Can the Bible be impeached solely because it’s religious?

‘I can understand the frustration of the skeptic when he encounters a Christian defending his convictions by merely citing the Bible with no quantification.  It frustrates me too. Why would the Christian expect the skeptic to grant the Bible the same level of authority as does the Christian?  Regardless of how situationally inappropriate ‘because the Bible says…’ is, the skeptic’s objection that because it’s the Bible, it is therefore disqualified from being a source, is equally misguided.

The problem is that the dismissal lacks justification.  For example, “you only believe homosexuality is sinful because the Bible says so”, or “you only believe in Jesus’ resurrection because it says so in the Bible” are given regularly, but what is left unexplained is why the Bible doesn’t count as a source.  This dismissal is applied to nearly every truth claim made by Christians.

The objection requires too many unsubstantiated assumptions to be true and which must be justified in order to conclude that the Bible is not a reliable source of moral or theological information.  Some examples:

  • God does not exist therefore it cannot be a reliable nor authoritative source.
  • The Bible is written by unreliable and/or biased authors.
  • Because the Bible is a religious text it is disqualified as an authority.
  • The Bible, due to its age, is unreliable.
  • Because the Bible contains supernatural events it is unreliable.

These implicit assumed-to-be-true conclusions must be argued for, not simply presumed.  For some skeptics, these are asserted as though they are undisputed truths.  And in fact they would be good reasons to reject the authority of the Bible if they were substantiated.

I’m not suggesting that the authority of the Bible shouldn’t be argued for.  But if it is going to be automatically impeached only because it is a religious text, the skeptic is going to have to demonstrate why its being a religious text disqualifies it.  Skeptics aren’t free to dismiss out of hand the Bible as a source simply because it is the Bible without any substantiation.

Comments

  1. I think that at least 5 people on this very blog have very well defined/elaborated, beyond simply this dismissal out of hand you speak of, the bible as specifically a proof/evidence, not a truth for the existence of your god.

    I can’t help but notice that when it comes to arguing for the bible in any number of contexts in which the outcome is deemed positive, those doing the arguing are always only christian.

    Is this premise not possibly fraught with confirmation bias?

  2. paynehollow says:

    Repeating back to you, in only slightly changed words, a similar complaint…

    The objection requires too many unsubstantiated assumptions to be true and which must be justified in order to conclude that the Bible AS YOU UNDERSTAND IT IS a reliable source of moral or theological information, AS YOU UNDERSTAND IT. Some examples:

    * God does exist therefore the Bible as I understand it (which is to say, MY understanding is) reliable and trustworthy;
    * The Bible is being interpreted by reliable authors when they agree with ME.
    * Because the Bible is a religious text it is qualified as an authority.
    * The Bible as we have traditionally understood it for many years, is reliable, in the way that we understand it
    * Because the Bible contains supernatural events it is reliable;

    You hold these and many other presumptions that need to be supported before anyone can say “Cause the Bible…” and be taken seriously.

    ~Dan

    • Dan has just mitigated any discusion about the quality of the apologetics by getting the good apologetics out of the way, right up front.

      In essence John, your presuppositions are built more on faith, than anything that could qualify the bible as objective evidence.

      Excellent summary Dan.

      • Nash

        You’re pretty bright. I mean that. But haven’t you ever noticed that dan has more in common with and agrees with more often with the Atheists here than the Christians? What does that tell you.

        • While he does a good job of casually rationalizes away anything he finds distasteful, it tells me that Dan is willing to really question some the passages in the bible.

          But if it is going to be automatically impeached only because it is a religious text, the skeptic is going to have to demonstrate why its being a religious text disqualifies it. Skeptics aren’t free to dismiss out of hand the Bible as a source simply because it is the Bible without any substantiation.

          Time and time again, every skeptic on this blog has pointed to specific passages in the bible and illustrated why that passage is just another unsubstantiated claim. After that, every adherent here has done mental gymnastics to try and justify their faulty reasoning in order to believe that the claim is actually true. It doesn’t prove the claim in the bible is true. It only shows how you have to have faith that the bible is true.

          I don’t dismiss the bible just because it’s a religious text. I dismiss claims made in the bible that are not supported with evidence.

        • Well to be honest, I know lots of evangelicals/fundamentalists, and lots of these lazy liberal/progressive christians. And historically, this war of ideology being waged is quite old. Christianity has been dare I say evolving for about 450 years. It took some help, some forcing, the rule of secular law, and the Age of Reason/Enlightenment but christianity extricated itself from the Dark Ages. A place we find a great many number of muslims mired currently.

          I find that Dan tends to have faith, just not the same quality or brand that you share. And what I have noticed is that when you don’t tow the company line with fundamentalists, well that’s problematic. Coupled with a dynamic shift in the demographics of far right christianity in the States, and I think it’s ripe for culture war provocations, “your’e either with us, or against us”, is what I hear a lot.

          What does it tell me? It seems to indicate that Dan, and his clan are philosophically more aligned with, “live, and let live”, than the deafening decibles from the “we’re right, and your’e wrong”, clan.

          And I can’t help but agree with the use of reason in Dan’s previous post. He raises legitimate questions regarding the age old questions that we all have been twaddling on about for a few years here.

  3. Hey John et al,
    I’ve been meaning to chime in on this post but have been consumed with work and could not articulate what I wanted to say(for once..LOL). However, I happened to stumble upon another blogger who reviewed a book about this very same debate. Or was it a coincidence? ;)

    I quote:
    “Enns says he saw two doors of possibility: Door #1 was pushing the questions aside in favor of blind acceptance, and Door #2 was boning up on conservative defenses of the Bible against all opposition. Both are live options, and most Christians know people who have walked through one or the other. But Enns also saw a Door #3: “I could face what I just saw, accept the challenge, and start thinking differently about the Bible.”

    John, I know your post address Door # 1 as insufficient and I agree. But I’m not sure if you are fully Door # 3. I have been a Door # 3 Christian my whole life. Like the book reviewer, a door # 3 stance is rare . And what is most discouraging is that there aren’t many believers or even non-believers that will address such a mindset.

    The reviewer concludes with:
    “The Bible Tells Me So is not a defense of scripture, and neither is it a takedown. It’s an invitation to let go of fear and give the Bible an honest reading. It’s about what it’s like to take Door #3, and a promise that if you walk through it, you won’t find yourself “.

    I agree with the reviewer’s conclusion. The Bible is more preserved than the writings of Aristotle. The problem is proof of the Bible as Truth is an intrinsic awareness experience. As Christians we cannot give any kind of sound argument to prove that it is a library orchestrated by God for the love of His creation but we can discuss it’s historical preservation and dating of the oldest manuscripts .Which is what any scientist would use to support the origin of a writing. We can also discuss that there is equal evidence that you cannot disprove the authenticity of the Bible anymore than we can prove. And then the only thing left to say is that, one day for those who don’t believe, if you ever want to open up to believe, you won’t be disappointed.

    Anyone interested can find the article at FaithStreet.com
    Title: The best book for Bible Doubters by Patton Dodd

  4. The Book is called The Bible Tells Me So: Why Defending Scripture Has Made Us Unable to Read It by Peter Enns

  5. paynehollow says:

    John…

    But haven’t you ever noticed that dan has more in common with and agrees with more often with the Atheists here than the Christians? What does that tell you.

    ? It tells me that, on some points, I agree with atheists. On other points I agree with Christians.

    You and yours keep bringing this up as if it is an indictment of some sort. What does it tell you, John? What is the implication?

    That if someone disagrees with modern conservative evangelicals on some points that they consider dear… what? That they are secretly atheists? That they are making things up?

    OR, is it not the reasonable conclusion that, well, they just agree with atheists on that particular point? And if so, what’s the big deal?

    I will always tend to side with good reasoning and be wary of bad reasoning. What’s the problem?

    Any chance you’ll answer your own question?

    ~Dan

    • The question, Dan, is your understanding of the concept of “good reasoning”. We clearly don’t see it in any argument you put forth, such as they are, and are constantly disappointed in our attempts to get a legitimate explanation that actually makes sense. We get your default “But I SAY it’s my opinion” as if we weren’t clearly aware of it already.

      Our charges against you result from conclusions based on your own words over the many years we’ve suffered through discourse with you. They are not attacks, but as I said, conclusions that are shared by so many people now. Even small children don’t buy into your nonsense, as you’ve stated yourself recently. You can’t even relate what our positions are with any level of accuracy, as evidenced with this wacky list of crapola:

      * God does exist therefore the Bible as I understand it (which is to say, MY understanding is) reliable and trustworthy;
      * The Bible is being interpreted by reliable authors when they agree with ME.
      * Because the Bible is a religious text it is qualified as an authority.
      * The Bible as we have traditionally understood it for many years, is reliable, in the way that we understand it
      * Because the Bible contains supernatural events it is reliable;

      None of it reflects any argument put forth by anyone who has opposed your heresies. None of it reflects any argument put forth in defending our conviction in Scripture to the desperate atheist visitors.

      Finally, our view that you too often resemble those atheists is also a conclusion drawn from your own words. The comparison is apt. Lip service to general Christian orthodoxy does not impress or convince to any extent that mitigates the conclusions drawn from your own words. That’s on you.

    • Dan, the only thing I’ve ever seen you disagree with atheists about is that God exists. On every other topic and criticism of God, Jesus, the bible, and Christianity, you side with them.

      • paynehollow says:

        Since it’s been quiet a few days here, I’d thought I’d respond to this:

        I agree with anyone who thinks that Good behavior is Good. They may be atheist, they may be theist, won’t matter, I’ll agree with them.

        I will disagree with anyone who insists that we must accept their personal and unprovable and unproven opinions as “facts…” Doesn’t matter if they are theists or atheist or otherwise, I will always disagree with anyone who says, “Here, I have an opinion. I can’t prove it is fact, but I ‘know’ it’s a fact and so it IS a fact…”

        I will disagree with anyone who insists a text must be taken as literal, linear history, told in the modern style of history telling if they have no data to support the claim. The Mormons MIGHT be right that John Smith was guided by “the angel Moroni” (no matter how silly that sounds) to find a magic buried box containing a gold paged book… BUT, I will NOT agree with them that it must be taken as fact. It’s an unproven, unsupported opinion that there is no data to support, so I have to disagree with them if they insist that it’s a fact. Just as you do. AND, I will disagree with you if you insist – absent any support or hard data – that Genesis must be taken as literal, factual history. No, it must not.

        I will agree with anyone – atheist or theist – who notes the inherent irrationality of a god that is supposedly perfectly loving and perfectly just and yet, is willing and prepared to angrily cast a 20 year old into an eternity of suffering due to, say, 2,000 relatively minor sins. It is an irrational, innately inconsistent set of claims.

        The point is: I will agree with anyone on points where I think they are correct. Theist, non-theist, it doesn’t matter. AS will you. So, I don’t get the complaint. Seems irrational and rather pointless, but there you go…

        ~Dan

  6. paynehollow says:

    And I came here, commenting on the topic, as did the other non-theists, and instead of addressing our on topic points, you chose to try to vaguely imply something about one of the commenters. Why?

    ~Dan

    • And I came here, commenting on the topic, as did the other non-theists…

      Heh.

      I know, I know. We would be told that it is uncharitable to doubt that it was completely inadvertent.

      Still. Heh.

  7. paynehollow says:

    What of it, John? What are you trying to say? Come out and make your point, don’t dilly dally around.

    I disagree with you on points where I think you’re mistaken and you disagree with me. What of it?

    Will you ever answer your own questions you pose to others?

    ~Dan

  8. paynehollow says:

    And what does my agreement or disagreement with atheists have to do with this post or the comments made thereon?

  9. paynehollow says:

    Back on topic, where you said…

    ’s objection that because it’s the Bible, it is therefore disqualified from being a source, is equally misguided.

    …I would just note that I’ve never met a skeptic who said this. I’m sure they exist, I’ve just never met one. To the degree that anyone would offer that, it is certainly not a valid complaint.

    What I have heard is, “because there is no hard data to support the claims of the miraculous in its pages, we have no reason to take these stories as literal history or science told in a modern style…” which is fair. And I have heard “because the stories, IF literally accurate, would describe a monstrous, unjust god…” which is also fair and also an argument that many Christians would make against trying to take all the stories as literally accurate history.

    But certainly, anyone who would dismiss the teachings and stories out of hand as completely worthless simply because it is a “religious” text, that would be an intellectually immature approach to take, it seems to me.

    ~Dan

    • Dan,

      Every atheist here has said over and over that the bible is not a source for anything because its the bible. Pay attention when your brothers speak.

      • paynehollow says:

        Yes, you should pay attention. How much you want to bet that “every atheist here” who comments will clarify that you have misunderstood their position? That they don’t dismiss it “because it’s the Bible,” but because of the lack of evidence supporting literal stories and the irrationality of the text, taken literally?

        Will you apologize for misspeaking when you’re corrected, or just weasel away into a hole and hope no one notices you made a false/mistaken claim, as is your norm?

        ~Dan

  10. Dan, I do wonder what your original comment had to do with John’s original post, beyond your using it as a pretext for accusing theological conservatives of having far too many assumptions underlying their conclusions that, for example, the Bible actually teaches the existence of God and the historicity of Jesus.

    Myself, I don’t think agreement with atheists is necessarily problematic, ditto disagreement with the theological conservatives, but the details matter: WHAT is being argued, and WHY you take a particular position may speak volumes about a self-described Christian.

    Christianity is a faith whose central doctrines are not limited to theological or ethical claims — “God exists” and “it’s good to love people.” No, it’s central doctrines include historical claims and, in particular, historical claims of the miraculous.

    If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.” – I Cor 15:14-17

    The first Christian sermon claimed the Resurrection, and the Apostles and other early martyrs were murdered, not for claiming that God exists and wants us to be nice to each other, but for claiming that Jesus is Lord who God raised from the dead.

    (Of course, of course, my conclusion assumes that Paul’s letters have an objective meaning that can actually be known, and that Paul means something resembling what he actually wrote — namely, that if Christ wasn’t raised, the Apostles’ preaching is in vain and misrepresenting God, and Christians’ faith is in vain and we are still in our sins. No matter how unproven or preposterous those assumptions are, you should at least be able to understand our view, given those assumptions.)

    Christianity’s central doctrines include the claim of actual miracles in history.

    Suppose — to pick an example not entirely at random — a self-professed Christian claimed to share the atheists’ disbelief in the Old Testament claims of the miraculous, and his doing so indicated an a priori bias against the miraculous. Why, Moses didn’t part the sea, because “it just couldn’t have happened.” That WOULD call into question the individual’s belief in the key miracles of the New Testament — either that, or his ability to think things through and exhibit some consistency in his beliefs.

    After all, if the guy doesn’t think Moses could have parted the sea, why would he think that Jesus could have walked on water?

    And suppose this Christian exhibited a contempt toward those who believe in the miraculous, a contempt he DOES NOT show toward atheists: those who believe in the Bible’s clear teaching and the subsequent historicity of the Virgin Birth, and those who believe in the bodily Resurrection, he derides as believing in a “magical Jesus.” That WOULD call into question his own commitment to the Resurrection.

    But you surely know all this, Dan, and arguing about the general case of agreeing with atheists doesn’t address the concerns that Christians can AND SHOULD have regarding some specific instances of your agreeing with atheists: WHAT you actually write, WHY you probably write it, and what it all says about the likelihood that you really do affirm the essential claims of orthodoxy, the clear teachings of the Bible, and the indispensable parts of the Christian message.

    • So may I now ask of you Bubba, why you side “against” the majority of the Framers at the Constitutional Convention, the Copts, the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Jehovas, LDS, etc?

      Is it it this impossible for you to even consider that your individual take, and the take of the “theological” conservatives (just another subjective term), is just “ONE” way to “interpret” the bible, hence you have ended up with so many more thousands of sects than the other Abrahamic presentations of christianity?

      This is one of more relevant reasons why I would classify the bible as not having the weight afforded it as evidence/proof of anything but itself.

    • paynehollow says:

      I just noticed this, from Bubba…

      The first Christian sermon claimed the Resurrection, and the Apostles and other early martyrs were murdered, not for claiming that God exists and wants us to be nice to each other, but for claiming that Jesus is Lord who God raised from the dead.

      I guess you are not counting all of Jesus’ sermons and teachings in with “the first Christian sermon…”? Is that telling?

      I think that for many modern evangelicals the issue is not that they are Christ-ians, but that they are Paulinists, first and foremost… maybe OT-ians secondly and Jesus’ actual teachings are more of a nice afterthought, but mostly to be ignored.

      For orthodox traditional Christianity – at least in the Baptist and anabaptist and other, perhaps more radical (ie, “rootsy”) traditions – we interpret the whole of Scriptures through Jesus’ specific teachings and not the other way around.

      But perhaps you’ll want to clarify.

      While I’m on this, Bubba said…

      Christianity’s central doctrines include the claim of actual miracles in history.

      Source?

      Seeing as how I agree with the resurrection’s literal historicity (coming at the time of modern history-telling’s beginning and with many witnesses), I will certainly allow that this unique miracle is part of Christianity’s “central doctrines…” but others?

      I guess many evangelicals count the “virgin birth” as a “central doctrine,” but they do so outside of biblical teaching (ie, the NT makes no great claims about the importance of Mary being a virgin, as it relates to the central teachings of Jesus). No, I don’t think – outside of Jesus’ resurrection – you can rationally make a strong claim about actual historic miracles being central doctrines.

      Bubba…

      Suppose — to pick an example not entirely at random — a self-professed Christian claimed to share the atheists’ disbelief in the Old Testament claims of the miraculous, and his doing so indicated an a priori bias against the miraculous.

      Again, all of the OT was written in an era before English and before modern history, so we have no rational reason to think that the OT text SHOULD be written in English or in a modern style.

      And, as miracles are not the norm and are not supported with data, there is no rational reason to just give a pass to any text that contains miracles, to blindly assume, “well, it was written down, so it must be true.” Indeed, you do not do this for other texts that contain miracles. You no doubt dismiss a priori John Smith’s golden tablet angel stories, am I correct? You have no reason to blindly grant legitimacy to his and other miracle stories simply because they are in print.

      There is no problem with an a priori bias against miracles, rationally speaking. Up until there is some sufficient data to make one question the bias against miracles. And I think we have that in Jesus’ resurrection.

      ~Dan

  11. paynehollow says:

    ?

  12. I guess you are not counting all of Jesus’ sermons and teachings in with “the first Christian sermon…”? Is that telling?

    I dunno, Dan. You wrote that you came here commenting on-topic “as did the other non-theists.” Is that telling? Should I not assume that the adjective was written erroneously?

    In our discussion a couple months back, I pointed out how you omitted any explicit reference to God in your comment to the atheist Arkenaten, about “actual gist of what the Bible actually teaches.” You balked at the question.

    Do you feel a need to criticize any comment/belief that comes from a perceived liberal, just because he is a liberal?

    “One of the great graces of leaving the more fundamentalist brand of Christianity in favor of a more progressive one is the release from the nitpickiness of the fundamentalists. They just seem so bitterly divisive over so much that I just feel I’m swimming in a river of God’s sweet grace these days. Glory Hallelujah.

    Funny how you don’t seem willing to show the sweet grace that you demand from others: you have no problem exhibiting “the nitpickiness of the fundamentalists” while denouncing it in others.

    But to explain my comment, Jesus is the Christ and the founder of Christianity, but Jesus is not Himself a Christian.

    You yourself define a Christ-ian as a Christ follower, but Jesus wasn’t His own student, protege, or disciple. He quite explicitly claimed to follow His Father’s will rather than His own (John 6:38).

    Even aside from that, the term is frankly anachronistic, being coined in the Apostolic era, after the Ascension and Pentacost (Acts 11:26). Applying the term to Christ is sorta like calling Abraham an Israelite, even though he’s the grandfather of Jacob/Israel.

    Jesus’ sermons can be accurately described as Christ’s sermons or as dominical sermons, but I think it’s slightly inaccurate to describe them as Christians sermons. They are certainly sermons FOR Christians, but not FROM a Christian.

    If — as many Christians would date things — the Christian church began with the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentacost, then the first Christian sermon was Peter’s sermon on Pentacost.

    My point remains, that the importance and centrality of the historical and miraculous Resurrection is no recent innovation of medieval scholars, the Reformers, or present-day fundamentalists.

    Again, “Christianity’s central doctrines include the claim of actual miracles in history,” and so it *IS* disconcerting to see a self-described Christian agreeing with atheists in their a priori presumption against miracles and in their contempt toward those who believe in miracles as believing in a “magical” Jesus.

    There is no problem with an a priori bias against miracles, rationally speaking. Up until there is some sufficient data to make one question the bias against miracles. And I think we have that in Jesus’ resurrection.

    How convenient, as the contrary position would make unmistakable a person’s rejection of Christianity.

    I don’t remember your ever producing “hard data” to show that Jesus rose from the dead, and I can’t imagine that you would accept the claim on anything less than “hard data.”

    After all, by your standards, the Resurrection just couldn’t have happened. A man could NOT have survived being scourged, crucified by having nails driven through his hands and feet, and impaled evidently through the heart and a lung — and he couldn’t could NOT have enjoyed a pleasant seven-mile hike about 48 hours later.

    Anyone who believes that this could have happened is as ignorant of basic medicine, as a man who believes in a global flood is ignorant of basic geology.

  13. Dan:

    I will disagree with anyone who insists that we must accept their personal and unprovable and unproven opinions as ‘facts…’ Doesn’t matter if they are theists or atheist or otherwise, I will always disagree with anyone who says, ‘Here, I have an opinion. I can’t prove it is fact, but I ‘know’ it’s a fact and so it IS a fact…’

    There are a few reasons to conclude that you do not hold yourself to this standard.

    1) Your position is that a claim is not a knowable fact unless it is also demonstrable, provable, or proven; you assert that this position is a fact of reality; but you have never even attempted to prove your position, to show that it meets its own standard.

    2) Recently, you made a claim about what “many” theologically liberal Christian scholars believe, and when Craig asked for you to prove that claim, you refused. You stood by the claim as an actual fact, and you called Craig a prick and a liar and all sorts of things that suggest that your way isn’t more marked by grace than that of the fundamentalists.

    3) Even in this comment, you write about “the inherent irrationality of a god that is supposedly perfectly loving and perfectly just and yet, is willing and prepared to angrily cast a 20 year old into an eternity of suffering due to, say, 2,000 relatively minor sins. It is an irrational, innately inconsistent set of claims.”

    You’re so obviously self-assured in your denunciation of what is arguably an unfair strawman formulation of the doctrine of eternal damnation, that you treat your position as a fact, but you neither prove that it’s factual nor point to where you’ve already done so.

    You seem to insinuate that no such proof is necessary, the irrationality of the doctrine being inherent, innate, and presumably self-evident.

    It’s a good thing, then, that you don’t claim to follow a fairly zealous religious teacher who repeatedly warned about Hell. (In the story of the rich man and Lazarus, did Abraham console the rich man by telling him that his torment would end soon, or even that it would end at all? Was his torment presented as anything other than his final condition?)

    If you did claim to follow such a teacher, your inconsistent standards would be only the beginning of your hypocrisy.

  14. There is another way to look at the issue of sweeping aside the Bible as a source of accurate information. Would you consider the Norse stories and Epics as sources of accurate information? What about the Hindu epics? Didn’t Coyote create the world by running over the top of the waters and where his footprints were islands formed and grew and joined into lands? Spider Woman wove the Southwest, everybody knows that! So what’s this Bible thing against all these other stories? That is the ultimate question. It is not a matter of accepting the Bible which is just a collection of vaguely temporally linear stories as “real” or “proof” of anything. The only thing it is proof of is humans making up stories to justify their actions and cultural ways and to explain all those things that worry them. The Bible talks about places and peoples that are real and documentable, but so do a lot of perfectly fictional novels. Read John Steinbeck’s books about Monterey California. Monterey really exists, does that make the rest of his stories accurate portrayals of reality? No. The Bible talks about Jerusalem. It’s a real city. That doesn’t mean the events in the Bible really happened, only that the setting is based on a real place.

    Once you realize that your belief in the reality of the tales told in the Bible is simply your own opinion, then you will understand why the rest of us don’t take the story collection known as the Bible seriously.

  15. paynehollow says:

    The question always remains: The evangelicals/inerrantists absolutely do not take these other ancient stories literally: Given that even they do not take these other texts literally (indeed, they would object to taking them literally, I imagine) on what consistent, rational bases ought we take the OT stories literally?

    Often asked, never answered.

    ~Dan

    • Dan, I don’t believe you have ever a consistent and rational basis for your affirming the bodily resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, an event that “just couldn’t happen” according the most rudimentary understanding of medicine and biology.

      After all, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are all ancient texts as defined by most historians, who (Wikipedia notes) mark the end of ancient history with the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 AD, the closure of the Platonic Academy in 529 AD, the death of the emperor Justinian I in 565 AD, the coming of Islam or the rise of Charlemagne.

      Early dating for the book of Daniel puts it around 539 BC, and the six-century gap between that book and, say, the gospel of Mark is half the size of the gap between Daniel and the oldest surviving version of Gilgamesh, from 1800 BC, so it’s not clear why you place Daniel with Gilgamesh and not with Mark.

      The naturalistic and even mundane but detailed account of the book of Ruth is much less fantastic than the explicitly carefully researched gospel of Luke, with its angelic host, satanic temptation, transfiguration and conversation with long-dead Moses and Elijah, and the Resurrection, so it’s not at all clear why the former’s earlier date is enough to dismiss it as ahistorical.

      You can appeal to the transition to modern historical accounts, but you would have to explain how scholars are actually aware of a transition for which they can provide no “hard data” — and since you believe that a text’s meaning cannot be known with certainty, it’s not clear why you could possibly think a text’s genre can be known, since the genre is a component of its meaning.

    • That is to say, in my first line, I don’t think you have ever “provided” a clear and consistent rational for your claim of discontinuity between the OT and the NT — and, while I’m writing, it’s worth adding that Luke’s gospel, the account with the most explicit claim of careful research, includes a detailed recounting of the Transfiguration.

      Presumably your view would lead you to conclude that Jesus really did talk to Moses and Elijah, but that the OT accounts of their mighty and miraculous deeds aren’t trustworthy as history: for some inexplicable reason, Jesus just talked to some long-dead dudes who didn’t actually do much as His Father’s prophets, and only Jesus’ miracles are trustworthy as history, despite their not being categorically different than the miracles attributed to Moses and Elijah.

      But I could only presume that’s your take, as you’ve never explained what you make of Luke 9.

  16. paynehollow says:

    Bubba…

    to explain my comment, Jesus is the Christ and the founder of Christianity, but Jesus is not Himself a Christian.

    If Christ IS “the Christ,” then his teachings are Christ-ian, first and foremost of all teachings.

    But mostly I was just jazzing you a bit, as well as raising the concern that I have about many modern evangelicals sounding like they want to interpret Jesus’ teachings through Paul’s lens and/or the lens of the OT, rather than the other way around.

    Bubba…

    You’re so obviously self-assured in your denunciation of what is arguably an unfair strawman formulation of the doctrine of eternal damnation, that you treat your position as a fact, but you neither prove that it’s factual nor point to where you’ve already done so.

    As I have noted repeatedly, I hold my opinions because I believe them to be rational, moral and well-founded. I am, as a rule, pretty confident in many of my opinions, that they are quite moral and rational and biblical, to boot. BUT – and this is the distinction – I do not and never have held that my unprovable opinions are facts nor have I equated them as being equal to God’s Word… You all want to do both, it seems to me.

    Now, I know you will downplay the latter, saying crap like, “My opinion is not equal to God’s Word, I’m just saying that the way I interpret Scripture is the only rational way to do it and all others are liars or fools…” which is a difference without a distinction with saying, “Yea, my unproven and unprovable opinion does equal God’s Word and is a fact, to boot…”

    That I am confident about my opinions is not to say that I equate them with facts (except the ones that are facts, and not my opinions), nor do I equate them with God’s Word. Never have and always have been quite clear about the distinction. I welcome you to join me and aver clearly that your opinions and interpretations are not facts nor are they God’s Word.

    But you will decline, no doubt.

    And that is the difference between me and thee.

    ~Dan

    • “I welcome you to join me and aver clearly that your opinions and interpretations are not facts nor are they God’s Word.”

      You’re fixated on that claim — that, because you believe a text’s meaning cannot be known objectively and with certainty, an interpretation of a text can only EVER be an opinion and NEVER a fact.

      That claim of yours, do you believe it’s a fact or just an opinion?

      If you believe it’s a fact, I demand that you prove that it’s a fact. Prove that the meaning of a text cannot be known with certainty.

      You continue to insist, “I do not and never have held that my unprovable opinions are facts,” and you insist that facts must be provable or demonstrable, so surely you must be able to prove this claim if you think it rises to the level of a fact.

      Or if you believe that it’s merely an opinion, I cannot fathom why you object so strenuously to people who dare disagree with your opinion.

      Do you feign to humbly hold that your position is only an opinion while arrogantly insisting that others must agree with you? If you do, the difference between thee and me is insubstantial.

      • I’m rather bored with the entire notion of Dan’s “opinion” defense. It does not matter what his opinion is, he doesn’t have to defend it’s “rational, moral, well-founded and Biblical” nature with anything approaching evidence, proof or for lack of else, actual Scripture. No. “I say it’s my opinion. I don’t equate it with the word of God.” Yeah. I get that. You’ve said it ad nausem (heavy on the “nauseum”). We never get the “why” it is your opinion.

        Sure. Here it comes. The claim that you’ve argued your opinion over and over again over the years. Yet, no one can remember any such evidence rendered that supports holding a given opinion of yours. That is to say, you can’t get to the end of any inquiry without disappearing from the conversation when a point stands in need of resolution. Then it begins again in the next conversation.

  17. paynehollow says:

    Here it is again, on the Genesis-as-literal-history question:

    1. There is zero evidence that Genesis is literal history.

    2. There is much evidence that it simply can’t be literal history, from a scientific point of view.

    3. There is zero reason WITHIN the Bible to insist that Genesis represents literal history. The Bible does not tell us we must treat it as literal history, it simply doesn’t.

    4. The Age of Modern History telling began from 500 BC – 500 AD. Prior to that, people simply did not tell stories in English or the Modern History style, so we have no more reason to think that they DID tell stories in a style not common to the day than we do to think that they told stories in English.

    Disagree with that? Fine, produce ONE reliably documented source of a modern history story from prior to 500 BC. You can’t. It doesn’t exist.

    5. Genesis, at least in parts, reads like a myth… “And THAT is how the Zebra got its stripes…” “and THAT is how languages came to be…” “and THAT is why the sun rises every day…” “And THAT is why the rainbow appears in the sky…” “And THAT is why the snake crawls on its belly…”

    The stories are told in a beautiful, wonderful, lovely mythic tradition, by all appearances. And there is nothing wrong with that. Unless you try to treat it like science or history.

    Now, you may disagree with any of these and that’s fine. But you simply can not say that I don’t have legitimate reasons to think that these stories appear to be figurative, not literal, in nature, nor that I have failed to pass on why I think this.

    And THAT is the end of the conversation unless you can provide data that refutes any of these reasonable positions. But you never have. Irony, eh?

    Bubba…

    I don’t think you have ever “provided” a clear and consistent rational for your claim of discontinuity between the OT and the NT

    I have, indeed, and just did again. See above. Era of Modern History, beginning, ranging from 500 BC – 500 AD and beginning with Herodotus and Thucydides.

    “Herodotus may have been the first Western historian, but Thucydides was the first modern one. He explained the causes of events, analyzed political developments like revolutions, and evaluated leaders such as Pericles. In addition, like historians today, he was rigorous in searching for the truth and discarding information that he could not verify.”

    http://www.crf-usa.org/bill-of-rights-in-action/bria-24-3-a-herodotus-and-thucydides-inventing-history

    The OT was written in a different era and thus, in different styles – according to historians – than the era in which the NT was written. Luke is a good example of the approach of the more modern history tellers (“It seemed good to me also to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus”).

    It’s all about rational approaches to genres of writing and literary criticism. People simply did not write in English PRIOR TO the invention of English, nor is there any evidence that they told history in the modern style prior to the “invention” of modern history telling. The suggestion is a modern bias/hubris that “Surely, they would have told histories the way WE tell histories…” There is simply no data to support that chauvinistic claim.

    ~Dan

  18. Dan, two points you make would need to be addressed at (even greater) length, possibly in another venue in the next few days, but I want to sketch out a response here.

    You write, “If Christ IS ‘the Christ,’ then his teachings are Christ-ian, first and foremost of all teachings,” but — again — earlier you seemed to define “Christ-ian” as following Christ and not as from Christ.

    One could say that Buddha was the first Buddhist, Marx the first Marxist, etc., but in at least one VERY important respect, Christ was not merely the first Christian. Christians are to obey Christ’s commands, emulate His example, and exhibit His character, but that’s not all: Christians are to trust the salvation Christ purchased on the cross, and in fact we cannot truly obey Christ as Lord until we first trust Christ as Savior.

    Christ Himself taught that His blood was shed for the forgiveness of sins and that, subsequently, “repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations” (Mt 26:28, Lk 24:47). But Christ had no sins of His own to be forgiven; John the Baptist recognized this, which is why he balked at baptizing Him.

