Reason Rally: Outrage!

Why is it that Unreasonables are so often emotional? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Lately I’ve been dialoguing on several fronts with atheists concerning the Reason Rally and one method of argumentation is to speak of something that angers the atheist in the Bible and then the argument is formed.

Premise: X occurs in the Bible.
Premise: I don’t like X.
Conclusion: God does not exist.

Some might think this is simplistic, but it seems that for many, if you just mention the incident of Elisha and the two bears, well that’s enough. The whole thing can be thrown out the window because of that and we can rest assured that Christianity is not true because the holy book contains something distasteful to us in it.

This gets us into what I wrote about last time. Most atheists do not bother to understand the Bible but only come with a superficial reading and act like that destroys all of it. Note I said most. There are some exceptions that are actually capable of dialoguing on the subject. For most, the story ends with something that is not liked and that is the end of it.

If you agree with them that it is distasteful, well you need to come out of your God belief because you would not condone it at all unless God did it. If you seek to explain the passage in question, well it’s obvious that you really believe that the whole thing is horrid and you’re just trying to justify that tension that you feel in your own mind.

Darned if you do. Darned if you don’t.

There is no concept that this book was written in a different time, place, and culture. There is no idea that if God exists, then we should not really expect Him to be just like us and if He is the Lord of all the universe, He does have that authority to take lives as He is the giver and sustainer of all life and He does not owe anyone their life, or anything else for that matter.

Now I am not going to write out a defense of every single event in the Bible. I have written about many elsewhere and will be glad to pull up anything I have written if need be. I mainly want to counter the basic thrust that I see throughout the whole argument. It is the idea that because something is distasteful or seen as morally evil, then obviously the Bible is not the Word of God.

It’s not really that obvious. It could be many times we do not understand something properly and when that happens, we need to improve our understanding. If we are right, further research will help to elucidate that. If we are wrong, further study will do the same.

Also, it could be for the sake of argument that the Bible is not the Word of God and there is no justification for some of these things. This is not my stance, but it’s a possible stance. So what? There are Christians who do have this view and do believe that there is still enough evidence that Jesus rose from the dead. The idea that the Bible must be Inerrant in all that it teaches in order to be true in anything is a fundamentalist idea. It is that for both fundy atheists and fundy Christians. Keep in mind I do hold to Inerrancy, but if Inerrancy is wrong, I’m not throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

Outrage is just outrage. Being angered about something does not make it wrong. Not liking something does not make it wrong. For that, you actually need to dialogue and seek to understand the situation. Christians in dialogue should realize that if an atheist just wants to rant about something and not dialogue, well that’s how it’s going to be, and while that aspect can’t be changed about them unless they want to, one can usually sit back and explain everything and trust the audience watching sees which side is presenting the more rational presentation.

Yet doesn’t it seem odd that those who claim to rely so much on reason consistently have an appeal to emotion with a conclusion that does not follow?

In Christ,
Nick Peters

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36 Responses to “Reason Rally: Outrage!”

  1. Peter Grice Says:

    Many who are so outraged, cannot give a rational account of why another person should share their indignation. Invariably there are appeals to a feeling, as you say. No doubt this is because they are unable to argue convincingly that their own conscience or sense of injustice functions reliably. Naturalism (for instance) proffers no moral imperative, and no robust concept of virtue to permit causal explanation of creatures who reason morally. To merely pronounce with increasing volume that one is disgusted with anything at all, ought to be rejected by champions of reason—until such time as that incredulity is shown to be justified.

  2. Simplexion Says:

    “There is no concept that this book was written in a different time, place, and culture. There is no idea that if God exists, then we should not really expect Him to be just like us and if He is the Lord of all the universe, He does have that authority to take lives as He is the giver and sustainer of all life and He does not owe anyone their life, or anything else for that matter.”

    He, He, He, hehehehe. I is man. Me strong. You woman. You weak. Our sky friend is man. He is sky daddy. Women must submit.

    Also, really? REALLY? A bald man gets insulted and God felt the need to help him out by setting some bears onto kids. Yep, God has the right to take life. HE is the giver of lizife. He can take it for completely retarded reasons and you will find a reason to excuse your way out of it. Derp, anyone? Plenty of derp to go around. Only $1.99 or in the top drawer of all dodgey motels.

    I am loving these blogs. They are giving me a good gigglefest. Thank-you.

  3. Joshua Postema (@JoshPostema) Says:

    I’m five years late to the party, but saw this post because of the Reason Rally link. I think it’s great that Simplexion was illustrating the unreasonable sort of person you describe in your post. I appreciate that he did it by sacrificing his own relevance.

  4. Joshua Postema (@JoshPostema) Says:

    Correction. I guess this post is entirely new and not just updated. It seems the comment section dates are inaccurate.

  5. Cornell Says:

    Indeed, but there are some well known scientists that came up with horrible arguments against God as well. So I think some of these village atheists that rely heavily on “emotion” are being sucked in from some of their role models who attempt philosophy and theology..

    Carl Sagan’s terrible objection to the existence of God is as follows:

    The Universe is big
    Humans are small
    Therefore, God does not exist

    /facepalm

    This is exactly why I stress the fact that “theology matters”

  6. apologianick Says:

    The Simpleton has been doing a great job showing us the kind of unreasoning that will be going on at the Reason Rally. He’s the poster child for fundy atheism.

  7. vel Says:

    Nick, I would correct your strawman claim about “all” atheists. This atheist would say:
    Premise: X occurs in the Bible.
    Premise: You have no evidence for X.
    Conclusion: Therefore, there is no evidence that your god exists.

    This applies to claims of evidence of your supposed savior, the bizaare events claimed after his supposed death, the flood, the exodus, etc. You, like every Christian, attempts to use what amounts to a magic decoder ring to determine what parts of your bible are literal or metaphor. Each of you comes to a different conclusion based on your own personal hatreds and desires, and each claims that their version is per the ‘holy spirit’ and each of you has no more evidence that your version is more right than the others. One has no ability to know who the True Christians are at all. Are they the RCC? the LDS? Jehovah’s Witnesses? Seventh Day Adventists? Baptists? Presbyterians?

    I *do* find many events described by the bible disgusting but my argument would not be what you claim it would be. *That* argument is just the usual theist attempt to lie about atheists and claim that atheists *only* want to rebel. I have read the bible from cover to cover at least twice, as a Christian and as not. I understand the bible quite well, knowing context, history, psychology, archaeology, etc. When I see a Christian say that anyone who disagrees with them isn’t understanding the bible “properly” that only means that the Christian thinks that their interpretation of the bible is the only “right” one. Again, how do I tell?

    “There is no idea that if God exists, then we should not really expect Him to be just like us and if He is the Lord of all the universe, He does have that authority to take lives as He is the giver and sustainer of all life and He does not owe anyone their life, or anything else for that matter.” Christians also love to declare that they understand their god “God is love. God has a plan.” but when the hard questions get asked, they declare that no one can understand him. That’s so convenient. Is the bible an accurate description of your god or not? And the rest of this, such a sycophant’s litany. You say it’s okay for your god to kill people if it wants to, with no more reason than that, just a whim. This certainly doesn’t fit the claims of a just and fair god that so many Christians want to claim. For a person who dares call others “unreasonables”, this is quite amusing.

    As for outrage, outrage can be a very good thing. I am outraged by racism, sexism and willful ignorance and that makes me do something about those things. Outrage doesn’t make something wrong, but having no evidence to support your claims does. Again, all of the things that you theists think you’ll bring up to atheists at the Reason Rally have all been heard before. You have nothing that we haven’t heard before when we were theists or after. Please do come, but do not be suprised that your god does nothing for you, when you pray for us to accept Jesus Christ. People, probably nearing a thousand now, have been praying for me for years and they fail. Does your god like me as I am? Has he already damned me like in Romans 9? Does he not care for your prayers? Or does he simply not exist?

  8. apologianick Says:

    Vel: Nick, I would correct your strawman claim about “all” atheists.

    Reply: It will be a straw man when you show where I said “all atheists.”

    Vel: This atheist would say:
    Premise: X occurs in the Bible.
    Premise: You have no evidence for X.
    Conclusion: Therefore, there is no evidence that your god exists.

    Reply: If we were talking about that kind of topic. We’re not. However, if I believe something, I have evidence for that belief excepting foundational beliefs perhaps.

    Vel This applies to claims of evidence of your supposed savior, the bizaare events claimed after his supposed death, the flood, the exodus, etc.

    Reply: Which one of those would you like discussed first?

    Vel: You, like every Christian, attempts to use what amounts to a magic decoder ring to determine what parts of your bible are literal or metaphor.

    Reply: It’s not a magic decoder ring. It’s called studying the text. I have this strange belief that the text has meaning. The way to get to it is studying. That’s not a magic decoder ring. That’s just good hermeneutics for any text, unless you’re a fundy like yourself.

    Vel: Each of you comes to a different conclusion based on your own personal hatreds and desires, and each claims that their version is per the ‘holy spirit’ and each of you has no more evidence that your version is more right than the others.

    Reply: Bzzz. Wrong answer. I don’t attribute to the Holy Spirit my study. So ironic you complain about a non-existent straw man of all atheists and then turn around and do one on Christians. That’s just another way too many of my fellow Christians use the Holy Spirit as a cop-out to avoid the text.

    Vel: One has no ability to know who the True Christians are at all. Are they the RCC? the LDS? Jehovah’s Witnesses? Seventh Day Adventists? Baptists? Presbyterians?

    Reply: Therefore, everyone is wrong! Love it! Hey. How about doing this thing called studying the text?

    Vel: I *do* find many events described by the bible disgusting but my argument would not be what you claim it would be. *That* argument is just the usual theist attempt to lie about atheists and claim that atheists *only* want to rebel.

    Reply: Wrongo. I can point you to several atheists who do that very thing. I can even point to it in published works by atheists where their argument against God is that God is immoral. I don’t care why they do it. The argument itself is fallacious.

    Vel: I have read the bible from cover to cover at least twice, as a Christian and as not.

    Reply: Do you want a cookie for doing that?

    Vel: I understand the bible quite well, knowing context, history, psychology, archaeology, etc. When I see a Christian say that anyone who disagrees with them isn’t understanding the bible “properly” that only means that the Christian thinks that their interpretation of the bible is the only “right” one. Again, how do I tell?

    Reply: Ask one of them. I’m not that one. Sure I think it’s a wrong interpretation, but I’m open to being wrong since I don’t believe I have a pipeline to God giving me correct interpretations. Again, you study the text.

    Vel: “There is no idea that if God exists, then we should not really expect Him to be just like us and if He is the Lord of all the universe, He does have that authority to take lives as He is the giver and sustainer of all life and He does not owe anyone their life, or anything else for that matter.” Christians also love to declare that they understand their god “God is love. God has a plan.” but when the hard questions get asked, they declare that no one can understand him.

    Reply: Please again let me know when I do this oh Straw Man complainer. In fact, I have regularly written against this notion of “God has a plan for your life.”

    Vel: That’s so convenient. Is the bible an accurate description of your god or not?

    Reply: Yes, but not a total description. There are truths about God not in the Bible.

    Vel: And the rest of this, such a sycophant’s litany. You say it’s okay for your god to kill people if it wants to, with no more reason than that, just a whim. This certainly doesn’t fit the claims of a just and fair god that so many Christians want to claim. For a person who dares call others “unreasonables”, this is quite amusing.

    Reply: This is amusing since you have no reason for this, just a whim. Typical for an unreasonable. The reason is God is the Lord of all existence, owes no debt to anyone, and everyone owes everything to Him.

    Vel: As for outrage, outrage can be a very good thing. I am outraged by racism, sexism and willful ignorance and that makes me do something about those things. Outrage doesn’t make something wrong, but having no evidence to support your claims does.

    Reply: First off, I do agree. Outrage can be good, but outrage itself is not proof of something being wrong. Second, having no evidence is also not proof of something being wrong, which I am not claiming I have no evidence. It can question the reason for believing a claim but itself does not disprove the claim. Finally, I do have evidence for my worldview.

    Vel: Again, all of the things that you theists think you’ll bring up to atheists at the Reason Rally have all been heard before.

    Reply: And they’ll be heard again at the anti-reason rally.

    Vel: You have nothing that we haven’t heard before when we were theists or after

    Reply: Unless we read books that don’t have the word “illustrated” on the cover.

    Vel: Please do come, but do not be suprised that your god does nothing for you, when you pray for us to accept Jesus Christ.

    Reply: I’m not surprised that God doesn’t force you to believe in Him.

    Vel: People, probably nearing a thousand now, have been praying for me for years and they fail. Does your god like me as I am? Has he already damned me like in Romans 9? Does he not care for your prayers? Or does he simply not exist?

