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Darwinist Jerry Coyne refuses to discuss origin of life in person with maverick rabbi; claims he oppresses women

Rabbi Moshe Averick, author of The Confused, Illusory World of the Atheist , tells us the sad story of the “Orthodox Rabbi vs. Atheistic Biologist Who Won’t Put his Money Where his Mouth is: A History.” The “atheist bigot”in the story is surprise, surprise gnu atheist Jerry Coyne (“Why Evolution Is True”):

I have some very sad news to report…Dr. Jerry Coyne (Zealous Atheist – Professor of Biology at the U. of Chicago), and I (Orthodox Rabbi – Fearless Crusader for Belief in God and Spirituality)…are breaking up. I know it’s hard to believe, but our passionate, tempestuous, whirlwind affair has come to an end. In his final letter to me Jerry wrote: “I’m done with Averick, and certainly will not accept his invitation to meet and discuss whether God created the first organism.” The hottest love has the coldest end – Socrates

Regular readers will remember that Moseh Averick’s key issue is the non-science around the origin of life. His sparring with Coyne on that topic can be viewed here (“An Open Letter to Dr. Jerry Coyne, from the Maverick Rabbi”), here (“Should Darwin’s defender Jerry Coyne get silver medal for “sheer crudeness”?”), and here (“Reb Moshe Averick, skeptic of nonsense marketed as science, mixes it up again with Jerry “Why Evolution Is True” Coyne”), for example.

So, what ha-a-a-a-ppened? Why are we deprived, with no apparent just cause, of our regular dose of Maverick? Well, after a discussion of numerous occasions on which Coyne found it hard to understand why an intelligent Jewish person would disagree with him,

9. 12/22/11 – (Don’t worry we’re almost finished) I offer to bury the hatchet and hold out the peace-pipe to Dr. Coyne with: Dr. Jerry Coyne: My Culturally-Jewish, Atheistic, Biologist Bro’ at the University of Chicago: “It does not seem to me that a simple disagreement about the origin of life should be cause for me and Dr. Coyne to be at each others throats. Jerry, I am respectfully answering your challenge and would like to “come at you bro.” Let’s stop fighting over the internet and meet in person and have a mature, civil discussion about Origin of Life….The more I think about it the better it sounds. After all, we do have quite a bit in common; two nice Jewish boys in Chicago who love Hyde Park, who love to hack away at our word processors, who thoroughly enjoy an honest battle of ideas, and most important of all, we both love pastrami sandwiches!” I even sent him a “virtual gift” of kosher pastrami as a peace-offering.

But, the skinny,

In his final post where he announced the “break-up” and that he would not meet me in a debate, the nicest thing he had to say was that I was a “sexist” actively engaged in enslaving and oppressing women on every continent.

Wow! The Reb has that kind of pull? Here we figured he was lucky to just keep some Jewish families faithful – the rabbi’s perennial quest. Anyway, Rev Averick finishes with

Frankly, it is clear that Dr. Coyne was relieved that he found a good excuse not to discuss or debate the issue of Origin of Life with me in an open forum. Origin of Life is the soft, defenseless underbelly of the façade of “scientific” support for an atheistic worldview.

Well, we wish Moshe Averick a tougher opponent.

By the way, James Shapiro, currently sparring with the ID theorists, admits that origin of life is still on the fringe of science. It’s hardly a new or unreasonable idea.

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71 Responses to Darwinist Jerry Coyne refuses to discuss origin of life in person with maverick rabbi; claims he oppresses women

  1. Averick wrote:

    but you have made it clear in several of your posts at Why Evolution is True that you prefer to have women do your fighting for you. That includes both Terri-Lynne McCormick (the wife of Origin of Life researcher Dr. Jack Szostak), and Faye Flam the Planet of the Apes columnist at the Philadelphia Inquirer.

    Coyne responded:

    Let me clarify to this dreadful specimen of Judaism that these women did not do their fighting for me; they did it on their own behalf. I neither incited Flam or McCormick to post, nor, indeed, had any contact with them about their attacks on Averick’s beginning-of-life creationism. I’ve never had any contact at all with Ms. McCormick. Maybe the good rabbi can learn from this exchange that in the secular community, women can actually think for themselves.

    Averick, you owe both of these women an apology.

    Indeed. Averick seems to be what is known in the vernacular as a “sexist douchebag”.

  2. Oh the hypocrisy of our atheistic friend, Jerry Coyne.
    Let’s assume for the sake of argument that Rabbi Averick is sexist and oppressive…by what authority does the atheist deduce such traits would be wrong? Keep in mind, we are told by atheists that we have no free will (no more than a bowl of sugar according to Cashmore in PNAS) and that humans are not superior to any other living organism, such as maggots or bacteria (Ruse) So, it’s a little hard to believe Coyne could intellectually take offence in regards to sexism if Rabbi Averick had no choice but to be that way.

