me clear something out. I’m not homophobic (a fear of homosexuals) nor am I anti-gays (a concerted effort to suppress) but I do believe homosexuality is a sin. But let me briefly explain my position, and this is not me but many Christians I know. But I will concede there are not enough of us. Too many Christians, I think, are WRONG on this (I believe in objectivity, so I can say so.) I believe God created the universe. By whatever means, we have arrived at man and woman. (which even evolutionarily speaking it seems that the mere biology of reproduction would show that what is best for the species is heterosexuality, youre own “most helpful” standard). Now, it may surprise you to know, but I voted AGAINST Prop 8. Here is why. Homosexuality is not something that infringes on the well being of other people. Thus, legal action ought not to be taken against it, any more than I think legal action should be taken against adultery. Would we pass a prop that said adulterers cannot marry? Maybe in a theocracy but not in a democracy. That is my political reason. But I also have a religious, specifically CHRISTIAN one. Do I think homosexual orientation is a sin? No. (orientation is not sinful because no act is committed). Is homosexual practice? Yes. BUT, can a practicing homosexual be a Christian? YES! Why? Because the heart of Christianity is that we are saved by GRACE, not by works. It is not by our good works or how moral we are that we are saved, it is BECAUSE we are sinful and CANNOT earn our own salvation that Christ had to come. It is because we CANT merit our salvation that Christ merited it for us. Thus it is by GRACE (undeserved). This is THE GOSPEL, the very heart of the Christian faith. Now if the requirement was that we were saved by grace so long as you were straight, then the gospel would not be wholly by grace but would be, at least to that degree, by merit. Now, will I stand on the Scriptures and believe when they say that homosexuality is a sin? Yes, just as I will where it says that lying, lust, hate, etc. (sins that I MYSELF commit EVERYDAY) are also sins. Does that preclude me from being a Christian? No, because the church is the only organization where the only requirement to enter is not being deserving to enter. So will I teach my children the truth of the Bible and to call a sin a sin? Absolutely. Will I teach them to hate people for their sins? Absolutely not. I will teach them to recognize their own sins that need the forgiveness of God, and to see other people the same way that God sees them. In need of grace and forgiveness and mercy and love. And as someone who works in the church and is around a lot of Christians raising children, almost every Christian I know teaches their children this way. Those sign making, bigoted, uber-fundamentalists (for not even all fundamentalists are like that) are the minority, NOT the majority. They are just so loud and outspoken that they seem like it sometimes.

So we agree, condoms for people with aids is a good thing, and the Pope and the catholics who believe him are wrong (you shouldn’t lump all catholics together because ever since Vatican II a lot of catholics remain in the church but don’t believe everything it teaches. It used to be that to be a catholic meant believing everything the catholic church taught, since Vatican II that’s not really the same… plus… I’m Protestant, not catholic so I think the pope is wacky on a lot of things).

The problem is that you make the common mistake of seeing disagreement as a proof for relativism. You delete the category of “wrong” just because people disagree. Is it not possible that the Pope is objectively WRONG? the problem is that you look at morality like you look at ice cream preference. I’m not sure why moral disagreement necessitates moral relativity. It seems that moral disagreement actually presupposes moral objectivity… because if we didn’t think that morals were objective, we wouldn’t bother disagreeing. If I thought the Pope was equally moral as me, I wouldn’t say he is batty, I would say, he is right and I am right. I wouldn’t be able to think his position is anything but perfectly moral for him and his constituents.

But is it not possible that culture can be wrong just as we see people are wrong? Tiger Woods was immoral on having multiple affairs. Hitler was wrong in killing 6million Jews. I was wrong whenever I lied to my wife. We do not look at those and say, “oh they diverged from the cultural code but hey, disagreement means that they were just as moral as the rest of us.” We say, they were wrong! Why is it not also possible to look at whole cultures (merely a collection of individuals) and say that they are wrong! (which in fact we have BOTH don’t in this thread when talking about cultures that support suicide bombers, nazi germany, American slavery, etc.)

And you believe that they are atrocities. I disagree. So you say morality must be relative. Here is the problem. It is like the sentence “I don’t know a single word of English.” It is reflexively destructive. By its own existence, it invalidates itself. You say there are actual (objective) atrocities in the Bible. Black and white. Those were wicked things you say. But at the same time you say morality is relative. Thus you invalidate your own claim. If morality is relative then those weren’t atrocities because they weren’t committed within your subjective morality thus they have no obligation to your moral evaluation. So your evaluation of them is invalid. Thus your statement that they are in fact atrocities is meaningless at best, and intolerant at worst. It is only because there is objective moral standards that you have a basis for evaluation. If we look at a red apple. You say its red, and I say it is green. Does that mean the apple is both red and green? Dahmer at his victims, his victims didn’t like being eaten. Does that mean it was right and wrong to eat them? Your girlfriend cheats on you and you don’t like it. Can you be mad at her for obeying HER subjective morality and not yours?

One final thought on your response to Gina. You tell her that you want empirical evidence, not philosophical evidence. Your basic claim is that only empirical evidence can prove something to be true. There are several problems with this.

1. It is entirely untrue in our day to day lives. There are many proofs given that are nothing like empirical evidence. Think of proofs given by lawyers, logicians, politicians, grammarians, biologists, astrophysicists, mathematicians, husbands/wives, children, architects, and artists. We accept MANY different kinds of truths based on many different kinds of evidences. The only time the atheist makes the claim that empirical evidence is required is when they feel their worldview is being challenged or if they want to create an impossible standard for theists. They never use this argument elsewhere. Imagine your wife telling your she loves you and you saying, “sorry, I wont believe you until I have empirical evidence.” Hume’s skepticism would follow. What reason do you have to believe that when you get out of bed the floor will still be there? Do you wake up, look on the floor, feel the ground with your hand, throw something approximately your size onto it several times to see if it can hold your weight over multiple exposures? There are literally an infinite amount of things that you believe irregardless of empirical evidence.

2. Do you believe the criteria “the only things to be accepted as true are things supported by empirical evidence” itself based on empirical evidence? What lab test proved it to be true? The criteria cannot stand up to the standard that it itself raises for justified belief.

3. It also denies any empirical evidence that you don’t like as empirical evidence. Gina did give you empirical evidence. Now, it was interpreted through a theistic grid. Of course. But you interpret it through an atheistic grid. If God exists and her grid better corresponds to the actual state of affairs of the universe, would her grid not be more adequate than yours just as the modern scientist who believes in atoms is more adequate than the ancient one who did not? You see, in your own assertions, you presuppose your conclusion in your premises. You presuppose the non-existence of God (your conclusion) and argue from those presuppositions in order to get back to your conclusion.

You also say that there must not be a reason. If by reason you mean something like “purpose” or teleology, then you are correct. It is logically possible, if there is not God, that there is no purpose. BUT if by reason you mean sufficient cause, then you are incorrect. God or not, there is a chain of sufficient causes to explain the cause of everything. This is the problem that the cosmological argument seeks to address.

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Tyler V

Thursday 10th December 2009 | 04:14 AM

Trent, as for the problem of evil which you have posited. Several responses:

1. As I have shown, in order for you to call something “evil” you must first presuppose objective morality and your ability to evaluate it and call it “evil.” Something you have specifically denied by your moral relativism.

2. The argument does not disprove God, it disproves a strawman. It disproves a god that is LESS than the God of the Bible because it only allows two attributes of God to come to bear on the issue: his omnipotence, and his love. But God has other attributes like his omniscience where he would know the best of possible worlds may contain suffering; etc. So the god that is disproved by the argument is a god that would have no sufficient reason for allowing evil. Great, Christians don’t believe in a god like that anyway.

3. As stated above the argument disabuses God of his omniscience. It does not allow God to have sufficient reason for creating a world such as ours. But in order for the critic to do this, they must themselves presuppose omniscience to say that the best possible world WOULDN’T have the quality or quantity of evil that our world has. The argument is a complex version of the “if I were God I wouldn’t make a world like this…” or in your exact words, “he would know of a better way to have us live our lives without evil.” but the problem is, you’re not God. You don’t have his attributes, his omnipotence, nor his omniscience.

4. This one is more abstract but I think helpful. If God created the universe to receive the maximal amount of glory for the maximal amount of his attributes, then in a world without suffering, how would we know that God is gracious, merciful, compassionate, loving, and kind? In a world without sin, how would we know that God is holy and righteous? In a world without evil and injustice, how would we know that God is good and just? In a world without pain, how would we know that God bears us up, sustains us, and heals us? In a world like that, how would God show that he loves us so much that he would be willing to die on the cross himself, so that we wouldn’t have to?

You then also say, why does God say he loves us all and yet reveal himself to some and not to others (a Biblical doctrine based on election/reprobation) but then say that we cannot support it based on other Biblical doctrine in which the original statement is drawn from. That would be like me saying, “prove evolution is true, but you cant use any science to do so.”

Papa, I posted most of those before. For example, the Witherington blog I posted 10/30 at 2:02pm.

As for the rest of what you said, you again take most of those quotes out of context to make them say the opposite of what I was saying. And then you call yourself a Bible scholar even though you wont tell us where you studied or under what professor. Was this your undergrad degree? Since you called it a “liberal arts” degree. Usually when I think scholar, we are talking people with doctorates in their fields. Sorry, your liberal arts degree from your unnamed school which you yourself bash, doesn’t qualify you as a scholar. Ha. A scholar who cant do their own work but wants to just regurgitate someone else’s work. Tell me, as a Bible scholar, what is YOUR work in. You said your not a scholar in text criticism and manuscripts, but in Biblical theology. What is YOUR expertise in?

You want me to go reread Erhman and report back to draw this conversation on longer and longer but you wont read any of what I sent or listen to any of those lectures. This conversation is just going no where and has become tedious and frankly boring I think to most people here.

Trent Greguhn

Trent Greguhn

Thursday 10th December 2009 | 05:16 AM
105 total kudos

"(though I disagree that the LoNC is only perceptually true since I think it is true by definition like saying “all bachelors are single”)."

You must not understand axioms. Let me put it this way for you: "an axiom or postulate is a proposition that is not proved or demonstrated but considered to be either self-evident, or subject to necessary decision. Therefore, its truth is taken for granted, and serves as a starting point for deducing and inferring other (theory dependent) truths."

Truth is relative my friend. But again, you'll disagree, and that's fine, but you keep trying to convince me and I don't understand why.

I'm going to put this very succinctly, as I refuse going on a paragraph by paragraph basis anymore, since you refuse to agree to disagree.

You only think about morals in relation to yourself. That's why you believe them objective. God-given, if you will. I try and attempt to undestand the actions of serial killers (not condone). What you fail to realize is that actions are relative to who you are. Let's talk about Hitler. Was Hitler right to kill six million Jews? For Hitler and a great deal of German society, yes, they believe themselves right. And it was right to them. But wrong to us. Right and wrong are simply a form of opinion and point of view, which I would think apparent that one action can be interpretted two different ways.

Now Tyler, regardless of what you believe I believe, I don't believe people to be absolutely wrong, I believe people to be wrong in the context of what I think is right. That does not mean that I am right though. Do you understand that? If you don't, then higher forms of empathy will escape you.

I'll take one of my current favorite shows-- Dexter. I love this show. It's about a serial killer who kills people whom he judges fit to die and by doing so he believes is making the world a better place. I've only seen five episodes, but it's very apparent that he has a code of honor to killing. The premise of the show is to have the viewer decide whether Dexter is a good guy, or bad guy. But this is relative to each individual. He is not absolutely one or the other. He's completely in the grey.

If you're going to respond on Gina's behalf, then that's fine.

"There are many proofs given that are nothing like empirical evidence. Think of proofs given by lawyers, logicians, politicians, grammarians, biologists, astrophysicists, mathematicians, husbands/wives, children, architects, and artists."

These are naturalistic arguments sir. They deal within the physical realm of things (though depending on which of the branches we're talking about they might be purely hypothetical) but do not assume anything supernaturual as you and Gina do. You don't believe God is supernaturual, and therefore we can't agree on this.