    Reply; Romans 9 has nothing to do with it. Romans 9 is about God demonstrating his faithfulness to the covenant of Israel and not about individual salvation.

    What an argument. Not everyone believes in God, therefore He does not exist. It does not follow.

  9. vel Says:

    You’re right, Nick, I shouldn’t have said you said “all atheists”. My apologies. You did say atheists with no qualifier so it’s rather hard to know how many atheists you are trying to assign this bad argument to. In my experience, very few atheists simply say that they don’t like the bible’s stories so this means god doesn’t exist. That’s an amazingly stupid argument. Rather like, “I like the stories in the bible so that means God exists”. I’m sure you are familiar with that one.

    I have yet to see any evidence for any of the Christian beliefs, including “foundational beliefs, whatever those might be. It doesn’t matter which one you’d like to choose, flood, exodus, cruxifiction events. Pick one, they all fail the same way.

    Nick, every Christian claims to have “studied the text” when they come up with their answers. I’ve studied the text too, and come up with a completely different answer than you do. Which of us is right? Each Chrsitian claims that their hermaneutics are the only right ones to use. I have yet to see any Christian demonstrate that their vesion is the only “right” one. You all come up with the parts that you want literal, e.g. the cruxifiction and resurrection, and the parts that you want metaphor, or the parts that you want to only apply to others. For example, we have Christians who hate homosexuals. They point to the bible and say “God said this” pointing to the OT laws and Romans, while ignoring that JC said “love thy neighbor”. Other Christians say that God loves homosexuals as much as anyone else and also point to the bible, saying that God only meant the Romans had to hate homosexuals and saying JC said “love thy neighbor”. Same goes with how women are to be treated, etc. Who is right? That’s what I want to know, how can I tell who the True Christians are? Can you tell me?

    You say you don’t attribute to the Holy Spirit your study. Really? This would seem to bely hat claim “We need to be open to reading other thinkers who came before us and interacted with the text. We Christians should not be so arrogant, as I believe Spurgeon said, to believe that we are the only ones the Holy Spirit has ever shared truth with.” You seem to think that the HS has shared the truth with you. And, that seems to be going against your bible: John 14: 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”
    I see you mentioned hermeneutics. With the bible you are limited to the book, nothing else. You have the presupposition that the bible is what people have claimed it to be, some divinely inspired book. You assume that you and you alone interpret it correctly. And of course, other Christians do the same and get different answers. You assume your use of semiotics is the only right one, in your determination of metaphor and literality.

    “Reply: Therefore, everyone is wrong! Love it! Hey. How about doing this thing called studying the text?”
    I’ve studied the text, Nick. Again, who are the True Christians? It seems you can’t answer me or don’t want to. Your supposed savior said that those who follow him will be able to do works like him and even more powerful. Can you? If not, why not?

    I do indeed find your god immoral in comparison to my modern western morals. I do know that atheists do use this argument. Your god is a being created by xenophobic agrarians a long time ago, to reflect their very human thoughts. Religion has never lead the charge for human rights, it has only been drug along reluctantly. I’m sorry that you don’t care why someone uses this argument. It seems that you can’t quite grasp why people might disagree with a god that is less moral than they are. Christians do their best to create a better god but they are hampered by their own holy book that anyone can read.

    Sure, I’ll take a cookie for reading the bible. How nice of you to offer. My point is that your claims that atheists do not comprehend the bible “correctly” are wrong and dependently only on you own opinion. You have directly claimed that “It’s not really that obvious. It could be many times we do not understand something properly and when that happens, we need to improve our understanding. If we are right, further research will help to elucidate that. If we are wrong, further study will do the same.” So you are a Christian who thinks that the bible is to be understood “properly”, you claim that you think the bible is “inerrant” and you claim that that yours is the “more rational presentation”. I see nothing in this that demonstrates that you consider yourself wrong. I’ve read your other posts and they also do not show that you ever consider yourself wrong about what you believe. “The Bible has a message that is simple in some ways. However, it is also a complex book and one does not fully understand it just by reading on one’s own or getting even a basic understanding in the text through Sunday School or other such means.”

    You seem to be intent at missing the point of what I write. Nick, when saying that Christians all claim that they know things about their god and then turn around and claim that they don’t when the hard questions come out, it’s not just what you particularly believe, if god has a plan or not. Yep, you might not believe that; other Christians do. It’s what all of you do and how you all disagree. You want to claim that this god is unknowable when convenient. Do you believe that your god is love? That he cares about you? If you make positive claims about what this god is and isn’t, then you need to show how you know.”

    You want to claim that the bible is an accurate description of your god. You qualify that with that it’s “not a total description”. You claim that you know “truths” about this god that are not in the bible. Catholics claim this too. Do you agree with them? Perhaps you are a Catholic. Why should I accept your supposed “truths” and not someone else’s?

    And you claim that I don’t have a “reason” for my calling you a sycophant. You said this: “There is no idea that if God exists, then we should not really expect Him to be just like us and if He is the Lord of all the universe, He does have that authority to take lives as He is the giver and sustainer of all life and He does not owe anyone their life, or anything else for that matter.” This is your reason why your god can do this, not mine. It is a whim since this god could do whatever it supposedly wanted and it being “lord of all existence” would make no difference. It could chose to do anything but according to you, it chooses, on a whim since it has nothing else to answer to, that it can take the lives of people whenever it wants too. No justice, no fairness, only “might equals right”. Many gods are claimed to have the same right, for the same reasons and of course none of them have any evidence that they even exist much less that I or anyone “owes” them anything as you would claim. I do love your perjorative term “unreasonables”. It certainly shows that your intent on coming to the rally isn’t as friendly as some websites might try to make it seem.

    I agree also, outrage is no evidence for the wrongness of something. However, it can be a very good indicator. Having no evidence is also a very good indicator that something is also wrong. There is no evidence for the tooth fairy, so belief that it’s real is generally held to be wrong. You claim that you have evidence but I have yet to see it, Nick. Show me this evidence. I will make the prediction that it is no different than the “evidence” any theist of any religion/sect has. But I’m willing to see if you have anything.

    Yes, your claims will be presented at the Reason Rally and you’ll have wasted money and time for no good reason other than to make yourselves good. Did you hear that the Westboro Baptist Church is coming? All of the hateful Phelps crew to show their Christianity. I wonder, do you agree with their version?

    “Reply: “Unless we read books that don’t have the word “illustrated” on the cover.”
    Aw, such a nice little attempt at an insult.

    You say that you aren’t surprised that your god doesn’t force people to believe in it. I’m not surprised either since it doesn’t exist. But from your very own holy book, it has your god forcing his will on various people. So, your god’s MO is pretty much that he should be interfering. But now Christians have to come up with a reason why their god does nothing. You claim that Romans 9 has nothing to do with your god forcing his will on others. Unfortunately it does: Romans 9: 14 What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! 15 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. 17 For Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.”18 Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden. 19 One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?” 20 But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’” 21 Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?” You’ve made the same argument yourself with claimgni that your god has the “right” to do what it wants with humans. Were you also “only” talking about Israel? And again, with your attempts at claiming. that you and you alone know what the bible “really” means. You keep tripping up on your claims.

    “What an argument. Not everyone believes in God, therefore He does not exist. It does not follow.” Indeed, it is a bad argument. That’s why I didn’t make it. It seems you feel a need to claim that people make arguments that they don’t.

  10. apologianick Says:

    Vel: You’re right, Nick, I shouldn’t have said you said “all atheists”. My apologies. You did say atheists with no qualifier so it’s rather hard to know how many atheists you are trying to assign this bad argument to. In my experience, very few atheists simply say that they don’t like the bible’s stories so this means god doesn’t exist. That’s an amazingly stupid argument. Rather like, “I like the stories in the bible so that means God exists”. I’m sure you are familiar with that one.

    Reply: Both are dumb, but I have seen too often that rather than argue against God’s existence, too many atheists have instead gone with complaining about the things in the Bible they don’t like rather than asking “Did Jesus rise from the dead?” or “What about the theistic arguments?” Maybe you’re with a better crowd, but over on a place like TWeb and on a number of comments on my blog and in other places I debate at, this happens regularly.

    Vell: I have yet to see any evidence for any of the Christian beliefs, including “foundational beliefs, whatever those might be. It doesn’t matter which one you’d like to choose, flood, exodus, cruxifiction events. Pick one, they all fail the same way.

    Reply: By foundational beliefs, I was not meaning foundational Christian beliefs, but foundational philosophical beliefs. I am a foundationalist in that regards in that I believe there is some basic knowledge that does not need to be demonstrated to be true but is ipso facto true. None of those are religious beliefs.

    For my claim, I’ll go with the crucifixion. What crucifixion events are you having a hard time finding evidence for?

    Vel: Nick, every Christian claims to have “studied the text” when they come up with their answers. I’ve studied the text too, and come up with a completely different answer than you do. Which of us is right? Each Chrsitian claims that their hermaneutics are the only right ones to use. I have yet to see any Christian demonstrate that their vesion is the only “right” one. You all come up with the parts that you want literal, e.g. the cruxifiction and resurrection, and the parts that you want metaphor, or the parts that you want to only apply to others.

    Reply: The first place to begin is to realize that the text has a meaning. How do we determine what part is what? Well we don’t have some special Holy Ghost hermeneutics. (I would say that most Christians consider studying to be “I read the text and just counted on the Holy Spirit to tell me all about it.”) There is no one golden rule for hermeneutics. It requires work and that means going beyond just the Bible to also the other literature of the time and seeing how it was read.

    Vel:For example, we have Christians who hate homosexuals. They point to the bible and say “God said this” pointing to the OT laws and Romans, while ignoring that JC said “love thy neighbor”.

    Reply: One can love homosexuals and not approve of homosexuality. It’s quite simple. If you think your neighbor is doing something morally wrong, it is the most loving thing to do to warn them.

    Vel: Other Christians say that God loves homosexuals as much as anyone else and also point to the bible, saying that God only meant the Romans had to hate homosexuals and saying JC said “love thy neighbor”.

    Reply: Yes. Some do. What do you do? You examine the evidence on both sides and see who is right.

    Vel: Same goes with how women are to be treated, etc. Who is right? That’s what I want to know, how can I tell who the True Christians are? Can you tell me?

    Reply: I always start with the basic questions. Who do you say Jesus is? Do you say he rose from the dead? Is he deity? Do you accept his sacrifice for you?

    Vel: You say you don’t attribute to the Holy Spirit your study. Really? This would seem to bely hat claim “We need to be open to reading other thinkers who came before us and interacted with the text. We Christians should not be so arrogant, as I believe Spurgeon said, to believe that we are the only ones the Holy Spirit has ever shared truth with.” You seem to think that the HS has shared the truth with you. And, that seems to be going against your bible: John 14: 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”

    Reply: No. I chose Spurgeon’s quote because of its teaching us to look to past teachers. I don’t agree with his idea about the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit’s role is to convict on the meaning of the text once understood. It is not to tell you what the text means. Also, John 14 doesn’t say anything to me since that was said to the apostles who had personally witnessed Jesus’s ministry. Even if it did, bringing to mind is not the same as knowing what is brought to mind means.

    Vel: I see you mentioned hermeneutics. With the bible you are limited to the book, nothing else.

    Reply: No I don’t. I also have the other literature of the time. It’s a common belief in scholarship that the gospels are Greco-Roman biographies based on studying Greco-Roman biographies. We see how Paul argued by studying ancient rhetoric. We see Jewish beliefs in the intertestament literature.

    Vel: You have the presupposition that the bible is what people have claimed it to be, some divinely inspired book. You assume that you and you alone interpret it correctly. And of course, other Christians do the same and get different answers. You assume your use of semiotics is the only right one, in your determination of metaphor and literality.

    Reply: Wrong on all counts. I am very much opposed to presuppositionalism from the start. I do not assume that I and I alone interpret it correctly. That is why I read and listen to others to see how they interpret it and if I have it wrong. If others have different interpretations, I want to know why.

    Vel: I’ve studied the text, Nick. Again, who are the True Christians? It seems you can’t answer me or don’t want to. Your supposed savior said that those who follow him will be able to do works like him and even more powerful. Can you? If not, why not?

    Reply; The Greek word there is not the word used for miracles. It refers more to earthly ministry and I’d say we have gone beyond what our Lord did with his earthly ministry as he intended.

    Vel: I do indeed find your god immoral in comparison to my modern western morals. I do know that atheists do use this argument. Your god is a being created by xenophobic agrarians a long time ago, to reflect their very human thoughts. Religion has never lead the charge for human rights, it has only been drug along reluctantly.

    Reply: Please tell me who drug the Christians along so they treated those Galen was not anywhere near. Please let me know about Bathilda and Clovis II ending slavery. Please show who else was building hospices in every city in the Roman Empire before the Christians. Remind us where the secular society was busy saving the pagan texts that the Christians were preserving and who was setting up universities before they were.