    Christ is the firstborn (Rom 8:29, Col 1:18), but we should never imply that He is only the firstborn. He’s not the first in line to cast down a golden crown at the throne of God: He rules on that throne. He’s not one of the saints whose robes have been made clean, He is the Lamb of God whose blood cleansed their robes.

    Even in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus Christ doesn’t suggest that He’s standing before the judge and we should stand behind Him. He teaches that He’s the judge, sentencing all of us on the basis of whether He knows us.

    And, you write, “we interpret the whole of Scriptures through Jesus’ specific teachings and not the other way around,” and I believe that the interpretative lens of orthodoxy is CHRIST HIMSELF — and subsequently His identity and saving work, and not just His teachings — but I have no problem saying that Jesus’ teachings should drive our understanding of “the whole of Scripture.”

    Jesus repeatedly appealed to Jewish Scripture as the final word, in His temptations, in His controversies with the religious leaders of the day, and in His own understanding of His earthly mission.

    Jesus affirmed the lasting authority of Scripture, to the smallest penstroke (Mt 5:18), and it’s easy to see why He did. Jesus claimed to be God — “before Abraham was, I am,” Jn 8:58 — and He equated Moses’ words with God’s command (Mk 7:9-10).

    Jesus then commissioned the Apostles to preach in His name — notice the Greek word for “send” that the risen Jesus used, as Paul recounted in Acts 22:21, exapostello — and He promised them the Holy Spirit who would both remind them of what He already taught and complete their education by teaching them what they weren’t yet ready to hear (Jn 14:26, 16:12-13).

    So, from Jesus’ own teachings, we can see three phases of divine revelation.

    1) The pre-incarnate Christ — God Himself — communicated through Moses and the other Old Testament prophets. Notice that much of these teachings anticipate His coming as the seed of Eve, the seed of Abraham, the prophet like Moses, the priest like Melchizedek, the kingly son of David, Isaiah’s suffering servant, Daniel’s son of man, the good shepherd and the true vine, the tabernacle dwelling among us, the high priest, and the Passover lamb.

    2) The incarnate Christ taught during His earthly ministry, but notice that He didn’t pen His own books. Rather, the risen Christ dictated seven short letters to John, to give to the churches in Asia, but otherwise He left writing to others: the Apostles and their closest companions documented His teachings, primarily in the gospels but also in the occasional quote in their epistles. Notice, too, that Jesus never said that He came primarily to teach: instead, He taught that He came to save, to give His life as a ransom for many, to seek and to save the lost, and to shed His blood for the forgiveness of sins. He didn’t teach that He only knew the way, He taught that He personally IS the Way.

    (At the risk of being glib with the term, notice how the divine “advance publicity team” announced Jesus’ arrival — the emphasis was consistently on the coming Savior, not a coming teacher. In Matthew 1:21, the angel told Joseph, “you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” In Luke 2:11, the angel announced to the shepherds the birth of “a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” And in John 1:29, the Baptizer and Forerunner announced Jesus by saying, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”)

    3) The Spirit of Christ, sent in His name, both reminded the Apostles of His earthly teachings and told them the “many things” He had to say to them, that they were not yet ready to bear. Just as the Prophets pointed to Christ, their Apostles both explained what Christ had accomplished in His first coming and proclaimed His second coming.

    In all three phases, Jesus spoke.

    And in all three phases, Jesus spoke through men who recorded what He revealed — through the Prophets and the Evangelists and the Apostles.

    And we know this FROM JESUS’ OWN TEACHINGS DURING HIS EARTHLY MINISTRY.

    For this reason, I strongly believe that Christians should consider the writings of the prophets and the apostles to be just as trustworthy AND just as important as the words that Jesus spoke directly.

    It ultimately doesn’t matter whether a passage in the Bible is in red letters or black letters, Dan.

    ALL the words are from Jesus.

  19. Dan, about Genesis, you write:

    2. There is much evidence that it simply can’t be literal history, from a scientific point of view.

    Science must assume that the the universe is a closed and consistent system — the assumption is absolutely necessary to draw general conclusions from particular observations — and it cannot say anything about whether the assumption is true. If it isn’t true and the universe’s physical laws can be overridden by literally transcendent miracles, then science would lead to the wrong conclusions in the event of an actual miracle.

    More than that, there is “much evidence” that the Resurrection simply can’t be literal history from a scientific point of view. Basic biology and basic medicine tells us it is utterly impossible for a man to survive being scourged, crucified with nails driven through hands and feet, and then impaled evidently through the heart and a lung — to say nothing of the man taking a pleasant seven-mile hike about 48 hours later.

    AND YET YOU AFFIRM THE RESURRECTION AS HISTORICAL.

    That you do so is why I say I’ve seen from you ” a consistent and rational basis” for your denying the historicity of the OT miracles while affirming the historicity of the Resurrection.

    You write:

    4. The Age of Modern History telling began from 500 BC – 500 AD. Prior to that, people simply did not tell stories in English or the Modern History style, so we have no more reason to think that they DID tell stories in a style not common to the day than we do to think that they told stories in English.

    You should be a little more explicit in your position: it’s not just that they wrote in a different style, but that the style in which they wrote played fast and loose with the facts.

    You do not say whether you believe this claim is merely your opinion or an actual fact. If it’s the former, I don’t know why you would insist that we agree with you. If it’s the latter, then — by your own standards and definitions — you are obligated to prove the claim.

    You say that, if I disagree, I should “produce ONE reliably documented source of a modern history story from prior to 500 BC.”

    The book of Ruth would seem to fit the bill in its naturalistic, mundane, but still detailed narrative — it looks much more like a modern biography than an ancient epic like Gilgamesh or the Odyssey — but I do not have the burden of proof here. YOU DO, Dan. You have the burden of proving that your position is correct.

    And since you claim that a text’s meaning cannot be known with any certainty, I don’t see how you could possibly prove your claims about a text’s genre or style of writing. If we cannot draw any certain conclusions about the writer’s intent, I don’t see how we can possibly draw any certain conclusions about their assumptions regarding the importance of factual accuracy.

    You write, “Luke is a good example of the approach of the more modern history tellers (‘It seemed good to me also to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus’).”

    I can actually agree with that, but, then, I don’t believe that a claim must be provable or demonstrable in order to be knowable.

    But I’ve already mentioned Luke yesterday.

    Quote:

    “The naturalistic and even mundane but detailed account of the book of Ruth is much less fantastic than the explicitly carefully researched gospel of Luke, with its angelic host, satanic temptation, transfiguration and conversation with long-dead Moses and Elijah, and the Resurrection, so it’s not at all clear why the former’s earlier date is enough to dismiss it as ahistorical.”

    After honing in on the Transfiguration and noting that Luke includes a detailed account, I
    wrote that you’ve never explained what you make of Luke 9.

    Do you believe that Jesus really talked to Moses and Elijah? What would be the big deal in talking to these particular men, long since dead, if they did not do what Scripture attributes to them, and if God did not speak what THEY attributed to HIM?

    If Moses and Elijah are historical figures of history whose words do not reflect God’s revelation and whose acts do not include God’s mighty miracles, I don’t know why God’s Son would waste the time and muddy the waters by talking to them.

    • …rather, above, that you affirm the Resurrection is why I HAVEN’T seen a clear and consistent basis for why you differentiate between the claims of the miraculous found in the OT and those found in the NT.

      (Really wish there was a preview function for comments…)

  20. paynehollow says:

    ? What does any of that have to do with the topic or anything that I have said on the topic?

    I answered your question: Why would we not take the OT as literal history? with a rational, reasoned response. Given that it was passed on prior to the era of modern history telling, given that YOU would not accept other contemporary literature as literal history, on what basis would you insist that we must do so with the OT?

    For my part, I DO count the words of the prophets and the apostles as trustworthy. I just don’t count your particular interpretation of their teachings as trustworthy.

    As always, it is not about God or the Bible, but about Bubba’s opinion. I trust God, not Bubba or his opinions. I don’t conflate the two.

    ~Dan

  21. No, you didn’t answer my question, Dan. I didn’t ask why we shouldn’t take the OT as literal history: I asked why you do so while still affirming the historicity of the NT.

    You say that you do count the prophets and apostles’ teachings as trustworthy, which is a laugh in light of your belief that the former attributed to God the command to commit literal atrocities and the latter’s teachings doubtlessly included evidence of prejudice. But if you believe all Scripture is equally trustworthy, you should drop the repeated insinuation that inerrantists are “Paulinists, first and foremost… maybe OT-ians secondly and Jesus’ actual teachings are more of a nice afterthought, but mostly to be ignored.”

    It’s absurd to smear others for holding a position to which you say you agree.

    And, on the subject of smears, I’m tired of the insinuation that I’m confusing myself for God.

    I’ll say it again, because I believe a communication’s meaning can be known with certainty, I believe it’s entirely possible to recognize with certainty at least some of God’s revelation of man, and to do so without being presumptuous.

  22. …and, Dan, about what’s on-topic, since you don’t refrain from asides where you insinuate that I don’t esteem Jesus’ teachings highly enough, you have no business saying that I going off-topic when I respond to your attack.

    For the record, I can think of quite a few teachings of Jesus that don’t seem to rate very highly in your worldview, about why He came and what His death accomplished, about the authority of Scripture and His mission of fulfilling it rather than abolishing it, about why God made us male and female, and even about the moral impermissibility of divorce in most circumstances — the latter showing how selective you are in emphasizing even Christ’s commands, choosing instead to repackage breaking one’s oath before God as a kind of repentance, at least when a person realizes he no longer find his wife attractive.

    At your blog, you recently wrote about Jesus’ teaching of the rich man and Lazarus, and I notice you drew no conclusions whatsoever about Abraham’s allusion to Scripture.

    “”They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.”

    “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.”

    Abraham didn’t say that they had God’s revelation in general, or His revelation in creation or “God’s word written on the human heart.” No, he just pointed to Moses and the Prophets, as if their message was uniquely authoritative and sufficient for salvation.

    And since Moses and the Prophets were long dead even in Christ’s time, the rich man’s brothers actually couldn’t “listen” to them. All they had were the writings of Moses and the Prophets, and the implication is that they (and we) can “listen” to them by reading their writings, as if their message can actually be reliably communicated through writing.

    But you don’t draw those conclusions. The only conclusions you ever seem to draw are those that fit with your politics, and I doubt there would be much difference between your polemics and those of some “other non-theists” whose goal was persuading Bible-believing Christians to endorse their vaguely Marxist political platform.

    Dominical teachings that don’t advance your agenda, you tend never to focus on, and so you have a hell of a lot of nerve accusing others of being selective.

    • Bubba,
      I too noticed the contradiction in Dan’s approach to the Lazarus and the rich man parable that you mentioned in your above comment. I notice that you’ve gotten no response.

      • paynehollow says:

        THE STORY IS PARABLE. IT IS NOT A LITERAL STORY DEPICTING A LITERAL RICH MAN LITERALLY IN FLAMES SEPARATED BY A LITERAL CHASM FROM A LITERAL ABRAHAM HOLDING A LITERAL LAZARUS.

        Beyond that, the Bible is not a Holy Magic 8 Ball that you shake to get rulings on moral behaviors.

        Does that clarify for you?

        • 1. A parable is a fictional story intended to convey a literal Truth. In this case, at least one reasonable and almost unarguable Truth to be gleaned is that the listeners to the parable were being told that they already had all the information needed to avoid the fate of the rich man. Said information being contained in what we now call the OT.

          2. No, one is treating the Bible as a magic 8 ball, and for you to continue to insist otherwise contrary to both evidence and reason, is simply ridiculous.

          3. It seems as though the point in your post was that Jesus expected the hearers of the parable to act in a certain way, to modify their behavior, or that He was using the parable to instruct folks in “moral behaviors”.

          4. I know your not answering any questions despite my voluminous and extensive answers to yours, but one unanswered question from a while back seems appropriate now. You say that the Bible isn’t a “rule book” ( a statement with which no one disagrees), yet do you deny that the Bible clearly contains “rules” (or commands or laws or pick your synonym)?

          • paynehollow says:

            The rules that are in there were time and place specific. As rules always are.

            The Truths found therein are universal, but rules are specific to a people and a place.

            For instance, polygamy was no problem then. Now we consider it a problem. Slavery wasn’t an issue then. Now we consider it a problem. Selling your children was not a problem then, it absolutely is now.

            See? The rules found in the pages of the Bible were culture-specific. You almost certainly agree so in at least some cases.

            Thus, treating the Bible as a rule book or a source (or THE PRIMARY SOURCE!!) for rulings about moral behavior is not biblical, nor rational, nor moral.

            Hopefully you get that idea before you sell your 12 year old daughter off to a polygamist.

            ~Dan

            • “The rules that are in there were time and place specific. As rules always are.”

              Once again a statement of fact, waiting for proof. You know “hard evidence”.
              1. Please provide proof that polygamy “wasn’t a problem then”. I have seen nothing to indicate that it was ever anything normative for God’s people.
              2. The term slavery in the context of the Israelites bears absolutely no resemblance to what we would consider slavery in a modern context. So, unless you are comparing apples to oranges, what is your point?
              3. Please provide proof that “selling your children” was ever considered to be a good and normative practice for God’s people.

              Thus, I’ve not ever advocated treating the Bible as a rule book, so you must either be confused or trying to put words in my mouth.

          • paynehollow says:

            Craig…

            I know your not answering any questions despite my voluminous and extensive answers to yours, but one unanswered question from a while back seems appropriate now. You say that the Bible isn’t a “rule book” ( a statement with which no one disagrees), yet do you deny that the Bible clearly contains “rules” (or commands or laws or pick your synonym)?

            And, as you can see, I have answered this question. Repeatedly. Perhaps you just missed it, but it’s not because I have not answered it.

            You’re welcome for the clarification of your mistake.

            ~Dan

            • paynehollow says:

              Oh, and “voluminous and extensive…” … funny.

              Irony’s a bitch.

              ~Dan

              • Since this is the first time you’ve addressed this particular question, to the best of my recollection, I fail to see your point.

                As to voluminous and extensive, I have addresses virtually every question you asked in the discussion thread (I’ve mentioned this multiple times) elsewhere. In the last several threads where you have asked me specific questions I have answered virtually every single one of them. As a matter of literal, provable, unarguable, fact I have answered between 150 and 200 questions that you have directly and specifically asked me. The fact that you choose to pretend otherwise is certainly not ironic in the least, it’s a pathetic strategy to maintain the illusion you have that no one ever answers your questions.

                Reality’s a bitch.

  23. paynehollow says:

    Bubba…

    I asked why you do so while still affirming the historicity of the NT.

    Dan, and I quote…

    The OT was written in a different era and thus, in different styles – according to historians – than the era in which the NT was written. Luke is a good example of the approach of the more modern history tellers (“It seemed good to me also to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus”).

    It’s all about rational approaches to genres of writing and literary criticism. People simply did not write in English PRIOR TO the invention of English, nor is there any evidence that they told history in the modern style prior to the “invention” of modern history telling. The suggestion is a modern bias/hubris that “Surely, they would have told histories the way WE tell histories…” There is simply no data to support that chauvinistic claim.

    Or, put another way:

    I don’t take text written in a pre-modern history time period and that appears to be figurative, not literal, in meaning, to be literal modern history.

    On the other hand, text written IN the era of modern history that appears to be written as a more modern, literal, linear style, I DO tend to treat as more akin to modern history and literal.

    I did answer your question, sorry you missed it. Hope you understand, now.

    Having said that, given that modern history as a genre/style/approach to writing was in its dawn – and given that even today, history isn’t always told perfectly factually, I don’t insist that even all the events in the NT are literal history, but I tend to treat them more like modern history. Ultimately, though, I have no way of proving any of it is literally factual. Nor do you.

    Agreed?

    Bubba…

    I can think of quite a few teachings of Jesus that don’t seem to rate very highly in your worldview, about why He came and what His death accomplished, about the authority of Scripture and His mission of fulfilling it rather than abolishing it, about why God made us male and female

    No. As a point of fact, you can NOT think of any teachings of Jesus that I don’t rate highly. In each case you mention above, you are speaking to your personal interpretation of texts, not Jesus’ literal meaning (which we don’t/can’t know authoritatively). And this is why I accuse you of conflating your interpretations with facts/God’s Word. I just don’t think you see that you do this.

    Where YOU SAY Jesus taught something about the “authority of Scripture,” you infer much more meaning than the text has itself. Where YOU SAY Jesus taught something about “why” God made us male and female, you infer meaning that Jesus does not say.

    In the Matt 19 teaching you so love to refer to, Jesus said…

    “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”

    …and you infer that the “reason why” God made man and woman was for marriage and that God, “defined” marriage, then, as strictly only between a man and a woman. Or words to that effect. Am I correct?

    But the context of the passage is not “should gay folk marry?” but the morality and reasons for divorce, nothing about “defining” marriage or saying “why” God created man and woman. “For this reason” in that context is, “for the reason of staying together…

    So, no, I don’t “not rate Jesus’ teachings highly” on that point. I don’t rate Bubba’s conclusions highly. But there is a difference between God’s Word and Bubba’s opinion.

    If you don’t want me to point out how it APPEARS you conflate your opinions with God’s Word, then state clearly, “When I say that it seems to me obvious that God wants only men and women to marry, not men and men, I am stating MY opinion, not saying what God’s opinion is…”

    But you will fall back to, “But I think the Bible is ‘clear…'” no doubt, failing to recognize the key words in that are, “I THINK…”

    ~Dan

    • Wow. What twisting!

      Anyway, I am still wondering about how “pre-modern history telling” so perverts the facts that one cannot trust the truth of the telling? I am still wondering why one must hold other ancient texts as equal in quality and reliability to Scripture, especially if one truly believes that God exists and Jesus is His only begotten? There is dishonesty afoot and it is Dan that perpetrates it by suggesting these things.

  24. paynehollow says:

    re: “so perverts the facts…”

    This is an example of the sort of modernistic chauvinism/bias against ancient people’s and their way of storytelling. It is no more a perversion of the story to tell stories in mythic/figurative genres than it is to tell it in ancient Persian rather than English. It’s just a genre thing. There is nothing inherently wrong or perverse about it. The error is not in telling stories differently than we do today but in trying to force a modernist interpretation upon an ancient text.

    A question for you two:

    Do you all agree that people of good will can honestly disagree about, for instance, what genre Genesis is written in… that honest people can sincerely think, “That seems like mythic writing to me…”? Or do you think that all people who disagree with your particular take on the text are deliberately evil and liars?

    ~Dan

  25. paynehollow says:

    Bubba…

    You say that you do count the prophets and apostles’ teachings as trustworthy, which is a laugh in light of your belief that the former attributed to God the command to commit literal atrocities and the latter’s teachings doubtlessly included evidence of prejudice.

    Here, again, you insert your preferred interpretation, conflate THAT interpretation to the Word of God and then say, “Ha! It’s a laugh in light of you disagreeing with MY interpretation of this text…” Indeed, IF I held your interpretation to be accurate and reliable, then my comment about loving the teachings of the OT Prophets might be laughable, but then, I don’t treat your interpretation as the Word of God, so it is not laughable, only rational and factual.

    Bubba…

    But if you believe all Scripture is equally trustworthy

    I don’t know that “all Scripture” is equally trustworthy (and I don’t know that it isn’t). My point, though, would not be that all scripture is equally trustworthy, rather, are all human interpretations of Scripture equally trustworthy. Clearly, they’re not, and you think so yourself, since you disagree with my interpretations/takes on them all the time.

    It’s not that Genesis 1 is not trustworthy, it’s just text. What you DO with the text then becomes rational or irrational, reasonable or not, but the text is just text.

    If one takes a text that says, “God commands you to kill all the babies in the town…” and FROM that text, conclude, “Sometimes, God just might command people to kill babies en masse, along with all the men, women and children of a town…” then that is not a rational place to stand. If, on the other hand, FROM that text one concludes that oppression is a horrible wrong… or that “sin” has terrible natural consequences… then that is a different interpretation and take on the same text, and one that is more rational and moral, as a starting point.

    So, it’s not that the text that says “Go kill the babies…” is untrustworthy. It’s what you interpret it to mean that is rational or irrational, moral or immoral, consistent or inconsistent.

    ~Dan

  26. paynehollow says:

    Bubba…

    because I believe a communication’s meaning can be known with certainty, I believe it’s entirely possible to recognize with certainty at least some of God’s revelation of man

    As always, it then comes back to this: On what basis, then, is your “certainty” that you can’t be mistaken on a text’s meaning (and therefore, your opinion is equal to God’s Word, since you “know” for “certain” that you are interpreting it correctly) better, more reliable, more correct than someone else’s interpretation of the same text or of other texts?

    The answer to that always comes back to, “Well, because I’m sure of it…” in some form or the other, which is another way of saying, “Well, because I’m full of it…”

    As an aside, does anyone know if John is all right? We have not heard hide nor hair from him in over a week… I hope he’s okay. John?

    ~Dan

  27. paynehollow says:

    Marshall…

    I am still wondering why one must hold other ancient texts as equal in quality and reliability to Scripture, especially if one truly believes that God exists and Jesus is His only begotten? There is dishonesty afoot and it is Dan that perpetrates it by suggesting these things.

    Do you think it is dishonest to ask legitimate questions?

    Do you think it’s not a legitimate question to ask, “On what basis do you consider Gilgamesh to be mythic/figurative, but not Genesis?…”?

    If so, why is it not a legitimate question?

    If not, why not answer it?

    Do you see how it seems like you’re being inconsistent and irrational, simply elevating one text – and one particular interpretation of that text, to boot – as unimpeachable when you’d gladly find the other ancient text impeachable… because the one text is “your” text and therefore, above being questioned?

    Do you see how fighting against reasonable questions makes your particular tradition and take on the text to be weaker and less valid? That your bullying demonization of others for daring to disagree with your particular interpretation undermines your very position?

    ~Dan

  28. Dan, I’ve repeatedly mentioned that I don’t know your take on Luke’s account of the Transfiguration, and I’ve explicitly asked you a couple questions.

    Do you believe that Jesus really talked to Moses and Elijah? What would be the big deal in talking to these particular men, long since dead, if they did not do what Scripture attributes to them, and if God did not speak what THEY attributed to HIM?

    The give-and-take of a genuine two-way dialogue would require you to answer these questions before demanding an answer to any subsequent questions you’ve asked of me.

    Marshall is right, your reasoning regarding Matthew 19 is twisted.

    You write, “‘For this reason’ in that context is, ‘for the reason of staying together…'”

    But to reach that conclusion, you have to conclude that the “therefore” of Matthew 19:5 is a circular, tautological claim, something like, “For the reason of staying together, spouses should stay together.”

    And, to make that connection, you do absolutely nothing with the previous verse, as if Matthew 19:4 doesn’t exist at all, and Jesus only cited Gen 2:24 and not 1:27 as well.

    The true message is obvious, that “God made man male and female” is the reason why a man (male) leaves his family to become one flesh with his wife (female). It doesn’t take any wild leaps of faith or logic to see that the principle has a wider application than the proximate subject of divorce, to include subjects like incest and polygamy.

    Anyway, it’s not like you really submit to the clear teaching regarding that explicit subject of divorce. Repeatedly the New Testament records that Jesus forbids divorce except in the most serious case of sins like adultery (Mt 5:32, 19:9, cf. Mk 10:11-12, Lk 16:18). But you take the perverse course of reframing the breaking of one’s marriage vows as a wonderful act of repentance if the person decides or discovers that he’s no longer attracted to his wife.

    At any rate, your answer to my question is not the least bit satisfactory, because you appeal to historians’ theories about styles and genres without even attempting to argue their theories are rational and consistent — and that the detailed arguments for their theories apply, not just to ancient texts in general, before and after that magical span of 500 BC to AD 500, but to the OT and NT histories in particular.

    “They’re from the time period of ancient epics” doesn’t deal with the actual content of the texts, and the simple fact of the matter is, the books of Ruth and Daniel have MUCH more in common with Luke and Acts than they do with Gilgamesh and the Odyssey.

    I MENTIONED ALL THIS IN MY VERY FIRST REPLY ON THE SUBJECT.

    Quote:

    “Early dating for the book of Daniel puts it around 539 BC, and the six-century gap between that book and, say, the gospel of Mark is half the size of the gap between Daniel and the oldest surviving version of Gilgamesh, from 1800 BC, so it’s not clear why you place Daniel with Gilgamesh and not with Mark.

    “The naturalistic and even mundane but detailed account of the book of Ruth is much less fantastic than the explicitly carefully researched gospel of Luke, with its angelic host, satanic temptation, transfiguration and conversation with long-dead Moses and Elijah, and the Resurrection, so it’s not at all clear why the former’s earlier date is enough to dismiss it as ahistorical.”

    You’re copying-and-pasting a comment that doesn’t even touch on these points, and your doing so is a piss-poor substitute for a response that actually addresses the substance of my objections.

  29. paynehollow says:

    Bubba…

    Do you believe that Jesus really talked to Moses and Elijah? What would be the big deal in talking to these particular men, long since dead, if they did not do what Scripture attributes to them, and if God did not speak what THEY attributed to HIM?

    As a point of fact, I do not know if that actually happened, literally, as described, or if it was a dream, or vision, or some literary device. As a point of fact.

    Do you? If so, on what do you base a claim to it being a literally factual reality?

    Regardless of whether it factually happened, literally as described, or if it was a vision, what would be the big deal to this scene of talking with two of Judaism’s big heroes? I don’t know, the fact that he was speaking to two of Judaism’s big heroes? If I have a vision wherein I talk to Robin Hood, what difference to the story would it make if Robin Hood were a figurative character (or a real character whose exploits were legendized) or an actual character? It would still be a big deal.

    Do you understand the power of symbolism?

    ~Dan

  30. Dan, about the meaning of a text, you write that “we don’t/can’t know [it] authoritatively,” but — for the umpteenth time — one doesn’t need to have a special authority to be able to discern a text’s meaning with certainty. Sometimes its meaning is clear beyond all good-faith disagreement; you say that it’s a “fact” that the meaning cannot be known with certainty, but you’ve never proven your fact to show how your position meets your stated standards for facts.

    As always, it then comes back to this: On what basis, then, is your “certainty” that you can’t be mistaken on a text’s meaning (and therefore, your opinion is equal to God’s Word, since you ‘know’ for ‘certain’ that you are interpreting it correctly) better, more reliable, more correct than someone else’s interpretation of the same text or of other texts?

    As always, my answer is an appeal to the text itself.

    As an example, we can compare our two approaches to Matthew 19.

    – You apparently believe that the passage has no application beyond the subject of divorce. I point out that Jesus provided a broad principle rooted in the very creation of humanity.

    – You act as if Matthew 19:4 doesn’t exist at all, to reach a circular and really quite meaningless conclusion that “Staying together” is the reason marriages should stay together. I account for 19:4 to reach the natural conclusion from the actual text, that “God made man male and female” is the reason a man (male) becomes one flesh with his wife (female).

    The text really does speak for itself.

    The answer to that always comes back to, ‘Well, because I’m sure of it…’ in some form or the other, which is another way of saying, ‘Well, because I’m full of it…’

    No, and I’m not the one invoking circular arguments such as your conclusion that staying together is God’s reason for staying together.

    I have never simply appealed to any “just because” arguments. I have always argued from the text, and the quality of my argument and the quality of your argument are quite clear to anyone who’s paying attention.

    You ask Marshall the transparently leading question, “Do you think it is dishonest to ask legitimate questions?”

    You shouldn’t expect answers to bullshit questions.

    You ask, “Do you think it’s not a legitimate question to ask, ‘On what basis do you consider Gilgamesh to be mythic/figurative, but not Genesis?…’?”

    I won’t speak for Marshall, but he did mention whether “one truly believes that God exists and Jesus is His only begotten.”

    One would expect this sort of question from an atheist, but not from a self-described Christian who both affirms the Resurrection and claims to follow Christ’s teachings.

    Because you say you believe the Resurrection, you have no grounds for saying that the miracles in Genesis “just couldn’t have happened.” They are no less fantastic than the Incarnation and the Resurrection, and the Resurrection is no less impossible in light of basic biology than a global flood is impossible in light of basic geology.

    And because you say you follow Christ’s teachings, you must account for His citing Genesis and even the creation account as authoritative (as He does in Mt 19) and His treating the destruction of Sodom as historical.

    I know, I know, you love His teachings and just object to my interpretations of them, but that raises the questions of how you interpret those passages and why. If you have no thorough take on the passages, or if your arguments for them are implausible, we would have good reason to think that you’re fighting against the text’s clear meaning and not just the opinions of Almighty Bubba.

    FYI, John has tweeted as recently as yesterday morning.

  31. paynehollow says:

    Bubba…

    As always, my answer is an appeal to the text itself.

    Okay, so you appeal to the text of Matt 19 and I appeal to it and we reach different conclusions on its meaning and possible applications (if any) to us today.

    SO, on what basis is your conclusion the “right” one? You can’t just repeat “I’m appealing to the text…” because those who disagree with your opinion (again, YOUR opinion, not God’s Word and not “fact…”) are appealing to the text as well.

    ~Dan

  32. Dan, you mention the gospel of Luke, quoting the same passage in your reiteration of your answer to my question, writing, “Luke is a good example of the approach of the more modern history tellers (‘It seemed good to me also to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus’).”

    You seem to think the style of Luke’s gospel resembles a modern history.

    In Luke 9:28-36, the evangelist describes the Transfiguration in some amount of detail, noting the precise date (about 8 days after saying that some will see the kingdom of God) and giving a precise list of witnesses, Jesus’ inner circle of Peter, James, and John.

    Your take on the Transfiguration?

    As a point of fact, I do not know if that actually happened, literally, as described, or if it was a dream, or vision, or some literary device. As a point of fact.

    You ask, quite snidely, “Do you understand the power of symbolism?”

    I do, but we can readily dismiss the possibility of a vision, since we know how Luke describes when people have a vision: he mentions that they have a vision, as when the Lord told Ananias “in a vision” to welcome the newly converted Saul (Acts 9:10), or when Peter experience a “vision” about which he was perplexed and over which he pondered (Acts 9:10, 10:17, 10:19, all using the Greek word horama).

    And we can readily dismiss the event as symbolism or some other literary device because Luke claimed to have carefully researched the events he documented in that orderly account.

    The Gospel of Luke fits in that window you give for modern historical accounts, and it begins with a very explicit claim of being a carefully researched and orderly account of what was accomplished among earlier eyewitnesses.

    But when even Luke documents a miracle, you begin to wonder out loud about whether it’s a vision or a literary device.

    So I say again, I see no “consistent, rational bases” why you personally would believe in the historical and bodily resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. It’s convenient that you do so, because it keeps intact the pretense of your orthodox beliefs, but it’s not clear WHY you do so in light of your skepticism about the historicity of pretty much every other miracle in even the New Testament.

  33. SO, on what basis is your conclusion the ‘right’ one? You can’t just repeat ‘I’m appealing to the text…’ because those who disagree with your opinion (again, YOUR opinion, not God’s Word and not ‘fact…’) are appealing to the text as well.

    As I’ve written before, we each have the right to weigh the arguments for ourselves, and the responsibility to do so as well: I believe we will be held accountable if we are guilty of being deliberately obtuse.

    Really, Dan, if you think your arguments are clearly stronger than mine, you should focus on those arguments.

    This “On-whose-authority” and “on-what-basis” bullshit really isn’t fooling anybody, and all it’s doing is wasting people’s valuable time.

  34. paynehollow says:

    Regarding Matthew 19 and your opinions about what it means and what it means today, here’s the whole text, in context (where Jesus has been preaching to the crowds, enjoying some popularity and experiencing some pushback from the religious zealots of his day…)

    Some Pharisees came to Jesus, testing Him and asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all?”

    And He answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”

    They said to Him, “Why then did Moses command to give her a certificate of divorce and send her away?” He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

    The disciples said to Him, “If the relationship of the man with his wife is like this, it is better not to marry.” But He said to them, “Not all men can accept this statement, but only those to whom it has been given. For there are eunuchs who were born that way from their mother’s womb; and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men; and there are also eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to accept this, let him accept it.”

    * The very exact context of the passage is a question about Divorce – is it acceptable? Under what conditions?

    * Jesus cites the OT saying God made people male and female and that marriage joins them as one. He is, of course, speaking figuratively.

    * Jesus answers, in effect, “So, the answer to your question is NO. The purpose of marriage is NOT simply to just separate from one another after marriage, but it is for staying together.” The two shall become “one flesh,” ie, stay together.

    * He goes on to talk further about divorce and allowing that there are some circumstances where it’s an acceptable alternative, but not the rule, but still emphasizing the point of staying together as being the point of marriage.

    * Then there is an aside about being a voluntary eunuch as good for those who could “accept it…” but that it obviously isn’t for everyone.

    * I will note that this teaching came in the context of a patriarchal society where women (and children) were too often cast aside to become the poor and marginalized and, thus, oppressed, and that many of us think that this is the reason for the great gravity with which Jesus treats the issue. Divorcing a woman, in that context, was almost always a ticket to oppression, shame and mistreatment for the woman.

    Now, what do we conclude about such a text?

    Well, first of all, are we treating this text as a literal Word from a literal God? If so, on what bases do we know this for a fact? Do we expect others to just blindly agree to this or are we obliged to make some sort of case for the claim?

    Secondly, are we treating this text as a source for moral rulings? If so, then there is ONE circumstance where divorce is acceptable: adultery. Do we expect others to just blindly agree to this or are we obliged to make some sort of case for the claim?

