When can God take a life?

Skeptics and Atheists aside, most people can accept — even if they don’t like it — that God takes life.  When it comes to our loved ones, it doesn’t matter how much time we had with them, we could have — should have — had more.  But when it comes to life and death, some causes of death we seem to be more willing or able to accept.  Disease, old age, sometimes even accidents.  What is more difficult is when someone’s life is, in our opinion, cut short.  We deem these deaths to be premature or perhaps senseless.  In our grief we are convinced that it was too soon, that maybe God shouldn’t have allowed it to happen.  As the Author of life and death, doesn’t God have the right to give and take life as He chooses?

Skeptics usually have a problem with the Old Testament accounts of God commanding the Israelites to destroy whole nationss because of their alleged depravity.  It seems God is ordering the slaughter of innocents.  Is every man, woman and child in those societies really so evil that the only remedy is to kill them all?  One might be able to argue that the men were deserving of such wrath, but the women and children could too?  To these people, it seems that God either kills or orders the killing of countless (innocent?) people.  It gives them the impression that God just doesn’t like to play by His own rules.

Those who object to God’s commands to Israel to wipe out nations do so from a point of view that is not God’s — obviously.  There is a tendency to bring God down to our perspective as if H were just one of us.  We view the people of the destroyed nations as defendants in a court of law, and perhaps God is like a judge.  They appear to be presumed innocent (until proven guilty to us).  Skeptics implicitly argue that unless we see a proper justification for God ordering their death, God is not justified in taking lives.  They don’t even consider as a possibility that there are undetected crimes for which those nations can be punished.  However, there is no statute of limitations with God.  We have a running tally that never expires, and our card can be pulled when ever God decides.  So even when we aren’t made aware of the reason, or whether it is justified to our satisfaction, we shouldn’t be surprised that the judgement may look warrantless.  We are simply not in a position to know the reason or justification.

Wait a minute.  Didn’t God tell us not to kill?  Doesn’t He have to live up to His commandment to us, you shall not kill?  My biggest gripe on this issue is how skeptics love to use the King James Version of the Bible whenever possible, since it presents the most opportunities to pigeonhole the Christian into accepting a 17th century Old English rendering of the language.  The commandment Thou shalt not kill has since been (rightly) rendered to you should not murder in most modern translations.  The change is not self-serving or special pleading either.  Simply review the definition and usage of the Hebrew word Ratsach.

But so what if God orders the destruction of innocents?  Would it change anything if we really were innocent?  What of the commandment, to us, not to murder (or kill)?

As noted above, the skeptic wrongly sees God in a position like that of an elected legislator — who are peers of those whom they legislate, ontologically speaking.  However, God isn’t our peer because He is the Creator.  Because of His position, he occupies an authority over us that no peer does.  If someone builds machines which can perform certain tasks, they can be turned off or dismantled for any or no reason at all, can’t they?  The machines couldn’t rightly protest that they were being turned off, or even if programmed to turn other machines off.  They are not the builder’s equal, ontologically.  Similarly, God’s command to not murder applies to us, not Him.  We cannot take it into our own hands to murder one another.  God, being the Maker, can turn us off at any time, in any manner He sees fit. The skeptic is refusing to acknowledge, recognize, and accept the position of the Creator and the authority and rightful privilege that position holds.

This directly speaks to the “genocides” God ordered in the Old Testament at the hand of Israel.  If God can take life, it doesn’t matter the vehicle He chooses to use.  The skeptic has to make too many unsubstantiated presumptions in order to deny that the order to wipe out a nation is morally justified.  There must be a presumption of innocence, which will skewed if the skeptic sees God as one of us, and if people are judged by our moral standard and not God’s.  There must also be a presumption of authoritative standing.  The skeptic must also presume that God doesn’t have the moral right to do with His creation as He sees fit.

So whether God chooses to take life by disease, accident, or even by the hand of another person, He, as Creator, has the moral right to do so.

Comments

  1. In order for your premise of “Well he’s the creator, and therefore has authority over me” to work, you yourself must tackle your own many unsubstantiated presumptions in order to conjure up such heinous apologetics.How exactly do you know that the israelites were commanded to do what they did?

    Essentially you have said that because he is your god, he can do no wrong, I am subjugated and proud, my master is perfect. In spite of the outcomes.

    A lot of people under Stalin and Pol Pot, Jim Jones said the same thing.

    How do you feel about the people in your church or other christians praying for the remission of cancer in yourself, wife, or child? Do you feel as if they shouldn’t because your child’s cancer is part of your gods divine plan?

    • Nash

      Good to see you again. The commands given to Israel weren’t given in a vacuum. There had already been confirmation offered to them that God was real, ie, various miracles through Prophets. It wasn’t just a random voice with no background foundation.

      There’s nothing wrong with praying for healing or whatever. Ultimately everything should bring you closer to God. Though many, maybe even most, people would distance themselves from God over the death of a child. But we should, even though it might be difficult, use it to come closer to God.

  2. Obviously, this is not a new topic of discussion for some of us. The real point of concern about how we view these stories is how it impacts our understanding of the nature of God and thus our entire point of view regarding good and evil and what is or is not permissible for us. And indeed, the question of what is evil and how it came to be regarded as evil also comes into play.

    There are those who would insist that evil is a matter of harm and that what God has said is sinful can be obvious because of the harm that might be attached to the act labeled “sinful”. Such people would say, then, that violence is evil because of the harm it can deliver to a person. But this is ridiculous unless one is dealing with a very narrow and specific definition of “violence” that has no relation to intention. “Violence” isn’t a evil, it’s a description. Not everything violent is evil, even when purposely perpetuated. If a cop purposely tackles a thief in order to apprehend the thief and bring him to justice, that is a violent act, but not an evil one. If the thief tackles a victim in order to steal from the victim, that is a violent act AND an evil one. The violence wasn’t evil, the purpose for engaging in violence was.

    With this in mind, we look to God to ponder His intention in using violent means to achieve His ends. If Scripture gave no hint as to why he would send storms, plagues or His chosen people to end the lives of others, we could assume any intention. The question is then to justify the assumption based on what Scripture does reveal about His nature. As Scripture speaks of a just, holy and loving God, then we cannot justifiably assume that His intentions in taking lives could ever be evil, malevolent, unjust or unloving.

    In a sense, as God did not create our bodies to be immortal or indestructible, He immediately is the reason we die regardless of how our lives end. That is, when we die, it is because He took us. If a crook murders us, God ended our lives, just as if the reason was cancer. The crook may have had evil intentions, but God’s intentions in using the evil murderer does not make God evil for taking us in that manner.

  3. paynehollow says:

    I think you are making some unsupported and unsupportable claims, John:

    most people can accept — even if they don’t like it — that God takes life.

    Source? I don’t know that it’s a given that either 1. Most people accepts that God “takes life…” or, 2. That God “takes life…” Is this simply your observation, not something you have support for?

    Those who object to God’s commands to Israel to wipe out nations do so from a point of view that is not God’s — obviously.

    WTF? “Obviously…” says who? Are you speaking on God’s behalf now?

    Can you see that you are begging the question. You are stating, on God’s behalf, what God’s view is “obviously…” but that is the exact question that needs to be answered first. IS there a God? If so, DOES this god “obviously” hold the opinion that you are assigning this deity?

    What is your source for this claim? Or is it just another one of your hunches that you can not and will not support?

    There are two big holes right off.

    Out of time…

    ~Dan

    • Dan, maybe the cult you’re in its not obvious that God is the giver and taker of life. But to others who read the bible, it’s explicit.

      No one can give YOU proof because every explicit passage that says so you reject as either hyperbole or the author’s mistaken attribution. You won’t accept any citation.

  4. As an artist myself, I think a lot can be said for the God-is-creator-and-we-are-not explanation, unsatisfying as that is to skeptics. Think about it though. If I make an elaborate drawing, I alone have the right to rip it to shreds, if and whenever I please. Furthermore, I would not owe an explanation to anyone. If someone else were to break into my house and destroy my creations without my express, permission, no one would blame me if I pressed charges. That’s why comparing the taking of lives alleged in the O.T. to brutal dictators like Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot is so intellectually vacant. Those guys’ actions were analogous to someone assigning themselves the right to destroy my art, whereas God’s actions in the O.T. were analogous to me destroying my own creations. That explanation is emotionally troubling, even to me. But I don’t see anything logically or morally suspect about it.

  5. paynehollow says:

    mmmike…

    Think about it though. If I make an elaborate drawing, I alone have the right to rip it to shreds, if and whenever I please.

    If you compare God to an artist, creating non-sentient art, perhaps. But in this case, God the Parent makes more sense. And if you created a child, you would not have the moral freedom to destroy that child.

    Fair enough.

    John…

    But to others who read the bible, it’s explicit.

    So, that’s a “No, I can NOT provide any data to support this, it is just my unprovable opinion… I do not speak for God on this point…”?

    Fair enough. You are welcome to your unprovable opinions.

    ~Dan

    • What difference does sentience make? Parents and children are ontologically equals. There is a difference in nature between God and his creation. We haven’t created our children in the same way God created us.

      And you’re right, I already admitted that no proof can be given to YOU, Dan, because of the way you view scripture. Any explicit passages you dismiss for any number of convenience reasons. Regular people not entrenched in a cult understand just fine.

  6. God speaking about Himself:

    “Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been declared to you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is He who sits above the vault of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, who stretches out the heavens like a curtain and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in. He it is who reduces rulers to nothing, who makes the judges of the earth meaningless. Scarcely have they been planted, scarcely have they been sown, scarcely has their stock taken root in the earth, but He merely blows on them, and they wither, and the storm carries them away like stubble. “To whom then will you liken Me that I should be his equal?” says the Holy One.”(Isa. 40:21-25)

    We are like “grasshoppers”? This analogy clearly separates Him from us in terms of Creator vs created.

    But Dan prefers to liken God to a buddy, one of the guys, and not the Supreme Being that has created us only in His image and likeness, not as an equal. He is referred to as the “author of life” and I think that’s a bit more accurate than an artist, because the characters in a novel are put forth as living beings. The author dictates the events of the characters’ lives as God does in reality. The author, as creator of the universe depicted in his novels, determines who lives, who dies and how.

    Still, Dan would project onto God expectations that are not Biblical (nor appropriate for a person to project in the first place lacking authority to do so). He expects that God should act according to mandates bestowed upon us, for us by Him. In this way, Dan’s preferred analogy still conflicts with his preferred understanding. A father mandates bedtime for his child while not holding himself to that mandate. God forbids our taking of life on our own initiative, but is fully within His authority to call upon us (should He so desire, as He did so often with the armies of the Israelites) to take life on his behalf. Again, it is like a father allowing his child a treat, while denying the child the license to take a treat anytime the child wants one. God, like a human father, has authority and license to do as He pleases. We, like the child, do not. God, like a human father, cannot be judged by us for His decisions and decrees, just as the child has no standing in judging the rules and orders of the father.

  7. most people can accept — even if they don’t like it — that God takes life.

    What a load of steaming Talking Donkey Turds. Hilarious. This is the diatribe of the truly indoctrinated – and in certain cases would be considered quite a dangerous belief to hold.
    That Atheists and Skeptics do not accept this garbage does not for one second abrogate your responsibility to demonstrate the veracity of your claim that a god, (let alone the one you personally genuflect to) capable of taking life exists.
    So ..any time you feel up to this particular task, I’m all ears.

    I must say, this looks like it could turn out to be one of your more amusing posts, John. Oh, why don’t you pop over to Reasonable Faith and ask WLC for his opinion. lol!

    • So Ark, you ask me to offer a justification for God ordering the killing of nations, I do that, and you complain that the post isn’t proving God exists.

      So officially you’re a troll, apparently.

      • A troll? Really? Well, rather that than the sick individual that would defend this crap, even knowing full well that the Pentateuch is demonstrably fiction.

        • There you are trolling again. You asked for this post, I give it to you, then you say you refuse to discuss it?

          Then even further confirmation of your trolling, you say the Pentateuch is demonstrably false, without demonstrating it.

          You’re a joke. You’re juvinile. And you’re not as smart and clever as you think. Feel free to stay and comment here, but you’re worthless to entertain. I won’t be responding very often to you.

          • Where have I said I refuse to discuss it?
            The Pentateuch fiction and the archaeological evidence has shown this to be the case.

            How many more times must I reference the top archaeologist in the field?

            How many more times must I ask you to present one archaeologist with evidence to back the biblical claims?

    • Ark believes he has the capacity for debating William Lane Craig, or the intelligence to even understand him. Talk about “LOL”!

      • I wouldn’t entertain the slightest notion of ever having a conversation on this topic with this man who because of his support of DCT is a an absolute plonker of the first degree.My skin crawls just thinking about him.

        • Yet no argument for what might be wrong with DCT, as if you could present one.

          • What’s wrong with it?

            Good heavens, you really are a churl, aren’t you Marshall, and as childish as they come.

            Why must I continually speculate on the ridiculous?
            Firstly, the Pentateuch is now regarded as fiction.
            Furthermore, if such an action happened today we would condemn the perpetrator outright and execute them or lock them away and throw away the key.
            Thank goodness nobody is insane enough to do such a thing… oh …wait a moment!

            The Inquisition, The Crusades, and 9/11 suddenly spring t mind. .. And all (claimed to be) backed by your god.

            Now tell me, Marshal, how do we regard these actions?
            With beaming self-righteous smiles. In others, with embarrassment and some sort of feeble justification or apology as ” that was all history” or – depending on one’s faith/religion – anathema.

            Goodness me, I am genuinely surprised you are unaware of such events.

            I am also saddened by the thought that you may have been allowed into the gene pool ; even if just to paddle in the shallow end.
            If you have been, then this is a real travesty.
            Maybe any offspring you produce will have the sense and opportunity to run away as soon as possible?
            We can but hope, right?

            Truly you are one of the saddest – and possibly even mentally unstable – religious people I have encountered.
            You really need help. And I mean that without a trace of sarcasm.

  8. paynehollow says:

    John…

    So even when we aren’t made aware of the reason, or whether it is justified to our satisfaction, we shouldn’t be surprised that the judgement may look warrantless. We are simply not in a position to know the reason or justification.

    So, what IS the justification for killing hundreds…? thousands…? (not sure of the size) of Amalekite children, say, under the age of 4? What crimes were they guilty of that justified being slaughtered?

    You have not answered the question: What IS the justification.

    It APPEARS that your answer is, “God is God and can do whatever God wants… nothing is immoral for God, and nothing is immoral for God to command us to do. IF God commands that we rape all the children of Palestine, then it would be a GOOD THING TO DO THAT…” Is that your answer? If so, where is the justification? That there IS no justification? God is a god of whimsy and amorality (ie, whatever this god says is moral – and it may change! – is moral…)? THAT’s your defense?

    (NOTE: I’m asking the questions, not charging you with this position. I’m saying that this is what it appears you are saying, and asking for clarification.)

    ~Dan

    • The bible already says rape is wrong. The bible says murder is wrong. There’s a difference between killing and murder. If God told Israel to kill, he does have a morally justified reason, it’s not arbitrary.

      If you injured your elbow to such a degree that your arm needs to be amputated, would you say, “but my fingers and hand isn’t injured, don’t amputate them”? No, you wouldnt. Those nations were so morally corrupt that God said they all need to go.

    • Regardless of Dan’s irrational and unreasonable hypotheticals, every possibility of mandate from God is definitionally moral. Whatever Dan can conjure in his twisted mind to make that fact seem outrageous, his outrageous examples only serve to demonstrate his own shortcomings in his positions regarding the nature of God. So I will spell it out for him, and then we can watch him take the issue on a tangent based upon my answer to his ridiculous hypothetical.

      If God commanded us to do the most despicable thing one can imagine, no matter how heinous were we to feel compelled on our own to so, it would be a moral act because God ordered us to do it because He is moral and His reasons for the command might not be fathomable to us. There, Dan. Pretend that means something we don’t believe, such as that we believe God would actually order us to rape babies and then eat them alive.

      As to the question “what would be the justification?”, I think it is blatantly clear that our argument insists that we are not obliged to understand when understanding is beyond us. Therefor, the question is idiotic and provocative. Scripture teaches of the vast chasm between our minds and God’s mind and the His ways are indeed beyond our understanding. So why continue to ask what we insist is an unanswerable question as if you would even accept the response were one give?

  9. Dan,

    The simple answer to your question (a position you’ve actually agreed with and espoused in the past) is that God is God and we are not. Who are any of us (except Ark) to pass judgement on God?

  10. paynehollow says:

    Who are we to question this god as described by you?

    1. We are rational people with a sense of morality about us – imperfect, but certainly there (indeed, many would argue that this sense of morality about us is an argument for a creator god in the sense you and I understand God).

    2. As a rational people, we are able to recognize inconsistencies in reasoning.

    3. As a moral people who can reason, we can reasonably ask: Does this god you describe indeed command people to do what would otherwise be “sin” of the worst sort? If so, then doesn’t that god command us to sin? But doesn’t this same god as described by you (in your holy texts) also say that god WON’T command us to sin? Then isn’t that internally inconsistent?

    WHO are we to question this god you describe? We are moral, reasoning beings who are OBLIGED to question immoral acts of the sort you ascribe to your god.

    If another faith system assured you that there god demanded child sacrifice, would you question that god or would you simply shrug your shoulders and say, “Well, who are WE to question this god…”?

    The answer to that question is the same as the answer to my question (given a moral, reasonable response): HELL YES, we should question that god.

    Am I right?

    ~Dan

    • Dan, as a professing Christian, are you disputing the statement: “God can do with his creation as he pleases” is true?

    • Dan,
      I have no problem with the notion of questioning God. I do wonder if presuming the answer is a good strategy though.

      It seems you are saying with an incredibly high degree of certainty, that it is objectively true that God will not command His people to do things that you (Dan) consider to be atrocities. It seems as though you are on the one hand acknowledging that God is totally sovereign, while on the other hand trying to limit God.s sovereignty to fit your concept of right and wrong.

      I would hope that you are not, but it sure seems like you are.

      • He definitely is, Craig. He cannot worship a God that does not live on Dan Trabue’s terms. All the while, he cannot provide any Scriptural support for supposing that God commands anything without a good and just reason, or that there is support for insisting that we must be able to understand God’s reasoning. If God isn’t the hippie-kumbaya being he needs Him to be, then Dan refers to Him with a lower-case “g” as if he truly honors Him by doing so.

    • Dan,

      You’d wet yourself before even daring to speak to God, much less question His authority and commands.

  11. paynehollow says:

    No, I’m disputing the notion that God will command God’s creation to commit atrocities.

    There is a direct answer to your question, John. Please return the favor:

    IF a fella said, “My god commands people to sacrifice the first born…” do you think that this god is not to be questioned (he IS, after all, a “god…”), OR do you agree with me that this sort of god SHOULD be questioned – and his followers – because it is an evil thing this person is ascribing to their god?

    ~Dan

    • I guess if we’re going to be more clear, what you actually dispute is that when the bible says something that goes against YOUR sensibility, your sensibility wins.

      Christians, on the other hand, let the bible shape their sensibility.

      • John,

        I’m sure you agree that while Dan did provide a direct answer, the answer was to a different question than the one you asked, right?

        • Lol, yes, in usual fashion, he answered the question “does God have the moral right to command peiple to commit atrocities” instead of “does God have the moral right to do with his creation as he pleases”.

  12. I’m sure it was simply an honest misunderstanding, and that he’ll adjust his response promptly and graciously.

    • More likely is that he will just respond by saying the question I posed was just my interpretation of the question that I asked, and that honest folk can interpret it differently.

  13. paynehollow says:

    Don’t like my first answer (funny that you all complain about the answer, given that John didn’t even TRY to answer my question…)? No problem. Here’s the question again:

    are you disputing the statement: “God can do with his creation as he pleases” is true?

    More directly to the exact question:

    A “god” by nature of being a god, CAN do anything that god wants to do. You might expect an evil god to do evil things as that god pleases, and a good god to do good things as that god pleases. But the exact question is moot, if an all powerful god exists. A god CAN do anything that god pleases, by definition of being a god (or, to be more exact yet: by nature of being an omnipotent god.)

    So that is the literal and very direct answer to that question.

    I thought the point of the question (as it relates to this post) was: Can we expect a good God to command evil acts and do evil acts? The answer to that question is: No, a good God would not do evil, nor would a good God command evil. That some believers have a god that they say is good but who commands evil indicates a break in simple moral reasoning.

    Craig…

    I have no problem with the notion of questioning God. I do wonder if presuming the answer is a good strategy though.

    Indeed, if Cthulu, the Destroyer of Words is the “true god,” then questioning his evil acts or evil commands may VERY WELL be unwise, IF one is more concerned about their life than justice or morality or goodness.

    I’d posit that moral people would stand for the good and against evil, even if it meant an early destruction by an evil god. What would you suggest people do in the face of an evil god, commanding evil acts?

    Craig…

    It seems as though you are on the one hand acknowledging that God is totally sovereign, while on the other hand trying to limit God.s sovereignty to fit your concept of right and wrong.

    There are not “concepts” of right and wrong. There is only Right and Wrong.

    If I hold that it is morally wrong to kill a baby, or a whole town of babies, I do not hold that position as a whim, but because killing babies is a bad thing to do and all reasonable people with a God-given (if you are inclined to believe in God) sense of morality innate within would agree on the point. It isn’t “Dan’s concept of right and wrong.” It is simply Right and Wrong.

    You seem to be positing a world of whimsical morality where each person chooses what is right and wrong for themselves, is that your point? Funny, given how often you all charge the “liberals” with doing exactly that.

    You see, the problem is that your collective approach appears to collapse under its own internal inconsistencies.

    IF “right and wrong” are not objective, but simply the whimsical command of a god, then ANY god can command ANY behavior and it isn’t wrong innately. Chthulu might command you to rape all the puppies in Detroit and you’d comply presumably because a god commanded it and who are WE to question a god’s command?

    How about it, Craig, I’ll post to you the same question John dodged:

    IF a fella said, “My god commands people to sacrifice the first born…” do you think that this god is not to be questioned (he IS, after all, a “god…”), OR do you agree with me that this sort of god SHOULD be questioned – and his followers – because it is an evil thing this person is ascribing to their god?

    IF you agree that such a god is to be questioned, then we are all on the same page on the point.

    IF you think, “Well, if it’s a god, it’s beyond questioning, because… GOD…” then your belief would seem to hold true whichever god is commanding the evil acts.

    Your answer?

    ~Dan

    • Dan, you’re presuming the ordering the killing of peoples is an evil thing. I don’t think an evil God could even exist. But you’re starting with your conclusion built into your question.

      You can’t just say “it’s obvious”, either. Can you articulate that God using Israel to be the vehicle with which He metes out punishment on a sinful nation is itself evil?

    • Dan,

      Since you’ve just agreed that God is God and He can do what he wants, it seems the rest of your comment is superfluous. Unless, you are saying that God is God and He can do what He wants, except…

      As John pointed out, your presumptions are problematic. You have not established by any reasonable evidential standard (note, I’m not asking for objective incontrovertible evidence, you would but I won’t), that A) All killing is evil, and B) That your standard of innocence is God’s standard of innocence (don’t bother with the “standard English language definition response, unless you have proof that God is obligated to use the standard English language definition. Or if you have proof that you can demonstrate what criteria God uses to determine innocence or guilt). Until you can take your preconceptions out of l=play, it will be tough to address your points.

      As far as the “good god”, “evil god” crap, unless we’re dealing with some polytheistic religion you’ve converted to, I’ll pass on any further response, it’s silly. The whole “made up” god thing just dodges the issue raised in the post. If the post was about doing what some random “fella” tells you his “god” says, then you’d have a point. Unfortunately, it’s not and you don’t. The only God who’s characteristics concern me is the God who is revealed in the Bible.

      As far as your question is concerned, if “a fella” told me that “his god” commanded anything, I’d question him. I rarely obey what some random “fella” might say about the god he might worship.

      Boy, that was a tough one. It is not, however, analogous to the point John is making in the post. Which, combined with your preconceptions becomes somewhat problematic.

  14. paynehollow says:

    John, let me make something plain: IF you think a god has commanded you to go kill all the children and babies in your town and IF you do so, THAT is evil. YES, I – along with all moral sentient beings – am willing to call that behavior evil. That is a presumption and, I think, an exceedingly rational presumption.

    Are you NOT willing to call it evil?

    If not, shame on you. Your god has led you to abandon even basic morality. If not, then you are demonstrating an ass-backward and upside down view of the Bible as it relates to morality.

    ~Dan

    • Dan, your problem is you’re not making any delineation between me (someone) merely thinking God told them to, and the actual God of the universe directly making the command.

      But there is no reason for me today to think God would. In the OT there was a reason God would have Israel do that. And shame on you for not being honest enough to make the distinctions.

  15. paynehollow says:

    Oh, what is the “reason” your god in the OT would do that, but would not do it today? What is your evidence for that? Or is it just another unsupported guess on your part?

    I’m fine with unsupported guesses, just trying to be clear.

    And, “shame on ME…” I’M not the one making the nutty-sounding claim that sometimes good gods command people to destroy a town or nation’s worth of babies. I’m just responding to your comments, based on your words. It’s why I ask questions, to let you clarify, there is no dishonesty on my part.

    ~Dan

    • It says the reason was to take back the land that was stolen from them, as well as the vast deeply rooted unspeakable sin. It was a judgement on those peoples.

      But aside from that, as I argue in the post, God wouldn’t need a reason. Just like Mike wouldn’t need a reason to destroy his painting, and I wouldn’t need a reason to dismantle my machines. In the OT God gave his reasons. You dismiss it all as hyperbole and myth, but it’s there and you’re burying your head because your personal sensibilities trump the Scriptures.

      • John,
        As you pointed out earlier, there are plenty of reasons recorded in the OT regarding why God did what He did. Unfortunately, as long as Dan summarily dismisses things on a somewhat whimsical and random basis, I see no point in presenting any of that.

        • First, I’d always assumed that with Dan’s insistence on calling everyone “brother” that he worshiped the same God as the rest of us, I guess since he’s officially decided it’s “your god”, that’s no longer the case.

          Second, I’m not sure how seriously to take Dan as he seems to have trouble understanding that God making certain specific commands at certain specific times and places from, doesn’t mean that anyone thinks those commands are universal.

          Third, for someone who is usually quick to hide behind “it’s my opinion” and “you don’t speak for God”, Dan is pretty free in laying out the “facts” and speaking for God here.

  16. paynehollow says:

    And how much land did the babies steal from Israel, John? How exactly and specifically were the 1 year olds involved in deeply rooted unspeakable sin? You say “God gave reasons…” provide the data.

    OR, is it the fact (as I know it to be) that God has NEVER ONCE told you that you should kill babies, or that God commanded Israel to do so, much less has God given you any reason for killing babies en masse?

    You are welcome to believe that sometimes, a supposedly good god commands people to do these horrible crimes, just don’t insist that anyone else ought to find that anything but a horror. Just as you would, if someone claiming to be working on behalf of Chthulu started committing atrocities in his name.

    You recognize the horror when done in the name of other, lesser or even fake gods, but you defend it in your own god. Irony, much?

    ~Dan

    • “OR, is it the fact (as I know it to be) that God has NEVER ONCE told you that you should kill babies”

      Please Dan. I beseech you. Do not continue to pretend that anyone is making this argument but yourself. NO ONE on this side of the issue has EVER suggested that God ever mandated we should kill babies. Get it? Can you try to be honest and not bear false witness, or is bearing false witness denied only us and not you?

      “…or that God commanded Israel to do so, much less has God given you any reason for killing babies en masse?”

      Except that the Book of Truths has indeed stated that this is so as well as having provided those reasons. Stealing land was never given as the sole reason, or even the most important reason why God decided that these people must go. Again, try what is known as “honesty” in discourse.

      “You are welcome to believe that sometimes, a supposedly good god commands people to do these horrible crimes…”

      Again, after repeated appeals you continue to misrepresent our position. Apparently that “epic writing style” of the OT authors relieves you of your obligation to avoid lying. We believe that God told the ancient Hebrews to annihilate various specific peoples, but no others since then. These actions appear to contemporary people as “horrible crimes” out of a sense of emotion-based reasoning, but not with regard to the context of the times, nor with any regard for the authority, justice and sovereignty of God.

      “Just as you would, if someone claiming to be working on behalf of Chthulu started committing atrocities in his name.”

      That’s because, unlike yourself, we know there is only one God, and His name is not “Chthulu”.

      “You recognize the horror when done in the name of other, lesser or even fake gods, but you defend it in your own god. Irony, much?”

      Not much at all, king of irony. We do indeed recognize the horror of war and the implication and impact of the mandates of God to Israel to annihilate various specific peoples. We defend GOD’S (not “our own ‘god'”) authority to do with His creation what He chooses based on HIS notions of love and justice, not on how those notions seem to us to be. We are not so arrogant as to dictate to God what is permissible for Him to do, or that we can know why He might want to do anything.

      I don’t know who you worship, Dan. But it is NOT the God of Scripture.

    • “OR, is it the fact (as I know it to be) that God has NEVER ONCE told you that you should kill babies, or that God commanded Israel to do so, much less has God given you any reason for killing babies en masse?”

      1. It is completely impossible for you (Dan) to know to any degree of factualness what God has or has not told anyone. This is simply reality.

      2. I assume that you are asserting that it is a fact (sorry your sentence of poorly worded), that God never ever not even one time could have possibly commanded Israel to kill those God commanded. Once again, to use your own standard of “objective evidence”, you are unable to demonstrate that your assertion is factual. Certainly not objectively factual.

      3. Your continued insistence that anyone is suggesting that God would give anyone living now a command to kill babies en masse, has been refuted so often that the fact that you continue to trot it out is tantamount to lying. Please don’t project your inability to understand that some of God’s commands were given to specific people at specific times on us.

  17. Where the utter nonsense of this whole sordid biblical tale lies, is in the fact that this god,Yahweh, is all powerful and yet requires puny humans to carry out his will: the genocidal campaign against the Canaanites. And yes, because it is in the bible, the moronic biblical innerentists never question it. Never say : Hold on just a damn moment, there, Pilgrim. If the god, Yahweh, could annihilate the entire planet with a flood, could turn Lot’s wife into a pillar of condiment why the hell did he require a bunch of illiterate Wandering Israelites to butcher to the last child a nation of people simply because they were deemed ”evil” – for any given value of evil of course. (And to be frank, Manson seems less evil than some of those in Joshua’s army)

    In fact, the answer is quite simple – aside from the fact it is all fiction of course) if the biblical innerantist questions just one aspect then he might be required to question it all. And when this happens the questioner is liable to move from Fundamentalist to liberal to atheist.
    So , of course, even a dimwit like Marshal will accept that the Donkey did talk!

    Now, to my mind the only True>/em> Christian ( while verging on having a diagnosable mental illness) is the evangelical apologist; the Young Earth Creationist type who reads and accepts the bible verbatim.

    The rest of you simply make it up to suit yourselves – a bunch of cherry-picking hypocrites of the very worst order.

