Discussion

The purpose of the Discussion page is to provide a forum for discussion which would be otherwise considered off topic to a particular commentary.  Discussion is expected to remain civil.

Comments

  1. Regarding the anti-Obama poll, here’s a more comprehensive study of contributions to the debt. It’s not pro-Obama, but it’s not transparently biased either.

  2. I’d be interested to hear your comments on this article which shows Biblical evidence taht 1) life begins at first breath and 2) miscarriage by abuse is not punished as murder. http://madmikesamerica.com/2012/05/bible-life-begins-at-first-breath/

    • Jason

      I have a couple links for you which address those issues. I had written something of my own on the issue of the “miscarriage” but when I found an article on the same subject by someone a bit more prominent which was almost the same as mine, I deleted it because any normal person would conclude I stole it. It looked that similar. But when I get to my computer and not my phone, I’ll get them to you, probably within a few hours.

  3. Interesting tweet, John-

    (http://apologeticsuk.blogspot.com/2012/06/how-new-atheists-misrepresent-christian.html)

    The Christians here try to redefine the word “faith” to mean “trust” and then go on to say that this trust is based on evidence. Classic! You mean the same evidence to support your faith?

    These folks love to contort words and look for those “gotcha” moments…

    Yet, you have faith that your car will start when you turn the key in the ignition. Or is that trust? Must you know just how that mechanism works or do you have faith that the workers that assembled it did it correctly? No, that’s really not faith – that’s trust.

    Faith is believing something without evidence. I have evidence that the car was built by workers and I trust the car will start when I use the key. Faith and trust are not as interchangeable as they seem to think.

  4. Of course it’s the definition you use… I’m sure you believe everything or anyone who starts off by saying “Trust me…”

    Faith is believing without evidence. Trust is having confidence in. I would expect you to have confidence in the stories you accept on faith.

    • Actually, throughout the old testament god perform miracles through prophets ,” that you may believe”. These are appeals to evidences not blind leaps.

      And throughout the book of acts you see paul and peter making appeals to events and happenings, in conjunction with arguments so that people would be convinced. No one in the bible make an appeal to blind faith the way you are trying to portray it. You are being dishonest about what the bible says on the issue.

  5. So let me see if I understand what you are saying by analogy:

    1. For the sake of this discussion, let’s say that I’m a prophet.
    2. God performed a miracle through me.
    3. You weren’t there to see it, but I wrote it down.
    4. I present it to you so “that you may believe”.

    How is this not an appeal to blind faith?
    Is the text itself evidence enough for you?

    • Here’s how I know you are not be serious thinker. Let’s say you are a profit of god, now you perform a miracle, not in your own basement with no one there to see it. But rather in front of hundreds or thousands of people, and it was written down and could have been refuted by anyone who was there had it not happened.

      These writings did not become scripture just for the hell of it. It’s not like the isrealites we’re just like the new agers today and just pick something that made them feel warm and fuzzy and decide to make that their religion. Things were done in front of them for them to witness by god himself in order to prove that he existed and what is who he claimed to be.

  6. Personal attacks aside, I conclude that it’s important to you that there are others there to corroborate my story? How many would it take to satisfy you? 10? 100? 1000?

    What about if I had the performed the miracle, but it was written about by somebody else? Would that be evidence enough for you?

    I realize that you may think I’m just being contentious here, but I’m trying to simply establish the grounds by which you find any written testimony plausible.

    • If you perform a miracle and it was witnessed by 100 other people and was reported on by a third party, it could not be dismissed out of hand the way you are inclined to do for biblical accounts.

  7. How about if I witnessed a miracle with 100 other people and I wrote about it?

  8. Would you believe that the event occurred?

    • If it was an even witnessed by hundreds, reported by you, with the other witnesses aware that it was reported on and had an opportunity to repudiate your report and didn’t, the event you reported could not simply be dismissed.

      Keep in mind that miracles weren’t performed like parlor tricks for entertainment. They were done in a religious context to give credence to a person who was claiming to speak for God. The miracle worker performed a miracle to prove that it was in fact a message direct from God.

  9. Thanks for your answer, John

    Like I said, I’m just asking this in such detail to establish the grounds by which you personally find any assertion to be credible.

    Upon learning your standards, I clearly see where the differences lie between us.
    I would not accept any claim on its face, regardless of the number of witnesses, unless I had the opportunity to interview not only the source, but several of the witnesses as well.

    Any text written supporting the event and any reference to it could easily omit any dispute of the event happening in the first place.

    Imagine this:

    1. A man stands before a boulder.
    2. The boulder speaks to the man and they have a conversation.
    3. 100 people are there to witness this conversation.
    4. The man later writes about this conversation with the boulder.

    Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? You and I both know that boulders cannot speak.

    You would like to speak to the man about this event, but you can’t because he’s dead.
    You would like to speak to anyone there about this event, but you can’t because they’re all dead too.

    Well, you conclude, it must be true because it was reported by the man it happened to, it was witnessed by a hundred people and nothing was ever written about it to repudiate the claim that the event ever happened.

    Me? I just simply look at it as an event that probably didn’t take place even though I can’t prove it didn’t happen. If the source it came from had multiple stories like that I would probably consider that source to be rather unreliable and weigh its merits accordingly.

    There’s the difference between us, John – I’m not making fun of you, just pointing out that you are willing to accept things on faith that I still question.

    • Heres the thing. You accept witness testimony all the time without examining the source all the time. The difference is a supernatural event and a natural event. You have a bias against the supernatural that interferes with your ability to evaluate claims.

      Additionally, you are mistaken when you say that I would accept the talking boulder story “on faith” if by faith you mean your definition. The written testimony and the testimony of the other witnesses is evidence. So it would not be this blind leap you assign to theists.

    • You are implicitly admitting you’d reject evidence of an event if it doesn’t conform to your worldview biases. I say follow the evidence where it leads. You seem to be saying, I’ll follow the evidence til a point. But you aren’t looking for the right answer as much as you’re looking for the right kind of answer.

  10. Aye, there’s the rub, John.

    Written testimony is not evidence.

    You accept eyewitness testimony without substantiation.
    Are you so accommodating about UFO and Bigfoot sightings? I’m sure the evidence could meet your criteria.

    Yes, I agree, all of us accept witness testimony on trivial matters all the time without further examination, but religious claims are not trivial now, are they?

    You have, on more than one occasion, accused me of not accepting supernatural claims solely based on your belief that they can happen.

    That’s why I’m not surprised to hear nothing back from Marshall when I questioned his apparent knowledge on miracles not obeying the rules of the physical world. I would ask that question to you as well.

  11. There’s a good post idea for you, John

    Please explain why you feel witness testimony is evidence and why it should be sufficient to support the claims for supernatural events.

    That should generate a pretty good discussion with many participants.

  12. Z, you write “Written testimony is not evidence.”

    That’s interesting. We use written testimony all the time in court cases. Most of what we learn comes from written testimony (books, journals). The entire basis for scientific advancement today is peer-reviewed literature. The New Testament is exactly that: It is writings that were “reviewed” by the peers of the authors.

    Our entire understanding of history is based on a mixture of written testimony and archaeology. How do we know anything about the Roman Empire? From the writings of Roman historians. Do you throw those writings out because you don’t view them as “evidence”? Your assertion makes absolutely no sense. If we were to ignore written testimony, then we might as well be illiterate!

  13. Z, one more thing. You write “Please explain why you feel witness testimony is evidence and why it should be sufficient to support the claims for supernatural events.”

    I obviously can’t speak for John, but I certainly DON’T feel that witness testimony is SUFFICIENT to support claims for the supernatural. Alone, it is not sufficient. But, fortunately, Christians (and other theists) have many other corroborating pieces of evidence to turn to.
    *We have the explosion of Christianity onto the scene within 100 years of Christ’s death. (attested to by numerous non-Christian sources)
    *We evidence of the transformed lives of friends and relatives. True or not, this is a faith that has made amazing transformations in people’s lives – beginning with Paul, and going right on through today.
    *We have the amazing and inexplicable complexity of the universe and of life (both of which had a beginning that is inexplicable by science.).
    *Many of us (speaking for myself here) have had experiences with God communicating to us in a personal way that just doesn’t make sense in a completely naturalistic worldview.
    *We have the testimony of history: Every people group ever found has had SOME sort of concept of “God”. We don’t agree on the details, but human history certainly teaches us that belief in the supernatural is not foolish – it is actually NORMAL. This belief doesn’t seem to be going away, even after 200 years of “modern” science!

    I’m sure there are other “corroborating” pieces of evidence I’m leaving out here. Obviously, some of these pieces of “evidence” are personal in nature – not the sort of thing that would be admissible in court. But we aren’t trying to prove a case in court. We’re trying to make a PERSONAL decision. So, for those of us who have encountered some of the above pieces of evidence, the resulting conclusion is quite clear: There is clear and compelling evidence to believe that the Biblical accounts are largely accurate.

  14. Turneyn,

    Thanks for the input. Please allow me to address your response.

    1. Please show me any court case where a supernatural event witnessed by a person no longer living was admitted as reliable testimony.
    2. If scientific advancement has shown us anything, it’s clearly illustrated how wrong we’ve been over what we thought we understood. Don’t try to compare the advancement of science to the reluctance to change from the religious community.
    3. Please show me an example of any non-religious history that includes any supernatural event.

    Regarding your second reply, each rebuttal can be easily categorized.

    1. Explosion of followers – Argument from popularity doesn’t make it true.
    2. Personal transformation and revelation cannot be verified independently, vary greatly for all religions and don’t prove anything.
    3. Complexity doesn’t support an argument from design.
    4. Argument from personal experience doesn’t prove anything either, sorry.

    Finally, you finish your argument with an emotional appeal that still doesn’t support the conclusion.

    My apologies if you feel I’m coming across in a negative manner here – that’s not the intent. It’s just a dialog, and I understand that people get uncomfortable when their belief system is questioned. All I’m trying to do here is shed some light on why we think what we do and expose some common fallacies.

    http://wiki.ironchariots.org/index.php?title=Arguments_for_the_existence_of_god is a good place to start.

    • Z

      1. when has any court case required testimony of a supernatural event? But on top of it, you are shifting the goal posts. You had said earlier that testominy wasn’t reliable. Now you are adding caveats. That’s cheating.

      2. If as you claim, and I agree, that science is ever changing. How can you be such an ardent defender of “scientific truth” to refute any supernatural claims? You can’t because you admit that your whole paradigm could be overthrown tomorrow. At best you can say you believe we’re wrong, but who knows?

      3. Here’s the thing, all history is history. But you are making it impossible with your definitions. Basically non-religious history that contains a supernatural event would qualify as religious history to you. So you are asking for the impossible. Its like saying show me a biograply about General Patton that doesn’t include any information about General Patton.

      1. No, it doesn’t make it true, but it is difficult to dismiss that people were flocking to it dispite being persecuted for it.
      2. On its own, you’re right. But this isn’t an isolated argument, it’s a cumulative case.
      3. It does, since the laws of entropy dictate that over time things become less complex and break down as time passes, not get more complex. It runs opposite to what we should expect. And given that the laws of physics are arbitrarily set, meaning gravity doesn’t have to have the constants it does, it is beyond reasonable chance that it should be as complex and life permitting as it is.
      4. Personal experience doesn’t prove anything, per se. But radical personal change in the absence of the Christian God is only explained with ad hoc reasoning. But in itself, I agree, it doesn’t prove anything in isolation, but again, the case is cumulative.

  15. Z, absolutely no offense taken. But don’t underestimate the extent to which others (myself included here) have thought through exactly the same questions you pose, but come to completely different conclusions! I’m a PhD chemist – my career lives and dies by evidence that I produce in lab. But I refuse to believe that the entirety of our existence is explainable by natural phenomenon alone. When I look inside myself, I see that I have free-choice. I’m not a “slave” to the physical laws of the universe. (ie scientific determinism is clearly false – we don’t live that way.) That alone tells me that “supernatural” cannot be discounted easily.

    I completely agree that all my lines of “evidence” can be viewed differently than I view them. But think about it. How do we do science? I’m a chemist. I look at all the facts in front of me, and I try to assemble the best plausible explanation for totality of the facts. Each individual fact proves nothing. But collectively, they point in a particular direction. Innumerable people have looked at the evidence I describe above (and more) and concluded that Christianity is not just plausible, but even PROBABLE. Would it stand up in court? Of course not! But is it based on evidence? ABSOLUTELY.

    Let’s look at it another way. Christians claim that God is a personal God who wants a RELATIONSHIP with mankind. I’ve been married for 15 years. Could I stand up in court and prove that my wife loves me? Absolutely not. But do I have a lot of evidence for my BELIEF that she loves me? Yes!

    We make decisions in life ALL THE TIME based on an incomplete view of the facts. The most important decisions in life, actually, cannot hold up to scientific rigor. When I decided what career to choose, who I should marry, should I have kids, where should I live, etc. Each of those decisions are monumental decisions that every person has to make. All of them are based on evidence and facts. But none of them holds up to scientific rigor.

    My faith in God is absolutely based on evidence, but isn’t provable. Your “faith” in scientific determinism (“naturalism”) is also based on evidence, but isn’t provable.

  16. @ tumeyn

    I think you’re confusing facts and evidence with feelings and emotions.

    As a scientist, you should clearly understand that the conclusions you reach can only be supported by what you can prove to be true, not what you feel to be true.

    Decisions you make during your lifetime don’t support any claim to the existence of anything supernatural.

    @ John

    I’m not shifting any goalposts. Witness testimony is not reliable. Turneyn stated that written testimony was used all the time in court cases and I was asking for an example as it applied to a supernatural event being admitted in a court case.

    I am a defender of the scientific method.

    All history is not all history. I am not making it impossible. One could easily find history about General Patton or any history that didn’t make any supernatural claims.

    People flocking to it despite being persecuted for it doesn’t make it true either.

    Isolated arguments are wrong. Isolated arguments in larger numbers are still wrong.

    Regarding entropy, I think you may be a bit confused by the terminology. I refer you to http://wiki.ironchariots.org/index.php?title=Argument_from_the_second_law_of_thermodynamics

    Isolated arguments for personal experience are wrong. Isolated arguments for personal experience in larger numbers are still wrong. Cases are not cumulative.

    For what it’s worth, I think discussions like this are very productive and illustrate the reasoning behind the statements. Thanks.

  17. 1. when has any court case required testimony of a supernatural event?
    A Fortunately spectral evidence was overturned with the Salem Witch trials, but they still say ‘so help me god’ as if that improves a person’s honesty.

    2. If as you claim, and I agree, that science is ever changing. How can you be such an ardent defender of “scientific truth” to refute any supernatural claims?
    A. Science doesn’t claim absolute truth and gets smarter over time. Science learns from its mistakes, or more specifically it learns more. Religion plugs its ears and says ‘lalalala god did it!!!’ Religion claims absolute truth, is wrong all the time (planetary motion, creation, slavery, flood), and is only different than science in that religion prefers to stay wrong. Science is why life expectancy and quality of life have increased. Religion is why we spent over 1000 years in subjugation and ignorance following the sacking of Rome. Thanks Constantine…

    3. Basically non-religious history that contains a supernatural event would qualify as religious history to you.
    Religious history: Constantine adopted Christianity as the foundational belief for his empire. That seems to be true based on archeological evidence (writings, excavations, etc).
    Fairy Tales: Israelites wandered the desert for 40 years following enslavement by the Egyptions, and plagues. That seems to be a made up fairy tale reported in the Christian Bible but without any archeological support. It’s not the supernatural event, it’s the lack of evidence to suggest it happened. We don’t ignore the pages in the Bible, it’s just that those few pages don’t outweigh the rocks, bones, debris, and other pages in other books that refute the story.

    1. No, it doesn’t make it true, but it is difficult to dismiss that people were flocking to it dispite being persecuted for it.
    A. Agreed.

    2. On its own, you’re right. But this isn’t an isolated argument, it’s a cumulative case.
    A. A billion Hindus can’t be wrong.

    3. It does, since the laws of entropy dictate that over time things become less complex and break down as time passes, not get more complex.
    A. You don’t understand Entropy or evolution, or you’re choosing not to. Death of individual members of the species, as well as the need to take in outside sustenance, satisfies entropy just fine, and the energy used within the individual to maintain and pass on DNA, with the occasional “entropy” to create random mutations is the method of evolution.

  18. Mashall Art says:

    @ Jason

    Science DOES claim absolute truth until new evidence is discovered. More to the point, those for whom science is religion claim what science has thus far discovered IS absolute truth, but cover their asses by pretending they expect new discoveries all the time. Meanwhile, religion does NOT “plug its ears saying ‘God did it'”, though it is not uncommon to suspect His part in how things play out. Religion does not deny physical reasons for events when physical reasons are the cause. I will need to hear how you interpret Scripture to address your parenthetical examples for how Scripture is wrong. I’m guessing you don’t really understand what is being said. To finish off that 2nd paragraph, religion is why science exists, as the desire to explain God’s Creation was a major motivation for scientific exploration.

    To the 3rd paragraph, those who dispute evolution point to the gap in the fossil record connecting one species to the one into which it supposedly evolved. Defenders say the evidence has simply not yet been uncovered. Yet, you would easily dismiss those parts of the Bible for which archeological evidence has not yet been found. But I guess until they’ve found the rusting husk of Moses’ Buick in the sand, you’ll have to withhold judgement.

    Point 2: The discussion didn’t seem to me to point to the numbers of Christians now present (nor Hindus), but instead to the large numbers that converted in the years immediately following Christ’s resurrection. That’s an important distinction.

    • but instead to the large numbers that converted in the years immediately following Christ’s resurrection

      A source for this statement would be nice to read, Marshal. thanks, especially the ‘large numbers’.

      • Tacitus, Annals 15.44

        But not all the relief that could come from man, not all the Bounties that the prince could bestow, nor all the atonements Which could be presented to the gods, availed to relieve Nero From the infamy of being believed to have ordered the Conflagration, the fire of Rome. Hence to suppress the rumor, he Falsely charged with the guilt, and punished Christians, who were Hated for their enormities. Christus, the founder of the name, was Put to death by Pontius Pilate, procurator of Judea in the reign Of Tiberius: but the pernicious superstition, repressed for a time Broke out again, not only through Judea, where the mischief Originated, but through the city of Rome also, where all things Hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their Center and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first Made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an Immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of Firing the city, as of hatred against mankind.

        In speaking of Christians falsely accused by Nero, Tacitus doesn’t say “large numbers”, but “an immense multitude”. Considering Tacitus was not known for having any special love or affection for Christians, most regard his recording of this as fairly accurate history.

        The fact that Christianity spread quickly following the death of Jesus of Nazareth is not disputed by too many scholars who aren’t, like you, desperate to convince themselves that Jesus/God doesn’t exist. Even Bart Ehrmann cops to it.

        • Maybe you should read Gibbon?
          Or perhaps you should do an in-depth study of this particular passage from Tacitus and not simply trot out over-used Christian tripe as if you were the first person who ever read this stuff; as if you just discovered it and went ”Aha! Proof!”
          What next, the TF of Josephus? Good grief!

          Oh, you should also study some of the other stuff Tacitus wrote. Give you some perspective of the man from different angles.

          The fact that Christianity spread quickly following the death of Jesus of Nazareth is not disputed by too many scholars who aren’t, like you, desperate to convince themselves that Jesus/God doesn’t exist. Even Bart Ehrmann cops to it.

          And no source?Tsk tsk….

          Odd, isn’t it, you berate me for not offering a ‘decent’ argument to your preposterous Christian claims, yet all the while you throw nonsense like this into the mix without substantiating anything.

          A figure called Yeshua; an itinerant 1st Century eschatological prophet may very well have existed. No quibbles.
          The biblical Character,Jesus of Nazareth is a narrative construct for whom there is not a scrap of verifiable evidence.

  19. “Maybe you should read Gibbon?”

    Maybe you should do more than recommend authors you likely don’t understand.

    “And no source?Tsk tsk….”

    Really? I provide a source for that which you questioned:

    but instead to the large numbers that converted in the years immediately following Christ’s resurrection

    …and you want a source for my source? How typically you!

    “No quibbles.”

    Quibbling is exactly what you’re doing.

  20. As per John’s request, we have moved the Evidence for the biblical character Jesus of Nazareth, the man god to the discussion page.

    As of yet, not a single Christian commenter on this site has offered a shred of verifiable evidence for the godhood of this character.
    Neither have we seen any genuine response to the request for the evidence that convinced any of these Christians, yet they all refute the charge they suffered from indoctrination as children.

    So, evidence? Anyone? ….

    • I think it’s safe to say we’re waiting to have a standard of evidence that isn’t so rigged that nothing could qualify. Perhaps if we use the same standard that historians use, and not impose some impossible measure designed to prevent the conclusion you don’t want.

      • I have already stated, I am now interested to read the evidence that convinced you. No doubt you based it on proper historical research and faith had nothing to do with it right?

        As for the evidence historians use – well now,
        what are you going to introduce? All the old stalwarts?
        The empty tomb shenanigans as postulated by Craig, Habermas, Licona etc?

        No, that is not evidence so don’t even think about introducing that. It isn’t even historical And it doesn’t even begin to lay the foundation of godhood.

        Let’s start with what you found convincing enough to turn you from atheism to Christianity.

  21. See? Looky there – what a surprise, More song and dance. Seldom a straight answer.
    Bickering over a “standard of evidence” instead of just throwing something on the table.

    Tell you what. Give us anything and stop complaining about how you think it will be analyzed.

    • Z

      That’s the problem with you people. He is saying that no historian finds the gospel accounts reliable. That is patently false. He is essentially saying anything that can be presented doesn’t count. Why on earth would I spend an hour or so formulating an argument just to have the two of you dismiss it out of hand with no reason offered except that it doesn’t count. Seriously. If the two of you weren’t so entrenched in your bias there could be a discussion. But you’re telling me up front that nothing counts.

      It’s bullshit and you know it. And worst of all, you think you’ve scored some point. You’re giving no indication that either of you would give any serious consideration.

      He has conceded twice saying, ok just give anything. Then 2 minutes later writes, but remember nothing counts.

    • I’m not a fan of feeling like I’m wasting my time. That’s the hang up. It would be a waste.

      • paynehollow says:

        It would be a waste to give a testimony of what changed you from an atheist to a believer? Why? It’s almost like you’re afraid to be ridiculed, or something. Speak up, man, be strong and courageous. Your evidence convinced you, let it speak for itself!

        What DIFFERENCE does it make what their standard of evidence is? Provide what YOU thought was evidence enough.

    • Why do you think I spend so much time asking what exactly counts as evidence for you people, because nothing seems to.

      • Well… Would you be able to present any evidence that doesn’t involve the bible?
        Or are you just going to complain about how your bible isn’t accepted as reliable?

        Seriously, do you accept assertions made by those who believe the Koran?
        Or are you “unfairly” critical of those assertions and examine those assertions without bias? Koran believers would cry foul just like you.

        I can understand your frustration. I guess I would be stomping my feet too if people kept rejecting the only thing I ever presented.

        Christians do not seem able to critically examine the bible without bias. When outsiders do, they’re the first to accuse bias the other way.

        • Here’s the thing, what is the substantive reason that the bible is automatically dismissable? It is merely a compilation of writings on the subject. Be honest, the reason you dismiss it is because it records supernatural events. But don’t you see that’s a bias? How can you ask for proof of supernatural events but can’t use any writings that contain supernatural events? I mean, on its face you’re not even being fair about it.

          I have explained why I don’t find the Quran credible, and it doesn’t involve “cuz it ain’t Christian”.

          I’ll ask you the same thing that Ark asked me. Can you present an argument for evolution, but you can only cite people who don’t already believe evolution?

          • One can dismiss the bible because it is erroneous, first and foremost, and its supporters are by and large unaware/unfamiliar of its content or willfully ignorant.
            It can not be used as a historical record of events / data base. Period.
            That you consider the gospels are written by eyewitnesses merely demonstrates just how ignorant you truly are of modern biblical exegesis.

            And we haven’t even discussed Acts, which is such a load of twaddle that even a child with a reasonable education can figure out how much nonsense it contains.

            You are not a credible witness for your region, John. In fact , I strongly suspect that now your religious beliefs have been seriously challenged you are maintaining your ”belief” out of embarrassment as you know full well you have no evidence to support any outrageous claims. Or, you are simply an outright phony and you are simply maintaining this ”Christian” blog for a bit of fun – which is exactly what I would do under the circumstances.

      • You’re absolutely right, John. Arkie, for example, continues to regard as reputable only those scholars that do not find truth in Scripture or believe that God/Jesus exists. How can anyone contend with such childish, one-sided and convenient criteria? And here’s the thing: they offer no reason for why a given scholar, his evidence or argument, does not qualify. Look at Ark’s cowardly dismissal of WL Craig. Because Craig supports a particular position, that support makes Craig an idiot in the desperate imaginings of Arkenaten. However, he never says what is wrong with the position Craig supports or why it doesn’t deserve support. He assumes it as a given.

        And of course, he’s an inveterate punk. There’s an expression for a guy who acts tough after too many drinks. Such a person is said to have “beer balls” because he’d never act tough without having had too many. Arkie is just such a person. He has “blog balls” as he talks trash hiding behind a keyboard. I invite him to notify me whenever he is in the NW burbs of Chicago. I guarantee he won’t be so easy to call me “dickhead” to my face. Certainly not a second time. He would never risk talking about the god of the muslim to a muslim, but like all Christophobes feels perfectly safe disparaging Christians, feeling he can point to their faith as worthless if the Christian is pushed beyond his limit. Again, he is a rank punk and not worth the time of day. When he decides to engage in a serious, mature manner, willing to offer counter evidence IN ORDER to dismiss ours, rather than simply dismissing it because of what that evidence implies, then perhaps the exercise would make sense. But not on his terms, or the terms of Z or anyone else who insists we must do all the heavy lifting.

        • @marshalart

          Your incessant name-calling doesn’t add anything to the discussion.

          The “heavy lifting” must be done with those making the claim. Christians claim that the bible is true and that the biblical character Jesus of Nazareth as god is real. What evidence do you have for those claims?

          • Z you’re right. We are making that claim, and would gladly support it. However, you have always told me that you feel justified in just dismissing any of my arguments with “not good enough” and said you don’t have to give reasons. That’s why this is a stand still. You also bear the burden to support your rejections.

        • Actually, D*******D, I reject Craig out of hand because he supports divine command theory, and he, like many who are ”tied” to a particular religious educational institute are obliged to sign a Contract of Employment agreeing to the inerrancy of the bible.
          Thus, it is impossible to be completely objective without falling foul of one;s employers.
          Licona suffered dismissal because of what he wrote in his 2010 book about the Zombie Apocalypse.

          I follow evidence where it leads.
          If you have evidence to clearly demonstrate the infallibility of your claims then let’s see it …

          However, to date , not a single Christian scholar throughout history has built a case based on any sort of verifiable evidence for the god-hood of the biblical character Jesus of Nazareth. Not a single one.

          And you, my friend are simply pissing in the wind.

          • How does favoring divine command theory disqualify every argument the man makes? It is a faulty and childish qualification you place to serve your own ends. I favor that theory as well and do not see what passes for morality in the eyes of the atheist beholder is anything more than consensus opinion. Clearly that which you might consider the worst of behaviors is favored as acceptable, and even good, by those who engage in them. So to insist that morality stands apart from God is mere assertion without basis, except blatant self-gratification.

            As to signing any contract that forces agreement with a particular tenet, one must establish that the signer, in this case Craig, disagrees for that to have any merit for disqualification at all.

            As to what Christian scholars have gathered in terms of evidence for Christ’s deity, you again cling to standards that no honest scholar of any kind would value as legitimate. As long as God makes no direct contact with the modern world, as He did, for example, with the tribes of Israel under the leadership of Moses, there is no evidence available that would either meet your demand or truly confirm your opposing position. So that’s a wash. Like honorable people do, they weigh what evidence does exist to see if the weight of it all is greater than that which disputes it. You haven’t indicated that you possess the kind of true honest curiosity, to say nothing of the level of courage it takes to let it lead you, that such a measure of evidences would require you to consider.

            Until you are willing to assess every bit of evidence offered on its own merits, without the self-serving qualifications of who is or isn’t qualified as a source, as if YOU possess the creds to dictate such a thing, then such a discussion is pointless, as John as indicated. You must PROVE the source is unreliable or deficient in any way. You must PROVE the evidence doesn’t measure up to counter evidence, or that yours is more solid.

            As such, it is crystal clear to me, that if YOU dismiss any evidence or source by simply saying it is not credible, WITHOUT an honest argument or offering of proof or evidence, then your dismissing of said source or evidence demonstrates abject cowardice on your part rather than insufficiency on ours. In this manner, dismissing Craig because he favors divine command, or has signed some agreement (which you have not proven) makes Craig all the more credible and you woefully lacking in credibility.

            • You haven’t offered any evidence to be dismissed, yet. Until then you are simply peeing in the wind.

            • This is the doctrinal statement of Biola, D******d
              All entrants, student and staff ,are obliged to acknowledge this and sign.

              http://www.biola.edu/about/doctrinal-statement/

            • look up 1.2 in the Doctrinal Statement.
              Furthermore, I dismiss Craig because I find the moral ambiguity in DCT repugnant and all those who defend it.

              • Thats the genetic fallacy. It’s difficult to claim the intellectual high ground when you admitting you engage in formal fallacies as a matter of practice.

              • There is no evidence for divine command firstly, so to adhere to it is indulging in fantasy.
                That he adheres to such a fiction is even worse.

              • DCT would be a philosophical argument. You’re asking for evidence for a philosophical argument? *facepalm*

              • I am not asking for any evidence for it, you twit, I don’t believe in gods so why should I require evidence of something i do not believe in?
                You are an idiot of the first degree. Can you not even understand basic English?

                I am beginning to think there truly is something not quite intellectually right with you John.
                Seriously.Maybe this was part of the reason you became Christian?

                Your entire approach to this subject of evidence clearly demonstrates you have nowhere to go with this discussion and fall back on ridiculous rhetoric and nonsense statements.

                Truly, I have had some oddball discussions with believers in the past but I am beginning to think that you will very soon take the biscuit.

              • Actually my approach is not wanting to waste my time. Lets recap. You’ve said in order for something to count as evidence, it must also be affirmed by someone who doesn’t believe it. Which is logical silliness. Then you let that go to say any evidence will do, but quickly added the caveat that the evidence can’t be contained at all in the bible. Then you said again, all you want is evidence but the said it can’t be offered by anyone who you don’t like as a person.

                You’re a joke.

              • Then you said again, all you want is evidence but the said it can’t be offered by anyone who you don’t like as a person.

                I am not particularly fond of you, but I have offered you umpteen opportunities to present the evidence that made you turn to become ”reborn”.
                Even Dan has encouraged you to tell your story.
                So far, zip.
                You are a phony.

              • “Furthermore, I dismiss Craig because I find the moral ambiguity in DCT repugnant and all those who defend it.”

                This is ludicrous. Moral ambiguity? What is this supposed to mean? That the morality of God is ambiguous? That’s goofy considering how clearly laid out it is throughout Scripture. Christ even tightened it up for 1st century Arkies.

                But this is another tangent. Let’s assume for the moment that DCT is actually the BS you desperately wish it to be. How does Craig’s adherence impact the validity of his arguments for the existence of God? Answer: it doesn’t. You’re just using that as a cheap dodge to dismiss a guy who creds as an apologist are impeccable and far beyond your ability to overcome. In short, you couldn’t carry his jockstrap.

                And again, whatever you think he is contractually compelled to sign is likely something in which he believes anyway, for I have no reason, and you certainly don’t, to suspect he isn’t a man of honor who would sign on to something he doesn’t believe. But let’s put that aside as well. Let’s assume that he totally disagrees with the terms of the contract to which he put his Hancock. Let’s assume he has no belief in Biblical inerrancy. How does this “fact” have any impact on the validity of his arguments for the existence of God? Answer: It doesn’t.

                The point here is that these things do not matter. All that matters is whether or not you can rebut his arguments.

                The fact of the matter is that no evidence has been presented to you because you have placed far too many unreasonable qualifications regarding what constitutes evidence, proofs, arguments, citations and sources of info. You compound this sin by presuming you are qualified in determining who is or isn’t a reputable, qualified expert or scholar. So we are left to wonder what the point is when nothing exists that can meet your impossible criteria. You won’t even provide an example of a piece of evidence that would.

              • Ah, shame, diddums, marshal. Don’t like the rules then?
                You are a hypocrite.

              • “diddums”? I don’t believe we’re that close that pet names are appropriate, be it “diddums” or your more derogatory “dickhead”. Try being mature instead and demonstrate that superior atheist morality about which we hear so much.

                As to the rules, hypocrite, you don’t play by any you haven’t made to your own benefit. That’s the issue here. Thus, what you refer to as “rules”, aren’t and do not hold sway over anyone here. We actually play by legitimate and honorable rules that allow for equal opportunity by both sides of any given issue. You have no authority here any more than do I. Thus, you don’t get to dictate anything, much less what the rules are.

              • Fine, then you dictate – merely offer some evidence of your claims of the godhood of the biblical character, Jesus of Nazareth – if you have any at all, as so far you have provided diddly squat.

              • Ok, I’ll work on that

              • Work on it!! WTF, don’t you have it at hand?

              • You mean memorized? I thought you wanted some sort of case made. Wouldn’t you want citation?

                I’m sure you’d prefer some vague summary, but then you’d surely complain that it was too simple and lacked any depth.

              • Ah …references too. Well, I am impressed! Go for it!
                I am nothing if for understanding and patient and …. etc

            • @ Marshal

              And this is what happened to Licona after he suggested the Zombie Apocalypse may not have been an historical event.

              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_R._Licona#Matthew_27_controversy

  22. I’m not automatically dismissing all of the bible. I’m still waiting for you to present something. Your evidence will be examined.

    Stating that I have a bias towards the supernatural is simply trying to deflect the subject.
    Think about it – you’re actually crying about how magic is not admissible as evidence.

    I’m not going to address evolution here – we’re discussing the claims of Christianity.

    • Your characterization of supernatural events as magic only proves my point that you have zero intention of a serious discussion.

      • It’s not that I feel justified in dismissing any of your arguments with “not good enough”, although that may be how you feel about it.

        The problem is this – you’ve presented what you think is evidence, but it’s not really evidence.

        If a Koran-believer kept pointing to the Koran as evidence for their beliefs, what would you do?

        I’m sure they would be just as frustrated because you would dismiss the validity of what they present even though they would simply say that you’re biased and unreasonable. Even if you laid out why the Koran is wrong or flawed, they would simply blame you for not interpreting it correctly.

        Seriously, that’s why this planet is screwed – too many asshats that are irrationally and emotionally attached to their religious beliefs. Religion will be the end of us.

        Oh well – you let me know when you have something new to say.
        Take care.

        • you cant say “its not that I would dismiss…” youve actually said this.

          Either way, what do you think of this: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2014/good-reasons-to-believe-peter-is-the-source-of-marks-gospel/

          What about this case is unconvincing to you?

          • What about this case is unconvincing to you?

            This article apparently addresses the reasons to believe Peter is the source of Mark’s gospel.

            All of the bullet points mentioned in the article fail to actually support the assertion that any of it is true.

            Am I missing something? Never mind trying to establish writing style, influence and omission, let’s actually try to support any of the claims made in the text itself.

            • I would submit that testimony is evidence in a court of law. Why is it not here? Mark is relating Peter’s testimony. To question whether or not his testimony is true would require something to demonstrate it should not be believed. For example, a counter testimony from someone whose character is beyond questioning would at least call Peter’s testimony into question. A he said/she said scenario that would put Peter’s testimony on hold. Another example would be proofs that things to which Peter testified could not have happened. Perhaps evidence that he was not even present to witness the events of which he testified. In short, your belief in what you hear/read is a matter of choice, but if it is based on bias against the claims of the testimony, you have not rebuked that testimony but only refuse to accept it as true. If Peter is a liar or crazy, what evidence exists to demonstrate either? If none can be produced, his testimony stands as evidence. Not conclusive, but evidence nonetheless. As such, it goes to that which weighs in favor of the existence of Jesus of Nazareth as the Son of God, which favors the claim that God does indeed exist.

              • @Marshalart

                Rubbish! All you have to do is thoroughly examine the text as it stands.
                It is riddled with errors. How come you don’t know this?

                As such, it goes to that which weighs in favor of the existence of Jesus of Nazareth as the Son of God, which favors the claim that God does indeed exist.

                What ridiculous hyperbole! It demonstrates nothing of the sort. Not least the interpolation at the end of the Gospel. Seriously, you are one of the most ignorant apologists I have come across.

                Furthermore, Mark never acknowledges Peter’s authority.

  23. Man, the nesting format of these comments really makes this conversation difficult to follow. Not every comment has the option to reply to.

  24. I changed it from 4 to 7, hope that helps.

  25. paynehollow says:

    John…

    I’ve done it in posts here before.

    Since it comes up, maybe you could just put a link to it and make it easy for everyone? Just a thought.

    ~Dan

  26. paynehollow says:

    I don’t see much about what changed your mind, there. Perhaps if you could spell it out in a post or even a comment one time, then everyone could assess your process?

    Look, because it was asked often, I spent two posts going into great detail on my blog about exactly what steps led me from being wholeheartedly against any validation of “the gay lifestyle” to being fulling welcoming and affirming of our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters. People may not find my reasoning process compelling in their minds, but it is, in fact, a good representation of the process of my conversion on that topic. I don’t really care if anyone doesn’t find my reasoning compelling, it was, nonetheless, my actual process.

    Why not do something like that for this topic?

    From your About page, it sounds like you were not so much an atheist, as an unconvinced and uninterested agnostic. I don’t see what the process was, want to give it a shot?

    ~Dan

    • I suppose I could put something together.

      • John,

        Just a note. Do not use Dan’s “two posts going into great detail” as a template for explaining your own decision to put your faith in Christ. If you do, you will be met with as many questions seeking to fill the gaping holes of your reasoning, as I have with Dan, all of which are yet unanswered. It may have been a good representation of his process, but it does little to show that it was in any way a good and thorough process. In short, it’s crap. It demonstrated that he gave no serious thought to what he was relying on as compelling to him. It indicates he was either not so opposed at all, or that he is a pushover. Worse, it suggests outside influence that played a far greater role than anything an honest person would describe as “serious and prayerful” study of Scripture.

        Just sayin’, as I can’t let his nonsense go without response.

        • ..faith in Christ.

          Thank you. Faith. Not evidence.

          • Ark –

            That’s it precisely. Adherents believe that faith is evidence. Adherents believe that someone saying something is evidence. It’s obvious that these believers don’t have a clue what actually constitutes evidence. Their conclusion has been reached and they’ll believe anything to shore it up. Critical analysis is not possible and their faith will not allow them to question it.

            In the “debate” between Nye and Ham, Ham summed it up perfectly when he said there was nothing that could be presented to him that would change his mind.

            • In several discussions with Christian deconverts, each one has expressed disbelief that they actually believed for so long.
              They openly admit that they were unable to apply critical thought to the issue, simply because they were indoctrinated.
              Many have been shunned by family and friends when they ”come out” but all have expressed how relieved they were when they finally shrugged off the shackles of religion.
              Nate Owens’ story is typical, if somewhat harrowing.

              He is a really great guy and empathizes with these people – well most of them. And many of the former Christians who visit have shared similar tales.
              His blog is well worth exploring.

              http://findingtruth.wordpress.com/about/

              • Thanks for the link – I’ll check it out.

                I guess what I find so interesting about this particular blog is that John repeatedly states that he was never “indoctrinated” because of his upbringing. He claims to have come to his conclusions as an adult. Over the years I’ve pressed him to find out exactly how he reached those conclusions, but to no avail. He thinks he can simply attack everyone else’s criticisms without defending what he believes, but as you can see, all it ever amounts to is faith.

              • He has yet to come clean on the issue. And I notice Dan has asked him as well.
                His ‘About’ page is a wash-out.
                I am beginning to think he is a phony.

              • What does that say for atheists who convert?

              • Most have succumbed because of emotional problems.
                Most.
                There is often a thread of similarity that runs through all their stories.
                Please don’t throw Flew at me, either, okay?
                Now, let’s clear this issue up and we can all move along.
                John, either reveal the evidence that convinced you or simply provide the evidence that you believe justifies the man god claims of the character Jesus of Nazareth.

                What have you got to lose?

              • Most succumbed to emotional problems? I’d love for you to substantiate that!

              • I would be difficult to do so. But, based on sporadic reading and the occasional personal encounter, and from a number of stories I have read in blogland it seems to be part and parcel.
                The old, sex, drugs and rock n’ roll thing.
                There will always be ‘claimed ‘ exceptions, but I would venture that lurking behind the facade there is one of these issues. Some sort of self worth issue or emotional turmoil simmering close to the surface.
                I have never read or heard of anyone who made the switch based solely on evidence. There is always some accompanying issue.

                Look at your own reasons. Didn’t come across as such a smooth ride. Or am I reading too much into your ( limited) revelation on your About page?

              • I have nothing to lose. Keep in mind this is the weekend. I’ve got a family to be with, I can’t just hang out in my mom’s basement all day trolling on the interwebs

              • Ah, tap dancing again. You have the time to rite your asinine comments yet have no time to tell the truth.
                Yup … phony, I’d say.

            • Actually, Z, faith IS the evidence of things not seen. But it is not evidence of a type we put forth as any proof of God’s existence. Please try to deal honestly with reality here.

              I don’t know why it is news to you, but testimony IS evidence in a court of law. It can be either expert testimony or eye witness testimony, but testimony is evidence until it can be determined to be false or a lie. And while often even eyewitness testimony fails to be conclusive or confirming, all testimony is considered evidence. It is really like any other form of evidence in that it is a matter of the quality of that evidence. With Scripture, particularly NT Gospels and Epistles, it is all testimony evidence of the deity of Christ and the existence of God. The question is whether or not the quality is sufficient to allow it to stand as legitimate testimony.

              In that, there are plenty of Arkies that would insist otherwise, but nothing that is any more conclusive (and more likely less so) than that which defends the integrity of those testimonies. He insists they are “riddled with errors”. Haven’t seen him produce even one error yet. But keep in mind, even eyewitness testimonies can contain errors while still standing as quality evidence.

          • Ark,

            ” ..faith in Christ.

            Thank you. Faith. Not evidence.”

            If this is an example of your comprehension skills, I’m less surprised than before why you are reduced to calling people names. Any honest and honorable person, atheist even, could plainly see that I was speaking of reasons for John putting his faith in Christ. But you, after recently insisting you were an honest boy, purposely rip three words out of context to pretend my comment helps make your case. Pretty much what we’re saying is the level of self-serving antics with which we must contend in order to provide for you what you haven’t come close to providing for your case. Ironic how instead of you having my words to use against me, you provide your own words that condemn you.

            • Oh, D******D, do stop whining for your god’s sake.

              Why don’t you do make a useful contribution to this post and tell why you became a Christian?
              Describe the evidence that convinced you that Jesus of Nazareth was the main man, the god of gods.
              Come on Marshal, stop being so damned coy. Let’s hear your story.

              • Now I’m “whining”? Wow. Typical. And can you reject anyone else from consideration? Now it’s Flew that doesn’t count? Can you be anymore childish in stacking the deck in your favor?

                You like to pretend that non-believers become believers due to some trauma or bad event in their lives. That’s pretty funny. Those I’ve know who have left their belief in God did so for exactly that same reason. They didn’t get the prayer response to which they felt entitled. They lost a family member and cried about unfairness. Or they couldn’t get over how badly they wanted to engage in some sinful behavior so, unlike people like Dan who calls sin good, they reject the God who determines good/bad so they can act on their own selfish desires. Only then to they pretend there is no legitimate evidence for God’s existence. I’m guessing you’re among such people.