    If the Bible is to be used as a “moral rulings from God” book, do we also endorse the other rules/teachings, like the suggestion that we try to force ourselves into eunuch-ism? On what bases do we endorse some rules in this Holy Rulings Book’s pages but not others? Do we expect others to just blindly agree to this or are we obliged to make some sort of case for the claim?

    Or, conversely, is the whole of the Bible teaching us truths about Grace and the dangers of legalism, so that treating a rule given specifically to ancient followers of Jesus as a universal rule is a misunderstanding of the text? Do we expect others to just blindly agree to this or are we obliged to make some sort of case for the claim?

    Regardless, can people of good faith disagree on each of these approaches, or must we demonize all who disagree with our particular take as liars and dishonest evil ones? Or can we admit that we can’t prove our position, that it simply is our opinion, even if we think it an exceedingly obviously, biblical, moral or rational one?

    Good, reasonable questions, all, worthy of reasonable answers.

    ~Dan

    • “He is, of course, speaking figuratively.”

      What we have here is quite clearly a claim of fact. Given that, it would not be unreasonable to expect that this claim of fact be supported by some “hard” evidence. I suspect that the “hard” evidence to back up this claim will not be forthcoming.

      So, if (as you claim) “God made people male and female and that marriage joins them as one. He is, of course, speaking figuratively.”

      How then do you use the very same text to conclude the exact opposite?

      “The purpose of marriage is NOT simply to just separate from one another after marriage, but it is for staying together.” The two shall become “one flesh,” ie, stay together.” “…emphasizing the point of staying together as being the point of marriage.”

      It seems as though the “staying together” would have to be either literal or figurative, but not both.

      Which raises the question. If the purpose of marriage is to “stay together” then it follows that anything that separates that which is against the purpose of marriage, correct? Who decides the purpose of marriage?

  35. paynehollow says:

    Bubba…

    if you think your arguments are clearly stronger than mine, you should focus on those arguments.

    I have. I just gave you a brief overview of my reasoning on Genesis as NOT-literal-history position. I think it is clear, rational and obvious. In addition to having no rational reason to conclude that this text – which reads clearly like figurative writing – ought to be taken as literal history, I also have no biblical reason to think so. The “Well, Biblical characters refer to these texts as actual stories…” IS an argument, but not a strong one. As oft-noted, I often refer to these stories without the caveat, “of course, this is not a literal history…” so you’d need something stronger than that.

    You may not agree with my conclusions, but you can’t say I haven’t offered rational support for my positions.

    Bubba…

    This “On-whose-authority” and “on-what-basis” bullshit really isn’t fooling anybody, and all it’s doing is wasting people’s valuable time.

    It’s a vital question IF you are acting as if your opinions are equivalent to God’s Word. IF, on the other hand, we are all quite clear that we are speaking only of our opinions – opinions we can’t prove but may feel confident of their rationality, but still opinions – then my constant repeating of “on what basis?” WOULD be redundant. So, by all means, clarify:

    ARE your opinions about Genesis your opinions, but not facts, not the same as God’s Word, OR are your opinions simply an “appeal to the text” of what the text obviously says and means… (which is another way of stating that they are facts, God’s Word)?

    If you will clarify that you are speaking of your opinions and ONLY your opinions, that you could be mistaken on these points, then I can quit asking the question. IF you are insisting that you can’t be mistaken – that “on some points no good will disagreement is possible…” – then it remains a legitimate question that must be answered if you are to argue in good faith.

    ~Dan

  36. paynehollow says:

    Bubba…

    but we can readily dismiss the possibility of a vision, since we know how Luke describes when people have a vision: he mentions that they have a vision, as when the Lord told Ananias “in a vision” to welcome the newly converted Saul (Acts 9:10), or when Peter experience a “vision” about which he was perplexed and over which he pondered (Acts 9:10, 10:17, 10:19, all using the Greek word horama).

    I agree, it reads like a literal rendering of something that actually happened and was witnessed. I have no way of proving that it actually happened and gladly admit that, but I’d tend to say it could well have happened something like Luke describes it.

    My point is not that I disbelieve it actually happened, my point is that I am not speaking authoritatively that it DID happen, seeing as how I have no proof whatsoever to support it. I simply accept it in faith as likely having happened.

    Or, as I said originally:

    As a point of fact, I do not know if that actually happened, literally, as described, or if it was a dream, or vision, or some literary device. As a point of fact.

    I repeat my question to you:

    Do YOU “know” that it happened just as described? If so, please provide your data.

    ~Dan

  37. paynehollow says:

    Bubba…

    it’s not clear WHY you do so in light of your skepticism about the historicity of pretty much every other miracle in even the New Testament.

    It seems to me your problem is with rational skepticism, not with me. I’m skeptical of things which seem unlikely. This is a rational place to start, is it not?

    Do I dismiss out of hand as impossible those things that seem unlikely? No, clearly I don’t. But neither do I petulantly dismiss any who disagree with me as liars simply because they are skeptical of a particular interpretation of an unproven and unprovable point, especially if the interpretation is neither rational or likely-sounding, or moral-sounding. Neither do I insist that I hold the One True interpretation and that people of good will could not honestly disagree with me.

    Why would I? I have no authority to act thusly and generally good reasons for embracing a more grace-full approach to disagreement.

    ~Dan

    • Because we all know that referring to someone as a “prick” and accusing them of lying is clearly the “more grace-full” approach.

  38. paynehollow says:

    Bubba…

    one doesn’t need to have a special authority to be able to discern a text’s meaning with certainty. Sometimes its meaning is clear beyond all good-faith disagreement

    So, here we have been discussing at least two biblical topics on which you and I hold an apparent disagreement(s) – Genesis as myth and Matt 19 and its meaning. Are these two topics about which you need no special authority to “discern a text’s meaning with certainty…”? And about which there is no room for good-faith disagreement?

    If so, on what basis? According to whom?

    And what do you mean “discern with certainty…”? That you know with NO room for doubt whatsoever the author’s intent? That you can not possibly be mistaken in your interpretation? And, if so, is your interpretation one in the same as “fact” and/or “God’s Word…”?

    Good questions, reasonable ones I hope you’ll address now that we’re discussing something specific.

    ~Dan

  39. paynehollow says:

    Craig…

    What we have here is quite clearly a claim of fact.

    I claimed as a point of fact that when Jesus said, “The two shall be made one” that he was speaking figuratively. I did so because I think it is self-evident that two people do not literally become one person.

    In order to prove it, I will offer all of human history and all of humanity, because never in the course of humanity have two people literally become one.

    Disagree? All you have to do is produce one person who was made of two people and demonstrate that was what Jesus was talking about. I mean, I guess you could sort of make the case that a heart recipient is two people becoming one, but no, not really.

    Craig also objected to my words…

    “The purpose of marriage is NOT simply to just separate from one another after marriage, but it is for staying together.” The two shall become “one flesh,” ie, stay together.” “…emphasizing the point of staying together as being the point of marriage.”

    Where Craig said…

    It seems as though the “staying together” would have to be either literal or figurative, but not both.

    Staying together, literally, is the point of marriage. But not LITERALLY as ONE LITERAL PERSON, that part is figurative.

    Understand now?

    ~Dan

    • “I claimed as a point of fact that when Jesus said, “The two shall be made one” that he was speaking figuratively. I did so because I think it is self-evident that two people do not literally become one person.”

      I just need some clarification here. It seems as though you are saying that unless two people actually become one physical person, then the phrase “become one” is figurative. It seems as if you are claiming it to be fact that the only way that two people could possibly “become one” is physically. It further seems that you are saying that unless something is physical, it is figurative. Could you clarify?

      “Staying together, literally, is the point of marriage.”

      I’m not sure what your point is here. Who determines that staying together is the point of the marriage? Are you suggesting that staying together is a rule? A suggestion? the essence of what marriage is? I

      If “staying together, literally, is the point of marriage”, then how can you suggest that one who leaves a marriage has done something commendable?

      • paynehollow says:

        Here, Craig, is the text:

        For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh.

        As a point of fact, in the real world, when people marry they do NOT become “one flesh.” That is figurative language.

        Do. You. Understand. Now?

        (I bolded the question so you could be sure to see it to answer it.)

        Craig…

        I’m not sure what your point is here. Who determines that staying together is the point of the marriage? Are you suggesting that staying together is a rule? A suggestion? the essence of what marriage is?

        I am sorry you are having such a hard time understanding my words. I’m saying that this was what Jesus was teaching here: that the point of marriage was NOT to divorce, but to stay together. He said this in response to a question about divorce.

        On the other hand, he was NOT talking about “And this is why God made males and females: So that only males would marry females and only females would marry males…”

        That is literally not the point being discussed in this text, just taking it literally for what it’s worth.

        I am not saying that, “Because we have a rule in Matthew 19, we know this is a universal rule for all times and all places…” I happen to think that people marrying and staying married is generally a good thing today, but I’m not saying “cuz the Bible…” I’m saying that because I think it is, on the face of it, a good thing. There are exceptions, of course: Abuse springs to mind. But as a rule, I think individuals, society and families benefit when people are happily married and remain so.

        Do you understand now, how I’m not talking about making something a rule because “the Bible…” but just explaining what Jesus appears clearly to have been talking about and what he was clearly NOT talking about, literally speaking?

        Craig…

        If “staying together, literally, is the point of marriage”, then how can you suggest that one who leaves a marriage has done something commendable?

        There are exceptions to staying married that are rational:

        IF someone realizes – post-marriage – that they are actually gay, or lesbian, it would be wrong to the spouse to stay in that marriage. It would generally be a sham of a marriage leading to great dissatisfaction (of course, there are probably exceptions, but as a rule…) In that case (when the two are agreed), ending the marriage as painlessly as possible is the healthiest thing to do, it seems to me, and commendable because taking healthy, wholesome, restorative acts are commendable. “Whatsoever things are good, pure, true, etc.”

        For instance.

        Or, in the instance of abuse. The abused (typically the wife) remaining in the marriage only to be repeatedly beaten or sometimes killed, is not healthy, is not wholesome, does not promote the good, but evil. The abused leaving would generally be a very commendable thing to do.

        Do you disagree? If so, why? Because “the bible…”? That is a rather stupid reason, if so.

        Answered those questions from you. We’ll see if you answer mine.

        ~Dan

        • “On the other hand, he was NOT talking about “And this is why God made males and females: So that only males would marry females and only females would marry males…”

          Yet He clearly says, “‘FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH ‘?”. So, if He was not speaking specifically of a man (singular) and a woman (singular) and “this reason”, how do you propose to get around His actual words. The actual words seem pretty clear, however you seem to be reading into the text something that doesn’t exist.

          “Do you understand now, how I’m not talking about making something a rule because “the Bible…” but just explaining what Jesus appears clearly to have been talking about and what he was clearly NOT talking about, literally speaking?”

          I understand that the above is your opinion. I do not see any way that you can make the jump to asserting that you have the one and only answer about what “He was clearly NOT talking about.”. Feel free to your hunches, just stop before your plant your flag on what Jesus was “clearly NOT talking about.”

          You still haven’t provided anything remotely like proof of your opinions, You also have not answered at least one of my questions.

          “Do you disagree? If so, why?” The problem is not that I disagree with you, it’s that you disagree with you. You have been abundantly clear that “staying together” is the reason for marriage. Yet, you then proceed with a number of exceptions to “the reason” for marriage. However, I would agree that abuse COULD be a reason to leave a marriage. I’m not sure “I feel gay now” is on quite the same level. But if you want to argue that it is commendable to violate “the reason” for marriage, feel free.

          “Because “the bible…”?” Nope, because Jesus.

  40. paynehollow says:

    Earlier, Bubba had said…

    Abraham didn’t say that they had God’s revelation in general, or His revelation in creation or “God’s word written on the human heart.” No, he just pointed to Moses and the Prophets, as if their message was uniquely authoritative and sufficient for salvation.

    …in reference to a recent post of mine on the parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man.

    I will note that in Psalm 40, the psalmist says…

    I delight to do Your will, O my God;
    Your Law is within my heart.

    There is not mention of Scripture, just that the psalmist will be able and delighted to do God’s will because God’s Law is within his heart, as if that was all he needed.

    What of it? Does that settle it and mean that “Dan’s right, he found a Scripture to support one of his views… the sola scriptura boys are wrong because, the Bible…”?

    No. The bible is not a Holy Magic 8 Ball that one shakes to get rulings on ideas. We err when we treat it as The Final Arbiter for All Matters for Now and Eternity. It makes no claims to being that, reason doesn’t support that approach and so, why would we treat it that way?

    Craig found it odd that I didn’t respond to this, but there was quite literally nothing to which to respond. So what if Bubba picks out a verse and offers some meaning of his to it, what of it? Bubba is welcome to his opinion, but Bubba, Craig and Team Fundy must learn to differentiate between their opinions and facts.

    ~Dan

  41. Dan, you write, “It seems to me your problem is with rational skepticism, not with me. I’m skeptical of things which seem unlikely. This is a rational place to start, is it not?”

    It doesn’t matter whether that’s a rational place to start, it doesn’t seem like it IS where you start, since you affirm the historicity of those quite unlikely claims, the Incarnation and the Resurrection, the latter of which “just couldn’t happen” according to even the most rudimentary understanding of medicine and biology.

    Your affirming the Resurrection is convenient in reassuring us of the orthodoxy of your beliefs, but it doesn’t seem to come from a consistent application of “rational skepticism.”

    You write, of Matthew 19:

    I will note that this teaching came in the context of a patriarchal society where women (and children) were too often cast aside to become the poor and marginalized and, thus, oppressed, and that many of us think that this is the reason for the great gravity with which Jesus treats the issue. Divorcing a woman, in that context, was almost always a ticket to oppression, shame and mistreatment for the woman.

    I notice that you don’t mention how, say, the story of the rich man and Lazarus came in the context of a pre-industrial agrarian society where there was safety-net welfare state. You apparently think that the immorality of divorce depends on the cultural context, at least more so than the moral obligation of private charity.

    Well, it’s a good thing, then, that Jesus didn’t base His position on some principle that precedes the Fall and goes right to God’s creation of man.

    About the Bible, you write, “We err when we treat it as The Final Arbiter for All Matters for Now and Eternity.”

    (Is that just an opinion? Or is it a fact? If it’s the former, I don’t see why you insist that we all agree with you. If it’s the latter, I note that you haven’t even attempted to prove your position, when you say that you believe that a claim must be provable to be factual.)

    Well, it’s a good thing, then, that Jesus didn’t claim that not a single penstroke of Scripture will pass away until heaven and earth pass away.

  42. Dan, let us cut to the chase.

    You think the Bible is a book of Truths, but you don’t think ANY of those truths can be grasped with certainty.

    That’s a transparently ridiculous position to hold.

    You want to take that position? Knock yourself out, but do try to be consistent about it, and don’t be daffy enough to insist that those who disagree with you must perforce confuse themselves with God.

    If you do insist that A) a claim must be proven to be considered a fact and B) it’s a fact that the meaning of a text cannot be known with certainty, I insist that you live up to Statement A and provide irrefutable proof of Statement B.

    You never have, and you never will, because you cannot do so, and so you ought to back off being so arrogantly dogmatic in your denunciations of other people’s dogmatism.

    You won’t back off from your lunacy, so at a certain point, trying to argue with you leaves the realm of being a merely foolish pastime to perhaps an outright sin — because dishonesty is a sin, and one cannot continue to give you any benefit of the doubt and do so honestly.

  43. paynehollow says:

    Bubba, as is often the case, the problem is that you don’t understand my actual position.

    If you do insist that A) a claim must be proven to be considered a fact and B) it’s a fact that the meaning of a text cannot be known with certainty, I insist that you live up to Statement A and provide irrefutable proof of Statement B.

    I have not said that a claim must be proven to be a fact. I have said the opposite. It is possible that the fella who claims – with no evidence – that an invisible purple unicorn lives in his back yard – it is possible it’s a fact. But since the fella does not see it, can not demonstrate it, can not prove it, he does not, as a point of fact, “know” it.

    My position, then, is that a claim must be proven for you to claim to know it. If you hold a hunch that you REALLLLLY think is true and it turns out to be a fact, then it was always a fact, BUT you did not know it, you were guessing at it.

    So if you want to joust with non-existent dragons, knock yerself out.

    ~Dan

  44. paynehollow says:

    Bubba…

    You apparently think that the immorality of divorce depends on the cultural context, at least more so than the moral obligation of private charity.

    Context always matters. You think so, yourself. You think that killing babies is wrong… UNLESS there is the context of war or a god commanding you to kill the baby.

    Yes, of course context makes (or can make) a difference. I’m not sure what that has to do with anything. At all.

    Bubba…

    Well, it’s a good thing, then, that Jesus didn’t base His position on some principle that precedes the Fall and goes right to God’s creation of man.

    “…in my opinion,” you mean? Or are you speaking for Jesus?

    You know, you can put an end to the appearance you project to be arrogantly presuming to speak for God or conflating your opinions with facts and God’s Word by simply making clear that your opinions ARE only your opinions, not proven in any sense.

    How about it?

    ~Dan

  45. paynehollow says:

    Craig…

    In this case, at least one reasonable and almost unarguable Truth to be gleaned is that the listeners to the parable were being told that they already had all the information needed to avoid the fate of the rich man.

    Not that any of this is on topic but, since you bring it up: What is the truth that is being passed on in this parable? What do they need to do to avoid the fate of the rich man? Give to the needy? Heed the call of the prophets to give to the needy? What was the rich man’s failure?

    “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.”

    Convinced of what, according to this story?

    I’m interested in your (or Bubba’s, since he brought up the story) opinion.

    ~Dan

    • I’ll gladly give you my take after, you provide your version of the meaning and address the other three points in the comment, which you have ignored.

      To be more precise, by the time you have addressed the unaddressed, and given your version of the meaning of the parable, I will have answered the questions and either post them with the rest of my answers or copy/paste them here.

  46. paynehollow says:

    So, the open questions remaining, perhaps I can best return this to the topic at hand and address some of the disagreements expressed here thusly:

    Ought the Bible be impeached solely because it’s religious?

    No, of course not. I don’t know that anyone – at all – is doing this, at least not seriously, but to the degree that someone does, they do so irrationally.

    We ought not summarily dismiss any religious text simply because it comes from a religious tradition any more than we dismiss any idea no matter what tradition it comes from.

    On the other hand, we ought not embrace a religious text – literally or figuratively – simply because it is a religious text or because it is part of a religious (even OUR religious) tradition. We all agree with this idea when it comes to “other” religions, but we ought to treat all ideas and texts the same.

    Similarly, anyone who wishes to advocate publicly a particular view “from God,” based on their religious tradition’s treatment of their religious text ought to be prepared to defend that opinion. And they should be prepared to defend it:

    1. AS an opinion. If they claim to be able to read a religious text and come away with FACTS or “God’s Word,” then they should be prepared to support the claim.

    2. If they can NOT support the claim as a point of fact, they should be clear that it is their opinion, and one that they can not support as a fact.

    3. That they can not support it as a fact does not mean that it’s not a fact, just that they do not know that it is a fact or demand others agree with them because they speak it as a “fact” or as “God’s Word.”

    4. That people should be prepared to distinguish between their opinions and facts is a critical one if they want to be taken seriously.

    And there you have it, the reasonable, thought out response to John’s titular question.

    One man’s opinion (a well-reasoned one, however).

    ~Dan

  47. paynehollow says:

    Craig…

    Once again a statement of fact, waiting for proof. You know “hard evidence”.

    You don’t think those were rules for those people at that time? Maybe not. In context, it sure seems like they were rules at that time. Feel free to provide data that says they were not rules for that time.

    Or is your point that they are universal rules? Well, again, it seems clear to me. I can’t prove it, other than the fact that YOU DO NOT take them for universal rules either, so it does not appear that we disagree.

    Craig…

    1. Please provide proof that polygamy “wasn’t a problem then”. I have seen nothing to indicate that it was ever anything normative for God’s people.

    It is never one time condemned biblically. Biblical heroes have multiple wives. God, according to the Bible, “GAVE” King David his many wives. There is no evidence of which I am aware that it was anything but culturally acceptable at the time. If you have data to suggest otherwise, please provide it.

    Craig…

    2. The term slavery in the context of the Israelites bears absolutely no resemblance to what we would consider slavery in a modern context. So, unless you are comparing apples to oranges, what is your point?

    SOME of the slavery was different than in the modern context. Some of it was quite similar. Nations would sometimes go in and kidnap people and forcibly make them their slave labor. That is very similar to the modern context. Apples to apples.

    So, what is YOUR point? Because my point is quite solid: There is no condemnation of slavery in general in that culture (those cultures). Israelites went in to nations, killed the adults and captured the women and children and survivors and made them forced slaves (sometimes sex slaves, when the Israelite men took the women to be “wives…”)

    My point was that this was not condemned in the Bible, it was by all appearances an accepted part of the culture, there were no rules against it, only rules that said how one was to treat one’s slaves or how one was to sell their slaves (or children) when it was done. Not condemned. No rule.

    Understand now?

    Craig…

    3. Please provide proof that “selling your children” was ever considered to be a good and normative practice for God’s people.

    I didn’t say it was a good thing or a normative practice. I said quite clearly that it was not condemned as a wrong, there was no rule against it then, in that time and culture. There is now, rightly so, we think.

    The point remains rock solid: The Bible is not a rule book, a place to go to get rulings on behaviors. We don’t find rules that applied to people back then and say, “Because it applied (apparently) to these ancient peoples, it is a universal moral rule that it’s okay (or condemned)…” If we use the Bible thusly, we do so in error.

    Now that I’ve re-explained my position and clarified your mistakes, perhaps you agree with me? Feel free to make it clear.

    ~Dan

  48. paynehollow says:

    Craig…

    I’ll gladly give you my take after, you provide your version of the meaning and address the other three points in the comment, which you have ignored.

    ? What have I ignored? My version of the meaning of Lazarus’ story?

    I thought that was pretty clear, but I think you can glean the following from the story:

    1. It is important how we treat the least of these. We should not ignore the hungry at our gates.

    2. Ignoring the needs of others leads to hell, at the very least, here on earth.

    3. Sometimes, we reach a point where we can’t undo the wrongs we have done, or at the least, it becomes increasingly difficult.

    4. How we deal with wealth and poverty is a central teaching in Jesus’ messages. “Wealth can be a great and blinding trap” being one of those repeated messages and “help/side with the least of these” being another.

    Like that. Did you not know that already?

    Here are your other points that I think you are speaking of, all of which I have addressed, where appropriate, although there are really no questions for me to answer that haven’t been answered…

    1. A parable is a fictional story intended to convey a literal Truth. In this case, at least one reasonable and almost unarguable Truth to be gleaned is that the listeners to the parable were being told that they already had all the information needed to avoid the fate of the rich man. Said information being contained in what we now call the OT.

    I don’t disagree. They are being hinted to that beware wealth; take care of the needy, if you want to avoid the fate of the rich man.

    What do YOU think the listeners learn from this story?

    2. No, one is treating the Bible as a magic 8 ball, and for you to continue to insist otherwise contrary to both evidence and reason, is simply ridiculous.

    You all repeatedly refer to the Bible in terms like “final authority” or “sola scriptura” or “the primary source for knowledge on moral questions…” that is what I am mocking in my calling it a holy magic 8 ball.

    Do YOU not think of the Bible as the final authority or the primary source for knowledge on moral questions? Please clarify.

    3. It seems as though the point in your post was that Jesus expected the hearers of the parable to act in a certain way, to modify their behavior, or that He was using the parable to instruct folks in “moral behaviors”.

    No doubt, Jesus was apparently passing on a moral lesson to his listeners. And we can learn from that, as well. I’m not saying there are not truths that are learned in the bible (you can tell that by the way I constantly refer to the Bible as a source of Truth). I’m saying that lifting a line and saying “Here, we know that (for instance) the dead suffer an eternity in flames because ‘the bible…'” is treating the Bible as a wooden literal rulings book that answers questions for us.

    “O, Holy Magic 8 Ball, do the evil dead suffer in literal flames for eternity? … Bible says, Matt 19, YES! Yes, they do, because ‘the Bible…'”

    That is not an apt way of treating the Bible or deciding on moral questions. Seems to me.

    4. I know your not answering any questions despite my voluminous and extensive answers to yours, but one unanswered question from a while back seems appropriate now. You say that the Bible isn’t a “rule book” ( a statement with which no one disagrees), yet do you deny that the Bible clearly contains “rules” (or commands or laws or pick your synonym)?

    Answered.

    I don’t know what you think has gone unanswered or unaddressed, but I’m not seeing it, except from your side.

    ~Dan

    • ? What have I ignored?
      You responded to one out of four comments I made, ignoring three of them.

      “You all repeatedly refer to the Bible in terms like “final authority” or “sola scriptura” or “the primary source for knowledge on moral questions…” that is what I am mocking in my calling it a holy magic 8 ball.”

      I can state with confidence that no one has ever referred to the Bible as “Sola Scriptura”, and to believe that to be the case suggests you don’t understand the term. As to the other two terms they are certainly historically Orthodox ways of looking st scripture. Having said that how does “mocking” Orthodox positions held by others you refer to as “brother” demonstrate any sort of “grace-filled” behavior? Where is mocking commended? Where is continuing to use an inaccurate/mocking term after being corrected multiple times taught by Jesus?

  49. paynehollow says:

    Craig…

    I’ve not ever advocated treating the Bible as a rule book, so you must either be confused or trying to put words in my mouth.

    Great. Glad to hear it. If you don’t mind, then, please clarify some things for me (ie, questions for you to answer):

    1. Is two gay people marrying one another morally wrong, in your opinion?

    2. If so, why is it wrong? On what basis do you hold that opinion?

    3. If so, is your opinion about it MORE than a mere opinion? Is gay folk marrying factually morally wrong? Is it something that God literally disapproves of, not only in your opinion, but as a point of fact?

    I believe that you hold the view that this behavior IS wrong because “the Bible…” and thus, you do appear to take it as a rule book (ie, Is gay marriage wrong? Bible says, “Yes, all gay practices are wrong, universally so, and therefore, gay marriage is wrong!” The Bible says it, I believe it, that settles it…)… like that. But please clarify.

    If you don’t think it is objectively, factually morally wrong to be gay and marry another gay fella, then do you think that people who denounce the behavior are morally wrong for doing so “because the Bible…”?

    You tell me.

    ~Dan

    • 1. Two people engaging in sexual activity beyond the bounds of marriage (which is never used Biblically to refer to any arrangement other than M/F) is clearly referred to as sinful in both the Old and New Testaments.
      2. In my mind it’s not an issue as “marriage” is not the issue, it’s behavior.
      3. See above.

  50. paynehollow says:

    That 2. being not in bold is puzzling. I put B tags around that whole 1, 2, 3 passage, and yet, it selectively did not make the 2nd point bold. Odd.

  51. paynehollow says:

    Craig…

    If “staying together, literally, is the point of marriage”, then how can you suggest that one who leaves a marriage has done something commendable?

    This whole angle is a problem/indicator of the problem of what I’m calling treating the Bible as a rulebook.

    Clearly, most of us think that a healthy marriage is a good thing. Two people in love (leaving out the whole gay thang for now), committing to one another and the community to form a family “til death do us part…” It’s a beautiful, good thing.

    But sometimes, circumstances change. For instance, the abusive situation.

    When the woman married him, she didn’t realize he had this violence problem, but now she is being abused, physically and emotionally. What to do?

    Well, many times, these women will want to redeem the situation, seek counseling, try to make it work. And sometimes, perhaps that works – the abuser was just having a bad day one time and it truly never happens again, she forgives him and they move on. Beautiful.

    But what about the times where it doesn’t work like that? What should she do?

    Leave him and divorce his abusive ass, most rational people would say who care about the woman.

    “But… the Bible!” some would/have said over the years. “The Bible says… JESUS says! that the only valid reason for divorce is adultery and while he may be a filthy abuser, he has never cheated on her with another woman, so…. Bible says, Nope! Can’t leave him, can’t divorce him at least. Sorry. Work it out!”

    No, no, no. We don’t create rules simply because “the Bible…” that is treating the Bible like a rule book, like a holy magic 8 balls where we find Answers for How to Live Today, right directly literally from its wonderful pages! No, no, no.

    We can certainly be informed about the wonderful truths of the Bible, but ultimately the Bible is about grace, not about rules. Yes, in that culture (and ours, today) staying together and making marriages work is the general ideal, but it’s not a Rule From God, do or die, regardless of how irrational it may seem…

    Yes, “don’t work on the Sabbath” is the general ideal, but, well, what is the Sabbath? Only Friday sundown to Saturday sundown? or do we need to be a literalist about it? Isn’t the point of the teaching about finding Rest. Take the ideal of REST seriously, but don’t apply a literal rule woodenly directly from that ancient culture to ours. Use your head. Use God’s Word written upon your heart. Use your God-given reasoning. Apply ideals with grace, not with a hammer.

    That’s what I’m talking about.

    So, does the abused woman divorce her husband after trying to work it out? Or is the answer a literal “No, because… the Bible…”?

    ~Dan

    • “This whole angle is a problem/indicator of the problem of what I’m calling treating the Bible as a rulebook.”

      Yet your own words suggest otherwise. Once you reconcile the difference between your two positions, We can talk. Staying together either IS “the reason for marriage” or it isn’t. If it IS, then failing to stay together would be problematic, if it isn’t then you have misspoken.

  52. paynehollow says:

    Craig…

    Yet He clearly says, “‘FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH ‘?”. So, if He was not speaking specifically of a man (singular) and a woman (singular) and “this reason”, how do you propose to get around His actual words.

    I am NOT proposing getting around his actual words. I’m looking at his actual words.

    “So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.””

    The point, Jesus was making to the Pharisees who were asking if they could divorce their wives, was NOT to split up but to stay together. “FOR THIS REASON…” What reason? To become one flesh (figuratively), to STAY TOGETHER (the actual point).

    How is that getting around his words? It’s his literal words.

    Let me get you to clarify: What specifically do you think the “reason” is Jesus is speaking about? Do you think Jesus is saying “Because they are male and female, they should get married for THAT reason…”?

    Because how does that answer the question being asked of him, in context? Clearly, the “reason” being spoken of there is to stay united, to stay together… this is what Jesus was literally saying.

    Are you actually disagreeing with that?

    Craig…

    You still haven’t provided anything remotely like proof of your opinions

    It is not provable. I’m just saying what it clearly seems to be saying and finding it difficult that you actually disagree. But I can NOT speak authoritatively and say, “On Jesus’ behalf, this is what he meant in this text…” I can offer my opinion. As can you.

    The difference is, if asked, I always make it clear that it’s my opinion. Will you do the same?

    Craig…

    …You also have not answered at least one of my questions.

    Coy. Which one? I don’t see any that I’ve missed.

    ~Dan

    • “What specifically do you think the “reason” is Jesus is speaking about? Do you think Jesus is saying “Because they are male and female, they should get married for THAT reason…”?”
      1. Jesus specifically says “man” and “woman” not people, not persons, this must be significant.
      2. The point was the sanctity of the marriage relationship. He is quite clearly suggesting something more significant that simply cohabitation (one flesh must mean something).
      3. The issue is in the context of the Mosaic law v. Christ’s law.
      4. This issue is that man and woman were created for this unique relationship. (Hint Jesus actually says this)
      5. This concept is one that flows throughout scripture and the Pharisees would have known this. Their intent was not a ruling on divorce, but to trap Jesus into saying something they thought was wrong.

      “It is not provable.”

      No kidding.

      “Which one? I don’t see any that I’ve missed.”

      I’m not sure why you think I should find things for you.

      My answer is written as I said above, but it’s long and I’m not sure what the best way to post it is.

      But for now, I’m done.

  53. “You don’t think those were rules for those people at that time? Maybe not. In context, it sure seems like they were rules at that time.”

    I haven’t actually argued one side of this or the other, I was responding to the claim of fact that you made, and suggesting that you provide proof of said claim. The fact that you chose to attempt to force to to prove a claim I have not made, while failing to support your own claim speaks volumes for you ability to support your claim

    “Or is your point that they are universal rules? Well, again, it seems clear to me. I can’t prove it, other than the fact that YOU DO NOT take them for universal rules either, so it does not appear that we disagree.”

    I haven’t made a point, you have. If you’d care to prove your point, feel free. But, I see no compelling reason to prove a point that I haven’t made.

    To remind you of the exact claim you literally made. “The rules that are in there were time and place specific. As rules always are.”

    So, it’s all you.

    Polygamy, it’s never endorsed either. Again, “hard” evidence will settle this.
    Slavery as we know it is never condoned either. There are rules for how slaves should be treated, but slavery itself is never commended or normative for the Israelites.
    Selling children, so why bring up something that isn’t mentioned. How ridiculous.

    Once again, no one is claiming that the Bible is a rule book. Why do you continue to pretend otherwise. The Bible is a book and it clearly contains; rules, guidelines, advice, wisdom and commands, it is not defined by any of those.

  54. paynehollow says:

    Craig…

    Slavery as we know it is never condoned either.

    Craig, I’m sure you’re not trying intentionally to be a prick, but by ignoring the giant elephant of evidence in the room, you are showing yourself to be one.

    GOD COMMANDED ISRAEL (if you take it as literal history) to go in, slaughter all the adults and take home the virgin girls to be their forced “wives.” That is sexual slavery, not only endorsed by God, but COMMANDED by God. Other places, God commands Israel to capture people, take them back to their land and make them slaves.