    • God doesn’t require puny humans to carry out his will. He simply struck Annanias dead, for example. Don’t blame God because you can’t comprehend the theology and words in the bible. Granted, it’s not a coloring book, but you should be able to get it if you actually read it and didn’t just quote – mine off references from other atheist blogs.

      • Lol…the dickhead apologist response as usual.
        Come on , John.
        You know I don’t believe in gods, yours or anyone else’s so to blame something on something I don’t believe is risible.

        Oh, and I understand the theology.
        Quote mine …lol… and you quote mine from the bible.
        At least some of the sources i use are factual.

        • But none of the sources you use prove anything in the Bible is untrue.

          • Prove?
            Yes it does.
            If you are making a claim then there should be evidence for that claim.
            No a single piece of evidence for the Exodus, or the conquest of Canaan has ever been produced.
            Why should the biblical story be believed?
            Give me one good reason,please

            So far the archaeology in Palestine itself does not fit with pattern of a conquering army.
            If there is nothing to find how is possible to prove it happened?
            All you have is the biblical text which can be shown to be erroneous.
            Are you going to say that it was possible for a donkey to talk?
            Do you believe in the global flood?
            Do you believe in the global re population of the human race from a single extended incestuous family?
            Yes or No?
            If yes, please supply evidence.

            And while we are talking ”evidence” ….
            Do you think that the late Ron Wyatt was actually onto something when he claimed there were chariot wheels on the floor of the red Sea, ( including supposed photographs) or was he simply a charlatan?

            Do you firmly believe that dinosaurs co-with human beings?

  18. paynehollow says:

    Marshall…

    NO ONE on this side of the issue has EVER suggested that God ever mandated we should kill babies. Get it?

    ? Well, sure, I do. And I would not suggest you think that God does mandate you to kill babies. You can tell that I don’t think that by the way I never made the suggestion.

    I do apologize that you are reading things into my words that I didn’t say and reaching a wrong conclusion. I’ll continue to try to write with words that can’t be mistaken.

    No, you do not think that God has commanded you to kill babies. You DO, on the other hand, think that there are times when a “good god” commands/has commanded some people to slaughter a whole city of women, children and babies. Am I correct in re-stating what you have said you believe?

    Craig, read what I wrote to Marshall and apply it to your comments, too. Really, I can’t control what you all read into my words, but AGAIN, if you can’t understand my words written by a historical contemporary in your own language, shouldn’t that suggest to you that you not be so bold about any claims to understanding the Bible?

    ~Dan

    • “And I would not suggest you think that God does mandate you to kill babies. You can tell that I don’t think that by the way I never made the suggestion.”

      So what are we to infer by the following?

      “OR, is it the fact (as I know it to be) that God has NEVER ONCE told you that you should kill babies”

      Why would anyone say such a thing who did not believe or suggest that another was taking that position? What is the point of bringing it up?

      “You DO, on the other hand, think that there are times when a “good god” commands/has commanded some people to slaughter a whole city of women, children and babies.”

      Dan. We are NOT so unable to express ourselves clearly as you clearly are. So I’ll say it yet again: We believe, because it is recorded in Scripture, that God (the “God” of the Bible that is the creator of all things…not “a good god” with a lower case “g”…a specific entity that you claim to worship but we actually do)…that God HAS commanded the tribes of ancient Israel to wage wars of annihilation on His behalf, wherein they were to kill everyone. So no, God no longer commands anyone to do such things, hasn’t since ancient times, and we have no reason to suspect He may do so ever again. Is there really any possible way you are not following this very plain and distinct rendering of our position?

  19. paynehollow says:

    Marshall…

    Why would anyone say such a thing who did not believe or suggest that another was taking that position? What is the point of bringing it up?

    To confirm that we DO agree on that point?

    If you read the questions immediately preceding that, you see that I said…

    How exactly and specifically were the 1 year olds involved in deeply rooted unspeakable sin? You say “God gave reasons…” provide the data.

    But, since John won’t provide the data (CAN’T provide the data, since it doesn’t exist), I proffered the OTHER rational option. That God has NOT said that one year olds were involved in deeply rooted unspeakable sins, that God does NOT command us – now or ever – to do evil acts like KILL INNOCENT CHILDREN.

    NO RATIONAL, MORAL person could agree to that and I don’t think for one second you all do, so I asked the rhetorical question pointing to the ONLY rational answer, the one you must surely agree with.

    THAT is why, Marshall, I ask the questions. It sure as heck isn’t because I’m expecting an answer from John. Answering questions is not his MO, only asking.

    ~Dan

    • “That God has NOT said that one year olds were involved in deeply rooted unspeakable sins, “

      Another point no one has attempted to offer.

      You continue to ask the most inane, irrelevant, NOT clarifying but instead loaded and leading questions no one is required to answer. I will, however, suggest that when you ask such idiotic questions, that those being asked explain that the questions are of the types mentioned above and therefor do not oblige one to answer. No rational moral person would.

  20. paynehollow says:

    Marshall…

    So no, God no longer commands anyone to do such things, hasn’t since ancient times, and we have no reason to suspect He may do so ever again.

    But why would this god you describe NOT do so again? IF this god would tell one group of followers to kill innocent children, why would this god not command another group of followers to do the same thing? As you all are fond of saying, this god’s ways are not our ways and we may not understand them, so according to YOUR reasoning, this god very well may command such a thing, if it’s within his whim.

    I’ll ask you the same question that John has dodged:

    IF a fella said, “My god commands people to sacrifice the first born…” do you think that this god is not to be questioned (he IS, after all, a “god…”), OR do you agree with me that this sort of god SHOULD be questioned – and his followers – because it is an evil thing this person is ascribing to their god?

    Craig responds that he would question a fella who said such a thing. OF COURSE WE WOULD. You know why? Because that kind of claim is batshit crazy.

    The inconsistency on Craig’s part – the hole in his reasoning is: Well, why is it batshit crazy for this other fella’s god, but not your god?

    Tough question, given your desire to defend a god that commands the mass execution of babies. No wonder you all dodge the question and its obvious implications.

    ~Dan

    • What knows dan, maybe he would command it again. But it wouldn’t be to some random person in their house. It would be very clear and unmistakable and given to a nation, after very clear evidence that it was in fact God, and not some hallucinogenic misunderstanding. Which is the point you’re intentionally avoiding.

      • Richard Nash says:

        I asked this above John, and you sort of avoided it yourself.

        How exactly can you be sure of the message delivered to the israelites, was sound, was from your god, etc. There are lots of criteria to be met here, yet how can you be so sure they were met then?

        Would you and your fellow congregants follow such commands right now? What exactly would it take for you to seize control of Americas war machine and wage genocide on anyone else?

        Be specific. Would you accept a message from your preacher/pastor? Would you accept a message from a fundamentalist member of Congress or a President?

        • Nash, I think that’s been answered piecemeal in other comments, but I’ll do it all here for you.

          The commands to the Israelites wasn’t made in a vacuum. There had been years of supernatural confirmation that the person organizing the armies had the authority from God and was speaking for Him. It wasn’t some local church leader than managed to muster up a following.

          As someone pointed out, there is nothing in the OT that suggests this would happen again. For one, there is no more theocratic nation/kingdom of Israel now that the old covenant has been done away with now that we have the new. It’s just not something that should be expected.

          What would it take for me to try to take control? It would take more than my personal private message. God wouldn’t just whisper it to me. There would be solid, witnessed by masses supernatural confirmation that I had been chosen for such an undertaking. This is what I think a lot of people miss. It’s not a private tap on the shoulder. It’s an obvious and unmistakable thing that the masses are witness to. It’s more than a self – proclamation of authority.

          • Richard Nash says:

            Thanks John for that, but I am still wondering about the personal tap on the shoulder metaphor.

            It’s a little hard to digest, considering that an immense number of accounts in the bible are exactly that, personal accounts of this god appropriating a message to a single person. Noah, Moses, and Mary all come to mind, but I think there are a plethora of others.

            And to be clear if you were commanded, in front of a flock/witnesses, to say wipe out Pakistan, you would would kill every last man, woman, and child, or attempt to do so?

            You’ll maybe have to excuse the quality of my incredulous gasping guffaw if you can’t account for how impossibly imperfect this would all seem to anyone not making the same leap of faith, no?

            This mode of communication, the behaviors wrought, and the ensuing results, justified over millennia for such heinous crimes, seems so far from omniscient, omnipotent, and perfect as to suggest such a plan could only be invented, and carried out via the imperfections of man.

            • But Nash, even those “taps on the shoulder” weren’t in isolation. There were supernatural events which preceded, followed, or both that served to confirm those messages were authentic.

              When you ask if I were commanded in front a mass of people, are you also including in the hypothetical that there is an audible command for all to hear, as well as some clear supernatural confirmation as well?

              • Richard Nash says:

                Could you direct me to the non-isolation instances/environments in which these multiple “taps” exist? I actually have no recollection of how Mary for example, was supernaturally prepared for the unique moment she was supposedly a part of. Nor could I consider this perfect.

                Please give me an instance, in which the israelites, other fellow hominids, believers and non-believers alike, were hearing a common voice. It seems like the quality of such an event would be uniquely subjective if only adherents heard or saw something. Would this fly today? Are you suggesting that there are no individual human connections to your god that resulted in their message or actions being disseminated to fellow believers? It seems like the televangelist community is rife, and has been for some time, with personal calls to “take America back”(whatever that means) for instance. But the Bible is as well. I can recall nothing but Noah’s own claim that he was simply commanded. There was no congregation to back up his claim.

                If you heard a voice, and others in your church heard a this voice, and it commanded you to wipe out a Catholic day care center or school, would you do it?

              • I’d have to do some sifting to find the chapter and verse for the instances. If you remember with Mary, for example, no one believed her. Not Joseph (until he had his dream/vision experience) remember he thought about divorcing her. Also people referred to Jesus derisively as the son of Mary also, and not son of Joseph. It wasn’t until Jesus’ ministry which included miracles, that people likely took Mary’s claim seriously.

                As I said earlier, there is no reason for me to think God would command me to go to war with Pakistan. What could be the theological reason? Israel needed to remain “genetically” pure, si to speak which was one justification for the wars. We are in a new covenant and don’t need to keep separate. Those nations’ grave sin was also another reason. What could possibly have happened in the day care that God would ask me to kill them all? Considering the fact that we’re under a new covenant, among other reasons, I would likely presume it was a demonic voice.

        • Nash,

          I would add to John’s comments that it would be likely that whomever is chosen by God would not fail to know Who was choosing. There would be no doubt. Unlike Mohammed, I do not recall that any of the OT prophets thought themselves crazy. They may have doubted God’s choice for a prophet (as Moses didn’t think he was a good choice), but they had no doubt they were being spoken to by God. Now, we must take the passages as they are written, and they clearly indicate there was no doubt about the source of the communication.

          Further, each of these people, as John said, could back up their position via miracles or prophesies coming true exactly as put forth and on cue. So even if others did not hear the communication, they saw proof that what was told them by the prophet was indeed from God.

          Finally, disbelievers will continue to disbelieve regardless of the miraculous proof that would accompany the prophet or his words or actions. Certainly those who are being punished would likely be difficult to persuade until it is too late for them. That others are unable or unwilling to believe that God truly spoke to me or another is irrelevant. It’s often part of the package, in fact.

          • Richard Nash says:

            Marshallart, “Whomever was chosen by god would not fail to know”? I suppose this is the claim that is 100% based on just/only one’s faith based convictions. “There would be no doubt”? This is precisely the type of thinking, and exactly the sort of blind unquestioning faith that allows the taliban to murder children, allows the Olympic bomber to carry out his tasks, and allows clinics to be firebombed. This is the absolutism that, because one cannot question, has historically led to such heinous acts. You offer no evidences, because faith/voices in one’s head cannot be proved, except to one’s self, through devout behaviors/acts.

            “Now, we must take the passages as they are written, and they clearly indicate there was no doubt about the source of the communication”. Again I ask how, and why there is no doubt? Is it because to question the source is a sign of possibly wavering faith? I for one will be questioning said historical passages. You must realize that people are still claiming supernatural command now, right? Are you as dismissive of them as you are of the heretics and apostates?

            This way of viewing the world is only possible because of a devotee’s unyielding blind faith. To the non-believer, it’s schizophrenia.

        • Nash,

          This happens frequently when this issue comes up. So I will ask the clarifying questions:
          Are you referring to one who is actually receiving communications from God, or one who only thinks so? Citing the taliban, the Olympic bomber (?) and those who blow up clinics (I don’t believe any were necessarily believers, though I could be wrong about one of them—there weren’t that many such incidents) is to cite examples of the latter. And again, there does not seem to be any examples of prophets or anyone else, receiving communications from God without some attendant proofs for others with whom that person might be interacting.

          “Again I ask how, and why there is no doubt? Is it because to question the source is a sign of possibly wavering faith?”

          We question all the time. But if we can’t resolve an issue, the worst we will do is put it aside until such time that the issue CAN be resolved in some fashion. But to question and come away with a conclusion that cannot be supported by Scripture is problematic, obviously. What compels such a conclusion except personal bias? But to read Scripture as it is, one can only respond to it as it is regardless of our own notions about the supernatural. What is evident from Scripture is that there is no example of someone acting publicly based on a direct and personal communication without some inevitable proof that he was acting on God’s command. Thus, it isn’t reasonable to suspect it would happen in any other way.

          “You must realize that people are still claiming supernatural command now, right? Are you as dismissive of them as you are of the heretics and apostates?”

          Who are they and how do they defend their revelations as actually supernatural in nature? Do they provide some kind of evidence, some miracle or prophesy that comes true exactly as put forth? Or are they simply saying “God told me”? No one is obliged to take the word of another, even someone one knows personally and has for a long time. And especially if the alleged word from God provokes behaviors unChristian.

          Frankly, I wouldn’t expect the non-believer to believe the person in question without proofs of credibility on the matter. But then, I wouldn’t expect ANYONE to believe the person is actually receiving direct communications from God without some signs or evidence. Without it, it is likely schizophrenia. But on this question, I can only go by the history of such phenomena as described in Scripture.

    • “But why would this god you describe NOT do so again?”

      Again, pay attention to our answers. They are quite clear. We aren’t saying He wouldn’t. We’re saying we have no reason to suspect He ever again will. This is based on Christ’s death and resurrection and anyone who seriously studies Scripture could surmise this as at least a possible, if not THE answer to the lame question.

      “IF a fella said, “My god commands people to sacrifice the first born…” do you think that this god is not to be questioned (he IS, after all, a “god…”),”

      Immediately, and without any undo need for deep consideration, any questioning is of the “fella”. Who is your god? If it isn’t the God of Scripture, it isn’t a real god. If it is, then he would be required to back up his claim with something other than his word, especially given God’s conflicting teachings and commands in Scripture. Simple. Almost as simple as you.

      “The inconsistency on Craig’s part – the hole in his reasoning is: Well, why is it batshit crazy for this other fella’s god, but not your god?

      Tough question, given your desire to defend a god that commands the mass execution of babies. No wonder you all dodge the question and its obvious implications.”

      What’s “batshit crazy” is for one who claims to be devoutly devoted to God assuming God hasn’t covered all the angles regarding the mass execution of a sinful people, including their babies. It is crazy to presume to insist that God regard us as we are to regard each other, as if He is on the same level as we are. It is crazy to presume to understand what God has not revealed about why He did things in the manner in which He did.

      The “obvious implications” to which you refer can only be inferred by one so of the world as to deny God’s supreme authority and sovereignty, as well as His justice and love according to HIS terms. You dare judge His actions according to YOUR terms, based on YOUR twisted understanding of morality. Morality is HIS domain, HIS whim and preference. Nothing is moral or immoral because of how the action impresses us, but how it pleases or offends HIM. Nothing is wrong because YOU find it atrocious. It is wrong because HE says it is.

  21. “The inconsistency on Craig’s part – the hole in his reasoning is: Well, why is it batshit crazy for this other fella’s god, but not your god?”

    Dan, before you suggest inconsistency on my part, try reading my answer again, as you clearly chose not to read the entirety of said response.

  22. @Marshall

    We believe, because it is recorded in Scripture, that God (the “God” of the Bible that is the creator of all things…not “a good god” with a lower case “g”…a specific entity that you claim to worship but we actually do)…that God HAS commanded the tribes of ancient Israel to wage wars of annihilation on His behalf, …

    Marshall, the text in question is Fiction. Are you struggling to come to terms with this?
    Only those who read the bible literally accept there is ANY veracity in these stories.
    Only those so steeped in indoctrination consider there is any historical merit in the Pentateuch.

    Please, I truly wish to understand the mind of one such as you .What makes you believe these horrific tales are true when the majority of the sane world recognizes them for what they are – fiction?

    • “Marshall, the text in question is Fiction.”

      I get that you wish this was true. What I struggle with is your continued insistence as if it is fact and has been proven so without the least bit of evidence for that proof. It has NOT been proven so. All that has been proven is that absolute evidence for its truth has not been found. That’s it. Only those steeped in atheist indoctrination would be so devoid of intellectual honesty as to pretend the lack of absolute proof is proof Scripture is fiction.

      • There is no evidence. It is generally regarded as complete fiction by all except fundamentalists of various stripes who, in themselves, have been unable to provide a single shred of evidence to back the biblical stories.

        And as I have oft said, what archaeological evidence that is available does not match the biblical account in any way shape of form.
        Not a single biblical archaeologist has been able to find one scrap of evidence.

        If you know of one, then please provide a link . Thank you.

  23. Hi Dan,

    You asked, “IF this god would tell one group of followers to kill innocent children, why would this god not command another group of followers to do the same thing?” Because these accounts are DESCRIPTIVE in nature, not PRESCRIPTIVE. There is absolutely no reason to believe that He would command His followers to do something of the kind again because there are prescriptive scriptures that clearly tell us otherwise. If some “fella,” as you put it, were to call on Christians to annihilate unbelievers everywhere, because “god told me,” we would not believe him. Because, as John notes, such a command from God would be CLEAR and IMPOSSIBLE FOR ANYONE TO MISTAKE, as it was for the Israelites in the O.T. Just READ the accounts for crying out loud! God going before them as a pillar of cloud by day and fire by night, delivering strongholds to them by miraculous means, the inhabitants of cities being approached by Israel acknowledging that the Israelites’ God goes before them wherever they go, etc. I don’t care if you don’t believe the accounts such as they are. When you’re debating, you have to represent your opponent’s position accurately in order to refute it. That means taking the accounts of the Israelites’ conquests as true in their entirety, if only for the sake of discussion. Otherwise you’re just knocking down straw men. But I’ve noticed that critics of Christianity are usually unwilling to do this.

    • .That means taking the accounts of the Israelites’ conquests as true in their entirety, if only for the sake of discussion. Otherwise you’re just knocking down straw men. But I’ve noticed that critics of Christianity are usually unwilling to do this.

      This, sadly , is laughable. The stories themselves are fiction, and only one party in the discussion is claiming they are fact.
      How does one have a logical discussion about a pillar of cloud/fire?
      Or argue the merits/veracity of the sun standing still?

      The whole debate hinges on some skewed interpretation of morality; namely that the god, Jesus in his old Yahweh disguise can do what the frig it/he/He likes because he/He created it, thus, he can destroy it. Or command others to destroy for him/ Him simply because he can’t be bothered to get his lazy fat deity arse out of bed and do an honest day’s smiting, wit a side order of baby butchering and the odd but of genocide for desert.

      To have a reasonable discussion on this it is incumbent on those who claim the veracity of the scripture in question to show not only the historical evidence that any of this took place but that there was a god, Yahweh, at the helm.

      Evidence first…

      Otherwise, it is all somewhat silly.

      • Ark, first rule of debate: ridicule is not an argument.

        Even if you think you have no polite obligation to offer any arguments, why is you don’t even for the sake of a polite discussion? Do you really need to feel intellectually superior to us that bad that you just sling condescension and names as your thoughts on any topic?

        I mean, I’m all for having all kinds of views expressed here, but you’re not even doing that. You’re just being intentionally disruptive. I think if you’re honest, you’ll admit, at least to yourself, that I’ve been pretty tolerant of your bullshit. I suggest you mature up a bit and begin to have what most people would consider a polite discussion with disagreement, or I’m going to ask you to remove yourself from here.

        • Ark, first rule of debate: ridicule is not an argument.

          Ah, so you suggesting I am a special needs person because you were unable to figure out that Jesus was not an Israeli and the State of Israel is NOT 3500 years old is polite is it?

          Truly. Hypocritical of the worst order

          I profane of people who state a point then refuse to back that claim up with verifiable evidence and also refuse to simply admit that their belief is simply based on faith.
          Every Fundamental Christian argues their case in the same way.
          You deride a person such as Dan for not being the right ”type” of Christian and yet have not once provided a scrap of verifiable evidence to back any claim you or anyone else has made. Not one!

          I have never claimed I am intellectually superior. This is your stance( and appears to be the same for every other fundamentalist on this blog) as you claim your authority – the bible – comes via a god and every single time I have asked you to back this with hard evidence you have dodged and evaded.
          Find me an honest to goodness, non malicious/ non snide comment from ”friend” Marshall. Especially in his responses to Dan.
          ”Mature” is reserved for cheese.
          You want to play Grown-Up, no problem.
          Then comment like a grown up and let’s see evidence of your claims.
          That, being as you are making the claim, I would venture is only reasonable.

          As a counterpoint to your ultra-conservative views should be welcomed. At least it makes you think. Or I would hope so.
          I am simply wanting a little honesty, John.That’s all.
          So far you have done nothing but punt a chronically biased Evangelical POV.
          How about a bit of balance?
          How about a bit of evidence?

          • You’ve got a real lack of self awareness. Since your first comment here You’ve refused to give evidence for your claims, asserting that because you list names and then say there’s already arguments out there, you don’t need to.

            Firstly, my phone autocorrected Israelite to Israeli, and i didnt feel like fixing it. I figured you werent so obtuse that youd focus on such a petty miscue.

            But more to the point, others here have put time in and are much more familiar with each other than you are. We here have years – long familiarity. This includes Dan, which is why I rarely police his sometimes sarcastic rudeness. He’s put in his time. You’ve got nothing. You showed up and began what you call discourse. So either begin to have a polite back and forth with substantiation for your assertions, or simply recuse yourself.

            • You’ve got a real lack of self awareness. Since your first comment here You’ve refused to give evidence for your claims, asserting that because you list names and then say there’s already arguments out there, you don’t need to.

              Crap! I have referenced every major archaeologist in the relevant field. What the hell is the matter with you?
              And I have offered since the word go to provide links and back up for you t read for yourself, thus avoiding any biased interpretations I may put on their evidence.(and eventually provided)
              Why must I defend their arguments when they are the ones who are qualified to do so?
              All I have asked of you is to reference the experts who have evidence to refute these experts.
              Where are ” your ”experts , John?

              Firstly, my phone autocorrected Israelite to Israeli, and i didnt feel like fixing it. I figured you werent so obtuse that youd focus on such a petty miscue.

              While I accept your explanation I would hardly call it ”petty”.
              And you have had plenty of time to acknowledge the mistake and also the nonsense you wrote about Jesus.
              You have time now ..so.?

              But more to the point, others here have put time in and are much more familiar with each other than you are. We here have years – long familiarity.

              Ah…so you are, in effect, saying there is some sort of brotherhood here that is reliant on length of time on your blog rather than trying to present reasonable factually based arguments/discussions?
              Are you thus stating that if one has ”put in the time” evidence is an optional extra to your blog?

              • That’s all you did, Ark. You listed names and refused all requests to summarize their findings and arguments. You didn’t just omit the arguments, you repeatedly refused to do so. It wasn’t until recently that you presented a few links, but you haven’t discussed anything in good faith.

                While I think Dan is horribly confused, wholly incorrect, and completely deluded, he pretty consistently attempts to justify his view with some kind of line of reasoning, even if it think it’s contrived and far fetched. He takes time to actually form his thoughts and argue in favor of his view. Dan rarely if ever refuses to argue why he thinks I’m wrong. He will tell me, with reasons, why he thinks I’m mistaken.

                You on the otherhand, presume your view is correct preambled with “everyone knows” and “obviously fiction”. You never actually form a thought aside from condescending and barking for us to answer you. It’s old. It’s tired. And I’m sure you don’t care to be here, you could easily walk away and tell all your buddies that you soundly defeated all of us. But if you have any desire to interact here, start participating in good faith. Actually summarize an argument for your position EVEN IF YOU THINK IT’S NOT INCUMBENT TO DO SO. Otherwise I’m not just going to continue to give you a venue to distrupt.

              • That’s all you did, Ark. You listed names and refused all requests to summarize their findings and arguments. You didn’t just omit the arguments, you repeatedly refused to do so. It wasn’t until recently that you presented a few links, but you haven’t discussed anything in good faith.

                I offered links from the word go. You are the ones stating the claim, in this case that the Exodus etc. was a true historical event as recorded in the bible.
                I stated this was false, based on the total lack of evidence from several generations of archaeology, and offered links up front.
                Good faith? What on earth are you talking about? Let me be as succinct as I can here.
                There is not a shred of evidence for the biblical claims surrounding an Egyptian captivity, (including all the miracles) the Exodus, including the lengthy stays in the Sinai, nor for the invasion and liquidation of Canaan and the Canaanites.
                In fact, what archaeological evidence there is has revealed a startlingly different story than what is portrayed in the bible and not a single biblical archaeologist has been able to provide verifiable evidence contrary to the view expressed by Finklestein etc.
                This has been considered fact for generations by scientists and scholars alike. Including, Israel Finkelstein, Professor Ze’ev Herzog, Former Christian Evangelist, William Devers, and notable Rabbi David Wolpe.
                Furthermore, there is no evidence for the Old Testament Patriarchs and the Pentateuch has been considered fiction for a similar length of time.
                However if you are able to provide verifiable evidence that refutes the above statements then please do so in any manner you deem suitable as long as it is substantiated.

                While I think Dan is horribly confused, wholly incorrect, and completely deluded, he pretty consistently attempts to justify his view with some kind of line of reasoning, even if it think it’s contrived and far fetched. He takes time to actually form his thoughts and argue in favor of his view. Dan rarely if ever refuses to argue why he thinks I’m wrong. He will tell me, with reasons, why he thinks I’m mistaken.

                And has often responded by stating that you do the complete opposite and don’t answer his questions with any degree of honesty at all.

                You on the otherhand, presume your view is correct preambled with “everyone knows” and “obviously fiction”. You never actually form a thought aside from condescending and barking for us to answer you. It’s old. It’s tired. And I’m sure you don’t care to be here, you could easily walk away and tell all your buddies that you soundly defeated all of us. But if you have any desire to interact here, start participating in good faith. Actually summarize an argument for your position EVEN IF YOU THINK IT’S NOT INCUMBENT TO DO SO. Otherwise I’m not just going to continue to give you a venue to distrupt.

                There is no simple way to summarize an argument (especially this one, pertaining to the Exodus etc.) if there is no evidence to work with other than it is fiction.
                If you assert the argument from silence is relevant then you must substantiate this against the evidence we do have for the archaeological periods in question.
                I take it you do not believe in Bigfoot simply because we have never discovered any remains, or dens, of feces etc?
                I have provided all the relevant links and even posted sections that clearly demonstrate the science.
                All I ask is for you to do the same.
                If you cannot even come up with a decent rebuttal from an archaeologist such as Kitchen then, please, just what the hell are you basing you assertion of biblical innerency on?

        • John,

          Arkie is immature, likely only 11 and needs to assert his desperate belief that God does not exist as if it is somehow universally accepted as fact. It’s sad.

  24. Oh, and do you still consider I am a ”Special Needs Person”, which I should add is more than a little derogatory toward those that are considered Special Needs.
    Perhaps a small humble apology, to these folk if not to me,( I have thick skin) is in order, I think.

    • You’re absolutely right (though I can’t find my remark regarding “special needs”—not denying it, just can’t find it. Was it on another thread?) . I apologize to all special needs people for suggesting you’re not more intelligent, honest and honorable than Arkie. He isn’t worthy of holding your jockstraps.

      However, in a way, you are indeed a special needs person. You are in dire need of an epiphany. You’re in dire need of wisdom, class, integrity and grace. Those are special needs indeed.

  25. What would it take for me to try to take control? It would take more than my personal private message. God wouldn’t just whisper it to me. There would be solid, witnessed by masses supernatural confirmation that I had been chosen for such an undertaking. This is what I think a lot of people miss. It’s not a private tap on the shoulder. It’s an obvious and unmistakable thing that the masses are witness to. It’s more than a self – proclamation of authority.

    Didn’t Yahweh talk to Moses One on One?
    In fact, it was via a small piece of burning shrubbery if memory serves, yes?

    This sounds very reasonable to me.

    • Was the incident with the bush the only interaction, or was it one of many other multiple public interactions? Maybe read a bible and you’ll pick up on these things.

      • Maybe you would like to correct my lack and list them so as to remove any misunderstanding?

        And at the same time, provided evidence that the Pentateuch is, in fact, a true, historical account?

      • paynehollow says:

        God, in the Exodus story, ONLY spoke with Moses. Were you not familiar with that?

        I have read a Bible. Maybe if you read the Bible and not cling so tightly to human traditions you wouldn’t come across so pugnacious and ignorant. Or, conversely, provide the place where God spoke to multiple people so that Moses visions/visitations were confirmed? And some hard data to support the opinion that this text is meant to be taken as a literal history?

        No, of course, not. You all are embarrassing yourselves and your Church.

        ~Dan

        • :)
          Yes, I always understood that Jesus-in-his-Yahweh-disguise only spoke to Mo in the Exodus story too.
          But then, maybe my old KJV is out of date and this lot have an up to date version of the story?

  26. Marshallart, “Whomever was chosen by god would not fail to know”? I suppose this is the claim that is 100% based on just/only one’s faith based convictions. “There would be no doubt”? This is precisely the type of thinking, and exactly the sort of blind unquestioning faith that allows the taliban to murder children, allows the Olympic bomber to carry out his tasks, and allows clinics to be firebombed. This is the absolutism that, because one cannot question, has historically led to such heinous acts. You offer no evidences, because faith/voices in one’s head cannot be proved, except to one’s self, through devout behaviors/acts.

    “Now, we must take the passages as they are written, and they clearly indicate there was no doubt about the source of the communication”. Again I ask how, and why there is no doubt? Is it because to question the source is a sign of possibly wavering faith? I for one will be questioning said historical passages. You must realize that people are still claiming supernatural command now, right? Are you as dismissive of them as you are of the heretics and apostates?

    This way of viewing the world is only possible because of a devotee’s unyielding blind faith. To the non-believer, it’s schizophrenia.

    The entire quote is worth repeating as it illustrates perfectly the utter dogmatic, non evidentiary approach the Fundamentalist has towards his/her religion and their contempt for those who would very reasonably ask for evidence.

    It is what indoctrination is all about. The ultimate success story in brain-washing.
    There is no margin for questioning whether it is true or not – to the believer, it simply is and if you dont believe then you are going to Hell. Period.’

    Yet, to the believer, when such sentiments are expressed by a devout believer of a different faith, or maybe a different sect within the same cult, they are quite likely labelled as insane, as Richard Nash has so eloquently pointed out.

