As we’re getting started reading Full Frontal Feminism by Jessica Valenti, I’d like to point out a couple of recent articles questioning the compatibility of religion and feminism:

When I was a Christian (the first two-thirds of my life), I didn’t think of myself as a woman. I was just a person. Although I didn’t notice it at the time, I think I felt this way because I was subconsciously relating to scriptures that were exclusively addressed to men. It wasn’t until I was in my early 30s and had already walked away from religion and Jesus that I realized that feminism and the lack of equality for women were still important issues that hadn’t yet been resolved, even in America (which I still thought of as the greatest nation on Earth).

It’s hard to fathom that I, the good Christian girl who didn’t wear pants because they were men’s clothing, could somehow ignore the fact that I was not the person being spoken to in the Bible, but rather a piece of property, a slave. Looking back, I see that the pastors of several churches we’d attended had difficulty dealing with my family because we had no man as the head of the household; and to make matters worse, we weren’t looking for a male authority figure in our lives. Other churches I attended had women in authority positions, preaching and teaching from the pulpit, clearly ignoring the scriptures below. My background, as I view it from afar, was a jumble of mixed messages.

Why do I think the Bible treats women as slaves and property and that the scriptures are written to an audience of men? Verses that reflect this attitude are listed in both of the articles linked above, but here are the two that speak most strongly to me:

Exodus 20:17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.

Obviously the ten commandments are only addressed to men, since only men can have wives in Biblical Jewish society. The women are simply one of the posessions that men are not to covet. (One reason why I believe we, as women, cannot tolerate these commandments being posted in government buildings in the United States.)

For those who will say “That’s the Old Testament, Jesus did away with those archaic laws,” let’s take a look at what Paul, arguably the founder of the Christianity, had to say about women.

I Corinthians 14: 34 and 35 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.

“Your women”? Hmmm. Obviously Paul was also only writing to the men.

Although I don’t recall Jesus saying anything negative about women, all of his disciples were men and the only women around him spent their time serving food and washing his feet with their hair. Enough said.

In retrospect, I agree with the premise that you can’t follow Christianity and be a feminist. The only way to reconcile the two is to ignore a lot of what is taught in the Bible as I did, even as a fundamentalist who would have vociferously defended my literal reading of scripture. It is an untenable position.

What does this mean for us skepchicks? I believe we are all feminists, even if we don’t choose to wear that label, simply because we don’t buy into the idea that women are dumber than men. The whole premise of Skepchick as an organization is to give women equal opportunities in science and in the skeptical community, where we are often under represented, in part because our society still internalizes the misogyny of the Bible, and many women subconsciously absorb this demeaning image of themselves.

We’ll address Islam and feminism direclty next month, when we read Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali. But if you have experiences with misogynistic teachings of Islam, Judaism, or any other religion, feel free to discuss in the comments.

writerdd

writerdd

Donna Druchunas is a freelance technical writer and editor and a knitwear designer. When she's not working, she blogs, studies Lithuanian, reads science and sci-fi books, mouths off on atheist forums, and checks her email every three minutes. (She does that when she's working, too.) Although she loves to chat, she can't keep an IM program open or she'd never get anything else done.

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379 Comments

  1. Profile photo of urblind
    January 7, 2008 at 7:22 am —

    hmmm…your good at quoating scripture, but very poor at translating it.

    God never once intended women to be viewed as lesser value or regaurded as unequal, just because you cannot interpret you condemn. and being femminist only contradicts what your supposedly trying to fix. by reversing your philosophy onto men. and exalting yourself as superior…you can't use the Bible to complain that women don't get the jobs or positions- you must blame society for that.

  2. Profile photo of Anthony
    January 7, 2008 at 7:36 am —

    Actually women can use the bible to complain that they don't get positions or promotions because for hundreds of years in western society the bible was used to excuse the actions of people with regards to the treatment of women. Without the bible around to provide men with an excuse for their actions who knows how much sooner equal rights for women would have come about.

    Also your declaration by fiat about what god intended us to believe about women probably aren't gonna fly around here. There is no particular reason to interpret the bible any way but that in which it was written. It was written by people who viewed women as property and reflects that society. That being said god hasn't done a very good job of making his intentions unmuddled anywhere in the bible.

  3. Profile photo of urblind
    January 7, 2008 at 7:41 am —

    whoa…it's obvious you dont know much about the Bible! you can make your assumptions all you want, but you can never back them…you speak with ignorance.

  4. Profile photo of exarch
    January 7, 2008 at 8:45 am —

    I think Jesus was perhaps not anti-women. Possibly even one of the more feminist people in his age. He even held women in very high regard, giving them a special (the highest?) place among his followers. This even led to speculation that Jesus (if he was a real person at all) was undoubtebly having a romantic affair with Mary Magdalen, which led to the church dragging her name through the dirt).

    Anyway, as much as Jesus might have been a feminist, the people around him, and those who wrote the bible, definitely were mysoginists, and essentially killed his views on women.

  5. Profile photo of exarch
    January 7, 2008 at 8:46 am —

    Uh, yeah, the point of my previous post being that if you buy into christianity, you're basically forced to follow the mysoginistic ways of the church. If you prefer to think of Jesus as a person who treated women as equals, that's fine and dandy, but it's not christianity.

  6. Profile photo of Bethor
    January 7, 2008 at 8:52 am —

    Hi folks ! Long time reader but a specific point in one of the links you mentioned prompted me to actually register and post.

    The article at, http://www.buffalobeast.com/121/godhateswomen.htm… specifically the part about the islamic dress code, leads me to a simple conclusion : all women everywhere, even in the "free world" (especially there, in fact), should start wearing the burqa ! Hell, men should do it to !

    No, wait, don't skin me alive just yet ;)

    From the article :

    "Conditions of Islamic Dress Code :

    […]

    5. The design of the clothing must not resemble the clothing of the non-believing women."

    Thus, if everyone who isn't a religious nut start wearing it, they will be forced to stop making islamic women do it !

    It's a fool-proof plan to better the condition of women living under religious rule, I tell you ! Well, until the extremists design a better fool, anyway.

  7. Profile photo of writerdd
    January 7, 2008 at 8:59 am —

    Bethor, ahhahha. I like that! It's like all atheists celebrating Christmas and then Christians trying to prove that it's a religious holiday! :-)

    urblind, I am not interpreting the Bible here at all. I am just quoting it. It says what it says. I did not make up my own translation, that is the King James Version. I went to Bible School and taught there after graduating for several years, so I do have a tiny bit of understanding of the Bible from an evangelical Christian perspective.

    exarch, do you have any versus from the accepted gospels or the gnostic gospels to point out to support your point that Jesus had women in his higher echelons?

  8. Profile photo of jtradke
    January 7, 2008 at 9:46 am —

    urblind – "your good at quoating scripture, but very poor at translating it."

    What's there to translate? It's already in English. Who are you to tell God that his words are allegorical rather than literal?

  9. Profile photo of urblind
    January 7, 2008 at 9:53 am —

    well if you were to actually pick up a bible and read it you would

    know there are 3 interpretations for almost every verse:

    a literal one

    a metephorical one

    and a hidden one….and since you have made it crystal clear you dont

    have a clue what your talking about, maybe you should sit on the side lines

    and watch the conversation, unless you can come to the table with just a little

    knowledge of Chrisitianity?

  10. Profile photo of jtradke
    January 7, 2008 at 9:54 am —

    urblind – "you can make your assumptions all you want, but you can never back them"

    Did you somehow miss those direct quotes from the Bible? I would consider that some pretty strong backing to the claims made by writerdd and Anthony.

    urblind – "whoa…it’s obvious you dont know much about the Bible!"

    Talk about an assumption with no backing! You are free to make your own claims, with evidence, Biblical or otherwise, but until that point your words have no substance. Telling someone they don't understand the Bible is weak-hearted and defensive. *Showing* them that they don't understand takes intellect and confidence in your beliefs. Do you have that confidence, or are you just trying to keep your balance on the shaky ground on which you've found yourself?

  11. Profile photo of urblind
    January 7, 2008 at 9:58 am —

    anyone can pick up a book and quote without ever reading a word of it

    much less understanding it…I can quote buddha, does that make me an expert on buddhism?? NO!

    saying you dont understand it- is just being truthful and factual, sorry if

    you take offense…..I can show you how to interpret, but you all seem more about saying it's wrong and thats that, rather than trying to understand it. don't be upset at me because you didn't understand the verse.

  12. Profile photo of writerdd
    January 7, 2008 at 10:01 am —

    urblind, urrude. You assume you know something about me simply because you disagree with me. I have read the entire Bible cover to cover in several different translations at least a dozen times. I am pretty sure that I probably know the Bible a lot better than you do. In none of your posts have you shown that you understand the Bible at all or that you've even read it. I have quoted scripture to back up my points.

  13. Profile photo of jtradke
    January 7, 2008 at 10:08 am —

    Oh, don't worry, I didn't take offense, because I'm quite confident in my knowledge of the Bible. I've had 12 years of religious education, during which time I was called upon time and time again to read and interpret the Bible, and I always did well at it, if I may say so myself.

    Anyhow, none of your ranting proves anyone wrong. You say that we don't understand it, but are you certain that it isn't you who does not understand? After all, there IS a lot of hidden meaning. Some sort of evidential claim might serve to convince me that I am mistaken, but so far all you've done is declare that you're right and everyone else is wrong, which is rather childish and rude.

  14. Profile photo of urblind
    January 7, 2008 at 10:08 am —

    is it all about quoting to you?

    many people have read the bible and studied it…but didnt believe in it.

    and werent saved, either. quotes mean nothing, understanding is everything.

    what do you wish to understand?? tell me and I will answer.

    what happened to you, that you crossed over to atheism? seriously,

    did you partake in witchcraft, or play with tarrot cards or what? something demonic happened to you in your life to turn on faith…and it wasnt science.

  15. Profile photo of urblind
    January 7, 2008 at 10:12 am —

    I have never claimed to be right jtradke, only that God's word is….

    do not confuse, and if you knew there were different meanings and interpretations why did you make such a contradicting statement??

    you did that to yourself. if you were so good at interpretations, you wouldn't be against me…obviously your interpretations were wrong. else you would be on the Lords side.

  16. Profile photo of writerdd
    January 7, 2008 at 10:14 am —

    I became an atheist when I started reading other things besides the Bible and I realized that the Bible was not accurate or true. I actually believe as you do, urblind, that there are many allegories and metaphors in the Bible, but I don't believe that I should run my life by them. They are myths, just like any other metaphorical myths such as those of the Greeks, the Romans, or the Norse. There is a lot we can learn in them about humanity and the evolution of human society but they are not true in any real sense and they are not appropriate to define morality in the 21st century. They are the writings of mostly barbaric and very ignorant peoples.

    When I learned about the way the brain works, I realized there was no reason to believe in a non-corporeal soul, and hence no reason to believe in God. Nothing bad happened to me, I did not want to sin, I did not have bad experiences in church or with Christians, I did not hate God. I just realized that he was an invention of ignorant early humans who had no understanding about the universe or about their own consciousness, so they beleived everything was caused by invisible spirits. God did not create man; man created God.

  17. Profile photo of writerdd
    January 7, 2008 at 10:16 am —

    Now, let's get the discussion back onto the topic of feminism and religion.

  18. Profile photo of urblind
    January 7, 2008 at 10:19 am —

    I just realized that he was an invention of ignorant early humans who had no understanding about the universe or about their own consciousness.

    ….ok since you believe that, and I have your quote, what if I could give you

    modern day science as in 2008 modern day science and show it to you

    in the Bible? knowing that the authors were as you say ignorant early humans, with no understanding of the universe…what will you say to that-

    honestly?

  19. Profile photo of jtradke
    January 7, 2008 at 10:22 am —

    Interesting, though, that God's word seems to directly correlate with your own… Could it be that you are putting words into His mouth? Could it be that YOU are possessed of the wrong ideas, and are dragging me to side of Evil? How do I know you're not an agent of the Devil, posing as one of God's children? Surely this is the form a minion of Satan would take, as it is most deceitful and difficult to detect…

  20. Profile photo of urblind
    January 7, 2008 at 10:25 am —

    well in order for you to believe in the devil, you have to first believe in God, and since you do not what difference would it make?

  21. Profile photo of chutz
    January 7, 2008 at 10:26 am —

    urblind: I suspect that you are a troll, but I'll bite anyway. Contrary to what some people believe, there are many reasons why someone would not pick religion. There are two major reasons why most nonbelievers I know are not religious. Lack of evidence, I, any many others, have never seen any convincing evidence in the existence of anything "supernatural", including any "gods".

    Second is the huge diversity of religion. There are so many different religions, and different interpretations of the same religion, which cannot possibly all be true. None of the religions offer any convincing evidence for the statements they make about reality. All of them make equally absurd claims, really the only differences between them is the number of followers a particular religions has. As such, one who has no pre-existing ties to any particular religion, and for some reason feels that they need to pick some particular religion to adhere to, has no basis for choosing which religion to follow. All of them are equally absurd and almost all of them come up with creatively horrible punishments for those who are not believers.

  22. Profile photo of writerdd
    January 7, 2008 at 10:37 am —

    urblind, this topic is about feminism. Do you have anything to say on that topic? If you want to talk about science and the Bible, I will think of something to write about that and post something on it later in the week and then we can talk about this. For now, please try to stay on topic.

  23. Profile photo of urblind
    January 7, 2008 at 10:41 am —

    chutz ,

    let me give you a quick and simple explanation on religion as a whole.

    the one thing that sets all religions apart is ONE thing and one thing only.

    and that is, the prophet or founder or leader of that religion, and the fact that they all died in the end…..except one…Jesus! he is the only prophet

    or leader that has died and then came back to life! that's whats different

    about all religions, and thats what makes the ultimate difference. if Jesus had not been ressurected, there would be no Christianity, it would have ended right there and then. all other leaders or founders of religion are dead, they died and they stayed dead…buddha, joseph smith, gandhi

    and whomever else…Jesus died but came back to life 3 days later!…but before you jump up and say no he did'nt keep in mind the facts- and that was, kiafus was the high priest of the jews, he hated Jesus so bad, he was the one who ultimatley had jesus crucified. he hated Christ!! there is nothing in the world he wanted more than to debunk the fact that Jesus was the messiah, he new already that Jesus said he would come back 3 days later…do you think he didnt wait to see?? because on day 4 he could of boasted to the world that Christ was not who he said he was and would of won the day, but did he? no because Jesus came back. Kiafus would of led the jews from that day foward had Jesus not came back…he would have wrote books and celebrated and made a national holiday out of it, but unfortunatley nothing of the sort is recorded in history, what is though? the fact that Jesus came back and walked the earth for 40 mor edays before he accended into heaven….it was witnessed by hundreds of people including but not limited to : romans/greeks/arabs/jews/nomads/persians and an array of others…..no one denied his ressurection..NONE. think of it like this….once Jesus was put into the tomb, if he had not came out, and for some reason Christianity lasted…his tomb would be a nation treasure so to speak, you could go and visit it, and no doubt people would visit and mourn and place flowers on it, and maybe even science could open it and examine bones and such….but there is no tomb, because he lived! muhamed has a tomb, joseph smith has a tomb, buddha was creamated but some of his finger bones survived, everyone who has led a religion has died and has a burial place to witness….all except Jesus because he came back, and everyone saw it.

  24. Profile photo of urblind
    January 7, 2008 at 10:42 am —

    ok…we can talk femminism, but I dont want to hear no one

    arguing against me for insight, because I offered.

  25. Profile photo of jtradke
    January 7, 2008 at 11:14 am —

    Well, it's clear that urblind is a troll from the fact he/she listed Gandhi as a religious founder.

  26. Profile photo of urblind
    January 7, 2008 at 11:26 am —

    spiritual leader then…..

  27. Profile photo of Jaco45
    January 7, 2008 at 11:56 am —

    Anyway to get everyone back on track. Go here:
    http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/women/long.html

    Also to the Admins, I have a long rant after reading Full Frontal Feminism should I post it under the Ready to read in 2008 or wait for a new post?

  28. Profile photo of writerdd
    January 7, 2008 at 11:58 am —

    Jaco45, why don't you wait until I post my review later this month? Or if your rant is about some specific topic in the book that you want to talk about, let me know what it is and I can see if I can come up with a post that's related.

    That skeptics annotated Bible is very interesting, isn't it?

  29. Profile photo of bluemeanie
    January 7, 2008 at 1:34 pm —

    urblind,

    If we follow your logic and by your definition, I think we can find a gaggle of other individuals whom we might consider prophets or leaders. For one, Harry Potter. In the 7th book of Rowling, Harry Potter died and came back to life. Step 1: Die, Step 2: Resuscitate, Step 3: Prophet!

  30. Profile photo of Rav Winston
    January 7, 2008 at 2:05 pm —

    Well, actually, you needn't rely on Harry Potter– Dionysus rose again from the dead…as did Osiris…and Tammuz. Many gods in many cultures were known to have died and revived.

    Hell, Emperor Augustus was assumed bodily into heaven according to Tacitus. Or was it Seutonius?

  31. Profile photo of Rav Winston
    January 7, 2008 at 2:09 pm —

    Urblind, why do you assume that no one here has any knowledge of the Bible or Christianity?

    I'm curious as to why you have formed this opinion.

  32. Profile photo of RMPink
    January 7, 2008 at 2:29 pm —

    You've definitely got a point. In order to understand these writings, one must view it from the context in which they are written (someone has probably already pointed this out… If so, I apologise, but I haven't read all of the comments). Europe, among other populated areas, was predominantly a male-dominated society.

    As for whether a feminist can be religious, I am of the understanding that anybody can be anything as long as they can resolve the cognitive dissonance in their own minds. That being said, some things are easier to resolve than others. For instance, it might be easier to be a theist and a scientist than it would to be a feminist and a theist (specifically in this example, a Christian). Though they may categorize themselves that way, however, the populace may not (and a subset absolutely WILL not) agree. The question then becomes who it is that we accept as being right. But again, thats just my opinion. And I am certainly not experienced in either theism or feminism, so my points should be taken for what they are.

  33. Profile photo of craigp
    January 7, 2008 at 2:58 pm —

    I pity you your trolls…

    Anyway, I've long thought the same thing: it's always mystified me that women can devoutly adhere to a religion that explicitly states that they are possessions rather than people.

    Not being one, I've never really managed to figure out why…

  34. Profile photo of Pseudonym
    January 7, 2008 at 3:02 pm —

    If a Christian tells another Christian "you're not a Christian unless you believe X", or "if you believe Y, you're not a Christian", they quite correctly call that person a fundamentalist.

    That's why it disturbs me when writerdd says this:

    In retrospect, I agree with the premise that you can’t follow Christianity and be a feminist.

    and exarch says this:

    If you prefer to think of Jesus as a person who treated women as equals, that’s fine and dandy, but it’s not christianity.

    Writerdd, I am sorry for you upbringing. I really am. It must be bad being brought up in a religion that's so… I don't want to say "mysogynistic", but certainly incompatible with Feminism.

    But there are an awful lot of religious Feminists in the world. One can ignore them or (like Christian fundamentalists) try to define them out of existence all one likes, but they still exist, and they are living counter-examples to the argument that feminists can be religious.

  35. Profile photo of kellbelle1020
    January 7, 2008 at 3:05 pm —

    Buffy Summers died and came back to life TWICE. Double the salvation power! And a Buffy religion would certainly work with feminism. :)

    On a more serious note, I agree with the cognitive dissonence thing, RMPink. Although, as a scientist, feminist, and former Christian, I think that it is actually much easier to resolve theism with feminism than with science. While being a feminist Christian, for example, involves a lot of cherry-picking and selective interpretation from the bible, ALL stripes of Christians do this to varying degrees anyway, whether they realize it or not. On the other hand, science involves a strict evidence-based approach, which probably leads to a greater amount of cognitive dissonence vis-a-vis the faith-based nature of religion.

    I think this is the case because feminism is not necessarily synonymous with rationality (I've come across a lot of irrational feminists and a lot of misogynist rationalists), even if it should be.

  36. Profile photo of orDover
    January 7, 2008 at 3:42 pm —

    I went to a Christian school for 10 years, from 2nd to 12th grade. In high school we basically went through the Bible verse by verse. My junior year we came to the passages in the New Testament about women and the church, and to my surprise, my teacher supported every idea. He attempted to sugar-coat things a little bit by saying things like that a woman could be a leader in a church, but that she could only speak to other women and children, and always had to have a male as her superior, but maintained the original premise. This school was the largest Christian school in the state, nondenominational and considered rather moderate, and yet they STILL supported the misogyny of the Bible.

  37. Profile photo of writerdd
    January 7, 2008 at 4:04 pm —

    Pseudonym, you are right, I was a fundamentalist and I still view Christianity mostly through those glasses. If you are a Christian and your church or religion is not mysogynist, I'd certainly be interested in learning more about it. I haven't run into any flavors of Christianity like that, not even the ones who do allow women to preach or teach. All the churches I have gone to or visited have had some degree of a double standard.

    That said, I did qualify my statement by saying that you can be a feminist Christian if you ignore large portions of the Bible. When people do that, I don't see what makes the parts they don't ignore meaningful or important to them, however. If you can explain that from your perspective, I'm sure I'd find it interesting.

  38. Profile photo of slashnull
    January 7, 2008 at 4:23 pm —

    I think you can be theistic and a feminist. Certainly today there are a wealth of up to date modern religions that have male/female equality as part of their beliefs, and indeed some new religions that emphasise the 'womanly' aspects of spirituality – the new wiccan religions for instance.

    Even updated versions of christianity *can* be women friendly, in the same way that any reasonable version of christianity would be aghast at slavery, despite it not being condemned in the bible. On the other hand, the fact that many churches are still misogynistic makes them unenlightened, but not unchristian.

    As to the poster who actually thinks that no other people have said to have returned from death, I think they may need to get out more. As Rav said, and the prophet Ezekial railed against, the women worshipping the dying and rising Tammuz were around way before Jesus, in fact there was even a cult centre of Tammuz at Bethlehem!

    I think I'm going to disagree with those like writerdd who say that it's untenable to only accept the bits of the bible you like, I think most non-fundamentalists do that just fine, so it is possible to live that way and not be too cognitively dissonant. But I'm not convinced of my position and could convinced otherwise!

  39. Profile photo of Rav Winston
    January 7, 2008 at 4:23 pm —

    How many of us here came from deeply religious backgrounds? And how did we come into the "light" of rationalism, if I may put it that way?

  40. Profile photo of slashnull
    January 7, 2008 at 4:26 pm —

    writerdd: "When people do that, I don’t see what makes the parts they don’t ignore meaningful or important to them, however."

    I assume they view the bible as many secularists do – a human document – but also with some inspired words in it that were written by people who had an experience of the divine. By finding the bits of the book that speak to them, they too can share that divine experience.

    Of course I think you can do this with an episode of Lost, or Firefly, which seem much more inspired to me :)

  41. Profile photo of Pseudonym
    January 7, 2008 at 4:28 pm —

    writerdd: Thanks for that.

    I'm not going to get involved in the specifics, but one thing that disturbs me about this discussion is just how unscientific it is. The theory, as I understand it, is that it's not possible to be a Feminist and a Christian. (At least for the purpose of this post; other religions come later.) There are a lot of Feminist Christians. Quite a lot. Therefore, the theory simply does not fit the observed facts.

    That said, I did qualify my statement by saying that you can be a feminist Christian if you ignore large portions of the Bible.

    You say "ignore", a Liberal/Mainline Christian would call it "reinterpret". I see no difference between this and taking the US Constitution's "We the people" and reinterpreting it to include people who aren't male landowners.

    The ability to evolve is considered a strength in organisms; it's a way to stave off extinction. Why do we see this as a liability in politicians (flip-flopping) and religions?

    (And no, it's not because religions claim absolute truth. I seriously doubt that any feminist-compatible religion does!)

  42. Profile photo of Pseudonym
    January 7, 2008 at 4:30 pm —

    slashnull: I have to disagree with you there. There's nothing inspired about "Lost". Though, I do admit, it's at least as long-windedly rambling as some of the long lists of "begats", so that's a point in its favour.

  43. Profile photo of slashnull
    January 7, 2008 at 4:48 pm —

    Pseudonym: Lost may not be great or deep, but I get a lot out of it *despite* it's shallowness. (Oh how I love those slow motion walking back to the beach shots with some piano/cello music!). I think the same can be said of many ancient writings!

  44. Profile photo of SteveT
    January 7, 2008 at 7:34 pm —

    This seems like a good time to jump in to the discussion.

    Pseudonym and slashnull make excellent points. I always have to chuckle when I see someone here asserting some variation on “If you don’t believe X, then you’re not a Christian.” When people say things like this, they are behaving exactly like the Christian fundamentalists they abhor. Modern Christianity is incredibly diverse, and can’t really be precisely defined in simple terms. I know that is frustrating for non-believers who wish to argue against Christianity as a whole, since it seems like Christians are constantly “moving the goalposts.” But that is just the way things are. In much of modern/liberal Christianity, people are not only encouraged to have a personal relationship with God but also a personal understanding of God. This quite often leads people to use the Bible as a starting point, but one whose various parts have a greater or lesser (or no) relevance to their understanding of God. Personally, my view is that any human-derived description of God (including my own) is almost certainly going to be wrong in a multitude of ways. That doesn’t mean that it cannot still be a source of inspiration and insight to me, just that it cannot ever be taken as being wholly true. Thus, in the case of the Bible’s treatment of women, I reject essentially all of it (at least at face value), as I deem it likely to have sprung from the biased minds of the writers. But those same writers may yet have other texts which are quite consistent with, and meaningful to, my evolving view of the nature of God. The apostle Paul is a good example of this. Some of what he wrote is ugly, and some is beautiful. All in all, a fairly typical human being.

    I don’t want to belabor the point any further. Perhaps you cannot be a feminist and simultaneously a conservative, orthodox Christian. But what about a feminist and a liberal, progressive Christian? I say, absolutely, yes!

  45. Profile photo of writerdd
    January 7, 2008 at 7:50 pm —

    Interesting points by Pseudonym, slashnull, and SteveT. Thanks for contributing to this conversation.

    SteveT said, " But what about a feminist and a liberal, progressive Christian?"

    The problem is, except for John Shelby Spong, I can't really think of any liberal, progressive Christians. I don't think I've ever met one.

    My mother is liberal politically, but she still believes in the rapture and a lot of other Christian doctrines that I can't view as anything but delusions. I frankly don't know how she can follow a religion that is so sexist. It must be the congnitive dissonance that several people mentioned above. I'm not sure if she's ever thought about it that way. And I am not sure, but I would probably consider her a feminist just because of the way she raised me to believe that I could do and be anything I imagined. I do, however, think her position is untenable. That is, it makes no frakking sense at all.

    What kinds of churches to these liberal Christians belong to and why are they completely invisible in society? I really like someone to give me some specifics about what denominations or groups of Christianity is not sexist, instead of vauge references to some invisible liberal flavor that I can't find.

    SteveT also said, "That doesn’t mean that it cannot still be a source of inspiration and insight to me, just that it cannot ever be taken as being wholly true."

    Well, if every believer had that attitude, I probably would have no beef with religion whatsoever.

  46. Profile photo of Expatria
    January 7, 2008 at 8:11 pm —

    writerdd: As has long been demonstrated with his comments here and the constructive discussions around them, very few of us would have any major beef with religion if everyone believed like SteveT.

    Ah, were that only so…

  47. Profile photo of SteveT
    January 7, 2008 at 8:31 pm —

    writerdd,

    A good place to look for progressive, liberal Christians would be the Congregationalists, United Methodists, Presbyterians (PCUSA), and the United Church of Christ (among others). Now you can certainly find conservative congregations within most of these denominations, but also many truly progressive churches. The tricky part for you personally might be actually having to go inside one of these churches. I know that with your background/history that might be asking a lot. I have great sympathy for anyone raised in a fundamentalist church. In your place, I probably would have become an atheist, too. Please be aware that I am NOT trying to get you into a church hoping that you will "see the light" and return to God (I think urblind is an idiot!). Think of it more as an educational experience to see a side of Christianity you might not have seen before.

    I don't suppose you live anywhere near Boulder, CO? There is a great UCC church there (Community UCC) that I have heard good things about.

    Finally, as you know, I am not a defender of "religion" as a universally good thing. Much of "religion" throughout history is indefensible. There is no political or religious belief system in existence that cannot and will not be ruined by its own adherents.

  48. Profile photo of SteveT
    January 7, 2008 at 8:34 pm —

    Expatria,

    I am truly and deeply honored by your words.

    Thank you, and good night.

  49. Profile photo of Pseudonym
    January 7, 2008 at 9:23 pm —

    Thanks, SteveT.

    For some background: I was brought up in the third largest Christian church in Australia, which also happens to be the most liberal.

    This makes it interesting to hear writerdd's "I don’t think I’ve ever met one" comment. I don't think I've ever met a fundamentalist! (Unless you count the Jehovah's Witnesses who have occasionally shown up at the door.)

    To answer the second part of writerdd's question…

    What kinds of churches to these liberal Christians belong to and why are they completely invisible in society?

    Basically, it's because you don't get free TV airtime for saying how great it would be to be nice to people for a chance. It's the same reason why Richard Dawkins gets airtime while Michael Shermer doesn't.

    Liberal Christianity, as a whole, shuns attack. That's understandable when you see the bad history that Christianity has had with attack. Having your own cable channel dedicated to demanding money for indulgences or lobbying politicians simply rates better than feeding homeless people.

    Probably the one exception that I can think of was the "Make Poverty History" campaign. Liberal Christians were all over that one.

  50. Profile photo of Carl
    January 8, 2008 at 4:33 am —

    FWIW, modern Bible scholars seem to accept that Paul himself never wrote that bit about women not speaking in church. In fact, in authentic letters he DIRECTS women to speak in church, and refers to one woman approvingly as "foremost among the Apostles" (Paul's own rank).

    The "shut up and listen" bit appears to be a bit of marginal commentary that was accidentally incorporated into the text by a copyist.

  51. Profile photo of urblind
    January 8, 2008 at 4:34 am —

    Steve T, by your comments you prove to be the idiot!

    first of all the Bible is not sexist, you lay people just interpret it that way, and regaurdless, it wouldnt make much difference anyway, because God is God as His rules and laws are His and His alone…you people have let western society mold and shape your opinions and views, it does'nt change God or His laws. And that's where you people fall short.

    weather liberal or conservitive or fundamentalist, it does not matter- the Bible is the word and the word is the way it is, has been and always will be.

    period! what your deluted mind thinks is right or wrong, is totaly irrelevent.

    you can't put your wisdom up against the Almighty, or you'll show yourself to be more foolish than you appear to start with.

  52. Profile photo of urblind
    January 8, 2008 at 4:39 am —

    Rav Winston,

    you speak of imaginary gods that never exsisted…in the flesh or otherwise.

    so stories of thier ressurection is as false as possible. Jesus walked the earth..was witnessed by men, before and after he died. learn what your talking about before you speak.

  53. Profile photo of csrster
    January 8, 2008 at 4:55 am —

    Is it possible to be a christian pastor and a feminist? Is it possible to be a christian _bishop_ and a feminist? I just wonder because there is a very lively debate in Denmark right now in which women pastors in the state church (40% in total, and the majority among the newly-qualified) are demanding that male colleagues be sacked unless they show them proper collegial respect.

    I am sure that the majority of these women pastors could reasonably be described as liberal and progressive even if, as an atheist, I would feel forced to add the adjective "deluded" :-)

  54. Profile photo of BenjCano
    January 8, 2008 at 5:13 am —

    Hey writerdd,

    Just wanted to comment on a line of yours: "Although I don’t recall Jesus saying anything negative about women…"

    Check out Matthew 15:22-28, in which Jesus calls a Canaanite woman a dog. Granted, the basis of this prejudice might have had more to do with her foreignness rather than her woman-ness, but other passages indicate that he had no problem with Samaritans, for example.

  55. Profile photo of urblind
    January 8, 2008 at 5:28 am —

    Matthew, Chapter 15

    021: Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon.

    022: And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.

    023: But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.

    024: But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

    025: Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.

    026: But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and cast it to dogs.

    027: And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table.

    028: Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.

    where did Jesus call her a dog?? re-read the scripture!

    he speaks in parable- he helps the woman and heals the girl……

    your blasphemous!

  56. Profile photo of writerdd
    January 8, 2008 at 5:41 am —

    025: Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.

    026: But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and cast it to dogs.

    There you have it. urblind simply can't read.

    Everyone else, thanks for the thoughtful commentaries on this topic. I do actually live near Boulder and may someday check out the churches mentioned (more probably I will just look them up on the internet).

    I just don't understand the whole idea of liberal Chrsitianity. To me, if you don't really believe it, why bother? I mean, I love Greek mythology and Shakespeare and find a lot of very interesting and inspriring text in both, but I'm not going to define myself by either or name myself after either. I just don't see the point.

    Like Bishop Spong. I really don't consider him a Christian. Not in the way that urblind thinks I'm lying about my own past experiences. It's just that he seems to be an atheist who just likes the accoutrements and language of religion so he won't let go of that last connection to the church, because he finds the trappings beautiful, even though he hates the message. I truly cannot fathom his mind, although I admire what he's doing and wish him huge success since I think he's probably typical, meaning most people are not able to give up the crutch so better to adopt an open and accepting version of religion than to stay on the dark side.

    That said, I still struggle a lot with Sam Harris's ideas that the liberal religious folks are providing cover and legitimacy to fundamentalists. I can't help but think that he is right about that.

  57. Profile photo of urblind
    January 8, 2008 at 5:49 am —

    no, there you have it you can't interpret..once again

    let him who have ears, hear

    and those who have eyes see….

  58. Profile photo of urblind
    January 8, 2008 at 6:00 am —

    let me break it down, as it seems scripture is far to wise for the foolish to understand…..

    the woman was a foreigner, she saw Jesus passing by:

    she wanted his help:

    Jesus says to her, I have come to help the lost souls of Isreal:

    she pleads with him:

    so he says, would it be right for me to take away the gifts I bring for Isreal

    and just give it to you, a foreigner and false god worshipping people?

    and she says, even the foreigners are worthy of the blessings of God if they believe in him:

    Jesus being astonished at her wisdom and faith, he complies, and heals her daughter.

  59. Profile photo of writerdd
    January 8, 2008 at 6:39 am —

    Here's what bugs me about the whole liberal Chrsitian (a la Spong) thing: What does it even mean to say "I am a Christian" if you don't believe the Bible? If the Bible isn't the base of Christianity, then what is?

    Just because I call myself something doesn't necessarily make it true. Now, I'm not going all fundie here, saying if you don't follow XYZ's rules you're not really a Christian. But does "Christian" even mean anything at all if you can define it however you want? Don't words have to actually contain real meaning to be useful? Or are any fans of Jesus "Christians," even if they don't think he was raised from the dead or born of a virgin or even a real person?

    I'd like to add one more thing, I didn't leave Christianity because I had bad experiences with fundamentalism. I loved being a fundamentalist/evangelical Christian. It was very fulfilling and satisfying to me and it gave me meaning, a community of friends, and many other benefits. I left because I couldn't believe it any more after I started learning about cosmology and cognitive science. Once the genie was out of the bottle, I couldn't shove it back in. I did not have any terrible experiences in the church. Just to be clear, because a couple of people have said they feel bad for me for my fundie background. It wasn't a bad life for me. But in the end, I could not sustain the suspension of disbelief.

  60. Profile photo of slashnull
    January 8, 2008 at 6:39 am —

    writerdd: "I mean, I love Greek mythology and Shakespeare and find a lot of very interesting and inspriring text in both, but I’m not going to define myself by either or name myself after either. I just don’t see the point."

    I agree, and I think that's where Sam Harris has a good point too. I have to say I didn't like reading End of Faith, it was quite disturbing, mainly because I couldn't think of any arguments against what he was saying!!

  61. Profile photo of slashnull
    January 8, 2008 at 6:48 am —

    writerdd: "If the Bible isn’t the base of Christianity, then what is?"

    That's quite a Protestant viewpoint! To the Catholics the base of christianity is the teachings of Jesus – and how do we know what they were? Not just the bible, but apostolic tradition! According to many early churches they were founded by various apostles who told them the real meaning of things. Unless you followed their teaching you might as well be making it up!

    One of the big problems with 'going back to the book' is of course that we don't have any original texts, and it can be difficult to get to the 'real meaning' (Bart Ehrman covers this in a few of his books). This isn't a problem for those churches like the Catholic Church or various Eastern Orthodox churches who claim apostolic succession. They are in the know since they have the real deal on what happened!

    Further you could claim that you receive your christian credentials from Christ Jesus himself, like Paul did in his visions. Cut out the middle man and go straight to the source! Or you could be like the Gospel writers and read the old testament to find out more about jesus, interpreting ancient stories in a new light and deciding they were about jesus all along! (Randell Helms has a great book about this).

    There's lots of different ways to get to Christianity without placing so much of it on the bible, even though that's what the whole protestant sola scriptura was about!

  62. Profile photo of writerdd
    January 8, 2008 at 6:52 am —

    I'm not sure I buy that slashnull. I know that some non-Protestant churches don't base their beliefs solely on the Bible, but without the Bible, you don't have Christianity. I mean, didn't the Catholic church create the cannonized Bible in the first place? It is the foundation of Christianity. I do understand and agree with your other points, but without the Bible the whole thing falls completely apart.

  63. Profile photo of slashnull
    January 8, 2008 at 7:01 am —

    [I think that even with the bible it falls apart, but anyway… :) ]

    I suppose that nowadays you do need the bible since we don't have anything else reaching that far back into the past. But since there were many early Christian movements which didn't have a canon I think it was certainly possible back then to have Christianity without the Bible. The new testament that we know was mostly put together into a 'canon' about 150 CE by Polycarp, and for two centuries after that there was still huge debate about which books should be in the bible or not. But before that, and certainly before the Gospels were written it was quite possible to be a christian without having a scripture, indeed they would use the hebrew bible as their scripture!

    Gratuitous link to my own blog where I talk a bit about this: http://magisteria.wordpress.com/2007/12/19/marcio

  64. Profile photo of urblind
    January 8, 2008 at 7:03 am —

    Here’s what bugs me about the whole liberal Chrsitian (a la Spong) thing: What does it even mean to say “I am a Christian” if you don’t believe the Bible? If the Bible isn’t the base of Christianity, then what is?

    well, if your truly a Christian, the base is Jesus, and your salvation…

    the Bible is more or less an instruction manual. you use it for wisdom,

    morals, judgment, life lessons, and prophesy of the future. your relationship

    with Jesus is the whole point….one of the thieves crucified beside Jesus was saved on that day, and never read a word of the Bible…the Bible is a life tool, not the Basis for you being a Christian.

    This isn’t a problem for those churches like the Catholic Church or various Eastern Orthodox churches who claim apostolic succession. They are in the know since they have the real deal on what happened!

    catholics know little if anything about true Christianity..why? because the powers that be rule on what they allow the congregation to learn..in catholosism they discourage thier people to read and understand the Bible, instead they practice that the priests and popes and such (only) has true knowledge of the meaning of scripture…through the years they have made up their own doctrines and dogmas on thier own authority and not Gods. therfore thier belief system and knowledge is very limited and foggy.

    the Bible is the authority…the word..the Life! it should be read, studied

    and interpreted….but not all passages or literal, which seems to be very hard for most of you to understand?

  65. Profile photo of writerdd
    January 8, 2008 at 7:09 am —

    Well, slashnull, then what I get from that is that it's just being a fan of Jesus that makes one a Christian. To bring it back on topic, you can certainly be a fan of Jesus and be a feminist. But I don't think that's what most Christians consider as the definition of being a Christian.

  66. Profile photo of SteveT
    January 8, 2008 at 7:11 am —

    First off, I want to apologize to urblind for the cheap shot I took. I shouldn't have called you an idiot. You do not, in fact, appear to be an idiot, although your spelling could use some work. I do, however, think you are EXTREMELY close minded. You may consider that a virtue, but I do not.

    As to writerdd's question, "I just don’t understand the whole idea of liberal Chrsitianity. To me, if you don’t really believe it, why bother?" I'm not entirely clear as to what "it" is that I (and other progressives) don't believe. That the Bible is literally true? That everything the authors of the Bible wrote was "dictated" by God? That somehow after Jesus' death the apostles were transformed into perfect people who got everything right and kept all personal biases out of what they wrote? My answer to all of those would be most definitely "No."

    Is that the kind of stuff you mean, or am I missing the point entirely?

  67. Profile photo of writerdd
    January 8, 2008 at 7:16 am —

    SteveT, for starters that Jesus was born of a virgin and raised from the dead and he sits on the right hand of God in heaven. I mean, that's the foundation of Christianity, isn't it? The divinity of Jesus?

    If Jesus was just an interesting guy who had some progressive ideas that were ahead of his time, then that just doesn't merit the creation of a religion to me. Maybe a fan club, but not a religion.

    OK, gotta work. TTYL.

  68. Profile photo of urblind
    January 8, 2008 at 7:25 am —

    That the Bible is literally true? That everything the authors of the Bible wrote was “dictated” by God? That somehow after Jesus’ death the apostles were transformed into perfect people who got everything right and kept all personal biases out of what they wrote? My answer to all of those would be most definitely “No.”

    explain why? in detail

  69. Profile photo of SteveT
    January 8, 2008 at 7:26 am —

    Wow! It takes me a few minutes to write a comment, and I find myself scooped by several salient points in the meantime! I need to think/write more quickly!

    Once again, I must apologize to urblind. You are not as close-minded as I thought. If your earlier posts had been more like your latest one, I think you would have gotten more traction here.

    wirterdd, I think there is a big space existing between the "fan of Jesus" Christians and the "I believe in the Bible, wholly and completely" Christians. Many people deride this as being "a la carte" Christianity, but I honestly don't see a problem with it.

  70. Profile photo of urblind
    January 8, 2008 at 7:29 am —

    no apolgy needed….just discussion…sooner or later someone here will learn something valuable, one way or the other.

  71. Profile photo of writerdd
    January 8, 2008 at 7:36 am —

    SteveT, it comes down to this for me, either the religion is true/real or it's just some stuff that people made up. In the latter case, it's just not something I can be bothered with. I don't see the point. At all. Yes there may be some insightful bits here or there in the scriptures (or traditions!) of a religion (as there are in all mythologies), but that just isnt' enough for me to base my life on.

    urblind, I will read your most recent comments over because of SteveT's comment. Perhaps I have misjudged you. But then again, you immediately judged me as a liar so….

  72. Profile photo of SteveT
    January 8, 2008 at 7:47 am —

    OK, one more and then, like dd, I HAVE to get to work!

    I will openly admit here to being fuzzy on the whole Jesus=divine thing. It is a source of much thought and struggle on my part, and it remains to be seen whether or not I will ever resolve the issue satisfactorily in my own mind. At the moment, Jesus gets a sort of provisional divinity status in my mind as I continue to ponder the issue. I know that sounds wishy-washy, but that's where I am at right now. I DO think that his message of self-sacrificing compassion and the radical, transformative power of God's love via grace elevate him above the level of "good teacher". I just haven't figured out how far yet! I don't claim to represent Progressives here, by the way. Just me. I am a work in progress.

    urblind, why should I believe that the apostles, who so clearly didn't always "get" Jesus' message BEFORE he died simply stopped making any mistakes AFTER he died? They were human beings, with all the deep and tragic flaws that come along with that as baggage. Why WOULDN'T that have been carried through in their writings?

    The whole creation story, if taken literally, contradicts what we know from geography/evolutionary biology/physics/astronomy/etc. That's a good example to me of one area of the Bible that needs to be treated as a made-up story. There are others, of course, but I need to do some actual work today, so I am just going to leave it at that.

    Like writerdd said, TTYL.

  73. Profile photo of Rav Winston
    January 8, 2008 at 8:11 am —

    Stop encouraging urblind.

    I also was once a fundamentalist. Nothing that anyone can say, nor any evidence one can offer will shift urblind's ideas, nor is s/he able to even comprehend differing world views from his/her own. His arguments, such as they are, are simply "You're not interpreting the bible correctly!" whenever our views differ from his/hers. I have had direct experience of this, being such a one myself.

    Urblind is either a troll or a true believer, in my estimation.

    S/he does not seem to have studied any history, textual criticism, nor any other religious texts other than an English translation of the Bible.

    Nevertheless, despite our collective acumen in philosophy, history, literature, and science; we will all be nothing more than poor, lost, ignorant dumbfucks because we do not have "the spirit" to tell us what god means.

    I would direct urblind to http://whydoesgodhateamputees.com/.

    Convincingly answer their central thesis, and I will then consider what you have to say.

  74. Profile photo of writerdd
    January 8, 2008 at 8:30 am —

    Rav,

    I used to be a fundamentalist too. Used to be being the key point. Nothing can change a fundamentalists mind in the short term, but minds do change. We are both proof.

  75. Profile photo of urblind
    January 8, 2008 at 8:31 am —

    well when you get back, look at this:

    the writtings of the apostles were documented accounts of Jesus and his

    life and sayings….and that's pretty much it. weather they understood his

    parables each time is debatable, but they still wrote it down word for word. they did not change or make things up….after Jesus' death, and the new testament was written and put into cannons, they taught from thier own writtings- there were no mistakes in the 4 gospels, so I don't understand why you think that that kept on writting and making mistakes? even if say they kept on writting other documents, they were still apostles! their words would of been from devine origins, not just thier mere opinions…..so I'm not sure what in particular your refering to?

    as for the next question…Genesis, was an account based on a vision to Moses- it was told orally in story form for a very long time and then sooner or later it was written down into book form…whats tricky is the accuracy of the book form compared to the actual story reveiled by Moses- unfortunatley no one can ever possibly know that answer, but take this info

    the flood of Noah…the flood really happened, we know that, Noah's ark was a real boat, we know that….it landed on mt ararat, we know that, so the story is true…the only thing that's uncertain is did it cover the whole earth as the Bible says? or just that reigon? there is sea fossils on that mountain..that proves the flood beyond a doubt- the key here would be interpretation- when it said the whole world was covered…did it mean literaly? or the whole world for the hebrews? which could of been a relativly small amount of overall land? we can't be certain in the fact we dont know if Moses himself said the word earth or world in his first telling of the story, and believe it or not, that could make a huge difference….it was indeed a story, but not a made up story….but history and accuracy according to scientific method wasn't on Moses' mind when teaching that story, that's why it's so hard for science to accept…other things Genesis can tell us about creation might surprise you, the way the sea formed according to Genesis goes along with science theory, also there is a passage about the earth being round, something we know now is true, and also that the earth was suspended in space, or just floating out there…something we now can prove…now keep this is mind..Moses wasn't the smartest man on earth, or the most educated, but it's just plain impossible for him to have made such fabrications, that 4000 years later we find are real. that's what really makes Genesis so believable, how can someone make that stuff up?

    and theres even more in the story of Genesis that would suprise you, especially if your a science lover, but before you can see, you must understand, that understanding comes from divine means…that's why most of the people here read the words but are totaly confused at the meaning.

    there is nothing in them to inspire the truth, to read in between the lines or to think outside that box….there minds are limited to just the natural and superficial…..think clearly on that for a bit- then respond.

  76. Profile photo of urblind
    January 8, 2008 at 8:33 am —

    Rav Winston,

    I am a true believer….the troll part? well you can persecute if you wish.

    as far as history and religion? that's my field….

    as far as that website goes? let me look at it, and get back to you.

  77. Profile photo of Rav Winston
    January 8, 2008 at 8:41 am —

    Urblind– WHICH creation story do you mean? There are two of them. Gen. 1:1-31; and Gen. 2:4-23.

    Which one is the correct version?

  78. Profile photo of urblind
    January 8, 2008 at 8:41 am —

    ok Rav I looked at the story…..and lets see if your ready for the answer?

    some where at home I have the exact information, and I will defiantly search for it, but here is the jist of it.'

    there is a man( who is alive today) who had an aputaded leg (below the knee) who buy the power of prayer and faith, his leg grew back!…

    now I know you'll be quick to disbelieve, but this event did not only take place, but was witnessed, documented, photographed and everything from

    start to finish…it took something like 6 months for his leg to re-grow all the way down to the toes….he is walking talking proof!

    I will most certainly look for that information today!! so you can research the matter yourself….

    all things are possible with God my friend – ALL THINGS!

  79. Profile photo of Rav Winston
    January 8, 2008 at 8:43 am —

    –And why are there NO contemporary extra-biblical references to this Jesus or any of his disciples?

  80. Profile photo of Rav Winston
    January 8, 2008 at 8:45 am —

    Fascinating claim, Ur. I want access to the medical records and eyewitness accounts. Something so monumental would certainly be documented and publicized.

    I mean, you wouldn't simply say this stuff to make your point? I hardly believe that it took you a scant five minutes to peruse that website.

  81. Profile photo of urblind
    January 8, 2008 at 8:45 am —

    the word Genensis means "beginning"

    the whole book is the story of creation, but your referring to the

    creation of earth versus the creation of man.

    I was just telling Steve about the story of Noah, using science as a guide,

    since so much faith is put on science around here.

    is there something you wish to know about the creation of the earth? or man?

    in particular?

  82. Profile photo of urblind
    January 8, 2008 at 8:47 am —

    well the reason it took only a minute to scan it, was the fact I saw what was coming- that if God can heal, he could heal anything, even an amputee. right? I promise I will look for that info, and get it to you as quick as I can.

    and your right the media was all up on that story.

  83. Profile photo of urblind
    January 8, 2008 at 8:51 am —

    –And why are there NO contemporary extra-biblical references to this Jesus or any of his disciples?

    like what?

    pontious pilate made a report I'm sure, of the crucifiction

    Egyptians had reports and historical info- which later they destoyed

    many writters wrote of Jesus, from Jew to persian people

    his disiples are historical figures…I mean damn, just google it.

  84. Profile photo of Rav Winston
    January 8, 2008 at 8:58 am —

    The name of the book (if you'll forgive me for writing in Latin characters) is "Bereshis." It is called this because "bereshis is the first word in the written text of the book. So–

    "Bereshis" — Begin (When god began to create….)

    "Sh'mos" –Names (These are the names….)

    "Vayikra"– He called (HaShem called to Moses….)

    "Bamidbar"– In the wilderness (And HaShem said to Moses in the wilderness….)

    "D'varim" –Words (These are the words….)

  85. Profile photo of Rav Winston
    January 8, 2008 at 9:00 am —

    Urblind– WHERE are these contemporary reports? Quote one for me and leave me the link to research it. You're SURE Pilate made a record? You mean you haven't ACTUALLY looked into this yourself?

    This doesn't speak very highly of the quality of your knowledge and understanding.

  86. Profile photo of urblind
    January 8, 2008 at 9:03 am —

    You’re SURE Pilate made a record?

    why do I care? I already believe…it is you who wants irrelevent information

  87. Profile photo of urblind
    January 8, 2008 at 9:05 am —

    why are you writting in latin? the book was wriiten in Hebrew

  88. Profile photo of urblind
    January 8, 2008 at 9:09 am —

    In Hebrew it is called בְּרֵאשִׁית, or Bərêšîth

    "in the beginning",

  89. Profile photo of slashnull
    January 8, 2008 at 9:42 am —

    SteveT: "I will openly admit here to being fuzzy on the whole Jesus=divine thing."

    As were many early Christians, as can be seen by the varying ideas that floated around the ancient world before Trinitarianism become orthodoxy.

    Personally my favourite ideas are Adoptionistim: That Jesus was a wise man who became the son of God when he was baptised – the dove representing the spirit that then allowed him to do his divine stuff.

    or post-death-christdom: That Jesus was a mortal man whose sacrifice for others allowed him to become the Christ when he was resurrected – and then he became the son of God and was able to wipe out the sins of others.

    Both of these ideas held some sway in the ancient world and aren't are unintelligible as the trinity.

    They work better for me (as story elements, I'm not a believer myself), and maybe would be interesting in your own search! Good luck with it!

  90. Profile photo of Expatria
    January 8, 2008 at 9:58 am —

    We've drifted away again from writerdd original purpose for this post…so allow me to pitch my two cents:

    Q: Can a feminist be religious, or more specifically, a Christian?

    A: Depends on what you mean by feminist…and what you mean by Christian.

    When you get into the details of those things and (as has already been noted) start talking about "true" Christians or "true" feminists you leave the world of plain categories and start talking abstractions and opinions. I don't think we REALLY want to start heading down the whole PoMo road here or getting into Metz and semiotics…but who really can say what either category is?

    Take me: I don't consider myself a feminist. Don't like the term, nor the baggage that comes with it, nor the assumptions it causes people to make about your politics, etc. But I believe women are no better nor worse than men, and should be treated equally institutionally and by the law. In some people's minds, that makes me a feminist. Am I one? Who can say?

    The same certainly applies to Christians, or adherents to ANY faith. To some people, the only real qualification for whether or not one is a "Christian" is whether one follows the Golden Rule. To others, that's not enough and faith in Christ as redeemer is needed. Others require various other things (all of the beliefs recited in the Nicene Creed each week in Catholic mass, etc). The point is, you can be considered either a Christian (and, hence, religious) OR a feminist even if you don't necessarily think of yourself as either.

    So it starts becoming a really sticky situation, even before we invoke the compartmentalization/cognitive dissonance already discussed earlier on.

    I doubt this will get the thread back on track for its original subject, but at least I tried :)

  91. Profile photo of slashnull
    January 8, 2008 at 10:06 am —

    I agree with expat! [Even though he hasn't updated his LJ since he got back to Boston and so who knows what he's up to now! :) ]

  92. Profile photo of urblind
    January 8, 2008 at 10:07 am —

    Personally my favourite ideas are Adoptionistim: That Jesus was a wise man who became the son of God when he was baptised – the dove representing the spirit that then allowed him to do his divine stuff.

    Both of these ideas held some sway in the ancient world and aren’t are unintelligible as the trinity.

    your a little mixed up here…..

    we believe in the trinity…..

    Jesus was the son of God since birth "BUT" did not become Christ until he

    was baptised…the Spirit (Holy Spirit) descended upon Him "like a dove"

    once he was baptised with the Holy Spirit, he could then perform miracles!

    what's unitelligable about the trinity, may I ask?

  93. Profile photo of Rav Winston
    January 8, 2008 at 10:13 am —

    Sorry, Pats– How about this:

    In Judaism, there has been a certain amount of development due to segregation from the general population, lack of powerful position in society, and the ability to identify ourselves more tribally than necessarily religiously. Of course, this doesn't apply to all branches of Judaism, any more than it would all branches of Christianity.

    However, these constraints have meant that Judaic philosophy has had to evolve and adapt along with societal mores. As a result, there is a great deal of support in Judaism for feminist ideology; but it does require the recognition that the faith, or philosophy, has evolved over time. And we may look on the old idea expressed in the shacharis prayer "I thank thee, O Lord, that thou hast not made me a gentile nor a woman…." as something we have outgrown.

    It does require a few mental gymnastics for those who still enjoy the comforts of traditional ritual. But by and large, it is recognized as a vestige of bigotry from the early modern history of our faith. (I say "our"– I am actually an atheist).

    I wonder if there are any Chrisitan sects that hold similar views of its own history.

    Indeed, there are many branches of Judaic thought that do not even necessitate a belief in god or the supernatural, but concern themselves with the pursuit of Justice, Equity, and Peace. Humanist values, in fact. And the old prejudices and superstitions are, as I said, regarded as things we have outgrown as we progress toward "enlightenment."

  94. Profile photo of kellbelle1020
    January 8, 2008 at 10:23 am —

    Apologize in advance for the long post…

    "without the Bible, you don’t have Christianity"

    A look at religious history shows this to be patently false. "The Canon of the New Testament, like that of the Old, is the result of a development… which did not reach its final term until the dogmatic definition of the Tridentine Council."* The Tridentine Council, aka the Council of Trent, happened between 1545 and 1563. I guarantee you that Christians existed before the mid-16th century.

    Furthermore, there were lots of different brands of Christianity before the first council of Nicaea (325 CE), many of which had their own "bibles" (e.g. the gnostic gospels). There are also various times throughout history where sects of christianity have contested or changed the canon.*

    "for starters that Jesus was born of a virgin and raised from the dead and he sits on the right hand of God in heaven. I mean, that’s the foundation of Christianity, isn’t it? The divinity of Jesus?"

    Not necessarily. Some of the very first christians thought Jesus was the last of the prophets, and that Joseph was his biological father. This is a form of adoptionism, in which Jesus was not divine, but was a regular man who was adopted by god to be the savior. In gnosticism, Jesus was sent to bring secret knowledge (gnosis) to earth (although this is a vast oversimplification of a complicated cosmology); some gnostics even viewed Jesus as an allegory. Different groups have also viewed Jesus as divine, but lower in status to God the Father.**

    Bottom line: There is no objectively true christianity. Now, you and I realize this, and conclude that belief is a load of garbage. However, since there is no objective christianity, there is no standard to which I can hold up someone claiming to be a christian, and judge whether or not they really are one. And I think that's very important to this discussion. Christianity is what you (personally or as a sect) define it to be. That's how it has been for two millenia. The only reason there was only one accepted version through a good chunk of history was because proponents of that version killed anyone who disagreed with them. And yet the disagreements still never stopped.

    So, when someone claims to be a Christian, I basically have to take their word for it. What other choice do I have? Compare them to my version of Christianity? That's what most Christians do, but I'm an unbeliever. I recognize that there are countless different beliefs that can be described by that heading, so if you want to add a feminist drop to the christian belief ocean, go for it. The more people we have working toward gender equality, the better, and I'm going to disagree with you on the christian part regardless of how you define it (so why bother quibbling over said definitions?).

    *http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03274a.htm
    * *http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus#Other_early_views

  95. Profile photo of urblind
    January 8, 2008 at 10:26 am —

    “I thank thee, O Lord, that thou hast not made me a gentile nor a woman

    Rav, your confusing anciant philosophy with religion…on defense of

    judaism, that comment dosent reflect the jewish scriptures…just sayings of

    ancient philosophers. in no way does that reflect Gods message…that was mans message.

  96. Profile photo of urblind
    January 8, 2008 at 10:31 am —

    you can't seriously base your information off a catholic site and wikipedia can you?

    thats two sources that would have the less likely reliable information in all the web.

  97. Profile photo of urblind
    January 8, 2008 at 10:38 am —

    kellbelle1020,

    what you need to understand is:

    that the first Christians were technically speaking "the apostles"

    who lead the church and taught Christianity, as is- no changing it,

    no twisting it….now after a hundred years or so, people may have changed what they believed to be true or try to add or take away books and such, but that has nothing to do with true Christianity, a Christian uses the Bible and believes Jesus is the savior, and he is the trinity, as stated by the 4 gospels! anyone who differs in that is not true Christian….espeacially the catholic church we know today. so saying "early Christian" or "orthadox Christian" or whathave you will be irrelevent, because they can't go and change what they want to about it..it is what it is.

  98. Profile photo of kellbelle1020
    January 8, 2008 at 10:48 am —

    Ah, and now I see slashnull and expatria made similar points while I was typing my post.