    That IS slavery as we know it.

    Do you disagree?

    Do you think the killing of a girls’ family and the forcible kidnapping of her and making her your “wife” is NOT slavery of the worst sort, as we know it?

    Do you think that God commands something that God does not endorse?

    ~Dan

    • Dan, As you constantly whine when things go “off topic”, I’m not sure why you want to belabor this off topic point. There is plenty of information available for you to peruse elsewhere, i see no reason to indulge you any further on this. Especially considering your continued use of the epithet “prick”. If you want to be “grace-filled” fine, but practice what you preach.

  55. paynehollow says:

    Craig, you and your kindred repeatedly offer this tripe, even when it’s been repeatedly shown to be utterly false:

    Slavery as we know it is never condoned either.

    As has been pointed out multiple times, there are different types of slavery spoken of in the Bible, that much is true. Some of it is more of a voluntary, indentured slave, of a type different than American Slavery in the past. So far as that goes, you can make the case that it is a different type of slavery (although, that too, is condemned by the Prophets and others as being exploitative and oppressive, repeatedly).

    But as I have pointed out, there is also the type of slavery that is NOT “voluntary” (more on that in a second) – the captured citizens or virgin girls of other nations were also enslaved, and that was decidedly not voluntary.

    Can you agree that a slavery “as we know it” DID exist in the Bible and quit repeating this false claim?

    Further, returning to the “voluntary” slavery of Israelites who experienced hard times, this is true, it was a slavery initiated by the FATHER of a poor family. He may sell himself into slavery to pay off a debt that he could not otherwise settle, for instance. This would be a form of a safety net in a society to “help” the poor the best they could in that time, in those circumstances. But, the father could also sell his daughter into slavery or marriage. Her wilingness to do it was not an issue, not in a patriarchal society. This was, no doubt, often not voluntary and, even when voluntary (when you’re raised with a particular system, you may see no options but to comply), that “rule” that was in place of a forced slavery of one’s children is in no way a model or rule we want to implement today. In our culture, this would be a horror and a crime.

    The point remains: We don’t pick out rules from the Bible because “the Bible…” That is not the way to treat the Bible from a rational point of view, or even from a biblical point of view. You agree with that, at least insofar as you would never consider selling your children as a moral alternative to welfare (I’m guessing) for the poorest.

    The Bible is not a rule book for modern people. The Bible does endorse slavery (at least if “God commands” is considered an endorsement) of the sort we know.

    ~Dan

  56. paynehollow says:

    I asked…

    “What specifically do you think the “reason” is Jesus is speaking about? Do you think Jesus is saying “Because they are male and female, they should get married for THAT reason…”?”

    Craig responded…

    1. Jesus specifically says “man” and “woman” not people, not persons, this must be significant.

    Why? Why “must” it be significant? Were there marriages that were formed of something other than man/woman at that time? No. I would suggest that textually, it is not significant in the least, it’s just Jesus pointing to marriages because that was the topic at hand.

    So, you are free to hold an opinion that it “must” be significant, but I hope you can appreciate that it “must” be more than you just stating that to make it reality.

    You continued…

    2. The point was the sanctity of the marriage relationship. He is quite clearly suggesting something more significant that simply cohabitation (one flesh must mean something).

    Why? What “must” it mean?

    Craig…

    3. The issue is in the context of the Mosaic law v. Christ’s law.

    That’s a fine guess. I would put it more like “Mosaic law vs Christ’s way…” but perhaps that’s just semantics. I would just want to emphasize that Christ’s way is not a way of laws and legalism, but grace.

    Craig…

    4. This issue is that man and woman were created for this unique relationship. (Hint Jesus actually says this)

    According to whom? The issue, it seems to me straight from the text: Is it okay to divorce? If so, when? In addressing this issue, Jesus emphasized the notion of the ideal permanence of marriage, of staying together.

    Craig…

    5. This concept is one that flows throughout scripture and the Pharisees would have known this. Their intent was not a ruling on divorce, but to trap Jesus into saying something they thought was wrong.

    On this much, I think you’re right. I just see that there is nothing here to suggest Jesus’ point is to emphasize the male/female nature of marriage as a unique and Only This and Nothing Else kind of a deal. I think that is clearly reading into the text some modernist interpretation that could not have been there at the time it was delivered.

    Craig, you then appeared to agree with me, where I said that “It is not provable.”

    So then, are you saying that on these topics, on these interpretations, that you do not speak with the authority of God or of fact, but you’re offering your opinions of what these texts mean, but that you can’t prove you’re correct and, in fact, you do not know you are correct, it’s just what makes most sense to you?

    Could you clarify that?

    ~Dan

  57. paynehollow says:

    Craig…

    Once you reconcile the difference between your two positions, We can talk. Staying together either IS “the reason for marriage” or it isn’t. If it IS, then failing to stay together would be problematic, if it isn’t then you have misspoken.

    You have misunderstood my position.

    MY position is that an ideal marriage would stay together. I’m not saying that it is the “reason for marriage.”

    What I said was that, in that context and in that time, Jesus was saying that was the POINT of marriage – to stay together, for the two to become symbolically one, for life.

    As an answer to the question being asked of him at that time and in that place, I think Jesus’ words – as long as we don’t treat them legalistically – were right on. But I’m not saying that staying together is the “reason for marriage.” In fact, looking back, I can’t find anywhere that I uttered those words, except in repeating you.

    Do you understand your mistake, now?

    So, with your mistake clarified, you can see I have not misspoke nor do I hold “two positions…” Understand?

    So, returning to the problem of treating the Bible like a rulings book…

    ~Dan

    • So, your entire point hinges on what you consider to be the semantic difference between the “point” of marriage and the “reason” for marriage.

  58. paynehollow says:

    So, I asked if two gay folk marrying was morally wrong and if so, why? and you responded…

    1. Two people engaging in sexual activity beyond the bounds of marriage (which is never used Biblically to refer to any arrangement other than M/F) is clearly referred to as sinful in both the Old and New Testaments.

    So, are you not saying “It is wrong because… ‘the Bible…'”?

    How is that NOT treating the Bible as a rulings book?

    How is that NOT saying, “How do we know if marriage between gay folk (and the sexual intercourse that implies) is morally wrong? Because the Bible implies that it is and that’s all we need to know…”?

    Yes, I do think you are still treating the Bible as a Holy Magic 8 Ball. By all means, clarify how you’re not doing so.

    On my second and third questions (2. WHY is it wrong? and 3. Is it a fact or just your opinion?) your response was less than clear. You said…

    2. In my mind it’s not an issue as “marriage” is not the issue, it’s behavior.
    3. See above.

    ? Why is it wrong? Because it’s not an issue as “marriage is not an issue, it’s behavior…”?

    What does that mean? ON WHAT BASIS do you consider the “behavior” (here I’ll assume you’re talking about sex) in the context of marriage morally wrong?

    Is your answer NOT “because the Bible – as I interpret it – gives us a ruling that any and all gay behavior is wrong forever and in any circumstance…”? And is that not the same as saying, “cause, the bible…”?

    …and how does that answer if it is a fact, God’s Word or just your unsupported and unprovable opinion?

    Looking forward to a clear and direct answer.

    ~Dan

    • “How is that NOT treating the Bible as a rulings book?”

      Oh look, the goalposts move. Now you’ve been caught in the “rule book” lie, so you think changing the terminology makes it less offensive.

      It’s not treating the Bible as a “rulings book”, because the Bible is not a “rulings book”. The Bible is a multifaceted work that contains many and varied elements. One of those elements are “rules”. Technically commandments or laws, but it’s immaterial. It is impossible to argue that the Bible does not contain various standards of behavior that those who follow God are supposed to follow. Some of these are universal, some are not. The problem is not what the text says, it’s what level of authority you give it.

      “How is that NOT saying, “How do we know if marriage between gay folk (and the sexual intercourse that implies) is morally wrong? Because the Bible implies that it is and that’s all we need to know…”?”

      It’s a good start. Again, please demonstrate any positive or neutral mention of sex outside the bounds of m/f marriage. You can’t because it doesn’t exist. So, you are arguing from silence, and personal experience. Great, it’s just subjective and ultimately meaningless.

      “? Why is it wrong? Because it’s not an issue as “marriage is not an issue, it’s behavior…”?”

      If the underlying behavior is wrong, then dressing it up as marriage doesn’t make it right.

      “What does that mean? ON WHAT BASIS do you consider the “behavior” (here I’ll assume you’re talking about sex) in the context of marriage morally wrong? ”

      See above.

      “Is your answer NOT “because the Bible – as I interpret it – gives us a ruling that any and all gay behavior is wrong forever and in any circumstance…”? And is that not the same as saying, “cause, the bible…”?

      …and how does that answer if it is a fact, God’s Word or just your unsupported and unprovable opinion?”

      If it makes you feel better to attempt to denigrate the historic Orthodox viewpoint which i agree with, feel free.

      Your problem is that all you have to offer in return is “Because I say so.” or Because this is how it seems to me based on my limited experiences and my Reason.”.

      If given the choice between the Bible and Dan, I’ll take my chances with the Bible.

  59. RE slavery, There is plenty of work that has been done regarding the Bible and slavery, so I see no reason to rehash it here. Suffice it to say that the I’ve not seen God commanding the taking of slaves as much as proscribing the treatment of the slaves that were taken. In terms of making captives wives, there is ample evidence that this was to prevent the type of sexual slavery you seem to be talking about because a wife has status and protection that a slave didn’t.

    Despite that, the fact that you are down to accusing me of supporting sex slaves says plenty.

    Again, the grace filled name calling is really helpful to your position.

    1. It must be significant because Jesus chose to specify, He could have said people or beings or whatever, He didn’t.

    2. Again, given the multiple uses of the “one flesh” through out the OT, it seems reasonable to conclude that Jesus used the quote from the Hebrew scriptures for a reason. Usually when Jesus quoted Hebrew scripture it indicated something significant.

    3. Christs own words would disagree with you. He seemed pretty explicit that those who love Him would follow His rules (laws/commandments/etc). So, you can think this, but Jesus would seem to disagree.

    4. Again, the multiple instances of the Hebrew scriptures and the “one flesh” aspect of marriage, the use of marriage as an image of Christs relationship to the Church, there are plenty of reasons to conclude the the marriage relationship is unique. Not the least of which is the “God has joined together” aspect. Seems presumptuous to decide that what “God has joined together”, man can split apart with no repercussions.

    5. As long as you choose to ignore the specifics of man/woman used by Jesus and the complete lack of any reference to anything other than M/W marriage, I guess you could conclude that marriage describes some other arrangement. You just can’t support that notion from scripture.

    Yes, I agree that you can’t or won’t provide proof for the claims of fact you make. We agree on that. I also agree that you expect more proof from others than you provide for yourself.

  60. Dan, I would be tempted to ask whether you believe a person could disagree with your four-part opinion and do so in good faith, but I believe I already know that the answer is no.

    After all, I disagree with the first half of your third statement…

    3. That they can not support it as a fact does not mean that it’s not a fact, just that they do not know that it is a fact or [should?] demand others agree with them because they speak it as a “fact” or as “God’s Word.”

    …as I believe that, as a matter of epistemology, at least SOME claims can be known even if they cannot be proven, and I believe that the clear meaning of a text CAN be known even if its meaning cannot meet some vague standard of proof, and do you agree to disagree? Do you accept that my belief can be reached in good faith? No, you do not: because I believe some of the Bible’s teachings are clear beyond dispute, you accuse me of presuming to speak for God and even confusing myself with God.

    You present your beliefs as “one man’s opinion,” but you berate, insult, and slander people who dare to disagree with you.

    I appreciate the earlier clarification, but especially since I wrote that your position is that “a claim must be proven to be considered a fact” — you omit the word “considered” in your clarification — I don’t see how your position is the “opposite” of what I wrote rather than a restatement or something close to it.

    You write about a particular example, “since the fella does not see it, can not demonstrate it, can not prove it, he does not, as a point of fact, ‘know’ it.” [emphasis mine]

    You seem to “know” that he does not “know” what he claims, but you’ve never even attempted to demonstrate or prove what you supposedly “know.”

    Quite often, I see that you do not hold your own positions to the standards that you try to impose upon others.

    You claim that a claim must be prove-able to be know-able, you act as if you know this claim to be a fact, but you never attempt to prove it.

    And you claim that a text’s meaning cannot be known with confidence, you act as if you know this to be a fact, but you never attempt to prove that, either.

    Your stated standards for epistemology are ridiculous in any case, but since you do not seem bound by them personally, and since you do not even try to show how your own claims meet those standards, I doubt that you really believe in them.

    You may think those standards are useful rhetorical weapons to deploy against your opponents, but obviously you don’t even attempt to live by them.

    Lucy Pevensie could not prove or demonstrate the existence of Narnia, and yet, as a point of fact, she did know that Narnia existed, because she had been there.

    About context, I just think your conclusions are striking in their contrast.

    In advanced societies with post-industrial economies and a safety-net welfare system that is far beyond the prisons and workhouses of Dickens’ London, there need be no modern equivalent to poor Lazarus, languishing at a rich man’s gate, starving for even scraps that fell from the rich man’s table while dogs would come and lick his festering wounds.

    In fact, most poor people in the advanced western world have the comfort of a climate-controlled home, a refrigerator for keeping food from spoiling, a wealth of entertainment options from the Internet and at least one cable television, the ability to communicate FROM anywhere TO anyone with a mobile phone, and the ability to travel hundreds of miles with ease by owning at least one automobile — ALL OF WHICH were out of reach for even popes, European kings, and Chinese emperors just a few short centuries ago.

    And yet you still think the Bible’s teachings on wealth, poverty, and economics are extremely relevant for today, and it’s obvious why: they’re relevant because they can be conscripted into your statist political agenda.

    I think you stray from the gospel by emphasizing Christ’s teachings over His identity and saving work — it’s a mistake particularly because, as I showed above, the former points to the latter — and I think you’re wrong to focus on the ethical teachings of “Christ’s way” to the exclusion of His other teachings, e.g., about Scripture, judgment, the reason God made us male and female, and ESPECIALLY His identity and His mission.

    But I could at least respect your focus on Christ’s ethical teachings if it weren’t so predictably selective. A person who tried to follow all of the commands of Christ would have my esteem even if I think he’s doomed in trying to follow Christ as Lord without first trusting Christ as Lord.

    But you urge people to follow Christ’s command to care for the poor, while you undermine His command to be faithful to your wedding vows, going so far as to re-frame a broken vow as a commendable act of repentance. And you urge people to practice pacifism and look out for society’s most vulnerable, but you cover for the often violent murder of literally millions of children in the womb, invoking privacy rights and twisted euphemisms about medical procedures.

    In all of that, you ignore Christ’s clear command for honesty in our speech, letting your yes be yes and your no be no: instead, your apparent intent in communication is obfuscation rather than clarification, making your position look as moderate and mundane and orthodox as possible, even if that means using misleading language in the process.

    In your ethics, you do not behave like a Christian. You behave like a radical Leftist invoking Christianity for purposes of propaganda.

    Upon my noting that Jesus based His position on marriage on a principle “that precedes the Fall and goes right to God’s creation of man,” you ask:

    ‘…in my opinion,’ you mean? Or are you speaking for Jesus?

    You present a false dilemma. One can point out the clear teachings of Jesus without presuming to speak for Him.

    In this particular case, Jesus quoted Genesis 1 and Genesis 2, passages which DO indeed precede the Fall in Genesis 3, and which do describe God’s creation of man.

    And in Matthew 19:4, Jesus explicitly asks, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female?”

    I’m simply point out what Jesus clearly taught.

    You know, you can put an end to the appearance you project to be arrogantly presuming to speak for God or conflating your opinions with facts and God’s Word by simply making clear that your opinions ARE only your opinions, not proven in any sense.

    Here again, we see you equate mere opinions with claims that are not proven, but you have never proven the equivalence. Time and again, you presume to lecture others about what is fact and what is “in the real world” and (here) what is true “as a point of fact,” but you almost **NEVER** attempt to prove what you claim.

    But again, a person isn’t “arrogantly presuming to speak for God” merely by pointing out what God has already said quite clearly.

    In short: ONE CAN BE A WITNESS OF GOD’S REVELATION TO MAN WITHOUT PRESUMING TO TAKE GOD’S PLACE.

    The Christian good news and the Christian duty of evangelism are not sensible otherwise.

    It appears that I need to expand on the bottom line.

    You think the Bible is a book of Truths, but you don’t think ANY of those truths can be grasped with certainty — and you think that those who disagree are guilty of arrogant presumption, bordering on literal megalomania, when they affirm its Truths and communicate them to others.

    That’s simply not a plausible position to hold.

    Lucy Pevensie knew Narnia existed, and so did her brother Edmund. He had been there, he knew that Lucy was telling the truth, but he lied and feigned ignorance and tried to make his sibling look wicked or crazy.

    His doing so was nothing less than evil.

  61. Dan, you write, “Jesus often mocked his religious zealots.”

    He did no such thing. He commended and commanded what would be denounce as zealotry, e.g., loving God whole-heartedly, with such devotion that you carry your cross daily to the site of your flesh’s execution, that you would rather maim your flesh rather than let it cause you to sin, and that your commitment to Him makes it seem like you hate your family and even your own life.,

    What Jesus mocked what hypocrisy, such as laying burdens on others that people would not bear for themselves. Which reminds me, you claim that a fact must be prove-able in order to be know-able; you act as if that claim is a fact, but you’ve never attempted to prove it.

    He also criticized teachers who relaxed the exacting standards of God’s moral law, those who concluded, e.g., that only outright acts of murder and adultery were wrong while murderous and lust-filled thoughts were permissible. Perhaps they were using mere harm as a standard, but their efforts to relax God’s law makes me wonder where exactly Christ, His Prophets, or His Apostles commended divorce as an act of repentance.

    And Jesus criticized those who set aside God’s law for merely human traditions, and in doing so He equated what God said with what Moses said. But I’m sure somewhere Jesus criticized Moses for daring to speak for God.

  62. paynehollow says:

    “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3 So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. 4 They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.

    5 “Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries[a] wide and the tassels on their garments long; 6 they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; 7 they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by others.

    8 “But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. 9 And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10 Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. 11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.
    Seven Woes on the Teachers of the Law and the Pharisees

    13 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to. [14] [b]

    15 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.

    16 “Woe to you, blind guides! You say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it means nothing; but anyone who swears by the gold of the temple is bound by that oath.’ 17 You blind fools! Which is greater: the gold, or the temple that makes the gold sacred? 18 You also say, ‘If anyone swears by the altar, it means nothing; but anyone who swears by the gift on the altar is bound by that oath.’ 19 You blind men! Which is greater: the gift, or the altar that makes the gift sacred? 20 Therefore, anyone who swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. 21 And anyone who swears by the temple swears by it and by the one who dwells in it. 22 And anyone who swears by heaven swears by God’s throne and by the one who sits on it.

    23 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. 24 You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.

    25 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.

    27 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. 28 In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.

    29 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous. 30 And you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ 31 So you testify against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Go ahead, then, and complete what your ancestors started!”

    ~Jesus

    Some of that seems mocking to me, it certainly is criticizing of them. Feel free to disagree.

    ~Dan

  63. If you read my comment closely, you’ll see that I don’t doubt that Jesus mocked His opponents. That is a conclusion we both reach, suggesting that perhaps some parts of the text’s meaning really is clear beyond all good-faith dispute — or that perhaps it’s not arrogant presumption to reach that conclusion.

    Jesus mocked the religious teachers, certainly.

    But it appears that Jesus mocked them for their hypocrisy, not their zealotry.

    From what you quote from Matthew 23, Jesus called the Pharisees hypocrites more than once — specifically, in verses 13, 15, 23, 25, 27, and 29.

    Where did Jesus call them zealots? Or condemn them for their enthusiastic and whole-hearted devotion?

    Or are you so friggin’ eager to object to my criticism that you don’t even bother to read that criticism for basic comprehension?

  64. paynehollow says:

    I’m using zealot differently than you are. More akin to the unthinking fundamentalism of today that blindly assumes their traditions and interpretations are equivalent to facts and “god’s word…” rather than humbly treating their opinions as mere human opinions. My apologies if that was not clear.

    ~Dan

  65. Of course you’re using the term differently, with no correspondence either to the dictionary’s definition or to how the Bible uses the term.

    In both the field of philosophy and in the dictionary, the concept of objectivity never implies unanimity, but you insist that an objective claim must be an incontestable claim.

    Generally, when people refer to the Bible as the Word of God, they mean it is the Word of God, that is, God’s written revelation to man. You affirm that you believe the Bible is the Word of God, but for that phrase you mean only some vague and undefined term of honor.

    And when orthodoxy teaches that we are saved by faith, it means faith in Jesus, but when you say we’re saved by faith, you mean faith in his teachings.

    But despite all your eccentric uses of the English language, you remain surprised when you conclude that others just don’t understand you.

    Yeah, that makes sense.

    You claim that, generally, the meaning of a text CANNOT be known beyond all good-faith dispute, and, specifically, that no part of God’s revelation to man can be discern clearly enough that a man can be a witness to that revelation without presuming to speak for God.

    This claim of yours, do you believe it’s an actual fact or only an opinion?

    If you believe it’s a fact, then — by your own absurd standards — you have an obligation to prove your position.

    If you believe it’s an opinion, then you really have no business accusing others of blind, unthinking arrogance.

    Ultimately, Dan, you’re guilty of exhibiting a false humility, writing eloquently but dishonestly about how people should be “humbly treating their opinions as mere human opinions” — and I say you’re dishonest about this pose, because you do not hesitate to call people every name in the book for disagreeing with your mere human opinions.

    You say that people must acknowledge that others can disagree in good faith, but you don’t practice what you preach when it comes to your positions.

    It’s arrogance and near-literal megalomania when other people believe that their position is true beyond dispute, but it’s par for the course for you to hector, berate, insult, and slander people for not bowing to your greatness in submitting to your opinions, which you oh-so-humbly present as the facts of the matter in the real world.

    “Can we not agree” that Dan Trabue is right when he insists that his position is just reality? That’s really the ONLY reasonable starting point for a good-faith disagreement on those subjects where Dan so very graciously permits such disagreement.

  66. …and, Dan, it’s worth pointing out that, looking at Matthew 23 and the rest of the New Testament, it’s not at all clear that Jesus actually did mock zealots as defined by your eccentric and idiosyncratic use of the word.

  67. paynehollow says:

    Bubba…

    This claim of yours, do you believe it’s an actual fact or only an opinion?

    You keep asking this as if it has any meaning (other than to make you look foolish) or as if it hasn’t been addressed multiple times.

    We know things when there is hard data to support it/demonstrate it.

    If there is no hard data to support it, we do not know it.

    We might have theories about it based on some evidence that hints at it, we might think those theories or opinions are reasonable, given the evidence, but we do not objectively as a fact “know” it.

    But by all means, tell us Bubba: How does one absolutely know something if there is no objective data to demonstrate it?

    Answer that question (or the multiple others you continue to dodge that poke holes in your theories and superstitions) or just give up and admit that you can’t.

    ~Dan

    • “We know things when there is hard data to support it/demonstrate it.”
      “If there is no hard data to support it, we do not know it.”

      Then provide “hard data” to support your earlier fact claim about rules (you know the one you keep pretending you didn’t say, despite the multiple copy/pastes and requests for “hard data”).

      Or for that matter provide “hard data” to support the claims you have made above.

  68. paynehollow says:

    re: Zealot… from Merriam Websters:

    a person who has very strong feelings about something (such as religion or politics) and who wants other people to have those feelings;

    a fanatical partisan – a religious zealot;

    Example:
    zealots on both sides of the issue resorted to name-calling and scare tactics

    Fanatic:
    marked by excessive enthusiasm and often intense uncritical devotion

    This is, in my opinion, indeed one of the problems of the Pharisees and part of their hypocrisy. Feel free to disagree, I think the word is apt – both for the 1st century pharisees as well as modern (what I’m calling) fundamentalists, as demonstrated in your inability to rationally set aside your feelings and biases and look at the topics we discuss critically and reasonably, not emotionally or with bullying and demonization to push your biases.

    ~Dan

    • “zealots on both sides of the issue resorted to name-calling…”

      I guess we can see who the zealot is here. At least according to MW.

  69. paynehollow says:

    So, given your earlier comment on zealotry…

    He commended and commanded what would be denounce as zealotry, e.g., loving God whole-heartedly, with such devotion that you carry your cross daily to the site of your flesh’s execution

    And given the common English usage of the word Zealot (as seen in the MW citation above), perhaps you ought to admit an error in your comment here…

    Of course you’re using the term differently, with no correspondence either to the dictionary’s definition or to how the Bible uses the term.

    …when clearly I used the word at least as is commonly used in English, with a negative connotation (ie, that of a fanatic, unthinking and harsh). But there’s probably little chance of you admitting an error, as that just doesn’t seem to be part of your M.O. Indeed, this is a sign of the sort of radical fundamentalism (not the good sort) that I’ve been citing – blindly and arrogantly following one’s traditions and cultural biases, regardless of evidence to the contrary. But, you could demonstrate that you’re not that far gone by having the humility to at least admit an honest mistake.

    For the record, I know there are multiple definitions of Zealous/Zealot. And indeed, it is good to have enthusiasm and zeal towards one’s ideals, as long as it is tempered with humility and reality.

    Indeed, as Paul says…

    It is fine to be zealous, provided the purpose is good, and to be so always, not just when I am with you.

    And Paul should know. He said once, noting his old blood persecution days…

    “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city. I studied under Gamaliel and was thoroughly trained in the law of our ancestors. I was just as zealous for God as any of you are today…

    But we know where that blind zeal lead him, don’t we?

    …I persecuted the followers of this Way to their death

    So, clearly, even biblically, zealotry is not always a positive thing.

    For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge.

    Also, St Paul

    Beware zealotry, my friend. It must not be of the irrational, blindly biased sort.

    Agreed? Or is it asking to much for you to agree with me even when I’m making an extremely rational and extremely biblical point?

    Beware zealotry.

    ~Dan

  70. paynehollow says:

    Craig…

    1. It must be significant because Jesus chose to specify, He could have said people or beings or whatever, He didn’t.

    Craig, a quick an easy question: Is your point here (that it “must” be significant) a matter of fact or your personal opinion?

    I’m just seeing if on ANY of your all’s positions or fact claims where we differ, you have the reason and humility to admit it is a personal opinion, not a fact.

    ~Dan

    • I’m suggesting that if Jesus (presuming you agree with this) was actually God incarnate. That if Jesus came to earth for a limited time and for a specific purpose. That if Jesus invested the time and energy to respond to people. And if His followers took the time to record what happened. Then it seems reasonable to presume that He would have considered His words and used them to their greatest affect. So, when He had the chance to address this issue, He could have said anything, but He didn’t. He specifically referenced the created order of things. He specifically referenced the Hebrew scriptures. He specifically referenced Male and Female in the context of marriage. So, yes, when Jesus is specific and repetitive the usual conclusion is that He is making a specific point.

      Please feel free to provide “hard data” otherwise.

  71. paynehollow says:

    So, Craig, are all those dodges and snide remarks your way of saying, “No, I will not answer your questions, despite my earlier claim that I DO answer your questions…”?

    Fair enough.

    ~Dan

    • In order to address the question, some context is in order. So if we look earlier in Luke 16 we find this.
      “16 “The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John; since that time the gospel of the kingdom of God [n]has been preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it. 17 But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one [o]stroke of a letter of the Law to fail.”
      So we have a fairly clear and unambiguous claim that Jesus considered the Law and the Prophets (what would be referred to now as the OT) to be authoritative, and that the Law will exist until the end of heaven and earth.
      Then we have this; “18 “Everyone who [p]divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries one who is [q]divorced from a husband commits adultery.”
      This seems out of place, but it is germane to Dan’s “point” that “the point of marriage is staying together”, while proving problematic to his earlier contention that in certain circumstances that marriage can be set aside by one half of the couple, and that doing so is a commendable and heroic thing.

      It is appropriate here to ask to whom Jesus was speaking in Luke 16:19-31. Which category of people was He dealing with? The last verse before Jesus’ voice begins in this passage tells us. Verse 14 says, “And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided him.” Jesus was speaking to the Pharisees, a class of men who were notorious all through the Gospels for their refusal to deal honestly with Him and the truths He taught.
      We can be sure that of all the people Jesus taught, none were handled more guardedly than the wily Pharisees. They dealt in deception and subterfuge, but Jesus dealt with them wisely and truthfully. The safest way for Him to do this was by parable and allegory. Evidence that they did not understand many of His teachings can be found in Jesus’ prayer in Luke 10:21, “I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hath revealed them unto babes.” Mark 4:33, 34 clearly shows that Jesus’ lessons were almost invariably couched in parables: “And with many such parables spake he the word unto them: as they were able to hear it. But without a parable spake he not unto them; and when they were alone, he expounded all things to his disciples.”

      Who was the symbolic rich man? The Jews had been blessed above measure by a knowledge of God and his plan of salvation for all mankind. They had received “the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises.” Romans 9:4. Only a Jew would pray to “Father Abraham,” as we find the rich man doing later in the story. The Jewish nation was clearly represented by this character.
      By contrast, Lazarus symbolized all those people in spiritual poverty—the Gentiles—with whom the Israelites were to share their heritage. The words of Isaiah were well known to the Jews. “I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.” Isaiah 49:6.
      Unfortunately, the Jews had not shared their spiritual wealth with the Gentiles at all. Instead, they considered them as “dogs” that would have to be satisfied with the spiritual crumbs falling from their masters’ tables. The metaphor was known. Jesus had used it before in testing the faith of the Canaanite woman. “It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.” She responded accordingly: “Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ tables.” Matthew 15:26, 27.
      The rich Jews had hoarded the truth, and in so doing, they had corrupted themselves. Only moments before relating this parable, Jesus had rebuked the Pharisees for their spiritual conceit. “Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.” Luke 16:15. What was to be the result of this terrible conceit?
      The Jews had enjoyed “the good life” while on earth but had done nothing to bless or enrich their neighbors. No further reward was due. “Woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation. Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger.” Luke 6:24, 25.
      Conversely, the poor in spirit, symbolized by Lazarus, would inherit the kingdom of heaven. The Gentiles who hungered and thirsted after righteousness would be filled. The “dogs” and sinners, so despised by the self-righteous Pharisees, would enter heaven before they would. “Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.” Matthew 21:31.
      Jesus thus rebuked the Pharisees for their disregard of the Scriptures, foreseeing that even a supernatural event would not change the hearts of those who persistently rejected the teachings of “Moses and the prophets.” The miracle of raising the real-life Lazarus from the dead soon afterward confirmed the accuracy of Jesus’ conclusion. One did rise from the dead, yet the brothers of the “rich man” did not repent. In fact, the Pharisees even plotted to kill Lazarus after his resurrection. His very life was a reminder to them of their own hypocrisy.
      He was referring to the unfaithfulness of the Jews regarding their assigned responsibility. As stewards of the special message of truth, they utterly failed to share it with the Gentiles, who were eager to hear it. In fact, the entire chapter of Luke 16 is devoted to the subject of stewardship.

      Beginning in verse one, Christ gave another parable about stewardship of money or property. “There was a certain rich man, which had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods.” After dealing with the principle of being entrusted with material goods, Jesus opened up the issue of being entrusted with the truth. By the parable of another rich man, He graphically illustrated how they had proven just as unfaithful with spiritual riches as the steward had been unfaithful with physical wealth.
      It would be tragic to miss the actual point of the parable by removing it from the setting in which Jesus gave it. Let’s accept the lesson He was trying to teach and apply it to our own lives. Are we doing all we can to spread the message of salvation to others? Do we have a genuine love for those around us, and have we invited them to share our spiritual inheritance? If we hoard our riches, like the Jews of old, we will become self-righteous and corrupt. In contrast, by active, loving service, our relationship with Christ as well as with others will become stronger and more meaningful.

      Another theme from my research is the question “Is this a parable?”. Now while I have always assumed it was, below is a reasonable case that it may not be.

      “Following are some reasons that this should be considered a history of two real men and not a parable.
      Parables are true-to-life, but hypothetical, illustrative stories. The names of specific individuals are never given in them, but here the names of three men are given; Lazarus, Abraham, and Moses. Also mentioned are the “prophets” who were also real people. (“Moses and the prophets” is a general term for the whole Old Testament that refers to its human authors).
      It does not have the normal form of a parable with an introduction, analogy story, and application. Instead it is in the form of the narration of a real-life story given for the purpose of illustration.
      It does not use the principle of comparison in a way that is characteristic of parables. The discussion between the rich man and Abraham is not consistent with the parabolic style found in the Scriptures.
      It seems obvious that in relating this particular story when He did, the Lord Jesus was using a real-life account that many of those listening to Him that day could readily relate to it because they actually knew, or at least knew of, the two men involved. The rich man’s brothers may have even been in the audience.”