    Once again, we see how self-refuting atheism is and why atheists continually revert to the moral standards of GOD (the ultimate moral authority) Makes it hard to be an atheist. ;-)

  3. champignon, aside from the name calling that you so easily catered to, of the good, but human, Rabbi Averick, of alleged sexual bigotry, and cutting to the nitty gritty of this ‘origin of life’ matter, do you, or do you not, disagree with any of the ‘science’ behind these following quotes, that Averick has cited, other than you having severe dislike that the ‘science’ is not conducive in the least to your atheistic worldview???:

    The Theist holds the Intellectual High-Ground – March 2011
    Excerpt: To get a range on the enormous challenges involved in bridging the gaping chasm between non-life and life, consider the following: “The difference between a mixture of simple chemicals and a bacterium, is much more profound than the gulf between a bacterium and an elephant.” (Dr. Robert Shapiro, Professor Emeritus of Chemistry, NYU)
    http://www.faithfulnews.com/co.....ing-gospel

    Scientists Prove Again that Life is the Result of Intelligent Design – Rabbi Moshe Averick – August 2011
    Excerpt: “To go from bacterium to people is less of a step than to go from a mixture of amino acids to a bacterium.” – Dr. Lynn Margulis
    http://www.algemeiner.com/2011.....nt-design/

    Here is a related article with several more excellent quotes, by leading origin of life researchers, commenting on the ‘problem’ that the origin of life presents to ‘science’ (actually it is only a problem for atheists who ‘believe’ that ‘science’ equates strictly to their reductive materialistic view of reality):

    Faye Flam: Atheist Writer Who is Long on Graciousness, Long on Civility… Short on Reason, Short on Scientific Realities – Rabbi Averick
    http://www.algemeiner.com/2012.....alities-2/

    Further comments on the origin of life ‘problem’:

    Stephen Meyer – Proteins by Design – Doing The Math – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/6332250/

    Signature in the Cell – Book Review – Ken Peterson
    Excerpt: If we assume some minimally complex cell requires 250 different proteins then the probability of this arrangement happening purely by chance is one in 10 to the 164th multiplied by itself 250 times or one in 10 to the 41,000th power.
    http://www.spectrummagazine.or.....ature_cell

    In fact years ago Fred Hoyle arrived at approximately the same number, one chance in 10^40,000, for life spontaneously arising. From this number, Fred Hoyle compared the random emergence of the simplest bacterium on earth to the likelihood “a tornado sweeping through a junkyard might assemble a Boeing 747 therein”. Fred Hoyle also compared the chance of obtaining just one single functioning protein molecule, by chance combination of amino acids, to a solar system packed full of blind men solving Rubik’s Cube simultaneously.

    Professor Harold Morowitz shows the Origin of Life ‘problem’ escalates dramatically over the 1 in 10^40,000 figure when working on a ‘simple’ cell from a thermodynamic perspective,:

    “The probability for the chance of formation of the smallest, simplest form of living organism known is 1 in 10^340,000,000. This number is 10 to the 340 millionth power! The size of this figure is truly staggering since there is only supposed to be approximately 10^80 (10 to the 80th power) electrons in the whole universe!”
    (Professor Harold Morowitz, Energy Flow In Biology pg. 99, Biophysicist of George Mason University)

    Dr. Don Johnson lays out some of the probabilities for life in this following video:

    Probabilities Of Life – Don Johnson PhD. – 38 minute mark of video
    a typical functional protein – 1 part in 10^175
    the required enzymes for life – 1 part in 10^40,000
    a living self replicating cell – 1 part in 10^340,000,000
    http://www.vimeo.com/11706014

    Programming of Life – Probability of a Cell Evolving – video
    http://www.youtube.com/user/Pr.....yTUSe99z6o

    Dr. Morowitz did another probability calculation working from the thermodynamic perspective with a already existing cell and came up with this number:

    DID LIFE START BY CHANCE?
    Excerpt: Molecular biophysicist, Horold Morowitz (Yale University), calculated the odds of life beginning under natural conditions (spontaneous generation). He calculated, if one were to take the simplest living cell and break every chemical bond within it, the odds that the cell would reassemble under ideal natural conditions (the best possible chemical environment) would be one chance in 10^100,000,000,000. You will have probably have trouble imagining a number so large, so Hugh Ross provides us with the following example. If all the matter in the Universe was converted into building blocks of life, and if assembly of these building blocks were attempted once a microsecond for the entire age of the universe. Then instead of the odds being 1 in 10^100,000,000,000, they would be 1 in 10^99,999,999,916 (also of note: 1 with 100 billion zeros following would fill approx. 20,000 encyclopedias)
    http://members.tripod.com/~Black_J/chance.html