    Vel: I’m sorry that you don’t care why someone uses this argument. It seems that you can’t quite grasp why people might disagree with a god that is less moral than they are. Christians do their best to create a better god but they are hampered by their own holy book that anyone can read.

    Reply: Oh I know why they use the argument. It’s just a lazy one that doesn’t deal with the real arguments.

    Vel: Sure, I’ll take a cookie for reading the bible. How nice of you to offer. My point is that your claims that atheists do not comprehend the bible “correctly” are wrong and dependently only on you own opinion.

    Reply: Wrong again. It’s not my opinion, but the opinion of the scholars that I’m busy reading vs. the atheist opinion. Please tell me which biblical scholarship you’re reading then since you’re so sure I’m wrong.

    Vel: You have directly claimed that “It’s not really that obvious. It could be many times we do not understand something properly and when that happens, we need to improve our understanding. If we are right, further research will help to elucidate that. If we are wrong, further study will do the same.” So you are a Christian who thinks that the bible is to be understood “properly”, you claim that you think the bible is “inerrant” and you claim that that yours is the “more rational presentation”. I see nothing in this that demonstrates that you consider yourself wrong. I’ve read your other posts and they also do not show that you ever consider yourself wrong about what you believe. “

    Reply: Of course I don’t. Why would I believe it if I thought it was wrong? That does not mean that I am not open to being shown wrong. I am not infallible and have changed my mind on the text a number of times. Tell me, how many things do you believe that you know are wrong?

    Vel: The Bible has a message that is simple in some ways. However, it is also a complex book and one does not fully understand it just by reading on one’s own or getting even a basic understanding in the text through Sunday School or other such means.”

    You seem to be intent at missing the point of what I write. Nick, when saying that Christians all claim that they know things about their god and then turn around and claim that they don’t when the hard questions come out, it’s not just what you particularly believe, if god has a plan or not. Yep, you might not believe that; other Christians do. It’s what all of you do and how you all disagree. You want to claim that this god is unknowable when convenient. Do you believe that your god is love? That he cares about you? If you make positive claims about what this god is and isn’t, then you need to show how you know.”

    Reply: To claim that there are things I know about God is not to claim I know everything about Him. To claim there are some things I do not know is not to claim He is entirely unknowable. The things I know I can know only though general revelation, such as metaphysical truths, or through special revelation, such as God is a Trinity. If it is not shown through any, I can speculate, but it is not knowledge. As for what I know, that will start with metaphysics actually and so the first way I’ll do this is by using the first way of Aquinas to argue for God’s existence and from that, what some of His attributes are.

    Vel: You want to claim that the bible is an accurate description of your god. You qualify that with that it’s “not a total description”. You claim that you know “truths” about this god that are not in the bible. Catholics claim this too. Do you agree with them? Perhaps you are a Catholic. Why should I accept your supposed “truths” and not someone else’s?

    Reply: On those metaphysical truths about God? Yep. Those metaphysical truths can also be known by Muslims and Jews. This is a fallacy however to say that because two things have X in common, they have everything in common. You speak of a crucifiction. So do Muslims. Are you a Muslim? That’s how the argumentation is.

    Why should you accept what I say? Only by examining the evidence. Look at my reasons and see where they fall short or don’t.

    Vel: And you claim that I don’t have a “reason” for my calling you a sycophant. You said this: “There is no idea that if God exists, then we should not really expect Him to be just like us and if He is the Lord of all the universe, He does have that authority to take lives as He is the giver and sustainer of all life and He does not owe anyone their life, or anything else for that matter.” This is your reason why your god can do this, not mine. It is a whim since this god could do whatever it supposedly wanted and it being “lord of all existence” would make no difference. It could chose to do anything but according to you, it chooses, on a whim since it has nothing else to answer to, that it can take the lives of people whenever it wants too. No justice, no fairness, only “might equals right”.

    Reply: Were that my belief in isolation, sure, but I am not a Voluntarist so that is not relevant to me. I am a classical theist and I would start by demonstrating that God is good independently, which is done through the metaphysical arguments. Note also that in my claim, you have not shown that I am wrong. Just asserted it. Do tell me, if God exists, who does He owe anything to?

    Vel: Many gods are claimed to have the same right, for the same reasons and of course none of them have any evidence that they even exist much less that I or anyone “owes” them anything as you would claim. I do love your perjorative term “unreasonables”. It certainly shows that your intent on coming to the rally isn’t as friendly as some websites might try to make it seem.

    Reply: Except I’m not coming to the rally. I also think the term is highly appropriate and quite easily demonstrated. All I need to do is go and look at what Myers and Dawkins are saying. As for my evidence, still the first way.

    Vel: I agree also, outrage is no evidence for the wrongness of something. However, it can be a very good indicator. Having no evidence is also a very good indicator that something is also wrong. There is no evidence for the tooth fairy, so belief that it’s real is generally held to be wrong. You claim that you have evidence but I have yet to see it, Nick. Show me this evidence. I will make the prediction that it is no different than the “evidence” any theist of any religion/sect has. But I’m willing to see if you have anything.

    Reply: The first way again.

    Vel: Yes, your claims will be presented at the Reason Rally and you’ll have wasted money and time for no good reason other than to make yourselves good. Did you hear that the Westboro Baptist Church is coming? All of the hateful Phelps crew to show their Christianity. I wonder, do you agree with their version?

    Reply: Not a bit, but I also know Westboro was invited to the Rally by the atheists themselves. Quite a revealing action. Two fundamentalist groups facing off.

    Vel: Aw, such a nice little attempt at an insult.

    Reply: And successful.

    Vel: You say that you aren’t surprised that your god doesn’t force people to believe in it. I’m not surprised either since it doesn’t exist. But from your very own holy book, it has your god forcing his will on various people. So, your god’s MO is pretty much that he should be interfering.

    Reply: Give an example.

    Vel: But now Christians have to come up with a reason why their god does nothing.

    Reply: Via the five ways, my God sustains all existence in His being.

    Vel: You claim that Romans 9 has nothing to do with your god forcing his will on others. Unfortunately it does: Romans 9: 14 What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! 15 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. 17 For Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.”18 Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden. 19 One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?” 20 But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’” 21 Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?” You’ve made the same argument yourself with claimgni that your god has the “right” to do what it wants with humans. Were you also “only” talking about Israel? And again, with your attempts at claiming. that you and you alone know what the bible “really” means. You keep tripping up on your claims.

    Reply: No. I don’t claim to know it alone. I read others. Is that too hard a concept for you? At any rate, the text is not talking about individuals. Note that all of the text is about Israel and the question is “Did God break the covenant with Israel?” That is asking about God’s justice. God’s justice in this instance is not about punishing right and wrong but asking “He set up a covenant. Did he keep it?” The record of Pharaoh and others is to show that God did keep the covenant and based everything around it.

    Vel: “What an argument. Not everyone believes in God, therefore He does not exist. It does not follow.” Indeed, it is a bad argument. That’s why I didn’t make it. It seems you feel a need to claim that people make arguments that they don’t.

    Reply: Pot calls the kettle black again. It is certainly the implication of what you say.

  11. vel Says:

    Nick, first I want to say that I do appreciate that you’ve allowed me to speak here and didn’t ban any atheist voice as some Christians do.

    I would welcome you to a forum I’m active on, the forum for the Why Won’t God Heal Amputees website: http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php You’ll see that rarely do the atheists who frequent the site use such bad aruments as “wah, I don’t like the bible stories so god doesn’t exist”. We often ask Christians to show evidence that Jesus Christ, the son of god and messiah, existed, much less rose from the grave. We get lots of claims but no evidence. William Lane Craig is a popular one for Christians to cite and oh how he does fail. I know most, if not all theistic arguments. As you can see here on the forum, someone has put up a large list of them: http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,21824.0/topicseen.html You say that “both are dumb”. How is dumb to ask for evidence, Nick?

    I’m curious, what basic knowledge do you think is “foundational” aka “ipso facto true”. And you ask what crucifixion events I have a hard time finding evidence for. All of it. I find the biggest problem for Christians is that they cannot agree on a date when this supposed messiah was executed. Since you can’t agree on a date or have evidence to support a certain date, then the supposed events on that day become hard to pin down. I’ve seen Christians try to work backward, claiming that a certain earthquake was the “one”, or an eclipse was the “one” but they don’t happen on the same day. The bible itself can’t even agree on the events, so trying to prove the events to be historical requires you to decide which version you are going with. In the whole mess, I find the claim that the dead rose to be the most ridiculous and the thing that the Roman occupying force certainly would have noticed: Matthew 27L51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split 52 and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53 They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.” I’m guessing you might say this was just a metaphor, but what is to stop me from taking the whole Jesus story as a metaphor?

    You claim that I need to realize that the text has meaning to understand it, and I am guessing you mean understand it properly, correct? Again, that’s what all Christians do and all claim they are right, even when they contradict each other. I know that there is no golden rule for hermaneutics for exactly that reason. Unless they are sola scriptura, other Christians do read other sources just like you do. So did I and I still find your religious myths to be nonsense. Now, you say that one should look at contemporary works and see how they were read. Well, from that time period, we have many works that were written as if they were true. According to Suetonius, a writer often cited by Christians in their search for evidence, Emperor Vespasian healed people just like Jesus is reported to have done. Does this mean that he did so?

    You wish to claim that one can love homosexuals but hate homosexuality. How does that work with JC’s claim that one’s thought is as bad as the deed? You claim that one can examine the evidence on both side and see who is right. What evidence is this, Nick? What do you have that says your god really meant people to hate homosexuals, or homosexuality as you would claim, and didn’t mean that “love thy neighbor” with no exceptions? If you say the bible, well, the other side has that too. I’m not sure what other evidence you can bring to the table.

    You claim that you can tell who a True Christian is by these questions and their answers: Who do you say Jesus is? Do you say he rose from the dead? Is he deity? Do you accept his sacrifice for you? I would assume you would expect the answers to be “the son of God, the word made flesh”, and yes for the other three. Protestants and Catholics would fit these, yes? And can you tell me that you have evidence that says you are right and say the LDS is wrong? The question of the “trinity” has been long fought about by Christians, and seems dependent on something called the Comma Johanneum, what seems to be alteration of the book of John long after it was written. Again, Christians who do not accept a “trinity” can also point to the bible and other works.

    I see that you do use a common Christian excuse that JC was only addressing a certain audience if you don’t like what it says. So, if Paul says homosexuals deserve death was he only speaking to the church in Rome? did he only mean that women should remain silent in church, that they should never teach men only to Timothy’s church in Ephesus? And I have no problem in knowing exactly what brought to mind means. It seems that conveniently, as many Christians do, you wish to question interpretation of words when convenient. You also claim that it is a “common belief” by scholars that the gospels are “greco-roman biographies”. Which scholars are these? And how does this show your bible to be true? They are full of contradictions about the events and the actions of your supposed messiah. John tells a quite different story than say Mark.

    Now, to that I do wonder, since you claim you always want to know why someone else has reached a different answer than you do, why are the gospels so different? Why are the other sects of Christianity evidently wrong in your viewpoint? What do you think is the reason they are wrong?

    I’ve seen your excuse on why you can’t do miracles used by others. However, you claim that the word in greek doesn’t mean miracles fails when you can find that word used directly to refer to miracles. John 10: “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?” Do you wish to claim that JC wasn’t talking about miracles here? John 5 has that works are to be amazed by. John 9 says that the works of god are indeed the miracles that JC performs, the healing of the blind man in this instance. John 15 also repeats that works are indeed miracles: 24 If I had not done among them the works no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. As it is, they have seen, and yet they have hated both me and my Father.” In context, with Jesus talking about miracles to be amazed by, that JC will himself give whatever is asked for, quite a miraculous thing in and of itself, works does refer to miracles and not earthly actions.

    There were hospitals and hospices in Rome long before your religion, Nick. We have the temple at Epidaurus dedicated to Asclepius among many. Ancient Egypt was far ahead of anything medical Christians had until centuries into the Common Era. Heck we have neaderthals taking care of each other, so that’s nothing new to humanity. Bathilda was wife and queen of Clovis. It seems she was a slave herself as a child. She did indeed abolish the trading of slaves, but alas, only Christian ones. She did have a soft spot for child slaves it seems, as I would expect from a woman who was a slave once. It seems that she was far ahead of your god in that she wanted slaves freed, not supposedly dictating laws to Moses on how to hold slaves, selling your daughter as one, how you could get away without being charged with murder if died a few days after you beat them, etc.