      Now, I’m not advancing the argument that this is or is not a parable, however given the questions raised it seems to be succumbing to a preconceived notion to presume that this story is definitely a parable and that it absolutely must be treated as one.
      It seems as though, one might need to lay some groundwork (for example “hard” evidence) supporting the notion that this story is without doubt a parable.
      Some thoughts about meaning
      “The main point of the story of the rich man and Lazarus is that an individual’s wealth and social standing, or the lack thereof, is not necessarily an indication of that person’s spiritual standing before God. Many of the Jews believed that the fact that they had accumulated wealth that afforded them social status and prominent positions in the religious community proved that they were under the blessing of God. They also thought, according to their logic, that those who were poor were under the curse of God. They no doubt appealed to the promises made to Israel in the Law of Moses concerning the blessings of prosperity for obedience to God’s Law and the curses of poverty because of disobedience, failing to recognize the national rather then the personal nature of those promises (see Deut. 28:1-45ff.; etc.). They were also ignoring the many warnings found in “Moses and the Prophets” that were directed towards the leaders of Israel who selfishly misused their power and wealth (see Isa. 56:10-12; Ezek. 34:1-4ff.; Micah 3:1-4; etc.).
      To challenge their seriously flawed thinking, the Lord Jesus told the parable of the unjust (or dishonest) steward (Luke 16:1-13). The main point of this parable was that the dishonest steward, who represented the Gentiles, was wiser than the “children of light,” a reference to the sons of Israel, who were to be a channel through which God’s light would reach the Gentiles, i.e., the nations of the world (Isa. 42:5-7; 49:5-6; 60:1-3; 62:1-3). The true Light of the World is Jesus Christ Himself (John 8:12), who is the Messiah of Israel. In the prophetic program, the only avenue through which the Gentiles can come to the Light is through the nation of Israel (Isa. 60:1-3; Zech. 8:20-23). The point of this parable was that those who were striving after riches were actually self-serving rather than servants of God. He was calling on them to choose between the two, saying: “No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon [money]” (Luke 16:13). The implication was that those whose priorities were based on accumulating wealth were demonstrating that their hearts were not right with God (cf. Matt. 6:19-21).
      On hearing Him, the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, scoffed at the Lord (Luke 16:14), who then accused them of being self-righteous and trying to press, or force their way into the Kingdom on their own terms (Luke 16:15-16). That is to say, they were counting on their self-proclaimed righteousness to open the door of the Kingdom to them. Jesus plainly declared that the terms of the Law were solid and could not be circumvented. The principles underlying the Mosaic Law express God’s character, and therefore the Law is more enduring than the whole of creation (Luke 16:17). He then revealed their hypocrisy by pointing out that their attitude about divorce and remarriage was not in line with God’s purposes (Luke 16:18; cf. Matt. 5:31-32; 19:3-9).
      The key to understanding the point that the Lord is making in telling the story of the rich man and Lazarus is found in verses 15 and 16; “And He said unto them, ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God. The Law and the Prophets were until John: since that time the Kingdom of God is preached and every man presseth into it” (Luke 16:15-16).
      Though their self-justification might gain them favor among men, it would not gain God’s favor because He knew what was in their heart (cf. Jer. 17:9-10). The things that men hold in high regard, things that gain them position and respect among men, are disgusting to God. In truth, the love of money reveals a covetous heart that has given its allegiance to “mammon” rather than God (cf. I Tim. 6:10).

      In the Law and the Prophets, a general term for the Old Testament Scriptures, is found the promise, or proclamation of God’s coming Kingdom on earth, which Israel was waiting for. John the Baptist came on the scene to introduce the Messiah, who would usher in the Kingdom Age, to Israel (John 1:26-34). After being baptized by John Jesus Christ began His public ministry by saying, “The Kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the Gospel” (see Mark 1:9-15).
      Of course, the Jews, especially the Pharisees, knew that entrance into the Kingdom was conditioned on obedience to God’s Law. To drive home His point about how the money-loving Pharisees were misusing their wealth, to their own peril, the Lord told the true story of the rich man and Lazarus. The rich man wasn’t lost because he had wealth, nor was Lazarus saved because he was poor. This was a matter of the heart with the focus being on the rich man, not Lazarus.
      The rich man’s failure to help Lazarus, a fellow Israelite, revealed that he ha

      • Contd.

        The rich man’s failure to help Lazarus, a fellow Israelite, revealed that he had a wicked heart, a non-repentant heart. By refusing to provide for the poor beggar sitting at his gate, the rich man was rebelling against God who, through Moses, had given Israel specific instructions on how those with resources were to treat their poor fellow countrymen (see Deut. 15:7-11). They were to open their hands wide in providing for the poor and needy in their land. This man showed that he did not love the Lord God of Israel with all of his heart, soul, and might as commanded by the Law (Deut. 6:4-5; cf. Mark 12:28-30). The evidence of this was that he did not love his neighbor, who in this case was Lazarus (Lev. 19:18; cf. Matt. 22:34-40). Although he thought he could force his way into God’s Kingdom, his heart attitude, which was demonstrated by his actions, proved him to be unworthy to enter.
        When he asked Abraham to send Lazarus back to warn his brothers about what awaited them beyond death’s door if they did not repent, “Abraham saith unto Him, They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them” (Luke 16:29). If, like the rich man, his brothers would not heed the warnings found in God’s Word, from Moses and the Prophets, neither would they believe someone who had been raised from the dead. This proved to be true as even after His own resurrection the leaders of Israel rejected the Lord Jesus as their Messiah. It is sad to say, but for the most part mankind has continued to reject Christ as savior, even until today.”

        So, to the questions. I’ve provide plenty of food for thought above, but I want to answer the questions asked.
        “What is the truth that is being passed on in this parable?”
        I’m not sure that is one “the truth” in this but I see several possibilities that are reasonable.
        1. That failure to live according to the standards set by God, results in certain specific unpleasant results.
        2. That the OT contains enough complete and understandable theology and Truth that anyone who is familiar with the OT has no excuses for failing to know and live by God’s standards.
        3. If (and this remains to be proven) this is a parable, then assuming a simplistic, wooden literal interpretation, will probably not result in gaining any significant understanding of the “truth”.
        4. Failing to provide for the needs of the poor (either material or spiritual) will send you to a bad place.
        5. Jesus expects his followers to live in certain ways (“If you love Me, obey my rules”)
        “What do they need to do to avoid the fate of the rich man?”
        Ultimately I’d suggest that the answer can be found in the Law and the Prophets, and that the audience probably knew the answer. I believe it is rooted in the purpose for God’s relationship with Israel. That Israel was supposed to be the light in the darkness and to be the earthly example of God’s kingdom, intending to draw people to God, rather than push them away.
        “Give to the needy?”
        If one takes a simplistic, wooden, literal approach then this is an easy answer on a very shallow level. But is it simply “give to the needy”? Doesn’t that set up a works based system? So on one shallow level the answer is yes, but to limit it to simply charity seems small and pointless.
        “Heed the call of the prophets to give to the needy?” How about heed the words of the Law and the Prophets and live by them.
        “What was the rich man’s failure?” Ultimately to heed the words of the Law, Moses, and the Prophets. Unless you propose that the guy was punished simply because he didn’t give one guy some food.
        “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.”
        “Convinced of what, according to this story?”
        Since those are Jesus’ words, not mine, you’d have to ask Him.

        • I know Dan claims that he finds the nesting comments a problem, so I’m going to comment here with a little message for him. All he has to do is click and he’ll come to this comment. If he does, then he could scroll up and see the two comment answer to one of his previous “the question”s. He continues to claim I won’t/don’t answer his questions while ignoring the actual answers where they do exist.

          My prediction is that there will be another comment at the end of the thread whining that I don’t answer him, and whatever other load of crap he wants to spew. All the while this will sit, ignored.

          • So far, my prediction is 100% accurate.

            • paynehollow says:

              ? With this mess, I don’t know what question it is you are addressing. So I’m wholly unsure of your point.

              How does this answer the question, “Do you “know” that your opinions/interpretations of a text are “facts,” or are they your opinions?”

              I see that you’ve answered a question about what the parable/story of Lazarus means TO YOU (given in great and unnecessary detail), but what of it?

              ~Dan

              • You see Dan, you have made my point. You posed the questions addressed in these answers earlier in the thread. Your questions are specifically addressed toward the end of the second comment. At the time you asked these questions, you were pretty adamant that these were “the questions” that must be answered. So I answered them. For my part, I did more than answer your questions by dealing with some context and addressing the assumptions underlying your questions.

                For the record, your questions. (it took all of 30 seconds of scrolling up to find them, it’s really not as challenging as you make it seem).

                ” What is the truth that is being passed on in this parable? What do they need to do to avoid the fate of the rich man? Give to the needy? Heed the call of the prophets to give to the needy? What was the rich man’s failure?”

                “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.”

                “Convinced of what, according to this story?”

                So, you asked, I answered.

                At that point, you chose to ignore the fact that I had answered your questions, you chose to ignore the questions contained in my answers, and you chose to act as if none of this had happened. I suspect that your excuse will be that it was so far back up the thread that you just couldn’t find it in all the chaos.

                So, my later question stands. Why, given your lack of interest in following up on the answers to your questions, should I continue to invest the time to answer?

                So, once again, you asked questions, you got answers. Your questions raised questions, I don’t have answers.

                You go right ahead and keep up the pretense that you answer every question, and that your even read the answers when they are given.

                FYI, this is why I intentionally (usually) use the nesting comments as it keeps topics somewhat contained instead of having to scroll back up through 2/3 of the thread because you decided to stop using them.

    • Dan,
      If you have an instance of a question undealt with feel free to point me in the right direction. I will admit that I don’t consider the same question asked repeatedly as worthy of repeated answers.

      Further, since you tend to ignore my answers (as demonstrated by the literally hundreds I’ve answered elsewhere), I fail to see what purpose it serves other than to allow you to drive the discussion where you prefer, and away from the things like providing “hard data” when you make claims of fact.

      I guess mockery and name calling are just par for the course, but heaven forbid Dan doesn’t get the answers he wants, when he wants them.

  72. Because I wouldn’t want to give Dan any excuse to call me more names or cause me of lying, Here is my response to his earlier questions.

  73. Dan, I apologize: in light of your bass-ackwards conclusions regarding the Pharisees, your slanderous accusation that I claim to speak for God merely by believing that some of the Bible’s teachings are clear beyond dispute, and your lunatic attempts to accuse theological conservatives of Pharasaism, your use of the idea of zealotry MAY make some kind of sense, but those prior premises are so deranged that you still shouldn’t be surprised that people just don’t understand you.

    Your invoking zealotry could hardly be more hypocritical, with your act about being concerned about “bullying and demonization.” If you were really opposed to such things, you wouldn’t accuse me of presuming to speak for God for merely pointing out what God has already clearly revealed.

    And you wouldn’t lie about my dodging questions.

    I’ve already explained my position that knowledge does not always require “hard data,” and I did so in the lengthy conversation at a blog post you started to discuss that very topic. I repeatedly pointed to the example of the law of non-contradiction as a logical maxim that is not based on hard data but remains self-evident and therefore know-able with real certainty.

    You never seemed interested in tackling that example, but that’s on you and your incurious mind. If you forgot about all this — another instance of your piss-poor memory — maybe you should try remembering that you can’t remember things, and stop leveling false accusations when you simply can’t keep up with the conversation.

    And on the subject of keeping up, you said that Jesus mocked zealots: quoting Paul is hardly direct evidence of what Jesus said — shall I now lament people who quote Paul more than Jesus, calling them Paulinists? — and you completely pervert Jesus’ teachings if you think He was accusing the Pharisees of “intense uncritical devotion.”

    It wasn’t that they loved God, not wisely but too well: they weren’t committed enough to God, their devotion wasn’t intense enough.

    In short, they cut corners.

    Look at what you quoted in Matthew 23. In 16-22, Jesus criticizes them for permitting dishonesty so long as the oath that was broken was made in a particular formula. In 23-24, Jesus says that they should have practiced tithing WITHOUT neglecting justice, mercy, and faithfulness. And in 25-26, He condemns them for being concerned for external, ceremonial cleanliness but not internal, moral holiness.

    Turn to Matthew 5, and you’ll see that Jesus criticized the Pharisees for forbidding ONLY adultery and murder while permitting lustful and hateful thoughts, and for encourage divorce so long as the paperwork was in order.

    In Matthew 15, we see what the problem is: the Pharisees broke God’s commandments for the sake of merely human tradition, and since Jesus immediately equates Moses’ words with God’s word, it’s clear that Jesus is affirming the authority of the written word of Scripture.

    Jesus claimed that He came to fulfill the law, not to abolish it, but you think He did indeed abolish the law, and that gets back to your unwillingness to address the substance of my arguments regarding Matthew 5.

    What the Pharisees did was cut corners in defiance of God’s clear commands recorded in Scripture. You think divorce can be a commendable act of repentance: I’m not the one guilty of Pharisaism.

    I argued at length for that position, just as I argued that the self-evident truth of the Law of Non-Contradiction is ample evidence that “hard data” is not always needed to know something with certainty, and you have never attempted to grapple with either argument. I’m not the one running from inconvenient arguments.

  74. It seems that Dan’s position is this:

    The Bible is a book of Truths, but NONE of those truths can be grasped with certainty — and those who disagree are guilty of arrogant presumption, bordering on literal megalomania, when they affirm its Truths and communicate them to others.

    And we’re saved by faith in Jesus’ Way, but NOT A SINGLE ASPECT of the meaning of His teachings is clear beyond dispute — and those who disagree are like the Pharisees in their blind, unthinking zealotry.

    The position is incoherent, but I see the advantages.

    First, in his political discussions, it allows Dan to claim to be a Christian while he joins “the other non-theists” in insinuating that faithful Christians are lunatics.

    Second, in his personal life, it allows him to persist in his every error and outright sin.

    The worst sin is pride, and a particularly pernicious form of pride is being unteachable, a characteristic that Proverbs routinely mocks in the fools who do not listen to wisdom. Just as HIV is particularly dangerous because it targets the immune system that fights other diseases, the sin of an unteachable spirit disables the system of feedback and correction that can address other sins.

    Dan’s position allows him to dismiss any correction as just another person’s opinion, no matter how clearly God’s revelation stands behind that correction.

    And he justifies his unteachable spirit with a false humility, on the ridiculous premise that recognizing and communicating God’s clear revelation in Scripture is equivalent to the arrogant presumption of speaking for God or confusing yourself with God.

    It’s very clever, invoking a false humility to justify a very real arrogance in being unteachable, hardening one’s position against all conceivable correction.

    It’s also grotesque, but it’s very clever.

  75. One last thing for the day, Dan.

    We know things when there is hard data to support it/demonstrate it.

    “If there is no hard data to support it, we do not know it.

    You act is you know these claims, but where is your “hard data” to support them? By your own standards, if you cannot produce “hard data” to support or demonstrate these claims, you do not know these claims.

    You should show that your standards are not internally incoherent. Your position can be disproven by a single counterexample, and I’ve provided just such a counter example in the law of non-contradiction — one of only several SELF-EVIDENT logical maxims that need no “hard data” as proof and indeed cannot be demonstrated to be true — but I do not bear the burden of disproving your position.

    Instead YOU bear the clear burden of proving your position.

    According to your own stupid standards, if you cannot demonstrate your position is true with some “hard data,” you cannot actually know your position is true.

    • “one of only several SELF-EVIDENT logical maxims that need no “hard data” as proof and indeed cannot be demonstrated to be true — but I do not bear the burden of disproving your position.
      “Instead YOU bear the clear burden of proving your position”.

      Right back at you Bubba.

      You have just beautifully summed up my position as applied to believers.

      One might call the “self evident” maxims on this blog to be something other than hard data, maybe even faith.

      And of course we do not bear your burden of disproving your wholly, or even partially “faith” based claim.

  76. paynehollow says:

    Bubba, you cold exonerate yourself right here, right now, if you could just take ONE biblical point where you and I disagree and demonstrate in what sense you “know” your position is correct.

    Frankly, since you seem to admit not being able to speak authoritatively on the Bible’s (or God’s) position, your claim that you somehow still “know” your positions (on some vague topics of our apparent disagreement which you have been thus far unwilling to name) seems entirely irrational and nonsensical. So, choose a topic on which we disagree and demonstrate in what real word sense you “know” your position and that my position (or Nash’s, if you prefer) are incorrect.

    I’ll await your response (or, given your past behavior, your non-response). But let it be noted that a non-response is really all the response any rational-thinking person is likely to need to know what we need to know about your “knowledge…”

    ~Dan

  77. Exonerate myself before whom, exactly?

    Just you, Dan? And why should I give two shits about your opinion?

    Or are you presuming to speak for other people — NOT merely a hypothetical group of figments who supposedly agree with you, but actual flesh-and-blood human beings? Who are these people, what are there names, and how can I contact them so that I can know that you speak for them?

    Have you really forgotten that, on more than one occasion, you insinuated that I was the one conducting an inquisition?

    Anyway, you believe, and I quote, “If there is no hard data to support it, we do not know it.”

    You’ve presented no hard data to prove your belief, so by your own standards you do not actually know that your position is true.

    On the other hand, I’ve done all that is strictly necessary to disprove your position: I’ve pointed to a single counterexample, namely the law of non-contradiction, a counterexample that you continue to ignore.

    I need no special authority to recognize the plainest and clearest teaching of the Bible, and, ONCE AGAIN, I believe the relative strengths of our arguments for contrasting interpretations really do speak for themselves, but on this subject, what matters above all is that you do not even attempt to prove that one can only know what can be proven, while I have disproven the claim with an obvious and elegant counterexample.

    What you’re trying to do is change the subject.

    Considering your position, I can understand why you would want to, but — when it’s clear that he’s trying to defend an indefensible position — a truly humble Christian with a truly teachable spirit would be more apt to change his mind rather than change the subject,

    • Bubba,

      “I need no special authority to recognize the plainest and clearest teaching of the Bible”…………priceless! Is the the “self evident” supposition I’ve heard so much about?

      And here is the crux of how christianity came to have many more than one denomination, in spite of having just one book. You make 1 virtuous and absolute claim, all just faith based opinion, but it’s really veiled in cognitive dissonance, and try to pass it off as evidential. If you made a claim like this in any other subject it would either be dismissed outright, or be called out as a conspiracy theory. Just quietly imagine your neurosurgeon operating on you using this same set of logical fallacies, or NASA trying to slingshot around Mars based on “self evident” claims, or when civil engineers begin designing bridges and dams based on what they think they know…………

      Only zealots ever claim to be more righteous, and are ever making claims of doing christianity more correctly, or make claims that their understanding is more correct, than their fellow “christians”. This is precisely the quandary one finds ones self in when confusing subjective extrapolation, and faith, for something more perfect and infallible.

      The questions seems really to be, how and why can christianity still find itself in this predicament after millennia?

    • Bubba,
      Do you realize how ridiculous it is to expect Dan to provide “hard data” to support his claims. In this thread alone I’ve pointed out at least two claims of fact that he has made (not counting the ones you’ve pointed out), yet we’ve seen absolutely zero “hard data” to support his claims. What possible reason is there to believe that Dan will ever abide by the same standards he expects of others. It’s so much easier to ask off topic questions, dodge, lie, mock, and call names than to be consistent enough to live up to his own standards.

  78. paynehollow says:

    Nash does not accept your non-response, Bubba. Nor do any of the skeptics who have visited here. They can correct me if I’m mistaken, but in one form or the other, this is the question that both skeptics and progressive Christians who disagree with your claims to “knowledge” that go unsupported or even an attempt to support it. Donna, my wife, does not agree with your non-response. My pastor, Cindy Weber, as well as my church family in general, would not agree with your non-response.

    If you have some reason to think that you “know” some point about which you and I (or you and Nash, Ark, Z, etc) disagree upon, by all means, man up and speak up and provide that support, that reason why ANYONE should think you’re not delusional and just cowardly dodging a reasonable question.

    It is not an Inquistion to ask a reasonable question to a silly and unsupported claim.

    You have claimed that you can “know” some of the points (points that you won’t even NAME, just vague “points, you know, points!”) that you hold where any of us disagree. Okay, support the claim. How do you “know,” if you can’t demonstrate it? On what basis?

    These are reasonable questions, not an “Inquisition,” but funny how you consider it such.

    If you can’t answer it (and truly, factually, you can’t – otherwise you would have answered by now), then just be honest about it and admit it, “I can’t answer that in any rational manner…” Man up. Defend your claims or admit you can’t, don’t just ignore the question.

    ~Dan

  79. paynehollow says:

    Bubba…

    You’ve presented no hard data to prove your belief, so by your own standards you do not actually know that your position is true.

    Perhaps you don’t realize how crazy this sounds. I hold the position that we can know that which we can demonstrate or where this is hard data. I also hold the position that we can’t truly “know” that which we have no hard data for.

    The hard data for this claim is that, WE HAVE NO DATA on which to base a claim of knowledge. If there is no data, how do we “know” the validity/actuality/reality of the claim???

    By all means, answer that question, but repeating a demand to prove the self-evident is doing nothing to make you sound like a rational adult. You just sound like you’ve got nothing and you’re running and throwing nonsense remarks behind you to try to hide the fact that you’re running.

    Shameful.

    Come on, man up, Bubba. Just admit you made a mistake. It happens. You have talked yourself into a corner and you can’t get out without just coming clean and admitting the mistake. Stop embarrassing yourself.

    ~Dan

  80. “The hard data for this claim is that, WE HAVE NO DATA on which to base a claim of knowledge.”

    So you say that you have no hard data to support your claim that hard data is necessary for knowledge, but you still think you know your claim is true.

    Or, put more simply, you gripe about my “repeating a demand to prove the self-evident,” but your stated position simply does not permit a belief in the self-evident.

    We know things when there is hard data to support it/demonstrate it.

    “If there is no hard data to support it, we do not know it.

    Self-evident claims need no hard data: the claim itself is true on its own without any further substantiation or validation. Hence the term, self-evident. Indeed, certain self-evident claims — such as logical maxims — not only need no “hard data,” they cannot be proven with hard data.

    Ultimately, what you’re saying is that there are no self-evident propositions, but you believe that “there are no self-evident propositions” is ITSELF (I quote) “self-evident.”

    But I’m the crazy one, sure.

    • Reductio ad absrdium, I think is the term for this brand of circular “argument from authority” presupposition.

      Can we expect an encore? You’ve now run out of paint, in the loneliest of corners bubba.

      Is there a argumentum ad verecundiam lurking somewhere in the shadows, just waiting to be sprung? This argument from authority gives “you” the satisfaction of needing to ignore any and all substantiation, but I know you are smart enough to see that, lacking the same quality of faith, you and I, and millions more, all arrive at very different “self” evidences.

      Is there any paint left, for the ever shrinking corner?

      And John, for the record, this is a large part of the reason why the bible is dismissed in the same way as many other books, ideas etc. It has exactly zero to do with it being a “religious text”.

  81. Nash, I’m not sure what “argument from authority” you think I’m making.

    You’ve asked about “how christianity [sic] came to have many more than one denomination, in spite of having just one book.” Earlier you mentioned groups like the Mormons, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and that rather famous denomination, “the Framers at the Constitutional Convention,” but the Mormons believe have additional holy texts, the JW’s have their own textually unjustifiable translation of the Bible, and the deists among the Founding Fathers had an a priori assumption against the miraculous which led Jefferson to excise from the Gospels every claim of Jesus’ miraculous works and divine nature.

    Supposedly, all these groups have “just one book,” but one group adds to it, another rewrites it without any scruples, and another takes away from it — and you’re surprised that these groups don’t reach the same conclusions? You either don’t know enough about Mormons and deists to draw informed conclusions, or you know and you just don’t care that your conclusions are completely bogus.

    Among groups that truly do share the same Scripture — and particularly among those who treat that Scripture as uniquely authoritative, rather than subject to the church leadership through a catechism or some other capital-T Tradition — I have found that the consensus is remarkable. The major differences aren’t about the meaning of the text, but rather questions of application that the text doesn’t clearly address (such as whether it’s okay to baptize by sprinkling) or questions of history (such as whether a newly formed Protestant church should “start from scratch” or give Roman Catholic traditions the benefit of the doubt unless overturned by Scripture).

    • You are not sure what argument of authority I am referring to? My apologies that it wasn’t made clear in the last post.

      When you claim “self evident”, beyond doubt, with exactly zero objective proof, solely based on your gut, you are in fact making an argument from authority, maybe just your authority, perhaps with the assumed authority of god on your side, and this is what I am referring to. This self evidence, doesn’t mean the same to everyone, not even in the same branch of the Abrahamic faiths does it qualify in the same way as we often see on this very blog. And for what it’s worth, we see a great many other proclaimers of the self evident, from many other sects, that more than likely would disagree, as has historically been the case, with your absolution.

      As you continue to chastise, and ostracize Dan, and all liberal/progressive christians for his/their non evangelical position, and your “more” correct position, you still seem to falter when you miss that your very premise is built upon faith, and nothing more. John has trouble explaining why his position is more perfect, and why others interpretation of the bible are left wanting as well. Faith is cause priori in constructing self evident into something that it is not, and when you live with an assumption long enough, it graduates to bias, and eventually cognitive dissonance.

      So you white wash, and dismiss mormons, and jehovas, and the hellbound Founding Fathers? Very specifically, lets for a moment what the Syriacs, Coptics and Greek orthodox would think about your practice of christianity. They represent the oldest sects within your overall faith. They do not use the same bible you do, and have for centuries practiced the faith “more correctly” than you, because they have assumed many other, and different “self evidences”. Now what? Aren’t they direct descendants of the Messianics?

      At last count, it was very much “not” self evident that there were indeed over 200 hundred different bibles, serving over 32k different sects/denominations within christianity. But you cannot help but claim that you are obviously, and self evidently doing it more right and correctly, and therefore everyone else is doing it less right, and more incorrectly, including the Syriacs, Coptics etc. The Original Christian Church (30CE) was all jewish. Yet it was the most informed of the next 1880 years, how would you fair when they found your particular interpretation failed to satisfy them?

      This my friend, requires much more than just faith, because once you are aware of such a leap, it requires bold presumption to know that you are doing it all so much better.

      So maybe there is consensus, even broad consensus, within your particular sect, in your particular American vacuum of belief in worship, but just how far removed from the First or oldest sects? Or the other 30k for that matter. How much consensus do you you share with them? Or is that “self evident”?

      Imagine any other idea manifesting in this way through such a short moment of history. Imagine 40k sects of cartography, or 40k different kinds of plumbing, or 40k different and warring factions within Shakespearean interpretation…….Jesus came and the jews eventually ended up with their 20+ sects, the muslims came up with their 6 sects, yet somehow, the ones who are doing it “most” right and perfectly, have been fighting for millennia, splintering even to this very day into thousands.

      This is the first, and foremost reason the bible is dismissible as having any relevant quality as proof of a supernatural creator, and cause. There is no perfection, it is fallible, and requires absolutism to the point of fanaticism to make it anything other.

  82. paynehollow says:

    Bubba…

    Among groups that truly do share the same Scripture — and particularly among those who treat that Scripture as uniquely authoritative, rather than subject to the church leadership through a catechism or some other capital-T Tradition — I have found that the consensus is remarkable.

    Thanks for the laugh.

    Do you get your own joke, though?

    “Amongst those who share exactly the same scriptures as I do, and take it in exactly the same way I do, who share most or all of the vague and unsupported presumptions I hold… in THIS specific, particular box of (mostly modern) Christianity that thinks just about like I do… they all pretty much agree with me…”

    Funny.

    ~Dan

  83. I listed only two unifying assumptions, asshole.

    1) That the people in question are approaching the same text, which means that they’re not adding pages and pages of a different text like the Book of Mormon or cutting the existing text to ribbons like Jefferson did.

    2) That the people in question are approaching the text as authoritative.

    I have found a LOT of common ground with MOST of the self-described Christians I have ever met in my lifetime, and when there have been significant disagreements on how to interpret the Bible, the issue almost invariably comes down to one of these two assumptions not holding true for the other person.

    • Bubba, your’e losing your presumed high ground by debasing an otherwise decent dialogue with terms like asshole.

      I mean it’s not even in the bible.

  84. paynehollow says:

    On what rational, consistent bases ought people agree with your 1?

    On what rational, consistent, demonstrable bases ought people treat your particular text as “authoritative…”? And WHOSE interpretation is authoritative? You and I agree on the same text, but you don’t treat my interpretation as authoritative nor do I, yours.

    Answer, don’t dodge questions, Bubba.

    It STILL comes down to the fact that you are fine with agreeing with those who agree with you and your unfounded, unsupported presumptions, but you denounce those who disagree with your unfounded, unsupported presumptions as liars, not acting in good faith, not Christian. On what point am I mistaken?

    On what bases do your presumptions get a free pass from answering reasonable questions? Ought people take you seriously if you are not prepared to give a rational defense of your beliefs?

    ~Dan

  85. paynehollow says:

    Craig…

    It’s so much easier to ask off topic questions, dodge, lie, mock, and call names than to be consistent enough to live up to his own standards.

    Funny. You guys are a hoot.

    Look, you are making claims of fact. We doubt your claims. Why NOT simply man up and provide the support? Or admit that you can’t do so? Why do you all not even acknowledge the gaping hole in the side of your reasoning ship? You’re sinking fellas. Abandon ship.

    Here’s Bubba’s claim (maybe yours as well, you tell me):

    There are SOME points Bubba holds that are facts that Bubba can “know…”
    There are SOME (vague, unnamed) points where Dan and Bubba disagree and Bubba “knows” he can’t be mistaken in his interpretation.

    Why NOT simply give a specific example, explain what the difference in our opinions is, explain how he “knows” what he claims to “know”? You could END this discussion in triumph is you can simply step up and support – with specifics – what you claim.

    Why not acknowledge the question and answer it? Is it fear? Is is that you are embarrassed to admit you can’t do so? Is it shame that you have failed your god? Why not?

    ~Dan

    • Dan,
      You are making claims of fact, why not back them up? By what possible standard do you demand that we do something that you won”t? You could END this discussion in triumph is you can simply step up and support – with specifics – what you claim.

      So, why won’t you?

  86. paynehollow says:

    Done it. As a point of fact, I have backed up all fact claims that i have made.

    If you have missed where I have done so, by all means point it out. In the meantime, your turn.

    Tell me straight, Craig: Do you agree with Bubba’s contention that there are some things that he can “know” even though he can’t prove them? If so, please explain how that works. If not, please clarify directly, “No, there are no ideas in the Bible that Bubba can “know” to be factual if he can’t prove them…”

    Ball’s in your park, fellas.

    ~Dan

    • Dan,
      There are at several claims of fact that you have failed to support in this very thread.
      1 Your claim that Lazarus and the rich man is a parable. I doubt you read my lengthy two part response to your question that I posted several days ago, but there is enough doubt as to the nature of that particular story that it is reasonable to ask you to prove your claim that it is.

      2. “We know things when there is hard data to support it/demonstrate it.”
      “If there is no hard data to support it, we do not know it.”

      3. “Staying together, literally, is the point of marriage.”

      4. “He is, of course, speaking figuratively.”

      5. The rules that are in there were time and place specific. As rules always are.

      That’s 5 unsupported claims of fact. Once you provide “hard data” to support your claims, then we can talk.

      I suspect one of the problems that we are having is that you presume that my positions are positions that I have come to one my own, in essence, conjured up from thin air. This position is factually incorrect. I am not so much asserting my positions as I am agreeing with the positions that have marked Orthodox Christian doctrine for the last 2000+ years. So when you say things like “That’s your unsupported opinion.” you are incorrect. I have the support of the vast preponderance of historic Orthodox Christian theology that supports my position. To be clear, that support on it’s own doesn’t confer correctness. I’m not saying it does. What I am saying is that thousand of years and thousands of theologians do constitute support (I’d suggest that there is enough “hard data” available to support any Orthodox position out there. Probably not enough to satisfy you, but enough for most normal folks.). So clearly the positions I mention have support (they are not unsupported), and they are all consistent with a reasonable reading of scripture.

      Given that, it seems as though, the burden of proof rests with you. You are the minority opinion. You are the one suggesting that centuries of Orthodoxy is wrong, why isn’t the burden of proof on you. Martin Luther disagreed with the status quo of the time, but his response was not, “You have to prove yourselves 100% right with undeniable hard data or I won’t believe you.”. No he nailed his 95 thesis to the church door at Wittenburg. So Dan, where are your 95 thesis? It’s not enough just to say “You’re wrong.”, that requires nothing. Anyone can do it. So, why don’t you stake out your theological turf, pick some hills you’re willing to defend, and defend them. Provide the “hard data” you demand of others. Take a stand, stop with the “It’s my opinion, but you’re still wrong.” crap. C’mon lets see what you have.

      So, once you’ve provided your “hard data” for the 5 claims of fact above, we can move on.

  87. paynehollow says:

    Let me clarify one thing:

    I know that philosophers will debate whether we can “know” something that is not demonstrable. In the realm of abstracts and theory, the point can be argued.

    But here, Bubba is claiming (apparently) a simple (if vague and as-yet undefined) fact claim:

    On some biblical texts, Bubba can “know” that he is interpreting the author correctly and understanding what God believes/wills/declares and I that he “knows” I am interpreting the author incorrectly and/or not understanding God aright.

    That is a simple, demonstrable fact claim. It’s not abstract or unclear or vague (well, except for Bubba’s unwillingness thus far to declare what specifically he “knows” that I am incorrect about). He should be prepared to support this simple fact claim or, if he can’t support it (and he appears willing to admit that he absolutely can NOT prove it), then explain in what sense he “knows” his opinion/interpretation/stance is factually correct.