    And I agree that trinitarianism is completely uintelligible. In one of my classes in college, we had to learn about all of the different (though similar, and equally unintelligible) trinitarian ideas that were around before one became official doctrine. The whole class sat in slack-jawed, eye-glazed confusion as the professor outlined them, until one student wearily raised his hand and said, "So… if we get this wrong, we're going to hell, right?" It was a much needed moment of levity.

    Actually, that professor stated the only view of the trinity that's ever made sense to me – the early christians wanted to have their cake and eat it too. They wanted to stay monotheistic, but they wanted Jesus to be God too. They basically announced by fiat that BOTH were true! TADA! Don't get it? Burn for eternity, you faithless heathen!

    That perspective makes the whole thing far more intelligible.

    Oh, and Expatria, I believe there is a term for you: IANAFB (I am not a feminst, BUT…). Which, if my understanding of the term is correct, means that you are essentially a practicing feminist but just don't like calling yourself A Feminist.

  99. Profile photo of kellbelle1020
    January 8, 2008 at 10:53 am —

    urblind –

    You clearly have no grasp of the history of christianity. And I did not base my post off of those two websites… I have a minor in religious studies. And while that certainly doesn't make me an expert, I knew enough to write that post and merely added easily accesible links for those wishing for more than just my word on the matter.

  100. Profile photo of urblind
    January 8, 2008 at 10:55 am —

    a minor in religious studies, is not a major in Christianity….

  101. Profile photo of SteveT
    January 8, 2008 at 10:56 am —

    While perhaps not as overt in its acknowledgment of past biases as Judaism, the Presbyterian Book of Confessions does explicitly state that each Confession must be viewed with the understanding of the time during which it was written, and that views once held as "truth" can be and are superseded as our understanding and society evolves.

    Thus, although ordination of women did not begin in the PCUSA until the 1880's, the number of male and female ministers is now roughly equal. As in every organization, the pace of change is too great for some, and too slow for others. So to bring it back to feminism, while it would have been tough to be a feminist and a Presbyterian (USA) prior to 1900, it seems quite logically self-consistent to be both today. I firmly believe that some day that will be true of openly gay, non-celibate clergy as well. It may just take the passing of another generation of people to happen.

    Oh, and I have always liked Adoptionism. Hadn't heard of post-death-christdom, though. That's an interesting idea. I suppose the closest I can come right now to a description of my beliefs is that they appear to be similar to the Socinian Heresy. Although that makes me more a Unitarian than anything else, I choose to attend a church that I disagree with on some elements since I find it to be more intellectually stimulating. I have a deep suspicion for people who agree with me on everything!

  102. Profile photo of Expatria
    January 8, 2008 at 11:03 am —

    kellbelle1020, I think you're MOSTLY right about the IANAFB thing as it applies to me. That said, I don't know if I'm exactly a "practicing feminist" in that I don't really DO anything. No rallies, no donations to groups, very little reading in the area, etc. I'm more of a passive version of the IANAFB. An IANAFBIL (I am not a feminist because I'm lazy), perhaps?

  103. Profile photo of kellbelle1020
    January 8, 2008 at 11:04 am —

    urblind – yes, that is correct. I fail to see why that matters, since you apparantly don't have any substantial arguments based on my treatment of religious history. Knowledge of history is not a prerequisite to being a christian.

    Oh, and I forgot to mention in my previous posts: Quakers are a prime example of feminism and religion co-existing. In fact, quaker women were some of the first feminists back in the 1600s.

  104. Profile photo of Rav Winston
    January 8, 2008 at 11:06 am —

    Okay– Perhaps Expat's question might be re-phrased, "Is it possible to be a feminist and a fundamentalist believer?"

  105. Profile photo of kellbelle1020
    January 8, 2008 at 11:08 am —

    Haha, i like your new acronym, Expatria. Although I guess I meant "practicing" merely in the sense that you actively believe the genders are equal (even if you don't do anything about it). Very unclearly, apparently.

  106. Profile photo of Expatria
    January 8, 2008 at 11:17 am —

    Rav, I think that may have been brought up SOMEWHERE above and lost in all of the other hullabaloo.

    I can actually imagine someone who is a fundamentalist believing themselves to be a feminist as well. A woman who somehow believes that what is right for her gender is to be the best wife and mother possible and who places that above all else could EASILY imagine that she is, somehow, simultaneously empowering herself AND improving her status in the eyes of the fundamentalist conception of god.

    Now, that does NOT mesh with the standard concept of feminism that we're all most familiar with, and falls into flat out conflict with the more radical strains out there. But does that mean that such a woman is not a "feminist" in any way? I'm not so sure.

    Personally I think that part of being treated equally means being given the freedom to choose. If a woman wants to be a housewife, wants to focus on the family, and what have you…fine with me. If she wants a career and to advance herself in her field (either with or without a family), that's wonderful too. If she wants a version of both, BRILLIANT. It's not my place to make that call for her (as some forms of feminism are wont to do…those militant forms which seem to demonize any form of domesticity).

    In that sense, then, I can imagine the potential existence of a fundamentalist feminist. It just involves a bit of logical prestidigitation on her part vis a vis the more standard definition of feminism. Otherwise, to be a "standard" or "radical" feminist as well as a Christian fundementalist seems quite difficult. The brain cannot withstand such levels of cognitive dissonance!! :)

  107. Profile photo of Rav Winston
    January 8, 2008 at 11:23 am —

    I thought feminism was supposed to be about choice, amongst other things. is it true that Feminism decries the choice of domesticity?

  108. Profile photo of Rav Winston
    January 8, 2008 at 11:24 am —

    (Sorry; I'm perhaps not overly familiar with the history of modern feminism)

  109. Profile photo of kellbelle1020
    January 8, 2008 at 11:29 am —

    Expatria –

    The only problem with your scenario is the likely situation in which your hypothetical fundamentalist was raised. If she has been told all her life that "the woman's place is the home" and that "godly women must submit to their husbands" and that "going against the 'natural order' of the genders is wicked and evil" and that "higher education isn't for women, but if you must go, go to a bible college where you'll learn proper submission", has she really had the opportunity to make a meaningful choice?

    "Standard" feminism DOES support women choosing to be housewives. However, it also recognizes that women don't start out on an equal playing field when making this choice. It therefore seeks to even that playing field by removing/reducing harmful messages like those above.

  110. Profile photo of slashnull
    January 8, 2008 at 12:34 pm —

    SteveT the Socinian Heretic declared: "I have a deep suspicion for people who agree with me on everything!"

    I completely agree!

    Although I have agreed with everything kellbell1020 has said so far, and I'm always suspicious of expat…

  111. Profile photo of Expatria
    January 8, 2008 at 12:43 pm —

    kellbelle1020:

    Oh, I totally agree. If she's been conditioned that way she isn't making a choice so much as conforming to a norm. My point was just that SHE could consider herself a feminist despite most feminists and most rational people in general NOT considering her such. We run again into the whole "no TRUE feminist" thing…

    The issue of equal playing fields is a difficult one, as there really is no such thing for ANYONE, let alone women. We're all dealt very different cards and while some (race, gender) have certain semi-universal priviledges or penalties in our world, it becomes quite muddy beyond that. After all, a white man in Kentucky coal country starts on a different field than a white man in Kansas farmland or French farmland, or whatever.

    It's the smoothing over of these differences when "minority" perspectives are advocated that bothers me…now, I'm not saying that women, blacks, etc haven't been shat on, but that acting like "white male" means the same thing across the board is disingenuous as well.

    And Rav, no, as kellbelle said, STANDARD feminism is not against choosing a domestic life if the choice is relatively freely made. I was speaking more of the fringe/radical feminists (who often are the most vocal, unfortunately) who make a big deal about such things and (on occasion) act like choosing anything other than their vision of "self-empowerment" makes one complicit with the "patriarchy", which attains a near-Illuminati level of malicious power and willful evil influence over the world in their eyes.

  112. Profile photo of Skeptigator
    January 8, 2008 at 12:54 pm —

    1) Is it me or does urblind give off a certain Landover Baptist Church vibe? If you know what I mean…

    2) This is a very fascinating thread (with the above noted exception). I just wanted to put my two cents in. I happen to agree with writerdd on her opinion that feminism is largely incompatable with Christianity at least that which is actually practiced and taught in the U.S.

    For every Church of the Brethren (very liberal) there are 100 Fundamentalist Baptist churches (positively bronze age). Having grown up in a conservative Christian home, graduating from a non-denominational Christian school, writterdd is exactly dead on with how a woman's role in the church even in the family is taught.

    Just look at the fairly recent split of the Presbyterian Church in America (a fairly moderate group) from the "mothership" over the ordination women.

    I think the overwhelming belief within (at least) the American body of Christianity is that women hold something less than an equal position with men. Which is probably kind of big no-no when it comes to feminism.

  113. Profile photo of Skeptigator
    January 8, 2008 at 1:12 pm —

    I do agree that the more radical elements of feminism are more presented as the "face" of feminism and their message can be very intolerant towards women who choose housewivery.

    That position can often take the "because some women will choose the life of a housewife because they are told to submit to their husbands therefore we should oppose housewivery completely". Of course, the problem with that position is that it goes too far and actually denies choice to a woman simply because she's a woman.

  114. Profile photo of Pseudonym
    January 8, 2008 at 2:03 pm —

    writerdd:

    That said, I still struggle a lot with Sam Harris’s ideas that the liberal religious folks are providing cover and legitimacy to fundamentalists. I can’t help but think that he is right about that.

    This is off topic, so I think this would make an excellent new discussion.

    I must admit, I haven't read Sam Harris' book. (Not ever having lived in a "Christian Nation", his letter clearly isn't addressed to me.) Possibly because of this, while I've heard this idea stated a few times, I've never heard anything even closely resembling a cogent argument in its favour. And, to be blunt, it makes just as much sense to me as the idea that evolution provides "cover and legitimacy" to genocide and all the other evils that the Discovery Institute point to at every opportunity. Blaming liberal religion for people flying planes into buildings sounds, to a liberal theist, pretty much the same as blaming feminists and the ACLU.

    Part of the reason why no liberal Christian takes it seriously is that they get the same argument from the other side: fundamentalists claim that liberal Christians are giving "cover and legitimacy" (though not in those terms) to atheism and secularism.

    When you take this in conjunction with the opinions on what "Christians should believe", and also a perception of a tendency to "siege mentality" (we are the rational elite, and the big bad world out there is irrational), you can understand why the "New Atheists" seem like fundamentalists to most moderate Christians. They seem to believe and say some of the same things and, by golly, they act like the fundamentalists that we know and despise.

    (By the way, I agree that "Atheist fundamentalist" is a misnomer, but in fairness, to a mainline or liberal Christian, so is "Christian fundamentalist". Christian fundamentalists sure as hell don't believe in the "fundamentals" of the gospel that I grew up with. Mainline and liberal Christians also have a similar problem with misappropriation of the word "evangelical".)

    When a liberal Christians comes across a fundamentalist, the instinct is to become defensive, ignore pretty much everything they say, and just get on with the job of trying to make the world a better place.

    They (and I) would dispute that not reaching for the excommunication gun, especially knowing how it's been misused in the past with tragic consequences, counts as providing "cover and legitimacy".

  115. Profile photo of Rav Winston
    January 8, 2008 at 2:22 pm —

    I think Harris' point was that by not condemning fundamentalist literalism unequivocally, they are in some way abetting the radicals' agenda. Similar to the way we in the west scream that not enough moderate muslims are doing anything about theior more radical coreligionists.

  116. Profile photo of Pseudonym
    January 8, 2008 at 2:37 pm —

    That's an interesting argument, and it raises an even more interesting question.

    Do you want religions to be more aggressive, or less aggressive?

  117. Profile photo of writerdd
    January 8, 2008 at 2:54 pm —

    I want religions to disappear and become historical artifacts.

    I think Harris's point is well represented by this discussion. All the people defending religion and saying how nice the liberals are, and making out like you can't criticize religion even though most — at least in the US — religious people believe in a bunch of bullshit that is harmful to society and to their own well being. By making it taboo to criticize religion and by following these religions even when they clearly don't believe in the original tenants of their own scriptures, liberals and moderates are giving the fundamentalists strength. If you don't believe Jesus is divine, suck it up and admit that you are not a Christian. Don't be part of something you don't even agree with. It's such a crock.

  118. Profile photo of Rav Winston
    January 8, 2008 at 3:03 pm —

    Amen!

  119. Profile photo of Pseudonym
    January 8, 2008 at 3:11 pm —

    I think Harris’s point is well represented by this discussion.

    Apart from Rav Winston's comment, I haven't seen it "well represented" yet.

    I've never seen a liberal Christian criticise a correct argument against fundamentalism. And I've heard enough liberal Christian sermons in my time to know that fundamentalists and self-styled "evangelicals" get criticised quite heavily. Same goes with the worst parts of Christian history. The biggest critics of those parts are Christians themselves. They just don't say a lot of it in public, because they'd rather use what little precious airtime they manage to get pushing their message of making the world a better place.

    However, they do point out in public that an argument against fundamentalism which is phrased as an argument against all religion, doesn't apply to them. The "harmful to society" remark that you make is a case in point: A liberal Christian can very much see how that's a good argument against fundamentalism, but they can't possibly see how that could possibly apply to them. Because liberal Christians are harmless and non-violent. Like hard-core lefties (with whom they share a lot), they seem themselves as a danger only to those who would seek to oppress.

    You do have a point about the "you can't criticise religion" remark, but having come from the liberal Christian world, I understand where it comes from. Christianity has a bad history of imposing its will on other people, especially fellow Christians who just happen to believe different stuff. Mainline and liberal Christians shun anything that could possibly be considered even being close to that.

    That's what I mean about being more vs less aggressive. Liberal Christians see speaking out strongly against fellow Christians as imposing your beliefs on others. That's been tried, and it was Very Bad. And, besides, they don't want to get a reputation for just being loudmouths. They'd rather be known for making the world a better place, and picking fights does not make the world a better place.

    You would not believe how painful it is to feel so strongly about something like that, but feel compelled not to speak out about it out of fear that it'll do more damage than good. Or maybe you would. In any case, I'm glad it's behind me now.

  120. Profile photo of writerdd
    January 8, 2008 at 3:17 pm —

    It's not about not criticizing or speaking about against fundamentalists. By honoring the idea of Christianity and by giving any degree of reverence to the Bible, liberals are feeding the fundamentalist belief system. If you think the Bible is just a nice inspiring anthology, like the Greek myths or Shakespeare's sonnets, just say so and don't treat it like a holy book that deserves special reverence. Because the Bible is what fundamentalists use to build their worldview. And by honoring that book and the religion based on it, as something special deserving of honor and reverence, liberals and moderates are giving credence to the entire fundamentalist mindset. The Bible as literature is one thing, as a book to live by it's largely a pile of tribal garbage with a few inspiring ideas tossed in here and there.

  121. Profile photo of Pseudonym
    January 8, 2008 at 3:30 pm —

    Because the Bible is what fundamentalists use to build their worldview.

    Many bad things have been done in the last seven years in the name of "freedom" and "democracy". And the Discovery Institute believes that many atrocities have been committed based on the "worldview" of "evolution", and hence "evolution" should be done away with.

    I find this style of tangential guilt-by-association quite unimpressive as supposedly rational arguments go.

    The Bible as literature is one thing, as a book to live by it’s largely a pile of tribal garbage with a few inspiring ideas tossed in here and there.

    I won't argue with you over a matter of taste.

  122. Profile photo of Rav Winston
    January 8, 2008 at 3:37 pm —

    I wonder how much the situation is similar to Jewish "in house" neuroses; For example, many Jews and Israeli's deplore what the government is doing to the Palestinians, and we think that the ADL and AIPAC are inordinately influential, or use underhanded tactics to gain political favour. But very few of us will speak up in public, preferring ti to be an "in house debate" or a strictly "family affair."

    –Mainly because we are accustomed to being despised and hounded out of our homes and persecuted, it's frighteneing to do anything that even looks like criticism of one another in public. There is an old fear that enemies all around us hardly need an excuse to "get" us, so we have to be united against the world. No matter what.

    Debates and arguments that should be going on in public are hushed because we are afraid of giving ammunition to the anti-semites already out there.

    And indeed, "Jew" is often equated with "Israeli," and so with "Israeli Government," and so with "Zionist."

    I thikn something similar happens when we say "Christian," making no distinctions between a Jerry Falwell and a Dietrich Boenhoeffer.

  123. Profile photo of kellbelle1020
    January 8, 2008 at 4:06 pm —

    "By making it taboo to criticize religion and by following these religions even when they clearly don’t believe in the original tenants of their own scriptures, liberals and moderates are giving the fundamentalists strength."

    But what "original tenents"? That's been my whole point. There's no such thing as "original tenents" of christianity unless maybe you count the council of Nicaea, but even that would be a stretch. Besides, that didn't take place until the 4th century. Now, I agree with you about the ridiculousness of not being able to criticize religion. I vote for as much criticism of religion as possible. But I think non-believers quibbling over what "real christianity" is is a waste of time. I don't really care whether people calling themselves christian believe what the roman empire told them to believe, or they've decided to reclaim some earlier version where Jesus was not divinely born.

    The point is, THEY believe it. They've interpreted the bible as they see fit (just like the fundamentalists, who also interpret despite claiming inerrant literalism), which means they do reverence it, even if their interpretations are wildy different from what you're used to. Liberal and moderate christians do not see the bible on the same level as the greek myths or Shakespeare, like you're trying to argue. They DO reverence the bible to varying degrees, which is why they also protect it (and, as you say, aid fundamentalists by doing so).

    So instead of trying to define christianity for the liberal/moderate christians, or saying they must not actually be christians, we should accept them for topics on which we can be allies (feminism, evolution, etc.), and continue to argue for the cause of reason and rationality in the hope that they will stop giving undue reverence to the bible and become allies on those topics as well.

  124. Profile photo of exarch
    January 8, 2008 at 4:16 pm —

    Lots of posts, so a pretty long reply, and I apologize in advance for straying far off topic:

    writerdd wrote:

    exarch, do you have any versus from the accepted gospels

    or the gnostic gospels to point out to support your point that Jesus had women in his

    higher echelons?

    Sorry, I can't quite remember where I read or heard this version of what happened. Probably

    the "forbidden" gospel of Judas or something.

    Anyway, the figure of Jesus (assuming a person called Yeshua Ibn Yusuf even ever

    existed) to me seems like your typical cult leader: charismatic, adored by his followers

    (and in a good position to get it on with the female followers). And what's that quote?

    about having Mary Magdalen in very high regard and kissing her frequently on the mouth?

    I'd say a bit of a non-violent hippie guru kind of guy. Generally nice fellow. People who came after him just "used" him in my opinion, to carry their message in his name. They threw in their own mysoginistic ideas on the back of his. Left out things he might have said, included things he possibly didn't. Combined stories to skew things out of perspective. Basically, to me it seems like what you're left with is a picture of a guy that doesn't really match the words he supposedly spoke any more (i.e. the New Testament).

    urblind wrote:

    saying you dont understand it- is just being truthful and

    factual, sorry if

    you take offense…..I can show you how to interpret, […]

    You can show us how to interpret?

    It's god's word (allegedly). It says (paraphrased) "women should STFU in church and let

    their husbands explain what it means".

    How on earth can you interpet that to mean anything other than "women should shut up"?

    That's what it says. God said it. If you "interpret" it to mean something else

    entirely, you're basically just twisting god's words. The man says "A" and you hear "B".

    Even if it is a translational error, you have to believe it, because god intended for that

    error to occur.

    As such, your statement is also very funny in contrast to this next one, where you say

    exactly the opposite:

    you people have let western society mold and shape your

    opinions and views, it does’nt change God or His laws. And that’s where you people fall

    short.

    weather liberal or conservitive or fundamentalist, it does not matter- the Bible is the

    word and the word is the way it is, has been and always will be.

    period! what your deluted mind thinks is right or wrong, is totaly

    irrelevent.

    In other words: "it doesn't matter how you interpret it. If your interpretation is

    different from mine, you're wrong".

    That's just so kindergarten.

    urblind wrote:

    but before you jump up and say no he did’nt keep in mind

    the facts- and that was, kiafus was the high priest of the jews, he hated Jesus so bad, he

    was the one who ultimatley had jesus crucified. he hated Christ!!

    This is, of course, assuming Jesus actually existed. The fact he isn't mentioned at

    all kind of speaks AGAINST him being anything but a fictional character, not the

    other way around.

    There are many historical documents and other evidence giving us a fair of what the middle

    east was like 2000 years ago. The bible is one of the least useful sources in that regard.

    It quickly becomes clear that it's primarily a work of fiction. So using anything in the

    bible to prove that things in the bible are true, well, it's obvious why that would be

    silly.

    exarch wrote:

    if you buy into christianity, you’re basically forced to

    follow the mysoginistic ways of the church. If you prefer to think of Jesus as a person who

    treated women as equals, that’s fine and dandy, but it’s not

    christianity.

    Pseudonym wrote:

    But there are an awful lot of

    religious Feminists in the world. One can ignore them or (like Christian fundamentalists)

    try to define them out of existence all one likes, but they still exist, and they are

    living counter-examples to the argument that feminists can be religious.

    Religious, sure, but I've had this discussion before with SteveT. I don't consider

    him to be a christian either. I think "christian" is far too ugly a label for the

    nice, friendly, tolerant, open-minded person he clearly is. Unless you redefine

    "christianity" to such an extent where it's no longer the religion being practiced in the

    Vatican. For starters, if you have no problem with women being anything more than nuns,

    you're already a step away from being a true follower of the word of god. You've already

    gone through a lot of trouble to recategorize quite a bit of the bible as "metaphorical

    prose", not historical fact. I don't mind if people do that. I don't mind if "christianity"

    evolves with the ways of the current age. But is it still christianity if it's changed so

    much that it no longer resembles the religion it was when the bible was edited together?

    writerdd wrote:

    But does “Christian” even mean anything at all if you can

    define it however you want?

    It doesn't seem to bother many people when they're defining the concept "god". It

    can mean many different things to many different people, and many of those interpretations

    are completely contradictory. But everyone still just calls it god even though it can mean

    just about anything. If you ever want to see goalposts move, have a bunch of christians

    define god. It ranges from a fundie viewpoint of a tangible and real guy sitting atop the

    clouds looking down, messing about with his creation (and he can easily be debunked because

    we actually have evidence that disproves many of the aspects of such a deity), and it moves

    all the way to the other end of the spectrum where god is no more than a vague,

    philosophical idea, so intangible and vacuous it becomes meaningless and even pointless to

    take it into consideration at all.

    urblind wrote:

    catholics know little if anything about true

    Christianity..why? because the powers that be rule on what they allow the congregation to

    learn..in catholosism they discourage thier people to read and understand the Bible,

    […]

    Now you're clearly stepping well outside your (already limited) sphere of knowledge.

    Christianity has "confirmation", where you essentially confirm you still believe in god and

    agree with your having been baptised. It involves, among other things, studying (i.e.

    reading and understanding) the bible. It's not discouraged, you actually HAVE to do this.

    Of course, this is the complete opposite of how it was in the middle ages. But back then

    catholicism and the pope were pretty much the only existing flavor of christianity.

    SteveT wrote:

    Many people deride this as being “a la carte” Christianity, but I honestly don’t see a problem with it.

    I don't see what's especially wrong or misguided about it either. But I also don't see what it really has to do with organized religion and christianity.

    If you're going to pick and choose the bits you like, you are in a way doing exactly the same thing the creators of christianity did. They already picked and chose the things they liked, and slapped the label "christianity" on it. If you're going to pick and choose your own, you should stick your own label on it. Because frankly, none of the ideas in christianity are even original anyway. What makes it christianity is the fact they picked those and not others.

    But that's just my take on it …

    urblind wrote:

    the flood of Noah…the flood really happened, we know that, Noah’s ark was a real boat, we know that….it landed on mt ararat, we know that, so the story is true

    Sorry, but where is your proof for these statements?

    Without proof, they're just bullshit.

    I'm afraid you're hopelessly misinformed about the evidence you assume exists about this event. Most of it has been thoroughly debunked for being either forged or mistaken. And while evidence exists that localized small scale events might have happened which could be at the basis of this story, they predate the period of the old testament.

    Also, many facts within the story just don't add up (like fitting all the animals in the world – or perhaps even just those known to the region – into a boat with the dimensions of the one from the story).

  125. Profile photo of Pseudonym
    January 8, 2008 at 4:31 pm —

    exarch:

    I don’t consider [SteveT] to be a christian either. I think “christian” is far too ugly a label for the nice, friendly, tolerant, open-minded person he clearly is.

    Then you do agree with Christian fundamentalists. Christianity should be horrible, unfriendly, intolerant and closed-minded, and anyone who isn't clearly isn't a Christian.

    I can understand accepting that for the sake of argument (to show why the fundie position is completely absurd), but I can't understand why a rational person would actually believe it. It's the epitome of a bad straw man argument.

  126. Profile photo of exarch
    January 8, 2008 at 4:46 pm —

    Pseudonym wrote:

    You would not believe how painful it is to feel so strongly about something like that, but feel compelled not to speak out about it out of fear that it’ll do more damage than good. Or maybe you would. In any case, I’m glad it’s behind me now.

    This is in fact how many atheists and skeptics feel right now. Especially seeing the backlash against those who have spoken up. But clearly, that means it's having an effect.

    If "moderates" are unwilling to speak up out of fear of causing a rift, well, would that really be a bad thing? It would mean that fundamentalists would lose their "cover". What moderates may see as "damaging" (damaging to who or what?) might actually be the opposite: the end of fundamentalist belief from lack of adherents.

  127. Profile photo of exarch
    January 8, 2008 at 4:55 pm —

    well, christianity according to the bible, and the god portrayed in the Old Testament for that matter, is about power, war against the unfaithful, pettyness and cruelty, ostracising those who are too different, etc…

    This is the bible that most of christianity was based on for well over a thousand years. You can dislike it, you can rationalize it, but in the end, this is what it was originally about.

    I don't mind if people change the interpretation, drop a few things, include a few new things, alter it to suit their taste. On the contrary.

    But it's not the same thing any more.

    Then again, in my opinion, christianity has actually been anything but christian for most of those thousand years when the bible was hijacked by those in power, and used to control the faithful. I'm pretty sure christianity in the time of Jesus was a small and gentle religion. It just evolved into a mastodont of a corrupted institution so quickly that nobody could stop it, and those who disagreed were simply discarded.

  128. Profile photo of Pseudonym
    January 8, 2008 at 4:56 pm —

    exarch: I agree that it would not be a bad thing if moderates spoke up and disassociated themselves from fundamentalists. There would be no end of relief (though probably no cheering) from mainline or liberal Christians if fundamentalism ended.

    But there is a real taboo against getting aggressive. As I noted, the thinking part of Christianity has a long enough memory that it remembers what happened when one part tried to impose its belief on other parts. They do not want a repeat of that. They also see it as distracting from the "core mission" of making the world a better place.

    (This, by the way, is the same reason why you won't ever find Methodists turning up at your door asking if you've ever heard the Word of Wesley.)

  129. Profile photo of writerdd
    January 8, 2008 at 5:02 pm —

    OK, let's take this idea to it's logical extreme:

    I am a Christian. You can't tell me I'm not because I get to make up whatever the fuck I want the word to mean. I don't believe in God. I don't think Jesus existed as a real human being, and I certainly don't believe in the virgin birth or the deity of Christ or in the resurrection. I don't agree with most of the teachings of Jesus, either. But I hang a tiny nativity scene on my Christmas tree because I think it's pretty and I like the baby Jesus. He's so cute. That makes me a Christian. Why? Because I say so.

    What a load of shit. Words and names have meanings.I'm tired of people who don't really believe saying they are Christians because of peer pressure or because they believe in belief, as Dennet calls it. It's dishonest at best and stupid at worst. This is not the same thing as the fundamentalists saying others are not Christians because they know the only truth. This is just saying that words have definitions.

    I'm outta here before I become really rude.

  130. Profile photo of Rav Winston
    January 8, 2008 at 5:06 pm —

    We humans are just SO frelling TRIBAL, aren't we…? *sigh*

  131. Profile photo of exarch
    January 8, 2008 at 5:16 pm —

    Since definitions for christianity and feminism are proving so elusive, let's try a few other terms and see if we can draw parralels:

    When is it proper to call yourelf a woman, and when is it not?

    Well, there's only two options, and a few very rare genetic conditions sitting on the border.

    When is it proper to call yourself black, and when not?

    Here it gets trickier. There are now various inbetween shades of colour. There's the obvious extremes of clearly black and clearly not black, but even when attributes are physical and measurable, there could still be disagreement about who qualifies and who doesn't. But there's only one characteristic to take into account.

    When is it proper to call yourself an American?

    This one ifs even stickier. There's many different things that might be considered to make you "American".

    You could simply be American because you and all your ancestors have lived in America for a very long time. You could be an American because you chose to become one. You could even be American only because you were born there, when neither of your parents are American, you've never spent more than a few days there right around birth, have no other relation to the country, its culture or even speak its language.

    Many different people consider many different criteria when deciding if someone's REALLY American, even if there's very clear rules about what actually makes you so.

    I think as writerdd said, it seems to boil down to the fact that you're a christian when – and only when – you claim you are.

  132. Profile photo of kellbelle1020
    January 8, 2008 at 5:56 pm —

    "I am a Christian. You can’t tell me I’m not because I get to make up whatever the fuck I want the word to mean. I don’t believe in God. I don’t think Jesus existed as a real human being, and I certainly don’t believe in the virgin birth or the deity of Christ or in the resurrection. I don’t agree with most of the teachings of Jesus, either. But I hang a tiny nativity scene on my Christmas tree because I think it’s pretty and I like the baby Jesus. He’s so cute. That makes me a Christian. Why? Because I say so."

    Writerdd, I'm not sure if you are responding to me or not, but that is NOT the logical extreme of what I've been talking about.* There's a difference between believing in a liberal non-mainstream version of christianity, and only calling yourself a christian because of peer pressure. The former has thought about his or her belief, does put some level of reverence on the bible, believes in some type of god and some important role of Jesus, and it's silly to tell them they're not a "real" christian based on some arbitraty definition. Emphasis: they believe in some type of god and some important role of Jesus. The latter has merely taken on the social trappings of religion under duress, and as such is a very different sort of person. The former must be convinced of the error of their belief, while the latter can be helped merely if we remove the social advantage to having religion. Either way, I think my suggestion in a previous post still stands: take political allies where you can, and keep working toward the goals of rationalism to eradicate both types of people mentioned above. Either way, it's counterproductive to sit around bitching about "real" "true" or "original" christianity and why others are or aren't it (yes, even for the peer-pressure types). It is forever elusive and changing. Words do have meanings, and the word "Christianity" has about a billion of them.

    For what it's worth, I've been under the assumption that the first type of person I described has been the one in question here – the claim has been that you can either be feminist or christian, but not both. The first person I described can be. The discussion probably would have gone in a far different direction if the topic was the social pressures people face to be religious.

    *However, the contrarian in me would like to point out again, that for the past 2000 years, Christianity has been "whatever the fuck I want the word to mean" to those involved. Religious historians and different sects have come up with fancy names to describe the different types, like Arianism, the Marcionites, Protestantism, Ebionites, etc., but both historical and modern christians have believed in vastly different things, and have all called themselves followers of Christ.

  133. Profile photo of Pseudonym
    January 8, 2008 at 5:59 pm —

    writerdd:

    OK, let’s take this idea to it’s logical extreme:

    In my experience, extremes are rarely logical.

    You do have a good point, but while you're at it, why single out religion? There are some people who really believe that you're not a feminist if you don't believe that abortion is a form of birth control (as opposed to, say, merely a legitimate health care procedure that should be safe and legally available to all). And there are people who seem to honestly believe that you can't be a theist and a scientist!

    Religion doesn't have a monopoly on hard-to-pin-down definitions.

    I have to agree with exarch here:

    Then again, in my opinion, christianity has actually been anything but christian for most of those thousand years when the bible was hijacked by those in power, and used to control the faithful. I’m pretty sure christianity in the time of Jesus was a small and gentle religion. It just evolved into a mastodont of a corrupted institution so quickly that nobody could stop it, and those who disagreed were simply discarded.

    I think that liberal Christianity, in general, is mildly misguided in several respects, but I do see it as a serious attempt to reconstruct Christianity in Jesus' image, as opposed to Constantine's, while taking care to update it for the modern era.

    Now having said all that, I'd like to talk for a moment about semantics.

    People who work in the more formal sciency-type, such as mathematics, engineering or physics, want the definition of a word to be precise. If possible, precise enough that there's no way to misinterpret it. If you're dealing in a formal area, this is a good thing.

    You can almost hear the physics community screaming every time some woo-meister uses terms like "energy" or "vibration". And you can witness theoretical computer scientists choke on their caffeinated beverages of choice (well, I did, anyway) when the Discovery Institute uses terms like "information" and "irreducibly complex".

    (Incidentally, and similarly, I personally witnessed a prominent psychiatrist whom I will not name mutter under his breath over the book title, The God Delusion. I think this is yet another example of how some people who call themselves "scientists" and "rationalists" all of a sudden get very unscientific and non-rational (not irrational, exactly) when discussing religion. But I've already gone through this above, and I won't rehash it here.)

    The thing is, natural language simply doesn't work like that. I got quite a rude shock over this when I first studied some linguistics formally, so I really do understand your reluctance.

    Ludwig Wittgenstein (who is considered by many linguists to be the father of modern semantics) wrote at length on this topic. I forget the name of the essay where he discussed this (though the ideas mentioned in the Philosophical Investigations), but he went to some length in trying to pin down what we mean by the word "game". If you think about all the ways you use the word (board games, card games, mind games, war games, the Olympic games etc), there is really no single feature or set of features that games have, and that non-games do not have.

    Moreover, target shooting has far more in common with military sharpshooting than with contract Bridge. Yet, for some reason, we almost always can distinguish a game from a non-game when we see one.

    Yes, words and names have meanings. But they don't fit into the kinds of neat holes that a scientist or engineer might hope. That's why scientists and engineers have to invent their own jargon: When a physicist says "energy", you know what they mean by it. When an woo-meister says it, who knows.

    This, incidentally, is one of the reasons why the JREF is discontinuing its challenge. Generally speaking, woo-meisters (or at least the proper subset of them who aren't outright charlatans) simply cannot, for the most part, pin down precisely what they claim to be able to do. This is sometimes seen as a lack of intelligence on the part of the woo-meister. I disagree. The woo-meisters are just being human. If anything, it's science that uses language in the nonstandard way, and so has to do more than half the work if it's going to confront woo head-on in this kind of way. (So in retrospect, I don't blame the JREF one bit for dumping the challenge. The Johns, Uris and Sylvias were never going to bite.)

    Anyway, moving on, "schools of thought" (for lack of a better term) are even trickier to pin down. I don't claim to have a good answer here, but generally, I think self-ascription is the fairest way to go. Neo-Conservatives aren't Conservative by pretty much any standard, but that's not my argument to make. People who call themselves Conservative can sort themselves out.

    The key point is this: There is no scientific or engineering-esque meaning for terms like "Christian", any more than there is such a meaning for terms like "game". But that doesn't mean you can redefine it to mean what you like, any more than you can redefine "game" to mean what you like.

    One school of thought in modern linguistics, and it's based on Wittgenstein, is the "prototype category". Essentially, you think of the denotation of a word in terms of prototypes. These things are games, and things like them are also games.

    (This is not the same, by the way, as a fuzzy set. The denotation of the word "bird" it not fuzzy, unless you go back looking for transitional forms. In fuzzy logic, a penguin is a 100% valid member of the set of bird. But in prototype semantics, it's not considered a very good example of a bird.)

    Whatever definition you come up with: With respect, writerdd, you're not a Christian, because despite what you just wrote, you do not in good faith claim to be one. So we can settle that question, at least.

  134. Profile photo of kellbelle1020
    January 8, 2008 at 6:22 pm —

    Pseudonym – great post! Especially this:

    "The key point is this: There is no scientific or engineering-esque meaning for terms like “Christian”, any more than there is such a meaning for terms like “game”. But that doesn’t mean you can redefine it to mean what you like, any more than you can redefine “game” to mean what you like."

    I had something similar in mind to say in my previous post, but it didn't make it in. I was going to say something along the lines of how all my examples fell under the purview of historical christianity (or an attempt to reclaim some historical version of christianity) and had some basis on Jesus' life/interpretive model of scriptures, whereas if one was a practicing hindu, for instance, and decided for whatever reason to call it christianity, it pretty clearly wouldn't be. However, you said it even better! Thanks.

  135. Profile photo of Pseudonym
    January 8, 2008 at 6:50 pm —

    kellbelle: Thanks!

    I should add, of course, that no matter what definition you pick, there are grey areas.

    Exarch's example of "woman" is a great example of this. For the overwhelming majority of cases, it's easy to sort all adults into the categories "man" and "woman". On the border, there are cases which are not clear-cut, and self-ascription is probably the only sensible and compassionate (Holy Noodly Appendages, I'm sounding like a liberal Christian!) approach.

  136. Profile photo of SteveT
    January 8, 2008 at 8:29 pm —

    Since it's late and I am short on sleep as it is, I will have to bow out of any further commentary on this fascinating blog thread.

    But before I go, I just want to say how much I have enjoyed reading all of the erudite comments by Pseudonym, kellbelle, and slashnull. You two have made a number of arguments that I wanted to make, but did it ever so much more eloquently than I would have. One of the reasons I visit this blog multiple times a day is to read the thoughts of smart folks like you (and exarch, expatria, Rav, Blake, and SO many others (yes, even you writerdd!)). Note that the previous list was not intended to be exhaustive!! I don't always agree with what you say, but it always manages to get me thinking.

    Oh yeah, and I can't resist one final, parting comment. I changed my mind, urblind, you ARE an idiot after all. Sea fossils on Ararat prove Noah's flood?! Sheesh!

  137. Profile photo of SteveT
    January 8, 2008 at 8:31 pm —

    Oops. Two = three, for very large values of two.

    Didi I say I was short on sleep?

  138. Profile photo of Pseudonym
    January 8, 2008 at 9:10 pm —

    Thanks, SteveT. And thanks everyone (especially those whom SteveT has mentioned, adding SteveT himself to that list) for an extremely thoughtful and interesting discussion.

    I'll still be checking in a couple of times, but I'm going to assume that this thread is essentially exhausted. I think there are a couple of issues raised which would make excellent top-level posts, but I'll leave it up to the official skepchicks to decide which ones are deemed most interesting.

  139. Profile photo of urblind
    January 9, 2008 at 4:05 am —

    Expatria seems to be the advesary in all this,

    But s/he's more mouth than proof, and more ignorance than logic…

    You said:This is, of course, assuming Jesus actually existed. The fact he isn’t mentioned at

    all kind of speaks AGAINST him being anything but a fictional character, not the

    other way around.

    There are many historical documents and other evidence giving us a fair of what the middle

    east was like 2000 years ago. The bible is one of the least useful sources in that regard.

    Really, last I checked most scholars use the Bible as a resource in defining middle eastern life

    2000 years ago, have you ever looked at the history channel?? Probably not, your too busy

    Watching Nickalodeon obviously….

    It quickly becomes clear that it’s primarily a work of fiction. So using anything in the

    bible to prove that things in the bible are true, well, it’s obvious why that would be

    silly.

    Yet another notion that you havent read it or understood it.

    urblind wrote:

    catholics know little if anything about true

    Christianity..why? because the powers that be rule on what they allow the congregation to

    learn..in catholosism they discourage thier people to read and understand the Bible,

    […]

    Now you’re clearly stepping well outside your (already limited) sphere of knowledge.

    Christianity has “confirmation”, where you essentially confirm you still believe in god and

    agree with your having been baptised. It involves, among other things, studying (i.e.

    reading and understanding) the bible. It’s not discouraged, you actually HAVE to do this

    I'm starting to wonder if you can read at all?? Re-read, or should I call you on the phone and

    Read it to you?? YES CHRISTIANS HAVE TO READ AND STUDY…BUT CATHOLICS

    DISCOURAGE INDIVIDUAL READING AND STUDYING!!!! IT'S A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN

    CATHOLICS AND PROTESTANT CHRISTIANS!! CAN YOUR SMALL MIND COMPREHEND THAT?

    IT'S OBVIOUS YOU KNOW LITTLE IF ANYTHING ABOUT RELIGION OTHER THAN WHAT YOU WISH TO BELIEVE ABOUT IT!!

    urblind wrote:

    the flood of Noah…the flood really happened, we know that, Noah’s ark was a real boat, we know that….it landed on mt ararat, we know that, so the story is true

    Sorry, but where is your proof for these statements?

    Without proof, they’re just bullshit.

    The proof?? Are you mentally handicapped? Seriously?…there is overwhelming proof that a flood happened.

    There is a documented VIDEO of noahs ark done by the russians in the 40's (FACT)

    And it was shot on……none other than mt ararat…fact again

    Also, many facts within the story just don’t add up (like fitting all the animals in the world –

    Really?? The boat was big enough to hold 45,000 different species of animals…..which afterwards

    They used evolution (yes evolution) to bring forth all the rest of creatures….your science says 45,000

    Would have been well enough to repopulate the world.

    what you need to do is actually go back to studying, and once you really learn something, then come back to discuss it,

    your the one that's "so kindergarden"

  140. Profile photo of urblind
    January 9, 2008 at 4:09 am —

    rav,

    let me know when your in the house, I have found some of the info

    we discussed yesterday…

  141. Profile photo of writerdd
    January 9, 2008 at 4:35 am —

    Hi all, I'd like to echo the others who have said thanks for an interesting discussion. I may pull some of these topics out for future blog posts. And I apologize for sometimes getting a little too snarky and frustrated. Sometimes I think that people intentionally distort what I say, and then I remind myself that I just am not writing clearly enough — often in blog posts and comments because I am writing on the fly and not taking time to properly develop and edit my pieces the way I would for a magazine article or a book chapter. But that's half the fun of blogging, isn't it? And for me, writing is a way to find out what I think, so sometimes I might write things that I don't even agree with after giving the topic more thought. What I write in a blog post or comment is what I'm thinking at that precise moment. (Please, don't throw stones!)

    I'm done with this topic for now, but anyone who wants to continue the discussion, please feel free.

    Thanks again. Now I must do some bookkeeping before my accountant starts nagging me for the 2007 files! :-)

  142. Profile photo of Expatria
    January 9, 2008 at 7:24 am —

    urblind: You ARE blind :) Learn to read more carefully, you're applying my name to what exarch has written. Two different people here.

  143. Profile photo of urblind
    January 9, 2008 at 7:35 am —

    opps, my bad!

    it's the "Ex" that got me….

  144. Profile photo of exarch
    January 10, 2008 at 11:28 am —

    urblind wrote:

    Really, last I checked most scholars use the Bible as a resource in defining middle eastern life 2000 years ago, have you ever looked at the history channel?? Probably not, your too busy Watching Nickalodeon obviously….

    Well, I watch neither actually, since I'm not in the US. When I'm at my sister's house though, who already has digital TV, I do watch a lot of Discovery Science and such (which one is the one with MythBusters?).

    But maybe all the scholars you've listend to are actually bible scholars? Or historians/archaeologists who specialize in biblical history.

    You're right, it's a filed all on its own, but only because there's this bunch of loudmouths making a lot of fuss about it so they've decided to find out how much of it is based in fact. So far, very little has been found to corroborate anything that's in the bible.

    You may not believe me when I tell you that most of what's known about the middle east comes from sources that have nothing to do with christianity. I happen to know a couple of people who are studying to be archaeologists, they've read far more than you or I will ever be able to get our hands on regarding this region. The bible is just peanuts in comparison. And it's mostly full of useless crap.

    exarch wrote:

    It quickly becomes clear that it’s primarily a work of fiction. So using anything in the bible to prove that things in the bible are true, well, it’s obvious why that would be silly.

    urblind wrote:

    Yet another notion that you havent read it or understood it.

    Not really. It means you missed the point.

    The point was that using the bible to prove the things that are spoken of only in the bible is like lifting yourself from the ground with your bootstraps. Try it some time, it doesn't work.

    Hence we call it circular reasoning.

    exarch wrote:

    Christianity has “confirmation”, where you essentially confirm you still believe in god and agree with your having been baptised. It involves, among other things, studying (i.e. reading and understanding) the bible. It’s not discouraged, you actually HAVE to do this

    urblind wrote:

    I’m starting to wonder if you can read at all?? Re-read, or should I call you on the phone and Read it to you?? YES CHRISTIANS HAVE TO READ AND STUDY…BUT CATHOLICS DISCOURAGE INDIVIDUAL READING AND STUDYING!!!!

    Whoopsie. That was supposed to read "catholicism", not "christianity". A subject I know much more about than you, having been one for a good 15-20 years (before I wised up and admitted to myself I couldn't bear the stupidity of religion any more).

    In any case, you've already clearly shown your complete ignorance on the subject of catholicism. Or any religion really, other than what you've been told to believe in by parents, peers and your pastor. You couldn't read the bible without that bias even if you tried …

    urblind wrote:

    the flood of Noah…the flood really happened, we know that, Noah’s ark was a real boat, we know that….it landed on mt ararat, we know that, so the story is true

    exarch wrote:

    Sorry, but where is your proof for these statements?

    Without proof, they’re just bullshit.

    urblind wrote:

    The proof?? Are you mentally handicapped? Seriously?…there is overwhelming proof that a flood happened.

    There is a documented VIDEO of noahs ark done by the russians in the 40’s (FACT)

    And it was shot on……none other than mt ararat…fact again

    Sadly, that "video" is not fact at all. And it wasn't a video, it was a satellite photograph of a shadow. Satellite photographs of the exacts same spot on a different time show there's nothing there. Ground surveys of the area show there's nothing there. Ergo: there's nothing there. Not even a scrap of wreckage (yes, that too was fake, and easily proven to be so).

    Or maybe the bit you saw WAS video after all. I'll admit I'm not very familiar with all the "supposed" evidence about the story. Much of it never even makes it into publications like "Nature" or "National Geographic", mainly because they aren't really interested in being made to look like an idiot by a crackpot with crazy ideas and a history of deceit.

    There's lots of unreliable evidence like that out there. Most of it from media-hungry sheisters hoping to get in the news or rich (or both), like the guy from the St. James ossuary for example.

    You know, you actually have to watch those History Channel programs really carefully. Usually, the skeptics who show clear proof that all you've just watched is a load of bunk really do pop up every now and then throughout the show. Their undeniable facts dismissing "the proof of the century" just don't make for very good or spectacular TV, so you're very likely to miss the 15 second sound bite right before the show cuts to commercial break and re-opens with the question: "So, is it really true? We've seen this and that and …" … they invariably forget to add "... we've just seen so-and-so prove it's all rubbish".

    urblind wrote:

    Really?? The boat was big enough to hold 45,000 different species of animals…..which afterwards

    They used evolution (yes evolution) to bring forth all the rest of creatures….your science says 45,000

    Would have been well enough to repopulate the world.

    Do they really say that? And how long do they say that would take? Huh?

    Also, you can't have it both ways. Either evolution explains how one species can – over time – evolve into other different species, or it can't. If you say evolution can account for the entire world's population of species having evolved from a mere 45'000 different pairs (septets?) of animals, then it can definitely explain how humans and apes might have a common ancestor. You have to believe both or neither. Either evolution works the way it's proposed, or it doesn't. But you get to choose which one you want to believe :P

    I've already made my conclusion based on the evidence I've seen.

    Perhaps what you've been missing all your life is good evidence. Things like the Discover institutes dinosaur land isn't good evidence. It's a theme park, like Disney World, only much suckier, and taking itself too seriously. Oh, and not actually have anything to say that remotely resembles good evidence.

  145. Profile photo of urblind
    January 11, 2008 at 3:37 am —

    Exarch:

    Let me ask you a serious question…all jokes to the side,

    Do you have a mental disability?? Or do you experiment with

    Illegal drugs?? Seriously, because sometimes I wonder, after

    Reading your responses…I cant tell if your joking or if you really

    Believe the crap your writing….again I'm being serious!

    Well, I watch neither actually, since I’m not in the US. When I’m at my sister’s house though, who already has digital TV, I do watch a lot of Discovery Science and such (which one is the one with MythBusters?).

    So…..you don’t have a TV?? But you do watch myth busters?? I think you

    Just showed us how far your mental capability can expand…and it's not very far.

    Whoopsie. That was supposed to read “Catholicism“, not “Christianity“. A subject I know much more about than you, having been one for a good 15-20 years (before I wised up and admitted to myself I couldn’t bear the stupidity of religion any more).

    In any case, you’ve already clearly shown your complete ignorance on the subject of Catholicism. Or any religion really, other than what you’ve been told to believe in by parents, peers and your pastor. You couldn’t read the bible without that bias even if you tried …

    Wrong again my friend…..I happen to be a part time biblical scholar myself…..I probably know

    50 times more about Catholics than you….none of my sources have ever came from a "pastor"

    Or friends….instead the bulk of what I know about Catholicism, comes from none other than

    The Catholics themselves….the Vatican, the church of Rome, catholic web sites, I've seen documents

    About the Catholics you don’t even realize exist….so don’t tell me what I know about it, you were

    Just a simple member out in the pews….you have no formal study in theology or Catholicism…so

    You should just sit quietly on that subject.

    urblind wrote:

    The proof?? Are you mentally handicapped? Seriously?…there is overwhelming proof that a flood happened.

    There is a documented VIDEO of Noah's ark done by the Russians in the 40’s (FACT)

    And it was shot on……none other than mt Ararat…fact again

    Sadly, that “video” is not fact at all. And it wasn’t a video, it was a satellite photograph of a shadow. Satellite photographs of the exacts same spot on a different time show there’s nothing there. Ground surveys of the area show there’s nothing there. Ergo: there’s nothing there. Not even a scrap of wreckage (yes, that too was fake, and easily proven to be so).

    I'm sorry your so ignorant to facts…that was a video…a motion picture video some 20 minutes long,

    Shot by a team of Russians…it aired on a documentary, the history channel did a while back.

    They measured it, photographed it, and even took some of the wreckage back to Russia for further

    Study…I’m sorry you cant define fact when you see it exarch, maybe you should buy a TV?

    The history channel is non bias…it wasn’t lead buy a team of Christians as you probably hoped it would.

    You don’t get much more fact than that, so I'm sorry YOUR BLIND! Check the real facts and quit watching

    Myth busters!!! That’s for kids….

    urblind wrote:

    Really?? The boat was big enough to hold 45,000 different species of animals…..which afterwards

    They used evolution (yes evolution) to bring forth all the rest of creatures….your science says 45,000

    Would have been well enough to repopulate the world.

    Do they really say that? And how long do they say that would take? Huh?

    Also, you can’t have it both ways. Either evolution explains how one species can – over time – evolve into other different species, or it can’t. If you say evolution can account for the entire world’s population of species having evolved from a mere 45′000 different pairs (septets?) of animals, then it can definitely explain how humans and apes might have a common ancestor. You have to believe both or neither. Either evolution works the way it’s proposed, or it doesn’t. But you get to choose which one you want to believe

    Yet another reason I know you haven't read scripture!!!!!! Because if you have you would already know

    That evolution is talked about in the old testament…4000 years before Darwin was born!

    Evolution exists…..just we didn’t come from monkeys….sorry you cant accept that….

    I cant change the truth…

    I’ve already made my conclusion based on the evidence I’ve seen

    And it's a real shame….you talk like you've never read a book in your life.

    You defiantly don’t have much knowledge on any subject you speak of, and you turn your

    Back on scientific evidence, even though your on the side of science…sad : (

    Anyway I wont waste my time talking with you anymore…it's obvious your not

    Looking to observe anything worthwhile….go watch an episode of mythbusters, or ghostbusters,

    Or Scooby doo…..leave the science and theology to the experts…..thanks!

  146. Profile photo of whitebird
    January 11, 2008 at 3:47 pm —

    Hey Hey, URblind, are you posting under the handle "No God" on the thread about Dawn Sherman in the Chicago Tribune website?

  147. Profile photo of whitebird
    January 11, 2008 at 4:02 pm —

    Also, please read this quote from you:

    Exarch said: "Well, I watch neither actually, since I’m not in the US. When I’m at my sister’s house though, who already has digital TV, I do watch a lot of Discovery Science and such (which one is the one with MythBusters?)."

    You Said "So…..you don’t have a TV?? But you do watch myth busters?? I think you

    Just showed us how far your mental capability can expand…and it’s not very far."

    Now, I really want to understand what people are thinking, so when I see that someone is capable of such glaring ignorance, it's hard to take thier assertions/arguments at the same value as someone who is demonstrably capable of understanding things.

    To wit: exarch said that they were not in the United States and/or don't own a T.V. then they said "when I'm at my sister's house, though, who already has digital TV, I do watch a lot of Discovery Science and such (which one is the one with MythBusters?)."

    Then you insulted exarch because you somehow didn't understand that one can watch T.V. at their sister's house even if they themselves don't watch T.V. at home.

    Could you explain your response to Exarch?

    Also, what does this mean?:

    "And it’s a real shame….you talk like you’ve never read a book in your life.

    You defiantly don’t have much knowledge on any subject you speak of, and you turn your

    Back on scientific evidence, even though your on the side of science…sad : ("

    What Scientific evidence is anyone turning their back on? Furthermore, speaking of science, you can't really prove the non-existence of something that doesn't exist. Like "bions" or Orgone. The burden of proof is on the person who is saying that something exists.

    I was really hoping for some attempts at critical thinking instead of just saying things like "I've already made my conclusion based on evidence I've seen"

    Just for an experiment, URblind, why don't you spend some time here: http://www.davidicke.com/forum/ and see what your arguments look like to us.

  148. Profile photo of exarch
    January 13, 2008 at 4:27 pm —

    I've tried. I've really tried.

    I was civil. I listened to his crap and tried to show him/her why I think its crap. I refuted the most glaring errors in reasoning, logic, and it didn't make one fuck of difference. urblind is an ignorant fool who can't even read. You know it's time to quit when the ignorant fool is calling you an ignorant fool. And he's right. I was a fool for trying. I should have known it would end like this but hey, I couldn,'t resist at least trying it. Like wrestling a pig, you know :)

    Anyway, to clarify those few things that were pretty much obvious for anyone with the reading skills of a primary schooler, here's what I was saying in first-grade reading style:

    I own a TV. I am not in the US. American cable TV uses cable. I cannot receive cable across the Atlantic. America is across the Atlantic for me. Since I am not in the US, I don't receive American cable TV.

    My sister also has TV. She has digital TV. Digital TV is more expensive. She gets a lot more channels. One of those channels is Discovery Science. Another channel is one that has Mythbusters. These channels aren't live. The shows are pre-recorded. They are sold to digital TV providers. Digital TV providers air these shows. Digital TV providers can air more shows. They have more channels.

    Anyway, as an aside, nothing I wrote even suggested I watch Mythbusters regularly (although I do like the show).

    But hey, did we not get a fascinating look into the inner workings of the mind of a fundie? I'll have just a little recap:

    Somewhere, there's a Russian documentary crew with footage of the ark. They took bits of wreckage to examine. And that's the most anyone ever heard of these guys. We have no further knowledge about the producers of the History channel show, but I'm willing to bet my left testicle it's the very same badly researched history channel show we discussed on the JREF forums like, a year or two ago. The whole thing is put together with not a critical thought in sight, and the only skeptics in it get a soundbite here and there. For what it's worth, the History Channel does not have a very good name within the skeptical community precisely because of its propensity to air such badly researched bullshit, just as long as the money's good it it can be interpreted as somehow being of a historical nature.

    Also, it seems that suddenly creationists all believe evolution to be a fact (wow, it's even mentioned in the bible). Hey, for years we've all been saying it's a fact too, and they were pretty much arguing us tooth and nail that evolution is false.

    But for some reason or another, urblind's evolution can explain how 45'000 different species evolved into several billion over the course of a mere thousand years, yet at the same time, it's absolutely unimaginable to see how every animal on the planet, including humans, might have evolved from single celled organisms over the course of a few hundred million years.

    That's like saying you believe a lumberjack would be able to cut a tree into a dozen sections in under three seconds, but completely refusing to accept that he could easily have turned the whole thing into match-sized bits if only you gave him a few months time.

    Now that's some true fundie doublethink indeed. It's truly fascinating how anyone could be that biased.

    Anyway, I'm done with this. Nothing sensible has come out of urblind up until now, and I fail to see how anything sensible is going to come out in further responses.

  149. Profile photo of YesItIsEYE
    January 13, 2008 at 4:51 pm —

    I came across this post a few days ago and decided to read it. At first, I really gave what you had to say little thought. For some reason, however, I began to feel the need to reply. I am not really interested in all the hair-splitting I have seen in the majority of the thread, but I do wish to address the points you have tried to make here directly. I will insert my comments in and among yours for the purposes of making my points as direct responses to yours. So, dd…..here you go.

    ""As we’re getting started reading Full Frontal Feminism by Jessica Valenti, I’d like to point out a couple of recent articles questioning the compatibility of religion and feminism:

    God Hates Women from The Beast

    Feminist Atheism from Pandagon""

    Okay this first point is easy to make…I can dismiss the two articles you refer to above right off the bat due to misinformation. Let me illustrate: The author of the first article, God Hates Women states: (this is a direct copy so as to not misquote the individual)

    “Leviticus chapter 12 reminds us that women are unclean. After giving birth to a boy, a woman is considered unclean for seven days. However, if she has given birth to a girl, she is unclean for 33 days. Regardless, the concept that a woman is somehow unclean after giving birth is ludicrous. Of course, all religions fear the vagina, so it makes sense that the scribes (along with all men) went into a complete tizzy after childbirth, which very much relies upon the vagina.”

    This person’s quote simply is not true. Just read the scripture this person is referring to and you will be able to see this for yourself.

    “Leviticus 12: 1 The LORD said to Moses, 2 "Say to the Israelites: 'A woman who becomes pregnant and gives birth to a son will be ceremonially unclean for seven days, just as she is unclean during her monthly period. 3 On the eighth day the boy is to be circumcised. 4 Then the woman must wait thirty-three days to be purified from her bleeding. She must not touch anything sacred or go to the sanctuary until the days of her purification are over. 5 If she gives birth to a daughter, for two weeks the woman will be unclean, as during her period. Then she must wait sixty-six days to be purified from her bleeding.” (NIV)

    As you can see, the scripture does not state a woman is unclean for 33 days after giving birth to a girl. It states that she must wait 33 days to be purified from her bleeding after giving birth to a BOY. It goes on to say that if she gives birth to a DAUGHTER that she is unclean for a 2 week period and must wait sixty-six days to be purified from her bleeding. So, I can dismiss the two articles right off the bat due to misinformation. If the person can’t get their information straight the time and effort they spent writing these articles are a waste of time in my eyes. Not to mention the fact that the tone of the article is very reminiscent of a seventh grader discussing how to catch coodies from someone else. The author of the article also fails to go on to mention the instances in which a man is “unclean as well”. So I am not interested in lopsided rhetoric. The important point to look at here is that women were NOT seen as horrible trash after giving birth. We are talking about ancient civilizations here that were forming rules and regulations to BEGIN establishing some sort of civilized life. All these so called laws and regulations were meant for fledgling civilization and not intended to be misconstrued as oppression towards women. How ridiculous. If you take the verse in it’s entire context you will see what I am saying is true. If you go on and continue to read through Leviticus Chapter 13 you will see that the entire context of what is said revolves around trying to not spread infections due to rashes, etc. It was all about being sanitary in a time when medicine was not developed in the least. Or at least not like we know it today. Enough on that. Let’s move on.