              • Now I’m “whining”? Wow. Typical. And can you reject anyone else from consideration? Now it’s Flew that doesn’t count? Can you be anymore childish in stacking the deck in your favor?

                Firstly,you do nothing but whine and from what I have gleaned have done so since you began commenting.
                Secondly, there were claims that Flew may have been misrepresented ( by Habermaas) and there was only mention of him believing in a creator deity, nothing more. As there was doubt hanging over his ‘’conversion’’ it would be foolish (even for you) to trumpet Flew as the poster boy for your obnoxious religious claims.

                You like to pretend that non-believers become believers due to some trauma or bad event in their lives. That’s pretty funny. Those I’ve know who have left their belief in God did so for exactly that same reason. They didn’t get the prayer response to which they felt entitled. They lost a family member and cried about unfairness. Or they couldn’t get over how badly they wanted to engage in some sinful behavior so, unlike people like Dan who calls sin good, they reject the God who determines good/bad so they can act on their own selfish desires. Only then to they pretend there is no legitimate evidence for God’s existence. I’m guessing you’re among such people.

                None of those I have read ever became atheist because they felt in any way hard done by.
                You sound like one of those that were indoctrinated from very young to believe you are not worthy, a sinner and a bad person.
                What a disgusting thing to teach any child.

                Nate Owens, for example, began to question his faith because he was unable to reconcile the issue of evil. Go read his story – unless you are scared the devil might influence you or something?
                Check the link I posted for John and Z

                I do not pretend about anything to do with region
                What a preposterous thing to say.
                I only recount the stories I have read from those who have deconverted. There are similar accounts from Muslims as well.
                I don’t reject your god, I don’t believe in gods, period.
                Please, marshal, grow up.

        • paynehollow says:

          Marshall, your complete and total inability to grasp an explanation is NOT the same as no explanation or unanswered questions. That claim is demonstrably BS.

          Thou shalt not bear false witness.

          Just sayin’, as I can’t let complete false charges go without a response.

          ~Dan

          • Dan,

            Try actually reading my comments instead of, as you do with Scripture, inserting meaning that serves your purpose. I never said I didn’t “grasp” you explanation. I said it is crap. It provoked dozens of questions that to this day go unanswered. What’s more, there is no way to connect the dots of what Scripture says and the wholly unjustifiable conclusions of yours as to what it means. You simply assert like an Arkie. Anytime you’re willing to rehash (actually engage completely) that discussion, I’m game.

            • paynehollow says:

              Again, factually false. Provide even ONE question from that question that went unanswered. You can’t do it. I factually explained how, in the very real world, I went from being a quite conservative young man, including on that topic, and, based upon Bible study and contemplative prayer, reached my current position. It factually happened. That you don’t feel like questions were answered does not mean that they were not answered. That you believe, in your opinion, that what actually happened in my real life was “crap,” does not make it false or irrational. I’ve explained how I quite rationally went from one place to another. For you, you can’t conceive of the same steps causing you to reach the same place. Nonetheless, the reasoning was/remains quite compelling to me.

              There ARE, in fact, ways of “connecting the dots of Scripture,” and I explained in great detail how I did so. What you probably mean to say is, “You can’t believe as I, Marshall, believe about the Bible and reach that conclusion…” but not everyone accepts Marshall’s opinions as the final word on reason or Bible study, either one.

              Marshall…

              Anytime you’re willing to rehash (actually engage completely) that discussion, I’m game.

              I’ll put up a post at my blog giving you a chance to provide one unanswered question to the topic.

              ~Dan

  27. paynehollow says:

    Marshall…

    If none can be produced, his testimony stands as evidence. Not conclusive, but evidence nonetheless. As such, it goes to that which weighs in favor of the existence of Jesus of Nazareth as the Son of God

    One of the holes/unanswered questions your team has is: On what basis is the Bible’s various testimonies a reliable witness indicating literal history where you interpret it as literal history, but the Epic of Gilgamesh or the Book of Mormon or the Qu’ran, not? What is it about the Bible that you feel confident that it IS supposed to be taken as literal history, but these other ancient books, not?

    One of the holes in your credibility is that you appear to give that take on history a pass that you don’t in other ancient texts (or not-so-ancient, as in the book of Mormon).

    I would offer that it’s not that the Bible has these stories that is hard to believe, it’s the taking of them all, carte blanche, as literal history in a modern sense that makes it 1. hard to take you seriously, and 2. hard to take your moral opinions seriously.

    ~Dan

  28. paynehollow says:

    Just a note as to the nesting comments (however many are nested): I don’t like them. It makes it more difficult to follow conversation in long threads. Just for what it’s worth, one vote against them.

    ~Dan

  29. paynehollow says:

    John, can I post that as an open question to all our conservative brethren here?

    I’m assuming that John, Craig, Marshall, Bubba, Glenn, and any other conservatives here all are opposed to transgender folk… to the sex change procedure and the whole notion. I’m further assuming that most of you all (maybe with the exception of Craig, based on what he said above, although since he didn’t answer directly, it’s hard to say), would not or would be wary about accepting a transgender person as a fellow Christian in your church, that you think it is sinful/wrong/sick/perverted…

    If so, can any of you explain WHY you think it’s sinful, since the Bible never touches the topic?

    If you don’t want this question asked, feel free to delete, I’ve always been curious as to what the answer is, if there is an answer.

    Thanks,

    ~Dan

  30. paynehollow says:

    Taking it to the discussion page…

    John…

    No church of any integrity would allow people who knowingly, and unrepentantly persist in sin. They wouldn’t allow a known burglar who openly continues to steal and isn’t trying to stop. Or a homosexual who continues to engage in homosexual relationships without trying to stop.

    But what of those behaviors where people disagree on the sin nature? What of the man who was married, had an affair, left his wife for the new woman and is now married to her and with children? Would they insist they divorce from that new marriage and stopped living together before they joined the church/became Christians at your church? Or would it suffice for them to confess their sins, but it’s too late to undo the marriage and family?

    What if it were a gay couple who are legally married and with children? Would they have to divorce and split up the family before they could join? Or would confessing the “sin” of marriage suffice, but you wouldn’t want them to break up the marriage and family, now that it already exists?

    ~Dan

    • Same sex marriage isn’t a marriage, it’s a coupling. And if multiple parties disagree within the church, you should err on the side that it’s a sin, since permitting and embracing sin is worse.

      • paynehollow says:

        ? Why? Says who? On whose authority?

        Is being legalistic not as bad as than possibly “embracing” sin? Or is it worse? I’d suggest the Bible suggests that legalism is worse, and religious liberty and grace-reasoning suggests it’s worse, as well.

        So, would you not accept the gay couple with children in your church until they split up their family unit?

        How about the straight couple with kids who got to their marriage via adultery, as I described? Break their family up, too, before they could join your church?

        ~Dan

        • You think it’s worse to say “I’m not sure if this is a sin, so I’ll err on the side of caution and refrain” than to say “I’m not sure if this is a sin, so I’ll go ahead and partake”?

    • So Dan, are you really suggesting that mere disagreement about something is the final arbiter?

      I disagree that it is a sin to rape puppies. The Bible, and especially Jesus, don’t ever mention raping puppies. By what standard do you decide that it is a sin?

      What a ridiculous argument.

      Of course what a bout the gay dude who suddenly after 20 years of marriage decides it’s time to embrace the real him, cheats on his wife with other men, divorces her and moves on with his gay lifestyle?

      Does the fact that he’s “gay” absolve him of the other stuff? Should he deny or suppress his gay nature in order to maintain his family and honor his wedding vows? Is it OK for him to stay married, but go clubbing so his gayness can get satisfied as well?

      What about a polygamist who is legally married? Would your loving church accept that family with open arms?

      All churches have membership standards as well as additional/different/higher standards for people in leadership positions. I suspect even Dan’s church draws a line somewhere.

  31. I rarely agree with Dan, but I’m at least ambivalent about nested comments. On the one hand, it clusters together the original comment and the subsequent responses, but on the other hand it makes it difficult to track new comments. Without nesting, all you have to do is find the last comment you remember and then scroll down.

    Dan, you ask about transgenderism, “can any of you explain WHY you think it’s sinful, since the Bible never touches the topic?”

    The question is kind of obtuse. As much as you wrongly accuse us of treating the Bible like a rulebook, none of us looks up a phrase in an index or concordance and conclude that the activity is permitted if the phrase is absent.

    “Hm, I wonder, is vehicular homicide permitted? Let me grab my Strong’s concordance and see what’s listed under ‘V.’ There’s vagabond, vale, valley, vulture–oh! There’s nothing about vehicular homicide, so I’m sure it’s okay.”

    You might say that vehicular homicide is a bad example, because the Bible clearly and emphatically condemns murder, and vehicular homicide is just an example of murder.

    I would agree with that logic, but that reasoning also addresses transgenderism.

    The Bible clearly and emphatically condemns murder, but it is just as clear and emphatic in condemning dishonesty and commending the truth. We’re forbidden from bearing false witness against our neighbors, and Christ elaborated that we should be transparently sincere, letting our yes be yes and our no be no. Christ claimed to be the truth, and he taught that the truth will set you free.

    The love of truth is an essential component of Christian ethics, and transgenderism is sinful because it is based on a falsehood.

    An individual with XY chromosomes and the resulting sex organs of a male is a man. He is not a woman, and to pretend that he is a woman is to deny the truth and indulge a lie.

    Indulging a lie is clearly sinful.

    This ain’t that complicated.

    That said, do note that I’m not condemning the mere existence of transgendered feelings as sinful. One’s feelings cannot be helped, and it is only our responses to those feelings that is virtuous or sinful, depending on whether those feelings align with God’s will. If they don’t, the feelings are temptations, but temptations themselves are not sins, as Christ was tempted but without sin (Heb 4:15).

    Suppose a person feels sexual desire towards another human being: is that desire a temptation to sin? Well, it depends on the object of that desire.

    If that person feels desire toward his own wife, embracing that desire would be within God’s revealed will, so the feeling isn’t a temptation to sin.

    If that person feels desire toward his neighbor’s wife, embracing that desire would clearly be in defiance of God’s revealed will, so the feeling IS a temptation to sin. Even if a person never acts on that desire, embracing it in his heart is expressly forbidden: the Ten Commandments forbids coveting a neighbor’s wife, and Jesus affirms that adulterous thoughts are as immoral as adulterous deeds.

    Like everyone else, since we all face temptations, people who experience transgendered feelings should be loved, but as with all other temptations, we should encourage these people to resist these feelings: the feelings are contrary to the truth of the person’s sexual identity.

    It may seem awfully mean to tell a person that his feelings aren’t always trustworthy, but it’s the truth. The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick. (Jer 17:9)

    Homosexuality and transgenderism both seem contradictory.

    On the one hand, a person’s sex is irrelevant to the responsibilities of parenting and the institution of marriage, and both should be treated as androgynous; on the other hand, a person’s sex is vitally important to a romantic relationship, and we cannot possibly expect an individual with homosexual feelings of attraction to find happiness in a marriage with a member of the opposite sex.

    And on the one hand, a person’s sexual identification is so fluid that not even genetics and those genes’ physiological expression are determinative; on the other hand, a person’s sexual identification is so rigid that WHOLLY INTANGIBLE feelings can be nailed down as definitely male or definitely female.

    But these contradictions vanish when you see what’s being prioritized: feelings over everything, God’s revealed will and even basic, indisputable facts of biology.

    To treat one’s feelings as more important than the truth is a form of diabolical pride — literally diabolical, since the Enemy’s attitude has been, “I don’t care if Yahweh is supreme, I want to rule in His place.”

    That is one of the great flaws in your making mere harm as a guiding principle in ethics: you’re emphasizing one’s duty to one’s neighbor to the detriment of one’s duty to the truth in general and to God’s revealed will in particular, and there’s plenty of room for the sin of pride before it begins to cause direct and indisputable harm to another human being.

  32. …and, I should elaborate on the reason why pride is a sin even when it doesn’t lead to harming other human beings.

    The point of God’s message to man — the gospel of Christianity, preserved in Scripture — is not about rules AND HAS NEVER BEEN ABOUT RULES. It’s about man’s relationship with God.

    In Eden it wasn’t primarily about avoiding the fruit from that one tree, but enjoying fellowship with God, walking with Him in the cool of the day. Since the relationship isn’t symmetrical between the Creator and His creation, man’s obedience to God’s rules is a part of that relationship, but only a part.

    In the upper room, we see that the goal is still abiding — our abiding in Christ and His abiding in us — but again, we abide only if we keep His commandments. (Jn 15:10)

    Obedience is not an appropriate substitute for the actual relationship, but it IS the result of a right relationship with our Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer, Father and King.

    Pride is a repudiation of the humility that is essential for that right relationship, and it undermines the obedience that ought to result.

    Is it possible that a man can be humbly but sincerely mistaken about God’s will and still be in a right relationship with Him? I hope so, trusting in God’s grace, but I’m not sure that question is often relevant in this situation, because I don’t see how one can humbly insist that one’s intangible feelings trump basic biology.

  33. paynehollow says:

    Interesting comments (also a bit horrifying, but interesting). Thanks. I’ll respond as soon as I can.

    Just quickly, Bubba…

    An individual with XY chromosomes and the resulting sex organs of a male is a man. He is not a woman, and to pretend that he is a woman is to deny the truth and indulge a lie.

    Experts/researchers would disagree. Yes, we have biological parts of a male or female, but gender is not simply what parts our bodies have.

    But let’s say you disagree with being transgendered and think that God disapproves (although God has not told you this). Suppose you have a lady that’s already transitioned to being a lady (ie, born male). She confesses her sin, makes Jesus Lord of her Life and wants to join your church.

    Does she have to repent of being transitioned in order to join, even if she didn’t think it was wrong? On what basis would you insist on this?

    Does she need to repent of whatever sins she may have publicly, or do you trust her to do her own repentance on her own?

    Let’s say she agrees (now) it was wrong. Do you insist she transition back to being male before she can be part of your church or do you accept her as she is a penitent sinner?

    More later,

    ~Dan

  34. paynehollow says:

    Craig…

    Dan, are you really suggesting that mere disagreement about something is the final arbiter?

    The final arbiter to what?

    Craig…

    I disagree that it is a sin to rape puppies. The Bible, and especially Jesus, don’t ever mention raping puppies. By what standard do you decide that it is a sin?

    I tend to think of things in terms of “wrong” and “right” or “healthy/helpful” and “unhealthy/unhelpful…” The term “sin” is a pretty loaded one. I may use it some times, but generally speaking, I prefer these other terms.

    By what standard do I decide that it is wrong to rape a puppy? Harm. Lack of consent.

    Craig…

    What a ridiculous argument.

    What argument is it you think I’m making? Because I suspect you’re mistaken. The odds are good.

    Craig…

    Of course what a bout the gay dude who suddenly after 20 years of marriage decides it’s time to embrace the real him, cheats on his wife with other men, divorces her and moves on with his gay lifestyle?

    Cheating on one’s wife – gay or straight – causes harm. I would not support that. It is not healthy, it is not contributing to good, but to bad. I do not support cheating on one’s spouse.

    However, if he finally realizes that he’s not straight? Well, then, their marriage really isn’t entirely a marriage and it would be unfair to either one of them to continue in the marriage arrangement because of a mistake made those years ago.

    Craig…

    Does the fact that he’s “gay” absolve him of the other stuff?

    No, he should not cheat. That causes harm.

    Should he deny or suppress his gay nature in order to maintain his family and honor his wedding vows?

    No. Should you marry a guy even though you’re straight for any reason – as an outreach and compromise to our gay brothers and lesbian sisters out there? That would be an honorable thing, right? NO, of course you shouldn’t. Even for good reasons. You’re not gay so to get married to a guy would be a sham and a lie because that is not your orientation, that is not healthy or good. Similarly, it is not healthy for a gay guy to remain married to a woman just to “honor” the marriage. How does living a lie honor a marriage?

    You can’t just turn off your orientation.

    Craig…

    Is it OK for him to stay married, but go clubbing so his gayness can get satisfied as well?

    I would find that to be harmful, especially if it was cheating so no, he should not.

    If by “clubbing” you don’t mean cheating but just going to a gay bar to hang out with gay friends and the wife is okay with that, it is no concern of mine. I do worry that some clubbing atmosphere seems to be less than healthy/wholesome, but I say that as an outsider so I do not speak with authority on that, it’s just how it seems to me.

    Craig…

    What about a polygamist who is legally married? Would your loving church accept that family with open arms?

    Well, if they took the Bible literally, they would, wouldn’t they?

    I wouldn’t because polygamy has traditionally been oppressively patriarchal. It may exist in non-oppressive, healthy atmospheres, but I have not seen evidence of it.

    Would YOUR church not allow a polygamist? Even though the Bible does not condemn it at all and many heroes of the Bible were polygamists? If so, on what basis?

    On what basis do you decide that some behaviors are “sinful” and that one must agree that they are sinful in order to be part of your faith community?

    I’ve answered your questions, your turn to answer mine, when you have a chance, please.

    Craig…

    All churches have membership standards as well as additional/different/higher standards for people in leadership positions. I suspect even Dan’s church draws a line somewhere.

    Yes. Harm.

    You want to believe that gay marriage is not a good thing? You can still attend our church (indeed, when I started going there, I did not accept the whole “gay” thing, but I was accepted and loved unconditionally, nonetheless). You want to believe that it’s okay for Christians to be in the military or even be in the military yourself? You are still welcome at our church, even though we are a Peace Church.

    At our church, we believe the notion of Freedom of Conscience is a very strong biblical and rational idea and we exercise it, giving each other to hold different ideas about various topics, even contentious topics.

    Amazing grace, truly, how sweet the sound.

    ~Dan

    • “The final arbiter to what?”

      You seem to be suggesting that the mere existence of disagreement is proof that both sides of the disagreement are of equal validity.

      “What argument is it you think I’m making?”

      That the existence of disagreement is proof that both sides of the disagreement are equally valid.

      To be clear, sin was the word YOU used, I was just staying consistent with your terminology.

      Your response to the married guy who “discovers” he’s gay and leaves his family, is that it’s OK for him to ignore the vows he made to his wife (before God) all those years ago. But, I guess being gay trumps everything in your world. That’s a little disappointing.

      I’ll give your questions a shot later

  35. paynehollow says:

    Bubba, in trying to address why being transgender is “wrong,” (in his opinion)…

    that reasoning also addresses transgenderism.

    The Bible clearly and emphatically condemns murder, but it is just as clear and emphatic in condemning dishonesty and commending the truth.

    We can agree that honesty is good and dishonesty is bad. Continuing then…

    The love of truth is an essential component of Christian ethics, and transgenderism is sinful because it is based on a falsehood.

    Says who? Based on what? How many transgender folk have you spoken with to gather this information?

    Indeed, transgender folk will tell you that the falsehood is their biological parts. That their psyche tells them they are female (although they have male body parts – or vice versa). So, to them, to honor the truth, they must be transgender.

    That is their motive (everyone I’ve ever heard speak about it), so there is no deliberate falsehood involved, there is, indeed, an attempt to “tell the truth…” So, by that measure, your reasoning would be an endorsement of transgender folk, not a condemnation of them.

    But you continue, trying to say why you think (unsupported?) that changing one’s gender is a “falsehood…”

    An individual with XY chromosomes and the resulting sex organs of a male is a man. He is not a woman, and to pretend that he is a woman is to deny the truth and indulge a lie.

    Experts will tell you that there is more to gender than just sex organs. IF our gender was only based on sex organs, you might have a case. But experts in the field of gender tell us that is not the case. Transgender people can tell us that is not the case.

    So, again, transgender folk are trying desperately and against great odds and in the face of oppression to tell the truth, as they understand it. On what basis would you suggest you’re in a better position to assess the truth of their gender than the people themselves? Than experts in the field?

    Perhaps it’s just the case that you have never really met or heard of an actual transgender person and you’re speaking from a place of ignorance (I certainly was in a place of ignorance on this topic as recently as ten-fifteen years ago). But now, you’ve heard what transgender folk are saying – that they are striving to be true – NOT false – to reality and what the experts say. So, given that, NOW are you ready to honor transgender folk for exactly the reasons you sought to denigrate them? For their honesty in the face of great adversity?

    If the people tell you they are being honest, if the experts are telling you they are being honest, if God has not told you it’s wrong, if the Bible has not told you it’s wrong, then on what basis would you continue to oppose accepting transgender folk as beloved Christian family?

    ~Dan

  36. paynehollow says:

    What is that in response to?

    Craig…

    “What argument is it you think I’m making?”

    That the existence of disagreement is proof that both sides of the disagreement are equally valid.

    No, that is NOT an argument I’m making or have ever made. Indeed, I have argued against this regularly. Indeed, I DON’T think your opinions on some topics are valid at all, much less equally valid.

    So, yes, it appears you thought I was making an argument that I was not making. Clarified now?

    ~Dan

  37. paynehollow says:

    Craig…

    is that it’s OK for him to ignore the vows he made to his wife (before God) all those years ago. But, I guess being gay trumps everything in your world. That’s a little disappointing.

    The vows made were based on faulty information. Would you REALLY want, say, a woman who realized after the fact that she was a lesbian to stay in a marriage with a guy, even though she’s not sexually attracted to him and that would be condemning the husband to a life of celibacy? HOW is that fair to the husband?? Or would you insist that this lesbian have sex with a man against her will? HOW is that fair to the woman?

    Isn’t that just about as unhealthy and irrational as one could get in a marriage. That would just be sick, not moral at all.

    It’s NOT that being gay “trumps” everything, but that Truth and Fairness are important. The marriage was built (mistakenly) on a falsehood, on a mistake. That’s a shame, but it happens. What is important, then, is not to continue down the road of the Mistake, but to make things right as best one can, as soon as one can.

    Isn’t that what repentance is about, at least in part? Realizing you made a mistake, apologizing, correcting the mistake as best you can, making amends as best you can and TURNING around, and heading in the right direction?

    That is the model of moral religion and repentance that I think is rational, moral and biblical.

    ~Dan

    • OK I got it. Vows and promises are fluid and can be changed at the whim of one party to the agreement.

      You don’t think that the family of this hypothetical guy is not going to be harmed by his choice?

      You know what, never mind, I can’t even understand how abandoning ones family is in any way shape or form moral rational or Biblical

      • paynehollow says:

        No, vows and promises are important. Never said otherwise.

        Don’t put words in my mouth and pretend to be righteous, lest you make yourself to appear to be a prick.

        No, promises are important, but situations sometimes change. Consider:

        Wife has just lost her husband. She is grieving. Her young children are grieving. The man she loves most of all has died and will not be coming back. Her children, in their innocent grief, beg their mommy to never marry anyone else, to honor their daddy. Wife, in her grief, promises just that.

        Ten years later, the kids are grown. Mom has moved on and, lo and behold, she has fallen in love again. She would like to marry again, but she remembers the promise to her children. The children remember the promise and, being a bit on the immature side, STILL don’t want their mommy to marry anyone else.

        She MADE A SOLEMN PROMISE. To HER CHILDREN!! Would it be wrong to go back on her word?

        No, of course not. It was a bad promise in the first place. In her grief and love at the time, she did not realize it, but it surely was a bad promise. Not intentionally bad, but nonetheless, a promise she should not have made. Of course it would not be wrong for her to break this promise and re-marry.

        Not that you’re answering any of my questions but, DO you think it would be wrong to break that promise?

        Or, do you realize, like me, that it was a bad promise to make in the first place?

        Of course it was.

        Same thing with a gay person who married straight. It was a bad promise. Perhaps he/she should have known better, but sometimes we make mistakes. It happens. The thing is, do we allow the grace for people to REPENT of the mistake they made and turn around and move on, in the RIGHT direction, or do we insist that they keep going down the wrong road?

        Don’t be ridiculous, of course we should give people the grace to get out of bad promises, even when that is in difficult and unfair circumstances.

        Again, would you want that husband to remain in a sexless marriage the rest of his lives due to a simple human error?

        Or would you insist that the woman engage in sex contrary to her orientation (ie, she would NOT like it any more than you’d like getting it on with a guy) due to a simple human error?

        Man, embrace grace. This legalistic and arrogant road is a path to hell.

        ~Dan

  38. On a somewhat related issue.

    I think that most of us would agree that church involvement is a tiered process, in that one wouldn’t have the same expectations of a casual attender, that one would have of a member. I also think that most of us would agree that as one becomes involved in positions of leadership that there is a reasonable expectation of being held to a higher standard. I even think that most of us would agree that this is a Biblical concept.

    With me so far, now some background.

    Our church invests a lot of time and energy in giving students training and opportunity to be involved in leadership positions in different ways. This starts in Jr High and can continue for a number of years. We think it is valuable for younger kids to see older kids in leadership positions, and that it is valuable to allow kids the opportunity to lead.

    So now the specifics.

    One of the requirements of being accepted as a student leader is that the candidate must sign a conduct statement agreeing not to engage in certain types of conduct while in a position of leadership. This statement does not force anyone to agree that the behaviors are wrong, it simply asks that they refrain from these behaviors. In the cases of candidates under 18 the parents must sign as well. The stipulation is that being caught engaging in any of the behaviors that the candidate agreed to not engage in will result of removal from the program for the program year. To me it seems simple, if you agreed not to do something, then you don’t intentionally engage in the behavior you agreed to not engage in. Apparently I’m out of touch.

    Two examples.
    1. A number of HS student leaders were caught using substances that were/are illegal for them to use or posses. A shocking number of parents actually defended this and were upset when their kids got the consequences they agreed to accept.

    2. A young woman decided that it would be a good idea to cohabit with her significant other. When this became known she was pulled from the small group she led. She actually took it pretty well. But a number of other people were upset.

    This is not an argument about the propriety of certain behaviors, although I think that it is valid to determine that certain things are (at a minimum) situationally inappropriate.

    It’s more an argument that if you are going to agree to a code of conduct, in writing while knowing that you plan to violate said code, it seems like that alone would disqualify someone from leadership.

  39. paynehollow says:

    John…

    You think it’s worse to say “I’m not sure if this is a sin, so I’ll err on the side of caution and refrain” than to say “I’m not sure if this is a sin, so I’ll go ahead and partake”?

    No, I’m saying that saying “THEY think my behavior is a sin, but I don’t think so at all. BUT, I will bow to their legalistic demand that I agree…” is worse. Or that saying, “I know that YOU don’t think it’s a sin, but WE do, so heed OUR opinion…” I’m saying THAT sort of legalism (“we know best what’s right for you…”) is contrary to religious liberty, is immoral, unwise and contrary to good understanding of the messages found in the Bible.

    You/we believe in salvation by grace, and I think we should live that out. Liberty in matters of mere unsupported opinion. Death to legalism! (because legalism breeds death… those that live by the sword, and all…)

    ~Dan

  40. paynehollow says:

    Craig, you’ll note that where John said…

    You think it’s worse to say “I’m not sure if this is a sin, so I’ll err on the side of caution and refrain” than to say “I’m not sure if this is a sin, so I’ll go ahead and partake”?

    …that EVEN though it is stated as a declarative sentence (ie, “You think this…”), I was easily able to recognize it as a question because it had a question mark on the end. See how that works?

    ~Dan

    • Yes, because it is structured as a question, not an assumption with a question mark. Of course I explained in detail what my problem was with your question, you must have missed that.

  41. paynehollow says:

    About a marriage where one partner later recognized their homosexuality, I had said…

    The vows made were based on faulty information. Would you REALLY want, say, a woman who realized after the fact that she was a lesbian to stay in a marriage with a guy, even though she’s not sexually attracted to him and that would be condemning the husband to a life of celibacy? HOW is that fair to the husband?? Or would you insist that this lesbian have sex with a man against her will? HOW is that fair to the woman?

    Isn’t that just about as unhealthy and irrational as one could get in a marriage. That would just be sick, not moral at all.

    To which Craig responded…

    Vows and promises are fluid and can be changed at the whim of one party to the agreement.

    I’m just wondering, do you see ANYTHING that I wrote that even hints in the slightest that vows/promises are “fluid” and can be changed on a “whim…”?

    Do you recognize that I’m pointing to one very specific and dire situation: The woman isn’t heterosexual! She can’t really be married in a heterosexual marriage relationship, SHE DOESN’T LIKE STRAIGHT SEX! It’s not her orientation! Can you even imagine at all how miserable you would be if someone forced you into gay sex? That is most definitely NOT a “whim,” but a very extreme example of a mistake, apparently honestly made.

    I then asked you, “Do you not believe that people should be able to change directions, if they made a mistake and started going down a wrong direction?” Of course you do! You fully encourage “sinners” (I imagine, correct me if I’m wrong) to realize their error, admit the mistake and change direction, right?

    So of course I recognize that about you. But should I respond in the same amateurishly slanderous manner and say, “So, you’re opposed to repentance and changing direction, hmm? You think people should just keep going down the wrong road once they’ve started. Disappointing…”?

    No, because that would be ridiculous. Just as your goofy charge of me not taking promises seriously.

    Embrace grace.

    ~Dan

    • What if I suddenly “recognized” that I’m not attracted to (whatever body type/eye colored/hair colored) my spouse any more? What if I’m no longer sexually attracted to her, should I divorce her because it’s not fair?

      • @John
        What a humongous asshat!
        Sex is part of marriage!
        A large part of the fundamentalist argument for marriage is procreation and this
        ( generally) requires sexual intercourse.

        Do you deny this?

        • Isn’t that also an evolutionary necessity?

          • Your point?

          • So, please answer this question, John.
            And we can pose it to the others – marshalart, Craig, Bubba.

            Why do you consider your version of morality right and other peoples’ wrong?

            You are very definite about what you consider is good moral behaviour, so how difficult can it be for you to provide an answer?

            • I’m right because the alternative is impossible.

              • Ah. The evidence of indoctrination.
                It took a while but at last it revealed itself.

                Yep, That’s it. I am convinced you are suffering from minor metal illness. This is what religious indoctrination does to a person:
                Stamps out the ability to exercise critical thought.

                And just wait – Marshall will soon drop by with his little asinine ”Arkie” comments about maybe it is the Christian fundamentalists that are the sane ones’ and everyone else is nuts!

                Maybe – but if you will not ( actually, cannot) provide evidence to back such an assertion then I am afraid you will only find your brand of religious fundamentalist agreeing with you.
                Even mainstream theists regard those such as you as slightly nuts – just as you regard YEC’s.

                You really ought to read how the brain works, John, regarding such detachment.
                This is an interesting article. A bit technical but very interesting nonetheless

                http://kyb.tuebingen.mpg.de/fileadmin/user_upload/files/publications/attachments/Bartels2004_maternalLove_%5B0%5D.pdf

                Studies show, using MRI scans that: “attachment activated regions specific to each, as well as overlapping regions in the brain’s reward system that coincide with areas rich in oxytocin and vasopressin receptors. Both deactivated a common set of regions associated with negative emotions, social judgment and ‘mentalizing’, that is, the assessment of other people’s intentions and emotions. We conclude that human attachment employs a push–pull mechanism that overcomes social distance by deactivating networks used for critical social assessment and negative emotions, while it bonds individuals through the involvement of the reward circuitry, explaining the power of love to motivate and exhilarate.

                In Christianity, you are taught to have a personal, intimate relationship with the Judeo-Christian god in the same way as our most beloved such as a lover, spouse, children ,but more so, as Christians are commanded to put this god above their love for their family. That literally changes the brain and distorts your ability for sound judgement/assessment and reasoning.

                Maybe if you read a bit about this stuff you would begin to appreciate why you behave the way you do.If you are not afraid to learn the truth, that is?

              • So Ark, I’m open. Help out of my indoctrination. What should I believe and why?

            • So Ark, I’m open. Help out of my indoctrination. What should I believe and why?

              • If you are simply being facetious there is o point in discussing it, is there?
                If, however, you are prepared to exercise critical thought and at least truthfully acknowledge that you may well have been indoctrinated with religion then this is a step in the right direction.
                From this point we can proceed.

                So, are you willing to concede that you might be negatively indoctrinated and you beliefs may be in error?

              • Yeah. I’m willing to admit it. What should I believe and why? What’s the truth?

              • Follow the evidence.
                Believe only in what can be shown to be falsifiable and remain open on everything else.

                That would be a good start.

              • But I already feel like I did and look what happened. So now what.

              • Then please demonstrate the veracity of the evidence you have followed that led you to this ‘feeling’.’
                Start with the issue of your current belief regarding the source of your morality and why it is superior to others.

              • It’s obviously all wrong. So what is the truth?

              • I have just explained the guidelines to finding truth and you claimed this was how you arrived at your current worldview. That is why I am asking you to put forward the evidence that influenced you enough to reach your current conclusion.
                If you detail this evidence then I will do my best to show you where you have gone wrong.
                The morality issue is the perfect place to start.

    • Dan, your point would be valid if marriage was exclusively about the sexual relationship, or even primarily about the sexual relationship, or even based simply on feelings. But it’s not. In your example, you focus solely on the whim of the one who “changed”, to the exclusion of the others who might be harmed by this unilateral decision.

      To put a finer point on it, IF the “gay” spouse knew they were “gay” when they got married, then it’s less a mistake and more of a fraud. This presupposed that a marriage without sex cannot in any way be fulfilling.

      John’s point is also well made, why is this ONE attraction different? In the other thread, you’ve tried to make the case that the difference between male and female is virtually entirely in the mind, and that the physical/biological factors aren’t really an issue. So, by your reasoning there in no significant difference what one “recognizes” as there is not significant difference between genders. What if the guy “recognized” that he was really polyamorous and that he needed multiple partners. What if he “recognized” that he was Bi, and that he/she just couldn’t go through life sleeping with just one gender?

      The beauty of your hunch is that there is no possible way you can prove it, so you can hide behind “It seems reasonable to me.” and not have to deal with challenges.

  42. paynehollow says:

    I would think that would be a very casual and irresponsible reason to divorce, but what some other families decide is not really any of my business.

    There’s a world of difference between flighty taste issues and something as core as our sexual orientation.

    What would it take, John, for you to agree to engage in sex with a man? What if he were your husband, could you do it then?

    It just doesn’t come naturally to you, presuming you’re straight. It’s not in any way comparable to mere preferences in hair color.

    ~Dan

    • What if my orientation changed to be attracted to a different woman? Should I force myself to have sex with someone who I was unattracted to? What difference does the gender make if the justification is no longer sexually attracted to? Why is it OK if the unattraction is sex but not any other physical feature?

    • Is there any proof that “as core as our sexual orientation.” is actually true? How does one determine what is “core”? Wouldn’t love, be more core?

      • paynehollow says:

        The proof, Craig, is that YOU are hetereosexual. It is innate to you, is it not? You do not choose it, you can not UN-choose it. It is part of you who are.

        You are the testimony against your own faulty reasoning.

        ~Dan

        • So are you suggesting that sex is at the core of our being? Are you suggesting that you are using core and innate as synonyms?

          • paynehollow says:

            I’m starting to suggest that you may just be unable to handle the concept of language as it relates to communication.

            I am saying that our orientation is a central part, an innate part of who we are. Just as with handedness or our gender orientation, these are something that are just naturally part of us. We don’t choose to be left handed, we don’t choose to be heterosexual, we just are.

            Do you really disagree with this very obvious fact or do we actually agree on that point?

  43. paynehollow says:

    That isn’t “orientation.” That’s preference. I would think in a mature adult relationship, people know that things change, bodies change, looks change and they’re committed (love is a commitment, not a flighty feeling) to the person, not to one particular look.

    It would be an awful shallow and immature marriage if it were based only on looks, in my opinion, or only on feelings at a given moment.

    But realizing that you simply don’t have the right sexual orientation to be in straight relationship, that is another matter altogether. Those people should never have gotten married, because they could NOT truly “commit” to one another in the sense that it includes sexual expression, which is generally a pretty vital part of marriages. The marriage in that case was a mistake, based on bad information.

    If you got into a business partnership with a lawyer to prepare your will and a whole bunch of other lawyer-y stuff and later realized that the lawyer was NOT really a lawyer, you would not be committed to that arrangement.

    [Note: Not a perfect analogy: The “lawyer” was NOT a lawyer, the arrangement was a mistake. In that case, of course, the “lawyer” would have known he wasn’t actually a lawyer and there was fraud involved. In marriages, it factually happens that someone does not know they aren’t heterosexual – or they’ve repressed any thoughts about it because their religious culture condemned it, more commonly and the “fraud” or mistake was an honest mistake, not an intentional deceit…]

    John, are you saying that EVEN THOUGH someone realized that they were lesbian, that she should stay in the marriage and the husband should just give up sex to “honor” the “promise…”?

    Do you recognize how crazy that is? IT was a BAD promise, a mistake happened. WHY keep going down the path of a mistake? WHen you make a mistake, the right and rational thing to do is STOP the mistake and turn around and get on the right path.

    Do you disagree?

    ~Dan

    • Why is mine just preference and not an orientation? What is the difference? It’s not just that I prefer blonds, for example, I’m not attracted at all to nonblonds. Why is mine immature but someone who “realizes” they’re gay substantive. What’s the difference between “realizing” you’re not attracted to a person with a vagina and realizing you’re nor attracted to a person with brown eyes?

      • The big problems with your lawyer analogy are.
        1. Certain non lawyers are perfectly capable of giving accurate and valid legal advice especially in areas of contracts and wills.
        2. If the person represented themselves as a lawyer, but was not, that’s fraud not a mistake.
        3… If the person accurately represented themselves as a non lawyer, but still give valid accurate services, then there is no problem.

        What you seem to be saying is that our sexual orientation is “core” to our very existence, yet at the same time someone could “mistakenly’ enter into a covenant/contract with someone else but still 20 years down the road “recognize” that their “core” was something entirely different. Which of course, makes the whole “born this way” argument look kind of silly.

        “Well, yes, I was (at my very core) born gay, but I didn’t actually realize it until after I’d been married 20 years and had some kids, so now I must follow my core.”. Sounds kind of stupid.

        • paynehollow says:

          Nonetheless, it happens. Was it you or someone else here that cited the number of married pastors who realize they’re gay after the fact? That whole Angry God Seeking Sinners to Punish motif is a powerful incentive to bury your orientation.

          Here, here’s Christian singer Ray Boltz’s story…

          “I’d denied [my homosexuality] ever since I was a kid. I became a Christian. I thought that was the way to deal with this and I prayed hard and tried for 30-some years and then at the end, I was just going, ‘I’m still gay. I know I am.’ And I just got to the place where I couldn’t take it anymore.”

          http://www.cbn.com/spirituallife/BibleStudyAndTheology/perspectives/Grady_Christians_Out_of_the_Closet.aspx

          ~Dan

          • Which makes my point, it’s not a “mistake” it’s a fraud or a lie or a deception.

            • paynehollow says:

              sigh. In HIS case. Not every case is the same. I could just as easily find other stories where they didn’t recognize it until later.

              What do you think, Craig? Do you think that people think, “Ya know, I’m really gay, but I’ll go ahead and marry the opposite gender because it will be fun, later on, to say, ‘just kidding!’ and divorce them and explain my actual orientation…”?

              The point I’m making is that people MAKE MISTAKES. Boltz made a mistake in marrying a woman when he was gay. He no doubt was greatly pressured by the hostility and enmity directed towards gay folk by many in the religious realm, by the fear of a sinner-burning god, by his own weaknesses to admit how God had made him… The point is he made a mistake getting married to a woman.

              The question then is, GIVEN THE MISTAKE, do you really think the healthiest thing to do is KEEP going down the mistaken road or do you think it’s best to repent, admit the mistake and turn back?

              One of those inconvenient questions you keep dodging.

              Perhaps you truly DO hate the notion of repentance…?

              ~Dan

      • paynehollow says:

        John…

        Why is mine just preference and not an orientation?

        Because science, John, that’s why. Science, reason, logic.

        Tell you what: Go find me someone who is genetically unable to be attracted to a particular hair color and we can talk. I don’t have time for guesses about unicorns, blondeists or other mythical characters.

        ~Dan

        • Science?!?! There’s been no discovery that has found our sexual desires are genetic. Not one.

          • paynehollow says:

            Science observes reality, measures it, tracks it. In the real world, YOU ARE INNATELY heterosexual, are you not? Do you think science would not back you up that you do, at your core, hold a heterosexual orientation. You do not choose to “not be gay,” do you, but it’s just part of who you are, John.

            On the other hand, in the real world, you can produce no “blonde-ists,” no “brown-eye-uals…” they don’t exist in the wild, John, because those things are preference, not innate.

            YOU testify to the facts I speak to, John. Or you would if you answered questions directly.

            So, yes, Science, Reason, Logic, they all undermine any points you’ve tried to make.

        • Are you really suggesting that science, reason and logic are equal? That they all three carry equal weight? Can you point to the actual scientific evidence that supports your hunches as you’ve presented them.

  44. paynehollow says:

    John…

    Why is it OK if the unattraction is sex but not any other physical feature?

    It’s about orientation, but I can think of other instances where a mistake was made and reasonable people should be able to agree to END the mistake and set things right.

    What if, in complete innocence, a brother and sister fell in love (not knowing they were brother and sister) and got married? They wanted to have children and were living in bliss but one day, blood tests come back that confirms, “you’re brother and sister…”

    ! Yikes! A serious mistake was made.

    Now, John: DO you think they should remain in that mistakenly incestuous marriage simply because “a promise was made…”? OR, do you recognize that the promise was based on bad information, on a mistake and it really HAD to be abandoned?

    Sure, that would be sad, it would be difficult, but a mistake was made, they can’t keep going down that road, not if they want children.

    I’m willing to bet that, at least in some cases, you would agree that IF a mistake is made, it is not wrong to abandon a promise, even a marriage promise.

    It’s not something we should do frivolously, in my opinion, but only in cases of a pretty serious mistake/misunderstanding. And “Oh, I’m not heterosexual…” THAT is a pretty serious mistake/misunderstanding…

    ~Dan

    • Yes, not recognizing ones inborn “core” sexuality for 20-30 years would indeed be a terrible mistake.

      How do you know with any degree of certainty that the one who changes, is driven by “orientation” not preference or boredom or any other reason why people make changes?

  45. paynehollow says:

    Because, Craig, it is an insane conjecture, not based on real world experience.

    Tell me: Would you CHANGE ORIENTATIONS because you were bored?

    No, of course you wouldn’t.

    Oh, I’m sure that there are outliers and experimenters who will do crazy sex stuff for kicks, but to CHANGE ONE’s orientation, that is not something that comes any easier for anyone else than it would for you.

    Also, since we know that sexual orientation is a spectrum, not a binary, some people may be confused about where they land and that’s normal.

    As to your disparaging remarks about people not recognizing their “core” sexuality for 20-30 years, if you had any up close and person experience with gay folk in our culture, you’d know that coming out, even to yourself, is an extremely difficult thing to do. No one wants to be ostracized, ridiculed, beat up on and told you’re going to hell (or to have internalized it yourself and think that of yourself) because of your orientation. It can be a VERY difficult thing to come to terms with.

    You might want to begin meeting with, getting to know, befriending some gay folk and listen to their stories, some – especially those burned by religious folk – before continuing commenting on something from a place of apparent ignorance.

    ~Dan

    • Would you CHANGE ORIENTATIONS because you were bored?

      1. Where is the scientific evidence that sexual orientation is core?
      2. Where is the scientific evidence that orientation is static and lifelong?
      3. Where is the scientific (or any other proof) that how a person expresses their sexuality is exclusively driven by their orientation?
      4. How do you accurately measure what drives a person to express there sexuality in different ways?

      • paynehollow says:

        1. Where is the scientific evidence that sexual orientation is NOT innate?
        2. Where is the scientific evidence that orientation is NOT static and lifelong?
        3. Where is the scientific (or any other proof) that how a person expresses their sexuality is NOT driven by their orientation?
        4. How do YOU accurately measure what drives a person to express there sexuality in different ways?