    Also of interest is the information content that is derived in a cell when, ‘mathematically’, working from the thermodynamic perspective:

    “a one-celled bacterium, e. coli, is estimated to contain the equivalent of 100 million pages of Encyclopedia Britannica. Expressed in information in science jargon, this would be the same as 10^12 bits of information. In comparison, the total writings from classical Greek Civilization is only 10^9 bits, and the largest libraries in the world – The British Museum, Oxford Bodleian Library, New York Public Library, Harvard Widenier Library, and the Moscow Lenin Library – have about 10 million volumes or 10^12 bits.” – R. C. Wysong

    ‘The information content of a simple cell has been estimated as around 10^12 bits, comparable to about a hundred million pages of the Encyclopedia Britannica.”
    Carl Sagan, “Life” in Encyclopedia Britannica: Macropaedia (1974 ed.), pp. 893-894

    of note: The 10^12 bits of information number for a bacterium is derived from entropic considerations, which is, due to the tightly integrated relationship between information and entropy, considered the most accurate measure of the transcendent quantum information/entanglement constraining a ‘simple’ life form to be so far out of thermodynamic equilibrium.

    “Is there a real connection between entropy in physics and the entropy of information? ….The equations of information theory and the second law are the same, suggesting that the idea of entropy is something fundamental…” Siegfried, Dallas Morning News, 5/14/90, [Quotes Robert W. Lucky, Ex. Director of Research, AT&T, Bell Laboratories & John A. Wheeler, of Princeton & Univ. of TX, Austin]

    For calculations of the 10^12 bit number, from the thermodynamic perspective, please see the following site:

    Moleular Biophysics – Information theory. Relation between information and entropy: – Setlow-Pollard, Ed. Addison Wesley
    Excerpt: Linschitz gave the figure 9.3 x 10^12 cal/deg or 9.3 x 10^12 x 4.2 joules/deg for the entropy of a bacterial cell. Using the relation H = S/(k In 2), we find that the information content is 4 x 10^12 bits. Morowitz’ deduction from the work of Bayne-Jones and Rhees gives the lower value of 5.6 x 10^11 bits, which is still in the neighborhood of 10^12 bits. Thus two quite different approaches give rather concordant figures.
    http://www.astroscu.unam.mx/~a.....ecular.htm

  4. champignon, I have a friendly suggestion for you, if you truly want to find the source for where all life originally came from, I suggest you look to the one who defeated death itself on the cross.

    notes:

    (,,,The ‘mathematical endeavor’, to unify General Relativity with Quantum Mechanics, has been fraught with extreme difficulty. Here is, I believe, the main ‘mathematical difficulty’,,,)

    Science vs God: Its The Collapse Of Physics As We Know it – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wHHz4mB9GKY

    THE MYSTERIOUS ZERO/INFINITY
    Excerpt: The biggest challenge to today’s physicists is how to reconcile general relativity and quantum mechanics. However, these two pillars of modern science were bound to be incompatible. “The universe of general relativity is a smooth rubber sheet. It is continuous and flowing, never sharp, never pointy. Quantum mechanics, on the other hand, describes a jerky and discontinuous universe. What the two theories have in common – and what they clash over – is zero.”,, “The infinite zero of a black hole — mass crammed into zero space, curving space infinitely — punches a hole in the smooth rubber sheet. The equations of general relativity cannot deal with the sharpness of zero. In a black hole, space and time are meaningless.”,, “Quantum mechanics has a similar problem, a problem related to the zero-point energy. The laws of quantum mechanics treat particles such as the electron as points; that is, they take up no space at all. The electron is a zero-dimensional object,,, According to the rules of quantum mechanics, the zero-dimensional electron has infinite mass and infinite charge.
    http://www.fmbr.org/editoral/e....._mar02.htm

    (,,,Moreover, this extreme ‘mathematical difficulty’, of reconciling General Relativity with Quantum Mechanics into the much sought after ‘Theory of Everything’, was actually somewhat foreseeable from previous work, earlier in the 20th century, in mathematics by Godel:,,,)

    THE GOD OF THE MATHEMATICIANS – DAVID P. GOLDMAN – August 2010
    Excerpt: we cannot construct an ontology that makes God dispensable. Secularists can dismiss this as a mere exercise within predefined rules of the game of mathematical logic, but that is sour grapes, for it was the secular side that hoped to substitute logic for God in the first place. Gödel’s critique of the continuum hypothesis has the same implication as his incompleteness theorems: Mathematics never will create the sort of closed system that sorts reality into neat boxes.
    http://www.firstthings.com/art.....ematicians

    (,,,Moreover when we allow consciousness its proper role in quantum mechanics:,,,)

    The argument for God from consciousness can be framed like this:

    1. Consciousness either precedes all of material reality or is a ‘epi-phenomena’ of material reality.
    2. If consciousness is a ‘epi-phenomena’ of material reality then consciousness will be found to have no special position within material reality. Whereas conversely, if consciousness precedes material reality then consciousness will be found to have a special position within material reality.
    3. Consciousness is found to have a special, even central, position within material reality.
    4. Therefore, consciousness is found to precede material reality.