    ""When I was a Christian (the first two-thirds of my life), I didn’t think of myself as a woman. I was just a person. Although I didn’t notice it at the time, I think I felt this way because I was subconsciously relating to scriptures that were exclusively addressed to men. It wasn’t until I was in my early 30s and had already walked away from religion and Jesus that I realized that feminism and the lack of equality for women were still important issues that hadn’t yet been resolved, even in America (which I still thought of as the greatest nation on Earth).

    It’s hard to fathom that I, the good Christian girl who didn’t wear pants because they were men’s clothing, could somehow ignore the fact that I was not the person being spoken to in the Bible, but rather a piece of property, a slave. Looking back, I see that the pastors of several churches we’d attended had difficulty dealing with my family because we had no man as the head of the household; and to make matters worse, we weren’t looking for a male authority figure in our lives. Other churches I attended had women in authority positions, preaching and teaching from the pulpit, clearly ignoring the scriptures below. My background, as I view it from afar, was a jumble of mixed messages.""

    Ok, what you say in the opening of your first paragraph makes sense because for the first two thirds of your life you were not a woman. You were a child, then an adolescent girl. I think you would agree with me since in the second paragraph you refer to yourself as a “good Christian girl”. That said, seeing the world of Christianity through the eyes of a girl it would have been very easy for you to feel as though you were receiving a “jumble of mixed messages“. Now I don’t know what types of churches you attended but I have been to many and I have yet to attend one that teaches women are slaves and property to be had. Sounds to me like you had some involvement in some cults if that is the case.

    ""Why do I think the Bible treats women as slaves and property and that the scriptures are written to an audience of men?""

    The scriptures are written to an audience of men? This is all I will say about that statement: What about this:

    “1 Corinthians 1: 1Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes, 2To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—their Lord and ours: 3Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (NIV)

    It doesn’t sound like it’s addressed to men to me. It sounds like it’s addressed to the CHURCH, which is clearly made up of men and women. Still not convinced? What about this:

    “Ephesians 1: 1Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus:

    2Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (NIV)

    Enough said on that topic…I could go on and on.

    ""Verses that reflect this attitude are listed in both of the articles linked above, but here are the two that speak most strongly to me:

    Exodus 20:17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.

    Obviously the ten commandments are only addressed to men, since only men can have wives in Biblical Jewish society.""

    Obviously, since? So, SINCE only men can have a wife, that means the ten commandments are only addressed to men? Come on…who are we really trying to fool here? I won’t expand on that any further but to say ANYONE who takes the time to read the 20th chapter of Exodus can plainly see that the ten commandments were issued to the Israelites. Men and Women. I mean are you really saying that God only expects Men to not lie? Does God only expect Men to not murder? Your logic only weakens your point. It sounds to me like God expects a lot more of men than he does of women. Is that the case? Exodus 20: 7 makes it pretty clear that the ten commandments are not just intended for men. “Exodus 20: 7 – You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold ANYONE guiltless who misuses him name. Not just men.

    ""The women are simply one of the posessions that men are not to covet. (One reason why I believe we, as women, cannot tolerate these commandments being posted in government buildings in the United States.) For those who will say “That’s the Old Testament, Jesus did away with those archaic laws,” let’s take a look at what Paul, arguably the founder of the Christianity, had to say about women.

    I Corinthians 14: 34 and 35 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.

    “Your women”? Hmmm. Obviously Paul was also only writing to the men.""

    Anyone who knows much at all about the bible knows that shame and disgrace played a big part in the culture of the times. Take Elizabeth for example. She was the mother of John the Baptist. She was unable to conceive (Luke 1:7) and felt disgraced because of it. How do we know she felt disgraced? Because in (Luke 1: 24, 25) we find out that Elizabeth becomes pregnant and feels blessed of the Lord. She states “HE has shown HIS favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.” The important thing to observe here is that the disgrace was among THE PEOPLE. Obviously a cultural problem. Women were not told to be quiet in church because men are the king of the mountain and women are but mere trash. Every culture has its own quirks….even ancient ones. I will prove to you that women had equal rights in the bible. Just be patient and read on.

    Yes. Let’s have a look at what Paul “arguably the founder of Christianity” had to say about women. Anyone reading this should take the time to read all of 1 Corinthians 7: 1-16. I will just emphasize certain points to demonstrate that Paul was all for women having equal rights. Paul requires nothing in this passage of scripture of women that he does not require from men. 1 Corinthians 7: 2 – “each man should have his OWN wife and each woman her OWN husband.” 1 Corinthians 7:3 – “The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband.” 1 Corinthians 7:4 – “The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the SAME way, the husband’s body does not BELONG to him alone but also to his wife.” There is A LOT more where that came from just read it for yourself. You can’t take the culture of the time and try to somehow support your 21st century agenda. It just won’t work. Slaves and Handmaidens and Menservants were all common at the time. Why don’t you point out all the references that refer to MEN being servants, slaves, etc? That does not mean that the Bible teaches or in some way advocates these things. If that is what you believe you are wrong. Jesus taught love and compassion, and nothing but peace and happiness is what he desired for us ALL. For more on equality in the bible read 1 Corinthians 11: 11-16.

    ""Although I don’t recall Jesus saying anything negative about women, all of his disciples were men and the only women around him spent their time serving food and washing his feet with their hair. Enough said.""

    Enough said huh? What about Anna? Have you read Luke 2:36? Have you read about the PROPHETESS Anna? The female who SPOKE in the TEMPLE?? And God forbid spoke about JESUS? Oh my gosh! You make it sound like serving food and washing feet was only reserved for the SLAVE WOMEN surrounding him. But you did fail to mention that Jesus served food to 5,000 individuals (Matthew 14: 19) and that he also (John 13: 1-17) WASHED HIS DISCIPLES FEET! Why do you neglect these details? I am amazed to see that such tunnel vision can be achieved….such self deception.

    ""In retrospect, I agree with the premise that you can’t follow Christianity and be a feminist. The only way to reconcile the two is to ignore a lot of what is taught in the Bible as I did, even as a fundamentalist who would have vociferously defended my literal reading of scripture. It is an untenable position.

    What does this mean for us skepchicks? I believe we are all feminists, even if we don’t choose to wear that label, simply because we don’t buy into the idea that women are dumber than men.""

    So now the bible teaches that women are dumber than men? Hmmm…let’s see. How about Judges 4: 1-10? Ever heard of Deborah? Let’s take this bit by bit…Deborah was a wife, oh but she was also a PROPHETESS, oh and THE LEADER OF ISRAEL (you know GOD’S chosen people) at the time, let’s see, she was a JUDGE who held court under the Palm of Deborah and SHE not HE decided the Israelites disputes. Hmmm, you mean a woman leader? Couldn’t be! Can’t be! Women are slaves, just property, oppressed pieces of meat right???? J And I am not even close to being finished. She gave COMMANDS from GOD (Judges 4:6). But here is the point… you say the bible makes women out to be dumb…not so at all. Just read (Judges 4: 8-9). The MAN she had commanded to go into battle would NOT go unless she went and she AGREES to do it because he was too afraid. In verse 9 she says, “I will go with you, but because of the way YOU (A MAN) is going about this, the HONOR will not be yours, for the Lord will hand Sisera over to a WOMAN. Oh my God, God has Honored a woman….What next!

    Here’s one more then I will quit, because I could go on and on with this. But I’m pretty sure I have made my points and made them well. How about the Queen of Sheba? Did you know that when this “Slave Girl” went to visit Solomon that she gave him a gift of 9,000 pounds of Gold? That she gave him more spices and Jewels AS A GIFT than had ever been seen at the time? Yeah it says it right there in the Bible. Just read 1 Kings 10: 1-13.

    What about Queen Esther? Forget about her? The woman whose bravery saved the lives of thousands of Jews and after whose name the Festival of Purim was honored and created? (Esther Chapters 4 – 10)

    ""The whole premise of Skepchick as an organization is to give women equal opportunities in science and in the skeptical community, where we are often under represented, in part because our society still internalizes the misogyny of the Bible, and many women subconsciously absorb this demeaning image of themselves.

    We’ll address Islam and feminism direclty next month, when we read Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali. But if you have experiences with misogynistic teachings of Islam, Judaism, or any other religion, feel free to discuss in the comments.""

    So there you have it. If you would like more proof I’ve got it for you. The Bible is the Greatest Book ever written. It is for all PEOPLE. Male or Female. I admire your zeal, but may I suggest you reconsider the choice you have made. The choice to fall into a victim mentality. You can blame the bible and you can blame men and you can blame religion or even your subconscious mind. But, all the blame will never and I mean never help you resolve the internal conflict/conflicts you are going through. The origin of the conflict/conflicts is of no consequence. Events + Your Response = Your Outcome In Life. The event or events that have transpired in life aren’t as important as how you respond to them. As long as you respond as a victim you will be a victim. A victim of your own Mind. May the God of All Peace Bring you Peace. God Bless.

  150. Profile photo of exarch
    January 14, 2008 at 2:31 am —

    Leviticus 12: 1-5 (NIV) says:

    The LORD said to Moses, 2 “Say to the Israelites: ‘A woman who becomes pregnant and gives birth to a son will be ceremonially unclean for seven days, just as she is unclean during her monthly period. 3 On the eighth day the boy is to be circumcised. 4 Then the woman must wait thirty-three days to be purified from her bleeding. She must not touch anything sacred or go to the sanctuary until the days of her purification are over. 5 If she gives birth to a daughter, for two weeks the woman will be unclean, as during her period. Then she must wait sixty-six days to be purified from her bleeding.

    So explain to me, precisely, how the fact a woman must wait only 40 days after giving birth to a boy, and twice as long (80 days) after giving birth to a girl, does not somehow suggest she is "unclean" longer when a girl is involved?

    The fact that men can be considered unclean is completely irrelevant …

    YesItIsEYE wrote:

    So, SINCE only men can have a wife, that means the ten commandments are only addressed to men? Come on…who are we really trying to fool here? I won’t expand on that any further but to say ANYONE who takes the time to read the 20th chapter of Exodus can plainly see that the ten commandments were issued to the Israelites. Men and Women. I mean are you really saying that God only expects Men to not lie?

    It's funny you should interpret it like that.

    Anyway, the ten commandments are only addressed to men. That in no way implies they only apply to men. As you yourself have just shown.

    Unless the bible allows women to have wives?

    I guess not …

    YesItIsEYE wrote:

    The scriptures are written to an audience of men? This is all I will say about that statement: What about this:

    It then proceeds with a few quotes from the bible that don't specifically address men (although none of the examples specifically address women either, which makes me think once again the point being made was missed).

    So yes, considering the age in which the story takes place, the bible doesn't specifically address women, and when it does talk about women, it's usually (yes, not always) referencing the women by the men they're associated with (with few exceptions). For example, Lot's wife (or his daughters for that matter). Despite turning into a pillar of salt, do you think anyone bothers to remember her by her own name? It seems everyone just talks about her as "Lot's wife". Why is that?

    What has to happen to a woman in order for het to merit being mentioned in the bible on her own, without the mention of her husband, father, brother, etc… ? How many women are there in the bible like that? Now compare that to the amount of men who get a mention without women?

    It's subtle, and perhaps your average christian doesn't notice it, but it's there.

    Still, nobody is suggesting that every single thing in the bible is mysoginistic and anti-women. But there's simply too much of it around to just ignore it completely. And it appears many christian women are doing just that. For example by thinking about themselves in a gender neutral way. Or by taking the assigned gender roles for granted rather than questioning or, heaven forbid, breaking them.

    It's kind of hard to break free of that pre-ordained classification as just a wife and mother when the source of your life motto, your religion and the bible, are constantly urging you to conform and become just that.

    Now this is obviously just a remnant of the day and age in which the bible was written, and the people it was written by. But that's exactly what makes it so odd to see this book and its views on society still being followed so closely.

  151. Profile photo of urblind
    January 14, 2008 at 4:08 am —

    YesItIsEYE,

    you seem to be the only one here with at least a minimum knowledge of the Bible…..unfortunatley people like exarch are ignorant to scripture and even more ignorant to interpretation. your post made some good points, but these people believe only what they want to believe…even if you give the scientific evidence to back it, they're quick to dismiss it…truth be told any evidence you give would be dismissed, they call me fundie, I've never even stepped inside a fundamentalist Church, and just because they choose not to research properly, they blame thier lack of knowlege on me and poke fun…thats cool with me, I know I can back up what I say, they can not. they CAN argue and bitch…they do that well : )

    they forget that the middle east is the "cradle of life", that man kind originated there…they forget that Christianity taught the majority of the world to read and write during missionary trips way back centuries ago, and translated the word into thier native tongues, and in some cases actually inventing an alphabet for some of them….but they believe it not. and for whatever reason they dont believe that the Bible is the main source of information for historical archeologists of the middle east, while in FACT it is…all the evidence is easily found, but they choose either to ignore it, or say the evidence is somehow corrupted by the evil Christians, and that skeptics only get 3 seconds to argue the point. I feel like I'm in a seventh grader chat room half the time when I'm in here. exarxh needs to update his'her knowledge a little more before arguing on behalf of the athieths, he'she makes 'em look bad. last week Rav I think thier name was, wanted to argue me down about some amputees, they asked for information on it, I spent MY entire afternoon looking for it…found it..and came back the next day to give it to him'her……but they were no where to be found…truth is, they are scared of evidence and truth, because it will shake thier faith in atheism. Athiesm has too many flaws…I recently looked at the american atiests website…under thier "contradictions of the Bible" section, I nearly fell out my seat laughing, they dont know how foolish they are! they were supposed to be killing my faith, instead they increased it, with all thier ignorance! don't ask for scientific proof exarch, if you dismiss it before researching it! you would never make it in a research field of study.

  152. Profile photo of exarch
    January 14, 2008 at 6:41 am —

    Yes, you're right, it IS hard to resist answering :)

    For the record: atheism requires no faith. That's the whole point.

    If tomorrow, evidence pops up that proves that everything I thought I knew about the world was false, well, then I'd have to change my view of the world. It would be hard, but I'd do it anyway, because otherwise I'd be wrong, and I hate being wrong more than being called an idiot.

    On the other hand, I'm not going to take the word of some guy, who still believes the fairy tale of literal biblical creation is fact, as true just because (s)he says it is.

    Likewise, I'm not going to take anything that comes from that godawful documentary from the history channel as fact either. It's already been shown to contain a number of "experts" who really aren't, and evidence that's long been refuted by now.

    You might as well do away with history books altogether and rely on Oliver Stone movies for all your "facts".

    I'll close by highlighting the difference between skeptics and believers:

    When you ask a skeptic "what would change your mind about this issue?", you may get a number of different answers, some complex, some straightforward, but the fact is, you'll get an answer.

    If you ask a believer (of religion, of alternative medicine, of the supernatural, etc…) what would change their mind, the answer is a unanimous "nothing". And even if they don't understand why, this is the root of the problem. Even if they are patently wrong, nothing can persuade them to see their mistake, because they are adamantly convinced they're right. No matter how foolish they look for clinging to their hopelessly outdated views. No matter how WRONG they are, they cannot let go. That's really sad …

    I on the other hand, am not adamantly convinced that everything I know is true. After all, I used to believe a lot of that crap before (and I may still think a lot of things to be true which aren't). But I've looked at the evidence, and came to realise after a while that, too much just doesn't add up if you try to fit it into the religious world view, while it still makes perfect sense if you eliminate god. For starters, the bible definitely makes a lot more sense if you strike god from the equasion.

    But striking god from the equasion just isn't an option for the believer, so instead they soothe themselves with the thought that it is we who must be deluded and ignorant, because they have the knowledge, the bible, they can't possibly be mistaken.

    How do you explain to someone that their bible isn't fact, when their entire world is built on the assumption that it is?

  153. Profile photo of urblind
    January 14, 2008 at 7:04 am —

    For the record: atheism requires no faith

    oh yes it does! and plenty of it! faith means you believe it, even knowing

    it's impossible to prove every aspect of it. you believe the world happened out of thin air, but you can't prove diddly….you believe we evolved from single cell organisms…yet lack of proof…it takes more faith to believe in science than it will ever take to believe in God…..sad for you

    Likewise, I’m not going to take anything that comes from that godawful documentary from the history channel as fact either

    sad for you again…the history channel is used as a medium in more classrooms here in the US than any other medium on the planet….the school system thinks it's a factual network..hmmm, should I believe the opinion of a chat room? or the respected opinions of the educational system?? oops, look like they beat out your lousy personal opinion….sorry : (

    I’ll close by highlighting the difference between skeptics and believers:

    When you ask a skeptic “what would change your mind about this issue?“, you may get a number of different answers, some complex, some straightforward, but the fact is, you’ll get an answer.

    If you ask a believer (of religion, of alternative medicine, of the supernatural, etc…) what would change their mind, the answer is a unanimous “nothing“

    nope……I think you have that backwards? you are the ones who wont listen to reason, nothing will change your mind………you may could change mine, if only you had a much,much stronger case than you have…..but you never will, so I'll keep on with the real, while you live in denial…

    I on the other hand, am not adamantly convinced that everything I know is true. After all, I used to believe a lot of that crap before (and I may still think a lot of things to be true which aren’t). But I’ve looked at the evidence, and came to realise after a while that, too much just doesn’t add up if you try to fit it into the religious world view, while it still makes perfect sense if you eliminate god. For starters, the bible definitely makes a lot more sense if you strike god from the equasion.

    looks like your confused about alot of things…your not sure what to believe.

    as you state here……do you need the number to a prayer line? maybe they can help you?

    How do you explain to someone that their bible isn’t fact, when their entire world is built on the assumption that it is?

    like I said…show me where it lacks fact, and maybe you'll have something worthy to talk about.

  154. Profile photo of exarch
    January 14, 2008 at 7:15 am —

    PI = 3 ?

  155. Profile photo of writerdd
    January 14, 2008 at 7:21 am —

    disease is caused by demon posession?

    the sun going backwards would reverse time?

    exarch, anything we point out as false, urblind will claim as metaphor. It's hopeless.

  156. Profile photo of urblind
    January 14, 2008 at 7:41 am —

    yeah….metaphors…

    I wonder who the dumbasses were that made such stupid quotes as:

    think outside the box…or…read between the lines? guess they didnt

    realize that everything under the sun must be taken litteraly "as is"

    if only they could join us here?

    I'm sorry , I'm in a good mood….been reading the american athiests website…it always makes me laugh! wonder who writes for them? I dunno but they need to be fired! they make themselves look silly. I hope you guys are not a member? thier lack of knowledge in the scripture department is about equivalent to that of a 5 year old….

  157. Profile photo of urblind
    January 14, 2008 at 8:10 am —

    hmm…Frank R. Zindler writes for them….

    you would think he was smarter than that? guess what they say is true?

    a degree is just a piece of paper??

  158. Profile photo of flygrrl
    January 14, 2008 at 9:16 am —

    I even hate to comment on this thread at this late date, but I've been processing (and ignoring the red herring discussion with the troll) for days now, and finally have organized my thoughts.

    I think it is possible to reconcile being a feminist with being religious. I used to really wonder how it was that gay people could possibly be religious (for pretty much the same reasons the question in this post was asked), and I think in both cases what it boils down to is that spirituality is important for most humans. Because there are few alternative paths for spirituality, and organized religion offers both community AND spirituality, it's very possible for people to follow that path. Also with such varying interpretations of religious doctrine and people basically cherry-picking and using what they agree with and discarding the rest, it's quite possible to start with Xtianity and translate it into something personally meaningful despite being part of a group that is repeatedly maligned both in the Bible and by many of the more pernicious religious organizations. Especially if you don't see the world in black and white.

  159. Profile photo of urblind
    January 14, 2008 at 9:36 am —

    I even hate to comment on this thread at this late date, but I’ve been processing (and ignoring the red herring discussion with the troll) for days now, and finally have organized my thoughts.

    boy this isite is full of classy and civilized members!!

  160. Profile photo of writerdd
    January 14, 2008 at 10:12 am —

    Hi Flygrrl, thanks for the input. I've been convinced that you can follow some forms of Christianity and be a feminist, but you either have to either ignore the sexism in the bible and church history or view it as an historical artifact that is not part of the core of the contemporary type of Christianity you follow. You can't be a fundamentalist xian and a feminist though, unless you are distorting one of those words beyond recognition.

    At some point, I think, Christianity becomes so far removed from its roots that it is completely unrecognizable (such as Spong's version), and the name just doesn't make sense as a descriptor of the beliefs and practices any more. At such a point, does it just cause confusion to try to use old words to describe new belief systems?

  161. Profile photo of flygrrl
    January 14, 2008 at 10:25 am —

    Hey writerdd,

    Yes, as usual, I completely agree with what you said. I do agree that you can't be a fundamentalist/biblical literalist and a feminist in the way that most people understand the word. I think you'll find more people calling themselves feminists among, oh, the denominations that allow female clergy for instance.

    As to your second paragraph– I think Christianity is more of a category of beliefs, as opposed to being descriptive of a specific set of beliefs, and the only requirement is that Jesus be in there somewhere. So in that sense I think it is still useful. It works for differentiating Christianity from other religions/philosophies, but doesn't work for explaining anything about that religion or what any of the denominations/traditions really have in common (other than Jesus being in there somewhere). But I'm definitely not a religious scholar.

  162. Profile photo of whitebird
    January 14, 2008 at 10:34 am —

    Ok, Urblind, speaking of classy and civilized: why do you troll? You realize that we are all well aware of the bible's existence and many of us were indoctrinated as children. I don't understand what makes you think that being antagonistic, illogical, and spelling poorly on a website where freethinkers come to discuss things is going to change anyone's mind. In fact, the way that you are communicating (not actually trying to have a discussion, just trying to play "gotcha!", telling us we are going to hell – in your very first sentence, even!) itself would turn people off from your message, even if it were sound.

    Do you think that if any of us went to some religious website and introduced ourselves by saying "well, it looks like you're all a bunch of morons because you have faith!" and then – instead of actually trying to understand how and what the religious think and feel and then discussing things in a way where they would have to answer why – repeatedly stating how stupid they were and posting lengthy math proofs? I mean come on. We're all for discussion here. Our whole deal is that we ask, ask, ask. you know, like Plato, right?

  163. Profile photo of urblind
    January 14, 2008 at 10:35 am —

    Does ancient history agree with the Bible?

    If the Bible is God's message to us, we should hope its version of history is accurate. It is.

    For example, the Bible reports that Jesus of Nazareth performed many miracles, was executed by the Romans, and rose from the dead. Numerous ancient historians corroborate the Bible's account of the life of Jesus and his followers:

    Cornelius Tacitus (A.D. 55-120), an historian of first-century Rome, is considered one of the most accurate historians of the ancient world.1 An excerpt from Tacitus tells us that the Roman emperor Nero "inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class…called Christians. …Christus [Christ], from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus…."2

    Flavius Josephus, a Jewish historian (A.D. 38-100+), wrote about Jesus in his Jewish Antiquities. From Josephus, "we learn that Jesus was a wise man who did surprising feats, taught many, won over followers from among Jews and Greeks, was believed to be the Messiah, was accused by the Jewish leaders, was condemned to be crucified by Pilate, and was considered to be resurrected."3

    Suetonius, Pliny the Younger, and Thallus also wrote about Christian worship and persecution that is consistent with New Testament accounts.

    Even the Jewish Talmud, certainly not biased toward Jesus, concurs about the major events of his life. From the Talmud, "we learn that Jesus was conceived out of wedlock, gathered disciples, made blasphemous claims about himself, and worked miracles, but these miracles are attributed to sorcery and not to God."4

    This is remarkable information considering that most ancient historians focused on political and military leaders, not on obscure rabbis from distant provinces of the Roman Empire. Yet ancient historians (Jews, Greeks and Romans) confirm the major events that are presented in the New Testament, even though they were not believers themselves.

    ——————————————————————————–

    Are the gospel accounts of Jesus reliable?

    Secular historians recorded the general facts of Jesus' life, but his close associates made more detailed reports based on direct eyewitness testimony. These are called the four gospels, the first four books of the New Testament. How can we be sure these biographies of Jesus are accurate?

    When historians try to determine if a biography is reliable, they ask, "How many other sources report the same details about this person?" Here's how this works. Imagine you are collecting biographies of President John F. Kennedy. You find many describing his family, his presidency, his handling of the Cuban Missile Crisis, and almost all of the biographies report similar facts. But what if you found one biography reporting that JFK lived ten years as a priest in South Africa? The other biographies had him in the U.S. at the time; a sensible historian would go with the accounts that agree with one another.

    Regarding Jesus of Nazareth, do we find multiple biographies reporting similar facts about his life? Yes. While they don't redundantly cover all of the same information, the four gospels tell essentially the same story:

    Two of the gospels were written by the apostles Matthew and John, men who knew Jesus personally and traveled with him for over three years. The other two books were written by Mark and Luke, close associates of the apostles. These writers had direct access to the facts they were recording. The early church accepted the four gospels because they agreed with what was already common knowledge about Jesus' life.

    Each of the four gospel writers made a very detailed account. As you would expect from multiple biographies of a real person, there is variation in the style but agreement in the facts. We know the authors were not simply making things up, because the gospels give specific geographical names and cultural details that have been confirmed by historians and archaeologists.

    Jesus' recorded words leave out many topics the early church would have liked a statement on. This indicates that the biographers were honest, not putting words in Jesus' mouth to suit their own interests.

    *****

    Has the Bible changed and become corrupted over time?

    Some people have the idea that the New Testament has been translated "so many times" that it has become corrupted through stages of translating. If the translations were being made from other translations, they would have a case. But translations are actually made directly from original Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic source texts based on thousands of ancient manuscripts.

    For instance, we know the New Testament we have today is true to its original form because:

    1. We have such a huge number of manuscript copies — over 24,000.

    2. Those copies agree with each other, word for word, 99.5% of the time.

    3. The dates of these manuscripts are very close to the dates of their originals.

    When one compares the text of one manuscript with another, the match is amazing. Sometimes the spelling may vary, or words may be transposed, but that is of little consequence. Concerning word order, Bruce M. Metzger, professor emeritus at Princeton Theological Seminary, explains: "It makes a whale of a difference in English if you say, 'Dog bites man' or 'Man bites dog' — sequence matters in English. But in Greek it doesn't. One word functions as the subject of the sentence regardless of where it stands in the sequence."5

    Dr. Ravi Zacharias, a visiting professor at Oxford University, also comments: "In real terms, the New Testament is easily the best attested ancient writing in terms of the sheer number of documents, the time span between the events and the documents, and the variety of documents available to sustain or contradict it. There is nothing in ancient manuscript evidence to match such textual availability and integrity."6

    The New Testament is humanity's most reliable ancient document. Its textual integrity is more certain than that of Plato's writings or Homer's Iliad.

    The Old Testament has also been remarkably well preserved. Our modern translations are confirmed by a huge number of ancient manuscripts in both Hebrew and Greek, including the mid-20th century discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls. These scrolls hold the oldest existing fragments of almost all of the Old Testament books, dating from 150 B.C. The similarity of the Dead Sea manuscripts to hand copies made even 1,000 years later is proof of the care the ancient Hebrew scribes took in copying their scriptures.

    Does archaeology support the Bible?

    Archaeology cannot prove that the Bible is God's written word to us. However, archaeology can (and does) substantiate the Bible's historical accuracy. Archaeologists have consistently discovered the names of government officials, kings, cities, and festivals mentioned in the Bible — sometimes when historians didn't think such people or places existed. For example, the Gospel of John tells of Jesus healing a cripple next to the Pool of Bethesda. The text even describes the five porticoes (walkways) leading to the pool. Scholars didn't think the pool existed, until archaeologists found it forty feet below ground, complete with the five porticoes.7

    The Bible has a tremendous amount of historical detail, so not everything mentioned in it has yet been found through archaeology. However, not one archaeological find has conflicted with what the Bible records.

    In contrast, news reporter Lee Strobel comments about the Book of Mormon: "Archaeology has repeatedly failed to substantiate its claims about events that supposedly occurred long ago in the Americas. I remember writing to the Smithsonian Institute to inquire about whether there was any evidence supporting the claims of Mormonism, only to be told in unequivocal terms that its archaeologists see 'no direct connection between the archaeology of the New World and the subject matter of the book.'" Archaeologists have never located cities, persons, names, or places mentioned in the Book of Mormon.

    Many of the ancient locations mentioned by Luke, in the Book of Acts in the New Testament, have been identified through archaeology. "In all, Luke names thirty-two countries, fifty-four cities and nine islands without an error."

    Archaeology has also refuted many ill-founded theories about the Bible. For example, a theory still taught in some colleges today asserts that Moses could not have written the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Bible), because writing had not been invented in his day. Then archaeologists discovered the Black Stele. "It had wedge-shaped characters on it and contained the detailed laws of Hammurabi. Was it post-Moses? No! It was pre-Mosaic; not only that, but it was pre-Abraham (2,000 B.C.). It preceded Moses' writings by at least three centuries."

    Another major archaeological find confirmed an early alphabet in the discovery of the Ebla Tablets in northern Syria in 1974. These 14,000 clay tablets are thought to be from about 2300 B.C., hundreds of years before Abraham. The tablets describe the local culture in ways similar to what is recorded in Genesis chapters 12-50.

    Archaeology consistently confirms the historical accuracy of the Bible.

    Are there contradictions in the Bible?

    While some claim that the Bible is full of contradictions, this simply isn't true. The number of apparent contradictions is actually remarkably small for a book of the Bible's size and scope. What apparent discrepancies do exist are more curiosity than calamity. They do not touch on any major event or article of faith.

    Here is an example of a so-called contradiction. Pilate ordered that a sign be posted on the cross where Jesus hung. Three of the Gospels record what was written on that sign:

    In Matthew: "This is Jesus, the king of the Jews."

    In Mark: "The king of the Jews."

    In John: "Jesus of Nazareth, the king of the Jews."

    The wording is different, hence the apparent contradiction. The remarkable thing, though, is that all thee writers describe the same event in such detail — Jesus was crucified. On this they all agree. They even record that a sign was posted on the cross, and the meaning of the sign is the same in all three accounts!

    What about the exact wording? In the original Greek of the Gospels, they didn't use a quotation symbol as we do today to indicate a direct quote. The Gospel authors were making an indirect quote, which would account for the subtle differences in the passages.

    Here is another example of an apparent contradiction. Was Jesus two nights in the tomb or three nights in the tomb before His resurrection? Jesus said, prior to his crucifixion, "For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth" (Matthew 12:40). Mark records another statement that Jesus made, "We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles, who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise." (Mark 10:33,34)

    Jesus was killed on Friday and the resurrection was discovered on Sunday. How can that be three days and nights in the tomb? It was a Jewish figure of speech in Jesus' time to count any part of a day or night as a full day and night. So Friday, Saturday, and Sunday would be called three days and three nights in Jesus' culture. We speak in similar ways today — if a person were to say, "I spent all day shopping," we understand that the person didn't mean 24 hours.

    This is typical of apparent contradictions in the New Testament. Most are resolved by a closer examination of the text itself or through studying the historical background.

    Who wrote the New Testament? Why not accept the apocrypha, the gospel of Judas, or the gospel of Thomas?

    There are solid reasons for trusting in today's list of New Testament books. The church accepted the New Testament books almost as soon as they were written. Their authors were associates of Jesus or his immediate followers, men to whom Jesus had entrusted the leadership of the early church. The Gospel writers Matthew and John were some of Jesus' closest followers. Mark and Luke were companions of the apostles, having access to the apostles' account of Jesus' life.

    The other New Testament authors had immediate access to Jesus as well: James and Jude were half-brothers of Jesus who initially did not believe in him. Peter was one of the 12 apostles. Paul started out as a hater of Christianity, but he became an apostle after he had a vision of Christ. He was also in communication with the other apostles.

    The content of the New Testament books lined up with what thousands of eyewitnesses had seen for themselves. When other books were written hundreds of years later (e.g. the Gospel of Judas, written by the Gnostic sect around 130-170 A.D., long after Judas' death), it wasn't difficult for the church to spot them as forgeries. The Gospel of Thomas, written around 140 A.D., is another example of a counterfeit writing erroneously bearing an apostles' name. These and other Gnostic gospels conflicted with the known teachings of Jesus and the Old Testament, and often contained numerous historical and geographical errors.

    In A.D. 367, Athanasius formally listed the 27 New Testament books (the same list that we have today). Soon after, Jerome and Augustine circulated this same list. These lists, however, were not necessary for the majority of Christians. By and large the whole church had recognized and used the same list of books since the first century after Christ. As the church grew beyond the Greek-speaking lands and needed to translate the Scriptures, and as splinter sects continued to pop up with their own competing holy books, it became more important to have a definitive list.

    Why did it take 30 to 60 years for the New Testament Gospels to be written?

    The main reason the Gospel accounts were not written immediately after Jesus' death and resurrection is that there was no apparent need for any such writings. Initially the gospel spread by word of mouth in Jerusalem. There was no need to compose a written account of Jesus' life, because those in the Jerusalem region were witnesses of Jesus and well aware of his ministry.

    However, when the gospel spread beyond Jerusalem, and the eyewitnesses were no longer readily accessible, there was a need for written accounts to educate others about Jesus' life and ministry. Many scholars date the writing of the Gospels between 30 and 60 years after Jesus' death.

    Luke gives us a little more insight into this by stating, at the beginning of his Gospel, why he was writing it: "Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may have certainty of the things you have been taught.

    John also gives the reason for writing his Gospel: "Many other signs therefore Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name."

    Have you ever read anything from the New Testament Gospels?

    Does it matter if Jesus really did and said what is in the Gospels?

    Yes. For faith to really be of any value, it must be based on facts, on reality. Here is why. If you were taking a flight to London, you would probably have faith that the jet is fueled and mechanically reliable, the pilot trained, and no terrorists on board. Your faith, however, is not what gets you to London. Your faith is useful in that it got you on the plane. But what actually gets you to London is the integrity of the plane, pilot, etc. You could rely on your positive experience of past flights. But your positive experience would not be enough to get that plane to London. What matters is the object of your faith — is it reliable?

    Is the New Testament an accurate, reliable presentation of Jesus? Yes. We can trust the New Testament because there is enormous factual support for it. This article touched on the following points: historians concur, archaeology concurs, the four Gospel biographies are in agreement, the preservation of document copies is remarkable, there is superior accuracy in the translations. All of this gives a solid foundation for believing what we read in the New Testament: that Jesus is God, that he took the penalty for our sins, and that he rose from the dead!

    The renowned Jewish archaeologist, Nelson Glueck, wrote: "It may be stated categorically that no archaeological discovery has ever controverted a biblical reference." cited by McDowell, Josh. The New Evidence That Demands a Verdict (Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1999), p. 61.

  164. Profile photo of writerdd
    January 14, 2008 at 9:42 am —

    Exarch, you can’t stop yourself from replying can you? Hahaha.

    Sometimes I can’t either, but fortunately I bore easily and this thread has already lost interest for me. Besides, there’s no point in arguing with people who are wearing blinders. It’s enough to say something that might provide food for future thought, or to use a biblical metaphor, to plant a seed. But it won’t grow immediately so there’s no use to waist breath rebutting point after point about biblical nitpicking. The sexism in the bible is as clear as day to anyone who has removed their blinders. But they come off in their own time, and, sadly, for some they will never come off.

    Actually, I was just talking to Mr. Writerdd the other day about what I will do after my book is finished and published, in light of the comments that I get on posts here and on my personal blog, and the criticisms of the other atheist books on the market. I see that some authors spend a lot of time rebutting arguments against their books. My answer will probably be, “I don’t give a crap what you think. If you have something to say, write your own goddamn book.” I may change my mind when the time comes, but lately that’s how I feel. (Tomorrow I’ll probably be tempted to delete this.)

    That’s not to say that I don’t appreciate comments and honest discussion. But I don’t feel the need to answer everyone — or anyone — who disagrees with me.

  165. Profile photo of urblind
    January 14, 2008 at 10:54 am —

    Was There Ever Nothing?

    A thought journey on the beginning of time, the

    origin of the universe & the question of intelligent design…

    Have you ever thought about the beginning? What is that, you say? You know — whatever it was that showed up first. Or whatever it was that was here first, at the earliest moment in time. Have you ever strained your brain to think about that?

    Wait a minute, you say, isn't it possible that in the beginning there was nothing? Isn't it possible that kazillions of years ago, there wasn't anything at all? That's certainly a theory to consider. So let's consider it — but first by way of analogy.

    Let's say you have a large room. It's fully enclosed and is about the size of a football field. The room is locked, permanently, and has no doors or windows, and no holes in its walls.

    Inside the room there is…nothing. Absolutely nothing. Not a particle of anything. No air at all. No dust at all. No light at all. It's a sealed room that's pitch black inside. Then what happens?

    Well, let's say your goal is to get something — anything at all — into the room. But the rules are: you can't use anything from outside the room to do that. So what do you do?

    Well, you think, what if I try to create a spark inside the room? Then the room would have light in it, even for just a moment. That would qualify as something. Yes, but you are outside the room. So that's not allowed.

    But, you say, what if I could teleport something into the room, like in Star Trek? Again, that's not allowable, because you'd be using things from outside the room.

    Here again is the dilemma: you have to get something inside the room using only what's in the room. And, in this case, what's in the room is nothing.

    Well, you say, maybe a tiny particle of something will just show up inside the room if given enough time.

    There's three problems with this theory. First, time by itself doesn't do anything. Things happen over time, but it's not time that makes them happen. For example, if you wait 15 minutes for cookies to bake, it's not the 15 minutes that bakes them, it's the heat in the oven. If you set them on the counter for 15 minutes, they're not going to bake.

    In our analogy, we've got a fully enclosed room with absolutely nothing in it. Waiting 15 minutes will not, in and of itself, change the situation. Well, you say, what if we wait eons? An eon is merely a bunch of 15-minute segments all pressed together. If you waited an eon with your cookies on the counter, would the eon bake them?

    The second problem is this: why would anything just "show up" in the empty room? It would need a reason why it came to be. But there is nothing inside the room at all. So what's to stop that from remaining the case? There would be nothing inside the room to cause something to show up (and yet the reason must come from inside the room).

    Well, you say, what about a tiny particle of something? Wouldn't that have a greater chance of materializing in the room than something larger like, for example, a football?

    That brings up the third problem: size. Like time, size is an abstract. It's relative. Let's say you have three baseballs, all ranging in size. One is ten feet wide, one is five feet wide, one is normal size. Which one is more likely to materialize in the room?

    The normal-size baseball? No! It would be the same likelihood for all three. The size wouldn't matter. It's not the issue. The issue is whether or not any baseball of any size could just "show up" in our sealed, empty room.

    If you don't think the smallest baseball could just show up in the room, no matter how much time passed, then you must conclude the same thing even for an atom. Size is not an issue. The likelihood of a small particle materializing without cause is no different than a refrigerator materializing without cause!

    Now let's stretch our analogy further, literally. Let's take our large, pitch-black room and remove its walls. And let's extend the room so that it goes on infinitely in all directions. Now there is nothing outside the room, because the room is all there is. Period.

    This black infinite room has no light, no dust, no particles of any kind, no air, no elements, no molecules. It's absolute nothingness. In fact, we can call it Absolutely Nothing.

    So here's the question: if originally — bazillions of years ago — there was Absolutely Nothing, wouldn't there be Absolutely Nothing now?

    Yes. For something — no matter how small — cannot come from Absolutely Nothing. We would still have Absolutely Nothing.

    What does that tell us? That Absolutely Nothing never existed. Why? Because, if Absolutely Nothing ever existed, there would still be Absolutely Nothing!

    If Absolutely Nothing ever existed, there would not be anything outside it to cause the existence of anything.

    Again, if Absolutely Nothing ever existed, there would still be Absolutely Nothing.

    However, something exists. Actually, many things exist. You, for example, are something that exists, a very important something. Therefore, you are proof that Absolutely Nothing never existed.

    Now, if Absolutely Nothing never existed, that means there was always a time when there was at least Something in existence. What was it?

    Was it one thing or many things? Was it an atom? A particle? A molecule? A football? A mutant baseball? A refrigerator? Some cookies?

  166. Profile photo of urblind
    January 14, 2008 at 9:57 am —

    But I don’t feel the need to answer everyone — or anyone — who disagrees with me.

    hmmm….you want the whole world to convert to such silliness, but you don’t feel the need to argue your philosophy??? thats doesn’t make good sence.
    but it’s hard too I suppose, with all the gaps and flaws of athiesim?

  167. Profile photo of urblind
    January 14, 2008 at 10:58 am —

    the answer to the previous post?? here it is!

    If there ever was Absolutely Nothing, there would still be Absolutely Nothing today. Since there is something (you, for example), that means that Absolutely Nothing never existed. If it ever did, you wouldn't be here reading this right now. Absolutely Nothing would still be here.

    So there was never a time when Absolutely Nothing existed. Therefore, there has always been something. But what? If we go back to the very beginning, what was the Something that must have existed? Was it more than one Something, or just one? And what was it like, judging by what exists today?

    Let's explore the quantity issue first. Let's call into mind again our large, pitch-black, sealed-off room. Imagine that there are ten tennis balls inside the room. As far back in time as we can go, there was only this: ten tennis balls.

    What happens next? Let's say we wait an entire year. What's in the room? Still just ten tennis balls, right? Because there is no other force in existence. And we know that ten ordinary tennis balls — no matter how much time passes — cannot spawn new ones. Or anything else for that matter.

    Okay, what if there were six tennis balls in the room to begin with? Would that change the situation? No, not really. Alright then, what if there were a million tennis balls? Still no change. All we've got in the room is tennis balls, no matter how many there are.

    What we find out is that quantity is not an issue. If we go back to the very beginning of all things, the quantity of the Something that must have existed is not what's important. Or is it?

    Remove the tennis balls. Now inside the room is a chicken. Now we wait a year. What's inside the room? Just one chicken, right? But what if we started out with one hen and one rooster in the room? Now we wait a year, what do we have? A bunch more chickens!

    So quantity is important, IF inside the room are at least two things that can produce a third thing. Hen + rooster = baby chick. But quantity is not important if we're talking about at least two things that cannot produce a third thing. Tennis ball + football = nothing.

    So the issue isn't quantity so much as quality. What qualities does the Something possess? Can it bring other things into existence?

    Let's go back to our chickens, but let's get very exact, because such would be the case in the very, very beginning. We have a hen and a rooster in the room. They are in different parts of the room, suspended in nothingness. Will they produce other chickens?

    No. Why? Because there's no environment to work in. There's nothing in the room except the hen and the rooster. No air to breathe or fly in, no ground to walk on, no sustenance for them to live on. They can't eat, walk, fly or breathe. Their environment is complete nothingness.

    So chickens are out. Chickens cannot exist or reproduce without some sort of environment. With an environment, they could spawn other chickens. And with an environment affecting them, maybe they could — though it seems absurd — change into a different kind of chicken over time. Something along the lines of an otter or a giraffe.

    So we've got a room with no environment. Therefore, we need Something that can exist without an environment. Something that doesn't need air, food or water to exist. That disqualifies every current living thing on this earth.

    So, then, what about non-living things? They don't need an environment, that's true. But then we're in the same predicament we were in with the tennis balls. Non-living matter doesn't produce anything. Let's say, instead of ten tennis balls, you had a trillion molecules of hydrogen. Then what happens? Over time, you still have a trillion molecules of hydrogen, nothing more.

    While we're talking about non-living matter, let's also consider what it takes for that to exist. Ever heard of the Supercollider? Years ago the government embarked on an experiment to create matter. The Supercollider was miles and miles of underground tunnel through which atoms would travel at supersonic speeds and then smash into each other, in order to create a tiny particle. All that for the tiniest, most microscopic bit of matter.

    What does that tell us? That our illustration of the ten tennis balls is not nearly as easy as it sounds. It would take an AMAZING amount of energy just to produce one tennis ball out of nothing. And nothing is all we have. The room has absolutely nothing in it.

    So here's where we are. The Something that existed at the beginning must be able to exist without depending on anything else. It must be totally and fully self-sufficient. For It was alone at the very beginning. And It needed no environment within which to exist.

    Second, the Something that existed at the very beginning must have the ability to produce something other than Itself. For, if It could not, then that Something would be all that exists today. But Something Else exists today. You, for example.

    Third, to produce Something Else — out of nothing — requires an incredible amount of power. So the Something must have great power at its disposal. If it takes us miles and miles of corridor and the most energy we can harness, just to produce the tiniest particle, how much power would it take to produce the matter in the universe?

    Let's go back to our room. Let's say we have a very special tennis ball inside the room. It can produce other tennis balls. It has that much power and energy. And It is completely self-sufficient, needing nothing else to exist, for It is all there is. It, this one tennis ball, is the Eternal Something.

    Let's say the tennis ball produces another tennis ball. Which of the two will be greater, say, with respect to TIME? Ball #1. It is the Eternal Something. It has always existed. Ball #2, however, came into existence when produced by Ball #1. So one ball is finite with regard to time, the other infinite.

    Which of the two will be greater with regard to POWER? Again, Ball #1. It has the ability to produce Ball #2 out of nothing — which also means it has the ability to unproduce (destroy) Ball #2. So Ball #1 has far more power than Ball #2. In fact, at all times, Ball #2 must depend on Ball #1 for its very existence.

    But, you say, what if Ball #1 shared some of its power with Ball #2 — enough power to destroy Ball #1? Then Ball #2 would be greater, for Ball #1 would cease to be, right?

    There's a problem with this. If Ball #1 shared some of its power with Ball #2, it would still be Ball #1's power. The question then becomes: could Ball #1 use its own power to destroy itself? No. First of all, to use its power, Ball #1 has to exist.

    Second of all, Ball #1 is so powerful that anything that can possibly be done, can be done by Ball #1. But it is not possible for Ball #1 to cease to be, therefore it cannot accomplish this.

    Ball #1 cannot be unproduced, for Ball #1 was never produced in the first place. Ball #1 has always existed. It is the Eternal Something. As such, it is existence. It is life, infinite life. For Ball #1 to be destroyed, there would need to be something greater. But nothing is greater than Ball #1, nor ever could be. It exists without need of anything else. It therefore cannot be changed by any external forces. It can have no end, for It has no beginning. It is the way it is and that cannot change. It cannot cease to be, for BEING is its very nature. In that sense, it is untouchable.

    What we see is this: the Something at the very beginning will always be greater than the Something Else it produces. The Something exists on its own. Something Else, however, needs Something to exist. Therefore, Something Else has needs. It is therefore inferior to Something, and will always be so, for the Eternal Something has no need of another.

    The Something might be able to produce Something Else that is like It in some ways, but — no matter what — Something Else will always be unlike It in other ways. The Eternal Something will always be greater with respect to time and power. Thus, the Eternal Something cannot produce an exact equal to Itself. It alone has always existed. It alone can exist independent of another.

    who then??

    There is an Eternal Something. Something has always existed. Something has no beginning. If this Something has any needs, It can fulfill those needs for Itself. It needs nothing else in order to exist. And It cannot produce an exact equal or another who is greater. Anything that is produced is not eternal. Therefore, the Eternal Something cannot produce another Eternal Something. It will always be greater than anything else that exists.

    Now, could this Eternal Something be plural? Possibly. Let's say that originally there were five Eternal Somethings. If that were the case, however, those five would be exactly the same with respect to time and power. All unproduced, all eternal, all able to do whatever is possible to do. This again shows us that quality, not quantity, is the real issue.

    So, what do we know about the Eternal Something(s)? It is not alone. For Something Else exists. You, for example. Now you have to ask yourself, are you the Eternal Something, or one of the Eternal Somethings? If you are, then you have no beginning, no needs which you yourself cannot meet, and anything that can possibly be done can be done by you. Is that who you are? If not, then you are truly Something Else, not the Eternal Something or one of the Eternal Somethings.

    Let's go back to our large, pitch-black, empty room. But now let's say that one molecule of hydrogen and one molecule of nitrogen are in the room. For argument's sake, let's say that these are the Eternal Somethings. They have always existed. Anything that can be done, can be done by Them.

    So, They decide to produce Something Else, for They are the only things that exist in the room. But wait, can hydrogen or nitrogen decide anything? Well, for them to be the Eternal Somethings, They MUST have the ability to make a decision.

    Think about it. The Eternal Something must choose to change things. The Eternal Something is eternal. It has always existed independent of another. More importantly, It alone has always existed. What does that mean? It means that no event can take place without the say-so of the Eternal Something.

    The Eternal Something is all there is, period. Therefore, the only thing in existence that can change the Eternal Something's aloneless is the Eternal Something Itself. There can be no force outside the Eternal Something because the Eternal Something is all there is.

    Therefore, if one molecule of hydrogen and one molecule of nitrogen are the Eternal Somethings, no outside force can direct Them. They are all there is. They are the only force there is.

    As the only force in existence, it is They alone who can change Their aloneness. There is nothing in existence that can arbitrarily, by chance, influence Them to produce Something Else.

    Something Else could not be produced by chance. Why? Because, for that to happen, "chance" would have to overpower the hydrogen and nitrogen molecules. But They are all there is. Anything that can be done, can be done by Them. "Chance" is Something Else. Something Else cannot overpower the Eternal Something. In fact, at this stage, Chance does not even exist.

    If Chance is something outside the Eternal Something, then it does not exist unless produced by the Eternal Something. But even if Chance were produced by the Eternal Something, Chance, since it is Something Else, would always be inferior to the Eternal Something.

    So, if Something Else is produced, it is by the power and WILL of the Eternal Something. Something Else can be produced by Chance only if Chance is produced before that Something Else. But Chance itself cannot be produced by chance. It would have to be produced by the will of the Eternal Something.

    What does that tell us about our hydrogen and nitrogen molecules? That They are not merely the Eternal Something(s), They are eternal persons. They have will. That is, They must have the ability to choose. Therefore, They are personal.

    Again, why must the Eternal Something have the ability to choose? Think back to the empty room with only the hydrogen and nitrogen molecules in it. They are the Eternal Somethings. They alone exist in the room, and have done so eternally.

    They exist totally independent of another. For survival, They need no other. Therefore, if They produce Something Else, it will not be out of necessity (as in instinct for survival as we see with animals). Also, if They produce Something Else, it will not be by chance — unless They first produce Chance. Chance is a force, but the Eternal Somethings (the two molecules) are the only force that exists.

    Furthermore, the molecules cannot be mere machines. Machines are built and programmed by an outside force of some kind. But the molecules (the Eternal Somethings) are the only force that exists. No force exists outside Them.

    Therefore, if They produce Something Else inside the room, the reason for this production must reside within Them, for no other force exists. Nothing else exists within the room except Them.

    They are not forced to produce Something Else by instinct, chance, necessity, or the will of another. They are controlled by no other. Whatever They do is done for reasons within Themselves.

    This reason can only be Their will. They must choose to produce Something Else, or else nothing else will exist. They will remain alone forever in the room, unless They decide to produce Something Else. They must have more than the power to produce Something Else. They must — at some moment which differentiates it from all the other moments that They've existed alone — decide to use Their power to produce Something Else.

    If they have no will (like the tennis balls we spoke of in a previous study), then Their power would never be used to produce Something Else. Their power would only be used to further Their own existence. And their aloneness would remain forever.

    The Eternal Something has existed alone eternally. There must be a reason, therefore, within the Eternal Something, for that to change. If Something Else exists, it exists because of the Eternal Something, because the Eternal Something has chosen to end its aloneness.

    If the reason for the Something Else is not within the Eternal Something, then Something Else will never exist. For the Eternal Something, at some point, was all that existed.

    But we know that Something Else exists. Therefore, the Eternal Something must have the ability to decide to use Its power. It must have the ability to choose to produce Something Else outside of Itself. Since it has a will, the Eternal Something is personal. This means that the Eternal Something is actually an Eternal Someone.

    This Eternal Someone is not controlled by instinct for survival, for It has no needs and cannot cease to exist anyway. Also, the Eternal Someone does not produce by Chance, unless It first produces Chance. Chance is a force that must be produced by the Eternal Something, or it does not exist. Finally, the Eternal Someone is not a machine. There is no other, outside of Itself, to force It or program It to do anything

  168. Profile photo of urblind
    January 14, 2008 at 11:01 am —

    The primary points made in those studies are as follows:

    (1) Absolutely Nothing never existed. If it had, there would still be Absolutely Nothing now. But Something Else exists. You, for example.

    (2) Since Absolutely Nothing never existed, there was always a time when there was something in existence. This something we can call the Eternal Something. The Eternal Something has no beginning and no end, has no needs that It Itself cannot meet, can do whatever is possible that can be done, and will always be superior to anything It produces.

    (3) The Eternal Something is not a machine, controlled or programmed by any force outside Itself. And the Eternal Something will not produce out of necessity, since It has no needs. Therefore, if It produces Something Else, It must decide to do so. That means that the Eternal Something has a will; thus, It is personal. Therefore, the Eternal Something must actually be an Eternal Someone (or Someones).

    Continuing on, what can we discern about the Eternal Someone, beyond what has been stated already? (It's necessary here to transition from using "It" to "He" or "She" because the Eternal Something is an Eternal Someone. "He" has been chosen but gender is not an issue in this discussion.)

    Since the Eternal Someone has no needs that He cannot fulfill on His own, He can exist without need of any kind of environment, for He existed when there was nothing else but Him. Any environment would be outside Him, and therefore would need to be produced. But all there is, is Him.

    It's likely then that the Eternal Someone is transcendent. Meaning, He can exist outside of time and space, since He is bound by neither one. He existed eternally, thus being outside of time. And He exists without need of an environment, thus being outside of space.

    Being transcendent of time and space, it's possible that the Eternal Someone is what we would call invisible. Only that which takes up space is visible. If something is outside of space, how could it be seen? Just so, the Eternal Someone is likely invisible and can exist without need of any kind of body or form.

    For discussion sake, let's say that the Eternal Someone decides to produce Something Else — or rather, Someone Else. The Eternal Someone chooses to produce Someone Else who is like Him in some respects. Like Him, the Someone Else will have a self-consciousness, which is a necessary aspect of having will. So the Someone Else is a self and has a will.

    What can we determine about this Someone Else? Will this Someone Else be outside of time? No, the Someone Else will not have existed eternally. The Someone Else will have a beginning and thus be bound by time.

    Recall that anything the Eternal Someone produces will be inferior with regard to time and space. That cannot be avoided in any way. So, even if the Someone Else were to exist forever in the future, he would still have a beginning in time. Actually, his timeline would fall within the [infinite] timeline of the Eternal Someone.

    What about space? Will the Someone Else be bound by space? Yes. Only the Eternal Someone can exist without any kind of environment. The Someone Else will need an environment to exist in, but what? Think of space like time. The Someone Else exists within the Eternal Someone's timeline. In a similar way, the Someone Else will exist within the Eternal Someone's "spaceline."

    The Eternal Someone transcends space. Thus, just as He is everywhere in time, He can be everywhere in space. So, when the Someone Else is produced, he will exist within the Eternal Someone's time and space.

    So now we've got the Eternal Someone and the Someone Else, but there's a problem. The Someone Else cannot see the Eternal Someone, for the Eternal Someone transcends space. He does not take up a part of space.

    So the Someone Else cannot detect the Eternal Someone. So what must the Eternal Someone do if He wants to be detected by the Someone Else? He must "untranscend." Some kind of untranscendence is essential. Is that possible?

    Remember, anything that can possibly be done can be done by the Eternal Someone. It would be possible for Him to make Himself detectable by the Someone Else, that is, to "untranscend." How?

    We detect the presence of another in our world through sight, smell, touch, taste, hearing. If the Eternal Someone gave the Someone Else the ability to see or hear, for example, then the Eternal Someone could (1) appear in a visible form, (2) speak to the Someone Else, or (3) do both simultaneously. These would be ways of untranscending so that the Eternal Someone could be detected by the Someone Else.

    Remember, the Someone Else is produced. Thus, the Someone Else is bound by time and space. Whatever his makeup (nature) is, it will be detectable in time and space. Therefore, all the Eternal Someone has to do is assume whatever form He gives the Someone Else. That is one way to make Himself detectable.

    But here's a question: if the Eternal Someone untranscends in order to be detected, is that the whole of the Eternal Someone? No! There would be more to Him that He had not made known. Though He could divulge much about Himself, the whole of Him — that is, Himself in His transcendence — could not be fully known or understood by the Someone Else.

    Interestingly, the scenario described above is exactly what we see in the Bible. We are like the Someone Else. We are bound by time and space. God, however, is the Eternal Someone. And He untranscended in the person of Jesus Christ.

    too bad science can't debunk that theory…..if anything it would have no other choice than to agree with it…..unless your looney ; )

  169. Profile photo of Rav Winston
    January 14, 2008 at 12:07 pm —

    "Can Jesus be confirmed historically?

    At face value the Christian evidences appear to be overwhelming. Looking outside of the New Testament, many texts in apologetics will include a long list of names and documents that claim to confirm historically the existence of Jesus: Josephus, Suetonius, Pliny, Tacitus, Thallus, Mara Bar-Serapion, Lucian, Phlegon, Tertullian, Justin Martyr, Clement of Rome, Ignatius, Polycarp, Clement of Alexandria, Hippolytus, Origen, Cyprian, and others. Some of these names are church fathers writing in the second to fourth centuries and are therefore too late to be considered reliable first-century confirmation. Being church leaders, their objectivity is also questionable. These facts were not important to us evangelists nor would they cause any red flags to raise in the minds of the average believer reading the average book of Christian "proofs."

    However, the list does include some nonbelievers – Jewish and Roman writers who were likely not biased towards Christianity – so it would appear that there can be no question about the historical existence of Jesus. Who could possibly doubt it?

    It is rarely if ever pointed out that none of these evidences date from the time of Jesus. Jesus supposedly lived sometime between 4 BC and 30 AD, but there is not a single contemporary historical mention of Jesus, not by Romans or by Jews, not by behevers or by unbelievers, not during his entire lifetime. This does not disprove his existence, but it certainly casts great doubt on the historicity of a man who was supposedly widely knovm to have made a great impact on the world. Someone should have noticed.

    One of the writers who was alive during the time of Jesus was Philo Judaeus. John E. Remsburg, in The Christ, writes:

    "Philo was born before the beginning of the Christian era, and lived until long after the reputed death of Christ. He wrote an account of the Jews covering the entire time that Christ is said to have existed on earth. He was living in or near Jerusalem when Christ's miraculous birth and the Herodian massacre occurred. He was there when Christ made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem. He was there when the crucifixion with its attendant earthquake, supernatural darkness, and resurrection of the dead took placewhen Christ himself rose from the dead, and in the presence of many witnesses ascended into heaven. These marvelous events which must have filled the world with amazement, had they really occurred, were unknown to him. It was Philo who developed the doctrine of the Logos, or Word, and although this Word incarnate dwelt in that very land and in the presence of multitudes revealed himself and demonstrated his divine powers, Philo saw it not."