        Or do you need to measure? Is it enough for you to puff your chest out and declare, “Thus saith the Craig (speaking on behalf of God, don’t you know)!”

        This appeal to science would be more believable if you all didn’t dismiss the scientific evidence when it is presented.

        These questions would be more reasonably answered if you all were also answering questions.

        WAY, Long ago… yesterday or the day before, I forget, John told me to “Take it to the discussion page…” which I’m beginning to gather means, “It’s off topic here and I won’t answer your off topic questions. Take it to the discussion page where I can ignore them there…”

        pff…

        ~Dan

        • Nothing is off topic as far as I’m comcerned, but if you’re in a discussion you etiquette would dictate you stay on topic as it relates to your particular discussion

        • “Or do you need to measure? Is it enough for you to puff your chest out and declare, “Thus saith the Craig (speaking on behalf of God, don’t you know)!””

          Except i haven’t done that in any way shape or form.

          “This appeal to science would be more believable if you all didn’t dismiss the scientific evidence when it is presented.”

          Except I haven’t done this either.

          “These questions would be more reasonably answered if you all were also answering questions.”

          I’m taking a page from the Dan rules for blog etiquette and waiting for you to answer the questions I’ve asked, as well as the follow ups before answering questions from you that were asked after i asked questions first. As soon as you answer, I’ll answer.

          “Like bearing false witness, repeatedly? Like slander, repeatedly?”

          You mean like you just did right up there.

  46. paynehollow says:

    As to your disparaging remarks about people not recognizing their “core” sexuality for 20-30 years, I bet if the research was done, that we’d find that “not realizing” for many years happens predominantly amongst the very religious and those culturally very adverse to homosexuality… those who grow up thinking it’s “icky…” gross and horribly sinful. The fear of an angry god prone to casting sinners into hell can be a great incentive to hide even so deep a part of one’s self as one’s sexual orientation.

    …hmmm… a quick search suggests there may be something to it…

    http://www.drdoughaldeman.com/doc/WhenOrientationCollide.pdf

    Amongst others…

    Just wondering, not saying…

    ~Dan

    • “I bet if the research was done,…”

      This calls into question all of the research you claim to have seen. Impressive that you’ve seen research that hasn’t been done.

      • paynehollow says:

        What are you saying? What do you mean “Impressive that you’ve seen research that hasn’t been done…”? This has nothing to do with any words I’ve written.

        You all have more ability to read into what other people have said, things they HAVEN’T said than just about anyone I’ve met, except maybe for some middle school kids I used to work with.

        ~Dan

        • “I bet if the research was done,…”

          Your words, not mine. You are apparently basing your assertions on research that you yourself say hasn’t been done. I just read what you write.

          • paynehollow says:

            Again, your inability to not understand my words or intent is simply amazing. How do you drive a car? Do you misunderstand all the Stop signs when you see them?

            Too funny.

            ~Dan

            • “I bet if the research was done,…”

              Yes, I’m awed by the complexity of your wisdom, or is it your unwillingness to realize that once you say something it’s out there and you actually have to live with what you’ve said.

              Please, can you make some more funnies?

        • “You all have more ability to read into what other people have said, things they HAVEN’T said than just about anyone I’ve met, except maybe for some middle school kids I used to work with.”

          So it seems that even middle schoolers also cannot help but infer or draw conclusions from Dan’s words what Dan cannot seem to prevent implying. Rather than insisting this is an indictment on our cognitive abilities, it seems more an indictment on Dan’s ability to express his distinctly unique positions in a manner that doesn’t highlight their blatant flaws. Even kids can see it.

  47. John, Craig,

    You’re missing the most salient point here: “Gay” is good. Period. God is wrong, Scripture is wrong. Thousands of years of Biblical scholarship is wrong. All those members of the APA who opposed the activism within their midst and sought to treat homosexuals are wrong. Nothing that disputes the pro-gay agenda is anything but wrong. All one has to do is listen to the testimonies of homosexuals who failed to overcome their condition to know that God hasn’t the power to help sinners deny themselves. Only homosexuals needn’t carry their cross because they can twist Scripture’s few references to homosexuality to insist that their particular scenario is OK, despite no rational, mature argument from Scripture to do so.

    Gay is freakin’, good, guys. It covers all other sins, such as breech of contract, vows taken before the Lord, even those that were not coerced, but were totally up to the homosexual’s volition. Just say it is an unassailable “orientation” and you’re good to go.

    No. You cannot refer to anything else as an “orientation”. Only gays are allowed to treat their desires as fixed and beyond condemnation. Whatever reasons and rationalizations YOU have for refusing to address YOU rebellious actions ARE NOT THE SAME because IT ISN’T GAY!!! Gay is good. Gay is blessed. Gay is NOT like adultery, incest, bestiality or any other forbidden sexual behavior and no one who has desires in any of those areas are forbidden to suggest they were born that way, didn’t realize their “orientation” or could possibly be a loving, monogamous and committed relationship because gay enablers insist that all such relationships, in their studied opinion, are different, oppressive, patriarchal, and just not as good as gay.

    Dan is given over to his sinfulness.

    • paynehollow says:

      Like bearing false witness, repeatedly? Like slander, repeatedly? Like divisiveness?

      Oh, wait, that’s you fellas.

      Thou shalt not, remember…

      ~Dan

  48. MA,
    Of course you are correct. But to go further, the accepted/celebrated “orientations” are limited to the ones that don’t offend the left. Gay, sure that’s awesome. Bi, bring it on it’s all good. Transgender, that’s wonderful. Polygamy, icky! It’s mean to women. Incest between consenting adult’s, not so fast! Sex with minors, well it’s pretty icky but it looks like the “science” is suggesting that it’s just one more point on the spectrum.

    One of the biggest lies of the left is “Marriage equity for all.”.

  49. In 2003, a group of mental health professionals formed B4U-Act to begin a slow but inexorable push to redefine pedophilia as a sexual orientation in the same way homosexuality was in the 1970s.

    The organization calls pedophiles “minor attracted people,” and the website states its purpose is to “help mental health professionals learn more about attraction to minors and to consider the effects of stereotyping, stigma, and fear.”

    B4U-Act later held a symposium in which a new definition of pedophilia was proposed for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders of the APA.

    In 2010, two psychologists in Canada made national news when they declared that pedophilia is a sexual orientation just like homosexuality.

    Van Gijseghem, psychologist and retired professor of the University of Montreal, told members of Parliament, “Pedophiles are not simply people who commit a small offense from time to time but rather are grappling with what is equivalent to a sexual orientation just like another individual may be grappling with heterosexuality or even homosexuality.”

    He went on to say: “True pedophiles have an exclusive preference for children, which is the same as having a sexual orientation. You cannot change this person’s sexual orientation. He may, however, remain abstinent.”

    When asked if he should be comparing pedophiles to homosexuals, Van Gijseghem replied: “If, for instance, you were living in a society where heterosexuality is proscribed or prohibited and you were told that you had to get therapy to change your sexual orientation, you would probably say that that is slightly crazy. In other words, you would not accept that at all. I use this analogy to say that, yes indeed, pedophiles do not change their sexual orientation.”

    Dr. Vernon Quinsey, professor emeritus of psychology at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, agreed with Van Gijseghem, saying pedophiles’ sexual interests cause them to prefer children, and “there is no evidence that this sort of preference can be changed through treatment or through anything else.”

    In July 2010, Harvard Health Publications declared: “Pedophilia is a sexual orientation and unlikely to change. Treatment aims to enable someone to resist acting on his sexual urges.”

    Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2013/07/gay-laws-set-stage-for-pedophilia-rights/#FZxl5G1jxQ8m3ofQ.99

  50. atimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2013/01/many-experts-now-view-pedophilia-as-a-sexual-orientation-google-hangout.html

  51. In 1976 the National Council for Civil Liberties, the respectable (and responsible) pressure group now known as Liberty, made a submission to parliament’s criminal law revision committee. It caused barely a ripple. “Childhood sexual experiences, willingly engaged in with an adult,” it read, “result in no identifiable damage … The real need is a change in the attitude which assumes that all cases of paedophilia result in lasting damage.”

    There is, astonishingly, not even a full academic consensus on whether consensual paedophilic relations necessarily cause harm.

    But not all paedophiles are child molesters….Psychologist Glenn Wilson, co-author of The Child-Lovers: a Study of Paedophiles in Society, argues that “The majority of paedophiles, however socially inappropriate, seem to be gentle and rational.”

    …the best current estimate – based on possibly flawed science – is that “one in five of all adult men are, to some degree, capable of being sexually aroused by children”.

    This is radical stuff. But there is a growing conviction, notably in Canada, that paedophilia should probably be classified as a distinct sexual orientation, like heterosexuality or homosexuality. Two eminent researchers testified to that effect to a Canadian parliamentary commission last year, and the Harvard Mental Health Letter of July 2010 stated baldly that paedophilia “is a sexual orientation” and therefore “unlikely to change”.

    Read more: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/faithwalkers/2013/01/paedophilia-why-not/#ixzz3EwMo0Rll

  52. OK Dan, here is a real life situation for you, please explain where in this situation there is anything good happening.

    My ex-husband and his partner went on to marry. Their first ceremony took place before our state redefined marriage. After it created same-sex marriage, they chose to have a repeat performance. In both cases, my children were forced—against my will and theirs—to participate. At the second ceremony, which included more than twenty couples, local news stations and papers were there to document the first gay weddings officiated in our state. USA Today did a photo journal shoot on my ex and his partner, my children, and even the grandparents. I was not notified that this was taking place, nor was I given a voice to object to our children being used as props to promote same-sex marriage in the media.

    At the time of the first ceremony, the marriage was not recognized by our state, our nation, or our church. And my ex-husband’s new marriage, like the majority of male-male relationships, is an “open,” non-exclusive relationship. This sends a clear message to our children: what you feel trumps all laws, promises, and higher authorities. You can do whatever you want, whenever you want—and it doesn’t matter who you hurt along the way.

    After our children’s pictures were publicized, a flood of comments and posts appeared. Commenters exclaimed at how beautiful this gay family was and congratulated my ex-husband and his new partner on the family that they “created.” But there is a significant person missing from those pictures: the mother and abandoned wife. That “gay family” could not exist without me.

    http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2014/09/13692/?utm_source=StandFirm&utm_medium=post&utm_campaign=link

    Here’s the link, maybe you could go comment and tell the author how beneficial it is that her husband found his core sexuality.

    Please don’t overlook this quote, is this an example of what you mean when you talk about stable loving gay marriages?

    “And my ex-husband’s new marriage, like the majority of male-male relationships, is an “open,” non-exclusive relationship. “

  53. Dan, to pick up on some of your comments from yesterday…

    I’m not sure how useful it is to discuss my thoughts on whether a local congregation should accept into membership an out-n-proud transsexual, because it conflates the specific issue of whether transexualism is immoral with the much broader issue of what limits the church should place on membership — and it’s not at all clear that we’re even close to being on the same page with the latter, since you’ve never given a clear answer about whether the church should deny membership EVEN to an outspoken atheist who persists in denying the existence of God.

    We just wrapped up a month-long discussion at your blog, where you demanded “hard data” to support the quite non-controversial claim that the Bible teaches theism so clearly that good-faith disagreement is impossible. You sneered (incorrectly) that I appealed to “many people who agree with me on how to interpret it,” and you tried to intimidate me by writing that, by holding my position without evidence that’s to your liking, I wouldn’t be taken seriously by you “and the many people who would agree with [you].”

    Now, you make the entirely contentious claim that a person’s “psyche” should trump genetics and physiology, and instead of providing “hard data” to prove that claim, you appeal to the unstated and unsubstantiated claims of a vague group of unnamed experts, and you praise transsexuals for their courage in the face of opposition.

    It’s funny how quickly you abandon your need for “hard data” and your disdain for consensus, and it’s funny how your respect for sincerely and courageously held opinions hinges on whether you agree with those opinions.

    About the claims of experts, there’s no empirical evidence that could be generated from a repeatable experiment that could prove that a person’s psyche can be opposite of the sex indicated by his chromosomes and the resulting physiology, but even if a soft science like psychology could reach that conclusion, it’s COMPLETELY outside the researchers’ area of expertise to conclude that the psyche out to trump genetics and physiology, just as much as as the cosmologists’ measurements of the universe’s size determines whether it was created by God and for what purpose.

    I know, I know, to question the experts is to risk being branded as anti-intellectual — stupid, arrogant, and filled with ignorant hostility. You do have a point, that experts should be trusted implicitly, that their findings could never be politicized — and that’s why I recall your standing by the experts in the intelligence community, even those opposed to the invasion of Iraq, who all concluded that Saddam Hussein was still working to acquire WMD’s.

    We have always been at war with Eastasia, so say the experts at Minitrue, and it would be foolish to doubt them.

    About the courage that transsexuals exhibit, courage is a virtue, all things being equal, but it is a virtue whose application isn’t always moral, as one could be courageous for an evil cause as well as a good cause. I believe that the Creator has the moral right to end the human life that He has created, when and how He pleases, including through human agency, and you’ve compared the position that God did command ancient Israel to wage wars of annihilation to the notion that God could command bestiality. You’ve tried to marginalize that position as beyond the pale, but you’ve never acknowledged the courage of those who sincerely hold and plainly express that position, much less have you praised us for that courage.

    The fact is, no matter how much Christian evangelists may respect atheists for their courage in denying God in the face of largely religious cultures, their mission is not to confirm atheists in their misplaced courage for standing up for a falsehood: it’s to call them to believe the truth.

    You write:

    So, given that, NOW are you ready to honor transgender folk for exactly the reasons you sought to denigrate them? For their honesty in the face of great adversity?

    I’m not sure it IS “honesty in the face of great adversity” to embrace and indulge disordered feelings in the teeth of the objective reality of one’s genes, and if those feelings are very strong indeed, the real adversity would be to resist those feelings.

    Regardless of how much esteem we should have for the courage that transsexuals display — and the love that we ought to show them, which is just as much love as any other neighbor — we have a responsibility to be courageous ourselves and stand up for the truth as we understand it.

    You ask:

    If the people tell you they are being honest, if the experts are telling you they are being honest, if God has not told you it’s wrong, if the Bible has not told you it’s wrong, then on what basis would you continue to oppose accepting transgender folk as beloved Christian family?

    Let’s take those first two premises in turn.

    – The transsexuals are telling us they’re being honest, and they are presumably honest about their feelings, but they’re deluding themselves if they believe that those feelings trump their chromosomes and physiology.

    – As I indicate above, expert consensus isn’t immune from being politicized, and conclusions about what OUGHT to determine sex (genes vs psyche) is beyond their expertise. More than that, it’s certainly not true that “the” experts are unanimous in claiming that the psyche trumps genetics and physiology. If nothing else, when an archaeologist or coroner examines the remains of an unidentified human being, they don’t record the person’s sex as “unknown” because they can’t interview the person about his psyche — at least not yet, though even the hard sciences aren’t immune from PC insanity. No, they examine the bone structure and/or the DNA and reach definitive conclusions.

    Since those two premises are at least questionable, Christians can turn to the Bible’s emphasis on honesty, examine the findings of basic biology that sex is fundamentally a physical characteristic based on physiology and ultimately genetics, and conclude that transsexualism is such a blatant and arrogant rejection of this obvious truth that Christians must oppose its normalization for the sake of the truth.

    Again, you suggest “[that] God has not told you it’s wrong, [that] the Bible has not told you it’s wrong,” but a subsequent exchange between you and Craig undermines the impression you try to give that you really care about the Bible’s teachings.

    In your lengthy explanation about how you concluded that God approves of “same-sex marriage,” you emphasize the fact that the Bible doesn’t directly address the concept, and as fallacious as your reasoning is, a person could at least hope that you would have submitted to the Bible’s explicit teachings on the subject if they were there.

    At least he could have hoped until he read your comments here on divorce, where you argue that it’s positively good and even perhaps a moral imperative for a person to break his wedding vows if he concludes later that the vows were a mistake.

    Why, a person who concluded that he’s homosexual would be subjecting himself to sex without physical attraction or subjecting his spouse to a lifetime of celibacy!

    Isn’t that just about as unhealthy and irrational as one could get in a marriage. That would just be sick, not moral at all.

    Yes, sick, because no married individual has ever been in an accident that so disfigured her that she became physically unattractive to her spouse, who nevertheless pleased her sexually in obedience to I Cor 7:5 — and if a man became a paraplegic or otherwise irreparably impotent, his wife can AND SHOULD divorce him.

    “In sickness and in health, til death do us part”? What a crock.

    No, if a person later concludes he made a mistake, the vows don’t matter.

    Isn’t that what repentance is about, at least in part? Realizing you made a mistake, apologizing, correcting the mistake as best you can, making amends as best you can and TURNING around, and heading in the right direction?

    That’s very clever, invoking the Christian concept of repentance from sin to holiness, and doing so to justify breaking one’s wedding vows — it’s clever, but it’s quite literally diabolical.

    The problem is, divorce is directly and quite clearly addressed in the Bible — not only in Scripture generally, but in the Lord’s own teachings, including the Sermon on the Mount that you claim to love oh-so-very much.

    I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” – Matt 5:32

    This standard, you evidently reject, insisting on embracing a kind of perverse parody of grace that Christ Himself directly contradicted: you not only reject the standard, you denounce it as legalistic, arrogant and “a path to hell.”

    If I ever hear you repeat that you are a Christ-ian who reveres and tries to obey Jesus’ teachings in following His Way, it will be too soon. The claim is simply not plausible when we compare your position on divorce to Christ’s clear teachings on the subject.

    • …and it’s worth adding, Dan, that your permissive view on divorce was evidently shared, not with Jesus, but with the Pharisees Jesus opposed. They were the ones who were trying to loosen the exacting standards of the moral law, which Jesus affirmed by teaching that lust was as bad as adultery, that hatred was as bad as murder, that oaths aren’t less binding if they weren’t directly to God, and that one’s love should extend not just to your brother but also to your enemy.

      I’ll reiterate that the New Testament is clear that we’re not saved BY good works, but FOR good works (Eph 2:10). We are saved by faith, but saving faith results in obedience; rules aren’t paramount, the relationship to God is, but because God is sovereign, a right relationship with God entails our humble obedience to His commands.

      Christians are called to be holy, to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect. God is not a man that He should lie or change His mind (Num 23:19), and so we should strive to be just as faithful in keeping our word.

  54. paynehollow says:

    And yet, the facts are the facts. And your opinions are your opinions.

    And often the twain don’t meet.

    pfff…

    Let me know if you ever want to seriously address the questions asked.

    ~Dan

  55. I obviously did provide a quite serious and substantive response, Dan, and if that’s the best you can do in reply, my already low estimation of your character is apparently not nearly low enough.

  56. paynehollow says:

    You’re confusing “substantive” with “lengthy…”

    When I get a chance, I’ll come back and point out more specifically why it isn’t substantive and why, in some cases, it’s not even answering the question that was asked.

    ~Dan

    • do they ever?

      • paynehollow says:

        Occasionally, but usually only with marginal questions. The meatier questions that get to the heart of the holes in their logic? I don’t think ever. Almost never.

        Interesting phenomenon.

        ~Dan

        • Which of course, Dan, assumes what you regard as “the meatier questions” are really that and not your typical idiotic and unreasonable extremes meant to induce compliance and agreement. You haven’t found a hole in our logic yet, while you fail to fill the gaping holes in yours.

          Typical phenomenon.

  57. You’re confusing ‘substantive’ with ‘lengthy…’

    Never let it be said that you would even presume to read a person’s mind rather than permit that person a good-faith disagreement on a subject such as whether his own writing is substantive.

    Feel free to address the substance of my comment at any time.

  58. Just for Dan’s edification, though I’m certain he must know this considering his serious and prayerful study and thus likely just forgot: Deut 22:5 prohibits cross dressing, and what is a transsexual but a cross dresser who takes it to the extreme? It would seem to me that any such person who continues to dress and live as though truly of the opposite gender is in breech of that prohibition. However, a transsexual who regrets his surgical alteration for the cross dressing it is would likely demonstrate that regret by attempting a reversal. Even if such a person couldn’t afford the surgery necessary to return to the gender of the person’s birth, a person born male, for instance, could still return to dressing and presenting himself as a male to the best of his ability.

    Oh, you might want to suggest that I don’t have the authority to demand such a thing. That would be a waste of time as I don’t assume that authority. But such a demonstration of repentance would indeed compel my support for such a person as it indicates one who is truly willing to carry his cross. Consider how much Christ suffered for us and then try to pretend that any suffering of ours for his sake is worse. Would such a person need to go to such lengths to demonstrate repentance? I don’t suppose so, but for the sake of this discussion it is an illustration of a transsexual who truly wishes to live a Christian life.

    As for the rest of us, to enable such a person in continuing to live as the ultimate cross dresser is not an example of Christian love for a fellow sinner. It is complicity in the sin.

    Oh, but you might want to insist that’s just OT stuff and hard to take seriously given all that mythic writing style and such. Yet, in 1Cor 6:9-10, some versions, such as the KJV, suggest “the effeminate” are among those who will not inherit the Kingdom. What could be more effeminate than for a man to undergo a sex-change operation? And of course, Jesus does remind us of why God created us male and female and I don’t see how surgically altering our gender falls in line with the purpose.

    Yeah, I get that for the “gay is good” crowd, one need more than just a few verses in order to know God’s will. The “gay is good” crowd obviously needs things spelled out in distinct, and likely small, words. The “gay is good” crowd does not need to deny themselves for His sake.

  59. paynehollow says:

    Marshall…

    though I’m certain he must know this considering his serious and prayerful study and thus likely just forgot: Deut 22:5 prohibits cross dressing

    Yes, I’m very aware of the rule given to ancient Israelites.

    And Lev 19:27 tells ancient Israeli men what hair cut they must have. What of it?

    Are you saying that Milton Berle is going to hell for dressing like a woman? Or that you’re going to hell because you cut the hair at the side of your head?? UNREPENTANTLY???!!

    AAAARGGGGGHHHH!!!! Curse you, male hair trimmer! Thou art truly an abomination!!

    heh.

    Marshall…

    …and what is a transsexual but a cross dresser who takes it to the extreme?

    A transgender person is a male who has or is transitioning to a woman, because she is a woman in her psyche. So, since she is a woman, she does not violate that ancient rule given specifically to ancient Israel.

    What of it, vile Hair Trimmer?

    Not that we can give much credence to a “man” who would trim his hair on the side of his head (wuh! gives me the willies just thinking about the perversity!), but since that reason was a fail, do you have ANY RATIONAL reason why even biblical literalists/fundamentalists would be opposed to transgender people? Since, CLEARLY, the Bible does not condemn anything of the sort?

    Your pitiful attempts at taking a stab at reasons thus far (and to be sure, I do appreciate at least the effort) are, “it’s telling a lie” when clearly it isn’t and a citation of a rule given to ancient Israel against what we might call cross dressing, when clearly that isn’t the case here, either.

    So, do you have anything solid?

    No, of course not.

    ~Dan

  60. On whose authority do you say that Deut 22:5 is only for ancient Israel? On whose authority can you dictate when one part of “mythic style” applies to only ancient people and not everyone for all time? What evidence do you have that confirms that particular rule, which aligns with the 1 Cor 6 verses and Christ’s reminder for why we are created male and female, cannot possibly be applied to people today? What kind of idiot would confuse a comedian dressing up as a woman for comedic effect with some mentally disordered dude who thinks he’s a woman born in a man’s body and then try to pretend his conversational opponent is the one confused? You’re dodging again because you are given over to your corrupt support for immoral behavior. I gave you solid argument. You again fail to account for it.

  61. paynehollow says:

    Marshall…

    On whose authority do you say that Deut 22:5 is only for ancient Israel?

    First of all, when we’re speaking of interpretations of ancient texts, we are ALWAYS speaking about personal opinion. Having said that…

    The laws given to Israel in these texts were given specifically TO Israel, IN THE TEXT.

    “These are the words Moses spoke TO ALL ISRAEL”

    The text itself says this, but even so, that does not mean that the text is correct. You have no data to support the claim that this is actually God speaking actually to ancient Israel or that if it was God, that God meant that these rules are somehow universal. The only textual clue we have on this point, however, is that they were SPECIFICALLY, LITERALLY to ancient Israel.

    So, my opinion is that, given that the TEXT says “It’s to ancient Israel…” and given that we have no reason to believe that the text applies to anyone else, why would we consider these universal rules? Beyond that, YOU YOURSELF don’t treat these as universal rules. You whimsically pick and choose which rules you think are universal based on, “Well, I think that this one is universal…” That is, it’s YOUR opinion, not a fact and not an opinion based on anything even in the text, much less anything outside the text or just simple reason.

    Marshall…

    On whose authority can you dictate when one part of “mythic style” applies to only ancient people and not everyone for all time?

    We have NO authority – not you, not me – to say that any of this text applies to all people in all times, much less to pick and choose, “This text means it’s a universal rule, but not that rule right next to it…” Do you really think you have some authority on which you can insist that cross dressing is universally wrong? If so, PROVIDE IT.

    Seriously guys, we can only say so many times “WHERE IS YOUR DATA TO SUPPORT THE CLAIM?” and have the reasonable question completely dodged before we question your ability to reason like mature adults.

    IF you have support for your crazy sounding claims, provide it. If not, ADMIT IT and move on.

    ~Dan

    • “First of all, when we’re speaking of interpretations of ancient texts, we are ALWAYS speaking about personal opinion.”

      Not true. Only YOU are speaking of personal opinion because it is behind personal opinion that you can pretend you have a reasonable understanding that gives license to sinful behaviors you enable in others. But the rest of us, when speaking of interpretations of ancient texts, are basing those interpretations on the best research available that gives us the best understanding of what the ancient languages say, the best translations of those languages. Interpretations isn’t supposed to be merely a matter of personal opinion and whimsy, as you like to say of others, while practicing that for yourself. As such, there is no “whimsy” in determining which rules and teachings might be universal and which for ancient Israel. You simply prefer to take that stance as it provides the aforementioned license to continue enabling sinful behaviors.

      As to “authority” for such determinations, when you can provide some that denies me the ability to see the obvious in favor of your preferred dismissal of those universal truths, feel free to provide it. You’re not fooling anyone that demanding a source of authority is anything more than another dodge. Nor have you demonstrated just how our claims are “crazy” or “speaking for God” as opposed to restating what God Himself has spoken. My support is Scripture itself relayed honestly and honorably.

      OR, you can provide the authority that insists that what Moses spoke to all Israel was meant ONLY for them in the sense that something like not sleeping with your mother was not sinful for those not of Israel. Is that you stance, Dan? That buggering sheep wasn’t sinful for the Canaanites? And while I’ve provided scholarly explanations for why some OT laws are universal and some aren’t, explanations commonly held amongst Biblical scholars for eons, you’ve yet to provide any scholarly citations or sources that reasonably rebut those explanations. Worse, you’ve provided no authority for rebutting those explanations so widely held (because they make the most sense, not because of consensus). You’re doing exactly what Arkie does in summarily dismissing anything that conflicts with your preferred position with your lame demands for authority. Thus, you have NO authority to suppose that what Moses spoke to all Israel implies all that he spoke was ONLY for Israel.

      So, Dan, WHERE IS YOUR DATA TO SUPPORT THE CLAIM?

  62. paynehollow says:

    Marshall…

    I gave you solid argument.

    ? When? Where? Where you said, “um, Deuteronomy 22, that’s why!”??

    “Deuteronomy 22” is NOT a solid argument. It’s a verse, ripped out of context.

    Seriously, Marshall, do you think citing an ancient rule given (in the text) specifically to an ancient people, in a text you can’t prove has any validity as a historical document, from a passage that has other rules that EVEN YOU don’t think are universal (although with no solid reason to think that)… do you REALLY think that is a solid argument?

    I know you’ll be tempted to think I’m mocking you or putting you down, but that is a serious question. If you were invited to a college campus and were asked by a mixed panel of Bible scholars and secular historians on what basis you would oppose transgender situations, do you REALLY think “Because Deuteronomy 22” is a “solid argument…”? I’m seriously wanting to know the answer, because if you just take a breath and take a look at it, I find it hard to believe that you would be serious in this line of reasoning.

    ~Dan

  63. ““Deuteronomy 22″ is NOT a solid argument. It’s a verse, ripped out of context.”

    “Ripped out of context?” You insisted there is nothing Biblical to support the notion that sex-changes are sinful. I provided support for the truth that it is. But of course, you reject all of the OT when it suits your sin enabling positions. So when it suits you, Scripture has no validity. When you need it, it’s “a book of ‘Truths'” by which we must adhere (which makes them “rules”). Then you dare presume to understand what constitutes a solid argument?

    “If you were invited to a college campus and were asked by a mixed panel of Bible scholars and secular historians on what basis you would oppose transgender situations, do you REALLY think “Because Deuteronomy 22″ is a “solid argument…”?”

    What do you mean by “mixed panel”? A combination of honest and honorable Biblical scholars and secular historians together with “progressive”, sin enabling Biblical scholars and secular historians? Even in the face of such a mix citing Deut 22 would indeed be a solid argument. Transgender surgery, like cross-dressing, flies in the face of why God created us male and female and that those differences are not to be disregarded. YOU have not provided any Biblical reason to suppose that this argument is the least bit illogical, irrational or un-Biblical. YOU appeal to pseudo-psychological drivel that suggests the whims of the sexually confused trump biology and pretend that limited perspective is somehow universal within the field or even held by the majority.

    What’s more, it is absurd to suggest that such a panel would not regard Duet 22 as a legitimate basis for the position even if we were to concede the possibility that the whole of the Old Testament cannot be substantiated. It is what we have. No honorable and honest scholar would simply throw it out as a basis for determining the morality of a given behavior based on such a weak and self-serving argument.

  64. paynehollow says:

    Returning to Bubba’s comments…

    I had asked, because I was curious, if the Right Ones here would accept transgender people into their churches as fellow Christians, Bubba responded…

    An individual with XY chromosomes and the resulting sex organs of a male is a man. He is not a woman, and to pretend that he is a woman is to deny the truth and indulge a lie.

    I pointed out that they were being honest, that in their Soul, in their Psyche, they ARE a woman (or man), even if their biological parts said otherwise. So, at least to THEM, they are not “lying.” Bubba appears to insist that he knows best whether they are telling the truth, sight unseen from all evidence, and he arrogantly pronounces them liars.

    On what basis do you make this judgment? Nothing but his opinion. I asked if Bubba would honor them for telling the truth, but he insists – sight unseen, knowing nothing about them from all evidence – that they are lying. Nothing but his literally ignorant opinion.

    I had asked…

    “If the people tell you they are being honest, if the experts are telling you they are being honest, if God has not told you it’s wrong, if the Bible has not told you it’s wrong, then on what basis would you continue to oppose accepting transgender folk as beloved Christian family?”

    Bubba responded…

    Let’s take those first two premises in turn.

    – The transsexuals are telling us they’re being honest, and they are presumably honest about their feelings, but they’re deluding themselves if they believe that those feelings trump their chromosomes and physiology.

    ON WHAT BASIS do you think they are deluding themselves?

    Bubba: Do you even know even ONE transgender person?

    or are you basing your hunches on complete ignorance, as it appears?

    Bubba, continuing…

    As I indicate above, expert consensus isn’t immune from being politicized, and conclusions about what OUGHT to determine sex (genes vs psyche) is beyond their expertise. More than that, it’s certainly not true that “the” experts are unanimous in claiming that the psyche trumps genetics and physiology.

    Do all experts in gender studies agree? I don’t know, probably not. The APA – the spokesgroup for mental health – has concluded there is nothing wrong mentally with opting to be transgender.

    The thing is, the FACT is, gender orientation is very much like handedness or sexual orientation: It IS innate, it’s just there. You did not choose to be straight, did you? You did not choose to be right handed (if you are), did you? It’s an innate thing you’re born with.

    WHO would choose to switch genders if it was not something innate? Why would anyone do it? For kicks? No, of course not. By all evidence, it is innate and you can testify to that yourself, in your own gender, sexual and hand orientation.

    That is what you continue to ignore/miss/dodge.

    Bubba…

    even if a soft science like psychology could reach that conclusion, it’s COMPLETELY outside the researchers’ area of expertise to conclude that the psyche out to trump genetics and physiology

    So who gets to decide, Bubba? YOU? On what basis? Why do you get to decide for others? How do you know you are correct? Because it “feels” right to you, therefore, you are able to decide for all others what is right?

    Because science has not told you, God has not told you, the Bible has not told you… it appears to be something you’re pulling out your own buttressed mind.

    On what basis would you deny welcoming them into your church? All you’ve offered so far is your own reasoning. If that’s it, that’s fine, but admit to it.

    Bubba…

    you emphasize the fact that the Bible doesn’t directly address the concept, and as fallacious as your reasoning is, a person could at least hope that you would have submitted to the Bible’s explicit teachings on the subject if they were there.

    The thing is, Bubba, I do not follow “the Bible,” I follow God. I don’t conflate the two. You appear to be prepared to submit to the Bible, regardless of how irrational or immoral a direction that may lead you (and one particular set of opinions about the Bible, at that).

    IF someone could make the case that the Bible CLEARLY teaches us it is, indeed, God’s will for us to kill the children of our enemy when we invade their nation, I STILL would not submit to the Bible. The Bible is not my god.

    You?

    And so, yes, I hope you’re saying you agree with me that you can make up your mind about right and wrong outside of the Bible. But then, ON WHAT BASIS would you refuse to embrace them as a fellow Christian?

    Bubba…

    No, if a person later concludes he made a mistake, the vows don’t matter.

    So, you WOULD insist that the grieving widow who promised her children she would not remarry, that she SHOULD honor that promise because, PROMISE trumps all?

    Or do different circumstances mean different things, because it IS possible to make a bad promise.

    Do you insist that people keep promises, even if it was based on a mistake?

    That truly is sick.

    And the falsehood that I’m suggesting vows don’t matter STILL is a hellacious falsehood.

    ~Dan

  65. paynehollow says:

    Marshall…

    You insisted there is nothing Biblical to support the notion that sex-changes are sinful. I provided support for the truth that it is.

    THAT. IS. NOT. TALKING. ABOUT. SEX. CHANGES.

    THAT. IS. NOT. A. UNIVERSAL. RULE.

    Will you continue to double down on mistakes, build faulty reasoning on stupid clear mistakes, even after your mistake has been pointed out to you?

    You’re hopeless.

    ~Dan

  66. Dan:

    You write that transsexuals “were being honest, that in their Soul, in their Psyche, they ARE a woman (or man), even if their biological parts said otherwise,” and I conceded the point later on in my comment. I do wish you had read the entire thing before attacking me for one part of it.

    Even assuming they’re being honest about their feelings, I believe that transsexuals are deluding themselves in concluding that those feelings trump basic biology.

    Outraged, you ask:

    ON WHAT BASIS do you think they are deluding themselves?

    And later you ask a series of questions that I’m not going to address one after the other.

    So who gets to decide, Bubba? YOU? On what basis? Why do you get to decide for others? How do you know you are correct? Because it ‘feels’ right to you, therefore, you are able to decide for all others what is right?

    Your implicit rebuttal is absolutely right, Dan, I have no basis to determine that a person is deluding himself by claiming he’s female even if he has testicles and a Y chromosome. If somebody else comes by and insists he’s a chicken, but he has arms instead of wings, hair instead of feathers, and 46 chromosomes instead of 78, I cannot possibly conclude that he’s really a deluded human being instead of–what, a really well disguised rooster?

    You ask, “On what basis would you deny welcoming them into your church?”

    You assume I wouldn’t welcome them, at least as guests and visitors, and you would be mistaken, but I didn’t actually answer your question about whether the church should accept the request of an out-n-proud transsexual to join. Considering how many options are now available, I have to question the motives of a person who would ask to join a congregation where he defiantly rejects their ethical teachings, but I did not answer your question.

    I explained why I didn’t: since you cannot clearly answer whether a church should deny membership even to an outspoken and unmoved atheist, I doubt you’re all that friendly toward the concept of having standards for membership, and so I don’t see the point of conflating your opposition to my position re the specific subject of transsexualism with your opposition to my position re the very general subject of standards for church membership.

    You sneer, “The thing is, Bubba, I do not follow ‘the Bible,’ I follow God. I don’t conflate the two.”

    Well, GFY — Good For You (and the other, less polite acronym) — but I don’t conflate the two, either, and I’ve always rejected your idiotic and uncharitable accusation of bibliolatry. I do not worship and have never worshipped the Bible as if it were God, I merely respect the Bible and submit to its clear teachings because I believe it is FROM God — more specifically, that it is the authoritative, inerrant, and objective revelation from God against which all other contemporary revelations must be evaluated.

    Oh, what an awful position I hold.

    The thing is, Dan, unless you believe God is mute or you subordinate His revelation to your own preferences, you must follow God by following His revelation, which means in practice that you follow His revelation only as you understand that revelation.

    Your snide remark is almost as inane as saying, “I just follow my father, which is why I ignore the text messages he sends, the notes he leaves on the fridge, and the words that come out of his mouth: because those things aren’t him, I don’t follow them.”

    You keep mentioning “the grieving widow who promised her children she would not remarry,” but the subject has been marriage in particular, not promises in general, and marriage involves vows that shouldn’t be (and generally aren’t) made impulsively, and with those vows the bride and groom become one flesh and enter an institution God created even before the Fall.

    But, generally, it might not be a bad thing if people were more careful to make fewer verbal commitments but were more faithful to the commitments that they made.

    You say that it’s a “hellacious falsehood” to say that you don’t think vows matter, but I notice you didn’t explain HOW they matter if they can be broken so easily, and it IS a very low standard for commitment if a person can break a vow if he just concludes that the vow was a mistake.

    “You must keep your vow ONLY if you still think it was a good idea in the first place,” isn’t much different from saying that you must keep your vow ONLY if you still want to keep your vow. Oh, how noble.

    Do you insist that people keep promises, even if it was based on a mistake?

    It wasn’t me who taught that divorce is immoral except for the most serious exceptions, and if it really were up to me, I’d probably be lenient on the subject except when children are still in the house.

    But it’s not up to me.

    I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

    It wasn’t me who came up with that standard, a standard that you evidently denounce by saying it “truly is sick.”

    Earlier in your comment, you write:

    IF someone could make the case that the Bible CLEARLY teaches us it is, indeed, God’s will for us to kill the children of our enemy when we invade their nation, I STILL would not submit to the Bible. The Bible is not my god.

    (Not only would the Bible not be your god — it’s not mine, either — but the God of the Bible, the deity described by the Bible and who inspired its writing, wouldn’t be your god, either.)

    Here, Jesus CLEARLY teaches that divorce is immoral except for the most serious cases of sexual immorality, and since you reject that standard as “sick,” you evidently would not submit to Jesus Christ. Jesus is not your god and lord, either.

    That’s actually fine with me, Dan. As C.S. Lewis points out in Mere Christianity, lots of people positively reject Christian sexual ethics (along with the requirement to forgive).

    But those people generally don’t lie to themselves and others by calling themselves Christians and preen about how they love and follow Jesus’ Way.

  67. paynehollow says:

    Bubba…

    It wasn’t me who taught that divorce is immoral except for the most serious exceptions

    !
    ???!
    ???????????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    ?????????????????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Do you SERIOUSLY not recognize the realization that, “Oh, I’m really attracted to women” as one of the “most serious” sorts of exceptions??

    W.T.F?

    Seriously, you all keep blowing off this realization, suggesting it’s comparable to thinking, “Oh, I really like cheese popcorn, not regular popcorn…” kind of change, some whimsical, “Oh, ladeeda, I’ll try this for a while, WHEEEE!!!” sort of fluke.

    Read. Understand:

    The realization that you were mistaken about your sexual orientation IS a serious sort of exception.

    If you don’t recognize that, you are hopelessly blind.

    Indeed, one could work around, forgive and move on with a mere adulterous fling (as incredibly serious as that is). In comparison, the realization that you’re not sexually attracted to men makes the adultery conundrum a walk in the park.

    Would you suggest that the man who is married to a woman who, at 23, realizes she’s lesbian… would you suggest he forgo sexual relations for the rest of his married life because of an honest mistake?

    What sort of moral monster are you?

    I repeat: Recognizing that we have made a mistake, admitting and apologizing for the mistake and TURNING AROUND and repenting IS a vital moral good and it is monstrously destructive to suggest someone must continue down the wrong path just because of a mistaken promise.

    And NONE of that is to say that we should take promises lightly, just recognizing that mistakes get made.

    If you can’t allow for people to recognize mistakes and make a change, it is time for you to go back to Sunday School 101 and start all over again in your moral and biblical education.

    ~Dan

  68. paynehollow says:

    Bubba…

    It wasn’t me who came up with that standard, a standard that you evidently denounce by saying it “truly is sick.”

    No, but it is you who is treating the Bible like a magic rule book, MISSING THE POINT of the Bible entirely.

    Bubba, do you think God “revealed” God’s message ONLY in the 66 books of the Bible and that God does not reveal God’s message anymore?

    If so, on what basis do you think this? Does the Bible say that? No. Does God say that? No. Does reason demand it? No.

    In fact, does the Bible even say that “the 66” ARE God’s “revealed” message? No, it does not. Not once, not ever.

    In fact, does the Bible not teach that we have God’s revelation in our own hearts? Does the Bible not teach that the Spirit of God is still revealing Truth to us?

    You will, no doubt, say, “Maybe, but we won’t have revealed something to us that contradicts something in the Bible…” but to that, again, I say, “On what basis do you make that claim?”

    Does the Bible teach that? No.

    Has God told you? No.

    Does reason demand it? No.

    In fact, YOU believe (I’m sure) that some things are “revealed” to us that contradict earlier biblical teachings. The authors in the Bible at no point ever condemn the then-culturally acceptable practice of polygamy, but you, no doubt, believe it is not only a bad idea, but that it is a sin damned by God, am I mistaken?

    So clearly, you believe that, at least to some degree, the rules in the Bible were bound somewhat to the specific time and culture found therein. So almost certainly even YOU believe that we can recognize something contrary to the Bible as a good idea.

    It all comes down to that, Bubba. You are making authoritative claims without the author’s permission and based on nothing but your feelings and hunches. If you think these opinions of yours are reasonable, then by all means, practice what you believe. But don’t presume to speak for God or for morality what OTHERS should do. We’ll seek God and the good ourselves, thank you.

    Liberty of conscience is a good thing, many of us think.

    ~Dan

    • I think this is might be just a tad too intellectual for them. It encompasses logic, honesty, an ability to read and understand, and at least a modicum of commonsense.
      I dunno. That may be asking an awful lot of your audience , Dan, I am afraid.
      Can you type in crayon for them?

      • Like I said Ark, you’d fit right in at Dans church. He is as skeptical about God and the bible as you are. He is pro abortion and pro honosexuality. He doesn’t believe in sin except for holding conservative views. He thinks you’re going to heaven and everything.

        • Heaven? Then he is nuts.
          Never mind that; where is this post on your frakking evidence, Mister Barron?
          You’re not going to wimp out as you usually do are you?

          • Well, he might not think that, there isn’t much in the bible he actually thinks is true.

            • Most of it is a load of crap, I agree. Ideal for those who are unable to think for themselves or who have been indoctrinated to believe in talking donkeys etc.

              The evidence post?

              • He has said it’s a load of crap but a useful load of crap for learning “truths” even though none of it actually happened.

              • Well, that’s his view and he is entitled to it. Opinion.
                As he can’t demonstrate the veracity of the claims he must not try to indoctrinate others – particularly children – then he should be afforded the opportunity to believe what ever he likes. As we all should be afforded.
                The bible says nothing about its own infallibility.

                So I take it you are going to continue to be gutless and not do this post on all this evidence you have for your man god, John?