    “It was not possible to formulate the laws (of quantum theory) in a fully consistent way without reference to consciousness.”
    Eugene Wigner (1902 -1995) from his collection of essays “Symmetries and Reflections – Scientific Essays”; Eugene Wigner laid the foundation for the theory of symmetries in quantum mechanics, for which he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1963.

    (,,,We then find a very credible reconciliation between General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics which, very unlike the multiverse conjecture, actually has some very impressive empirical evidence backing it up,,,)

    The ‘center of the universe’ is life – General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, Entropy, and The Shroud Of Turin – updated video (notes in description)
    http://vimeo.com/34084462

    (,,,Thus, when one allows God into math, as Godel clearly indicated must ultimately be done to keep math from being ‘incomplete’, then we find that there actually exists a very credible reconciliation between Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity into a the much sought after ‘Theory of Everything’! Yet it certainly is a ‘Theory of Everything’ that many dogmatic Atheists will try to deny the relevance of.,,, As a footnote; Godel, who proved you cannot have a mathematical ‘Theory of Everything’, without allowing God to bring completeness to the ‘Theory of Everything’ in the first place, also had this to say,,,)

    The God of the Mathematicians – Goldman
    Excerpt: As Gödel told Hao Wang, “Einstein’s religion [was] more abstract, like Spinoza and Indian philosophy. Spinoza’s god is less than a person; mine is more than a person; because God can play the role of a person.” – Kurt Gödel – (Gödel is considered by many to be the greatest mathematician of the 20th century)
    http://www.firstthings.com/art.....ematicians

  5. Blue_Savannah,

    I’m sorry, I can’t let this pass:

    Once again, we see how self-refuting atheism is and why atheists continually revert to the moral standards of GOD (the ultimate moral authority) Makes it hard to be an atheist.

    How can you possibly claim to know what the moral standards of God are? You apparently believe that God disapproves of sexism. What is your authority? The Bible? The Old Testament is rife with sexism. If it is so clear what the moral standards of God are, how come every Christian sect has its own version?

    This is such a canard, repeated over and over in this blog, that morality comes from God, the “ultimate moral authority”, yet Christians cannot agree on what the actual principles of that moral authority are beyond the broadest generalities. There is a major disconnect here. It appears to be a fundamental Christian tenet that morality derives from God, yet God has not made it at all clear what that morality is.

    In the Conversations with God series of books, by Neale Donald Walsch, God, speaking through the author, says point blank that in His eyes there is no moral right and wrong; there is only what works and what doesn’t work, given what it is one wants to be, do, and have. If one wants to live in a loving, harmonious world, then one should be loving and harmonious. If not, then not. He also says that the rule to live by if one wants to live in accordance with one’s true essential nature (the image and likeness of God) is in every moment to be in the question, “What would Love do now?” Now those are words to live by.

  6. How can you possibly claim to know what the moral standards of God are? You apparently believe that God disapproves of sexism. What is your authority? The Bible? The Old Testament is rife with sexism. If it is so clear what the moral standards of God are, how come every Christian sect has its own version?

    This is such a canard, repeated over and over in this blog, that morality comes from God, the “ultimate moral authority”, yet Christians cannot agree on what the actual principles of that moral authority are beyond the broadest generalities. There is a major disconnect here. It appears to be a fundamental Christian tenet that morality derives from God, yet God has not made it at all clear what that morality is.

    Right on, Bruce.

    And furthermore, suppose that we did somehow obtain certain knowledge of what God wants us to do. We would still have to ask ourselves, “Is it morally right to do what God is asking me to do, or am I morally obligated to disobey?” For example, who among us would fail to ask ourselves that question if God asked us to kill one of our children, as he supposedly asked Abraham?

    It comes down to individual judgment. Each of us is responsible for his or her moral decisions, and we can’t pass the buck to any external authority — not even to God.

  7. Champignon,

    Interesting, isn’t it, that in one thread we are practically at each other’s throats, and in another we are in agreement?! :)

    Bruce

  8. Yeah. Life’s funny, isn’t it?

    Don’t worry — I’m sure we’ll disagree again soon. :-)

  9. That was the subject of the movie, Pan’s Labyrinth.

  10. It looks good. I just added it to my Netflix queue.

  11. The idea that Jews oppress women is utter nonsense. Almost everywhere you find Jewish people, you find educated Jewish women, holding professional positions. Are they truly oppressed?