And you want to talk emotion? For feelings like love, hate, sorrow, confusion etc. there are actually ways of measuring activity in the brain to show these feelings. It'd just be inconvenient to have my fiancee strapped to a machine measuring her brain functions while she loves me. Also, I'm not a nutter. And love is hard to define as it is-- what's that everyone? Oh right-- it's relative to each individual on what love is. Extreme Stockholm syndrome anyone?

I'm going to switch to your style of argument Tyler. It is distatseful, but I feel it necessary to prove a point. What gives you the right to think your morality is absolute when so many people object to your form of reality? What makes your right Tyler? It's not God by the way. See, God is a scapegoat for you to fall back on in your justification, but it has no justification with our current knowledge of the universe. The answer is, you aren't right, you just perceive yourself to be and in that respect you argument will be completely and fundamentally flawed. Do you know how I know that's the way you are?

Because you have failed to agree to disagree. One of the basic precepts of philosphical discussion, and you've flat out disregarded it. You still think yourself right, and you still aim to prove it. I've only been defending my own worldview this entire time, and you have been attacking it. Talk about shoving a foot in your mouth. You didn't even realize it did you? Of course not, because you're not concerned with understanding others, you're concerned with being right. I have conceded your point and your right to your point of view long ago.

As I said, you're not wrong. Just that I disagree with you in accordance with my own understanding. But still you persist. You didn't address almost all of my questions or any of my comments (besides Gina's) that I had stressed you should, you simply came up with more questions and impositions from yourself of my belief.

I understand the way these discussions go. We're at an impass. Therefore, you agree to disagree and continue on. But sure as day I highly doubt you'll go with that. Maybe now you will since I've made it so apparent, but I doubt it.

Even after all of this, you will believe that right and wrong is a God given definition and that there is no deviation from that. And that's okay. Because I think you're a good guy that I just disagree with on a fundamental philosphical level.

The only questionable trait I've found is your tenacity to be right (that, and your inevitable use of capitilization emphasizing stress on far too many words). This is rarely a good thing. There is no levity or willingness to learn in your diction either, it's all very cutting and condescending, a trait of someone unwilling to bend to their view (in this case failing to agree to disagree). This can be a good or bad thing, though rarely is it so in a philosphical debate. Though I may have been wrong in interpretting your meaning since tone on the internet is entirely assume, I'd still rather think I'm right.

------

Gina, I readily await to continue our discussion.

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Trent Greguhn

Trent Greguhn

Thursday 10th December 2009 | 05:18 AM
105 total kudos

Well Mike, I clicked the remember me button, and it still persists. It listed me as a vistor. I apologize profusley for making you clean up my mess (or rather the mess of my work's browser).

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Mikey

Mikey

Thursday 10th December 2009 | 06:19 AM
235 total kudos

...in response to this comment by Trent Greguhn. Haha don't worry - it's not your fault. I've added your name to the comment as well.

What you just mentioned gave me a clue, and a test just now confirmed it. For some reason the cookie isn't being set for you, so even though you logged in, when you post a comment and there isn't a cookie, it assumes you're not logged in and comments as a non-member.

This happens on any browser - even the one that matters (Firefox:-) when the cookie isn't present.

So the question is: why isn't the cookie being set for you? As you're on a work PC, I can only assume this has something to do with the security policy set by your system administrator.

My best guess is that the browser is set to delete cookies every time you close it or at certain intervals.

This means unfortunately there isn't a lot I can do at this end :-( You're not the first person to be messed around by a company security policy though.

If there is no such policy in place, then I'd suggest checking the browsers security settings: Tools -> Internet Options -> Security (from memory) and see if it's set to strict.

I'd be interested to know what happens.

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Trent Greguhn

Trent Greguhn

Thursday 10th December 2009 | 06:30 AM
105 total kudos | 1 for this comment

...in response to this comment by Mikey. That makes complete sense. We have a pretty strict security policy (as well as non-sensical) because of being regulated by the FCC. Just precautions on their part; but I'm able to visit highly suggestive sites but not visit a cooking site or any matter of blog sites. It seems to be apparently random from what I get at it.

Thanks for telling me Mike, I appreciate that. I'll make sure to write out the comment, copy, then log in and paste to post while I'm at work. Appreciate the effort.

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Tyler V

Thursday 10th December 2009 | 06:34 AM

You try to use my same form of argumentation back on me. (I dont take it as insulting since I dont mean it to be insulting when I do it and I truly do apologize if that is how it has come across. For as much as I disagree with you, I really do have the utmost respect for you.) Lets not go paragraph by paragraph but let me just respond to your question. I wont ask new ones so that we can just agree to disagree, but let me answer the question that you raised.
You said, “What gives you the right to think your morality is absolute when so many people object to your form of reality? What makes your right Tyler? It's not God by the way. See, God is a scapegoat for you to fall back on in your justification, but it has no justification with our current knowledge of the universe. The answer is, you aren't right, you just perceive yourself to be and in that respect you argument will be completely and fundamentally flawed. Do you know how I know that's the way you are?”

My response:
There is a difference between morality being objective, and MY moral convictions being the best representations of those objective morals. You see, what we are talking about is the nature of morality in general, not the truth of my moral system in specific. I am not arguing that my moral system is the right one, but that there is such a thing as real, objective morality. If this were not the case there we would have no such thing as morality. We would just have something like preference.

What makes me think I am right is a completely different question. I would never be so dogmatic about a specific moral system. For me to prove the Christian moral worldview, I would first have to prove the Bible to be true. Which I think can be done, but that is a much longer and involved discussion than we have room or time for here. My concern is not with a specific moral system, but with morality in general (your “core” as you called it). I don’t think I am absolutely right. I believe that when I stand before God, I will find out how many things I am so wrong about. But I believe that there will be an objective standard by which I was expected to live (regardless of what I or anyone else thought it would be. Some people will have been more accurate than others.)

But my argument has been for objective morality in general. See, you say things like Hitler was right in his own moral system but wrong in yours. Well from an observational standard that is correct. We observe that Hitler believed he was right, and that you think he was wrong. But if you posit that morality, in its essence, is relative, then your statement that he was wrong by your moral system is a nonsensical statement (I don’t mean that to be insulting; I’m not saying you are stupid, just that it is inconsistent with itself). Why? Because it would be like saying that if I drove on the right side of the street, I would be guilty of breaking the laws of England. It doesn’t make sense to call someone guilty of breaking a law to which they were never obliged to keep in the first place. Thus to say Hitler was wrong by your worldview makes no sense since it was impossible for him to be obliged to your worldview. But I can take this a step further. In your position you seem to be saying (you can correct me if I am reading you wrong), that Hitler was morality obligated within his own moral system as you are morally obligated within your own system. In your system, you are morally obligated to, by common sense (innate moral sense?) seek the good of the community. Thus what is good is what is beneficial. But you assume that you are obliged to do so. (I say “you” because under your formulation the only person who could ever be under a moral system is an individual thus only you could be obliged to your own morals.) but that is precisely where you sneak moral obligation in. The only way to be a consistent relativist is to say that you are not even obliged to your own moral system because the instant you decide to not seek the good of others, you have not broken a moral law (since none exist) but rather you have simply altered your moral system. Thus you have no guilt, shame, or obligation. But in your argument you assume personal obligation to the good of the community and thus you sneak in objective morality.

I would also like to point out that you say that I am not “right” and that my argument will be “fundamentally flawed.” Yet that is impossible if my argument is true so far as it is relative to my worldview. You see, by positing that truth is relative (from which you exclude empirical truth as a kind of special pleading) then no worldview (system of philosophical presuppositions) could ever be flawed because they are relative to themselves. Thus no worldview could ever be wrong, and no other worldview could possibly offer any kind of evaluation of itself or any other worldview. Because “incorrect” or “wrong” cease to exist. We could imagine one’s worldview denying laws of logic and thus contradictions would be true in their worldview, and we would not be able to call them wrong or even foolish, because they would be entirely valid within their own worldview.

Finally, I do not fall back on God as a scapegoat. But it seems to me that objective morality is true (as shown even when you try to defend relativity, one inevitably presupposes objective obligation, no matter how narrowly construed), and if objective morality is true, then there must be a basis for it. We know that an uncaring, chaotic, impersonal, amoral, unthinking, unpurposeful, material, finite, mutable natural universe alone cannot provide a basis for it. And thus we need a basis that is uniform, immutable, universal, personal, thinking, causal, etc., in order to provide a basis. That something is what traditionally is called God. If is not scapegoating, it is logical necessity.

Oh, and sorry for the caps. When I use them you should read them as italics not caps (distinction/emphasis, not yelling.) but since this site does not allow italics, caps is the only option. Sorry for the confusion. And I have a feeling that this conversation would be better over a beer than on a blog. Ha.

p.s. And I accept your apology for assuming that I was homophobic and would teach my children to hate gays, even though you didnt offer it. ha

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Tyler V

Thursday 10th December 2009 | 06:35 AM

Trent, youre an interesting guy. What do you do for a living?

Mikey

Mikey

Thursday 10th December 2009 | 07:35 AM
235 total kudos

...in response to this comment by Trent Greguhn. Any time! I'm just glad it wasn't something wrong with my code ;-)

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CJ Werleman

Thursday 10th December 2009 | 08:22 AM

Holy fucking shit!!

I was told by a friend that this thread was still running, and BAM 288 comments long now. Great stuff, all this talk gives me a hard on. And we all know what it is that gives Tyler a 4 inch erection? Me in lederhosen spanking a Sarah Palin blow up doll!

I skimmed through Tyler's as per usual Moody Bible Institute campaign brochure bullet points. You know the ones: Paul met Jesus; the Gospels knew Jesus personally; the gospels are a reliable testimony to the life and times of Jesus Christ.....yadda yadda yadda. All nonsense!

I'd like to know from the 'fundi-tard' dressed as tithe bucket wielding Pastor how it is that he reconciles irreconcilable discrepancies between the gospels and Paul?

Let's get the ball rolling - and see how he tackles 4 quick questions related to the birth of Jesus:

Question:

1. Mark & John don't mention Jesus' birth, BUT Matthew and Luke do. So which is it: A) Joseph was told in a dream that Mary was pregnant? or B) Mary was told by an angel in a dream that she was pregnant?

2. What proof do you have that there was a census that took place during Caesar Augustus' time?

3. Was it 3 shepherds in nearby field or 3 wise men led by a star to the birth of Jesus? (How does a star position itself above a house??)

2. What proof do you have that King Herod went on a baby slaughtering rampage at the time of Jesus' birth? (Eerie similarity to Moses' isn't it??)

3. Was Jesus born under king Herod's reign?

4. Many flaws with the Jesus genealogy line as written by Matthew and Luke, but simple question: Was Jesus' genealogy 14 generations x 3 as Matthew writes?

Regards
CJ

Trent Greguhn

Trent Greguhn

Thursday 10th December 2009 | 08:40 AM
105 total kudos

Tyler, this is awesome. I like where our conversation is now going. But I will tell you this. If I were a vistor and I looked at the length of the posts-- well, I'd surely hit the back button and find another post to read. Not to mention the 280+ comments. But in those regards, let us continue.


"There is a difference between morality being objective, and MY moral convictions being the best representations of those objective morals. You see, what we are talking about is the nature of morality in general, not the truth of my moral system in specific. I am not arguing that my moral system is the right one, but that there is such a thing as real, objective morality. If this were not the case there we would have no such thing as morality. We would just have something like preference. "

I'm starting to understand you're perspective better now. I agree with this to an extent, but in a different manner than you I'm sure. I believe the human society on a whole has decided through the years on an objective morality system. I do not believe it to be God given. However, this objective morality is still relative to the state of things. During a natural disaster, sadly, a lot of morals go out the door for people. And, there are people still who break the law of moral objectivity to do what's right in their circumstances. I now completely understand your point of view, and were I to believe in a God, especially in the Judeo-Christian sense, then we would agree. But as I do not, I find that the objective morals we've developed can and should be bent sometimes to serve a better good given the circumstances.

I do follow societal norms of course, but only as it is I agree with them. I don't necessarily say they're the most right for every given situation, group, or individual, but they do correlate greatly with my own beliefs. Of course, I'm well aware this is almost certainly a result of being raised within this system, there are still laws that I disagree with. Like Proposition 8 as you mentioned.