              • We’ll see how you respond to mondays post before I post the other one. If you respond with reasoning and logically formulated responses, then look for it on wed or thurs. If you respond in child – like fashion like all the rest, then I won’t bother. I’m not going to put myself out for you to handwaivingly dismiss with no intellectual discussion out of you.

              • Monday? Hmm… might be tricky work wise for me.
                I’ll play it by ear.

                Oh,and rest assured, I will be as intellectual as your post accords, you have my word on that! And I never welch on a promise.

                You provide the ( proper) evidence and I’m right there.

              • “I will be as intellectual as your post accords”

                Thereby reserving for himself the room to act as childishly as he has since first appearing on this blog. Pretending that his manner is dictated by his self-serving perception of the quality of John’s offerings is itself childish, and not fooling anyone. He further secures his “plausible deniability” with this bit of self-serving nonsense:

                “You provide the ( proper) evidence and I’m right there.”

                That would be “proper” as defined by him, as if he has the honorable character, much less the legitimate authority,necessary to dictate what constitutes “proper” evidence.

              • You truly are such a dickhead marshal.
                Why don’t you take your colouring books and go and sit in the corner for a while?

        • paynehollow says:

          Ark would be very welcome at my church and I think he would 1. be impressed, at least a bit (we’re a fun, interesting group of people many people find) 2. be put off (we do believe in God and all, so that would annoy him I’m sure) and 3. be challenged (he would not be the first non-theist to find our church’s particular teaching to be intellectually challenging, even if he didn’t accept the God stuff…)

          So, while he would reject much of what we believe, no doubt, he WOULD fit right in. We’re a motley mix of all kinds of rejects from other places, sort of the mutt and wretched refuse of the kingdom of God.

          I bet even you all would enjoy a visit to Jeff St, my more conservative friends, and you’d be just as welcome as Ark.

          ~Dan

          • We’re a motley mix of all kinds of rejects from other places, sort of the mutt and wretched refuse of the kingdom of God.

            And this sentence alone , and especially the term refuse of the kingdom of God is exactly the type of diatribe that will forever confine those that believe in such garbage ( sic) to the ”rubbish heap of life” – as imposed by religions’ insistence that humans have little or no worth without a frakking ”god”, and in particular the Middle-Eastern Abrahamic monster you nutters genuflect to.

            *Shakes head*

            • I cannot feel more sorry for you, Arkie. I hope God provides for you the epiphany you so desperately need. You’re truly a very sad case.

            • paynehollow says:

              Why does “kingdom of God…” offend so?

              And where you say “especially…” what is troubling about the rest of it? Our church community is where all manner of folks are truly welcome and made at home. THAT is offensive?

              ~Dan

              • It is offensive as it is under the auspices of a make believe sky daddy, based on a religion that has already far too much blood on its hands and if one takes the dirty rag of a bible to heart the most blood.
                However, I am nothing if not consistent and will extend the same offer/courtesy to you, Dan.
                Offer up some verifiable evidence for this god of yours….
                Any time you are ready ….

              • Secular governments have more blood on their hands than all the religions combined. Look it up.

              • Wrong, smart-arse, you forgot the Flood, or don’t you count this when your back’s up against the wall, hmm?
                That you consider it a pissing contest is further indication just how hypocritical the religious are.

              • The Flood? Well then. Let’s also count every death by accident or natural cause as well as all those deaths at the hands of secular despots to which John refers. If we’re to include the Flood, then the manner of death is inconsequential as God uses all manner of causes to take the life He created. ALL deaths, therefor are “God’s fault”. No need to divvy it up between the faithful and the faithless. Good gosh, how desperate Arkie is in his attempts to defend his lack of belief! He’ll cling to anything!

              • paynehollow says:

                So, you are offended that some people believe in a god they can not prove and that you can not disprove? Well, you are certainly welcome to be offended by that. It seems a pretty minor thing to be offended by, but you can be offended by it if you choose.

                So, then, you are not offended that we would gladly welcome you, as we welcome any and all who would come for a visit, then?

                Ark…

                if one takes the dirty rag of a bible to heart the most blood.

                No, not if one takes it to heart. If one takes it literally – with no good, rational reason to take it literally, yes, the Bible is certainly full of stories of human violence, including some at the command of a god, IF you take those stories literally. But since they come from a time when history was not told literally, why would we do that? On what rational basis would we do so?

                I would argue that taking the Bible to heart – taking it seriously – would require that we not take all the stories literally. That would not be rational or moral. Or biblical, since the Bible does not teach we should do so.

                ~Dan

              • @Marshalart

                The Flood? Well then. Let’s also count every death by accident or natural cause as well as all those deaths at the hands of secular despots to which John refers. If we’re to include the Flood, then the manner of death is inconsequential as God uses all manner of causes to take the life He created.

                Lol…D******d, if your god takes all life then what happened to free will? What a plonker you are!
                The bible says that your god destroyed the earth and every living thing upon it – by choice I reckon that’s beats’ everything else hands down, don’t you?
                Oh, unless, of course, it didn’t really happen and ….shock, horror, it is just a story!
                Can’t have your cake and eat it, marshal baby. Not this time. And , puleeeze, don’t come back with some convoluted whining response, okay? Bite the bullet and man up.
                Now, wipe your chin, and back to your corner, there’s a good lad (?). Carry on colouring in those nice pictures of the Ark, okay? ( not me , Noah’s Ark.)

              • I can’t imagine what form of psychosis compels you to constantly refer to people in derogatory ways. I pray you’ll find relief so that your claims of not needing God to inform your morality would not seem so incredibly laughable.

                Look, sad child. If you’re going to insist that there is no God, then it is plainly deceitful to include His actions in a tally of whether the faithful or the faithless has totaled more death and destruction. In this, it is YOU who is having cake you don’t deserve and then daring to eat it, too. That God determines our lifespan, as Christians believe, does not indicate a lack of free will at all. Our free will operates within the framework of His sovereignty. I thought you said you know all about the Christian faith?

                And what is it with you leftist/atheists that supplies this insatiable need to know we’re “whining” or in some way overemotional? And then to pretend all responses that leave you flummoxed indicates they are “convoluted”? You truly are in need of professional help. I pray you get the help you need.

  69. paynehollow says:

    John…

    He has said it’s a load of crap but a useful load of crap for learning “truths” even though none of it actually happened.

    Needless to say by now, but anytime that John says, “Dan thinks…” or “Dan says…” it is safe that what follows is EXPLICITLY NOT what I think or have said. Of course, I have not said the Bible is crap. I’ve said that I love the Bible and its teachings, rightly understood. I hate extrapolating out teachings that 1. Are not biblical, and 2. are irrational or even immoral.

    John apparently has a problem that I don’t take some lines literally, the way he does and that, seemingly in his mind, equates to me thinking the Bible is “a load of crap…” But does that mean that when I DO take something pretty literally (Jesus’ teachings, for instance) that John does NOT take literally, that John thinks the Bible is a load of crap?

    Now, if we were talking about some of John’s cultural positions, “a load of crap” is a fitting descriptor. The problem, of course, is that John equates his cultural opinions (apparently) with “God’s Word…”

    So, no, factually, Dan has NEVER said “it’s a load of crap.” That is a complete false witness. Thou shalt not, John.

    ~Dan

  70. Y’know, Dan, for a guy who claims to be a follower of Jesus, you sure didn’t seem to notice that the standard I mentioned wasn’t from the Bible in general, but from Jesus in particular.
    Jesus’ standard is that divorce is permitted only when the spouse has committed a very grave offense against you. It does NOT permit a husband to leave his wife just because he no longer finds her attractive — and it hardly matters whether he’s leaving her for another woman or for another man, just as it doesn’t matter if her body has changed because of simple child-rearing or some unusual, disfiguring accident.
    Since I’m not the one who insisted that only a serious offense is permissible grounds for divorce, your problem’s not ultimately with me.
    Your supposed Savior and Lord: HE is the one you should be denouncing as a hopelessly blind moral monster, I’m just trying to follow His teachings.

  71. paynehollow says:

    Don’t flatter yourself, Bubba. Of course I noticed the quote as being from Jesus. And I also noticed you were taking his quote out of context and placing it in the legalistic/rule-following approach to Bible-reading and interpretation.

    Jesus’ “standard” is just another way of saying “Here’s the rules according to JEBUS!” failing to recognize that Jesus’ gospel was one of salvation by grace, not by works or rule-following.

    Would that you’d try to take Jesus’ words as literally as rules when he taught to sell your stuff and give it to the poor and THEN follow him, or when he preached to turn the other cheek and love your neighbor and otherwise overcome evil with good, not with more evil, along with all his other teachings and wisdom.

    ~Dan

    • In what way did Bubba take the quote out of context? It seems pretty much spot on in terms of inferring Christ’s meaning. Your complaint referring to Jesus’ “standard” is clearly another appeal to a self-directed morality that allows for that which is clearly prohibited by God Himself.

      BTW, do you own any “stuff”? If so, then don’t get all hypocritical about our understanding of the passage wherein Jesus tells the rich young man to sell his. And as far as overcoming evil with evil, you do worse by enabling evil with your support of behavior God describes as “abominable”. WE, on the other hand, seek to overcome it by, at the least, reminding such people of God’s word on the subject.

  72. paynehollow says:

    ???

    The Bible is NOT a RULE BOOK! If you find a rule from the pages of the Bible – whether it is a command to kill babies or a rule that you think is talking about all gay behavior or a rule about how to cut your hair or whether or not we should sell all our belongings and you THINK “Hey, maybe we should take this as a universal rule and insist that this interpretation of this rule is a command from God…” you have misunderstood the Bible because IT. IS. NOT. A. RULE. BOOK.

    But this should be easy to resolve: Just demonstrate that you have some compelling data that the Bible should be taken as a rule book whereby, IF we find a rule in it, THEN we can know it is a universal rule.

    Hard data, please, not just, “cuz I think so…”

    ~Dan

    • First of all Dan…

      “I would argue that taking the Bible to heart – taking it seriously – would require that we not take all the stories literally. That would not be rational or moral. Or biblical, since the Bible does not teach we should do so.”

      One would think that at some point you would provide that passage or verse from Scripture that teaches us NOT to take the stories as historical record. You got anything to that effect? Your position allows you to pick and choose what to take literally, whatever that means to you, without any basis for doing so except something as unreliable as your opinion. Worse, you conflate recorded reports of battles in the OT as no more to be taken literally as Jesus’ hyperbolic teaching of plucking out the eye that causes you to sin. Over and over again you demonstrate that you obviously have no clue as to what it truly means to study the Bible seriously. So bring it on. Show where the Bible warns against taking any of it too literally. OR, explain what is immoral about doing so.

      As to the Bible being a rule book, I believe we’ve covered this just in the last couple of weeks or so. NO ONE has called it a rule book but you. But to pretend that it does not include rules for living a Godly life would be a bare-faced lie, especially given your devotion to particular teachings the you favor. Not returning evil for evil comes to mind and I insist you tell how you do not regard this as a rule. Or are you going to play semantic games regarding “truths” vs “rules”? So I will say it this way: Is the Bible a RULE BOOK? Answer: Not just. That is, yes, it is, but that is not all it is. It is a history book as well. It is a book of revelation about God and His nature and the relationship between He and us. But yes, it is also a rule book as it does indeed contain rules and commandments and teachings regarding what constitutes a Godly person, a faithful person, a child of God and what doesn’t.

      Here’s a few things that Jesus said regarding rules:

      “If you want to enter into life, keep the commandments”

      “Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven”

      The apostle John said:

      “Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, ‘I know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked”

      Paul said:

      “The law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good”

      “I delight in the law of God”

      “…”keeping the commandments of God is what matters”

      Finally, though I could have found even more, Jesus quotes Isaiah:

      “‘This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'”

      …before saying:

      “For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men … All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition”

      This last part is you all over.

      Chew on THAT “hard data” for a while.

  73. Dan.

    I don’t believe the Bible is a rule book: you can tell by the way I’ve never made the claim and by the way I’ve repeatedly rejected the accusation, including in this very thread last week (October 1, 2014 at 9:25 AM).

    Quote:

    “The point of God’s message to man — the gospel of Christianity, preserved in Scripture — is not about rules AND HAS NEVER BEEN ABOUT RULES. It’s about man’s relationship with God.

    “In Eden it wasn’t primarily about avoiding the fruit from that one tree, but enjoying fellowship with God, walking with Him in the cool of the day. Since the relationship isn’t symmetrical between the Creator and His creation, man’s obedience to God’s rules is a part of that relationship, but only a part.

    “In the upper room, we see that the goal is still abiding — our abiding in Christ and His abiding in us — but again, we abide only if we keep His commandments. (Jn 15:10)

    “Obedience is not an appropriate substitute for the actual relationship, but it IS the result of a right relationship with our Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer, Father and King.”

    End quote.

    As much as you gripe (often incorrectly) about other people drawing inaccurate conclusions about your positions by putting words in your mouth, you have no problem doing EXACTLY what you accuse others of doing. I guess Matthew 7:12 is just another passage that you feel free to ignore, and maybe your concept of a life of grace is this: Dan Trabue does whatever he wants, including holding others to high and ridiculous standards that he never intends to apply to his own words and behavior; as long as he includes patronizing references to grace and peace and brotherhood, he’s in the clear.

    I’ve addressed the substance of Jesus’ encounter with the rich young ruler numerous times with you. In all three synoptic gospels in which the encounter appears, the point is quite clearly NOT to make a vow of absolute poverty a universal pre-requisite to Christian — a conclusion which has no support from the Apostles’ teachings and the early church’s activities, as documented in Acts and the epistles. Instead, the point was to demonstrate the futility of trying to earn salvation: realizing this point, the disciples despaired that no one could be saved, but Jesus immediately pointed to salvation by God’s grace rather than man’s works: what’s impossible with man is possible with God.

    I do take Jesus’ command to love your enemy quite literally, and that sometimes even means literally turning the other cheek. Where I disagree with you is your attempt to make the command not to resist an evildoer into a strategy for effective political action when the focus on the Sermon on the Mount is holiness and righteousness — be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect — not the best use of political muscle. And I disagree with your attempt to expand the scope of the command beyond one’s personal life to the realm of the state, as if a sermon that addresses deeply personal subjects like lust and worry and almsgiving and prayer suddenly has this one little section on political philosophy: your approach to that section isn’t even internally consistent, because if Jesus’ teaching there requires pacifism, it must also require a de facto anarchy where the state cannot use physical force to arrest and imprison criminals.

    We know that conclusion is contrary to the New Testament, because — and I know I’ve pointed THIS out to you before, more than once — Paul’s “overcome evil with good” in Romans 12:21 is immediately followed by his teaching that the state is an instrument of God’s wrath that “does not bear the sword in vain” (13:4).

    I’m happy to acknowledge that the gospel records some commands of Jesus Christ that were quite clearly not universal commands — commands that weren’t just arguably limited to a particular culture but limited to a VERY specific set of historical circumstances, Jesus telling ONE particular person or group of persons to do a very specific task.

    – In John 2:7, Jesus tells the servants at the wedding in Cana to fill six large stone jars with water, which He subsequently turned to wine.

    – In Luke 5:4, Jesus tells the expert fisherman Simon Peter to let down his nets despite a long night of catching nothing; when Peter obeyed, his nets nearly broke from catching so many fish.

    – In Matthew 21:2-3, Jesus tells two of His disciples to find a colt and a donkey tied together in the village ahead of them, and to bring them to Him, telling anyone who asks that the Lord needs them.

    I certainly think we can learn from all three examples that we ought to trust Jesus’ clear commands even when we don’t understand their purpose; how often do you simply trust and obey without demanding a rationale for God’s clear commands? Even so, neither the early church nor the contemporary church obeys these specific commands, and nor should we go around filling every water jar we find, casting fishing nets everywhere we go, and commandeering every mode of transportation we can find.

    Nevertheless, Jesus Himself emphasizes the importance of His commands.

    “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”- Mt 28:18-20

    “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.” – Jn 15:10

    “You are my friends if you do what I command you.” – Jn 15:14

    Addressing the subject of marriage and divorce, Jesus teaches on something that’s truly timeless. More than a thousand years before Jesus came, the law of Moses regulated the practice, which is still present and all too common today. Matthew includes His teaching in the lengthy Sermon on the Mount, the most extensive summary of Jesus’ public teaching, comprising a kind of manifesto of Christian life and ethics in the kingdom of God. When Jesus was directly asked about divorce in Matthew 19, He answered by pointing to God’s plan from before the Fall, a passage that Paul also cites in I Corinthians 6. If the pattern in Eden applied to first-century Jerusalem, I don’t see why it wouldn’t apply to twenty-first-century Louisville.

    To be ABSOLUTELY clear, we should not be severe and censoriousness in how we communicate Jesus’ teachings on marriage and divorce, especially toward those who do not currently claim to submit to His Lordship and even those Christians who have not grown much in the way of spiritual maturity, young Christians who are still much too worldly in their personal lives.

    We must teach the truth in love, but the truth is still the truth, and Jesus’ teachings regarding human sexuality, marriage, and divorce are quite clear and quite obviously universal in their scope.

    – God made us male and female so that a man would leave his family and become one flesh with his wife.

    – Not everyone is called to marriage, as some are called to the life of a eunuch, either literally or metaphorically, but all are called to chastity, which means fidelity within a marriage and celibacy in all other circumstances.

    – God intended marriage to be permanent, and the only morally permissible exception is that a person may divorce her husband if he is guilty of a grave offense against her. In all other cases, a woman who divorces her husband to marry someone else is committing adultery and causes her ex to commit adultery as well.

    That is Jesus’ clear teaching on the subject. There are more gracious and less gracious ways to communicate that teaching, but Christians have no liberty to ignore it in their own lives or in their ministry of proclaiming God’s message to the world and discipling other believers.

  74. paynehollow says:

    Marshall…

    One would think that at some point you would provide that passage or verse from Scripture that teaches us NOT to take the stories as historical record. You got anything to that effect?

    Simple reason, Marshall.

    1. The Bible does not TELL us to take the stories literally, so why would I?
    2. The Bible – especially the OT – was written before the era of modern history telling, so why would I presume that it was written in a modern history style? Do I do so for any other ancient book with incredible stories? No. Do you? No.
    3. At least parts of it appear quite obviously to be written in a figurative style. In my opinion, any objective look at the text of Genesis would tag it as a clearly mythic and epic and otherwise figurative literary genre. You would do so for any other text that was not Genesis that contained the same sorts of words, I’m quite sure.

    Marshall…

    Your position allows you to pick and choose what to take literally, whatever that means to you, without any basis for doing so except something as unreliable as your opinion.

    Just as your opinion about which OT rules were “ceremonial” or specific to ancient Israel, not universal. There is NOT A SINGLE Bible verse that tells you that haircut rules given in Leviticus were only for Israel, that they were “ceremonial” rules. You reason that out of the text (and not unreasonably so, I’d add), but it’s not in the text. So, you do just what I do: You use your reason to sort out why you don’t take some things literally.

    The principle is the same, we just draw the line differently.

    So, having said that, do you have ANY hard data to support the demand to take what appears to be non-literal history as literal history?

    ~Dan

    • Not a simple reason, Dan, except to a simple mind:

      1. The Bible does not TELL you that any of the stories, even the parables, should NOT be taken as literal historical record, so why shouldn’t you assume they are until you have something more concrete than one guy upon whom you rely, telling you “modern historical recording” didn’t take place until after? The answer is because it would then require you to reject what you prefer to believe about God in favor of what you should believe about Him.

      2. And how does this manifest exactly? Assuming that this Book that tells us about the one true God is no different than books about mythical gods, what about any of its historical record can you be confident is not rendered accurately? You dodge with this “before modern history telling” crapola. You ask me if I regard other ancient books in the same manner and to this I say that the very question demonstrates your lack of conviction in the faith you claim to hold. I, unlike you, do NOT regard all ancient texts equally because none of the others are the inspired word of God. That detail distinguishes and separates the Bible from all other tomes of its day, and for me, places it on much higher ground.

      3. Again, just because other ancient books have a superficial resemblance to Genesis, I don’t have to believe that they are of equal truth or value. Why you would even suggest any level of parallel shows how desperate you are to cling to your worldly positions rather than carry any cross for Christ.
      ———————————

      My explanations for which OT laws apply and which don’t are nothing as whimsical and self-serving as are yours regarding the OT historical record. I would ask you, unlike the moral laws listed in Lev 18, is there any indication that God destroyed other pagan nations because they didn’t trim the sides of their head properly, or didn’t purify after touching dead animals or anything like that? No. He states that the immoral behaviors were the reasons He drove them out, and how their engagement in those behavior tainted the very soil of their lands. This alone demonstrates the universal application of those moral laws. You pretend otherwise because it puts your sainted lesbian old ladies in eternal jeopardy. You do them no favors by enabling their wickedness.

      “So, having said that, do you have ANY hard data to support the demand to take what appears to be non-literal history as literal history?”

      It’s high time you put up data to support the contention that it isn’t. You haven’t so far. You never do. You, like your atheist cohorts, never do. You simply assert.

  75. paynehollow says:

    Bubba…

    I don’t believe the Bible is a rule book: you can tell by the way I’ve never made the claim

    Then please clarify:

    IF you have a question you want the answer to, do you ask, “What does the Bible have to say about it?” And if you find the answer, “Leviticus 19 and Romans 1!” then that settles it for you, does it not? Appeals to logic or morality aside from your interpretation of those texts do not impress you. You don’t need to hear that people are born gay and that it is only moral and reasonable to allow them to express their sexuality within the bounds of marriage-sorts of arguments, because “the Bible…”

    If your answer is, “Doesn’t matter, because the Bible…” then that is what I mean by taking it as a Holy Magic 8 Ball or Rule Book. It is your primary (sole?) source for getting rulings on behaviors… (I’m stating this, but it is a question seeking clarification, fyi…)

    Am I mistaken? If so, where?

    ~Dan

  76. paynehollow says:

    Marshall…

    why shouldn’t you assume they are until you have something more concrete than one guy upon whom you rely, telling you “modern historical recording” didn’t take place until after? The answer is because it would then require you to reject what you prefer to believe about God in favor of what you should believe about Him.

    1. It is not “one guy,” it is historians. Ask them. It is the complete absence of anything that reads like modern history.

    2. The answer is because it would then make the Bible internally inconsistent. You’d have a god who reportedly is perfectly just and perfectly loving according to parts of the text, who would never command people to sin, according to other parts of the text, who then commands people to sin in other parts of the text, violating the first two understandings.

    3. Because it READS like myth and epic, not like modern history.

    4. Because the text does not demand it in any way.

    5. Because it reflects a modernist chauvinism, presuming that ancient people would write history in the way that moderns prefer to write it. This is poor reasoning, presumptuous. It is inserting meaning where it should not be inserted.

    5. Because, WHY WOULD I? On what basis? I’ve just offered five reasons for NOT taking it as modern history, what is the reason TO take it as a modern history?

  77. Sex is a biological feature that is present at the level of DNA. That fact is known even to Barack Obama’s Justice Department, which in April disclosed through an anonymous leak (of course) that it had discovered “female DNA” at the site of the Boston-marathon bombing. The ladies and gentlemen at Eric Holder’s disposal did not ask the DNA whether it identified as male or female, but instead took a look at the chromosomes, which answered the question for them. A sample taken from any man or woman could be used in precisely the same way, regardless of how that person self-identifies. Feminists have long argued that biological sex and social gender should be considered disconnected, but as a matter of law (and more than law) we are expected to treat them as a unified phenomenon: Eric Holder’s DOJ argues that the case in Arcadia is one of sex discrimination, even though there is no serious question as to the sex of the girl in question. By this standard, not only is it sex discrimination to treat a girl as a girl when she desires to be treated as a boy, it is sex discrimination to maintain such categories to begin with.

    We have created a rhetoric of “gender identity” that is disconnected from biological sexual fact, and we have done so largely in the service of enabling the sexual mutilation of physically healthy men and women (significantly more men) by medical authorities who should be barred by professional convention if not by conscience from the removal of healthy organs (and limbs, more on that later), an act that by any reasonable standard ought to be considered mutilation rather than therapy. This is not to discount the feelings of people who suffer from gender-identity disorders — to the contrary, those feelings must be taken into account in determining courses of treatment for people who have severe personality disorders. But those subjective experiences do not render inconsequential the biological facts: A man who believes he is a woman trapped in a man’s body, no matter the intensity of his feeling, is no such thing. The duty of the medical profession is not to encourage and enable delusions, but to help those who suffer from them to cope with them. It is worth noting here that as a matter of law and a matter of social expectation, the fiction of sex change is treated as the paramount good: We are not expected to treat those who have undergone the procedure as men who have taken surgical and hormonal steps to impersonate women (or vice versa) but as people who have literally changed sex, which they have not — no more than Dennis Avner, the famous “Stalking Cat” who attempted to physically transform himself into a tiger, changed species.

  78. paynehollow says:

    Thank you, Dr Craig. How many years do you have in your field of gender identity studies? Or is it the case that you have eyes to see a penis and that tells you all you need to know?

    If I have any other questions I need an opinion from a non-expert on, I’ll let you know.

    ~Dan

    As to the facts: The APA does not consider a desire to switch genders to align with what is innate in a person’s psyche to be a personality disorder, severe or otherwise.

    But, never mind the experts. Craig’s opinion is best, I’m sure. Because, well, the Bible. Or something.

    • http://m.psychologytoday.com/conditions/gender-identity-disorder

      Except it is a disorder Dan. You’ve also never answer my often asked: Why do supporters and enablers of this disorder presume the mind is correctly functioning and the body, which is perfectly functional, is wrong?

    • Dan,
      I don’t understand your confusion. You made the statement that gender identity is at the core or our being, that it is innate and immutable. That you are unable or unwilling to prove your point is, for the moment, beside the point. What I have done is to begin to post evidence that your hunch may not be a cut and dried as your think it is.

      What I have NOT (explicitly NOT) done, is suggest that I am offering my opinion, or the Bible or something. For you to suggest that I am is unarguably wrong. Whether it’s a mistake or not I don’t know, but in either case, it is wrong.

      What I have also NOT done is make the, “Or is it the case that you have eyes to see a penis and that tells you all you need to know?”. In point of fact, I have explicitly and often asked that you stop repeating this false caricature, and deal with the actual genetic, and biological questions I’ve raised. It is obvious at this point, that you can’t provide anything that counters that genetic/biological/bio-mechanical issues I’ve raised, so instead you just keep saying “penis” as if it will be a distraction.

      For example when the above quote says:

      “Sex is a biological feature that is present at the level of DNA. That fact is known even to Barack Obama’s Justice Department, which in April disclosed through an anonymous leak (of course) that it had discovered “female DNA” at the site of the Boston-marathon bombing.”

      Now, you could say “Oh look a penis, that’s all you need to see” (or words to that effect), but you would be missing the point. Clearly, the differentiation between male and female is present in the DNA. Yet, you persist in ignoring this, and pretending that simply saying “penis” is enough to distract.

      As I often say, if you have evidence that ones “feelings” or “orientation” trumps one DNA please let us see it. If not, then why not exhibit some grace.

      Given the fact that your comment was not related to what I actually posted, one might suspect that you didn’t read either the article linked or the quote provided.

      • “Chelsea, now living in London, said: ‘I have always longed to be a woman, but no amount of surgery can give me an actual female body and I feel like I am living a lie.

        ‘It is exhausting putting on make-up and wearing heels all the time. Even then I don’t feel I look like a proper woman.

        ‘I suffered from depression and anxiety as a result of the hormones too.

        ‘I have realised it would be easier to stop fighting the way I look naturally and accept that I was born a man physically.”

        Since you probably didn’t read the linked article, i thought I give you a quite.

        I could be wrong, but this “Chelsea” doesn’t sound like your construct of gender as an orientation that lies at the core of everyone’s being. Sounds like someone who is being motivated by feelings.

        • You could check out the studies cited in the links below if your interested.

          http://www.sexchangeregret.com/research

          Or I could quote from one of them.

          “Persons with transsexualism, after sex reassignment, have considerably higher risks for mortality, suicidal behaviour, and psychiatric morbidity [diseased state] than the general population. Our findings suggest that sex reassignment, although alleviating gender dysphoria, may not suffice as treatment for transsexualism. (Read the entire study here)”

          Or, this.

          “There is no conclusive evidence that sex change operations improve the lives of transsexuals, with many people remaining severely distressed and even suicidal after the operation, according to a medical review conducted exclusively for Guardian Weekend tomorrow.

          The review of more than 100 international medical studies of post-operative transsexuals by the University of Birmingham ‘s aggressive research intelligence facility (Arif) found no robust scientific evidence that gender reassignment surgery is clinically effective.”

          “Chris Hyde, the director of Arif, said: “There is a huge uncertainty over whether changing someone’s sex is a good or a bad thing. While no doubt great care is taken to ensure that appropriate patients undergo gender reassignment, there’s still a large number of people who have the surgery but remain traumatised – often to the point of committing suicide.”

          Arif, which advises the NHS in the West Midlands about the evidence base of healthcare treatments, found that most of the medical research on gender reassignment was poorly designed, which skewed the results to suggest that sex change operations are beneficial.

          International research suggests that 3-18% of them (transsexuals) come to regret switching gender.

          Research from the US and Holland suggests that up to a fifth of patients regret changing sex.”

          http://www.theguardian.com/society/2004/jul/30/health.mentalhealth

          “We saw the results as demonstrating that just as these men enjoyed cross-dressing as women before the operation so they enjoyed cross-living after it. But they were no better in their psychological integration or any easier to live with.”

          Or this

          “lthough Ms Cooper underwent a thorough psychological assessment and counseling at Hull Royal Infirmary prior to starting her sex change therapy she has suffered such torment living as a women that she has tried to commit suicide twice.

          She told told the Sunday Mirror: ‘The hormones have made me feel up and down. One minute I feel moody and the next minute I feel really happy.’

          ‘The night I tried to slash my wrists I’d downed a bottle of Jack Daniel’s and just thought about how alone I am, and how my decision has alienated my family and how I will have to become a boy again to resolve it.”

          If you go the the first link, you will find a number of links to studies and other resources that might shed some doubt on your conclusion.

          I suspect you’ll just respond with some version of “Look there’s a penis, that must settle it.” Which, of course, is an argument I haven’t actually made.

  79. paynehollow says:

    That article is nearly a decade old. It is out of date. The APA no longer considers transgender folk to have a disorder, simply for wanting the change.

    http://www.dsm5.org/documents/gender%20dysphoria%20fact%20sheet.pdf

    There is a diagnosis – gender dysphoria – but it is not a disorder.

    You’re welcome.

    And when you get around to answering some of the dozens of my questions you’ve left hanging, I’ll be glad to tackle yours.

    You could begin by simply explaining what the process was that moved you from non-believer to believer, if you so desire…

    ~Dan

  80. paynehollow says:

    Craig…

    “Sex is a biological feature that is present at the level of DNA

    Of course it is, no one is making a claim otherwise. What is in question is Gender. Gender identity is simply, factually not as simple as whether or not there’s a penis or vagina. Do you agree with the experts on that point?

    Nor have I said that gender orientation is immutable, just that it is innate.

    So, having cleared those misunderstandings up…

    Did you ever say whether or not you thought “the Bible” (or God) condemns transgender folk for the change?

    If so, on what basis?

    ~Dan

  81. So are you suggesting that gender is not related to biology in any way ? You’ve been suggesting that gender is innate and at the core of being, yet clearly there is evidence that this May not be the case. Had you looked at the material provided it seems as though this gender thing is not as cut and dried as you suspected.

    I can’t speak for God and whether He condemns transgender folks or not, nor something about which I worry about. Given that the population of the transgendered is minuscule I just as soon not make generalizations.

    I do think that bubba made some valid points elsewhere and I just read an article where (I think) Dallas Willard was doing some pastoral counseling for a transsexual and I thought his approach was both Biblical, compassionate, and challenging.

    But, I don’t see any compelling reason to speak for God on this issue.

    • Just to be clear, it seems as if you are suggesting that all of the hard sciences (genetics, biology, physiology etc.) take a backseat when it comes to gender, is this correct?

      What you seem to be saying is that despite the hard scientific evidence of male/femaleness, that you prefer the Shania (Man I Feel Like a Woman) Twain test.

      Those in the hard sciences can point to various characteristics (DNA,chromosomes,brain differences, muscle and skeletal differences, etc.) and can say definitively whether or not someone is male or female. What, pray tell, can you point out as a definitive characteristic that determines gender? Is it possible to say with any degree of certainty that Bob is really a woman, despite the ample biological evidence to the contrary.

      Earlier, you used words like “core” and “innate” to imply that our “gender” is hard wired into our very being, yet somehow there are a significant number of these “honest” folks who get it wrong and want to change back. How, if “gender” is hard wired into the “core” of our being could someone get something so foundational so wrong?

      So far, all you’ve shown is a out of context quote and a article which can both be summed up by “Well, we just don’t know”, and a link to the DSM 5 which essentially just change the wording from gender identity disorder to gender dysphoria. If this is what passes for scientific convincing evidence, then the bar must be low.

    • paynehollow says:

      Just to answer this question, although I think it’s been answered…

      Just to be clear, it seems as if you are suggesting that all of the hard sciences (genetics, biology, physiology etc.) take a backseat when it comes to gender, is this correct?

      The experts on the topic say this…

      Gender refers to the attitudes, feelings, and behaviors that a given culture associates with a person’s biological sex. Behavior that is compatible with cultural expectations is referred to as gender-normative; behaviors that are viewed as incompatible with these expectations constitute gender non-conformity.

      Gender identity refers to “one’s sense of oneself as male, female, or transgender” (American Psychological Association, 2006). When one’s gender identity and biological sex are not congruent, the individual may identify as transsexual or as another transgender category (cf. Gainor, 2000).

      It’s not that “biology takes a backseat to gender…” it’s that this IS the definition of gender, according to those in the field.

      Feel free to disagree with the experts based on your opinions and cultural biases if you wish, I’m just telling you what the experts have to say on the topic.

      ~Dan

  82. Quickly here, to address the sinfulness of sex-change operations. I would have thought the connection to the earlier passages I offered would have been crystal clear to one so keen on using his “God given reason”. Sex change IS cross dressing taken to the extreme. What is so hard about this to grasp? I suppose that there might exist those cross dressers who are not only not homosexual but also have no desire to be women at all. They may simply like female clothing. The question becomes, what possible difference does that make with regards to the Biblical prohibition? If that prohibition is not tied to God’s purpose for creating male and female, and that cross dressing, and thus sex-changes, do not fly in the fact of that purpose, then for what other possible reason was the prohibition mandated in the first place?

    And of course, those who “sincerely” believe themselves to be “women trapped in mens’ bodies” are as deluded and in need of psychiatric help as anyone who believes he is Napoleon, or as Craig said, a chicken. It’s delusional.

    • MA,
      I think Dan’s question is regarding the sinfulness of this. While I agree that you and Bubba have offered reasonable arguments to extrapolate other texts to cover this, and I don’t disagree with either of you. I’m coming at this from a “How would you deal with someone standpoint.” , and from what I’ve seen I’m not sure it ultimately matters if transgenderism is a sin or not. If you look at the above quotes and links, the common thread you find is that transgendered people have a number of issues that drive their desire to change. I’d be much more concerned about dealing with the underlying issues (depression, loneliness, suicidal thoughts, substance abuse, etc.) before even worrying about the transgender stuff. If you read the stuff I’ve posted above, I think that you might agree that the pastoral approach to a transgender person is not as cut and dried as Dan would like to believe. Again, I saw (and skimmed) a really good article by (again, I think) Joe Dallas about dealing with this on a pastoral level which led me to rethink a black and white approach to this situation.

      I’m not saying that there might not be sin issues, I’m just saying that from what I’ve read over the last day or so, it’s more complicated than I first thought.

      Also, this whole sex/gender thing strikes me as an example of how folks use language to push an agenda. We’ve moved from the hard biological evidential side of you are either a male or a female, to taking about gender which seems to be an amorphous, imprecisely defined, term which can mean everything or nothing.

      I’ll close with these quotes;

      ““Chelsea, now living in London, said: ‘I have always longed to be a woman, but no amount of surgery can give me an actual female body and I feel like I am living a lie.”

      “It is exhausting putting on make-up and wearing heels all the time. Even then I don’t feel I look like a proper woman.”

      “Athough Ms Cooper underwent a thorough psychological assessment and counseling at Hull Royal Infirmary prior to starting her sex change therapy she has suffered such torment living as a women that she has tried to commit suicide twice.”

      “The night I tried to slash my wrists I’d downed a bottle of Jack Daniel’s and just thought about how alone I am, and how my decision has alienated my family and how I will have to become a boy again to resolve it.”

      What I hear in these quotes is pain, and the great thing about Christianity is that in Christ we are better able to deal with pain. Given the fact that about 20% of people who undergo sex change surgery express regret, it seems like the place for Christians is in ministering to the pain, loneliness, and identity issues not worrying about whether or not having the surgery is sinful.

      I’ve probably managed to annoy both you and Dan with this comment, but I just can’t get past the stories I’ve read over the last day or so.

      • Crag,

        I’m not the least bit annoyed with your comments, even with re-posting those quotes more than once. Some people who demand evidence, facts and hard data need to have that evidence, fact and hard data highlighted enough to force them to at least acknowledge that it exits.

        I also have no issue with your angle, but have merely sought to provide Dan with the connection he seemed to be missing between the Biblical prohibitions and sex-changes.

        As to how we deal, it would depend on the situation. One who cross dresses, or goes the distance and gets a sex-change, and by doing so is rejecting Biblical teaching on the issue, is just another person in rebellion. The Bible teaches that there are limits with how far and long one goes with trying to bring such a person back into compliance with the will of God, as well as to how failing to do so impacts the community. It does no good to allow such people to mix with and corrupt the congregation. They should eventually be asked to seek their salvation elsewhere. This is a Biblically sound plan.

        Regardless of whether or not one is in rebellion or sincerely ignorant of the truth, it must begin with the truth as clearly revealed in Scripture. Dan insists he doesn’t see things as we do regarding that clearly revealed truth.

  83. MA,
    I agree that a scriptural case against the entire spectrum of transwhatever, I just keep coming back to the fact that it just sounds like a life of extraordinary emotional pain and that the place to start is to build a one on one relationship and to deal with whatever issues are driving the person’s feelings. Dan keeps insisting that ones “gender” is set in stone and doesn’t change, but if 20% of post op transsexuals are willing to reverse the process, I can’t see how that even makes sense under Dan’s construct. But it is clear that this concept of “gender” as in innate, immutable core attribute is not borne out by reality.

  84. Bubba,

    Here is quite the link.

    http://www.flipsnack.com/holyheretic/fuk5o855.html

    This e zine is put out by an allegedly christian church. I’m guessing Dan will not have any problems with it at all.

  85. Dan, a couple days ago, you asked, “IF you have a question you want the answer to, do you ask, ‘What does the Bible have to say about it?'” I’ve had the somewhat lengthy answer in my head, but I’ve had absolutely no time to type it out, and I’m not sure when I’ll get to it — by next Tuesday, with luck.

    Craig, I don’t think I’m being too presumptuous in guessing that the supposedly Christian community that published this magazine wouldn’t be that eager in providing a platform to Christians who support free markets or a complementary conception of the sexes, not nearly as eager as they were letting atheists and Muslims write about their worldview.

    Digging, I see that they describe themselves as “a community of faith rooted in justice, guided by the Holy Spirit to express God’s unbiased love for all creation by providing a Christian framework for social righteousness in the Southeast.”

    I bet they’re not nearly as dogmatic about their beliefs about God as they are about what qualifies as justice and social righteousness.

  86. Dan, you had asked:

    IF you have a question you want the answer to, do you ask, ‘What does the Bible have to say about it?’ And if you find the answer, ‘Leviticus 19 and Romans 1!’ then that settles it for you, does it not?

    I study the Bible, not primarily to find answers to questions that I have, but to discover what God wants to reveal to us — to mankind in general, and to myself in particular. I do so with these two key principles in mind.

    1) God is the ultimate author of all of Scripture.
    2) I am NOT the immediate recipient of any of Scripture.

    Each book was written by a human author — or, in the case of books like the Psalms, written by several authors and compiled by one or more editors — with an immediate audience in mind. The Psalms were compiled as a liturgy for ancient Israel, with its final form probably appearing after the exile; Luke and Acts were written to the probably pseudonymous Theophilus; Galatians was written to the churches in Galatia, etc.

    At the same time, the Bible itself claims that Scripture was God-breathed, with numerous passages claiming to be direct revelation (thus says the Lord) and Paul explaining that Spirit taught the Apostles the very words they communicated to the church (I Cor 2:13).

    We should seek to understand BOTH the human author’s immediate message to the original audience AND the divine Author’s timeless message to every audience. If we just do the former, we’re not applying Scripture to our own lives; if we just do the latter, we risk the application being unmoored from the original writer’s intended message.

    This sort of approach to interpretation is found in Scripture itself, particularly in how the New Testament writers read the Old Testament. Look at Hebrews 3:7, which states that the Spirit says (PRESENT TENSE) what was recorded in Psalm 95, beginning in verse 7, a passage that itself recalls the wandering in the Wilderness. If Hebrews’ original readers can appropriate the call of Psalm 95 to hear the Spirit’s voice, so can we — and so should we.

    This approach means that we cannot ignore a single passage as irrelevant, AND we cannot appropriate any passages mechanically, either.

    Look at II Timothy 4, the last recorded writing of the Apostle Paul. In verse 2, he urges Timothy to preach the word, and in verse 13 he asks Timothy to bring him his cloak and books while he awaits execution in prison.

    It doesn’t seem the least bit presumptuous to conclude that all Christians are called to preach the word as Paul urged Timothy, despite his youth and frequent ailments and timid nature. And it doesn’t seem the least bit disobedient to conclude that Christians are NOT generally called to bring Paul blankets and books, since he’s been dead for nearly twenty centuries. While 4:13 doesn’t apply directly to us, we can learn from Paul and Timothy’s example BOTH that Christians should minister to those in prison — particularly those in prison because of their faith — AND that Christians can and should reach out to their fellows to help meet their physical, intellectual, and social needs.

    It is through this general approach that I have learned, for instance, that all Christians are called by Christ to be holy and to make disciples, but Christ’s commands to Peter to fish in a particular spot or to set his feet out onto the waves were commands that were particular to him — particular commands from which we can still learn the general principle to trust Christ’s clear commands even when we don’t understand their rationale.

    Looking at all of Scripture as a whole, it’s also clear to see that there is a transition between the old covenant with the ethnic theocratic state of ancient Israel and the new covenant with the multi-ethnic church founded by Christ. Hebrews is clear that Christ fulfilled the sacrificial system, and the dietary regulations no longer apply — perhaps because the external cleanliness they represent has been fulfilled by the internal holiness provided by the indwelling Spirit. At the same time, the moral law that was sometimes just implicit in the Old has been made quite clear in the New: we should be holy like God, loving our enemies and abstaining from lust and hatred just as much as we would adultery and murder.

    In this framework, certain teachings become abundantly clear: the existence of God and the historicity of Jesus, His sacrificial death and His bodily Resurrection, the dire warning of God’s judgment and the promise of salvation through grace and received by faith.

    And, whether one is looking for a “ruling” on homosexuality or not, another teaching is there and unavoidable: God made man male and female so that a man would become one flesh with his wife. That teaching addresses the question of whether homosexual relationships are permitted.

    In general, I believe the humble and obedient approach to Scripture is to seek what God teaches through it and to accept those teachings.

    – What the Bible teaches about God, man, and creation, we are to accept as true and to understand everything else we perceive by those teachings.

    – What the Bible teaches about God’s promises to us, we are to accept and trust: we are to believe that God can and will do what He says He will do.

    – And what the Bible teaches about God’s will FOR us, we are to accept and obey, following His clear commands even when we don’t understand their rationale.