  27. John, I would also ask again about how, with no deference to OT/NT testament apologetics, this is “perfection”. I mean, is there any other way to distill the obvious imperfectness to any other supposition, without claiming, “it is not our place to know the mind of god”? This god gave us free will, yet ostracizes us for utilizing it in the face of all of his previous behaviors/actions. Then leaves his flock floundering with a message to be edited, redacted, revised and interpreted by men, for millennia, and argued to great pain and misery for some even, and sometimes most especially amongst christians of opposing views? Even in my most liberal attempts, I cannot find the perfection, much less the love, omniscience, and omnipotence so often claimed.

    How and why could this god give life to those that he would later take, en masse I might add, and also ask us to believe in perfection? He knew them in the womb, they didn’t buy what he was selling, then he murdered them, morally you argue, 2 years later as infants, toddlers, children/adults? He created them, knew they would turn out “evil”, which is to say, they used their free will to do something other than worship him without question, and then ended their lives, but needed his more devout adherents to carry it out? Sometimes he uses pestilence, sometimes floods, sometimes the israelites?

    In all honesty, even when I was 10 years old, this was as non-sensical as it is now. It lacks any and all attributes found usually in any other descriptions of omniscience and omnipotence. How does this qualify, even through my ungodly intellect, as perfect?

  28. @Mashallart

    John,
    Arkie is immature, likely only 11 and needs to assert his desperate belief that God does not exist as if it is somehow universally accepted as fact. It’s sad.

    You have yet to demonstrate that your god does exist. Until that point, the only one behaving immaturely is you and your fellow fundamentalists.
    For someone who is adamant that this god exists, it should be a short lesson to demonstrate to the recalcitrant atheist, me, the obvious veracity of your claims with the abundant evidence at your disposal.
    Why not show it?

    • Ark,

      What all of these followers of Christianity never seem to understand is that their religion is a truth claim, yet they don’t seem to have any need to actually present evidence for that claim.

      A common response from the believer is that you need to prove that their claim is not true.

      I used to try to have discussions here, but I got tired of the constant question-dodging and name-calling that goes on here. I‘ve also found that folks here would rather argue about how to argue rather than actually addressing the subject at hand. Good luck.

      • Z

        What I could never get you to understand is that the purpose of this blog is not necessarily to make positive arguments for my views, but rather to rebut and refute criticisms of my views.

        However, if you did some digging, you’ll actually find all kinds of posts where I put my view out there and defend it.

  29. paynehollow says:

    Interesting conversation, not many answers to important questions, though, it would seem.

    The problem have with what I’ll call with the fundamentalist approach to God/god (whether that is a Christian fundamentalist, Muslim or other) is that the morality is ultimately whimsical and not tied down. Yeah, yeah, we are pretty sure that god/God would not call us to wipe out a town full of women, children and babies nowadays, but we are not removing the option from the table. Generally speaking, they say, I don’t THINK it will happen. BUT, if someone made the case that god/God was telling us to wipe out a people, then it would be immoral not to do so, they would maintain. Of course, they will assure us that this is not just any god, but only if the “true god” called for such behavior.

    Correct me if I’m mistaken, conservative friends, but every last one of you would say that, “IF God truly wanted us to kill babies, then we would have to do so to be moral. It isn’t the killing of babies that is immoral, but the disobeying this ‘true god…'” would you not?

    For the rest of us, we can say assuredly that we do not need god/God to affirm for us to not kill babies or to commit genocide, it is obviously wrong to do so. But for the fundamentalist, there are exceptions: Yes, generally wrong, but IF god truly commanded it, then it would be moral and good.

    People find THAT viewpoint to be batshit crazy and not a little bit dangerous, whichever god or gods you are citing.

    ~Dan

    • What people, besides CINOs like yourself, find it “batshit crazy”, Dan? Obviously those who do not believe and decide morality for themselves or by consensus based on the personal whims of each who agree. There are numerous examples in Scripture of God commanding actions which the person to whom it was directed balked initially, from Abraham told to sacrifice Isaac, to Peter told to eat formerly forbidden foods. Even with Christ, when his followers balked at the notion that He would have to die, Christ rebuked them sternly as being not true followers. His hyperbole about hating one’s parents for His sake was to put cement the pecking order of God over all worldly things. YOU, however, know better than God. YOU have established right and wrong based on how doing wrong impacts YOUR sensibilities, and thus God MUST adhere to your commandments.

      “For the rest of us, we can say assuredly that we do not need god/God to affirm for us to not kill babies or to commit genocide, it is obviously wrong to do so.”

      Which means, you don’t need God because you know better what is right and wrong. Your “devotion” to Him is a complete sham because you have determined for yourself what is right and wrong and God’s opinion comes second.

      Side bar: God cannot commit genocide. First of all, that’s only something human beings can do and a look at the definition bears this out. While God has engaged in “the deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political, or cultural group”, His intention was judgement of a sinful people, not to wipe them out because of their race, politics or culture. To assign the word “genocide” to His actions again reducing HIm to no better than another human being.

      Side bar 2: Killing babies. God never commanded the mere killing of babies. Your highlighting of this as if He did is dishonest to a “batshit crazy” degree. He ordered the annihilation of an entire people including children. But you assume that the result was only suffering and death for the infants, with no consideration for an afterlife with Him, where they would have understanding regarding their own demise, and avoidance of a life lived among the sinful people who brought them into the world. These are speculations, of course, but of a type you haven’t the intellectual honesty to consider as you insist that Scripture’s record of OT events cannot be possible for “a good god” (sic).

  30. “For the rest of us, we can say assuredly that we do not need god/God to affirm for us to not kill babies or to commit genocide, it is obviously wrong to do so. ”

    Actually, you apparently DO, given the moral equivocating I’ve seen from you on legalized abortion (aka legalized baby killing).

    …Sorry, I couldn’t resist :-)

  31. paynehollow says:

    The fact is, I have never once had an abortion. Not. One. Time. Nor have I advocated for an abortion. It hasn’t happened. You are factually mistaken.

    On the other hand, I’m guessing you might be in with those who, if told by a “god” to kill babies, would do so immediately. And not even just one baby, but a whole nation of them.

    Given your position (that it IS okay sometimes to kill whole nations of babies, at least if a “god” says to), it would perhaps be the better part of wisdom not to criticize someone who does not support killing babies.

    …sorry, couldn’t resist.

    ~Dan

    • Dan,

      To be clear, you are saying that if God, the one YOU, DAN believes exists, made a bona fide command to you to take the life of someone, even a child, you would disobey God?

      And yes you do advocate and defend abortion. You have repeatedly done so under the smoke and mirrors of merely defending a woman’s right to make her own medical decisions that are best for her and her family, abortion being one such kind of legitimate medical decision.

  32. paynehollow says:

    John, to be clear, I’ll wait for you to answer some of my questions. Don’t be an intellectual coward, step up and answer questions when they are asked of you, even if the answers undermine your position. It will allow you to be more credible and perhaps even to grow.

    ~Dan

  33. paynehollow says:

    John…

    What I could never get you to understand is that the purpose of this blog is not necessarily to make positive arguments for my views, but rather to rebut and refute criticisms of my views.

    This has always struck me as odd about your approach here. For one thing, what problem do you have with Ark or me or anyone else if we come to “rebut and refute” your views, if that’s all you’re doing yourself?

    Secondly, if someone rebuts and refutes a view of yours by asking reasonable questions that point to enormous holes in your views, HOW can you “rebut and refute” the holes without answering the questions?

    If defending your views is your goal, then you have to, you know, actually step out there and defend them. As St Monty of Python said, “Argument is an intellectual process. Contradiction is just the automatic gainsaying of any statement the other person makes.”

    Don’t be just a contradict-or. If you believe your views, get out there and defend them. Answer the hard questions.

    By refusing to answer reasonable questions, you are actually undermining your arguments, making it seem as if you (and, by extension, those who agree with your faith and beliefs) are unable to defend them because they are indefensible and just plain silly.

    ~Dan

    • Dan, Christian Fundamentalists like John and Marshall have more holes in their argument than
      a Galilean Fisherman. And like the erstwhile Piscine Pals of their Prophet, they keep slinging their arguments into the water and hope to goodness that they can ”net” a few more imbecilic
      religious ”groupies” who will buy into this nonsense.

      You would get a more straightforward answer from Yeshua, and at least he would know what he was talking about.

    • (sarcasm)But that’s what you don’t understand, Dan – All John has to do is say “smh” and all of his arguments then hold water.(/sarcasm) It’s really no mystery why he disappears from the conversation when he is pointed to the enormous holes in his beliefs.

    • Dan,

      Your comment to John regarding his aim with this blog includes ironic statements, particularly your Python reference. You often employ that very form of engagement, a “nuh uh” response in the variant of “I don’t but it” or “that’s your opinion” and other such examples of non-support/evidence to contradict or rebut.

      Worse, is your penchant for re-framing the position of others into that which is not truly reflective of that person’s position. The “will God command the killing of babies” question is an example of this, when the topic is God’s authority to take life when He so chooses. Thus, you once again falsely claim you are being treated unfairly in these discussions, when hosts like John are showing great restraint (as opposed to “intellectual cowardice”).

      To Arkie and Z,

      Neither of you two have pointed to any more holes in our arguments than has Dan. That’s another mere assertion. And Z, John might just have something more important to do than blogging now and then, which is a far more likely reason for his absence than fear of dealing with the likes of you, Dan or Arkie.

      And once again, I would remind Dan, and you others, that what constitutes “reasonable questions” is very subjective indeed. It is not a description I could easily apply to the average question from you, Dan.

      Back to Arkie (and this likely applies to Z as well), you spend way too much time pretending that your position regarding Scripture and its reliability as accurate recordings of history is settled fact. It is only settled in the fevered imaginings of folks like yourself who need to believe there is no reason to fear that God truly exists. It’s obvious that you struggle actually dispelling that fear in you, and your rudeness in disparaging people of faith, as well as the deity in whom they place that faith, is evidence of that struggle.

      Take Arkie’s insecure mockery of William Lane Craig. He defends his childishness based on a particular position favored by Craig as if Craig’s position is all one needs to know with regards to Craig’s level of credibility. But not once has Arkie offered any reason or argument to believe there is anything wrong with Craig’s position. He simply mocks it. THAT is sufficient for Arkie to posture himself as backing a superior point of view. Unfortunately, that doesn’t work for honorable people sincerely seeking to determine what is or isn’t true.

      • @Marshall

        Neither of you two have pointed to any more holes in our arguments than has Dan.

        ROFL . Afternoon, Dickhead.
        What sort of hole would you like poked in the Talking Donkey story in Numbers?

        How about the holes in Noah’s Incestuous re-Populating family?
        How about the Flood itself?
        How about holes in the Resurrection of the Saints at the time of the Crucifixion?
        How about the Virgin Birth?
        How about the Exodus?

        William Lane Craig is an idiot; period.

        Firstly he is obliged to sign a statement of faith where he is employed agreeing that the original bible is inerrant from first to last.
        How can one be objective under those circumstances?
        For a similar reason did Evangelist Mike Licona lose his job for stating the Resurrection of the Saints should not be taken literally.
        Two sentences out of an entire book and he lost his job for refusing to print a retraction!
        What sort of retards are these Evangelists?

        Craig defends DCT as it pertains to the Canaanite Genocide yet the Pentateuch is considered fiction by all reputable scholars beside idiotic fundamentalists – just like you, in fact.

        That is reason enough.
        There is no point arguing morality over a fictional piece of garbage with someone, like you, who doesn’t even understand morality.

        It is about time you put away your diapers, Marshall, and joined the real world and stop behaving like a child.

        • More assertions, Arkie? You bore me. When you can actually formulate an argument, do so. Or, you can pick one of those items you listed and pretend you have an argument for any of them. As John expects, I do also: summarize the arguments, proofs and/or evidences of any of the “experts” you think are omniscient rather than merely dropping a name. OR, explain what is wrong with any of WLC arguments in the same honorable manner. Signing statements of faith, or being fired for conflicting with one has no relevance to your own desperate charge.

          And enough with this “all reputable scholars” crap. There are many reputable scholars that do not agree with your disbelief that is compelled by your irrational need for it to be so.

          I understand morality enough to know that honorable people of character do not refer to those who hold an opposing position as “dickhead”. Such don’t even refer to dickheads in that manner. So perhaps you could find a spine and engage in a discussion about what morality looks like. In doing so, you could likely provide chuckles AND amazement and awe for having actually put forth more than simply snark and childish mockery.

          But if that’s all you’re about, you’ll have to excuse me if I don’t take the time to return volley. I haven’t forgotten what it is like to be a small child like you, but I do enjoy such engagements now and then. Which, by the way, is another point you could provide support for, if you’re man enough to do so. Show me where I’ve acted childish that was not in direct response to childishness of your own.

          • Or, you can pick one of those items you listed and pretend you have an argument for any of them

            The Virgin Birth;

            It is a fallacy: a misappropriation of Isaiah by the author of the gospel of Matthew.
            The supposed prophecy was directed at King Ahaz and irrespective of any discrepancies surrounding the words almah and parthenos it had nothing to do with the biblical Character, Jesus of Nazareth.

  34. paynehollow says:

    Marshall…

    You often employ that very form of engagement, a “nuh uh” response in the variant of “I don’t but it” or “that’s your opinion” and other such examples of non-support/evidence to contradict or rebut.

    When I’ve stated and restated the reasons why I hold my positions, and you have as well, and if NEITHER of our positions are provable in any sense, at some point, it is reasonable to say, “Well, you are welcome to your unprovable opinion. I do not find your opinion to be well-founded, and obviously you don’t find my opinion to be well-founded. Neither of us can prove our position is the ‘right one…’ so, there you go…”

    But, when someone states a position (“Sometimes, a god might command people to kill a whole nation, including women, children and babies…”), then it is a reasonable question to ask, “If any other god commands it and you are opposed to it, then why are you not opposed to it when your preferred god commands it…?” Simply ignoring the question further undermines an already immoral, irrational and goofy argument.

    And this IS a hole in your collective argument, Marshall. Simply saying, “nu uh” does not decrease or fill the hole.

    And that’s the fact, Jack.

    ~Dan

    • “When I’ve stated and restated the reasons why I hold my positions, and you have as well…etc….’ so, there you go…”

      This is not in the least an accurate assessment of the dialogue between us for all these years. What constitutes for you stating and restating the reasons why you hold a position has not provided reasons that did not satisfy any question or objection to any position of yours. Where we cite actual passages and verses, you cite your own personal interpretation of something you say is Scriptural. When you finally provide some verse or passage, we can easily see where your use of that passage in support is egregiously in error and back up our rebuttal with solid reasons why, including citing scholars, thousands of years of understanding, and sometimes analysis of original language. In short, we’ve determined that your reasons for holding your positions cannot be based on Scripture, especially given your routine inability to provide a verse or passage that wins the day for you.

      “But, when someone states a position (“Sometimes, a god might command people to kill a whole nation, including women, children and babies…”),”

      And still you haven’t the grace you demand of others, nor the honesty, to refrain from this outrageous lie you continue to perpetuate. NO ONE has taken the position that “Sometimes, a god might command people to kill a whole nation, including women, children and babies…” . I’ve just, in a previous comment, for the umteenth time, stated our position as it actually is and STILL you insist on lying. Incredible.

      “then it is a reasonable question to ask, “If any other god…”

      There IS no other god, Dan. Why is this news to you? I thought you seriously and prayerfully studied the Bible.

      “Simply ignoring the question further undermines an already immoral, irrational and goofy argument.”

      Not only have we directly responded to the question, but throughout those hundreds of occasions when we have, we have morality, rationality and logic of the argument without a reasoned rebuttal from you. This thread alone demonstrates that well.

      “And this IS a hole in your collective argument, Marshall.”

      Are you referring to the above falsehoods as holes in my arguments, Dan? It doesn’t work that way.

  35. More assertions, Arkie?

    Not assertions.

    Noah’s story – assertion.
    The flood story – assertion.
    Resurrection story – assertion.
    Virgin birth story – assertion.
    Exodus story – assertion.

    The stories in the bible are asserted as history with no evidence to support them. Believers then point to the bible as evidence of them to have occurred. Please stop calling it “an assertion” for someone to question the initial claim. Christianity asserts all of these stories to be true. We’re just asking you to prove it.

    • First of all, Z, I’m not aware that all, or any, history books provide evidence of the histories contained therein. History is merely the telling of events and the proof and evidence supporting the truth of those histories lies elsewhere, as in archeology. Thus, all history is assertion if you insist on applying the term to Scripture.

      Secondly, Arkie isn’t merely questioning the claim, he’s making a claim of his own, that it is all fiction. THAT is the assertion to which I refer that has been made constantly by him without the least bit of evidence. What he believes is evidence, is the fact that no evidence for it has been found, which he then puts forth as proof that it is fiction. Doesn’t work that way.

      • You believe in the veracity of Genesis?
        You believe in Noah and the story of the global flood?
        So you believe the Talking Donkey in Numbers then?
        You believe in the resurrection of the Saints in Matthew?
        You believe in the Virgin Birth?
        Yes or No?

        If Yes, please explain.

        • Ark:

          “You believe in the veracity of Genesis?
          You believe in Noah and the story of the global flood?
          So you believe the Talking Donkey in Numbers then?
          You believe in the resurrection of the Saints in Matthew?
          You believe in the Virgin Birth?
          Yes or No?”

          You find those things silly, but really thats only because of an a priori presumption that God doesnt exist and miracles dont happen. The bible never says these things happen on their own, out of nowhere, naturally. They happen via divine intervention.

      • Richard Nash says:

        Marshallart, You do realize that the Greeks left us with a form of argumentation/rhetoric that precludes your understanding of the value of claims don’t you? The standards of deduction are fantastic in this way. I never need to disprove your unprovable assertions. I simply have to patiently wait for you to put forth some quality of proof beyond just your faith that said premise is correct or true.

        If you make a claim from the affirmative, it is incumbent upon you to prove it. Or else you risk no one else taking you seriously and discounting such claim as nothing more than faith based hyperbolic gibberish.

  36. paynehollow says:

    I was going to respond to your comments, Marshall, but what Z says applies for me. That you look at a verse in the Bible and SAY “It means this and only this…” is an empty assertion. It is your unfounded opinion based upon your opinion and the opinions of people who agree with you.

    You are welcome to ALL of your unfounded, unsupported and unprovable opinions all day long. But just because you say, “I like unicorn poop for lunch” does not mean anyone is interested in joining you or agreeing with you. And, EVEN IF you point to a verse in the Bible to support your fondness for poop, that still will not prove your position.

    You have made the assertions, it is on you to provide support for them, and something other than, “But I REALLLLLLLLYY believe that the Bible means this…”

    Not even if you really, realllly believe it, Marshall.

    ~Dan

    • Dan, you’ve made some claims of your own that suggest that the Bible’s meaning is knowable, along with its authors’ intent.

      “I say that it is a True and Good teaching to live simply, to not shed innocent blood, to live lives of forgiveness, love and grace… ie, the actual gist of what the Bible actually teaches.”

      “The Bible is not INTENDED to be a rulebook, providing rules for living for modern peoples.”

      If these claims are just your unfounded, unsupported, and unprovable opinions, you should say so outright, so we can know that you have no expectation that anyone else should join you or agree with you.

      If these claims are more than unfounded opinions, well, it is on you to provide support for them, y’know, beyond your own enthusiasm and apparent sincerity.

    • Dan,

      You lie once again. I constantly provide supports and proofs for my positions, as I have done in my recent comments at your blog. You respond with your typical “nuh uh” argument. I use Scripture to back up my positions that I ascribe to Scripture’s teachings. You use ambiguous appeals to “truths”, the incredible stretching of meaning behind the clearest of texts and “it’s my opinion”. I show in detail why I believe what the Bible says. I do NOT merely say, “Because the Bible says so.” This is in stark contrast to how you defend your positions, “defend” being a term I must use very loosely with regard to your arguments.

      • paynehollow says:

        Read closely and understand:

        1. You use YOUR INTERPRETATION of Bible verses you read to reach your opinions.

        2. That you have an opinion about an interpretation of a verse in the Bible is NOT PROOF. It is an unsubstantiated opinion. You want proof of Isaiah’s or Jesus’ intent or opinions not spoken of in the bible (which would include ALL moral questions in the 21st century, since things change AS YOU CAN SEE EVEN WITHIN THE BIBLE)? Bring me Jesus or Isaiah to corroborate that your opinion about what they wrote is a correct one.

        In the meantime, you are offering me your opinion and a plate full of swamp gas.

        That you say, “But Isaiah 6 says 1, 2 and 3…” is not a support or proof of your opinions. At the most, you could say, “I’m pretty sure that when Isaiah said 1, 2 and 3, he meant 1, 2 and 3, for all times and in all places AND that Isaiah was speaking for God, not just himself…” but even that is not verifiable, not a proof, not a support.

        Do you see where you’re messing up?

        ~Dan

  37. paynehollow says:

    These are MY opinions, Bubba. Would it help if I said it ten more times? 100 more times? I think my opinions are reasonable conclusions, based on the evidence at hand, but they remain MY OPINIONS. My opinions on these topics, like YOUR opinions, are not provable, thus they are not “know-able” in the sense of any sort of perfect knowledge. They are reasonable opinions, I believe, given the data at hand, but not provable and not “know-able,” at least in the same sense that we can know 1 + 1 = 2.

    They are “know-able,” if, by “know,” you mean, “I Have this opinion that seems reasonable to me…” but then, EVERYONE’s opinions are knowable in that sense.

    Is that what you mean Bubba? That we ALL “know” what our opinions are, when we hold them based on what seems reasonable to us? And that, thus, the atheist truly “knows” there is no god, and the Christian “knows” that there is a God and Jesus is God’s Son, and the Muslim “knows” that Allah is God, as they understand Allah… and that we ALL “know” these things?

    If so, it seems you are rendering the word “know” meaningless. What definition of “know” are you using, may I ask?

    Or, if not – if you think YOU can “know” your positions are the One True Right positions and everyone else who THINKS they “know” their positions, they are fooled and they only THINK they know them, but they don’t really – on what bases do you make the rather arrogant-sounding claim that You, Bubba, are the holder of the True Knowledge?

    Some source, please, other than, “I REAALLLLLLLLLLLY think so because I read the Bible and I’m REALLLY, REAALLLY sure of what I, Bubba, think it means…”

    ~Dan

    • So you are still capable of responding in a timely manner. I was beginning to wonder.

      It’s still funny: your opinions are “reasonable,” and “based on the evidence at hand,” but Marshall’s opinions are empty assertions and unfounded, unsupported and unprovable opinions.

      Every time you make some declarative claim about what the Bible “actually teaches” or what its authors meant, YES, DAN, you ought to hold yourself to your own standards and frame your statement as your opinion, and you ought to frame it as your unprovable and unsupported opinion, so that we all might know that you have no expectation that anyone would agree with you.

      Unless and until you show that consistency, you’re not providing the same explicit skepticism over your own claims regarding the Bible that you require for everyone else’s.

      Your questions regarding what’s knowable and what’s provable, I’ve answered thoroughly at your blog. If you have any remaining questions, ask them there, so I might finally have the opportunity to ask you a question or two in return — y’know, for the sake of that two-sided one-to-one dialogue you said you wanted.

      • Bubba,
        I’m glad that someone else noticed Dan’s habit of phrasing his pronouncements in declarative sentences and suggesting that his views (and only his views) are grounded in reality and Reason, and Logic. Yet, when pressed, he quickly retreats behind “Of course they’re my opinions”. It is a great way to make pronouncements, without actually having to defend them. Hey they’re just unprovable hunchy opinions, not anything that anyone should take seriously.

        It’s also interesting that Ark and Dan have teamed up in this. You and others are at least putting forth the proposition that there is some foundation for historic Christian beliefs. Granted, Ark, simply dismisses everything as fiction and Dan dismisses everything as unprovable opinion, but at least the concept of an evidential basis for Christianity is being put out there. But what I find most interesting is that Ark is giving Dan a pass on what is essentially a faith ungrounded in anything but his own opinions and his Reason.

        • Lol….keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Or in your case, enema would likely be more accurate.
          For the record.
          Your entire religion is grounded in fiction.
          You – or anyone else of a theological bent have yet to produce a single shred of verifiable evidence to back even one claim.
          The Pentateuch is fiction – including characters such as Moses and Abraham.
          There is no evidence of any Egyptian captivity, Exodus or Conquest of Canaan.
          None.
          The biblical character Jesus of Nazareth is a narrative construct.
          Slowly but surely the world is coming around to these facts.
          Science will always win out in the end.

          I care not what you believe as adults, this is what freedom of choice is all about and is your absolute right.

          But, please, let the young ones find out for themselves?

  38. The entire last half of this comment thread really does expose the reasons for the thousands upon thousands of christians sects and denominations. You can’y even get 4 christians to agree on what the bible’s intentions are or are not. The quality of discord is such that even a seemingly small amount of discord allows for a blossoming of entire new facets of the faith.

    Within islam there are only 10 sects/denominations that make up more than 95% of their adherents. How can a perfect god allow for such a flawed animal (man) to take his perfection, and his perfect, inerrant word, and invent 10’s of thousands of sects?

    Could it be that it’s not so perfect? So much redaction, so much editing, the removal of entire books from this bible, all by men, just bi-pedal men who put their pants on like the rest of us, that is to very specifically say, just un-special men modifying this text for 1700 years, and it seems to have been maligned by one sect after another, leading to bickering amongst christians on blogs far and wide. And ever further, and louder claims by all of them, that they are the only folks doing it correctly.

    The ugly underbelly of all christianity is this incessant bickering, and splintering amongst the self righteous, subjugated masses.

    If your god is/was trying to up sell myself or any other less than naive apostates, heretics etc…….this is a really terrible way of going about it.

    • Spot on Mr. Nash!
      Or to quote a line from the Monty Python movie, Life of Brian,
      Christian claims can be summarized as follows:

      ”He’s making it up as he goes along.”

    • Nash,

      Your comment assumes Dan is representative of a true Christian. Folks like Bubba, John, Glenn, Craig and myself, to name just a few who have posted here, are pretty much in agreement for most things related to the faith. Dan is, at best, an extreme outlier, and arguably not Christian at all, despite his protests to the contrary. This is based not on mere disagreement, but on years of trying to pry from him the support for positions that appear clearly to the rest of us to “Dan-inspired” and not Biblically so. We’re all willing to alter that view of Dan, but he offers little reason why we should or ought.

      • Richard Nash says:

        Marshalart, Is Dan less a christian than you? Are a more “true” christian than Dan and his entire congregation?

        You have just once again proved my point for me. Thomas Jefferson, Paine, and I disagree with you. The utterly bizarre parameters in which you are measuring yourself are subjective and invented wholly within a vacuum, a process that I feel like I have speant the better part of an afternoon delineating right here.

        I am not assuming dan is a “true” christian. Do you know why I have not presumed as much? Because none of us, including you, can define much less dictate a mandate for what a true christian is. Maybe amongst a few birds on a wire here on this blog you may have tricked yourself into believing you have it all figured out to the point where you feel comfortable dictating who will go to hell and who won’t, but it reeks of the self righteous iniquities that jesus spoke of in Matthew for you to make such a claim, or feel so arrogantly comfortable in your non humble place of being.

        Again I ask, how do you feel about the Armenian Orthodox ostracizing, and judging you for doing the “true” christian shuffle all wrong? Or the coptics, or any of the other 30k sects and denominations? They all laugh quietly at your absolutist claim of rightness and trueness.

  39. paynehollow says:

    People disagree, R Nash. Doesn’t matter if they’re Christians, Muslims, atheists or zoroastrians. We all disagree.

    What is essential – and what you’ll find in happier places such as my church and other places – is to have the grace to allow room for disagreement. You don’t find me or mine saying, “Bubba’s not a Christian because he doesn’t agree with me on these points…” or “Ark is a horror because he is a pagan!” No, I gladly accept Bubba, and Marshall and you and Ark ALL as brothers, fellow travelers in this journey of life. I don’t have all the answers and, no offense to anyone else here, but neither do you. I have opinions – my opinions that I think are reasonable and graceful and workable, but I don’t insist that my opinions are the One God-Approved set of opinions, they are just my opinions, for what they’re worth. As are yours and Bubba’s and Marshall’s.

    ~Dan

    • Yes, Dan, but the point is not that we just disagree.

      The point is that there is much bloodshed and turmoil because we think others must die or be subjugated in the name of their belief.

      I might think Tom Cruise is a swell guy, but he’s batshit crazy for believing what he does about scientology. How would you feel if his beliefs were constantly being forced on you through government or our school system? After all, let’s teach the controversy, right?

      Here’s an interesting video just published on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wguAQHWVcZY

      • paynehollow says:

        How would you feel if his beliefs were constantly being forced on you through government or our school system?

        I don’t agree with it. This is why Baptists, anabaptists and others who agree with us have historically supported/helped originate the notion of separation of church and state. As an anabaptist who DOES have beliefs taught to me and my children in public schools, I do not support it, EVEN WHEN those religious beliefs agree with mine (which is not all that often).

        ~Dan

    • With all due respect Dan,
      I understand that we all disagree. Whether or not you accept any of us is not a point I was making.

      Your opinions, and other christian’s opinions are precisely what I was speaking to. Because in spite of how you might feel with regards to your opinion being just that, an opinion, other’s do not agree, and they don’t agree to the point of great derision within your faith. The bulk of my post was precisely directed at the seemingly imperfect message being made ever yet more imperfect for millennia, by men, self righteous men who feel their position is infinitely more than mere opinion. There ideals are directed by the mid, hand, word of god Dan. While you may suffer from a slightly more palatable degree of humility that allows for you to say that your propositions are in the end, opinion, tens of millions of others disagree. And the historicity of such disagreement is still playing out in this very thread.

      It is a war about what your god is, how seriously, or literally to take his infallible word, and how do they interact with those who are worshipping/interpreting incorrectly.

      It wasn’t long ago, during the early founding of America that Quakers were murdered for their “opinion” by an exceptionally less humble congregation that was worshipping “more” correctly, the Puritans.

      So the “feel good”, live and let live sects are often maligned/murdered out of existence…….all part of this gods divine plan though, yes?

      This is one of the myriad reasons I choose to gain, and modify my moral compass outside such a violent vacuum.

  40. paynehollow says:

    At my church, you could find people welcomed if they are “liberal” or “conservative,” gay or straight, Calvinist or pagan or Catholic or Quaker or Mennonite. We do have our beliefs, but they are couched first and foremost around grace and since I do not claim to have all the answers – and my pastor does not claim to have them and our deacons and other minister does not claim to have them – we allow, by grace, room for disagreement. We do draw lines at behaviors that cause harm or endorse harmful practices, and we work (quite successfully) to create an atmosphere that is devoid of bitter dissension, but truly, all are welcome.

    This was part and parcel of Jesus’ message (as we understand it, Bubba). Who are we to say otherwise?

    • @Dan
      Some prophet called Yeshua or the biblical character Jesus of Nazareth?

      • paynehollow says:

        The teachings of Jesus as we have them in the Bible. NOT as they are interpreted by a few dozen different denominations, but as they appear in the Bible.