    There was a historian named Justus of Tiberius who was a native of Galilee, the homeland of Jesus. He wrote a history covering the time when Christ supposedly lived. This history is now lost, but a ninth-century Christian scholar named Photius had read it and wrote: "He [Justus] makes not the least mention of the appearance of Christ, of what things happened to him, or of the wonderful works that he did." (Photius' Bibliotheca, code 33)

    Josephus

    My Dad's birthday present to me when I turned nineteen was a copy of the complete works of Flavius Josephus. When it comes to hard evidence from outside the bible, this is the most common piece of historical documentation offered by Christian apologists. Outside of the New Testament, Josephus presents the only possible confirmation of the Jesus story from the first century.

    At face value, Josephus appears to be the answer to the Christian apologist's dreams. He was a messianic Jew, not a Christian, so he could not be accused of bias. He did not spend a lot of time or space on his report of Jesus, showing that he was merely reporting facts, not spouting propaganda like the Gospel writers. Although he was born in 37 AD and could not have been a contemporary of Jesus, he lived close enough to the time to be considered a valuable second-hand source. Josephus was a highly respected and much-quoted Roman historian. He died sometime after the year 100. His two major tomes were The Antiquities of the Jews and The Wars of the Jews.

    Antiquities was written sometime around the year 90 AD. It begins, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth," and arduously parallels the Old Testament up to the time when Josephus is able to add equally arduous historical details of Jewish life during the early Roman period. In Book 18, Chapter 3, this paragraph is encountered (Whiston's translation):

    "Now, there was about this time, Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works,a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ; and when Pilate, at the sug- gestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him, for he appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him; and the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day."

    This truly appears to give historical confirmation for the existence of Jesus. But is it authentic? Most scholars, including most fundamentalist scholars, admit that at least some parts of this paragraph cannot be authentic. Many are convinced that the entire paragraph is a forgery, an interpolation inserted by Christians at a later time. There are many reasons for this:

    1. The paragraph is absent from early copies of the works ofJosephus. For example, it does not appear in Origen's second-century version ofJosephus, contained in Origen Contra Celsum where Origen fiercely defended Christianity against the heretical views ofCelsus. Origen quoted freely from Josephus to prove his points, but never once used this paragraph, which would have been the ultimate ace up his sleeve.

    In fact, the Josephus paragraph about Jesus does not appear until the beginning of the fourth century, at the time ofConstantine. Bishop Eusebius, a close ally of emperor Constantine, was instrumental in crystallizing and defining the version of Christianity which was to become orthodox, and he is the first person known to have quoted this paragraph of Josephus. Eusebius said that it was permissible for Christians to tell lies if it furthered the kingdom of God. The fact that the Josephus-Jesus paragraph shows up at this time of history, at a time when interpolations and revisions were quite common, makes the passage quite dubious. Many scholars beheve that Eusebius was the forger.

    2. The passage is out of context. In Book 18, which contains the paragraph about Jesus, Josephus starts with the Roman taxation under Cyrenius in 6 AD, talks about various Jewish sects at the time, including the Essenes, and a sect of Judas the Galilean. He discusses Herod's building of various cities, the succession of priests and procurators, and so on. Chapter 3 starts with a sedition against Pilate who planned to slaughter all the Jews but changed his mind. Pilate then used sacred money to supply water to Jerusalem, and the Jews protested. Pilate sent spies into the Jewish ranks with concealed weapons, and there was a great massacre.

    Then comes the paragraph about Jesus, and immediately after it, Josephus continues: "And about the same time another terrible misfortune confounded the Jews . . ." Josephus, an orthodox Jew, would not have thought the Christian story to be "another terrible misfortune." It is only a Christian (someone like Eusebius) who would have considered this to be a Jewish tragedy. Paragraph 3 can be lifted out of the text with no damage to the chapter. It flows better without it.

    3. Josephus would not have called Jesus "the Christ" or "the truth." Whoever wrote these phrases was a Christian. Josephus was a messianic Jew and never converted to Christianity. Origen reported that Josephus was "not believing in Jesus as the Christ."

    4. The phrase "to this day" shows that this is a later interpolation. There was no "tribe of Christians" during Josephus's time. Christianity did not get off the ground until the second century.

    5. Josephus appears not to know anything else about Jesus outside of this tiny paragraph and a reference to James, the "brother of Jesus" (see below). He is silent about the miracles of Jesus, although he reports the antics of other prophets in great detail. He adds nothing to the Gospel narratives, and says nothing that would not have been known by Christians already, whether in the first or fourth century. In all of Josephus's voluminous works, there is not a single reference to Christianity anywhere outside of this tiny paragraph. He relates much more about John the Baptist than about Jesus. He lists the activities of many other self-proclaimed Messiahs, including Judas ofGalilee, Theudas the magician, and the Egyptian Jew Messiah, but is mute about the life of one whom he claims is the answer to his messianic hopes.

    6. The paragraph mentions that the life of Jesus was foretold by the divine prophets, but Josephus neglects to mention who these prophets were or what they said. In no other place does Josephus connect any Hebrew prediction with the life of Jesus. If Jesus truly had been the fulfillment of divine prophecy, Josephus would have been the one learned enough to confirm it. The hyperbolic language is uncharacteristic of a careful historian: " . . . as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him . . ." This sounds more like the stuff of sectarian propaganda.

    Christians should be careful when they refer to Josephus as historical confirmation for Jesus. It turns around and bites them. If we remove the forged paragraph, the works of Josephus become evidence against historicity. If the life of Jesus was historical, why did Josephus know nothing of it?

    There is one other passage in the Antiquities that mentions Jesus. It is in Book XX, Chapter 9:

    "Festus was now dead, and Albinus was put upon the road; so he assembled the sanhedrin of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James, and some others, (or some of his companions). And when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers of the law, he delivered them to be stoned . . ." (Whiston's translation)

    This is flimsy, and even Christian scholars widely consider this to be a doctored text. The stoning of James is not mentioned in Acts. Hegesippus, a Jewish Christian, in 170 AD wrote a history of the church saying that James the brother of Jesus was killed in a riot, not by sentence of a court, and Clement confirms this (quoted by Eusebius). Most scholars agree that Josephus is referring to another James here, possibly the same one that Paul mentions in Acts, who led a sect in Jerusalem. Instead of strengthening Christianity, this "brother of Jesus" interpolation contradicts history. Again, if Josephus truly thought Jesus was "the Christ," he would have added more about him than a casual aside in someone else's story.

    So it turns out that Josephus is silent about Jesus. If Jesus had truly lived and had accomplished all of the deeds and miracles reported in the Gospels, Josephus should have noticed. Josephus was a native ofJudea, a contemporary of the Apostles. He was Governor of Galilee for a time, the province in which Jesus allegedly lived and taught. "He traversed every part of this province," writes Rernsburg, "and visited the places where but a generation before Christ had performed his prodigies. He resided in Cana, the very city in which Christ is said to have wrought his first miracle. He mentions every noted personage of Palestine and describes every important event which occurred there during the first seventy years of the Christian era. But Christ was of too little consequence and his deeds too trivial to merit a line from this historian's pen."

    The second century and later

    After Josephus, there are other writers who mention Christianity, but even if they are reliable, they are too late to claim the confirming impact of a first-century witness. Suetonius wrote a biography called Twelve Caesars around the year 112 AD, mentioning that Claudius "banished the Jews from Rome, since they had made a commotion because of Chrestus," and that during the time of Nero "punishments were also inflicted on the Christians, a sect professing a new and mischievous religious belief. . ." Notice that there is no mention of Jesus by name. It is unlikely that Christianity had spread as far as Rome during the reign of Claudius, or that it was large enough to have caused a revolt. "Chrestus" does not mean "Christ." It was a common name meaning "good," used by both slaves and free people, and occurring more than eighty times in Latin inscriptions. Even if Suetonius truly meant "Christus" (Christ), he may have been referring only to the Jews in Rome who were expecting a Messiah, not to Jesus of Nazareth. It could have been anybody, maybe a Roman Jew who stepped forward. It is only eager believers who will to jump to the conclusion that this provides evidence for Jesus. Nowhere in any of Suetonius's writings did he mention Jesus of Nazareth. Even if he had, his history would not necessarily have been reliable. He reported, for example, that Caesar Augustus bodily rose to heaven when he died, an event that few modern scholars consider historical.

    In 112 AD, Pliny (the younger) said that "Christians were singing a hymn to Christ as to a god . . ." Again, notice the absence of the name Jesus. This could have referred to any of the other "Christs" who were being followed by Jews who thought they had found a Messiah. Pliny's report hardly counts as history since he is only relaying what other people believed. Even if this sentence referred to a group of followers of Jesus, no one denies that Christianity was in existence at that time. Pliny, at the very most, might be useful in documenting the region, but not the historic Jesus.

    Sometime after 117 AD, the Roman historian Tacitus wrote in his Annals(Book 15, chapter 44): "Nero looked around for a scapegoat, and inflicted the most fiendish tortures on a group of persons already hated for their crimes. This was the sect known as Christians. Their founder, one Christus, had been put to death by the procurator, Pontius Pilate in the reign of Tiberius. This checked the abominable superstition for a while, but it broke out again and spread, not merely through Judea, where it originated, but even to Rome itself, the great reservoir and collecting ground for every kind of depravity and filth. Those who confessed to being Christians were at once arrested, but on their testimony a great crowd of people were convicted, not so much on the charge of arson, but of hatred of the entire human race."

    In this passage, Tacitus depicts early Christians as "hated for their crimes" and associated with "depravity and filth," not a flattering picture. But even if it is valid, it tells us nothing about Jesus of Nazareth. Tacitus claims no first-hand knowledge of Christianity. He is merely repeating the then common ideas about Christians. (A modern parallel would be someone reporting that Mormons believe that Joseph Smith was visited by the angel Moroni, which would hardly make it historical proof, even though it is as close as a century away.) There is no other historical confirmation that Nero persecuted Christians. Nero did persecute Jews, and perhaps Tacitus was confused about this. There certainly was not a "great crowd" of Christians in Rome around 60 AD, and the term "Christian" was not in use in the first century. Tacitus is either doctoring history from a distance or repeating a myth without checking his facts. Historians generally agree that Nero did not burn Rome, so Tacitus is in error to suggest that he would have needed a scapegoat in the first place. No one in the second century ever quoted this passage of Tacitus, and in fact it appears almost word-for-word in the writings of someone else, Sulpicius Severus, in the fourth century, where it is mixed in with other myths. The passage is therefore highly suspect and adds virtually no evidence for a historic Jesus.

    In the ninth century a Byzantine writer named George Syncellus quoted a third-century Christian historian named Julius Africanus who quoted an unknown writer named Thallus who referred to the darkness at the crucifixion: "Thallus in the third book of his history calls this darkness an eclipse of the sun, but in my opinion he is wrong." All of the works ofAfricanus are lost, so there is no way to confirm the quote or to examine its context. We have no idea who Thallus was, or when he wrote. Eusebius (fourth century) mentions a history of Thallus in three books ending about 112 BC, so the suggestion is that Thallus might have been a near contemporary of Jesus. (Actually, the manuscript is damaged, and "Thallus" is merely a guess from "_allos Samaritanos.") There is no evidence of an eclipse during the time Jesus was supposedly crucified. The reason Africanus doubted the eclipse is because Easter happens near the full moon, and a solar eclipse would have been impossible at that time.

    There is a fragment of a personal letter from a Syrian named Mara Bar-Serapion to his son in prison, of uncertain date, probably second or third century, that mentions that the Jews of that time had killed their "wise king." However, the New Testament reports that Jesus was killed by the Romans, not the Jews. The Jews had killed other leaders, for example, the Essene Teacher of Righteousness. If this truly is a report of a historical event rather than the passing on of folklore, it could have been a reference to someone else. It is worthless as evidence for Jesus of Nazareth, yet it can be found on the lists of some Christian scholars as proof that Jesus existed.

    A second-century satiricist named Lurian wrote that the basis for the Christian sect was a "man who was crucified in Palestine," but this is equally worthless as historical evidence. He is merely repeating what Christians believed in the second century. Lucian does not mention Jesus by name. This refer- ence is too late to be considered historical evidence, and since Lucian did not consider himself a historian, neither should we.

    Bottom of the Barrel

    In addition to Josephus, Suetonius, Tacitus, and the others, there is a handful of other so-called evidences and arguments that some Christians put forward. One very silly attempt is the Archko Volume containing supposedly authentic first-hand accounts of Jesus from the early first century, including letters from Pilate to Rome, glowing eye-witness testimony from the shepherds outside Bethlehem who visited the baby Jesus at the manger after being awakened by angels, and so on. Its flowery King-James prose makes entertaining reading, but it is not considered authentic by any scholar, although an occasional Christian has been duped into swallowing it. It was written in the nineteenth century by a traveling salesman who said he translated it from original documents found in the basement of the Vatican, although no such documents have ever been found.

    Some of the other highly questionable confirmation attempts include Tertullian (197 AD), Phlegon (unimown date), Justin Martyr (about 150 AD), and portions of the Jewish Talmud (second through fifth centuries) that mention Jesus in an attempt to discredit Christianity, supposedly showing that even the enemies of Jesus did not doubt his existence. Though all of these socalled evidences are flimsy, some Christians make a showy point of listing them with little elaboration in their books of apologetics. Ministers can rattle off these "historical confirmations" with httle fear that their congregations vdll take the time to investigate their authenticity.

    In Evidence That Demands a Verdict, Josh McDowell makes an argument that is common among apologists: "There are now more than 5,300 known Greek manuscripts of the New Testament. Add over 10,000 Latin Vulgate and at least 9,300 other early versions (MSS) and we have more than 24,000 manuscript copies of portions of the New Testament in existence today. No other document of antiquity even begins to approach such numbers and attestation. In comparison, the Iliad by Homer is second with only 643 manuscripts that still survive." This information might cause believers to applaud with smugness, but it misses the point. What does the number of copies have to do with authenticity? If a million copies of this book you are reading are printed, does it make it any more truthful? Are the "historical" facts reported in the Iliad considered reliable? There are currently hundreds of millions of copies of the Koran in existence, in many forms and scores of translations. Does the sheer number of copies make it more reliable than, say, a single inscription on an Egyptian sarcophagus? This argument is a smokescreen. There are no original manuscripts (autographs) of the bible in existence, so we all agree that we are working from copies. Critics might agree that the current translations of the bible are based on a reasonably accurate transcription of an early form of the New Testament, but what does this have to do with authenticity, reliability, or truthfulness?

    Another argument made by McDowell and others is the close interval of time between the events or original writing and the earliest copies in our possession. Homer wrote the Iliad in 900 BC, but the our earliest copy is from 400 BC – a span of five hundred years. Aristotle wrote in 384-322 BC and the earliest copy dates from 1100 ADa gap of fourteen hundred years. In contrast, the New Testament was written (McDowell says) between 40 and 100 AD, and the earliest copy dates from 125 AD, a time span of twenty-five years.

    This is important when considering the reliability of the text itself. A shorter interval of time allows for fewer corruptions and variants. But it has no relevance to the reliability of the content. If the New Testament should be considered reliable on this basis, then so should the Book of Mormon, which was supposedly written (copied by Joseph Smith) in 1823 and first published in 1830, a gap of only seven years. In addition to Joseph Smith, there are signed testimonies of eleven witness who claimed to have seen the gold tablets on which the angel Moroni wrote the Book of Mormon. We are much closer in history to the origin of Mormonism than to the origin of Christianity. There are millions of copies of the Book of Mormon and a thriving Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (with millions of members and billions of dollars in assets) to prove its veracity. Though most scholars (pro and con) agree that the current edition of the Book of Mormon is a reliable copy of the 1830 version, few Christian scholars consider it to be reliable history.

    Not The Gospel Truth

    If we stick to the New Testament (we have no choice) how much can we know about the Jesus of history? Although the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) have been placed first in the current New Testament, they were not the first books written. The earliest writings about Jesus are those of Paul, who produced his epistles no earlier than the mid 50s. Strangely, Paul mentions very little about the life of the historical Jesus. The Jesus of whom Paul writes is a disembodied, spiritual Christ, speaking from the sky. He never talks about Jesus's parents or the virgin birth or Bethlehem. He never mentions Nazareth, never refers to Jesus as the "Son of man" (as commonly used in the Gospels), avoids recounting a single miracle committed by Jesus, does not fix any historical activities of Jesus in any time or place, makes no reference to any of the twelve apostles by name, omits the trial, and fails to place the crucifixion in a physical location (Jerusalem). Paul rarely quotes Jesus, and this is odd since he used many other devices of persuasion to make his points. There are many places in the teachings of Paul where he could have and should have invoked the teachings of Jesus, but he ignores them. He contradicts Jesus's teachings on divorce (I Corinthians 7:10) allowing for none while the Gospel Jesus permitted exceptions. Jesus taught a trinitarian baptism ("in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost"), but Paul and his disciples baptized in Jesus's name only, which makes perfect sense if the concept of the trinity was developed later.

    Paul never claims to have met the pre-resurrected Jesus. In fact, one of the most glaring contradictions of the bible appears in two different accounts of how Paul supposedly met the disembodied Christ for the first time. When Paul was traveling to Damascus one day in order to continue persecuting Christians, he was knocked to the ground and blinded by a great light (struck by lightning?). In both versions of this story, Paul heard the voice of Jesus, but in one account the men who were with Paul heard the voice (Acts 9:7), and in the other his men specifically "heard not the voice" (Acts 22:9). Did Paul's men hear the voice, or didn't they? There have been many ad hoc attempts by apologists to reconcile this contradiction (for example, pretending that the different declensions φονη imply "voice" vs. "sound," or that "hear" means "understand" in one passage – a dishonest lactic employed by some modern translations, such as the popular New International Version), but they are defensive and unsatisfactory.

    The "silence of Paul" is one of the thorny problems confronting defenders of a historical Jesus. The Christ in Paul's writings is a different character from the Jesus of the Gospels. Paul adds not a speck of historical documentation for the story. Even Paul's supposed confirmation of the resurrection in I Corinthians 15:3-8 contradicts the Gospels when it says that Jesus first was seen of "Cephas [Peter], then of the twelve." (See "Leave No Stone Unturned.")

    The Gospels were written no earlier than 70 AD, most likely during the 90s and later. They all pretend to be biographies of Jesus. No one knows who wrote these books, the names having been added later as a matter of convenience. The writer of Matthew, for example, refers to "Matthew" in the third person. Neither Mark nor Luke appear in any list of the disciples of Jesus, and we have no way of knowing where they got their information. The general scholarly consensus is that Mark was written first (based on an earlier "proto-Mark" now lost) and that the writers of Matthew and Luke borrowed from Mark, adapting and adding to it. Matthew, Mark, and Luke are commonly known as the "synoptic Gospels" since they share much common material. The writer of John appears to have written in isolation, and the Jesus portrayed in his story is a different character. John contains little in common with the other three, and where it does overlap, it is often contradictory. (See "Leave No Stone Unturned.")

    There is very little that can be ascertained from the four Gospels about the historic Jesus. His birthday is unknown. In fact, the year of Jesus's birth cannot be known. The writer of Matthew says Jesus was born "in the days of Herod the king." Herod died in 4 BC. Luke reports that Jesus was born "when Cyrenius [Quirinius] was governor of Syria." Cyrenius became governor of Syria in 6 AD. That is a discrepancy of at least nine years.

    Luke says Jesus was born during a Roman census, and it is true that there was a census in 6 AD. This would have been when Jesus was at least nine years old, according to Matthew. There is no evidence of any earlier census during the reign of Augustus; Palestine was not part of the Roman Empire until 6 AD. Perhaps Matthew was right, or perhaps Luke was right, but both could not have been right.

    Matthew reports that Herod slaughtered all the first-born in the land in order to execute Jesus. No historian, contemporary or later, mentions this supposed genocide, an event which should have caught someone's attention. None of the other biblical writers mention it.

    The genealogies of Jesus present a particularly embarrassing example of why the Gospel writers are not reliable historians. Matthew gives a genealogy of Jesus consisting of twenty-eight names from David down to Joseph. Luke gives a reverse genealogy of Jesus consisting of forty-three names from Joseph back to David. They each purport to prove that Jesus is of royal blood, though neither of them explains why Joseph's genealogy is relevant if he was not Jesus's father: Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary and the Holy Ghost. Matthew's line goes from David's son Solomon, while Luke's goes from David's son Nathan. The two genealogies could not have been for the same person.

    Matthew's line is like this: David, Solomon, eleven other names, Josiah, Jechoniah, Shealtiel, Zerubbabel, Abiud, six other names, Matthan, Jacob, and Joseph. Luke's line is like this: David, Nathan, seventeen other names (none identical to Matthew's list), Melchi, Neri, Shealtiel, Zerubbabel, Rhesa, fifteen other names (none identical to Matthew's list), Matthat, Heli, and Joseph.

    Some defenders of Christianity assert that this is not contradictory at all because Matthew's line is through Joseph and Luke's line is through Mary, even though a simple glance at the text shows that they both name Joseph. No problem, say the apologists: Luke named Joseph, but he really meant Mary. Since Joseph was the legal parent of Jesus, and since Jewish genealogies are patrilineal, it makes perfect sense to say that Heli (their choice for Mary's father) had a son named Joseph who had a son named Jesus. Believe it or not, many Christians can make these statements with a straight face. In any event, they will not find a shred of evidence to support such a notion.

    However, there is a more serious problem to this argument: the two genealogies intersect. Notice that besides starting with David and ending with Joseph, the lines share two names in common: Shealtiel and Zerubbabel, both commonly known from the period of the Babylonian captivity. If Matthew and Luke present two distinct parental genealogies, as the apologists assert, there should be no intersection. In a last-ditch defense, some very creative apologists have hypothesized that Shealtiel's grandmother could have had two husbands and that her sons Jechoniah and Neri represent two distinct paternal lines, but this is painfully speculative.

    The two genealogies are widely different in length. One would have to suppose that something in Nathan's genes caused the men to sire sons fifty percent faster than the men in Solomon's line.

    Matthew's line omits four names from the genealogy given in the Old Testament (between Joram and Jotham), and this makes sense when you notice that Matthew is trying to force his list into three neat groups of fourteen names each. (Seven is the Hebrew's most sacred number.) He leaves out exactly the right number of names to make it fit. Some have argued that it was common to skip generations and that this does not make it incorrect. A great-great grandfather is just as much an ancestor as a grandfather. This might be true, except that Matthew explicitly reports that it was exactly fourteen generations: "So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations." (Matthew 1:17) Matthew is caught tinkering with the facts. His reliability as a historian is severely crippled.

    Another problem is that Luke's genealogy of Jesus goes through Nathan, which was not the royal line. Nor could Matthew's line be royal after Jeconiah because the divine prophecy says of Jeconiah that "no man of his seed shall prosper sitting upon the throne of David, and riding any more in Judah." (Jeremiah 22:30) Even if Luke's line is truly through Mary, Luke reports that Mary was a cousin to Elizabeth, who was of the tribe of Levi, not the royal line. (Some Christians desperately suggest that the word "cousin" might allowably be translated "countrywoman," just as believers might call each other "brother" or "sister," but this is ad hoc.)

    Since Jesus was not the son of Joseph, and since Jesus himself appears to deny his Davidic ancestry (Matthew 22:41-46), the whole genealogy is pointless. Instead of rooting Jesus in history, it provides critics with an open window on the myth-making process. The Gospel writers wanted to make of their hero nothing less than what was claimed of saviors of other religions: a king born of a virgin.

    The earliest Gospel written was Mark. Matthew and Luke based their stories on Mark, editing according to their own purposes. All scholars agree that the last twelve verses of Mark, in modern translations, are highly dubious. Most agree that they do not belong in the bible. The earliest ancient documents of Mark end right after the women find the empty tomb. This means that in the first biography, on which the others based their reports, there is no post-resurrection appearance or ascension of Jesus. Noticing the problem, a Christian scribe at a much later time inserted verses 9-20. The Gospel accounts cannot be considered historical, but even if they were, they tell us that the earliest biography of Jesus contains no resurrection! They tell us that the Gospels were edited, adapted, altered, and appended at later times in order to make them fit the particular sectarian theology of the writers.

    The Gospels themselves are admittedly propagandistic: "And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name." (John 20:30-31) This hardly sounds like the stuff of objective historical reporting. This verse sends up a red flag that what we are reading should be taken with a very large grain of salt."

    And, in the spirit of honesty; NO, I did not write this myself. As I was going through my stacks to answer at least the assertions that Jesus was a confirmed historical presence on the planet, I realized that Dan Barker had already written an essay on this very topic. Being a lazy git, I decided to allow Mr. Barker to express that of which any student of classical history ought to be aware.

    Watch urblind dismiss it all simply because I did not write the response myself, as opposed to, I dunno– checking out the sources on his own…?

  170. Profile photo of Rav Winston
    January 14, 2008 at 12:13 pm —

    Oh, and as to the philosophical "evidence" offered for the existence of god– Bollocks.

    Urblind is simply making assertions and creating false dichotomies. For example: "Since Absolutely Nothing never existed, there was always a time when there was something in existence. This something we can call the Eternal Something. The Eternal Something has no beginning and no end, has no needs that It Itself cannot meet, can do whatever is possible that can be done, and will always be superior to anything It produces."

    Why do you assume it can be called "the eternal something?" How can you know it has no beginning AND no ending? How would you test such a conjecture? No needs that it itself cannot meet? How do you know what its needs are? How do you know that it is able to meet said needs? How does this follow from something having always been there?

  171. Profile photo of YesItIsEYE
    January 14, 2008 at 2:19 pm —

    dd you remind me of one of those kids who quits at monopoly when it dawns on them that they are going to lose. I really do hope you read the following…for your own sake. I am not writing a book or selling any form of skepchick wear or buttons or pins, so I have nothing to lose or gain here…you on the other hand……..

    urblind, it's not that dd doesn't feel the need to always reply or argue her point. It's just that SOMETIMES, she has no argument and that is the only thing she can say. If you notice, when someone gives her a whole list of cold hard information rebutting what she has to say, she all of a sudden doesn't feel the need to say anything. Oh and now she's suddenly bored. The fact of the matter is this….she has NO argument to what I had to say. You can't argue with the truth.

    I gave her example after example of women in the bible who were HONORED of GOD. I gave her proof from Paul that women are NOT property and that they are equal with man in their relationships. I gave her an example of a WOMAN who spoke in the temple. I even gave her an example from the bible showing an instance where a WOMAN was stronger than a man, had more courage than a man and who was the LEADER of Israel. What can she say??

    I even went so far as to inform her that I have more from where that came as well. I believe she is strictly here to argue. I don't know why. Maybe it's because the carnal mind is an enemy of God and she is certainly operating out of her carnal mind. She knows the truth deep down in her heart, but she is ignoring it.

    Sometimes people find themselves in a place in life where the only thing that brings comfort to them is to find someone to be angry at or to place blame on. It becomes a security blanket to that person. It’s like having a wall to hide behind and a wall with which to define them.

    I am not here to try and convert anyone or convince anyone of what I have to say. I am only here to speak the truth. Not my truth, but simply the truth of the ages. We all know that there is a creator. You know, it takes a lot more faith to believe that there is no creator than to believe that there is one.

    I mean do we really have that much faith in an occurrence of such ridiculous odds? Where did this world come from? Was it really random? Do we really believe there is no intelligent design behind it? Do we really believe that all the complex organisms and species of animals and reptiles and on and on just suddenly some how appeared? Or that they all evolved from one organism? Man that would be an occurrence of amazing odds.

    I mean, what, this earth and the solar systems with all their delicate balances? And that with few exceptions every species some how randomly evolved both male and female? What a sad way to view life. No hope, no peace, just a universe void of any meaning. Or does it give our lives meaning to try and place doubt in the hearts of people under the guise of sexism? Men are sexist not God, for I have already given you proof of that with many verses and I have many more if anyone would like to read them.

    Man is corrupt not God. Here is even further proof of what I have been trying to convey…PLEASE read carefully. dd Are you listening?

    First: Being a feminist doest require you to agree with everything that is said and done in the name of feminism any more than being a Christian requires you to agree with everything said or done in the name of Christianity. Many individuals have different definitions as to what a feminist is. My definition is simply this…men and women are equal in terms of rights and responsibilities.

    My definition does not pretend that there are no biological differences between man and woman. Nor does it pretend that these differences might not be relevant either. But this definition definitely rejects a hierarchy based on gender. It may be true that many passages of the bible seem to suggest the subordination of women; there are many verses which undermine such subjugation.

    SO, let's take this all a bit further. Since I don't think any of you are going to ask me to demonstrate further proof, I will just take the wheel myself.

    Yes, Ephesians 5:22 may say, "Wives’ be subject to your husbands," it is also true that the preceding verse says, "be subject to one another." Focusing on verse 22 and ignoring verse 21 is a gross distortion of scripture.

    Second: I've noticed that some people love to quote 1 Corinthians 14: 34, "…the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be subordinate…" Yet 1 Corinthians 11:5 says that when they do pray and prophesy they should do so with their heads covered. So, when extreme feminists try to focus on just the few verses that seem to support their cause, they do so by ignoring the totality of the scriptures.

    Thirdly: DD are you listening??? Are you ready for the Smoking Gun??? I hope so cuz here it is. You yourself stated and I quote

    "Although I don’t recall Jesus saying anything negative about women, all of his disciples were men and the only women around him spent their time serving food and washing his feet with their hair. Enough said."

    If you truly believe this then you have never read Luke 10: 38 – 42. Or maybe you have, but you just forgot about it or what it had to say. So I will be so kind as to remind you.

    Luke 10: 38 – 42 says "38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked "Lord don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!" 41 "Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "You are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has CHOSEN what is better, and it WILL NOT be taken away from her."

    So there you have it. Mary was not told by Jesus…YEAH! Get in there you subordinate piece of property and help your sister. NO it actually seems that Mary had a choice! Oh but how could that be if all women are property and are to serve food and wash feet and just be there for men???? Mary chose to sit at the feet of Jesus just as the disciples! And Jesus states that it was a good choice and indeed it was.

    Again, I have yet more if you are still hungry. Oh and one last thing dd…God Bless You.

  172. Profile photo of YesItIsEYE
    January 14, 2008 at 3:32 pm —

    Here you are…

    exarch said,

    January 14, 2008 at 6:31 am

    “”””Leviticus 12: 1-5 (NIV) says:

    The LORD said to Moses, 2 “Say to the Israelites: ‘A woman who becomes pregnant and gives birth to a son will be ceremonially unclean for seven days, just as she is unclean during her monthly period. 3 On the eighth day the boy is to be circumcised. 4 Then the woman must wait thirty-three days to be purified from her bleeding. She must not touch anything sacred or go to the sanctuary until the days of her purification are over. 5 If she gives birth to a daughter, for two weeks the woman will be unclean, as during her period. Then she must wait sixty-six days to be purified from her bleeding.””””

    “”””So explain to me, precisely, how the fact a woman must wait only 40 days after giving birth to a boy, and twice as long (80 days) after giving birth to a girl, does not somehow suggest she is “unclean” longer when a girl is involved?

    The fact that men can be considered unclean is completely irrelevant …””””

    The bible is not suggesting LEVELS of un-cleanliness; you are talking about an ancient system of laws and regulations established among an ancient culture. Do you even know what being ceremonially unclean meant back in those days? Do you understand the Old Testament system of worship? And how all the foreshadowing and the entire system of worship all points to the coming of Jesus? It had nothing to do with male or female in the large scope of things. Many things were considered unclean. But if you want to believe that the verse is suggesting the degradation of women then feel free. If you understood the Old Testament and the old system of worship you wouldn’t be focusing on such trivial verses. I don’t have time or space to explain it all within the confines of this forum.

    “”””YesItIsEYE wrote:

    So, SINCE only men can have a wife, that means the Ten Commandments are only addressed to men? Come on…who are we really trying to fool here? I won’t expand on that any further but to say ANYONE who takes the time to read the 20th chapter of Exodus can plainly see that the Ten Commandments were issued to the Israelites. Men and Women. I mean are you really saying that God only expects Men to not lie?

    It’s funny you should interpret it like that.

    Anyway, the Ten Commandments are only addressed to men. That in no way implies they only apply to men. As you yourself have just shown.

    Unless the bible allows women to have wives?

    I guess not …””””

    Isn’t the more important point that they do apply to everyone? First of all the Ten Commandments were given to Moses to convey to the children of Israel (Men and Women). Do you honestly believe that we couldn’t simply say “you should not covet your neighbor’s husband”? The importance is in the fact that they apply to all of us. What difference does it make WHO they were “addressed to? How is that important? Let me illustrate. If congress passes a new law on drunk driving that pertains to everyone, but when the new law is revealed it is “addressed” to a panel of women. These women then make the law public to all of us. How does that somehow diminish the importance of the law? Is the law then somehow sexist? No, how does sexism relate to drunk driving? It doesn’t any more than sexism relates to murder or idolatry.

    “”””YesItIsEYE wrote:

    The scriptures are written to an audience of men? This is all I will say about that statement: What about this:

    It then proceeds with a few quotes from the bible that don’t specifically address men (although none of the examples specifically address women either, which makes me think once again the point being made was missed).””””

    The point being made was not missed. You are simply playing semantics. The word “addressed” is your source of contention. Again, what difference does it make who it was addressed to? Mary was addressed by Angels; the woman with the issue of blood was addressed by Jesus. So what? What does who the bible is addressed to at times have to do with the importance of the biblical truths found inside the book? When Paul is addressing the church in the verses I gave he is in fact addressing women because women were part of the church. Plain and simple.

    “”””So yes, considering the age in which the story takes place, the bible doesn’t specifically address women, and when it does talk about women, it’s usually (yes, not always) referencing the women by the men they’re associated with (with few exceptions). For example, Lot’s wife (or his daughters for that matter). Despite turning into a pillar of salt, do you think anyone bothers to remember her by her own name? It seems everyone just talks about her as “Lot’s wife“. Why is that?””””

    WHY IS THAT? Because she was Lot’s wife and Lot was her husband.

    ''''What has to happen to a woman in order for het to merit being mentioned in the bible on her own, without the mention of her husband, father, brother, etc… ? How many women are there in the bible like that? Now compare that to the amount of men who get a mention without women?''''

    There are many instances in the bible when women are mentioned outside of any mention of a man. But one thing you need to realize is that the bible is a historical record. The ways things are mentioned in the bible are done so as to record history. History takes into consideration those types of things you know? Who someone was married to, when they were born etc. Again you are drowning in a pool of insignificance. But again I have given you instances where women are referred to on their own merit.

    “”””It’s subtle, and perhaps your average christian doesn’t notice it, but it’s there.

    Still, nobody is suggesting that every single thing in the bible is mysoginistic and anti-women. But there’s simply too much of it around to just ignore it completely. And it appears many christian women are doing just that. For example by thinking about themselves in a gender neutral way.””””

    I have never in my life met a woman who thought of themselves in a gender neutral way. Nobody can make you think or feel or believe anything about yourself unless you accept it. Now whether or not you are accepting truth or fiction I don’t know. But I have been a Christian for years and have never ever met a woman who feels that way. Not a mentally healthy one any way. Yes there are preachers and teachers who are wrong in how they act and what they say but that in no way reflects on the bible. If these men saw the bible in its entire truth, they would not act in ways so as to demean women.

    “”””Or by taking the assigned gender roles for granted rather than questioning or, heaven forbid, breaking them.

    It’s kind of hard to break free of that pre-ordained classification as just a wife and mother when the source of your life motto, your religion and the bible, are constantly urging you to conform and become just that.””””

    Oh really? What about the “Ideal” wife in Proverbs 31: 16-18 who is actively involved in real estate and retail sales? It states that her trading is profitable. Hmmm? She buys and sells land of her own accord to make profit. It doesn’t sound like just a wife or just a mother to me. Sounds like a viable person to me.

    “”””Now this is obviously just a remnant of the day and age in which the bible was written, and the people it was written by. But that’s exactly what makes it so odd to see this book and its views on society still being followed so closely.””””

    So that is all I have to say. You can continue focusing on words or unrelated concepts if you choose. It’s your life. God Bless.

  173. Profile photo of exarch
    January 15, 2008 at 2:13 am —

    urblind copy/pasted:

    a bunch of either/or assumptions that really make no sense, including such gems like:

    Chance is a force

    Wow. Just wow.

    Nothing we can say is ever going to make any difference. The misconceptions about science, physics, reality in general really, are just too many and too deeply rooted to allow this person to ever figure out where they went off the track.

    I'll pick out one statement though, because it's the last one in the logical chain of false dichotomies that's more or less still on track:

    They are not forced to produce Something Else by instinct, chance, necessity, or the will of another. They are controlled by no other. Whatever They do is done for reasons within Themselves.

    Now, at this point, the reasoning is already wanting to pull strongly towards the conclusion that sentience is required. Yet, this statement still makes sense. What makes atoms clump together? What makes them create energy or other atoms? Chemistry. Nuclear physics.

    Granted, those aren't easy subjects, but that's why it took us until the last few centuries to figure out the flaw in this medieval "logical" reasoning.

    Iit goes right off the track with the next statement though:

    This reason can only be Their will.

    Why? Why is will required for two chemical compounds to react? They do so all by themselves, for reasons within themselves (i.e. having an electron too few or too many, being a few electons removed from a complete (and thus stable) electron shell.

    All this "proof" really shows is a very basic lack of understanding of how the universe works. It's the basis of everything that's chemistry and physics.

    There's a little knowledge in there concerning the laws of conservation of energy and such, but there's huge gaps in the understanding of things like statistics, chance, physics, chemistry, etc… Or there would be no such utterly wrong statements like "non-living things can't create anything". Sure, on a size-level like tennisballs, they obviously can't do much. But we know for a fact that on a molecular and sub-molecular level, there's a lot going on, and plenty of it contradicts our intuitive assumptions about the world.

    In closing, there's a conclusion in there that makes so many unfounded assumptions it's hard to choose where to begin:

    The Eternal Something has no beginning and no end, has no needs that It Itself cannot meet, can do whatever is possible that can be done, and will always be superior to anything It produces.

    Well, whatever it was that existed before the universe did, why would it still exist today?

    For that matter, why would it ever have been part of our universe to begin with? And why do you assume it actually COULD be part of our universe.

    You also make assumptions about needs, and further assume that whatever this thing that created the universe is, can meet those needs. Why?

    You assume omnipotence. Why? There's no need for whatever created the universe to be all-powerfull. Just because something kickstarts the universe doesn't mean it can do anything else. Perhaps the only thing it can actually do is create universes.

    You also assume superiority. Why? Humans are constantly creating things that are superior to themselves. It's the basis of evolution, on a regular basis, offspring appear who are better suited to surviving in their environment than their parents were. They are, for all intents and purposes, superior to their "creators".

    You assume that the created cannot destroy the creation. Why not? You say there's a link betwen creation and creator, but there's no reason why the creator is still needed after the creation is finished. It's not like you will be unable to continue existing once your mother dies.

    What it boils down to is that if you strip away all the baseless assumptions in the argument, your "creator of the universe" can be just as much a description of the big bang as it can be of a deity of some sort.

  174. Profile photo of exarch
    January 15, 2008 at 2:51 am —

    YesItIsEYE wrote:

    We all know that there is a creator. You know, it takes a lot more faith to believe that there is no creator than to believe that there is one.

    Perhaps. I think the problem is not in the belief that something created the universe (whether it be a big bang or a benevolent sky-daddy sitting on his throne in heaven surrounded by angels). The problem is that you believe this creator to be a benevolent sky-daddy sitting on his throne in heaven surrounded by angels, who created the earth in 6 days, flooded the entire planet, took matters into his own hands on numerous occasions throughout ancient history, etc…

    The first creator sounds plausible, the second one just sounds like the overactive imaginings of a few bronze age sheep herders.

    For what it's worth though, I still think that, by default, it takes much less "faith" to not believe something exists when you have no reason to, than to DO think it exists despite lacking evidence to support that conclusion.

    Some believers object to this comparison, but for what it's worth, you have no more reason to believe god exists, than you have to believe Santa Claus exists. The only real difference is that you have much more obvious reasons NOT to believe Santa Claus exists, while evidence against the existence of god is much harder because the condept and efinition of what god is and where we might find him are much more elusive. An exhaustive search of the north pole and a stake out of your roof on christmas eve are sufficient to show that, at least, Santa does not appear to be where he's supposed to be found.

    It's much harder to get such concrete statements about "god" because no one really dares to make definitive statements because they know they can't support them.

    What little tangible assertions that HAVE been made, have all been shown to be in error though.

    And this is the stalemate in which we find ourselves to this day …

    For what it's wrth though, our uninterrupted expansion of knowlege through the use of the scientific menthod has pushed the possible "location" of god or "evidence of god" ever further back into the nooks and crannies of the universe. If god really DOES exist, he sure doesn't have that many spots left to hide any more.

    YesItIsEYE wrote:

    I mean do we really have that much faith in an occurrence of such ridiculous odds? Where did this world come from? Was it really random? Do we really believe there is no intelligent design behind it? Do we really believe that all the complex organisms and species of animals and reptiles and on and on just suddenly some how appeared? Or that they all evolved from one organism? Man that would be an occurrence of amazing odds.

    Suddenly? I think that's what YOUR creation story asserts.

    Abiogenesis suggests that life started out with just a few simple chemicals and organic molecules. (I suggest you watch this video, it's pretty interesting).

    As for "balance" and "just the right circumstances", well, the reason our Earth is in exactly the right spot to have life says only one thing, life wouldn't have existed if the Earth was in the wrong spot, and we simply wouldn't have been having this conversation.

    Since the Earth was in more or less the right spot, life COULD exist, and in this case, it actually did too, and it evolved into intelligent life to boot. For every Earth, there's possibly millions of planets in similar ideal conditions where life somehow hasn't sprung up (yet). Nobody on those planets is wondering about the astronomical odds for the simple reason that there's nobody there to ponder their own existence.

    It's a kind of reversed cause and effect fallacy. Just because the odds are very small that something would happen doesn't mean it can't. The odds of a single part failing and sending an entire airplane to the ground are pretty small too, and sometimes require a number of flukes and one-in-a-million chances to occur. But they do.

    Personally, I don't think the odds of us being here the way we are aren't that far out there. Evolution isn't as fantastic and unimaginably unlikely to have us as an end result. And I think it's far more intruiging to imagine all the alternate ways things might have turned out if, for example, the dinosaurs hadn't been wiped out by an astroid, or a different kind of hominid ancestor had become the most successful species.

  175. Profile photo of urblind
    January 15, 2008 at 4:10 am —

    uh oh!

    I think YesItIsEYE knows a little something? and dd and exarch don't like it!

    as for your video exarch……I dont hold youtube as a scientific report..sorry.

    I thought we had that discussion with the whole mythbusters/scooby doo thing?? anyone can post a youtube video…mostly little kids….

    thanks for wasting 9 minutes of my life watching it, I thought you might of

    had some worthwhile information, my bad.

    but the theory I gave you about something exsisting always and forever is just plain logic….no reasonable human mind can doubt that, you act as if the universe was just created out of nothing….sorry but it was not, what was before the nothing??? a blank sheet of paper??? and boom you have a universe?? not likely- something must have always exsisted, theres not really a choice weather to debate it or not- it just is, weather you wish to believe it or not..molocules didnt make themselves, atoms didnt make themselves, the odds of everything lining up, cannot happen by chance, if so then a new universe can appear any time now, or we could just dissapear any time now, a new life could appear in your morning coffee, I mean your theory is the fairy tale to me! one thing that has always been overwhelming proof to me- is the fact that athiests fight so hard to disprove God, if one was truly athiest you would waste your life trying to disprove it so hard- and it always seem to be Christianity that they focus so hard on – it's sad to believe that death is it and you'll never live again, but you choose to fight Christians and waste your precious life away…like YesItIsEYE said, you know deep down inside theres something— and it's God tugging at your heart, how merciful and graceful he is to you, but time is running, how much longer will you fight against him?? life is but a vapor, you can't kill off Christianity, science will never disprove anything – except weather or not pop rocks and soda can kill you on mythbusters! drop your denial, do REAL research from authoritive sources…other than mythbusters and youtube, and see the light my friend!!!

    Jesus loves you ; )

  176. Profile photo of urblind
    January 15, 2008 at 4:33 am —

    Rav,

    Your evidence is more than weak my friend….

    Justus' work was lost!

    Did you catch that? LOST! Most of his information

    Comes from Photius, the patriarch of Constantinople 878-886AD

    So do you think I'll take the testomony of a ninth century guy who "read" his work,

    "so he claims"??

    And as for your other source:

    Flavius Josephus

    Jewish historian, born A.D. 37, at Jerusalem; died about 101. He belonged to a distinguished priestly family, whose paternal ancestors he himself traces back five generations; his mother's family claimed descent from the Machabeans. He received a good education, and association with distinguished scholars developed his intellectual gifts, more especially his memory and power of judgment. He also made himself fully acquainted with and tried the leading politico-religious Jewish parties of his age — the Essenes, Pharisees, and Sadducees.

    Impressed by the outward importance of the Pharisees and hoping to secure through them a position of influence, he attached himself to their party at the age of nineteen, although he shared neither their religious nor political views. He went to Rome in the year 64 with the object of procuring from Nero the release of some imprisoned Jewish priests, who were friends of his. He succeeded in winning the favour of Poppæa Sabina, the emperor's consort, and through her influence gained his cause. But he was dazzled by the brilliant court life in the metropolis of the world, that he became ever more estranged from the spirit of strict Judaism, considering its struggle against paganism as useless. After his return to Jerusalem, the great Jewish revolt broke out in the year 66. Like most of the aristocratic Jews, Josephus at first discountenanced the rebellion of his countrymen, goaded into activity by their enslaved condition and outraged religious sentiments; when, however, fortune seemed to favour the insurgents, Josephus like the rest of the priestly nobility joined them, and was chosen by the Sanhedrin at Jerusalem to be commander-in-chief in Galilee. As such he established in every city throughout the country a council of judges, the members of which were recruited from those who shared his political views. He guided the diplomatic negotiations as well as the military enterprises with prudence and astuteness. In the beginning the Jews were successful, but later when the Roman General Vespasian advanced with the main army from Antioch to Galilee, burning and murdering, the insurgents either fled or sought shelter in their fortresses. For six weeks Josephus and the boldest spirits among the insurgents defended themselves in the almost impregnable fortress of Jotapata. In the summer of 67, the garrison being now exhausted from lack of water and other necessaries, the Romans stormed the citadel; most of the patriots were put to the sword, but Josephus escaped the massacre by hiding in an inaccessible cistern, and emerged only after receiving an assurance that his life would be spared. Brought before the victorious general, he sought with great shrewness to ingratiate himself with Vespasian, foretelling his elevation, as well as that of his son Titus, to the imperial dignity. Vespasian, however, kept him as a prisoner, and it was only in the year 69, after he had actually become emperor, that he restored to Josephus his liberty.

    As a freedman of Vespasian, Josephus assumed in accordance with the Roman custom the former's family name of Flavianus. He accompanied the emperor as far as Egypt, when the latter had handled over to his son the prosecution of the Jewish War, but then joined the retinue of Titus, and was an eyewitness of the destruction of the Holy City and her Temple. At his personal risk he had tried to persuade the Jews to surrender. After the fall of the city he went to Rome with Titus, and took part in the latter's triumph. But these scenes did not trouble Josphus's sense of national honour; on the contrary, he accepted the privilege of Roman citizenship in recognition of his services, and was granted a yearly stipend and also lands in Judea. The succeeding emperors, Titus and his cruel brother Domitian, also showed themselves kindly disposed towards Josephus, and conferred on him many marks of distinction. At court he was allowed to devote himself unmolested to his literary work until his death, which occurred in the reign of Trajan (probably in 101). In his life, as in his writings, he pursued a policy midway between Jewish and pagan culture, for which he was accused by his Jewish countrymen of being unprincipled and hypocritical. His works were written in elegant Greek, to influence the educated class of his time, and free them from various prejudices against Judaism.

    The first work of Josephus was the "Jewish War" (Peri tou Ioudaikou polemou) in seven books. This is mainly based on his memoranda made during the war of independence (66-73), on the memoirs of Vespasian, and on letters of King Agrippa. While his story of warlike events is reliable, the account of his own doings is strongly tinctured with foolish self-adulation. This work furnishes the historical background for numerous historical romances, among those of modern times "Lucius Flavius" by J. Spillmann, S.J., and "The End of Juda" by Anton de Waal.

    Josephus's second work, the "Jewish Antiquities" (Ioudaike Archaiologia), contains in twenty books the whole history of the Jews from the Creation to the outbreak of the revolt in A.D. 66. Books I-XI are based on the text of the Septuagint, though at times he also repeats traditional explanations current among the Jews in later times. He also quotes numerous passages from Greek authors whose writings are now lost. On the other hand he made allowance for the tastes of his Gentile contemporaries by arbitrary omissions as well as by the free embellishment of certain scenes. Books XII-XX, in which he speaks of the times preceding the coming of Christ and the foundation of Christianity, are our only sources for many historical events. In these the value of the statements is enhanced by the insertion of dates which are otherwise wanting, and by the citation of authentic documents which confirm and supplement the Biblical narrative. The story of Herod the Great is contained in books XV-XVII. Book XVIII contains in chapter iii the celebrated passage in which mention is made of the Redeemer in the following words:

    About this time lived Jesus, a man full of wisdom, if indeed one may call Him a man. For He was the doer of incredible things, and the teacher of such as gladly received the truth. He thus attracted to Himself many Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was the Christ. On the accusation of the leading men of our people, Pilate condemned Him to death upon the cross; nevertheless those who had previously loved Him still remained faithful to Him. For on the third day He again appeared to them living, just as, in addition to a thousand other marvellous things, prophets sent by God had foretold. And to the present day the race of those who call themselves Christians after Him has not ceased.

    Attempts have been made to refute the objections brought against this passage both for internal and external reasons, but the difficulty has not been definitively settled. The passage seems to suffer from repeated interpolations. The fact that the "Antiquities" testifies to the truth of Divine Revelation among the Jews as among the Christians, and confirms the historical facts related in the Bible by the incontrovertible testimony of pagan authors, renders this work of Josephus of extreme value for the history of the chosen people. The accounts which he gives of the rise and mutual relations of the different Jewish sects, which are so important in the history and sufferings of the Saviour; his information regarding the corruption of the ancient Jewish customs and institutions; his statement concerning the internal conflicts of the Jews, and lastly his account of the last war with the Romans, which put an end to the national independence of the Jews, are of prime importance as historical sources.

    In his "Autobiography" (phlaouiou Iosepou bios), written A.D. 90, Josephus seeks, not without attempts at self-glorification, to justify his position at the beginning of the Jewish rising. In plan and language the book is probably influenced by the writings of Nicholas of Damascus, which Josephus had also used in the "Antiquities". His work entitled "Against Apion" (Kata Apionos), divided in two books, is a defence of the great antiquity of the Jews and a refutation of the charges which had been brought against them by the grammarian Apion of Alexandria on the occasion of an embassy to the Emperor Caligula.

    The early Christians were zealous readers of Josephus's "History of the Jews", and the Fathers of the Church, such as Jerome and Ambrose, as well as the early ecclesiastical historians like Eusebius, are fond of quoting him in their works. St. Chrysostom calls him a useful expounder of the historical books of the Old Testament. The works of Josephus were translated into Latin at an early date. After the art of printing had been discovered, they were circulated in all languages. The first German translation was edited by the Strasburg Reformer Kaspar Hedio, in 1531, and a French translation was issued by Burgoing in Lyons in 1558. Among the best-known translations in English is that by Whiston (London, 1737), revised by Shilleto (5 vols., London, 1888-9). In the middle of the nineteenth century the interest in the "Jewish Antiquities" was revived by a translation which the Society of St. Charles Borromeo induced Professor Konrad Martin, afterwards Bishop of Paderborn, to undertake in collaboration with Franz Kaulen (1st ed., Cologne, 1852-3; 2nd and 3rd ed. by Kaulen, 1883 and 1892). The test of Josephus's works has been published by Dindorf in Greek and Latin (2 vols., Paris, 1845-47) and Bekker (6 vols., Leipzig, 1855-6). There are critical editions by Naber, (Leipzig, 1888-96) and Niese (7 vols., Berlin, 1887-95; text only, 6 vols., Berlin, 1888-95).

    So as you can clearly see, this was a man corrupted, did you read carefully this part:

    he pursued a policy midway between Jewish and pagan culture, for which he was accused by his Jewish countrymen of being unprincipled and hypocritical.

    So no, your evidence holds little weight with me….do better research next time!!!

  177. Profile photo of exarch
    January 15, 2008 at 4:43 am —

    YesItIsEYE wrote:

    If you understood the Old Testament and the old system of worship you wouldn’t be focusing on such trivial verses.

    Well, for starters it's not me who's focussing on them, it's you who's dismissing a person's entire case of "difference in treatment based on sexuality" on account that they read these verses and see a difference being made on gender which you assert isn't there. It clearly IS there. Your reasons for ignoring or excusing that difference are really not the issue. You claim there's no sexism in the bible, clearly, there is proof that some distinctions are being made based on nothing other than someone's gender.

    YesItIsEYE wrote:

    Do you honestly believe that we couldn’t simply say “you should not covet your neighbor’s husband”? The importance is in the fact that they apply to all of us. What difference does it make WHO they were “addressed to?

    Well, clearly, if it was addressed to everyone, the language would be less male-centric. It would say something like "do not covet thy neighbour's spouse. Or "thy neighbour's wife or husband".

    Despite being very important rules, their language isn't very clear or unambiguous. Obviously, if they were god's rules, they would be assumed to apply to everyone, but it's almost like the people who wrote down those rules sort of took it for granted that any rule that applied to men would also DEFINITELY apply to women as well. And I think the inverse isn't always the case. Now this also illustrates a point many non-believers make all the time: 2000 years ago, you didn't have to make that distinction. You wouldn't have had to clarify that what applied to men also automatically applied to women. Unlike today. But this is merely a sign that the bible was written by people from back then, not by god.

    Once you accept that premise, I don't really care how mysoginistic the bible is, since you accept that the people who wrote it are just as flawed as the rest of us, and as a result, the bible itself is flawed too, and many of the mysoginy within it are those of its authors, not those of the deity the religion worships..

    But if you plead for biblical inerrancy, you better explain why you accept such a difference in treatment between the sexes without question.

    In that same

    urblind wrote:

    yeah….metaphors…

    I wonder who the dumbasses were that made such stupid quotes as:

    think outside the box…or…read between the lines? guess they didnt

    realize that everything under the sun must be taken litteraly “as is”

    if only they could join us here?

    As predicted, there's urblind to pipe in with the expected "some of it is metaphor, some of it is litteral fact". Well, since nobody really knows which is which, there's no point in arguing over anything then, is there? Why not just accept that all of it is interesting as metaphor, some of it is still useful as a moral guide, and most of it is just glurge and religious propaganda? If it's all metaphor, you can simply drop trying to shoehorn history to fit the stories in the bible and vice-versa.

    YesItIsEYE wrote:

    How is that important? Let me illustrate. If congress passes a new law on drunk driving that pertains to everyone, but when the new law is revealed it is “addressed” to a panel of women. These women then make the law public to all of us. How does that somehow diminish the importance of the law?

    Well, if the law addresses a group of women, why would you assume it to be meant for anyone other than those women?

    If a law specifically addresses people in Alabama, why would you assume that law to have any bearing on people in California?

    It's important for matters of jurisdiction to use very precise language about which rules concern who, which situations they apply to, and what the exceptions are. If the commandment specifically says "thy neighbour"s wife", then technically, it does not concern thy neighbour's "husband", nor does it cover "thy neighbour's son or daughter".

    You may see it as nitpicking, I see it as an oversight caused by an uncontested assumption. An assumption which is no longer uncontested today.

    YesItIsEYE wrote:

    But one thing you need to realize is that the bible is a historical record.

    I disagree. It's no more a historical record than "The Lord of the Rings", or "Jurassic park", or any number of works of fiction. It's "historical" in the sense that it gives us a glimpse of the culture and the state of mind of the people of that period in time. And even though a cursory resemblance to actual events and/or people might not be strictly coincidental, that doesn't mean it's not fiction, or at least exagerrated truth. The fact the bible mentions existing places in the middle east doesn't mean anything. Even if these places turn out to be real, that doesn't really give it any more credence.

    YesItIsEYE wrote:

    But I have been a Christian for years and have never ever met a woman who feels that way.

    Well, it appears you just have. Writerdd said that for years she didn't think of herself as a woman but merely as a person, specifically because otherwise it would feel as if the bible didn't address her.

    I hardly think she'll be the only one who does that. Consciously or not.

    It probably means you know a few other christian women who do something similar in order for the bible to make more sense.

    YesItIsEYE wrote:

    Not a mentally healthy one any way. Yes there are preachers and teachers who are wrong in how they act and what they say but that in no way reflects on the bible. If these men saw the bible in its entire truth, they would not act in ways so as to demean women.

    Not a true Scotsman, huh?

  178. Profile photo of urblind
    January 15, 2008 at 4:59 am —

    urblind wrote:

    yeah….metaphors…

    I wonder who the dumbasses were that made such stupid quotes as:

    think outside the box…or…read between the lines? guess they didnt

    realize that everything under the sun must be taken litteraly “as is”

    if only they could join us here?

    As predicted, there’s urblind to pipe in with the expected “some of it is metaphor, some of it is litteral fact“. Well, since nobody really knows which is which

    I guess it's hard to distinquish for some….I'll help you:

    So, what is a metaphor? A metaphor is like a simile. That's because it is a comparison that is made between things, which is not always likely or obvious.

    Hence, a metaphor sounds more forceful and suggestive, but is still very common in speech. Common metaphors include "the neck of the woods" or "the foot of the mountain". These can be seen to be similar to similes – they suggest a comparison but do not make it explicitly.

    We often use metaphors without realising it. For instance, when we say that your parents 'bark a command' at you, you are comparing them to a dog, and hence engaging in metaphor

    Now kids, any other problems I can help you with?

  179. Profile photo of Rav Winston
    January 15, 2008 at 5:32 am —

    "A metaphor is like a simile"?

    LOL! OMFG, do you even understand what you just wrote? Not only are you ignorant of history, textual criticism, physics, chemistry, and biology; It seems your grasp of grammar is equally defective.

  180. Profile photo of exarch
    January 15, 2008 at 6:21 am —

    urblind wrote:

    but the theory I gave you about something exsisting always and forever is just plain logic…

    Logic is not the word I'd use to describe it. Actually, some of it is logic, a lot of it is speculation and assumption disguised as logical conclusions. It takes a bit of experience to see through it, but as the questions I posed you should show, there's plenty of assumption and faulty logic in there.

    urblind wrote:

    … no reasonable human mind can doubt that, you act as if the universe was just created out of nothing….sorry but it was not, what was before the nothing???

    There you go again with the incredulity. You are unable to imagine it, so therefore it cannot be that way.

    You also cannot get over the idea of linear unidirectional time. Time itself was created with the universe, so THERE IS NO BEFORE THE BIG BANG.