    Oh and Christians preserving pagan texts? Yes, the churches did a good thing with “some” of them. They destroyed many, writing over them. As for Christians having set up the universities, alas you are wrong in that too. The Library of Alexandria, also a center of learning, was long before Christianity, the Platonic Academy, the Peripatetic School, all of which were long before Christianity and where the Christians got the idea. I find highly amusing that you want to accuse the “secular community” of falling down on the job, when, Nick, there were even fewer true non-religious people then than now. People had many religions then, yours only one among many.

    I’ve read scholars too, Nick, and I don’t decide to abandon my responsibility for what I think by saying ‘but but that’s what these people say, not what I’ve said”. I’ve read William Lane Craig, Bart Ehrman, Crossan, etc. I’ve read scholars on both sides of the “aisle”. In that I have an excellent background in history, psychology, archaeology, geology, biology, literature, etc, I can read them and know how they form their arguments. I also know logical fallacies quite well and can pick them out easily.
    “Reply: Of course I don’t. Why would I believe it if I thought it was wrong? That does not mean that I am not open to being shown wrong. I am not infallible and have changed my mind on the text a number of times. Tell me, how many things do you believe that you know are wrong?” Exactly my point. No one believes in things that they know are wrong. However, I have yet to see that you are willing to accept that you are. You use the same old, and long disproven arguments that Christains use, which makes me say this.

    You claim to know “metaphysical truths”, which only means you believe in things you believe to be true but have no evidence. You claim to have “special revelation”, one more theist who thinks he’s a special snowflake and his god talks directly to him. I’ve seen Hindus claim that Ganesha does this, can I believe him too when he claims he has the “truth”? And you’ll use Aquina’s argument? First Cause? Really? Oh my, if this is going to be in the booklet that is to be distributed at the rally, you’ll at least have everyone in stitches. My response is that this is special pleading, and that ask that you show me that this “first cause”
    I’m curious, where do Muslims speak of a crucifixion? I am curious what “metaphysical truths” are shared by Christians, Jews and Muslims. You say that they “can” be known but do they share any? Each religion says that beleivers in the others are damned.

    You have claimed that God is “good”. All I see is a circular argument, god is good because god says he’s good. No actual evidence of this to me, and supposedly I know “good” as well as god does per the Genesis story. I’m guessing you mean Decartes argument that God is good since God has supposedly given him senses and the assumption that this means that God would not want to deceive anyone. Hmmm, the bible god intentionally deceives. Nick, do you believe that might always equals right, or is your god a special case? For instance, can a parent kill their child? I’m guessing you claim that they can’t since that’s god’s privilege. I’m also curious on how you define just and fair. Your god is called this but its actions do not bear this out. Actions speak louder than words. If I assume I am all-powerful and all-knowing and all-benevolent aka wanting the best for humanity, why would I depend on might makes right? Even now, I’m better than that bully attitude. Why do you accept the actions in your god that you wouldn’t accept in a human, assuming of course you do find bullies wrong?

    I’m sorry, I meant “your intent on coming to the rally” to mean Christians in general. I’d ask you how Dawkins, etc are “unreasonable” but I think we can stick to your claims here and not go further afield.

    It’s cute to see you claim atheists are “all” fundamentalists. Nope. Now, it does seem that you don’t agree with the WBC and their version of Christianity. That’s good, but again, evidence that they are wrong you are right? I’d love to offer all types of Christians the chance to prove that they are the only right ones. I was thinking of that altar thing that Elijah did. Your god was up for it once, why not again?

    And insults are only successful if someone feels hurt by them. You ask for an example of how your god interferes. Hmmm, have you indeed read your bible? You claim it’s inerrant. Let’s see, the 10 plagues and where your god says that he’s controlling the pharoah so he can show off. He needs Judas to betray JC for his little story to work. He seems to work through Satan for that at least on one version of the story. We have your god interfering in battle after battle. Oh and how about the tower of Babel? Your god intentionally showing favoritism with Cain and Abel and knowingn (being omniscient and all) that this will result in murder? How about Job, directly having people’s free will (intentionally allowing Job’s family to be killed rather removes their free will) removed from them so he can have his little bet with Satan. JC saying that god removes people’s ability to accept him? How can puny humans resist this god?

    Five ways? Oh back to Aquinas again. These can be used with any god and are baseless assumptions. There is no reason to assume that perfection exists. Just because a human can imagine something does not mean it is true. If this were the case, then all gods are as “real” as yours. AS for god keeping a covenant, funny how he failed since he himself didn’t fulfill the prophecies he gave. That’s why there are still Jews, Nick. No messiah yet that fulfills what was said. Christians have had to create a “second coming” to excuse this problem. Romans 9 says what it says. JC says that God intentionally keeps some from believing. Again, context, if one is to assume that the bible is one whole intentionally caused book.

    Nick, you claimed that I used this argument “. Not everyone believes in God, therefore He does not exist. It does not follow.” You then made a reference to a pot calling a kettle black. Please do show me where I used the argument you claim I have. I see you can only claim that there is an implication. Where is it? From my words, show me where I implied this.

    Now, if you want to shorten the posts, we can just address your evidence. It’s a little awkward doing this as posts on a blog. But if that’s how you like it, no problem.

    • apologianick Says:

      Vel: Nick, first I want to say that I do appreciate that you’ve allowed me to speak here and didn’t ban any atheist voice as some Christians do.

      Reply: I have only banned two here. One who asked to be banned. The other who I believe was starting to be a stalker type to my family and I. No one is banned for opinion alone. I want the atheist side to come here as strong as they can.

      Vel: I would welcome you to a forum I’m active on, the forum for the Why Won’t God Heal Amputees website: http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php You’ll see that rarely do the atheists who frequent the site use such bad aruments as “wah, I don’t like the bible stories so god doesn’t exist”. We often ask Christians to show evidence that Jesus Christ, the son of god and messiah, existed, much less rose from the grave. We get lots of claims but no evidence. William Lane Craig is a popular one for Christians to cite and oh how he does fail. I know most, if not all theistic arguments. As you can see here on the forum, someone has put up a large list of them: http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,21824.0/topicseen.html You say that “both are dumb”. How is dumb to ask for evidence, Nick?

      Reply: I would instead offer you to come to TheologyWeb.com and go to the Tektonics section. My ministry partner there has edited a whole book on proving that Jesus existed. The claim that you’re making is not taken seriously by NT scholarship. Even Bart Ehrman has a book coming out on dealing with the objection that Jesus never existed.

      Vel: I’m curious, what basic knowledge do you think is “foundational” aka “ipso facto true”.

      Reply: I would include basic realist beliefs that the external universe is real or that it did not just pop into existence five minutes ago with false memories in our minds and false food in our stomachs. I would include that my senses give me a generally reliable outlook on the world and that I am a center of consciousness that exists.

      Vel: And you ask what crucifixion events I have a hard time finding evidence for. All of it. I find the biggest problem for Christians is that they cannot agree on a date when this supposed messiah was executed. Since you can’t agree on a date or have evidence to support a certain date, then the supposed events on that day become hard to pin down.

      Reply: Give me the date of the trial of Socrates or the day that Jerusalem fell to the Romans or the day Caesar crossed the Rubicon. This is not a problem to real historians. Even John Dominic Crossan has said the surest event about Jesus is that he was crucified.

      Vel: I’ve seen Christians try to work backward, claiming that a certain earthquake was the “one”, or an eclipse was the “one” but they don’t happen on the same day.

      Reply: I would love to see the scholarly sources you have in mind for that.

      Vel: The bible itself can’t even agree on the events, so trying to prove the events to be historical requires you to decide which version you are going with. In the whole mess, I find the claim that the dead rose to be the most ridiculous and the thing that the Roman occupying force certainly would have noticed: Matthew 27L51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split 52 and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53 They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.” I’m guessing you might say this was just a metaphor, but what is to stop me from taking the whole Jesus story as a metaphor?

      Reply: What stops you? The historical evidence. I recommend Mike Licona’s work on “The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical approach.”

      Vel: You claim that I need to realize that the text has meaning to understand it, and I am guessing you mean understand it properly, correct? Again, that’s what all Christians do and all claim they are right, even when they contradict each other.

      Reply: Irrelevant. The first question is “Does the text have meaning?” Do you deny this?

      Vel: I know that there is no golden rule for hermaneutics for exactly that reason. Unless they are sola scriptura, other Christians do read other sources just like you do.

      Reply: Sola Scriptura does not mean Scripture alone. It means Scripture is the final authority, but not the only authority. None of the Reformers were Sola Scriptura the way you state it. See “Getting the Reformation Wrong.”

      Vel: So did I and I still find your religious myths to be nonsense. Now, you say that one should look at contemporary works and see how they were read. Well, from that time period, we have many works that were written as if they were true. According to Suetonius, a writer often cited by Christians in their search for evidence, Emperor Vespasian healed people just like Jesus is reported to have done. Does this mean that he did so?

      Reply: Why not? I’m open to that fact. Are you? I’d want to read Suetonius myself and do a historical investigation to see if that was true. If he did, fine. If he didn’t, oh well. That says nothing about if Jesus did or didn’t. Note also I am talking about how they wrote and the style they wrote in, not just the content.

      Vel: You wish to claim that one can love homosexuals but hate homosexuality. How does that work with JC’s claim that one’s thought is as bad as the deed?

      Reply: Works just fine. Not seeing a problem.

      Vel: You claim that one can examine the evidence on both side and see who is right. What evidence is this, Nick? What do you have that says your god really meant people to hate homosexuals, or homosexuality as you would claim, and didn’t mean that “love thy neighbor” with no exceptions? If you say the bible, well, the other side has that too. I’m not sure what other evidence you can bring to the table.

      Reply: The very parable given to answer the question, the Good Samaritan. The Samaritan was the outcast and despised individual and the one who was the true neighbor. Today we could use the story of a Jew and a Nazi, a homosexual activist and a conservative, a Protestant and a Catholic in Northern Ireland.

      Vel: You claim that you can tell who a True Christian is by these questions and their answers: Who do you say Jesus is? Do you say he rose from the dead? Is he deity? Do you accept his sacrifice for you? I would assume you would expect the answers to be “the son of God, the word made flesh”, and yes for the other three. Protestants and Catholics would fit these, yes? And can you tell me that you have evidence that says you are right and say the LDS is wrong?

      Reply: Yep. I have debated with Mormons several times. I have also written about them and their many problems. Their doctrine is essentially materialist and falls prey to the problem of the infinite regress per se. That and there really is no trace of any cities the BOM talks about here in America. That’s not the case for the Bible. That’s just a start.

      Vel: The question of the “trinity” has been long fought about by Christians, and seems dependent on something called the Comma Johanneum, what seems to be alteration of the book of John long after it was written. Again, Christians who do not accept a “trinity” can also point to the bible and other works.

      Reply: Um. No. I don’t believe the Comma Johanneum is authentic and that does not weaken the Trinity case one iota. The Trinity is built on Second Temple Judaism and the statements in the epistles and gospels themselves.

      Vel: I see that you do use a common Christian excuse that JC was only addressing a certain audience if you don’t like what it says.

      Reply: No. I say it because Jesus was in the Upper Room addressing his apostles. That’s not an excuse. It’s a fact. You’re not doing anything to show I’m wrong.

      Vel: So, if Paul says homosexuals deserve death was he only speaking to the church in Rome? did he only mean that women should remain silent in church, that they should never teach men only to Timothy’s church in Ephesus?

      Reply: No. Paul is writing about general principles as the statement is shown to be universal in referring to general revelation. Paul in Timothy is describing a situation going on there that we don’t have all the details of, but Paul was not one who always believed women should be silent as is seen with women prophesying in 1 Cor. 11. Chances are that there was a heresy going on. For more, I’d recommend seeing Kirk’s “Jesus Have I Loved, but Paul?”

      Vel: And I have no problem in knowing exactly what brought to mind means. It seems that conveniently, as many Christians do, you wish to question interpretation of words when convenient.

      Reply: No. I just take words to mean what I believe the author intended them to me. It just seems you want words to mean what you want them to mean and when someone disagrees, you accuse them of changing meaning.

      Vel: You also claim that it is a “common belief” by scholars that the gospels are “greco-roman biographies”. Which scholars are these? And how does this show your bible to be true? They are full of contradictions about the events and the actions of your supposed messiah. John tells a quite different story than say Mark.

      Reply: The last claims are irrelevant to the gospels being Greco-Roman biographies as shown by Burridge. The argument is not that the Bible is true but that that is how they are written.

      Vel: Now, to that I do wonder, since you claim you always want to know why someone else has reached a different answer than you do, why are the gospels so different?

      Reply: Do show me where I make this claim. Also, why are the gospels different? Let me guess on this one.

      Um. They’re written by different people to different audiences with different purposes of writing? Wow! That was a hard one!

      Vel: Why are the other sects of Christianity evidently wrong in your viewpoint? What do you think is the reason they are wrong?