      • paynehollow says:

        What all the literal teachings of Jesus, the historical figure, we do not know what those all are. I am not speaking of teachings we don’t know about, just the ones we do.

        The Bible itself says, of Jesus’ teachings, “if they were all written down, there’d be a LOT, but they’re not all written down…” (paraphrase)

        • Yes, they say the same thing about all those super duper miracles,and what not, do they not?
          John 25 if memory serves.
          Funnily enough, even thought there wouldn’t be enough books in the whole world to contain all these ”wonders”, every single one went unnoticed and unrecorded.

          I think one has to have a very vivid imagination to even begin to accept this nonsense, truly.

        • Dan:

          “The Bible itself says, of Jesus’ teachings, ‘if they were all written down, there’d be a LOT, but they’re not all written down…’ (paraphrase)”

          That’s a helluva paraphrase, because John 21:25 doesn’t mention things that Jesus taught, but things that He DID — probably the “many other signs” in John 20:30, which weren’t recorded in the gospel.

          But since those signs are dubious miracles involving “magic water” and other mystical items, I’m sure it’s safe to focus on (a subset of) the ethical teachings of Jesus: we can take or leave the miracles and the related claims of Jesus’ identity and saving work.

  41. paynehollow says:

    “ministerS DO not claim to have them…” Sorry, typo.

    ~Dan

  42. Nash, the principle applies in many contexts, from Scripture and Constitutional law, to contract disputes and even the written rules of sports and card games: the mere fact of disagreement is not proof that the text is unclear.

    There could be fundamental disagreements in the assumptions brought to the text, as when jurists decide that the Constitution is a “living document” whose meaning is unmoored from the intent of the writers and the electorate that ratified it. And there could be intellectually dishonest parties who attempt to twist the text’s clear meaning for ulterior motives, looking for loopholes and quibbles to justify their behavior.

    On the one hand, Dan’s attempts to obscure even the Bible’s clearest doctrines does help out the cause of those who reject the Christian gospel, but on the other hand, many who reject the gospel need no help to find their own justifications.

    • Bubba,

      “the mere fact of disagreement is not proof that the text is unclear”.

      Hmmm……are you saying that these texts are “more” clear to you, or that you are extrapolating the intent more purely than others? What then would make your clarity any more clear than any one else’s?

      “There could be fundamental disagreements in the assumptions brought to the text”, in fact there are fundamental disagreements. Those disagreements have led to tens of thousands of sects within christianity. This was precisely my point when questioning the claimed inerrant perfection of your god. BTW the Constitution is another bad example simply because it is a living document. It has been altered successfully, I guess by your count possibly by intellectually dishonest sinners, 27 times. So I guess it wasn’t perfect right out of the gate? Or maybe it was and those added amendments should all be ignored or taken out?

      I am not sure how much more plainly I can distinguish my reservations. Maybe with direct analogies, and unqualified answers?

      Bubba, Are you going to heaven? If yes, then you and your sect are engaging christianity correctly?

      Are catholics going to heaven? Are coptics going to heaven? Are the syrians doing it right? The anabaptists, the stodgy calvins? Any and all of the eastern orthodox flavors?

      Are the rest doing it so incorrectly that you are sure they are going to hell? If so, it seems that your opinion is built upon something that only self righteous arrogance can justify. And this would be the same exact maligning presuppositions that allowed the puritans to murder quakers for doing their christianity incorrectly.

      Religious fervor is what outsiders refer to it as.

      • Nash, generally those who adhere to a “living document” interpretation of the Constitution DON’T seek to amend the document, because they don’t see the need to, and those of us who are originalists DO NOT generally revere the original document as if it were perfect, which is one reason we haven’t denounced Mark Levin for seriously proposing a convention to amend the document.

        The “living document” approach is one that reads new meanings into the text AS IT CURRENTLY EXISTS: never mind the absurdity that the United States ever ratified an amendment that required an androgynous definition of marriage, a few jurists in California have discarded the electorate’s amendment to the state constitution because they’re reading such a requirement INTO the document instead of trying to read the ratifiers’ intent OUT OF the document.

        When people’s assumptions in approaching a text allow them to read what they want into it with blatant disregard for the authors’ intent, you really shouldn’t be surprised that people come up with all kinds of interpretations.

        • So Bubba,
          You have the ear of the Founding Fathers, as well as the authors of the Constitution?

          Again, what makes “YOUR” subjective extrapolation of imperfect documents more relevant/important than mine or Dan’s or anyone else’s. Can I not claim that your attempt to commandeer the Constitution or bible is as intellectually dishonest as the last 20 christians making the same, or other claims?

          This is the farcical filter to reality that is so often exposed through atypical claims made by those who do more than just “feel” like they are in the right.

          Why do you think those amendments were added to he Constitution? I’ll give you a hint, many were to fix the original version of the document. Something akin to the constant state of recension that your bible has suffered at the hands of so many countless men for centuries.

  43. paynehollow says:

    Bubba…

    It’s still funny: your opinions are “reasonable,” and “based on the evidence at hand,” but Marshall’s opinions are empty assertions and unfounded, unsupported and unprovable opinions.

    So, if I say ten more times, “I find my opinions to be reasonable, based on the data at hand, just as Bubba and Marshall do for their opinions…” would you understand then? What if I said it 100 more times?

    CLEARLY, Bubba, you hold your opinions based on the evidence as you understand it and you find them to be reasonable. Otherwise, you wouldn’t hold them, would you?

    I have never said that you hold positions that you believe to be unreasonable. Just that I find them, at times, unreasonable, irrational, unbiblical or just plain silly. And, occasionally, I might find that we agree, as well.

    What IS factually an empty assertion, unfounded and unsupported, are claims that “this is what God says and what God means…” when there is no data given to support the claim. It just is.

    Since I do not make any claims to speak for God, CLEARLY, I am always only offering my opinions, then it is not an empty assertion. I DO, in fact, hold the opinions that I hold. Now, if I were to say, “GOD HAS TOLD ME…” or “God clearly says…” THEN I would have made an assertion that needs some support.

    I have not made those sorts of claims.

    See the difference?

    Bubba…

    Unless and until you show that consistency, you’re not providing the same explicit skepticism over your own claims regarding the Bible that you require for everyone else’s.

    Jesus and his followers, in the Bible, are quoted as saying, “Blessed are you who are poor… who are hungry… Woe to you who are rich… who are well fed…” and “is it not the rich who oppress you…?” and, “Do not worry about your clothes, or how you’re dressed…” and “do not store up for yourselves treasures here on earth…” and “what you’ve done for the least of these, you’ve done for me…” etc, etc. Beyond those teachings about the warnings of wealth and the righteousness of siding with/looking out for/aiding the poor, we find real world problems, costs and oppression associated with hyper-consumption, a lack of simple living, a loss of sense of community, environmental degradation, etc all associated with problems of wealth and poverty. Given all that, I hold the opinion that we should strive to live simple lives, not to over-consume, not to strive for wealth, that we should work with and for the poor and marginalized, etc.

    This IS my opinion, based on moral teachings such as found in the Bible and based on the real world problems and solutions that I see.

    What skepticism SHOULD be associated with me stating my opinion based on this evidence? It is factually my opinion and it is not based on nothing. You may not agree with my solutions or approaches, questioning how effective they might be or whether or not they are wise and that is fine if you hold other opinions.

    The problem comes when you start saying, “But I’m not speaking for me, I’m speaking for God, so do AS GOD SAYS…”

    Seems to me.

    ~Dan

    • In short, you’re hypocritically dogmatic in opposing dogmatism, summed up as, “Believe what you want, just don’t dare believe that your belief is the clear revelation of God.”

      It’s a very narrow approach to being open-minded, a selectively intolerant tolerance, like those who say it’s fine to hold any religious beliefs, so long as they’re not exclusivist beliefs like the claim that Jesus is the only way to salvation — or those are fine with any sort of approach to sex EXCEPT the approach that endorses only some behaviors.

      “What IS factually an empty assertion, unfounded and unsupported, are claims that ‘this is what God says and what God means…’ ”

      Your problem ultimately isn’t with Marshall, John, or me: it’s with Moses and Isaiah and John and Paul and the deity whom they claimed to speak for and whose message they claimed to reveal. We’re not the ones claiming direct revelation of “thus says the Lord,” we’re just repeating the clear message of those who did.

      • paynehollow says:

        No, Bubba, I am completely fine with them. It is YOUR INTERPRETATIONS of what those texts mean that I take issue with. I don’t make the mistake of conflating Bubba with Isaiah, much less God.

        Good thing to keep in mind, that.

        ~Dan

        • How can it be that you’re “completely fine” with Isaiah, for instance, when his book says, “Thus says the Lord,” some three dozen times?

          By your standard, Isaiah made an empty, unfounded, and unsupported assertion and even conflated himself with God every time he wrote that.

          • Bubba, Dans understanding that when Isiah said “thus said the Lord” doesn’t mean the Lord actually said, makes Isiah a liar.

          • Nash, as I was reading a comment you addressed to me a text came through and now I can’t find it. Can you copy and paste or link to it so I can address it? The WP app updated and now I’m not getting notifications for some reason

            • Richard Nash says:

              #1Could you direct me to the non-isolation instances/environments in which these multiple “taps” exist? I actually have no recollection of how Mary for example, was supernaturally prepared for the unique moment she was supposedly a part of. Nor could I consider this perfect.

              Please give me an instance, in which the israelites, other fellow hominids, believers and non-believers alike, were hearing a common voice. It seems like the quality of such an event would be uniquely subjective if only adherents heard or saw something. Would this fly today? Are you suggesting that there are no individual human connections to your god that resulted in their message or actions being disseminated to fellow believers? It seems like the televangelist community is rife, and has been for some time, with personal calls to “take America back”(whatever that means) for instance. But the Bible is as well. I can recall nothing but Noah’s own claim that he was simply commanded. There was no congregation to back up his claim.

              If you heard a voice, and others in your church heard a this voice, and it commanded you to wipe out a Catholic day care center or school, would you do it?

              #2 It is the corner in which they have painted themselves, hence they have no answer as you said. But it seems to never disable the arrogant, and presumptuous suppositions that are deemed factual, yet fabricated solely in an environment of their own personal faith. This country/world would be a better place if the thinkers/writers/intellectuals of the day were more revered for their questioning deductive thought, than adherence by adherents to such a non-sensical travesty as the bible. All of the architects of the Constitution held Paine in very high esteem. “Of all the systems of religion that ever were invented, there is no more derogatory to the Almighty, more unedifiying to man, more repugnant to reason, and more contradictory to itself than this thing called Christianity. Too absurd for belief, too impossible to convince, and too inconsistent for practice, it renders the heart torpid or produces only atheists or fanatics. As an engine of power, it serves the purpose of despotism, and as a means of wealth, the avarice of priests, but so far as respects the good of man in general it leads to nothing here or hereafter”. “As to the book called the bible, it is blasphemy to call it the Word of God. It is a book of lies and contradictions and a history of bad times and bad men”. “It is far better that we admitted a thousand devils to roam at large than that we permitted one such imposter and monster as Moses, Joshua, Samuel, and the Bible prophets, to come with the pretended word of God and have credit among us”. “The continually progressive change to which the meaning of words is subject, the want of a universal language which renders translation necessary, the errors to which translations are again subject, the mistakes of copyists and printers, together with the possibility of willful alteration, are of themselves evidences that the human language, whether in speech or in print, cannot be the vehicle of the Word of God. The Word of God exists in something else”. “Thomas did not believe the resurrection [John 20:25], and, as they say, would not believe without having ocular and manual demonstration himself. So neither will I, and the reason is equally as good for me, and for every other person, as for Thomas”. “What is it the Bible teaches us? – raping, cruelty, and murder. What is it the New Testament teaches us? – to believe that the Almighty committed debauchery with a woman engaged to be married, and the belief of this debauchery is called faith”. “The most detestable wickedness, the most horrid cruelties, and the greatest miseries that have afflicted the human race have had their origin in this thing called revelation, or revealed religion. It has been the most destructive to the peace of man since man began to exist. Among the most detestable villains in history, you could not find one worse than Moses, who gave an order to butcher the boys, to massacre the mothers and then rape the daughters. One of the most horrible atrocities found in the literature of any nation. I would not dishonor my Creator’s name by attaching it to this filthy book”. “Whence arose all the horrid assassinations of whole nations of men, women, and infants, with which the Bible is filled; and the bloody persecutions, and tortures unto death, and religious wars, that since that time have laid Europe in blood and ashes; whence arose they, but from this impious thing called religion, and this monstrous belief that God has spoken to man”? But we are yet again faced with John’s unique fundamentalist vision that not only is the menacing god of the bible not immoral and repugnant, but that he is in fact moral. This is what happens when man invents his own gods. Jefferson: “Ignorance is preferable to error, and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing than he who believes what is wrong.” “I concur with you strictly in your opinion of the comparative merits of atheism and demonism, and really see nothing but the latter in the being worshipped by many who think themselves Christians”. He penned this after the Constitutional Convention. “The whole history of these books [the Gospels] is so defective and doubtful that it seems vain to attempt minute enquiry into it: and such tricks have been played with their text, and with the texts of other books relating to them, that we have a right, from that cause, to entertain much doubt what parts of them are genuine. In the New Testament there is internal evidence that parts of it have proceeded from an extraordinary man; and that other parts are of the fabric of very inferior minds. It is as easy to separate those parts, as to pick out diamonds from dunghills”. “If we did a good act merely from love of God and a belief that it is pleasing to Him, whence arises the morality of the Atheist? …Their virtue, then, must have had some other foundation than the love of God”. “Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them; and no man ever had a distinct idea of the trinity. It is the mere Abracadabra of the mountebanks calling themselves the priests of Jesus”. “Among the sayings and discourses imputed to him [Jesus] by his biographers, I find many passages of fine imagination, correct morality, and of the most lovely benevolence; and others again of so much ignorance, so much absurdity, so much untruth, charlatanism, and imposture, as to pronounce it impossible that such contradictions should have proceeded from the same being”. Again I ask, are the Founding Fathers, and those who most closely informed their thinking in hell bubba, John, Marshall? They very certainly don’t seem to be buying what you are selling, and there seems to be a pretty good chance that they very much would have told you all that you are doing it wrong. This sort of conundrum would tear my psyche apart, but I do suppose there are plenty more apologetics to sweep this all under the rug…..

  44. paynehollow says:

    The difference between a way of grace in disagreement and a way of fundamentalism/phariseeism…

    On the one hand, Dan’s attempts to obscure even the Bible’s clearest doctrines does help out the cause of those who reject the Christian gospel

    I assign no ill motives of Bubba’s opinions, but Bubba needs to falsely claim I’m attempting to obscure the Bible’s teachings.

    Of course, in reality, both Bubba and I are striving to live right, do right and, in our case, follow God a-right. We just disagree on some topics. Not on whether or not God is love, or teaches a way of Love and Grace, forgiveness and mercy, but on how best to live that out and what the implications are of that. We simply disagree, holding different, human opinions on topics where we can not prove our position is Right.

    And, as humans – religious ones or not – we will disagree, it just is reality.

    If only we could learn to leave it at that.

    ~Dan

    • Funny how your “way of grace” permits you to accuse me of graceless pharasaism, but it precludes me from criticizing you for obscuring some quite plain teachings of the Bible.

  45. Dan,
    Matt. 10:34 seems to represent a different Jesus.

    Psalms 9:-6 The real power of prayer.

    Pro 10:13 Directions for what to do with those who don’t understand or agree with your opinion.

    Esth 9:5 seems to be the crux of a unique and special violent power afforded jews.

    Jer 2:30

    Lam 4:4-9, and Lam 4:10-11

    Ez. 3:18-20 One of my personal favorites.

    Oba 1,8 This actually raises some interesting specific points that seem to counter John’s assertions in the original post, and that is, “what” method did god use to convey his message to his followers? Here it is written as a rumor? Not sure that would be good enough for me.

    Mat. 5:17 is a very curious rubric.

    Matt 23:28 Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. Quite possibly one of the more condemning moments for the absolutist evangelical/fundamentalists in the NT.

    And finally Mat. 7:13-14 seems to hint that possibly a great many of you are doing it wrong.

    I still can’t find the perfection and infallible words that I hear so much about. It all seems more than contradictory. It almost seems like a whole bunch of arrogant, self righteous, and very fallible men wrote, edited, redacted, collated this book over 12-13 hundred years. And if we are not only born imperfect, but are biblically born into sin, how do any of you trust this quality of “evidence”?

    So Dan, I appreciate that you allow all the riff raff into your church, as long as they don’t speak or act according to their actual beliefs, but is that enough?

  46. paynehollow says:

    R.Nash…

    It is a war about what your god is, how seriously, or literally to take his infallible word, and how do they interact with those who are worshipping/interpreting incorrectly.

    There certainly have been and are on-going disagreements about whether or not there is a god, what that god is like and what that god wishes of his/her followers. And certainly, there have been humans who have said that this ancient text or that ancient text is an “infallible word” from a god. But no gods have stated this, or at least there is no evidence of any gods stating this.

    Some humans have, but no gods have, ever. Not one time. Not publicly.

    And certainly not the God of the Christian Bible or the Jewish holy texts.

    That some humans hold an opinion about some ancient texts is fine, as far as that goes. I have no problem if some people want to believe that the world is 6,000 years old and created in six days, or if they want to believe in a literal exodus out of ancient Egypt. Live and let live.

    Similarly, I have no problem if someone holds the unprovable opinion that there is no/are no god/s. Live and let live.

    It’s just a problem when we start presuming to speak for these gods or for “our way” and insist that everyone must agree with our way, “or else…” that it becomes a problem. And so, that is why I write at places like this, to remind us all that we are welcome to our opinions, but not to our own facts and to remind us all that we should live and let live, as long as someone is not causing harm to others.

    Just a reminder: Just because some believers in a god have made their holy texts “infallible” in their minds, does not mean that the holy texts have said that or that reason endorses it or that all believers would agree with such claims.

    ~Dan

  47. paynehollow says:

    R Nash…

    I still can’t find the perfection and infallible words that I hear so much about. It all seems more than contradictory.

    The bible itself makes no claims to hold “imperfect” or “infallible” words. That is a human invention, not a biblical one. The bible itself, in fact, makes NO CLAIMS about THE BIBLE, itself. Not one reference to “the 66 books of the Protestant canon…” Not one.

    Jesus does teach that all “scripture” (which goes undefined) are inspired and profitable for teaching, but that does not demand any claim of perfection.

    Indeed, with zero doubt, the Bible contains stories, poems, allegories and facts of one shade or another passed down by mere mortals. Many of us believe these words to be “inspired,” but that does not demand perfect or “infallible,” and, as always, EVEN IF the words themselves were “perfect,” human interpretation of any ideas or words is never perfect, so what happens with these words – as with any words – will certainly be prone to error.

    I know of no perfect humans, do you?

    ~Dan

  48. paynehollow says:

    Bubba…

    How can it be that you’re “completely fine” with Isaiah, for instance, when his book says, “Thus says the Lord,” some three dozen times?

    By your standard, Isaiah made an empty, unfounded, and unsupported assertion and even conflated himself with God every time he wrote that.

    Isaiah, et al were passed on/written in the style of the day. Hafiz, the Sufi Poet wrote similarly, speaking of God and what God does. I LOVE Hafiz. But I don’t take him literally.

    Same for Isaiah. You have to take into consideration a text’s style, period and historical context.

    Here’s a bit of Hafiz’ poetry (great stuff, I tell you)…

    What is laughter? What is laughter?
    It is God waking up! O it is God waking up!
    It is the sun poking its sweet head out
    From behind a cloud
    You have been carrying too long,
    Veiling your eyes and heart.

    Great stuff. Doesn’t mean that I think laughter is literally God waking up…

    Same for Isaiah.

    Get the difference?

    ~Dan

    • Oh. You don’t have a problem with Isaiah’s claim of “thus says the Lord,” because you think he didn’t mean it: it was only “the style of the day.”

      That’s just perverse, Dan.

  49. paynehollow says:

    R Nash…

    what makes “YOUR” subjective extrapolation of imperfect documents more relevant/important than mine or Dan’s or anyone else’s.

    This is, of course, THE pertinent question that must be insisted upon all those who presume to speak for God and tell others what God thinks.

    Unfortunately, this is the ultimate question that they all dodge. And one can’t blame them, there is no good answer which does not undermine their hunches.

    “Because I’m serious about it and they’re not…?”

    But they are serious.

    “Oh, well, because there are a million other Christians who agree with me…?”

    An appeal to numbers is no certainty of being right. “Wide is the road to destruction, and many who travel it…” it is said.

    “Oh, well, because… because I… I’m just taking the text for what it ‘obviously means’ and they are not…”

    But they claim they are taking the text for what it “obviously means,” as well.

    “Oh, but, I REALLY am taking it for what it obviously means…?”

    Okay, according to what source? Who gets to decide what a given text obviously means? Is it the Baptists and only the Baptists? (And by “Baptist,” I mean is it only the conservative, fundamentalist, hardshell baptists, but not the primitive Baptists and certainly not the liberal baptists!) Or the Pope? Or… who?

    “Um… those who agree with me?”

    On what basis?

    “Because I REALLLY think I’m right…????”

    And on it goes. IF they even tried to answer the question.

    It is one of the questions that points to fatally flawed holes in their arguments.

    More’s the pity.

    ~Dan

    • It is the corner in which they have painted themselves, hence they have no answer as you said.

      But it seems to never disable the arrogant, and presumptuous suppositions that are deemed factual, yet fabricated solely in an environment of their own personal faith.

      This country/world would be a better place if the thinkers/writers/intellectuals of the day were more revered for their questioning deductive thought, than adherence by adherents to such a non-sensical travesty as the bible.

      All of the architects of the Constitution held Paine in very high esteem.

      “Of all the systems of religion that ever were invented, there is no more derogatory to the Almighty, more unedifiying to man, more repugnant to reason, and more contradictory to itself than this thing called Christianity. Too absurd for belief, too impossible to convince, and too inconsistent for practice, it renders the heart torpid or produces only atheists or fanatics. As an engine of power, it serves the purpose of despotism, and as a means of wealth, the avarice of priests, but so far as respects the good of man in general it leads to nothing here or hereafter”.

      “As to the book called the bible, it is blasphemy to call it the Word of God. It is a book of lies and contradictions and a history of bad times and bad men”.

      “It is far better that we admitted a thousand devils to roam at large than that we permitted one such imposter and monster as Moses, Joshua, Samuel, and the Bible prophets, to come with the pretended word of God and have credit among us”.

      “The continually progressive change to which the meaning of words is subject, the want of a universal language which renders translation necessary, the errors to which translations are again subject, the mistakes of copyists and printers, together with the possibility of willful alteration, are of themselves evidences that the human language, whether in speech or in print, cannot be the vehicle of the Word of God. The Word of God exists in something else”.

      “Thomas did not believe the resurrection [John 20:25], and, as they say, would not believe without having ocular and manual demonstration himself. So neither will I, and the reason is equally as good for me, and for every other person, as for Thomas”.

      “What is it the Bible teaches us? – raping, cruelty, and murder. What is it the New Testament teaches us? – to believe that the Almighty committed debauchery with a woman engaged to be married, and the belief of this debauchery is called faith”.

      “The most detestable wickedness, the most horrid cruelties, and the greatest miseries that have afflicted the human race have had their origin in this thing called revelation, or revealed religion. It has been the most destructive to the peace of man since man began to exist. Among the most detestable villains in history, you could not find one worse than Moses, who gave an order to butcher the boys, to massacre the mothers and then rape the daughters. One of the most horrible atrocities found in the literature of any nation. I would not dishonor my Creator’s name by attaching it to this filthy book”.

      “Whence arose all the horrid assassinations of whole nations of men, women, and infants, with which the Bible is filled; and the bloody persecutions, and tortures unto death, and religious wars, that since that time have laid Europe in blood and ashes; whence arose they, but from this impious thing called religion, and this monstrous belief that God has spoken to man”?

      But we are yet again faced with John’s unique fundamentalist vision that not only is the menacing god of the bible not immoral and repugnant, but that he is in fact moral. This is what happens when man invents his own gods.

      Jefferson:
      “Ignorance is preferable to error, and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing than he who believes what is wrong.”

      “I concur with you strictly in your opinion of the comparative merits of atheism and demonism, and really see nothing but the latter in the being worshipped by many who think themselves Christians”. He penned this after the Constitutional Convention.

      “The whole history of these books [the Gospels] is so defective and doubtful that it seems vain to attempt minute enquiry into it: and such tricks have been played with their text, and with the texts of other books relating to them, that we have a right, from that cause, to entertain much doubt what parts of them are genuine. In the New Testament there is internal evidence that parts of it have proceeded from an extraordinary man; and that other parts are of the fabric of very inferior minds. It is as easy to separate those parts, as to pick out diamonds from dunghills”.

      “If we did a good act merely from love of God and a belief that it is pleasing to Him, whence arises the morality of the Atheist? …Their virtue, then, must have had some other foundation than the love of God”.

      “Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them; and no man ever had a distinct idea of the trinity. It is the mere Abracadabra of the mountebanks calling themselves the priests of Jesus”.

      “Among the sayings and discourses imputed to him [Jesus] by his biographers, I find many passages of fine imagination, correct morality, and of the most lovely benevolence; and others again of so much ignorance, so much absurdity, so much untruth, charlatanism, and imposture, as to pronounce it impossible that such contradictions should have proceeded from the same being”.

      Again I ask, are the Founding Fathers, and those who most closely informed their thinking in hell bubba, John, Marshall?

      They very certainly don’t seem to be buying what you are selling, and there seems to be a pretty good chance that they very much would have told you all that you are doing it wrong.

      This sort of conundrum would tear my psyche apart, but I do suppose there are plenty more apologetics to sweep this all under the rug…..

  50. paynehollow says:

    Isaiah 45:

    Thus saith the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut;

    2 I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron:

    3 And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the Lord, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel.

    4 For Jacob my servant’s sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me.

    5 I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me:

    This is a story passed on, like the Genesis Creation story, that we don’t need to take literally, to take as literal history in the modern sense. If we try to treat an epic as a modern-style history, we’ve failed at basic literary comprehension.

    Do you also try to take imagery literally, Bubba? Do you treat poetry as How-To books? Do you treat letters as legislature?

    If we try to fail to adequately understand the genre of a given literary work, we’ve failed at basic literary comprehension. You are welcome to hold opinions about what genre you think an ancient text is written in, but absent any evidence to support that opinion, you can’t expect others to just give in to your hunches because you are really, REALLLY sure of your hunch.

    ~Dan

    (By the way, there is no evidence that God literally made “crooked places” straight, nor that God literally gave “darkness” as a treasure… that is imagery, not literal.)

  51. I guess it comes down to this, ““Did God really say,…”.

    Dan, more often than not seems to be saying “No, god did not really say…”

  52. paynehollow says:

    Craig, I WANT to follow God’s Ways. I do not confuse your opinions with God’s Way.

    The better question is this: IS Craig right that God thinks…

    The debate amongst we Christians is not do we want to follow what God says, but when Craig, or Marshall, or Bubba, et al, SAY, “God says…” are they guessing right about God’s opinions? Further, are they insisting that others must agree with them because they think they know best or are they clear (as I am), “This is only my opinion…”?

    As to this…

    Yet, when pressed, he quickly retreats behind “Of course they’re my opinions”. It is a great way to make pronouncements, without actually having to defend them. Hey they’re just unprovable hunchy opinions, not anything that anyone should take seriously.

    Yes, I ALWAYS confirm that my opinion is my opinion. Are your opinions about what God thinks something more than your opinion? Would you have me say (with you all) that these are NOT my opinions and that they are ‘God’s Word…”? I am not arrogant like that. I hope you understand and respect this moral choice of mine.

    “Yet, when pressed to answer questions, they quickly retreat to ignoring reasonable questions…”

    ~Dan

  53. “Craig, I WANT to follow God’s Ways.”

    I’m happy for you, I really am. It’s just if you can’t identify “God’s Ways” then it seems like it might be hard to follow them. But I wish you all the best in your journey.

    “I do not confuse your opinions with God’s Way.”

    What a relief, neither do I.

    “I am not arrogant like that.”

    Nor is anyone else in this conversation, you are arrogant in your own special way.

    “I hope you understand and respect this moral choice of mine.”

    I do understand that you have made a choice to follow your Reason and that that way seems right for you. I even respect that you have the right to make that choice for yourself. I respect that in your opinion that it’s a moral choice, although it can’t be an objectively moral choice. What I don’t have to respect, is that after you assert something as if it was fact, when pressed you don’t defend your position, you simply render it irrelevant by dismissing it as opinion.

    Can you provide a simple definitive answer to any of the following, if so, will you.

    Does a god exist?
    Does the God described in the Bible exist?
    Did God create anything?
    Is God sovereign?
    Is it possible to know anything about God?
    Is it possible to know what “God’s Ways” are with a high degree of certainty?

    I guess it comes down to this, ““Did God really say,…”.

    So, is there anything that you can affirm with a high degree of certainty that God really said?

  54. paynehollow says:

    I’ll answer your questions, Craig. I hope you’ll do the same:

    Does a god exist?

    Yes. That is my opinion. It is not provable, though, but it is my opinion that God exists.

    Do you think it is provable that God exists?

    Does the God described in the Bible exist?

    Yes, I think so, depending on how you interpret Biblical texts. For instance, I don’t think God commands people to destroy nations, including babies and children. I don’t think God commands us to pluck out our eyes. So, yes, depending on how you interpret the text.

    Do you think God sometimes commands (commanded) people to destroy whole nations, including children and babies?

    I think clearly some texts, especially in the OT, are epic and mythic storytelling genres. As long as you interpret texts.

    Did God create anything?

    It is my opinion that God causes everything to come into being. How that is done, I couldn’t tell you, other than apparently through natural, observable means.

    Do you think God created the world in six days, ~6,000 years ago? Do you think originally there were only two people, a literal Adam and Eve? Do you admit there is no data to support any of that, and in fact, data which would contradict it?

    Is God sovereign?

    Yes, I guess, depending on what you mean by that. I don’t think it’s one of the better metaphors for God, but one could make the argument as “sovereign” as metaphor.

    Is it possible to know anything about God?

    Know generally? Sure, I absolutely do. Know perfectly in a manner that can be proven? No. I think God is revealed through all creation and through the love of people one to another. But do I think we can say, “I know as a matter of fact that God’s opinion on abortion, war and homosexuality are…”? No.

    Do YOU think we can say, “I know as a matter of fact that God’s opinion on abortion, war and homosexuality are…”?

    Is it possible to know what “God’s Ways” are with a high degree of certainty?

    Yes.

    Do you think it is possible to know perfectly what God’s Ways are on some topics? Which topics?

    I directly answered each of your questions. I expect you’ll do the same with my variations of your questions.

    ~Dan

    • Dan,

      Yes you did, and in exactly the way I expected you to answer. I will answer your questions, unfortunately I don’t have the time right now for more than a quick response.

  55. paynehollow says:

    I’d change my last answer to yes, to a reasonable degree of assuredness, in terms of broad strokes. Yes, clearly, I think God’s ways are the ways of love, grace, mercy and justice. Do I think I have the answers to what that means lived out in the lives of everyone today? No, other than the obvious: Do no harm, be kind, love.