    I hope that answers your question, Dan. I appreciate your patience while I made time to write it out.

  87. paynehollow says:

    Well, that’s sure a lot of words. So, let me see if I can tease out an answer to my question, which was…

    F you have a question you want the answer to, do you ask, ‘What does the Bible have to say about it?’ And if you find the answer, ‘Leviticus 19 and Romans 1!’ then that settles it for you, does it not?”

    Sooo… are you saying that if you find the Bible teaching Position A (in your opinion) in Lev 19 and Romans 1, that this does NOT settle it for you? Or it DOES settle it for you?

    Put another way, are there other considerations about Position A that should be given some thought beyond what Lev 19 and Rom 1 says? That, even if those two passages seem (to you) to suggest that Position A is correct in those texts, that in and of itself is not enough for you to reach a conclusion about Position A and you have to take into account other considerations?

    Or, is knowing that Lev 19 and Rom 1, to you, DO teach Position A, that’s enough for you (which is what I suspect is your answer and was my original point)?

    Thanks.

    Dan

  88. paynehollow says:

    In reviewing the rest of your words, I find that the problem is that you are bringing many presumptions to the text that the text simply does not demand and, indeed, may even be contrary to the gist of the whole of the text. You write…

    We should seek to understand BOTH the human author’s immediate message to the original audience AND the divine Author’s timeless message to every audience.

    While I think you can presume fairly that the human author intended some message to his/her immediate audience. However, you go on to presume that

    1. there IS a god;

    2. this god is also a divine Author (ie, that God was “writing,” too? That’s what it sounds like you’re saying, anyway);

    3. that God was “writing” (or causing to be written?) these texts with some “timeless” message;

    4. that you, a fallible human, are interpreting both the immediate and “timeless” message (if there is one) correctly;

    5. that other fallible humans who are reading these texts and finding some message there are NOT reading the message correctly;

    Those are some huge presumptions. On what bases do you presuppose these?

    Do you recognize that if your presuppositions are incorrect, that it changes the whole approach of reading the text?

    Bubba…

    I believe the humble and obedient approach to Scripture is to seek what God teaches through it and to accept those teachings.

    And that is what I have done on the homosexuality issue (and all other issues, as well). And IN humbly seeking to be obedient to God (not to Scripture, mind you, but God, because Scripture is not my god, just a point to make clear), I had to abandon my childhood/youth/young adult preconceptions about what God taught/what was the “right” position and strive to do right/follow God as I best understood God – even in the face of some harsh disagreement/criticism from some of my loved ones and former church communities.

    So, presumably, even though we disagree on the conclusion, you would commend me in seeking God and the Right and following it, even if I had to repent/change my position from what I understood to be wrong to what I understand to be right. Is that correct?

    If not, that seems to be another unfounded presumption on your part: That people of good will can not sincerely reach an understanding different than you on at least some topics, and that such people are to be treated as false teachers/non-Christians/heretics or whatever category you cast us in.

    ~Dan

    • “Do you recognize that if your presuppositions are incorrect, that it changes the whole approach of reading the text?”

      It seems that, in the absence of any actual proof that what you call Bubba’s, “preconceptions” are false, your statement/question is really meaningless speculation. I’d guess that said speculation is based on your preconceptions. Finally, according to my wife’s seminary text book, those in academia call those “preconceptions” hermeneutics.

  89. paynehollow says:

    And just to point it out again, where you say…

    whether one is looking for a “ruling” on homosexuality or not, another teaching is there and unavoidable: God made man male and female so that a man would become one flesh with his wife. That teaching addresses the question of whether homosexual relationships are permitted.

    That depends on how you view the Bible. IF you view the Bible as having been written by a “divine Author” who passed on timeless rules (ie, the “rule book” view of the Bible), then yes, one couldreason that out (I don’t think it’s a certainty, but one could reason that out the way you do). But if one does not believe in a divine Author, or if one does not believe in what I’m calling the Rule Book View of the Bible, then yes, that “teaching” is avoidable.

    Put another way, if one begins with the presumption of the Bible as modern rule book, then one could reach that conclusion, but why would we start with that presumption? On what basis?

    ~Dan

    • “But if one does not believe in a divine Author,…”
      So, do you believe in a divine author?

      “…or if one does not believe in what I’m calling the Rule Book View of the Bible, then yes, that “teaching” is avoidable.”

      Are you suggesting that in the instances where the Bible records “rules” (10 commandments, the various commandments of Jesus), that those rules are not valid, or not to be obeyed simply because you have decided that the Bible isn’t a “rule book”?

      Can you provide any evidence that anyone actually subscribes to this “The Bible is a rule book” theory of yours?

      Would it not be accurate to say that while the Bible may not be a “rule book” in the modern sense of the term, that is is a book that contains rules?

  90. paynehollow says:

    A bit more browsing of your words, Bubba…

    It doesn’t seem the least bit presumptuous to conclude that all Christians are called to preach the word as Paul urged Timothy, despite his youth and frequent ailments and timid nature. And it doesn’t seem the least bit disobedient to conclude that Christians are NOT generally called to bring Paul blankets and books, since he’s been dead for nearly twenty centuries.

    Is it not, then, entirely reasonable that some of us find it not the least bit disobedient to conclude that women CAN preach/teach, even men, since that form of patriarchy that existed then does not exist now?

    On what rational, consistent basis does one conclude that THIS teaching is temporal and THAT teaching is timeless?

    And you find it not presumptuous to conclude that “all Christians are called to preach the word…” and yet, not all Christians DO literally preach the word. What does “preach” mean there? What does “word” mean there? Do you know this authoritatively or is it only a best guess opinion?

    And regardless, on what basis would we presume that any of the text is presumed to be a timeless rule?

    Just more of the same basic questions…

    ~Dan

  91. paynehollow says:

    Last one, although it’s really more of the same.

    Bubba stated authoritatively…

    What the Bible teaches about God, man, and creation, we are to accept as true and to understand everything else we perceive by those teachings.

    Why? On what basis are we to “accept it as true…”? Whose interpretation? Why one interpretation over another?

    Bubba…

    – What the Bible teaches about God’s promises to us, we are to accept and trust: we are to believe that God can and will do what He says He will do.

    What does God promise specifically to us, Bubba? On what do you base that?

    Bubba…

    – And what the Bible teaches about God’s will FOR us, we are to accept and obey, following His clear commands even when we don’t understand their rationale.

    Why? On what basis? What the Bible teaches according to who? …and on what basis according to one person’s interpretation/opinion/understanding but not another’s?

    Is one person’s understanding “fact” or “unable to be mistaken” on some topics but not another person’s? On what basis would you make this claim?

    Always, always, on what basis?

    You can’t just say, “THIS is the way it must be interpreted…” and let it go without support, you have to say why your opinion on the topic matters.

    I would hope that you could get the point I’m making. You seem to be starting with some presumptions that some of your declarations are known facts and they simply aren’t or, if they are, according to whom?

    On what basis?

    ~Dan

    • Why one interpretation over another? You seem to think it’s a coin flip. In reality we take one interpretation over another based on Word definitions and grammar rules. You don’t disagree with reality do you?

  92. paynehollow says:

    But I, too, am looking at word definitions and grammar rules. So, why YOUR interpretation over another’s?

    The obvious – albeit humbling – answer is: It’s my interpretation as best I understand it… but it’s not provable one way or the other. And their interpretation is their’s as best they understand it.

    But you all don’t appear to be satisfied with that. You all appear to want to say that your interpretation is the same as a fact or as “God’s Word” and that because it is a “fact” and/or “god’s word,” you can’t be mistaken.

    But you tell me, John, because that is the question that you’ve been dodging for years now. IS this merely your opinion, as best you understand things, or is it a fact and you can not be mistaken?

    Or, put another way: Do you disagree with reality?

    ~Dan

    • My interpretation is better because while you say you consider definition and grammar, ultimately your feelings preside, and you’ve admitted as such. When you feel the literal meaning of the text besmerches God’s loving image, then the text can’t mean what the text plainly says.

  93. paynehollow says:

    ?

    BS, John. I emphatically have NOT said that “my feelings preside.” That is a false claim.

    Giving you the benefit of the doubt, I’ll assume you’re just confused.

    So, on what basis is your opinion better than someone else’s?

    What reason you gave (“when you feel the literal meaning of the text besmirches God’s loving image”) is not based on “feelings” but based on internal and rational consistency.

    So, why is your reasoning better than someone else’s?

    ~Dan

    • As a matter of literal fact, you said you filter the bible through your concept of what a loving God would do or command. Anything that makes it sound like God commands the killing of others it can’t be literal because it’s incompatible with a loving God. Dan, you already admitted it in the past, your feelings based on what you believe is sensible, is what guides your interpretation.

  94. paynehollow says:

    Here’s what I think you’re talking about.

    DAN:

    * Dan reads the Bible and believes its teachings are good for instruction and wisdom.

    * Dan reads many repeated verses throughout, especially in the NT and teachings of Jesus (and Dan interprets the Bible through the lens of Jesus’ teachings, because Dan is a follower of Jesus, not a Jew or a follower of Paul, etc) that describes God as a Just God of Love

    * Dan sees that the stories in the OT sometimes have God commanding people to kill innocents, including babes. Dan sees the teachings throughout – especially in the NT – that teach a way of peace and say NOT to shed innocent blood and the notion that God does not command people to do evil (and killing children is evil), so Dan sees a potential conflict.

    * This is not a problem for Dan because Dan knows the OT is not written in a modern history style and has no reason to rationally think that these stories represent literal actions of God, so it’s no problem to say, “Well, this apparent action of God is contradicted in Jesus’ teachings and, given that it’s not written in a literal style, I have no problem as taking the teachings about peacemaking as good ideas and setting aside the OT teachings as not a literal command about how God works, but a story about an oppressed people seeking vengeance…”

    * and thus, Dan has reasoned his way to, what is to him, a rational and biblical explanation.

    This has nothing to do with emotion, it has everything to do with being rational and taking the Bible for what it says, in the context of how it was written.

    With me so far?

    JOHN (correct me if I’m mistaken…):

    * John reads the Bible and believes its teachings are good for instruction and wisdom. He also believes that the Bible was essentially written by God and that God intended these words (some of them) to be universal rules for people in all times and places.

    John has no biblical or rational reason to do this, just tradition and culture.

    * John reads many repeated verses throughout, especially in the NT and teachings of Jesus that describe God as a Just God of Love.

    * John sees that the stories in the OT sometimes have God commanding people to kill innocents, including babes. John sees the teachings throughout – especially in the NT – that teach a way of peace and say NOT to shed innocent blood and the notion that God does not command people to do evil (and killing children is evil), so John sees a potential conflict.

    *JOHN DIFFERS FROM DAN in how he explains this potential conflict. John reasons that, if God is commanding the act – even if the act is killing children – then it can not be a bad act, because God is God and it is in God’s purview to do what he wants with humans. So, apparently contradictory places in the Bible that describe God as just and loving and telling people not to shed innocent blood are NOT a contradiction, to John, because God commanding people to kill innocents is not an evil act, to John.

    * and thus, John has reasoned his way to, what is to him, a rational and biblical explanation.

    So, given that we both have reasoned our way dispassionately to our conclusions, what makes your opinion better than mine?

    ~Dan

    • Dan, I appreciate the assertion that there is no biblical reason to think the bible is God breathed or that it claims to be from God. I can only assume you take those passages to be metaphors as well.

      The bigger picture is that you filter the bible through your emotional sensibilities, where I filter my sensibilities through the bible. I let the bible inform my views, where you let your views form how you understand the bible. One way takes the words seriously, and your way leaves all the room you need in order to believe anything you want.

      I think k you might be in a cult.

  95. paynehollow says:

    John…

    you said you filter the bible through your concept of what a loving God would do or command.

    Yes, I use my REASON to sort out what makes rational and moral sense, given the Biblical text and what we know. Using reason is not the same as an appeal to emotions.

    It was the claim that I was basing it on emotions that was false.

    But yes, I will gladly cop to using my reason to sort the Bible out.

    What do you rely upon, if not reason?

    John…

    Dan, you already admitted it in the past, your feelings based on what you believe is sensible, is what guides your interpretation.

    It is wrong to shed innocent blood.
    God will not command people to sin/do wrong.

    Ergo, God will not command people to shed innocent blood.

    Where exactly do “my feelings” play into that rational consideration?

    They don’t. Point dismissed. Move on.

    So, I return to the question: Give that you are looking at the text and others are looking at the text and we reach different conclusions, on what basis is your unprovable opinion better than someone else’s?

    Do you admit that your opinion is not provable, not a demonstrable fact? Or do you think that your unproven opinions are somehow equal to facts?

    If so, on what basis would you make that claim?

    ~Dan

    • That’s where you reason wrong. God would not command people to shed innocent blood or sin, true. Therefore if God commanded to kill a certain person, it stands to reason that either the person isn’t innocent by GOD’S standard (which the bible does say all have sinned thus no one is innocent) and to obey that command isn’t a sin.

      You reason that ‘God didnt really say…’. And you should be concerned about that.

    • ” Point dismissed.”

      Which is not the same as saying that it’s been refuted or proven wrong or anything. It’s just dismissed as of wishing will make the position of those who disagree with you just go away.

  96. paynehollow says:

    John…

    , I appreciate the assertion that there is no biblical reason to think the bible is God breathed or that it claims to be from God. I can only assume you take those passages to be metaphors as well.

    ?

    “God-breathed” is entirely literally a metaphor. Do you think God actually “breathed words” on to the page??

    That’s just silly to the point of being a joke.

    The 66 books of the Bible – individually or as a collection – as a point of literal fact, do not claim to be “from God.”

    If you think otherwise, please support the contention with some data.

    We humans believe, as a point of tradition, that the 66 books are inspired by God, but that is a human tradition, not a demonstrable fact. Do you understand the difference?

    As to the rest of your last claims you offered in lieu of direct answers to reasonable questions, suffice to say that they are all demonstrably false claims/mistaken guesses on your part.

    ~Dan

    • Here’s where definitions and usage counts. The term God breathed, by definition isn’t implying God huffing a lung full of air.

    • “God-breathed” is entirely literally a metaphor.”

      Actually, it is an English translation of the Greek work “Theopneustos” which is more literally translated “given by inspiration of God,”. So, if it is a metaphor, then it’s a metaphor for “given by inspiration of God”.

      I’d be curious to see what you would suggest “God breathed” is a metaphor of.

  97. paynehollow says:

    John…

    I appreciate the assertion that there is no biblical reason to think the bible is God breathed or that it claims to be from God.

    I am curious: Being as I made no such assertion, what words of mine you plucked this from?

    ~Dan

  98. paynehollow says:

    Well, like the way you handle Scripture, you ripped that quote out of context and thus, drew a false conclusion.

    As always: If you fellas can’t handle communication written in this century from a fellow countryman without repeated misunderstandings, perhaps you should be a bit more humble in claims to understand the Bible correctly.

    ~Dan

    • The context was that I hold a particular view, then you said (as quoted) that I have no biblical basis for it, just tradition and culture. Nothing out of context. You ever notice how you’re always saying we all misunderstand you?

      well, you and Taylor Swift have something in common. Neither of you have ever considered that you might be the problem.

  99. paynehollow says:

    John…

    That’s where you reason wrong. God would not command people to shed innocent blood or sin, true. Therefore if God commanded to kill a certain person, it stands to reason that either the person isn’t innocent by GOD’S standard (which the bible does say all have sinned thus no one is innocent) and to obey that command isn’t a sin.

    And on what basis do you hold the opinion that I reasoned wrong?

    And regardless, do you understand that this is a reasoned position, not one based in any way on emotions? And that, therefore, your “emotion” claims were false?

    You understand that someone reasoning wrong (in your human opinion) is not the same as making decisions based on emotions?

    John…

    You reason that ‘God didnt really say…’. And you should be concerned about that.

    Do you recognize that when a HUMAN makes the claim that when God commanded people to kill babies (!!!!), that those babies were guilty of some sin? That they were NOT innocent!… That when we question that sort of a crazy claim, that we are questioning PEOPLE, not God?

    Again, you all are selectively and irrationally and unbiblically treating the Bible like a rule book for modern living… and thus, when the Bible says that “all have sinned” and that “no one is innocent” that it literally means that all are sinners, even babies, and that no one is innocent – even babies!… you reach bad conclusions because you are beginning with a wacky presumption.

    On what basis ought we make these presumptions you make?

    On what basis should we not write off such silly presumptions as just irrational and unbiblical on the face of it?

    ~Dan

    • Wow. Just wow.

    • “That they were NOT innocent!”

      See, when Dan speaks for God, it’s perfectly fine. I’m quite sure he’ll say that he wasn’t, but the above statement is CLEARLY NOT a statement of opinion. In no possible way can that statement be proven to be factual (at least not using the standard Dan expects from others). Now, it may be that in Dan’s opinion these babies (about who he knows absolutely nothing), might meet some arbitrary standard of innocence that satisfies Dan’s Reason. The problem is that Dan isn’t the person who gets to determine innocence or guilt, which leaves us with Dan emphatically (NOTE THE ALL CAPS AND THE EXCLAMATION POINT) pronouncing that God considers these children innocent.

      • paynehollow says:

        I wasn’t, Craig. You can tell by the way I never said, “God said…”

        But yes, I do think it is a fact that newborn babes are innocent, by definition. That is how words work.

        It has nothing to do with Dan’s opinion. By definition, babes are innocent of anything. One has to do something to be guilty and a babe has not done anything.

        But by all means, demonstrate using your intense knowledge of babies what they are guilty of? Shitting their diaper?

        Support the point you appear to be making or admit that it is crazy as hell.

        ~Dan

        • But also by definition, which you reject, God as Creator can do with his creation whatever he wishes.

          • paynehollow says:

            sigh. As a matter of fact, I have not “rejected” the notion that God can do whatever God wants. In fact, I have stated that a god, being god, can do anything.

            I have stated that, in my opinion, a loving and just God would not rape us, nor command others to rape us. In other words, that God won’t do something against God’s nature of love and justice.

            Do you think that God will do something contrary to God’s nature?

            Regardless, your point is factually mistaken and now you have been corrected.

            You’re welcome.

            ~Dan

      • Dan

        Again, perhaps if you re read my comment you will better understand my point.

        When you make an emphatic declarative truth claim as you did, one must wonder by what authority do you make the claim. Since God is the only being who is capable of judging guilt or innocence with 100% accuracy, the only possible way to interpret your claim of objective truth is that you are attempting to speak for God.

        I would gladly provide you with the plethora of Biblical texts and theologians which make a completely reasonable case that we are born as sinful entities. But since I’ve done this before and you haven’t presented any evidence to counter any of this. I see no reason to do for you what you can do for yourself ( could, but won’t ).

  100. paynehollow says:

    Great dodge.

    I’d refuse to answer questions, too, if the answers would be as damning to my position as yours would be.

    But then, no, I would not refuse to answer reasonable questions, because I am interested in the truth of things, not in preserving my case.

    But “wow,” what? You find it somehow amazing that people have this CRAZZZZZZZZY notion that babies are, by definition, innocent and have not committed a sin? That IS NUTSO, eh?

    Wow, indeed.

    ~Dan

    • Just amazed at how much you disagree with very uncomplex straight forward text so that you see it as meaning literally the opposite of what it says. And then you claim it’s others who are playing fast and loose with reason.

      In the end I believe God can do with his creation whatever he wants. You dont. I believe God superintended the authorship of the bible, you dont. Bottom line, I can’t figure out how you can claim to believe in God as presented in the bjble, yet believe the opposite of what it says. Whatever Dan. There’s not really anywhere to go with you.

      Straight up, you demonstrate all the reasoning methods that cults use. Like I said, when your response to clear straight forward text is “did God really say?” You should be concerned, but you’re not. Good luck. In all seriousness. Good luck.

    • Except I’m not refusing to answer questions. I’m pointing out then my previous attempts to do this have been fruitless and I’m not inclined to try again just to have you dismiss anything provided.

  101. paynehollow says:

    John, I get that you think the reasoning I employ to reach my opinion is not compelling, just as I don’t think the reasoning you employ to reach your rather convoluted opinion is compelling.

    The question is: ON what basis should anyone say, “Okay, so John’s is THE RIGHT opinion to hold?” What makes your opinion better than mine?

    Do you recognize it for what it is: An opinion, one that you can’t prove?

    Or do you think it’s a fact?

    If so, on what basis do you do so, given that you can’t demonstrate the opinion to be a fact?

    As to the “did God really say…” line, that is more excrement. It is rationally unsound. What part of the notion that it’s not God I’m questioning, but YOU are you failing to understand?

    You are inappropriately referencing a passage (in the process, inappropriately using the Bible as a bat to beat people down with rather than treating it or those who disagree with your opinions with respect, AS THE BIBLE teaches) wherein the Devil deliberately tries to twist things in order to tempt people into evil… It is false way of literally demonizing those who merely disagree with you, comparing them to the devil and an outright liar.

    But, when two people of good faith are talking about a moral issue, both honestly seeking the good, and one of the two says that God sometimes commands people to kill babies – and follow this, John, because it is crucial to understanding reality – it is entirely appropriate to ask, “Does God REALLY sometimes command the slaughter of babies???” and it is appropriate to question THAT PERSON because that person (the person, NOT God – we don’t conflate ourselves or others with a god if we are rational) is making a rather outrageous claim.

    Do you understand the difference between questioning the person in good faith and deliberately tempting someone to do evil?

    By that reasoning, each time I make the argument that we ought to take care of the planet, live simply, not kill our enemies, etc, and YOU ALL say, “DID GOD REALLY SAY???” I could compare you to the devil, too. But I don’t do that because, just like I don’t conflate you all with a god, neither do I conflate you all with the devil. Or with Nazis, or with baby-eaters.

    So, John, I repeat: On what basis should anyone place more value on your opinions than mine?

    ~Dan

  102. paynehollow says:

    John…

    I believe God superintended the authorship of the bible, you dont. B

    On what basis do you think this? Has God told you this? Is it merely your opinion? (A: It is) or do you think it is a fact (A: It’s not)?

    ~Dan

  103. paynehollow says:

    John…

    I can’t figure out how you can claim to believe in God as presented in the bjble, yet believe the opposite of what it says. Whatever Dan. There’s not really anywhere to go with you.

    Well, you could answer the reasonable questions that have been asked of you.

    Why wouldn’t you? The only reason I can think of is that you recognize you can’t answer them in a rationally consistent manner, so you just ignore them. But then, I believe you are more intellectually honest than that, so I can think of no reasons not to.

    Point of fact, John: I do NOT believe “the opposite” of what the Bible says. I take it quite seriously and love its teachings and stories, rightly divided. But I don’t always agree with what some other humans think it means.

    But that is not believing the “opposite” of the bible, it’s disagreeing with a human.

    Once again, I do not conflate human interpretations with “God’s Word.” Neither should you and I would hope you could agree with that. And, assuming you can agree with it, I’d hope you would have the honor and integrity to quit accusing people of disagreeing with “god” or “the Bible” when we are disagreeing with you.

    You are neither god nor scripture, John.

    ~Dan

  104. paynehollow says:

    John…

    you demonstrate all the reasoning methods that cults use.

    Name one cult-reasoning method that I use.

    Is it using scriptural text to interpret scriptural text?
    Is it using the clear to interpret the obscure?
    Is it interpreting the OT through the lens of the NT, or the whole through the lens of Jesus’ teachings?
    Is it trying to understand the original meanings of words and context, as best we can?

    No, no, those are all typical orthodox Christian hermeneutics and very rational.

    Name one or I shall be forced to write this off as yet another in the pile of false and unsubstantiated claims.

    John, do you not ever grow tired of bearing false witness? I mean, I know mistakes happen and I’m not calling you a liar but time after time I point out your errors and false claims and it is either met with silence – where you just ignore the correction – or you repeat it in the face of being corrected.

    Come now, you are a better man than this. You can admit when you make a mistake. It’s the Christian thing to do.

    ~Dan

  105. paynehollow says:

    Craig…

    The problem is that Dan isn’t the person who gets to determine innocence or guilt, which leaves us with Dan emphatically (NOTE THE ALL CAPS AND THE EXCLAMATION POINT) pronouncing that God considers these children innocent.

    Just to reiterate and push you to either support your claim or to be a man and admit your demonstrable error:

    1. I did not, as a point of fact, “pronounce” that God considers babes innocent.

    Can you admit your error there?

    2. Babes – at the very least, newborn babes – are not guilty of anything, they are, by definition, innocent…

    MW: Innocent: 1a : free from guilt or sin especially through lack of knowledge of evil

    A newborn babe, thus, is by definition innocent. They are free of guilt or sin because they have no knowledge of evil and have done no wrong.

    Can you admit your error here?

    Or are you having a problem with reality?

    If you want to use these terms to mean something other than standard English, then please provide your definition. But you can’t fault an English-speaker for using words in standard-English, as if that is the same as saying “God said…”

    Be a man, admit the errors.

    ~Dan

    • Webster doesn’t define guilt, God does.

    • However God being sovereign, he can take any life he wants. The mode is irrelevant. Whether it’s a heart attack, car accident, earthquake, or through an individual.

      Dan, as Creator, can God take any life he chooses, whenever he chooses? If so, what difference does the manner in which its taken make?

    • 1. You emphatically pronounced that babies are innocent. By what authority do you make this pronouncement? By what standard do you judge? Are you able to perfectly determine the innocence or guilt of everyone?

      2. We’re not talking about a God who is constrained by the dictionary.

      So, while I realize that the possibility of you admitting you misspoke is non existent, I’ll stub with my original point, based on your words. If you can provide evidence for your hunch I will reconsider, failing that I can only go by what you emphatically pronounced.

  106. paynehollow says:

    Then, by all means, John, provide for us “god’s definition of guilt…”, citing a reliable, objective source.

    If I had to guess (since God has demonstrably never given us a definition of guilt) what you mean, I suspect you mean something more like:

    “While God has not given us a definition of guilt, I, John Barron have determined what God’s Definition of it is and I, John Barron can tell you with authority what God’s definition of guilt is…”

    Which is just a way for you to presume to speak for God, something God has not said. It is a way of conflating your word with God’s Word.

    But maybe I’m mistaken, by all means, provide “god’s definition” of the word.

    Regardless, if “god” (or John Barron) defines the word in some manner other than standard English, because we communicate here in English, the onus is on “god” (or John) to provide their non-standard meaning of the word.

    So, praytell, John, what exactly is a newborn guilty of?

    More questions to ignore, I know, but I thought I’d give it a shot.

    ~Dan

    • I can’t give you a definition you won’t gainsay, since for you, the text of the bible is totally up for grabs. I could cite chapter and verse, and even where it says Thus says the Lord, but for you, your response is always “did God really say?”

  107. paynehollow says:

    Re: Craig…

    The problem is that Dan isn’t the person who gets to determine innocence or guilt, which leaves us with Dan emphatically… pronouncing that God considers these children innocent.

    Just to make the point another way, if someone says that hamburger, by definition is meat, they are not making a claim about what God thinks about meat or hamburger, they are just stating a fact, a specific, standard definition in the English language.

    Understand the error now?

    ~Dan

  108. paynehollow says:

    I can’t give you a definition you won’t gainsay, since for you, the text of the bible is totally up for grabs. I could cite chapter and verse, and even where it says Thus says the Lord, but for you, your response is always “did God really say?”

    You can’t give a definition from God? Did you mistake and presume too much when you said God defined it differently? Want to admit the error, then? Because presuming to speak for God something that God did not say is (biblically speaking) a pretty egregious error.

    You can certainly quote a verse from the Bible, if you want.

    BUT, when you do, a reasonable question in response, “On what basis do you think this represents a definition of guilt from God?”

    Don’t dilly dally around like there’s some problem in asking “Did God really say…” You do this to me all the time, so obviously, you have no problem with it.

    So, for instance, you might be inclined to quote the verse that says, “There are none righteous, no not one…” or “all have sinned…” but a reasonable question to that is: IS this hyperbole? Is Paul really saying that “All have committed, sins, even new born babes…??” Yes, that is a reasonable question.

    This again would be an example of the rational and biblical mistake of treating the Bible like a Holy Magic 8 Ball.

    You should really give these errors up.

    ~Dan

  109. paynehollow says:

    Then man up. Present your evidence. What is God’s definition for guilty?

    The fact of the matter is, John (and it is a demonstrable fact), that you do not have “god’s definition” of guilt. You have your opinion about what you, as a mere human, think that “god’s definition” is. That is a vital fact to comprehend, if you wish to remain grounded in reality.

    Do you understand the difference between your opinion and demonstrable fact?

    I am not hyperskeptical. I’m rationally skeptical enough to think that you do not speak for God what God has not said.

    Do you think that just because some yahoo on the internet says “god says…” that we ought to blindly accept it as a fact? No, of course you don’t. In that regard, you and I are exactly the same: We do not presume that just because some human says “god says” that means that God says.

    That is not being “hyperskeptical,” it is being rational, and you do it, too.

    ~Dan

    • Dan

      Of course the problem with your whole rant is that you don’t have God’s definition of innocence. So you presume to substitute you Reason and MW for what you can’t provide. In this case you made the original exclamatory pronouncement of a fact. So the burden of proof is on you to provide the proof for your statement. We both realize that you can’t so you won’t and you’ll just keep trotting out MW with absolutely no proof that God has agreed to abide by MW.

  110. paynehollow says:

    ?

    Who says I need God’s definition of innocence to communicate an idea in English?

    Of course, the whole problem is that you all are beginning with a set of presumptions that are not demonstrably provable in the real world and you appear to be getting upset when someone does not operate from the same set of unproven presumptions.

    Craig:

    Do you have God’s definition of innocent and guilt?

    No.

    So, why would you or I not use English words with their given definitions to communicate in English? What are you suggesting I/we do?

    Craig…

    In this case you made the original exclamatory pronouncement of a fact. So the burden of proof is on you to provide the proof for your statement.

    ?? I just don’t know what to do with this. I’m stating that new born babes are innocent and not guilty of anything by definition of those words in the English language.

    Am I mistaken?

    What is it you want me to “prove…”? That MW defines words as I’ve cited? That’s proven.

    That God has a different definition of innocent or guilty? I have not made that claim, so I don’t need to prove anything.

    This is just sounding silly. Maybe I’m missing something. You tell me.

    I suspect that you all just want to bully people into accepting whatever definition you humans are assigning to these words as being equal to “fact” and/or “god’s word…” but why would we do that?

    On. What. Basis?

    ~Dan

    • If you can’t demonstrate Gods definition of innocence in support of your claim, by what authority do demand God’ definition of guilt.

      You made the claim, it’s your place to prove your claim.

      • paynehollow says:

        You all are the ones making the claims. I’m just using English words in their standard manner. What claim do you think I made?

  111. paynehollow says:

    Craig…

    1. You emphatically pronounced that babies are innocent. By what authority do you make this pronouncement? By what standard do you judge? Are you able to perfectly determine the innocence or guilt of everyone?

    Again, by definition in the English language. Look up “innocent” and there’s a picture of a baby.

    By what authority do I say that a baby is innocent as defined in the dictionary? By the authority of English language usage. I mean, we could use the word “innocent” to mean “tending to eat mushrooms…” but that would just be silly, since that is not the definition of innocent. Innocent means what it means. What the hell are you asking?

    By what standard do I judge that a baby is innocent, as defined in the dictionary? By the standard of seeing that a baby is, in fact, “free of guilt or sin…” WHAT sin have they committed?

    I keep asking you all reasonable questions and you keep ignoring them. It sounds crazy as a loon, but if you can demonstrate that a baby is guilty of some sin – they have chosen to commit some wrong – then you could make your case. You can’t.

    Craig…

    2. We’re not talking about a God who is constrained by the dictionary.

    ? I have not said what God believes or does not believe about babies as it relates to innocent. You have not offered any proof that God thinks babies are guilty of committing some sin.

    IF you want to make the case that you are using these words in some non-standard manner, then make that case and offer the definition you are using. But don’t blame other people if we don’t know what the hell you mean when you suggest that newborn babes are guilty of something.

    In short, put up or shut up. You all are just talking gibberish and embarrassing yourselves.

    Look, do you even recognize how crazy it sounds to say (if you are saying it) that babies are guilty of some crime/misdeed? They have not done anything but be born, poop and eat… what could they possibly have done? Are you suggesting that pooping is a crime/misdeed?? What have they done?

    Do you not recognize how insane that sounds? If so, then perhaps you’ll want to meter down your smug non-answers and intimations that I am disagreeing with God. I’m disagreeing with you and I, for one, do not confuse Craig and God.

    ~Dan

    • Dan,
      So, your assertion that babies are innocent is only based on the MW definition of innocent and that you have absolutely no idea by what standard God used to judge innocence and guilt.

  112. paynehollow says:

    ? I’m saying that MW defines innocent the way it does. I’m saying that, given that definition and just basic reason, babies are the very essence of innocence.

    I do not speak for God and I don’t know that/if God has a “standard” that God uses to judge innocence and guilt, but I would guess it would be something closer to “for the soul that sinneth, it shall die” (be held accountable). In mere human terms, of course we don’t punish people/hold people accountable for things they didn’t do. That would be insane.

    Do you disagree that, just rationally, it would be insane to punish someone for something they did not do?

    If I were to guess, I would think God – IF God has a “standard,” God uses for holding folk accountable – would do so based on actual actions, not a mindset or predisposition.

    But then, I don’t speak for God, that’s just a human guess.

    Do you have a different guess? Do you think God holds babies accountable as “sinners” for doing nothing/making no conscious decision to do wrong?

    Do you speak for God when you make your guesses? Are your guesses equivalent to facts?

    If so, on what basis would we grant that belief any credibility?

    Myself, God has not told me that God has a standard or what that standard is, so I would not presume to speak for God, especially something God has not said.

    ~Dan

    • Dan, you really don’t know how to find out what God says is immoral or a sin? Really?

    • Ok, Dan says he doesn’t speak for God, but that is the essence of the issue. If God is the only judge of ultimate innocence or guilt for mankind, then the only standard that should matter is His standard. But Dan apparently is using the Dan’s Reason standard or the MW definition standard. The problem is those are arbitrary when applied to God.

      The underlying presupposition behind Dan’s hunch is that he is positive that God would never do something that would go against Dan’s Reason.

      So, it seems that the first thing Dan would have to do is prove that his presupposition is valid. That would involve proving definitively that God did not actually command the things He is said to have commanded. Once that it proven , the next step is to prove what standard God uses to determine innocence or guilt and to demonstrate that the children in question meet God ‘s standard for innocence.

      This won’t happen though, since Dan has managed to convince himself that he didn’t actually make the claim his quoted words clearly make. (Yes this is an actual quote, not something made up and put between quotation marks).

      As long as he won’t own up to his own words, or retract them, this is futile as he is unwilling to do what he demands of others.

      By what authority do you declare that all children are innocent?

  113. paynehollow says:

    By what authority are you not understanding what I said? By what rationality are you dodging reasonable questions?

    I said, once again, that newborn babies are, by definition, innocent. They have committed no wrongs, which is the definition of innocent.

    Do you disagree? If so, what wrong has a 1 day old child committed?

    I don’t think you could possibly disagree, again, this is just reality, but you tell me.

    Babies are “innocent” in the same way that hamburgers are “meat.” That is, they are, by definition, what they are.

    If you truly think that a newborn is not innocent, that this newborn has done some wrong, then provide the data. On what basis would you make such a crazy claim?

    And do you not realize how detached from reality this line of grilling is on your part?

    ~Dan

  114. paynehollow says:

    This is an example of the presuppositional errors you all are engaging in…

    If God is the only judge of ultimate innocence or guilt for mankind, then the only standard that should matter is His standard.

    Who says that God is the only judge of ultimate innocence or guilt? Who says God has a “standard” by which he judges innocence and guilt?

    And regardless, what does that have to do with what I’ve said?

    You all presume that your presumptions are facts, then extrapolate out other “facts” from the first “fact,” which is no fact at all, but an unsupported opinion. And then get defensive or obtuse when people question your presumptions, rather than defending them (which, of course, you can’t, since they’re not facts at all…)

    ~Dan

    • Who’s to say God is the only judge of guilt or innocence? That’s a very telling response dan.

    • You’ve said ” Babies are innocent.” or words to that effect. By making this pronouncement you are establishing yourself as the judge of innocence or guilt. Are you really denying that God judges guilt and innocence?

      Actually, I was not presupposing anything. I made an if/then statement which is accurate as presented. Now feel free to present a regiments and evidence for your claims, but in this case you are mistaken.

      Is it me or is Dan just projecting his preconceptions on everyone else?

      Dan, you made a claim of fact, prove it.

  115. paynehollow says:

    So, in your opinion, God IS the only judge of guilt or innocence? Is your opinion on this matter equal to fact, or is it just your opinion? On what basis would you presume to say your opinion is fact?

    What is the support for such a claim? Has God told you this?

    On What Basis?

    ~Dan

  116. paynehollow says:

    John, are newborn babes guilty of something? Of what? What did they do? Demonstrate, please.

    On what basis would you claim that babies are guilty of something? Where is your support? Do you not recognize how crazy that sounds, how detached from reality?

    ~Dan

  117. The Book of Truths claims that we will one day be held to account for our actions, even those of us who accept Christ. Even every word we utter will be assessed. (Or is this a rule. I’m not clear on the distinction.) By whose standard will we be judged if not by God’s?

    As to babies being innocent, one needs to ascertain what is meant by being guilty before the Lord. I’m not sure that in the stories of God annihilating peoples through the use of His Chosen People going to war on His behalf, I’m not sure that the text uses the term as Dan demands it be explained. We are all sinners. Do we become sinners at some point in life, or does this mean that we are tainted with Adam’s sin through birth? In any case, I don’t think that mitigates the truth of the stories as told in the OT, simply because the thought of children dying in battle offends Dan so much. The thought offends all of us. That doesn’t mean it didn’t happen and by God’s command to boot. I think Dan can’t get over the physical death when spiritual and eternal death is far more important. All we know for sure is that God did indeed command the total annihilation of some towns. There is speculation about how that actually took place, whether it meant absolutely everyone or only those in a given area or whatever. But if we assume that “the innocent” were killed as well, by God’s intention, I think we can make other assumptions given our belief that God is just, and perfectly so. The physical death of an infant doesn’t mean the child isn’t taken from the wicked environment in which it was born and received unto God’s loving embrace in heaven. Dan only sees the killing of an infant and cries out “Say it ain’t so!”. We could speculate that the kids felt no pain as God wiped out the entire town because of the wickedness of the adults. But even so, if “the innocent” were killed during such an event, given that God is just and commanded it be so, why couldn’t we assume that the result was in the best interests of “the innocent” and that they aren’t to be eternally condemned as those who provoked God’s wrath?

    Again, as has been put forth before, Dan isn’t willing to trust God on these matters, but instead, using weak arguments regarding “ancient history telling techniques” and such, rejects these stories because he finds them offensive, not because he can support the objections with Scripture. God’s perfect love and justice does not mean He would not act as OT Scripture says He did. But it does give us a good idea of what Christ’s intercession does for us in terms sparing us from God’s righteous wrath.

  118. Yeah, when Jesus said He came to render judgement He obviously was using the MW definition of innocent.

  119. paynehollow says:

    So, if you are confident in your positions, answer some simple questions:

    John, Craig, Marshall: Are newborn babes guilty of something? Of what?

    What did they do? Demonstrate, please with some hard data.

    On what basis would you claim that babies are guilty of something?

    Where is your support?

    Do you not recognize how crazy that sounds, how detached from reality?

    ~Dan

  120. paynehollow says:

    Marshall…

    Again, as has been put forth before, Dan isn’t willing to trust God on these matters

    Again, as has been put forth before: BS. I’m glad to trust in God, I don’t trust you guys. And you know why? Because you hint around that babies are not innocent, that they are guilty of something, but when pressed on it, to support this crazy claim (and trust me, it IS crazy), you won’t respond to simple questions to clarify, instead, you go on the attack against me for having the nerve to say that babies are innocent, by definition.

    As a rule, when people start talking about evil babies, I do not trust them. But me not trusting your crazy opinions is not the same as me not trusting God. You see, I don’t confuse you all for God, and that you all do (or at least hint at that confusion and refuse adamantly to clarify the distinction) is yet another reason I don’t trust your opinions about what God may or may not think.

    You fellas are delusional, at least if you are actually defending the notion of evil babies who are guilty of some crime/misdeeds.

    ~Dan

    • “Are newborn babes guilty of something?”

      I’m not willing to wade through all the comments, but I can’t recall any one of us making the claim that babies are guilty of consciously engaging in sinful behaviors, nor anything like that at all. The issue is whether or not God did actually command the killing of everyone (such as the Amelekites) including infants. Clearly He gave that command. Why you insist with such lines of questioning can only be to cast us in a bad light, or to divert from what you clearly are not comfortable in accepting about God’s nature and sense of justice. Try focusing on what we actually say, as you insist we do for you.

      So then, we have to consider why God would also include infants in the annihilation. There is plenty of logical speculation that has been put forth from a variety of sources. Our aim here is to cement the notion that regardless of why, God has every right to do so, by whatever means He chooses, including the use of His Chosen People to execute the sentence, without then insisting that He has ordered them to commit evil, which is ludicrous and a judgement of God and His motivations by YOU.

      So my point again is that we are trusting that God’s reasons for doing this are justified by HIS notions of justice, not according to any possibility of offending Dan Trabue’s sensibilities. In the case of the infants taken in this manner, I trust that this is preferable in God’s mind to letting them live. I trust that those infants are likely enjoying eternity in His everlasting Peace. In short, if God commanded such an action, He had good reason and a good plan for the future of those “innocents”.

      Why do you have a problem with this? It seems clear that even with the so-called “God given reasoning” of which you so often speak, you can’t seem to see past the killing of these infants. Part of this is due to your self-satisfying notion of morality based on “do no harm”. By your standard, all who die are harmed and therefor victims of something evil and immoral. God cannot take life that is His because Dan regards such an act as “harm” and therefor not something God does. Yet, He does it all the time in a variety of ways.

      Proverbs 19:21

      Many are the plans in a human heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.

      Proverbs 16:4

      The LORD works out everything to its proper end – even the wicked for a day of disaster.

      You don’t have to like or understand God’s purpose. But to pretend the record of His actions is myth and fable simply because they offend your sensibilities, because you are unable to resolve those actions with His righteousness, mercy and justice is telling.

      And if we have to concern ourselves with how such understanding sits with non-believers, then we are not placing our concern where it belongs anyway. In other words, I don’t care how it sounds to those who won’t believe regardless of the truth.

  121. paynehollow says:

    Marshall…

    The issue is whether or not God did actually command the killing of everyone (such as the Amelekites) including infants.

    You might need to read the context, we weren’t really discussing these sorts of questions, just the question of whether or not a baby is innocent, in general. I hold the rational view that, of course, babies are innocent, by the very definition of innocent. They will not answer questions directly.

    ARE babies guilty of something? Of what? If they are not (as is obvious) guilty of anything, are they not, by definition, innocent?

    This is a question about whether or not you all allow a rigid and unbiblical reading of the Bible to override common sense. So far, common sense is not doing so well on your side.

    Clearly He gave that command.

    Well, that is the question, isn’t it? You hold the opinion that God did command people to kill innocent babies. I hold the position that this is an irrational, immoral and unbiblical take on sacred text.

    But if you think God gave the command, on what basis is your hunch about that more valuable than those who disagree with you?