      Reply: Can’t tell you that. All I can say is when we disagree, we meet and discuss.

      Vel: I’ve seen your excuse on why you can’t do miracles used by others. However, you claim that the word in greek doesn’t mean miracles fails when you can find that word used directly to refer to miracles. John 10: “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?” Do you wish to claim that JC wasn’t talking about miracles here? John 5 has that works are to be amazed by. John 9 says that the works of god are indeed the miracles that JC performs, the healing of the blind man in this instance. John 15 also repeats that works are indeed miracles: 24 If I had not done among them the works no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. As it is, they have seen, and yet they have hated both me and my Father.” In context, with Jesus talking about miracles to be amazed by, that JC will himself give whatever is asked for, quite a miraculous thing in and of itself, works does refer to miracles and not earthly actions.

      Reply: This is also not a blank check in the ANE. That’s an American way of reading the text. For a Jew, that would also entail faithfulness to YHWH and walking in covenant with Him and when you asked, it would be something that would be perfectly in line with the patron. Ergon can be used for miracles, but not necessarily so. If you think that is what has to be the meaning in John 14, you must show it. Also, keep in mind that Jesus’s own followers who were in the room did indeed do great miracles.

      Vel: There were hospitals and hospices in Rome long before your religion, Nick. We have the temple at Epidaurus dedicated to Asclepius among many. Ancient Egypt was far ahead of anything medical Christians had until centuries into the Common Era. Heck we have neaderthals taking care of each other, so that’s nothing new to humanity.

      Reply: It would have been nice if that was my claim. It wasn’t. My claim was that the Christians were the ones who ordered hospices to be built in every major city for the care of the sick.

      Vel: Bathilda was wife and queen of Clovis. It seems she was a slave herself as a child. She did indeed abolish the trading of slaves, but alas, only Christian ones. She did have a soft spot for child slaves it seems, as I would expect from a woman who was a slave once. It seems that she was far ahead of your god in that she wanted slaves freed, not supposedly dictating laws to Moses on how to hold slaves, selling your daughter as one, how you could get away without being charged with murder if died a few days after you beat them, etc.

      Reply: Do tell me your sources on slavery in the ANE so we can have a good discussion on the topic. Also, your source on Bathilda only freeing Christian slaves.

      Vel: Oh and Christians preserving pagan texts? Yes, the churches did a good thing with “some” of them. They destroyed many, writing over them.

      Reply: Examples?

      Vel: As for Christians having set up the universities, alas you are wrong in that too. The Library of Alexandria, also a center of learning, was long before Christianity, the Platonic Academy, the Peripatetic School, all of which were long before Christianity and where the Christians got the idea.

      Reply: No problem with their being universities beforehand. The point was Christians were pushing the need of higher education. It was the secular world that was not doing so.

      Vel: I find highly amusing that you want to accuse the “secular community” of falling down on the job, when, Nick, there were even fewer true non-religious people then than now. People had many religions then, yours only one among many.

      Reply: Do show then which other religion in the area of the Roman Empire after the time of Christ was doing all of this.

      Vel: I’ve read scholars too, Nick, and I don’t decide to abandon my responsibility for what I think by saying ‘but but that’s what these people say, not what I’ve said”.

      Reply: I am under no obligation to defend someone who I don’t agree with.

      Vel: I’ve read William Lane Craig, Bart Ehrman, Crossan, etc. I’ve read scholars on both sides of the “aisle”. In that I have an excellent background in history, psychology, archaeology, geology, biology, literature, etc, I can read them and know how they form their arguments. I also know logical fallacies quite well and can pick them out easily.

      Reply: ECREE.

      Vel: Exactly my point. No one believes in things that they know are wrong. However, I have yet to see that you are willing to accept that you are. You use the same old, and long disproven arguments that Christains use, which makes me say this.

      Reply: The only things I’m willing to accept I’m wrong on are things you can show me I’m wrong on. That you accept the Christ myth idea already tells me to give an IQ reduction of 50, and that’s being generous.

      Vel: You claim to know “metaphysical truths”, which only means you believe in things you believe to be true but have no evidence.

      Reply: No. It means I believe things based on a study of existence itself and the nature of existence. See for instance Joseph Owens’s “An Interpretation of Existence.”

      Vel: You claim to have “special revelation”, one more theist who thinks he’s a special snowflake and his god talks directly to him.

      Reply: Baloney. I get sick of Christians who think God talks directly to them. The only special revelation I point to is that which is available to everyone. Scripture. I cannot believe you claim to be well-read and miss such a simple claim.

      Vel: I’ve seen Hindus claim that Ganesha does this, can I believe him too when he claims he has the “truth”? And you’ll use Aquina’s argument? First Cause? Really? Oh my, if this is going to be in the booklet that is to be distributed at the rally, you’ll at least have everyone in stitches. My response is that this is special pleading, and that ask that you show me that this “first cause”

      Reply: it’s not in there that I saw. You can say it’s special pleading, but do show how.

      Vel: I’m curious, where do Muslims speak of a crucifixion?

      Reply: They don’t. Ahmed Deedat was noted for believing it didn’t happen.

      Vel: I am curious what “metaphysical truths” are shared by Christians, Jews and Muslims. You say that they “can” be known but do they share any? Each religion says that beleivers in the others are damned.

      Reply: Maimonides, Avicenna, and Aquinas could all use the same arguments for God’s existence. This would also include his Simplicity, omnipotence, omnipresence, omniscience, etc.

      Vel: You have claimed that God is “good”. All I see is a circular argument, god is good because god says he’s good.

      Reply: Do show me where I made that argument. My argument is based on the five ways and not on Scripture.

      Vel: No actual evidence of this to me, and supposedly I know “good” as well as god does per the Genesis story.

      Reply: Really? Do give the definition of good then.

      Vel: I’m guessing you mean Decartes argument that God is good since God has supposedly given him senses and the assumption that this means that God would not want to deceive anyone.

      Reply: It would be nice if you actually learned my position before going and trying to answer it. I used Aquinas. That should tell you that I can’t stand Descartes with his nonsense.

      Vel: Hmmm, the bible god intentionally deceives.

      Reply: Verse?

      Vel: Nick, do you believe that might always equals right, or is your god a special case? For instance, can a parent kill their child? I’m guessing you claim that they can’t since that’s god’s privilege.

      Reply: Only when you deal with my argument for goodness, but you have to deal with the first way first and do more than just say “Special pleading.”

      Vel: I’m also curious on how you define just and fair.

      Reply: What is said by God being just is giving someone what they are owed. What is said about being fair is that he shows no partiality.

      Vel: Your god is called this but its actions do not bear this out. Actions speak louder than words. If I assume I am all-powerful and all-knowing and all-benevolent aka wanting the best for humanity, why would I depend on might makes right?
      Reply: It’s your claim that He does. You have not shown it.

      Vel: Even now, I’m better than that bully attitude. Why do you accept the actions in your god that you wouldn’t accept in a human, assuming of course you do find bullies wrong?

      Reply: Loaded question oh master of spotting fallacies. I do not accept might makes right. I’m not a Voluntarist. Try again.

      Vel: I’m sorry, I meant “your intent on coming to the rally” to mean Christians in general. I’d ask you how Dawkins, etc are “unreasonable” but I think we can stick to your claims here and not go further afield.

      Reply: Dawkins is the king of being unreasonable. I have written much already on his little joke book.

      Vel: It’s cute to see you claim atheists are “all” fundamentalists.

      Reply: Nope. Not all. I have several good friends who are atheists who actually know how to engage the evidence.

      Vel: Nope. Now, it does seem that you don’t agree with the WBC and their version of Christianity. That’s good, but again, evidence that they are wrong you are right? I’d love to offer all types of Christians the chance to prove that they are the only right ones. I was thinking of that altar thing that Elijah did. Your god was up for it once, why not again?

      Reply: Because I am not in the position of a prophet since being a broker of the covenant implies certain other requirements on my part.

      Vel: And insults are only successful if someone feels hurt by them.

      Reply: Nope. The purpose is not to hurt.

      Vel: You ask for an example of how your god interferes. Hmmm, have you indeed read your bible? You claim it’s inerrant. Let’s see, the 10 plagues and where your god says that he’s controlling the pharoah so he can show off.

      Reply: Try again. Pharaoh hardened his own heart. He would have known not to do that since in Egyptian belief, his heart would be weighed at the end of his life for judgment.

      Vel: He needs Judas to betray JC for his little story to work. He seems to work through Satan for that at least on one version of the story.

      Reply: Please show where God forced Judas to do what he did.

      Vel: We have your god interfering in battle after battle. Oh and how about the tower of Babel? Your god intentionally showing favoritism with Cain and Abel and knowingn (being omniscient and all) that this will result in murder? How about Job, directly having people’s free will (intentionally allowing Job’s family to be killed rather removes their free will) removed from them so he can have his little bet with Satan. JC saying that god removes people’s ability to accept him? How can puny humans resist this god?

      Reply: I don’t doubt that God acts in the universe. I question your statement that He overrides free-will. God is also not responsible for Cain’s choice. Cain is. For Job’s family, this was an honor challenge in the ANE, something you wouldn’t understand obviously. The children still lived with their choice to accept God or not. No overthrowing of free-will there.

      Vel: Five ways? Oh back to Aquinas again. These can be used with any god and are baseless assumptions.

      Reply: Correct. Aquinas is not arguing for Christian theism with them but just theism. Now do show the flaw.

      Vel: There is no reason to assume that perfection exists. Just because a human can imagine something does not mean it is true. If this were the case, then all gods are as “real” as yours.

      Reply: I’m still waiting for an argument instead of an assumption. Aquinas argues a being of pure actuality must exist. Show why he’s wrong.

      Vel: AS for god keeping a covenant, funny how he failed since he himself didn’t fulfill the prophecies he gave. That’s why there are still Jews, Nick. No messiah yet that fulfills what was said. Christians have had to create a “second coming” to excuse this problem. Romans 9 says what it says. JC says that God intentionally keeps some from believing. Again, context, if one is to assume that the bible is one whole intentionally caused book.

      Reply: Do show which prophecies have been failed.

      Vel: Nick, you claimed that I used this argument “. Not everyone believes in God, therefore He does not exist. It does not follow.” You then made a reference to a pot calling a kettle black. Please do show me where I used the argument you claim I have. I see you can only claim that there is an implication. Where is it? From my words, show me where I implied this.

      Reply: Your statement that several Christians have been praying and nothing has happened and there are unbelievers.

      Vel: Now, if you want to shorten the posts, we can just address your evidence. It’s a little awkward doing this as posts on a blog. But if that’s how you like it, no problem.

      Reply: Come to TheologyWeb.com then. Bring along as many of your buddies as you want. The more the merrier.

  12. vel Says:

    I’ll be back to you, Nick. Off for the weekend.

    • J. P. Holding Says:

      Vel, he’s off too for a while, moving, so he’d probably appreciate it if you’d wait a few days until he has Internet access again.

  13. Mike Phillips Says:

    Dear Apologianick,

    This reply is in response to apologianick;s comment, “we don’t have some special Holy Ghost hermeneutics”. I think I get the jest of what your saying and I completely agree we must study to come to meaningful interpretation. However, at the end of the day knowledge will never bring revelation. Take a fresh look at
    1 Corinthians 2:6-13 and let the Holy Spirit speak to you out of that passage. I believe we do have Holy Ghost hermeneutics if we have the “Holy Spirit”.

    1 Corinthians 2:6-13

    New King James Version (NKJV)

    6 However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, 8 which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

    9 But as it is written:

    “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
    Nor have entered into the heart of man
    The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”[a]

    10 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.

    13 These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy[b] Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

    Pastor Mike

  14. screwtape Says:

    “Premise: X occurs in the Bible.
    Premise: I don’t like X.
    Conclusion: God does not exist.”

    You get an F minus for Atheism 101. I would like to think you simply misunderstand the argument. But I think it is more likely that your real point is to be dismissive and write us off as a bunch of emotional, mental lightweights. Which, of course, would be very un-xian, bearing false witness and all (ed. – does your bible not have Ex 20:16?)

    But let me move forward assuming otherwise and giving you the benefit of the doubt.

    You misunderstand the point being made when us “unreasonables” (ed. – does your bible not have Matt 5:44?) bring up the horrid passages in the bible. It is usually when X is something so obviously immoral in a modern context that any rational person would ask, “what the heck?” It is not to say we don’t like X, thus no god. It is to say, this is obviously no guide for morals.

    Elisha’s bears, Jephthah’s daughter, Abe’s pathological lying to pharaohs, no commandments against owning other humans, and the genocide of the Midianites are all instances where I sat up and said “what the heck?” when reading the bible. And those are just the tip of the iceburg. I point them out because most xians I have met are completely unaware of them.