    It's clearly outside the grasp of your comprehension. You've shown that much with three lengthy replies full of bad logic. I'll admit I don't understand it very well either.

    Even something as simple as the relativity of time surpasses the understanding of many people, and that's a rather easy one.

    urblind wrote:

    a blank sheet of paper??? and boom you have a universe?? not likely- something must have always exsisted, theres not really a choice weather to debate it or not- it just is, weather you wish to believe it or not..molocules didnt make themselves, atoms didnt make themselves, the odds of everything lining up, cannot happen by chance, if so then a new universe can appear any time now, …

    Yes, this is in fact what what some scientists propose. That universes can appear out of nowhere at any time. That possibly many universes existed "before" ours showed up (which was stable enough to remain in existence "long enough" for us to observe it). And possibly we will one day cease existing and be replaced by other universes.

    Nobody is saying molecules created themselves. The leading theory states that the big bang created everything. As far as explanations of our existence goes, it's a much tidier explanation, as it doesn't require all-powerfull, all-knowing, sentient beings who've always existed and always will. And there's even good evidence that supports the theory, and some predictions were made that have since been confirmed.

    The simpleminded "I don't understand it so it can't be true" mentality just doesn't seem like something you should be proud of urblind.

    urblind wrote:

    one thing that has always been overwhelming proof to me- is the fact that athiests fight so hard to disprove God, if one was truly athiest you would waste your life trying to disprove it so hard- and it always seem to be Christianity that they focus so hard on

    Do you REALLY want to know why we fight the concept of god so much? Because it's been used in the past to justify anything from stupid inane laws to war and atttrocities, and because it's still being used today to oppress. Oppress reproductive freedom, oppress entire groups of people based on their beliefs or their sexual orientation. Oppress the teaching of scientific discovery because it contradicts what people thought was "the truth" 2000 years ago.

    The misplaced faith in the bible's veracity is keeping generations of fundmentalist christians from ever learning the fascinating truth about our universe, the origins of our existence and the road we as a species have already travelled to get to where we are, and it's actively trying to stop research into areas that might lead to better quality of life and health, such as stem-cell research.

    I don't care if you personally decide to remain ignorant of much of the science behind the workings of the universe, but you have no business dictating what someone else should or should not be taught in school. That descision should be made on objective grounds, not touchy-feely fingers in the ears "I can't hear you" fundamentalist doctrine.

    As long as you (christianity in general) persist in spreading nonsense based on stories from the bible, there willl be ample reason for rational, educated people to counter that ignorance and make sure that no one is intellectually "left behind" because of it.

    THAT is why we constantly fight your ignorance on every possible occasion. Because it HAS to be fought if we want to have any chance of leaving this dark-age mentality of ignoring it if it doesn't fit our preconceived ideas behind us.

    Why mainly christians? Because here in the west, you are the most vocal and numerous group. Trust me, there's atheists in other parts of the world just as actively countering ignorance and idiocy from other religions. Except, it appears as though they're perhaps not as numerous, or as idiotic, as fundamentalist christians.

    urblind wrote (copy/pasted?):

    a shitload of background about the life of Flavius Josephus, followed by:

    So as you can clearly see, this was a man corrupted, did you read carefully this part:

    he pursued a policy midway between Jewish and pagan culture, for which he was accused by his Jewish countrymen of being unprincipled and hypocritical.

    So no, your evidence holds little weight with me….do better research next time!!!

    In other words, if you can't refute the evidence, take exception to the author, and all is fine and dandy in fundie-land again, because suddenly, Flavius Josephus no longer exists, and his writings cannot be used to discount the idea of a real historical Jesus any more.

  181. Profile photo of urblind
    January 15, 2008 at 7:28 am —

    oh sorry rav, I copied and pasted from a dictionary website…

    sorry those nerdy bastards dont fit your standards

    see how ignorant you look when you "assume" I write stuff versus

    when intellectual superiors to you write it????

    your a funny dude

  182. Profile photo of urblind
    January 15, 2008 at 7:44 am —

    urblind wrote (copy/pasted?):

    a shitload of background about the life of Flavius Josephus, followed by:

    So as you can clearly see, this was a man corrupted, did you read carefully this part:

    he pursued a policy midway between Jewish and pagan culture, for which he was accused by his Jewish countrymen of being unprincipled and hypocritical.

    So no, your evidence holds little weight with me….do better research next time!!!

    In other words, if you can’t refute the evidence, take exception to the author, and all is fine and dandy in fundie-land again, because suddenly, Flavius Josephus no longer exists, and his writings cannot be used to discount the idea of a real historical Jesus any more.

    boy you people need to lay off the gonja!!

    your the cry babies who wanted examples of other people besides Christians who wrote about Jesus, because you guys "assumed" there wernt any, so I gave you a few……but then you tried to find something negative to say about it, so I just put a stop to it, because you people know very little about the things you speak of…….it's not my fault you have faulty views or faulty resources (or both)…but anywho, I'm still laughing my ass off at Rav!!!

    because he'she thinks that the super educated people who control works such as the websters dictionary dont understand grammer!! HAHAAHHAHHAAAAA!!!!!! and all because he thought it was words out of my own mouth!!!!!! boy, you just made yourself look extremely stupid!!! and lost ALL of your credibility here!!!

    my advice to you: stay out of the conversation…or better yet go tell the people at webster thier stupid and dont know grammer!! HAHAHAHAHA!!!!

  183. Profile photo of urblind
    January 15, 2008 at 7:50 am —

    whew…..15 minutes later, and I'm still tickled!!!! thanks Rav,

    I needed a good laugh today!!

    oh BTW, do you want the contact information, so you can file a complaint?

    I'm sure they didnt know that thier metaphors didnt come up to par with your views!!! I'm sure they will rewrite that entry and issue a formal apology

    -all based on your humble and brilliant advice!

  184. Profile photo of exarch
    January 15, 2008 at 7:54 am —

    Well urblind, now that we've established what a metaphor is (not really what I was asking actually), how do you know which parts of the bible to interpret metaphorically, and which to interpret literally?

    Or for that matter, why interpret anything literally at all?

    If you get to choose yourself which parts you think are metaphorical, then who's to say my interpretation is wrong while yours is not?

    It's too much of a cop-out. You'll take anything literally, until it gets too hard to justify, or it heavily contradicts other parts of scripture which you like more, and then you just decide that something is supposed to be metaphorical? If too many people start to become disgusted with your religion, you change a few things that used to be taken literally into metaphors and PRESTO! you're good to go for another couple of decades, if not centuries.

    As I said before, I don't mind if you alter your religion to better fit the time period and the culture, but don't have the audacity to then claim your religion is somehow better because it has always had the inerrant truth in the bible, because you're clearly having to change your interpretation of the bible a lot in order to stay "with it". Which means that either for centuries the bible has been interpreted incorrectly, and anything said and done up until that point was seriously misguided, or it is such an unclear, vaguely written book that it can be interpreted to mean anything (which I think is what's really going on).

    Seeing how in my opinion, the latter explanation is more likely, this also means that you might (and quite a few people do) even find a lot of spiritual and moral guidance in other sources, like Star Wars, The Lord of the rings, etc…

  185. Profile photo of exarch
    January 15, 2008 at 8:14 am —

    Jjust out of curiosity, I decided to check Webster's online dictionary, and guess what the entry for "Metaphor" said?

    1: a figure of speech in which a word or phrase literally denoting one kind of object or idea is used in place of another to suggest a likeness or analogy between them (as in drowning in money); broadly : figurative language — compare simile

    2: an object, activity, or idea treated as a metaphor : symbol 2

    Apparently, in its broadest meaning, you might compare it to a simile, but even then, what you gave as the definition of simile doesn't match what I found:

    : a figure of speech comparing two unlike things that is often introduced by like or as (as in cheeks like roses) — compare Metaphor

    The second meaning of symbol refers to the verb "symbolize".

    Clearly, in the context of the bible, the metaphors being talked about are not merely instances of simile. Perhaps a better term would be "parable":

    : example; specifically : a usually short fictitious story that illustrates a moral attitude or a religious principle

    I.e. an example, specifically a short fictitious story to illustrate moral or religious ideas.

    I guess the plural of "parable" is "bible" 8)

  186. Profile photo of Rav Winston
    January 15, 2008 at 9:03 am —

    Fellow Rationalists–? This is making my head hurt. It's like being bukkake-d with stupid.

    Can we please move on, now?

  187. Profile photo of PH
    January 15, 2008 at 9:08 am —

    >>"If you get to choose yourself which parts you think are metaphorical, then who’s to say my interpretation is wrong while yours is not?"

    Isn't that the point of a pseudo-literal approach to the Bible – the kind of tool principally interested in feeling more right/saved/whatever than everyone else finds it easy to define their own position as being the right interpretation.

    >>"Seeing how in my opinion, the latter explanation is more likely, this also means that you might (and quite a few people do) even find a lot of spiritual and moral guidance in other sources, like Star Wars, The Lord of the rings, etc.."

    That's rather assuming someone is looking for spiritual or moral guidance, rather than a sense of likely-unjustified superiority.

    Many people already *know* what's immoral. They just want to find some way of justifying their prejudices by claiming some big invisible guy agrees with them.

  188. Profile photo of whitebird
    January 15, 2008 at 9:22 am —

    Oh Dear. I propose we move on. It is clear that the religious trolls here feel that their time is better spent arguing with strangers using technology that would never have been able to exist if it weren't made by people who think more like the people that they are arguing with, than doing something more "Christian". It's clear that we're dealing with Judeo-Roman Kiliks here. They are not trying to have a conversation, they are just trying to yell "there is a god there is a god!" as loud as possible. And it is clear that it is an extremely useful activity.

  189. Profile photo of whitebird
    January 15, 2008 at 9:23 am —

    …I mean just think of all the medical research, technological advances, philanthropy and progressive social policy that these two are achieving with every keystroke.

  190. Profile photo of urblind
    January 15, 2008 at 10:03 am —

    They are not trying to have a conversation, they are just trying to yell “there is a god there is a god!” as loud as possible. And it is clear that it is an extremely useful activity.

    all the while you people are yelling, no it isnt, no it isnt…and wheres the proof? then we give it to you, and you say…no, thats just what some Christian person wants you to believe- your info cant be right….pbsst give me a break.

    and whitebird says:I mean just think of all the medical research, technological advances, philanthropy and progressive social policy that these two are achieving with every keystroke.

    yeah, you guys are really changing the world!!! calling us trolls, and coming up with lame excuses once your research fails and you run out of fancy things to say!

    can two little Christians scare you that bad?? what about the other 200 and some odd million??

    exarch says:how do you know which parts of the bible to interpret metaphorically, and which to interpret literally?

    Or for that matter, why interpret anything literally at all?

    to me it's pretty simple, do you have an example?

    exarch says:As I said before, I don’t mind if you alter your religion to better fit the time period and the culture, but don’t have the audacity to then claim your religion is somehow better because it has always had the inerrant truth in the bible, because you’re clearly having to change your interpretation of the bible a lot in order to stay “with it”. Which means that either for centuries the bible has been interpreted incorrectly, and anything said and done up until that point was seriously misguided, or it is such an unclear, vaguely written book that it can be interpreted to mean anything (which I think is what’s really going on).

    in your own little misguided way, you just made an awesome statement,

    but fail to realize what you just said….

    thats the whole glory of the bible, it changes with the times- it grows and evolves with us- the intepretations can mean so much, and even be different in time- it's such a complex book, you cant even grasp it!! it even has personal meanings to it- that apply stricktly to you! divine revelations reveal deeper understanding and knowledge…man your so missing out of the endless possibilities in the word of God!!….it hasnt been the #1 seller of all time for nothing. I would love to just sit down with you and read it together with you, and show you verse by verse…no one can fully understand it, no one ever will, because of the endless message and possibilities and personal revelation….it has been here before science and it will stand after science and this world is gone. it will NEVER be disproved, especially if you people are the next generation of atheists – you cant even beat out two little trolls with your weak resources. how will you change the world?? you wont, but you will succeed in looking foolish. as science always has in the end……so while you guys struggle to cure the little common cold, God's out there healing the blind/sick/deaf/lame/terminal……maybe science will one day catch up?

  191. Profile photo of whitebird
    January 15, 2008 at 1:39 pm —

    that's it, Urblind, we're scared of you. You're fearfully boring. Next!

  192. Profile photo of urblind
    January 16, 2008 at 4:26 am —

    awww…the fun's just starting!

  193. Profile photo of exarch
    January 16, 2008 at 4:31 am —

    urblindwrote:

    in your own little misguided way, you just made an awesome statement,

    but fail to realize what you just said….

    Oh, don't be mistaken, I know exactly what I just said, and I know exactly how you interpret what I just wrote.

    I think it's remarkable though, how the ever changing and adapting explanations of science are seen as being somehow a detriment, constantly having to scrap outdated views and correcting mistakes (as if correcting mistakes is somehow a bad thing).

    Yet at the same time, the ever changing, ever modernising interpretations of the bible are somehow a virtue.

    Like I said, you can alter your interpretation of the bible, but then you don't get to claim your bible and your faith are inerrant, because they're obviously riddled with interpretations that need revision.

    For what it's worth, science never makes the claim that it has all the answers, and that all the answers it's got so far are true beyond any doubt.

    Religion does nothing BUT claim it has the only, true, correct answers, straight from the only true, correct source.

    Science does keep changing theories, ever testing its current assumptions against reality, and whatever's written down is free from any need of interpretation.

    The bible is the opposite however. You can change your interpretation of certain verses, but that won't stop anybody else from still interpreting things the wrong, outdated way, or reverting back to an older interpretation at some point. This is what eventually leads to people in this day and age who still believe silly things like the planet and the entire universe was poofed into existence and fully populated with life in only seven days. That there was at some point a huge flood that reached as high as mount Ararat. Etc…

    In science, once something has been shown to be in error, it's discarded (or at the very least, adapted to fit the new evidence). There won't be any rebellious scientists who still adhere the old idea, who go to court and demand the judges decide who's right and who isn't. Science just doesn't work like that. If it's wrong, it's wrong. Period. There's really no point trying to defend something if it's been shown to be wrong. Usually the only ones still clinging to the old ways are the non-scientists who don't understand why it's silly to ignore the evidence.

    urblindwrote:

    thats the whole glory of the bible, it changes with the times- it grows and evolves with us- the intepretations can mean so much, and even be different in time- it’s such a complex book, you cant even grasp it!! it even has personal meanings to it- that apply stricktly to you! divine revelations reveal deeper understanding and knowledge…

    And likewise, the interpretations of The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, etc… can change over time too. Even though they're respectively 70 and 30 years old, many of the things you find within them are still very much applicable to current events. But that doesn't make the bible any more special. In fact, it makes the whole habit of pointing to the bible and saying it's inerrant pointless. It's so vague you can get it to mean anything. and this is exactly what people will do.

    So what's the point then, if it means whatever you want it to mean? You cannot use it to support anything, because the other side of the argument can use it just as easily to support their case. As this discussion should have shown you by now.

    You wanna support feminism? You'll find verses about strong women. Wanna use the bible to show anti-feminism?, Again, you'll find what you need.

    Wanna support gay-hate? Sure, plenty of that stuff in Paul. But you'll also find verses that can be interpreted as supporting homosexuality.

    Iit essentially renders the bible completely useless, because it can mean everything, and thus it proves nothing.

    urblindwrote:

    man your so missing out of the endless possibilities in the word of God!!….it hasnt been the #1 seller of all time for nothing.

    No, it's been the number one seller because of the Gideon's screwing up the statistics by dumping a copy of the bible in every hotel room in the United States. (Which means that apart from being the most translated, printed or sold book, it's probably also the most unread book around, lying untouched in thousands of hotel nightstands).

    urblindwrote:

    I would love to just sit down with you and read it together with you, and show you verse by verse…no one can fully understand it, no one ever will, because of the endless message and possibilities and personal revelation….

    There you go, no one can ever understand it. So why claim all the answers are there? The reason no one can ever fully understand it is because it makes no sense, the whole thing is a patchwork of various different authors, who at times contradict each other in significant ways. And it's further complicated by looking deceptively like a historical account, even though it's becoming ever more obvious that it's not. It's loosely based on real events and people, but it contains too much fiction to be a genuine history book.

    As a collection of parabels and metaphors, it's a very useful tool to teach morality and religious doctrine. But you can't use it for anything other than that, because it wasn't intended to be used that way. Hence the current problem with creationism and biblical litteralism alienating a rather sizable section of christianity from science.

    urblindwrote:

    it has been here before science and it will stand after science and this world is gone. it will NEVER be disproved, especially if you people are the next generation of atheists – you cant even beat out two little trolls with your weak resources. how will you change the world?? you wont, but you will succeed in looking foolish. as science always has in the end……so while you guys struggle to cure the little common cold, God’s out there healing the blind/sick/deaf/lame/terminal……maybe science will one day catch up?

    We've been waiting 2000 years for god to heal all sorts of things. We're still waiting for him to start work on his first case.

    I'm just glad some people were rational enough not to hold their breath for god to make good on his promise, and deciding to learn how the human body functions, using the scientific principle, and acquiring the knowledge and skills needed to cure variety of afflictions, including, but not limited to, heart- (and other organ) transplants, c-sections, apendectomy, vaccinations, setting broken bones and even simply cleaning and disinfecting wounds. Those alone are probably responsible for reducing the number of blind/sick/deaf/lame and DEAD by several factors, and significantly raising the life expectancy in general.

  194. Profile photo of urblind
    January 16, 2008 at 5:04 am —

    exarch you shouldnt hit the pipe so early in the morning!!

    shouldnt you be watching cartoons and eating cheerios?

    everything you just rambled about was proven 20 posts ago, why you still trying to deny the truth? you talk a lot, but havent backed up one thing you've stated since you've been here….you can't prove/disprove one statement you've made here…you just simply believe what you want to, and disbelieve everything I say- just because I say it….dont end up like Rav and make an idiot out of yourself(by the way I'm still laughing about that)

    you hate me…thats cool, it's because of that you disregaurd whatever I say..

    just like Jesus once said: a prophet is not known in his own country-nor does a physician heal those who know him.

    your mighty here in internet land…face to face you wouldnt stand a chance, because your information is based on loose evidence..not concrete evidence.

    oh your funny with your medical advice…..didnt the Bible say right from the start that cleansiness was next to Godliness?? wasnt one of the apostles a physician?? didnt God already know about Ecoli and salmonella, and other deadly forms of bacteria- which is why he outlawed eating certain meat- and commanded that sacrificial meat be eaten immediatly after sacrifice, and not eat the leftovers-why? because they didnt have refrigerators back then or conventional ovens, didnt God ban the people from eating shell fish- even though half the people were fishermen..why? because shellfish is the #1 killer food allergy in the world, and you can develope an allergy to eat at any point and time even 20 years later…God already knew..even though the people did not understand the ban?? see how stupid you are? people 3-4000 years ago didnt know that crap, but they do now, there understanding was different then, but YOUR science proves it now in 2008, only a dumb ass would not realize the facts. theres more medical advice and knowledge in the Bible than in most medical text books you find laying around…but people like you, are just far to mentally handicapped to see whats right there in your face in black and white (and red), so go back to watching your cartoons, and eat your cheerios up…maybe later you can have a nap! your not talking about anything worth debating anymore…I believe your all tapped out on your so called evidence…

  195. Profile photo of Rav Winston
    January 16, 2008 at 6:05 am —

    Urblind, the depths of your ignorance and stupidity displayed are truly astounding. You are so goddamn fucking moronic it takes my breath away.

    I need a new irony-meter.

  196. Profile photo of PH
    January 16, 2008 at 6:36 am —

    urblind,

    I don't think exarch hates you and therefore disregards what you say.

    I think exarch reads what you've said, and then pities you for your willing ignorance and arrogance, both of which seem likely to be a barrier to your education.

    I can only suggest that if you ever get ill, you demand to be treated by a minister rather than a doctor.

  197. Profile photo of urblind
    January 16, 2008 at 7:04 am —

    Rav is a real comedian aint he??

    furious at his OWN stupid mistake….dont hate me becuase you stuck your foot in your mouth!

    and Ph, lay off the crack…..

  198. Profile photo of Rav Winston
    January 16, 2008 at 7:20 am —

    Urblind, stop trying to retcon reality.

  199. Profile photo of writerdd
    January 16, 2008 at 7:48 am —

    OK, since this has devolved into a bunch of name calling, let's just drop it.

    I'm planning to post more religious topics in the future where you can all duke it out again, but next time try a little harder to stay on topic.

  200. Profile photo of exarch
    January 16, 2008 at 7:58 am —

    urblind wrote:

    exarch you shouldnt hit the pipe so early in the morning!!

    shouldnt you be watching cartoons and eating cheerios?

    What the hell are you talking about? It's 5PM, I'm already done with work for today.

    Oh, I forgot, you don't ctually read any of the things I write, you just glimpse at a few words here and there, make a bunch of assumptions, and post away without a single original tought entering your head.

    urblind wrote:

    everything you just rambled about was proven 20 posts ago, why you still trying to deny the truth? you talk a lot, but havent backed up one thing you’ve stated since you’ve been here….

    It's true, I haven't actually shown you much proof. I've been putting off the search for the debunking of that Ark documentary.

    On the other hand, you haven't shown us any proof either. A quick reference to "some documentary on the history channel" doesn't give us much to work with either.

    It's not up to us to prove that god doesn't exist, it's up to you to show us he does. and then we can either accept your conclusion, or explain why what you've offered doesn't prove what you say it does. (The second being what we've been doing so far).

    As for the "Clocks" video on You Tube, that was directed at YesItsEye(sp?) regarding his inability to imagine complex structures evolving all by themselves. Iit was not offered as proof, just as an interesting suggestion to look at the subject in another way

    .

    urblind wrote:

    you can’t prove/disprove one statement you’ve made here…you just simply believe what you want to, and disbelieve everything I say- just because I say it….

    No, I disbelieve most of your statements because they are nonsense, or illogical. If what you say makes little or no sense, why would I feel compelled to accept it as truth?

    Likewise, I realize this is why you're probably dismissing much of what we say out of hand as making no sense. But the fact it makes no sense to you (or me) is no reason to not at least THINK about it. At least when we're dismissing your writings as nonsense, we explain to you WHY we think it's nonsense. So far all we've heard from you is insults and incredulity. No motivations whatsoever.

    urblind wrote:

    dont end up like Rav and make an idiot out of yourself(by the way I’m still laughing about that)

    you hate me…thats cool, it’s because of that you disregaurd whatever I say..

    I don't know why you think I hate you. Or why I would even fear anything you have to say. I'm not secretly a believer who has decided to disbelieve god in order to have sex. The bible holds no power over me. I merely look at the things you write with a bit of skepticism, and find your interpretation of many things lacking of skepticism or rational thought. Which I then bring to your attention (and more importantly, to the attention of those people who, a month, a year, three years from now, accidentally happen upon this site after a Google search. It's important that all the unsupported facts and assertions are flagged as such).

    urblind wrote:

    just like Jesus once said: a prophet is not known in his own country-nor does a physician heal those who know him.

    your mighty here in internet land…face to face you wouldnt stand a chance, because your information is based on loose evidence..not concrete evidence.

    You wouldn't know concrete evidence if it bit you in the ass. And more importantly, if you read or see something on TV that supports your point of view, you don't stop to think whether it even sounds rational, let alone check to see if it's true.

    Granted, everyone is likely to fall victim to that bias, but if you're going to use it as an ace up your sleeve in an internet discussion, you might as well take the trouble to verify if it's trustworthy. And even the history channel isn't free from mistakes. Especially because they don't make those shows themselves, they buy them, apparently, sometimes without fact checking.

    urblind wrote:

    oh your funny with your medical advice…..didnt the Bible say right from the start that cleansiness was next to Godliness??

    There's a world of difference between "cleanliness" and "sterile". A suggestion to bathe regularly is not the same as germ killing disinfectants.

    urblind wrote:

    wasnt one of the apostles a physician??

    So what? The mortality rate in those days speaks for itself.

    urblind wrote:

    didnt God already know about Ecoli and salmonella, and other deadly forms of bacteria- which is why he outlawed eating certain meat- and commanded that sacrificial meat be eaten immediatly after sacrifice, and not eat the leftovers-why? because they didnt have refrigerators back then or conventional ovens,

    Because the people who wrote the bible already figured out that certain kinds of meat were more likely to result in digestive problems, and that meat started to go off after a while. They didn't need god to tell them about that, it was pretty damn obvious.

    urblind wrote:

    didnt God ban the people from eating shell fish- even though half the people were fishermen..why? because shellfish is the #1 killer food allergy in the world, and you can develope an allergy to eat at any point and time even 20 years later…God already knew..even though the people did not understand the ban?? see how stupid you are? people 3-4000 years ago didnt know that crap,

    You assume they didn't, but what do you base that assumption on?

    Sure, perhaps they didn't know about E-colli, salmonella or allergies, but they knew enough about cause and effect to realize that certain kinds of food triggered certain kinds of reaction.

    Although they didn't know enough about cause and effect to not also falsely attribute certain effects to certain related events that were not the cause (for example, the Egyptions thought dung-beetles were born out of dung-balls, rather than being incubated inside them)

    urblind wrote:

    but they do now, there understanding was different then, but YOUR science proves it now in 2008, only a dumb ass would not realize the facts.

    What facts? How about the fact that if science hadn't figured it out, you wouldn't know about it? You'd have your bible, and it would say a bunch of stuff, but you would have no idea what it meant. You can now retrofit scientific discoveries to appear to have been mentioned in the bible. But if you couldn't use the bible to decypher that knowledge in the first place, then what's the point of using it anyway? Why not just simply drop the bible as being a fuzzy, imprecise, unclear, vague book of bronze age stories, containing no more knowledge than that of the people who wrote it at that time, and rely on science and the scientific method to find out everything else about the universe?

    If you need science to give you the answers first in order to find them in the bible, why bother with the bible at all? Why not just use science and admit the bible is not a useful tool to gather knowledge about the universe?

    urblind wrote:

    theres more medical advice and knowledge in the Bible than in most medical text books you find laying around…

    Tell me where in the bible it says how to remove an inflamed appendix?

    How about where it explains the Krebbs-cycle? No?

    The symptoms of Addison's disease?

    How about reproduction? Surely something as basic as the chromosomal pairs and DNA are explained in some detail, in a book that contains quite a bit of begatting and other sexual escapades?

    Well, I guess Grey's anatomy does contain a tad more information than the bible after all.

    urblind wrote:

    but people like you, are just far to mentally handicapped to see whats right there in your face in black and white (and red), so go back to watching your cartoons, and eat your cheerios up…maybe later you can have a nap! your not talking about anything worth debating anymore…I believe your all tapped out on your so called evidence…

    Well, I look at the bible and see a story book. You look at the bible and, after lots of bending and twisting, see exactly all the things we've used science to figure out.

    That's like looking at a brick wall and trying to see the shape of a bunny, a face, a car. It's not that hard if you try, but that doesn't mean the wall was intended to have the shape of a bunny, a face or a car in it, it just means that if you try hard enough, you can see anything you want there, because of your imagination.

  201. Profile photo of exarch
    January 16, 2008 at 8:07 am —

    Despite being unsure and wondering if I should check, I ended up misspelling "Gray's anatomy" anyway :roll:

  202. Profile photo of Rav Winston
    January 16, 2008 at 8:12 am —

    writerdd said,

    January 16, 2008 at 11:48 am

    "OK, since this has devolved into a bunch of name calling, let’s just drop it."

    Sorry, DD. Will comply.

  203. Profile photo of urblind
    January 16, 2008 at 8:20 am —

    Surely something as basic as the chromosomal pairs and DNA are explained in some detail,

    oh DNA and cloning are there- but you wouldnt take my word for it…

    It’s not up to us to prove that god doesn’t exist, it’s up to you to show us he does.

    WRONG ANSWER!

    your the people who want to change laws, change school policies/

    change the country and education!! NOT US!

    YOUR the ones who must prove something in order to change it! if not- it WILL NOT CHANGE……we dont need to prove or disprove jack….that burden is on your shoulders….and as long as you argue with weak ass science from mythbusters, you will never succeed in your mission…

  204. Profile photo of urblind
    January 16, 2008 at 8:23 am —

    drop the subject is a cop out….you've lost your area of attack.

    this post has recieved more hits than all the rest combined!

    surrender already, I'll claim this posts victory to GOD!

    how you all run, so quickly and give up….

    atheism wont survive long…lol

  205. Profile photo of urblind
    January 16, 2008 at 8:48 am —

    well lets recap:

    during this adventure I've given various testomony from various resources.

    each statement was adreesed and answered…on the other hand, when I asked for information or requested information I got nothing of any significance….lets look at this

    over the course of this post your group gave me such refrences and "prrof" as follows:

    a quick link to wikipedia (lol)

    a video to youtube (lmao)

    a mention of mythbusters (??)

    a review from a book some kid got for his birthday (lmao) one-whos work was lost from the get go (admitted by the person himself)

    misquoted scriptures

    a notion that the most respected channel on earth "the HISTORY CHANNEL" was ran by evil Christians and misinterpreted history

    I mean the list goes on and on for the crap you all delivered as substantial evidence…

    I on the other hand, gave you lotes of reliable information, from many UNBIASED resources…from archeologists/historians/ the government

    you all laughed at…one who even went as far as to discredit a dictionary for crying out loud, stating a dictionary dont know proper grammer (please)

    alot of info was copied and pasted, but you knocked it down because you though "I" said it…pbsst

    you bring nothing substantial to the table- I give you substantial information from scientific unbiased web sites, but you dismiss it….

    some of you get so mad, you suffer a nervous breakdown…

    one of you need an anger management class (you know who you are)

    all because of ONE ITTY BITTY CHRISTIAN……

    you guys are furious, I sit back with a smile on my face all day long because of you people! you have deffiantly made my day the last 2 weeks!!

    especially exarch and Rav…..maybe we can hang out sometime?

  206. Profile photo of PH
    January 16, 2008 at 9:17 am —

    urblind,

    Where are your references to the guy whose amputated leg grew back?

    I'm amazed that such a thing would/could possibly be kept quiet.

  207. Profile photo of flygrrl
    January 16, 2008 at 9:20 am —

    didnt the Bible say right from the start that cleansiness was next to Godliness??

    Is cleansiness like truthiness? Is urblind really Stephen Colbert? Is there a moderator who steps in when things reach the spam-level preposterousness they have here, especially considering that none of it is discussion of the original post? Is there a "don't feed the troll" rule here? I'm totally waiting for Godwin's Law to take effect.

  208. Profile photo of writerdd
    January 16, 2008 at 9:42 am —

    Hi flygrrl, We tend to be very laissez-faire about comments around here. Once in a blue moon Rebecca will block a troll account. Since this is so far contained just to this one post, it's probably not the end of the world. If it starts to spread, I'll see what we can do.

    I must admit that I'm amused by people who think they have to protect God from criticism, like he can't stand up for himself so he needs body guards or something. Obviously God isn't a good enough writer to come up with a book that normal people can understand, so he needs interpreters to help him get his points across. I have always wondered why God made Shakespeare a better writer than himself, actually. :-)

    And the boys seem to need a good pissing contest every once in a while.

  209. Profile photo of flygrrl
    January 16, 2008 at 10:05 am —

    Hey writerdd,

    I should have put a :) in my message. Re-reading it I realize I may have come across as grumpy but the tone was meant to be more amused (or bemused?) I know different forums have their own rules and ways of handling this stuff, but I was just curious.

  210. Profile photo of Rav Winston
    January 16, 2008 at 10:57 am —

    writerdd said,

    January 16, 2008 at 1:42 pm

    "And the boys seem to need a good pissing contest every once in a while."

    OI! *pouts*

  211. Profile photo of urblind
    January 16, 2008 at 11:05 am —

    Ph,

    the book to find the info is in: Miracles-can be yours today

    the miracle took place in Ghana, west africa, during a crusade meeting,

    which had 200,000 in attendance.

    I dont know the name of the man healed, but the man who knows the details

    name is T.L Osborne, his info: (918) 743-6231, call em your self,

    or http://www.osborn.org and email em!

    and as for flygrrl….why do you all fear me so much? cant handle a debate? cant argue your points? thats a reason to block me…..it just shows you people dont meet the expectations you claim to, that your not about learning, or discussion….you should be ashamed of yourselves

  212. Profile photo of Rav Winston
    January 16, 2008 at 11:45 am —

    See, DD? Here's me, NOT pissing! See? SEE??

    (Damn, this is difficult….)

  213. Profile photo of Blake Stacey
    January 16, 2008 at 12:18 pm —

    It's not a pissing contest when one participant is trying to bukkake the other with stupid.

  214. Profile photo of writerdd
    January 16, 2008 at 12:24 pm —

    Rav, hahha.

    Miracles Can Be Yours is by Pat Robertson. Gag. But I read some of T.L. Osborne's books a long time ago.

    I actually met T.L. Osborne once when I used to work for Norvel Hayes Ministries in the 1980s. He was pretty old at the time. I am surprised to hear that he is still alive. I'm quite sure he wouldn't remember me because I was just a peon employee. He seemed like a very nice guy but I don't know how accurate his reporting on his own miracle would be. I do know that Norvel exaggerates to an extreme degree. I would classify his stories as pushing the limits of truth to somewhere just shy of the point of outright lying. I am not sure if he really believes what he says or if he's a compulsive liar (is that the same thing?)… he seemed more sincere to me than other faith/healing preachers like Kenneth Copeland and Kenneth Hagin.

    I've been at services where so-called miracles like this have occurred, legs growing out, giant growths supposedly disappearing, and so forth. (My leg actually shrinks 2 inches sometimes because of a kink in my back and my physical therapist showed me how to fix it myself!) Sometimes I've been sitting in the front row because I was an employee or a worship leader. I never actually saw anything happen. It seems like most people, including me, are "cured" of things that would go away on their own, like headaches. I'm actually writing a section about this in my book.

    The really sad part was that some parents and family members sent very, very, very sick and mentally ill relatives to Norvel Hayes Ministries to be healed or to have the devil cast out of them and none of them with medically diagnosed problems ever got any better. Sure sometimes a rebellious kid or a drug addict would change, but that's not the same thing as a mentally retarded kid becoming smart and growing new brain tissue or someone getting up out of a wheelchair and walking. I've seen people become crippled and end up in wheelchairs while working in the ministry, but I've never seen anyone be healed of anything that could be verified. It's not because I didn't want to either. I went to New Life Bible School to learn about how I could have the power of God in my life and to be a channel for these miracles so I could help other people. I was, needless to say, ultimately disappointed by the charade.

  215. Profile photo of Rav Winston
    January 16, 2008 at 1:07 pm —

    Well spoken, Blake.

    DD's right though. I should have stayed silent all the while. Having been a fundie for 25 years myself, I should have known beter than to get into a "duo-monologue" with a true believer.

    I tried to stay quiet, but after a while, I just couldn't help myself. But it never does any good. The fundies constantly move the goalposts, change definitions, have absolutely no sense of irony (or shame) and are woefully under-educated.

    Next time– Well, I doubt that next time I'll know any better. But I'll be more aware of myself. If we do get a puddle of our own to piss in, I'll be sure to drink gallons of coffee before heading in….

  216. Profile photo of Rav Winston
    January 16, 2008 at 1:15 pm —

    …Or not. Whichever is more sane.

  217. Profile photo of YesItIsEYE
    January 16, 2008 at 2:14 pm —

    dd you are very skilled at circumventing the posts that delve into areas you aren't sure how to handle. You say that you want people to stay on topic…

    """"writerdd said,

    January 16, 2008 at 11:48 am

    OK, since this has devolved into a bunch of name calling, let’s just drop it.

    I’m planning to post more religious topics in the future where you can all duke it out again, but next time try a little harder to stay on topic.""""

    But how does anything you said in this post have anything to do with the topic…

    """"writerdd said,

    January 16, 2008 at 4:24 pm

    Rav, hahha.

    Miracles Can Be Yours is by Pat Robertson. Gag. But I read some of T.L. Osborne’s books a long time ago.""""

    In my previous posts, just about every single point I made had to do with the topic. Every point I made had an emphasis on women in the bible. That fact that you wont take to the time to respond is interesting. Yet you don't mind taking the time to share a post about your experiences at Norvel Hayes Ministry.

    I may be wrong but it is starting to appear that maybe you have allowed humans to shape your beliefs much more than you have allowed yourself to nourish your relationship with God.

    As I stated in one of my earlier posts. You don't have to agree with everything done in the name of feminism to be a feminist. Nor do you have to agree with everything done in the name of christianity to be a christian. In any area of life you will find good and bad. In the church, in schools, even among your own skeptical ranks.

    My point is supported by your own words…

    """"I went to New Life Bible School to learn about how I could have the power of God in my life and to be a channel for these miracles so I could help other people. I was, needless to say, ultimately disappointed by the charade.""""

    It says you were disappointed in the charade and yes rightly so. But what does their charade have to do with the love, the life and the zeal that was in your heart when you went to bible school? Is it an If/Then scenario? If they are going to be that way/then I will be this way? If they are going to be phoney/then it's all phony. If they are wrong/then it's all wrong?

    It's unfortunate that humans do things that cause people to take their eyes off Jesus. Anytime any person takes their eyes off of Jesus and places them on humans they are going to be let down every time. There are plenty of ministries that do not engage in the types of behaviors you have described. Do you remember the human in the bible who was walking on water? What happened to him as soon as he took his eyes off of the Lord? He sank.

    Of course I could be wrong, but it seems as though maybe that is what you have done. You are so impacted by it that you are including a section about it in your book…

    """"I never actually saw anything happen. It seems like most people, including me, are “cured” of things that would go away on their own, like headaches. I’m actually writing a section about this in my book.""""

    What do the points you are trying to make in this post have to do with atheism? Why include them in your book? Sounds like maybe your book is more about your 'experiences' in the church or more about being anti-christian than it is about being comfortable with who you are, just simply an atheist.

    Here's one last point for you to ponder, you stated in one of your posts the following…

    """I must admit that I’m amused by people who think they have to protect God from criticism, like he can’t stand up for himself so he needs body guards or something.""""

    You know what? I find it amusing that every article I have posted has been directly addressed to you dd, but the only person who responds is exarch. Is exarch your bodyguard?

    God Bless You.

  218. Profile photo of writerdd
    January 16, 2008 at 2:39 pm —

    I'm not interested in debating. I hate debates and arguments. I write what I have to say when I feel like it, and it's fine with me if people disagree with me. I have no need to have the last word or to argue every point that I make and I have no need to convince anyone of anything. I don't read to be convinced of anything, I read because it's interesting to see what different people think about things. And I don't write to convince anyone of anything, just to add my voice and experiences to the mix.

    So that's why I don't and won't answer a bunch of debating points posted in comments, although I do read most of what is posted in the comments because it's interesting to see what people think. Exarch apparently enjoys debating more than I do, and I basically agreed with what he said and had nothing to add.

    And I don't give a crap if anyone thinks I'm afraid of them or am being evasive.

    P.S. I already explained why I stopped believing in God above.

  219. Profile photo of YesItIsEYE
    January 16, 2008 at 2:49 pm —

    Right.

  220. Profile photo of PH
    January 16, 2008 at 2:50 pm —

    urblind,

    A skeptical/rational person would ask:

    If the leg-growing-back actually happened and was properly documented, why isn't it more common knowledge?

    Did I somehow miss the news that year?

    Is there some giant media conspiracy?

    Why is this proof of miracles not talked about by all kinds of Christians?

    Even among Christians, how many seriously believe it happened?

    A rational person would also wonder:

    What does this god have against all the *other* amputees?

    Are *they* all unworthy of healing?

    Those countless African people with missing limbs from civil war atrocities, and they get zilch?"

    If this story were true, wouldn't it actually be an act of extreme cruelty to heal just one person and ignore all the others?

    Is this like other 'miracles' – a children's hospital is destroyed, and one child is pulled from the wreckage, and that's proof of how good a deity is? "Look – I could easily have saved all of them, but I just saved one, to show you my powers!"

  221. Profile photo of YesItIsEYE
    January 16, 2008 at 2:57 pm —

    The better choice of words would have been, not that you don't and wont answer, but that you can't. I mean…you post a topic for disucussion, and then wont discuss it? Like I said myself, I am not here to convince any one either, I am here for the same reason you are. But if the person who starts a discussion wont follow through with it, then why be here? I don't feel that my time spent here has been a waste at all. For God's word never returns void. I think I will look for other forums where at least the discussion is held. Good luck in whatever you do.

    God Bless You.

  222. Profile photo of PH
    January 16, 2008 at 3:35 pm —

    YesItIsEYE,

    There can be a timing issue with replies. Some people are online much more than others.

    If someone isn't often checking/writing, they may find that when they do check, someone's already basically made the points they would have made. Repeating them can seem unnecessary. Saying 'I agree' or 'what they said' can seem pointless.

    Also, where there are some relative minority voices, having people basically repeat what has already been said can end up looking like a group assault on the dissenters.

    A topic posted for discussion doesn't actually require the originator to participate, especially if discussion is happening, and especially if the originator's position is basically being covered by other people.

    If someone had said "I want a one-on-one debate with a believer", that'd be a different story, but that's not how it was, as is clear from the initial post.

    In any case, if an adequate response has been made to a point, it doesn't matter *who* made it in an arena where ideas are more important than authority.

    If a response has been made that someone considers inadequate from their perspective, it wouldn't make any difference if it had been made twice over.

  223. Profile photo of exarch
    January 17, 2008 at 1:01 am —

    I wonder just how much of YesItIsEYE's posts are lost inbetween all of urblind's ramblings? If writerdd isn't responding, it's more than likely because as she said, there's either no point repeating what was already said, or she missed it because of three pages of non-related discussion about creation or the flood occured in the mean time.

    That said, I love a good discussion with a fundie, even if it IS more sort of the fundie pissing all over the place and me trying to keep the place tidy and dry.

    My main reason for this is, as I have explained above, to make sure that patently false assertions are clearly shown to be so for whoever might stumble upon this conversation at some point in the future. Or at least show that the poster making them is obviously misguided. Even if they themselves fail to realize that's what I've done. Even if they themselves believe they've made ME look ignorant or foolish. Even if they don't think I've shown them to be wrong. I know better, and so would people reading this exchange later on, so I don't really care beyond that.

  224. Profile photo of exarch
    January 17, 2008 at 2:12 am —

    exarch wrote:

    Surely something as basic as the chromosomal pairs and DNA are explained in some detail,

    urblind wrote:

    oh DNA and cloning are there- but you wouldnt take my word for it…

    As I said before, you've learned about DNA from science, then scoured your bible for anything that might possibly be interpreted to be about DNA, and then claim it's in there.

    Most of these "scientific confirmations" are a far-fetched match to say the least. And you wouldn't have interpreted a particular verse in that manner if science hadn't come up with all the answers first, so essentially, you wouldn't have come up with any answers if you'd only used your bible.

    On the other hand, what little supposed "answers" there ARE in the bible are often coloured by the superstitions and misunderstandings of the people who wrote the book 2000 years ago, resulting in a bunch of christians who are intent on proving those people right, even though that's impossible and foolish. And this has now lead to the whole creation debacle, where a few misguided religious people are convinced they themselves can use science, a subject they clearly know far too litle about, to prove that any science which doesn't agree with the bible is wrong.

    The very fact that they believe science can be abused to prove anything you want, as long as you're ingenious enough to manipulate it correctly, only serves to demonstrate just how misguided they really are.

    When applied correctly, science can only reveal the truth.

    It doesn't take a genius to see they are not applying it correctly (some of them simply don't know how), and they are therefore not revealing any truths. They are, in fact, not revealing anything at all. Just making some wild statements and coming up with crazy ideas. None of which even stand up to peer review, or common sense for that matter.

    exarch wrote:

    It’s not up to us to prove that god doesn’t exist, it’s up to you to show us he does.

    urblind wrote:

    WRONG ANSWER!

    your the people who want to change laws, change school policies/

    change the country and education!! NOT US!

    YOUR the ones who must prove something in order to change it! if not- it WILL NOT CHANGE……we dont need to prove or disprove jack….that burden is on your shoulders….and as long as you argue with weak ass science from mythbusters, you will never succeed in your mission…

    I have not used mythbusters to prove or disprove anything here. It was in fact merely a short reference. But for some reason unknown to me, you've stuck to that like a fly on shit.

    Even so, there's more knowledge about science and the way the world works in that show alone, than there is in the entire bible. In fact, you could learn a lot about the scientific method from watching how they approach a problem. How they try to figure out the truth.

    But it IS up to you to prove god exists. There are currently, no laws based on the existence, or lack thereof, of a devine being. And if there are, they're in clear violation of the separation between religion and government, the very first amendment to the constitution.

    It is not us who want to change policy, it's YOU. We want education to remain based on things we've proven to be true. The fact that the occasional pseudo-scientific bit makes it through, in no way excuses christians from trying to push their religious agenda down the throats of young, impressionable kids who don't know how to discern truth from fiction yet.

    So if you want to teach the creation by a divine being as science in schools, then you better have something that supports this notion as being more than the crazy superstition of a religious minority. If you want to teach that god is real, you better be able to prove he is. If you can't prove it as fact, then you have no right to assert it like fact. They call this "lying". If we start lying to our kids, who knows where we'll end up …

    There are other laws which are based on the judeo-christian religion, and if you can't show any good reason to keep them on the books, they shouldn't be. Like laws prohibiting gay marriage, or laws condoning segregation before them. Or reproductive education that's restricted to the retarded notion that if you don't tell kids how sex works, they won't know or be tempted to try it out, rather than explaining how to reduce the risks involved.

    urblind wrote:

    and as for flygrrl….why do you all fear me so much? cant handle a debate? cant argue your points? thats a reason to block me…..it just shows you people dont meet the expectations you claim to, that your not about learning, or discussion….you should be ashamed of yourselves

    People are just tired of hearing you repeat the same crap every other fiundie before you has. And they're tired of giving, yet again, the same answers as before. Sometimes even having to repeat the same answers to the same poster several times, and still not getting it to register.

    They don't want to stop you from writing your crap and making yourself look like a fool, they just won't bother responding any more because there's really no point.

    You can only say the same thing so many different ways before it becomes clear that the person you're talking to just isn't listening.

    Sure, you're reading the words, but you don't get it. We offer you the knowledge, but you refuse to accept it. you prefer to remain ignorant because that way you don't have to reevaluate many of the things you assumed were true because people you thought were smarter than you said they were.

    Until you are capable of entertaining the idea that your parents might have been wrong on some things, that your preacher might have been wrong on some things, and that, indeed, even the bible might have been wrong on some things, you'll never be able to rise above this current intellectual block. The very idea of trying to imagine a world where the bible is not inerrant just scares you too much to even try it. As such, real understanding will remain just outside your grasp until you do.

    It saddens me immensely to think so many people are denying themselves so much insight into our universe, just because they think they already know where to find it. How can you ever hope to have real knwledge if you're not willing to look EVERYWHERE.

    And on that subject, ask any atheist here if they've ever read the bible. Most of them probably have. Some even multiple times.

    That doesn't mean they know it by heart, or think it's true, but they've read it. They just didn't think it was very interesting, or even very useful or worth remembering.

    I can't say I disagree …

  225. Profile photo of urblind
    January 17, 2008 at 4:45 am —

    writerdd said,

    January 16, 2008 at 6:39 pm

    I’m not interested in debating. I hate debates and arguments. I write what I have to say when I feel like it, and it’s fine with me if people disagree with me.

    If you don’t want to debate a topic..why be a blogger?

    PH said,

    January 16, 2008 at 6:50 pm

    urblind,

    A skeptical/rational person would ask:

    If the leg-growing-back actually happened and was properly documented, why isn’t it more common knowledge?

    Did I somehow miss the news that year?

    Is there some giant media conspiracy?

    Why is this proof of miracles not talked about by all kinds of Christians?

    Even among Christians, how many seriously believe it happened?

    Do you really believe that the people of Ghana west africa give 2 cents to weather or not they documented something just for you to hear about it?? They don’t care about atheism, they care about God's love, plus if you research

    You'll find that they only have ONE media resourse GBS or something like that, probably not a huge tv

    Network?

    But it IS up to you to prove god exists. There are currently, no laws based on the existence, or lack thereof, of a devine being. And if there are, they’re in clear violation of the separation between religion and government, the very first amendment to the constitution.

    If you don’t like it…get the hell out of the US…go live in Canada or Mexico…and quit crying!

    People are just tired of hearing you repeat the same crap every other fiundie before you has. And they’re tired of giving, yet again, the same answers as before. Sometimes even having to repeat the same answers to the same poster several times, and still not getting it to register.

    They don’t want to stop you from writing your crap and making yourself look like a fool, they just won’t bother responding any more because there’s really no point.

    Well I know you'll always be here for me Exarch!!!! You cant get enough….

    And on that subject, ask any atheist here if they’ve ever read the bible. Most of them probably have. Some even multiple times.

    That doesn’t mean they know it by heart, or think it’s true, but they’ve read it. They just didn’t think it was very interesting, or even very useful or worth remembering.

    most people have read the wizard of oz multiple times, and dint find it very interesting either,

    what kind of point is that?? if you dont understand what you read its pointless any way! your resources have been pointless! your points have been pointless, all this has been is a hate session betweeen all of you directed at me, mainly because you cant prove me wrong, nor can you prove yourself right, oh but you did show a youtube video, I forgot!!

    thats why you all coexist in happiness…until someone with a DIFFERENT opinion comes to the table and challenges your ideas, at that point you start calling names and threat to boot you offline….real mature, people

    especially the blogger here dd, who should be excited her post is being debated, thats the whole point in having a comment box, so issues can be discussed, NOT that everyone can agree! thats as useless as titts on a bull.

    and someone earlier assumed Christians are "un-educated" or less educated, I doubt your resume, can touch mine, but believe what you want. your the ones who act and talk like 7th graders, calling names, making threats, poking fun…..do you want to meet me in the playground after school to settle this? ha, its all good, I thought this site was about knowledge, and discussion, and debate so that people could learn, instead its more " I say so…so shut up Christian"

    no evidence on your side at all! at least I gave resources…..

    and dd said: Pat Robertson *GAG*

    well sell as many books as he has and then say that!, I'm sure he will "GAG" to at your book. how many of you called TL osborne yesterday?? how many of you asked him for more detailed information to research the matter??? HUH?? NONE OF YOU! you just dismiss it altogether and laugh and say it never happened, but you didnt take 5 minutes to check it, or try to find out…you people would make very poor researchers or scientists, because you dont double check CRAP! you dont research NOTHING, just make believe in your own mind your right, and then wait for your support group to back you up with butter up comments…..you make me laugh!!!!

    dont open your mouth about anything, if you cant at least take a couple minutes to research it and prove/disprove it!

    you are the blind leading the blind….

    and you know where you'll end up? the ditch…

  226. Profile photo of urblind
    January 17, 2008 at 4:55 am —

    exarch said:

    As I said before, you’ve learned about DNA from science, then scoured your bible for anything that might possibly be interpreted to be about DNA, and then claim it’s in there.

    Most of these “scientific confirmations” are a far-fetched match to say the least. And you wouldn’t have interpreted a particular verse in that manner if science hadn’t come up with all the answers first,

    where do you think science come from exarch??

    it came from God to start with…..

    the very first paragraph in the Bible starts with science…..do you take presciption meds?

  227. Profile photo of writerdd
    January 17, 2008 at 5:04 am —

    exarch, you're right about YesItIsEYE’s getting buried in the garbage in this thread.

    I'd like to address a couple of things that I missed:

    1) I disagree with exarch that the Bible can be interpreted however you want and that you can make it seem to say whatever you want. Maybe that's partially true, especially if you're just parroting what a preacher told you the scirptures mean, but if you step back and read it just like it's a book, it's pretty clear about sexism. Perhaps you need a different translation that you've been used to reading to see the text at face value. Even though I haven't gone to church in 15 years, I still find myself falling into a trancelike state when I read the King James Bible, because of the familiarity of the language and the stories and it's very difficult for me to actually pay attention to what I'm reading.

    2) I disagree with YesItIsEYE about the stories of the virtuous woman and Mary and Martha being nonsexist stories. First, the virtuous woman in Proverbs 31 is not addressed to women. It's all about guys finding the best bride who will make him look good and protect his honor. In fact, the piece starts out by asking "Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies…" So again, we see that this piece is being addressed to men, because women are not looking for wives, and women are once again being compared to property. Now, regarding Mary and Martha and choosing between serving food and listening to Jesus teach, well, <s>it's pretty clear from this story that the better path for women to select is to be cooking and cleaning</s>. Actually, I think Jesus says that Martha took the better path by not worrying about the housework… I will have to look this up. This story is often used to teach women that their subservient role cooking and cleaning and taking care of the men is not a lower role than that of the men praying and reading their Bibles and teaching in the church. So sorry, I still think these are both totally laden with sexism.

    3) I think this is in response to exarch again but not sure. Someone said that in the Bible and in the past in general, it was assumed that whatever was addressed to men was also addressed to women. I guess that assumption is made because the words "man" and "mankind" were often used inclusively to mean "human" and "humanity" but that isn't really the case in the passages we've been talking about. Just because something is addressed to men and does not mention women, does not make it automatic or logical to assume that women are included. To cite an example that is not from the Bible, let's look at "We hold these truths to be self-evident: That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights." This certainly did not include women, who were not able to own property or vote, and in this case, "all men" also didn't apply to African slaves or Native Americans who were considered barbarians. Which makes the statement pretty meaningless to me, or perhaps a flat out lie.

    Donna

    P.S. About T.L. Osborne, it does no good to call the person who claims to have performed (or channelled, if you prefer) the miracle to confirm it. You need an objective observer who has no stake in the matter, preferably someone who is not even the same religion. For me personally, I've already heard T.L. Osborne talk about this event before in person, so that's another reason why I didn't need to call him.

  228. Profile photo of PH
    January 17, 2008 at 6:50 am —

    urblind,

    As they say, at least in rational circles, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

    In the case you claim, such evidence would have been desperately easy to collect, and it is close to inconceivable that worldwide media coverage would not have resulted in that evidence being collected, not least due to the likely expectation among many local people that they or their religion might benefit from the publicity.

    Apparently, such evidence *wasn't* collected and publicised by any unimpeachable (or even generally credible) sources, which suggests that the event is not only unproven, but is rather likely not to have happened in the first place.

    The fact that it has seemingly not happened anywhere else either despite the no doubt heartfelt prayers of countless good and pious amputees would tend to add weight to the position of the skeptic.

  229. Profile photo of Rav Winston
    January 17, 2008 at 7:07 am —

    Urblind, in response to Exarch's point about the existence and structure of DNA being discovered through Science, as oposed to reading the bible, you said–

    "where do you think science come from exarch??

    it came from God to start with…..

    the very first paragraph in the Bible starts with science…..do you take presciption meds?"

    This illustrates why it is difficult to take your assertions seriously. You have as much as said that the Bible and what you interpret it to mean is your starting point for truth. You make the assumption, and then try to see what evidence you can collect that will fit it.

    In contradistinction, in science, nothing is taken for granted. No assumptions are made. Observations are made, and based on those hypotheses are created. Those hypotheses are then tested, and if they hold firm, become theory. The theory must then withstand criticism. If the theory stands, THEN we have a clear idea of what the truth is.

    You cannot go from a conclusion, and then try to gather support for it, as you seem to do. You must follow the evidence to see where it leads, without any presuppositions or prejudices on your part.

    This is one of the main differences between Faith and Reason.

    P.S. A metaphor is a figure of speech in which a name, action, or descriptive term characteristic of one object, is applied to another in order to suggest a likeness between them. A simile is a figure of speech expressing likeness between objects of different classes by the use of such words of 'like' or 'as.' This is in contradistinction to literal comparisons in which objects of the same class are compared.

    Are you really so dull as to not have appreciated the irony in writing "A metaphor is like a simile?" And then to have laughed yourself silly over what you perceived as MY ignorance? Believe me, your turns of phrase have provided me, and several colleagues, with a great deal of mirth.

    I look forward to fencing with you when and if we are given a religious/rational topic for specific debate.

    And, while I am at it, I should apologize to DD for allowing myself to be pulled off topic a few score posts ago in the first place. In my defence, I can only say that I find troll-bait to be addictive.

  230. Profile photo of exarch
    January 17, 2008 at 8:27 am —

    urblind wrote:

    If you don’t like it…get the hell out of the US…go live in Canada or Mexico…and quit crying!

    Nice attitude.

    Tell you what, if you don't like the fact that you're not allowed to teach creation in school, that people are having sex and abortions, that gay people are getting married, and that religion is not allowed to influence the government, just move to Iran. All of that is perfectly alright there.

    But don't come crying afterwards if somebody stoned a relative to death for breaking some inane biblical rule you didn't think was important.

    urblind wrote:

    most people have read the wizard of oz multiple times, and dint find it very interesting either,

    what kind of point is that??

    The point is they DID read it, but just found it lacking the substance needed to base their entire life on it.

    How many christians do you know who've even bothered to even read Darwin's theory of evolution? How many just disregard it as false even though they don't even understand what it's about? For evidence of that ignorance, just look at the typical objections you get from uneducated fundies: like "why are there still monkeys", or "has anyone ever seen a banana evolve into a bird". These are such hilariously stupid remarks that you have to wonder if they really, seriously believe this is what evolution is about …

    urblind wrote:

    and someone earlier assumed Christians are “un-educated” or less educated, I doubt your resume, can touch mine, but believe what you want. your the ones who act and talk like 7th graders, calling names, making threats, poking fun…..

    That's odd, because I see only one person consistently calling people drug abusers, and mentally challenged whenever they suggest the things in the bible might not mean what (s)he thinks they mean.

    urblind wrote:

    how many of you called TL osborne yesterday?? how many of you asked him for more detailed information to research the matter??? HUH?? NONE OF YOU!

    Not quite. I checked his website. I searched around for about ten minutes, and couldn't find anything about it.

    Maybe I didn't search in the right spots, or maybe I didn't search long enough. But I figure if the guy was responsible for enabling the impossible, he'd at least brag about it on his own website?

    If even HE doesn't even mention it, my guess is he can't support it, and over the years decided to drop that "miracle" because it was receiving too much skepticism even from real believers.

    I saw no reason to call him and have him say "What? Uhm… yeah… sure I did that".

    urblind wrote:

    you just dismiss it altogether and laugh and say it never happened, but you didnt take 5 minutes to check it, or try to find out…you people would make very poor researchers or scientists, because you dont double check CRAP! you dont research NOTHING,

    Riiiiiight.

    Not!

    urblind wrote:

    where do you think science come from exarch??

    it came from God to start with…..

    the very first paragraph in the Bible starts with science…..

    The bible says:

    In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

    Nope, no science there …

    Depending on the translation, the first line of The bible might also say:

    In the beginning of God’s creation of the heavens and the earth, the earth was unformed and void, and darkness was on the face of the deep, God’s wind hovered on the face of the waters.

    Still no science there. In fact, what is there already contradicts the formation of the Earth itself. Before it cooled sufficiently, there was no water.

    The very first sentence, and it already gets it wrong.

    urblind wrote:

    do you take presciption meds?