    ~Dan

  122. “You might need to read the context, we weren’t really discussing these sorts of questions, just the question of whether or not a baby is innocent…”

    The “question” flowed from the discussion regarding the truth vs myth of God commanding the destruction of towns and cities via the armies of Israel, and all their inhabitants, including infants. From that discussion, YOU decided to focus on the innocence of various inhabitants of those sinful towns and cities, such as infants. NO ONE has taken the position that the babies were guilty of any sinful acts of their own. Thus, there is no reason for anyone of us to answer the foolish and diversionary question. It is irrelevant to the issue of whether or not God can take human life at any time, for any reason, by any means based solely on His own terms and for His own reasons, regardless of whether or not those reasons are clear to us or easily/readily understood. The issue also involves whether or not commanding the people of Israel to execute His sentence on these wicked towns constitutes ordering Israel to sin. The issue involves whether or not one is obedient or rebellious as regards fulfilling God’s command to perpetrate any act whatsoever, regardless of how that act sits with our own notions of good or heinous action. We who trust in God, do not prefer to believe that we can dictate to God in any way or question His requests, given that the hypothetical scenario one could imagine is sincere in suggesting it is actually God giving the command. We who trust in God trust that His reasons are just and good regardless of how they might appear to us or regardless of our ability to understand the point of the command. Thus…

    “This is a question about whether or not you all allow a rigid and unbiblical reading of the Bible to override common sense. So far, common sense is not doing so well on your side.”

    …is a ludicrous statement on your part. Common sense must be based on what we know of God’s nature as described in Scripture, from cover to cover, not just from one end that appeals to you more than the other. You bristle at the thought of a wrathful God, whereas we acknowledge His wrath which is confirmed by our need of a Savior who will intercede on our behalf to turn away that wrath. You cower at the thought that God’s wrath might extend beyond what your preference is for how wrathful a “good, just, loving and merciful” God should be. The OT stories demonstrate just how extreme His wrath truly is, should He be so moved by our behavior. Common sense dictates that if His wrath is not great, then from what do we need saving? A stern look? An “unbiblical” reading of Scripture manifests in rejecting what Scripture says merely for the impact it might have on one’s (your) sensibilities. A biblical reading would be to acknowledge what it says and in doing so come to understand what is truly at stake by our belief or lack thereof.

    And as such, this is the basis by which I find your “take” to be incredibly self-serving and thus worthless. There is no “hunch” involved on anyone’s part, even yours. Yours is no more or less the injection of meaning that suits your personally, rather than inferring what is intended by a faithful recording of historical events.

    “You hold the opinion that God did command people to kill innocent babies. I hold the position that this is an irrational, immoral and unbiblical take on sacred text.”

    It is a faithful and reverent take. What is irrational, immoral and unbiblical is your arrogance in judging the actions of the God you claim to worship based on YOUR dictation of morality. You impose onto Him that which He imposed on us regarding behavior. Just as a father is not required to abide the bedtimes he imposes on his children, God is not required to abide the moral law He imposes on us. Irrational, immoral, and unbiblical is demanding of Him that He does.

  123. paynehollow says:

    Marshall…

    Common sense must be based on what we know of God’s nature as described in Scripture, from cover to cover, not just from one end that appeals to you more than the other.

    ???!!

    That is just an empty claim, an unsupported claim on your part. Who says common sense must be based on God’s nature, etc?

    On what basis should anyone heed your hunch?

    ~Dan

    • Wow. That “on what basis” crap works for you for everything now, doesn’t it, Dan?

      You insist that God would not make the commands the OT clearly records Him making and you base it on an understanding of God’s nature minus all the stories of His works you find personally objectionable. Imagine being asked to vote for someone for whom you have incomplete information. You’d likely object to being made to vote for someone you didn’t know fully. Worse, you’d be outraged if you later found a candidate for whom you cast your vote on the recommendation of another was guilty of supporting things you opposed and that info had been purposely kept from you.

      Yet you willfully negate all that the OT records about God that offends you personally, pretending that it conflicts with NT descriptions of Him. But again, from what does Christ save us? It is God’s wrath, His vengeance and judgement against us for our sinfulness. Common sense insists that the need for a Savior indicates something significant for which a Savior is needed. The OT stories record the manifestation and degree of God’s opposition to sin and rebellion against Him. If you eliminate from Scripture that which causes you to wet yourself, you are not dealing in reality, but in your own invented god.

      When you can demonstrate that anything I’ve said is a “hunch”, that’ll be the day.

  124. As I’ve been pretty busy for the past few days, I’ve not been following this closely. But as I’ve thought about it I’ve reached a few tentative conclusions.

    I’ll preface them with some thoughts from C.H. Spurgeon.

    “”I pray you, never regard that story of the serpent as a fable.”

    It is said, nowadays, that it is a mere allegory. Yet there is nothing in the Book to mark where history ends and parable begins: it all runs on as actual history; and as Bishop Horsley forcibly remarks, “If any part of this narrative be allegorical, no part is naked matter of fact.”

    “The Book is intended to be real history, and it contains some portions which, by the consent of everybody, are real history; but Moses could not be an historian, and yet set mere fables before us as a part of his story. To write a jumble of allegory and of fact causes a man to lose the character of a reliable historian, and we had better repudiate him at once.”

    “There was a real serpent, as there was a real Paradise; there was a real Adam and Eve, who stood at the head of our race, and they really sinned, and our race is really fallen. Believe this.”

    Where I see the problem here is that this entire discussion flows from the historicity of the fall.

    If, as Dan suggests Genesis is a myth a fable or an allegory, then there is no fall. If there is no fall, then there is no inherited sin nature. If there is no inherited sin nature, then there is no need for a savior. If sin is merely something we do, then it is within our power to not sin and if we can not sin then we have no need for a savior.

    Dan, keeps throwing out terms like “innocence” and “guilt” to describe children. In reality these are legal terms, not theological. Just for example O.J. Simpson is legally innocent of the killings of his wife and her lover, yet I suspect most people believe that he did kill them.

    If one accepts the doctrine of original sin, then we realize that there is no “innocent”, in fact we are all guilty. God doesn’t deal in innocence or guilt, He deals in forgiveness and grace. Grace is not God declaring us innocent, it’s having someone else pay the price to cover our guilt.

    The question, it seems, boils down to this; “Are we sinners because we sin, or do we sin because we’re sinners?” I’ve asked this before and don’t remember ever getting a clear answer. Clearly, if one tales the sinners because we sin view, then there a certain number of people who exist on this earth who are sinless. This is a position I’d love to see be supported explicitly from scripture.

    But, so what, let’s assume that children are born without carrying the sin nature the rest of us have acquired somehow. This view that it is especially evil to kill innocent children, leads to the conclusion that life on earth is the most important aspect of being, and that to deprive anyone of physical life is the worst thing possible. But, if these sinless children are killed, what happens to them? If, as some believe, that children who die go to be with God then how is that a bad thing? Is eternity with God really less valuable than 70 years on earth? What if those years are full of struggle, poverty, and pain? Who get’s to make that decision? If, on the other hand, there is nothing after this life on earth, then what difference does it make of some children die earlier than others?

    One additional problem I see with this position is the simple fact that all children die. The death rate is still pretty much 100%. So, by what objective measure does one quantify what age is the most appropriate to die?

    Look, everyone here could produce volumes of evidence to support the notion that we will all be judged by God at some point. That the scriptures teach this is virtually undisputed. Given that the important issue seems to be not, “Will we be judged”, but “By what standard will we be judged?”. Somehow, I suspect that God isn’t going to refer to the MW dictionary when He judges.

  125. “Little Thing:

    I can feel you in there. I’ve got twice the appetite and half the energy. It breaks my heart that I don’t feel the enchantment that I’m supposed to feel. I am both sorry and not sorry.

    I am sorry that this is goodbye. I’m sad that I’ll never get to meet you. You could have your father’s eyes and my nose and we could make our own traditions, be a family. But, Little Thing, we will meet again. I promise that the next time I see that little blue plus, the next time you are in the same reality as me, I will be ready for you.

    Little Thing, I want you to be happy. More than I want good things for myself, I want the best things for the future. That’s why I can’t be your mother right now. I am still growing myself. It wouldn’t be fair to bring a new life into a world where I am still haunted by ghosts of the life I’ve lived. I want you to have all the things I didn’t have when I was a child. I want you to be better than I ever was and more magnificent than I ever could be. I can’t do to you what was done to me: Plant a seed made of love and spontaneity into a garden, and hope that it will grow on only dreams. Love and spontaneity are beautiful, but they have little merit. And while I have plenty of dreams to go around, dreams are not an effective enough tool for you to build a better tomorrow. I can’t bring you here. Not like this.

    I love you, Little Thing, and I wish the circumstances were different. I promise I will see you again, and next time, you can call me Mom.

    -h”

    The above is a letter posted on social media purporting to be from a woman preparing to abort her child. When I referenced this earlier I said I have no idea if this is true or some kind of a hoax or propaganda. What is real, though, is the groundswell of support for this woman to abort. She is called brave and her letter referred to as “heartwarming”. What is also real is the hundreds/thousands of people who have offered help to this woman, including offering to adopt the “Little Thing”.

    It’s amazing how worked up some folks get about an event that occurred thousands of years ago, in which some “innocent” children were killed, while at the same time rationalizing the above mindset as simply “choosing a medical procedure” or whatever.

    It seems like the outrage over the killing of innocent children in the present deserves to be as important as something from a few thousand years ago.

  126. paynehollow says:

    Again, you are appealing to an approach to the Bible and interpretation that many people do not share. You could say that IF you start with the presumptions that

    There is a god
    this god inspired humans to write texts
    this text was basically written by this god
    the text that was written by this god is completely and perfectly compiled in the 66 books humans compiled into the Bible
    this text contains rulings about how to behave in all times and places
    you all are rightly interpreting these rulings

    and probably a few other presumptions…

    IF you accept these presumptions as reasonable, then you could make the case that your understanding is the “right” one. But not everyone starts with those presumptions and you have done nothing to prove you hold the right presumptions.

    So, on what basis do you hold these presumptions and think others should agree with you?

    Do you recognize that these presumptions are your human presumptions and that they are not biblical and that many people would consider them not rational and not even moral?

    I’m just not sure that you all are understanding that people do not share your human presumptions and feel no need to agree with them. Do you understand that?

    ~Dan

  127. Dan
    Simply pointing out that some small number of people disagree with Spurgeon and the the majority of theologians doesn’t prove anything. It certainly doesn’t prove that the minority is right. It proves that “disagreement” exists. To which I respond, so what, until you can demonstrate that your particular view has merit it’s just one more minority/aberrant/heretical hunch. You keep bringing up the fact that people disagree as if it has some larger meaning, but without support it’s just some hunch.

    • paynehollow says:

      So, what, you’re appealing to numbers as “proof” that your presuppositions are valid?

      Logical fallacy.

      Care to try to respond with hard data?

      On what basis should anyone accept your word or Spurgeon’s word that you have it “right…”?

      Or can you admit that it’s your own unprovable opinion, not a hard fact, not something God has told you?

      ~Dan

      • paynehollow says:

        Also:

        Do you recognize that these presumptions are your human presumptions and that they are not biblical and that many people would consider them not rational and not even moral?

        I’m just not sure that you all are understanding that people do not share your human presumptions and feel no need to agree with them. Do you understand that?

        • Dan, if “human presumptions” are the only thing every person has to work with, then how can you reasonably charge that it’s a liability?

          • paynehollow says:

            I have not said they are a liability. I’ve just noted the fact that they are there.

            I’m just noting that one can not reasonably say, “Given all these presumptions… 1, 2, 3, 4, 5… 10, tell me how you can disagree that my opinion is factual, and use my presumptions to answer, regardless of whether you agree with them…”

            Do you disagree?

            Do you recognize the presumptions that are present in your collective approach to discussing biblical readings and interpretations? Do you deny that these are human presumptions, not facts, nor “god’s word…”?

            ~Dan

          • paynehollow says:

            I also have not said that human presumptions are the only thing every person has to work with. We also have facts which can be validated, we have that which we can observe, test and measure.

            ~Dan

            • but isnt it your human presumptions that you interpret the facts with? And though you havent explicitly says human presumptions are a liability, you use it derisively as though anything thats just human presumptions is somehow tainted to the point where it cant be nailed down.

              • paynehollow says:

                Presumption (MW): a belief that something is true even though it has not been proved.

                When one presumes a point or set of points about a text, without facts to demonstrate or prove it, one is acting on presumptions.

                So, no, it is not presumptions we interpret facts with. Not at all.

                How are you defining presumption?

                And I’m just noting that IF one is going to presume some set of beliefs about a text ahead of time – without data to support it – that is fine if they so choose, BUT then can not reasonably expect everyone to just go along with their presumptions.

                Do you disagree? Do you think that just because some people presume that all Christians are liars and buffoons, that we should just accept those presumptions as facts in a conversation, or do you think it is reasonable to note that these are unsupported presumptions?

                Do you further agree that it is important for the sake of the conversation that everyone agree that these unsupported presumptions are acknowledged for what they are – and specifically that they are not givens – before continuing?

                ~Dan

        • “…you’re appealing to numbers as “proof” that your presuppositions are valid?”

          No, I’m suggesting that the positions I have come to are and have been the positions held by the majority of the Church for the majority of the last couple thousand years. So, while not “proof”, it is certainly not something outside the bounds of Orthodoxy.

          “…they are not biblical…” Except everything you listed has more scriptural support than your hunch that God loves “gay marriage”.

          “…and that many people would consider them…”

          So, immediately after suggesting that expressing the predominant view of Christians for the past couple thousand years is “…appealing to numbers…”, and is a “logical fallacy”, you proceed to employ the what you consider a logical fallacy to support your self. Well played.

          “… not rational and not even moral?”

          I was unaware that the opinions of “many people” are what decides if something is “rational” or “moral”. Since when has this been the case? If it is the case, then who are these people?

          • There is also the superfluous references to “other people” or “not everyone”, when clearly we are addressing our questions and concerns directly to Dan, and not “other people” or those “not everyone” who might not agree with us. Those people are free to join the conversation, but until they do, references to them are worthless. We aren’t conversing with them.

      • Dan,

        Of course you deciding that your list of preconceptions are actually preconceptions rather than the result of study, is based on your (inaccurate) preconceptions of those who disagree with you. I’m sure that proof that your list of preconceptions are really preconceptions is forthcoming sometime soon.

  128. paynehollow says:

    Craig…

    If, as Dan suggests Genesis is a myth a fable or an allegory

    Many of us would are that weare not suggesting that Genesis is myth, as if it were up to us and if we just claim it, it is so… No, we are saying the text itself suggests that, given the writing style, the time period it came from, the language used… the text itself suggests it is written in a mythic genre. And just like we need to read poetry with the recognition that it is coming from that genre and there is nothing radical or heretical about the notion.

    Do you agree that there is nothing weird or heretical about trying to understand the genre that a text is written in to best understand it?

    Would you concede that, if you are starting with the wrong belief about a genre, that you could very likely draw bad conclusions about any meaning of the text?

    Continuing, Craig said…

    …then there is no fall.
    If there is no fall, then there is no inherited sin nature.
    If there is no inherited sin nature, then there is no need for a savior.

    Agreed, there is no literal fall of humanity as described literally in Genesis, but so what? We still err, we can see that in the real world. We can still see that humanity “sins” or does wrong.

    No, of course there is not a “sin nature” in the sense that there is a biological part of our DNA that makes us sin. But just as we have an innate handedness, an innate sexual orientation and other innate qualities, so too, we can see that we have an innate, natural tendency to “sin,” or err and make bad judgments, leading to actions that cause harm to ourselves and others.

    So, just because by all evidence the Creation story is a myth, there is no need to say that we don’t “sin…” and if we want to philosophically call that a “sin nature,” there’s nothing irrational about it.

    Agreed?

    Craig…

    If sin is merely something we do, then it is within our power to not sin and if we can not sin then we have no need for a savior.

    If we’re treating the bible like a book of magic spells to deal with curses, then it makes some sense that a totem “magic blood” is necessary to wipe out the “curse” of “sin…” But even if we recognize that sort of explanation as a rather primitive view of the problem of sin, it does not mean that humanity doesn’t have a problem of sin.

    We can look at the war, abuse and oppression and see clearly that humanity has a sin problem. We can see objectively that, letting our meaner, more oppressive choices lead the way can lead to hell on earth, and we can see that we need salvation from that sin nature.

    Do we need magic blood, because an angry god is powerless to simply forgive sin? No, we have no rational reason to think this is true.

    But do we need a Way – one of Grace, love, forgiveness and justice – to keep us from hell and lead us to salvation? Yes, clearly we do.

    So, all of that to say that I would agree with what you appear to be saying, that if we try taking a text like the Genesis creation story as a literal history, it can cause us to have presumptions that would color our philosophies and religions; would cause us to hold some presumptions that, if it turns out we’re mistaken about the text, would not be valid.

    This is why I keep questioning: On what basis? Your basis appears to be a simple appeal that we accept your presumptions as fact, but you have to prove those presumptions first, you can’t just say, “Defend your position using the same presumptions that we hold, even though you don’t hold them…” We (folk like me) simply believe you have formed some poor presumptions based on a faulty reading of the text and, hopefully, you could at least agree that IF you are mistaken about how to read the text, then your presumptions are quite reasonably faulty which leads to your faulty conclusions about the text and other texts.

    But this false presumption (assuming it is false) does not do away with humanity’s sin problem.

    So, if you want to make your case, you all will have to demonstrate on what basis we should accept your presumptions – like that Genesis is rightly understood to be a literal history – are valid. Failing that, you can’t really blame us for rejecting your unproven presumptions.

    So, where you say…

    “Are we sinners because we sin, or do we sin because we’re sinners?” I’ve asked this before and don’t remember ever getting a clear answer. Clearly, if one tales the sinners because we sin view, then there a certain number of people who exist on this earth who are sinless. This is a position I’d love to see be supported explicitly from scripture.

    We DO answer, by pointing out that, by what seems rational to us, you have formed some faulty presumptions based on bad interpretations of how to approach Scripture.

    As to your question:

    In the English language, a “sinner” is, by definition, one who sins.

    Sinner (MW): someone who has done something wrong according to religious or moral law : someone who has sinned

    Now, if you want to make the argument that you are not using the standard English defintion of the word, but some different meaning, then it is encumbent upon you to make clear what non-standard definition you are assigning to the word, if you want to communicate in English.

    You have, thus far, taken offense to Merriam Webster presuming to have defintions of “innocent” “guilty” and “sinner” than “god” does, but you have not demonstrated that God does have different definitions of the terms.

    If you want to use, “sinner” for instance, to mean “walrus” then if you want to communicate in English, you need to make that clear. If you want to suggest that God defines “sinner” as “walrus” then you’ll want to make your case for that, if you want to communicate in English.

    But you shouldn’t get angry or upset or accusatory if people “dare” to use English words in their standard definitions.

    ~Dan

    • Dan,
      Since you have never provided one source that backs up your suggestion that Genesis is a “myth” or whatever, it is quite accurate to say that you are making the suggestions about what genre you believe Genesis to be. If you are going to use what you have called the logical fallacy of appealing to numbers, then it seems that you would at least provide some evidence of the numbers you are appealing to.

      The point in my question is not to define the term sinner, it is to try to figure out what you believe causes sin. So, if you want to obfuscate by using semantic dodges go ahead. But I suspect you understand the question and why I ask, which is why you haven’t given a straight answer.

      • paynehollow says:

        Craig…

        Since you have never provided one source that backs up your suggestion that Genesis is a “myth” or whatever, it is quite accurate to say that you are making the suggestions about what genre you believe Genesis to be.

        We are all making guesses – educated or not – about what genre Genesis might be. Do you understand that? You do understand, don’t you, that it’s a mistaken idea to presume it’s “right” to suppose Genesis is literal history and the burden is on those who disagree to prove it?

        As to why I make that educated guess, I have provided support for that many times.

        1. It is written in a time period prior to modern history (which historians say began in the range of 500 BC to 500 AD); in a time when people told mythic stories to explain their origins.

        2. It reads like a myth, not like literal history. “And that is how the rainbow came to be in the sky…” “and that is how languages developed…” “and that is why there is pain in childbirth…” “and that is why the snake has no legs…” on and on, it reads as if it were written in a mythic style.

        3. Taken as literally history, it contradicts known science and plain simple reasoning.

        Other than tradition (which you cite) we have no rational reasons to suppose it is written in a literal history style. Tradition has its place, but it alone is not in any way proof.

        Craig…

        The point in my question is not to define the term sinner, it is to try to figure out what you believe causes sin. So, if you want to obfuscate by using semantic dodges go ahead. But I suspect you understand the question and why I ask, which is why you haven’t given a straight answer.

        Seriously, WTF? What question is it you think I have not answered?

        I answered directly: A sinner is one who sins, in the English language. What dodge? What semantics? That is simple word meanings in our common language.

        You asked “Are we sinners because we sin…?” And I answered directly, Yes, we are sinners because we sin, in the English language.

        Given all the questions you are completely ignoring and that I have answered your questions – extremely directly, this is just a bizarre statement to make. Come on, Craig, be better than that.

        Why don’t you take a turn answering questions directly?

        ~Dan

        • Dan,
          Of course you must realize that your #’s 1, 2, and 3, are just unsupported assertions and not proof. In fact, you have never provided even one source that supports your hunch.

          So, you are saying that you are certain that we are sinners because we sin. You are not saying that we sin because we are sinners. Is that an accurate statement of your position? Further is it safe to say that you have reached this position based on dictionary definitions and your own Reason, not through Biblical study?

          “Why don’t you take a turn answering questions directly?”

          Over the past week or two I’ve directly answered somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 of your questions. I have not done it here, but I have done it.

          So, what question is it that you say I haven’t answered?

        • “Do you understand that? You do understand, don’t you, that it’s a mistaken idea to presume it’s “right” to suppose Genesis is literal history and the burden is on those who disagree to prove it?”

          Why would I not expect someone who is making a claim to offer proof of the claim. You are making the claim that Genesis is not literal history, that it is something else, This claim runs counter to thousands of years of study from both Jewish and Christian scholars, so it would seem reasonable to expect that you back it up.

          Unless, of course, you are seriously suggesting that you’re simply guessing and really have nothing besides your own feelings and Reason to support your guess.

          In which case, you need to stop stating your guesses as fact.

      • paynehollow says:

        Craig…

        The point in my question is not to define the term sinner, it is to try to figure out what you believe causes sin.

        We “sin” when we choose to do that which causes harm. It is a choice we make because humans are not perfect beings, we are sometimes selfish, sometimes greedy, sometimes dishonest, etc. So, humans “cause” sin when we choose to do wrong. We can see this rationally in the world regularly and can see, therefore, that it is an accurate assessment.

        Do I think that I (and you) “sin” or do wrong because a legged snake (back before snakes lost their legs) tricked a woman who was created from a rib of a man into biting the fruit of a tree in the Garden of Eden, which is off the Euphrates River and now guarded by an angel with a flaming sword? No, why would I? That is a tremendous, insightful mythic story that explained “how sin began” to an earlier people, not a scientific, historic explanation of the science and history behind “sin…”

        What is your answer to your own question?

        ~Dan

  129. paynehollow says:

    Craig…

    Please show me the place where baby and innocent are synonyms ?…

    and…

    Dan, keeps throwing out terms like “innocence” and “guilt” to describe children. In reality these are legal terms, not theological.

    I have not said that they are synonyms. I’ve stated that newborn babes are innocent, by definition. And I don’t mean by legal definition, I mean just by common, everyday English usage according to the MW dictionary.

    Merriam Webster:

    Innocent: 1a. free from guilt or sin especially through lack of knowledge of evil : blameless an innocent child

    Just to make that clear.

    I’m not speaking of legal terms, I’m speaking of every day English words that are used in every day language. There is nothing tricky or obscure about the concept.

    Craig, do you really not think of a newborn babe as the very definition of innocent, as used in every day language? Is anyone else finding Craig’s weird objection to the notion of “innocent babes” exceedingly odd and a bit frantic?

    ~Dan

    • Again with the irrelevant questions. Instead, argue against the FACT that Scripture records God commanding the annihilation of entire towns and cities, including infants. There has been no claim that the infants were guilty of any overtly sinful act. Thus, no need to discuss this as a reason why God ordered them put to death along with their parents.

      –Dan presumes to conflate God’s will for our behavior with a standard by which He must abide.

      –We “presume”, based on Scriptural teaching, that God is not like us, does not think like us, and can have plans and intentions that are not clear to us, nor require that we understand or approve.

      –Dan presumes that a command to Israel to destroy is a command to sin.

      –We “presume” that no command from God can be sinful for us to obey, as Scripture teaches us that God is perfectly Holy, Just and Good, and therefore a command from Him to do anything is thus perfectly Holy, Just and Good.

      –Dan presumes that because one guy he’s cited in the past claims that there is some line of demarcation before which history was recorded in some, less than literal style, that Scripture from that same period MUST be taken as mythical or less than literally.

      –We “presume” that Scripture stands apart from ANY ancient text, particularly of the religious variety, given that we believe the God of the Bible is the One, True God that absolutely exists and therefore, the record of His revelation and actions/interactions in the OT are reliably recorded.

      I could go on, but doing so would only demonstrate the lack of conviction Dan has in his alleged belief in the One True God of Scripture.

  130. “Innocence
    Innocence is a term used to indicate a lack of guilt, with respect to any kind of crime, or wrongdoing. In a legal context, innocence refers to the lack of legal guilt of an individual, with respect to a crime.”

    1.free from moral wrong; without sin; pure:

    2.free from legal or specific wrong; guiltless:
    innocent of the crime.
    3.not involving evil intent or motive:
    an innocent misrepresentation.
    4.not causing physical or moral injury; harmless:

    in·no·cent adjective \ˈi-nə-sənt\
    not guilty of a crime or other wrong act
    not deserving to be harmed

    Just a couple of other “standard” English language definitions of innocent. In actuality you are misrepresenting the MW definition by saying “newborn babes are innocent, by definition.”. If you look at the MW definition, one of the definitions reads “free from guilt or sin especially through lack of knowledge of evil “. That is the extent of that definition, then it adds as an example of how to use the term in that sense “”. Quite clearly MW is NOT using a child as the definition of innocent, but as an example of usage. But even it it was being used as you propose, it still does not define ALL children as innocent. It just doesn’t.

    Of course, you still can’t demonstrate how the God who you don’t know much about is required to use the MW definition when engaging in the judgement you don’t think happens.

  131. paynehollow says:

    Craig: Do. you. Think. A. Newborn. Sins/does wrong?

    Simple question. You can say yes and demonstrate that you are out of touch with reality or that you are using some strange, non-standard definition of “sin” “innocent” and all these other terms, or you can say No and establish that you are not delusional, at least on this point.

    Time to answer.

    I have no more time to talk with you if you are delusional. Sympathy for you? Yes, but no more time.

    ~Dan

    • Dan: I. think.that. there. is. ample.Biblical.evidence. to. support. the contention. that everyone. is. born. with a. nature. that. is. sinful.

      Dan: do.you.think. that.children. are. born. sinless. and remain. sinless. until. they first. commit. an. actual. sin?

      • paynehollow says:

        Of course they are. Do you have any hard data – and here, I’m not talking about crazy-as-hell biblical interpretations, but hard data – that a baby has sinned?

        What sin have they committed?

        Do you recognize that you sound crazy when you say that?

        Yes, people are not sinners until they sin. By definition.

        You are delusional if you disagree.

        ~Dan

  132. paynehollow says:

    Marshall…

    Instead, argue against the FACT that Scripture records God commanding the annihilation of entire towns and cities, including infants. There has been no claim that the infants were guilty of any overtly sinful act. Thus, no need to discuss this as a reason why God ordered them put to death along with their parents.

    I can not get John or Craig to give a direct answer to some simple questions, Marshall. Can you answer them?

    Do newborn babies sin/do wrong?

    If so, what?

    [Also, if so: You’re delusional, at least on that point…]

    Are babies not the very definition of innocent?

    And thus, are babies not the antithesis of “guilty…”?

    There is reason to discuss it, Marshall, because you all seem to be putting forth a case that babies are not innocent, that they are guilty. So, we need some clarification here. If you can answer in a non-delusional way, maybe you can talk with your comrades and get them to answer directly what should be an easy question.

    As to “the fact” that there is text that shows God commanding people to kill babies, no one is disputing that the text is there. Do you understand that?

    What is in dispute is should we take these stories as literal history?

    And if you do, why should anyone take your opinion as more valid than those who disagree with you? On what basis?

    Thus far, it appears your basis has been the rather silly, “it’s in the text…” That is silly because no one is disputing whether the line exists, we’re disputing the interpretation that you are laying upon it.

    On what basis is your opinion (that God truly factually did command people to kill a whole nation, including its children and babies) more reliable/valid than those who would disagree with you?

    That is what remains unanswered.

    ~Dan

    • “Are babies not the very definition of innocent?”

      Not according to the MW definition you posted.

    • Dan,

      The question is not “do babies do wrong?” (though I would insist that screaming for food and then pooping their diapers afterwards is very, very wrong). And only you have sought to discuss that question, while no one on this side is concerned with discussing whether or not babies consciously choose to steal, lie, murder or juggle kittens. No. The question is whether or not they are sinners like the rest of us. You insist that one is a sinner because one sins. That isn’t Scriptural at all. We have sin natures and thus we sin. This is basic Biblical teaching and the reason we need a Savior who was a perfect sacrifice, because no sacrifice of ours could ever possibly suffice in appeasing god. You don’t like the sound of that, but that, too, is basic Biblical teaching.

      So you can bag that idiotic question in your idiotic question bag whence comes so many of your questions. It is irrelevant to the discussion. And by the way, Romans 5:18-19 is but one piece of evidence to support the notion that even babies are not “innocent” of sin. Try some truly serious study without using your “God-given” reason (it doesn’t work).

      Gotta go.

  133. paynehollow says:

    Craig, you cited more definitions of innocent, but they all support what I’ve said. Look at them:

    1.free from moral wrong; without sin; pure:

    A newborn is free from moral wrong and without sin (ie, having committed zero sins… how could they?); a newborn is pure.

    Thus, by definition, a baby is innocent.

    continuing…

    2.free from legal or specific wrong; guiltless:
    innocent of the crime.

    of course, even you should be able to agree to this one. Continuing…

    3.not involving evil intent or motive:
    an innocent misrepresentation.

    Again, a baby can not have an evil motive, their brain is not developed that way. Thus, by definition, a newborn is innocent. Again.

    4.not causing physical or moral injury; harmless:

    Again, by definition, a newborn is innocent.

    By each of your definitions, a newborn is innocent.

    Thanks for the backup.

    ~Dan

  134. “A newborn is free from moral wrong and without sin (ie, having committed zero sins… how could they?); a newborn is pure.”

    What kind of proof can you offer that conclusively demonstrates that newborns are 100% free from any sin/sin nature/or bent to sin?

    “By each of your definitions, a newborn is innocent.”

    I would agree that from a dictionary standpoint that a baby would be considered innocent. However, you didn’t say “a baby is innocent”, you said that a baby was the “definition of innocence”. So, while I baby would be an example of innocence, in the dictionary dense, a baby is clearly not the definition of innocent.

    Further, you are still presuming that God would judge a baby according the the MW dictionary definition, or that you know how God judges babies and we don’t. So, please prove your point. To be clear, I’m not quibbling about your opinion about if babies are sin free or not. You have made the argument that the specific babies in the specific areas that God commanded the Israelites to annihilate were 100% innocent. This is a claim that you have made multiple times, so provide some proof.

    Alternately, provide some proof that God did not actually command the Israelites to annihilate the peoples that the Bible claims He did.

    Either way, you are making the claims, you should be able to provide the proof.

  135. paynehollow says:

    No, Craig, you are making the crazy claim – newborns sin. Anytime somebody makes a crazy claim – one that sounds delusional as hell, as if the claimant has lost touch with reality – the onus is on them to prove the crazy claim.

    As to the claim that you think god commands people to kill babies, again, you’re making the crazy-sounding claim, the onus is on you to support it.

    There is no data that supports a claim that a god is out there who commands people to kill babies. Feel free to support it.

    But if you merely point to the Bible and say, “I think it means this…” that is not data, that is just pointing to your own opinion.

    Failing any hard data, I will just wish you good luck with your delusions.

    ~Dan

  136. paynehollow says:

    Craig…

    do.you.think. that.children. are. born. sinless. and remain. sinless. until. they first. commit. an. actual. sin?

    So, just to point out the craziness of this position, are newborns also thieves before the steal? Murderers before they murder? Rapist before they rape?

    Get some help.

    ~Dan

  137. Dan,
    You expect hard data, yet you provide none. You get upset when you claim others misrepresent your positions , yet you feel free to misrepresent others position. Somehow you think that’s rational.

    • paynehollow says:

      If I say, “I have a purple unicorn in my back yard, and it’s telling me to eat squirrels, so that is what I must do, and you must accept it, too, if you don’t want to be swallowed by the Great Purple Unicorn…” and if there is no data to support that outlandish claim, everyone else has a right to dismiss it as outlandish and delusional. They don’t need to provide support to dismiss out of hand what seems crazy.

      If you say, “Newborn babies commit sins, they are sinners and thus, guilty – not innocent…” that is an outlandish claim. The onus is on you to demonstrate support for it or admit, “I have no support other than my opinions and my interpretations of my sacred texts…”

      At this point, the latter is probably the best option for you.

      Regardless, I have no responsibility to “prove” that babies don’t commit sins – that is the obvious, observable real world case, not the outlandish one.

      And yes, that is rational.

      So, is that a “NO, Dan, I will not be providing anything to support my opinions, other than cite other people whose opinions agree with my opinions, but all of which are not based on anything other than our opinions and interpretations…”?

      If so, then you really have zero standing anyway, to demand that I support my rational case which is self-evident and observable and not delusional-sounding on the face of it.

      ~Dan

      • “…to demand that I support my rational case which is self-evident and observable and not delusional-sounding on the face of it.”

        That’s pretty impressive, you have pronounced your position “rational” “self-evident” and “observable” while providing absolutely zero “hard evidence” to back up your claim. Impressive that you raise your preconceptions to such heights.

        Of course, when you contrast your unsupported “case” with a position that I do not hold, one must wonder about your grasp of reality.

  138. paynehollow says:

    Craig…

    What kind of proof can you offer that conclusively demonstrates that newborns are 100% free from any sin/sin nature/or bent to sin?

    Just while I’m waiting to see if you try to answer the questions put to you/support the claims you have made, I’ll answer this one…

    In order to sin, one has to DO something. If one is sleeping, one can not sin. If one is in a coma, one can not sin. And, if one is newborn, one can not sin. What could they possibly do?

    That is the question that is on you, if you’re suggesting newborns “sin…”? What do they do?

    Sin involves deliberate, intentional misdeed, as we understand sin. It is a chosen bad action/thought.

    Unless you are arguing that a newborn is thinking impure thoughts as soon as they emerge, one simply can’t argue that they have done something, from a strictly rational point of view.

    Now, as to whether babies/people have a “sin nature,” that is a philosophical question, not a factual one. You can not demonstrate, via x-ray or MRI, a “sin nature” in people, newborn or not.

    We can all recognize that humans do err, and one way of explaining this proclivity to do wrong is to say we have a “sin nature…” or a “bent to sin…” But that is a philosophical question.

    The point I’m making/have been making is that – regardless if human infants have a “sin nature…” (a point which we can not prove/demonstrate, so it remains an unprovable hypothesis) – they have not committed a misdeed and are, in standard English terms, innocent and not guilty. They have not committed a sin, and thus, by definition, they are not sinners (one who sins).

    This is just self-evident. Unless you’re going to argue that infants are somehow committing some misdeed (again, a crazy notion) at 1 minute old, then one can not say they are a sinner, in standard English terms. Any more than you can say they are a murderer, thief or rapist. To do so is just silly, at best and delusional, at worst.

    ~Dan

  139. “Craig, you are making the crazy claim – newborns sin.”

    If I actually was making the above claim, then you might have a point. The problem is I am not and have not made the case that you would prefer that I had made. So, when you say that I am “making a crazy claim”, you are factually mistaken. Now, had you realized this the first time I had pointed it out and altered your statement, there wouldn’t be a problem. Instead you continue to claim that I have said something I haven’t while simultaneously trying to hide from the fact that you have made a claim, yet haven’t provided “hard data” while demanding that I do so. So, I’ll provide a bit of data for you, in the hopes you’ll do likewise.

    OK, so let’s look at this from a science perspective. The Dr. who autopsied John Wayne Gacy said the following. I’m sure you would have to agree that a Dr. is the kind of expert that should be listened to, right?

    “In her book, My Life Among the Serial Killers, Dr. Morrison commented on what she believed to be a genetically predetermined factor in people like Gacy: “He is a serial killer when he is a fetus, even as soon as sperm meets egg to create the genes of a new person.””

    So, we have a medical perspective that conflicts with your guess. Let’s see what the Bible might have to say about your guess.

    Psalm 51:5 and 58:3
    Ecclesiastes 7:20
    Jeremiah 17:9
    Isiah 64:6
    Romans 5:12
    1 John 1:8
    Galatians 5:17

    “…with Charles Spurgeon summing up the reality when he said: “As the salt flavors every drop in the Atlantic, so does sin affect every atom of our nature. It is so sadly there, so abundantly there, that if you cannot detect it, you are deceived.”

    So, it seems that there is a reasonable case to be made that your presumption is not automatically true, both from a scientific and a Biblical perspective.

    “In order to sin, one has to DO something.”

    Funny, Jesus would disagree with you. I believe that He was pretty clear that thoughts were tantamount to physical sinful acts.

    Regarding your “sin nature” comments, see the above. I have to congratulate you on the dodge though, you have just reduced thousands of years of theology to a “philosophical question”, which allows you to dismiss it as unimportant.

    Please, show me where you can with an x-ray or an MRI demonstrate that every single though an infant has is 100% pure?

    Look, I get it, in order for your position on the commands that the OT records as coming from God to remain coherent in your mind then it is vital for you to presume that the every single chile killed was 100% innocent based on a definition that didn’t exist at the time. So, why not just go all the way, why not just insist that it wasn’t God talking to the Israelites? The problem with this entire line of guesses, is that you haven’t established any basis that your guesses are remotely related to reality. You, deride us for our “preconceptions” (that you haven’t demonstrated that these are actual preconceptions is a tidbit you can’t be bothered with), yet you revel in yours.

    If you want to make the case that humans are born with no sin nature, make it. If you want to make the case that humans are born 100% sin free, make it. But, simply saying “it’s self evident” or “by definition” or whatever is not making a case with “hard data”. One the other hand, if you can’t make a case with “hard data” and this is just a “guess” on your part, then dial back the dogmatism and claims that your guess represents “reality” and that no other position possibly could.

  140. paynehollow says:

    Craig…

    If I actually was making the above claim, then you might have a point.

    You can’t rationally keep dodging a clarifying question and then, when you are misunderstood, say, “I didn’t say that! You’ve misunderstood me! Wahh.”

    So, I will ask you directly again and give you a chance to clarify so we can know what you are speaking of…

    Craig, do you think that newborn babies engage in sinful behavior? That they are guilty of having done something?

    Answer, please.

    Craig…

    it seems that there is a reasonable case to be made that your presumption is not automatically true, both from a scientific and a Biblical perspective.

    At the same time, when I DO give a clarifying answer (ie, I made quite clear that I have no problem talking about people having a “sinful nature…” that people do have a tendency towards imperfection), claim that my “presumption is not automatically true…” I have made it clear that humans DO have a tendency to sin, we all make errors and do wrong, it is part of the problem of the human condition.

    So, if you are criticizing me for not believing that, then you criticize in error.

    Craig…

    Funny, Jesus would disagree with you. I believe that He was pretty clear that thoughts were tantamount to physical sinful acts.

    Funny, you can’t understand my words. “Thinking” is doing something. I specifically mentioned “thought errors” when I spoke of being greedy, dishonest and selfish, etc.

    So, your mistake has been corrected. It would appear that Jesus does not disagree with me, whatever delusions or misunderstandings you may have.

    Awaiting your direct clarification.

    ~Dan

    • Dan, you Crabbed a while back when I interpreted your words to be that you now realize homosexuality is a sin. You in fact were quite adamant that I misunderstood you. Ironic huh.

      • paynehollow says:

        No, John, it is not. I have repeatedly asked clarifying questions that NONE of you has directly answered. In absence of a direct, clarifying answer to a simple question, your words have sounded like you are saying that babies are guilty of some wrong and that they are not innocent.

        In other words, if I have misunderstood, it is not from a lack of intense effort on my part.

        But here’s your chance, John, you can clarify right here, right now:

        Are newborn babies sinful – meaning “full of sin”? Have newborn babies committed sins? If so, which ones and how do you know/where is your support?

        Are newborn babies guilty of something? If so, what behavior are they guilty of and where is your evidence?

        Marshall appears to think that a newborn pooping and crying for food is evidence of sinful behavior, is he serious? If so, do any of you all recognize how crazy and immoral that is to make that sort of nutty claim?

        John, if you don’t want to be misunderstood, clarify. But you can’t hint at something, have questions asked of you and then refuse to answer them directly, and then complain about being misunderstood.

        That, too, is not indicative of strong mental health or reason.

        ~Dan

        • But dan, people are clear. Your problem is your refusal to take words at face value and persistently try to read between the lines. That’s why you think your clarifying questions are never answered: no one said what you’re reducing their statements to.

          So when you ask for clarity about babies being filthy sinners, you’re not going to get clarification because no one said that. What was said is God decides who is innocent and who is guilty. From that you began asking for clarification about sinning babies.

          • paynehollow says:

            So, why don’t you just answer the questions? I’m telling you: I’m not understanding exactly what you mean… can you clarify by answering these simple questions?

            If you don’t believe it, rather than ignoring the question altogether, why not say, “No, Dan, I do not believe that…”?

            Do you not understand that if you are using words that sound like you’re saying X and people think you’re saying X, but they have the good grace to ask you to clarify, “Do you mean X?” that a polite response is, “No, I do not mean X…”

            Again, you can’t refuse to clarify and then be surprised if people don’t understand your positions. This is just Communication 101.

            ~Dan

            • If you don’t understand then don’t restate what you think was said in the most uncharitable way. It doesn’t follow in any way possible to say that “God’s standard decides innocence and guilt” is similar to “babies are sinners”. You didn’t think that either, that’s just how you debase the other side.

              Instead of trying to restate our views to make us look like monsters, why not just say, you don’t understand, can you restate your view and give an example?

              • paynehollow says:

                John, if it sounds like, to me, you are saying, “Newborn babies are not innocent, they are guilty… of something…” Then what question do you want me to ask?

                The reasonable question, to me, is, “John, it sounds like you are saying that newborn babies are not innocent, that they are guilty of something. Is that what you’re saying?”

                Which is the question I asked.

                Why would you not (why have you still not) answer this question? If it’s not what you believe, then what’s the harm in saying, “NO, Dan, that is not what I am saying…”?

                ~Dan

          • paynehollow says:

            Besides, John, what you said – your words – clearly hint directly at the notion that babies sin and are guilty… of something. Your words that were at the start of this conversation…

            God would not command people to shed innocent blood or sin, true. Therefore if God commanded to kill a certain person, it stands to reason that either the person isn’t innocent by GOD’S standard (which the bible does say all have sinned thus no one is innocent)…

            The reasoning here – from you – is:

            1. “God would not command people to shed innocent blood” (your words)
            2. God commanded people in the Bible to kill others, including babies.
            3. Therefore, those babies were not innocent, by “GOD’s standards…”

            That is your reasoning, is it not? Directly from your words, right?

            Then, are you not saying that newborn babies have sinned? That they are guilty of something (according to “god,” in your opinion)?

            It’s not like I made this up out of thin air. You all appear to be saying that newborn babies are guilty of some sin behavior. But that is crazy and hard to believe rational people would think that, so I asked you to clarify. I STILL am asking you to clarify.

            ~Dan

            • I’m saying over and over again that:

              1. God can do with his creation whatever he wills, even destroy it.

              2. That our guilt or innocence is judged by God’s standard alone.

              Is this clear yet?