    And hopefully, they are sensible, moral people who would question the relevance of the bible and its protagonist, yhwh, as a moral guide.

    • Cerebrum123 Says:

      Not talking about all atheists here when referring to “unreasonables”. Just the one’s who do argue in the above way. I have usually seen them referred to “fundy atheists”. Basically they think like a “fundy Christian” but call themselves atheists.
      Also I suggest you do a little more study on the things you brought up. The first two are not at all what most people portray. Jephtha’s daughter was never burnt as an offering ,and these aren’t “little children” being dealt with by Elisha. Abe’s “pathological lying” isn’t something celebrated ,and is in fact known to be a bad thing. It hurt his witness to others. It’s an example that even those chosen by God still can do bad things. It in no way means that those things are condoned. Were you next going to bring up David and his adultery?
      The slavery issue was much more like indentured servitude ,and not like what most people consider slavery. In fact even for non Israelite’s the laws concerning it were far more humane than anything at the time.
      I’m going to check the exact details on the Midianite’s now ,and I should be able to get back to you with a good answer pretty soon ,but I have mostly been studying the Canaanite’s “genocide” since it is brought up far more often.
      This is more like an ice cube rather than an ice berg if you were to ask a Christian who actually does study the Bible.
      It would be nice if you would also be respectful enough of us the actually use Christians instead of xians.
      In fact for pretty detailed answers to many of your questions quickly ,you can go over to YouTube channel called tektontv. They have funny and informative videos on many subjects that are often brought up by atheists.
      Just because some people in the Bible do bad things doesn’t mean we should throw the whole thing out. Besides most Christians follow the New Testament for morals rather than the Old Testament(the Old Testament is still useful even though we aren’t a part of the Old Covenant.). There is a good video at the YouTube channel I recommended about the issue of Christians and the Old Testament too(from now on I will refer Old and New Testaments by OT and NT).
      I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt like I did Simplexion ,I hope you don’t stoop to his level. I honestly did try to have an honest conversation with him without insults ,but he wouldn’t even do that much. He started calling me a psycho ,and a few other things. He also waved off my personal testimony of a miracle saying that it was probably something that a doctor did for me ,or was a placebo affect. The thing is that I wasn’t receiving treatment from any doctors at that time ,because they were too arrogant to admit that the procedure performed on me made me worse. So I had to wait months in extreme pain with a disease that has no cure (the doctor that had treated me before claimed that what he could do was a permanent cure ,but he obviously knew too little about this disease to realize that his “treatment” was essentially malpractice). What he did was essentially like using gasoline to put out a fire.
      Anyway at least you have had a civil tone ,hopefully things will stay that way.

      • Simplexion Says:

        Hey psycho, stop making excuses for horrible things. That is all you are doing and nothing more. You should be distancing yourself from those parts of the Bible, not defending them in any way. “I beat my wife, but she deserves it because she is a bitch.”
        All Christians pick, choose and interpret the Bible however they feel, so it shouldn’t be a problem to attack those bits that are atrocious. Just make up some excuse like, “Those aren’t the words of God, they were written by the Devil and the Devil has manipulated people in keeping those stories in there… or some such shiznit.

    • Cerebrum123 Says:

      Here’s a link that gives a little more historical context of what the issue with Midian really was ,and it’s really quite disturbing what the Midianite’s did. We aren’t exactly dealing with innocent bystanders here.
      I hope this helps you understand a few things.
      http://www.christianthinktank.com/midian.html

  15. screwtape Says:

    Do not tell me I need to study the bible. It is presumptuous and condescending. I have. I just came to different conclusions than you.

    Your interpretation on Jephthah or Elisha’s bears is not authoritative. I could dig up a dozen or so xians who disagree with you. Who is to say who is right? It’s like being in the middle of a literary argument over whether Hamlet was crazy or just playing crazy. In the end, it is just different opinions. Yours has no more weight than any other.

    “The slavery issue was much more like indentured servitude,and not like what most people consider slavery. In fact even for non Israelite’s the laws concerning it were far more humane than anything at the time.”

    Baloney. The very words written in the bible say otherwise. Exodus 21:4 “If his master gives him a wife and she bears him sons or daughters, the woman and her children shall belong to her master, and only the man shall go free.” It is talking about owning people. Calling it “indentured servitude” is creative, but inaccurate.

    The central question is not about the details of Hebrew slavery. The central question is why is it not a commandment to not own people? Let me emphasize that for all:

    WHY IS THERE NO COMMANDMENT FORBIDDING SLAVERY?

    Yhwh took pains to tell people that wearing blended fabrics bothered him and certain recipes of goat caused him to be wrathful. He thought it was worth his while to instruct people how to handle domestic disputes, lend money, and other sundry topics. But not to point out that owning people is wrong. Why do you suppose that is?

    You will have a tough row to hoe with that one. For me, the answer is easy – the commandments were man made rules. As such, they reflected the culture and people who wrote them. It also explains the chauvinism, racism and superstition.

    Your apologetics site for the Midianite genocide is typical of what I have read and I find it to be disgusting, frankly. It misses one point after another and goes to extreme lengths to try to justify all sorts of obviously immoral actions. You are exactly the kind of person atheists target when we bring up the moral problems in the bible. You are forced to do all manner of mental gymnastic to try to make atrocities reasonable.

    Explain to me why an ostensibly omnimax god cannot do his own killing of a “wicked” people. Why must he have people do the dirty work for him? Can you imagine being asked to go to a neighboring town and slaughter the women and children? And remember, it is not push-button killing like we have today. It is up close and personal, with a sword or a spear. Can you imagine any reason that would make you push the tip of a spear through a little boy?

    And why was it done? Because the Hebrew men couldn’t resist porking the Moabite women. Got that? Not for what the Midianites did. But for what the Hebrew men did. And the ancillary reason is because they worshipped another god. By that rationale, you would be justified in murdering every man, woman and child in India. Of course, keeping the virgin girls for yourself.

    “It would be nice if you would also be respectful enough of us the actually use Christians instead of xians.”

    Don’t be such a delicate flower. And also, get a clue. http://www.snopes.com/holidays/christmas/xmasabbr.asp

  16. screwtape Says:

    “Just because some people in the Bible do bad things doesn’t mean we should throw the whole thing out.”

    Like the OP, you misunderstand the argument. The bible portrays a god who supports horrible people, demands they do horrible things, and behaves rather unlike I would expect a perfect being to behave. The bible also describes the world functioning in a way you and I both know it does not function. People living in fish, talking snakes, zombies rising from graves, goat coloring dictated by what they saw whilst mating, and young girls being impregnated by gods. Crikey, man. That does not sound so different from Greek myths you would not for a moment accept as divinely inspired. Yes, the whole thing should be thrown out in the same way the Odyssey has been thrown out. Keep it as a literature and a quaint reminder of our primitive roots.

    “Besides most Christians follow the New Testament for morals rather than the Old Testament”

    No, they follow whatever is convenient and suits them. It is called Self Projection As God, or SPAG. People define god according to their personality and their preferences. It is telling how no one disagrees with their concept of god, ever. No one ever says, “God wants people to do X, but I really am not on board with that.” God always wants what the believer wants, loves who the believer loves, hates who the believer hates, and forgives the sins the believer forgives.

    Your concept of god tells more about you than it does about god. That is because god is an amalgam of everything people value. People value different things, so god is defined individually. For some, god is mercy, love, forgiveness and kittens. For others, god is justice, punishment, a sexist, absolute dictator.

    Because the bible is so flexible in its lessons and interpretations, it can be used to support virtually any position. In the American Civil War people used the bible to support slavery and its abolition. So for the people who have a problem with, say, homosexuals, the morals of the OT become supremely relevant. For people who do not, well, it is all about jesus = love.

    “He also waved off my personal testimony of a miracle…”

    Good for him. He should. Do not take it personally. Any sensible person *should* wave off personal testimony of miracles. Personal testimony is totally unreliable. Would you accept the personal testimony of a Hindu about a miracle that Vishnu did for him? Probably not. Think about why.

    And supposing you are correct about your miracle, why you? What is so special about you that the omnipotent creator of the universe would suspend the laws of physics for you? I find that allegations of miracles tend to be ego trips. “Woo! Lookit me! I’m so important and awesome, God is lookin’ out for me personally!” The height of narcissism.

    And one last question about your alleged miracle – why won’t god heal amputees?

    • Cerebrum123 Says:

      You are missing several points yourself. For one God does have the power to allow someone to survive 3 days inside a fish if He so pleases(note that it could have been an extinct fish or whale large enough for him to have enough room to breathe,blue whales alone are enormous and certain extinct aquatic creatures were even bigger). As for the talking snake ,you do realize that that is supposed to be Satan ,and that serpent very well could just be a nickname. Even in Revelation he is called a serpent “Revelation 12:9
      The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.”
      If you are talking about Jesus as a zombie ,then your definition of zombie is way off. This also applies to every other person described as coming back to life in the Bible. They were all alive again ,zombies are just reanimated corpses ,so this is a bad analogy.
      Also does the Bible say that the goats mating near those things caused their young to do that? What it says is that Jacob did it believing that it would work ,and that God blessed him. This says to me that even though Jacob had some stupid ideas ,that God blessed him anyway ,and gave him what he was trying to get.
      Actually the Bible is pretty clear on what God wants ,and people DO disagree with what it says when they feel they don’t want to live by those rules. In the NT we are told to love EVERYONE ,and not just who “God loves” as you put it ,and do you want to know why? Because God loves everyone of us ,and was willing to die for us. Other than “blasphemy of the Holy Spirit”(Jesus was referring to the Pharisees saying that He had an evil spirit) there is no unforgivable sin ,so I suggest you do a little homework before saying such things.
      God is BOTH love ,and forgiveness ,but also justice as well. The sexist dictator stuff is what I would like an example of. As well as the chauvinism ,superstition ,and racism you mentioned in your earlier comment. Especially since the Bible teaches heavily against superstition. I will admit that people have taken things in the Bible ,and twisted them to meet these definitions ,but they are not there when you read them in context.
      You should realize that homosexuality is condemned in both the OT and NT ,so no one has to jump back to the OT to find passages that say homosexuality is wrong. Now if they believe that the death penalty should apply ,then yeah they have to go there ,but that’s a bit different then simply recognizing it as a sin. At that YouTube station I directed you to earlier tektontv ,there is a vid that describes the relationship of the OT in Christian life.
      Since I don’t have an anit-miracle bias ,I wouldn’t necessarily disbelieve someone had experienced one (unless you are talking like those images of Mary on various unimportant objects). Now I might not believe that it came from Vishnu(although demonic deception like this is possible in my view) ,but I wouldn’t discount a miracle because of who it happened to ,or what they believed.
      As for a miracle being an ego trip I highly disagree ,and for one MAJOR reason. As a Christian I believe that God is watching out for everyone ,even those that do not believe in him ,on a personal level. My belief is that my miracle was simply to save my life. I believe that God does have an important plan for each and every person. So why would a miracle be an ego trip for me if I believe that everyone is important to God? Of course it may have been a much simpler deal in that it just wasn’t my time to die yet ,and I don’t have a huge important thing to do.
      Also what does my miracle have anything to do with an amputee? Also God did cure someone who had a body part cut off in the NT.
      Luke 22:49-51
      New International Version (NIV)
      49 When Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, should we strike with our swords?” 50 And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear.

      51 But Jesus answered, “No more of this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him.

      Also miracles are not necessarily a breaking of natural laws ,but use of them in a manner that is out of the ordinary. Like when food was sent to one of God’s prophets by using ravens (I believe it was ravens ,but it might have been a different type of bird). Other than the fact that God told the birds what to do ,what law of nature is being broken in that situation?
      God doesn’t have to perform miracles ,but in certain cases He does. He owes us nothing ,and we owe Him everything. He’s not there to do everything for us ,or to make sure that nothing bad happens to us. He gave humanity a chance to have a life in the kind of relationship that He wants with us ,but we rejected Him. He has now sent us His Son ,and if we only would accept Him we would one day get to have this relationship with Him again as adopted sons and daughters in His Kingdom.