    ~Dan

  56. @Craig
    Oooh, I’ll play too.

    Can you provide a simple definitive answer to any of the following, if so, will you.

    Does a god exist?

    No verifiable evidence has ever been produced to suggest any god exists.

    Does the God described in the Bible exist?
    There are , in fact, a number of gods described in the bible.
    However, I’ll venture you are referring to Yahweh, yes? I can only refer to the previous answer.
    If you are looking for something more definitive then one can say with confidence that based on the lack of evidence produced so far that, no, Yahweh does not exist.

    Did God create anything?
    As there is no evidence, one must defer to the default answer and state emphatically, No.

    Is God sovereign?
    You mean Yahweh . Again No.

    Is it possible to know anything about God?
    Yahweh. Again. NO.

    Is it possible to know what “God’s Ways” are with a high degree of certainty?
    Yahweh. No.

    I guess it comes down to this, ““Did God really say,…”.
    Based on the lack of evidence there is absolutely no reason to believe any god has ever uttered a single word.

    So, is there anything that you can affirm with a high degree of certainty that God really said
    As there is no evidence for any gods, then the answer must always be No.

  57. paynehollow says:

    John…

    Dans understanding that when Isiah said “thus said the Lord” doesn’t mean the Lord actually said, makes Isiah a liar.

    Only if Isaiah was purporting that this was a literal history. Since it does not appear to be written in that style, Isaiah is no more a liar for saying that than Jesus is a liar for saying, “There was a man who built his house on sand…” when there was no man.

    Would YOU call Jesus a liar if there were not truly a man who built his house on sand? Or do you recognize that genre matters?

    ~Dan

  58. Dan:

    I know for a fact that we’ve discussed this at least once before, more than five years ago, in that lengthy discussion that Craig hosted: you are conflating historicity and content. What I wrote then is worth repeating.

    “God commanded wars of annihilation, and Christ commanded (at least some of) His followers to pluck out their own eyes.

    “Whether they actually gave these commands is a question of historicity.

    “What these commands MEAN is a question of content.

    Isaiah wrote that God said, “I will make crooked paths straight.” It’s one thing to believe that the content of this divine revelation is figurative, IT’S ANOTHER THING ENTIRELY TO DENY THE REVELATION’S HISTORICITY.

    (You claim WITHOUT EVIDENCE, “This is a story passed on, like the Genesis Creation story,” but the passage is a prospective oracle of what God was going to do, not a retrospective account of what God had already done. You don’t seem to have a good grasp on the genre of prophecy.)

    In conflating historical claims of whether God or Jesus spoke with questions of content about WHAT they spoke, you compare Isaiah to Jesus, but that’s the wrong comparison.

    You write, “Isaiah is no more a liar for saying that than Jesus is a liar for saying, ‘There was a man who built his house on sand…’ when there was no man.”

    Isaiah said that God made promises about crooked roads.

    MATTHEW said that Jesus taught about a man building his house on sand.

    If Jesus didn’t actually utter that teaching — presumably in Aramaic or Koine Greek, which Matthew may have summarized rather than quote verbatim — then INDEED Matthew is a liar, and if God did not say what Isaiah put in God’s mouth, than INDEED Isaiah is a liar — worse, a blasphemer who literally took God’s name in vain and who deserves death, at least according to the Bible itself.

    God IS NOT comparable to a man mentioned in a parable or simile: the man’s actual existence is beside the point, God’s existence — His word and deeds and character — are absolutely central to the Bible.

    But let’s run with your comparison.

    Dan, you say that Jesus wasn’t a liar “for saying, ‘There was a man who built his house on sand…’ when there was no man.”

    (Never mind that Jesus didn’t actually say that there was such a man: Jesus said that those who hear but do not obey His words are LIKE a foolish man who built his house on sand. That simile doesn’t imply any belief regarding the existence of what is being compared, no more than my saying that you’re like a man with his head up his butt implies my belief that cranial rectal impaction is an actual medical condition.)

    You also say that Isaiah wasn’t a liar for saying “God said this” even if God didn’t actually say what Isaiah attributed to him.

    It all depends on the style in which it was all written.

    You answered Craig’s questions to affirm your belief that God exists, and that OUGHT to be reassuring, but it’s not, because we cannot make any assumptions about the style in which you’re writing.

    If Jesus can say something not strictly true about the existence of a particular person but not be guilty of lying, and if Isaiah can say something not strictly true about the revelation of God but not guilty of lying, how can we possibly trust that you wouldn’t say something not strictly true about your beliefs regarding the existence of God and not consider yourself guilty of lying?

    You write, “it is my opinion that God exists.”

    How do we know about the style in which you’re writing this phrase?

    Maybe you just believe that God is a useful concept rather than an actual being, and you frame your beliefs with traditional Christian terminology because that is the faith-tradition from which you have come.

    And maybe you think it will help you convince us fundamentalist Pharisees of the truth or utility of your basically post-Christian humanism, where God is permitted as a concept but not required to be worshipped as Lord, and where ethics is reduced to the standard of harm to others with no binding obligations to a God whose existence is negotiable.

    Craig asked, “Does the God described in the Bible exist?” You say you think God does, “depending on how you interpret Biblical texts,” and your interpretation means that God did not do what the Bible says He did and did not say what the Bible says He said.

    That sort of tendentious answer about your belief in God “described in the Bible” gives me no confidence in your affirmation of general theism.

    This gets back to the question I’d STILL like to ask you at your blog, but perhaps the answer is obvious, why your claim about “the actual gist of what the Bible actually teaches” doesn’t actually mention God.

    • The sheer width and breadth of bizarre apologetics needed in attempting to “conflate” and qualify any aspect of this need to convince others of the rightness/trueness, historical or otherwise, of any aspect of christianity is once again where so many of these conversations go.

      Hearing you ask for evidence bubba, and so vainly assert that your understanding has more legitimacy, or that any other premise or understanding has less, is painful to watch.

      So much subjective extrapolation masked as absolutist knowing of actual, or perceived intentions of gods, jesus, prophets, or any of the tens of thousands of middlemen is frankly yet again, and still more than unconvincing.

      Just because you say it with bold caps, doesn’t make you right.

      • The contents of the Bible and the Christian message aren’t actually that hard to discern, Nash, Dan’s willful blindness and your opportunistic sneering notwithstanding.

        • “Aren’t actually that hard to discern”?

          Then again I ask, why do you have tens of thousands of sects and denominations? By your count, how many of them are doing it wrong?

          Or is this another query that you will dismiss like all of the others as opportunistic sneering?

          Is Thomas Jefferson in hell bubba? Come on be the first to own up to the claim!

        • Likely, Nash, because you don’t understand the reasons why some denominations exist. There is little difference between the vast majorities of denominations in terms of dogmatic belief, than in how those beliefs should be either prioritized or simply in the methods of worship and matters of polity. In other words, there is more that unites the various denominations that which separates them. Traditions form, practices vary, but the beliefs are all pretty much the same for the vast majority.

          • Richard Nash says:

            So catholics of all flavors, and coptics, the Adamites, the Hacidic orthodox jews, the christian gnostics, the nazarenes, oriental orthodox, Assyrian church of the East, Slovak Hussites, Lutheran Ministerium Synod, Spanish Reformed Episcopalian, Church of the Western Province of Africa, Lusitanian Apostolic Catholic Evangelical Church, Evangelical Conexxion of the Free Church of England, Shwarzenau Brethren, Seventh Day baptist and or adventists, mormons, Believers Pentacostal, gods army (militia), huttaree (militia), Every Nation Charismatics, Jews for Jesus, adventists, Branch Davidians, unitarians, swedeborgians, Aryanism, church of divine science, freemasonry, christian identity, dominionists, KKK, british israelists, chrislamists………..

            You share your core beliefs with those listed above?

            I might know more about why any number of denominations exist than you give me credit for. But then again, that is absolutely irrelevant in sticking with the original premise.

            Here is about .01% of the total number of sects/denominations, most if not all are post reformation. I ask again, are they all going to hell or are they going to heaven with you? Where are Jefferson and Paine, and the rest of the Founding Fathers?

        • Nash,

          I’m admittedly not familiar with most of those you listed in your brief listing of “denominations”. But one sticks out: the Hacidic orthodox jews. They are neither a sect, nor a denomination of the Christian faith. With that in mind, it appears you will lump in anyone who utters the word “religion” and pretend they are all related. How incredibly dishonest!

          As to who goes to hell and who to heaven based on beliefs alone, I would need to examine the beliefs of any given “sect” or “denomination” that you offer. Not going to do that with my limited time. What’s more, YOU’RE the one who felt the need to bring up divisions within the church, in what I thought was clearly a discussion based on the Christian Bible alone. John can correct me if I’m wrong.

          As far as I know, Paine was an atheist. Not likely he’ll be “going to heaven with me”. Jesus clearly teaches that no one comes to the Father but through Him. Paine doesn’t even believe in the Father. You do the math. No telling if the Father has some plan for bringing such to Him after they leave this mortal coil.

          As for Jefferson, were you aware that he instituted a Christian university in Virginia? It was not under any specific denomination nor was it intended to be. But his desire to have the faith taught was strong, just not taught by a particular “sect”. Revisionists love to cited statements of his that they think they can use to show he was anti-God or anti-faith. It is not totally uncommon for some folks to believe strongly in God, but to have an equally strong distaste for organized religion.

          It is also not uncommon for too many to pretend the vast majority of the Founders were not Christian. It simply isn’t so.

          • Richard Nash says:

            You are again admittedly out of your depth. You squirm a lot when cornered, and then have a well rehearsed tendency to not engage a premise directly. Lots of irrelevant non sequiturs, and red herrings.

            Thomas Paine was not an atheist. He was by his very own words a believer in One God”, seemingly the christian one. So who’s math is wrong? Are you telling me that Jefferson and Paine, are really in hell? Along with at least 9 other Founding Fathers? Interesting that the fundamentalists and evangelicals cling to them as their own so zealously, when they are by your accounts heretics and apostates. They were not christian like you. And that is the point. These men didn’t have just a distaste for organized religion they had a profound distaste for the various “christian” flavors of the day. This seems to be getting the usual white washing from you. I have claimed nowhere that they were not christian. But very much to the point, they would have had great disdain for your brand of absolutist, self righteous iniquities.

            One does stick out, and they are practicing a monotheistic form of judaism almost identical to the 12th century mysticism of the day. It seems they worship the same god as you, just in a very different way, but understandably you picked that one out of the bunch. No surprises there.

            A discussion based on just your version of the bible that your denomination/sect uses in your church? Please define for us the “christian bible”. No doubt that your definition of “christian” and christian bible” would leave the bulk of the Founders and Enlightenment thinkers out of heaven, and ironically they spent a good amount of their time equating your views with sheer arrogant idiocy.

  59. paynehollow says:

    Jefferson was a Deist and a HUGE fan of “red letter Christianity” which means that he would almost certainly be rejected as a Christian by many if not most fundamentalist evangelicals, at least if he were living today…

    In extracting the pure principles which he [Jesus] taught, we should have to strip off the artificial vestments in which they have been muffled by priests, who have travestied them into various forms, as instruments of riches and power to themselves.

    We must dismiss the Platonists and Plotinists, the Stagyrites and Gamalielites, the Eclectics, the Gnostics and Scholastics, their essences and emanations, their logos and demiurges, aeons and daemons, male and female, with a long train of … or, shall I say at once, of nonsense. We must reduce our volume to the simple evangelists, select, even from them, the very words only of Jesus, paring off the amphibologisms into which they have been led, by forgetting often, or not understanding, what had fallen from him, by giving their own misconceptions as his dicta, and expressing unintelligibly for others what they had not understood themselves.

    ~Thomas Jefferson

    Also, “Jefferson wrote that “Jesus did not mean to impose himself on mankind as the son of God.” He called the writers of the New Testament “ignorant, unlettered men” who produced “superstitions, fanaticisms, and fabrications.” He called the Apostle Paul the “first corrupter of the doctrines of Jesus.” He dismissed the concept of the Trinity as “mere Abracadabra of the mountebanks calling themselves the priests of Jesus.””

    My source for convenience sake is Wikipedia, but you can find this elsewhere.

    Given this, what say ye? Hell for Jefferson?

    ~Dan

    • That “pure teaching of Jesus” wasn’t ALL the red letters of Jesus: for instance, Jefferson excised from the Sermon on the Mount Jesus’ claim to be the judge on the last day (Mt 7:21-23). Mark’s record of Jesus saying He came to give His life as a ransom for many? Gone. John’s record of Jesus saying He is the bread of life? Also gone.

      Dan, you’ve emphasized that a Christ-ian is just one who follows Chris (never mind the theological claims of being the messiah, for which Christ is the Greek term), but I don’t see how it can be said that Jefferson followed Jesus if he was this explicit in picking and choosing which recorded teachings he liked.

      You write that Jefferson would “almost certainly be rejected as a Christian by many if not most fundamentalist evangelicals,” but he was a guy who rejected even the Resurrection, without which (Paul clearly teaches) our faith would be in vain. Forget us horrible fundies, where should you think the line should be drawn?

      Should a man Christian profession be taken at face value even if he denies the historicity of Jesus? Should it be taken at face value even if he denies basic theism, the existence of God?

      Y’know, Dan, if someone had written that my writings provide a great deal of ambiguity regarding my affirmation that God exists, I probably would have corrected the record PDQ.

      You claim to believe in God as the Bible describes Him, but you turn around say that proper interpretation means that God didn’t say and do what the Bible actually attributes to Him..

      You say that Isaiah wouldn’t necessarily have been lying if what he wrote about God’s revelation wasn’t strictly true: how are we to know that what you affirm regarding God’s existence is to be taken as being believed literally? How are we to know that you’re not just communicating to us in a style compatible with your anabaptist faith tradition?

      How are we to know that you believe God exists as an actual being and not just a useful concept?

  60. paynehollow says:

    Bubba…

    You claim to believe in God as the Bible describes Him, but you turn around say that proper interpretation means that God didn’t say and do what the Bible actually attributes to Him..

    You don’t think so, either. Jesus CLEARLY said, “If your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out…” But YOU DON’T TAKE JESUS LITERALLY.

    Jesus CLEARLY said, “Do NOT store up for yourselves treasures here on earth,” but I doubt that you take Jesus literally, you almost certainly are storing up treasures in your bank account and savings accounts and Roth IRA type accounts, am I right?

    Jesus CLEARLY said to his followers, “Sell your possessions and give to charity; make yourselves money belts which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near nor moth destroys,” but YOU DO NOT TAKE JESUS LITERALLY, am I right?

    Jesus CLEARLY said, “Love your enemy and do GOOD to those who hate you…” but YOU DON’T TAKE JESUS LITERALLY, otherwise you wouldn’t kill your neighbor at war time.

    Do you get my points?

    1. No one takes all the Bible literally. Not me. Not you. Heck, you don’t even take JESUS literally a good part of the time.

    2. As soon as we move from a woodenly literal approach to the Bible (a take NO ONE takes), we move to interpretations about “here’s what these passages SAY, but what do they MEAN?” and once we’ve done that, we’ve moved to human interpretations.

    So, given that, on what basis are your opinions and interpretations reliable in a way that mine and Jefferson and all the others who disagree with your human opinions are NOT? What do your opinions have that makes them better than mine or Jefferson’s or anyone else? That you have tradition on your side? That you have numbers on your side? That you have perfect knowledge and we do not? What?

    THAT is one of those answers that you all keep dodging.

    ~Dan

    • Dan, there’s a HUGE difference between saying that Jesus DID historically say what the Bible attributes to Him but the message contains figurative language, and saying that God DID NOT historically say what the Bible attributes to Him.

      When the Bible says, “Thus says the Lord,” I believe that the Lord said thus. You don’t.

      That’s a huge difference between us.

      I haven’t dodged that question, Dan: my position regarding the Bible’s meaning stands up as superior to yours, NOT because of tradition or numbers or megalmania on my part, but because the arguments behind my position are stronger than yours. My position speaks for itself.

      But on the subject of “dodged” questions, you still haven’t said whether you believe a person can deny the existence of God and yet still be considered a Christian: that question has been hanging around for quite a while.

      And you still haven’t ceded the floor in the discussion at your blog, where your berating me with countless loaded questions is your apparent idea of a two-way, one-for-one exchange of questions and ideas.

      • Richard Nash says:

        Bubba,

        “When the Bible says, “Thus says the Lord,” I believe that the Lord said thus”.

        This is a rife example of exactly the point I have attempted to expose, but the believers don’t like where it leads.

        You seem like a pretty smart guy, so I will assume that you know where your bible comes from? That you know it has been assembled, disassembled, collated, re-collated, edited and redacted over millennia, by men just like you. Not special men, just believers.

        And they did a terrible job of editing. A quick read through should have located some of the hundreds of glaring contradictions. They never did.

        So it lacks basic editing, it contradicts itself constantly, it was built by average to below average joe’s, who sometimes clearly had some very lofty plans. Hence it’s imperfections are such quality and quantity that only men, not a superficial being could have done such a piece.

        Besides what of the people who lived shortly after jesus but were using the Tanakh instead of a bible, since it didn’t exist yet? Are they in hell with the Founding Fathers as well?

        This all requires more than just faith, it requires a monumental leap from the ledge of rationality.

        • Nash,

          You’re mixing issues here. I don’t know if you’re doing it on purpose out of the same form of desperation Arkied brings to the table, but you’re doing it regardless. When Bubba says this: “When the Bible says, “Thus says the Lord,” I believe that the Lord said thus”.…he’s not using such a statement to defend God’s existence. He’s doing so to support an argument based on teachings of Scripture.

          You then move on to the tired argument regarding the Bible being “assembled, disassembled, collated, re-collated, edited and redacted over millennia”. There’s been no such regarding Scripture as it has survived from the earliest discovered manuscripts as having been faithfully passed down “over millennia”. But the anti-theists need to believe that men of faith have been really men of power-hungry despotism looking to control the superstitious world. Sad.

          The equally tired and boring angle regarding how the Bible “contradicts itself constantly” would require some example at least. However, before you do, google that contradiction and you’ll likely find resolution. The issue then would be whether or not you choose to accept how the alleged contradiction has been resolved. I doubt you will, but it’s there for honest and honorable men to consider.

          Finally, with regards to this comment of yours (September 17, 2014 at 7:46 PM), you again appeal to our opinions with regards to the salvation of others. What makes you think we need to address whether or not “people who lived shortly after jesus but were using the Tanakh instead of a bible” are in hell, or if the very few non-believing Founders are in hell? It’s hardly our concern as to the eternal situation of those no longer living. Why would it or should it be, except to provide fodder for those who need to believe that there is no God? I don’t recall that there exists any Scriptural compulsion for us to lose sleep over it. Only the irrational would think it is as relevant question.

  61. paynehollow says:

    I repeat: on what basis are your opinions and interpretations reliable in a way that mine and Jefferson and all the others who disagree with your human opinions are NOT?

    Saying “I like my arguments best…” is not any rational basis for any conclusion beyond “…so that is what I believe…” It is not an authoritative argument that answers the question asked above.

    Dodge on. Or answer, your call.

    And as to the discussion at my blog, anyone can visit there and see that no matter how many ways I frame my questions, you remain answerless.

    ~Dan

    • I didn’t say, “I like my arguments best.” I repeat that they speak for themselves.

      I’ll also repeat that you haven’t answered whether even outright atheism — denial of the existence of God — is a disqualifying belief for a person who claims to be a Christian.

      And I’ll repeat that you haven’t ceded the floor after more than a month and more than 70 comments. Anyone can read that thread to see that I HAVE answered your questions and addressed your idiotic position quite thoroughly.

      What I haven’t done is submit to your position as (quoting you) “the reality of the world, in the real world” — and it’s worth noting that you don’t explain how your take on the “real world” is more reliable than anyone else’s. Hypocrite that you are, you do not subject your own position to the standards that you demand of others.

    • I don’t know that any of us have sought to argue with Jefferson on HIS understanding of Scripture, and thus don’t know why anyone would insist that we address his understandings or those of Paine’s or anyone else who has not tried to put forth in blog discussions we frequent understandings that are clearly devoid of Scriptural support. At the very least, they do not accompany any direct passages that could be used to support said understandings. In this way, Bubba’s arguments are superior because they relate to or are supported by direct and specific verses and passages that compel his understanding. That understanding, by and large, draws agreement from John, Glenn, Craig, myself and others who may or may not post regularly. (I say this knowing there may be some differences between those listed)

      Just sayin’

      • Richard Nash says:

        Yours or anyone else’s proposition is not ever “more” superior because bible, because god, because jesus. Under no circumstances does logic work under those circumstances.

        Just call it faith.

        And some of us find it utterly bizarre and satirical that the Founding Fathers are burning in your imaginary hell, because of your “superior” goal post moving. Sorry, but that sort of induction is highly relevant to this discussion.

        • What makes the founders so special that their faith is unimpeachable?

          • Richard Nash says:

            Well John, the same thing that doesn’t make your faith so special that it is unimpeachable.

            No matter how superior, or scripture laden your premise on godly morality is, it requires nothing but faith in a vacuum. Other christians disagree with you………….As your sects have disagreed with each for about 1900 years. And multiplied exponentially as a result. Which is the second point I interjected because it is clearly a by-product of an imperfect, man-made, not god made message. Look where it has led you? What perfect god would have you inventing apologetics for genocide for his own creations?!?!

            Are the Founders not near and dear to the national/social/political fundamentalist/evangelical hearts of America? The answer is an unwavering yes. Which is precisely the reason I injected it into the conversation. You find that your god can do no moral wrong, and you are unwilling to admit that it requires a specific leap of christian faith to make such a statement. A special leap that the Founders, so highly regarded for securing a nation founded on christian principles, are almost deities in the eyes of conservatives the country over. And come to find out, they’re in hell.

            • But Nash, you’re singling out 2 questionable founders, and labeling them “the founders”. The vast majority of the founding fathers were orthodox christians by nearly any measure.

              • Richard Nash says:

                John, I have to disagree.

                Only John Jay would, or could be considered an orthodox christian. Adams, Madison, Washington, Franklin, would all be in hell, as per your’s and Marshall’s criteria.

                But even if it was just Jefferson and Paine, what do you say to your fellow christians on the matter of them with regards to American history and their fantastic importance to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights? The Constitution was the brainchild of Paine, and Jefferson has left an indelible mark on history that has every right wing christian conservative clamoring to loft him and his “principles” up as sacred. Do you not see this bizarre hypocritical construct?

                Have you ever told fellow christians of the same flavor as you, that the Founding Fathers are in hell because at the minimum they were deists, and on the maximum simply practiced whatever flavor of christianity that they may have completely wrong? If not, why?

              • Seriously? Check the rest of them. Just the signers of both the constitution and declaration, at least half or more were pastors.

                That you only seem to think a half dozen or so people encapsulate “the founders” exposes your lack of historical knowledge of the era.

              • Richard Nash says:

                Really? I name 6 of the most influential names in early formative American history, and you dismiss them as irrelevant, or not representative of the Founders? This is the usual scapegoating, rife with revisionist hopes that this conversation usually leads to.

                Exactly how many more should I name that would lend a bit more credence to my position?

                By the way, the pastors you say are Founders certainly qualify didn’t as thinkers, or authors of said documents, they were merely signatories of a very secular document.

              • I’m not dismissing them as irrelevant, I’m dismissing your implication that those 5% of the founders are representative of the whole.

              • Richard Nash says:

                How can Jefferson, Paine, Washington, Madison, Franklin etc. be dismissed? Out of inconvenience? Founders and Framers are different than signatories. Paine is “THE” father of the Constitution, and Locke the Father of the Declaration.

                So when it comes to actual Framers, authors, and Founders they represent much more than your spun 5%. They are not mere signatories. They rode no coat tails John. They are the fabric of our founding documents, and their attitudes and religious beliefs, no matter how much revisionist desperation is applied to them, are apparently landing them in hell.

                Which has me craning to know if you tell fellow conservatives that they are in hell?

              • If you think Paine is the father of the constitution then I don’t know where to go with you.

              • Richard Nash says:

                Locke, Hume and Paine so directly informed the writing of said documents, that to suggest otherwise isn’t even being intellectually dishonest, it’s just lying.

                Have you even read the writings and letters from the Framers and writers? Paine’s fingerprints and inspiration could only be denied out of ignorant slippery desperation. I mean it’s not even revisionist at this point.

                But I see you still being squishy when directly challenged on specific presuppositions you have regarding the Founders.

                I challenged your misdirection on the 5%, and redirected the discourse back to its original direction, “now” and you are dismissing Paine?

                I don’t know where to go with you…..

              • Richard Nash says:

                There is in reality a great chasm between the designation of Founder, and the simple title of signatory.

                And the documents written by them through their history of the moment shows the majority of the Founders to be in hell by your interpretation of words from your bible.

                Have you read the Jefferson Bible?

              • Jefferson bible was written intentionally to highlight Jesus teaching. It wasn’t an edit. Look up the bible itself and read the title page. And you know there were 2 jefferson bibles right?

              • Richard Nash says:

                John, do you use, have you used, or will you use in the future, Jefferson’s bibles? If not, why? He dramatically edited them. I guess he didn’t find them to be the same quality of inerrant perfection that you do…..

                Why would he edit the bible John? Why haven’t you followed in his footsteps?

                The Jefferson Bible, or The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth as it is formally titled, was a book constructed by Thomas Jefferson in the latter years of his life by cutting and pasting with a razor and glue numerous sections from the New Testament as extractions of the doctrine of Jesus. Jefferson’s condensed composition is especially notable for its exclusion of all miracles by Jesus and most mentions of the supernatural, including sections of the four gospels which contain the Resurrection and most other miracles, and passages indicating Jesus was divine.[1][2][3]Jefferson Bible – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

                Jefferson Bible – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia The Jefferson Bible, or The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth as it is formally titled, was a book constructed by Thomas Jefferson in the latter years of his lif… View on en.wikipedia.org Preview by Yahoo

              • It wasn’t edited because jefferson viewed the regular bible inadequate. He did so to whittle it down to just the life and moral teachings. That’s why the miracles and other narratives are removed, not because he didn’t think it was true.

                I wouldn’t use a jefferson bible because I prefer using the whole thing, not just his selections.

                Again, you did know jefferson did 2 bibles right?

              • Richard Nash says:

                He very intentionally removed any and all mention of jesus’s divinity John. He wrote about why he thought it was gibberish. Why skate around the facts?

                Jefferson wrote that “Jesus did not mean to impose himself on mankind as the son of God.” He called the writers of the New Testament “ignorant, unlettered men” who produced “superstitions, fanaticisms, and fabrications.” He called the Apostle Paul the “first corrupter of the doctrines of Jesus.” He dismissed the concept of the Trinity as “mere Abracadabra of the mountebanks calling themselves the priests of Jesus.” He believed that the clergy used religion as a “mere contrivance to filch wealth and power to themselves” and that “in every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty.” And he wrote in a letter to John Adams that “the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter.” 1815

                And yes, I do know that he edited 2 bibles, the first in 1791, and the second in 1799(?). And he wrote at length about why up until 1819. So he had a long time to reflect on what he had done. And he never wavered in his original reasoning.

                You do know that Jefferson is in hell right? He thought so little of the perfection and infallibility of the bible that he tore out the more ridiculous claims, and specifically anything pertaining to the son of god divinity claim made by jesus.

                Please do tell us John, which thinkers, authors and Framers of these documents are in heaven, besides Jay, because of the flavor of evangelical/orthodox christianity they practiced.

              • Do you have a list of people and the details of their theological beliefs that I can revue?

                This seems like just an exercise in ridiculousness. As marshal said earlier, who cares. They’re dead and they are where they are. It doesn’t matter if they were America’s founders or middle aged coal miners. What matters is what their beliefs about Jesus were.

              • Richard Nash says:

                I have repeatedly pointed out what their beliefs were regarding jesus by using their own writings on the subject!!! That is the point. Their beliefs were radically different than yours, that means they are in hell because you are right about your understanding of the bible and christianity, and they were wrong! Have you not read everything that they have written? If not, then we are having this conversation from two radically different places. I suggest you read Common Sense first.

                If you think that this is just a waste of your time, then leave it alone.

                For me there is an important set of details that need to be parsed out because it certainly puts you in an untenable and even more radical position than most of your peers.

                That is what this dialogue has been about from the beginning. But every time you guys get cornered, you slither away away by either out right dismissing the premise, or skirting around it and using weird non sequiturs, and red herrings that have no bearing.

              • Essentially it was a compilation, not a version.

              • Richard Nash says:

                It was a collation, by a Founding Father, a very widely celebrated one amongst the christian conservative demographic, that intentionally removed any and all mention of the divinity of jesus!!!!!!!!

                Where did I say it was a version? I didn’t that is irrelevant. Yet another diversion.

              • It’s not irrelevant. If it was a version, and not a compilation, you’d be making a better point about whatever it is you think is significant about it all.

                Conservatives celebrate Jefferson, not because he is a pillar of Christian exemplary, rather it’s for his championing of personal liberty and religious freedom.

              • Richard Nash says:

                How can you celebrate his intellectual fervor regarding liberty, whilst ignoring that he is is in hell because he more than denied the divinity of christ?

                That sort of unsettling bias would force me to examine my world view/system of beliefs.

        • We haven’t been moving any goal posts, Nash. You keep changing which field it is the game takes place. (re: your response of September 19, 2014 at 3:41 AM) Pick one and stay there. Again, when we refer to what God or Scripture says, it is in the context of discussions and/or debate revolving around what God or Scripture says. Seems logical to me that our responses would thus refer to what God or Scripture says.

          • Richard Nash says:

            For the love of christ marshall.

            It seems like I have dumbed this down to the retard level, and used the most black and white language possible several times over.

            A “SIGNOR” of the Constitution is not the same as being the thinker/philosopher behind the writer Founder of same said document.

            You are attempting to spin all of the signors into being the same as or having the same value as those who actually invented the documents from inspiring political philosophers of almost exclusively Western European locales.

            I ask again, are those original Fathers of the country in hell, and how many times have you told your fellow flock members that that’s where you are so convinced they are?

            Further, your horrid and obviously biased example specifying Jefferson falls well flat as I wonder now why you can give him props for being what he was which includes a heretical, apostate, hell occupying guy who had some good ideas.

            Speaking of legitimate double standards and desperation……….Why don’t you judge Jefferson the same way you judge Dan?

            You bloody hypocrite.

  62. paynehollow says:

    Indeed, anyone can view the discussion, if they have the will power to muck through your pages’ worth of dodging the actual questions being asked.

    As you have just done again here.

    I repeat: on what basis are your opinions and interpretations reliable in a way that mine and Jefferson and all the others who disagree with your human opinions are NOT?

    Given your constant dodging, it would seem that the answer is a rather sheepish, “Um, no basis, I would have no basis to make that claim, if I were to answer your question…”

    IF you answered.

    Given the amount of regular question dodging that goes on here on your side, perhaps people will not be inclined to go to my place to see more of the same?