Fun side note, I went to the protest here in Salt Lake City, Utah at the Mormon Temple protesting the amount of funding they pumped into getting Proposition 8 passed. That's right, I live in Salt Lake City, Utah. One of the capitols of religious fundamentalism in the USA. I feel the need to apologize, as I think I find myself battling a Mormon strawman from time to time. If that is the case, feel free to call me on it.

Also, there is a film premiering at the 2010 Sundance film festival here. I should probably plan on doing an article on it after I see it. If anyone is interested it's called 8: The Mormon Proposition. It should be more than worth the time and money.

Anywho, getting back on topic here.

"But I believe that there will be an objective standard by which I was expected to live (regardless of what I or anyone else thought it would be. Some people will have been more accurate than others.) "

That's not bad, but again, we'll have to disagree on this one. I believe the current moral system is man made. Not to refute what I said earlier about having evolved morals, you undersatnd. Evolved morals from what I understand are tricky when being conjucntioned with higher brain fucntions, giving us an ability to overrule those genetic obligations. This is my understanding from books by Frans De Waal and Richard Joyce. They're great reads, if you need the specific titles let me know.

I've also read articles and books, and seen documentaries to the other side of this coin. They all respond with more or less the same reaction, "We're in trouble" which shows a lack of trust in the human race on their part. I fail to see if morals were evolved how we would be in trouble.

I'm going out on a limb here and though I be very naive in this and I don't deny that I may be, I still place a great deal of stock in the human race and its capacity.

"But if you posit that morality, in its essence, is relative, then your statement that he was wrong by your moral system is a nonsensical statement (I don’t mean that to be insulting; I’m not saying you are stupid, just that it is inconsistent with itself). Why? Because it would be like saying that if I drove on the right side of the street, I would be guilty of breaking the laws of England."

Though I may be beating a dead horse with this as I've almost assuredly explained this earlier, the law to which you would be breaking is circumstantial and relative to where you're driving. Just like muder within different contexts is seen as good or bad, helpful or unhelpful.

"Thus to say Hitler was wrong by your worldview makes no sense since it was impossible for him to be obliged to your worldview"

Godwin's Law is infallible (Please don't take this seriously, this is my form of levity). But that's what I'm saying. He's not wrong in his context, but he is wrong in mine. And I don't say that he should be obliged to my worldview. But if his worldview and mine were to clash at an extreme level, then something would have to be done. This is why wars are fought.

"In your system, you are morally obligated to, by common sense (innate moral sense?) seek the good of the community. Thus what is good is what is beneficial."

The problem with this is that you don't have a complete grasp on my moral system, so this is understandable. What is good for me and what is beneficial for me isn't the same as what is good and beneficial for someone else. Therefore it's a good idea to compromise with those who don't share my same morals. That's the best I could do in these situations.

" (I say “you” because under your formulation the only person who could ever be under a moral system is an individual thus only you could be obliged to your own morals.) "

This is where I base my morals on. Call it a code of honor. Bushido. Whatever. I believe people should hold themsevles to their morals. But if we're talking about someone who chooses to do bad (remember please, bad according to my context) to the majority (majority being the ruling objectivety basing morality, in which morality is realative to the majority and not the minority. This is why minorities, whatever their beliefs, often feel slighted,) then we try to compromise. If a compromise cannot be met, then both parties stay fast to their morals and to the victor goes the objective morality.

"I would also like to point out that you say that I am not “right” and that my argument will be “fundamentally flawed.” Yet that is impossible if my argument is true so far as it is relative to my worldview. "

I thought it would be implied that the context of "good," "bad," "right," wrong," would be implied to the context of my beliefs. You're not wrong per se, absolutely, just wrong according to my way of thinking. This is why philosophy is a chore sometimes.

"But it seems to me that objective morality is true (as shown even when you try to defend relativity, one inevitably presupposes objective obligation, no matter how narrowly construed), and if objective morality is true, then there must be a basis for it. "

This judgement is sound in the context of what you know. I don't think there are written moral laws for animals including those with higher brain functions besides the ones they evolve. And remember, we're only perceiving these to be morals because morals itself is an ambiguous term and as I've said, is relative to who is interpretting it. I'll tell you the two moral rules I follow.

Treat others as how you would like to be treated.
Circumstances dictate action.

(Please, please, please do not tell me how Christ mentions the Golden Rule. I'm well aware of this. But it's also well documented that the Golden Rule predates Chrisitanity and it is common sense as Rhett Butler says.)

Cirumstances dicate action implies that scenarios are to be dealt with in its specific context, this applies to morals and philosphical truths as well. I suppose all I have to do is ask you whether you would suspend your morals to protect a loved one.

Though your understanding I admit makes it a lot easier for you, because you're able to lable them as sins. I admit that this system would make things much easier, though what's right is not always what's easy.

If I'm debating with someone and they think they're right, and I think I'm right, there's a good chance that I may subscribe to their version of right over mind given a well thought out premise and execution of the idea. This is why I suggest morals being relative, as they are subject to change to ones point of view and perspective. This does not hold true, however, with religion, as their set of morals largely remains static. But this is relative to each religion.

Man, got through it. Now we can move onto the easy stuff.

Yeah, no problem with the caps. Over the internet it comes off as-- well, not yelling-- but definitely an increase of volume for each of those words. I will read as italics as you suggested. Over a beer? Hell yes. I'm glad to see you're not opposed to beer. As I've said, I live in Utah, where I took a Mormon family aback by asking if they had some tea. That is not an exaggeration.

Ps to your Ps-- See, I didn't want to make that assumption. I always feel terrible making those assumptions when they turn out wrong. I see you were just playing the devil's advocate in your earlier posts. For the record, you're different than every single Christian I've ever personally met.

I relay phone calls for the deaf of hard of hearing community. That's about all the specifics I can give, ha. The FCC is quite strict about everything else.

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cj Werleman

Thursday 10th December 2009 | 08:42 AM

Oops 6 questions. I messed that up as I was writing and changing the order of the Qs etc.

Anyway, there's 6 for you to run with. So get the MBI playbook out and start answering...

Trent Greguhn

Trent Greguhn

Thursday 10th December 2009 | 08:57 AM
105 total kudos

...in response to this comment by CJ Werleman. And of course, I do always like reading CJ's posts.

I don't think we should take our personal beliefs too seriously, because then we can never have fun with ourselves.

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CJ Werleman

Thursday 10th December 2009 | 09:40 AM

...in response to this comment by Trent Greguhn. Trent,

Amen to that!

Regards
CJ

Trent Greguhn

Trent Greguhn

Thursday 10th December 2009 | 09:42 AM
105 total kudos

Tyler, I'm going to have to apologize. I've definitely been using some incorrect terminology so far. Though my stance doesn't differ, I think I've been giving you a hard time due to my terminology.

It would be more correct in saying that I am a moral pluralist and a bit of a perspectivist.

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V2

Thursday 10th December 2009 | 11:43 AM

...in response to this comment by V2. Now your back CJ
How about answering my question
Up for it?

Papa

Papa

Thursday 10th December 2009 | 11:54 AM
98 total kudos

...in response to this comment by Tyler V. "A scholar who cant do their own work but wants to just regurgitate someone else’s work."

Again you argument rests on the fact that I won't list my school or advisor. I think its quite humorous that you feel that you are on some higher playing field than me. And yet your posts only reflect someone who is so insecure that you have hide behind your so called degrees. Where did you get your BA from again? This is the second time I asked this question.

And if you actually knew what you were taking about, you would know that as a BA graduate, none of the ideas of mine. Only at the Doctorate level would actually be considered the authority to begin arguing "new" ideas in the scholarly community. Again I have to repeat myself because you don't read too good! My ideas and knowledge are built upon the sweat and blood of every other scholar before. As any undergraduate would tell you, you study other's work and other's findings. Thats the same for any degree.

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Papa

Papa

Thursday 10th December 2009 | 11:57 AM
98 total kudos

...in response to this comment by Papa. And again you seem incapable of reading 11 pages of a book that you agreed to read a few posts earlier.

And yet you cannot comment on these pages (that you yourself said you have already read). Strange...

I'll give you another chance to read it before I completely shatter your view on how manuscripts are chosen as authentic.

Would you like the page numbers again?

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CJ Werleman

Thursday 10th December 2009 | 12:40 PM

...in response to this comment by Papa. Hi V2,

Your question/dare was:

"CJ, The New Testament, the Christian part. Show me where hating homosexuals is advocated, hell, show me anything that justifies any hate, any violence, any disrespect."

Where do we start??? I'm going to keep this to just three quickies, as I'm not here to read my book to you so you can sleep better at bedtime.....but I will do it for beer. Just mull over these two points while you dream of 7 headed dragons, and pregnant women that wear the sun and moon as some kind of slip on hush puppies.

1. How about John 8:42-44 where Jesus makes the declaration that Jews are not children of God but "Children of the Devil"?

2. How about the overtly ant-Semitic writings of John as he gives his own unique spin on the trial of Jesus before Pilate? Have a look at the gospel of Mark whereby Pilate never declares Jesus innocent BUT in John, written a generation later, he has Pilate declaring Jesus' innocence no less than 3 times. WHY??? Well who did Mel Gibson's forefather want to pin the blame on? Not the Romans.........yep you guessed it the Jews. Did someone shout 'Blood libel'??

3. How about where Paul says it is disgraceful for women to even utter a single word in Church?

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Gina Squitieri

Thursday 10th December 2009 | 01:20 PM

...in response to this comment by Trent Greguhn. Sorry Trent. I'm so sorry I made you wait for my response. Oh, my! You had to wait a whole 12 hours. Do forgive me, won't you?! It's just that I was at work -- working -- and then I came home and had to feed myself. So, I'm reallllllllllllllly sorry you had to wait for my response. I hope that you don't think that I was trying to irritate you or anything.

But seriously, now.

So what you're saying is there is a better way because to use evil as a backdrop is ... WRONG? God is wrong for doing it that way? Why? Because it makes us UNCOMFORTABLE? You have all seeing eyes and know for certain that the way God does things is not right because, as you say, there is a BETTER way.

Well, don't keep ME waiting, Trent! Please, let it out!! This wonderful news you have mustn't be kept a secret, Trent. Tell us all! Every last one of us - and do it NOW! I'm not joking. Do it now! You want us to hear that "better" (do you mean "right" as opposed to "wrong") way you know exists, don't you because you know it's better, so tell us! Please, do it now!

I will now hold my breath.........................................................................................

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V2

Thursday 10th December 2009 | 01:48 PM

Gina, there is an easier answer for Trent

Trent, have you done evil
What do you even classify as evil
Was Hitler Stalin Pol Pot evil. All atheists mind you. Morally they couldnt be evil, I mean, they set the moral agenda didnt they
American Indians- Vermin kill them. Australian Aboriginals-Vermin kill them
Morally, Christianity suggests all men are equal and brothers. Thats just Christian morality though.
Black slaves from out of Africa, they were sold by other Blacks from Africa. Study that issue
(I have light skin I am white If you have dark skin then I will call you black, no offence intended)

Trent, people choose evil, because God gave us a choice. We also got a conscience that most people have learned to ignore
Blame God by all means, but its ultimately your decision what evil you perpetrate
Free will buddy, the easiest gift to abuse
Men choose evil, because evil is profitable

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Tyler V

Thursday 10th December 2009 | 01:50 PM

Courtenay, thanks for your questions but I’m not even going to answer them. Why? Because I have answered about half of them before in conversations with you, because you presuppose that the gospels aren’t history (i.e. “give me historical reference to these events besides the 4 historical events dealing with those events”) and because you are just trying to stir the pot. You really could care less about the answers. You have your axe the grind.

Trent, I’m glad we are understanding each other better and the conversation can continue. I think this is fruitful so I’m glad.

I guess I am still puzzled by some of your comments in which you try to maintain moral relativity. I’m not trying to be pejorative, I’m actually wondering how you reconcile that human society has decided on an objective morality? If it is culturally derived, then it is a social contract. Culture cannot create objective morality. It can only create the appearance of it. But if it is only the appearance of objective morality then there is no real moral obligation. Thus you still wind up not be able to have any real morality. Only Pavlovian responses to get social benefits and to avoid social ills. But that is not morality.