              • paynehollow says:

                ? It’s not an answer to the question I asked, John.

                I understand that you think 1 (and I agree) and that you think 2 (which I’m not sure is the best way to put it). But, I did not ask you, “John, do you think God can do whatever he wants with creation?” Did I?

                I asked, “John, are you saying that babies are guilty of something? That they are not innocent, that they are sinners – ones who have sinned?”

                Your answers are not to the questions I asked.

                If you think “I can’t say if babies are innocent, that is beyond my understanding, only god knows if they are innocent…” then say that.

                Is that what you are saying?
                That you are incapable of knowing if babies are innocent?
                Or, do you think that babies are not innocent?
                Or, do you think that babies are innocent?

                Why not directly answer the questions being asked? As it is, I still don’t know what you think on the matter. It sounds like to me, now, you are saying that you simply don’t know if babies are innocent – that such knowledge is beyond you.

                Could you clarify?

                ~Dan

              • I’m saying that God can do with his creation whatever he wants and that he is the sole judge of guilt and innocence. If God commands the death of a baby, that command falls into one of those two categories.

              • paynehollow says:

                Okay, John. I still don’t know what you think. Forget about the biblical babies that you believe god ordered to be killed. In general, do you think newborn babies are innocent of any sin, or do you think they are guilty of committing a sin.

                Let’s say, for a 1 minute old baby, have they committed a sin, in your estimation?

                Or do you not know?

                Or do you think it depends… that maybe some babies have committed a sin at one minute old, but not all babies?

                Can you answer that question?

                ~Dan

              • I don’t think they’d be guilty of any sin yet, but again it’s not my standard. Even still God can take any life at all because of his unique position as creator.

              • paynehollow says:

                I get that this is your opinion, John. I’m just asking the former question which now you have finally answered. You do not think they’d be guilty of any sin yet. That is all I’m asking for clarification. Your other response is to a different question other than what I’m asking.

                Thank you. I’m glad to hear you think newborn babies are not guilty of any sin, yet.

                ~Dan

              • “Craig, do you think that newborn babies engage in sinful behavior? That they are guilty of having done something?”

                1. I have never suggested the above position as one that I hold. You can tell this because I have a) never said it and b) already told you that I do not hold this position.
                2. I have already answered this question. You simply accusing me of dodging does not make it so.
                3. Just in case your too lazy to look, here we go again. I do not think that newborn babies engage in sinful behavior. I do subscribe to the historic Christian that the original sin is something that affects us all, in that we are born with an innate sin nature. This position (as I demonstrated in the above comment, is both a doctrine that has been accepted historically by Christians, but is also supported Biblically), is a completely Orthodox and rational position to hold.
                4. As Jesus taught us that sin is not just in action, and that we cannot know what newborns are thinking it is logically possible that they do in fact sin. I’m not suggesting this as a fact, just one of your it can’t be proven, but it is logically possible scenarios.

                “Okay, John. I still don’t know what you think. ”

                Then you are either being willfully obtuse, or just plain stupid, I see no other options.

  141. paynehollow says:

    Craig…

    If you want to make the case that humans are born with no sin nature, make it.

    I don’t want to make the case and I am not making that case. You can tell by the way I never suggested such a thing and, in fact, by the way I said the exact opposite of that.

    Craig…

    If you want to make the case that humans are born 100% sin free, make it.

    I am making the case, as I think has been clear if you’d just look at my words, that there is no evidence that babies are “guilty” of having committed some sin. That babies are the essence of the English word, Innocent.

    Do you disagree? If so, the provide your data to support your case. What specifically are babies guilty of? Where is your data to support that claim?

    If you actually agree with me – and have for lo, these several days and thousands of words – what the heck are you beefing about?

    Craig…

    But, simply saying “it’s self evident” or “by definition” or whatever is not making a case with “hard data”.

    The facts are:

    1. A new born baby, in the world for one minute, has not done a single action that is wrong. This is true for every baby ever born. There is no data to support the claim that any baby in all of human history has ever done an action – nor thought a thought – that was wrong.

    2. This IS hard data. It is the entire history of mankind, as far as we know it, which is a significant chunk of data.

    3. If you have hard data that puts the lie to my understanding of the obvious hard data, present it.

    4. If you can’t present any data to support the claim, then perhaps silence would be the better part of wisdom on your part.

    ~Dan

    • First off, that anyone could take my parenthetical statement regarding babies screaming for food and then filling their diapers afterwards as being very, very wrong to be more than the tongue-in-cheek aside it could only be, and then deride the person making it, suggests a great lack of Christian grace that I was under the impression was so incredibly essential.

      Secondly, I’m sorry to see that John felt any need to dignify Dan’s idiotic question regarding whether or not babies consciously sin, as the question does little to move the discussion along, and indeed, has unnecessarily bogged it down. Dan’s need to ask such questions as if he is sincerely seeking clarification also demonstrates a lack of Christian grace, as such inquiries assume a level of irrationality not apparent in his opponents. As John’s response suggests, it is far better to simply ask someone to expound further on a point being made rather than to suggest with such questions something derogatory and far from likely.

      Once again, this idiotic line of questioning stems from Dan’s refusal to accept that God would command the complete destruction of cities or towns, including the children in them, in order to punish those whose sin stained even the ground upon which the towns are built. Such “staining” is meant to imply the extent to which such people offended God, and to think it did not “stain” everything completely, even the children, can only mean readers such as Dan are not willing to accept Scripture’s complete description of the nature of God, simply because it offends Dan’s sensibilities. “No, no, no!! God simply CAN’T pass judgement in such a manner!! I can’t take it knowing that He is not the hippie, touchy-feely deity I require in order to believe!!” No. Dan demands that God must act according to what appeals to Dan and if any part of Scripture does not, then it is rejected as myth or some nonsensical “pre-modern history telling style”.

      As to that, we still have no clear understanding from Dan as to how those history recording methods manifest, how they lead Dan to believe he can dispense with those egregious assaults on Dan’s sensibilities. “They read like myth” because of the miraculous, yet Christ’s miracles, particularly His rising from the dead, can be believed…that is, unless Dan is pressed about his conviction regarding this truth.

      I would much prefer that Dan stop pretending our questioning of his positions require an understanding of what “not everyone” believes when we are ONLY asking him. I would much prefer that he stop wasting our time with how he insists our positions sound to others beyond his own sorry self, when we clearly are directing our comments and questions to him. And I would much prefer that he dispense with the very unChristian deceitfulness and demonizing so prevalent and obvious in the questions he chooses to ask us, that presume the worst about us. Where’s his cherished sense of Christian grace in that?

  142. paynehollow says:

    Marshall, try to wrap your mind around this: I ask questions, when I ask them, because I want to know the answer to them and I do not know. How do YOU go about getting answers to specific questions when you have them if you don’t ask them?

    And again, when someone says, and I quote:

    God would not command people to shed innocent blood or sin, true.
    Therefore if God commanded to kill a certain person, it stands to reason that either the person isn’t innocent by GOD’S standard
    (which the bible does say all have sinned thus no one is innocent)…

    The reasoning here – from John – is:

    1. “God would not command people to shed innocent blood” (your words)
    2. God commanded people in the Bible to kill others, including babies.
    3. Therefore, those babies were not innocent, by “GOD’s standards…”

    That is the reasoning, is it not? Directly from his words, right?

    Then, can you not see that it sure appears he is suggesting that the babies who were killed were not innocent. That they were guilty of something (according to “god,” in your opinion)?

    Seriously, I want to know your answer to that question: Do you not see how point 3. is the logical conclusion from his first two posits?

    Try another answer, fill in the blank…

    1. “God would not command people to shed innocent blood” (your words)
    2. God commanded people in the Bible to kill others, including babies.
    3. Therefore…

    Therefore… what? What goes in that spot, given his first two conditions? What do you think John meant there? Fill in the blank.

    ~Dan

    • “I ask questions, when I ask them, because I want to know the answer to them and I do not know.”

      I don’t believe, and I’m not up to sifting through all the comments to confirm it, that this is true at all. No. I believe you first decided to posit that any of us held a position that babies consciously engage in sinful behavior, and then you asked if we actually did believe it. Being a stupid question based on a stupid premise rational readers would not elicit from our words, the question stood as as much of an attack on the underlying presumption that we actually think babies consciously engage in sinful behavior. So how do I go about getting answers to that which sounds strange at first blush? I ask directly, “are you saying that you believe babies consciously engage in sinful behavior?” to which a simple “no” would more than suffice to let me know I totally misunderstood…for how could someone who insists on grace in discourse honestly believe that was even a possibility?

      You list your three points and believe #3 is a rational conclusion? This alone demonstrates the folly of using YOUR reasoning ever. So, let’s fill in the blank:

      1. “God would not command people to shed innocent blood” (your words)
      2. God commanded people in the Bible to kill others, including babies.
      3. Therefore…

      First of all, who said #1 besides yourself? While I might agree in principle, this does not mitigate the intentions God had for using the Jews to destroy a wicked people with whom God had lost patience. You again insist on holding God to standards that appeal to you as if He must answer to you. You insist on demanding He not do what He tells us not to do as if He is one of us.

      But John’s point was quite clear. You are demanding that God’s notion of what constitutes guilt or innocence, goodness or sinfulness, must match yours, ours or how He mandated WE regard it. John’s point aligns with the Biblical truth (from that Book of Truths you’ve heard so much about) that God’s mind is not like ours, that His plans might not be understood by us. I guess that’s just another aspect of God that you reject in order to maintain your unbiblical positions.

      BTW–waitin’ on ya at your place

  143. paynehollow says:

    Marshall…

    I would much prefer that Dan stop pretending our questioning of his positions require an understanding of what “not everyone” believes when we are ONLY asking him.

    Well, believe it or not, I am part of “everyone,” not all of who approach the Bible the same way as you do. You keep asking me to cite Scripture to prove my problems with your positions, but I do not use Scripture in that way, as you all do. I don’t believe in proof-texting. An argument can stand or fall on its own merit.

    For instance, aside from what the Bible says, I don’t think it is consistently rational to say there is a just and loving god who would command people to kill others, especially babies. That is just morally irrational and rationally inconsistent, just as a point of reason, as I understand it.

    Now, in addition to my reasoning on this (and of course, I am not alone), I can point to biblical texts that say things like “don’t shed innocent blood” as an ancient teaching to ancient peoples. And I can note that the case can be made that this was just as true for ancient people’s as it is today.

    I can note that in an effort to “make the Bible consistent” some people would look at those commands against shedding innocent blood and the teachings of where God says “I will not tempt anyone to sin…” in contrast with one where god commands the shedding of innocent blood, and they attempt to bridge this apparent inconsistency by saying, “Well, clearly, god DID command those people to kill babies [and they offer no proof for this other than it appears in the text – but who says the text is literal history? No one but them] so when god commanded the killing of people, including babies, well, god knows who is innocent and who is not – maybe those babies were not innocent in god’s eyes… or regardless, god is god and can do what god wants…” which, to me, is not a very intellectually deep manner of dealing with the rational inconsistency. Why do they cling to the insistence that these stories represent literal history? Well, because we’ve always done so…, but that is not a compelling argument.

    At any rate, I can point to my problems with your biblical arguments – and have – but that does not change the notion that it is not consistently rational to say there is a just and loving god who would command people to kill others, especially babies. Those two ideas don’t mix, from a purely rational point of view.

    At that point, you all always appeal to “Well, but your reason may not be god’s reason…” and indeed, none of us can say that our reason is god’s reason, but to the degree that it is true for me, it is also true for you, so that claim does not help your argument.

    And so I am left with the opinion that your arguments – regardless of what you think the Bible teaches – are morally and rationally bankrupt. And I suppose you think the same of mine. And so we disagree. Now, what?

    ~Dan

    • “Well, believe it or not, I am part of “everyone,””

      Well, believe it or not, no one is talking to “everyone”. We’re talking to YOU. When we have questions of what “everyone” thinks, we’ll run a poll. As your reasoning has been shown to be highly questionable and of low quality, “not everyone” will be pleased to be grouped together with you. Speak for yourself alone. Pretending ANYONE agrees with you doesn’t mean a damned thing as to the validity of your positions and opinions.

      “For instance, aside from what the Bible says, I don’t think it is consistently rational to say there is a just and loving god who would command people to kill others, especially babies.”

      Then you don’t have a solid understanding of the God you claim to worship. You reject as “immoral” that which offends you personally. Well, guess what? I find hell to be offensive, but we’re taught, in both testaments, of God’s judgement against sinners and those who do not put their faith in Him. You create for yourself a God that doesn’t offend you. You do not worship the actual God depicted in Scripture.

      “I can point to biblical texts that say things like “don’t shed innocent blood” as an ancient teaching to ancient peoples.”

      But you can’t show where God is held to this command He gave to those people. He takes innocent life all the time and still does. How He chooses to do it is His concern and He is not beholden to your touchy-feely standards.

      And again, it is not anyone here who is insisting that those dead infants were “innocent” in any way, but only that God included them in the destruction he mandated. But it is YOU who insists that if God uses human agency to destroy whomever He mandates should die, that He is then commanding those people to sin. A clear and purposeful corruption of what it means to sin.

      “And so I am left with the opinion that your arguments – regardless of what you think the Bible teaches – are morally and rationally bankrupt.”

      No. That would be your opinion of our position, because yours are based on YOU and ours are based on HIM as revealed to us in Scripture.

  144. paynehollow says:

    …which brings us right back to the penultimate question:

    On what basis should we say your opinion is somehow more reliable than mine?

    From where I stand, you all are advocating the notions that
    * a loving and just god exists, and
    * that this god sometimes commands/has commanded the killing of innocents – down to and including infants
    * that maybe those infants are not innocent, by what you may be calling “god’s standards”
    * but you have no support for this notion of “god’s standards” beyond your own opinions/interpretations to which you are appealing
    * that from your opinion/interpretation (but nothing else) you believe that this “god’s standard” is so harsh and unforgiving, that some few years’ worth of “sin” in a person’s life – if they don’t believe and confess their sins in just the right way and just the right sins – is “fairly” condemned to this loving and just god to an eternity of suffering, and that you all think this is “just” but think this based on your own reasoning/interpretations of these texts, but nothing more than your opinions on it…

    etc, very little of which is moral or rational or biblical to me, and none of which is provable. So again, IF I find your reasoning on these points to be irrational, immoral and unbiblical, on what basis should I give priority to your opinions about these matters?

    I can’t think of a single rational reason and if you are appealing to people to make your case, you have to provide some reason to go the (what seems to them/us) irrational and immoral path you are advocating.

    Do you have any basis on which I should change my mind?

    ~Dan

  145. “On what basis should we say your opinion is somehow more reliable than mine?”

    One basis is that yours are based on YOU and ours are based on HIM as revealed to all in Scripture.

    I’m out of time, though I’d love to correct your purposeful and continued misinterpretations of our positions. I cannot guarantee any time over the next four days to a week for blogging. I would, however, love to see a response to my question at your blog when I do.

  146. paynehollow says:

    Marshall…

    One basis is that yours are based on YOU and ours are based on HIM as revealed to all in Scripture.

    And I say you are mistaken, clearly. On what basis, then, is your opinion “right” and mine “wrong…”?

    Is it on your say-so alone, because that is what you offer above. “Marshall says that Dan’s basis is his alone and his basis is ‘god’s’, so that is why Marshall thinks Dan is mistaken…”

    But who is to say that your hunches – crazy and immoral as they sound on the face of it – are based on God’s?

    On what grounds can you make that claim?

    Yes, you look to Scripture, but I do, too. So, what?

    In addition to scripture, I use my innate reasoning. Do you?

    Is that why you think your opinion (in your opinion) is superior? Because you do not rely upon any of your own reasoning, instead taking your cues entirely from the Bible?

    ~Dan

  147. Last night I finally realized how absurd this conversation is. All I am doing is agreeing that there is such a thing as original sin and the was as humans inherit a sin nature that is with us at birth. Both of these have been settled theology for both Christians and Jews for the vast majority of both groups histories. Yet, Dan somehow comes along and pretends as if this concept is something that I just pulled out of thin air and that the whole idea is “crazy” and not in line with his reality. While he is the one proposing a departure from the historical position of the Christian church, he insists that I must defend settled theology, while he has no burden to prove that his deviance from the Orthodox position is correct.

    The more I think about it the more I realize how ridiculous it is that Orthodox doctrine is treated as some “crazy” made up guess, while the actual made up guess gets a pass.

    So, while I’ve answered literally 100+ of Dan’s questions recently, and I will answer the ones that start where I left off and continue to the end of this thread, I will not dignify Dan’s aberrant theological guesses with the time to refute them. If he wants to make a positive Biblical case to support his position, fine, but I’m done with “that’s crazy” as the catch all response to anything.

    • paynehollow says:

      I understand, Craig, that you think it’s absurd that some people do not agree with tradition on this point. Tradition has always been around. The majority in the Christian tradition have long supported the notion that God really did command people to kill babies. I understand the absurdity – from your point of view – that some people, Christians included, may disagree or question tradition on this point.

      Okay?

      Do you understand that some people, like me, find it absurd to suggest that 1. God sometimes commands people to kill babies and 2. The notion that newborn babies are not innocent of any sin?

      You seem to be getting in a huff, but just step outside your evangelical box for a second: Do you not see how immoral it sounds, at least on the face of it, to suggest that a just and loving god might command the killing of babies?

      If you can just understand how absurd that sounds – even if you ultimately disagree with us, you should at least be able to muster some patience in dealing with reasonable questions/concerns coming from our direction.

      Also, you keep talking as if I don’t agree in the philosophical notion of a “sin nature…” If you are merely upset that I don’t think that humanity has what we might call a “sin nature,” then you are getting upset mistakenly, because clearly I do think we have a “bent to sin.”

      I am just disagreeing that

      1. We “inherited” this “sin nature” from “Adam…” As someone who is deeply concerned with right interpretation of the Bible, I just disagree with a literal interpretation of Genesis because it makes Christianity more of an ancient voodoo religion with “curses” and “magic cures” in “blood sacrifices…” I think all of these notions are best understood – biblically and rationally – as metaphor/symbolic.

      2. we ought to take the Bible as a “rulings book,” wherein we find answers to questions like “Are all people – including babies, ‘sinners…”? Well, let’s look at our rulings book and… yes, yes, here we find it… “all have sinned and fallen short…” and there we have it: God’s answer!” I disagree with this approach to the Bible, precisely because I cherish the Bible and the lessons that we can learn from it, when rightly interpreted.

      3. Of course, newborns have not committed a sin, we can only reach that sort of conclusion if we use the Bible as this “rulings book,” mistakenly lifting a line from the Bible to produce a “fact,” that is not supported by reality.

      But just because folk like me – Christians who love the Bible and its teachings – don’t take it the same way as you do does not make our concerns and considerations meaningless – points to be ignored.

      We are all part of the family, we should disagree in that spirit. And the beginning point for that is humility – not presuming that our presumptions are fact when they are, in fact, opinion. That recognition should produce a humility within us that makes disagreement more palatable and respectful.

      One man’s opinion.

      ~Dan

      • Dan
        You just wasted an entire response responding to what you wish I would have said rather than what I actually said.

        The absurd part is not that you and se tiny fringe disagree with historic Christianity, that is assumed. What is absurd is that you insinuate that my adherence to historic Christian doctrine is just some whim I came up with and that it’s “crazy”.

        If you have “hard evidence” to demonstrate that the vast majority of Christianity is wrong on these things, please provide it. If not, stop pretending that you are right and the vast majority of historic Christianity is wrong.

        As I said earlier I’ve answered over a hundred of your direct questions elsewhere and re answered your burning question here. I don’t think you have much room to bitch about not answering questions.

        • paynehollow says:

          Craig…

          If you have “hard evidence” to demonstrate that the vast majority of Christianity is wrong on these things, please provide it.

          ? I have pointed out that you and I apparently agree with the concept of a “sinful nature” in humanity. What is it you think I’m saying the “majority of Christianity” is mistaken on?

          Taking ancient texts literally?

          Again, you all are making the rather hard to believe claims. The onus is on you to support them. I can’t prove a negative. What do you want me to do? Unearth an architectural arrow that somehow shows that God did not literally command a mass slaughter? What would that evidence look like? A quote directly from God saying, “No, I didn’t do that…”?

          You all are making the positive claim, it is on you to support it if you wish to support it. Otherwise, you are free to believe as you wish, you just can’t expect that people will take you seriously based on your word alone – or your word backed by the vast majority of Christians. That is an appeal to numbers and is a logical fallacy.

          For my part, I don’t have a single problem with you believing things you can’t prove. I just object to the treating of those who disagree as heretics, ignorant or worse for the mere sin of disagreeing with you on a point you can’t support.

          Will you not extend the same grace that I extend to you?

          ~Dan

    • paynehollow says:

      Craig…

      Both of these have been settled theology for both Christians and Jews for the vast majority of both groups histories.

      I’m not sure that Jewish folk agree with you, Craig…

      According to Rabbi Singer…

      The term “original sin” is unknown to the Jewish Scriptures, and the Church’s teachings on this doctrine are antithetical to the core principles of the Torah and its prophets.

      http://outreachjudaism.org/original-sin/

      Or from the Jews for Judaism website…

      Jews do not believe in the doctrine of original sin.

      Or any other Jewish site I could find. I think you misspoke at least on that point, just as a point of correction.

      ~Dan

  148. paynehollow says:

    I understand that this is your personal, human opinion, John, but I do not at all agree that this is reality. It is your opinion, not a fact.

    Do you understand that?

    Can you cite even one place where, given the interpretation I have of the Bible, I interpret any passages to mean the opposite of what it says?

    Is the fact that, when Jesus said, “Sell your possessions and give to the poor,” that you interpret that NOT to mean you personally should sell your belongings and give to the poor, but something else more like, “I can keep my belongings, but I should be concerned about the poor, but we probably should not give to them, because that just makes them dependent… (is that close to your opinion?)” mean that you interpret passages to mean the opposite of what they say and that, therefore, your opinions are not trustworthy?

    ~Dan

    • Dan,
      1. Can you demonstrate that the “sell all your possessions” commandment was intended for anyone other than the rich young ruler? Hard evidence only.
      2. If you believe this to be a general commandment to the entire Church throughout history, then why did the Church in Acts not recognize it as such?
      3. Are you serioulsy making the argument that the best of all possible options to care for the poor is that everyone who is a believer should sell all of their possessions and give the proceeds to the poor?
      4. Can you demonstrate that taking Jesus statement as what it, in context, appears to be is actually interpreting it to mean the “opposite” of what it really means?
      5. Many rational believers interpret this passage as Jesus telling the man that his possessions are what is standing between him and what he is seeking. So, the command was essentially a restatement of the “Thou shall have no other God’s before Me” commandment, and not a blanket rejection of wealth. Can you provide hard evidence that this interpretation is wrong and that yours is right?
      6. If you believe this to be a blanket command to the Church throughout history, then how many possessions do you have left.

  149. 7. So, now are you suggesting that you can embrace the “Bible as a rule book” when you think it serves your position?

  150. paynehollow says:

    So you want to ask me questions when you are not willing to answer reasonable, simple questions? On what basis should I answer your questions, then?

    But, because it amuses me, I’ll respond at least a bit…

    Where you ask…

    1. Can you demonstrate that the “sell all your possessions” commandment was intended for anyone other than the rich young ruler? Hard evidence only.

    …you have mistaken the source. I’m referencing Luke 12, where Jesus is speaking to his disciples as a group. The passage begins (in verse 22)…

    And He said to His disciples

    and goes on down to his command to his disciples (ie, all his followers?)…

    sell your belongings and give to the poor.

    So, if one is a biblical literalist, as you all try to be, Jesus is literally saying to his disciples to sell their belongings and give to the poor. Point blank. This following a story where Jesus chastised the wealthy for storing up treasure.

    2. If you believe this to be a general commandment to the entire Church throughout history, then why did the Church in Acts not recognize it as such?

    I don’t take it as a general command throughout history. I don’t take the Bible to be a rule book. But you all do. So, to be consistent, why do you not take this commandment literally?

    3. Are you serioulsy making the argument

    No. But then, I’m not treating the Bible as a rule book.

    4. Can you demonstrate that taking Jesus statement as what it, in context, appears to be is actually interpreting it to mean the “opposite” of what it really means?

    Jesus told his disciples, literally, to sell their belongings. John (I presume) does not believe he should sell his belongings. Is that not the opposite?

    Jesus told his disciples, literally, to give to the poor. John (or many conservatives, anyway) do not believe in giving directly to the poor. That is at least sort of opposite.

    Again, I don’t take the Bible that way, so I’m not saying this at all. But by John’s measure (the false and unsupported “You take a text to mean the opposite of what it says”), it seems a reasonable question to ask.

    I believe 5, 6 and 7 are answered by NO, I do not take the Bible as a literal rule book, but you all claim to so I ask to hold you accountable to your own standards, not mine.

    Will you agree, then, that there is no basis in reality for the claim that I take the text to mean the opposite of what it says? That we all interpret the text using our reasoning, to strive to get the most reasonable (and in believers’ cases) most godly understanding?

    If so, on what basis are your (collective) opinions more reliable than mine?

    ~Dan

    • “Is the fact that, when Jesus said, “Sell your possessions and give to the poor,” that you interpret that NOT to mean you personally should sell your belongings and give to the poor,”

      I’m confused, you seem to be remonstrating with John that he doesn’t take the “see everything and give to the poor” as being a universal command to everyone in all times, yet you say , “I don’t take it as a general command throughout history.” Why would you seemingly attack John for espousing a position that you in fact hold?

      Additionally, are you suggesting that it would be an effective strategy to eliminate poverty if every one sold all their belongings and gave the proceeds to the poor?

      • Apparently Dan thinks Jesus didn’t think things through. If I sold all my possessions and gave them to the poor, I’d be poor and would need someone to do what I did. And so on. Either Jesus can’t think 2 steps ahead, or Dan is wrong. Hmm.

  151. paynehollow says:

    Or are those all more questions that will go unanswered?

    • Since you don’t hold yourself to your standards I find it amusing that you actually believe you have standards.

    • Since your going to ignore the questions (over 100) that I have answered as well as ignoring my answer to your big gotcha question, I wonder why I bother.

      • paynehollow says:

        To make your case?

        And, as a point of fact, I have not ignored any questions of yours that I have noted.

        As to standards, of course I have standards. Just as you do. Why would you suggest otherwise?

        I strive to be truthful. I strive to be factual. I strive to not overstate my case. I strive not to speak things for other people, for the Bible, for God that they have not said. I strive to politely ask clarifying questions when I am not sure of what someone is saying. I strive to give people the benefit of the doubt.

        etc.

        For instance, I am giving you the benefit of the doubt that you were just being snarky or grumpy, and not deliberately slanderous or outright lying when you suggest that I don’t have standards.

        Feel free to answer the questions that help clarify your position/plug holes in your arguments or not. That’s on you. But seriously, you just can’t say things that sound as if you are saying one thing and then refuse to answer clarifying questions and then complain if someone takes you for what it sounds like you’re saying. That is irrational.

        ~Dan

        • Except I didn’t suggest that you don’t have standards. Which raises the questions. Did you intentionally misrepresent what I actually did say in order to gain some perceived advantage? Did your preconceptions cause you to assume that I said something that I didn’t say? Or do you just not care about accuracy enought to put forth the effort to get things right?

          • paynehollow says:

            Man, communicating with you all is difficult.

            What did you mean when you said…

            Since you don’t hold yourself to your standards I find it amusing that you actually believe you have standards.

            …?

            1. What do you mean I don’t hold myself to my standards, because clearly, I strive to do so?

            2. What do you mean you find it amusing that I “actually believe” that I have standards?

            Feel free to clarify.

            Thanks.

            ~Dan

            • Dan,
              You don’t hold yourself to the standards you hold others to. You demand answers, yet don’t give them. You demand “hard proof”, but won’t provide it. You demand that others show you grace, yet we’ve seen plenty of examples of you being graceless. You whine when you feel misrepresented, yet you have no compunction about misrepresenting others. I answer over a hundred of your questions, including your big gotcha question, yet you continue to act as if I haven’t.

              So, I’m sure you believe that you have personal standards, and that you believe you live up to your personal standards. Unfortunately, you demand much more of others than you do from your self.

              If you’re going to spend so much time being snarky and bitchy about people not answering your questions, one would think that you’d have the courtesy to at least acknowledge it when they do.

              • For the record I do find it suspicious that Dans views are self evident and obviously based in reality but ours require credentialed specialists and noblemen to vouch for ours…and then it’s still just their human opinins.

              • paynehollow says:

                I do, in fact, give answers. The only time I don’t, as a rule, is when I miss the questions or, sometimes, when the question has already been answered. You are mistaken, as a rule. Is it possible I have missed some questions? Sure, I’m not perfect. But as a rule, I do hold myself accountable to my own standard of answering questions.

                You are mistaken to make a sweeping claim like that.

                Craig…

                You demand “hard proof”, but won’t provide it.

                I don’t provide hard proof when I have not made a fact claim. I do not claim to speak for God or that I can not be mistaken, but rather, that I’m offering my own personal opinion. The “hard proof” that something is my personal opinion is that I’m telling you, it’s my opinion and I am in a place to know.

                The difference between us is that you all often conflate your personal opinions with facts or with “god’s word” and when you do that, the onus is on you to provide support.

                I also don’t provide hard proof for unprovable propositions. You can say “God factually did tell Israel to kill nations, including their infants,” but there is no hard proof to counter that. .I can’t prove a negative.

                Go ahead: Prove that God has never told anyone that Ronald Reagan is burning in hell. You can’t prove it, can you?

                No, you can’t. It’s a negative proposition.

                You, on the other hand, have at least intimated that it’s either a fact or it’s “god’s word” that God told people to kill babies. That is a positive claim. When you make a positive claim as a fact the burden is on you to either provide support for that claim or to admit that it is an opinion and not a fact

              • So, your earlier emphatic exclamation that infants are innocent is now not a claim of fact, but merely an opinion that you hold and are unable to support with hard evidence.

            • paynehollow says:

              They are, Craig, innocent, by definition.

              The definition of innocent is not guilty of any crime or offense. What has a one minute old baby done to be guilty of?

              Craig, a beef hamburger is meat by definition.

              I don’t need hard data to support it, it’s just a self-evident claim.

              Where is that mistaken? On what basis do I need to prove that a baby is not guilty of any crime or offense? What crime or offense has a baby done?

              We’re just going in circles, here. Do you think that a baby is guilty of crime or offense? If so, what? If you don’t think that a baby is guilty of crime or offense, then you and I agree that a baby is innocent. If you DO think a baby is guilty of crime of offense, provide something to support it.

              Holy cow.

              I’m done with that crazy treadmill. Answer or no, it’s on you.

              ~Dan

              • The thing that you have to justify is the source of your definition. Why do you use MW? In a discussion about God, why not use God’s definition? Or better yet, defend your own rhetorical use of the question “who says God is the only judge of innocence?”.

              • paynehollow says:

                ! !!!??

                What IS “god’s definition” of innocent, John. Do, tell.

              • OK, so you admit that you have made a claim of fact, now provide hard evidence. Actually John is correct, what we are talking about is how God views children. Perhaps the better question is does God consider children to be 100% free of sin up until some point in their lives.

              • paynehollow says:

                As soon as you all offer up God’s authoritative definition of “innocent” and some hard data to make me question the self-evident claim that babies are innocent, I will be glad to do so. Until then, I have no reason to do so.

                The ball is in your court.

              • So , you make a claim of fact yet expect others to provide evidence before you will. Consistent

  152. Craig:

    “The more I think about it the more I realize how ridiculous it is that Orthodox doctrine is treated as some ‘crazy’ made up guess, while the actual made up guess gets a pass.”

    That should be expected, at least from an antagonistic anti-theist who neither reveres nor even understands what the Bible teaches. A credible claim to be a Bible-loving Christian would probably result in much different behavior.

    Dan,

    It is funny how you are trying to make so much out of the encounter with the rich young ruler, as if our literal-but-limited interpretation of that passage is at odds with our literal-but-limited interpretation of the OT’s divine commands to wage wars of annihilation.

    We believe that God commanded ancient Israel to wage wars of annihilation: we believe the command was literally historical (it actually happened) and was meant to be literally understood (it was to be obeyed in a straight-forward manner), but we also believe that the command was limited to its original recipients and not to be taken as a universal moral imperative.

    We also believe that God Incarnate commanded the rich young ruler to sell all his possessions, or at least that He instructed him to do so if he was serious about obtaining eternal life: we believe the command was literally historical and was meant to be literally understood, but we also believe the command was limited to its original recipient.

    Since the Apostles neither waged holy wars nor required a vow of poverty renouncing all possessions — Peter affirmed that Ananias’ property was still his, both both and after he liquidated it, Acts 5:4 — it seems reasonable to conclude that both commands were limited to their original recipients.

    If you think our approach to the latter undermines our approach to the former, you should explain how.

    You seem to think that the latter’s command is clearly universal, as you now reference Luke 12:33, where Jesus commands His disciples to sell their possessions, but that IS a different command than the one given to the rich young ruler in Luke 18:22, where Jesus told him to “sell ALL that you have.” The Greek word pas is present in the latter, but not the former: it’s in Luke 12:31 (“all these things will be added to you”) and 12:44 (“he will make him ruler over all that he has”) but not 12:33.

    Even apart from that missing word, we have the rest of Luke’s “orderly account” of Christ’s earthly ministry and His subsequent work through the Apostles, and nowhere does he record that the Apostles either PREACH or PRACTICE the renunciation of all earthly possessions.

    Even though the Apostolic teaching is preserved in Scripture, I’m guessing we’re just supposed to treat that teaching as “Christian tradition.” We should ignore the historical distinction made between Scripture and tradition, and we should not assume that Christ’s hand-picked Apostles are more qualified to interpret their Master than we are.

    That leads quite naturally to the subject of humility, Dan.

    You write, “We are all part of the family, we should disagree in that spirit. And the beginning point for that is humility – not presuming that our presumptions are fact when they are, in fact, opinion. That recognition should produce a humility within us that makes disagreement more palatable and respectful.”

    You should take another look at the entire comment where you wrote this, yesterday at 5:50 pm.

    1) You write, “I cherish the Bible and the lessons that we can learn from it, when rightly interpreted,” but by your own standards, you cannot possibly know when the Bible IS “rightly interpreted.”

    In our lengthy discussion at your blog, you argued that the meaning of a text cannot be demonstrated and therefore cannot be known, so when you’re writing here about how you cherish the Bible’s lessons when the text is “rightly interpreted,” you must be presuming that your presumptions are fact when they are, in fact, opinion.

    2) Never mind whether anyone actually holds to the interpretation or even just wrote anything that suggests it, you write about a particular interpretation, that “we can only reach that sort of conclusion if we use the Bible as this ‘rulings book,’ mistakenly lifting a line from the Bible to produce a ‘fact,’ that is not supported by reality.” [emphasis mine]

    Here, you presume to lecture us, not only about how there’s “only” one way to reach a particular interpretation, and NOT ONLY about how one is mistaken in reaching that conclusion, but ALSO about how that interpretation isn’t in line with “reality,” as if your opinions about reality are equivalent to reality itself. In this thread alone, I can find at least ten other comments where you presume to lecture others about reality or question them as if your position is equivalent to reality.

    3) You write that you reject a literal interpretation of Genesis “because it makes Christianity more of an ancient voodoo religion with ‘curses’ and ‘magic cures’ in ‘blood sacrifices…'”

    That’s just a smear, Dan, with nothing humble or palatable or respectful.

    Going by your own words even in this one comment, you obviously have no interest in exhibiting the kind of humility that you demand from others.

    Evidently, what you want is your opponents to be “humble” enough that we never challenge you in your arrogance.

    If I’m wrong about that, you should retract the comments I mention above and start demonstrating the humility you expect from everyone else.

  153. paynehollow says:

    Bubba, as to just about everything you’ve said, you’ve misunderstood and, thus, misrepresented my actual positions. As a point of fact.

    If you have a question, feel free to ask, rather than stating something that is factually mistaken. If you are concerned about being honest, which I’m sure you are.

    ~Dan

  154. paynehollow says:

    Bubba…

    That’s just a smear, Dan, with nothing humble or palatable or respectful.

    It is not intended to be a smear, it is intended to be exact and descriptive. As a point of fact, ancient religions did engage in blood sacrifices to appease angry gods as part of a magic-based (no offense is intended by the term, again, just descriptive) religious practice. In these ancient religions, the blood was part of a ritual process without which, the gods would remain angry. But by applying the blood ritual, the gods could then forgive, based on the offering.

    That, as opposed to the more reasoned-base approach: “I forgive you, because it is in my power to forgive you, because I believe you are sorry, because you have repented, because I want a right relationship with you… I do not require some totem flesh or blood offering to forgive you, I just do…” In this case, forgiveness is a matter of will, of consent between two people, not reliant upon some ritual sacrifice.

    I am sorry if the words offended, but they were intended to be descriptive, not offensive. I still think the description is fitting.

    ~Dan

  155. Dan, intellectual honesty would require you to do more than merely accuse me of misunderstanding you on every point: you should couple that with an attempt to clarify what it is you’re trying to say, as you do with the “voodoo” comment.

    As it is, I believe what I’ve written about you is unassailable, when rightly understood.

    About that comment, I don’t care much what your intent was: you did and do portray the doctrine of the atonement in the worst possible light — and in a patently false light, in addition to its being unflattering — first with the reference to voodoo and now with the claim that the doctrine requires a “magic-based” religious system.

    But if you think it’s a fair and charitable assessment of the doctrine of the atonement, I don’t see how you could balk at any objections to your position and do so with consistency and integrity. YOUR position presents a deity who is not holy and just, one who does nothing to address the penalties incurred by sin.

    And if you were consistent and intellectually honest, you would have to admit that your position requires you to do much more than treat only Genesis as figurative. You’d have to ignore the plain teachings of Exodus and the Passover, and of Isaiah and his suffering servant by whose stripes we are healed.

    You’d have to discard Paul’s teaching that Jesus was put forth as a propitiation for our sins, Peter’s teaching that Jesus bore our sins on the cross, and John’s description of Jesus as the Lamb who slain, who redeemed us by His blood.

    And, if that weren’t enough — and it surely is — you’d have to discard Jesus’ own teachings, that He came to give Himself as a ransom for many and that His blood was shed for the forgiveness of sin.

    Time and again, you attempt to portray theologically conservative Christians, not using our terms or in neutral and accurate descriptions, but in the worst possible light.

    Christians who believe in Bible’s divine inspiration and subsequent inerrant content, you denounce as bibliolators who treat the text as a rulebook.

    Christians who believe that the Creator has both the power AND the moral authority to end even innocent human life that He created, whenever and however He chooses, you deride as worshipping a whimsical and capricious deity.

    And, here, Christians who believe that God’s forgiveness is only possible because of Christ’s death, you compare to the primitive and superstitious practitioners of voodoo.

    If you think you’re just being descriptive, and that these conclusions are compatible with humility and mutual respect, you ought to put up with an awful lot more from us than you do. To suggest that we’re insufficiently charitable while you continue to make comments like this, makes you look like a complete hypocrite — a word that I think is more than fitting, no matter how offensive you find it.

  156. paynehollow says:

    For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

    ~St Paul

  157. paynehollow says:

    No, John, it is not a law. It is a truth.

    If you try to make it in to a rule, you will have left the teachings of Grace.

    Just as if you try to make what I just said into a rule, you will have left the teachings of Grace.

    ~Dan

    • “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[e] Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’[f] The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[g] There is no commandment greater than these.”

      It would seem that Jesus disagrees with Dan. Unless, of course, you’d like to suggest that commandment, rule, and law have substantially different meanings.

  158. paynehollow says:

    Bubba…

    Christians who believe in Bible’s divine inspiration and subsequent inerrant content, you denounce as bibliolators who treat the text as a rulebook.

    Then this is your chance to clarify (again), Bubba.

    First of, do you understand that it seems to me and many others who agree with me (those at my church, for instance), that the way you use the Bible is as a rule book, a place where you get rulings on how to live?

    Do you understand that, as a point of fact, this is how it seems to us?

    Secondly, I have explained my reasoning before, here it is again:

    You use the Bible to learn how to live. If you come across passages that, to you, suggest a “rule from God,” you let that serve as a ruling. You read thru the Bible, find a handful of passages that touch on some form of homosexuality, a handful of verses that talk about marriage, and from that, you deduce that God would not approve of two gay folk marrying. That is the ruling you glean from the Bible.

    Now, if others make the case that gay folk are born that way, that there is nothing inherently wrong with being gay, that two gay folk deciding they want to commit to one another in a marriage relationship and, in that context, express a healthy gay sexuality, none of that would matter to you, right? Because “the Bible” says otherwise – or put another way, “god has taught” you, via the Bible, that marriage is male/female only and that gay behavior is wrong, in any context.

    You glean that ruling from the Bible, is that not correct?

    If one gleans that ruling from the Bible, that is what seems to me to be treating the bible as a rule book, but maybe that isn’t where you get your truth that gay folk shouldn’t marry, maybe that’s not from the Bible, but from somewhere else. You tell me.

    Clarify away.

    ~Dan

    • “First of, do you understand that it seems to me and many others who agree with me (those at my church, for instance), that the way you use the Bible is as a rule book, a place where you get rulings on how to live?”

      This vague generality seems to be a claim of fact, is it? If not, then why is it phrased as a claim of fact? If so, then who are the “many others” (apart from those at your church) that agree with you? Can you quantify “many others”?

      “Do you understand that, as a point of fact, this is how it seems to us?”

      Do you understand, as a point of fact, that how things seem to you is a subjective position at best? Do you understand, as a point of fact, that earlier in this discussion you claimed that appealing to numbers was a logical fallacy; yet this is the second or third time you’ve engaged in this particular logical fallacy? Do you understand, as a point of fact, that engaging in behavior that you criticize others for is exactly why I suggested that you don’t live up to the standards you expect from others?

      “Now, if others make the case that gay folk are born that way, that there is nothing inherently wrong with being gay, …”

      It seems as if you are making a fact claim here (not the claim about what others believe, but that what others believe is correct), can you support the claims ( “born that way”) with actual “hard evidence”? Using your earlier standard, something that might show up on an X-ray or MRI perhaps.

      Just to correct, your seeming misconception, I believe that I can say that no one who comments here would suggest that there is anything inherently wrong with having feelings of attraction to persons of the same sex.

  159. Dan,

    Galatians 5:14 is indeed a truth, but it’s presented with an imperative verb, and — at least in the translation you cite — it is explicitly called a command. I cannot conceive of any principled and meaningful distinction that you might be making in your use of terms.

    You write, “If you try to make it in to a rule, you will have left the teachings of Grace.”

    What you mean by that first phrase is entirely unclear. If you mean, “if you try to obey the command in order to earn God’s favor,” then I would agree.

    But if you mean, “if you try to obey the command EVEN only as a loving and grateful response to having already been given God’s wholly unmerited favor,” then I would disagree with it completely — as would Paul, as even the context of Galatians 5 makes clear.

    What are we supposed to do with that truth, if NOT obey it? Are we supposed to say that we believe it and say that we see its beauty and moral purity, but still do whatever suits us?

    You’re just not being clear.

    On the other hand, I think I’ve been more than clear, not only explicitly rejecting your belief that I treat the Bible like a rule book, but in explaining what I do instead.

    Just last week and in this very thread (10/13, 10:28 pm), I explained my approach to Scripture.

    For each book, I seek to understand BOTH the human author’s immediate message to the original audience AND the divine Author’s timeless message for every audience. As a result, I can neither ignore any single passage as irrelevant (or, I would add, erroneous) nor appropriate its teachings mechanically. Still, we should accept as true its teachings ABOUT us, we should accept and trust God’s recorded promises TO us, and we should accept and obey God’s revealed will FOR us.