    ~Dan

    • I’ll repeat my answer: my position regarding the Bible’s meaning stands up as superior to yours, NOT because of tradition or numbers or megalmania on my part, but because the arguments behind my position are stronger than yours. My position speaks for itself.

      In some cases, my argument isn’t simply stronger than yours, it’s the only argument on the table. You claimed that Jesus did in fact abolished part of the law, and I went to great effort quoting at length John Stott’s argument to the contrary, and YOU NEVER, EVER ADDRESSED THE SUBSTANCE OF THAT ARGUMENT.

      And, on the subject dodged questions, I’ll ask *AGAIN* whether you think even overt atheism is grounds for disbelieving a person’s claim to be a Christian.

      I ask, knowing that you’re not likely to answer, but simply put the lie to your bullshit claim.

  63. paynehollow says:

    YOUR ARGUMENTS ARE STRONGER… SAYS WHO? BASED ON WHAT CRITERIA? BY WHOSE AUTHORITY?

    • “The only argument” on the table? Your argument is stronger?!?!?!

      Good grief, I’m sure glad the world, the sciences, countries, governments and civilization isn’t bound by the same arbitrary and bizarre uncompromising presuppositions.

      What a howl! Bubba, your whole worldview, your spiritual, and mental existence, and your intellectual absolutism, and those of your fellow cohorts…………………………………………………….IS BUILT ON FAITH!!!!!

      Faith to this extent is qualified by the length someone will go to convince themselves and anyone else who will listen, that they are right in spite of the wealth of information to the contrary. Pure cognitive dissonance, built solely on a faith based bias

      And “absolutely” nothing else.

  64. Dan:

    YOUR ARGUMENTS ARE STRONGER… SAYS WHO? BASED ON WHAT CRITERIA? BY WHOSE AUTHORITY?

    Going back about 2500 years to Aristotle, and probably even further, man has been willing and able to argue for their positions, evaluating competing arguments on the strengths and merits of those arguments.

    It is only a petulant child who rejects the concept of argument with the sneering question, “Says who?”

    You think my arguments are inadequate? You have always been free to present counter-arguments, to attack any perceived weaknesses in my position and to present the rationale for your position.

    If you cannot do so, and if instead you must be reduced to what is fundamentally an ad hominem attack, then perhaps you should consider the possibility that my position actually is the strongest one going. Maybe the problem is your sinful pride, not mine.

    And, frankly, Dan, the fact that you’re making common cause with anti-theists who evidently hold the devout in complete contempt ought to worry you. I know it doesn’t, and I know why, but it ought to.

    • Hah! A christian referencing Aristotle!?!?!?! Laughter really is the best medicine.

      Only a petulant child can’t admit that his proposition is built exclusively on faith, and nothing more. Why not just embrace it? Say it out loud a few times. No matter how much pseudo intellectual contorting you give it, it’s still just faith.

      Is it your pride that is disallowing you to just let the thread die a natural death?

      And now you are doing what all Abrahamic cultists do the world over, you are dismissing dan because he is shacking up with me. Division, arrogant and many times violent division among your various flavored sects is exactly what you are doing right now. A long sordid history of division within christianity, that thanks to the likes of fundamentalists is still alive and well. Let’s see what sort of physical torture should dan be subjected to hmmm?

      How disparagingly judgmental of you……

      And for the record, dan and I aren’t ganging up on you. There is no common cause. But what good, decent christian conservative could live a life without abject fear of everything that is different, or the wide array of conspiratorial plots against them?

      • This is laughable to you? Really? Because Bubba references Aristotle with regards to argumentation? Wow! How desperate you atheists are to find fault with the believer!! I’ve referenced supporters of the homosexual agenda, who are Biblical scholars, to show how they also find Dan’s position on SSM without Scriptural basis. Was that wrong of me simply because they support SSM? How idiotic.

  65. paynehollow says:

    Bubba…

    the fact that you’re making common cause with anti-theists who evidently hold the devout in complete contempt ought to worry you. I know it doesn’t, and I know why, but it ought to.

    Yeah, I know. That’s what the Pharisees said about Jesus, too.

    But, since I do take the teachings of Jesus seriously, and since he had no problems being associated with “the sinners,” I guess I’m in good company.

    Perhaps that ought to worry you, though?

    Irony, eh?

    ~Dan

    • Jesus didn’t make common cause with sinners. That is to say, that unlike you, He didn’t regard any argument from sinners that justify their sinful positions, as you take up the same arguments of the atheists here. Nice try, Dan. Ain’t workin’.

  66. paynehollow says:

    Bubba…

    You have always been free to present counter-arguments, to attack any perceived weaknesses in my position and to present the rationale for your position.

    I HAVE done so. Repeatedly. Tens of thousands of words over years, Bubba. Have you actually forgotten? Here’s a brief reminder:

    Dan: I think gay folk marrying is a great moral good, a blessing to all involved (of course, assuming a healthy marriage, not an abusive one, etc, etc.

    Bubba: No, God disagrees.

    Dan: I don’t think God would disagree.

    Bubba: Bible says so.

    Dan: I think that is poor biblical reasoning, and poor rational and moral reasoning.

    Bubba: Bible says so. Look at Leviticus.

    Dan: Leviticus contains rules written to ancient Israel, as they understood God’s will.

    Bubba: No, it was actually God giving them those rules and those same rules (some of them) still apply today.

    Dan: I disagree. Clearly, regardless of what you think of God and whether or not God had intentions with those rules, textually, the rules were given specifically to Israel. We don’t obey those rules today, not all of them.

    Bubba: But we do the ones that God INTENDED us to obey.

    Dan: How do we know which ones God intended? And how do you know that rule was speaking of all gay behavior?

    Bubba: Cause we do, people have always thought so.

    Dan: That’s not a reason…

    And on and on it goes. You hold the opinion that 1. If the Bible is God’s Revelation to humanity, 2. Then God would (in your opinion) make it clear enough to understand, and 3. These handful of texts dealing with some form of gay behavior are 4. In your opinion a condemnation of all gay behavior.

    I hold the opinion that 1. The Bible is a book of wisdom about the ways of Grace, 2. That it is not a rule book and we don’t look to the Bible for rules for living (see 1., about grace) 3. That just because ancient people had rules that may or may not sound like a condemnation of all gay behavior does not mean that it is a Rule from God, and that, 4. Clearly, the Bible in its graceful wisdom teaches that those things that are good, loving, pure, lovely, kind, etc… that these ARE good things, and clearly marriage (gay or straight) falls into that category.

    Now, given that quick reminder that I HAVE, in fact, pointed out the reasons that I hold my position – as have other people – what makes your opinion more valid than mine? Your answer generally, above, was, “I gots the strongest arguments…” I respond, rationally, by asking, according to whom? ON what basis are your arguments stronger and by what rational, consistent criteria?

    THAT is the question that has been dodged, lo, these many years.

    Feel free to stop dodging.

    ~Dan

  67. paynehollow says:

    Just to beat a dead horse:

    Look, if we’re talking about the question: How often does smoking a pack a day of cigarettes lead to cancer?, we can do the research, come up with some specific numbers, do additional research to compare against the first (and second and third) trials to confirm our numbers and respond with some authority, “Given these sets of circumstances… smoking a pack of cigarettes a day has lead to cancer in x% of the people doing the smoking…”

    When we’re saying “Does Jesus’ repeated comments about peacemaking mean that Jesus was opposed to his followers engaging in war at any time?”, we can compare the scriptures to other scriptures, to what historical record we might have of the early church and take a guess. It may or may not be a very well educated guess, but it is a guess. We DO NOT KNOW the answer to that question authoritatively.

    Why not?

    1. We do not know for sure that Jesus actually existed, although you and I would agree there is strong evidence for it. The evidence is not beyond all doubt, though.

    2. Even if Jesus was a literal person, do we safely know that his opinions are captured in the Christian NT? We do not have an authoritative answer to that question. We simply don’t. You and I trust these words to be reflective of Jesus’ teachings, but not everyone accepts that conclusion and the evidence is certainly not beyond all doubt.

    3. Even if we accept that our NT words of Jesus are accurately his, do they necessarily reflect the sum total of Jesus’ thinking on the topic of War and Peace? Do we know that Jesus might not have a different opinion in different sets of circumstances? We do not know that, authoritatively. Those who accept the Bible will often say that morality changed within the Bible – that early on, polygamy was never once condemned and God’s followers engaged in multiple wives and even concubines. Even so, now most evangelical conservatives would gladly affirm that not only is monogamy preferred, but that polygamy is a great moral wrong. They appear to think that God’s views evolved, or that God allowed different behavior in different times (progressive revelation). How do we know that even if Jesus was consistently against war at that time period, he always would be? What about in a time of massive bombs?

    4. Beyond all that, even though to many people it is abundantly clear that Jesus advocated pacifism/peacemaking and opposed warmaking, at least for his followers, there are some people who disagree with that conclusion because they place a pretty high priority on a literal OT and a literal OT would have to overrule Jesus’ apparent pacifism. Not everyone accepts that prioritization of biblical interpretation.

    No, even on a topic as abundantly obvious as Jesus and peacemaking – given Jesus’ actual words on the topic – we do not know authoritatively. To what authority could we appeal to say, “No, MY understanding is the right one…”?

    It is an unprovable opinion and, as such, we can not know the answer. The same is true for each and every point you have about God, there is always room for other theories so you do NOT know authoritatively, definitively that you hold the one Right View.

    If you have an authority to which you can appeal, appeal on.

    If not, just admit reality: That you and I and everyone else hold opinions based on what seems most reasonable to us, but we do not know our opinions are right in any authoritative, demonstrable, definitive manner. There is no harm in admitting to reality.

    ~Dan

  68. paynehollow says:

    ?

    I no doubt agree with them and you on a great number of things and always have.

    I hold the opinion that there is a God, that Jesus was/is the son of God, that Jesus came preaching his message as found in the gospels, that this message was one of Grace, love, forgiveness and acceptance, etc.

    We disagree about a few behaviors and about how best to interpret some parts of the Bible and about whether or not we have perfect knowledge on some topics. I hold to the reasonable view that we do not have perfect knowledge on topics as it relates to God’s opinion about various points. They appear to think that we do, on some subset of vague and mostly undefined points. They think this based on criteria that they are not divulging.

    But yes, we probably mostly agree on many topics. Always have. Why?

    ~Dan

  69. paynehollow says:

    ?

    I think you misunderstand my words, since I never agreed with them about homosexuality or war. Perhaps if you can’t understand my words, you shouldn’t be so confident in your understanding of biblical words?

    But of course, you’re making some sort of joke, I suppose.

    How about it John? Ready to step up to the plate and offer a defense?

    On what basis/using what criteria are your opinions on these unprovable topics able to be deemed “valid” and something you can count on perfectly, while others’ differing opinions are not?

    If you have NO basis (and you don’t), then why do you consider your opinions perfect on these topics and without flaw? Or, do you admit that your opinions are not perfect on these topics and you can be mistaken?

    Are you ready to play with the big boys/move into the big leagues of adult conversation?

    ~Dan

  70. paynehollow says:

    Indeed, my opinion IS unprovable. As is yours. It is my best guess based on the evidence at hand. You all hold YOUR best guess based on the evidence at hand. And we don’t agree on some dozen or so points.

    That’s all I’m saying/all I’ve been saying.

    Are you agreeing with me on understanding reality thusly?

    ~Dan

    • I’m saying that your interpretation of your early comments on these issues is just your unprovable opinion. I take those comments to mean that you now believe that homosexuality in all its forms are immoral and sinful, and that you acknowledge that the bibles clear teaching on the war verses is that God did indeed command Israel to war with nations. unless you can prove me wrong, I’ll understand those to be your views on those issues.

  71. paynehollow says:

    You clearly understand my words about as well as you do the bible’s. Which is to say, you don’t.

    Why is it that I have to prove you wrong? On what basis are you “right?”

    THAT’s the point, John. You’re not. You hold an unsupported and frankly, unbilbical, irrational and immoral position, at least from my point of view.

    After all, I (and even the atheists, here, I believe) would say that it is ALWAYS wrong to slaughter an entire city of innocent men, women, children and infants. You hold that it all depends on whether or not a “loving” and “just” god has commanded that behavior or not (never mind the irrational and unbiblical nature of that claim).

    No, you are the one making the rather extraordinary claims: That there exists a god who sometimes commands people to kill “men who lay with men” and that this god sometimes commands the wholesale slaughter of innocents and that people MUST obey this god if they want to be “good.” The onus is on you to support this rather hard to believe claim, IF you want to be taken seriously.

    ~Dan

    • I gave my interpretation of your words. Do I have your position wrong? Please go back to the previous comment and show me how I missed interpreted it. Use only the words you used.

      • paynehollow says:

        Easy.

        You said:

        I take those comments to mean that you now believe that homosexuality in all its forms are immoral and sinfulI take those comments to mean that you now believe that homosexuality in all its forms are immoral and sinfulj

        When, as a point of fact, I believe the exact OPPOSITE of that. I do NOT believe that homosexuality is immoral and sinful. So, you misinterpreted it by reaching a conclusion that is exactly opposite of my actual position.

        How did you do this? Well, you’d have to explain the details, but I suspect that you take “I can not prove God does not hate homosexuality…” to mean “therefore, I think that God DOES hate it…” When I say, “I – nor you – can prove out positions about God’s opinion…” I mean that and only that, not any additional interpretation.

        Indeed, I think marriage – gay or straight – is an obviously good thing because it promotes health, wholeness, love, family, companionship, compassion, passion, etc, etc. Why WOULD a loving God disapprove of such ideals? No rational or biblical reason that I can think of. Not one.

        I just can’t prove I’m right about this. Just as you can not prove it.

        Do you understand, now? Do you agree with the reality that you, John Barron, can NOT prove your opinions about what God’s opinions are?

        ~Dan

        • When you say that God would condone and endorse loving, unable and committed homosexual coupling, I interpret that to mean that you believe God condemns homosexual behavior and coupling under all circumstances. I’m looking at the words you used. I know it appears that im interpreting your words to mean the opposite, but in context, that’s what you meant.

  72. paynehollow says:

    Why is it you expect other people to “prove” their case when you are never willing to lift a finger to prove your case, even when it is a rather crazy, irrational, immoral or plain evil claim that you’re trying to make?

    ~Dan

  73. paynehollow says:

    Nope. That is a flat out lie. It has not happened in the real world, John. Not one time, not on the topics we’re discussing. You may have offered reasons that strike you as reasonable as to why you hold your positions, but they have not been substantiated by any authority other than your own opinion.

    Do you understand that reality, or are you confused?

    Or, if you TRULY think you have some source that proves your opinion about God’s opinion on some topic, by all means, don’t just say, “I’ve proved it…” Prove it!

    If you can’t, then just be reasonable and back down. Otherwise, you’re just embarrassing yourself and your faith community.

    ~Dan

  74. paynehollow says:

    John…

    I’m looking at the words you used. I know it appears that im interpreting your words to mean the opposite, but in context, that’s what you meant.

    Lunch at the bar, today? Hope you’re not driving when you leave.

    • Nope. You said it. I’m looking at your own words. You said that you think God condones homosexual relationships that are loving and committed, which means you believe God condemns all homosexuality under all circumstances.

      Are you saying I’m misunderstanding you?

  75. paynehollow says:

    John…

    What topic have i never touched upon defending my position with a post?

    You have oftentimes offered a few reasons as to why you hold a position. But you didn’t say “offered reasons…” You said “substantiated.”

    Right now, in this very post, you have been called upon to demonstrate why your opinions about any of these topics are the “right” ones, vs the ones that I or Thomas Jefferson or Paine or anyone else holds. You have NOT demonstrated that yours is the One Right Position.

    Now, perhaps you aren’t that arrogant. Perhaps you will admit that you don’t know as a matter of fact that your position on, say, gay marriage, war, investments, or God’s existence are demonstrably, authoritatively right. Perhaps you are just saying, along with me, that it is your opinion only, and not a fact, in any demonstrable or authoritative sense.

    But it doesn’t sound that way. Why don’t you clarify?

    ~Dan

    • Are Jefferson or Paine and their positions on whatever it is they were brought up, relevant to the post about God’s sovereignty over his creation? I don’t remember writing about either of them.

  76. paynehollow says:

    John…

    You said that you think God condones homosexual relationships that are loving and committed, which means you believe God condemns all homosexuality under all circumstances.

    Are you saying I’m misunderstanding you?

    I never used the word “condones,” that is your word. What I said was:

    Indeed, I think marriage – gay or straight – is an obviously good thing because it promotes health, wholeness, love, family, companionship, compassion, passion, etc, etc. Why WOULD a loving God disapprove of such ideals? No rational or biblical reason that I can think of. Not one.

    There are four instances of “condone” here in this thread, all used by you, as far as I can tell.

    Try again?

    ~Dan

    • I understand those words to mean that you believe God condemns all forms of homosexual expression. That it’s an abomination and abhorrent to Him. What’s the problem?

  77. paynehollow says:

    John…

    Are Jefferson or Paine and their positions on whatever it is they were brought up, relevant to the post about God’s sovereignty over his creation?

    Richard has repeatedly brought them up as it relates to one person (or group of people) saying that they are speaking on God’s behalf. He has asked you repeatedly if Jefferson is in Hell, according to John? Richard and I have both pointed out Jefferson’s problems with denominationalists and cited some quotes from Jefferson and Paine on the topic.

    Again, the question is reasonable and pertinent to claims of quasi-perfect knowledge on your collective part. So yes, it is relevant.

    Again, why not just answer a simple question:

    Are your positions on some topics incapable of being mistaken?

    Are you able to say with complete authority that God exists? and that “His” (since you presumably insist on He, when speaking of God) opinions on topics 1, 2 and 3 are exactly as you understand them?

    OR, on the other hand, are you able to admit reality and say, “These are just my opinions, I can not prove them and I do not speak for God, if God exists…”?

  78. paynehollow says:

    Yes, he asked you. Repeatedly.

    He also gave the lie to your claim that Paine was an unbeliever. Paine is quoted as being a God-believer.

    And now you’ve given your response (“They are both in hell, probably…”), the reasonable follow up question is, ON what basis does your opinion weigh more than theirs? They were apparently sincerely seeking God. You hold the opinion that they did it “wrong.” On what basis is your opinion the “right” opinion?

    OR, is it simply your unprovable opinion?

    Why not answer THAT question? THAT is the question that keeps being dodged.

    ~Dan

    • Jesus was pretty clear that unless you believe that he is the I AM, you die in your sins, for example. There’s a hundred such “Jesus is the only way” passages. He says he is a God-believer. But so do Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, and Mormons, for example. Being a mere God believer isn’t really enough. The demons are God believers too.

      • paynehollow says:

        So Paine and Jefferson are in Hell, you say, because they did not believe in Jesus as I AM? What is your evidence for your belief about their beliefs? What is the evidence that your belief is correct?

        You are a God believer – how do you “know” YOU are the right kind of god believer? How do you know you are not believing wrong? On whose authority and by what criteria?

        These questions remain unanswered, completely.

        ~Dan

        • Are you asking me to sift through their written works to cite their stated beliefs? I suppose I could. But you’re the one trying to make the point. Why don’t YOU sift through their works then cite the biblical passages that confirms they’re saved.

    • I’d actually get into a detailed discussion. But you are such a dishonest debater I can’t do it with you, specifically. You change the subject and jump topics too often. I have no reason to believe otherwise from you. Sorry.

  79. paynehollow says:

    John…

    I understand those words to mean that you believe God condemns all forms of homosexual expression. That it’s an abomination and abhorrent to Him. What’s the problem?

    The problem is that factually, you do NOT understand correctly what I mean. As a matter of fact, in the real world, those conclusions you ascribe to me are not my opinion.

    I’m sure you have some point that you’re trying to make, thinking it’s clever, but since the point is not at all clear, you are just sounding a bit insane or drunk, and as if your ability to understand modern day words – much less ancient Scripture – is in question.

    ~Dan

  80. paynehollow says:

    Because, in THIS case, we are talking about MY OPINION. I can absolutely and authoritatively speak as to MY opinion, it being mine. You, on the other hand, can NOT speak authoritatively of God’s opinion for one simple reason: You are not God.

    Understand the difference?

    So, again, do you hold that your opinions on these topics are your unprovable opinions, NOT an authoritative opinion that is right beyond all doubt? Or do you conflate yourself with God?

    ~Dan

    • Demonstrate that my interpretation is wrong.

      • paynehollow says:

        Dan, what is your opinion about what God might think about gay folk being married?

        DAN: My opinion is that, given the good, wholesome, healthy, loving nature of a good marriage, that God would love it.

        Done. Anything else?

        Or are you saying that we can’t rely upon what people say as to what their actual views are? If that is the case, then on what basis would you trust a 2,000 year old text attributed to Luke, when you don’t even trust my direct modern day testimony?

        Do you not see the rational problem? There is no consistency, there is no objective criteria or rubric for “what these words mean” in the way you are approaching text.

        The advantage to having someone right here and now is that you can just ask them, “Is this your position…?” and get a reasonable answer. But if you don’t even trust that, then you have no rational basis to trust the book of Luke, or the book of James, etc.

        ~Dan

        • So then you’re saying that we should rely on what the text of a body of work says, and take it for its plain meaning? Since if we don’t take it for what it says then it becomes utterly useless to try to understand? Hmm. I’m surprised to hear that from you.

  81. paynehollow says:

    John…

    I’d actually get into a detailed discussion. But you are such a dishonest debater I can’t do it with you, specifically.

    So, you WOULD give answers to these huge gaping holes in your arguments and the apparent immorality and irrationality of your positions, IF ONLY the person asking the questions was a good ask-er. But because I and Richard (presumably you’re lumping him in with me, since he’s asking the same unanswered questions I am) are not good ask-ers, your hands are tied and you are wholly unable to stop the appearance of being shifty, dodging questions and holding irrational, immoral positions?

    Dang, what power I have over you!

    ~Dan

    • They’re not my arguments. You’re pestering me about Thomas Paine and Jefferson when their being in heaven is irrelevant to this post, even if you think it tangentially touches on some vague point you’re making.

      I say I wouldn’t discuss it in detail with you because you’re a dishonest debater. I’d discuss it with Richard. I have what’s called by responsible people, a job. So I’m in and out. I don’t always have time to tick tack on my phone a detailed, bibliographically supported essay contest. If comments are longer than a paragraph or two, I often don’t read the whole thing depending on who wrote it. I’m not gojng to compose blog post length comments back and forth. Refer to my comment policy above for details if you aren’t familiar.

  82. paynehollow says:

    John…

    then you’re saying that we should rely on what the text of a body of work says, and take it for its plain meaning? Since if we don’t take it for what it says then it becomes utterly useless to try to understand?

    That’s a starting point, but NO, that is not what I am saying.

    We have to consider the genre.

    We have to affirm whether or not we can verify a simple, direct interpretation. With me, you CAN confirm a direct interpretation because I am here to clarify.

    If the straightforward reading is contrary to basic reason or simple morality, then probably a straightforward reading is not a rational one. If you value the Bible and teachings of Jesus and a straightforward reading contradicts Jesus’ teachings or other more clear biblical teachings, then no, we don’t take it for its plain meaning.

    Do you take Jesus’ teaching to sell your goods, give to the poor and follow him literally? No, you don’t take that passage for its plain meaning. You made a human judgment to set aside a simple reading and did so, presumably, with rendering Jesus’ teachings utterly useless or not understandable.

    ~Dan

    • So when the plain reading runs contrary to your sensibilities, you don’t use the plain reading. That’s not honest, you’re not honest, and that’s why it’s useless to discuss it with you.

  83. paynehollow says:

    Not to “MY” sensibilities, just human sensibilities. You know, our God-given reasoning?

    It’s almost as if you all elevate a literal reading of the bible and place more credence on that than our God-given (or innate, for our non-believing friends) reason. AS IF you could read the Bible and sort it out without our God-given reasoning!

    Look, John, there is nothing dishonest about it and you are being dishonest for using that false charge of dishonesty as a skirt to hide behind.

    YOU DO IT.

    You do NOT pluck out your eye when it causes you to sin. Why not? Well, because when the plain reading crosses against your “sensibilities,” you defer to your sensibilities.

    Do. You. Not?

    Yes, of course you do.

    Don’t denigrate human reasoning, it’s what lets you read text and make sense of it in the first place.

    And don’t use that false charge as an excuse to ignore reasonable questions that you all continually dodge. Like Richard’s very first comment here:

    How exactly do you know that the israelites were commanded to do what they did?

    Why not answer that (actually answer, not the dodge you offered in response)?

    Your vague and meaningless response was “There had already been confirmation offered to them that God was real, ie, various miracles through Prophets. It wasn’t just a random voice with no background foundation.”

    Richard then followed up with questions like, “Where is your evidence for these miracles? Who did God speak to, just one person – Moses? Then how did the rest of the people know that Moses was not going crazy and hearing voices?” (Not in those words, just going from memory)

    You’ve offered nothing by way of corroboration, just that you have this WHOLLY unsupported hunch that this destroyer god helped Israel know by way of “miracles,” and by way of allegedly speaking to one guy and Israel just took his word and started killing innocent people, and you believe that all with no evidence. So, I repeat Richard’s question, since you’ll answer him (says you, I haven’t seen it yet):

    How exactly do you know that the Israelites were commanded to kill men, women, children and babies in enemy cities?

    ~Dan

    • It’s not human sensibilities, we disagree and a lot of others disagree with you too. This is the dishonesty. You parse everything as though your view is the default accepted view and others are just out of touch.

  84. paynehollow says:

    I am certainly not the default accepted view. The atheists would not accept my views about God. The fundamentalists would not accept my views about marriage or biblical interpretation. Many would not accept my more pacifistic views.

    My point, John, was that I use my God-given reasoning, just as you do. To criticize me for doing exactly as you do (indeed, we ALL should use our God-given reasoning) is a goofy and hypocritical argument. To say that I’m lying for doing just as you do is to call yourself a liar.

    Clearly, there is nothing dishonest about using one’s reasoning to make sense of ancient texts. It is a lie to say so.

    ~Dan

  85. paynehollow says:

    Marshall…

    When Bubba says this: “When the Bible says, “Thus says the Lord,” I believe that the Lord said thus”.…he’s not using such a statement to defend God’s existence. He’s doing so to support an argument based on teachings of Scripture.

    Here is the problem that you all collectively have. You like to say “Scripture says…” and throw down some scripture as if that proves your point. It doesn’t. The problem is that you all have multiple unproven, unsupported presumptions that you make before you say “Scripture says…” without which, your arguments fall apart.

    Consider: You all might have an argument IF

    1. There is a god of the sort that you believe in, one that supposedly is perfectly just and perfectly loving, but who will punish people in torment forever for not understanding correctly some few points that you all have interpolated out of ancient text as The Right Salient Points One Must Affirm;

    2. That god inspired the 66 books of the bible in the manner that you all think he did – which usually amounts to this god having functionally written the 66 books himself;

    3. That god intended all the texts that you think should be taken literally to be taken literally, and the texts that you all think should not be taken literally should not be taken literally… ie, that you all have a perfect understanding of which texts are literal and which ones are not;

    4. That this god intends us to “know” morality primarily through this ancient text and that even our reasoning must be placed at a lower priority than the text – ie, that if our moral reasoning tells us that it is wrong to kill babies, but the text tells us that this god sometimes commands (or has commanded) the killing of all the people of a nation, including the children and babies, then our moral reasoning must be wrong and the text must be right;

    5. That we can somehow use our reasoning to sort through the meaning of this text, while at the same time allowing the text to dictate to us what our reasoning should be;

    …like that. You have the presumptions – ones that are not proven at all – and IF these presumptions (and others I’m probably not listing our perfectly) all are correct, then maybe – maybe – you are interpreting these texts correctly and authoritatively. But the presumptions go unproven and mostly unspoken of, you just assume they’re right because… well, just because. Who knows why you do this, but it appears you do.

    This is why the question, “On whose authority?” is such a vital one and I am guessing this is why you all ignore the question: because it points to these presumptions that you’d rather just presume are true, rather than proving them first to make your case. And if you can’t prove these presumptions (and, indeed, you can’t), then it undermines the arrogant authority you currently enjoy and you’d appear to prefer not to faces that loss.

    Or maybe it just hasn’t occurred to you, who knows.

    At any rate, there’s the problem, writ out, for this cult of biblical inerrancy to deal with or ignore.

    ~Dan

  86. paynehollow says:

    Put another way: You can say…

    IF there is a god, and
    IF I understand the nature of this god correctly, and
    IF, as I believe, that god inspired a holy text, and
    IF, as I believe, that text is the 66 books of the Protestant bible, and
    IF this text was inspired in the manner that I believe it to have been, and
    IF I am correct in thinking that literal morals found in this text are universal morals, and
    IF I am understanding those morals correctly, and
    IF I am applying my understanding correctly, and
    IF this text was intended by this god to be taken a certain way, and
    IF I am correct in the way that I am taking it…

    IF all of that is correct,

    THEN Yes (you can say), my take on homosexuality and war and investment and god’s nature are all factually correct.

    But to make such a claim, you’d first have to validate all those IFs, and that is what has not happened, yet.

    ~Dan

    • Dan, there’s one other famous person who questioned “did God really say…?” You’re in good company.

      Bottom line, the prophets wrote that God explicitly told them things. That’s either true or not. If it is, then the case is closed. If it isnt, then we shouldn’t trust anything they say. Jesus affirmed the prophets. Dan, you’re fond of telling me and others that we’re on the wrong side of history. That’s not nearly as bad as being on the wrong side of God. I feel for you. But you’re a heretic, and taking sides with nearly every atheist here on nearly every issue, you should be concerned. But you arent. That’s really too bad. You should see the kinds of people who you share views with, and that you’re making the same case that the serpent made as a red flag. Sorry man.

  87. paynehollow says:

    John…

    there’s one other famous person who questioned “did God really say…?” You’re in good company.

    You all keep trying to use this as an insult. It’s not.

    IF the Unabomber tells you God wants you to blow up stuff and kill people, will you act like a brainless sheep and say, “Oh, okay…” or will you say, “Did God REALLY say?”

    If Hitler assures you that killing all the Jews and gays is what God wants, will you blindly follow or will you say, “Did God REALLY say?”

    That we question human opinions (not God’s opinions, mind you, but human ones), do you really think that is a bad thing?

    Just because some human says, “God REALLY wants you to do this, I can find it in the Bible, so we know it’s true…” is not the same as a command from God. Do you understand that?

    So, keep pointing to me using moral reasoning and acting like that is a bad thing and I’ll keep on pointing to sheepishly and brainlessly following human orders as if it is a bad thing, fair enough?

    ~Dan

    • We’re not talking about getting word from God from the unibomber or a stranger or Hitler off the street. We’re talking about the bi local prophets. Here’s an excellent example of you being dishonest.

      But by all means, keep asking did God really say? Again, you not being concerned that you are in wide agreement on theological issues with atheists should cause you concern.

      • Richard Nash says:

        Will you say aloud John, that it is very precisely your faith, and only exorbitant amounts of faith that allows you such a position of faux superiority, and to chastise, ostracize and pass such judgements on other christians?

        If not for your faith based subjective extrapolations, and interpretations, what other mechanism can explain your supposed higher moral or otherwise authority?