    Again, the ball is in your all’s court. IF Bubba (or any of you all) would just point to one idea that you “know” is factually correct – a point with which people here disagree (Nash or myself, since we’re the only ones still talking at this point – then we could see if there is anything more substantial to it than your mere human opinion, borne in whimsy and emotion, as opposed to something more solid.

    But until you can at least name the idea that you “know” we’re just trying to guess what you’re even claiming TO “know…”

    ~Dan

  88. Nash,

    “When you claim ‘self evident’, beyond doubt, with exactly zero objective proof, solely based on your gut, you are in fact making an argument from authority, maybe just your authority, perhaps with the assumed authority of god on your side, and this is what I am referring to.”

    Two things.

    First, you should be understand what it is I claim is self-evident: the law of non-contradiction.

    As I told Dan, “I repeatedly pointed to the example of the law of non-contradiction as a logical maxim that is not based on hard data but remains self-evident and therefore know-able with real certainty.”

    That is the ONLY claim here to which I’ve applied that particular adjective, not any claims about a particular teaching of the Bible or doctrine of faith. You think I’m some sort of lunatic because I believe that non-contradiction is self-evident? I can live with that.

    Second, if you’re going to complain about people using that term, you should do so with something resembling consistence.

    “By all means, answer [my] question, but repeating a demand to prove the self-evident is doing nothing to make you sound like a rational adult.”

    That wasn’t me defending my position as self-evident, discussing the law of non-contradiction or anything else: that was Dan Trabue, about his position that “we can’t truly ‘know’ that which we have no hard data for,” a claim at least as unprovable and certainly less fundamental than the logical maxim that contradiction is impossible.

    If you chided him for the blind faith he exhibited with that comment, I must have missed it. If you didn’t, then perhaps hypocrisy is another reason for your affinity to Dan, beyond your shared contempt for Christians.

    Dan,

    You’re so eager to accuse me of everything in the book, you’re not reading what I’m writing closely enough to respond to my actual position.

    With my last comment, I’m not arguing that people SHOULD accept the 66 books of the Bible as canon and accept them as uniquely authoritative: I think they should, but that wasn’t the point I was making.

    My point was that, WHEN people do JUST these two things, without any reference to a vast and complex system of “vague and unsupported presumptions,” they manage to reach very similar conclusions about what the Bible teaches. They certainly exhibit more consensus than those who add or take away from the Bible, and the consensus is striking enough that it indicates that — who would have thought it? — the Bible might just teach a few things after all and teach them quite clearly.

    It STILL comes down to the fact that you are fine with agreeing with those who agree with you and your unfounded, unsupported presumptions, but you denounce those who disagree with your unfounded, unsupported presumptions as liars, not acting in good faith, not Christian. On what point am I mistaken?

    What SPECIFICALLY are these “unfounded, unsupported presumptions” of mine?

    Only that the Bible sometimes teaches things so clearly that they are beyond good-faith dispute: people can still disagree in good faith about whether the teachings are true, but NOT about whether the Bible teaches them.

    What things? What teachings? The two most obvious examples, which I have always emphasized, are the existence of God and the historicity of Jesus.

    I believe that the Bible clearly teaches the existence of YHWH and the historicity of Jesus of Nazareth. Those who disagree, I believe are not acting in good faith.

    Oh. How. Awful.

    • The principle of contradiction as used in modern logics, mathematics, or dialetheism?

      For the actual record, any one of the uses of this principle leads logicians to: “It is true of all axioms of logic, the law of non-contradiction is alleged to be neither verifiable nor falsifiable, on the grounds that any proof or disproof must use the law itself prior to reaching the conclusion”. Are you claiming a use that eludes the paradoxical outcomes of so many before you? If so, now I see why you ignored the rest of the previous posts.

      And pandering to the perceived hypocrisy, and your mistreatment by simply aligning Dan and I, is a very weak red herring. Dan and I have had plenty go rounds here long before you came around.

      But we very much agree on what you claim you “know” by any self claimed means, over the rest of the billion christians in the world better than they.

  89. And, Dan:

    As a point of fact, I have backed up all fact claims that i have made.

    You did not, so this claim is false. I asked you to back up your claim that we can only know what can be proven, and you dismissed it as an irrational “demand to prove the self-evident.”

    When you assert that your position is self-evident, the implication is that you need not and will not prove the position.

    If you have missed where I have done so, by all means point it out.

    You wrote — and I quote — “My position, then, is that a claim must be proven for you to claim to know it.”

    Prove it.

    Berating me for asking you to prove it is obviously not proof.

  90. paynehollow says:

    For now, let’s say I can’t prove it. I do think it is self-evident, but let’s set that aside for now and say I can’t prove it.

    I still call on you to clarify

    1. One specific point where you and I disagree on a biblical interpretation;
    2. An explanation of how you can “know” you are “correct,” even though you can’t demonstrate or prove that you are correct. On what basis are you correct and in what sense do you “know” this?

    The burden of proof is on you to support your claim.

    ~Dan

  91. paynehollow says:

    To clarify: I’m saying – at least for the time being – that for now I can not suitably demonstrate for you an abstract theory like “we do not ‘know’ as fact that which we can not demonstrate/prove/show…”

    But you are not making a claim to an abstract theory, you are (apparently) making a claim about a demonstrable real world fact claim: That on some points in the Bible where you think X is true and I think Not X is more reasonable, that you “know” that your understanding is the same as a fact.

    I’m saying, no, you don’t and don’t see how that is rational at all and asking you to clarify what point there is that you and I disagree about and explain in what possible sense you “know” your understanding is the same as fact or reality or God’s Word.

    Your claim, your responsibility to support it. Burden of proof is on you.

    ~Dan

  92. If you had already proven your position Dan, it would be almost as easy to throw up a URL link or quote the passage as it would be to assume that you can’t prove it just for the sake of argument.

    You just wrote, “As a point of fact, I have backed up all fact claims that i have made.”

    No, you didn’t, Dan.

    I don’t understand the relevance of your request, Dan.

    My position is that the Bible teaches some things so clearly that good-faith disagreement is impossible, and you balk at that position, both because you I conclude that some interpretations are evidence of dishonesty AND (hypocritically) because you believe that my position is evidence of uncharitable arrogance.

    I can throw light on the reasonableness of my position by to pointing what I believe to be the Bible’s most clear and indisputable teachings, beginning with the most basic: “God exists.”

    I don’t see anything to be gained by going from the clearest teachings to less clear teachings, just to find one where we disagree. We’ll rehash old arguments, but we’ll reach no meaningful conclusions because, even if I waved the right flag on that subject and concluded that good-faith disagreement is possible THERE, there remain even clearer doctrines where good-faith disagreement might not be possible.

    I’ll remind you that, at your blog, I gladly wrote that “it IS wrong to have the arrogance to be dogmatic about what God hasn’t clearly revealed.”

    I just also added, “it is ALSO wrong to be tentative with a false humility about what God *HAS* clearly revealed, through His prophets and apostles.”

    Your problem isn’t with what particular teachings of the Bible I place in that second category: it’s evidently that I have ANY teachings in that category. I don’t see the point of looking at lesser examples in that category when you balk at my holding up the prime example and saying, “Of course, the Bible teaches theism and does so beyond any possible good-faith disagreement.”

  93. paynehollow says:

    Bubba…

    I don’t understand the relevance of your request, Dan.

    The point is, Bubba, that you want to dismiss the “liberals,” the pagans, the Catholics and others who disagree with your personal opinion too much because you “know” that your personal understanding is “correct,” and for that reason, you can dismiss us out of hand because your “knowledge” is basically the same thing as a fact or God’s Word on that point.

    The problem with this is that

    1. It is simply factually incorrect
    2. It leads to an arrogance and a presumption that is not rational and is potentially dangerous – just see the Crusades, see the slavery defenders because “they knew” the Bible (ie, THEIR understanding of the Bible) indicated God was on their side; see today’s Muslim extremists or Mormon extremists or Christian extremists… ALL of which can operate with impugnity because they “know” they are right and cannot be mistaken on their opinions of their points because “the Bible,” or “my sacred text…” look at ALL those who “know” they understand “god” perfectly aright on some topics and be wary of the results.

    These are legitimate concerns – not saying you are comparable to a violent Christian or Mormon extremist, just that there is a rational, real world problem with that sort of “knowledge…” that comes without the proper human humility that rational people need to maintain. Because of these reasonable concerns and because YOU want to make the claim, I’m simply calling on you to specifically name the claim (as it relates to differences you and I have) and explain the source of your confidence whereby you “know” that which you can’t prove.

    Or perhaps you are limiting what you know to points where we don’t disagree: That the Bible contains text that speaks as if a God exists, for instance… and on those points where you and I disagree, you do NOT “know” you are incapable of misunderstanding. If so, just clarify that.

    I’m just asking you to clarify your claim and support it/explain it.

    If you’re going to make the claim (or hint at it), then have the guts to defend it.

    ~Dan

  94. About the abstract theories, Dan…

    To clarify: I’m saying – at least for the time being – that for now I can not suitably demonstrate for you an abstract theory like “we do not ‘know’ as fact that which we can not demonstrate/prove/show…

    …well, then, you should acknowledge that you misspoke when you claimed, “As a point of fact, I have backed up all fact claims that i have made.”

    Here, I’m not asking you to admit that you were dishonest about the claim or that you should apologize: just an acknowledgement that you misspoke.

    What you call an abstract theory, I would call a principle, and I think that arguments over principles are more important than arguments about their application. If I argue that the conservation of momentum leads to particular results on a pool table, and somebody disagrees because one of us got his math wrong, that’s not a big deal in the grand scheme of things.

    If he disagrees because he denies this clear implication of Newton’s laws of motion, then stop the presses, we need to hash this out.

    Our recent (and now long-lasting) argument has started with my affirming two principles.

    1) In terms of epistemology in general, a claim does not always need to be demonstrated or proven — or even demonstrable or provable — to be known with certainty.

    2) About written works of literature in general, AND about the Bible in general, aspect’s of a text’s meaning (by which mean the author’s intended meaning) may be clear enough to preclude all possible good-faith disagreement.

    You didn’t say you agreed with these two principles or found them too dry or abstract to argue over, wanting instead to focus on very particular arguments regarding the interpretation of one passage or what the Bible says about one subject.

    You balked at these claims, even going so far as to accuse me of the arrogant presumption of speaking for God without His authority.

    If we agreed on these two principles, we could look at specific passages in the Bible with the hope that a good-faith discussion would lead us to a closer understanding of the author’s intent. Since we don’t agree even on these two principles, I’m not sure what’s to be gained from a more concrete argument: we’re not likely to get any closer to the truth about these principles, and you’ve set yourself up so that you never have to change your mind about anything, because — no matter how clear the teaching is — your prior objections to these principles can always facilitate your dismissing the teaching by saying it’s just my opinion.

  95. paynehollow says:

    Bubba: ARE you making a claim that on some point where you and I disagree about an ideal based on your interpretation of the Bible, that you “know” you are correct and that you “cannot be mistaken” on that point?

    IF so, please specify the point and support it/explain it.

    IF not, please clarify that, no, on any of our disagreements, you do not “know” you are correct, as a point of fact, and that you COULD be mistaken.

    I’m asking you to clarify what you appear to be hinting at and then, IF you are making the claim you appear to be making, that you defend it, as the burden of proof is on you, not on me/others.

    More questions to be cowardly ignored/dodged.

    ~Dan

  96. Dan, you sound like Andrew Sullivan with his fixation on doubt and his ironic certainty that certainty is dangerous, as if all the evils in the world were opposed by tentative men rather than people who were confident in their cause — courageous people like Martin Luther King, William Wilberforce, and supremely Jesus Christ.

    If you’re going to argue from consequentialism, I’ll remind you that a person can be rendered impotent with doubt, and that too is dangerous even if the attention-grabbing headlines about the death of Kitty Genovese were unfair to the bystanders who witnessed fragments of the assault that resulted in her murder.

    In that thread you started back in August, I urged a balance between presumption and paralysis.

    “MOST CERTAINLY, Christians should not be dogmatic about what the Bible does not clearly teach, but the Bible *IS* clear on quite a few subjects, and where it is clear, Christians can be AND MUST BE dogmatic.”

    Even here, I’m not suggesting that most dogma should have behind it the force of law. The law should protect human rights — which, BTW, corresponds to the Decalogue’s prohibition of perjury, theft, and murder — and local laws should have quite a bit of leeway in reflecting the mores of their communities, be they Berkeley or Amish country, but the dogmatism I’m talking about isn’t about the coercive power of the state. It’s about the right to practice your religion with confidence in your faith’s clear tenets, specifically in the message that you proclaim to others and in the life that you lead in the company of others.

    On the subject of cowardly dodging, you write:

    Or perhaps you are limiting what you know to points where we don’t disagree: That the Bible contains text that speaks as if a God exists, for instance… and on those points where you and I disagree, you do NOT “know” you are incapable of misunderstanding. If so, just clarify that.

    I DID NOT, have never, and WOULD NEVER use such weasel words to say that “the Bible contains text that speaks as if a God exists.”

    The Bible teaches that God exists. Period, full-stop.

    Or, if you’re going to be pedantic in distinguishing between people and the inanimate means through which they communicate, the Bible’s authors communicated through the Bible that God exists.

    Whether they’re right or not, that is what Moses, David, Elijah, Luke, Peter, John, and Paul ALL taught.

    Can you not affirm — using plain language without a hint of ambiguity — that the Bible actually does teach that God exists?

    If you can’t, then perhaps we don’t need to look very far at all to find a very serious disagreement between us.

  97. paynehollow says:

    Sure, Bubba. As soon as you answer the questions put to you, clearly, directly and with no ambiguity.

    ARE you making a claim about our differences of opinion, wherein you “know” your personal opinion is factually correct and/or equivalent to God’s Word?

    IF so, what specific claim?

    IF so, on what do you base your belief that you “know” you are correct and can not be mistaken on that particular point?

    Stop dodging, man. Step up and make yourself clear.

    ~Dan

  98. Dan, how can I say anything about what I believe regarding “our differences of opinion” if it’s not clear what those differences actually are? If they include the question of whether the Bible teaches that God exists, we can look at that specific claim as THE clearest teaching in all of Scripture.

    If you can affirm that the Bible clearly teaches that God exists, do so, and do so without any weasel words.

    If you cannot, then say that you cannot.

  99. paynehollow says:

    The Bible clearly speaks of God, as if God exists.

    Whether it “teaches” that God exists depends a lot upon how you view the Bible. If you think it is the prehistoric rantings of madmen, then no, the “Bible” does not “teach” that God exists.

    If you view that the Bible is God’s revelation to humans, providing lessons about life, morality, humanity and God, then YES, it teaches God exists.

    Put even more precisely: it has lessons about the existence and nature of God, as understood by the humans writing the Bible.

    Do I personally think that it teaches God exists? YES, as I’ve made clear repeatedly.

    That is my precise explanation.

    Do you understand that, now that I’ve explained it again?

    Now, setting that silliness aside, dealing with the positions that WE disagree about – you and I – about various lessons on morality, for instance, what specific points of disagreement between you and I do you “know” that you can not be mistaken about?

    What do you base the presumption that what you “know” is equivalent to “fact” or “God’s Word…”? Explain how that makes any rational, consistent sense, please.

    Quit dodging.

    ~Dan

  100. paynehollow says:

    I just answered that question quite directly and specifically, giving you my opinion. Just read the few sentences above your question. Also, you earlier stated…

    There are at several claims of fact that you have failed to support in this very thread.
    1 Your claim that Lazarus and the rich man is a parable.

    Each of your examples (save two) are instances of MY OPINION. I made no claim to facts, I offered my opinions. It IS my opinion (and many others’) that Lazarus was a parable, for instance. Feel free to disagree, we have no way of proving it one way or the other.

    Some questions, boldened for you so you don’t miss them:

    1A. DO YOU UNDERSTAND THAT THIS IS MY OPINION, as a matter of fact?

    1B. Do you understand that we can’t prove one way or the other that it is a parable?

    The others are also my opinion, we can’t prove them or disprove them. There is no data to prove one way or the other that it isn’t an opinion.

    The two exceptions are

    4. “He is, of course, speaking figuratively.”

    Jesus quite literally WAS speaking obviously figuratively when he said that the two would become “one flesh.” Two people do NOT/CAN NOT become one flesh, clearly this is figurative language, not literal. As I’ve already pointed out to you.

    Get ready, another question, made easy to see:

    DO YOU UNDERSTAND that “two becoming one flesh” is figurative, not literal, language, as a point of fact?

    The other claim I made that was not opinion, I don’t think, is:

    2. “We know things when there is hard data to support it/demonstrate it.”
    “If there is no hard data to support it, we do not know it.”

    I think this is a self-evident, philosophical claim. I will admit that, at least for now, I can’t demonstrate it, but I do think it is self-evident. But if you want to consider it a failure to provide support for a claim, go ahead. But first, answer these questions:

    Do you think that you can “know” a historical fact, as a literal fact – to the point where you can not possibly be mistaken – without any hard data to support it? YES or NO?

    IF you think you can “know” a claim (like God hates homosexual behavior, for instance) is factually morally wrong and that God does not approve of any gay sex acts in any circumstances… if you think you can “know” this, in what possible sense do you think you “know” it? What informs you that you can’t be mistaken on that (or whatever historical biblical/”god” claim you think you “know”) point?

    Please answer these questions or quit even pretending that you are answering the hard questions – the ones that undermine your apparent positions. Or, if you actually agree with me and disagree with the apparent claims of Bubba, then clearly speak up and make your position known.

    ~Dan

    • Dan,

      If one looks at the exact words you used, which I helpfully copy pasted for you, in no case were your claims identified as your opinion. They were clearly stated as declarative statements.

      So, you can (as you claim) provide “hard proof’ for the 5 statements above, or you can provide the context that would unambiguously demonstrate that you were making statements of opinion. Or, you could admit that your actual words were poorly chosen and misleading and that you would like to restate your actual position in the interest of clarifying what you meant rather than what you said.

      So, once you do what you ask of others I will consider answering your questions.

      The other problem is that although I have answered these questions (or types of questions) both here and elsewhere you conveniently ignore the answers already provided while continuing to ask the questions over and over as if they haven’t been answered. If a specific answer to a specific question needs to be clarified, then specifically address what problems you have instead of just re asking the same (already answered) questions over and over.

      I know it annoys you to have people expect you to live up to the standards you demand from others, but why should you be exempt from your own standards.

      However, as a gesture of good faith I will answer these recent questions.

      1A. So, when you said (in bold and all caps none the less) “THE STORY IS PARABLE. IT IS NOT A LITERAL STORY DEPICTING A LITERAL RICH MAN LITERALLY IN FLAMES SEPARATED BY A LITERAL CHASM FROM A LITERAL ABRAHAM HOLDING A LITERAL LAZARUS.”, you didn’t actually mean that the story was “PARABLE” but that it might have been “PARABLE” or did you? You certainly could not have meant that the story was “NOT A LITERAL STORY”, because as we now learn this is just “your opinion”. Do you usually state your opinion in bold, all caps, declarative sentences?

      1B. Yes, but if you read your actual words it seems reasonable to conclude that since you asserted that the story “IS PARABLE”, that you actually believed the story to be “PARABLE”.

      “DO YOU UNDERSTAND that “two becoming one flesh” is figurative, not literal, language, as a point of fact?”

      I addressed this point earlier in the thread, including a number of questions intended to clarify your actual point. Given your ignoring of that response and those clarifying questions I am left with your original quote which is, of course, stated as a claim of fact. If you would have addressed my earlier response and questions this might have been avoided. Unfortunately you chose otherwise.

      “Do you think that you can “know” a historical fact, as a literal fact – to the point where you can not possibly be mistaken – without any hard data to support it? YES or NO?”

      Your original claim of fact was that we “know things”. Now you have changed that to know a “historical fact”. Unfortunately simply making this change does not eliminate the need for you to support your original claim (“know things”). If you provide the hard data to support your original claim, then we can address this new claim.

      Now, as a demonstration of good faith and under the hope that you will actually deal with the questions I’ve already answered (both here and the 150 or so elsewhere), as well as dealing with the lengthy comment regarding the meaning of the Lazarus/rich man story at some point in the relatively near future. If you choose otherwise, then I will assume that you will stop any further demands that additional questions of yours be answered.

      “IF you think you can “know” a claim (like God hates homosexual behavior, for instance) is factually morally wrong and that God does not approve of any gay sex acts in any circumstances… if you think you can “know” this, in what possible sense do you think you “know” it?”

      In the sense that homosexual behavior is never referred to in scripture in a positive or neutral way. In the sense that normative sexual behavior is always referred to in scripture as being between male and female. In the sense that there is ample scriptural support for this position and that I am confident that scripture is both accurate and authoritative.

      “What informs you that you can’t be mistaken on that (or whatever historical biblical/”god” claim you think you “know”) point?”

      Since I’ve never claimed this, I see no reason to defend a position I do not hold.

      A couple of resources for you to peruse regarding your “slavery” digression.

      https://hipandthigh.wordpress.com/2014/11/11/the-sex-trade-and-the-bible/
      https://hipandthigh.wordpress.com/2014/11/07/selling-daughters-into-slavery/
      https://hipandthigh.wordpress.com/2014/11/21/does-the-bible-teach-that-a-woman-has-to-marry-her-rapist/

      It is doubtful that you will bother to read these, and even more doubtful that you will provide any sort of thoughtful refutation of the points made. Having said that I felt it worthwhile to provide some counter to your earlier assertions.

      Amazingly I’ve made it through this entire encounter without once calling you a derogatory name.

  101. paynehollow says:

    Craig…

    you can (as you claim) provide “hard proof’ for the 5 statements above, or you can provide the context that would unambiguously demonstrate that you were making statements of opinion.

    Insofar as I’ve ALWAYS made it clear that when we are talking about topics which cannot be proven – including all our hunches about what God thinks – they are always my opinion, when speaking about “what the Bible says…” Here’s the clue: If we’re speaking about, “Does the Bible literally say…?” then the answer is a statement of fact. Genesis 1:1 either says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” or not. As a statement of fact. On the other hand, to interpret Genesis to say, “this text MEANS…” then we are always offering an opinion, not a known fact. I’ve always been quite clear on that point, for years now.

    I’m sorry if you didn’t catch it, but now I’ve pointed it out once again, so you can see that in the context of What Dan believes about biblical interpretation, I’ve been quite unambiguous. So, since I’m not making a fact claim, but a personal opinion statement – about which I’ve always been clear it IS personal opinion, there is nothing to support. There is nothing TO provide support, we can not prove our opinions are facts, that is the VERY POINT BEING DISCUSSED. I hope now you understand that. If not, ask for clarification again and I’ll be glad to tell you again.

    Here’s the thing, Craig, anytime anyone is unsure of whether I’m making a statement of opinion or fact, they can always ask and I will always clear it up for them. I’m asking the very same thing from you and Bubba.

    ~Dan

    • Dan,

      Your claim of opinion would be immeasurably more credible had you not said this;
      “THE STORY IS PARABLE.”. Of course this simple emphatic declarative sentence was enhanced with the ALL CAPS and the bold highlights. If you are seriously expecting anyone to believe that you intended the statement referenced as a mere opinion, you must either think we’re all stupid or be deluded.

      So, my earlier comment stands. You can provide the “hard data” to back up your claims, provide the context that makes it clear that all of the listed claims were clearly statements of opinion, or admit that your original comments were not representative of your actual intent.

      I can’t help but notice that I’ve once more answered your questions, while you refuse to acknowledge the answers.

      At this point, it’s on you to live up to what you expect of others.

      Back up your statements of fact with “hard data”.
      Answer questions when they are asked.
      Acknowledge answers to your questions.
      Embrace and demonstrate grace.

  102. paynehollow says:

    Craig, I’m a bit busy and will get to your points as I get a chance.

    But it would be helpful if you could acknowledge the very clear, very direct answer I have already given you.

    THE STORY IS PARABLE is my opinion. I am aware that some people suggest it might not be. That is their opinion. I don’t know how clear I can be other than repeating “IT IS MY OPINION.”

    Craig, DO you understand that this is my opinion? WHETHER IT IS WRITTEN IN ALL CAPS OR NOT? Do you recognize that those who hold other ideas are also espousing only their opinions? Yes or no?

    Being that it is my opinion on a point where NO ONE can demonstrate their opinion to be fact or not that there is no need to provide hard data, because one can not provide hard data for opinions that have no hard data to provide.

    DO you understand that no one can provide hard data on opinions where there is no hard data to provide? Yes or no?

    Do you need me to repeat myself and ask if you understand again, or will that suffice?

    ~Dan

    • Dan,
      I understand that it would make you happy of everyone else could discern the intent behind what you write despite the content of your actual writing. Your insistence that you would express an opinion using an emphatic, simple, declaration in ALL CAPS and boldface type just doesn’t make sense.

      If it somehow helps your pride to keep this charade up, I can’t stop you. You can repeat this new version of what you “meant to say” up as long as you want. You could even use the context (you know the actual text from earlier in this thread) to prove yourself correct. Why haven’t you? Is it because you realize that you stepped in a big pile of crap and somehow think it makes more sense to deny what you wrote, than to admit it was poorly worded and move on. Personally, I see this as simply obfuscation, as long as you can focus on this you don’t have to read and respond to the questions I’ve answered. It allows you to pretend that my two part lengthy answer to your earlier question does not exist and therefor you can continue to live in this fantasy world where no one ever, ever answers even a single one of your questions. It allows you to pretend that as long as you don’t see the multiple posts dedicated to answering over 150 of your questions that they don’t exist.

      It’s easy to make snarky comments like the one below, as long as you can avoid dealing with the questions that get answered, and continue to paint this picture of you being this poor mistreated guy who no one ever answers.

      Unfortunately, the longer you play this game the more it is at odds with reality.

      You have a choice, you can play by the rules you demand others play by, or you can stop making demands.

  103. paynehollow says:

    By the way, this…

    Answer questions when they are asked.
    Acknowledge answers to your questions.

    Very funny. You guys kill me. That you don’t apparently even get why makes it all the funnier.

    ~Dan

    • The fact that you can’t see the difference between this”

      “THE STORY IS PARABLE. IT IS NOT A LITERAL STORY DEPICTING A LITERAL RICH MAN LITERALLY IN FLAMES SEPARATED BY A LITERAL CHASM FROM A LITERAL ABRAHAM HOLDING A LITERAL LAZARUS.”

      and this;

      “THE STORY IS PARABLE is my opinion.”

      Is quite concerning. Had you made the second comment first (without the histrionics), we wouldn’t be discussing this now. But you didn’t and are so committed that you keep doubling down on your poor initial choice.

  104. Dan, my apologies for not getting back sooner, but this is what I had asked:

    “If you can affirm that the Bible clearly teaches that God exists, do so, and do so without any weasel words.

    “If you cannot, then say that you cannot.”

    From what you have written, it seems like you should have done the latter, and it annoys me that you didn’t.

    The Bible clearly speaks of God, as if God exists.

    No, that doesn’t go far enough: the Bible doesn’t just “speak of” God, “as if God exists.” THE BIBLE TEACHES THAT GOD EXISTS, and it does so independently of the audience.

    Whether it ‘teaches’ that God exists depends a lot upon how you view the Bible. If you think it is the prehistoric rantings of madmen, then no, the ‘Bible’ does not ‘teach’ that God exists.

    Since prehistory is definitionally prior to written records, the Bible’s authors couldn’t have possibly been “prehistoric,” but never mind that: even if the writers were ranting madmen, their message quite clearly was that God exists.

    Maybe they were madmen who thought God exists but had no good reason for doing so: they were wrong to do so, and they didn’t know they were wrong, but they still taught that God exists.

    Maybe they were charlatans who knew God doesn’t exist but lied about it for gain: they were wrong to do so, they DID know they were wrong, but they still taught that God exists.

    The authors’ motive here is immaterial, as is the question of whether their message corresponds to reality: their message still, quite clearly, is, “God exists.”

    If one were to read an old medical book about the benefits of bloodletting, you could conclude that the author was either grossly ignorant of medicine or a deliberate quack, but the message is still the same, in recommending the use of leeches and other forms of bloodletting.

    The American Heritage dictionary recommends that writers avoid using “deceptively” to modify an adjective, because there really is no consensus on how to interpret the word.

    “This pool is deceptively shallow.”

    Does that mean the pool is deeper than it looks, or more shallow than it looks? Even professional dictionary editors cannot agree.

    But the sentence only has a finite number of good-faith interpretations — two, to be exact. And just as this sentence (along with most humorous puns) has only two good-faith interpretations, a well written message usually has only one interpretation that a reader can reach in good faith.

    No matter what else two people might disagree on regarding the Bible, the fact that it teaches theism is a no-brainer.

    The diagram is crude with its stick figures, but the fourth image in this blog post on communication might be helpful in grasping this basic truth:

    – The writer or speaker has this idea in his head, which he encodes and transmits as his message.

    – The reader or listener decodes that message while trying to account for noise, and so he ends up with an idea in his head, too.

    – Quite often, the receiver’s idea of what the sender was trying to communicate at least resembles the sender’s original idea, AND THIS IS NO COINCIDENCE.

    The reason that the receiver’s mental concept of the message resembles the sender’s mental concept is that the concept was effectively communicated in the transmission.

    THE TRANSMISSION CONTAINS THE MESSAGE.</b

    I understand that you don't agree with this, Dan, but the subject isn't silly, nor is our disagreement over the subject. It's a deal breaker for finding common ground in other areas.

    Prompted by the entirely different subject of the looting in Ferguson, this week Dennis Prager hit the nail squarely on the head.

    "The Left is philosophically deconstructionist. Shakespeare doesn’t say what he wrote; Shakespeare says what the reader perceives. The notion of 'original intent' as applied to the Constitution is, to the Left, farcical. We cannot know the original intent. It’s all a matter of individual perception — or, more precisely, the perception of different socioeconomic classes, different genders, and different races."

    I reject that desconstructionism that you're pushing, however incoherently.

    And I say that you're incoherent in this, because at the same time you say it's wrong for me to conclude from a person's writings that he is lacking in the virtue of honesty — e.g., when he claims that the Bible doesn't teach theism — you do not hesitate to conclude from MY writings that *I* am lacking in the virtue of charity.

    Even if you were consistent in your approach, it could be discarded as nonsense, but as it is, it's clear that even you don't take your arguments seriously.

    That's probably all I have to say about that, and I'd like to be thankful for being done with this conversation.

  105. paynehollow says:

    Sorry, I’ve been away dealing with my ailing parents. Still am. Limited time, but a quick response to Dee and Dum and then I’ll probably be away for a while again. It should be noted that Bubba still refuses to directly and clearly answer the reasonable questions asked of him and Craig, well, I’ll get to Craig.

    Bubba had asked…

    If you can affirm that the Bible clearly teaches that God exists, do so, and do so without any weasel words.

    I responded precisely and exactly with my opinions on the topic. I said…

    Do I personally think that it teaches God exists? YES, as I’ve made clear repeatedly.

    What part of “YES” is a weasel word or not understandable to you, Bubba?

    Despite the fact that I gave MY opinion with a very clear and concise “YES,” that is not enough for Bubba. He said…

    “If you can affirm that the Bible clearly teaches that God exists, do so, and do so without any weasel words.

    “If you cannot, then say that you cannot.”

    From what you have written, it seems like you should have done the latter, and it annoys me that you didn’t.

    What part of YES was hard for you to understand?

    Does it trouble you that I noted it was my opinion that this is what the bible teaches, and that I’m not speaking authoritatively in my answer? Were you looking for, “ON behalf of God and the Bible, the one TRUE answer is YES and nothing else is acceptable…”? Well, that is not my opinion, and indeed, it is not a fact. I DO NOT speak for God. Nor do you. I do NOT speak “for the Bible.” Nor do you. I do not speak for the Bible’s authors, nor do you.

    That is just the fact.

    Regardless, I did give you my opinion and it was quite clear, “YES.”

    But for you, that’s not good enough, it “doesn’t go far enough…” Tough, I’m not willing to call an opinion a fact.

    And that is the difference between me and thee.

    All of that to say that I gave my clear an unambiguous answer to Bubba’s rather lightweight question and my answer is quite exact and precise and factual, observably.

    Bubba, on the other hand, ignores the more consequential questions asked of him and appears to be running away with his tail between his legs, afraid of a good spanking on the lack of biblicality or rationality on any answer he might give.

    Bubba…

    I’d like to be thankful for being done with this conversation.

    If I had no rational answers to reasonable questions, I would be thankful to be done, too. Unfortunately, the reasonable questions hang their and you run away. Shameful. Embarrassing for you and yours. I’d hope you would have more dignity than that.

    ~Dan

  106. paynehollow says:

    Craig, you seem to be repeating questions that have already been answered.

    You ask…

    you didn’t actually mean that the story was “PARABLE” but that it might have been “PARABLE” or did you? You certainly could not have meant that the story was “NOT A LITERAL STORY”, because as we now learn this is just “your opinion”. Do you usually state your opinion in bold, all caps, declarative sentences?

    I meant that I think it is a parable, that is MY opinion. I have always been clear that when we’re speaking of biblical interpretation, we are speaking of OPINION, not fact.

    Do you understand that? That I stated, “THE STORY IS PARABLE” without offering “in my opinion,” is only because of the context of years’ worth of conversations with you where I’ve repeatedly made it clear that I am offering my opinions and that we do not know as a point of fact what the original author meant, authoritatively.