You said that you follow societal norms because you agree with them. Well a lot of people don’t agree with them. Are they obliged to follow the societal norms? If so, what the basis for the absolute obligation? If not, then what right does one subjective moral system have to impose itself on another?

Yeah, I’m not a fan of Christian fundamentalism, and Mormon fundamentalism is way worse still. But even I was not happy with the hundreds of millions of dollars that Christians pumped into that bill. So many better things could have been done with that money. So I hope I have shown you that a person can believe that homosexuality is a sin and not slide into bigotry or oppression based on a proper understanding of the gospel of grace.

Yeah, give me the titles of De Waal and Joyce’s work. I enjoy reading moral theories. But again, I think if you are going to say morality is evolved, you also have to provide a basis for real moral obligation. If there is no real obligation, then you are not dealing with morality, but with socialized behavior, which is something very different. (It seems that the evolved morality diminishes morality to something like etiquette.) Thus is morals are evolved then the trouble is that there is no real moral obligation. Notice how your notion led you to say that Nazi Germany was moral. That’s the run away train. Whenever your system logically leads to calling genocide moral, something obviously has gone wrong. We read in Nietzsche the prediction that following his “death of God” the 20th century would be the bloodiest century in all of human history. Why? Because you lose the basis for real moral obligation. And if it is tied to evolution, survival of the fittest, what is to keep those who are the strong, from eliminating the week? Think of the eugenics programs, not in Nazi Germany, but in America. They took the “unfit” (the mentally weak, and many Africans) and subjected them to forced sterilizations. They thought they were helping along natural selection. They thought that surely artificial selection is much more streamlined than random mutations, so why wait the millions of years and allow for possible extinction? It seems to me that this is the danger that people perceive. And we see it realized in eugenics, Nazi Germany, in Mussolini’s France (where he said, “Everything I have said and done is these last years is relativism, by intuition. From the fact that all ideologies are of equal value, that all ideologies are mere fictions, the modern relativist infers that everybody has the right to create for himself his own ideology, and to attempt to enforce it with all the energy of which he is capable. If relativism signifies contempt for fixed categories, and men who claim to be the bearers of an objective immortal truth, then there is nothing more relativistic than fascism.”), Stalin’s Russia, Mao’s China, Hoxsa’s Albania, etc. Again, I’m not trying to use these to invalidate the Atheism worldview. I’m trying to show the logical ends of eliminating the only possible basis for objective morality.

You said regarding Hitler, “He's not wrong in his context, but he is wrong in mine. And I don't say that he should be obliged to my worldview. But if his worldview and mine were to clash at an extreme level, then something would have to be done.” I guess I’m still puzzled by this. If, by your own admission, he is only breaking circumstantial laws, I’m not sure how my objection is answered since that is precisely what my objection is… If your worldview is a circumstance to which he is not obliged to follow… how can he break it at all? And if he is right in his worldview, if yours and his clash, why “must” something be done? Why are we obliged to do something? Should we not say that they are right in theirs and you are right in yours and “c’est la vie. It is what it is. Life goes on. Live and let live.”?

You said, “I believe people should hold themsevles to their morals.” Again…why? Where does the moral obligation come to be moral at all? See, I’m not asking for the basis of the moral obligation to not lie for example (though I could), I’m asking for the moral obligation to be moral at all. You see, this is where you sneak objective morality in. But its not based in your own worldview which only allows for relative morality, and thus no obligation. You even say that when two meet, “to the victor goes the objective morality” but that’s not objective morality, that’s the right to decide the new relative morality. And the problems of a lack of obligation follow with it.

You said, “You're not wrong per se, absolutely, just wrong according to my way of thinking.” well then, like it or not, I’m not wrong. Wrongness and rightness obtain when the proposition directly correlates to an actual state of affairs. So If I say “the pen is red” when in actual fact it is green, I am wrong, no matter how much I believe it in my way of thinking. I simply extend the way we think about truth, to morality. Something is either moral/immoral within itself, or its is relative to the observer. I am saying that a moral system is only as true so far as it corresponds to the actual state of affairs. Genocide, is wrong in and of itself. And any moral system that says that it is wrong, is correct on that point, just like any other statement is true when it corresponds to reality. If a moral system says that genocide is not wrong, then that system is wrong because it does not correspond to reality. But it seems that morality is real, not an illusion by consensus. And so I can believe in objective morality and say that my moral system could have flaws wherever my moral system does not correspond to reality. And so when people disagree, they are disagreeing about who’s moral system corresponds to reality best, just like the debate between evolution and ID argue who best describes the state of affairs as we find them. Now, you may be able to argue that we could never know fully what state of affairs holds on morality, or we have no access to them and thus we do the best we can, and things like that. But that accepts that morality is objective, even if it is not knowable. But it seems to reject objective morality is an impossibility since we all make objective moral claims every day, and even make them in defending relativism: “we ought to obey our subjective moral systems.” Well, lets say that is true and that is the ONLY objective moral truth. Morality would still be objective because we would still be absolutely obligated to obey our relative moral systems. But the question is still asked, what is the basis for that one objective moral?

I wouldn’t tell you Christ and the golden rule. Again, I don’t root morality in the Bible (even if I think it is the best exposition on morality) because morality is not rooted on the Bible but on God. But again, why am I obligated to follow the golden rule? Why am I obligated to allow my circumstances to dictate my actions? Why can I not do the exact opposite of what circumstances should dictate?

And I don’t think we ever suspend morals even to protect a loved one since “we ought to protect loved ones” is a moral obligation. I never said making complex moral decisions was easy, clear, obvious, or anything of the sort. I just said that morality is objective.

You then argue that you suggest morals to be relative so that you can change them. But that would be like saying you should hold your belief that 2+2=4 as relative because maybe some day someone will give you a good reason not to believe it. You in fact presuppose that moral change is more beneficial than moral objectivity. Though it seems that it would be easier if morality is objective. If I know that lying will always be wrong it is better than thinking, “well… maybe today its not wrong anymore.”

Ha, I’m not opposed to beer. I’m not Southern Baptist, I’m Reformed Presbyterian. Ha, we have wine at communion and beer at our BBQ’s. (all in moderation of course).

Well, If you haven’t met more Christians like me, you need to get out of Utah (though I don’t think Mormans are Christian anyway since they deny basic orthodoxy). I have found that people in the Reformed and Presbyterian circles tend to have their heads on a little straighter. I try not to judge my fellow Christians but even I get irritated by their irrationalism sometimes. With friends like them, right?

Cool about your job. My wife wants to do MFT for families with children with special needs and she has done some work with families that have hearing impared children. Hard job. Although I didn’t think that a job like that would be like so 007 top secret.

Papa, I was pointing out that you called yourself a "scholar" when you have a B.A. ha. I went to Sonoma State University for a double major in English and Philosophy, and Moody Bible for Biblical Studies and Theology. Where did you go? oh yeah... its a secret.

And to appease you, here is a pdf. version of Misquoting Truth: a guide to the fallacies of Bart Ehrman's Misquoting Jesus By Timothy Paul Jones:



I am not going to sit here and debate with you because it gets no where. If you wanted me to respond because you ACTUALLY wanted to hear a response, then a scholar in text criticism is more qualified than I am to do so. But I get the feeling you are looking just to fight and not actually learn from each other so my hunch is that you will ignore the scholar and keep asking me (of which I make no pretense to be a text critical scholar) to answer. Well, I kinda take the “don’t reinvent the wheel approach.” Jones does a fine job refuting Erhman. In regards to the specific pages you asked about, I recommend reading the 3rd chapter in Part 1 called “The Truth about “Significant Changes” in the New Testament. He addresses your section of Erhman specifically. Though I also recommend reading all of Part 1. but again, doubt you will since you don’t read any scholar who disagrees with you.

You can also read a pdf of Misquotes in Misquoting Jesus at:


or a pdf preview of Dethroning Jesus by Bock and Wallace at:

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Tyler V

Thursday 10th December 2009 | 02:00 PM

Courtenay, here are three of your questions with my answers:

1. How about John 8:42-44 where Jesus makes the declaration that Jews are not children of God but "Children of the Devil"?

*** context, context, context. Jesus did not say that all Jews are children of the devil, (a strange thing for Jesus… a JEWISH man to say) but that the hypocritical Pharisees who were keeping the people subjected to extrabiblical laws were children of the devil. You again take a statement addressed to a specific set of people and attempt to universalize it.

2. How about the overtly ant-Semitic writings of John as he gives his own unique spin on the trial of Jesus before Pilate? Have a look at the gospel of Mark whereby Pilate never declares Jesus innocent BUT in John, written a generation later, he has Pilate declaring Jesus' innocence no less than 3 times. WHY??? Well who did Mel Gibson's forefather want to pin the blame on? Not the Romans.........yep you guessed it the Jews. Did someone shout 'Blood libel'??

***Again, John was Jewish… notice all of the confessions of the church say Jesus “suffered under Pontus Pilate” not “those lowsy jews!” They were all guilty. Jews for bringing false charges, Pilate for declaring him innocent and yet allowing him to be killed (the repeated declaration of innocence is actually to reinforce Pilates guilt for knowingly committing an innocent man to death, not to get him off the hook), an the Romans for brutally killing him.

3. How about where Paul says it is disgraceful for women to even utter a single word in Church?

***Again, context is king. This is not a universal for all women. Notice this is not commanded to any other church and in Romans Phoebe, a deconess, holds church in her house! This was the solution to a specific problem, at a specific place, in a specific time in history, for a specific people. Specifically, 1st century Corinth where the women would be so disruptive and divisive that they were finally instructed to silence. Again, you show that you take no heed of concept, you turn indicative into imperatives, and specifics into universals. Its not a Biblical problem, it’s a Courtenay problem.

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V2

Thursday 10th December 2009 | 02:22 PM

Tyler
Very well spoken, very well answered
I would love to elaborate, but have nothing else, in fact its been enlightening
The most amazing thing though TylerV, is you dont return "Kind for Kind"
Humbling

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Gina Squitieri

Thursday 10th December 2009 | 02:35 PM

I'm sorry, Trent. Do caps make you feel uncomfortable? Funny how a little thing like caps can make a person uncomfortable. I mean, something written in caps doesn't prove EMPIRICALLY that anyone's e-yelling--it's just an assumption based on collective agreement - in other words, someone assumed it, cried about it and lots of other people jumped on board. But that doesn't make it true! Now, where I come from, an exclamation point (!) only denotes yelling. Whereas CAPS denote EMPHASIS and is for those who can't SEE well.

Okay. Just having a little, Trent. Try not to take anything I've said too seriously now. Okay? Have a great night Trent and I hope you and Tyler enjoy your beers.

Over and out!

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Gina Squitieri

Thursday 10th December 2009 | 02:37 PM

That is -- just having a little FUN.

;-)

Papa

Papa

Thursday 10th December 2009 | 02:45 PM
98 total kudos

...in response to this comment by Tyler V. Dude you are the last person that should be studying text Criticism when you read books that have this description...

"author Dillon Burroughs offers a stirring defense of faith that will be sure to inspire evangelists and doubters alike. In ten chapters and five appendices, Burroughs examines Ehrman's thought-provoking book in detail, identifying its conceptual errors in a loving, respectful manner. A great start for anyone interested in learning more about the Word, understanding where the New Testament comes from, and knowing how and why we can rely on its truth."

You are reading the wrong stuff if you think you actually know what you are talking about. Like I said earlier, you need to stick with the seminary. You are a evangelist thinker that is attempting to insert himself in scholarly debate and thought.

Give Kudos | Reply | Comment URL | Profile | Top
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Gina Squitieri

Thursday 10th December 2009 | 02:48 PM

...in response to this comment by Tyler V. Hi Tyler!

Thank you for your posts on my behalf.

May I ask what you, as a protestant, believe God will do to those who don't accept Christ as their personal savior before they breathe their last? Do you believe they are tortured in a pit of literal fire and brimstone forever and ever - without any end?

Thank you in advance for your kind reply.

Gina

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Gina Squitieri

Thursday 10th December 2009 | 02:57 PM

...in response to this comment by V2. Thank you for your reply, V2. Please let's stick to the topic. Don't EVEN get me started on the supposed "gift" of free will. My buddies here at the Lime can all testify to the fact that I know a thing or two about "free" will and will probably not hesitate to confirm how much I absolutely despise that phrase because it's an oxymoron. It's like saying "square circles." People can't abuse "free will" because they don't have it.