        I mean you are just another man interpreting the bible. You have ended up in one place of absolutism, and millions and billions of others have ended up elsewhere. And that is the 3rd point I raised in the thread above. How does the inerrant, and infallible perfect word of a god get so absolutely misinterpreted by billions of its adherents over millennia? Here you are right this very moment cleaving away dan as a heretic with such absolutist faith…….andthe cycle of christian infighting and division continues.

        • The same question applies to the Constitution. How do some find a right to abortion in it? Well, some do. How does that happen? People have motives. But you can’t judge whether someone is interpreting correctly based on their motive. You have to look at the words themselves. Just because there’s disagreement doesn’t mean no one is right.

          • Richard Nash says:

            Hah!

            So you take these “words”, and make yourself right? You take the Constitution, written by heretics, and hellbound deists and the bible and via your faith, your’e right?!?!

            You must be able to enter some state of humility even momentarily, and examine the absolutism that your position is so entrenched, no?

          • Richard Nash says:

            What motives do, for example the coptics have for misreading/using the bible? Or any number of other sects/denominations?

            • Get me a list of their names and I’ll ask them.

              • Richard Nash says:

                How bizarrely flippant and dismissive John.

                Why? Is it because you have been painted into yet another corner? You have this tendency time and again when your quite narrow interpretations land you squarely in such an uncomfortable spot.

                I ask again, the coptics of north, and central Africa, whose denominations and sects are much older than yours have motives for their interpretations? What are they?

              • Nash, I don’t know any coptics. How the hell am I supposed to speculate as to individuals personal motivations?

              • Richard Nash says:

                John, I am not asking for any personal stories. What I am very clearly asking for is a thumbs up or down on the coptic version of christianity. I have made this abundantly clear. As a very specific form of christianity, are they doing it right John? Or are they all going to hell? This is not so slippery, or is it?

                I hear every day from conservative christians here in Texas about the persecution of christians in the Middle East. When I ask them what denomination they are, the answer is almost always wrong. When I tell them that they are coptic christians, their eyes gloss over.

                Unless you don’t know anything about the coptic faith of course, then I understand.

                As a denomination in christianity, are coptics going to hell with the framers and Enlightenment thinkers that are the sole motivators for the secular Constitution?

              • What are their views on God, Jesus, and salvation?

              • Richard Nash says:

                Is this a rhetorical exercise?

                Or are you seriously asking me, a non christian, to define for you, a correct christian, what the coptic faith is? Or any number of the thousands of other christian faiths that you seem so faithfully able and ready to dismiss as wrong?

                I can’t tell through this medium if you are seriously asking this, or if it’s a purely rhetorical red herring exercise.

    • “IF the Unabomber tells you God wants you to blow up stuff and kill people, will you act like a brainless sheep and say, “Oh, okay…” or will you say, “Did God REALLY say?””

      Another example of your notorious problem with analogies, Dan. But to answer, we would not simply respond, “Did God REALLY say?” We would respond, “As one who has studied Scripture, I can state categorically that there is no support for the proposition that God wants us to blow up stuff or people. A more appropriate comparison would be you and the Unabomber, as you both insist Scripture says or suggests something for which neither of you can provide textual evidence. But thanks for helping.

      “Just because some human says, “God REALLY wants you to do this, I can find it in the Bible, so we know it’s true…” is not the same as a command from God. Do you understand that?”

      What we understand is that there are indeed places in Scripture where God is quoted, either by the author of a given book, or by a character in a given book who is indeed speaking for God. Thus, we can rightly say that “God REALLY wants US to do…” a given thing because there is indeed proof in Scripture that He has indeed given such a command. We wouldn’t make the suggestion without the proof, and we can distinguish between that which is given to a specific people/person in a specific time and place for a specific reason, or a more general teaching for how we are supposed to live and behave because there’s evidence for that as well.

  88. paynehollow says:

    John…

    Bottom line, the prophets wrote that God explicitly told them things. That’s either true or not.

    Bottom line: You have not proved that God told them things. You have not demonstrated that you hold the one true interpretation of these texts. You have not offered any reasons as to why your opinion is worth more than anyone else’s on these unproven points.

    You can keep saying, “But I REALLLLLY, really, really, reallyreallyreallyreally believe it to be REALLLLY true, the way I’m understanding it, so if you disagree with my REALLLY sure opinion, then you are disagreeing with God,” but in the meantime, no one else is mistaking you for God.

    Proof. If you want to claim for a god, or for reason, you have to offer something in the way of proof, not merely, “Thus have I said!”

    ~Dan

  89. paynehollow says:

    John, anyone can look at my actual words and see that your claims (that I’m calling the prophets liars and saying the Bible isn’t true) are an entirely false witness.

    You DO know that the Bible condemns bearing false witness? Instead of lying about my position (and it IS a false witness, as a simple matter of fact), why don’t you just answer the questions asked of you?

    John…

    by all means, keep asking did God really say? Again, you not being concerned that you are in wide agreement on theological issues with atheists should cause you concern.

    Another false witness. I have not said, about the Bible, “Did God really say?” as if I’m choosing to question God. YOU all have made your various, sometimes nutty, sometimes immoral claims about what the Bible says and I have said, “John, are you god that you can speak for God?”

    In other words, no matter how many times this false charge is leveled, it still returns to the fact that I’m questioning YOUR words and opinions, not God’s. It always returns to the fact that I don’t conflate John, Bubba, Marshall, et al, with God, even if they do.

    I’m much less worried about “wide agreement with atheists” (and really, where do we agree except on the fact that you all dodge the pertinent questions repeatedly?) and would suggest you should be more worried about this continued false witness and conflation of yourself with God.

    ~Dan

  90. paynehollow says:

    Marshall…

    That is to say, that unlike you, He didn’t regard any argument from sinners that justify their sinful positions, as you take up the same arguments of the atheists here. Nice try, Dan. Ain’t workin’.

    If someone points out a simple fact – like that dodging these reasonable questions only weakens your argument, or that you all are dodging these reasonable questions – it doesn’t matter who is pointing it out. As far as I can see, Ark and Richard aren’t involved in any “sinful positions,” as it relates to their comments here. John is, with his false charges, but not them.

    No, all they’ve done is point out some facts and ask reasonable questions. I support facts and reasonable questions, Marshall. Do you?

    Sorry, trying to demonize me by associating me with two fellas who’ve done no wrong here just isn’t rational. Not such a nice try, ain’t workin’.

    ~Dan

    • That presumes that the “reasonable” questions are indeed reasonable. Is this objective fact, provable and beyond reproach, or just your opinion? I’ve seen no charges of John’s that are false. To which are you referring?

      My meaning was that your likening us to the Pharisees questioning Jesus as He associated with sinners doesn’t work here. We haven’t been questioning whether or not Jesus, in associating with them, was validating their positions regarding whatever it was that made them sinners. YOU, however, are taking the same stance as the atheists in questioning us in the manner you do. That is in no way like Pharisees questioning Jesus. Jesus was not validating any sinner’s position that his sin was not sinful. YOU, are validating the positions of the atheist by adopting their line of questioning and calling it reasonable. It’s not, then, demonizing you, but ascribing to you exactly what you are doing.

  91. paynehollow says:

    So, how about it Marshall? Nearly 300 comments into this post and not one of you all has dealt with the very first question raised by Richard…

    How exactly do you know that the israelites were commanded to do what they did?

    John gave some answers, to his credit, but they were all in the vain of, “IF you take the Bible to be the Word of God, and IF you do so in the sense that I do, and IF God passed on information to Israelis sorta literally as recorded, and IF you presume the story is related in a modern history, literal manner, THEN I have my proof, because it is right there in the pages of the Bible…” But that does not deal with all the IFs John is just ignoring. Again, in his defense, it’s not just John. ALL of you all are ignoring this question.

    Instead of ignoring it, you want to take it head on, Marshall? You’ve always seemed to be the boldest about at least trying to give a direct answer. Take one for your team?

    ~Dan

    • There is only one way we CAN know, Danny. It is because that is exactly how it is described in the Book we regard as holy and a reliable history of the events in question. I could just as easily demand from you evidence to show that we should not take these descriptions as reliable. I know, I know. You will write it off as some sort of “epic writing style” without demonstrating when one aspect of that style is an accurate history and when the next is “mythical”. But you have not as yet established that Scripture even follows that template. You only assert it does because it serves your purpose. But as it stands, it clearly describes God telling Israel to do what they did. Until you can show that we CANNOT, not “should not”, take it literally that He DID command it, we must at least take it as written.

      The trouble here is that when you decide to ascribe all sorts of touchy-feely, kumbaya inferences from Scripture, you do far less than you demand of us in supporting your hunches and self-serving opinions. When pressed, you write it all off as opinions, as if that isn’t taken for granted. What we expect is support for holding those wacky opinions of yours. Support of the same level as you demand of us for opposing them.

      In the meantime, there are no “ifs” that have been ignored by either John or anyone else, but yourself and your atheists compadres.

      So your question is really, how can we take ANYTHING from Scripture literally, or as “truths” on which we can rely as truly true, or anything else? indeed, you and your atheist comrades, must decide when we are talking about what Scripture says versus if we can trust that Scripture is even true. Which do you prefer, and how the hell are we supposed to know the difference? They are two very distinctly different issues.

  92. paynehollow says:

    Marshall…

    Another example of your notorious problem with analogies, Dan. But to answer, we would not simply respond, “Did God REALLY say?” We would respond, “As one who has studied Scripture, I can state categorically that there is no support for the proposition that God wants us to blow up stuff or people.

    Well, of course, “Did God really say…” are John’s words. But your answer indicates that, no, you would NOT simply accept some random person saying “God said…” as if that were evidence. In the same manner, we don’t just simply accept, “Well, Marshall said God said… so, it must be true…”

    Thanks for making my point.

    Marshall…

    What we understand is that there are indeed places in Scripture where God is quoted, either by the author of a given book, or by a character in a given book who is indeed speaking for God. Thus, we can rightly say that “God REALLY wants US to do…” a given thing because there is indeed proof in Scripture that He has indeed given such a command.

    Proof? Well, then, by all means, please provide your “proof…” Where is the proof that it is wrong for gay people to marry one another in a healthy, loving marriage relationship? Where?

    Where is the proof that it is okay to target a city full of civilians to end a war? Or the proof that it morally acceptable to invest money?

    I think what you will produce, in lieu of actual proof, is a snippet of text from an ancient text, that YOU interpret to mean that there IS a God, and that this god approves or disapproves of this or that behavior.

    So, the reasonable follow up is, “What makes your interpretation the right one?” and “Who says that this ancient text is reliable, much less your interpretation of it?” or, “Is ANY ancient text a reliable source for definitive answers on moral behaviors? If not, which ones are and on what basis?”

    But maybe I’m mistaking, maybe you have actual proof, not just “This is what I REALLY think is true.” You tell me. Us. The world.

    ~Dan

    • “Thanks for making my point.”

      I didn’t “make your point”, Dan. I rebuked it outright. We’re not referring to what some random person insists God has said. We’re defending what Scripture describes God as saying, providing other Scriptural support that aligns with our position, and remain waiting without satisfaction Scriptural evidence of an opposing or alternative possibility. When we say, “God has said…”, we can point to specific verses and passages wherein He said that very thing. We are NOT saying something that cannot be so supported, as would a Unabomber when pretending God told him to blow people up.

      Then, as if Scripture isn’t enough for you, because apparently it is worthless except as a prop, you then demand that we verify that Scripture is actually an accurate representation of God’s will and teachings.

      ” Where is the proof that it is wrong for gay people to marry one another in a healthy, loving marriage relationship? Where?”

      I’ve done this repeatedly, most recently at your own blog in recent days, and have yet to receive from you anything more than “nuh uh”, or “I don’t buy it” or “that’s your hunch”, but never any real Scriptural support for the suggestion that what God called an abomination and detestable could possibly be perpetuated in some form that He would bless, tolerate and/or approve. Yours it the childish “snack before dinner” argument, where if you particular choice of a snack isn’t labeled and a snack prohibited before dinner, you insist therefore that it is OK to eat it before dinner. There is NO Scriptural support for the notion that the prohibition against engaging in homosexual behavior is EVER something that God would bless, tolerate or regard as “OK”. NOTHING, and you have yet to provide anything. Furthermore, there is NOTHING in Scripture that suggest “marriage” is defined in any other way than the union of one man/one woman. NOTHING. Just as the atheists demand that we provide proof of God’s existence, you are far more obliged to provide proof of God’s possible toleration for ANY FORM of homosexual behavior, or ANY SCENARIO in which it might occur without His disapproval. It’s what we’ve been awaiting for years without the least bit of satisfaction.

      “Where is the proof that it is okay to target a city full of civilians to end a war?”

      This is to suggest that governments to nothing to stop the assault against their own people, because the only solution to that problem involves laying waste to an entire nation. I don’t see that God has mandated anything that suggests a prohibition is in place. If so, provide the evidence as well as an argument for why it applies to this situation. You haven’t yet. Hint: “Turn the other cheek” does not apply.

      “Or the proof that it morally acceptable to invest money?”

      There is no evidence that investing money to make money is morally UNacceptable. But I could point to the parable of the talents to support that it is at least morally neutral. Jesus does not use what is not true or factual in the use of parables. That is, what He relates in His parables is based on real life truths. When the master suggests to his wicked servant that he could have at least banked his one talent to gain interest, there is no indication that doing so is immoral.

      Thus, I can and have produced “snippet” enough to back my positions. And if Scripture does not suggest the existence of God, then you’re a complete idiot to suggest so.

      “I think what you will produce, in lieu of actual proof, is a snippet of text from an ancient text, that YOU interpret to mean that there IS a God,”

      Does it need to be more ancient that Scripture itself? I mean, isn’t that ancient enough? Scripture stands as testimony of God’s existence. Even honorable atheists would attest to that, even if they disagree with the claim itself.

      “So, the reasonable follow up is, “What makes your interpretation the right one?””

      An honest, honorable and reasonable understanding of the written word, together with no coherent argument to the contrary. At least none that you have offered.

      ““Who says that this ancient text is reliable, much less your interpretation of it?””

      We’ve dealt with my interpretation. As to reliability, I’ve seen nothing that suggests we need to doubt the sincerity of the authors of the various books of the Bible. Until that is presented, there is no reason to suggest that they are bullshitting us in any way, or have been mistaken or cryptic in their telling of the events of that time.

      ““Is ANY ancient text a reliable source for definitive answers on moral behaviors? If not, which ones are and on what basis?””

      The validity of other ancient texts is irrelevant here. We’re only concerning ourselves with the Bible used by Christians. As to that, it is reliable and definitive because it is our main source of knowledge and understanding of the Will of God, Who determines morality for all. It is reliable because it has never been shown to be otherwise, despite someone like Arkie pretending the lack of evidence proving certain events took place means it didn’t.

      As to proofs, there is much that confirms to one extent or another, the validity of Scripture, and virtually nothing that shows it is false, wrong or fantastical. By that, do I mean absolute proof by which no one can possibly maintain a contrary position? I don’t think anyone has suggested such a thing, or even supposed it is possible to get that level of evidence without actual divine intervention, which likely wouldn’t be enough for those so committed to their “of the world” positions. There certainly isn’t anything that compels one to reject belief altogether. Only the desperate pleadings of those who need God to be fiction.

      In YOUR case, Danny-boy, your demand for such proofs is simply another way for you to allow yourself license to believe what you prefer rather than what Scripture teaches. THAT is certain at this point.

      • Richard Nash says:

        Reminding us evermore how arrogant, self absorbed, self righteous, circular and insulated, biased thinking in small vacuums of exact like minded fellow subjugates leads to suicide bombing, or replacing complaining with violence.

        It is this fundamentalist creed which has you only 1 degree removed from the taliban, or mcveigh, or the army of other christian terrorists.

        You are really a despicable person. And to boot your circular gymnastics used to be entertaining, but not anymore.

        • Someday, Richard, when you’re through with your atheist version of “holier than thou” routine is tiresome even for you to maintain, much less for us to bear, you might demonstrate in what way my arguments are circular and in what way I’m only “1 degree removed from the taliban” and other assorted evil-doers. That should be fun to see.

          In the meantime, consider that your own adamant positions could be regarded in much the same manner as you do mine. Nothing I say indicates arrogance, but only an honest explanation of what someone who regards himself a serious and prayerful student of Scripture should know. Nor does doing so indicate I’m self-absorbed OR self-righteous, since I do not speak of these things to puff myself up or shine any light upon myself, but only on the truth of Scripture.

          But then, again, it is YOU saying these things, so they hold little weight.

  93. paynehollow says:

    Marshall…

    But you have not as yet established that Scripture even follows that template. You only assert it does because it serves your purpose. But as it stands, it clearly describes God telling Israel to do what they did. Until you can show that we CANNOT, not “should not”, take it literally that He DID command it, we must at least take it as written.

    Why? On what basis do you make the claim? On whose authority should we defer to your opinion?

    THAT is still the question that is going unanswered.

    How about it, Marshall?

    • I’ve answered it numerous times, Dan. You know this to be true, but you don’t have the spine to address the answers I give. The only basis I have is that it is so written and there is nothing to which we can point that suggests that the authors were not describing the events as they are depicted. As such, there are only two possibilities: either the author is truthful in his telling of the events, or he is not. Either the events happened as described or they did not. YOUR dodge is to suggest that because one guy (because there has never been more than one guy you’ve cited for this particular argument) makes some claim about “epic style” or “non-modern method of recording history”, that this claim is enough to ASSUME OT accounts are told in that manner. This is weak, but you don’t require strength in your equivocating arguments to regard them as feasible, do you? All you need is room to believe in that which is in clear conflict with Scripture. Indeed, the authority you demand for our positions is not required for one who hides behind “my opinion” when pressed to provide exactly what you demand from us.

  94. paynehollow says:

    In that vain…

    As to that, it is reliable and definitive because it is our main source of knowledge and understanding of the Will of God…

    Why? On what basis do you make the claim? On whose authority should we defer to your opinion?

    Who determines morality for all.

    Why? On what basis do you make the claim? On whose authority should we defer to your opinion?

    Scripture stands as testimony of God’s existence.

    Why? On what basis do you make the claim? On whose authority should we defer to your opinion?

    Even honorable atheists would attest to that, even if they disagree with the claim itself.

    Name one. The Bible clearly talks about a god, and we all agree on that. The thing that I guess you’re entirely missing is that you have no evidence that just because the Bible speaks of God is not evidence that God exists, that just because you interpret the OT to be a reliable history text is not evidence that it is a reliable history, that just because you interpret text to be/include a list of morals for all times and places is not evidence that it is, etc, etc.

    On all of this, the reasonable question comes back: WHY? ON what basis?

    Look, I ALSO read the Bible and looking at it and using my own God-given reasoning, I see no reason to interpret the Bible the way you do. The Bible makes no claim to be a history text and I think you are mistaken, clearly, in doing so.

    Then the question could just as easily be asked: WHY, Dan? On what basis?

    And I can clearly answer, 1. The text makes no such claim, 2. It is the wrong time period for that sort of writing, and 3. To try to take it literally renders the moral teachings found in the Bible to be inconsistent and immoral, it spoofs God. Now, I GET that you disagree with my opinions on it, and that is fine. And here’s the difference: I don’t insist that you have to agree with me to love the Bible or to be a God follower.

    You disagree with me? Fine, I can’t prove I’m right any more than you can prove you’re right, so what’s the point of arguing over it? Ultimately, we both/all have to seek the Good and Right the best we can and that’s the fact of it, and ultimately, none of us can prove our positions, no matter how obscenely rational, moral and biblical our opinion is compared to “theirs…”

    So, since I make no claims to perfect knowledge or that I have THE right answer, there is no dispute.

    You all, on the other hand, want to claim that you have this perfect knowledge or that you can’t be mistaken on these topics, or that you correctly understand God’s will on these topics… and that being the case, the onus is on you to provide SOMETHING solid as to “WHY? On what basis is your opinion right and mine is wrong?”

    Do you have anything? Other than just repeating, “Well, I REALLLY think mine is right and yours is way wrong. Reallyreallyreally.” That is not an appeal to anything other than your ego. Do you have anything else?

    ~Dan

  95. I said:

    As to that, it is reliable and definitive because it is our main source of knowledge and understanding of the Will of God…

    Yet still you ask:

    Why? On what basis do you make the claim? On whose authority should we defer to your opinion?

    The answer won’t change, Dan, just because you keep asking the question. If we’re dealing with a particular topic, we either can or cannot use Scripture to defend a position. When the topic is a matter of God’s will or Christ’s teaching, we can find in Scripture whether or not that teaching has actually been taught. As we have NO OTHER SOURCE for these things, then that makes Scripture a reliable source for our knowledge of what God wants or teaches or has done.

    As such, my “opinion” is based on actual verses and passages in Scripture that can be cited if pressed to do so. You should know this given the fact that I cite Scripture when pressed to do so.

    Regarding morality, without God there is no such thing. Without God there is only consensus opinion of what should be regarded as right or wrong. This is easy to see by considering people like Saddam Hussein and his boys, who had an entirely different notion of morality. Here’s another example: you regard immorality as something harmful. Let’s get precise and use a beating as an example. Because it hurts and damages the body, you would regard a beating as immoral. But pain and suffering do not indicate immorality. It indicates only pain and suffering.

    Put yet another way, you would say that God says a beating is immoral because of the pain and suffering. I would say it is immoral because God says so. Indeed, He speaks of murder as an affront to Him because we are made in His image, not because it hurts and the victim is dead. So on what basis should anyone regard your reasons why something is immoral as being valid? Without God, the only time a beating is immoral is when I’m the one receiving the beating. There’s no basis, other than my own sensibilities, for saying pain and suffering are cause to label an action as immoral.

    “Scripture stands as testimony of God’s existence.”

    Your response to this is rank idiocy (more so than for the other times you responded in the way you did). Are your seriously going to suggest that Scripture does NOT stand as testimony of God’s existence? Really? You’re going to make that argument? Let’s hear good reasons why Scripture doesn’t stand as testimony of God’s existence.

    “Name one.”

    Name one that doesn’t. Let’s ask Nash if he acknowledges that the Bible is testimony of the existence of God.

    “The Bible clearly talks about a god, and we all agree on that. The thing that I guess you’re entirely missing is that you have no evidence that just because the Bible speaks of God is not evidence that God exists,”

    First of all, it doesn’t talk about “a god”. It clearly speaks of God and there should be no disagreement from any honest person on that. There’s no basis for NOT agreeing since it clearly testifies to God’s existence.

    Secondly, what you’re too in the bag for your heresies to understand is that Scripture is indeed evidence that God exists. The question is whether or not it is reliable. For example, your testimony regarding your own history is not reliable to those of us who have had the pleasure of dealing with you on the blogs. But it is still evidence for your own history. Testimony is evidence. Ask any lawyer. Obviously, it is not enough for even most Christians, even real Christians. But it is evidence for God’s existence nonetheless. This is not opinion, it is fact.

    Gotta go. The rest must wait. It will be addressed. I will say this, however. What follows is no less than a barefaced lie:

    Do you have anything? Other than just repeating, “Well, I REALLLY think mine is right and yours is way wrong. Reallyreallyreally.””

    You are now charged with finding any comment wherein any of us defended a position with “Well, I REALLLY think mine is right and yours is way wrong. Reallyreallyreally.” We have NEVER even said such a thing in jest, much less used it in earnest. It has never been an argument put forth by any of us OR a rebuttal to an argument put forth by you. You’re a rank liar for continually trying to pass this off as an example of how we have ever argued anything. It IS, at the same time, a reason why we cannot regard YOUR testimony as legitimate evidence. The liar’s testimony is worthless.

  96. paynehollow says:

    Marshall…

    If we’re dealing with a particular topic, we either can or cannot use Scripture to defend a position. When the topic is a matter of God’s will or Christ’s teaching, we can find in Scripture whether or not that teaching has actually been taught. As we have NO OTHER SOURCE for these things

    Okay, I’ll try this one more time, to see if you all are getting this at all. I mean, do you think you understand the question that I and others here are asking? Because it does not appear that you all are even understanding the question. So, one last time, then I’m wiping the dust from my feet…

    WHY? On what basis do you make this claim? WHO has said we have no other source for “these things…”? The Bible certainly hasn’t. I don’t know that God has said so. I don’t believe the Supreme Court has taken a position. Einstein did not make this claim. I know of no empirical evidence to support this opinion of yours. So, why? On what basis would we accept this claim?

    then that makes Scripture a reliable source for our knowledge of what God wants or teaches or has done.

    Why? On what basis do you make this claim? How do you know that “scripture” – much less, your particular opinions about Scripture – are a reliable source? And since, after all, both you and I look to Scripture for ideas, why is your opinion “right” and mine “wrong…”?

    Is it because you REALLLLY think you are right that makes your opinion the right one? What if I really, really think I’m right, then is my opinion the right one? (Or would that only be unless you, in turn, really, really, REALLLLY think you’re right… unless, I thought I was right – infinity???)

    What I’m getting at, Marshall, et al, is, WHY is your opinion about various topics the right one, and you can’t just say, “cuz scripture…” because others, too, look to Scripture, and come up with different opinions. Beyond that, others still don’t look to scripture at all, so your appeal to a holy text that they don’t believe in is not compelling in the slightest.

    So, why? On what basis should people defer to YOUR personal opinions as The Right opinions?

    Can you answer THAT question?

    (And just a final note for clarity: NOTE that I am NOT asking if you think your opinions about the Bible are correct, I’m asking on what basis would anyone else presume your opinions are correct, based on what rational standard?)

    ~Dan

    • Dan

      I still trying to figure out why you give the bible any authority. If no one really k ow if God really told the prophets that stuff, and we can’t really know if Jesus really said, and if those were merely Pauls opinions, why do you even read and give some authority to the bible? Morally speaking, YOUR BODY don’t need it. As you’ve said that when the bible instructs something that goes against common sense and basic human understanding of right and wrong, you go with your common sense. You have also said that one need not even be explicitly a believer in Christ to still go to heaven, and you don’t believe there’s an eternal punishment. So why are you a christian, and why do you argue over the bible?

    • “WHY? On what basis do you make this claim? WHO has said we have no other source for “these things…”?”

      The question is, if not stupid, absolutely moot given the fact that no one, least of all you, has ever offered an alternative source for determining God’s will and teachings. Do you have one in mind? Is there any other source you can cite that provides this information?

      Without providing an alternative source for this information, that leaves Scripture as the ONLY reliable source for learning God’s will and teachings. So the basis, then, for my claim of Scripture as our only reliable source is that there is no other. Scripture does not even need to claim that for itself, but YOU must provide the alternative if and alternative exists. We’ll wait here.

      As to why my interpretation, which aligns with around two thousand years worth of similar interpretation, of any portion of Scripture more correct than yours has been addressed already as well. It is so because it doesn’t rely on imagining with faulty reasoning ability what it might mean, but only relies on the actual words in the context provided. This isn’t rocket science in the vast majority of cases. We can look to the original language to see if our English translation is accurate, and assuming that it is, simply deal with the words themselves, their definitions, and how they are arranged in sentences to make a point or relate an intention or whatever information is in question. In short, we can demonstrate why our position is correct and yours is the goofiness it most usually is.

      Furthermore, simply insisting you disagree or have an alternate opinion is meaningless considering it is not even in question. What is in question, and what you constantly fail to address, is why YOUR position makes more sense, what evidence do YOU have, how does Scripture support YOUR position. We never seem to get passed the whining about lacking grace, speaking for God and all the other nonsensical and irrelevant crapola that serves as avoidance of the issue. Oh, yeah, and the constant questions that never end as if you are really trying to clarify and learn about what we believe and why.

      “Is it because you REALLLLY think you are right that makes your opinion the right one?”

      Again with this bullshit. The irony here is that it is all you give for YOUR positions after demanding so much more from us. Make that “hypocrisy” together with irony. So again, we do not say “‘cuz Scripture says…”. We show where it says what we believe and why it clearly contradicts what YOU believe.

  97. paynehollow says:

    John…

    If no one really k ow if God really told the prophets that stuff, and we can’t really know if Jesus really said, and if those were merely Pauls opinions, why do you even read and give some authority to the bible?

    For the same reason I love ANY good body of literature and any good wisdom. I believe that all Beauty, all Wisdom, all Truth, all that promotes Good… that these all come from God and, even if not, that these are ideals worth pursuing. And, I happen to believe that the Bible contains a great deal of beautiful and grace-full wisdom and truth, taken correctly.

    For instance, when Jesus taught, “Do not worry about your clothes, what you shall eat or drink, for your God in heaven knows you need these things… consider the lilies of the field, they neither sow, nor reap, yet even Solomon in all his glory was not arraigned as one of these…” (going from memory, but you get the drift), in that teaching, I find affirmation of the notion of simple living and the beauty and grace therein. I find God and wisdom in this teaching and, knowing that teaching, I can also see it affirmed repeatedly in the real world.

    Or even a hard teaching like Paul’s echo of Jesus’ earlier teaching, “Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”… when I hear that teaching, even if it goes against some innate sense of self-protection or protection of loved ones and a sort of a sense of vengeance, when I give thought to this teaching, I can see (along with wise men like King and Gandhi) the innate wisdom of NVDA. Sure, Jesus was persecuted, but even the son of God did not strike back in righteous anger (and surely a son of God COULD do so if he wanted to or if it was right), but sought the wisdom of overcoming evil and hatred, NOT with returned evil and hatred, but with love and forgiveness… I can SEE the wisdom and incredible power in that teaching, I can see its real world value and great need for this teaching.

    I love Scripture. I just don’t think it should be taken the literal way you all do sometimes and other times, when you all take it as metaphor, I think a more literal interpretation is more appropriate in terms of wisdom and right living.

    There’s not a book in the Bible where I don’t find wisdom, even if it may not always be obvious, at first.

    On what basis do you “give authority” to the Bible?

    (And, for the record, I don’t “give authority” to the Bible. Why would I? It’s a book. I give authority to God’s Ways, to ways of wisdom, love and grace. Just because someone does not take a text the same way you do does not mean that they do not respect it or love it, can you see that?)

    I answered your questions, I hope you’ll answer mine.

    ~Dan

  98. paynehollow says:

    John…

    As you’ve said that when the bible instructs something that goes against common sense and basic human understanding of right and wrong, you go with your common sense.

    Nor do you, John, nor do you. You have not yet gouged out your eye or lopped off your hand, even though they surely have led you into sin. You. Do. Not. Take. Scripture. Literally. Not when it crosses what you consider common sense. Why would you?

    Do you think the Bible commands things contrary to common sense? Do you think God is irrational and whimsical?

  99. “I believe that all Beauty, all Wisdom, all Truth, all that promotes Good… that these all come from God and, even if not, that these are ideals worth pursuing.”

    What God are you talking about, Dan? If you’re talking about the God of the Christian Bible, then you must regard Scripture as our most reliable source of knowledge of this God. If it isn’t, then nothing in it is actually “truth”, but simply that which appeals to you personally. And what appeals to you personally does not in any way count as an alternative source of any real value or credibility. Not in any objective sense. Indeed it is all subjective.