    No. I have been found to be a normal, healthy, mentally stable person.

  231. Profile photo of Rav Winston
    January 17, 2008 at 8:42 am —

    Exarch– As to the supposed miracle in Ghana, try looking up a fellow by the name of Reinhardt Bonke. Apparently, some poor sod at a cogregation in Africa was in a particularly bad automobile accident, and was taken to be dead. He supposedly revived in his church's basement whilst awaiting burial.

    Believers claim the fellow was ressurected. Most likely, he was simply comatose.

    I don't recall anything in the way of independent confirmation of the incident, though. For that matter, I am uncertain that it was specifically Ghana.

    But the evangelist's name was Reinhardt Bonke. You could start from there, if you have the time to waste.

  232. Profile photo of writerdd
    January 17, 2008 at 8:49 am —

    OK, so I looked this up and it isn't at all as sexist as I'd remembered:

    Now as they went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to what he was saying. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me." But the Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her" (Luke 10:38-42).

    In my original post, I did say that I didn't think Jesus actually made any sexist or mysogynistic comments as recorded in the Gospels. Paul is the one that really had a mysogynistic outlook. Jesus seems to have been pretty progressive to me but that's not the way the religion named after him stayed over the centuries.

  233. Profile photo of urblind
    January 17, 2008 at 9:03 am —

    Depending on the translation, the first line of The bible might also say:

    In the beginning of God’s creation of the heavens and the earth, the earth was unformed and void, and darkness was on the face of the deep, God’s wind hovered on the face of the waters.

    Still no science there. In fact, what is there already contradicts the formation of the Earth itself. Before it cooled sufficiently, there was no water.

    The very first sentence, and it already gets it wrong.

    really??? were you there??? how do you "test" the fact the earth had to cool??

    oh yeah, you cant- its just a theory…

    I have been found to be a normal, healthy, mentally stable person.

    yeah HAHAHA…..ok manson

    Not quite. I checked his website. I searched around for about ten minutes, and couldn’t find anything about it.

    10 whole minutes???? WOW what a researcher you are!! mommy must be proud!

    But I figure if the guy was responsible for enabling the impossible, he’d at least brag about it on his own website?

    Christians dont "brag" we praise God, not sell God for publicity

    RAV- I look forward to fencing with you when and if we are given a religious/rational topic for specific debate.

    why? all you'll do is start cussing and crying when you lose…AGAIN!

    you fella's hit the books for a few weeks, then come back and debate….you have nothing so far…..0!

  234. Profile photo of PH
    January 17, 2008 at 10:24 am —

    urblind,

    It would absolutely beggar belief for not one person aware of a leg-regrowing-miracle to have initiated huge media coverage during the 6 months you claim it took.

    For ****s sake, we get media coverage of someone in a small village somewhere finding a potato crisp that vaguely resembles an icon of Mary, or a sliced tomato that spells out 'Allah' in arabic if you squint hard enough. People flock to see something as lame as *that*.

    Do you really expect anyone to believe that a leg regrowing wouldn't get spotted, that it wouldn't attract a growing band of pilgrims and increasing media attention?.

    I understand that once you have decided you want to believe there *was* a miracle, you have to try to rationalise why there simply wasn't worldwide coverage of it, but believe me, your attempts wouldn't convince anyone who didn't already have a real desire to believe.

    If someone said they'd spent 6 months living in a house with a Sasquatch, and that all their neighbours knew, as did they people their neighbours had talked to, etc and no-one had bothered to call the media, I somehow doubt they'd be believed.

  235. Profile photo of whitebird
    January 17, 2008 at 10:37 am —

    Urblind, were you there when the stuff in the bible took place?

    nice logic.

  236. Profile photo of Rav Winston
    January 17, 2008 at 11:02 am —

    Damn. I guess he told me off.

  237. Profile photo of urblind
    January 17, 2008 at 11:04 am —

    *yawn*

    oh did you say something? you guys put me to sleep.

  238. Profile photo of urblind
    January 17, 2008 at 11:08 am —

    writerdd said,

    January 17, 2008 at 12:49 pm

    OK, so I looked this up and it isn’t at all as sexist as I’d remembered:

    Now as they went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:38-42).

    yeah, I guess not- you actually read it this time!!

    theres not one sexist comment, does anyone here need an interpretation, or can you kids figure this out on your own??

  239. Profile photo of urblind
    January 17, 2008 at 11:10 am —

    slowly but surely you people will realize your mistakes-

    just as dd…….if you just read!

    let them who have ears hear…

  240. Profile photo of Rav Winston
    January 17, 2008 at 11:31 am —

    If I just read, eh? And I should use my EARS to read? Okay… Well, laying that aside, let's have a nice read:

    "For I am merciful, saith the Lord, and I will not keep anger forever." (Jeremiah 3:12)

    "Ye have kindled a fire in mine anger, which shall burn forever." (Jeremiah 17:4)

    "If I testify about myself, my testimony is not valid." (John 5:31)

    "Jesus answered: Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid." (John 8:14)

    "And Jesus coming, spoke to them, saying: All power is given to me in heaven and in earth." (Matthew 28:18)

    "the whole world is under control of the evil one." (1 John 5:19)

    And Jesus said, "For judgement I am come into this world." (John 9:39)

    "I came not to judge the world" (John 12:47)

    "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." (Matthew 5:16)

    "Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven." (Matthew 6:1)

    "Jacob said, 'I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.'" (Genesis 32:30)

    "No man hath seen God at any time." (John 1:18)

    We should fear God (Matthew 10:28)

    We should love God (Matthew 22:37)

    There is no fear in love (1 John 4:18)

    Oh, dear. What now?

  241. Profile photo of PH
    January 17, 2008 at 11:44 am —

    urblind,

    A reasonable person might look at what writerdd wrote and see it as someone trying their damndest to be fair and open, correcting one point while basically maintaining their position on the overall issue.

    On the other hand, you quote only part of what she wrote and entirely ignore her immediately following point about Paul's sexism.

    You desperately want to believe you're right, so you can't take someone correcting a little of what they'd written earlier in the charitable spirit that a truth-seeking adult would ("Hey – they checked, found an error (which I didn't spot) and reported it. Seems like someone I could trust"), you have to try and portray it a childish fashion as some big retreat ("Someone was wrong on one point (which I failed to spot). Bet that means they're wrong about everything.") which frees you up to fail to address any points from her or other people which you'd rather ignore.

    If someone I was debating with (even hotly debating with) proactively pointed out they'd been mistaken about one relatively small point (especially one that I hadn't even focussed on), I'd tend to take the opportunity to moderate my approach if things were at all heated. If I honestly believed they were wrong about other points, I'd try and take on those other points one by one.

    I wouldn't dance around and claim premature victory, since I wouldn't want to give the appearance of someone with the maturity of a teenager unused to even slight glancing success.

  242. Profile photo of Expatria
    January 17, 2008 at 11:57 am —

    I get the impression that someone here is using the Tom Cruise-Matt Lauer defense. As to that:

    writerdd,exarch,Rav, PH: You're GLIB, people. You're being glib. You don't know the history of the bible. I do.

    Sound familiar?

    On that note, while I understand the argument about keeping this going in case someone stumbles upon it later, my suggestion is that you've all done your part and now it's time to heed that old saying about discretion and valor and all that.

    If urblind wants to think he's "won" the thread, that's perfectly acceptable in my mind as I've never exactly seen comments on a blog as a competitions. It's like someone buying a newspaper at a newsstand when you are, who then turns to you and says "I WON" when he picks his up first…there's really no shame in saying "Yep, you SURE did" then smiling and laughing when you turn to face your fellow customers as you walk away.

  243. Profile photo of Rav Winston
    January 17, 2008 at 12:00 pm —

    Good point, Pats–

    You win, Urblind! I concede defeat.

  244. Profile photo of urblind
    January 17, 2008 at 12:15 pm —

    I think Rav needs a trip to the mental ward….

    why dont you actually try to read more than one verse in the Bible and then understand what you read, rather than trying to munipulate it to read what you want it to?? your words are weak,

    go take a nap……

  245. Profile photo of Rav Winston
    January 17, 2008 at 12:47 pm —

    "But anyone who says 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell." (Jesus) Mat 5:22

    "You fools!" (Jesus) Luke 11:40

    "You blind fools!" (Jesus) Mat 23:17

    "How foolish you are" (Jesus) Luke 24:25

    "But God said to him, 'You fool!' " (Jesus) Luke 12:20

    "You foolish Galatians!" (St. Paul) Galatians 3:1

    "You foolish man" James 2:20

    (Also – Psalms 14:1 and again at 53:1 – you have to think me a fool because I have said in my heart that there is no God – oops, both of us in hell now!)

  246. Profile photo of PH
    January 17, 2008 at 3:00 pm —

    urblind,

    Why don't you just toddle off convinced you've won, and secure in the smug knowledge that you haven't let your beliefs be tarnished by the merest smidgen of doubt or critical thinking.

    I'd suggest giving yourself a pat on the back, but I'm not sure you'd want to release that vice-like-grip you have on the lower rungs of the ladder of spiritual maturity.

    Meanwhile, back in the real world, grown-ups will stubbornly persist in thinking that someone only wins in a debate when they convince someone *other than themselves* that they have a good argument.

    Personally, I doubt if any of the *Christians* I know would take your claims of miraculous limb-growth any more seriously than anyone else I know would.

  247. Profile photo of exarch
    January 18, 2008 at 1:27 am —

    urblind wrote:

    really??? were you there??? how do you “test” the fact the earth had to cool??

    The fact the core of the planet is still extremely hot, and the Earth is still cooling off today. The crust you walk on now is the result of about 4.5 billion years of cooling.

    urblind wrote:

    oh yeah, you cant- its just a theory…

    And so is gravity.

    exarch wrote:

    Not quite. I checked his website. I searched around for about ten minutes, and couldn’t find anything about it.

    urblind wrote:

    10 whole minutes???? WOW what a researcher you are!! mommy must be proud!

    I doubt I would have come up with anything more substantial after more than 10 minutes of searching. The "miracle" just isn't mentioned. I wonder why?

    urblind wrote:

    Christians dont “brag” we praise God, not sell God for publicity

    Do tell some of the TV-evangelists, because I don't think they got that memo …

    PH wrote:

    Personally, I doubt if any of the *Christians* I know would take your claims of miraculous limb-growth any more seriously than anyone else I know would.

    Personally, I doubt the majority of christians would even agree with anything else he's come up with here. Including his (her) interpretation of various sections of the bible.

    Expatria wrote:

    If urblind wants to think he’s “won” the thread, that’s perfectly acceptable in my mind as I’ve never exactly seen comments on a blog as a competitions.

    Well, despite having displayed the maturity of a 6 year old or thereabouts, I fear we won't be able to fool urblind into believing he's won like you would your nephew during a game of snakes and ladders.

    But you're right, we should perhaps let it go, as it's started to disrupt the flow of other blog entries by swamping the recent comments section with this thread.

    Still, I think it's pretty cool one single blog entry managed to get close to 250 comments so far …

  248. Profile photo of urblind
    January 18, 2008 at 5:30 am —

    Lets give Rav a hand of applause!!!

    He has proven time and time again, he is the least intelligent

    Person here!! Give it up people!!! Way to go Rav!! YAY!

    Seems Rav thinks he can pull ONE verse from this book,

    Then find another SINGULAR verse from another book, and put them side by

    Side and make a contradiction * WITH OUT KNOWING THE WHOLE STORY

    BEHIND THAT ONE SINGULAR VERSE*

    Any dumbass can do that with ANY text!…so once again, let me demonstrate, so

    That Rav is exposed ONCE again as a fraud, with less than average intelligence….

    Lets use the "book of Rav" (previous posts Rav has written)

    Rav 1/8/08

    "And why are there no contemporary extra-biblical references to this Jesus…"

    Paragraph 1,verse 1

    Rav 1/14/08

    ""my dads birthday present to me when I turned 19 was a copy of the complete works of flavious Josephus"

    When it comes to hard evidence from outside the bible, this is the most common piece of historical

    Documentation offered.

    Paragraph 7, verse 2&3

    Rav 1-14-08

    "this truly appears to give historical confirmation for the existence of Jesus"

    Par 11 verse 1

    More?

    Rav 1/16/08

    Urblind, the depths of your ignorance and stupidity displayed are truly astounding!

    Par 1 verse 1

    Rav 1/16/08

    You win Urblind, I concede defeat

    Par 1 verse 2

    Still looking for contradictions?

    Rav 1/8/08

    "sorry, I'm perhaps not over familiar with the history of modern feminism"

    Par 1 verse 1

    Rav 1/16/08

    "…or not, whichever is more sane."

    Par 1 verse 1

    You see any simple moron can use a singular verse form one book, then fumble

    Through the pages of a different book, and find one verse that at face value contradicts.

    I can do it all day long with your stupid posts! But we both know those "singular" verses

    Has absolutely nothing to do with the story being discussed with that particular post…

    So there you have it, you proved how low you can sink, all while using the knowledge of an

    Average 3rd grader! BRAVO RAV!! BRAVO!

    now I must run back to Church, and turn in my Bible, since your such a genius, and

    Switch over to Atheism!

    WOW, my eyes are opened now…..LMAO

  249. Profile photo of Rav Winston
    January 18, 2008 at 6:58 am —

    Curious. Despite your vigorous stream of ad hominem attacks, you haven't actually addressed wherein you believe I am wrong.

    If you think that the contradictions of the bible and new testament I have listed are not in fact contradicitons, perhaps you would be so kind as to actually argue your point?

    Oh, never mind. I am far too dull and slow-witted to appreciate erudition on your level.

  250. Profile photo of urblind
    January 18, 2008 at 7:08 am —

    ok…..

    let me whoop out the Bible, let me read your examples, then I will

    explain them……BUT

    once I do, dont come back at me saying I'm delusional, or retarded,

    or whatever other names you like to call me.

    give me a little time…..

  251. Profile photo of Joshua
    January 18, 2008 at 7:25 am —

    Will (ALL OF) you assholes take this protracted masturbation session to e-mail already? Jesus.

  252. Profile photo of urblind
    January 18, 2008 at 8:07 am —

    oh shut up Joshua!

    some people here are learning soemthing- on both sides of the table,

    so unless you wish to contribute- go to another post

  253. Profile photo of Rav Winston
    January 18, 2008 at 9:31 am —

    Whoah, there! urblind, YOU are the outsider. WE are the regulars at this blog. A little more respect would be in order. After all, Joshua said nothing against you specifically.

  254. Profile photo of urblind
    January 18, 2008 at 9:53 am —

    ok Rav,

    lets just put our differences to the side for a while and look at this rationaly…ok?

    I took the first 2 "contradictions" from your first post – Jeremiah, and John.

    I will explain in detail the true meaning, you will be able to see this your self "if" you choose to go back and read a little more than just one verse. allot of people make the mistake of taking things out of context due to the fact that they dont really know the subject content or where/when/who/or what they are referring to….thats with the Bible. thats with any book.

    if your satisfied with this explanation, I will go through all of them for you, but if you dismiss it quickly I'll stop at just these two, I truely wish to help you understand, I only ask that you truely observe my words and make a genuine effort to agree or disagree, based on logic and not attitude..cool?

    lets start….by coincedence, Jer 3:12 actually answers Jer 17:4, so you technically contradicted yourself, but relax, I see why you think that, and heres the deal;

    in 3:12 the whole concept(in you read the above versus) is that the people of Isreal were sinning something awful, and they were backsliding. God was telling him to go to the people and tell them to repent and ask forgivness, that I (God) am merciful, and will forgive…if they will just recognize thier folly and repent, and if so, I will not keep my anger against the people any longer.

    now in Jer 17:4 its talking about sin, and how sin is a permanent thing (unless you repent and ask forgivness) a few versus above it talks about an iron pen, and that the sin of Judah is engraved in thier hearts, in Job the analogy used is egraved in stone, in another book it's permentaly written down in a book….none the less God is speaking on sin and how it is permenant. as long as you sin, God's anger will remain…even forever, but thanks to 3:12 we learn that he is merciful and will not remain anger if you will just repent and ask forgivness!! and thats the whole statement…

    sin is permanent! so is Gods anger "unless" you repent and recieve forgivness…thats why God says later on in the bible if you recieve forgivness I will forget your iniquity forever…it will be erased from my mind and recalled never more…this is where we get the ol' saying "forgive and forget"..I think you will agree with this interpretation…if not please give me a detailed reason, but if you read more than just the one verse I think you will agree here- so no contradiction here…

    lets move to John-

    John 5:31- here the Lord is saying everything done is by the will of the father.in verse 30, he says he doesnt seek his own will, but the will of the father…he [Jesus] cannot bear witness to the miracles himself, because it would be his own word against everyone else's, which is why in verse 33 he says that God has sent John to bear witness to these accounts, so you will have the word of another individual, other than just him [common sense]

    therefor his own testimony is confirmed by another source

    (and you will understand why, here in the next part)

    John 8:14

    in verse 13 a pharisee is being a smart ass, you bear witness to yourself, therefor you must be a lair! but jesus says to him: yeah I bear witness to myself because I know where I come from, and I know where I'm going…you dont know me, where I"ve been or where I'm headed…so then he refers to

    "the law"….[verse 18] the testimony of two is held as true!! I bear witness to myself[one] while my Father bears witness to me also [two]

    and the pharisees replied back "where is your Father then?" and Jesus says:

    you dont know me or my father cause if you have known me then you should of known my Father also….

    see you understand? the testimony of two is reliable in Jewish law, just as today if you did something spectacular in would hold more weight if you had another witness for credibility….in John 5, John is the credible witness to the miracles he performed…in the latter God is the witness, but he is using that to make the point, that the pharisee didnt know him or anything about him, how can he make an assumption??? just like you say to a stranger that calls you a liar, you get upset and say, man you dont know me, you dont know nothing about me, you just met me…you dont know where I've been, or my life experiances- you cant tell me squat!…Jesus was doing that here, but affirming God as his witness…which if you believe in God…thats a pretty bold statement…blasphemy even…if you were lying…

    so do you understand now Rav? go back and read a few paragraphs before and after the one verse and it should be clear…even for a non believer..if you disagree (which I cant see how) explain in detail…but if you will look into it, you will see that it's correct and not at all a contradiction…and if you wish, I will do the rest also…your call.

    thanks

  255. Profile photo of Rav Winston
    January 18, 2008 at 10:34 am —

    OKay– Your point in the gospels is sort of taken. Though it still seems to me that Jesus is trying to have it both ways. But I do understand that in one case someone is trying to catch him out. The problem is, that it comes close to blasphemy when he as much as states "Well, the LORD is within me, and so he is the second witness, along with myself."

    I would better understand your point about the passages in Jeremiah, but doesn't the 17th chapter come AFTER the third? The opening passages of the 17th tell that the sins of Judah are engraved with a stylus of iron with a diamond tip on their hearts, on their altars, and on their asherim. The sin had become indelible.

    So how could the LORD speak in the early passages about possible forgiveness, and then later on declare that there could be none? Indeed, Josiah's reign saw a revival of the Temple Cult to the LORD, and a concerted effort to stamp out idolatry. But the attempt, in the third chapter of Jer. is dismissed as "They returned to me with their whole heart, but feignedly."

    Considering the reforms of Josia's administration, how does god determine that the people hadn't REALLY repented?

    Or are you making a case that the book of Jeremiah is not laid out in chronological order?

  256. Profile photo of urblind
    January 18, 2008 at 11:15 am —

    Or are you making a case that the book of Jeremiah is not laid out in chronological order?

    no…not really, but what Im saying is that, the sin is being stated as a permanent thing….but its only permanet provided you never repent,

    now when you say :So how could the LORD speak in the early passages about possible forgiveness, and then later on declare that there could be none? He never said it couldnt be "none" he was saying its permanent- the sin that is…but the sin "can" be erased through repentance, now He doesnt come out and confirm that satement, but perhaps because it was already discussed earlier…but as I'm sure you know, the whole book is based on the theme of sin…and lots of the books state how sin is permanent "unless" you reach a point of repentance, and Jesus really goes into details about such in the gospels….I know your aware that your born with sin from the get go, and that you also die with it, thats why salvation ends up being the "get out of jail free" card…due to the fact that sin is a permanent thing…here in Jer, its being talked about in the sense of how sin is effecting thier life and thier connection with God…sin will "block" so to speak that connection, until you re-open it with repentance

    let me put it to you like this: you break a law, you get sentanced to life in prison…..its permanent, the states mad at you forever,

    but say you repent (which repent means to change) or turn back….then possibly the state will forgive you of your tresspass and maybe your sentance gets reduced later on…and perhaps you get special privlages(blessings) while you serve your time….I know thats not the best example here, but I'm trying to point out how something could be permanent in one sence, yet reversed in another sence- the prison term was permanent – so is sin, the connection to God can be re-established through repentance and forgivness, as can the prison sentance be reduced (ex; early parol for good behavior) the people could re-connect thier communion with God and iniquity erased- hence the prisoner could re-connect thier connection to society, and thier debt gets considered "paid in full"…I mean does that make any sence to you?

    OKay– Your point in the gospels is sort of taken. Though it still seems to me that Jesus is trying to have it both ways. But I do understand that in one case someone is trying to catch him out. The problem is, that it comes close to blasphemy when he as much as states “Well, the LORD is within me, and so he is the second witness, along with myself.”

    ok your on the right track here….but put your mind set as a true believer of God and the law….it takes 2 people to make a statment and it be believed or accepted by all, when Jesus was doing miracles in the first part he wanted John to be the second witness…now yeah he could have just said God is my witness, but the miracles were something he was doing- it could be witnessed, plus it needed to hold credibility to everyone else, who may only get to "hear" about it, and not see it, so by having John there, just as you having a friend, the story becomes more reliable….

    now the pharisees were confronting Jesus alone…John wasnt beside him to confirm nor deny, so he states that God is my witness- and your right, thats real close to being a blasphemous statement…but (keep in mind your a believer) saying that is like iron clad! because making a false statemnt of that nature can get you killed or struck down, and from the pharisees view, if the man is telling the truth and you harm him, you could be in danger of being struck down yourself (by God) because (the believer) knows God cant lie, and if you bear false witness- you just broke a commandment!

    I understand how you struggle with the notion he wanted it both ways…but you would be kinda in the same boat if you told me that you beat Michael Jordan in basketball one day at your house…but didnt have a witness to that particular statement….God is a pretty powerful witness(if you believe)

    but the parisee was quick to respond back with..where is he then,

    Jesus turns the story back on them and said, if you know God, then you know me….if not you have never known God….and that puts confusion in the parisees heart, because hey, if you really know and have a relationship with God, than surely he son would be recognized in your heart…I mean right? so the normal response would be anger (for anyone) which is why they went to find some stones to throw at him…..they wernt planning on killing him, just throw rocks at him, because now they felt like fools….side note:

    keep in mind that a pharisees thought they were the most righteous people and they thought they knew everything about God and were closer to him and understood more than anyone.

  257. Profile photo of Rav Winston
    January 18, 2008 at 11:59 am —

    Right. But if something is permanent–UNTIL– or –UNLESS– whatever conditions, then it really ISN'T permanent, is it?

  258. Profile photo of urblind
    January 18, 2008 at 12:09 pm —

    I guess, on a technicallity….but do you believe that to make it a solid contradiction?

    if you get disgnosed with aids…thats permanent. and if you proclaim

    that statement, its justified, even if you beat it later on in the future

    or if you make a statement such as forever, but didnt sate "unless" 5 minutes later, that wouldnt make it contradictory either…right?

    especially, if you made that point several times before….which is the case of the old testamnet since book one.

    are you still saying you disbelieve it, or still find it contradictory? or do you find it not so contradictory, just still confused on the wording or narrative it was used in?

  259. Profile photo of urblind
    January 18, 2008 at 12:27 pm —

    I"ll get back to you on monday, my workday is over…

  260. Profile photo of Rav Winston
    January 19, 2008 at 6:36 pm —

    But it's never "just" a technicality. This means that god's word is at best conditional. And although I understand your illustration with AIDS, but although you can control the symptoms for many years, you either have it, or you don't.

    For another example, even with the other contradictions I've already posted, we know that god commands "Don't Murder." Yet in how many instances has god commanded the annhiliation of the indigenous people of Canaan? He also commanded, "Don't Steal." And yet many of the slaughtered enemies of Israel were also looted. God commanded that anyone who kidnaps another should be put to death; yet from their defeated enemies, the Israelites were permitted to take sex slaves.

    It seems to me that this is grossly immoral as well as contradictory.

  261. Profile photo of urblind
    January 21, 2008 at 4:38 am —

    no…I dont think that….

    first off, you have to get out of the old testament, because that was an old covenant….the commandments were for hebrew people only(at that time), and had nothing to do with the enemy….your focused on the blood on thier hands…but Gods wrath to those said enemies are on his hands not the hebrew. now under the new covenant ALL commandments apply to all people, because were all under that covenant now- versus then, in those days. like the murder thing…it's only murder if you take an innocent life,

    it's a different story if your serving a form of judgment (execution by law ect)

    or if someone kidnaps your daughter (as you said earlier) then killing is justified…I dont think you can get better laws than that? do you? imagine how much kidnapping (especially lil kids) would decrease if the punishment were death? I know for a fact, many children would be alive today if it were so. You make excellent observations Rav, I think your just looking at the picture from the wrong side. the canaans were evil, and got Gods wrath for the things they've done….just like other countries evilness got them judged from the US…and we went and killed them..slaughtered them, in order to make changes for the benefit and wellbeing of the whole- same thing happened here.Thats why when God spoke to these other nations, He told them…your going to lose your kingdoms…your riches will be spoiled, your wives taken from you, all because you choose to live out your wicked ways.

    we have laws against murder…but we have an army to dont we? same thing!

    try to shift your thinking…imagine if you ran the whole earth, imagine you controlled everything…you cant tell me you wouldnt destroy certain people out there or punish them, for defying your authority…especially if your trying to make the world a better place in the big scope of things. was the the punishments brutal? perhaps- but nessesary! look at it from a government or military standpoint, and you will see it differently.

  262. Profile photo of urblind
    January 21, 2008 at 5:13 am —

    moving right along…

    your next two are:

    And Jesus coming, spoke to them, saying: All power is given to me in heaven and in earth.” (Matthew 28:18)

    “the whole world is under control of the evil one.” (1 John 5:19)

    well,cant answer easily, since 1 John 5:19 says:And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness…not what you wrote down, so you wrote the wrong verse….but, the obvious translation for what your looking at is simple- Jesus has all athuority in heaven and earth (equal to God)….Satan has control of the world- I dont see any possible contradiction- maybe you can explain?

    next two:And Jesus said, “For judgement I am come into this world.” (John 9:39)

    “I came not to judge the world” (John 12:47)

    OK..this ones rather simple also – watch,

    "for" judgement I came into this world…meaning he was sent, because of sin,

    in order to clarify the definintions of sin, to explain and teach and make aware…which is why if you continue reading, you'll see that he goes into discussion with the pharisees again, "the judgement" thats being spoke of here is for recognition of sin, he's calling you out on it- making you aware – in biblical talk…"judgement"

    now in 12:47, Hes saying, "I'm not here to make final judment, but to save who I can"…but God the Father will make the final judment- on judgement day- the end of time. theres no contradiction here either…..watch this:

    a cop makes judgement on the law your breaking, he determines…he makes aware..he teaches….then the Court judge passing the true judgement when he gives you a fine or sentance. no way is this contradictory, at all…I'm starting to wonder if you copy/pasted this stuff from an athiest website…because the Rav I know, would have caught on to this fairly easily if you searched them out prior to posting it. because its pretty elementary reading, as far as the subject matter thats being proposed. the more I read your contradictions- it gets harder and harder to find a contradiction.

  263. Profile photo of exarch
    January 21, 2008 at 6:36 am —

    Rav Winston wrote:

    For another example, even with the other contradictions I’ve already posted, we know that god commands “Don’t Murder.” Yet in how many instances has god commanded the annhiliation of the indigenous people of Canaan? He also commanded, “Don’t Steal.” And yet many of the slaughtered enemies of Israel were also looted. God commanded that anyone who kidnaps another should be put to death; yet from their defeated enemies, the Israelites were permitted to take sex slaves.

    Would that perhaps fall into the same category as the blacks did just a few hundred years ago? They were considered less than human, and so laws concerning humans didn't apply to them.

    Although this, of course, raises the issues about the bible condoning slavery, rape and murder.

  264. Profile photo of Rav Winston
    January 21, 2008 at 6:46 am —

    Whoah, whoah, whoah– Let's back up a minute. I am duly impressed at your able answering of the charges against internal contradictions (though as to "getting out of the 'old testament'" is a bit of a misunderstanding– I AM Jewish, after all). But you mentioned something in passing– Are you seriously saying that the Canaanites got what they deserved because they were evil in god's estimation? Supposing Israel today pursued a policy of extermination against the Palestinian people? Is this something that would be condoned? Why should god's morality be considered acceptable?

    Consider–

    1. God gets angry with all of the people on Earth, and kills every living thing on Earth, with a few notable exceptions (Genesis 6 & 7).

    2. God heeded the prayers of the Jews and helped the Jews to "utterly destroy" the Canaanites. Later, God told the Jews that they would leave "no survivors" (including women and children) from among the whole people when they battled the followers of King Og of Bashan. In between those two, the Jews battled the followers of King Sihon of Heshbon, who "God had given him a resistant spirit and stubborn determination" so that he would not surrender his people, and for "even the women and children; there was not a single survivor." (Numbers, Chapter 21; and Deuteronomy, Chapters 2 and 3.)

    3. When the Jews fought the Midianites, the Jewish army killed all of the men, but brought back all of the women and children to Moses, who was then furious at this disobedience of God. Moses ordered all of the male children killed, and all of the females who were not virgins. 32,000 virgin females remained alive; all of the other Midianite people were killed. It is unclear from the text whether or not 32 of these virgins were sacrificed to God (human sacrifice). The Jews enslaved all of the virgin females who lived. (Numbers, Chapters 25 and 31.)

    4. God instructed the Jews that when they invaded the territory that God had granted to them, as for the inhabitants, "you must utterly annihilate them. Make no covenant with them nor show them compassion!" (Deuteronomy, Chapter 7.) God instructed the Jews that, when confronting other people who lived on land other than that granted to the Jews, they could give them an offer of perpetual slavery for their whole population, or else they could kill all the males and take the women and little children as slaves. (Deuteronomy, Chapter 20.) God set rules for male Jews who desired to take a wife from among these captives. (Deuteronomy, Chapter 21.)

    5. When invading Jericho, as instructed by God, the Jews "annihilated with the sword everything that breathed in the city, including men and women, young and old, as well cattle, sheep, and donkeys." (Joshua, Chapter 6.)

    6. When taking Ai, as instructed by God, the Jews "annihilated all who lived in Ai," including all of the men, women, and children. (Joshua, Chapter 8.)

    7. Acting on God's instructions, the Jews "annihilated everyone who lived in" Makkedah. At Libnah, they again "left no survivors." At Lachish, "they put the sword to all who lived there, just as they had done to Libnah." At Eglon, "they annihilated it just as they had done to Lachish." At Hebron, "they annihilated it and all who lived there." Again at Debir, "they annihilated everyone who lived there; they left no survivors." "Joshua defeated the whole land, including the hill country, the Negev, the lowlands, the slopes, and all their kings. He left no survivors. He annihilated everything that breathed, just as the Lord God of Israel had commanded." (Joshua, Chapter 10.)

    8. At Hazor, "They annihilated everyone who lived there with the sword—no one who breathed remained." "The Israelites plundered all the loot of these cities and the cattle, but they totally destroyed all the people and allowed no one who breathed to live." "Moses the Lord's servant passed on the Lord's commands to Joshua, and Joshua did as he was told. He did not ignore any of the commands the Lord had given Moses." "No city made peace with the Israelites (except the Hivites living in Gibeon); they had to conquer all of them," "for the Lord determined to make them obstinate so they would attack Israel. He wanted Israel to annihilate them without mercy, as he had instructed Moses." (Joshua, Chapter 11.)

    9. King Saul of Israel, acting on God's orders, "captured King Agag of the Amalekites alive, but he executed all his people with the sword." (Later, God got angry for this "disobedience" of leaving the king alive and for other matters.) (I Samuel, Chapter 15.)

    Now, according to the Principles of International Law Recognized in the Charter of the NÃ&frac14;remberg Tribunal and in the Judgment of the Tribunal, 1950,:

    Principle I – Any person who commits an act which constitutes a crime under international law is responsible therefor and liable to punishment.

    Principle II – The fact that international law does not impose a penalty for an act which constitutes a crime under international law does not relieve the person who committed the act from responsibility under international law.

    Principle III – The fact that a person who committed an act which constitutes a crime under international law acted as Head of State or responsible Government official does not relieve him from responsibility under international law.

    Principle IV – The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him.

    Principle V – Any person charged with a crime under international law has the right to a fair trial on the facts and law.

    Principle VI – The crimes hereinafter set out are punishable as crimes under international law:

    (a) Crimes against peace:

    (i) Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances;

    (ii) Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the acts mentioned under (i).

    (b) War crimes:

    Violations of the laws or customs of war include, but are not limited to, murder, ill-treatment or deportation to slave-labour or for any other purpose of civilian population of or in occupied territory, murder or ill-treatment of prisoners of war, of persons on the seas, killing of hostages, plunder of public or private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns, or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity.

    (c) Crimes against humanity:

    Murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation and other inhuman acts done against any civilian population, or persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds, when such acts are done or such persecutions are carried on in execution of or in connexion with any crime against peace or any war crime.

    Principle VII – Complicity in the commission of a crime against peace, a war crime, or a crime against humanity as set forth in Principle VI is a crime under international law.

    So, let us then consider the following propositions:

    P1: It is morally wrong to deliberately and mercilessly slaughter men, women, and children who are innocent of any serious wrongdoing.

    P2: It is morally wrong to provide one's troops with young women captives with the prospect of their being used as sex-slaves.

    P3: It is morally wrong to make people cannibalize their friends and family.

    P4: It is morally wrong to practice human sacrifice, by burning or otherwise.

    P5: It is morally wrong to torture people endlessly for their beliefs.

    And with these propositions in mind, let me make this argument:

    P1. Either God exists or else God does not exist.

    P2. If God does not exist, then God's commands cannot make an action moral.

    P3. If God exists, then God's commands cannot make an action moral.

    C. Therefore, God's commands cannot make an action moral.

    Re. P3—

    (1) Suppose what is moral is commanded by God.

    (2) If so, then:

    (2a) what is moral is moral because it is commanded by God; or

    (2b) God commands what is moral because it is moral.

    (3) If (2b), then what is moral is moral independently of God's commanding it and God's commands cannot make an action moral.

    (4) If (2a), then whatever is commanded by God is moral.

    (5) It is not the case that whatever is commanded by God is moral (e.g. God could command something atrocious).

    (6) Therefore, (2b).

    (7) Therefore, what is moral is moral independently of God's commanding it and God's commands cannot make an action moral.

    (8) Therefore, if God exists, God's commands cannot make an action moral.

    And so, we can, as humans, judge god as having committed crimes against sentience. This god, if he exists is immoral, and indeed, evil.

  265. Profile photo of urblind
    January 21, 2008 at 7:39 am —

    whew…..you make my eyes hurt…lol;

    I thought in an earlier post you claimed to have been Christian for "x" amount of years? now you say your Jewish? I thought you were athiest?

    clarify for me…

    Are you seriously saying that the Canaanites got what they deserved because they were evil in god’s estimation? Supposing Israel today pursued a policy of extermination against the Palestinian people? Is this something that would be condoned? Why should god’s morality be considered acceptable?

    now they cant act upon thier own discression…..but theres an old prophesy that says the ark will be back in the possession of the Jews sooner or later and that all who attack Isreal will be destroyed…now if God commands them to destroy Palestine, were talking a different story.

    It is unclear from the text whether or not 32 of these virgins were sacrificed to God (human sacrifice).

    there has never been human sacrifices in Christianity- never.

    there is only two refrences in the scriptures thats remotely close, one was just a test of obidiance, the other was a careless mistake….

    now, I see the man made laws of warfare you posted…but once again, we done got off subject…mans laws are mans laws..they dont apply to God, so therfore it doesnt have any bearing. society as a whole can make whatever laws they see fit but it cant change Gods rules…now the fact is..God rendered judgment of these other nations, and yes many were killed, but we are not in a position to challenge his authority, weather he commanded the Jews to do it, or weather He did it Himself (like sodom or Gom.) is irrelevent..He saw fit to wipe them out-and thats what happened.its easy to get caught up in confusion when we have been trained since birth with our own moral codes or vision of right and wrong…but we lack the infinite wisdom of God. we dont have a clue to as why He done those things in the big picture of it all. these things had to take place- they had to happen in order for everything else to work out in the overall plan. but this is one reason I said stay out of the old covenant- so much changed under the new that the topic becomes almost obsolete.

    obidiance is better than sacrifice….

    the Jews had to do what was told- under Gods authority, under His control.

    it cant be called a crime, unless you acted upon your own will, which isnt the case here. see us humans have a flaw when it comes to morality-what you consider immoral I consider moral, and vise versa, and that the way of humans-through time, through culture…the US's morals are different from Cuba's….Canada's are different from Spain's….we as human cant determine who's code is correct or not…which is why allowing God's to be correct will stop us from being inncorect. what you (and I) and everyone else has to do is break the mold that America has distilled in us as to whats acceptable and whats not…we will never be in a position to determine..never, as long as theres a world, with diversity, and different culture and ideas….

    but besides all that – did you agree or disagree with my views on the latter two contradictions? because all in all thats whats important from my Christian veiwpoint, I may or may not be able to convert a single soul here, but I dont want the word of God misintepreted by no means, especialy contradictions- because all the while we debate, countless others read our words….and I dont want any one persuaded one way or the other, because of an intepretation flaw. so whats up with the last two?

  266. Profile photo of Rav Winston
    January 21, 2008 at 8:33 am —

    I understand what you mean by the contradictions. As to my own beliefs, I was raised as a Jew. I did in fact become a christian and was one for about twenty-five years. However, the longer I was a christian, the more I drifted towards the "Messianic Jewish" or "Hebrew Christian" factions.

    I became an atheist after discussions with a very dear friend who was a Jehovah's Witness. She was trying to "share" with me in hopes of my conversion, but was obviously unsuccessful. I thought at the time that I wasn't being fair– Would my own faith stand up to the same logic and scrutiny? I subjected it to skeptical inquiry and allowed my scientific inclinations to surface, and so began my journey to rationalism. It actually took several years; I was very unwilling to give up my stories. I desperately wanted them to be true.

    So, I do follow your explanations about the biblical contradictions, mainly because I myself have used them in the dim and distant past.

    But then, if I ask "Why should I accept biblical authority at all?" What makes it authoritative as opposed to, say, the Qu'ran? Or the Rig Vedas? Or the Heart Sutra?

    And along with Occam's Razor, why should we even need to appeal to a supernatural entity whose existence is highly suspect at best?

  267. Profile photo of PH
    January 21, 2008 at 8:45 am —

    urblind,

    I don't really think it's *countless* others watching. Probably no more than a handful, and the longer the thread (and posts) get, the smaller the number is likely to be.

    I guess the word you were looking for earlier regarding the non-expiry of sin without repentance is 'indefinite' rather than 'permanent'.

    However, even with that definition, there do still seem to be some fairly severe judgements in the OT, like not forgiving some deed or other for 7 generations (or in the case of Adam+Eve, not forgiving at all).

    The *appearance* is of a potentially fairly arbitrary approach to sin and forgiveness, such as many people effectively being condemned to death simply for living on land the Chosen Ones wanted. Even if those people's leaders hadn't done what god +/or the chosen ones wanted, it seems rather harsh to massacre everyone. If that's 'just the way things were done in those times' it would seem to be an example of the chosen people not being any better than anyone else despite the alleged influence of their deity.

    I'm also puzzled why, if Jesus was such a unique messenger, he didn't seem to do at all well at leading the Jewish peoples into the new age.

    If it had been desired that they'd follow him, it wouldn't seem like a great job was done convincing them, despite the presumably unlimited resources potentially available for the task.

    Looking from a historic point of view, though it's certainly possible there was s deal of underground 'heretical' religious activity, what happened does seem rather more consistent with someone inspired to preach a new kind of religion who didn't have a serious impact on the potential best recruits, instead ending up with the religion being sold rather more effectively elsewhere.

    The impression is of someone supposedly preaching and performing miracles (and hence presumably not shy of publicity), but somehow not doing enough to really convince the masses, with no obvious explanation of why.

  268. Profile photo of urblind
    January 21, 2008 at 9:28 am —

    oh Rav…..

    you truely have what it takes to be Christian….a damn good one.

    I believe your main problem through life has been the overwhelming culture clash that tugged at you from all directions…Jews pulling one side, Jehova witnesses (cult) pulling the other…I can understand the mass confusion. but most importantly, you wanted to believe…you feel it cant be rationalized..but it can. you just have to change your angel. apply what you know. find how to work it in there. unlock the mysteries that still need to be unlocked. thats the fun of it. Christian scientists do it all the time.

    But then, if I ask “Why should I accept biblical authority at all?” What makes it authoritative as opposed to, say, the Qu’ran? Or the Rig Vedas? Or the Heart Sutra?

    those are easy questions…with easy answers, what really matters is- do you want to find out? you have one life…you will die, athiesm leaves you with no chance…(if) you were Christian, and you die- then only one of two options really pertain…one your wrong, and you lose nothing, or two- your right and you gain everything. as athiest, you lose either way. and deep down you know theres no grounds to be athiest…but you do know theres some things that arnt easy to explain or define for your personal satisfaction. rationalism doesnt make you disbelieve, it could in fact make you believe even more?

    its not too late……let me find a different aproach..

    as for you Ph,

    you said:I’m also puzzled why, if Jesus was such a unique messenger, he didn’t seem to do at all well at leading the Jewish peoples into the new age.

    Jesus said, a prophet is not known in his own country..nor does a physician heal those who know him.

    I think that statment says it all…..but what would you expect if you were Jew back then? for 4,000 years it was Jew and nothing but Jew, and here comes a new guy in the mix-shaking your old beliefs and making outragious claims? he wasnt sent to lead the Jews per say…but to save the entire world,and unite all people under God..not just Jew- but all

    The impression is of someone supposedly preaching and performing miracles (and hence presumably not shy of publicity), but somehow not doing enough to really convince the masses, with no obvious explanation of why.

    not doing enough? Christianity is the biggest religion in the world…it has spread from one country by 12 men, to nearly every country on earth…translated into thousands of languages, changed untold amount of lives…taken untold amounts of persecution, and it continues to grow stronger…I dont think the masses could be any more convinced!

    I don’t really think it’s *countless* others watching. Probably no more than a handful, and the longer the thread (and posts) get, the smaller the number is likely to be.

    well you never know…obviously you keep tabs here?

  269. Profile photo of PH
    January 21, 2008 at 11:11 am —

    Jesus said, a prophet is not known in his own country..nor does a physician heal those who know him.

    Well, that's what people say he said, in a book written long after he had fairly evidently failed to make much headway in his own country. It wouldn't have made much sense to have written the opposite after it had failed to come to pass.

    In any case, it doesn't seem to be the case that self-appointed prophets generally do much worse in their own country than elsewhere – cult leaders often seem to be pretty local and do OK.

    It would seem odd for a divinely appointed prophet to have some extra burden compared to the self-appointed. Weren't earlier prophets of the Jews (who were listened to) often, maybe even typically Jewish?

    The thing with physicians is that given the potential intimacy, people might prefer to talk to a stranger, working on the logic that physicians are largely interchangeable.

    I don't think the same logic works with prophets "Oh no, I can't be saved by *him* – even if he is the Son of God, I'd rather go and talk to some other prophet"

    he wasnt sent to lead the Jews per say…but to save the entire world,and unite all people under God..not just Jew- but all

    That still doesn't answer the point – if he wasn't being shy, and had the power to make more demonstrations of his divine gifts, why didn't he do a complete job and convert everyone. He quite plainly didn't unite everyone.

    The reason Christianity has grown is as much political as anything else. It had the good fortune to grow in a region where technology eventually developed, and then to be exported alongside that technology. It was also flexible enough to be bent to fit various preexisting local beliefs whilst not losing too much in the process.

    That doesn't seem to be necessarily down to its original creation, but to how skilfully it has been changed over time to make it saleable, (whether it's Paul rebranding it to market to the Gentiles, or more recent adaptations), and/or its imposition with varying degrees of coercion on all kinds of peoples.

  270. Profile photo of urblind
    January 21, 2008 at 11:28 am —

    6. When taking Ai, as instructed by God, the Jews “annihilated all who lived in Ai,” including all of the men, women, and children. (Joshua, Chapter 8.)

    read chapter 8 again…..you misread.

    and talking about canaan again, I found this article…it may help you understand better:

    Why did God condone the wholesale slaughter of people during the conquest of Canaan?

    This question primarily refers to the first half of the book of Joshua, which would be a shock to someone who is reading the Bible for the first time. Perhaps a good way to explain the complete destruction of a people is by comparing the inhabitants of Canaan with the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. In Genesis chapter 13 verse 13, the Bible reads “But the men of Sodom were exceedingly wicked and sinful against the LORD.” Apparently, this went on for some time, for in Genesis chapter 18 we read the following:

    20 And the LORD said, “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grave,

    21 I will go down now and see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry against it that has come to Me; and if not, I will know.”

    Abraham (a main character in this part of the Bible) then became concerned that the righteous would be destroyed with the wicked. In a series of questions, Abraham asked God to spare the city if it had a small number of righteous people living in it. Abraham concluded these questions at Genesis chapter 18 verse 32:

    Then he said, “Let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak but once more: Suppose ten should be found there?”

    And He said, “I will not destroy it for the sake of ten.”

    So now we know that the people sinned greatly over a long period of time, and that there were less than 10 people that would be considered righteous. The stories imply that the residents of Sodom and Gomorrah were obsessed with sexual perversion and were willing to kill to get what they wanted (Genesis chapter 19).

    Reading on further, we learn that the actual number of righteous people in Sodom and Gomorrah was 3 or 4 (depending on whether you count Lot’s wife or not)—and God sent angels to save them. Of course, Lot’s wife had some second thoughts, and lost her life in the process.

    Since God does not change, we believe it would be a good generalization to state that God would have spared a given city in Canaan if there were 10 righteous people living in it—or at least save the righteous people as he did at Sodom and Gomorrah. Sure enough, Rahab and her family in Jericho were spared in Joshua chapter 6, although the city and the other people were destroyed. So we can establish that either no one or a tiny handful of innocent people were killed during the course of the conquest of Canaan. Of course, any innocent people would go to heaven (paradise actually) and not be vexed by the wickedness around them, so even that could be considered a “deliverance.”

    Another question that might come up is “why kill these wicked people at all?” As an answer, let us ask this: if someone in your neighborhood occasionally killed children and sacrificed them on an alter, would you want this person to continue living there? We believe that you would not. For that matter, you might decide that such a person deserves the death penalty. God responds the same way. The fact is that God does find out the truth (read the entire story of Sodom and you will see) and is then very fair in His execution of judgment.

    its easy to miss somthing, if you dont examine it closely…

  271. Profile photo of PH
    January 21, 2008 at 2:52 pm —

    Jeeez,

    You take the story of Sodom literally?

    You think that apart from 3 or 4 people, all the people in a city (including the children of all ages) were so wicked they deserved to die?

    Of course, you *have* to believe that, no matter how dumb it is, 'cos it's in an Olde Book. That is, unless/until it's shown it doesn't make sense, when you can shift ground and pretend its more of a cautionary tale.

    Admittedly, you do add the cop-out that it wouldn't really matter if innocent people were killed, since they'd go to heaven. Basically, your god is great, so even if he is shown clearly to act like history's greatest mass-murdering psycho, it'd still be OK since you could imagine he could make everything better in some other invisible place you want to believe exists, and even if he didn't make things OK, there'd no doubt be a reason for that that must exist even if you don't understand it.

    It's so nice to see that in this day and age, there are still some people happy to support the "Kill them all, God will know His own" approach to barbarism and genocide.

    Rationally speaking, one would have to wonder what on earth an all-seeing all-powerful deity, supposedly by no means averse to intervening in the world, was doing during the generations it would take for city after city to descend into utter (alleged) iniquity?

    Unless the deity actually *liked* massacring people, or liked to watch while all the evil happened (at least until it got boring), why wouldn't it do something less drastic sooner, rather than waiting until everything fell apart?

  272. Profile photo of Rav Winston
    January 21, 2008 at 3:34 pm —

    Urblind– DID you in fact read my argument questioning god's morality?

  273. Profile photo of exarch
    January 21, 2008 at 11:49 pm —

    urblind wrote:

    …it’s only murder if you take an innocent life,

    it’s a different story if your serving a form of judgment (execution by law ect)

    or if someone kidnaps your daughter (as you said earlier) then killing is justified…I dont think you can get better laws than that? do you?

    It always baffles me just how bloodthirsty and immoral some christians really are. I guess they really would be downright evil if they didn't have the bible to keep them on the straight and narrow.

    Frankly, I don't think killing someone is any kind of solution. That's why we have laws, because it's a well known fact that people don't think clearly and objectively if someone just killed or harmed one of their loved ones. That's why the judicial system is very carefull to avoid using emotion when dealing with criminals.

    These are the people who boast around the name pro-life. Yet they wouldn't even flinch at the idea of murdering a grown up person (judge not, lest ye be judged?) but on the other hand, they object to the removal of a clump of cells that has less sentience than a shrimp or a snail (i.e. abortion).

    urblind wrote:

    imagine how much kidnapping (especially lil kids) would decrease if the punishment were death? I know for a fact, many children would be alive today if it were so.

    You know this for a fact huh?

    How do you know this? Please show me those facts, because I'm sure you just pulled 'em out of your ass …

    urblind wrote:

    You make excellent observations Rav, I think your just looking at the picture from the wrong side. the canaans were evil, and got Gods wrath for the things they’ve done….just like other countries evilness got them judged from the US…and we went and killed them..slaughtered them, in order to make changes for the benefit and wellbeing of the whole-

    Indeed, isn't it telling how a fundie president has the same misguided views you do? How about the fact that apart from two or three other nations, the entire fuckin' world objected to the way rules were broken and agreements were violated because Dubya had this crazy idea in his head that he was going to kick Saddam's ass?

    For what it's worth, the US had NO VALID REASONS to invade Iraq.

    Let's see how the US would feel if some day, some other nation decided to kick YOUR collective asses just because their dictator felt like it …

    urblind wrote:

    imagine if you ran the whole earth, imagine you controlled everything…you cant tell me you wouldnt destroy certain people out there or punish them, for defying your authority…especially if your trying to make the world a better place in the big scope of things.

    Holy fuckin' shit! You truly ARE evil. You need to be kept in check because you are a goddamn danger to society.

    If it weren't for laws and the bible, you'd be a murderous sonofabitch killing whoever didn't comply with your narrow-minded idea of "righteous".

  274. Profile photo of exarch
    January 22, 2008 at 12:22 am —

    urblind wrote:

    those are easy questions…with easy answers, what really matters is- do you want to find out? you have one life…you will die, athiesm leaves you with no chance…(if) you were Christian, and you die- then only one of two options really pertain…one your wrong, and you lose nothing, or two- your right and you gain everything. as athiest, you lose either way. and deep down you know theres no grounds to be athiest…but you do know theres some things that arnt easy to explain or define for your personal satisfaction. rationalism doesnt make you disbelieve, it could in fact make you believe even more?

    Here's the corrolary to Pascal's wager that most christians fail to realize:

    First of all, you assume that either god exists and you're right, or he doesn't. BUT, your narrow minded perspective is unable to think outside the box of christianity. A deity might well exist while STILL you are wrong.

    If, say, Islam is correct, or hinduism, or who knows which religion, then we as atheists are merely unbelievers. You on the other hand, have made your bet, and would be a heretic because you believe the wrong thing. We don't believe any thing.

    But rest assured, we're not atheists because we're secretly afraid to believe the wrong thing. We're atheists because we believe it's silly to believe anything that has no proof to warrant it being accepted as truth.

    Anyway, I think if any deity really does exist, and he's given us free will to see whether we'll do the right thing, I think he'll be much more impressed with the atheists who have the guts to stand up for what they believe to be the truth, rather than all those lukewarm religionists who merely believe because they hope that'll get them into heaven.

  275. Profile photo of PH
    January 22, 2008 at 1:23 am —

    A deity might well exist while STILL you are wrong.

    Indeed. In the words of that famous American philosopher:

    "What if we picked the wrong religion? Every week we're just making god madder and madder"

    Of course, a truly fervent believer knows they are right and various other believers are wrong/evil/deluded/misled by the devil despite the fact that the other believers are using exactly the same kinds of broken tools (including tradition, a belief system's approximate *internal* consistency, wishful thinking, not-really-thinking and circular logic) to justify their own beliefs, and frequently using their picked-and-chosen beliefs to justify their personal social prejudices whilst avoiding personal responsibility.

  276. Profile photo of urblind
    January 22, 2008 at 1:37 am —

    Highlights from exarch's post:

    Please show me those facts, because I’m sure you just pulled ‘em out of your ass …

    the entire fuckin’ world objected to the way rules were broken

    Holy fuckin’ shit! You truly ARE evil…..

    sounds like a real civilized person who knows what thier talking about, dont it? nah, more like a spoiled lil kid, that mommy kept under her wing for a few years to long…Exarch, perhaps you should see a therapist in the near future to help you with that anger management? and I think they have meds for delusional behavior also – I think your bipolar!

    your arguments are silly beyond imagination, you would be a very poor lawyer…

  277. Profile photo of urblind
    January 22, 2008 at 1:44 am —

    PH said:Of course, you *have* to believe that, no matter how dumb it is, ‘cos it’s in an Olde Book. That is, unless/until it’s shown it doesn’t make sense, when you can shift ground and pretend its more of a cautionary tale.

    And you don’t *have* to believe it, because if you did, you would have to make some serious changes,

    And that’s what scares you most.

    Rationally speaking, one would have to wonder what on earth an all-seeing all-powerful deity, supposedly by no means averse to intervening in the world, was doing during the generations it would take for city after city to descend into utter (alleged) iniquity?

    Unless the deity actually *liked* massacring people, or liked to watch while all the evil happened (at least until it got boring), why wouldn’t it do something less drastic sooner, rather than waiting until everything fell apart?

    That statement shows how little you actually know about Christianity…they were given chance after chance to change their ways before it came down to that….try this crazy idea- READ IT!

  278. Profile photo of PH
    January 22, 2008 at 3:03 am —

    urblind,

    Like countless other things, I don't have to believe it since there's no credible reason to suggest it's worth believing. Though brought up in a Christian environment, my parents were more keen on me learning to think for myself and making up my own mind than on indoctrinating me, something for which I remain immensely grateful.

    However, you're quite right in that in order to be able to believe like you do, I'd have to make some serious changes that would scare me, such as abandoning reason and perspective, and adopting a literalist stance to all kinds of primitive just-so-stories for which there was zero evidence of authenticity.

    It's lovely to see you consider Lot as one of the righteous people.

    That'd be the Lot who moved to a city where his family was the only righteous one among a population of supposed sex maniacs – how dumb can one person be?

    That'd be the same Lot who suggested to a mob that they rape his virgin daughters rather than molest a couple of angels in his house (who were quite capable of taking care of themselves).

    I note that it is then claimed his daughters managed to get him plastered and get pregnant by him.

    Still, I guess it was only the father's precious, magical 'seed' that mattered, with women as basically walking baby-machines, so in the absence of someone less closely related, incest was the next best alternative.

  279. Profile photo of urblind
    January 22, 2008 at 3:35 am —

    Like countless other things, I don’t have to believe it since there’s no credible reason to suggest it’s worth believing

    such as abandoning reason and perspective, and adopting a literalist stance to all kinds of primitive just-so-stories for which there was zero evidence of authenticity.

    you obviously dont know much about evidence, nor much about a barber shop either for that matter…but you believe in abiogenesis…..the BIGGEST FABLE EVER WRITTEN….that has 0 PROOF mind you!

    is UNTESTABLE mind you! and takes a complete idiot to even consider it, yet you think you have answers….sorry there pal, you've been molded and brainwashed by society, you cant handle the fact religion has better and more accurate answers…your confused because you cant handle the way things are and will always be…so you hide yourself under the umbrella of athiesm, to find fellowship and a sense of belonging from other less fortunate individuals….I pitty you and your so called evidence..your rational thinking is comparable to a 3 year year old…and even they might not be as ignarant to believe something came from nothing.

    and you said, how dumb can one be??

    look in the mirror, and you'll find that answer!

  280. Profile photo of exarch
    January 22, 2008 at 4:08 am —

    I note that urblind has ignored my question. So I'll pose it again:

    urblind wrote:

    imagine how much kidnapping (especially lil kids) would decrease if the punishment were death? I know for a fact, many children would be alive today if it were so.

    exarch responded:

    You know this for a fact huh?

    How do you know this? Please show me those facts, because I’m sure you just pulled ‘em out of your ass …

    I guess your refusal to show me those facts, confirms that you just pulled that statement out of your ass. You can't know this for a fact, because there are no facts to support your alternative reality hypothesis.

    Oh, and the fact that you are an immoral person who's only kept from commiting genocide because the bible doens't currently have any outstanding death warrants on a particular group of people is indeed rather shocking to me. Thank you for making fun of that and assuming I must be "angry" for thinking you're a danger to society.

    I bet you never even realized you have a lot more incommon with the group of extremists who flew commercial jetliners into the WTC than you have incommon with me.

  281. Profile photo of exarch
    January 22, 2008 at 4:34 am —

    urblind wrote:

    sorry there pal, you’ve been molded and brainwashed by society, you cant handle the fact religion has better and more accurate answers…

    Excuse me?

    Perhaps those answers sound better to you, but I personally think that any explanation that doesn't require GODDIDIT as the final answer to be far superior to anything in the bible.

    Essentially, the bible doesn't really have ANY answers. It's just a long sequence of GODDIDIT without offering any real insight whatsoever.

    If we had kept relying on GODDIDIT as an answer for the past 2000 years, we'd still be herding sheep, dying at an average age of 40 (those of us who made it past infancy anyway), and still walking everywhere, or at least getting there no faster than riding a horse.

    We would not be flying all over the world, we would not be posting on the internet right now, and we would be dying of all kinds of preventable diseases and afflictions in a variety of horrible ways.

    The only answers religion has are those of a spiritual nature. Anything else was arrived at by science. If you resign your cusiosity with GODDIDIT at the first sign of something that's difficult to answer, you'll never achieve real insight. Thank goodness there's a whole lot of people throughout history who did NOT settle for it and decided to look for something better. even if that meant being public enemy #1 in the eyes of the church (which frequently went hand in hand).

  282. Profile photo of writerdd
    January 22, 2008 at 4:41 am —

    exarch said:

    The only answers religion has are those of a spiritual nature. Anything else was arrived at by science.

    I've been trying to stay out of this thread but….