  17. Cerebrum123 Says:

    As for Jephthah and Elisha ,we are dealing with far more than just an English translation to get at the answers for these interpretations. We are looking at the history of the area ,the social constructs of the day ,and the original language ,and how it was used. For Jephthah if you are going to be as literal as the words say ,then you are going to have something very different ,than his daughter being burnt on an altar. Human sacrifice was also forbidden in OT law ,so this was never going to be an option anyway. Again with Elisha you have to look at the WHOLE situation. These people would have been young ,but not little kids (and even if they were very young what about 42 kids with sticks and rocks against one guy?). The insults were against God’s appointed prophet ,and this in a theocracy is equivalent to treason. Also nowhere in the text does it say they were all killed. They simply could have all run off with only a few being injured. The only way they all could have been hurt that badly is if they decided to fight back (not something little kids are going to do bwt ,but a gang of teenagers might try something like that). Also this isn’t just my interpretation of these stories ,this is taking a closer look at everything involved including the original language. If more people did this ,then I seriously doubt there would be near as much disagreement on interpretation. Just picking up an English translation isn’t enough ,you have to study a variety of factors to get at the real meaning in some of the harder passages. This is a problem for both Christians and atheists. Too many people think that the Bible was written yesterday ,and with them in mind ,and even with Shakespeare you have scholars who study these things so that they can better understand the text.
    As for God having a commandment against slavery might have had to do with survival issues. In ancient Israel the slavery was usually voluntary ,and had to do with surviving during famines ,or other kinds of hardship. Take the example of the Egyptians during the time of Joseph. Most of the Egyptians had to sell themselves as slaves to Pharaoh just to survive. You need to be looking at the whole picture instead of just crying foul every time you read something that sounds awful to you. It just might be possible that the situation called for what might seem extreme to us.
    As for the Midianite’s ,I’m guessing you didn’t read the whole article. This was an act of war ,and those guys who couldn’t resist the women were punished also. Did you look at this line from the article on Midian?

    I struggle with trying to come up with a modern analogy to this, that communicates the atrocity level…It’s almost like 10,000 women, in advanced stages of the Ebola virus (or perhaps AIDS, since they would survive longer), were persuaded by their city leadership, to whole-heartedly travel to a different city and aggressively seduce and offer “sex for free” to all the married men, deliberately concealing or lying about the fact that they had Ebola/AIDS, and for the specific intent of inflicting the men (and their wives and families) with this horrible and quickly fatal disease. And, this decision was supported by their husbands and fathers (“in front of” the children), and the trip funded and planned by their government. And this all done against a people who were no threat to them now, and were actually friends/allies of a related group.

    Maybe again you need to know the whole story. This was not just about the men not being able to control themselves ,it was a planned attack on the Israelite community.
    As for God not doing it Himself ,which He could have done(Sodom and Gomorrah would be a nice example of when He did take action Himself) ,I would say it has to do with Israel being in a covenant with God ,and them having to obey that covenant. This means obeying God’s instructions ,and the laws He set up for them. Also your point about India would be false since they didn’t agree to the laws of God’s covenant ,but the Israelite men did. This means that they were betraying God directly ,and even though they were under contract (that’s basically what a covenant is) to worship only Him. The Midianite’s would have been left alone if they had not done this treacherous act of war. In fact before this happened God told them to leave the Midianite’s alone ,since this land was to belong to the descendants of Lot. This is an act of war followed by an attack on the enemy ,and with very unfortunate consequences. Maybe a closer look at the article will give you the details in a better light.
    As for your use of xtians fine. I won’t argue about it with you personally ,but I do know people who use it because of their hostility towards Christianity ,but if that’s not your intent I don’t mind.

  18. J. P. Holding Says:

    Wow, another retarded atheist simian who thinks yelling, “Other people disagree with what you say!” is an argument. E.g.,

    “In the American Civil War people used the bible to support slavery and its abolition.”

    Of course, it would be beyond screwball’s capability to critically COMPARE both sides’ arguments to see which one, if either, is actually getting it all right. 😀 (Hint: It wasn’t the pro-slavery contingent.)

    >>>WHY IS THERE NO COMMANDMENT FORBIDDING SLAVERY?

    Dahhh…because it what they had was indentured servitude, you moron. Read this and refute it point by point or shut your rattle trap:

    http://www.christianthinktank.com/qnoslave.html

    • screwtape Says:

      Sorry Cer, I have to take care of some trash, then I will respond to you.

      “>>>WHY IS THERE NO COMMANDMENT FORBIDDING SLAVERY?

      Dahhh…because it what they had was indentured servitude, you moron.”

      1. I already showed it was not indentured servitude.

      2. Whether they had indentured servitude or not, it does not answer the question. Why was there no commandment forbidding slavery? There was a commandment forbidding murder. There was a commandment forbidding theft. There was a commandment forbidding envy. Why was there no commandment against owning people?

      3. I do not accept your link. If you cannot make a coherent argument yourself, in your own words, then I see no reason to respond to you. You are an embarrassment to xians.

  19. vel Says:

    Such wonderful insults from JP! In that humans are indeed simians, your attempt at being insulting fails. I am indeed a simian. And alas, your claim that anyone is mentally disabled is one more baseless claim. JP, you seem to think that anyone who disagrees with you is mentally disabled. It is indeed amusing to see you make such a claim and then also try to claim that either screwtape or I have said such a think like “Other people disagree with what you say!” with no evidence at all. That is called a strawman argument, telling an intentional lie to in an attempt to give yourself an easier target than the actual points made by an opponent.

    And we get a true scotsman fallacy too. JP, you have tried to claim that one can tell who the real Christians were by their position on slavery. Your very own holy book has that your god had absolutely no problem with slavery, adivsing that slaves obey cruel masters. 1 Peter 2:18 says this and no where does your bible ever say, “humans should not own humans, and that slaves should always seek their god given freedom”. Titus 2:9 Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them, 10 and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.” So, we see that slavery is supported and the Christians who supported slavery in the south were jsut as good a christians as those in the north, and you for that matter.

    Slavery in the bible comes in two types, something that Christians are often desperate to ignore. There were Israelite slaves that were indeed very much like indentured servants, being freed on the jubilee year. But then there were slaves who never were set free, the slaves from other tribes, war prisoners, and children of slaves. We have that if a Israelite slave was able to go free, if he wanted to stay with his family, he gave up all rights to be free ever again. Real “family friendly” that, choose between freedom and your family. We also have that slaves were property, just like those in the US in the antebellum. To kill one was not killing a man, but destroying property. We see all of the supposedly god given laws on slavery, along with the “ten commandments” which indeed go on much longer than just ten. All of those laws in Exodus and Leviticus supposedly came right from your god (assuming it would exist) and again your god has no problem with slavery, even the “icky” kind that Christians don’t want to acknowledge.

    It is a pity that some Christians think they can tell lies to excuse their god. I’ve read the bible as believer and as not and I know what it says quite well. Christianity has an industry (and many other religions do too) to excuse their gods and the primitive nonsense their religions command. However, each sect claims that their version is the only “correct” interpretation, and as always they have no more evidence than the next. For a god, you’d think that this beign could get its message through clearly, and not depend on humans at all. But it evidently can’t do anything about this, all of the harm caused by every theist thinking that their version is the only “right” one, religious wars between the Protestants and Catholics, the burning of each other at the stake for heresy e.g. my invisible friend is better than yours.

    So that makes me quite sure that your god and your religon are totally man-made, each human deciding that this god must approve of him and only him. This, and the total lack of any evidence whatsoever for your god, for any of he essential events of the bible, etc, and there is no reason to think that any of you are right. Christians, Muslims, Jews, Wicca, you are all alike to me in the nonsense that you try to claim to be real. You are left with philosophical arguments from Aquinas that apply to any god, so you are left to show your particular god exists. You get upset that you are asked for evidence, and you get upset that your claims are disproven by evidence from non-Christians. So we get lovely attempts at insults by Christians. For people who claim to have some magical truth, you sure are quite the representatives. I know that Christians aren’t all like you, I was one and my parents are still good people who happen to be Christians. For your type of Christian, you are afraid and greedy, afraid of some “hell” and greedy for an afterlife. You need someting to make you feel correct so you believe anythign anyone tells you without considering it as you probably consider everythign else in your lives, needing evidence to believe that a certain medicine will work, or that your car will start or that you can trust someone you care about. It is only in this religion that you cease to question.

  20. screwtape Says:

    “For one God does have the power to allow someone to survive 3 days inside a fish if He so pleases”

    That is a pretty nifty “Get Out of Jail Free” Card. Anytime something “unusual” or inexplicable is mentioned, you conveniently get to claim “magic”. Of course, that has no explanatory power and is a child’s way of dealing with things. And if that is how you are going to play, then why do so many xians try to rationalize Noah’s flood? Why not just say “magic” and be done with it? The answer is, they recognize how pointless it is. They are people raised after the Enlightenment. They know there should be good explanations for thing. They have them for all sorts of other events and objects. So they understand just how powerless it is to claim “magic” for their deeply held preposterous religious beliefs.

    Why would god not just teleport the guy where he wanted him? Why would he go the round about way of having him miraculously transported in a fish? I know why. Because it never happened. It is fiction. And fiction writers know the fish makes a better story.

    Why is it so difficult to accept that the people who wrote the bible were primitives who had a primitive understanding of how the universe worked, compared to us? You aren’t a literalist, are you?

    “(note that it could have been an extinct fish or whale large enough for him to have enough room to breathe,blue whales alone are enormous and certain extinct aquatic creatures were even bigger).”

    Bollocks. Back that up. Specify which extinct fish or whale and explain just how that would be possible without “magic”. This is so obviously a faerie tale that your sanity has to be called into question for even arguing the point.

    “As for the talking snake ,you do realize that that is supposed to be Satan “

    Yes, I’ve heard that before. In fact, I grew up believing that. However, the hebrew tradition of satan is nothing like what xianity cooked up. To jews, satan is something like a title or a role in the court of yhwh, not a rebel. The satan acts as a prosecutor or obstacle, but it is always sanctioned by yhwh. In jewish tradition, the serpent was a serpent. The Devil did not appear until the fourth or fifth century CE and was a construct to win and keep converts in much the same way the Bush administration kept power – by scaring the hell out of everyone. Why would yhwh keep that tidbit of information under his hat for 900 years?

    I understand that your perspective is that the NT clarified and expands on the OT. That is part of your beliefs. My perspective is that the OT is a collection of stories (many of which the authors never intended be put side by side) by two peoples who had to assimilate and compete. It was their national myths and justification of their identity. The NT is a collection of stories around a legendary jewish figure who was co-opted by a not so mentally stable Paul. Anything they have to say about the OT is a self serving retcon.

    “If you are talking about Jesus as a zombie…”

    Heh. Zombie jesus makes me laugh, but I was actually referring to Matt 27:52:
    “and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life.”
    You’d think an earthquake followed by a zombie invasion would have been recorded by more than just one xian writer. But, sadly, it wasn’t.

    “Also does the Bible say that the goats mating near those things caused their young to do that?”

    Yes. Gen 30:37-39

    “Jacob, however, took fresh-cut branches from poplar, almond and plane trees and made white stripes on them by peeling the bark and exposing the white inner wood of the branches. 38 Then he placed the peeled branches in all the watering troughs, so that they would be directly in front of the flocks when they came to drink. When the flocks were in heat and came to drink, 39 they mated in front of the branches. And they bore young that were streaked or speckled or spotted.”

    “What it says is that Jacob did it believing that it would work ,and that God blessed him.”

    No. There is no mention of yhwh, blessings, or divine intervention at all. The goats screwed in front of the sticks and speckled kids followed.

    “This says to me that even though Jacob had some stupid ideas ,that God blessed him anyway ,and gave him what he was trying to get.”

    Great. A god who rewards stupid ideas. Just what we need. I guess that explains a lot about JP.

    “The sexist dictator stuff is what I would like an example of. “

    Dictator? Cripes man, that’s all over the bible. Yhwh wants obedience, not a dialgoue. The are the Ten Commandments, not the Ten mutually agreed upon principles of conduct. Yhwh is constantly referred to as a king, which is one step beyond dictator.

    As for sexist, the OT is rife with it. Men have multiple wives. David had like a thousand concubines. The roles women play in the OT are small and mostly prostitutes. In the NT, Paul is a big propagator of it. Some verses:
    1 Cor 14:34-35
    1 Tim 2:11-14
    Eph 5:22-24

    “Especially since the Bible teaches heavily against superstition.”

    The bible is all superstition. Gods, angels, pharaoh’s magicians. That is something that really bothered me when I read it. The pharaoh’s magicians did actual magic. Why can’t people do that anymore?

    “You should realize that homosexuality is condemned…”

    So is adultery. But 100% of the people I see griping about “the homos” have nothing to say about adultery. It is purely a case of picking and choosing the parts they want. This is kind of not the point and off topic though.

    “At that YouTube station…”

    You and I are having a conversation. So let’s you and I exchange words and not videos. I’m not going to watch your videos. But I am also not going to ask you to watch mine. Instead, I am going to write my own words to you.

    “Since I don’t have an anit-miracle bias, I wouldn’t necessarily disbelieve someone had experienced one”

    Baloney.

    “Now I might not believe that it came from Vishnu”

    Why not? You expect me to believe your miracle came from your god just like a Hindu expects both of us to believe his miracle came from his funny blue god. On what rational grounds can you reject him? I have it easy – I think you’re both wrong and for the exact same reason – there are no gods.