    Some of us, when we think of oppression of women, think of, say, The Stoning of Soraya M, dowry burns, and legal wife-beating. Real horrific deaths and injuries inflicted on real people. Where do Jewish people figure in all that, except as stalwarts in human rights orgs, trying to prevent it?

  12. News,

    Some of us, when we think of oppression of women, think of, say, The Stoning of Soraya M, dowry burns, and legal wife-beating.

    I’d say that screaming and spitting at an eight-year-old qualifies as oppression:

    On Tuesday night, thousands of Israelis in the city of Beit Shemesh, just west of Jerusalem, gathered to protest the harassment of Naama Margolese, a cherub-faced second grader filmed weeping as she described walking to school while a few ultra-Orthodox Haredi Jewish men spat and screamed at her. The Haredi hecklers took issue with eight-year-old Naama’s exposed arms. More generally, they resented having to watch a procession of what they called “Nazis” and “whores” traipsing down their streets to get to a single-sex school nearby.

    Anyway, Coyne is very clear about who he’s criticizing:

    Yes, we know that some Orthodox Jews pray every day, thanking G-d that they weren’t born a woman, and that Orthodox Jews make women second-class citizens, forcing them to become baby machines, to ritually purify themselves after menstruation, and to worship behind a screen at the back of the schul. I would hope that, although Averick is an Orthodox rabbi, he’d be a bit more enlightened than this. He clearly isn’t. If there’s a Mrs. Averick, I weep for her.

  13. Yoo hoo!! Let Mrs. Averick speak for herself, if she wishes. Isn’t that the point?

    Living in a culture largely shaped by Jews as well as Christians, she is entirely free to reject her religion or her ol’ man if she doesn’t agree with it/him. You think that a small achievement? Wow.

    Jerry Coyne should save his tears for women who live in cultures where they can’t.

  14. Are you really that unthoughtful that you believe what you are saying here? You have obviously never known anyone who left a fundamentalist type of religious community.

  15. 15

    If you read the article with a little bit of care you will see that I never insinuated that Jerry Coyne asked Terri-Lynne McCormick or Faye Flame to argue on his behalf. That is ridiculous. When I mentioned their names I provided links to Coyne’s blog Why Evolution is True where he cited their articles to attack me.

    It would be as if I cited an article by Denyse O’leary that attacked Coyne and added on my own “Ha-Ha, Denyse O’leary showed what a jerk you are (which she does, of course)” or I cited an article by David Klinghoffer about Coyne and said “Ha-Ha, Klinghoffer really shows what a jerk you are (which he probably would if he wrote about Coyne)”

    If I disagree with someone, I put forward my own arguments, I don’t hide behind what others write and then childishly taunt and point out to them that other people said nasty things. My point was that Coyne, in his blowhard style, challenged me with big talk and then did everything possible to back away from any type of mature, adult discussion in an open forum. I live 20 minutes away from the University of Chicago and it would have been extraordinarily easy to arrange some type of meeting.

    I also made it very clear – if you read what I wrote – that I had no objections whatsoever to the fact that Terri-Lynne McCormick and Faye Flam wrote pieces disagreeing with me. I said explicitly that Ms. McCormick, although she was wrong in her accusation, felt she was standing up for her husband, which in my opinion is admirable. I also said explicitly that Faye Flam was gracious and civil in her disagreement, albeit her logic left much to be desired.

    When I said that Jerry Coyne prefers to have women do his fighting for him, it was a reflection on the tactics of Jerry Coyne, not McCormick or Flam. If you perceive that I was insinuating that Coyne is a coward for using these types of tactics, then you are absolutely correct.

    I don’t use the word “sexist” in my vocabulary, so I really am not sure how people use that word and what exactly they mean. If by calling me a sexist, Coyne was saying that I denigrated women somehow, then that is obviously nonsense, I was denigrating him, not women.

  16. 16

    Champignon,

    Your first mistake is to take Coyne’s adolescent rantings at face value. If you read my latest column at Algemeiner.com and follow the history of our little feud, you will see that the whole “sexism” thing was nothing more than an excuse to avoid a face to face debate. Much like Dawkins (a man who believes that good and evil are non-existent, and that we are not truly responsible for our actions) when he self-righteously refused to meet with W.L. Craig because of Craig’s analysis of a war that took place 3,300 years ago.

  17. 17

    Bruce, my authority that God disproves of sexism is found in the Golden Rule.

    Now, please tell me why the Golden Rule should apply in a world where ‘survival of the fittest’ is the only law of life? If you are not superior to maggots or bacteria, as atheist Ruse claims, why is it wrong to be sexist???