    “For instance, when Jesus taught, “Do not worry about your clothes…., etc…in that teaching, I find affirmation of the notion of simple living and the beauty and grace therein.”

    Thanks for validating my response. This is all subjective opinion based on the fact that you personally find it appealing Others find beauty and grace in opulence and craftsmanship in the construction of vast palatial estates. What’s more, your inference of this passage is also extremely subjective and not reflective of any teaching regarding whether we should live simply. I see it as clearly reminding us of where in the grand scheme of things does having stuff land on the prioritized list of one’s concerns. I’ve not seen a single reference to wealth that you’ve made that is never any more than a reminder to put God first in all we do. YOU take it as some hippy, commune live-in-the-woods crap. That take requires inserting your own preferences into the text, since your preference isn’t in there.

    Gotta go.

  100. paynehollow says:

    Marshall…

    has ever offered an alternative source for determining God’s will and teachings. Do you have one in mind? Is there any other source you can cite that provides this information?

    For those of us who believe the Bible offers some insight, and others, we believe that God is revealed through all of Creation, through God’s Spirit, through our God-given reasoning, through God’s Word writ in our hearts. AND the Bible, for those of us who believe it and take that on faith. BUT, we have no data to demand that these 1. ARE ways God communicates and/or 2. Are the ONLY ways God communicates.

    Where do you believe the Bible says it is the Only Way to determine God’s will and teachings? Because it doesn’t, you know?

    Again, you all rely upon presumptions about the Bible that the Bible does not support and reason does not demand. So, even if I lacked an “alternative source,” that is not evidence that the Bible IS “the source.” Understand?

    Marshall…

    that leaves Scripture as the ONLY reliable source for learning God’s will and teachings.

    No, it doesn’t. The Bible makes no such claim. You just made that up out of thin air. Can you support THAT claim?

    Marshall…

    So the basis, then, for my claim of Scripture as our only reliable source is that there is no other.

    See the above answers. No, you are rationally mistaken. IF there were a book that someone claimed was THE source for knowledge about Pokemon and his reasoning was, “There is NO OTHER SOURCE, therefore, this must be it…” would that make it so? Of course not. This is nonsense, Marshall.

    Do you have anything else besides that? Come on, Marshall, you can see that this claim is irrational and a desperate circular argument with NO support, can’t you?

    I can go on, but it’s all more of the same, “We know because I know and I’m right, besides, lots of people agree with me that I’m right, so we can know…” sort of drivel. Like this…

    It is so because it doesn’t rely on imagining with faulty reasoning ability what it might mean, but only relies on the actual words in the context provided

    I. AM. LOOKING. AT. THE. ACTUAL. WORDS. IN. THE. CONTEXT. PROVIDED. You presume – contrary to any biblical admonishment to do so, to take some of the texts literally and I make no such modernist or irrational presumptions, but we are BOTH looking at the actual words and striving to do so in context. I would argue that, given that you are not accurately considering the time/genre that it was written, you are NOT taking it in context, but viewed through a bias of modernism. You would disagree. BUT, we are still looking at the same text. Just because you reached a conclusion based on the text does not mean that MY conclusion based on the text is inferior to yours.

    Do you understand? For this reason, I still ask, why? On what criteria would you base your hunch?

    ~Dan

    • “For those of us who believe the Bible offers some insight, and others, we believe that God is revealed through all of Creation, through God’s Spirit, through our God-given reasoning, through God’s Word writ in our hearts.”

      You couldn’t even say these things without first the Bible having said it. It is there that we learn that God is revealed through all of Creation.

      And again, you totally misunderstand the two places where it speaks of “God’s Word written in our hearts”. These two places, of which I have described to you in the more recent past, do NOT teach that we know ANYTHING about God without Scripture teaching us the specifics of who He is and what He wants of us. At best, without Scripture, we would perhaps have imagined that there is some sort of creator, but it would not be the God of Abraham, the Trinity, Christ or any of that stuff that we can only be taught through Scripture. No two people would have the same concept without someone forcing a concept upon them. Only through Scripture do we learn of who God is and of His Will.

      Also, the what reason God has given YOU, you clearly ignore or have corrupted or simply abuse. Reason does not bring one to where it brought you.

      “Where do you believe the Bible says it is the Only Way to determine God’s will and teachings?”

      More importantly, where have I said that the Bible makes any such claim? Can you deal honestly at all? My position is, and remains, that until you can provide another source of info regarding the God of the Bible and His teachings found therein, Scripture remains the only legitimate source of our knowledge of God and His teachings. What other source do you have that is not simply that which you wouldn’t even know of if not for Scripture teaching it?

      “So, even if I lacked an “alternative source,” that is not evidence that the Bible IS “the source.” Understand?”

      This is not just laughingly incorrect, it is wholly illogical. It is illogical to suggest that without an alternative source to present us, Scripture is still not the only source around. It might take first place among the goofiest things you’ve ever said.

      “No, it doesn’t. The Bible makes no such claim. You just made that up out of thin air. Can you support THAT claim?”

      What makes you think the Bible must make any claim for something to be true? This is especially ironic given all the things that the Bible does say that you insist is not true or to be taken literally! But I certainly haven’t insisted the Bible makes the claim of itself. It simply is observably true. What other source is there, Dan, for the thousandth time? I support that claim by virtue of the fact that you cannot produce any other source whatsoever. I challenge you to do so, AGAIN, without any expectation that you could possibly succeed. That’s because there is no other source available to us.

      “you are rationally mistaken. IF there were a book that someone claimed was THE source for knowledge about Pokemon and his reasoning was, “There is NO OTHER SOURCE, therefore, this must be it…” would that make it so? Of course not. This is nonsense, Marshall.”

      What is nonsense is you once again trying to formulate an analogy that doesn’t make you look stupid. So still again I ask you: What other source do we have for knowing of God, Jesus and all that Scripture teaches?

      “Do you have anything else besides that? Come on, Marshall, you can see that this claim is irrational and a desperate circular argument with NO support, can’t you?”

      The claim is based on the FACT that there exists no other source for informing us of God, Jesus and all Scripture teaches us about Him. If this is not so, provide that alternative source. I’m still waiting.

      “I can go on, but it’s all more of the same, “We know because I know and I’m right, besides, lots of people agree with me that I’m right, so we can know…” sort of drivel.”

      The irony being that you are using that exact argument to deny the FACT that Scripture is our only reliable source of info pertaining to the existence of the God we worship. I don’t include you amongst the “we” of the previous sentence, because you continue to make it clear that you don’t truly believe anything Scripture has to say.

      “Just because you reached a conclusion based on the text does not mean that MY conclusion based on the text is inferior to yours.”

      I don’t recall you ever holding a conclusion that is NOT inferior. But the reason depends upon the exact conclusion being discussed. Your last paragraph muddies the many complaints I have with a variety of issues. Therefore, I will not comment in depth about it. But you are free to ask me anything at my blog, and invite anyone you choose to join you. There, we can hash out such details. As for here, what other source can you provide that informs us about what Scripture informs us? Still waiting, patiently.

      • Richard Nash says:

        “This is not just laughingly incorrect, it is wholly illogical. It is illogical to suggest that without an alternative source to present us, Scripture is still not the only source around. It might take first place among the goofiest things you’ve ever said”.

        Always enlightening when I hear the religiously devoted talk about logic, or how other devotees have less of it than they do.

  101. paynehollow says:

    Marshall…

    If you’re talking about the God of the Christian Bible, then you must regard Scripture as our most reliable source of knowledge of this God…

    sigh. WHY? On what basis?

    If it isn’t, then nothing in it is actually “truth”, but simply that which appeals to you personally.

    So? What if that were true? It STILL does not demand that the Bible is the “most reliable source” of knowledge. It COULD be, for instance, as the atheists argue… that there is no god therefore there is no “right” source for knowledge. Your demand that this is “our most reliable source,” a claim pulled from thin air and YOUR personal reasoning (ie, “that which appeals to you, personally,” exactly what you charge me with).

    Do you acknowledge this? That this is EXACTLY the charge you’ve made against me?

  102. paynehollow says:

    I don’t know that we can authoritatively say, “THIS is the most reliable source…” On what basis would we do so? Has God told us one such source? No. Does the Bible make any claims about this? No. Is there any other source… the pope? The Board of the SBC or the UMC?? Not that I know of.

    So, having no authoritative source, we can use our reasoning a bit and take some guesses. Do you have anything better than that and something objective and definitive to support it?

    Using my reasoning, I would suggest that, if we were created in the image of God, as you and I believe in faith, then we ARE created in the image of God. We would have, as the Quakers say, that of God in us. The Bible notes that God reveals God’s Self through creation and that seems reasonable to me. I mean, look at it all – that there IS a creation out of nothing? How’d that happen without a creator? And look at the intricacy and design! Beyond that, look at the sense of morality within humanity, where’d that come from…? I think we can gather a lot about God through Creation.

    The Bible also speaks of God’s Law or will written upon our hearts and minds, which seems to me to be speaking of that sense of morality and good that is innate to human nature.

    Given all of that, we also can look to wisdom writings. We humans in the church have decided that the Bible is as Scripture to us, a source (although there is nothing to say that it is THE source, or THE PRIMARY source) of wisdom and teaching to us. But wait: If, as you all think, I and people like me get Scripture wrong, then it would seem that you all are saying that our reasoning has to be in the right place first. If we revere Scripture and study it and seek wisdom in it but get it all wrong because our reasoning is off, then what good is the wisdom in its pages?

    So, given all that and the absence of any authoritative source telling us what is “the most reliable source…,” I would posit that you all are making the case that our reasoning is the first step in finding reason, and I would agree that this is a rational consideration.

    Your turn.

    ~Dan

    • “I don’t know that we can authoritatively say, “THIS is the most reliable source…” “

      Of course we can, given that there is no other source by which we can know about Whom we are worshiping.

      “Do you have anything better than that and something objective and definitive to support it?”

      Really? Something better than “guesses” based on your shaky reasoning? Sure. How about the fact that there is no other source available to us other than Scripture? That’s objective AND definitive. “Guesses” are not. Especially yours.

      “Using my reasoning, I would suggest that, if we were created in the image of God, as you and I believe in faith, then we ARE created in the image of God.”

      The Bible teaches us this. It is not something we would necessarily “guess” at. Said another way, we believe this in faith because Scripture teaches us that.

      “We would have, as the Quakers say, that of God in us.”

      The Quakers also get that from Scripture. They didn’t get that from thin air and then start studying the Bible.

      “The Bible notes that God reveals God’s Self through creation and that seems reasonable to me.”

      Irony. The Bible teaches you this, but it is not the most reliable source of this teaching. What else teaches us this, Dan? What alternative source for this teaching is out there, that is not itself based on Scripture? Still waiting. Without Scripture telling you that God reveals Himself through creation, how would you know Who it was that is revealed?

      “I mean, look at it all – that there IS a creation out of nothing? How’d that happen without a creator?”

      That would only suggest an intelligent designer of all things. It would suggest who the designer is or whether or not that designer gives a flying rat’s patoot about us at all.

      “The Bible also speaks of God’s Law or will written upon our hearts and minds, which seems to me to be speaking of that sense of morality and good that is innate to human nature.”

      You misapply the two passages that use this notion of what is written on anyone’s hearts. You clearly don’t understand either of them as your use of it demonstrates. Scripture teaches that mankind is immoral and not worthy of God, not that we have any innate sense of right and wrong. IF that were so, God would not have given us all those commandments you’ve rejected, and Christ would not had to have come to, as you wrongly believe, teach us how to live. Why were either of those two very specific actions necessary if we were endowed with an innate sense of morality and good? Can you answer that question, perhaps?

      “If we revere Scripture and study it and seek wisdom in it but get it all wrong because our reasoning is off, then what good is the wisdom in its pages?”

      That is some audacity to suppose there is something wrong with Scripture because you lack the wisdom and honesty to understand it. And it is not as if sound explanations cannot be found, even if it those explanations align with your blog opponents.

      “So, given all that and the absence of any authoritative source telling us what is “the most reliable source…,” I would posit that you all are making the case that our reasoning is the first step in finding reason, and I would agree that this is a rational consideration.”

      It still all relies on Scripture for it to mean anything. Without Scripture, the best you could do is suppose there exists an intelligent designer. It ends there. But clearly, it is idiotic that anything I’ve said supports the case that our reasoning is the first step, since without Scripture, everything is totally subjective and based on who has the power to enforce their subjective notions of right and wrong , how we got here and what our purpose might be for existing at all.

  103. paynehollow says:

    Marshall…

    You couldn’t even say these things without first the Bible having said it. It is there that we learn that God is revealed through all of Creation.

    ? Oh? Says who? Do you think that the omnipotent God of the Universe is unable to reveal God’s Self how God wants to? Do you not find evidence of God in all creation, regardless of whether or not the Bible says so?

    Regardless if you are able to imagine it or not, the fact remains that God certainly could and many of us think God does do so, including people who don’t pay attention to or know of the Bible. This is an unsupported and demonstrably false claim.

    Marshall…

    What other source do we have for knowing of God, Jesus and all that Scripture teaches?

    And I ask you again: WHO SAYS we have to have this source? On what basis do you demand such a source?

    Beyond that, your argument is self-defeating: IF you are relying upon the Bible to “knowing God, Jesus and all Scripture teaches,” then you can’t reach this conclusion, since the Scriptures don’t teach it. You have no source, no data, nothing other than your opinion which you are welcome to, but it is not authoritative.

    ~Dan

  104. paynehollow says:

    Marshall…

    Of course we can, given that there is no other source by which we can know about Whom we are worshiping.

    Okay, this is just silly, and you’re embarrassing yourself and your faith tradition.

    Look, I was in a band for 10 years called Remembrance. There certainly are no books out about us. Given that, using your reasoning, I could say, “Well, the bible uses the word ‘remembrance,’ therefore, since there is NO OTHER SOURCE about the band, Remembrance, the Bible must be the One True Source to learn about the band…”

    That is nonsense. Your claim is rational nonsense. It doesn’t mean anything. IF there is no other source, it does not follow, then, that “Therefore, THIS must be the source.”

    [and just a pre-emptive: The analogy is apt. saying “nu uh” does not make it not apt.]

    SAYS WHO? On what basis should anyone take your opinion as credible?

    You keep dodging this very basic question: On whose authority is your opinion on these matters the “right” one? By what rational criteria can we look at the data and conclude, “Yes, Marshall’s opinion is the authoritative one…”?

    Unless you can begin a sentence, “The rational criteria for this claim is…” and produce some rational basis, you’ve got nothing.

    And I’m telling you, you’ve got nothing.

    ~Dan

  105. Dan, really, the only thing embarrassing here is your repeated attempts to craft analogies. They’re actually getting worse. This one is truly insipid. There is no correlation between taking a word from Scripture to name your band and learning about God. How can you even pretend your band reference serves as any kind of illustration for what I’m saying? We’re not talking about learning about a band, for which the most reliable source for learning about the band is the members of the band itself (assuming members are honest). We’re talking about how we learn about God/Jesus and His teachings and nature. Your analogy, such as it is, does not, therefore, reflect in any way my reasoning. If I reasoned like you I’d shoot myself in the head out of shame and embarrassment.

    “IF there is no other source, it does not follow, then, that “Therefore, THIS must be the source.””

    Actually, it follows perfectly, with one alteration toward what I’m actually saying. Read slowly and sound out the big words here: If there is no other source, then this one source that we have is our most reliable source. Can you present us with whatever other source you think exists? I’m still waiting.

    “SAYS WHO? On what basis should anyone take your opinion as credible?”

    Forget “on whose authority”. Focus on whether or not there is actually another, better more reliable source for learning about God. Provide it. If you can’t, then the point stands as accurate and true and Scripture IS the most reliable source for that information available to us.

    “And I’m telling you, you’ve got nothing.”

    Saying so doesn’t make it so, and it sure ain’t so here. My stance can easily be mitigated by providing a more reliable source, even a not-so reliable source, ANY source, other than Scripture for learning about God/Jesus and His nature and teachings. As ever, I am STILL waiting, though it seems it is YOU who has nothing.

    What I find amazing is your adamant refusal to acknowledge this simple fact. You offer nothing but “nuh uh” once again. Another source for the info will put the matter to rest and force me to eat crow. So unless you can begin a sentence with, “(The alternative source you have to offer) is as reliable, if not more reliable for teaching us about God than is the Bible…” then you’ve got nothing.

    • Richard Nash says:

      We are still awaiting word of your superior authority, and explanations for your inerrant man made subjective interpretations of scripture marshall.

      What makes your opinion on the bible better than any coptics interpretations? Or any shakers interpretation? Or jeffesron’s?

      • Nash, are you saying there is no correct interpretation? And why are you so hung up on Jefferson?

        • Richard Nash says:

          John, As I have stated entirely too many times to count at this point, where is the perfect, or correct interpretation when you have tens of thousands of denominations/sects so apparently doing it incorrectly, by your interpretation? They say you are doing it incorrectly, and that includes the Framers, authors and philosophers behind the Constitution, “NOT” the signatories.

          So how, and by what standard, or authority is “your” subjective interpretation better, or more correct? For the love of christ! It’s a rhetorical exercise! You have exactly no way to prove that you are more correct or more perfect in your reading of scripture than the last 1800 years of other men saying the same thing. Or the wafting load of men who are saying right now, just like you, that they have it all figured out to a better more precise way than John does.

          Are you arguing from a position of authority? Who or what gave you this authority?

          If the bible, talmud, or koran were perfect in any way, and assuming inerrant authorship from on high, there would only be 1 sect/denomination.

          So John, I am directly challenging you, and marshall to tell us what makes your interpretation better than the rest of them, of which there a great many who will disagree with your assertion for the same reason you disagree with theirs. You can make no argument of perfect interpretation from the position of “well there are lots of other men who feel just like I do about it, so we’re right?

          It seems that perhaps you maybe learned of your particular flavor of christianity in a vacuum, continue to practice, and learn about just your flavor, to the point even where you are now under the false impression that your take is the most correct or most perfect interpretation of said book. This, it would seem is the same sort of thinking that has gotten some particular cults of christianity in quite a bit of trouble in the past. Do you not question your own perverted assertion of absolution?

          • Here’s the thing nash, there’s nothing I could point to or even argue for that would make you concede that I was correct. Your hyperskepticism won’t allow you to settle on a single view. To you, who can say? Who can know? Do you see you’ve asked “so many times” a question that no one can answer to YOUR satisfaction?

        • Richard Nash says:

          You are now moving the goal posts and trying to skirt the question by saying that no answer will satisfy my hyperskepticism.

          That is incorrect. Firstly, no answer has even been posited.

          Secondly, I am not asking for the sake of satisfying my skepticism, I am very precisely asking you to define your authority because I know now that you do not want to distill your opinion down to faith based conviction. This is the proverbial corner.

          It seems easy, and honest to just come out and say “well my position, presuppositions, and opinions are based on my “FAITH” that I am interpreting the bible correctly”.

          • Hermeneutics is not a matter of faith though.

            • Richard Nash says:

              Hermeneutics /hɜrməˈnjuːtɪks/ is the “theory” of text “interpretation”, especially the “interpretation” of biblical texts, wisdom literature, and philosophical texts. So yeah, it takes a considerable leap of faith to allow other men before you to interpret the bible for you, and to not consider their subjective extrapolations anything more than mere opinions.

              What makes your “theory”, i.e. “interpretation” of biblical text “more” correct than the coptics, catholics or shakers, considering that you have all ended up in radically different places historically, socially, culturally, politically, but specifically within whatever bible based christianity is?

              They have also argued their purely subjective suppositions via hermeneutics, like you, and yet they are going to hell. Unless you are saying that they don’t know about your hermeneutics? And I think we both know that such a claim would be both bizarre and inaccurate.

              • What else can you do except use the rules of grammar, original definitions of terms, use of ancient idioms, and figures of speech?

                Not that difficult.

              • Richard Nash says:

                John,

                No where has anyone spoke to the failures, or weakness inherent in grammar. No where has anyone parsed your position down to figures of speech.

                Your contention and conviction of, and your absolutist position is built on the faith you have placed in your interpretation of the bible. Your interpretation. This then leads to your opinions. This is pure and simple your subjective, and biased extrapolation. No matter how much you try to square it in trying to deny that hermneutics is also subjective extrapolation and theoretical opinions of those hypothesizers before you.

                If you think you are “more” correct in your indefensible opinions, then what say you to all of the millions of christians that have come before you, or the ones who outright disagree with you now?

                Grammar, and idioms, are not what we are talking about. Very specifically, what mechanism elevates your theories on biblical interpretation above anyone else’s?

              • What makes mine better? I don’t come up with reasons to read certain passages to mean the opposite of what they say. I don’t start with a conclusion and try to justify it, I form my views by what it says, not the other way around.

                You’d have to compare my understanding of a certain passage to someone else’s to see why I think mine is better.

        • “What else can you do except use the rules of grammar, original definitions of terms, use of ancient idioms, and figures of speech?”

          This is pretty much the size of it. Nash insists we are of the belief that anyone who disagrees with our implementation of the above is going to hell. I don’t know where we’ve said this. What we have said is that if one is totally contradicting what Scripture is saying, that could have an impact on their salvation. For instance, the Bible clearly speaks of the existence of God. If one forms a denomination based on the insistence that there is no God, I would expect they will not be rooming next door when I get to heaven. He would insist, however, that because such a “denomination”,which it really isn’t as it is based upon an entirely different belief, would perhaps use the term “Christian” somewhere in its name or teachings, or that it might follow some of the teachings of Scripture, that there is no way to determine how far off base their beliefs are.

          What it comes down to is getting together to hash out the meaning of the original language and debate why one is accurate and the other not. Between Dan and myself, for example, he refuses to respond to such explanations from me with his typical “nuh uh” defense. But between actual denominations of the Christian faith, Nash fails to provide any true difference between them that illustrates polar opposites with regard to essential beliefs. He would insist that all the many denominations totally interpret Scripture differently, even after I stated the differences are far more superficial (methods of worship, church polity, etc.).

          Finally, there is no reason to compare our understandings against what Nash would insist are a billion variations. We need only compare ours to those with whom we debate on the blogs, or anyone else who would intend to compare his with ours. If someone disagrees with my take on a specific issue, that issue isn’t necessarily going to leave either of us in eternal jeopardy simply because we cannot agree which is more correct or accurate. The subject of infant baptism is a good example. It can be among the superficial aspects that divide one denomination from another, but it does not have an impact as to whether one is more likely to be saved than the other.

          For Nash’s line of questioning to have any real relevance, it requires examples of two denominations, both being themselves to be Christian, having totally opposite positions on a topic of importance (for example, the deity of Christ) to make the discussion regarding “who’s interpretation” is correct.

          • Richard Nash says:

            How beautifully dodgy and squishy.

            I have given and listed at least 20-30 denominations in the the thread above, not billions.

            And all I have gotten back is desperate spin in a desperate attempt to avoid the desperate corner you have once again painted yourselves into.

            • Nash, have you ever taken the time to looking into their statements of faith and doctrinal differences to see what exactly the differences are?

              • Richard Nash says:

                Why yes I have John, but apparently you have not. For the sake of your own absolutist apinions, you may want to explore what they are doing and compare it to what you are doing. At least then you can actually know they are practicing christianity wrongly, and not just assume you are doing it more correctly.

                We seem to have marshall agreeing that Jefferson, and the Founders/Framers/thinkers behind the founding documents were not going to heaven, now what of the other denominations sects of christianity?

                Where are the adventists going? Where are all of the flavors of anglicans, catholics, protestants, lutherans, coptics, mormons, the simonians, carpocracians?

                I mean we are talking about everything before and during the Nicene Creed. Are they in hell? Were they doing it wrong? And since we know they were doing it wrong, because they didn’t do it the way you do it, and there were lots of warring ideas about the nature of jesus etc……………………How can you be so sure of your position?

                Again, you are not all practicing the same christianity, and marshall would have you believe that questions about the divinity of jesus, eschatology throughout, and having radically different ideas regarding sin and salvation etc is no big deal, by saying ehh, we are doing enough of it the same to all be on the same page about the important stuff. To which I reply by saying A) No your’e not and B) How do you know?

                There are serious differences between just protestants and catholics, between western and eastern orthodoxies, between you and adventists.

                Why keep circling around the carcass of your hollow presuppositions? Just land on it and claim them as your own.

  106. When you can point to a specific doctrinal difference, then we can talk. Thus far, all you done, Nash, is to insist that differences that exist between denominations are significant. Fine. Provide one about which we can discuss.

    In the meantime, you might actually want to answer the question that is the topic of this post and explain why your answer is worth a damn. I’m guessing you’ll hang your hat on your belief that there is no god at all, much less the God of the Bible about which the question revolves.

    By the way, you are demonstrating an inability to read and understand even the humble comments of mine, as I have NOT stated that questions regarding the divinity of Christ are no big deal. That is a significant deal. I put the notion forth in hopes you would understand that what separates most Christian denominations are not of that level. Very few are. Try paying attention.

    • One doctrinal difference:
      The Catholics do not believe Jesus of Nazareth had any brothers and sisters.
      Their interpretation is that those mentioned were cousins.
      Protestant Christians believe they were natural brothers and sisters.
      Tell me, considering how long the Catholic interpretation held sway over Christianity how do you, Marshall, know which is the correct interpretation?

  107. paynehollow says:

    Here’s a list of the differences between Catholics and Protestants (according to this site, anyway, I think there are some errors or questionable judgments/claims involved…)

    http://www.answers.com/Q/What_are_the_differences_between_Christianity_and_Catholicism

    As you can see, there are some serious problems for many in the traditional protestant belief system, including the “veneration of saints,” the Pope and all that entails (including papal infallibility, among other things), priestly celibacy, the priestly tradition as practiced by Catholics, a belief that the Communion bread and wine become literally Jesus’ body and blood, not ascribing to Sola Scriptura, Purgatory, and perhaps especially, questions about a works-based salvation, instead of grace-based.

    For starters. You could also google, “Why Catholics are not Christian…” and get many links where they are glad to explain in great detail and authority why RC followers are not Christian.

    Are the Catholics wrong about any of this stuff? If so, on what basis? If you say, “The Bible,” on what basis is your opinion about the Bible’s correct interpretation correct while theirs is not?

    ~Dan

    • Richard Nash says:

      At least Jefferson and the Framers can get cozy with all of the hundreds of millions of catholics who “interpreted” incorrectly, thinking mistakenly that they had “theorized” correctly. So much for hermeneutics….. or is it grammar that’s the difference between catholics and protestants? Or maybe the difference between the thousands of sects of christianity is that some have spell check, and others don’t, Could it be something as trivial as punctuation?

      • You realize, Nash, that it isn’t so much an interpretation thing with Catholicism. It was the addition of the Apocrypha which allowed for the worship of Mary and the granting of the Pope infallibility which has corrupted Catholicism. As well as having to earn salvation through good works. The majority of the corruption doesn’t come from poorly interpreting the bible.

        • Richard Nash says:

          They call themselves christians, and will tell you that you are doing it wrong, therefore going to hell. All based on their faith and conviction in their biblical interpretations, apocrypha or otherwise. They are as convinced as you are, about how right they are, and how wrong you are.

          So thats 2 sects/denominations who will cast each other to the depths of molten sulphur via their faith based convictions.

          • Nash, I don’t see why that’s such a problem for you. The arduous disagreement isn’t the important thing, the best arguments for being correct are. The solution is to lay out each set of doctrines, then argue for the truth. I’m surprised someone so concerned with reason and logic gets so hemmed up over this.

  108. paynehollow says:

    What makes the Apocrypha the “wrong” text and not scripture and the 66 books, the “right” text and scripture?

    ~Dan

    • Because it was written a few hundred years after the apostles died, and the teachings contradict the canon. The apocryphal books were only introduced into canon after the protest about indulgences, praying to the dead, veneration (worship) of the dead, etc.

      I thought you were a “serious” student of the Scriptures, Dan.

  109. paynehollow says:

    And who says “the canon,” is the right set of books and the apocrypha ain’t? Is it merely age? If so, then does that give The Epic of Gilgamesh more authority than the NT books?

    These are the central questions you keep dodging, which is fine if that’s what you want to do, but “serious” students of any topic don’t dodge pertinent questions simply because they are hard to answer.

    • Dan,

      You obviously haven’t studied the Bible, seriously OR prayerfully, if you think your questions are reasonable at all. The difference between the canon and the apocrypha is akin to the difference between someone writing about the life of a friend, and another person a few hundred years later writing about that same person. Which of the two would be likely to have the greater insights into the life of that person? Get serious.

      And “The Epic of Gilgamesh” has no relevance to a discussion regarding which books of Scripture are authoritative and which apocryphal books aren’t. Again, try to get serious and please stop embarrassing yourself with lame comparisons. Jeez. You idea of “pertinent” questions is apparently based on the fact that you asked them, not on the actual pertinence of the question. It’s all about you, ain’t it?

  110. paynehollow says:

    Marshall, you’re making claims but you’re not supporting them. Says who? On what basis? On whose authority is your opinion The Right Opinion in God’s Eyes and in the Eyes of all Humanity?

    Last time I’m pointing that out.

    [wipe, wipe, wipe…]

    • Dan, on what basis do you believe Jesus is God? If the bible is so unclear and everything written is just the opinion of the author, and correct interpretation cannot be objectively correct, why do you believe any of it is true?

  111. paynehollow says:

    1. I believe Jesus’ words as found in the Bible ring true.

    2. I have not said that the Bible is unclear.

    3. I believe that Jesus’ words as found in the Bible ring true with reality, as we find it.

    All of which I can believe without saying that I have authoritatively grasped every part of the Bible or that my opinion is authoritative. And certainly without thinking that your opinion is authoritative.

    When Jesus is recorded as teaching his various hard teachings about being peacemakers and overcoming evil with good, even though such a teaching may be hard to swallow for we violence-prone humans who tend to live in fear, I still believe that it rings true. Yes, confronting violence with good can be scary and intimidating, but ultimately, what ELSE would make more sense? An eye for an eye just leave the world blind, as the saying goes.

    When Jesus is recorded as teaching his various hard teachings (at least for we, who are wealthy) on simple living and the dangers of wealth, even though it may be difficult to believe for we who are wealthy, I ultimately find great wisdom in the teaching and see how it is practical and preferable in the real world.

    And so on, with each of his teachings. I believe them because they ring true. That is why.

    Why do you believe it’s true? Because you’ve been told to? Because… the bible… and that’s enough?

  112. paynehollow says:

    Do you never think you ought to answer some questions, too?

    Why do I think Jesus’ words ring true?

    Because of that of God which is in me?
    Because of the Holy Spirit bearing witness?
    Because it seems rational – if sometimes difficult – and elegant in the real world?
    Because any other teachings leads to a more hellish existence, it seems to me, and these teachings lead to a more Grace-full existence?

    How many reasons do you want?

    Why do you believe it’s true? And, more specifically, why do you believe the particular interpretations you hold about the Bible are true?

    ~Dan

    • Is that what you call “hard, cold data” to support your position? Can we be so incredibly subjective and touchy-feely in answering YOUR questions and get away with it? I don’t think so. Try again.

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