    Taking Scripture as a whole, I see that there is a clear transition from the old covenant with the ethnic theocratic state of ancient Israel to the new covenant with the multi-ethnic church founded by Christ, and in that framework, certain teachings remain abundantly clear: the existence of God and the historicity of Jesus, His sacrificial death and His bodily Resurrection, the dire warning of God’s judgment and the promise of salvation through grace and received by faith.

    I also believe that there is another clear and unavoidable teaching: God made us male and female so that a man would become one flesh with his wife. Even without looking for a “ruling” on homosexuality, that principle clearly addresses the question of whether homosexual relationships are morally permitted.

    Your follow-up questions were so inane that they’re not worth a response — or rather, they’re not worth ANOTHER response. My somewhat lengthy explanation addressed the gist of your questions, but it doesn’t seem like you actually made any real effort to understand what I wrote: you just dismissed it as “a lot of words,” quoted it piecemeal, and restated your questions.

    At this point, if you really do still believe that I use the Bible as a rulebook, then that’s on you.

    In the same way, it’s on you if you think that, because Christians believe that some of God’s revealed word is clear enough to affirm for ourselves, we confuse ourselves with God.

    And it’s on you if you think that no one could really believe that you exhibit hypocrisy and inconsistency, that we confuse the vice of hypocrisy with the fact of mere disagreement.

    You really have no one else to blame for your stupidity — a term I’m using in the strict sense of the word, as I believe it’s a fitting description — and God help you if it’s as willful and deliberate as I suspect that it is.

  160. paynehollow says:

    The questions asked last week were germane and remain germaine. If you don’t want to answer them, that’s on you.

    But to put it simply one more time:

    If a prophet of God came to you and told you that, no matter how much you thought your interpretations of biblical texts were correct, that you had in fact misunderstood what God wants as it relates to killing babies or gay folk marrying.

    Would you still insist that you can not be right because… the Bible? That is, would you not reject this prophet out of hand because her words conflicted with your interpretation of the Bible and “prophets can not contradict the Bible…”? How is this NOT relying upon the Bible as a rulings book?

    If it came to the whole world disagreeing with your opinions about gay folk marrying, you would still cling to what you think the Bible says, would you not, because you think the Bible is more accurate than even the whole world of humanity?

    I just don’t see how it’s not a rule book for you. Put another way: Is not the Bible your final word on how to judge a behavior?

    I think it is. The Bible (or more accurately, your particular understanding of the Bible) is your final authority, is it not?

    ~Dan

  161. paynehollow says:

    As another aside, I will note that IF it is the case that you hold the Bible as your final authority on matters of spirituality and morality, that is a self-defeating conclusion.

    The Bible never one time makes any claim to being a or the final authority.
    God has never told you to make the Bible your final authority.
    The reason people make the Bible their final authority (or Sole authority, as some have claimed) is because they have reasoned that conclusion out of teachings in the Bible.

    Those individuals reasoned out that conclusion using their reason, thus making their own reason the final authority in deciding the Bible is the final authority.

    Logical fail.

    ~Dan

  162. paynehollow says:

    I think it’s the Word of God and you are a liar. Nuff said.

    I just don’t think it’s a holy magic 8 ball, the way you all treat it.

    John, do you think the Bible is the “final authority” or “sole authority” when it comes to answering questions about spirituality and morality?

    Yes = holy magic 8 ball.

    No = reality.

    ~Dan

    • The bible is sufficient for all teaching, Dan

      • paynehollow says:

        On what basis do you make that claim?

        The Bible does not make it. God has not told you that. You, in your reasoning, presumably have created this claim from thin air. Are you, then, sufficient for all teaching, since you are the one who made it up?

        Also, does your answer mean that you do NOT think the Bible is the sole source or final authority for all moral opinions?

        A direct answer, please.

        ~Dan

        • paynehollow says:

          Also, the fact remains that you have been called out on a lie. We can assume it was an honest mistake, but only if you come clean and admit the error. Otherwise, we are left with you leaving this false claim out there and doing so on purpose, now.

          Are you a liar, John? Or can you admit the error and it was just an honest mistake on your part?

          ~Dan

          • What mistake? When I said you treat the bible as an op-ed piece that’s true you say it all the time that the author’s were just writing their opinins and not God’s actual words. The bible also says that it is sufficient for all teaching. So that’s true too. What’s the lie?

            • paynehollow says:

              So, by “op-ed” you just meant that the author’s were using their own words? Fair enough, I wouldn’t describe writers using their own words as an “op-ed,” but if that is what you mean then yes, clearly the author’s were using their own words. I apologize for misunderstanding and I stand corrected.

              Whose words do you suspect they were using?

              I know, you hold the opinion that “inspired” is equal to God writing the words, is that it?

              If so, on what basis would you make that claim?

              Support please, not just a declaration.

              Thanks.

              ~Dan

              • The fact that it does say it is God breathed, ie, inspired, and sufficient for all teaching.

              • paynehollow says:

                It does not. You are factually mistaken. I just quoted it for you. Here it is again, in context, copied and pasted.

                …from childhood you have known the sacred writings [Paul, speaking here, of Hebrew scripture, not The 66 -dt] which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

                All Scripture is inspired by God and
                profitable for teaching,
                for reproof,
                for correction,
                for training in righteousness.

                the word translated “profitable” is also translated useful, but not sufficient, not anywhere I’ve seen. I’m not sure that it matters, just pointing out the facts.

                So, again, perhaps you misspoke?

                ~Dan

              • So all scripture is inspired by God and not some human opinion huh. Fancy that.

              • paynehollow says:

                On what basis would you think human opinion can not be inspired?

                In fact, don’t we think human opinion can be inspired?

                If I am inspired by nature to write a poem, that does not mean that the words belong to nature.

                If I am inspired by an intriguing person to write a song, that does not mean that the other person wrote the song.

                And, if I am inspired by God to write a book, that does not mean that the words are literally God’s.

                I think you are using inspired incorrectly.

                But all that aside, John, the question remains: On what basis would you make the claim, “The bible is sufficient for all teaching” since the Bible does not make that claim?

                And do you think the Bible is the final or sole authority on making decisions?

                If so, on what basis would you make that claim, since the Bible makes no such claim?

                It keeps coming back to you all making flat claims without supporting the claim – on what basis and whose authority do you presume to make these claims? You all keep dodging that very basic question.

                It’s not enough to simply say, “But I believe the Bible is inspired.” I believe that, too, but that doesn’t mean my opinion takes precedent over yours.

                On what basis, fellas? Any answers to that question forthcoming at all?

                ~Dan

  163. paynehollow says:

    John, Craig, Bubba, Marshall… If someone said to you, “I let my horoscope give me the final word on spirituality and morality…” would you say that they had made a god of their horoscope? That they are using their horoscope as a rule book for life?

    What if they did so for Winnie the Pooh and, regardless of what anyone else said or any reasoning someone offered, if it conflicted with the words of Pooh (in their opinion), they rejected those words as immoral, would they be treating the book of Pooh as a god? Would they be using it as a rule book – one that had the final word on spirituality and morality?

    ~Dan

  164. Of course if one equates the Bible to a horoscope or A.A. Milne, then you might have a point. Unfortunately there is no reason to presume equivalence between them.

  165. paynehollow says:

    As a point of fact, the Bible never tells us to use it as a rule book for life. The Bible never says it is either the final word on morality or the sole authority on morality.

    Neither do either of the other two sources.

    And God has not told us to do this for any of these sources.

    So, the questions remain:

    Are you claiming the bible is a final or sole authority for morality questions?

    If so, on what basis?

    If so, are you making it into a little god, since – as you say – I would have a point if someone were doing that?

    Reasonable questions to ask.

    ~Dan

    • It does if you don’t dismiss it as metaphor and hyperbole. It says it quite clearly too. It even says it’s sufficient for all teaching. All probably includes all teaching. So there’s that.

      • paynehollow says:

        Who says that looking at a text and interpreting it as metaphor or hyperbole is “dismissing” it?

        This – in addition to your collective problem with being unable/unwilling to produce some answer to the “on what basis?” questions – is one problem fundamentalists often get into: Assuming that just because another person of good intent interprets a passage as a different genre or meaning than they do, that they are somehow dismissing the text.

        It is a falsehood, just as much as it would be if I were to accuse you of dismissing the texts (Jesus’ words, for instance) when you make them metaphorical or otherwise not literal.

        It is a falsehood and we really should be better than that.

        ~Dan

  166. paynehollow says:

    Source, please.

    I suspect what you’re doing is thinking of one verse in the Bible that says “All Scripture (not the 66 books of the Bible – humans decided that they are as scripture, but the Bible does not refer to them specifically) is God-breathed/inspired and useful for teaching…”

    But the problem is:

    1. It’s not speaking of the 66 books of the Bible.
    2. It does not say “sufficient for all teaching…” but “useful for teaching…”
    3. It does NOT say it is the sole authority or the final authority for all moral questions.

    So, do you have a source for what you’re saying, or were you simply mistaken and misspeaking?

    ~Dan

  167. paynehollow says:

    And, to be sure, making a mistake is perfectly fine, it happens. Refusing to own up to the mistake, admit it and move on duly corrected, this is not.

    So, did you make a mistake, John?

    Do you not, therefore, believe the Bible is the sole or final authority?

    Can you answer even one question directly?

    ~Dan

  168. Test comment: hello world.

    John, it appears that comments are being held in moderation but not being posted in this thread: comments aren’t showing up, and when I attempt to re-post, I get the message that my comment is a duplicate.

    That’s probably why no one has responded to Dan’s inanity in the last couple days.

    • Bubba

      I only have one comment in moderation only because I can’t tell if it’s spam. And going back through 4 pages of spam, it’s just spam. I’m not sure what the problem might be.

      • No problem at all: I figured it was a temporary glitch, so I just gave it a few days.

        I’ve just successfully posted my lengthy reply to Dan, below.

  169. …or not! I’ll have a substantive comment up as soon as time permits.

  170. Dan:

    I was under the distinct impression that your “rule book” pejorative was a criticism of my approach to interpretation — or at least, your impression or guess about my approach — that I was taking passages out of context, or that I was not distinguishing between a text’s immediate audience and any universal message that God is communicating through that text.

    I didn’t realize you were attempting to re-litigate the Reformation. I didn’t realize that you were attacking the doctrine of sola scriptura and implicitly smearing even Martin Luther with your “rule book” and “magic 8-ball” remarks.

    The issue is fundamentally about revelation, about how God communicates to man. I readily affirm what the Bible clearly teaches, that God communicates through a variety of methods; as we see in the beginning of Psalm 19, the heavens declare His glory, though even there the psalmist turns from what he hears from nature to what he reads in the law of Yahweh.

    Creation, history and even personal circumstances, dreams and visions, divinely called and chosen prophets and the written artifacts that they leave behind, and the human conscience and the divine leadings of the Holy Spirit: God reveals Himself and His will through some and arguably all of these means of communications.

    Since some of these means are less clear than others, and since some are more subjective than others, it is entirely reasonable to trust one communication medium as normative for the rest. If we are to “test the spirits,” it makes sense to have a single revelation against which all potential revelations are to be tested.

    If one does NOT have an a priori conviction that one particular revelation is authoritative, he runs the risk of making his own agenda trump ALL potential revelation: he doesn’t trust this particular message on this particular point because it’s more clear and objective than the others, but because it conforms to his own position.

    This is all very rudimentary stuff. Roman Catholicism didn’t object to sola scriptura on the grounds that you present, which would undermine treating ANY source of revelation as normative for all other sources: they just rejected one potentially normative source for another, giving church doctrine (capital-T Tradition) priority over Scripture.

    Note:

    1) Because we use our own reason to understand the Bible — or any other potential revelation — it does not mean that reason trumps that revelation. There’s a huge difference between using reason as a tool for understanding Scripture, but always going back to the text to let its contents correct your conclusions, and using reason to trump Scripture, which you seem to do when you sneer at the impossibility of the Deluge while still claiming to believe that a human being could hike 7 miles about 48 hours after being scourged, crucified by having spikes driven through his hands and feet, and impaled evidently through the heart and a lung.

    2) One’s treating the Bible as the normative revelation FROM God does not imply, in any way whatsoever, one’s confusing the Bible WITH God.

    You repeatedly either understate or overstate our position regarding the authority of Scripture: either we cannot believe that the Bible is normative, because we use reason to understand its message, or we worship the Bible instead of the Creator who we believe inspired it. Both of these are falsehoods — and “we really should be better than that” — and they call into question your understanding of the beliefs of the theologically conservative church that you left.

    Dan, you ask about what I would do if a “prophet of God” told me that I misunderstood God’s revelation, but John the Baptist was the last prophet, the forerunner of Christ, and Christ’s hand-picked apostles all died in the first century. We are without the bodily presence of the Incarnate Christ or His prophets and apostles, and so the question is, IN THEIR ABSENCE, what potential revelation should we treat as normative for all other revelations?

    From the Reformation to now, the written scripture that they left behind remains the obvious choice, as those documents are external and objective, and their contents are much clearer than what the creation communicates. This documentation of their teaching trumps even the claim of an apostolic succession, simply because the qualifications of the apostles are unique: they alone were the witnesses of the Resurrection who were hand-picked by Christ Himself to preach in His name.

    The idea that there exists prophets today who could override the text’s plain meaning isn’t Christian: it’s the sign of a cult, most notably the Mormons.

    Dan, you seem to equivocate about inspiration, using it in a modern sense that is clearly contrary to what the Bible’s writers taught.

    Certainly, a poet can be “inspired” by impersonal and often inanimate nature, and a songwriter can be inspired by some other person without that person ever knowing that his life led to that song, but that has nothing to do with the Bible’s claim of divine inspiration.

    Rather, the literal word “God-breathed” implies God’s personal, active, and deliberate work as a creator and not just His being an object under observation, and the implication in Paul’s second letter to Timothy is made quite explicit in his first letter to the Corinthians. There, Paul claimed that God has actively revealed the wisdom that the Apostles impart, through the Spirit that a) searches the depths of God, b) comprehends God’s thoughts, c) teaches the very words with which the Apostles impart that wisdom, and d) evidently enables the Spirit-filled recipient to understand those words (I Cor 2:6-16).

    On 10/24, at 3:34 pm, you write:

    If I am inspired by nature to write a poem, that does not mean that the words belong to nature.

    “If I am inspired by an intriguing person to write a song, that does not mean that the other person wrote the song.

    “And, if I am inspired by God to write a book, that does not mean that the words are literally God’s.

    And yet, look back about four hours prior to that comment, when you objected to John’s claim, “It all comes down to what you think the bible is. We think it’s the word of God. You think it’s an op-ed piece. Nuff said.”

    What was your reply?

    I think it’s the Word of God and you are a liar. Nuff said.” [emphasis mine]

    (Never mind how you could know that John’s a liar and not merely mistaken.)

    What you could possibly mean by claiming that the Bible is “the Word of God” is not remotely clear. Here you don’t merely call it *A* word of God, but *THE* Word of God, using both the definite article and the sort of capitalization that implies that the Bible is unique.

    How else could the Bible be the unique Word of God, except that it is the authoritative Word of God? You don’t possibly say, and you should really clarify what you mean by it, since using terminology that is common in orthodoxy while attaching your own personal and hidden meaning is hardly the best approach to honest communication. Here again, comparisons to Mormons could be drawn.

    Finally, in that same comment, Dan, you write:

    John, do you think the Bible is the ‘final authority’ or ‘sole authority’ when it comes to answering questions about spirituality and morality?

    “Yes = holy magic 8 ball.

    “No = reality.

    I’ll remind you of what you wrote LESS THAN 48 HOURS BEFORE THAT.

    We are all part of the family, we should disagree in that spirit. And the beginning point for that is humility – not presuming that our presumptions are fact when they are, in fact, opinion. That recognition should produce a humility within us that makes disagreement more palatable and respectful.

    There’s nothing respectful in your clear insinuation that the Protestant doctrine of sola scriptura means treating the Bible like “a holy magic 8 ball,” and in claiming that denying sola scriptura is just admitting reality, you are treating your position as fact when it is, “in fact,” only your opinion.

    We see here just how much sincere you were about disagreeing in a spirit of familial love.

  171. paynehollow says:

    Bubba…

    Since some of these means are less clear than others, and since some are more subjective than others, it is entirely reasonable to trust one communication medium as normative for the rest.

    That’s fine human reasoning. Does the Bible teach doing so? If so, where?

    Of course, the Bible does not teach this, so your human tradition of “sola scriptura” to which you appeal is, ironically, not biblical. At all.

    Can you at least acknowledge this fact, that the Bible does not teach sola scriptura?

    In that vein…

    John the Baptist was the last prophet, the forerunner of Christ, and Christ’s hand-picked apostles all died in the first century.

    On what basis do you make this claim? Who says that John the B was the last prophet? On what basis would we conclude that only the Twelve (ish) were apostles? Does the Bible teach this?

    Of course, here again, you are appealing to human tradition, not an authoritative source.

    Can you acknowledge this fact?

    Bubba…

    which would undermine treating ANY source of revelation as normative for all other sources

    On what basis should we assume that there are sources of revelation that are normative? Just a human guess? What?

    Bubba…

    The idea that there exists prophets today who could override the text’s plain meaning isn’t Christian: it’s the sign of a cult, most notably the Mormons.

    Over and over, you make authoritative-sounding claims and, when pressed, you dodge the question: On what basis? Who says that prophets don’t exist today? Who says that revelation does not change (or that understandings of revelation do not change)?

    I’m just asking a reasonable question to each of these claims. The factual answer is clear, but you all just ignore the facts of it.

    The fact is, that for each of these claims, there is no authoritative source to support your claim. It is an unsupported human claim based upon tradition and human reasoning.

    Can you acknowledge this reality?

    I don’t think you can or will because to do so (in your mind) undermines the authority which you would like to presume you hold. And maybe you do, but if so, you should be able to answer the reasonable question:

    On whose authority do you make these claims?

    ~Dan

  172. paynehollow says:

    sigh.

    Source?

    Or is it enough that you claimed this is so?

    At a guess, perhaps you’re talking about Jesus in Luke 16, which contains the line, “The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John.” But as a point of fact, that is not saying that John was the last prophet.

    Again, this is the point: You all make claims and just expect people to accept them, point blank. But that is BS, you are not a god to make declarations of facts where no facts exist. Or, at best, you will say, “We know this because there is a line in the Bible that says X, and I interpret that to mean Y, therefore, we can know – as a fact – that Y is true…” when all we know as a fact is that you believe Y, which is NOT the same as a fact.

    So, do you have a source to support your claim, or is it just a made up one?

    ~Dan

    Oh, and whatever source you may claim from the Bible that JB was the last prophet, the very Bible you cite would disagree with the claim. In the book of Ephesians, Paul writes (much after JB’s death) that “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers…”

    So, it would seem that even your claims of “cuz the Bible” fails.

    • Does it say they were proclaimed until John, or that they were until John? And why would they stop being proclaimed until him?

      • Dan is playing his usual games, suggesting that because we may lack the ultimate, definitive game-stopping proof for our position that there is then a legitimate alternative of any merit of validity. Perhaps this is true. But if so, naming subsequent apostles or prophets might be a good way to dispute the claim. Otherwise, it is worthless opposition.

  173. Dan:

    The Bible teaches theism, the Trinity, and the Incarnation without using these technical terms, by clearly making claims that point to these doctrines to the exclusion of all alternatives. In the same way, you can easily find arguments from evangelical Protestants that the Bible implicitly teaches sola scriptura.

    As the link above summarizes, “we can see that the method used by Jesus and the apostles for determining spiritual truth was to appeal to scripture–not tradition. In fact, it is the scriptures that refute the traditions of men in many instances.”

    I have had enough of your hypocritical and arrogant presumption on matters like this.

    You say that your position is just a fact that we all must acknowledge, when it’s NOT a fact and is certainly not a demonstrable and provable fact that meets your own idiotic standards, and when you urge others to avoid “presuming that our presumptions are fact when they are, in fact, opinion.”

    And you say I don’t answer your questions when I do, quite often.

    About the claim that John the Baptist was the last prophet, I join John Barron here in appealing to Scripture, particularly Luke 16:16, where Jesus Himself taught, “The Law and the Prophets were until John.”

    About the claim that there are no longer any living apostles, I again appeal to Scripture, including Paul’s argument for having the unique authority of an Apostle, found in the first chapters of Galatians. There he introduces himself by claiming to be an apostle OF CHRIST, “not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead,” pointing to a direct appointment by Jesus, and while he has no problem associating with the “brothers” who are with him, he does not share the title of Apostle with them.

    In Acts 26, in his lengthy testimony before Agrippa, Paul claims that Jesus told him, “I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness,” which implies that Christ’s appointing Paul as His Apostle required Christ’s appearance before Paul — and that implication is explicit in Acts 1:21-22, where Peter speaks about the qualifications and the mission of Judas’ replacement. His replacement must be a follower throughout Jesus’ earthly ministry — “beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us” — and he will be “a witness to his resurrection.”

    You’re frankly showing your ignorance about the book you claim to love oh so very much. Your ignorance wouldn’t be a terrible thing if you politely and humbly asked if we have scriptural support for our position — or, better, to investigate whether scholars through the centuries have already argued from Scripture for our position.

    Instead, you couple your ignorance with the sort of arrogance that you claim is inappropriate for our discussions.

    “Of course, the Bible does not teach this, so your human tradition of ‘sola scriptura’ to which you appeal is, ironically, not biblical. At all.”

    “Of course, here again, you are appealing to human tradition, not an authoritative source.”

    You don’t know what you’re talking about, Dan, and you really need to back off with your presumption.

    And what may be at least as bad as your arrogant ignorance is your unwillingness to make clear what you believe. We make clear our beliefs and do often explain the biblical rationale for our positions, and you don’t even return the courtesy of making clear your own beliefs.

    You deride as a “holy magic 8 ball” approach the basic Protestant doctrine of sola scriptura, but then you insist that you believe that the Bible is “the Word of God.”

    That phrase implies that you believe the Bible is somehow unique, but you don’t explain how you think the Bible is unique if NOT uniquely authoritative. In short, you claim to believe that the Bible is “the Word of God” (your phrase) without even attempting to explain what you mean by it.

  174. paynehollow says:

    ??

    1. IS the Luke passage your prooftext that John the Baptist was the last prophet?

    2. I didn’t “insert” anything into the text, I copied and pasted it from the NASB Bible. You’ll have to take it up with the editors of that source.

    3. Will there be any acknowledgement of that you just made a false claim (that I inserted a word into the text)? Any apology for the false claim? No, of course not. You don’t swing that way, do you?

    4. Even if it says (as other translations have it) “were until John…” does that mean that there were no prophets after John? NO, it does not, John. After all, Paul writes of prophets after John the Baptist. Is there to be no acknowledgement of that glaring failure in your reasoning? Your claim is not a biblically consistent claim.

    5. Even if you believe (contrary to the whole Bible) that Luke says prophets ended at JB, is that definitive evidence that they did? According to what source?

    Do you all not see the complete and utter failure on your part to support your claims with, you know, facts and support and whatnot? Empty claims are just that.

    ~Dan

    • grab yourself an interlinear, Dan. “proclaimed” is not in Luke 16:16. It is an interpolation.

      When Jesus couples the “law and the prophets” its clear to anyone not trying to manipulate the text that he is referring to the OT structure. The law, as it applied in a theocratic fashion, and prophets after the fashion of the major and minor prophets has come to an end. People may “prophesy” in a sense to some degree, but they do not speak as God’s mouth piece as they did before.

  175. paynehollow says:

    Marshall, I’ll take a look at what you’ve written on my blog. The last I saw was much like this conversation: Simple empty claims backed up by nothing but your opinions.

    “I, Marshall, think this and that and that other thing, and I think clearly you are wrong because, well, it’s what I think…” I’m not sure what there is to respond to, but I’ll check it out.

    ~Dan

  176. And, Dan:

    Oh, and whatever source you may claim from the Bible that JB was the last prophet, the very Bible you cite would disagree with the claim. In the book of Ephesians, Paul writes (much after JB’s death) that ‘And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers…’

    Except in citing the original Greek or Hebrew, I try to be consistent in quoting a single, fairly reliable English translation of the Bible — the English Standard Version — and letting the chips fall where they may. Doing otherwise could give the impression of cherry-picking. Here, you’re apparently quoting the KJV for Ephesians 4:11, but you’re obviously quoting some other version, most likely the NIV or NASB. I was under the impression that you always quoted from just one particular translation.

    Either way, Ephesians 4:11 teaches that God gave apostles and prophets — gave, past tense, as indicated across all translations. There’s nothing to exclude the possibility that Paul believed that God gave prophets and apostles only during a certain time frame while He continued to give pastors and teachers.

    At best, a VERY contentious interpretation of this passage would dispute our position. You’re overstating your case in claiming that “the very Bible [we] cite would disagree with the claim.”

    If we cannot go from the Bible’s text to affirming that, for instance, the Bible clearly teaches theism and the historicity of Christ — and that it does so beyond any good-faith disagreement — surely you cannot go from the text to claiming that the Bible clearly and incontrovertibly teaches that there are prophets after John the Baptist.

    Here, you remind me of Arkenaten, who believes that Jesus clearly denied being God when He taught that “only God is good,” but that Jesus’ many I-am statements and the claim to forgive sins amount to nothing.

    Neither of you are even trying to argue from a consistent set of standards, though at least Ark is candid about his contempt for the Bible and the deity it portrays.

  177. paynehollow says:

    Bubba…

    In the same way, you can easily find arguments from evangelical Protestants that the Bible implicitly teaches sola scriptura.

    So, your human tradition of sola scriptura is literally not LITERALLY biblical, is that fair? It is a human interpolation and interpretation – an extraction – of what some humans think the text implies, is that what you’re saying?

    Or, if it is literally biblical, then please provide your source.

    But, I repeat, of course it is not biblical, it is a human extraction and reading into the text. If it were biblical, you could point to the place where it makes the case (I don’t need the exact words, just something anywhere near demanding this human tradition). But you don’t because you can’t.

    That’s all I’m saying. It is a human tradition, not a biblical demand, and certainly not a demand from God that you can authoritatively demand others heed.

    And, as a human tradition/extrapolation, given the teaching of sola scriptura, it is a self-defeating argument, since human reasoning is required to extrapolate meaning that is not there in the words.

    ~Dan

  178. “After all, Paul writes of prophets after John the Baptist.”

    Paul didn’t write of prophets who lived after John the Baptist, Dan. He wrote that God gave us prophets, and he wrote this after John the Baptist’s death, but it doesn’t follow that he wrote that God’s act of giving us prophets occurred (or continued to occur) after John’s death.

    Traditionally, the last recognized Roman emperor is Romulus Augustulus, though some put the last emperor earlier. Romulus died in 476, more than 1500 years before Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, by Edward Gibbon (1737-1794). We can say that Gibbon wrote of Roman emperors after Romulus, but that’s true only if “after” modifies his act of writing and not the subject of the empire.

    You now write, “Even if you believe (contrary to the whole Bible) that Luke says prophets ended at JB, is that definitive evidence that they did? According to what source?”

    That “contrary to the whole Bible” bit is hilarious, considering you’re just pointing to a contentious interpretation of a single verse, but this sort of question is just evidence of your trying to move the goalposts. For people who believe that the Bible is uniquely authoritative, it’s enough to know that the Bible clearly teaches a particular doctrine; we don’t have to find or produce some other “definitive evidence” that the Bible is correct.

    You’re just gainsaying, Dan. You can type out “On what basis?” to EVERY answer that anybody provides about any subject, but it doesn’t mean that our answers are therefore irrational or insufficient for people who are actually interested in the truth.

  179. Dan:

    So, your human tradition of sola scriptura is literally not LITERALLY biblical, is that fair?

    No, it’s not fair at all, and if you can’t be bothered to see the passages cited in the link I gave above, I’m not going to bother myself going over them, either.

    I’ve answered quite a few of your questions and have repeatedly challenged you to explain your claim that the Bible is “the Word of God.” At some point you should acknowledge that challenge and explain yourself: how is the Bible “THE” Word of God, if that doesn’t imply that it’s unique, and how is the Bible unique if not uniquely authoritative?

    You say that sola scriptura is “a self-defeating argument, since human reasoning is required to extrapolate meaning that is not there in the words.”

    Again, I didn’t think you were trying to re-litigate the Reformation, but it takes a particularly petulant brand of arrogance to think that Martin Luther could be dismissed so easily.

    Well, hell: I didn’t know Luther was such a moron and you were such a genius.

  180. paynehollow says:

    sigh.

    After we had been there a number of days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. (Acts 21 – POST John the Baptist)

    …But since we have [ie, current tense] special gifts which differ in accordance with the diversified work graciously entrusted to us, if it is prophecy, let the prophet speak in exact proportion to his faith (Romans 12)

    …Every man who takes part in prayer, or gives [ie, current tense] teaching as a prophet, with his head covered, puts shame on his head. (1 Cor 11)

    …But the word of the prophet gives [ie, current tense] men knowledge and comfort and strength. (1 Cor 14)

    Shall I continue with the other post JB references to biblical prophets? Or do you want to admit you misspoke?

    I don’t think I’ve ever heard this whole “prophets ended at John the Baptist” notion except for perhaps some marginalized fundamentalists, even when I was back in normal conservative Baptist Land. Is this a real teaching that some people embrace? In spite of the biblical witness against it?

    Again, and again and again, this is the problem of using the Bible as a source for rulings, as if finding a verse (or series of verses) “proves” anything authoritatively. You may line up your verses (or VERSE -singular – as the case appears to be in this instance) that prophets ended at JB and others would line up their verses contradicting your suggestion and you would both fail to understand that you are still relying upon human reasoning to make a claim as to what this or that verse means. Which means you are relying upon human reasoning to sort out teachings, not the Bible “alone.”

    Thus making sola scriptura a self-defeating argument.

    ~Dan

  181. paynehollow says:

    You cite Luther as your source of confidence?

    Luther, who said…

    “Like the mules who will not move unless you perpetually whip them with rods, so the civil powers must drive the common people, whip, choke, hang, burn, behead and torture them, that they may learn to fear the powers that be.” (El. ed. 15, 276, quoted by O’Hare, in ‘The Facts About Luther, TAN Books, 1987, p. 235.)

    “A peasant is a hog, for when a hog is slaughtered it is dead, and in the same way the peasant does not think about the next life, for otherwise he would behave very differently.” (‘Schlaginhaufen,’ ‘Aufzeichnungen,’ p. 118, quoted ibid., p. 241)

    “I confess that I cannot forbid a person to marry several wives, for it does not contradict the Scripture. If a man wishes to marry more than one wife he should be asked whether he is satisfied in his conscience that he may do so in accordance with the word of God. In such a case the civil authority has nothing to do in the matter.” (De Wette II, 459, ibid., pp. 329-330.)

    Luther who disagreed with “the 66…”?

    “The history of Jonah is so monstrous that it is absolutely incredible.” (‘The Facts About Luther, O’Hare, TAN Books, 1987, p. 202.)

    “The book of Esther I toss into the Elbe. I am such an enemy to the book of Esther that I wish it did not exist, for it Judaizes too much and has in it a great deal of heathenish foolishness.” (Ibid.)

    “…the epistle of St. James is an epistle full of straw, because it contains nothing evangelical.” (‘Preface to the New Testament,’ ed. Dillenberger, p. 19.)

    “If nonsense is spoken anywhere, this is the very place. I pass over the fact that many have maintained, with much probability, that this epistle was not written by the apostle James, and is not worthy of the spirit of the apostle.” (‘Pagan Servitude of the Church,’ ed. Dillenberger, p. 352.)

    Who wrote of Jewish folk…

    “Jews are young devils damned to hell.” (‘Luther’s Works,’ Pelikan, Vol. XX, pp. 2230.)

    “Burn their synagogues. Forbid them all that I have mentioned above. Force them to work and treat them with every kind of severity, as Moses did in the desert and slew three thousand… If that is no use, we must drive them away like mad dogs, in order that we may not be partakers of their abominable blasphemy and of all their vices, and in order that we may not deserve the anger of God and be damned with them. I have done my duty. Let everyone see how he does his. I am excused.” (‘About the Jews and Their Lies,’ quoted by O’Hare, in ‘The Facts About Luther, TAN Books, 1987, p. 290.)

    Who supported the persecution of other Christians who didn’t “believe right…”

    “That seditious articles of doctrine should be punished by the sword needed no further proof. For the rest, the Anabaptists hold tenets relating to infant baptism, original sin, and inspiration, which have no connection with the Word of God, and are indeed opposed to it. …

    Secular authorities are also bound to restrain and punish avowedly false doctrine … For think what disaster would ensue if children were not baptized? … Besides this the Anabaptists separate themselves from the churches … and they set up a ministry and congregation of their own, which is also contrary to the command of God. From all this it becomes clear that the secular authorities are bound … to inflict corporal punishment on the offenders … Also when it is a case of only upholding some spiritual tenet, such as infant baptism, original sin, and unnecessary separation, then … we conclude that … the stubborn sectaries must be put to death.”

    “If I had all the Franciscan friars in one house, I would set fire to it. … To the fire with them!”

    That Luther?

    You’re welcome to him, I don’t place much stock in his opinions. They are, after all, merely fallible, human opinions – opinions we can see clearly in hindsight how monstrous they were.

    Is that all you got? “Cuz, Luther…”?

    Not impressed.

    ~Dan

  182. Again, Dan, the use of reason to understand the Bible’s teachings does NOT make the Bible subordinate to reason: that only occurs when reason is used to override the Bible’s teachings.

    You evidently reject the idea that the Bible is uniquely authoritative. Okay, but you haven’t explained what revelation or potential revelation ought to be held as normative, which IS a very important question if one is trying to discern God’s revelation rather than merely justify one’s own agenda.

    And if the Bible isn’t uniquely authoritative, you still haven’t even acknowledged that you claim to believe the Bible is “the Word of God,” much less have you explained what you could possibly mean by that phrase.

  183. The short version:

    “I don’t have to argue against Luther’s actual arguments for sola scriptura, here’s a website listing all the horrible things he said. It’s from a lunatic who thinks even Lutherans are part of a false religion, but I’ll hide that fact by copying and pasting without attribution.”

    How foolish of me, to doubt Dan Trabue’s scholarship and skills at argument. Luther’s a monster, and he’s a genius.

    A genius who still won’t explain what he means when he says the Bible is “the Word of God,” but why let that tarnish the glow of his glory?

    • Bubba,

      Just for a second, let’s assume Dan is correct. Let’s assume that “the Word of God,”, doesn’t actually mean that God had anything to do with the Bible. Let’s ignore the actual process that led to the canon. Let’s disregard the hundreds of years of experts who have weighed in on this. Let’s forget Luther, Calvin, Spurgeon etc. Let’s just assume that the Bible is just a bunch of random writings thrown together with little if no thought by a bunch of guys with an agenda. Let’s grant everything Dan is proposing to be factual. Let’s assume that there is no authoritative standard by which to judge. After all that, what are we left with?

      We’re left with Dan, standing virtually alone. We’re left with Dan and his hunches, backed up with …?

      I realize that when we bring up the preponderance of Church history that Dan characterizes it as a logical fallacy (even though it is apparently OK when he does it), and that right and wrong is not decided by majority vote, but still this is virtually one guy spouting a bunch of “guesses” with virtually no substance.

      I don’t know, should I go with the historic Christian doctrine, or should I go with a bunch of hunches?

  184. paynehollow says:

    Bubba…

    You evidently reject the idea that the Bible is uniquely authoritative.

    Because the Bible makes no such claim about itself, I have no reason to guess that it might be. I am not willing to make a claim about the Bible that the Bible does not make.

    Luther notwithstanding.

    Bubba…

    you haven’t explained what revelation or potential revelation ought to be held as normative, which IS a very important question if one is trying to discern God’s revelation rather than merely justify one’s own agenda.

    I have no evidence, no data, no authoritative source that tells me that there IS a “normative source of revelation.” Do you?

    The bible has not told me that there is a single normative source for revelation.

    God has not told me that there is a single normative source for revelation.

    All I have is some guy on the internet pointing me to his tradition that says there “must be” this source. But this guy is not authoritative, nor is his tradition.

    So, on what basis would I add something to the Bible that is not there?

    In fact, doesn’t the Bible warn against that (if you’re taking it as a rulebook, anyway)?

    As to the Luther quotes, they are his, regardless of where they were located. I am not endorsing that website (or the other one that I found quotes from), I’m just citing Luther in his own words.

    And my point is not that Luther was a monster. He was a man of his time. A fallen, fallible human, capable of mistakes and not holding any perfect genius when it comes to his theology, just as is true for me and you.

    What do I mean by the Bible being the Word of God? It means I accept my human tradition of identifying the Bible as a source for God’s revelation. As I have always made clear.

    Does that clear it up for you?

    ~Dan

  185. paynehollow says:

    Bubba…

    it’s not fair at all, and if you can’t be bothered to see the passages cited in the link I gave above, I’m not going to bother myself going over them, either.

    I saw your link and followed it to read some human interpretations of ideas and notions that are not literally IN the Bible, but that they extrapolate out of the Bible. Which just confirmed what I said.

    While I’m waiting for you all to admit your human error in misreading Luke 16 to suggest that JB was “the last prophet,” let me clarify a new misunderstanding before you get there…

    If you look and are honest and see that the Pauline passages I referenced clearly speak of prophets post-John and you reach the conclusion: A ha! Well, then, therefore, we can know that God DOES think prophets lasted past John, because the Bible… you will still be off on the wrong trail due to a bad approach (in my personal human opinion) to reading the Bible.

    There are or aren’t still “prophets” NOT because “the Bible says…” but because it is a word humans use and attach meaning to. We – you and I and M Luther – do not know what God thinks about whether prophets still exist. Just as a point of fact, we do not authoritatively know, regardless of what meaning you humans and other humans attach to Paul’s words and to Luke’s words.

    Get that?

    ~Dan

  186. Clear as mud, Dan.

    “What do I mean by the Bible being the Word of God? It means I accept my human tradition of identifying the Bible as a source for God’s revelation. As I have always made clear.”

    By your own statement, you’re using the definite article “the” and the capitalized “Word” to mean only that the Bible is “a” source of divine revelation. It’s like calling Jesus “the” capital-S Son of God when one means that Jesus is merely one of many small-s sons of God.

    Unless you really don’t grasp the difference between definite articles and indefinite articles — and the rest of your writing argues against your being that big of a literal imbecile — you’re being deliberately misleading.

  187. paynehollow says:

    Of all the books in the world, Bubba, there is one and only one that Christians have decided is as Scripture for us: The Bible. It is our only agreed upon Bible, thus, it is The Bible for us, by our decision.

    God did not hand the 66 to us and tell us, “here’s your Bible, directly from me…” it was a human decision. I accept THE Bible as our scripture insofar as we have agreed upon it. But I don’t make the claim that God has given it to us, or that it is the sole source of inspiration because the Bible makes no such claims and I have no data that demands that sort of claim.

    Understand now?

    ~Dan

  188. paynehollow says:

    Bubba…

    Unless you really don’t grasp the difference between definite articles and indefinite articles — and the rest of your writing argues against your being that big of a literal imbecile — you’re being deliberately misleading.

    Having explained now your misunderstanding, do you see that indeed, it was not your option one or your option two (deliberately misleading) but a very specific, The Bible is The One Book we Christians have decided are as scripture to us?

    A misunderstanding on your part does not equate to any misleading on my part, right?

    Or do none of you all ever admit it when you’ve falsely accused someone?

    John, how about it? I pointed out your mistake in your false claim, any chance of a simple acknowledgement that you were wrong to charge me – falsely – with adding words in?

    I’ll not hold my breath.

    ~Dan

  189. Dan,

    Thanks for your very ungracious, unChristian and extremely and purposely distorted representation of my arguments. To wit (with very little “wit” evident):

    ““I, Marshall, think this and that and that other thing, and I think clearly you are wrong because, well, it’s what I think…””

    This constitutes a blatant lie. So typical.

  190. paynehollow says:

    uh huh. We’ll see over to my blog, Marshall. But you have to offer something besides “It’s right because I think it’s right…” in order to make your case that you hold the facts and the truths of the matter.

    I’d posit you can offer naught but your opinion in defense of, well, your opinion, thus giving lie to the claim that I’ve offered a “blatant lie…”

    ~Dan

    • Again you lie. I do not offer “It’s right because I think it’s right…” arguments. I offer actual arguments that flow in a clear and rational path. I back up my contentions with logic and fact…facts based on the text in question. What “I think is right” is the result of actual reason as opposed to the mere claim of having used reason without demonstrating it. You, in the meantime, have failed miserably in demonstrating how my conclusions could be wrong. I invite anyone to review the discussion, as well as the blog posts of yours referenced in that post, for the discussions there to view the exact same truth of how I do not offer merely “It’s right because I think it’s right…” arguments. Thus, you lie again.

  191. paynehollow says:

    Bubba…

    the use of reason to understand the Bible’s teachings does NOT make the Bible subordinate to reason: that only occurs when reason is used to override the Bible’s teachings.

    While awaiting your response to the demonstrable mistake you all have made about prophets, let me touch on this.

    You appeal here to reason, not to biblical teaching and do so in a circular manner.

    You say the Bible is subordinate to reason only when reason is used to “override the Bible’s teachings…” but what ARE the Bible’s teachings to which you appeal? The conclusions of your reasoning.

    Thus, you think (correct me if I’m mistaken) that people like me have “overridden the Bible’s teachings” when we use our reason to conclude that God does not oppose marriage between gay folk, but since the Bible does not teach directly that God DOES oppose marriage between gay folk, to what are you appealing? Not the Bible, but your interpretation of the Bible reached using (wait for it……) your reasoning.

    Self-defeated, do you see?

    ~Dan

    • Based on my review of the many comments of this thread, I think it is quite clear that there is a distinction between what Bubba and John mean when using the term “prophet” and what Dan is attempting to conflate with that term. They have stated specifically one who speaks directly for God, a mouthpiece as it were, one who is told directly by God what to say to His target audience. This does not necessarily parallel the prophets meant by Paul in the verses cited by Dan, but that Dan suggests it is so. As I earlier suggested, an easy way to dispel the position of Bubba and John is merely to name a prophet who has the same “job description” as those of JB and previous to him, and not someone merely called a prophet with no other similarly distinguishing characteristics. Until this can be done, there is nothing for which John or Bubba need apologize.

      And yes, Dan, you have indeed overridden the clear teachings of Scripture when you suggest a possibility that God would tolerate, bless or condone a marital union between two people who engage in behavior He calls an abomination (which was the reason given for its prohibition). You override Scripture when you dare suggest that He was referring to a particular form of the behavior, as if some context in which it might occur would render it NOT an abomination. The only way you can say you use “reason” to come to your conclusion is to “reason” away all reason in forcing your preferred meaning into Scripture. Please spare me you unconvincing claim of having been a conservative.

  192. paynehollow says:

    Marshall…

    They have stated specifically one who speaks directly for God, a mouthpiece as it were, one who is told directly by God what to say to His target audience.

    Where and when did John the Baptist get “told directly by God what to say…”?

    Source, please.

    Or did you err in what you claimed?

    It is acceptable to say, “Whoops, I made a mistake.” It’s not acceptable to continue in the mistake and ignore the data.

    ~Dan

    • John 1:33 certainly implies that God directly spoke to John, and there he communicated God’s revelation to the people.

      • paynehollow says:

        The passage, with some context…

        The next day he [John the Baptist] saw Jesus coming to him and *said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is He on behalf of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.’

        I did not recognize Him, but so that He might be manifested to Israel, I came baptizing in water.” John testified saying, “I have seen the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven, and He remained