    As John Lennox stated: Science can tell us if we put strychnine in our grandmother’s tea it will kill her, but it cannot tell us WHY it is morally wrong to do so.

    So Bruce, if killing granny means my survival chances would be greatly increased, why is it morally wrong to kill her?
    Especially if she’s just accidental chemicals.

    Only with GOD do we have morality.

  18. 18

    One last thing. Wasn’t it Darwin who claimed women were inferior and doomed to be that way, because they had smaller brains than men? Coyne needs to find a better excuse for not debating Rabbi Asherick…perhaps he could try the truth. He can’t win against Asherick.

  19. 19

    congratulations moshe, you just produced countless bits of information to defend yourself from a weasel accusation, and in doing so you have allowed Coyne derail the entire conversation about OOL.

    Stay on topic. Does a plausible pathway from inorganic chemicals to a single self-replicator exist?

    Coyne certainly understands that the saying, “having women fight for you,” is a metaphor for “coward”. And that the metaphor is grounded in the biological gender dichotomy, explained simply by our beloved evolutionary psychology: Gender-a is generally (gaussian) physically stronger than gender-b, so gender-a would typically engage in the physical activities, one of which being combat. None of this has anything to do with sexism. It’s just biology.

    If one should like to test this:

    Next time secular.gender.A and secular.gender.B find themselves in bed together, and there is a loud noise heard downstairs, (maybe a window breaking), have secular.gender.A push secular.gender.B out of the bed, hand secular.gender.B the gun and tell (her) to go handle it.

    And then wait to see how long it takes secular.gender.B to find a jewish.gender.A to lay with

  20. champignon writes, “The Old Testament is rife with sexism.”

    Ever read the 31st chapter of Proverbs, which discusses the qualities of a capable wife?

    What about the books of Ruth and Esther, both of which describe hard-working, intelligent, courageous women?

    Or how about divine law as expressed in the Bible that shows a high regard for women, which was in marked contrast with the attitudes of many ancient cultures?

    Note how God’s concern for the welfare of women is evident from the several instances in which he acted in behalf of his female worshippers. Twice he intervened to protect Abraham’s beautiful wife, Sarah, from being violated. (Genesis 12:14-20; 20:1-7) God showed favor to Jacob’s less-loved wife, Leah, by ‘opening her womb,’ so that she bore a son. (Genesis 29:31, 32) When two God-fearing Israelite midwives risked their lives to preserve Hebrew male children from infanticide in Egypt, God appreciatively “presented them with families.” (Exodus 1:17, 20, 21) He also answered Hannah’s fervent prayer. (1 Samuel 1:10, 20)

    And when the widow of a prophet faced a creditor who was about to take her children as slaves to pay off her debt, God did not leave her in the lurch. Lovingly, God enabled the prophet Elisha to multiply her supply of oil so that she could pay the debt and still have sufficient oil for her family. She thus preserved her family and her dignity.—Exodus 22:22, 23; 2 Kings 4:1-7.

    The prophets repeatedly condemned the exploitation of women or the use of violence against them. The prophet Jeremiah told the Israelites in God’s name: “Render justice and righteousness, and deliver the one that is being robbed out of the hand of the defrauder; and do not maltreat any alien resident, fatherless boy or widow. Do them no violence. And do not shed any innocent blood in this place.” (Jeremiah 22:2, 3) Later, the rich and powerful in Israel were condemned because they had evicted women from their homes and mistreated their children. (Micah 2:9) The God of justice sees and condemns as evil such suffering caused to women and their children.

    Have you ever actually read the Old Testament? Because I don’t see sexism here.

  21. Barb, I haven’t read Proverbs 31, but your description of it tells me how sexist it is. “The qualities of a capable wife”. You don’t find anything demeaning in that?

    And I guess you’re looking past the parts of the bible about female virgins having to marry the first man that has sex with them, and men raping their female servants etc etc.

  22. Rabbi M.Averick (cool name by the way! :) )

    I appreciate your articles. Especially your research into what Origin of Life chemists themselves are saying. The quotes ‘from the horses mouth’ are truly gems. ,,, As well, if you are interested, I condensed your video a bit to focus more squarely on the quotes you cited, as well, I’ve added some more references, in the video description, that I’ve collected over the past few years. There may be a few gems, in the video description, that you may find useful in your writings, on top of the many gems you have already collected.

    The Digital Code of DNA and the Unimagined Complexity of a ‘Simple’ Bacteria – Rabbi Moshe Averick – video (Notes in Description)
    http://vimeo.com/35730736

  23. Blue_Savannah

    Bruce, my authority that God disproves of sexism is found in the Golden Rule.