    Craig…

    I know it annoys you to have people expect you to live up to the standards you demand from others, but why should you be exempt from your own standards.

    My standards, Craig, are, IF I ask you, “Are you speaking of this as your opinion or as a point of fact?” that you should answer that question clearly and directly. You have asked me those questions and I have (repeatedly now) clearly answered you directly. I have lived up to my own standards.

    I had asked…

    “IF you think you can “know” a claim (like God hates homosexual behavior, for instance) is factually morally wrong and that God does not approve of any gay sex acts in any circumstances… if you think you can “know” this, in what possible sense do you think you “know” it?”

    And Craig answered…

    In the sense that homosexual behavior is never referred to in scripture in a positive or neutral way. In the sense that normative sexual behavior is always referred to in scripture as being between male and female. In the sense that there is ample scriptural support for this position and that I am confident that scripture is both accurate and authoritative.

    So, you DO think that you “know” this and you think you “know” this because “the Bible…” IS that your answer?

    And where you say, “I am confident that scripture is both accurate and authoritative,” you DO recognize that what you are saying is “I am confident that MY PERSONAL INTERPRETATIONS of these texts (and the many who agree with me) is accurate and authoritative…”? If you recognize this, on what basis should anyone accept your claim to having an “accurate” and “authoritative” human opinion? Do you recognize that this is wholly unsupported (except by an appeal to the many people who agree with you, which is a logical fallacy – an appeal to numbers)?

    Is there some reason you are not able to give a direct answer to my question?

    It appears your direct answer to “can you know this and based on what?” is “YES,” and “cuz, the bible…” Could you confirm this?

    Or really, never mind, it is pretty clear that this is the entirety of your argument and the only thing that isn’t really clear is when you appeal to “cuz, the Bible…” do you recognize that you are appealing to your personal human opinions and interpretations about what the Bible means and nothing more authoritative than mere human opinion and guesswork, and that, with very little humility in being willing to differentiate between your human opinion and “fact” or “God’s Word.”

    If you’d like to clarify if you can be mistaken in your opinions/interpretations on these points and that your opinions are not equivalent to God’s Word or fact, feel free. If not, I think you’ve made your position quite clear, despite your ambiguous and vague words and dodging of direct questions.

    And I’m sorry – honestly – that my time is short and this venue can be confusing. I’d honestly love to have this conversation face to face, because it would help eliminate some of the confusion of having to chase down various rabbits and not getting direct questions/clarifications directly, but I think we’ve probably spent enough time in this mess.

    ~Dan

  107. “If you’d like to clarify if you can be mistaken in your opinions/interpretations on these points and that your opinions are not equivalent to God’s Word or fact, feel free. If not, I think you’ve made your position quite clear, despite your ambiguous and vague words and dodging of direct questions.”

    I’ve clarified this point ad nauseum. I have never claimed that my opinions/interpretations are equivalent to God’s word, nor have i claimed that my opinion is fact. Despite the numerous times I have plainly clarified your misinterpretations of my opinion, you continue to pretend as though I have never done so. Why is this? Why do you insist on substituting your interpretation of what you want me to have said, with my clear and unambiguous statements. the fact that you can’t tell the difference and choose your own preconceptions over my own words is curious.

    As to your “opinion”, you seem to be suggesting that I not take your words as you write them, but rather that I make assumptions about your intentions based on things you have said earlier.

    Or to put it another way.

    When you actually, literally write, “THE STORY IS PARABLE. IT IS NOT A LITERAL STORY DEPICTING A LITERAL RICH MAN LITERALLY IN FLAMES SEPARATED BY A LITERAL CHASM FROM A LITERAL ABRAHAM HOLDING A LITERAL LAZARUS.” (In ALL CAPS AND BOLD). You don’t actually mean what you actually literally wrote.

    So even though you actually literally wrote the above quote, you would prefer that I interpret those actual literal words to mean something like, “In my humble fallible human opinion I believe that the story in question might be a parable, but I really don’t know for sure, so I going to go with my unsupported hunch and opine that I believe that it is maybe a parable. Although, it’s possible that it isn’t I just don’t have enough evidence to make a definitive claim.”

    The problem with that construct is that the interpretation you’d prefer that I use is contradicted by what you want me to interpret.
    ,
    So, you’ve still got 5 claims of fact to support or retract, two lengthy and specific responses to an earlier question you’ve avoided, and multiple unanswered questions in this thread, and you feel like the best way to spend your limited time is to accuse me of not answering questions to your satisfaction.

    The fact is , I’ve answered over 150 of your questions elsewhere, and every single direct question you’ve asked prior to your Dec. 1- 10:34 comment, and you think this “you won’t answer my questions” tactic is your best shot.

    I think I’ll patiently wait until you have caught up on this thread (I suspect my answers elsewhere will go ignored forever), before I answer any questions asked after 10:34 on 12/1/2014. This will allow you to catch up at your leisure, and with no pressure. It will also minimize any potential confusion as to which questions are still in play.

    I appreciate your time constraints, and would rather have you take the time to get caught up when you have the time to do so, rather than to use snark or name calling to pressure you into rushing. Please take all the time you need, your family comes first, and when you are ready to catch up we can do that.

  108. “God hates homosexual behavior,…”

    Unfortunately for you, I have not made such a claim, ever. So, for you to even obliquely suggest that I have is literally factually incorrect. If, it is a genuine mistake, I am sure you will correct your error. If it is intentional, then I guess we’ve all learned something.

  109. paynehollow says:

    Craig…

    Despite the numerous times I have plainly clarified your misinterpretations of my opinion, you continue to pretend as though I have never done so. Why is this?

    Why? Because look at your words…

    When I asked, “IF you think you KNOW a claim (like God hates gay behavior) is factually morally wrong [ie, this behavior is morally wrong and THAT IS A FACT]… in what sense do you “know” it…”?

    You responded with the confusing…

    [I “know it”…] In the sense that homosexual behavior is never referred to in scripture in a positive or neutral way. In the sense that normative sexual behavior is always referred to in scripture as being between male and female. In the sense that there is ample scriptural support for this position and that I am confident that scripture is both accurate and authoritative.”

    YOu appear to be saying that you DO know this as a matter of fact. That is why I ask. Because when I ask, I don’t get direct answers, I get vague blather that sounds like you’re hinting at Yes, you do “know…”

    IS that what you’re saying?

    If not, then why did you not just simply say, “NO, I do not know these claims as a matter of fact…” instead of that confusing mess (and other vague, confusing messes written before)?

    Just choosing the one topic: Do you know as a point of fact that God hates all gay sexual behavior?

    In response to that, you say…

    I have not made such a claim, ever. So, for you to even obliquely suggest that I have is literally factually incorrect. If, it is a genuine mistake, I am sure you will correct your error. If it is intentional, then I guess we’ve all learned something.

    Do you understand that I never SAID you said that?

    Simple question. Yes or No. DO you understand that?

    Of course, the answer is NO. Rather, I asked the question/posed the scenario. Why not address it directly, bluntly, candidly, then we can know what you believe as it relates to the topic?

    If you don’t know it as a point of fact, then do you think that Bubba or Glenn or anyone else who would make such a claim are mistaken in doing so? To claim as fact that which they do not know as fact?

    So, taking your latest responses to be hinting at NO, you do not “know” these opinions as facts, then is your answer intended to say, “I think there is enough in the Bible to suggest that all gay sexual behaviors are not morally good behaviors and, because I interpret the Bible as to contain rules about sexual behaviors for modern people, I find that suggestion to be “accurate” and “authoritative…”? But I do not consider it to be a fact???

    ??

    If that is what you’re saying, do you see how that is confusing? You appear to be saying that the human interpretation of some biblical passages that say “gay behavior is wrong” is “accurate” and “authoritative” but at the same time, I do not “know” it to be “accurate…”

    Or something.

    Do you not see how this is confusing? Do you not see how a reasonable person could not understand how you’re differentiating between “accurate” and “factual…”?

    Any chance of direct answers to clarify what you’re trying to say?

    ~Dan

    • As far as what Scripture says referring to homosexual behavior, I will once again categorically insist that it does prohibit all homosexual behavior regardless of the context in which it might take place, and thus it is a sinful behavior to be avoided. Is this clear enough for you, Dan?

      In making the above statement, I do not “speak for God” unless by “speaking for God” you mean that I am saying what God has already said and doing it now as opposed to waiting for Him to appear to say it again for equivocators like YOU. God said it. It is an abomination. That’s why it is prohibited. He does this in a list of other prohibited sexual behaviors, reasons for each given as well, and He does this with no regard to any context or scenario in which engaging in the forbidden behaviors might be acceptable. He doesn’t give reasons that align with any contemporary reasoning why continuing the prohibition does or doesn’t make sense to us, nor does He provide any authority by which we could mitigate the sinfulness of the behavior, such as presuming it might be OK if the two sinners engaging in the prohibited practice are in a “loving, committed, monogamous relationship”, as if THAT has any bearing on the sinfulness or acceptability of the behavior. All this is absolute fact is one is basing one’s opinion and perspective on human sexuality on Biblical teaching. Dan has NO rational or mature argument in opposition to any of these facts, nor does he have any basis on which to prove they are not factual.

      Does God “hate” “gay” behavior? There is absolutely no doubt. Thus, there is absolutely no doubt that He would “bless” a “marriage” of two homosexuals. It is ludicrous in the extreme to even pretend that possibility exists.

  110. “Do you know as a point of fact that God hates all gay sexual behavior?”

    So, instead of taking the time to get caught up with all of the past issues, you instead choose to (even after being corrected about the factual inaccuracy of your statement) continue to beat this dead horse.

    Again, I’ll just wait patiently until you you have the free time to get caught up. But, I see no reason to indulge you in this silly waste of time.

  111. paynehollow says:

    Because you are not being clear, or putting the blame on me: I am not understanding your position. Why not simply answer the simple, straightforward, reasonable question?

    Or tell me: “Dan, the question isn’t as straightforward as it seems to you…. here’s why…”

    But address the question being raised so that someone on your side is trying to address the questions that are being raised that point to holes in your reasoning.

    I’m not beating a dead horse: I factually DO NOT know your position on the topic and am asking you what seems like an easy-to-answer question so that I CAN know your position. What is hard about this?

    ~Dan

  112. Dan,

    As long as you continue to phrase the question in the terms you have, I see no reason to perpetuate your preconceptions.

    I have been quite clear. I am going to patiently give you all of the time you need in order to get caught up with both your family issues as well as the loose ends from earlier in this thread. I understand how the press of family concerns can be, so I am trying to keep this focused and simple until you have the time to catch up. Once you are caught up and have the free time, then we can move on, but until I am hoping that by not adding to the backlog that I can help you devote your time to your family as well as to catching up here. I realize that it can take a lot of time to get caught up (I know how much time I spent searching, cutting/pasting, answering and posting answers to well over 150 of your questions), and I want you to have all the time you need to get well and thoroughly caught up.

    As I said before, I’ll patiently wait until you have caught up from the pre-12/1 @ 10:34 stuff, then I will be happy to move on.

  113. paynehollow says:

    And I, Craig, am also trying to keep this focused: Focused on the problem that fundamentalist-types have. That is, focused on the problem that you all tend to be confused as to what is fact and what is opinion.

    Is it the case that you are not able to answer the question?

    If so, say so and explain why.

    Is it the case that you are not able to simply answer the question with a direct, one sentence answer?

    If so, say so and explain why.

    Is it the case that you recognize that you can’t rationally answer the question without undermining your own positions?

    If so, man up and admit it.

    Is it the case that you can’t answer the question and remain rationally consistent?

    If so, man up and admit it.

    I’ll patiently wait, too, for you and yours to deal with the questions being asked of you. But, at the same time, the more you all dodge, hem, haw and delay, the less likely it seems that you all have any rational grounds for your position.

    As to waiting for me to get “caught up” I have no idea what you’re talking about, as I’ve answered and re-answered your questions. Directly.

    ~Dan

  114. Dan,
    I’m sorry, I was under the impression that you had very little time for this and was trying to be respectful of your limited time by waiting patiently for you to address the previously unaddressed issues before moving on. In that vein, I am prepared to wait patiently until you deal with things on the table before your 10:34 comment on the first. Once that is done, the we can move along in an orderly fashion to other things.

    Again, specifically, you have 5 claims of fact that need “hard data” or retraction, you have two lengthy comments responding to an earlier burning question you asked, within those comments are a number of clarifying questions which I would appreciate answers too. Beyond those specifics, I suspect there are a number of unanswered questions floating through this thread. But, as a gesture of respect for your limited time I’d be willing to wait until you have time to address the specific issues above before moving forward.

    I’m a little surprised that your response to me trying to be respectful of the fact that you have limited time available and to support your decision to prioritize things other than this blog is being met with such a demanding response.

    As an aside, I notice that your response to what I write is “Why? Because look at your words…”, while you suggest that I should not “look at your words”, but instead focus on something that you claim to have said sometime in the past. Why would you choose not to be consistent on this issue?

    Re; ” I’ve answered and re-answered your questions. Directly.”

    Oh really.

    11/20 @ 5:49
    11/21 @ 4:07
    11/21 @ 5:40
    11/24 @7:18

    In each of the comments noted above there are unanswered questions. This partial list does not include the lengthy two comment answer to a question you asked earlier both of which contain questions for you.

    As I said earlier, I’m willing to settle for the earlier list and forgo the unanswered questions in the 4 comments above. My point is that your above claim of fact is not supported by “hard data”. Which, makes one more unsupported claim of fact for you to either support or retract.

    Again, I’m happy to wait patiently while you deal with the stuff going on. Please don’t rush on my account, I’d much rather deal with things in the past before we move on.

  115. http://www.thechristianleftblog.org/tcl-blog/the-bible-tells-us-when-a-fetus-becomes-a-living-being

    Just curious, would you suggest that the author of the above is wrong in using the Bible as a “rule book” or a “rulings book”? Does it concern you that the author might have taken specific individual verses out of context and used them to support a position that might not be Biblical?

    I’m sorry, and I don’t expect a response from you because I didn’t want to go into new territory. So, whenever you have a chance, no rush.

  116. paynehollow says:

    If the fella is stating “the Bible says… therefore, we know it is wrong/right…” then yes. In reading through it, I suspect he is doing the same thing I often have done: Holding you accountable to the way you try to read the Bible. IF you read the Bible the way you all do, then he has some points that are solid, from your collective starting point. I don’t know that he does treat the Bible the way you all do, but if he is, I would say that yes, that is a wrong way to use the Bible.

    Craig…

    In each of the comments noted above there are unanswered questions.

    Okay, looking at just the very first one you list, to demonstrate that I have answered them. Then we can move on past that silliness and you can begin to answer the more solid and serious questions that you have thus far dodged.

    I had said…

    “He is, of course, speaking figuratively.”

    To which you responded…

    What we have here is quite clearly a claim of fact. Given that, it would not be unreasonable to expect that this claim of fact be supported by some “hard” evidence. I suspect that the “hard” evidence to back up this claim will not be forthcoming.

    Now read closely and understand:

    In this case, we are referring to Jesus’ words that “the two become one flesh.”

    DO YOU THINK THAT MARRIED PEOPLE LITERALLY MERGE INTO ONE BLOB OF FLESH?

    No, you are not an idiot, you do not think this, do you?

    Feel free to clarify.

    But the point is, in that case, clearly he is speaking figuratively, since two people do not become “one flesh” when they marry, not literally. It is figurative language. Now, this is MY OPINION, but it is solidly rational. I can clarify that I am not speaking for the author there, but it seems abundantly clear that he is using figurative language.

    Do you seriously disagree?

    A simple yes or no will suffice.

    The hard data for this claim of mine is that people factually do not become “one flesh” when the marry…

    But I’ve said all this before. So that question has, in fact, been answered.

    Continuing, you said…

    So, if (as you claim) “God made people male and female and that marriage joins them as one. He is, of course, speaking figuratively.”

    How then do you use the very same text to conclude the exact opposite?

    “The purpose of marriage is NOT simply to just separate from one another after marriage, but it is for staying together.” The two shall become “one flesh,” ie, stay together.” “…emphasizing the point of staying together as being the point of marriage.”

    I am not at all sure what you are failing to understand. “One flesh” here in Jesus’ words is not an indication that two people morph into one physical body. The point, in Jesus’ words, is that, “NO, you shouldn’t divorce your wife, you should remain together as one family unit, one married household…”

    That, as I have noted, is my opinion. It seems abundantly clear from the text, but in that case, I am not speaking for Jesus or stating “this is a fact.” I’m stating that this is clearly what Jesus was talking about, in context, in my opinion.

    Since I am stating my opinion of a text about which we can not prove one way or the other the author’s intentions, and I have offered my reasons for interpreting it this way, I am in no way obliged to provide hard data to support an opinion which can’t be authoritatively proven. It is an unprovable opinion. An obvious one, a clear one, given the text, but unprovable and an opinion, nonetheless.

    And that opinion is not contradicted in any way by more earlier claim that clearly Jesus is not speaking of two people morphing into one creature.

    Craig…

    It seems as though the “staying together” would have to be either literal or figurative, but not both.

    ? I don’t know what in the world you are talking about.

    MY OPINION is that in that text, the character Jesus is offering his opinion that two people who are married should remain married. And apparently literally so. But he is not saying that they are literally becoming one flesh, THAT is figurative.

    What is confusing about that to you?

    And again, ALL of this has been explained already.

    Craig…

    Which raises the question. If the purpose of marriage is to “stay together” then it follows that anything that separates that which is against the purpose of marriage, correct?

    IF you are treating the Bible as a rule book, then one might form that opinion. But I don’t hold the opinion that treating the Bible like a rule book is wise, rational, moral or biblical, so no. If that is the conclusion you are drawing, then I hold the opinion that you are treating the Bible as a rule book and doing so incorrectly.

    And THAT I have said before, as well.

    Craig…

    Who decides the purpose of marriage?

    I don’t know that any one person gets to decide the purpose of marriage.

    I have no rational reason to believe that.

    Who do YOU think decides the purpose of marriage?

    If you say, “God,” then on what basis would you make the claim?

    If you say, “Cuz, the Bible…” then aren’t you 1. saying “MY personal understanding of various texts in the Bible” and 2. treating your version/understanding/interpretation of the Bible as a rule/rulings book?

    Beyond which, God has never said (even in the Bible) “HERE is the purpose for marriage, for all times and all peoples… X…” so even appealing to the Bible as a rule book, it fails.

    And all of that has been said before.

    I have literally answered all these questions multiple times in multiple places, Craig.

    Now quit dodging and answer the questions put to you or just have the decency to sneak quietly away and admit you have no answers.

    ~Dan

  117. ““One flesh” here in Jesus’ words is not an indication that two people morph into one physical body.”
    This is the kind of thing that makes me suspect you don’t actually read my responses to you, and therefore presume you have answered things when you haven’t.

    In this case, I asked you direct questions about this very issue, which you didn’t answer, in an attempt to figure out what your point was. Had you answered those direct questions, we would not be having this current conversation. Unfortunately, you chose to ignore the direct, clarifying questions I asked you about this very thing, and now we’re stuck here.

    “The point, in Jesus’ words, is that, “NO, you shouldn’t divorce your wife, you should remain together as one family unit, one married household…”

    That is indeed a fine opinion, but if the “point” of becoming “one flesh” is to “stay together”, where do you come up with the list of exceptions to “the point of marriage”, and why should your hunches be considered correct?

    “Now quit dodging and answer the questions put to you or just have the decency to sneak quietly away and admit you have no answers.”

    1. You respond (I’m not sure there were really any answers there, but a response is a step in the right direction) to one comment out of the several I pointed out to you.
    2. You ignore my earlier clarifying questions about this.
    3. You keep up the fiction that I don’t answer your questions.

    I have told you what it will take for you to get more answers, if you don’t want to put forth the effort, fine. Just say so. If you need more time, fine, I’m patient.

    But, seriously, I can’t believe that you can continue to act as if you have answered the questions pointed out, dealt with the lengthy answer to your earlier question, and prove or retracted your 5 claims of fact.

    Again, I’m patient. I’ll give you all the time you need. No pressure, no snark, no name calling, and no reminders.

    PS. I’ve actually addressed the premise that I believe us the foundation for your most recent “burning question”. Perhaps if you do some research in this thread, you might find the answers you seek, or at least might be able to better frame your question to reflect what I haven’t already said.

  118. paynehollow says:

    If you can point to even just one question that I have not answered (or that you have not understood my answer, and thus are seeking clarification), I will be glad to answer it. I’m not wading through all this to do that work for you, but if you point one out, I’ll be glad to see if it truly has not been answered.

    As it is, you pointed to several posts and i went to the first of those and pointed out that you had received answers to those questions and re-answered them yet again. I won’t continue that.

    So, the ball’s in your park. Answer the questions that you have been dodging, or ask me some specific question that you have not understood an answer on or do nothing. It’s all on you.

    Have a blessed holiday season in the meantime.

    ~Dan

  119. I’ve pointed out 5 specific claims of fact that you haven’t either supported or retracted.
    I spent two lengthy comments answering an earlier question that you whined about. I pointed out 4 comments that contain unanswered questions. At this point it seems like I’ve already done everything for you except hold your mouse and scroll up. If you are serious about having any sort of dialogue, you have to be engaged. You can’t dodge and ignore things for days and then complain that you can’t find them or it’s too hard. I’ve already answered your question. It’s written and ready to post as soon as you get done with your part of this. If you don’t I’ll put it with the other 150 or so of my answers, but if you won’t invest the effort to look up what’s in this thread, I doubt you’ll be motivated to look anywhere else.

    “As it is, you pointed to several posts and i went to the first of those and pointed out that you had received answers to those questions and re-answered them yet again. I won’t continue that.”

    You are correct here, I have pointed to various comments that contain unanswered questions, the fact that you chose to ignore them when I asked and refuse to answer them now doesn’t give much credence to your “I always answer questions” stance. I have spent literally hours going through some of our recent exchanges copy/pasting over 150 of your questions and answering them elsewhere, in addition to answering some questions here. The fact that you don’t/won’t put forth the effort to read the comments of others is not my problem.

    If I had any hope that my answering your “question” would result in you actually investing the effort in keeping up your end of the conversation, I would copy/paste it here in a heartbeat. The problem is, I see no evidence that my posting it here would do anything more than encourage you in ignoring responses and answers as you have demonstrated in this thread.

    I will give you a tidbit though.

    I’d be much more confident in “cuz the Bible”, than in “cuz Dan.”.

  120. “Having said that how does “mocking” Orthodox positions held by others you refer to as “brother” demonstrate any sort of “grace-filled” behavior? Where is mocking commended? Where is continuing to use an inaccurate/mocking term after being corrected multiple times taught by Jesus?”

    Just cuz I’s feeling benevolent, I’ll copy paste the unanswered questions from one of the comments you chose to ignore.

    But, hey you answer every direct question, right?

  121. paynehollow says:

    To answer this question, then…

    “Having said that how does “mocking” Orthodox positions held by others you refer to as “brother” demonstrate any sort of “grace-filled” behavior?

    As a rule, grace in our interactions is called for. Sometimes, however, mocking dangerous and arrogant/hypocritical attitudes/behaviors is appropriate. Calling attention to it, pointing it out for what it is, and making fun of how silly that behavior is, I do not believe that to be a mistake.

    This, however, only after attempts have been made to deal with the arrogant ones in a more gracious way has failed. I have years of trying to talk with you all collectively in a gracious manner, only to be met by mocking and demonizations, false witness and half truths. I will sometimes mock that sort of behavior, having failed to make inroads with you in a spirit of grace.

    Now that question has been answered. Sorry if I missed it.

    Your turn, Craig.

    ~Dan

  122. Actually, to be factually accurate you “answered one of three questions. Of course, you didn’t actually answer the question that was asked, but it’s a start.

    Of course that fact that you answered 1/3 of the questions I copy/pasted while pretending you had made some big effort is kind of charming.

    I guess this is your way of saying that you won’t put forth the effort to look for questions and only answer 30% of the ones I find for you.

    Pity.

    FYI, I’ve answered your question.

  123. paynehollow says:

    Fine, copy and paste your answer below, should be easy enough if it exists in the real world on this thread. I’m telling you that I do not see an answer.

    The question (line of questions – all dealing with what you “know” and how you “know” it) that you and Bubba are dodging, as a reminder…

    * There are SOME points Bubba holds that are facts that Bubba can “know…”

    * There are SOME (vague, unnamed) points where Dan and Bubba disagree and Bubba “knows” he can’t be mistaken in his interpretation.

    Why NOT simply give a specific example, explain what the difference in our opinions is, explain how he “knows” what he claims to “know”? You could END this discussion in triumph is you can simply step up and support – with specifics – what you claim.

    Or, if you disagree with Bubba and think he is mistaken in his claim to “know” as a point of fact his position on some point where we disagree, then simply make that clear and say, “No, of course Bubba does not “know” what he can’t demonstrate, not in any meaningful sense…”

    Where is your direct, clear answer to this question (or other similar ones)? Because I’m not seeing it/them.

    ~Dan

  124. paynehollow says:

    Pity, indeed.

  125. paynehollow says:

    And I do know that you gave your “in the sense that…” answer to the questions that were not really all that helpful. I followed that up with the following to clarify your meaning, so feel free to answer or ignore, but the ball is in your court on this topic…

    And Craig answered…

    In the sense that homosexual behavior is never referred to in scripture in a positive or neutral way. In the sense that normative sexual behavior is always referred to in scripture as being between male and female. In the sense that there is ample scriptural support for this position and that I am confident that scripture is both accurate and authoritative.

    So, you DO think that you “know” this and you think you “know” this because “the Bible…” IS that your answer?

    And where you say, “I am confident that scripture is both accurate and authoritative,” you DO recognize that what you are saying is “I am confident that MY PERSONAL INTERPRETATIONS of these texts (and the many who agree with me) is accurate and authoritative…”? If you recognize this, on what basis should anyone accept your claim to having an “accurate” and “authoritative” human opinion? Do you recognize that this is wholly unsupported (except by an appeal to the many people who agree with you, which is a logical fallacy – an appeal to numbers)?

    Is there some reason you are not able to give a direct answer to my question?

    It appears your direct answer to “can you know this and based on what?” is “YES,” and “cuz, the bible…” Could you confirm this?

    Or really, never mind, it is pretty clear that this is the entirety of your argument and the only thing that isn’t really clear is when you appeal to “cuz, the Bible…” do you recognize that you are appealing to your personal human opinions and interpretations about what the Bible means and nothing more authoritative than mere human opinion and guesswork, and that, with very little humility in being willing to differentiate between your human opinion and “fact” or “God’s Word.”

    If you’d like to clarify if you can be mistaken in your opinions/interpretations on these points and that your opinions are not equivalent to God’s Word or fact, feel free. If not, I think you’ve made your position quite clear, despite your ambiguous and vague words and dodging of direct questions.

    ~Dan

    • OK, I get it. you’re going to “answer” 30% of the questions in one of the comments I’ve pointed you towards and pretend that you’ve dealt with everything and that I am now beholden to answer every little thing at your whim.

      Sorry, I’ve told you what it will take to get me to answer any more of your questions. If you wish to live in a world where you can pretend that you’ve dealt with the items I’ve pointed out, that’s fine with me, but don’t pretend it’s reality.

      To be factually correct, I have already answered your question. I did not do it here, but it is public and accessible and (I believe, time stamped). Along with the other 150+ questions or yours I’ve answered.

      The fact that you choose not to put forth even a minute bit of effort to deal with the unanswered/un-responded to/unretracted/unproven items brought up in this one thread, leads me to believe that it is more important to you, that you not find this stuff, so that you can continue to pretend it doesn’t exist.

      ” I’m telling you that I do not see an answer.”

      That you don’t see it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. It means you haven’t read my comments.

      I find it interesting that you expect me to answer questions about what Bubba knows or thinks, why would you expect me to have some great insight into Bubba’s thoughts?

      “You could END this discussion in triumph is you can simply step up and support – with specifics – what you claim.”

      I find this interesting, I’m not sure I’ve actually “claimed” much if anything in this thread. Maybe if you could copy/paste this “claim”, I could better understand what you mean.

      “You could END this discussion in triumph is you can simply step up and support – with specifics – what you claim.”

      Of course, so could you. The fact that you won’t speaks volumes. The fact that you deny that you’ve made claims of fact, when your own actual, factual literal words argue otherwise also speaks volumes.

      As to the questions in your last comment, I’ve been quite clear about any questions asked after 12/1/14 @ 10:34. Once you’ve dealt with the two lengthy comments in response to your earlier burning question (as well as answering the clarifying questions), prove or retract your 5 fact claims of fact, and answer the questions in the 4 comments listed above. I’m not answering any more than I already have.

      ” I’ve answered and re-answered your questions. Directly.”

      OK, we know this is a lie. So, you can keep living the above lie, or you can live up to what you claim, your call.

      I’ve answered your question.

  126. At this point, I think it best that John halt comments on this thread. No doubt this very line of back and forth will resume in subsequent threads, but it might be best that those of us who have the unfortunate history of dealing with Dan and his nonsensical style of discourse treat every one of them as new and simply hold his feet to the fire in defending his position, not moving an inch without getting a direct answer to a question and unabashedly and unashamedly answer his fully and directly, insisting that he confirm he is satisfied that the question is answered before moving on. Sadly, it is the only way I can imagine will prevent the superfluous and inane direction the takes these discussions. It will likely work for the atheist comrades as well.

    Before I go, I will once again point out that there is little I’ve ever said regarding Scripture that isn’t absolute fact, if one has any honesty at all. That is, if I repeat a teaching, it is fact what I say unless and until an opponent can provide a legitimate case that, at the very least, makes me doubt my own position, say nothing of changing my mind. I am NOT mistaken regarding what I consider true and factual regardless of Dan’s protestations that self-serving people like himself and those he enablers might interpret things differently, as if those interpretations are legitimate and not the self-serving re-writing of Scripture it truly is.

  127. paynehollow says:

    So, you claim a “fact” that you “know” and can “not be mistaken” upon (or a series of “fact” claims) and when people ask you “In what sense do you ‘know’ that ‘fact’ to the point where you ‘can’t be mistaken'” and those are just silly and “dishonest” questions that should be ignored and, indeed, the thread closed so you can just ignore the questions, is that what you’re saying, Marshall?

    It’s not just Dan that’s asking the questions, the non-theists were, too, at least until they got tired of your dodging and ignoring of the questions and just wrote you off (apparently) and left. These are reasonable questions, friends. Man up and answer them.

    In what possible sense do you “know” that these “facts” are right and you can “NOT be mistaken” on them?

    Is the mere claim enough to justify calling it a fact? That is, if I make a claim – without ANY support – that Marshall wears women’s underwear and molests puppies in his free time and I “know” this and can “NOT be mistaken” because, well, just because and I don’t need to provide any support for the claim, does that make it a fact? Of course not.

    Claims of “facts” and “knowledge” need to be supported with some data if you want to be taken seriously.

    We are left thinking that you are, collectively, irrational and base your beliefs on lightweight traditions and emotions, not any hard or measurable or rational. And then, people write you off and begin writing Christians off as a class because of your lightweight witness and irrationality.

    Man up, fellas. Defend your positions with something besides “cuz I say the Bible says…”

    Or just admit the reality that it is your opinion, not a fact, and that you can’t prove it but you find it compelling for these reasons (1, 2, 3) but be clear that they are your unsupported opinions, not facts, not “god’s word…” There’s no shame in admitting you misspoke, only in doubling down on the arrogance and irrationality.

    ~Dan

    • You’re really just a lame liar, aren’t you Dan? I cannot be more specific in stating that my position on what Scripture says regarding homosexual behavior is indeed fact based on what Scripture says. There is no can be no disputing what Scripture says and what the words it uses means by honest people, which obviously excludes you. You are not honest in your defense of homosexuality, homosexual “marriage” and issues of homosexuality in general as it pertains to Judeo-Christian teaching. I do not claim as fact that which is not supportable as fact. It is you who makes unsupportable claims and then hides behind “opinion”, rather than have the integrity of providing support for even that. But as I know what the words on the page mean, and thus, through no great effort of reason can understand the clearly revealed message, I can then proclaim as fact that which I defend. It is up to you to prove me wrong and if you can do so, will find that just how open to reason and persuasion I really am. But persuading requires reasonable arguments. You provide none for your position.

      Even your comments regarding the story of Sodom demonstrates your unwillingness to be reasonable, wherein you inject intention of gang rape on the men of Sodom by referring to their eventual reaction to rebuke by Lot, without which there is no reasonable or logical means of supposing gang rape is ever on their minds. You suggest that “surrounding the house” indicates nefarious intent, when it is just as likely, if not more so, that a gathering of every man in the town might compel some of them to get as close to the house as possible, thereby resulting in the crowd surrounding the house. “Surrounding the house” can merely indicate the throng of people that showed up, not that they meant to cut off escape, which is not suggested at all, ever, in the mention of their surrounding the house.

      In the meantime, I took the step by step method of demonstrating that, at the very least, there is some indication by the manner in which the story is told, that even sacrificing the safety of one’s own daughters suggests the wickedness of the intention of the Sodomites to “know” the visitors in Lot’s home. There is nothing in the story to suggest that their intention of “knowing” the visitors is in any way a culturally “inhospitable” custom, but only that in Lot’s mind, the idea of men having sex with men is wicked to the extent that it would be far better for the men of Sodom to get it on with Lot’s daughters. Lot never asks his visitors if they are amenable to the notion of “being known” by the men of Sodom. He regards the possibility as wickedness right from the start without regard to the possibility that his visitors might not object. Thus, I inject nothing into the story that the story itself cannot help but imply. You do nothing BUT inject your preferred meaning so as to mitigate any possibility that it is another indictment of homosexual behavior.