    “As for a miracle being an ego trip I highly disagree ,and for one MAJOR reason. As a Christian I believe that God is watching out for everyone ,even those that do not believe in him ,on a personal level.”

    I used to believe. Where’s my miracle? If anyone deserves a miracle, it is kids with cancer or starving kids in Africa. Where are their miracles? Why did you get one, but not them? Why are you special?

    “I believe that God does have an important plan for each and every person.”

    So, how does that work? No free will? Does god have to correct course occasionally? Do prayers even matter then? It seems to me A Plan overrides free will. Particularly if god keeps having to do miracles to make sure we stay On Plan.

    “Of course it may have been a much simpler deal in that it just wasn’t my time to die…”

    Then why were you sick? If there was a plan and the plan was for you to live, why in the world would the plan include you contracting a life threatening ailment that required a miracle? You must see the absurdity in that.

    “Also what does my miracle have anything to do with an amputee?”

    Your justification for your godbelief rests in part on a miraculous healing. This is true of some other xians as well. Your kind of xian claims that all sorts of maladies are cured – cancer, diabetes, coma, heart conditions, tooth decay, halitosis, spastic colon, etc. We frequently hear anecdotes about how some church group prayed for some guy and the next day he was completely healed.

    But there is a whole class of ailments that are never, ever cured by prayer or naturally. People never regrow lost limbs. Lost eyes never regrow in the empty sockets. Retarded people never gain normal mental capacity. Alzheimers and Dementia sufferers never recover. Old people never rejuvenate.

    This has clear implications about a god that supposedly heals people. It leaves you only a few conclusions about such a god.

    “Also God did cure someone who had a body part cut off in the NT.”

    A passage of dubious merit from your PR book is not what I’m talking about.

    By the way, I’m still waiting for you to answer – why is there no commandment against slavery?

  21. screwtape Says:

    “For Jephthah if you are going to be as literal as the words say ,then you are going to have something very different ,than his daughter being burnt on an altar. Human sacrifice was also forbidden in OT law ,so this was never going to be an option anyway.”

    I never claimed it was human sacrifice. I said, the story of Jephthah made me lose confidence in the bible as a guide for morality when I read it. We have a story where a man is kind of presented as a hero, makes a deal with yhwh – as many hebrew heroes had done before him – apparently was granted his miracle and then had to destroy his own daughter. I struggle to find the lesson in that story. Why did yhwh not stop him like he stopped Abe?

    “Again with Elisha you have to look at the WHOLE situation. These people would have been young ,but not little kids (and even if they were very young what about 42 kids with sticks and rocks against one guy?).”

    2 Kings makes no mention of sticks or rocks. You are making that up.

    “The insults were against God’s appointed prophet, and this in a theocracy is equivalent to treason.”

    ? What does the government have to do with it? It wasn’t the king or top holy guy who sent the bears. It was Elisha and yhwh.

    2 Kings 2:23-24
    “From there Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, some boys came out of the town and jeered at him. “Get out of here, baldy!” they said. “Get out of here, baldy!” 24 He turned around, looked at them and called down a curse on them in the name of the LORD. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the boys.”

    “Also nowhere in the text does it say they were all killed.”

    Oh, well, as long as they weren’t killed I suppose having bears maul some boys for calling a prophet “baldy” is just punishment. Please note my sarcasm. I don’t believe you know what you are talking about. Look above. It says two bears mauled 42 boys. I guess since jesus H hadn’t said “turn the other cheek” yet, it didn’t apply?

    “Also this isn’t just my interpretation of these stories ,this is taking a closer look at everything involved including the original language. If more people did this ,then I seriously doubt there would be near as much disagreement on interpretation.”

    The problem is it is an interpretation. Not just yours, but any interpretation. You would think a perfect being would be able to perfectly communicate. But the fact that multiple interpretations exist means yhwh has not perfectly communicated his message, whatever that is. So here we are struggling to know what the “right” interpretation is and there is no way to be sure.

    “As for God having a commandment against slavery might have had to do with survival issues. In ancient Israel the slavery was usually voluntary ,and had to do with surviving during famines ,or other kinds of hardship.”

    Are you telling me yhwh could not have given people another way – a moral way – of dealing with that other than OWNING other people? I mean, cripes man, It is not an unsolvable problem. Today we have ways around it. Our economy bit the dust and somehow we managed to avoid reverting back to slavery. So how is it that yhwh could not come up with the answer we did? Kind of puts a dent in the whole omniscience thing…

    “As for the Midianite’s ,I’m guessing you didn’t read the whole article.”

    I read it. I found it to be bullshit. Foreign women slutting it up with hebrew men as an act of war? Please. Here is how you win that “war” – don’t sleep with the slutty foreign women. Difficult isn’t it? But no, that is not how they did it. They fell for the slutty foreign women and then yhwh demanded the hebrews kill them all.

    I asked you before, can you imagine any reason for pushing a spear through a little boy? It was not rhetorical.

    “I struggle with trying to come up with a modern analogy to this…”

    You struggle because the logic of the article is so strained and contorted and preposterous that no modern analogy exists.

    The root of the story is probably a bunch of jews married some foreign women, quit being jews and worshipped as their wives did. Big deal. It happens all the time. And *of course* their wives wanted them to be the same religion. Everybody wants that. Jews want that too. But in this case, another bunch of jews didn’t like it and killed them. Then they probably cooked up this whole story to keep other jews from doing the same thing.

    If you look at yhwh as a meme, this is an evolved trait to protect the mind virus named “yhwh” – kill anyone who tries to be cured of it.

    “Maybe again you need to know the whole story.”

    Maybe you need to show a little more respect and quit saying that. I have shown on more than one occasion so far to have a better grasp of the facts as written in your holy book than you. I find it to be condescending and rude.

    “This was not just about the men not being able to control themselves ,it was a planned attack on the Israelite community.”

    …which could have been thwarted had the jews kept the dicks in their… what did they wear? Not pants. Robes? It was totally about that.

    “As for God not doing it Himself ,which He could have done…”

    Coulda, woulda, shoulda. Didn’t.

    Being omnipotent (allegedly), yhwh had an infinite number of other ways to solve the problem without killing or hurting anyone. Why did he pick the genocide solution?

    “I would say it has to do with Israel being in a covenant with God ,and them having to obey that covenant. This means obeying God’s instructions ,and the laws He set up for them. “

    Murdering every last one of your neighbors (except the virgin girls, who you get to keep) wasn’t one of the 613 commandments, thus not part of the covenant. Was it icing on the cake? Or was it something they *had* to do because they were in too deep? Like being in business with Tony Soprano and him asking a “favor” of you. Yes. I just compared yhwh with a mafia boss. It seemed apt.

    “Also your point about India would be false since they didn’t agree to the laws of God’s covenant ,but the Israelite men did.”

    No. You don’t understand my point. The Indians, who worship false gods, have hot women. This is a fact. They have married xian and jewish men. This is also a fact. Some of those men have gone so far as to *gasp* attend Indian worship or even *gasp!* convert to one of their false religions. So, by the idiotic logic presented in the article you linked, Indians are waging spiritual war on jews and xians. So they have a right…no, a *responsibility* to kill those men, their wives, their children, all the men and women in India, all the boys in India, all the cattle in India (because those Hindu cows are a spiritual menace) and take the girls who are virgins for themselves, whatever that means.

    “As for your use of xtians fine. I won’t argue about it with you personally ,but I do know people who use it because of their hostility towards Christianity ,but if that’s not your intent I don’t mind.”

    If that were my intent, using “xian” would not get the job done. Xian is a short hand xians have been using for millennia. You were only upset about it because you didn’t know the history behind it.

    • Cerebrum123 Says:

      The problem with your above comments are these ,Jephthah’s daughter was never killed by her father ,and this was never in mind. Also if someone vows to offer some person to a deity as a sacrifice ,then isn’t human sacrifice the correct term? What would have actually happened is that Jephthah would have payed a certain amount of silver to the Tabernacle (they didn’t have the Temple then) ,and Jephthah’s daughter would have remained celibate the rest of her life. Not exactly what your “interpretation” calls for.
      As for Elisha ,yeah he WAS God’s prophet at the time so it was also about disrespecting God. There is FAR more to this than just calling him baldy too. 2 Kings 2:23 Then he went up from there to Bethel; and as he was going up by the way, young lads came out from the city and (AB)mocked him and said to him, “Go up, you baldhead; go up, you baldhead!”

      The “go up” remark is in reference to the fact that Elijah, Israel’s former prophet, had been taken to up to Heaven ,and he would most likely have been bald ,because he had shaved his head to mourn for Elijah. This is mocking him on two levels ,first on his power as a prophet of God ,and because of him being bald. Now these things may not seem serious to you ,but we are dealing with a prophet chosen by God. Also Elisha had just recently in a town not far away fixed a source of water that was poisoned. Also as for the sticks and rocks ,that may be hypothetical ,but what’s to stop them from picking up rocks off the ground? Also this was more likely a gang ,but instead of guns ,they would have had weapons available at the time. Elisha wasn’t a High Priest ,but neither was Moses ,and Moses had more authority than the High Priest(being a mediator between the Israelite’s and God) ,making Elisha the “top holy guy”.
      As for the slavery ,for one it wasn’t slavery in the sense you are using ,and this has been pointed out. It was FAR closer to indentured servitude. Are you going to complain about the concubines the Kings had next? ,this was also a matter of survival in many cases. The word slavery may being used ,but it is again FAR different than what you are thinking.
      As for the Midianite’s ,you didn’t look at the analogy at all did you? Just because it’s hard to come up with one doesn’t mean there isn’t one. This was a concerted effort in war ,and not just a few guys going off and marrying foreign women. If a beautiful woman has AIDS ,and she happens to seduce you offering free sex ,with the intent of giving you AIDS ,and without telling you she had it(no methods of “protection” were available back then either ,so this would increase the chances significantly) ,wouldn’t she be the aggressor in this case? This was an act of war ,and God told the Israelite’s what to do in response ,which was war. Note that the guys who “couldn’t keep it in their robe” were also punished and wiped out by a plague ,but maybe you don’t remember that detail.
      Also your analogy with India today is STILL not valid ,because these women aren’t marrying Christians an Jews with the intent to wipe them out.
      You see Balaam knew what would cause problems for the Israelite’s ,breaking their covenant with God , and told the Midianite’s what to do in order to accomplish this. This was a PLANNED attack. After a planned attack on God’s chosen people ,and with the plague that ensued ,what measures would be used to punish people who did such a thing? What measures do people generally use when retaliating against someone who attacked them with the intent of their complete annihilation? If you were attacked in this way what would YOU do? In WWII we used nuclear bombs on Japan ,and yes children were killed in that attack ,do you condemn the USA for that?
      Also those 613 commandments you are talking about were broken by certain Israelite men ,and the Israelite’s covenant with God also meant obeying ANY command He gave them ,not just those laws put in place earlier. They had agreed to follow God ,and ONLY God. So this involves not only a planned attack on the Israelite community for NO reason other than paranoia ,AND it involves a large amount of Israelite men breaking their covenant with God. You seem to think that the Midianite’s were innocent victims in all this.
      Also I HAVE encountered people who write down Christians as xians just to be hateful ,they likely don’t know the history either then.

    • Cerebrum123 Says:

      As for your point on the “right” interpretation ,that is something that can be found if you study everything involved ,and finding a correct interpretation is possible. You seem to have not done your homework before even trying to interpret this. Also if you had maybe done a little homework instead of just thinking the worst possible outcome ,like your understanding of Jephthah ,and looked into it to maybe see if what you thought was even correct ,then I wouldn’t have to be explaining this stuff to you. So no you have not shown yourself to know the Bible better than I do ,the absolutely MOST you could say is that you know about as many things that have happened in the Bible as I do ,but certainly not know it better. That’s the reason why I said things like if you knew the whole story ,which you obviously didn’t.

      • screwtape Says:

        “…finding a correct interpretation is possible.”

        That’s the thing. One isn’t possible in this case. It is exactly like the Hamlet example. With Hamlet, you cannot know the ‘correct interpretation’ because William Shakespeare is dead and did not leave an ‘answer key’ for us to check our interpretation against. The same goes for the bible. You have an interpretation, but you are no more able to establish that yours is correct than anyone else. You may make arguments, you may have some support. But in the end, you cannot know.

        “…if you had maybe done a little homework …”

        You condescending little pissant. I crap smarter than you. I showed you time and again I know the material better than you. The least you could do is show some respect. Instead I get this snotty admonition about homework. I find that galling especially given how you tried to post links to other people’s work and videos. You lazy hypocrite.

        And then you have the outrageous gall to claim you know it better than I. Amazing.

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