    How do you know that living by the Golden Rule is God’s command? I presume because it is mentioned with approbation a couple of times in the Bible. Now you interpret the Golden Rule to imply that God disapproves of sexism (many Christians do not and historically have not, by the way). In that case, how do you reconcile that with the many instances of sexism that are also found in the Bible, such as in 1Timothy 2:11-15 where we are informed that women are not allowed to teach or have authority over men and that they are to remain silent, or in Deuteronomy 22:13-21, where it is stated that a girl who is found not to be a virgin upon being married shall be stoned to death? (There is no such imperative for males.) How do you decide which of the admonitions in the Bible are the word of God and which are not? I submit that it is you (and indeed everyone who regards the Bible as God’s word) who both 1) interprets the moral injunctions contained therein and 2) decides which ones (as so interpreted) are relevant in today’s world and which should be ignored. It isn’t God who establishes your morality; it is you.

    Only with GOD do we have morality.

    This is simply false. My brother is kind, generous, compassionate, loving, possessing high integrity, and an outstanding father to his two grateful and also quite wonderful daughters. They are all three also atheists, materialists, and Darwinists.

    I am convinced that the twin notions of sin and morality are among the most pernicious ideas that bedevil humankind. The idea that we are justified in judging another (because God judges us) gives license for us to visit untold atrocities upon each other. Far better that we do as God actually does, and seek rather to heal with love than to condemn with judgment.

  24. Rabbi Averick,

    First of all, thank you for taking the time from your busy schedule to comment here.

    I understand what you are saying regarding your comment about Jerry Coyne letting women do his fighting for him being a condemnation of Coyne and not the women in question (or women in general). However, this is what strikes me about it: the fact that you used the term “women” rather than a gender neutral term, like “others” kind of brings me up a little short. If it had been an actual physical fight you had been referring to rather than an intellectual one, then the accusation would have been the more telling because most women are in fact physically smaller and weaker than most men, and that fact would have made his action even more cowardly. Thus, your comment has the appearance of containing an implicit assumption that women are somehow less capable than men in intellectual debate as well. I’m not accusing you of actually believe this; I am only pointing out my take on the reason your attack on Dr. Coyne raised some feminist hackles.

    That said, I would like to say that I thoroughly enjoy your sparring with him. I read a couple of your original articles and got quite a few chuckles out of them, and I added your book to my Amazon.com wish list.

  25. Barb,

    champignon writes, “The Old Testament is rife with sexism.”

    Actually, Bruce wrote that, not me.

    It’s true. Google ‘Bible sexism’ and you’ll see what we’re talking about.

  26. moshe averick:

    If you read the article with a little bit of care you will see that I never insinuated that Jerry Coyne asked Terri-Lynne McCormick or Faye Flame to argue on his behalf.

    I see. So you merely said that Coyne ‘prefers’ to have women do his fighting for him, not that he actually asked them to do it, as if that makes a significant difference. Don’t you see how loutish your statement is under either interpretation?

    If I disagree with someone, I put forward my own arguments, I don’t hide behind what others write and then childishly taunt and point out to them that other people said nasty things.

    That’s an amusingly adolescent pissing-contest view of what debate is about. For you the objective is to defeat your opponent, and to do it in a “manly” way, without help from others — as if citing someone else (especially a woman!) would mean that you were weak and that you were “hiding behind” what they wrote.

    When I said that Jerry Coyne prefers to have women do his fighting for him, it was a reflection on the tactics of Jerry Coyne, not McCormick or Flam. If you perceive that I was insinuating that Coyne is a coward for using these types of tactics, then you are absolutely correct.

    More macho posturing. In your world a man who cites women is a coward. A man who cites other men is better, but a self-reliant man who uses his “own” arguments — as if he weren’t the beneficiary of a long line of thinkers before him — is the best.

    I don’t use the word “sexist” in my vocabulary, so I really am not sure how people use that word and what exactly they mean.

    In all your years of life you never felt enough curiosity or empathy to find out? That’s especially pitiful given that you yourself are a member of a group that has suffered so much from oppression at the hands of others.

    So tell us — why is it more cowardly for Coyne to cite a woman than a man? Are you really surprised that women find your statement to be offensive?

  27. Timbo, “Barb, I haven’t read Proverbs 31, but your description of it tells me how sexist it is. “The qualities of a capable wife”. You don’t find anything demeaning in that?”

    What is demeaning about being referred to as capable? Would you rather be referred to as incapable? Try reading the book you’re criticizing first. Your arguments will then actually hold some weight, rather than being simply baseless assumptions.

    “And I guess you’re looking past the parts of the bible about female virgins having to marry the first man that has sex with them, and men raping their female servants etc etc.”

    Rape is commented on in the Bible and never in a fashion which condones this violent act. If a man raped a virgin, he was required under the Mosaic Law to marry her. Women who were threatened with rape were required to scream and defend themselves.

    If you think the Bible describes rape in a favorable light, then I can only shake my head at your complete ignorance.