      So, if we are speaking about what the Bible says, it is perfectly justified, reasonable and logical to refer to, you know, what the Bible actually says. If you wish to suggest a meaning that the plain reading of the words therein suggest, then it is YOU who needs to bring about some supporting evidence. On THIS subject, all of that is on our side. We still await whatever you think you have. We already know what your opinion is. We await support for that opinion, especially given how ludicrous it is in light of what Scripture clearly says.

      • MA,
        I think you stumbled on to something here. The Bible clearly says things about homosexual behavior, and clearly the things it says are not positive, they are not even neutral. So there are two options. 1. Take the words at face value and accept them for what they say. 2. Come up with some interpretive construct that allows one to suggest that the meaning is something other than/opposite of what the text actually says.

        In Dan’s case, he clearly would never suggest that his opinion on the interpretation of these passages was anything other than a hunch. In fact, he’s admitted elsewhere that he has zero biblical support for his position. He’s also been pretty up front that his position on this is based primarily (exclusively) on his observation of a small group of his friends in his smallish KY city.

        The problem with this method of deterring what God blesses, is that one can come to a completely opposite conclusion and someone like Dan has no argument to counter that opposite conclusion. At least with those on the Orthodox side of things we can appeal to scripture (which is vastly more supportive of the traditional position than of Dan’s), we can appeal to history, to Orthodox doctrine, and to the hundreds/thousands of scholars who agree with the Orthodox position.

        To be fair, none of that is absolute proof, and I’d never suggest otherwise. However in the civil justice system there is a term which (I believe) fits quite well. That term is “Preponderance of the Evidence”. What that means is that in civil trials, all one side needs is to demonstrate that the preponderance of the evidence supports their position in order to prevail. In this case, I would suggest that the preponderance of the evidence is on the side of the historic Orthodox view on this issue. Again, not the 100% guaranteed, “hard data”, beyond any possible doubt, level of proof that Dan and the Atheists demand, but enough to prevail in civil court.

        The good news for the Dan’s of the world is all they need is to tilt the scales so the preponderance of the evidence supports their position. Personally, I they are right I would think this would not be difficult if their position really is the correct one.

        The bad news, is that Dan’s entire argument seems to be “I know what my opinion is and I’m convinced and that’s all I need.” except then it moves to “But you’re wrong”. Unfortunately his construct can’t demonstrate that the Orthodox view is wrong any more than it can prove his hunch right. Which would be fine, if he’s just gracefully allow those who disagree to do so, unfortunately, as we’ve seen it all to often turns to name calling (“prick”, “crazy”, “insane”, etc.) and tangents instead of a simple logical positive case to support his opinion as anything more than simply his personal preference.

        I’d be happy to see something else, I just doubt we will.

        • I’d go a bit farther in suggesting that as long as we are not worthy of direct communication by God Himself, Dan is at liberty to believe whatever he prefers to believe without the support he demands of others. Direct contact by God is really the only possible way to know anything about Scripture in a manner that would satisfy Dan’s self-serving criteria, though like the Israelites of the OT, that surely wouldn’t be enough for him.

          • The other new tactic I’ve seen in this thread is that Dan isn’t using he nesting comments so his response is not connected to the comment he is responding to. I have some thoughts that might explain this phenomenon, but no proof.

    • Just to clarify,

      “So, you claim a “fact” that you “know” and can “not be mistaken” upon (or a series of “fact” claims) and when people ask you “In what sense do you ‘know’ that ‘fact’ to the point where you ‘can’t be mistaken’” and those are just silly and “dishonest” questions that should be ignored and, indeed, the thread closed so you can just ignore the questions, is that what you’re saying, Marshall?”

      No. Not even close, though I concede I may not have been clear (certainly not clear enough for Dan) which is why I render this clarification: The thread is now a convoluted mess largely due to Dan’s typical Bill Clinton style of obfuscation, demanding we waste time determining the meaning of “is” in order to move forward in the discussion.

  128. “Man up, fellas. Defend your positions with something besides “cuz I say the Bible says…””

    OK Dan, man up and defend your positions with something besides. “Dan says.” or “Dan’s Reason says.” or “It’s my (unsupported, unproven) opinion as a fallible human”.

  129. paynehollow says:

    The difference, as always, Craig, is that I am honest and strong enough to say, “This is my opinion and I’m not claiming it as a fact.” Will you do the same thing?

    There is NO shame in saying “This is MY personal opinion.” The shame is trying to force off your opinion (unsupported and sometimes outright irrational and immoral) as a fact or, worse, as “god’s word…”

    That is the difference between my side and yours, friend.

    ~Dan

    • Sure Dan, whatever you say. There are plenty of differences between you and the majority of Orthodox Christians, no one disputes that.

  130. paynehollow says:

    Craig…

    I have some thoughts that might explain this phenomenon, but no proof.

    Perhaps God told you? In “the Bible…”? So, in that sense, you “know” you “can’t be mistaken?”

    You fellas are a hoot to brighten a fella’s day. As I’ve noted before, I don’t like the nesting comments as I find it too difficult to follow. I prefer and think it is easier (at least for me) to find the latest comments at the bottom of the page.

    So, you could keep it simple and just go with the explanation I’ve already provided that is rational and authoritative, or you could come up with some conspiracy theory to “explain this phenomenon,” absent any proof or base it on “the Bible” or whatever works for you.

    Thanks for the laughs guys, and seriously, happy, blessed, peaceful holidays.

    ~Dan

  131. Dan,
    1. My answer to your question is available for all, so you can stop whining about that.
    2. It seems you still think answering 30% of the questions in one of multiple comments somehow gets you caught up.

    So, you just go right ahead and run away to your fantasy world where no one ever answers even one of your questions, while you provide concise, prompt, and devastatingly logical answers to the questions asked of you. I’m sure it will put you in a much happier place that reality.

    But, no one really expects anything different from you.

  132. This is a little long, but it stands in contrast to Dan’s hunches.

    “We have a fixed faith to preach, my brethren, and we are sent forth with a definite message from God.”

    We are not left to fabricate the message as we go along. We are not sent forth by our Master with a general commission arranged on this fashion—”As you shall think in your heart and invent in your head, so preach. Keep abreast of the times. Whatever the people want to hear, tell them that, and they shall be saved.” Verily, we read not so.

    There is something definite in the Bible. It is not quite a lump of wax to be shaped at our will, or a roll of cloth to be cut according to the prevailing fashion. Your great thinkers evidently look upon the Scriptures as a box of letters for them to play with, and make what they like of, or a wizard’s bottle, out of which they may pour anything they choose, from atheism up to spiritualism. I am too old-fashioned to fall down and worship this theory.

    There is something told me in the Bible—told me for certain— not put before me With a “but” and a “perhaps,” and an “if,” and a “may be,” and fifty thousand suspicions behind it, so that really the long and the short of it is, that it may not be so at all; but revealed to me as infallible fact, which must be believed, the opposite of which is deadly error, and comes from the father of lies.

    Believing, therefore, that there is such a thing as truth, and such a thing as falsehood, that there are truths in the Bible, and that the gospel consists in something definite which is to be believed by men, it becomes us to be decided as to what we teach, and to teach it in a decided manner.

    We have to deal with men who will be either lost or saved, and they certainly will not be saved by erroneous doctrine. We have to deal with God, whose servants we are, and he will not be honoured by our delivering falsehoods; neither will he give us a reward, and say, “Well done, good and faithful servant, thou hast mangled the gospel as judiciously as any man that ever lived before thee.”

    We stand in a very solemn position, and ours should be the spirit of old Micaiah, who said, “As the Lord my God liveth, before whom I stand, whatsoever the Lord saith unto me that will I speak.”

    Neither less nor more than God’s word are we called to state, but that word we are bound to declare in a spirit which convinces the sons of men that, whatever they may think of it, we believe God, and are not to be shaken in our confidence in him.

    So, if I had to choose, do I go with Dan or C.H. Spurgeon?

  133. paynehollow says:

    I can quote Spurgeon, too…

    I wish that Christian men would insist more and more on the unrighteousness of war, believing that Christianity means no sword, no cannon, no bloodshed, and that, if a nation is driven to fight in its own defence, Christianity stands by to weep and to intervene as soon as possible, and not to join in the cruel shouts which celebrate an enemy’s slaughter.” – Charles Spurgeon

    When he was right, he was right (and he was quite often very right, would that you would listen to his words on war and the poor). But if he made any claims that, “I ‘know’ what I believe is the one right answer because ‘the Bible…'” then I would call that, too, intellectual cowardice and moral arrogance.

    Defend what you believe, be prepared to answer hard questions or have the honor and integrity to admit you can’t.

    The difference, Brother Craig, between me and thee (on the matter of “unanswered questions”) is I can and have pointed to the very specific questions that you have ignored, dodged, dismissed. If the answers truly exist to these questions, all you have to do is point to the answer, copy and paste it and say, “HERE is the answer…” as I have done. For your part, you have pointed to a time period where you say I didn’t answer questions, without repeating the questions. Nonetheless, I went to the first of the series of places you pointed and repeated the already-answered answers to those questions, demonstrating that I had not ignored them. In the case where you were able to point to a question that I didn’t answer, I apologized and answered.

    I say again: If the answer exists, just copy and paste it, because I’m not seeing it.

    Or just admit that you can’t/won’t answer the question. This isn’t brain surgery fellas.

    ~Dan

    • Dan,
      There are a number of differences between us.
      1. The fact that you continue to live in this world where you ignore the fact that I have pointed out multiple specific instances where you have not answered questions, yet you ignore those specifics and pretend they don;t exist, while simultaneously pretending that I have not answered your questions, when I have. The fact that you ignore the answers when I write them, doesn’t mean they don’t exist. In the most recent example, you answered one of three questions in a comment, yet pretend as if you’ve answered all of them.

      2. You are a hypocrite. You claim that folks are “right” when they agree with you and wrong when they don’t.

      3. I have answered your “hard questions”. Both here and elsewhere. In particular I wrote two lengthy comments answering an earlier question you asked. Those comments included questions intended to clarify your position. To date you have neither acknowledged the existence of the answers to your questions, nor answered the clarifying questions I posed in my answers. So, if you are going to ignore my answers to your questions, pretend they don’t exist, and not answer my clarifying questions, why do you think I would continue to spend the time answering additional questions from you?

      4. “Defend what you believe, be prepared to answer hard questions or have the honor and integrity to admit you can’t.” I have and will continue to do so. Why won’t you? Why won’t you acknowledge when I do? When will you stop insisting that I defend positions that I have not taken?

      5. ” Nonetheless, I went to the first of the series of places you pointed and repeated the already-answered answers to those questions, demonstrating that I had not ignored them. In the case where you were able to point to a question that I didn’t answer, I apologized and answered.” I wouldn’t have the guts to flat out lie in a manner quite so bold faced as this. I mentioned multiple comments with unanswered questions, you chose one of them to respond to. The “question” you “missed” was actually three questions of which you didn’t answer two. Look, if you aren’t willing to search, it’s not my problem. If it’s too hard for you to use the nesting comments to keep related comments together, that’s also your problem. If you aren’t willing to acknowledge and respond to answers that exist, why would I think you would all of a sudden start paying attention now? Especially since you’ll just lie about it anyway.

      6. “I say again: If the answer exists, just copy and paste it, because I’m not seeing it.”
      The answer to what? I answered an earlier question with 2 long comments, yet you pretend it doesn’t exist and hide from the truth. I’ve posted literally hundreds of answers elsewhere, because it was easier to not have to jump all over. Yet, you pretend otherwise. The answers are out there, but I’m done copy pasting because you’re too lazy or dense to keep up. Especially since you’re using your nestingcommentophobla as an excuse for not keeping responses connected.

      “Or just admit that you can’t/won’t answer the question.”

      Since I have answered “the question” (or believe I have since “the question” seems to change quite often), I see no reason to admit anything. To be clear, I can/have. I just might not have done it here.

      Ultimately, none of this matters unless you are willing to answer the questions you are asked, and acknowledge it when your questions are answered. The fact that you are unwilling to do either, makes me wonder why you ask questions in the first place. If you really wanted answers, wouldn’t you put forth the effort to read/acknowledge/respond to the answers you get? The fact (and it is a fact) that you have ignored a 2 comment long answer to one of your previous “the question’s, and still continue to act as if the answer(s) don’t exist calls into question your motivation.

      So, as usual, until you actually behave in the same manner you demand of others, I see no reason to answer any more of your questions.

      If it helps you feel better to characterize my repose to you falsely, I can’t stop you. If it helps you to feel better to call me names, I can’t stop you.

  134. “Dan,
    If you have an instance of a question undealt with feel free to point me in the right direction. I will admit that I don’t consider the same question asked repeatedly as worthy of repeated answers.

    Further, since you tend to ignore my answers (as demonstrated by the literally hundreds I’ve answered elsewhere), I fail to see what purpose it serves other than to allow you to drive the discussion where you prefer, and away from the things like providing “hard data” when you make claims of fact.

    I guess mockery and name calling are just par for the course, but heaven forbid Dan doesn’t get the answers he wants, when he wants them.”

    A comment I made on Nov. 22. I guess some things don’t change.

  135. paynehollow says:

    The line of questions that remain unanswered/dodged all have to do with what you all appear to claim to “know” and differentiating between your opinions and facts. For instance:

    In what possible sense do you “know” that these “facts” are right and you can “NOT be mistaken” on them?

    Or, put another way at another time:

    The question (line of questions – all dealing with what you “know” and how you “know” it) that you and Bubba are dodging, as a reminder…

    * There are SOME points Bubba holds that are facts that Bubba can “know…”

    * There are SOME (vague, unnamed) points where Dan and Bubba disagree and Bubba “knows” he can’t be mistaken in his interpretation.

    Why NOT simply give a specific example, explain what the difference in our opinions is, explain how he “knows” what he claims to “know”? You could END this discussion in triumph is you can simply step up and support – with specifics – what you claim.

    Copy and paste that answer, if it has been answered. Or just give up. But don’t continue with this “I answered that already, you know… ‘up there’ somewhere… or somewhere, but I HAVE answered…”

    Conversely, since these specific questions touch on claims of Bubba’s and Marshall’s that you vaguely seem to support… but maybe not… if you DON’T think you “know” these claims as “facts,” then say so clearly. DON’T say, “Well, I never said that so….” make it clear. DO you think you can “know” as a “fact” your belief about what God thinks about the world’s creation process or God’s opinion on marriage between gay folk or pick your topic, but one where you and I specifically disagree? Yes? No? What is YOUR answer to these claims of “knowledge” about “facts…”? Are Bubba and Marshall going to far in their claims of knowledge? DO you agree that they “know” what they can’t prove? If so, in what sense do they “know” it?

    That is the specific line of questioning that has gone unanswered, yea, these many years.

    Copy/paste. Answer. Simple.

    If it exists.

    ~Dan

  136. “In what possible sense do you “know” that these “facts” are right and you can “NOT be mistaken” on them?”

    I have never made any claims that I “know” specific facts beyond any possibility of being mistaken.

    Perhaps you have some specific “fact” in mind that you believe if have claimed to “know” beyond all possibility of mistake. If this is the case then I could, in theory, address specifics.

    I assume that you are aware that I am not Bubba or MA, and that I would not presume to comment on what Bubba believes that he can “know”, as I have no possible way to answer that question.

    “DO you think you can “know” as a “fact” your belief about what God thinks about the world’s creation process or God’s opinion on marriage between gay folk or pick your topic, but one where you and I specifically disagree?”

    Obviously it depends on what you mean by “know” and “fact”, so any answer will of necessity be limited.

    So, I do believe (based on the words of Jesus and Paul), that we as humans do have the capacity to “know” the Truth about at least some things.

    You know what, screw this. As long as you continue to pretend as though I haven’t answered your questions. As long as you continue to ignore the answers I’ve already given. As long as you keep asking me to defend positions I don’t hold based on comments made by others. Why in the hell should I continue to do something that you won’t do? Why is it so difficult for you to differentiate between different people and the positions that they hold? I know it’s easier to lump everyone together and pretend as if we are all monolithic in our beliefs, but if you can’t be bothered to accurately represent who believes what, why should I waste time enabling you in your misconceptions. One difference between us is that when I have questions about what you are saying I actually quote your actual, literal, words and ask you for clarification, you (on the other hand) can’t/won’t be bothered by what I actually said as long as you can lump me in with someone else. I suspect that you couldn’t actually provide the quotes to “prove” that your presumption of my position (or Bubba’s) is accurate.

    If you have answers to specific questions I’ve asked, great. If you have questions about a position I actually hold, great. f you can demonstrate that your version of Bubba’s position accurately represents Bubba’s real position, great. But I’m sick if answering your random questions based on your misconceptions about what I actually believe, while you keep playing this game.

  137. paynehollow says:

    Craig…

    At the time you asked these questions, you were pretty adamant that these were “the questions” that must be answered.

    In context, here is how I asked these questions…

    Not that any of this is on topic but, since you bring it up: What is the truth that is being passed on in this parable? …

    I’m interested in your (or Bubba’s, since he brought up the story) opinion.

    As an aside, off topic, I stated I was curious as to your opinion on that. This was not an “adamant” asking of these as “the questions…” They were simple casual questions. You answered. Thanks, there was nothing more for me to say.

    What of it?

    This is not the main thrust of my questions, not the main hole in your collective arguments. This particular post posed the question: Can the Bible be impeached simply because it is religious…” The answer came back from me and the skeptics who commented, “No, of course not…” The point is not that the Bible is dismissed because it is religious. The point is YOU ALL are dismissed – and read and understand this carefully and thoughtfully – because you all are making fact claims that can not be rationally supported which are not facts at all, but opinions…

    The Bible is not summarily dismissed because it comes from “religious” sources, but some (many) religious people are because they make claims which can’t be supported and they don’t do it as opinion, but as fact. As something they “know…”

    And this is why my (and others’) strain of questions to you is so important and why it is so telling that you all dodge them.

    Craig: ARE you claiming that you “know” that God is opposed to gay sex in any and all circumstances? Or is that simply an opinion you hold in faith?

    Do you “know” that, as a point of “fact” that Adam and Eve were real historical people, not mythic characters?

    Bubba and Marshall appear to be making the claims that they “know” this, when there is nothing on which they can base that knowledge authoritatively. It is an opinion, not a known fact.

    Do you agree with that?

    These are critical questions. If you have answered these questions, paste your answer again. I don’t see that you ever have.

    Step up, defend your claims if you are making them or clarify your position if you are not.

    ~Dan

    • “…because you all are making fact claims that can not be rationally supported which are not facts at all, but opinions…”

      I know it’s hard for you to grasp, but “you all” doesn’t mean anything. If you can point to one specific “fact claim’ that I have made, please do. If you can’t then stop assuming that Bubba, John, MA, and I are all interchangeable. Again, I see no reason why I should be asked to defend claims I haven’t made. For some strange reason, you do. By the same token, you don;t feel compelled to support the fact claims that you make. Bizarre. You expect me to support what others have said, while not supporting your own positions.

      “Craig: ARE you claiming that you “know” that God is opposed to gay sex in any and all circumstances?” No, you can tell this because I’ve never claimed that.

      “Or is that simply an opinion you hold in faith?” Again, as I’ve never expressed that, I see no reason to take an opinion on a position I’ve never expressed. Again, if you can provide an actual quote from me, I’ll deal with that, but as long as you insist of asking me about the positions you want me to have, I’ll pass.

      “Do you “know” that, as a point of “fact” that Adam and Eve were real historical people, not mythic characters?”

      I’ve never claimed to “know” “as a point of fact”, if Adam and Eve were historical people or not, so I see no reason to answer a question that is not based in reality.

      I did address the problems with your use of the term “know”, and since you’ve acknowledged that the term is problematic as well I can’t help but suspect that you are simply trying to elicit a comment which you can then take out of context ate some point.

      So, as I said before. Until you justify or retract your fact claims, answer the unanswered questions in the comments pointed out to you, I see no reason to deal with any of your questions asked since 12/1. (at least beyond what I’ve already done)

      You seem to be operating under the assumption that unless questions are answered in the way, place and time frame that suit you, that they have not been answered.

      I’ve been patient, and will continue to be so, but asking more questions and asking questions based on your preconception of my positions (or your laziness in lumping everyone who disagrees with you together), without your doing what you demand of others is going to get very frustrating for you.

  138. paynehollow says:

    So, Craig, you do NOT think that anyone can know that Adam and Eve were literal historical characters? And anyone who claims to “know” that are mistaken?

    And since you don’t seem to grasp it, I’m not asking you this question because you have claimed it. I’m asking it because many on your side appear to be making that claim and I’m wondering where YOU fall on that question.

    And, as pointed out, it’s an apt question because it gets to the point of this post: People do not reject the Bible because it’s religious, they reject human claims of “fact” and “knowledge” that are not supported with facts and knowledge.

    And you can be “patient” waiting for me to answer some vague question that has been answered as far as I know. Or you can just ask a question like this: “Dan, I don’t think I ever got an answer to this question…” and put the question out there. As I’ve already demonstrated, I’ve answered the questions that you appear to be asking.

    ~Dan

    • “So, Craig, you do NOT think that anyone can know that Adam and Eve were literal historical characters?”

      It all depends on what degree of certainty you choose to assign to the word “know”. If (as you seem to be doing) you insist that the only way to “know” something is to have 100% “hard” verifiable proof, then it is safe to say that we can “know” nothing about history. Personally I have a high degree of confidence that God did create two people (Who are referred to as Adam and Eve) at some point.

      “And anyone who claims to “know” that are mistaken?” Again it hinges on the definition of “know”. Without a specific claim to asses, I can’t really say.

      Thank you for repeating what I already pointed out, others have made the claims that infuriate you, not me. I was unaware of any sort of blog etiquette that requires me to take a position on everything said by other people. My other problem is that you are asking me if I disagree with your interpretation of what you think their position is, not with the actual position. I’ve noticed multiple times where Bubba (or MA, or myself) have corrected you when you (seemingly intentionally) misstate our positions or when you phrase your questions in such a way as to twist the actual positions held, yet you continue to persist in your error. If you can’t correctly state the position you are asking about or won’t accept correction when you get it wrong, then why should I waste my time answering a question that is not an accurate representation of the position? If you have a question about a position taken by someone else, then copy/paste their actual words and ask me what I think about their actual position.

      “Or you can just ask a question like this: “Dan, I don’t think I ever got an answer to this question…” and put the question out there. As I’ve already demonstrated, I’ve answered the questions that you appear to be asking.”

      Why should I continue this when you have no shame in flat out lying about this?

      I already pointed out a comment where I asked you 3 questions, you “answered” one, then have repeatedly lied about answering these questions. I’ve done everything except copy paste them one at a time then refuse to move on until you answer them one by one. Are you really that incapable of doing what you demand of the rest of us? Or are you just too lazy? Perhaps it’s because you’d rather just divert attention from your failures to answer and continue to ignore that which is inconvenient for you.

      As I’ve pointed out I’ve spent hours trolling through threads pulling out virtually every direct question you had asked in a couple of recent conversations, I answered them and put them out. Yet you can’t admit that you’ve skipped/missed/ignored questions and think that simply repeating “I’ve answered them” is enough. But at this point, since I’ve already done as you suggested, and you haven’t answered and are lying about it, I have no confidence at all that you will do so in the future.

  139. paynehollow says:

    As to this…

    I know it’s hard for you to grasp, but “you all” doesn’t mean anything. If you can point to one specific “fact claim’ that I have made, please do.

    If you don’t disagree with me – with the main point I’ve been making… if you disagree with Bubba and Marshall’s claims and think I’m correct, then what in the world have you been arguing with me about for lo, these hundreds of comments and thousands of words?

    Are you disagreeing just to be disagreeable? What?

    ~Dan

  140. So, you can’t/won’t point to any single claim of fact that I have made? OK.

    As to the rest of this comment, I addressed it in the comment above.

  141. paynehollow says:

    If you don’t disagree with me – with the main point I’ve been making… if you disagree with Bubba and Marshall’s claims and think I’m correct, then what in the world have you been arguing with me about for lo, these hundreds of comments and thousands of words?

    • Had you read my earlier comments, you would have learned that one of my disagreements is with the way you portray peoples opinions in an inaccurate way. What you want is for people to accept your version of other folks position, instead of what their position actually is.

      I could repeat myself, but I suspect you won;t read this. Even of you do read this, i suspect it won’t make an impression this time either.

  142. paynehollow says:

    Craig…

    It all depends on what degree of certainty you choose to assign to the word “know”…

    …Again it hinges on the definition of “know”.

    Ah! NOW we’re getting somewhere specific and direct. Thanks!

    So, looking at “know” for a second. Does that mean one can “know” that Lincoln lived with 100% certainty, that he wrote the Gettysburg Address with 75% certainty?

    That Jesus lived with 100% certainty? That he rose from the dead with 75% certainty?

    That Adam was a real historic character with 100% certainty? 75% certainty? 25?

    How does one assess the degree of “certainty” with which they “know” something?

    If there is zero hard evidence only second hand stories passed down from an ancient culture in a time before modern history, does that mean one only “knows” the fact with 25% certainty? And is that really “knowing…”?

    These are good questions to consider. I have absolutely no idea how one would assess the degree with which they “know” historic data, do you? So, maybe set aside “knowing” for a second, as it seems a bit meaningless without some objective system of defining the degree of certainty?

    How about, is it a “known fact…” that Lincoln existed, that Jesus existed, that Adam existed? Based on what data for each of them?

    I think there is plenty of evidence that Lincoln existed that we can state with complete confidence that this is a fact. I think there is plenty of evidence that Jesus existed that we can state with confidence that this is a fact. I think no such evidence exists for Adam’s existence – evidence sufficient to say his existence is a “known fact…”?

    ~Dan

  143. paynehollow says:

    While you’re pondering those questions, let me point out my concerns with this (what I’ll call, more fundamentalist) approach to what we do and don’t “know” as “fact…”

    I. So, if we can “know” an event to be a historical “fact,” because “the Bible,” then on what basis does the Muslim not “know” his “facts” are an historic certainty because “the Quran”? On what basis does the Mormon not “know” his “facts” because “the Book of Mormon…”? On what rational basis is your particular interpretation of your particular holy text reliable as a factual reference – reliable enough that you can “know” your interpretation is equal to “fact” – that is different than what the Mormon or Muslim or other believer in some literal take on some ancient text?

    II. It’s not “firsthand information” when it comes to at least the Adam and early Genesis stories, so we can’t really claim that, can we? There were just passed down stories, not firsthand observations. Unless you claim, “but God inspired these to be literal histories” – which just raises the question again of, how is that different than “cause Allah inspired” or “cause Moroni inspired…”? And on what rational basis do we know that your particular opinion (God inspired it to be a literal history) as opposed to other, perhaps more rational opinions (I believe it to be God-inspired myth or figurative stories…) is the “right” one?

    III. So, one big problem is the problem of watering down what it means to “know” something as a “fact…” If you can “know” that your specific interpretation of an ancient text is Fact, then doesn’t that render the notion of “knowing” “facts” just about meaningless?

    IV. An additional problem is this: You appear to be treating all ancient documents (or at least the ones you prefer) as equal. The argument “If we don’t ‘know’ that Adam is a factual historical person, then we can’t really know that Lincoln was, either” ignores that not all ancient or historic texts are equal.

    V. For one thing, recent history is always easier to prove than ancient history. There’s just more recent knowledge and reference points to which we can refer. Surely you agree with this?

    VI. For another thing, it’s one thing to talk about historic events. It would be hard to argue that either Lincoln or Jesus or ancient Israel did not exist. There is sufficient evidence for each of these to safely say we can know with a good degree of certainty that they all existed. It’s another thing to make claims to “know” with complete certainty the various individual facts of their life stories. Yes, Lincoln existed, but did he really walk from Illinois to the Gulf coast to deliver court documents? Maybe there’s sufficient evidence to prove that particular event, but it becomes harder to say with certainty that we “know” it happened. And even more so for ancient events.

    VII. It’s yet another thing to make claims to “know” what these historic or ancient characters thought, what opinions they held. Yes, we know with some good certainty that Lincoln worked to end slavery in the US. But is that work enough that we can say we “know” that he was not a racist, did not think lesser of African Americans? It’s harder to say. Even more so for ancient characters, especially the ones (like Jesus) who have no writings of their own.

    VIII. So the second problem with this “fundamentalist” approach to “knowing” is that it ignores the difference between historic and especially ancient texts. To treat a text from the time before the period of modern history’s beginnings (again, ~500 BC – ~500 AD) in the same manner as something from the 18th century is just irrational and to cherry pick some ancient texts and treat them as modern texts, but not other texts, well, that demonstrates a bias that undermines one’s credibility.

    ~Dan

  144. paynehollow says:

    Craig…

    And anyone who claims to “know” that are mistaken?” Again it hinges on the definition of “know”. Without a specific claim to asses, I can’t really say.

    Here are two:

    Glenn has repeatedly stated that, on the topic of gay behavior and what God thinks of it, that he “can not be mistaken…” (or rather, “I can NOT be mistaken…” as he would put it). That is, Glenn thinks he “knows” God’s opinion about two gay guys getting married and that he “knows” God would be opposed to it, to the point of it being a “fact,” when, of course, he does not know this as a fact, it is his unprovable and unproven opinion.

    And several here have maintained that Adam and Eve are literal historical people, and that they “know” this as a “fact…” Glenn, for instance, John, I’m pretty sure, maybe Marshall and Bubba. It’s pretty hard to get clear, direct answers from them.

    For your part, you seem to hesitate to say you “know” it as a “fact,” but you “have a high degree of confidence that God did create two people…” Does that mean that you don’t think it a right claim to say you “know” it to be a “fact,” just that, in your unproven and unprovable opinion, you have confidence in the hunch that they were literal people, literally created by God, more or less as Genesis states it?

    I am fine with people feeling in their hearts “confident” that an unproven opinion is probably right. I have a problem only when they move from holding it as a personal opinion that makes sense to them, even though it’s not a proven or provable fact, to claims that they “know” it as a “fact,” when clearly, no, they don’t.

    ~Dan

    • So, all you can provide is your interpretation of what people claim to “know” you can’t actually provide evidence that your interpretation of their position is accurate.

      As to the rest. I’ll work on some answers to be posted as soon as you answer any pending questions in this thread, support or disclaim your 5 claims of fact, and deal with the answers I’ve already provided for your earlier questions. I see no reason to move on just because you have somehow decided that it’s time to.

      • It’s interesting to me that you expect me to answer your questions and respond to your bullet points, while there is much out there that you have not answered or responded specifically to.

        Mine is done, once you live up to your own demands, I’ll post it here. If not it will show up with the other 150+ answers I’ve already given, that you pretend don’t exist.

  145. Here’s an example that highlights one of Craig’s (as well as one of my own) complaints about Dan’s deceptive style of discourse:

    “Craig: ARE you claiming that you “know” that God is opposed to gay sex in any and all circumstances? Or is that simply an opinion you hold in faith?

    Do you “know” that, as a point of “fact” that Adam and Eve were real historical people, not mythic characters?

    Bubba and Marshall appear to be making the claims that they “know” this, when there is nothing on which they can base that knowledge authoritatively. It is an opinion, not a known fact.”

    First of all, there are two disparate claims Dan puts forth (and not altogether accurately, though he states them as if factually presented):

    1) We can indeed know with full certainty that God is opposed to homosexual behavior in any and all circumstances. How can this be? Because it is put forth in Lev 18:22 without reference of any kind to a context or scenario in which it would not be an abomination. We can look at other prohibitions in Leviticus and Deuteronomy and see that there are more detailed descriptions of when a given prohibition is applicable or not. There is no such detail for exceptions to the “thou shalt not” of Lev 18:22. To pretend that there are, or that Biblical references to marriage mean more than the one man/one woman arrangement is to lie with full willingness and malice toward God’s clearly revealed will on the subject of human sexuality and marriage. Unless and until Dan can provide something more solid than additional personal opinion regarding either homosexual behavior or marriage from Scripture, he cannot in good faith and honesty pretend that Scripture provides the slightest hint that God would bless any practice of homosexual behavior.

    In addition to the above, it would be helpful to provide something from Scripture to indicate that “love” mitigates the sin in which one engages.

    2) As I have no reason to believe that the authors of any book of the Bible are liars or insane, I am left with the only other possibility, that the authors were telling the truth. As regards Adam and Eve, there can be no way of finding the truth for this story, nor anything that clearly disproves it. History is rife with examples of human certainty on any variety of issues being overturned by discovered evidences and facts. Until such can be provided to completely dismiss the Biblical version of creation, I have no reason to waste my time insisting on anything, other than the trust I put in those God inspired to pen His history. Is a “day” simply a twenty-four hour period in the creation account? I don’t much care considering there is no way to divine that truth to everyone’s satisfaction. Can God do anything? I’m saying He can. Whether or not He did is not something I can ever say with certainty, but if we are to rely on Scripture as more than a mere set of ambiguous “truths” by which the Dan Trabue’s of the world can shape to their own satisfaction, I can live with the mockery of such people when I say that God did it all as described in Scripture.

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