Anyway, I hope you have a good night, V2.

:)

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CJ Werleman

Thursday 10th December 2009 | 02:58 PM

Tyler,

You sniggering coward! You have never answered those questions.

I have asked you just six simple questions regarding the birth of Jesus. Answer them. YOU ARE ALL OUT IN THE OPEN NOW. Completely exposed and naked. Go ahead and answer them, or are ya yella?:

I've got hundreds of more questions regarding the life of Jesus BUT let's just start with six easy ones. So go ahead you great big blow hard:


1. Mark & John don't mention Jesus' birth, BUT Matthew and Luke do. So which is it: A) Joseph was told in a dream that Mary was pregnant? or B) Mary was told by an angel in a dream that she was pregnant?

2. What proof do you have that there was a census that took place during Caesar Augustus' time?

3. Was it 3 shepherds in nearby field or 3 wise men led by a star to the birth of Jesus? (How does a star position itself above a house??)

4. What proof do you have that King Herod went on a baby slaughtering rampage at the time of Jesus' birth? (Eerie similarity to Moses' isn't it??)

5. Was Jesus born under king Herod's reign?

6. Many flaws with the Jesus genealogy line as written by Matthew and Luke, but simple question: Was Jesus' genealogy 14 generations x 3 as Matthew writes?

Regards
CJ

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CJ Werleman

Thursday 10th December 2009 | 03:13 PM

Tyler,

You say it a strange thing for Jesus to have said about the Jews in gospel of John. That's because it Jesus probably never said those things you dam fool. Don't you get that? You don't even know who St John was, so how can you guess his motives?

What we do know of John is he was openly hostile towards Jews, in lumping all the various groups of Jewish opposition to Jesus into one group, "The Jews", and symbolizing them as figures of unbelief.

We can see this clearly when we read his accounts side by side against the synoptic gospels. But you don't see it because you have the theological sight of a blind man in a spinning room.

Now answer the questions you great big fraud! The time for running and taking pot shots from the dark is over my stalker buddy. Roll the dice.

Six questions only on Jesus' birth. Answer those and we can move onto to Jesus' ministry. Then we will move forth to Jesus' death and resurrection.

Let's see what it is that Tyler believes. Whether you put your clothes back on is up to you nudey boy.

Regards
CJ

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Gina Squitieri

Thursday 10th December 2009 | 03:52 PM

Oh CJ, come on! Do you always say such stupid things when you're drunk?

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Tyler V

Thursday 10th December 2009 | 04:59 PM

There were a lot of little posts, so I’ll respond to them in the order that they were posted.

V2 – thanks.
Papa – your narrowly define scholars as those who agree with you. Anyone who disagrees with you is, by definition, untrustworthy and the “wrong books.” This coming from your unnamed schooling at a school that even you say sucked, under an anonymous professor, for an undergrad degree in liberal arts. Sorry, I’m gonna read everybody on this issue and seek to evaluate what seems the best supported by the evidence and sound reason. That is why I am not afraid to read the German higher critics, Erhman, the Jesus Seminar, and Bruce, Metzger, Bauckham, etc. But you are unwilling. Do you not realize that it is foolish to say a book is wrong just because it is written by someone who disagrees with you? This is one reason I’m about to cut strings with you in this conversation. You are so blindly biased that it makes conversation impossible. You bash fundamentalists but you are more fundamentalistic than most fundamentalists I know. And I picked that book because it is a direct refutation of Erhman and deals with the pages you asked about. Its not the best or the most scholarly, but it handles exactly what you asked about.

Gina, my beliefs on hell are not based on Protestantism since there is a wide variety of beliefs within Protestantism. The problem is that when most people picture hell, they picture more of Dante’s Inferno or a literalistic translation of the book of Revelation. So what do I think happens to people who die in their sins and reject Jesus as savior? I believe they will undergo the final judgment by God, and that they will be cast out from his presence and live for an eternity of separation from God. Do I think it is a literal lake of fire with people being tortured with pitchforks and demons and stuff? No. That is Dante. But do I think it will be a place of eternal torment? Yes. But Jesus also teaches that there will be varied degrees of punishment, just as there will be varied degrees of blessing in heaven (or more literally, on the New Heavens and the new Earth). Gina, you may bash “free-will” but there are actually many different conceptions of freewill. There is libertarian free will, compatibalistic freewill (which is what I hold as a Calvinist), deterministic free will, and philosophical deterministic free will.

Courtenay, fine. I’ll answer your 6 question. But its entirely useless because you could care less to actually hear the answers. Youre just shooting buckshot hoping that something will stick.
1. Mark & John don't mention Jesus' birth, BUT Matthew and Luke do. So which is it: A) Joseph was told in a dream that Mary was pregnant? or B) Mary was told by an angel in a dream that she was pregnant?
***your question actually smashes a bunch of questions together, The fact that Matthew and Luke mention Jesus’ birth and Mark and John don’t, doesn’t land you in the contrast you are trying to make. It just means that they didn’t mention it. Historiography in the ancient world did not have the same standards as it does not. They didn’t try for comprehensive treatments, but only used what information was important to their purpose and theme.
***False dichotomy. Why cant it be both. Mary was told in a dream that she was pregnant. And then when Joseph found out that she was pregnant and was going to divorce her (because he knew that it takes a man and woman to make a baby, he was not some doofus who just assumed miracle) the dream told him to not divorce her because she had not been unfaithful. So the answer to which is it? Both. They are not mutually exclusive.

2. What proof do you have that there was a census that took place during Caesar Augustus' time?

***The Census of Augustus Documented by Romans
"He revived the office of the Censor which had long been disused and whose duty it had formerly been to take an account of the number of people." - Seutonius Roman Historian - Augustus 23 - Lives of the Twelve Caesars

"He took a census of the people three times" - Augustus 27
"He took a census of the Roman people street by street "
- Augustus 40
"Since the consuls caused a law to be passed soon after this that he should govern the provinces jointly with Augustus and hold the census with him" - Seutonius Roman Historian - Tiberias 21- Lives of the Twelve Caesars

"This contained the number of citizens, subject kingdoms and taxes. All these details Augustus had written with his own hand" - Tacitus Annals - Book 1 Roman Historian
"So Archelaus's country was laid to the province of Syria; and Cyrenius, one that had been consul, was sent by Caesar to take account of people's effects in Syria.Cyrenius came himself into Judea, which was now added to the province of Syria, to take an account of their substance." - Josephus - Antiquities of the Jews - Book 18
The name Monumentum Ancyranum refers to the Temple of Augustus and Rome in Ankara, Turkey, or to the inscription Res Gestae Divi Augusti, a text recounting the deeds of the first Roman emperor Augustus and the most intact copy of which is preserved on the walls of this temple.
"I made a census of the people I performed the lustrum after an interval of forty-one years." - 2-8 Res Gastae
"A third time, with the consular imperium, and with my son Tiberius Caesar as my colleague, I performed the census in the consulship."- 2-8 Res Gastae
Should I keep going?

3. Was it 3 shepherds in nearby field or 3 wise men led by a star to the birth of Jesus? (How does a star position itself above a house??)
A dumb question about something the Bible says nothing about. Show me in the Bible where it says that there were 3 wise men or 3 shepherds. In fact there was probably dozens of both. So by this all you have disproven is that the beloved Christmas carols are inaccurate. Nothing to do with the text. As for the star positioning itself over the house, “ἵστημι” or “stand, set, establish, stand still, stand by,” is a very vague term. There are several possible solutions, none of which your philosophical naturalism will allow because of you’re a priori assumptions. It is possible that these astronomers we led some how to the house by reading and interpreting the stars, it could be something that looked like a star but was in fact something without our own atmosphere, or a guiding angel (often called things like “morning stars” or “stars”), etc. But you will scoff because you presuppose that none of these are possible. But if God exists, there is nothing invalid or illogical about miracles.

4. What proof do you have that King Herod went on a baby slaughtering rampage at the time of Jesus' birth? (Eerie similarity to Moses' isn't it??)
***He killed all the babies under 2 years old in the area around Bethlehem. Bethlehem would have only had a handful of families, maybe a dozen. It was a tiny town in a rural area. How many children in that area were two years old or younger? Maybe a couple to few. This is hardly big news that would attract much attention outside of the area itself. And what historical document do we have that does talk about it (since events were only reported if they had significance to the purpose of the author)? Matthew. You will mock again, because you presuppose that they are false, even though you have no foundation for saying so. Again, read Jesus and the Eyewitnesses by Bauckham (which you wont because you would never actually subject your own position to scrutiny).

5. Was Jesus born under king Herod's reign?
***Yes. Sometime probably between 10 and 6BC.

6. Many flaws with the Jesus genealogy line as written by Matthew and Luke, but simple question: Was Jesus' genealogy 14 generations x 3 as Matthew writes?
***it shows your lack of study of historical insight. First, Matthew is a Royal Genealogy through Joseph. Luke is a lineage genealogy through Mary. Why are the genealogies different? Because they are two different family trees for one. Just as if you did a separate family tree for your mom and your dad, that would be different… unless you’re Appalachian. Most scholars also recognize that ancient genealogies were more purposeful than historical. That doesn’t mean that they made things up, but that they had no problem omitting generations, rearranging generations, or telescoping generations. This is simply how it was done in antiquity. Second, Matthew is a classic example of a Jewish Royal Genealogy. Notice the great emphasis on him being in the line of David. In Jewish Royal Genealogies (as in other royal genealogies) he omits generations for a theological point. But modern standards of historiography that would not be allowed now, but it was common course back then.

Finally you presuppose that the words of Jesus in the gospels are false and then argue to that conclusion. Its called circular reasoning. Why did Jesus probably never say those things? You say I don’t know who John was, but then you say “What we do know of John is he was openly hostile towards Jews, in lumping all the various groups of Jewish opposition to Jesus into one group.” So tell me, if I cant know who John is, then how do YOU know who John is? You also again show your ignorance of just how basic language is used. When John said, “the Jews” he was talking about a specific group of people that is defined by their actions. We do the same thing. “The Americans invaded Iraq,” really, did ALL of us? “The Americans voted in Obama as president” did EVERY American vote for him? “We Americans ….” Whatever it is. We use language the exact same way today. What you don’t realize is that you read the Bible with a kind of hyper-literalism that would put most fundamentalists to shame. You don’t allow for literary devices, allegory, analogy, hyperbole, irony, etc. Mix that with your out of control bias, your axe grinding, your contempt for anyone who disagrees with you, your commitment to assuming the Bible false from the outset, and your total disregard for any kind of scholarship or research on the passage you are twisting, and its not surprising that you come up with the half-baked assertions and questions that you do.

And again, you always resort to just being insulting. If you have the evidence on your side and sound argumentation, why do you have to always be such a derogatory prick to people who disagree with you? Ad hominems are logical fallacies…. Thus IRRATIONAL.

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Tyler V

Thursday 10th December 2009 | 05:11 PM

Now I answered you questions but you have NEVER answered mine and I have asked them half a dozen times. But I’ll ask… AGAIN.

Tell me, based on your naturalistic worldview, what is the basis for the immutable, universal, absolute, eternal, immaterial laws of logic? Are they social contracts like you say morality is? And what is your basis for your moral judgment of other cultures from other ages when you say that morality is a social contract itself?

Furthermore, what did you study in school? What are the scholars that you researched in order to write this book who provided contrary arguments to yours? Or did you just shelter yourself and only read people who you agree with you so as to shelter you’re a priori atheistic faith from any damage? And you say that empirical evidence is the requirement for truth. Tell me, what empirical evidence do you have for the universal negation of miracles, God, souls, universal morality, etc.? What empirical evidence do you even have for the assertion that it is only by empirical evidence that we know truth? What empirical evidence do you have to believe your wife when she says she loves you? What empirical evidence do you have that the floor will be there when you wake up in the morning? Or that it will hold you up when you step on it and not fall into oblivion? Can a blind man believe that such things as colors exist even though he is unable to perceive them? What empirical evidence do you have that you are not just a butterfly dreaming the world?