    Science has started having answers about spirituality as well, now that we can study the brain and the workings of the human mind. Which means there's nothing left for religion to provide, and no more gaps for God to fill. Yay!

  283. Profile photo of urblind
    January 22, 2008 at 4:55 am —

    exarch reminds me of that kid…you know that kid that brings his

    football to recess, but if he dont get to be quarterback, he takes his football and runs away pouting!! ha ha!

    exarch has proved well beyond a shadow of a doubt, that he knows little (if anything) about science or religion. hey exarch, I know where there is a blog site about video games! you want to go there so you can chat about the playstation or something? you may know something about that.

    anyway once you have a subject you actually know something about, come back and we'll talk….until then go back to watching your cartoons…

    and as for the facts about kidnapping/corpral punishment??

    check the statistics out for the states that have the dealth penalty!! theres plenty FACTS to support such things crybaby! oh…and if you cant read at that level, call me and I will dumb it down for you..ok?

  284. Profile photo of urblind
    January 22, 2008 at 4:57 am —

    Science has started having answers about spirituality as well, now that we can study the brain and the workings of the human mind. Which means there’s nothing left for religion to provide, and no more gaps for God to fill. Yay!

    wow…a few x-rays and brain scans! I'm sure they will fill those gaps!!

    *yawn*

  285. Profile photo of Rav Winston
    January 22, 2008 at 6:25 am —

    Urblind, stop making ad hominem attacks and answer the arguments put to you.

  286. Profile photo of urblind
    January 22, 2008 at 7:04 am —

    in order to answer an argument..I have to be presented with one!

    exarch is a child….all he'she has done is yell and curse, I dont conversate with the mentally handicapp….and Ph delivers nothing but a useless opinion- without knowing the subject matter…..

    if your going to use fancy words like ad hominem, you best understand the meaning.

    "consists of replying to an argument or factual claim by attacking or appealing to a characteristic or belief of the person making the argument or claim, rather than by addressing the substance of the argument or producing evidence against the claim".

    thats what "they" do towards me….attack me for my beliefs, but never producing evidence…unless you count youtube videos…

  287. Profile photo of Rav Winston
    January 22, 2008 at 7:17 am —

    Here is a clear argument. I am quoting myself from a previous post:

    P1: It is morally wrong to deliberately and mercilessly slaughter men, women, and children who are innocent of any serious wrongdoing.

    P2: It is morally wrong to provide one’s troops with young women captives with the prospect of their being used as sex-slaves.

    P3: It is morally wrong to make people cannibalize their friends and family.

    P4: It is morally wrong to practice human sacrifice, by burning or otherwise.

    P5: It is morally wrong to torture people endlessly for their beliefs.

    And with these propositions in mind, let me make this argument:

    P1. Either God exists or else God does not exist.

    P2. If God does not exist, then God’s commands cannot make an action moral.

    P3. If God exists, then God’s commands cannot make an action moral.

    C. Therefore, God’s commands cannot make an action moral.

    Re. P3—

    (1) Suppose what is moral is commanded by God.

    (2) If so, then:

    (2a) what is moral is moral because it is commanded by God; or

    (2b) God commands what is moral because it is moral.

    (3) If (2b), then what is moral is moral independently of God’s commanding it and God’s commands cannot make an action moral.

    (4) If (2a), then whatever is commanded by God is moral.

    (5) It is not the case that whatever is commanded by God is moral (e.g. God could command something atrocious).

    (6) Therefore, (2b).

    (7) Therefore, what is moral is moral independently of God’s commanding it and God’s commands cannot make an action moral.

    (8) Therefore, if God exists, God’s commands cannot make an action moral.

  288. Profile photo of urblind
    January 22, 2008 at 7:26 am —

    there is nothing clear about your argument.

    your argument is based on the standards and morals of an american citizen in 2008, not the standards of God. your focused on old testament history thats invalid today, switch to new testament, and you answer your own theory….

  289. Profile photo of Rav Winston
    January 22, 2008 at 7:46 am —

    So you're saying that whatever god does is moral by definition? Is that your answer?

  290. Profile photo of urblind
    January 22, 2008 at 7:59 am —

    well He is God! what do you expect? He controls the universe, He makes the rules..He calls the shots…Im sorry His complete complex understanding

    far surpasses yours or Americas, but what can I do about it? we cannot question His authority…now I thought this debate was about evidence not character analysis?

  291. Profile photo of PH
    January 22, 2008 at 8:04 am —

    you obviously dont know much about evidence, nor much about a barber shop either for that matter

    Aren't you the one supposedly railing against childish insults? WTF does the length of my hair have to do with anything?

    …but you believe in abiogenesis…..the BIGGEST FABLE EVER WRITTEN….that has 0 PROOF mind you!

    is UNTESTABLE mind you! and takes a complete idiot to even consider it

    The point about an pro-tem *assumption* of naturalism is that in a very significant sense, it doesn't matter. That is, I don't base my personal philosophy on how I think life arose, and it has no more bearing on how I think people should behave than do the number of the planets or the size of a hydrogen atom.

    It's creationists who, amongst their numerous other miconceptions and deliberate and accidental misrepresentations, claim that morality is inextricably linked with their idea of a creation, when for many other people the idea of a creation is irrelevant.

    I pitty you and your so called evidence..your rational thinking is comparable to a 3 year year old…and even they might not be as ignarant to believe something came from nothing.

    Personally, I left thinking like a 3 year old behind when I was 3. Maybe you should try that sometime, assuming it's allowed.

    and you said, how dumb can one be??

    look in the mirror, and you’ll find that answer!

    Oh, spare us your rapier wit, how can we possibly defend ourselves!

    I see you've avoided the point about your 'righteous' Lot, and his "Pimp Your Daughters for God" approach to morality.

    I must say, you're doing really well convincing people the Bible is free of sexism

  292. Profile photo of Rav Winston
    January 22, 2008 at 8:09 am —

    "well He is God! what do you expect? He controls the universe, He makes the rules..He calls the shots…Im sorry His complete complex understanding

    far surpasses yours or Americas, but what can I do about it? we cannot question His authority…now I thought this debate was about evidence not character analysis?"

    Two points: First, if there is no objective, independent standard of Morality, how can you judge what god does to be moral? By what standard do you measure?

    Second, Abraham did in fact challenge god in the matter of the Cities of the Plain–"Shall not the judge of the universe do justly?" Moses also challenged god when he wanted to destroy the Israelites at Sinai- "Not so, LORD, lest the nations hear of it and say 'Because he could not deliver his people, he brought them into the wilderness to destroy them.'"

  293. Profile photo of urblind
    January 22, 2008 at 8:18 am —

    Oh, spare us your rapier wit, how can we possibly defend ourselves!

    yeah, you dont like a dose of your own medicine do you? I thought not.

    if your not concerned with the origin of life, then why are you here arguing me?

    I see you’ve avoided the point about your ‘righteous’ Lot, and his “Pimp Your Daughters for God” approach to morality.

    I must say, you’re doing really well convincing people the Bible is free of sexism

    if I though for a minute you knew that story, I would argue the point…but since its to much for you to understand, I wont waste my time typing a reply.

    maybe I can find you a pop up book to look at?

  294. Profile photo of Rav Winston
    January 22, 2008 at 8:25 am —

    Again with the ad hominems? I think your logic is in abeyance.

  295. Profile photo of PH
    January 22, 2008 at 8:51 am —

    yeah, you dont like a dose of your own medicine do you? I thought not.

    Do they have sarcasm on your planet?

    if your not concerned with the origin of life, then why are you here arguing me?

    I said I didn't base my morality on my views on the origin of life, not that I wasn't interested in it. I evidently have much less emotionally invested in the topic than you, so I have rather more chance of being reasonable about it.

    if I though for a minute you knew that story, I would argue the point…but since its to much for you to understand, I wont waste my time typing a reply.

    Of course, I just invented it.

    I didn't actually go and read the bible or anything, since obviously, you're the only person here who could understand anything like:

    [lot said:] Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof.

    In my ignorance, that rather looked like Lot saying "Hey, you perverts, feel free to **** my virgin daughters, just leave my male guests alone!"

    How is it presented in *your* bible?

  296. Profile photo of urblind
    January 22, 2008 at 9:56 am —

    whats with you and lot?

    whatever lot did was on his on accountability…he was a man…no where did you see God telling him to do that. and thats what this is all about right? Gods morality? if you were my house guest and I threw you out to the faggots so they could rape you, would that make my decision better? you cant answer…neither can I….Lot did what he felt best at the moment, he didnt act on Gods authority, he instead relied on his own. I guess in his mind he wanted to protect the angels, Im sure he was scared and confused…doesnt mean he did right, and it doesnt mean he did wrong. thats why I cant argue your worthless argument…I cant speak for lot or his actions…niether can you..however I can debate Gods actions to an exstint, but thats not the case with this story.. is this all you people have? seems like were getting to the bottom of the barrel with your arguments. your reaching for the scraps now, because you have proven for three weeks now you CAN NOT disprove God or the Bible!

    good try though…

  297. Profile photo of PH
    January 22, 2008 at 10:47 am —

    It's not a question of disproving the Bible, merely pointing out some of the inconsistencies, sexism, and outright unbelievability of parts of it.

    If someone is going to be so duck-wittedly dogmatic as to *define* the bible as true and the deity it describes as definitively Right from the start, and attempt to reason from that position, it's highly unlikely that they'll see any fault in the Bible or the particular god in it.

    The problem, of course, is that if that person takes a different approach to the sacred texts of *other* religions, assuming from the start that they are wrong or evil, they're in a tricky position.

    Assuming they have the intellectual honesty to be able to look at the situation with some objectivity, it would be clear that effectively the only thing that makes them believe one set of tales and argue that *they* are definitively correct is their prior belief in them, not some obvious objective merit. Had they been brought up or otherwise indoctrinated in some other religion, chances are they'd believe something rather different.

    However, my position is one of equal-opportunity disbelief.

    I don't disbelieve all but one god-believing religion because of their poor logical foundations or lack of externally credible evidence for their gods and then bizarrely use the same poor logic and externally non-credible evidence to argue that some other religion is right.

    Equally, I don't simply shirk the question, and quietly believe while dismissing conflicting religions without trying to objectively compare their logic and evidence with my own.

    I'm not compelled to see any particular religion as evil unless it results in bad outcomes, but in the absence of evidence to the contrary, I simply see religions as human constructs with good and bad points.

    One of the bad points is the way they make some sub-par people feel superior. Another is the way that some brands of religion seem to positively encourage poor reasoning and outright intellectual dishonesty, even sometimes to creationist/ID level.

    Getting back to the subject of the thread, (the sexism allegedly inherent in aspects of Christianity), the qualified person to make any kind of judgement would not seem to be someone who is massively emotionally invested in Christianity being definitively perfect. You simply aren't competent to judge.

    On the other hand, I *already* don't believe in it, in the sense of seeing no more evidence for God than for Thoth, Odin or some Earth-Mother Spirit.

    My disbelief isn't founded on any assumptions about the inherent sexism or not of aspects of the religion, it's founded on the clear lack of objective evidence for the existence of the alleged deity.

  298. Profile photo of exarch
    January 22, 2008 at 12:53 pm —

    urblind wrote:

    exarch reminds me of that kid…you know that kid that brings his

    football to recess, but if he dont get to be quarterback, he takes his football and runs away pouting!! ha ha!

    Whatever you want to think in order to feel better. Go for it. I don't really care.

    urblind wrote:

    exarch has proved well beyond a shadow of a doubt, that he knows little (if anything) about science or religion. hey exarch, I know where there is a blog site about video games! you want to go there so you can chat about the playstation or something? you may know something about that.

    Funny, I don't really play video games. I must be an exception in that regard.

    As for science, I'll admit I don't know as much as I'd like to know. There's one thing I have absolutely no doubt about though: I know more about science than you do. That much is clear from all you've written on this page.

    urblind wrote:

    anyway once you have a subject you actually know something about, come back and we’ll talk….until then go back to watching your cartoons…

    I've tried talking to you about a number of things. It's true, I'm not an expert in any of them. After a while though it gets kinda weird to constantly have your discussion partner give you the virtual equivalent of a blank stare, dropped jaw, drooling, then suddenly starting to giggle maniacally convinced he's talked you under the table.

    I will ask you this next question in all seriousness:

    Do you really think you've managed to prove anything to us? Are you really convinced you've outwitted us somehow? That you've caught us out on some detail? That you have, in fact, said anything that sounded even remotely new to us?

    Please do tell us, because I'm dying to know …

    urblind wrote:

    and as for the facts about kidnapping/corpral punishment??

    check the statistics out for the states that have the dealth penalty!! theres plenty FACTS to support such things crybaby! oh…and if you cant read at that level, call me and I will dumb it down for you..ok?

    For starters, I think you mean capital punishment, not corporal punishment.

    But hey, That's just a detail, right?

    Further more, how's this for statistics:

    Crimes subject to the death penalty vary by state, but most states only reserve it for murder in the first degree, cases with aggravated circumstances including assault, rape, kidnapping, and things like hijacking, treason, etc…

    In practice, no one has been executed for a crime other than murder or conspiracy to murder since 1964.

    If you show me statistics, or research, that clearly establish a link between capital punishment and a reduction in kidnapping cases, state by state, with more than a mere correlation but an actual explanation of why we can assume cause and effect, I'll take a look.

    For now, I still think you just pulled that statement out of your ass.

    By the way, you know the deifference between correlation and causation? Right?

  299. Profile photo of whitebird
    January 22, 2008 at 4:36 pm —

    FINALLY.

    "Thats why when God spoke to these other nations, He told them…your going to lose your kingdoms…your riches will be spoiled, your wives taken from you, all because you choose to live out your wicked ways." – urblind

    so…back to the topic at hand: "your wives taken from you". To where? Heaven? Or sexual slavery? Nice, god.

  300. Profile photo of writerdd
    January 22, 2008 at 5:00 pm —

    "so…back to the topic at hand: “your wives taken from you”. To where? Heaven? Or sexual slavery? Nice, god."

    Yeah, and once again God addresses only men as people, and women are posessions that can be taken away from their male owners.

  301. Profile photo of exarch
    January 23, 2008 at 4:06 am —

    The men are wicked, the women pay the price.

    Man, old testament life was definitely better if you were a guy.

  302. Profile photo of urblind
    January 23, 2008 at 4:24 am —

    Exarch says: Whatever you want to think in order to feel better. Go for it. I don’t really care

    Oh but you do….that's why you keep coming back, but why I don’t know?

    .As for science, I’ll admit I don’t know as much as I’d like to know. There’s one thing I have absolutely no doubt about though: I know more about science than you do.

    HA HAHHAHAAHAAA HA HA HA!! Thanks for that laugh this morning!!! Sorry my little friend,

    That’s not possible…..but I'm sure you know more about mythbusters than I do…so you got me

    On that one!!

    Do you really think you’ve managed to prove anything to us? Are you really convinced you’ve outwitted us somehow? That you’ve caught us out on some detail?

    Umm lets see? *yes*

    I've debunked every contradiction that’s been presented….gave you countless proof of the follies

    Of abiogenesis, proof for miraculous events…proof of miracles. Factual history on different

    Figures in history[Flavius Josephus] and an untold number of untold truths from many resources, with

    Most of them being unbiased scientific sites, yet all you've managed to do is cuss me out-

    Present me with ad hominem attacks…accuse the dictionary of improper grammar…searched none

    Of my resources out, presented NO evidence for your arguments (with the exception of your worthless opinions,

    And a youtube video) so YES smart ass, I have done more than outwitted you, I have proven

    Over and over again, that the Bible is factual, there are no contradictions, God exists, and even stooped

    To your level and used science against you….so unless you have been living under a rock for the last 300

    Posts, I don’t see your point! You have done nothing but fuss and cuss in your posts- but presented

    Nothing of any merit….so until you have something worth talking about, go back to your cartoons.

  303. Profile photo of urblind
    January 23, 2008 at 4:31 am —

    Ph said:It’s not a question of disproving the Bible, merely pointing out some of the inconsistencies, sexism, and outright unbelievability of parts of it.

    there is no unbelievability parts- thats just your personal opinion.

    I myself find it hard to believe you dont own a comb or a set of clippers,

    doesnt change the facts though does it?

  304. Profile photo of urblind
    January 23, 2008 at 4:37 am —

    Thats why when God spoke to these other nations, He told them…your going to lose your kingdoms…your riches will be spoiled, your wives taken from you, all because you choose to live out your wicked ways

    Yeah, and once again God addresses only men as people, and women are posessions that can be taken away from their male owners.

    writterdd, can you read? do you have any common sence at all?

    He spoke to these OTHER nations….the KINGS or LEADERS of the other nations, and threatened to take all they hold dear from them. if these nations were sexist, then go take it up with them! God was simply letting them know they were about to lose all! you ever heard the phrase, think before you speak? try it out sometimes!

  305. Profile photo of Rav Winston
    January 23, 2008 at 5:05 am —

    Urblind– While you have answered two or four of the "textual contradiction" questions, you haven't in fact offered scientific evidence for anything. Nor have you presented cogent arguments. (And wherever you may have cribbed your definition discrimminating between metaphor and simile, it was sloppy, awkward, and on the razor's edge of wrong.)

    I have seen you argue and abuse your way AROUND arguments that are presented to you. I have seen you present a philosophical conjecture that pre-assumes the bible to be correct, and then condemns scientific method for failing to confirm your prejudices.

    But in no place in this too-long-lived thread have you EVER presented anything like a formal, logically valid argument. Nor have you presented anything that challenges scientific consensus.

    You did not "debunk" abiogenesis. You simply ridiculed the idea.

    You did not "debunk" evolution. You simply ridiculed the idea.

    You did not "debunk" my claims on the reliability of Josephus. You simply treated us to a biography of the man, and insisted that the christian tampering with the text was true after all– For that matter, you never addressed any of the other issues of textual criticism I presented.

    I tried to engage with you on the matter of biblical textual contradictions, and as long as we played on your own turf, you seemed willing to put some effort into showing WHY you thought I was wrong. But when I then presented a clear argument against the morality of god, rather than answer it, you simply stated that it was not a clear argument, and then made excuses for god that come down to "Might makes Right."

    You have been at least as guilty as we of snarky ad hominem attacks.More so, in fact.

    I honestly must fall back on my earlier opinion:

    You are intellectually and educationally damaged, and you should stop wasting oxygen.

    This discussion is now over.

  306. Profile photo of PH
    January 23, 2008 at 5:34 am —

    So, in urblind's universe:

    Even if he hasn't met someone, he knows it's not possible for them to know more about science than he does.

    Proof is saying 'that can't be true, because I've already decided it can't be.

    Simply ignoring questions or saying 'you don't understand' is debunking.

    Declaring victory means you 'win' a discussion even if pretty much everyone else thinks you're acting like a fairly underinformed and arrogant teenager.

    A 'righteous' person can treat their daughters as expendable sex objects.

    And, apparently, combs miraculously prevent hair from curling.

    How soul-destroying it must be to inhabit a mental space like that.

    No room for rigorous thought, or doubting things you'd like to believe.

    No way to admit the smallest error, for fear people will be as ungenerous and smug as you would be yourself.

    In short, no way to truly learn.

  307. Profile photo of exarch
    January 23, 2008 at 5:39 am —

    Well, like that saying goes, you can't reason someone out of a position which they didn't use reason to get themselves into.

    One of those positions is clearly urblind's conviction that he's actually been right all these 300+ posts. It doesn't even help to show him why that's a misconception. And he simply ignores those instances where you're clearly proving him wrong.

    I find this truly fascinating stuff. And admittedly, it's part of the reason I've been coaxing him along for this many posts.

    The way a fundie mind will somehow rationalize getting your ass handed to you in a discussion as a moral and intellectual victory. It's absolutely astounding.

    One could write an entire thesis on the psychology that must be at work here. The cognitive dissonance alone. Very educational.

  308. Profile photo of exarch
    January 23, 2008 at 5:42 am —

    PH wrote:

    And, apparently, combs miraculously prevent hair from curling.

    Your blasphemous attempts to look like Jesus Christ are noted sir …

  309. Profile photo of writerdd
    January 23, 2008 at 5:44 am —

    http://www.amazon.com/Psychology-Religious-Fundam

    The Psychology of Religious Fundamentalism (Hardcover)

    by Jr., Ralph W. Hood (Author), Peter C. Hill (Author), W. Paul Williamson (Author)

    From Amazon:

    This book presents a new psychological framework for understanding religious fundamentalism, one that distinguishes fundamentalist traditions from other faith-based groups and helps explain the thinking and behavior of believers. Steering clear of stereotypes, the highly regarded authors offer respectful, historically informed examinations of several major fundamentalist groups. Focusing primarily on Protestant sects, including the Church of God (a Pentecostal denomination), the serpent handling sects of Appalachia, and the Amish, the book also discusses Islamic fundamentalism. Addressed are such key themes as the role of the sacred text within fundamentalism; how beliefs and practices that many find difficult to comprehend actually fit into coherent meaning systems; and how these meaning systems help meet individuals' needs for purpose, value, and self-worth.

    I haven't read this, but it looks interesting.

  310. Profile photo of urblind
    January 23, 2008 at 5:46 am —

    This discussion is now over.

    oh Lord have mercy! lol! stated like a true athiest! once you run out of answers you run away.

    wasnt it you that said a theory had to be based on "testable" data?

    with proven results?

    ask ANY scientist in the world if abiogenesis is testable! the answer is NO!

    can it be proven? once again the answer is NO! abiogenesis is a guess, because they refuse to believe life came from an intelligent life form such as God….there is no evidence to support otherwise- abiogenesis = ignorance!

    now evolution….MICRO evolution is real, I agree, so does the Bible…creatures can evolve over time to better adapt or survive thier enviornment…no argument here…but…

    MACRO evolution is not! there is too many gaps in the fossil record…it is somewhat testable but not provable. have you ever seen the fossil record? and I dont mean text..I mean pics! no complete skeleton of a "human like" creature has EVER been found! the majority of fossils are no more than a jaw bone here or a leg bone there…only 2 half as skeletons have ever been found, and I think one was later to be proven to be a regular human that suffered a severe degree of arthritus…..please, give me a break!

    science has realized this error, thus CHANGED thier theory in recent years…there used to be what they called a "phylogenetic tree " but realizing the gaps were to obvious they now use a "Cladogram"…do you know what that is???? best research it!It is interesting to note that acceptance of cladogram charts implies a rejection of Darwin’s theory of natural selection, since cladogram charts do not illustrate gradual change as an evolutionary mechanism.the only scientific “proof” that anyone has provided is merely a statement of theory, something like “billions of years of random atomic collisions created life.” That is, scientists have never demonstrated how this first life came into existence from non life by an evolutionary mechanism.

    Michael Behe sums it up well in his book Darwin’s Black Box.

    “There is no publication in the scientific literature—in prestigious journals, specialty journals, or books—that describes how molecular evolution of any real, complex, biochemical system either did occur or even might have occurred. There are assertions that such evolution occurred, but absolutely none are supported by pertinent experiments or calculations.”

    Looking at this evidence, we can make two observations:

    Scientists and universities all around the world have been trying for over 100 years to prove that evolution is the mechanism that created life, yet no scientific evidence has been found.

    Every experiment that does not support one point of view is actually proof for some other point of view.

    the Bible is consitent with science on these levels:

    Paleontology

    Astronomy

    Meteorology

    Biology

    Anthropology

    Hydrology

    Geology

    Physics

    PICK YOUR SUBJECT!!! what more proof can one have?? yet your still to ignorant to realize whats right in your face- not from God BUT YOUR SCIENCE!!! even the majority of scientists feel that no fossils would be exsistance today if it werent for a catastrophy like a flood to produce sediments to preserve remains!! only a full underwater state could have produced them…if not they would have disapeard long ago like any other rotten corpse, the Geologists will agree that the landscape of earth was formed by water and not chance….you have a long way to go to teach me about science, because I will shut you down in every arena.

    no ther religious writtings can touch the superiority of the Bible, no science can dispute its accuracy!

    You are intellectually and educationally damaged,

    no my friend- YOU ARE!!

  311. Profile photo of exarch
    January 23, 2008 at 6:23 am —

    Ooh boy, it appears even the basics need to be explained again:

    Evolution is the theory explaining how simple organisms evolved into more complex ones. It also explains how simple biochemical compounds evolved into complicated systems.

    Oh, this reminds me, you've yet to show me where in the bible the Krebs cycle is explained. In most biology books, it's easy enough to find.

    Anyway, evolution does NOT, however, say anything about the origin of life, only about the origin of species (that's incidentally also the subtitle of that most famous of biology books ya know).

    As for abiogenesis, you're right, it's mostly theoretical. But at least it makes testable claims. We've yet to hear any testable claims from Behe and the Intelligent Design crowd. All they seem to be doing is trying to come up with new reasons why evolution is somehow incorrect. But they fail to realize that even if they somehow showed evolution to be completely incorrect, they would then still have to prove creation is correct. Just because one is wrong doesn't mean the other is automatically right. BOTH could be wrong at the same time.

    As for evidence for evolution, more than "nothing" has been found in the past 100 years. Here's a selection for your perusal. Fully referenced so you can find the actual facts, and read the research papers and findings it's based on.

    As for that majority of scientists, they probably mean A flood, not specifically "the biblical Noah's flood story".

  312. Profile photo of urblind
    January 23, 2008 at 6:47 am —

    Once again exarch proves their stupidity….

    Looking through your resources(that YOU provided) heres some quotes from it:

    Though evolution has been studied for years, scientists have never observed a single species evolving".

    Plus I realized it was someone's own opinion, not from a science site…but a talk site,

    So your resource fails again (what a surprise)

    Plus your abiogenesis claim comes from that same "talk site"…..you cant test abiogenesis idiot!

    Its untestable and unprovable- POINT BLANK…..get that through your thick skull!

    As for that majority of scientists, they probably mean A flood, not specifically “the biblical Noah’s flood story”.

    Oh…is that your BEST explanation??? Give me a break!

    If there was a massive flood- it could only be Noah's flood…..

    Its pretty obvious you know little about evolution altogether- micro,macro, and abiogenesis all go hand

    In hand…..if you cant comprehend that, Im sorry.

    Abio- explains the origin

    Micro the evolution of species

    Macro the "supposed" transformation of one thing to a complete other (lizard turning to a chicken)

    Go somewhere and color or play with your dolls, you know nothing about evolution!

    Ps- stay away from talk sites- they distort your brain.

  313. Profile photo of exarch
    January 23, 2008 at 7:25 am —

    urblind wrote:

    Looking through your resources(that YOU provided) heres some quotes from it:

    Though evolution has been studied for years, scientists have never observed a single species evolving”.

    You do realize they actually answer that quote in another part of the site?

    urblind wrote:

    Plus I realized it was someone’s own opinion, not from a science site…

    So your resource fails again (what a surprise)

    I guess the concept of references is lost on you? Did I not tell you that you in my previous reply that you could verify the facts yourself if you doubted their reliability? Did you even read that?

    Do you even know what the numbers with the smaller print at the bottom of many published scientific papers mean?

    urblind wrote:

    Its untestable and unprovable- POINT BLANK…..get that through your thick skull!

    Oh, yeah, right, I forgot that anything you can't observe personally yourself cannot be true in your head. But wait!! The bible is untestable and unprovable too. Now what *gasp* !!

    If the explanation matches the observed facts, it's better than the bible's explanation, which contradicts the observed facts, or at least doesn't add anything useful to our understanding.

    And again, I don't think that expression means what you think it means (I'm talking about "point blank").

    urblind wrote:

    If there was a massive flood- it could only be Noah’s flood…

    Says who?

    Did you ever hear of the Scablands? Bob Ballard's research into the Black Sea? Were you around a couple of years ago, late december, when a tsunami killed well over 150'000 people in south-east Asia when it washed away coastal villages?

    Yes, in your limited understanding, there can be only one massive flood. Clearly, it just depends on you definition of "massive".

    Rivers going outside their banks every spring are quite capable of dumping a lot of mud on the flood plain, this is what sediments are: mud.

    And the ocean floor is mostly sediments, some of them brought there by rivers, many just the skeletal leftovers of plankton.

    urblind wrote:

    Its pretty obvious you know little about evolution altogether- micro,macro, and abiogenesis all go hand

    In hand…..

    But they don't rely on one another to be true. The truth or false-ness of one aspect does not invalidate the other.

  314. Profile photo of PH
    January 23, 2008 at 7:31 am —

    ask ANY scientist in the world if abiogenesis is testable! the answer is NO! can it be proven? once again the answer is NO! abiogenesis is a guess,…

    Urblind,

    Ask a professional biologist whether any of their work depends on a belief in abiogenesis, and you're extraordinarily likely to get a resounding NO! (and/or a puzzled stare while they think "Who is this chuffing moron?")

    Despite what the creationists may claim, confidence in evolution doesn't depend at all on belief in, or evidence for, abiogenesis, and current lack of proof or debate about possible mechanisms of abiogenesis doesn't undermine evolution, nor support the idea of a specific creation, let alone the half-assed version that the average creationist seems to imagine.

    That's why the utterly overwhelming majority of biologists, despite knowing rather more about it than you seem to do, see the clear evidence for evolution and see the antics of the professional creationists/IDers as the sickening displays of willing ignorance and outright dishonesty which they clearly are.

    As for Behe, it seems as well as being a laughing stock as far as scientists are concerned, he couldn't even convince a conservative Christian judge that ID was science.
    http://pharyngula.org/index/weblog/comments/thank
    His sole audience is people eager to support a belief in creationism and people who don't really know much biology and are rather too trusting.

  315. Profile photo of urblind
    January 23, 2008 at 7:47 am —

    Exarch, what grade are you in this year?

    The first sentence of your resource states:

    There is a great deal about abiogenesis that is unknown, but investigating the unknown is what science is for. Speculation is part of the process.

    SPECULATION?????????

    Are you kidding me? All this time you people have been attacking me, based on nothing

    But MY speculations or Christian speculation!!!

    Now you want to use it as part of science???

    OMG you are mentally handicapped!!!!!

    You cant test non life buddy…..sorry

    You can test protein strands and the effect of UV rays and such as your "talk site"

    Suggests…but that’s not testing the process of non life becoming life!

    Please leave this conversation to grown folks!

    Go play outside.

    The bible is untestable and unprovable too

    If you think that…..

    Its been tested and proven a thousand times….go play hide and seek with your shadow.

  316. Profile photo of urblind
    January 23, 2008 at 8:04 am —

    I'm somewhat amazed at how you people try to defend abiogenesis.

    earlier in this post you tried to use it to disprove God…now you use it to say it has no bearing on evolution….I think you finally see how blind you've been all this time….science falls short (as always)

    you cant figure out how life started, you cant create it in a lab, so

    you dismiss it altogether but still argue the fact God created it! haha

    what a bunch of rejects.

    evolution cant happen without a starting point Ph……quit smoking

    that bong hippie boy, and wake up to reality.

    you can argue evolution all you want…..you still have to define the starting

    point…and that, you cant do. : (

    poor you!

  317. Profile photo of PH
    January 23, 2008 at 9:38 am —

    I’m somewhat amazed at how you people try to defend abiogenesis.

    earlier in this post you tried to use it to disprove God

    Earlier in the post, the first mention of the word abiogenesis was in response to a believer asking the question:

    Do we really believe that all the complex organisms and species of animals and reptiles and on and on just suddenly some how appeared? Or that they all evolved from one organism?

    The response was:

    Abiogenesis suggests that life started out with just a few simple chemicals and organic molecules.

    Note the word 'suggests'. To rational people, that indicates a speculation.

    Abiogenesis wasn't being used by anyone in an attempt to 'disprove God', except possibly in the eyes of a someone who sees anything outside their narrow personal beliefs as a threat.

    To someone like that, it's hard to say anything they won't find a way to dismiss or deliberately misunderstand.

    The next time the word 'abiogenesis' was mentioned was when, as part of one of your immature rants, you accused me of believing in it.

    Thinking you might be under the mistaken impression I believed in it in the same way that *you* appear to believe in things, I pointed out that whatever the extent to which I had confidence in a naturalistic explanation for the origins of life, it didn't affect my personal behaviour in the way that the moronic wing of radical creationism might want to believe.

    In any case, people here didn't really defend abiogenesis. They admitted right from the point it was first mentioned it was speculative, and no-one tried to pretend there was more confidence in it than there actually is.

    You're the one trying to claim that abiogenesis is some fundamental part of your argument in the thread, even when it clearly isn't.

    You're just annoyed because you think that an attack on abiogenesis somehow undermines evolution or supports creationism, presumably since that's what you've been miseducated to believe.

    Unfortunately, that just goes to demonstrate your profound ignorance about biology and what biologists think.

    You see, to a scientist, "We really don't know" isn't some admission of eternal defeat, it's potentially the start of a process of attempted discovery and/or their next grant application.

    I can see that to the less mentally mature kind of believer, religion may satisfy a craving for certainty. Even if you don't really know anything about some thing or other, you can know that [insert deity] is probably involved somewhere, and feel good about that.

    Chances are, for basic questions, someone will already have invented some explanation that will be enough to satisfy you, especially if you manage to avoid actually learning anything about the issue.

  318. Profile photo of urblind
    January 23, 2008 at 10:08 am —

    you love to dance around the facts dont you?

    simply admit science cant proove the origin of life.

    simply admit you cant disprove God made it.

    you suffer from both delusion and denile…go see a shrink.

  319. Profile photo of PH
    January 23, 2008 at 11:08 am —

    No-one has suggested science can 'prove' the origin of life. Indeed, as far as I can tell, people who understand science have been crystal clear on that from the start.

    Equally, no-one has for one second suggested that current speculations about possible methods of abiogenesis disprove the existence of any particular god or gods.

    Attacking science because of things that it doesn't prove, and which no-one has claimed it does prove is a straw man argument.

    The thing is, despite what the more rabid creationists might want to think, the point of evolutionary biology, or studies into potential mechanisms for abiogenesis, or biology in general, or science as a whole is not to disprove any particular deity.

    The point is to just to try and get an understanding of how reality works by observation, experiment and rational thinking.

    Philosophically, even pursued indefinitely, that obviously can't disprove the existence of a deity, if a deity is vaguely-enough defined, and is claimed to be powerful enough to generate any phenomena.

    What really irks the dumber creationists is that anyone dares to defy their tradition and present an alternative view, especially one which provides a possible naturalistic mechanism for how humans got to be the way they are.

    Fundamentally, the long and the short of it is that it's not really about the world, or nature in general, it's that the more extreme creationists just can't stand the idea that someone as wonderful as them wasn't the product of direct divine creation.

    Their position is deeply personal and emotional, not rational or scientific.

  320. Profile photo of urblind
    January 23, 2008 at 11:43 am —

    No-one has suggested science can ‘prove’ the origin of life. Indeed, as far as I can tell, people who understand science have been crystal clear on that from the start.

    Equally, no-one has for one second suggested that current speculations about possible methods of abiogenesis disprove the existence of any particular god or gods.

    I guess you didnt read the last 300 posts?

    Attacking science because of things that it doesn’t prove, and which no-one has claimed it does prove is a straw man argument.

    no thats what you have done to me….

    the straw man is in your head, now that your evidences have failed you

    What really irks the dumber creationists is that anyone dares to defy their tradition and present an alternative view, especially one which provides a possible naturalistic mechanism for how humans got to be the way they are.

    no what irks the dumber rationalists is that someone else defies thier views

    and provides the answer, that they're scared to believe….its a cop out.

    there is no "possibility" in abiogenesis comprende?

    Their position is deeply personal and emotional, not rational or scientific

    if you believe that…… :o

  321. Profile photo of PH
    January 23, 2008 at 12:23 pm —

    urblind,

    If you simply search the thread for 'abiogenesis', you'll see where it has been mentioned, at least by people who spell it properly.

    The time of its first mentioning, and the nature of its subsequent discussion is indeed as I have explained. People weren't remotely using it in any attempt to disprove any alleged deity.

    Fundamentally, the problem you have with science is, to paraphrase Steven Weinberg, not that science makes it impossible to believe in deities, but that it makes it possible not to believe in them, and that's particularly the case with evolution.

    However, you seem be trying, through ill intent or ignorance, to conflate those two quite different things, and argue that even suggesting a possible naturalistic explanation for life is an attempt to disprove deities.

    You might as well argue against meteorology because "everyone knows God makes it rain".

  322. Profile photo of urblind
    January 24, 2008 at 5:22 am —

    You might as well argue against meteorology because “everyone knows God makes it rain”.

    yeah I guess you were living under a rock 3 months ago when the governor of Goergia called a prayer meeting to pray for rain? what happened with that? oh yeah, it rained the next day…in spite of the historical drought they were experiancing…oh but it didnt stop there, in the next few weeks in rained and rained, but dont take my word for it..take abc news word:

    This year was almost one for the record books, but then it rained for four days straight. With Thursday through Sunday's rainfall totals, the water level in a key reservoir rose for the first time in months and 2007 barely missed becoming Atlanta's driest year on record. That dubious honor stayed with 1954, when only 31.80 inches of rain fell. A parade of rainstorms began this week helped Atlanta escape its driest year on record. Rain fell in the city on 10 of the last 12 days.

    what?!, you mean a drought of historical proportions? the driest year? no rain in the forcast?….good thing the Governor knew what to do, that is seek out Gods help. wow, bet you have a good scientific explanation for that though dont you?? lets recap- no rain for months, no answers from meteorologists, no answers from the government, try out prayer as last hope,rains the next day, within the next few weeks it rains more…then more,then 4 days non stop, then 10 days non stop, no drought record for Georgia last year.

    yeah your right Ph, everyone knows God makes it rain…..

    you guys would make good comedians, because you keep me laughing every day! :)

  323. Profile photo of exarch
    January 24, 2008 at 7:17 am —

    urblind wrote:

    The first sentence of your resource states:

    There is a great deal about abiogenesis that is unknown, but investigating the unknown is what science is for. Speculation is part of the process.

    SPECULATION?????????

    Are you kidding me? All this time you people have been attacking me, based on nothing

    But MY speculations or Christian speculation!!!

    Now you want to use it as part of science???

    OMG you are mentally handicapped!!!!!</

    Yes. But speculation isn't the proof that's being used. A number of known, mechanisms have been discovered, or even tested, that could be used to explain abiogenesis.

    Just like a number of methods and mechanisms are known by which a person could lose their life. That doesn't mean scientists have to kill someone, or observe a murder victim's death, in order to determine what the cause of death in a particular case might be.

    You can never be 100% sure a person is really the murderer, or that someone really died the way they're suspected to have died.

    But we can say it with enough certainty that it suffices to send someone to be executed.

    Likewise, the current concept of abiogenesis, far from being complete, or even confirmed, still prevails over such simplistic explanations like "goddidit" for the simple reason that it also explains HOW and not just WHO/WHAT.

    And no, creating life in a jar of non-living chemicals is not something that can be done in a lab. For that matter, it's not something that's likely to be observed in a lab either. Keep in mind that it probably took several million years of chemicals mixing together and reacting all over the planet until something appeared that could be called "life". If you give scientists a laboratory the size of the Earth and a couple of million years to play around, they might very well observe or even create life coming into existence from non-life.

    Your christian speculation isn't even speculation, it's just assertion that "this is how it happened because the bible says so". Not an original thought in sight. You don't even think about it. No explanation, no curiosity, you accept or you reject, based on what someone else long ago decided was the truth.

    At least, if you would speculate, we could offer you an alternative explanation, and show you why it's more or less likely to be true. God is just too limiting to be of any use.

    urblind wrote:

    You cant test non life buddy…..sorry

    You can test protein strands and the effect of UV rays and such as your “talk site”

    Suggests…but that’s not testing the process of non life becoming life!

    Does it have to?

    Abiogenesis is likely. And the beauty of it is, it doesn't require the question to be answered with "goddidit", and that alone makes it far superior to any of your answers, because essentially they all boil down to "goddidit" anyway.

    And who knows, perhaps some day we WILL have a testable hypothesis, and we can actually PROVE experimentally that life can indeed be generated through random chemical processes. Now where would that leave god? That would be the final blow to the idea that a creator is necessary for the Earth to be the way it is right now. And if a creator isn't needed, then perhaps a creator never existed in the first place?

    urblind wrote:

    I’m somewhat amazed at how you people try to defend abiogenesis.

    earlier in this post you tried to use it to disprove God…now you use it to say it has no bearing on evolution….I think you finally see how blind you’ve been all this time….

    Evolution only explains how we got to be the way we are if we start out with single-cel organisms. It does a good job of explaining it.

    Abiogenesis explains how random chemicals could somehow form protein strands and eventually become single-cel organisms.

    Do you understand that abiogenesis being totally incorrect would still have no bearing on evolution being correct? They are two entirely different steps on the same ladder. Just because we can't quite figure out yet how to get from the ground onto step 1 doesn't mean we can't explain how to get from step 1 to step 9. Abiogenesis being step 1, evolution steps 2 through 9. The two are completely independent.

    urblind wrote:

    science falls short (as always)

    you cant figure out how life started, you cant create it in a lab, so

    you dismiss it altogether but still argue the fact God created it! haha

    what a bunch of rejects.

    Well, that's a different point altogether. Just because abiogenesis can't be proven just yet, doesn't mean the only other alternative is god. Your case for goddidit is far less detailed than abiogenesis for starters. And as I already said earlier, it only says WHAT happened, but it fails to explain HOW it was done. The bible does say god breathed live into Adam, but it doesn't explain how that worked, or what exactly happened to the clay statue to transform it from a pile of dirt into a living, moving human.

    At least abiogenesis attempts to explain that. Tries to answer the question.

    Goddidit just resigns all curiosity and stops you from learning anything new.

    urblind wrote:

    no what irks the dumber rationalists is that someone else defies thier views

    and provides the answer, that they’re scared to believe….its a cop out.

    there is no “possibility” in abiogenesis comprende?

    WHAT ANSWER?

    You don't answer anything. All you do is authoritatively state that this is what happened. Your source for that is a 2000 year old fairy tale. No questions are answered, you just coerce people into not asking those questions any more. What's the point of asking those questions anyway, the answer is always the same: a meaningless "goddidit".

    At least scientists have the guts to admit they don't know, and the motivation to find the answer, so they DO know eventually. That's the very opposite of a cop out.

    Answering any and every question with "goddidit" though. Now THAT's a cop out.

  324. Profile photo of exarch
    January 24, 2008 at 7:29 am —

    urblind wrote:

    what?!, you mean a drought of historical proportions? the driest year? no rain in the forcast?….

    If I recall correctly, it took like … a week or two before rain fell?

    I don't remember exactly.

    No rain in the forecast? Nope, not for another week or two. I guess he scheduled his prayer meeting just right to coincide with the rain forecast.

    But hey, nice sidestep from the real issue. Do you think science has a pretty good grasp of how weather works, or does god listen to all the weather forecasters and make the weather do what they predicted?

    And you call science a cop out.

    Sheesh …

  325. Profile photo of urblind
    January 24, 2008 at 7:50 am —

    If I recall correctly, it took like … a week or two before rain fell?

    I don’t remember exactly.

    ofcourse you dont remember- your ignorant remember-

    go check abc news idiot! IT HAPPENED_ IT RAINED THE NEXT DAY!

    FOLLOWED BY MORE AND MORE THE NEXT FEW WEEKS!!!

    quit being a dumbass, and read for once! quit relying on your worthless memory!

  326. Profile photo of urblind
    January 24, 2008 at 8:09 am —

    Exbrains said:And no, creating life in a jar of non-living chemicals is not something that can be done in a lab

    Even though that’s exactly whats being tried in labs today….

    If you give scientists a laboratory the size of the Earth and a couple of million years to play around, they might very well observe or even create life coming into existence from non-life.

    You could give science an eternity, and still they will fail!

    Does it have to?

    Abiogenesis is likely.

    No it is not likely…its not even probable….it can not happen, and will not happen.

    Nor has it ever happened before.

    And who knows, perhaps some day we WILL have a testable hypothesis, and we can actually PROVE experimentally that life can indeed be generated through random chemical processes.

    Keep waiting…(ps – hold your breath)

    Evolution only explains how we got to be the way we are if we start out with single-cel organisms. It does a good job of explaining it.

    Really? If life started from single cell organisms…there would have been no need for evolution.

    The life cycle would of started AND ended as single celled organisms! Why would they need to evolve?

    Especially since it would of just been a handful of 'em living in a mud puddle some where-

    Think rationally!! Its not even logical to think that a single cell would evolve, for what purpose would it serve?

    I can really see a single cell talking…..hey I should evolve into something better, to have an advantage over the

    Rest…let me change into a multi cell creature and eat all of them, then I will be the strongest and fittest…..whoops,

    I ate my food supply, Im now extinct..pbssstt……keep dreaming exbrains..

    Do you understand that abiogenesis being totally incorrect would still have no bearing on evolution being correct?

    Do you understand that would once again prove Gods creation story????? That everything was created in a matter

    Of "x" amount of time as is- not starting as a single cell??? You best wake up and smell reality!

    In order to evolve, they must have something to evolve from- NOT coming from an unexplained, improbable

    Theory such as abiogenesis!

    Well, that’s a different point altogether. Just because abiogenesis can’t be proven just yet, doesn’t mean the only other alternative is god. Your case for goddidit is far less detailed than abiogenesis for starters

    Lets see? God did it?….or nothing did it on its own??

    Don’t look less detailed to me….unless your mentally handicapped…go ask a 3 year old which is more likely!

    Even they will opt for God creating something- versus nothing creating something…man your closed minded!

    Answering any and every question with “goddidit” though. Now THAT’s a cop out.

    NO…that’s just reality!

    Have a lovely day!

  327. Profile photo of PH
    January 24, 2008 at 9:35 am —

    urblind,

    A Native American told me of the time he was skiing in the Alps.

    There hadn't been snow for ages, and the skiing was very poor, so people in the bar asked him to do a rain/snow dance.

    He did, and it started snowing, and carried on heavily right through the night. He and his friends didn't have to buy a single drink all the rest of the time they were there.

    I guess that 'proves' his religion works, or at least, it might if he hadn't just invented a rain dance on the spot just to stop people asking him.

    The thing is, people all over the world pray for rain, disease cures, etc all the time, and there's no evidence their prayers are answered at a better rate than chance.

    If there has been a long, serious drought, you can bet your shiny metal ass that all kinds of people would have been praying over and over for it to end for some time, with no success. If people keep praying, eventually it will rain, but it would rain eventually anyway.

    If a deity was responsible for ending droughts, it's presumably also responsible for causing them.

    Likewise, why should a deity need people to pray in order for it to realise they are suffering? Wouldn't it *know*?

    In any case, as pointed out on
    http://blog.washingtonpost.com/offbeat/2007/11/ha

    Rain was already in the forecast before he led the prayer group. Had it rained while the prayer was taking place that might have caused me to pause. But when I heard that the prayer session was going to happen I took a snapshot of the weather forecast and rain was forecasted 3 out of 7 days. It also makes for a good story in that it takes attention away from the real problem – poor management.

    or on
    http://www.christianpost.com/article/20071115/301

    A cold front coming through the Southeast brought a half-inch to an inch of rain fell to northern parts of the state Wednesday night and some precipitation early Thursday. But the showers did little to alleviate the drought, according to the National Weather Service, which had forecasted the rain.

    So rain *was* forecast, unlike in the case of the snowmaking rain-dance.

    Only a complete tool desperate for proof of faith could look at one anecdotal event (some particular prayers followed some time later by light rain in some areas, followed 3 weeks later by heavier rain) whilst ignoring all the previous prayers for the same drought to end that evidently didn't work, and conclude that their deity made it rain.

  328. Profile photo of urblind
    January 24, 2008 at 9:52 am —

    boy you people cant handle reality can you?

    I hope you losers get a chance to see the upcoming movie expelled
    http://www.expelledthemovie.com/

    Ben Stein is going to make you feel stupid. everything you "think"

    you know about science will be truely revealed…then what will you do?

    especially since its a documentary, and only scientists/biologists will be making the evidence….guess you will say they dont know nothing about science to huh? sooner or later you will be awakened by your ignorance.

  329. Profile photo of PH
    January 24, 2008 at 9:53 am —

    Really? If life started from single cell organisms…there would have been no need for evolution.

    The life cycle would of started AND ended as single celled organisms! Why would they need to evolve?

    urblind,

    It's blindingly obvious you just don't understand evolution.

    Evolution isn't a process there's some external 'need' for, but given a situation where there are lifeforms with

    a) mechanisms for the generation of difference

    b) inheritance of difference

    c) differential reproductive success,

    evolution is a process which just will happen.

    Effectively, it's an inescapable property of systems satisfying some very simple criteria which terrestrial life demonstrably satisfies.

    It's certainly possible for someone to claim that they don't think evolution could have done X, Y, or Z, but the even the few biologically educated people doing that (Behe, etc) seem to end up making fools of themselves, as pointed out in Ken Miller's excellent lecture:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVRsWAjvQSg&fe
    The biologically uneducated people like you who make the same claim don't fare any better.

  330. Profile photo of urblind
    January 24, 2008 at 10:22 am —

    Ph said

    It’s blindingly obvious you just don’t understand evolution.

    Evolution isn’t a process there’s some external ‘need’ for, but given a situation where there are lifeforms with

    a) mechanisms for the generation of difference

    b) inheritance of difference

    c) differential reproductive success,

    evolution is a process which just will happen.

    dang your retarded!! have you even read Darwins book??????

    survival of the fittest!!! to become/adapt…be stronger or faster, or better somehow than previously before! it didnt "just" happen….it happened so the species would survive!!! you prove you know ZELCH! 0! NADDA about evolution…..you were home schooled wernt you? obviously, you should of learned that in 7th grade….but you were probably to busy smoking dope.

    and youtube?? I thought we made it clear last week that youtube isnt a credible resource?? you kids spend to much time on the internet and not enough time in books….I'm not going to watch youtube programs as a means of learning…that sites for kids!!!! (which is probably why you watch it?) sheesh!

    and Ken Miller? what do you know about Ken Miller??

    did you know that Ken is a ROMAN CATHOLIC?????????????????????

    YEAH! HE IS CATHOLIC< GOES TO CHURCH!!!! and then argues ID!!

    the man has two personalities [literally] READ HIS BIOGRAPHY!

    so your stupid enough to believe in his babble even though he obviously suffers from a personality disorder??? he dont even know what he believes!

    maybe you two can hit the bong sometime?

    read up on evolution! you lack much knowledge in the field!

  331. Profile photo of PH
    January 24, 2008 at 10:32 am —

    urblind,

    You really are funny, you know.

    It's pretty clear that Stein is doing a hatchet job on science, for the benefit of the ignorant and those scared of knowledge.

    If you had a room with 100 people making claims about how science is unfairly excluding their ideas and you got rid of the dim, the fraudsters, the ignorant and the deluded, you'd have a much emptier room.

    There may be the odd genuine person, but only the odd one.

    There can certainly be inertia in science, and some ideas take time to be accepted, especially when initially speculative, with supporting evidence arriving later (eg Wegener/continental drift/mid-ocean ridges).

    However, many quite radical ideas get accepted very quickly if they can be shown to be a better idea than the prevailing theory.

    Really good ideas are highly likely to win out in the end, since a good idea is more consistent with reality, and that will eventually become apparent, and a good new idea is very fertile ground for new work (and likely new grant money).

    However, some ideas (like creationism) basically remain nonscience

    because they aren't scientific, they use tired and bogus arguments, and even the leading defenders aren't really doing any science to try to support them, just attacking evolution and writing books to milk the gullible by doing a search-and-replace of 'creationism' with 'intelligent design'.

  332. Profile photo of urblind
    January 24, 2008 at 10:41 am —

    yeah, I was waiting to see how long it would take for you to Criticize it.

    it must be sad to be you? living in a make believe world, controlled by society….

    anyway is there anyone else here who might know something useful?

    anyone? I'm growing tired of debating with unintelligent people who dont understand science.

    I know your afraid to watch the movie….especially when its based on scientific fact.

    bet Ken Miller will be there!

  333. Profile photo of PH
    January 24, 2008 at 11:19 am —

    to become/adapt…be stronger or faster, or better somehow than previously before! it didnt “just” happen….it happened so the species would survive!!!

    Oh dear, urblind.

    You really don't understand at all.

    Evolution didn't happen so that species would survive, any more than gravity happens so that> things fall.

    Evolution is just an unavoidable property of certain kinds of systems, of which terrestrial life is one.

    It really does 'just happen' as a result of properties of the system, the same way rainbows 'just happen' as a result of properties of reflection and refraction. As a result of it 'just happening', there are changes in the nature of organisms, but evolution doesn't happen with the intent of making those changes.

    There is no intent, but the real beauty of the process is that there doesn't need to be any intent.

    Until you understand that, there's no point your trying to understand any other biology.

    You're certainly in no position to criticise evolution, since you demonstrably don't understand the very first thing (and possibly the most important thing) about it.

    Assuming you're allowed to read it, I'd recommend the excellent Daniel Dennett's Darwin's Dangerous Idea, where he ably explains both the benefits and the hazards of taking the intentional stance with regard to evolution. However, it may be somewhat advanced and threatening for you.

    I’m growing tired of debating with unintelligent people who dont understand science.

    In that case, I humbly suggest you switch religion, or at least your subset of religion.

    I know your afraid to watch the movie….especially when its based on scientific fact. bet Ken Miller will be there!

    So far, it sounds like it is based on deceptive editing, if the trailer is anything to go by.

    It also sounds like a waste of money, especially if I could be entertained later for free by Ken Miller tearing it to pieces the same way hee did Behe's failed attempt at defending creat^H^H^H^Hintelligent design.

    Since I haven't been out to see a movie more than a few times in the last decade, I'm hardly likely to make an exception for something I wouldn't watch even on TV.

    Finally, I'm not sure there's a high enough concentration of miseducated religious extremists over here to make it pay, except maybe in a very few areas, so it may be rather a moot point.

  334. Profile photo of urblind
    January 24, 2008 at 11:31 am —

    Oh dear, urblind.

    You really don’t understand at all.

    Evolution didn’t happen so that species would survive

    the introduction to darwins book reads:

    As many more individuals of each species are born than can possibly survive; and as, consequently, there is a frequently recurring struggle for existence, it follows that any being, if it vary however slightly in any manner profitable to itself, under the complex and sometimes varying conditions of life, will have a better chance of surviving, and thus be naturally selected. From the strong principle of inheritance, any selected variety will tend to propagate its new and modified form.[85]

    CAN YOU READ HIPPIE?????

    YOU DONT KNOW JACK S*** ABOUT EVOLUTION!

    THE SPECIES EVOLVES IN ORDER TO SURVIVE. IT MUST MAKE ITSELF BETTER OR STRONGER OR FASTER OR BY WHATEVER MEANS NESSESARRY OR IT WILL DIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    YOUR OWN MAN DARWIN SAYS THAT IDIOT!

    LAY OFF THE PIPE!!!

  335. Profile photo of PH
    January 24, 2008 at 11:58 am —

    THE SPECIES EVOLVES IN ORDER TO SURVIVE.IT MUST MAKE ITSELF BETTER OR STRONGER OR FASTER OR BY WHATEVER MEANS NESSESARRY OR IT WILL DIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    YOUR OWN MAN DARWIN SAYS THAT IDIOT!

    urblind,

    You still don't understand.

    A species simply doesn't evolve in order to survive in any intentional sense.

    It doesn't evolvebecause it has to survive, which would rather carry the implication that it has some choice, that it could somehow choose not to evolve.

    To the extent the evolution happens to it, that is because it is the nature of being a living being to have evolution happen to you.

    A species doesn't make itself stronger to avoid dying out in any meaningful sense of the word 'make'. Randomness may makes some individuals stronger, and if strength is an overall asset, they may end up prospering and passing on a tendency for greater strength.

    A species may well become stronger, but it's not the species that's doing the making.

  336. Profile photo of exarch
    January 24, 2008 at 2:31 pm —

    exarch wrote:

    If I recall correctly, it took like … a week or two before rain fell?

    I don’t remember exactly.

    urblind wrote:

    ofcourse you dont remember- your ignorant remember-

    go check abc news idiot! IT HAPPENED_ IT RAINED THE NEXT DAY!

    FOLLOWED BY MORE AND MORE THE NEXT FEW WEEKS!!!

    I checked it, and I was right. On November 7, The governor anounced the prayer session. At that time, the forecast was already looking like rain. Then a week later, on November 13, the actual prayer took place. And the day after, as predicted a week before, rain fell.

    He actually planned it using the forecast so it would coincide with the rain. How much more dishonest could you get?

  337. Profile photo of PH
    January 24, 2008 at 3:20 pm —

    I reckon my Native American aquaintance's deity must be better.

    After all, it caused precisely what people wanted within a very short time of a snow-dance, done by someone who just invented it, and who was (and remained) exceedingly skeptical.

    How much more munificent could a deity get?

    Of course, urblind can dismiss that out of hand, not for scientific reasons that also apply to urblind's example (being a selected example of a success without any corresponding idea of the number of failed attempts at causing precipitation, etc), but simply because it can't be a real divine intervention since urblind just knows that the deity in question doesn't exist.

    Likewise, urblind's example is presumably meaningful, not due to any statistical analysis of the successes and failures of prayer, but because urblind just knows the alleged deity does exist, and so assumes any 'hit' (even if it took several weeks before a decent amount of rain fell) is another instance of proof.

    Why someone with real faith should actually feel the need to manufacture proof by abysmal reasoning rather escapes me.

  338. Profile photo of exarch
    January 24, 2008 at 3:35 pm —

    urblind wrote:

    Exbrains said:And no, creating life in a jar of non-living chemicals is not something that can be done in a lab

    Even though that’s exactly whats being tried in labs today….

    It's being tried, yes, it's not working just yet.

    exarch wrote:

    If you give scientists a laboratory the size of the Earth and a couple of million years to play around, they might very well observe or even create life coming into existence from non-life.

    urblind wrote:

    You could give science an eternity, and still they will fail!

    Are you willing to put money on that? Because my bet is they'll probably figure it out in the next couple of decades. That's quite a bit less than the million years you're setting forth.

    I don't KNOW this of course, but I'm pretty confident some major breakthroughs in that area are bound to occur within that time frame.

    I'm not saying they'll create life, but I'm sure they'll be able to prove that most of the steps required for the process are possible, and they may even be able to put odds on the likelihood of them occurring in the wild.

    exarch wrote:

    Abiogenesis is likely.

    urblind wrote:

    No it is not likely…its not even probable….it can not happen, and will not happen.

    Nor has it ever happened before.

    Now there's a fine example of a mind so closed the brain has started to rot.

    You're not even willing to entertain the possibility. I wonder what will happen to your world when science actually does manage to solve the problem. Clearly, this is something you feel very strongly about. I suppose the impossibility of life springing up out of non-life is so fundamental to your belief in god that having it proven wrong would be too much to handle. Your brain would explode from the cognitive dissonance …

    exarch wrote:

    Evolution only explains how we got to be the way we are if we start out with single-cel organisms. It does a good job of explaining it.

    urblind wrote:

    Really? If life started from single cell organisms…there would have been no need for evolution.

    The life cycle would of started AND ended as single celled organisms! Why would they need to evolve?