As far as your naturalism, do you believe in the Big bang? If not do you think that the universe is eternal? If so, what caused the big bang? Then, once we have the universe, how does non-rational, non-thinking, chaos create intricate information that actually grows in complexity?

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Gina Squitieri

Thursday 10th December 2009 | 10:46 PM

"I believe they will undergo the final judgment by God, and that they will be cast out from his presence and live for an eternity of separation from God."

So, what you're saying you believe is that you don't believe Jesus can or will save all, even though He is the savior of the WHOLE WORLD? He's just not able to save some people they reject Him at their last breath? Well, what if they don't reject Him. What if they never heard? I mean, what will happen to all those Jews and Gentiles (Africans, Asians, etc.) who never got the chance to hear of Jesus since He wasn't around at that time to be their sacrificial Lamb? Will God have mercy on them and give them a "chance" to hear the good news and then reject it?

No, no Tyler. Jesus Christ is not going to fail at saving anyone - because God is love and love NEVER fails. It doesn't bow to someone's supposed free will. I'm not bashing free will. How can you bash something that no one has? What a crock. I'm bashing the argument that people claim that we have "free" will, when all you have to do is look around you and you can tell instantly you do not have "free" will. When Jesus told Peter he would deny Him thrice before the cock crowed--did Peter have any way of NOT denying Jesus thrice -- by Peter's supposed "free" will?

God's judgment sets things RIGHT-doesn't send people to an "eternity" (forever and EVER??? you mean - What pray tell does the other "ever" mean, seeing how Forever already carries with it the meaning without end?! And why wiuld God send a "judgment" like that on people for a sin that is limited ("This far shall you come and no farther!") --

Job 14:16 (Young's Literal Translation)
But now, my steps Thou numberest, Thou dost not watch over my sin.


Oh, so God numbers my steps - is in control (apart from some supposed "free" will) of how many steps I can take; is He not in control of the rest of me -- like how far off the beaten path I can go? Come on, Tyler.


Proverbs 16:9
GOD'S WORD® Translation (©1995)
A person may plan his own journey, but the LORD directs his steps.

King James Bible
A man's heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.


So, God "directeth" a man's steps? You mean, God disregards man's supposed "Free" will? Why can't the man direct his own steps straight to an eternity of God-forsaken mental torture?! (Oh, right -- but he can because he has 'free' will even though God's Word -- the one you 'believe' says that God will direct the man's steps.

Okay.

No, Tyler. God's judgment sets things right:

When your judgments come upon the earth, the people of the world learn righteousness.

-- it doesn't set men up for "nothing" - otherwise Christ is a failure and died for nothing, and YOU and others like you make Christ's sacrifice of NO effect. I'm surprised at you, Tyler.

Well, you go have that beer with Trent and do your best to keep him from wandering off to some eternal figurative hell for ever and ever, because how are you going to enjoy heaven when you're aware that your friend -- the one who rejected Christ because God's "allows" it because the friend has "free" will and it's stronger than God's desire - how are you going to enjoy Heaven knowing that friend is SUFFERING great amounts of mental torture forever, Tyler? That's just SICK!

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Gina Squitieri

Thursday 10th December 2009 | 11:45 PM

Continuing....

And furthermore, Tyler, you don't really believe that Jesus Christ saves people who don't "deserve it" seeing how people must save themselves -- seeing how they this phantom free will and can then reject what you call a "gift" at any time.

No, Tyler everyone will not reject Christ continually and here's why:

Philippians 2:10-12 (Amplified Bible)

10That in (at) the name of Jesus every knee should (must -- MUST means they WILL ) bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11And every tongue [frankly and openly] confess and acknowledge that ****Jesus Christ is Lord*****, to the glory of God the Father.


Now, Tyler, if EVERY tongue MUST (in other words, there's no getting around it) confess that Jesus Christ is their Lord, the only way they can confess it is by how, Tyler? Their supposed "free" will?

Oh, really?

No, Tyler, the only way they can confess that is by the Holy Spirit. Let's read it:

1 Corinthians 12:3 (Amplified Bible)
***********And no one can [really] say, Jesus is [my] Lord, except by and under the power and influence of the Holy Spirit.

So, Tyler, when everyone eventually says "Jesus is my Lord" -- and they MUST and therefore WILL -- then, according to Phil 2:10, and if they can only do that by the power and influence which the Holy Spirit.
what will God have to do to those who have the Holy Spirit? Does He cast them off forEVER? No, He'll have to save them. And, no one is saved yet! No one is saved by some 20 second prayer (Oh, dear Jesus, please come into my heart.)

Salvation is a process -- just like creation, dear Tyler. Getting saved takes TIME and lots of it -- it's one of the hardest things anyone will ever have to go through. We must ENDURE TO THE END. "If you endure to the END (the end of what, pray tell?) t-h-e-n you shall be saved.

Tyler, are you saved? Have you endured to the end?

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CJ Werleman

Friday 11th December 2009 | 01:20 AM

Tyler,

Ok dip shit. Here's where your Moody playbook has you all jacked up like a Crack whore 5 minutes after her first pipe rip. Time for some real biblical schooling, not the fancy footwork smoke n mirrors that teach you at Fundy school:

1. Matthew: Mary and Joe are engaged to be married. Mary gets pregnant from, most likely, bumping uglies with James next door while Joe was out selling his timber. Joe cracks the shits and accuses her of being a Jewish minx, rightfully, and then while Joe sleeps that night with plans to kill her the next morning (Jewish law) an angel appears in a dream (Matthew 1:18-23) and says that she has been conceived by the Holy Spirit.

Luke: Gives a far more elaborate and irreconcilably different account. Beginning with an angel's announcement to a woman named Elisabeth that she will soon bear John the Baptist in her womb, who according to Luke is Jesus' cousin. (No other gospel makes this claim) Later an angel appears to Mary in the same manner as the angel appeared to Elisabeth earlier to inform her that she too will give birth to the Son of God.

(COMPLETELY DIFFERENT STORIES)

1. B: Quick go over on the virgin thing because you just don't seem to get it.

Mark the first gospel to write (40-70 years after death of Jesus) mentions nothing of Jesus being born a virgin. Matthew and Luke who write much later than Mark base their biographies on Mark's but with special new plot lines. Matthew, uniquely, goes to extraordinary lengths to prove that Jesus' life fulfills OT Prophecy, and in doing so this NON-GREEK SPEAKING JEW fucks up the Hebrew language more than 20 times in the NT. Funny that the only other gospel to mention the virgin birth, Luke, makes NO mention of scripture to claim that Jesus was born a virgin.

2. DESPITE EXTENSIVE RECORDS OF CAESAR AUGUSTUS' reign there are absolutely ZERO mentions anywhere that an empire wide census for which all citizens had to return to their ancestral home to register. NONE! And furthermore - how could such a thing ever logistically take place, for example - Joseph must return to Bethlehem because his ancestor David was born there, but David lived 1000 years before Joseph. Do you seriously believe that every citizen living under the Roman empire was required to return to the homes of their ancestors from 1000 years prior?? Seriously dude? Wake the fuck up!

3. I really wonder what Bible it is that you have in front of you. Are you sure it's not the Book of Mormon? You ask where does the Bible mention 3 wiseman vs 3 shepherds? Really?

LUKE: Shepherds working in a nearby field are visited by an angel who tells them that a Messiah has been born in Bethlehem.

MATTHEW: Wise men are guided by a star from the east that leads them to Jerusalem. The star takes a breather. Starts up again and leads them to the very house that baby Jesus was born in. A star!!! Amazing shit isn't it?

(COMPLETELY DIFFERENT STORIES. AND AGAIN MARK AND JOHN MAKE NO MENTION OF IT)

4. King Herod did a lot of BAD things. All of these BAD things well recorded by eye-witness historians, NONE make any mention of baby killing massacres. NONE!

And your shameless attempt to dupe readers into believing "Oh but Bethlehem was a very small town" excuse is nonsense. Because Matthew 2:16 writes that ALL babies in the Bethlehem VICINITY including neighboring cities were to be killed.

BTW do you see any similarity with this story and the one of Moses? Or the one of Romulus & Remes? Or to any number of other gods that have similar tales of escaping from an infanticide edict? None? Oh you naive little lost puppy.

5. Oh you do say that Luke was born under King Herod's reign. GOT YA AGAIN!! This is really becoming embarrassing for you buddy.

If Jesus was born during Herod's reign then Luke cannot also be right. Because Luke claims Jesus was born when Quirinius was the governor of Syria! Problem is that Quirinius did not become governor of Syria until 10 years AFTER THE DEATH OF HEROD!! (Boomshakya)

6. Oh yes you are right on just one point out of six. Well partially correct anyway. Nah scratch that - wrong again homeboy.

Mark and John make no mention of Jesus' genealogy. They smart! Matthew and Luke STOOPID!

Matthew & Luke do include genealogy BUT the problem is they are completely different. OOPS!!!

1st Problem: Matthew & Luke claim Jesus born to a virgin. If so then how the fuck do they trace Jesus' bloodline through Josephs'? OOPS!

2nd Problem: Matthew's family tree for Jesus ends at King David BUT Luke takes it all the way back to Adam. (Even you admitted that Adam is a character of fiction....and besides that some long ass family tree)

(NB: If we look at the differing motives of Matthew & Luke we can see clearly why they manipulate the end points of the bloodline, but i think you know that?)

3rd Problem: Matthew says Jesus' grandfather is Jacob. BUT Luke says it is Heli. OOPS FUCKING OOPS!!

4th Problem: Matthew comes up with the 14 generations x 14 x 14 - to make his claims that Jesus was the messiah carry more weight. (Long explanation needed) But problem again is Matthew can't count, as there are only 13 names in the 3rd tranche of his schema. Too many other problems to list, but just a complete balls up.

Well you scored 0 for 6 on this test!!

Bottomline: Your beliefs of the miraculous and supernatural are based on completely fallible and irreconcilably contradictory texts. To pin your faith on such obvious historical flaws just makes you look silly, and places you squarely amongst the intellectual infants of our species.

P.S: Would you like me to ask you some quick questions regarding Jesus' ministry, his false prophecy, his trial, execution, and resurrection?

Now move along oxygen thief. Your beliefs and knowledge have been exposed.

CJ

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Tyler V

Friday 11th December 2009 | 01:57 AM

...in response to this comment by Gina Squitieri. Gina, here isnt the place to discuss the nature of hell, election and reprobation. If you want to email me or facebook me or something, that is a much more appropriate forum to do that.

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CJ Werleman

Friday 11th December 2009 | 02:20 AM

Bloody typos....

Point 1B should have said Matthew was a NON-HEBREW SPEAKING NON-JEW

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CJ Werleman

Friday 11th December 2009 | 02:52 AM

Here's the crux of the case against the absurdity of Christianity.....

The two pillars of this blood n gore cult are:

1. Virgin Birth

2. Resurrection (as illustrated in an earlier post I made)

If we have only four biographies of Jesus, and we have such irreconcilable discrepancies between the four on these two pillars alone - then to believe Jesus was either a) a real person at all or worst b) the son of God is beyond a leap of faith...AND then to waste your life in servitude to it is.............. utter lunacy!

And I cannot contain my contempt for anyone that places such faith before reason.

CJ

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Tyler V

Friday 11th December 2009 | 03:23 AM

Courtenay, again leading off with the insults meaning, “if I start out by bullying, maybe I can just shame them into giving up and they wont notice how hopelessly flimsy my argument actually are.” When the arguments are lacking….yell louder, right?

First, great Matthew and Luke tell different stories. I agree to that. But that’s why they aren’t contradictory…. They are DIFFERENT. IF I was telling about the trip I took with Lindsay to Disneyland and she was telling the same story, they would not include the same thing. I like to be short and concise so mine would include maybe how crowded it was, my favorite ride, and the best place to get a bite to eat. Lindsay would tell about why we wanted to go, the time of day we left, the planning that went into it, how long the drive was, what the tram line ride was line into the park, etc. They would be completely different stories. But they would not mean contradictory. Tell me, why does Luke telling a PREVIOUS event like the pronouncement of John’s birth to his mom some how invalidate the future event of the angel appearing to Mary? That’s like saying because my mom called my wife and hour before she called me, that those two events contradict. Ha, that makes no sense.