    Especially since it would of just been a handful of ‘em living in a mud puddle some where-

    Think rationally!! Its not even logical to think that a single cell would evolve, for what purpose would it serve?

    For starters, many single cell life forms reproduce asexually. They just split themselves and after a while, there's two of them. Most viruses are like that for example.

    It would initially just be a pool with a small number of organisms. Then after a while, it would have been a pool with a shitload of organisms. At some point, possibly too many for the little pool to sustain them all. So the ones who had some difference that made them either better at competing with the rest, or more suitable to survive outside the pool and be able to find other spots to live and reproduce, would have more copies of themselves around.

    urblind wrote:

    I can really see a single cell talking…..hey I should evolve into something better, to have an advantage over the

    Rest…let me change into a multi cell creature and eat all of them, then I will be the strongest and fittest…..whoops,

    I ate my food supply, Im now extinct..pbssstt……keep dreaming exbrains..

    Okay, I see what your problem is. you don't really understand what evolution really is all about. See, mutations aren't something that happens to you, it's something that happens to your OFFSPRING. The advantage you may have over other individuals is something that you've had your entire life. You got it the moment you were conceived. And if you're somehow "better" at surviving in your particular habitat than the rest of the population, you'll pass that difference on to your children. I believe this is what you called "micro-evolution", something which has been observed in a lab, and which I believe you even agreed with as being real.

    What you called "macro-evolution" is just the evolution of entire populations and species over time, instead of just single families.

    Over the course of millions of years, that DOES manage to turn lizards into birds. It doesn't PLAN to do so, it just happens.

    And it's not just life forms that evolve either. Take clothes for example. It's not like some cave man one day decided to make an Armani suit complete with shirt, pants, a tie and a pair of shiny leather shoes. He was just cold and decided to wrap some animal skins around him. Then somebody decided to tie them on so they would stay on by themselves. Then they came up with the idea to sew bits together into a more coat-like shape, etc… Over time, people came up with buttons, zippers, velcro, elastic edges, different fabrics. There was no end goal to "make" a fancy Italian suit. It just evolved into that kind of fashion because people liked those things better than rags and smelly animal skins.

    exarch wrote:

    Do you understand that abiogenesis being totally incorrect would still have no bearing on evolution being correct?

    urblind wrote:

    Do you understand that would once again prove Gods creation story????? That everything was created in a matter

    Of “x” amount of time as is- not starting as a single cell??? You best wake up and smell reality!

    In order to evolve, they must have something to evolve from- NOT coming from an unexplained, improbable

    Theory such as abiogenesis!

    Why could it not be that some deity just set the universe in motion and left it at that?

    Why could it not be some deity set the universe in motion, blew a spark of life into some mudpool, and then allowed life on this planet to do its own thing?

    Why do you insist that there's a bearded old coot somewhere who made everything on this planet as is, then had some guy fill a barge with a few pairs of all animals, dumped the whole planet under water, and only then allowed it to run its course?

    What makes options one and two so much less likely than your precious option three?

    Suppose abiogenesis turned out to be for real? What would you do? Would you throw molotov cocktails at the research lab to destroy their heretical work? Would you simply ignore the truth and continue to insist that there needs to be a god to create life as is? Or would you concede that perhaps we might possibly have been right all along?

    exarch wrote:

    Your case for goddidit is far less detailed than abiogenesis for starters

    urblind wrote:

    Lets see? God did it?….or nothing did it on its own??

    No, goddidit, or various chemicals bonded into carbohydrates and other biochemical compounds, which combined into protein strands, which developed into virus like organisms, which eventually developed into single celled life forms, then multi-celled organisms, then eventually marine life forms, which came out of the water and became land animals, which grew and became humongous reptiles, etc…

    I'd say our story is a tad more detailed, and it explains a lot more of the things we still see today, because from each step of evolution, there's still remnants around.

    urblind wrote:

    Don’t look less detailed to me….unless your mentally handicapped…go ask a 3 year old which is more likely!

    Even they will opt for God creating something- versus nothing creating something…man your closed minded!

    Ah yes, a three year old. I'm glad you're the one who brings that up. Sure, a three year old is so much wiser in the ways of the world. If you ask them which is more likely, that mom and dad will go through a lot of trouble to check under their millow and replace a tooth with a shiny nickel, or that the toothfairy is making her rounds, they'll pick the tooth fairy, and Santa Claus, and the Easter bunny, and the little engine that could …

    You've really hit rock bottom if you're using the opinion of a three year old to support your case. But hey, we've been telling you the bible is a fairy tale since the beginning, so don't be surprised now. It's OK, it's a very complicated, intricate fairy tale, with lots of violence and sex and other not-for-kids messages. All that's missing is a good car chase.

    exarch wrote:

    Answering any and every question with “goddidit” though. Now THAT’s a cop out.

    urblind wrote:

    NO…that’s just reality!

    Sadly, yes, for you it's reality. Doesn't make it any less of a cop-out though.

  339. Profile photo of PH
    January 24, 2008 at 4:04 pm —

    What makes options one and two so much less likely than your precious option three?

    It's nothing to do with likelihood, it's all to do with urblind having decided one just must be true.

    It seems likely the reasoning lies somewhere between two positions.

    Firstly, the proximate (social) explanation, which is that urblind has swallowed the dumb creationist propaganda that evolution==evil, so must be fought whilst somehow maintaining a defensive ignorance about what it actually means.

    Secondly, the ultimate (personal) explanation, which is that some people just don't want to accept that someone as wonderful and special as them wasn't near-as-dammit created by a god.

    As it is, there's really a deal of connection/projection going on between those two positions. People who have come to fear they might feel less adequate (or even worthless) without the belief they were a deity's ultimate goal may well project that outwards and assume that everyone else would feel the same, and hence it's fairly easy for them to swallow the bogus argument that creation belief is the sole fuel for human morality even when that's manifestly untrue.

    Their delusions can be so severe that even presented with people who didn't have a belief in direct creation of humans, yet who seemed to be living a perfectly decent life, they'd have to fantasise about the evil that simply must be happening inside those other people, and then they could use the resulting feeling of moral superiority to justify their primary delusion, in classic circular-logic fashion.

  340. Profile photo of exarch
    January 25, 2008 at 12:26 am —

    I know PH. But I want to hear from urblind why god has to be that way, instead of just something that set the universe in motion, or that kickstarted life on Earth then walked away (deism and agnosticism basically).

    In fact, most religious scientists seem to default to a position like that. They're not quite ready yet to drop god altogether, so they've moved him to the edges that haven't been explored or explained yet.

    This way, they can still believe in god, while at the same time accepting scientific facts.

  341. Profile photo of urblind
    January 25, 2008 at 4:24 am —

    Exarxh said:It would initially just be a pool with a small number of organisms. Then after a while, it would have been a pool with a shitload of organisms. At some point, possibly too many for the little pool to sustain them all. So the ones who had some difference that made them either better at competing with the rest, or more suitable to survive outside the pool and be able to find other spots to live and reproduce, would have more copies of themselves around.

    Whoa whoa whoa exarch! Watch out to what your saying there:So the ones who had some difference that made them either better at competing with the rest…..you just claimed natural selection! The survival of the fittest! Ph says that isn't evolution.

    Best watch out or he will get mad at you!

    What you called “macro-evolution” is just the evolution of entire populations and species over time, instead of just single families.

    Over the course of millions of years, that DOES manage to turn lizards into birds. It doesn’t PLAN to do so, it just happens.

    Research that! There are NO and I repeat NO proof that one type of animal can turn into another…

    0! That’s the flaw of macro evolution. That’s why the fossil record is to our advantage…you can see the lizard

    Fossil…you can see a chicken fossil….but for that "million years of change" there is no lizard/half chicken fossil.

    Face the facts!

    No, goddidit, or various chemicals bonded into carbohydrates and other biochemical compounds, which combined into protein strands, which developed into virus like organisms, which eventually developed into single celled life forms, then multi-celled organisms, then eventually marine life forms, which came out of the water and became land animals, which grew and became humongous reptiles, etc…

    Do you see your flaw?? You fail to realize that plants had to come first or there would be no oxygen to breath once

    They came out of the water…if what you say is correct (as you so think it is) life would of ended in the ocean.

    Try again…..

    Firstly, the proximate (social) explanation, which is that urblind has swallowed the dumb creationist propaganda that evolution==evil, so must be fought whilst somehow maintaining a defensive ignorance about what it actually means.

    Coming from someone who hasn’t even read Darwin's book….

    I know PH. But I want to hear from urblind why god has to be that way, instead of just something that set the universe in motion, or that kickstarted life on Earth then walked away (deism and agnosticism basically).

    See I believe you to be very ignorant….and like wise you feel the same about me…but one thing

    I'm sure on, is the fact that you would agree that Albert Einstein is far superior to you when it comes

    To science? Well he made a quote once that said: GOD DOESN’T JUST ROLL THE DICE!

    He knew it was impossible to just sit back and watch what would happen as you so suggest. So I guess now

    You think he is delusional? You people are blinder than bats! You couldn’t understand science if it hit you in the

    Face!!!!

  342. Profile photo of exarch
    January 25, 2008 at 7:48 am —

    urblind wrote:

    Whoa whoa whoa exarch! Watch out to what your saying there:So the ones who had some difference that made them either better at competing with the rest…..you just claimed natural selection! The survival of the fittest! Ph says that isn’t evolution.

    Best watch out or he will get mad at you!

    No, I think you need to re-read what he said.

    PH wrote:

    A species doesn’t make itself stronger to avoid dying out in any meaningful sense of the word ‘make’. Randomness may makes some individuals stronger, and if strength is an overall asset, they may end up prospering and passing on a tendency for greater strength.

    In other words, organisms do not MAKE themselves stronger. They simply are or they aren't. Which type survives depends on the circumstances. In other words, what's considered "stronger" in the situation the population faces.

    urblind wrote:

    Research that! There are NO and I repeat NO proof that one type of animal can turn into another…

    0! That’s the flaw of macro evolution. That’s why the fossil record is to our advantage…you can see the lizard

    Fossil…you can see a chicken fossil….but for that “million years of change” there is no lizard/half chicken fossil.

    Face the facts!

    You mean archaeopteryx? At least half a dozen of those were found.

    Oh, right, it's actually not "half lizard/half chicken", it's "half dinosaur/half bird" to be more precise.

    urblind wrote:

    Do you see your flaw?? You fail to realize that plants had to come first or there would be no oxygen to breath once

    They came out of the water…if what you say is correct (as you so think it is) life would of ended in the ocean.

    Um? Huh??

    First of all, why would there be no oxygen? Our atmosphere's oxygen content is not wholly reliant on plants to replenish it you know.

    And secondly, many bacteria don't need oxygen at all to live (we call them anaerobe).

    What's more, the first life in the oceans would probably be plankton-like, and fully capable of sustaining the atmosphere before any organisms ever even left the water.

    The reason we all breath oxygen today, and nee water to survive, is because those building blocks were the most readily available.

    Life forms have been found which don't need oxygen. And they don't even necessarily need to be made out of carbon for that matter. But they are rare because they are at a serious disadvantage when competing with organisms which have adapted to an oxygen atmosphere. They are so specialized to survive in a particular environment that they can't survive anywhere else.

    urblind wrote:

    I’m sure on, is the fact that you would agree that Albert Einstein is far superior to you when it comes

    To science? Well he made a quote once that said: GOD DOESN’T JUST ROLL THE DICE!

    He knew it was impossible to just sit back and watch what would happen as you so suggest. So I guess now

    You think he is delusional?

    Well, for starters, Einstein was a deist who believed god didn't intervene. In other words, he created the universe but didn't do anything else.

    What that means is, not only did he not he believe god was sitting around somewhere, rolling the dice to see who's life he was going to fuck up next. He also believed that the universe was predictable. That if you had a perfect idea of the starting position, you could predict how everything would turn out in the end.

    Or to put it more bluntly: He believed god only started the universe, but that when he put the universe in motion, he knew exactly how it would turn out.

    urblind wrote:

    You people are blinder than bats! You couldn’t understand science if it hit you in the

    Face!!!!

    As I said before, I probably understand it better than you do.

    Granted, most of my science is limited to what I learned in highschool and university, and I'm not currently working in a scientific field. On the other hand, I'm wondering what you're basing your assertions on that you know more about science than we do. Especially since you've remained conspiciously silent on what your credentials are, if any.

  343. Profile photo of urblind
    January 25, 2008 at 8:38 am —

    Or to put it more bluntly: He believed god only started the universe, but that when he put the universe in motion, he knew exactly how it would turn out.

    yeah..this is called Christianity-

    He started it in Genesis, and he knew how it turned out in Revelation!

    your not that bright are you?

    Especially since you’ve remained conspiciously silent on what your credentials are, if any.

    I told you along time ago,(if you would pay attention)

    that I was an amateur Biblical scholar, which makes me fluent in several fields such as history,geology,cosmology,culture,ancient language,and archaeology. but for fun I debate ill informed people such as your self in

    ID and creationism…but just for fun…

    so fun in fact I might see if I can do it more often-inbetween my studies.

  344. Profile photo of urblind
    January 25, 2008 at 9:17 am —

    First of all, why would there be no oxygen? Our atmosphere’s oxygen content is not wholly reliant on plants to replenish it you know.

    wipe out plant life and see how much oxygen is in the air!

    A species doesn’t make itself stronger to avoid dying out in any meaningful sense of the word ‘make’

    no, its not in control of the evolution, but rather nature dictates it….if not they die….

    still you cant answer plant life being before or after animal life- one had to come first, meaning something was on land from the get go- you have a big hole here you cant explain….but the creation story explains rather well. creatures cant live without plants…plants cant live and reproduce without creatures…

  345. Profile photo of exarch
    January 27, 2008 at 3:49 am —

    exarch wrote:

    Or to put it more bluntly: He believed god only started the universe, but that when he put the universe in motion, he knew exactly how it would turn out.

    urblind wrote:

    yeah..this is called Christianity-

    He started it in Genesis, and he knew how it turned out in Revelation!

    your not that bright are you?

    Except for all the intergering he did along the way, like flooding the earth to kill the sinners, stopping the sun, destroying entire cities, appearing to Moses in order to dictate the 10 commandments (which if you add all the different versions, are actualmly more than 10), etc…

    God did not sit by idly at all. According to the bible he was tinkering with creation left and right, which is exactly what Einstein didn't believe in.

    So to ignore major parts of both the bible AND Einstein's ideas just to be able to claim he supported your side of the story is just ignorance beyond comparison.

    urblind wrote:

    I told you along time ago,(if you would pay attention)

    that I was an amateur Biblical scholar, which makes me fluent in several fields such as history,geology,cosmology,culture,ancient language,and archaeology.

    Yes, on the credential scale, amateur-anything ranks right above totally ignorant. And being a biblical scholar makes you no more fluent in anything than science does. In fact, perhaps rather the opposite, because the bible and belief in its veracity, makes you ignore large portions of geology, cosmology, archaeology (and as a consequence, history).

    Perhaps you have a better grasp on ancient languages than I do, but since you're apparently not reading your bible in Ancient Greek or Aramaic, I think you're not making the full use of that "expertise".

    urblind wrote:

    but for fun I debate ill informed people such as your self in

    ID and creationism…but just for fun…

    so fun in fact I might see if I can do it more often-inbetween my studies.

    So, you are still in school.

    Perhaps there's hope for you yet. Don't block off your mind, keep learning. Perhaps one day you'll get over this biblical literalist phase.

    urblind wrote:

    wipe out plant life and see how much oxygen is in the air!

    About 20%.

    PH wrote:

    A species doesn’t make itself stronger to avoid dying out in any meaningful sense of the word ‘make’

    urblind wrote:

    no, its not in control of the evolution, but rather nature dictates it….if not they die….

    Now you've got it.

    urblind wrote:

    still you cant answer plant life being before or after animal life- one had to come first, meaning something was on land from the get go- you have a big hole here you cant explain….but the creation story explains rather well. creatures cant live without plants…plants cant live and reproduce without creatures…

    urblind wrote:

    You are once again showing the limits of your imagination urblind. You think of plants as trees, flowers and grass, you think of animals as lions, zebras and horses.

    there's organisms out there that seriously blur the line between "fauna" and "flora" (like anemones).

    Your first mistaken assumption is that plants are stuck to the ground and never move. For starters, offspring can't occupy the exact same spot as their parent, so they have to move on anyway. Further more, plants use a veriety of ways to get fertilized that don't require animals (like currents in the water, or the wind). You'll notice that most of the older kinds of plant life, like mosses, grasses and ferns, don't use animals for their reproduction.

    By the time anything came crawling out of the water, the surface was already pretty much covered with plant life. Which is why it was a good idea for those first "animals" to get out of the sea in the first place: a humongous source of food, untapped, and at the same time they got away from their natural predators (who obviously followed later on).

    But the important distinction to keep in mind here is that we're NOT talking about fish making the transfer from water to land, becoming amphibious, and later on permanently land-based.

    Insects (centipede-like creatures) left the water well before then. And these guys couldn't fly yet, because that trait took a few more million years to develop.

  346. Profile photo of PH
    January 27, 2008 at 2:54 pm —

    He started it in Genesis, and he knew how it turned out in Revelation!

    your not that bright are you?

    It's really amusing that someone who takes Revelations literally goes round accusing other people of being high.

    I told you along time ago,(if you would pay attention) that I was an amateur Biblical scholar, which makes me fluent in several fields such as history,geology,[blah, blah,blah]

    Oddly, most of the people I know who are truly 'fluent' in geology actually studied it somewhere with a pretty good academic reputation, but then, they were interested in learning geology, not some screwed up partial version to support their religious preconceptions.

    Seriously, unless you have knowledge you've uncharacteristically failed to try to flaunt, I'd hazard a guess even my geological competence is better* than yours, and that's from having a mild amateur interest, and from happening to have a hobby which involves spending a fair amount of looking at various limestone mountains from both the outside and the inside, often with the odd properly-educated and bright geologist friend or two around.

    Believe me, there's a lot of opportunity to contemplate geological time on a long solitary slog out from a deep underground camp.

    (*note – to me, a serious component of competence is knowing what you do and don't understand. In science, wanting or religious-believing your personal interpretation to be true isn't the same thing as understanding, in fact, it's often close to the opposite.)

  347. Profile photo of urblind
    January 28, 2008 at 1:33 am —

    Exarxh said:Yes, on the credential scale, amateur-anything ranks right above totally ignorant. And being a biblical scholar makes you no more fluent in anything than science does. In fact, perhaps rather the opposite, because the bible and belief in its veracity, makes you ignore large portions of geology, cosmology, archaeology (and as a consequence, history).

    Perhaps you have a better grasp on ancient languages than I do, but since you’re apparently not reading your bible in Ancient Greek or Aramaic, I think you’re not making the full use of that “expertise”.

    Amateur means I don’t get paid, do I need to go back to the dictionary for you? And science plays a big role

    In it, especially geology,cosmology,and archaeology….all that goes hand in hand with the bible…just people

    Like you deny that, but the rest of the worlds scholars support that….go tell them that…

    And since you believe the bibles written in aramaic, that shows me how little you really know about it….

    The bible is written in hebrew and most of the new testament is greek with only a small portion written in aramaic.

    So, you are still in school.

    Perhaps there’s hope for you yet. Don’t block off your mind, keep learning. Perhaps one day you’ll get over this biblical literalist phase

    No…I finished school years ago.

    Ph said: It’s really amusing that someone who takes Revelations literally goes round accusing other people of being high.

    This is from someone who doesn’t know anything about revelations….that book is far to complex for people like you to

    Comprehend…..you best stick with something a little more easy like moby dick

    and from happening to have a hobby which involves spending a fair amount of looking at various limestone mountains from both the outside and the inside

    Playing with rocks in the backyard wont educate you well in geology…do you make mudpies also?

    serious component of competence is knowing what you do and don’t understand. In science, wanting or religious-believing your personal interpretation to be true isn’t the same thing as understanding, in fact, it’s often close to the opposite.)

    Shows how wrong you are….using once source of info to validate the other is how it works.

    Oddly, most of the people I know who are truly ‘fluent’ in geology actually studied it somewhere with a pretty good academic reputation, but then, they were interested in learning geology, not some screwed up partial version to support their religious preconceptions.

    Its obvious you don’t understand how scholarly work is done? You have teams of people….geologists/scientists/archaeologists/historians/whomever…that share their information and findings..the geologists

    Who provide their research aren't necessarily religious..some are even as atheist as you. While your out playing

    With rocks and mud, these people are out doing scientific research in an institution, running tests in a lab, printing

    Their findings in scientific journals and winning medals….not building mud pies with their jerk off college buddies.

    You have a long ways to go about understanding science and how it works and is applied in the real world, you probably spend your time in a yuppie bar drinking import beer, telling stories about the quartz crystal you found in the drive way, and think you can tell me something about geology in present day Turkey? Or climate changes in the last 3,000 years, or pressure changes,

    Or the density of the atmosphere?? You got a long ways to go my friend. Your just pissed because it goes beyond

    Your limited understanding. Maybe you should enter your rock collection in the 5th grade science fair this year?

  348. Profile photo of PH
    January 28, 2008 at 2:29 am —

    urblind,

    If you bothered to read and try to understand what people write, you would come across rather better than you are doing. At the moment, apart from the odd lucid post, you seem to give the general impression of juvenile arrogance.

    I don't have a rock collection, I don't go to yuppie bars, and I don't drink imported beer (why on earth would I, given the hundreds or thousands of excellent local beers?). Just three more instances of where you jump to the conclusions you'd like to believe to conform to your prejudices, which you'll quite possibly carry on believing even though they aren't correct.

    If there was real scientific evidence for the bible being a divinely accurate history of the world, it would get specifically referenced over and over in debates across the internet, not just trotted out as vague claims. It'd also get a deal of publicity, to the extent that you probably wouldn't need to mention it.

    If there was real scientific evidence for the bible being an accurate history of the world, people like creationists wouldn't need to rely on tired and threadbare arguments and the occasional academic prostituting their intellect in the service of religion and/or book receipts – they'd just provide the evidence.

    The clue for any group claiming scientific proof for their extraordinary beliefs is that if the proof is only really taken seriously by people in the group, and that doesn't change over time, it's probably not scientific.

  349. Profile photo of urblind
    January 28, 2008 at 2:49 am —

    The clue for any group claiming scientific proof for their extraordinary beliefs is that if the proof is only really taken seriously by people in the group, and that doesn’t change over time, it’s probably not scientific.

    whoa…you just summed up athiesm in a nutshell!

  350. Profile photo of PH
    January 28, 2008 at 4:22 am —

    whoa…you just summed up athiesm in a nutshell!

    Hardly.

    Atheism doesn't make extraordinary claims.

    Even its rational/skeptical approach to the proof of existence of deities is one you can hardly criticise.

    Assuming you don't believe in the existence of other deities, you presumably base your belief on one of three approaches:

    a) A rational analysis of the [lack of] evidence for them.

    b) You 'just knowing' they must be wrong because you're sure you're right and they contradict your beliefs.

    c) You've been told they're wrong by someone with no defensible chain of reasoning.

    Now, when it comes to a consistent approach, b) is clearly a non-starter, since it's evident there are people in numerous contradictory religions who would each take such a position, so therefore humans can and do take such a position and 'know' they're right despite being wrong, therefore such a position cannot be rationally defended. However real it seems to you, you can't expect to convince anyone to accept your claim of rightness from self-confidence whilst dismissing someone else's claim of rightness based on self-confidence.

    Likewise, c) doesn't really wash either, for the same reasons.

    A believer trying to be partly rational might apply approach a) to other people's religions, but not their own.

    All a good atheist does is apply approach a) even-handedly rather than selectively.

    Of course, it's certainly possible for a believer to simply not to take a position on other faiths (an 'it works for me' approach), but it would obviously be logically tricky to combine that with making any kind of assertion that the believer's religion is more correct or in any way special than other forms of belief or lack of belief.

    Equally, it's perfectly possible for people to have both faith and science in their lives, but both seem likely to suffer, along with the person, if they attempt to combine them. In fact, something like the 'it works for me' approach may well be the best one for a scientist who also has religious faith.

  351. Profile photo of urblind
    January 28, 2008 at 4:44 am —

    All a good atheist does is apply approach a) even-handedly rather than selectively.

    no…all an athiest does is believe what they want to, and dismiss everything else as false….all the while having little to no proof or evidence.

    they do little to no research, they dismiss proof and evidence, and get pissed when someone challenges thier belief system.

    Hardly.

    Atheism doesn’t make extraordinary claims

    everything came from nothing? life was an accident, superficial chance?

    dumb luck?…..

    sounds extraordinary to me?

    Assuming you don’t believe in the existence of other deities, you presumably base your belief on one of three approaches:

    a) A rational analysis of the [lack of] evidence for them.

    b) You ‘just knowing’ they must be wrong because you’re sure you’re right and they contradict your beliefs.

    c) You’ve been told they’re wrong by someone with no defensible chain of reasoning.

    none of the above……Gods word is all I need. the Bible was the word in the beggining…it will be the word in the end, it was even the word before "writting" was invented. I dont need to worry about other false gods or religion, or in athiest philosophy, its all been proved useless over and over…..maybe in 50 years you will have stronger arguments?

  352. Profile photo of PH
    January 28, 2008 at 5:52 am —

    none of the above……Gods word is all I need. the Bible was the word in the beggining…it will be the word in the end, it was even the word before “writting” was invented. I dont need to worry about other false gods or religion, or in athiest philosophy, its all been proved useless over and over…..maybe in 50 years you will have stronger arguments?

    That is precisely 'one of the above'.

    You base your argument on the arrogance of just knowing that you are right and other believers are wrong.

    You're using exactly the same logic that many believers in what you would call false gods use, yet you just know someone as wonderful as you can't be wrong. Unfortunately, you either lack the brains to realise that's your position, or the decency to admit it.

    You then expect rational people to swallow what someone like you considers to be evidence.

  353. Profile photo of urblind
    January 28, 2008 at 6:06 am —

    yet you just know someone as wonderful as you can’t be wrong

    I love the way you keep saying I'm wonderful!!! even though I have never spoken of myself that way, this is "once again" your assumption.

    I think you feel threatned by the overwhelming evidence…like most athiests, a proof in God would mean change…change your not willing to accept due to the fact your ridden with sin and live for the world…Im even willing to bet if you experianced a miraculas event, like I dunno an angel appearing before you, that you would still deny the facts and try to write it off as a event that has a scientific explanation, rather than admit you saw it and it was real.

    You then expect rational people to swallow what someone like you considers to be evidence.

    the majority of the worlds population believes the evidence…remember your in the lower percentile, your the minority….and more than enough people in this world are "skeptical" of your ideas and so called evidence.

    like I said…come back and try me in 50 years….

  354. Profile photo of PH
    January 28, 2008 at 6:16 am —

    On atheism, as has already been pointed out, you can't *disprove* the existence of a deity which isn't specifically defined as having certain characteristics which can be demonstrated not to exist.

    The kinds of deities that survive are those that have wiggle room, enough, seemingly, to put them very largely, if not completely, outside the realm of scientific investigation. Odd, that.

    They *might* answer a prayer for rain, but they'll ignore most of them, and it could take weeks for a really strong downpour to happen even in the cases of 'success'. If they fail to answer any number of prayers, that's no evidence against them, but even a simple coincidence of prayers and rain appearing passes for evidence in favour (a win/no-lose situation from a believer's point of view, even if wins are actually no more common than would be expected from chance).

    I don't believe in the existence of earth-interacting aliens in spacecraft, but that's based on two things – an initial skepticism and a lack of positive evidence.

    Just as with aliens, pseudoscience, etc, a lack of belief in deities in general seems a profoundly logical starting position, especially when some people claim strong scientific evidence for their beliefs, since if such evidence really existed, and especially if it was improved over time, it would be capable of convincing initially skeptical people, so there would be nothing to lose by starting off skeptical. If someone insisted that skepticism wasn't a rational starting position ("You have to believe first, then you'll see how good the selected evidence is"), I'd wonder how good even they thought their evidence really was.

    Additionally, with so many competing religions, it would seem that an initial neutral position makes more sense than starting out partisan.

    A position where one assumes claims are unproven until shown otherwise seems a bit less judgemental and personally biased than one where someone assumes they are right and everyone else is condemned to eternal punishment or whatever.

  355. Profile photo of exarch
    January 28, 2008 at 6:25 am —

    urblind wrote

    no…all an athiest does is believe what they want to, and dismiss everything else as false….all the while having little to no proof or evidence.

    But you do the same thing, for all other religions except christianity. An atheist rejects all other gods just like you, except for one more god.

    urblind wrote

    they do little to no research, […]

    We do lots of research. If it hadn't been for atheists, we'd never have managed to get out of the dark ages, because acquiring knowledge was practically forbidden on threats of eternal hellfire. Thankfully, there were atheists who didn't believe in hellfire, and ignored the religious hot-air-blowing.

    urblind wrote

    […] they dismiss proof and evidence, and get pissed when someone challenges thier belief system.

    We dismiss evidence? Like what? and be sure to include actual evidence, not vapid claims like "the bible says [blablabla] …" or some of Behe's research (a little hint, we don't ignore Behe's research, we look at it, and if it's any good, we incorporate it into the theory of evolution, if not, we chuck it and explain why).

    But we don't get pissed because someone challenges our belief system. We get pissed because someone thinks they're challenging us, then closes their eyes and puts their fingers into their ears going "LALALA!! I CAN'T HEAR YOU!" when we're explaining why they're mistaken.

    And of course, it's not a belief system. A belief system is based on unsupported assumptions. When we make assumptions, they're provisional. When someone shows us the right evidence, we change our mind. That's the big difference with religious beliefs: they don't change their mind. No matter what. And the frustrating thing is they pride themselves on being obstinate.

    PH wrote

    Atheism doesn’t make extraordinary claims

    urblind wrote

    everything came from nothing? life was an accident, superficial chance?

    dumb luck?…..

    sounds extraordinary to me?

    We've tried to explain to you why it's definitely no more extraordinary than the idea that it was all poofed into existence as is by a bearded old coot. And frankly, the idea which doesn't require fuzzy thinking and magical explanations is definitely a more mundane explanation than the one that requires not only the existence of something we can't prove exists, but also requires that something to be very powerfull, very intelligent, etc…

    Life being an accident is much less outlandish in my opinion. And given the odds of life occuring anywhere, with millions of stars in just this galaxy alone, and millions of potentially inhabitable planets, etc… I'd say the odds of life NOT happening somewhere are probably more unlikely. It just happened to be in our solar system.

    PH wrote

    Assuming you don’t believe in the existence of other deities, you presumably base your belief on one of three approaches:

    a) A rational analysis of the [lack of] evidence for them.

    b) You ‘just knowing’ they must be wrong because you’re sure you’re right and they contradict your beliefs.

    c) You’ve been told they’re wrong by someone with no defensible chain of reasoning.

    urblind wrote

    none of the above……Gods word is all I need.

    That's actually Option B. Or option C if you consider the bible not to be someone's opinion, but the word of god.

    The fact you don't realize your answer is one of those two, is part of the problem.

    urblind wrote

    it will be the word in the end, it was even the word before “writting” was invented. I dont need to worry about other false gods or religion, or in athiest philosophy, its all been proved useless over and over

    False gods according to who?

    Frankly, there's some religions out there that make a far stronger case than you and your christianity. If you think their gods are false, then yours is definitely wrong.

    Which brings us back to the atheist position:

    If every religion has some way of explaining why all other religions are wrong, then the atheist is just taking all those explanations together and concluding that ALL religions must be wrong, not all except the one your parents happened to believe in. In that regard, we're actually agreeing with everyone else when we don't believe the rest.

  356. Profile photo of urblind
    January 28, 2008 at 6:28 am —

    Additionally, with so many competing religions, it would seem that an initial neutral position makes more sense than starting out partisan

    just stay partisan…but when you die then what?

  357. Profile photo of urblind
    January 28, 2008 at 6:31 am —

    exarxh….isnt it time for you to take a nappy-poo?

    I'll heat up your ba ba…

  358. Profile photo of exarch
    January 28, 2008 at 6:55 am —

    urblind wrote:

    I think you feel threatned by the overwhelming evidence…like most athiests, a proof in God would mean change…change your not willing to accept due to the fact your ridden with sin and live for the world

    Actually, if you showed me evidence, good evidence, of god's existence, I'd become a believer in a heartbeat.

    If the best you can come up with is "I can't imagine how anything this complicated could have come about by chance" or "if you don't believe, you're going to burn in hell so it's best to believe for your own safety", then no thanks. I don't think I'm taking any risks by dismissing your claims as total utter nonsense.

    urblind wrote:

    Im even willing to bet if you experianced a miraculas event, like I dunno an angel appearing before you, that you would still deny the facts and try to write it off as a event that has a scientific explanation, rather than admit you saw it and it was real.

    I would wonder what it was I saw. Perhaps it really was an angel, perhaps it was just some joker playing a prank. Perhaps I was halucinating. Perhaps Ii was experiencing the first symptoms of a brain tumor. Perhaps what I saw was a non terrestrial apparition, but that would still not imply it was devine, it could be an alien, or something else entirely.

    There are so many possibilities that I'd want to rule out the more mundane, more likely explanations first before jumping to the conclusion that what I'd seen was an actual devine being that no one has seen in over 2000 years.

    If, and only IF I was sure that none of the other explanations sufficiently explain what I'd seen, I would definitely be a believer. But it wouldn't be a belief for me, because I'd actually have seen evidence. For you, it would still be an unfounded belief based on what you've been told to believe by the bible, not something you actually know to be true for sure. after all, you're believing it without evidence, while I would actually have my own evidence to assume god's existence. That would still make my case stronger than yours, even if we believed the exact same religion to be the only true one.

    Your lack of skepticism is what makes your faith weak. My skepticism is what makes my beliefs strong. I believe what I believe because I've changed my mind to fit my observations. You believe what you believe because you've changed your interpretation of the world to fit your preconceptions.

    The difference is fundamental.

  359. Profile photo of PH
    January 28, 2008 at 7:09 am —

    I love the way you keep saying I’m wonderful!!! even though I have never spoken of myself that way, this is “once again” your assumption.

    You're the one who was claiming that someone 'couldn't possibly' know more science than you.

    You're the one who claims to have become widely scientifically educated as result of studying scripture.

    OK. Let's just say you just know someone as special/blessed/whatever as you can't possibly be wrong, while you know other people with exactly the same emotional justification for their beliefs, who are as sure and sincere as you are dead wrong.

    It's still the case that the point you start from is one of assumed superiority – that your religious convictions allow/demand that you can declare numerous other sincere believers to be simply wrong, without even needing to look at the evidence they think they have.

    You'd seem to be in a tricky position to claim you can rationally judge evidence you think supports you when you are perfectly willing to not even look at any that might risk showing you how deeply unspecial your own 'evidence' and reasoning is.

    I think you feel threatned by the overwhelming evidence

    Unfortunately, as I pointed out earlier when you made the same point, you haven't actually presented any.

    If a deity such as you wish to believe in actually existed and wanted to provide overwhelming evidence, there is no doubt that it could convince virtually everyone, skeptics and believers in false gods alike, and by more than the odd vision of an angel, but by something permanent, shared and inexplicable by other means.

    The inescapable logical conclusion is that it does not exist, or really does not wish to provide overwhelming evidence to everyone.

    the majority of the worlds population believes the evidence

    They don't believe 'the evidence', they essentially believe what they have been brought up to believe (at least the ones not just going through the motions), which may include some things suggested as evidence.

    People over generations have come up with reasonably plausible arguments that are good enough for people who don't know enough to question them. That's how the political/social institutions that are religions manage to survive.

    However, it's telling that the more people actually learn about something, the less likely they are to swallow a religious explanation invented in bygone days of relative ignorance.

    The more someone understands biology, the less likely they are to believe in direct biblical-style creation.

    The more someone understands the weather, the less likely they are to believe in deities making rain or firing thunderbolts.

    The more someone understand geology, the less likely they are to swallow the idea of a young earth.

    I find that very interesting.

    remember your in the lower percentile, your the minority….and more than enough people in this world are “skeptical” of your ideas and so called evidence.

    You still don't get it.

    You don't get evidence 'for atheism' in the sense that you don't get evidence 'for nonbelief in shy aliens visiting earth'.

    All one needs is a logical starting point of skepticism. From that, given a demonstrable lack of evidence sufficient to convince an initial non-believer, there will continue not to be any belief. Evidence that can only convince a want-to-believer is worthless – even you know that, since that's how you dismiss religious or pseudoreligious beliefs that you clash with your own.

    In any case, there is no majority world religion. Every religion has more unbelievers than believers, and that's not even getting into the various competing subsects with certain major religions, with often seriously different views, and apparently no scientific way of settling even those internal questions. It would seem odd that a deity that could provide 'overwhelming evidence' (to believers) of its existence couldn't manage to sort out the internal issues among its own worshippers.

  360. Profile photo of urblind
    January 28, 2008 at 7:12 am —

    *yawn*

    you should be a philosopher……on saturday night live.

  361. Profile photo of exarch
    January 28, 2008 at 7:29 am —

    PH wrote:

    Additionally, with so many competing religions, it would seem that an initial neutral position makes more sense than starting out partisan

    urblind wrote:

    just stay partisan…but when you die then what?

    Then you have a 1 in (how many religions are there?) chance to be right.

    Let's assume for argument's sake, that there's 500 religions out there. Then that means you have a 1 in 500 chance to be correct. But you also have a 499/500 chance to be wrong.

    If you take an agnostic position, then at least you know you're wrong, but not so wrong that you've defied god all those years by believing the wrong religion and doing the wrong thing.

    And if you're an atheist? Well, then you die and it's all over.

    It sucks, but at least you made the best of your life when you had it. It sure beats leading a crappy life convinced you'll get a second chance to do it all better once you die. And the worse your life is now, the better it will be on your second chance. That's just so lame I can't even believe some people buy into it. What's worse, it all hinges on the unknown, unproven assumption of that second chance actually being for real. You might just be fucking up the only chance you ever had, throwing away what could be a good life, because you're so eager to do a good job on the second try.

    That's like cutting away your main parachute on the conviction that your spare is so much better. Why risk that when there's nothing wrong with your parachute in the first place? And from an atheist perspective, why risk that when you don't even know you have a spare, let alone whether the spare works.

    It's absurd …

  362. Profile photo of urblind
    January 28, 2008 at 7:44 am —

    Let’s assume for argument’s sake, that there’s 500 religions out there. Then that means you have a 1 in 500 chance to be correct. But you also have a 499/500 chance to be wrong.

    If you take an agnostic position, then at least you know you’re wrong, but not so wrong that you’ve defied god all those years by believing the wrong religion and doing the wrong thing.

    no…you have to do a series of elemination….1st off in order for a religion to be ok on a world wide scale..it has to allow everyone to be a part of it.

    that knocks off several hundred right off the bat….next it has to withstand the pressures of time..knock off a few more hundred…finally it has to be believed by a majority, by time tested reality, like does it do what it says it does, does the religion make sence? can it work. so by the time you do all that you only have 3 left…..judaism/christianity/muslim….

    then you go through the logic and reasoning again……all worship the same God..so all three is still good. Jesus came as prophesised, Jews reject…

    so knock them out…now we have muslim and christian….muslims recognize Jesus, but they put thier faith in a false prophet (that was prophesised) and place him above Jesus, after the bible explicitly said there will be no other great prophets after me..so knock out muslim, your left with Christianity….

    I have a 50/50 chance now….either there is a God or there isnt.

    And if you’re an atheist? Well, then you die and it’s all over.

    no….you die and burn forever.

    but at least you made the best of your life when you had it. It sure beats leading a crappy life convinced you’ll get a second chance to do it all better once you die. And the worse your life is now, the better it will be on your second chance. That’s just so lame I can’t even believe some people buy into it. What’s worse, it all hinges on the unknown, unproven assumption of that second chance actually being for real. You might just be fucking up the only chance you ever had, throwing away what could be a good life, because you’re so eager to do a good job on the second try.

    spoken like a satanist…….you must have the devil in you?

    why risk that when you don’t even know you have a spare, let alone whether the spare works.

    It’s absurd …

    eternity is forever…dont forget that

  363. Profile photo of PH
    January 28, 2008 at 8:14 am —

    no…you have to do a series of elemination….1st off in order for a religion to be ok on a world wide scale..it has to allow everyone to be a part of it.

    that knocks off several hundred right off the bat….next it has to withstand the pressures of time..knock off a few more hundred…finally it has to be believed by a majority, by time tested reality, like does it do what it says it does, does the religion make sence? can it work. so by the time you do all that you only have 3 left…..judaism/christianity/muslim….

    then you go through the logic and reasoning again……all worship the same God..so all three is still good. Jesus came as prophesised, Jews reject…

    so knock them out…now we have muslim and christian….muslims recognize Jesus, but they put thier faith in a false prophet (that was prophesised) and place him above Jesus, after the bible explicitly said there will be no other great prophets after me..so knock out muslim, your left with Christianity….

    Congratulations on providing as good as example of self-serving reasoning as anyone could hope for.

    judging from your position of extreme bias, you presume to know which criteria a religion would have to satisfy in order to be right. You can't easily argue against Hinduism on size grounds without looking pretty arbitrary, so you invent an arbitrary barrier of inclusiveness instead, despite the fact that in your supposed future, most people wouldn't be a believer in the necessary religion. (Why should it matter if a religion is inclusive or not if a majority don't believe in it?)

    After rapidly jumping to your shortlist, you use absolutely classic circular reasoning, once again. Christianity and the Bible is right, so the Jews and Muslims are wrong, which leaves… [drum roll] … Christianity and the bible proved true.

    Amazing – who'd have thought that would be your result?

    If you'd been born Hindu or Muslim, you'd likely have come up with the conclusion that that religion was the one correct one, and dismissed any evidence for Christianity's superiority.

    'logic and reasoning?' That's the best one yet.

  364. Profile photo of exarch
    January 28, 2008 at 8:49 am —

    urblind wrote:

    no…you have to do a series of elemination….1st off in order for a religion to be ok on a world wide scale..it has to allow everyone to be a part of it.

    that knocks off several hundred right off the bat….

    Granted, that's not a bad starting point. Some religions are a bit racist, or sexist.

    But what about gay people? They didn't choose to be gay? Would a religion provide some sort of option for them? even if they didn't indulge their temptation?

    forget that, what about babies who die before being baptized?

    Christianity already fails on that account alone.

    For that matter, most religions are rather homo-centric. Except hinduism. Everybody reincarnates, not just humans. As far as being all-inclusive, it definitely outscores christianity by several factors.

    urblind wrote:

    next it has to withstand the pressures of time..knock off a few more hundred…

    Why? Who says it does?

    Just because someone has the true religion doesn't mean they can't be killed?

    Besides that, christianity didn't really withstand the test of time. It's been heavily edited and altered during the 2000 years since it first appeared. As far as standing the test of time goes, there's some other, much older religions that are still around today, although they might be relatively smalle, you don't know that they are wrong simply because they're just a small group of people.

    urblind wrote:

    finally it has to be believed by a majority, by time tested reality, like does it do what it says it does, does the religion make sence? can it work. so by the time you do all that you only have 3 left…..judaism/christianity/muslim….

    Now you're just making assumptions that make no sense.

    for starters, half a billion buddhist/taoist Chinese people dispute your figures. Just because 2/3rds of Americans identifies as christian (identifies, not saying they DO in any way believe anything remotely to what you believe), doesn't mean this figure says anything about the population of the planet as a whole. What's more, what if all those people also just believe these things because everyone else does? That just means a whole lot of people might be mistaken because they believe what the next person believes, who believes what you believe because everyone else does too.

    What would you do if all of the others decided to jump off a cliff or drink the Cool-aid?

    Further more, I contest that you have only 3 left. Your definition of "big" is completely baseless. You'll say judaism and Islam are pretty much the same as christianity when doing so alters the statistics in your favor. But when it comes right down to it, you'll admit that they're nothing alike after all. How can all those heretics and false/un-believers possibly prove that your religion is the right one?

    urblind wrote:

    then you go through the logic and reasoning again……all worship the same God..so all three is still good. Jesus came as prophesised, Jews reject…

    so knock them out…now we have muslim and christian….muslims recognize Jesus, but they put thier faith in a false prophet (that was prophesised) and place him above Jesus, after the bible explicitly said there will be no other great prophets after me..so knock out muslim, your left with Christianity….

    All the assumptions you make now are based on your bible. We've been trying to explain to you that from the point of view of the Muslims, it's you who've somehow missed the fact that Jesus was NOT the last prophet. And who are therefore not the true believers because you're dismissing a whole lot of teachings that are vitally important to saving your soul from eternal damnation.

    And from the point of view of the Jewish, both you and the Muslims are too gullible, believing in false prophets, adding stuff to the religion that wasn't supposed to be added, including some of the things you use to reject the Jewish.

    And let's face it, if internal consistency is important, we'll, we all know you've resorted to taking select bits of the bible as not necessarily being literal because that would make it inconsistent, thus allowing you to remain convinced that the bible is consistent. Do you see the hypocrisy?

    urblind wrote:

    I have a 50/50 chance now….either there is a God or there isnt.

    And after all those double standards, biased interpretations and foregone conclusions, it still comes down to the fact that you have no better chance of being right than the atheist …

    At least we're being intellectually honest.

  365. Profile photo of urblind
    January 29, 2008 at 4:00 am —

    Why should it matter if a religion is inclusive or not if a majority don’t believe in it?)

    How do you think democracy came about? You’re an idiot.

    If you’d been born Hindu or Muslim, you’d likely have come up with the conclusion that that religion was the one correct one, and dismissed any evidence for Christianity’s superiority.

    That’s very unlikely…A- because muslims are mostly "forced" to worship what they believe..

    And B- Hindus have so many gods their own priest cant name em all, which is a flaw in its self

    Because there would be conflict between more than one person of power- no logic in there religion-

    Despite the fact they worship animals to….who bows down to a lower species? Do you smoke crack also?

    Granted, that’s not a bad starting point. Some religions are a bit racist, or sexist.

    But what about gay people? They didn’t choose to be gay? Would a religion provide some sort of option for them? even if they didn’t indulge their temptation?

    forget that, what about babies who die before being baptized?

    Christianity already fails on that account alone.

    For that matter, most religions are rather homo-centric. Except hinduism. Everybody reincarnates, not just humans. As far as being all-inclusive, it definitely outscores christianity by several factors.

    For once exarch you asked a good question…thank you,

    Its not a sin to be gay…….its only a sin when acted upon or put in action. You can be gay and go to heaven,

    You cannot be gay and sleep with your sex and go to heaven- UNLESS you repent,ask forgiveness and don’t do it anymore.

    On baptism…baptism is not a requirement to go to heaven…I repeat IT IS NOT! Babies have until the age of 11, before they are

    Required to be saved, and that’s based on their competence level…weather or not they have the ability to understand

    Right from wrong and so on. If they die prior to age 11, they go to heaven automatically, no questions asked. Once past

    Age 11 they need to make a decision to accept or deny Christ as savior, and if they accept they go through the motions of

    Getting saved, once they die, they go to heaven…baptism it’s a cleansing process, it allows you to be washed clean of your

    Sins, and allows the Holy Spirit to enter in you….its nice to have, encouraged even….but not necessary by means of getting into heaven. Scripture does not require baptism! It does however require salvation.

    Why? Who says it does?

    Just because someone has the true religion doesn’t mean they can’t be killed?

    Besides that, christianity didn’t really withstand the test of time. It’s been heavily edited and altered during the 2000 years since it first appeared. As far as standing the test of time goes, there’s some other, much older religions that are still around today, although they might be relatively small, you don’t know that they are wrong simply because they’re just a small group of people.

    Not true…if a religion doesn’t grow..its a sure sign that their deity isn't real…what god will stand back and be worshipped by

    20-3- people and never get more? NONE…this is the reason God destroyed the world the first time…not enough people

    Were worshipping Him, instead they were worshipping other gods…so He killed them and started over fresh…Christianity started as the worlds smallest religion, and is now the biggest, and it was prophesized to be taught in every nation on earth, and we are getting close to accomplishing that as we speak.

    Now you’re just making assumptions that make no sense.

    for starters, half a billion buddhist/taoist Chinese people dispute your figures. Just because 2/3rds of Americans identifies as christian (identifies, not saying they DO in any way believe anything remotely to what you believe

    Well if you want to be technical, Buddism and Taoism is not religion anyway, its more of a life philosophy. They don’t believe in God, rather they believe in spirit and nature and achieving a state of peace called nirvana or nothingness…they worship no one.

    Further more, I contest that you have only 3 left. Your definition of “big” is completely baseless. You’ll say judaism and Islam are pretty much the same as christianity when doing so alters the statistics in your favor. But when it comes right down to it, you’ll admit that they’re nothing alike after all. How can all those heretics and false/un-believers possibly prove that your religion is the right one?

    Because all three of us believe the old testament and it’s the root of all three religions……but Jesus was prophesized to come and save the world, it happened! But Jews reject this, so they are wrong…..Islam accepts this, but follows a false prophet,

    Which was also prophesized….if you believe in this book, then you have no choice but to accept Christianity as the correct version.

    it’s you who’ve somehow missed the fact that Jesus was NOT the last prophet.

    Muslims accept the new testament as scripture…they know Jesus reported that there would be NO MORE PROPHETS after Him. Islam knows this…they also know that a prophet from God had to be Hebrew- no exceptions, their prophet was not Hebrew.

    That’s 2 errors, and they know it. They are the ones who trust and love Jesus…so wheres your logic in this?

    And after all those double standards, biased interpretations and foregone conclusions, it still comes down to the fact that you have no better chance of being right than the atheist …

    At least we’re being intellectually honest.

    Well the fact is, there either is a Christian God, or there isn't. There are no egyptian gods or hindu gods or greek gods.

    But the facts point to that there is…..so, believe what you will

  366. Profile photo of PH
    January 29, 2008 at 5:01 am —

    How do you think democracy came about? You’re an idiot.

    That's a fairly stunning non-sequitur there.

    You suggested a religion has to be inclusive in order to be possibly correct. I suggested that's an arbitrary distinction (which it clearly is), so you then apparently ask for a lesson in politics, at the same time as calling me an idiot for disagreeing with you.

    You keep talking about 'a majority' as if that somehow makes a religion objectively right, rather than merely popular, but you fail to address the point that the majority of people in the world aren't Christians.

    Christianity started as the worlds smallest religion.

    Just like every other religion.

    Because all three of us believe the old testament and it’s the root of all three religions……but Jesus was prophesized to come and save the world, it happened! But Jews reject this, so they are wrong…..Islam accepts this, but follows a false prophet,

    Which was also prophesized….if you believe in this book, then you have no choice but to accept Christianity as the correct version.

    You've decided to believe in a particular book, and used that book to 'prove' you're right. Any other kind of believer could do that kind of circular reasoning, and you'd probably be doing the same thing even if you'd been brought up to believe in some other religion.

    Your circular reasoning may well satisfy you, or people who already agree with you, but believe me, it looks pretty lame from the outside.

    Anyway, I have quite a few things to do just now rather more interesting than spend time trying to talk to someone apparently resistant to logic and objectivity.

    It's pretty clear that no-one reading what you've written is likely to be convinced unless they're already quite lost to rational arguments. Your seeming perpetual need to accuse people who don't agree with you of being drug addicts, and your other immature rantings do seem likely to give an adult sympathetic to your position pause for thought.

  367. Profile photo of urblind
    January 29, 2008 at 5:10 am —

    well drug use would explain your train of thought (or lack there of)

    only someone who is completely stoned could reason in the fashion that you do. I will be certainly glad for you to stop talking to me, sence its obvious you have no intellectual understanding on religion, or science for that matter.

    You’ve decided to believe in a particular book, and used that book to ‘prove’ you’re right. Any other kind of believer could do that kind of circular reasoning, and you’d probably be doing the same thing even if you’d been brought up to believe in some other religion.

    Your circular reasoning may well satisfy you, or people who already agree with you, but believe me, it looks pretty lame from the outside.

    lame to the blind maybe….what other religious writtings compare? hello?

    yeah I know..NONE! you need to get off your high horse and face reality.

    but anyway go back to your rock collecting, sooner or later you will learn something usefull

  368. Profile photo of exarch
    January 29, 2008 at 8:13 am —

    urblind wrote:

    That’s very unlikely…A- because muslims are mostly “forced” to worship what they believe..

    Are you saying you weren't?

    Bear with me …

    Who first introduced you to religion? How did they present it to you? As a proven fact you had to believe or else …

    Or as one of many stories to choose from?

    Did they, upon explaining religion to you, offer you ANY idea at all of what any of the other religions were about? What their basic teachings were?

    Have you ever objectively looked at the basic story of your own religion, and compared it to the basic story of other religions?

    To me they all sound just as crazy and far fetched. The one from christianity is just more familiar because I've heard it ever since I was born.

    See urblind, by being born in the US, whether you're christian or atheist, you're brought up in a world of christmas and 10 commandments, nativity displays and biblical creation, heaven, angels and the devil. Even atheists in the west are suffering from christian biases. We all go through this western upbringing, and we've all heard about the stories from the bible, even if we don't believe them.

    As an individual, you don't really know how biased you are until you visit another culture and actually realize that many of the things we take for granted are totally pervaded by christian religion. Take crosses as grave markers for example. We take it for granted. It doesn't even register as being a christian symbol until you realize that people in other parts of the world mark their graves in drastically different manners.

    Urblind, you couldn't look at christianity and the bible objectively if your life depended on it (and in a sense, according to your beliefs, your SOUL actually depends on it). You cannot see the circular reasoning because you don't realize the assumptions you're making are unfounded. It takes a level of objectivism your religious head just cannot grasp (yet). Not until you are able to see the bible as just a book of shepherd's stories and not the ultimate truth, will you be able to look at the whole thing objectively.

    But since you don't want to do that, you can't be objective. And you'll be unable to understand why your premises aren't logically valid, and thus, why your conclusion isn't valid either, even though it seems to make perfect sense to you.

    I could try to debate you further on the relative merits of other religions, and why their key writings and bible-equivalents are just as solid/consistent/etc… as that of christianity, but you just wouldn't understand.

    It's like the main character trying to explain what "acting" is to the aliens in Galaxy quest. Whereupon the big baddy explains "he doesn't understand, explain it like you would to a child". That doesn't mean the aliens were children, or unintelligent, just that they didn't have the cultural equivalent and couldn't grasp the concept.

    You believe in the bible because you believe in god.

    You believe in god because you believe in the bible.

    The thing that you don't grasp is that once you don't believe god to be real, you don't need to believe the bible to be real either.

    And once you're there, the floodgates are open.

    Suddenly, arguments on whether the bible is right or not are irrelevant, because you can see them as just being things you believed in because you didn't know what else to think. Hell doesn't scare us because we don't believe in its existence. And god's wrath doesn't scare us either, because we don't believe in his existence, and so it's all irrelevant scaremongering designed to keep the faithful from losing that faith.

    The very fact that you seem convinced that what we're saying is all incoherent, drug-induced, mad rambling only confirms the fact that you are just thinking on an entirely different level than we are (and that level is not necessarily higher OR lower).

    We understand why YOU believe the things you do, and why you are so obsessed with defending them against criticism.

    You have however clearly shown you don't understand why people in other parts of the world believe the things THEY believe.

    You also don't get why WE don't believe the things you do, and why this criticism isn't mean-spirited, or even intended bad, but just a debate about the weak spots of the bible and christian philosophy.

  369. Profile photo of exarch
    January 29, 2008 at 9:36 am —

    I'm gonna try and discuss these other religions anyway. Hopefully, some of it will stick.

    urblind wrote:

    Well if you want to be technical, Buddism and Taoism is not religion anyway, its more of a life philosophy. They don’t believe in God, rather they believe in spirit and nature and achieving a state of peace called nirvana or nothingness…they worship no one.

    You can't change the definition of the word "religion" just so you can exclude one of the largest competitors in your popularity vote.

    Just because they don't believe in a god in the same way you do doesn't mean their religion isn't valid, or internally consistent, or capable of explaining the questions we have. even if they appear to have a more atheist view of the world in comparison to christianity.

    They have a creation story just like you do. It may not include an all-powerfull, all-knowing entity, but why do you insist that's a requirement for something that created the universe? You still haven't explained that. Well, not properly anyway. You just copy/pasted some flawed logical proof that only introduced the properties of intelligence and omnipotence to be able to have god as the conclusion.

    For that matter, your main argument against the big bang seems to be "something can't appear out of nothing". But you just base that assumption on your own inability to understand.

    In fact, I think science only says there needs to be balance. For ever action there's an equal and opposite reaction. For every plus a minus. Science says nothing about how big that plus or that minus can be, just that energy can't be created or destroyed because it would disrupt the bamance. So as long as an opposing force is created at the same time, you could theoretically create something out of nothing.

    To take that a step further to its logical conclusion, you can't really PROVE that something can't be created out of nothing, just like we can't prove god DOESN'T exist.

    As far as that's concerned, it really is a 50/50 chance of either of us being right.

    However, it's everything else that follows that makes our side of the story more consistent with observed reality, while your creation myth is more consistent with the universe as it was observed and interpreted by people living 2000 years ago.

    Based on your belief in christianity, you presume a number of requirements that really aren't needed to explain how the universe and this planet came to be the way they are. And you make these assumptions because christianity and god are the answers you want to hear. Like convoluting a question in such a way that it really doesn't answer anything any more. Or to put it more clearly, your question essentially boils down to:

    "Supposing it takes an all-powerfull, all-knowing entity to create a universe, what do you think it is that created our universe?"

    Do you see why that question is nonsense?

    Do you realize you are making these assumptions?

    Are you willing to entertain the notion that they may be baseless assumptions?

  370. Profile photo of urblind
    January 29, 2008 at 9:46 am —

    You can’t change the definition of the word “religion” just so you can exclude one of the largest competitors in your popularity vote.

    Ok……the online dictionary gives this definition:

    re·li·gion (rĭ-lĭj'ən) Pronunciation Key

    n.

    Belief in and reverence for a supernatural power or powers regarded as creator and governor of the universe.

    So yes…I was right…..quit arguing with me.

    For that matter, your main argument against the big bang seems to be “something can’t appear out of nothing”. But you just base that assumption on your own inability to understand.

    In fact, I think science only says there needs to be balance. For ever action there’s an equal and opposite reaction. For every plus a minus. Science says nothing about how big that plus or that minus can be, just that energy can’t be created or destroyed because it would disrupt the bamance. So as long as an opposing force is created at the same time, you could theoretically create something out of nothing.

    Think exarxh!!! You have to have energy to create that action…there is no way around it!

    Keep trying.

  371. Profile photo of urblind
    January 29, 2008 at 9:50 am —

    Heres a few more in case your still to slow to understand:

    World net:noun

    1. a strong belief in a supernatural power or powers that control human destiny; "he lost his faith but not his morality"

    2. an institution to express belief in a divine power; "he was raised in the Baptist religion

    K.E.M dictionary:

    a belief in, or the worship of, a god or gods

    Looks like Buddism or taoism is excluded from these definitions?

    Philosophy or a way of life isnt technically religion!…….try again lil exarch!