Second, you make an argument from silence based on Mark not talking about the virgin birth. Again, historiography was different back then. They saw no problem leaving out major events if they were not important to their theme. So Mark and John leave out the virgin birth, why? Because they both leave out his entire birth all together! They are interested in his ministry as an adult. They were not attempting to write a complete biography.

Third, you say Matthew was a “NON-GREEK SPEAKING JEW” who didn’t understand Hebrew. So he didn’t speak Greek (tough considering he wrote in it rather well) and he messed up the Hebrew (something I have shown you before in dealing with ‘alma’ passage)? This coming from a guy who cannot read passages in their most basic context and who has NO clue anything about Hebrew. How can you say he has messed up the Hebrew, or the Greek for that matter, when you don’t know squat about either. (especially seeing as how Matthew translates the Hebrew in the same way that the LXX does, which was widely accepted by Jews until they realized it supported the Christians).


Fourth, so there were dozens of mentions of him taking censuses so now you change your argument that they don’t say that the censuses meant people had to go back to their homes? Well since there is no reason to believe that this occurred all at once in the empire, in fact, we see that all the empire wide censuses that took place took place over decades and involved many stages. And now historians have found that in A.D. 104, Vivius Maximus issued an edict that states, "It is essential for all people to return to their homes for the census." So while we may have no direct statement that this census in the late 1st century BC involved the practice, we know that it is something that was done in the Roman Empire. Now did Joseph go there because his distance relative lived there? No, it was because that is likely where he was born as a Davidite. The text doesn’t say, but there are dozens of reasons why he would go back to his hometown. You take a small ambiguity and blow it up to make it some huge contradictory impossible statement, but that’s just not how it works.

Fifth, I didn’t ask where it talking about Shepherds or Wisemen, I asked where it said there were THREE of each. I don’t know what Bible YOU are reading, but the Bible makes no mention of how many there are.

Sixth, Again, I think you have a bad case of “differences means contradiction.” Ok, so the wise men went to see Jesus (probably almost two years after he was born since Herod sends out to kill children 2 years old or younger based on the time the Magi said he was born) while the shepherds went and see him AT his birth. See, our nativity scenes are most likely wrong. The Bible seems to say that in the manger the shepherds were there, but it was two years later in their home that the Magi came.

Seventh, yes, a star would be amazing… I think that’s what makes it a miracle. But again it doesn’t mean that it is a star (as in a star from another solar system) but it could have just as easily been a guiding light from within our atmosphere, or a guiding angel who are frequently called “stars” in the Bible and in ancient literature. Any of these still require a miracle, but I don’t think it requires God moving an entire solar system. Although that would be pretty sweet if he did.

Eighth, yeah Herod was willing to kill most of his own kids to protect his thrown, his own wife, and many close friends. He took 40 of the Jewish leaders and kept them in prison and gave orders to kill them all on the day of his death to make sure that no one killed him early and that there would be mourning on the day of his death… yeah… this isn’t a guy who would kill some babies to keep one who was prophesied to be the true king and who even people from other countries knew it…

You also make the assumption that there were like roving reporters looking for things to write down. Its not how history was done back then. Again, people only wrote about events if it had to do with their purpose in writing. Since this was the murder of a handful of children, it would not have been noticed by anyone except for the people writing about the life of Jesus: the reason for the slaughter.

Ninth, Bethlehem was a tiny town in the same area as a couple other tiny towns. We are talking about maybe a dozen children at most. Again, not an event to catch the eye of most historians. See, in the same way that Gina reads Dante back into the Biblical texts about Hell, you read all those Medieval paintings of thousands of kids being killed back into the passage when historians know that it would be relatively few. They didn’t have thousands of reporters like we do. They didn’t even have reporters. They had historians.

And yes, I do see similarities to the story of Moses. But again, you make the false assumption that similarities are the same as plagiarism. Lets pretend someone was giving your biography and my biography. Well they both may include births in hospitals, maybe we both were in car accidents at the age of 8, and on and on. There could be hundreds of similarities. Oh no! does that mean that you don’t exist and your biographer is making it up and stealing my life stories and then adding details to make you seem real!?

Sorry to be cheeky, but I think that you think your arguments are way better than they are. Usually they amount to this kind of logic:

P1) It might be the case that P.
P2) Therefore it is the case that P.

Or,
P1) Author A, in writing about P, said Q.
P2) Author B, in writing about P, said S.
P3) Q and S are different statements.
P4) Therefore Author A and Author B contradict.

In neither case is the argument valid. And often your premises are false also, so you are neither valid nor sound.


Tenth, In regards to Quirinius:
When Luke says this was the "first" census that took place under Quirinius, the Greek word prote, usually translated "first," according to some Greek scholars can also be translated "prior." If that is Luke’s meaning, then, he would be referring to a census taken prior to the one taken when Quirinius was governor in 6 A.D. Is it possible that a prior census was taken, or even taken by Quirinius himself?
Well, historians know that Quirinius had a government assignment in Syria between 12 B.C. to 2 B.C. He was responsible for reducing the number of rebellious mountaineers in the highlands of Pisidia. As such, he was a highly placed military figure in the Near East and highly trusted by Emperor Caesar Augustus. Augustus, knowing of the turmoil in Herod the Great’s territory, may well have put his trusted friend Quirinius in charge of a census enrollment in the region of Syria just before the end of Herod’s life.
The time period from 7 to 6 B.C. also coincides with the transition period between the rule of the two legates of Syria: Saturninus from 9 to 6 B.C. and Varus from 7 to 4 B.C. The transition of power between these two men took place between 7 to 6 B.C., and Augustus again may have appointed his friend Quirinius to step in and conduct a census taxation when he could not trust anyone else.

Eleventh, it has nothing to do with how smart Mark and John are t hat they don’t mention the birth of Jesus. It was just not the point of why they were writing. Welcome to ancient literature. And yes… Matthew and Luke’s genealogy are different… One is a Paternal Royal Genealogy and the other is a Maternal Familial Genealogy… so yeah… different… I like how rather than dealing with the historiographical issues involved you just say your same point with more insulting tones.

Next, Jesus’ genealogy through Joseph isn’t a blood line, it is a royal genealogy AND as I have told you before, but you like to just ignore when youre wrong, in the ancient world an adopted son (since Joseph certainly was his legal father) would have FULL rights to a claim on the genealogy of the adopting Father, to the point where if a son was adopted who was older than the first natural born son, the adopted son with get the inheritance of the 1st born!

I NEVER said that Adam was fictional. I said that Genesis 1 is a framework theological structure and that we should not read it as a science book. Yet again… this is you being wholly unable to take ANYTHING that ANYONE says in context and are shameless in just making crap up about what people actually mean when they say… this is a prime evidence of ideological axe grinding. People with good arguments don’t so blatantly twist other peoples words to suit their own purposes.

As for Jacob/Heli… um are your grandparents on your Dad’s and Mom’s side the same person? If they are then… well… that would explain the poor reading comprehension and inability to reason.

4th Problem: Matthew comes up with the 14 generations x 14 x 14 - to make his claims that Jesus was the messiah carry more weight. (Long explanation needed) But problem again is Matthew can't count, as there are only 13 names in the 3rd tranche of his schema. Too many other problems to list, but just a complete balls up.
Now, I already told you about royal genealogies where it was very common for them to leave out blemishes on the family record and to telescope generations, so yeah… Matthew DID make it even history to support his claim… I’m not arguing that. Is that bad scholarship by modern standards? Yeah, we wouldn’t accept any historian who did that now. But that’s how it was done back then. That’s how royal genealogies were written.

Then you say that there are only 13 people in the last set. Well lets count:
1. Jeconiah,
2. Shealtiel,
3. Zerubbabel,
4. Abiud,
5. Eliakim,
6. Azor,
7. Zadok,
8. Akim,
9. Eliud,
10. Eleazar,
11. Matthan,
12. Jacob,
13. Joseph
14. Jesus.

Now, I’m not Mathematician but I think since Matthew said that he was counting “from the exile to the Christ” that Christ would be included, just like “from Abraham to David” included Abraham and David. So yeah… that’s 14.


Finally in response to your “bottom line”: my belief in miracles is not based on the Bible. Those are examples of miracles which I believe in. My belief in miracles is based on the fact that I believe that there is more to this world that just what we can perceive by our senses. Many people believe in miracles who do not believe in the Bible. They are called theists.

And from what I have seen, you are in no position to calls things “historical flaws” since you CLEARLY have no clue what you are talking about and have not only read a single scholar on the issue who disagrees with you (and I doubt many Biblical scholars who would agree with your worldview but atleast have studied the texts) but who I don’t think has ACTUALLY even read the Biblical passages that you are referring to since you don’t even get the basics of those!

And no Courtenay, I don’t want you to ask questions because they will be just as half baked, illogical, ahistorical, and unstudied as these. What I want you to do is to answer the questions that I have asked you!

You mocked me for not answering your questions for a day, you haven’t answered my questions for over a month and I have had to ask like 5 times on multiple threads! So answer my questions before you spout of more of yours inane ones!

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Tyler V

Friday 11th December 2009 | 03:31 AM

Courtenay,

If you are unable to answer my questions, then I will just have to stop talking to you. At first you were a funny guy. But now you have just gotten more hateful, irrational, and purposefully petty in your questions and text twisting. I have a hard time believing that someone is so utterly incapable of reading a text in context and so the only logical explanation is that your purposefully ignore context and history.

Your main complaint is about the reliability of the Bible, and thus you presuppose that and then launch all your arguments from their to get from that conclusion to that conclusion. It is called circular reasoning.

Seriously, all petty insults aside, put your ego to the side and your impulsive need to be witty and insulting, do you actually want to LEARN and engage in honest debate or are you really just looking to spout of your atheism? Because if you were intellectually honest you would be interested in hearing the best arguments from the other side. Read Bauckham's Jesus and the Eyewitnesses. You call yourself a free thinker, and rational, and all of that. But the fact that you are unwilling to read scholars who disagree with you, actually shows that you are a zealot for your cause and believe your system on faith that you dont want to submit to scrutiny. I really hope you see the hypocrisy of that position.

Trent Greguhn

Trent Greguhn

Friday 11th December 2009 | 03:32 AM
105 total kudos

I thought that 320 comments must have been a mistake, but man. There has been a lot of discussion in the past day.

Tyler, please look up moral pluralist, it'll give you a better idea of where I stand.

Also the books are :

The Evolution of Morality - Richard Joyce

Primates and Philosophers: How Morality Evolved - Frans de Waal.

I highly suggest Waal's book, he has tons of books on the morality of animals. They're all great.

Other than that Tyler, we'll just be re-hashing old arguments. If you have clarification on other things you'd like to ask please let me know.

Now on to V2 and Gina.

----

Believe it or not, my fiancee fractured her tooth on Raisin Bran yesterday and we've been taking care of that. It was a rock solid raisin. Luckily it's a minor fracture and nothing has to be done.

Anyways, let's continue this conversation.

Gina, I never proposed that I knew a better way. I implied that if God knows all, and is all powerful and all loving, then he wouldn't want us to suffer and would be able to come up with a way in which we don't have to suffer.

V2, you use an old, old, old, old argument. I'll familiarize you with the problem of evil by showing you the logical fallacy of your assertion.

What about tornadoes? Hurricanes? Earthquakes? Tsunamis? Volcanoes? These are seen as evil in the traditional sense. Also, what about birth defects? Diseases? Black plague, spanish flu? This has nothing to do with human free will. Humans have nothing to do with it.

And you want to talk free will? Wrap your head around this.

God is all-knowing and infalliable correct? Then how does free-will exist? Because if he knows everything then he knows what you're going to do before you do it. And if he can't be wrong, there's no way you couldn't do it, because to do something that God didn't know would make him fallible and not all-knowing. So by this logic, you have no free-will.

Although I don't believe in God so neither of these problems bother me. Also, Gina's perspective on free will is scary.


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Trent Greguhn

Trent Greguhn

Friday 11th December 2009 | 03:41 AM
105 total kudos

Oh, and Tyler. It's very reasonable and understanding why the FCC doesn't want any information to be let out. It has to deal with people's telephone calls.

Imagine a third party listened to everything you said on every single phone call. You'd want your privacy right? It's why we're not even allowed to use our names here when people ask. We're just numbered dial tones more or less.

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Tyler V

Friday 11th December 2009 | 04:10 AM

Yeah, over 300 and looking like we might hit 400 soon. Hah. Is there a record for this kind of thing? Thanks for your perspectives. I am a little fuzzy on what differentiates between moral relativism and moral pluralism, but I’ll check out those books and Blattberg’s response to them.

Sucks about your fiancee’s tooth. I did that on a pretzel once.

As for your responses to Gina and V2:
I still find it presumptuous to say what an omniscient, omnipotent, loving being WOULD do from our point of view. Seems strange to say “I know he is omniscient and knows everything, but I think I would know more…” Again, if your argument is valid, the type of God is disproves in one without sufficient reason for suffering. It does not disprove the type of God that does have sufficient reason for it. Alvin Plantinga argues this on a very high level (its actually a pretty tough read) in a book called God, Freedome, and Evil. I think its only a little over 100 pages long but it is very high brow. I highly recommend it, but I warn that its not bed-time reading. Its tough. But it also helps to point out that the classic argument for evil based on free-will is entirely lacking. You are right to point out that the free-will argument is utterly inadequate to answer the question of suffering. But there are many other responses than that.

But can I recommend not getting into a conversation here about the nature of free-will. It is a debating black-hole from which no debate ever seems to escape. There are so many facets involved that it is massively complex. There are also so many different conceptions of freewill (as I noted before) that unless we can all agree on the conception of freewill we can never even begin to discuss predestination and freewill. Even atheists are divided between us being absolute free and absolutely chemically determined. Throw in multiple worldviews and your in for a 500 post thread where everyone is just talking past each other.


Ha, and can you pick your numbered dial tone as 007? lol

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CJ Werleman

Friday 11th December 2009 | 04:10 AM

...in response to this comment by Tyler V. Tyler,

Your historical and contextual fallacies can only be made up either A) in your own mind with incredible illogical bridges and trap doors or B) they are teaching crazy town at Moody Bible Institute?

I wont debate or discuss morality with someone that answers the question:

What moral statement/action can a believer make/do that a non-believer can't?

With....."Love God"

Simple.

Trent Greguhn

Trent Greguhn

Friday 11th December 2009 | 04:12 AM
105 total kudos

I think a great deal of people here should familiarize themselves with the Atheism tapes. They're a great collection of philosophical debates.

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Tyler V

Friday 11th December 2009 | 04:22 AM

Courtenay, nice way to deflect and dismiss and to not address a single thing that was stated. I believe anyone who read your responses and mine can clearly tell which has studied and which is just axe grinding by blind faith. You’re the one arguing that “maybe means definitely” and that just because two people told different parts of a story that they necessarily contradict… and that 14 people is 13 people.

Ok the question asked, to rehash this old topic again, was what moral statement can a theist make that an atheist cant.

The difference between a theist and an atheist is precisely belief in God, thus the answer must have something to do with the existence of God. Thus “love God” is a perfectly acceptable answer to the question.

Here is the problem, you ask for something in order to mock it. You ask for something IMPOSSIBLE for an atheist to do but then mock the answer because it requires belief in God… the very thing that would make it possible for a theist and not an atheist.

So tell me, why is that an illogical answer? Control your tongue, don’t bash the answer, mock it, make ridiculing comments. But in a reasonable, well thought out way, tell me what “love God” is an inadequate moral action that a theist can do but an atheist cant?

Now, for those watching these last few posts on Courtenay’s question for me, let me point out what Courtenay's response will be to my answer (since this is like the 4th time we have had this conversation and he tries it out on new audiences hoping for better results… isn’t there a cliché about the definition of foolishness being to try the same thing over and over and expect different results?) He will say something like "Thats ridiculous!" (but in a more insulting way) and i'll tell you why. The answer to question #1 is: a moral action that a theist can do that an atheist cant is Love God. Now, Courtenay will say that it is absurd because in order for that to be a moral action one must first believe in God. Well yes.... that is precisely the point of the question was it not? Something that a theist can do that an ATHEIST CAN NOT do? Well the principle difference between Atheism and Theism is belief in God. So the answer must entail that belief in God is required for it to be possible for the theist by impossible for the atheist. So Courtenay sets up a question that is impossible to answer within HIS OWN worldview in order to ridicule it. But the point of the question is to give a moral action that is IMPOSSIBLE within his worldview! So the answer is valid.

At this point Courtenay will then try and belittle that loving God is just not good enough of a moral action. In his mind he was seeking a moral CATEGORY, not a single moral action. But I need not give a whole category. Simply a moral action. Ironically, if i would have said something like "love your wife" the complaint would be "we can do that too," not "I meant moral category not a narrow action." Had i supplied an invalid answer, he would be entirely content with me giving a moral action.

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Tyler V

Friday 11th December 2009 | 04:26 AM

Trent, I think you seem like a guy who is actually interested in reading and listening to both sides even if you disagree. You should check out http://veritas.org/media/. They are video lectures by guys like Francis Collins (head of the human genome project), Alvin Plantinga, Os Guinness, Tim Keller, and so on. You can look up lectures by topic or by speaker. I think you might like it. If youre like me you like listening to people who challenge you. I like listening to the Reasonable Doubt podcast. Pretty reasonable and fair handed atheistic podcast. They dont spew the vitriol like Courtenay and Harris and some of the others.

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Tyler V

Friday 11th December 2009 | 04:28 AM

p.s. that veritas website isnt just theist. there are debates with people like Singer and others on there.

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Tyler V

Friday 11th December 2009 | 04:31 AM

Oh, and notice that Courtenay also mocks me for not answering his questions for one day but has yet again completely dodged answer my questions for him about his worldview. Just a little ironic that's all.

Trent Greguhn

Trent Greguhn

Friday 11th December 2009 | 04:35 AM
105 total kudos

...in response to this comment by Tyler V. "Moral-pluralism differs from moral-relativism in that pluralism accepts limits to differences, such as when vital human needs are violated."

Best definition I have for ya there.

"I still find it presumptuous to say what an omniscient, omnipotent, loving being WOULD do from our point of view. Seems strange to say “I know he is omniscient and knows everything, but I think I would know more…” "

I have never claimed to know what what an all-knowing, all-powerful being would do, and I never claimed to no more. But the logic is easy to understand. This is why believing in an all perfect being is weird to me, because we still struggle to know what that actually means.

He is all loving. He loves us all. He is all knowing, meaning of course he knows (italicize) everything (/italicize) meaning that he would know a way in which to make a world with no suffering and would want to do so because he loves us. And not only would he know how to do so, he'd be able to do it! Because he's all-powerful of course.

Now please understand, for some reason Gina, V2, and Tyler, are implying somehow that I'm saying I would know a better way. I don't, and that's the point. I am a fallible human. God is not though, and as I explained above, he should be able to do this. This is why I cannot relate in any way to a Judeo-Chrisitan God, because he is a static character. He doesn't change. What's the point?

If you'd like me to pose more problems with the Judeo-Christian God, I can go on and on. Again, I've studied (and I mean really studied) this stuff for years. I'll pose one more thinker for you since my last paragraph seems to segway nicely into it.

What is God's meaning? What is a meaning for a perfect God? Many people say the meaning of life is through God. And if that's true, then we must ask what is God's meaning in his existence as a never-changing being (I say never changing in the Judeo-Christian understanding of God, but curiously enough he changes his mind and feelings quite frequently in the Old Testament). If you say that his meaning is intrinsic to him, then why cannot our meaning be intrinsic to us? Why must we have meaning derived from another being? And if you believe that our meaning must be derived by another being, then where does God's meaning come from? And if God doesn't have a meaning, what's the point?

Of course this problem is again solved if you don't believe in God.

Yes, Free-Will is tricky. Especially when they've discovered that your brain makes the decision for you seconds before you react. Essentially making your decision before you've made it. But don't take that at face value, as I've completely oversimplified this concept.

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Trent Greguhn

Trent Greguhn

Friday 11th December 2009 | 04:51 AM
105 total kudos

...in response to this comment by Tyler V. I'm not afraid to admit that when I was younger I thought that all religions were right and all had similar beliefs with cultural differences. I say I'm not afraid to admit that, but I am embarrassed. Once I got into a University and spoke with people who had been to other places of the world, lived and experienced it and I found out that I was pretty naive.

For instance, in India, talking about your religion with a neighbor and have huge reprocussions for that society, and as such missionaries are not allowed. There are literally tens of thousands of different beliefs in India. It was also this realiziation, when I realized what 6.5 billion people actually meant-- I thought myself a fool for believing myself right over others. Though I still do that to this day, it is in a much different context.

To that extent I've read both sides of the argument for years now and I have developed my own personal opinions.

I love Francis Collins for what he's done. Though he literally believes the story of Genesis, which I find... well, flabberghasting. If anyone out there literally believes the bible, then you have a great deal of studying and research to do.

It's too bad that site is not only blocked here, but also has videos-- we're unable to watch videos at my work. But I'll be sure to look it up online when I get home.

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Trent Greguhn

Trent Greguhn

Friday 11th December 2009 | 04:53 AM
105 total kudos

also, "and I never claimed to know more".

Bloody typos.

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Trent Greguhn

Trent Greguhn

Friday 11th December 2009 | 04:53 AM
105 total kudos

also, "and I never claimed to know more".

Bloody typos.

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Papa

Papa

Friday 11th December 2009 | 05:08 AM
98 total kudos | 1 for this comment

...in response to this comment by CJ Werleman. "Your historical and contextual fallacies can only be made up either A) in your own mind with incredible illogical bridges and trap doors or B) they are teaching crazy town at Moody Bible Institute?"

I am glad I am not the only one who is thinking that...

The book you posted Tyler, the author "Jones" is senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Rolling Hills. I wonder how much pull he has in the realm of manuscript study?

Or how about the second book you posted by Dillon Burroughs? You constantly claim I have no degree in Biblical Theology. Where did Dillion obtain his degree from? Because I can't find anything on the web on where he attained his degree in Biblical studies, or if he even has one.

And the third book.

Daniel B. Wallace and Darrell Bock. Both admittedly evangelical text critics. Which is kind of like saying, "I am a communist conservative". Wallace is guess what? In the seminary. The same place I told you to stay. And Bock was the president of the Evangelical Theological society. We are talking about a guy who writes against the Da Vinci Code for crying out loud. A story that has no grounds in scholarly debate, but your so called "scholar" apparently believes it does.

At the very least, Wallace is known for his greek knowledge. But not for his manuscript credentials. I think its amazing that you actually can sit there and attempt to downplay the list of scholars that I present who are world renown genius's. And then you list these knuckle heads. I would say go back to the seminary, but now I think an Evangelical Church is more of the surrounding your accustomed too.

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Trent Greguhn

Trent Greguhn

Friday 11th December 2009 | 05:32 AM
105 total kudos | 1 for this comment

...in response to this comment by Papa. I feel the need to point out the books I listed and their credibility because of this comment, ha. Papa you bring up a good point, and that point being: name dropping means nothing. That being said--

Frans De Waal - Doctorate in biology, very trusted and respectable scientist. He's one of my personal heroes to be honest.

Richard Joyce - He is a Reasearch Fellow for the Philosophy program at the Australian National University.

Amazing books. They'll open your mind if you're not already familiar with them.

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Tyler V

Friday 11th December 2009 | 05:40 AM

Trent, thanks for the definition. I’ll just have to read up on it.

As for omniscience. You may not think that you are saying you know more than God, but that is implicit in your claim whether you like it or not. Is it not possible that an omniscient God knows that the best possible world does have the exact amount of pain and suffering that our world has. You see, you make the assumption that “God should be able to do this” (“this” being making a world with no suffering in it.) You are right and wrong. God could have made a world with no suffering in it. So you are right. But the question is not if God could have made a world with no suffering, the question is if this world, with its suffering, is the best possible world. You are wrong in assuming that the best possible world would have no suffering in it. Now, it may or may not be so. But the problem is that you assume that the it is logically impossible that the best possible world would contain pain and suffering. Again, it seems logically consistent to say that an omniscient God would in fact make a world with pain and suffering if their was sufficient reason for it to be in the best possible world.

I’m also not sure why you cant relate to a static character? I guess I’m not sure what the proble