    “Barb, champignon writes, “The Old Testament is rife with sexism.” Actually, Bruce wrote that, not me.”

    My bad.

    “It’s true. Google ‘Bible sexism’ and you’ll see what we’re talking about.”

    Actually, I prefer to read and study the Bible itself rather than turn to the Internet—laced with misinformation as it is—to find the answers to my faith-related questions. Try actually reading the Bible sometime.

  28. Barb,

    If a man raped a virgin, he was required under the Mosaic Law to marry her.

    Does that strike you as a good thing? If your daughter were raped, would you force her to marry her rapist and spend the rest of her life under his control, as the Bible demands?

    If you think the Bible describes rape in a favorable light, then I can only shake my head at your complete ignorance.

    Really?

    11 Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun.

    2 Samuel 12:11, KJV

    10 When thou goest forth to war against thine enemies, and the LORD thy God hath delivered them into thine hands, and thou hast taken them captive,

    11 And seest among the captives a beautiful woman, and hast a desire unto her, that thou wouldest have her to thy wife;

    12 Then thou shalt bring her home to thine house, and she shall shave her head, and pare her nails;

    13 And she shall put the raiment of her captivity from off her, and shall remain in thine house, and bewail her father and her mother a full month: and after that thou shalt go in unto her, and be her husband, and she shall be thy wife.

    Deuteronomy 21:10-14, KJV

    17 Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him.

    18 But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.

    Numbers 31:17-18, KJV

    You exhort:

    Try actually reading the Bible sometime.

    I have read the Bible, cover to cover, both as a Christian and as an atheist. The experience of reading the entire Bible, and not just the cherry-picked verses that everyone loves and cites, did more than anything else to convince me that the Bible is not the word of God.

    I encourage Christians everywhere to read the entire Bible, think about what it is saying, and ask yourselves: “Is this the kind of book that a perfectly just, loving, omnisicient, omnipotent creator of the universe would write?”

  29. Champ, I assure you your objections have been refuted. So instead of just trusting infidel websites like they are gospel, why dont you try for once to find out if your objections have already been answered. You are bringing nothing to the table that hasnt already been batted down a thousand times before. At least from what ive seen you write here at UD.

  30. Champignon: “Does that strike you as a good thing? If your daughter were raped, would you force her to marry her rapist and spend the rest of her life under his control, as the Bible demands?”

    The Bible demands that men treat women with honor and respect. That can be seen by reading Ephesians chapter 5.
    Under the Mosaic Law, a man who raped a woman was to die “just as when a man rises up against his fellowman and indeed murders him.” (Deuteronomy 22:25, 26) While we are no longer under that Law, it gives us insight into how God feels about rape—a horrible wrong.

    Under the Law, if an engaged girl committed fornication with another man, both she and the man were to be put to death. But if the girl screamed for help, this was taken as proof of her innocence. The man was put to death for his sin in which he forced her, and the girl was exonerated.—De 22:23-27.

    Here we go with the cherry-picking and quote mining:

    “11 Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun.
    2 Samuel 12:11, KJV”

    Reading the Bible is one thing, Champignon, but understanding it is another. Let’s examine the context of this scripture. This particular chapter deals with the House of King David and some of the treachery that occurred during his reign. Occupying Jerusalem and the palace, Absalom accepted Hushai’s apparent defection to his side after first making a sarcastic reference to Hushai’s being the faithful “companion” of David. Then, acting on Ahithophel’s counsel, Absalom publicly had relations with his father’s concubines as proof of the complete break between himself and David and of his unrelenting determination to maintain control of the throne. (2Sa 16:15-23) In this way the latter part of Nathan’s inspired prophecy saw fulfillment.—2Sa 12:11.

    The scripture does not condone rape at all. You are clearly misquoting it.

    “10 When thou goest forth to war against thine enemies, and the LORD thy God hath delivered them into thine hands, and thou hast taken them captive,
    11 And seest among the captives a beautiful woman, and hast a desire unto her, that thou wouldest have her to thy wife;
    12 Then thou shalt bring her home to thine house, and she shall shave her head, and pare her nails;
    13 And she shall put the raiment of her captivity from off her, and shall remain in thine house, and bewail her father and her mother a full month: and after that thou shalt go in unto her, and be her husband, and she shall be thy wife.
    Deuteronomy 21:10-14, KJV”

    Again, let’s examine the context of what you’re quoting. The camp of God’s theocratic nation, therefore, differed from that of the pagan armies. The pagans would take women along with them that the warriors might indulge themselves with them, or on capturing a place the soldiers were given free rein to seize the womenfolk and rape them. (Isa. 13:16; Lam. 5:11; Zech. 14:2)

    There exists something similar to this today, when we read or hear of prostitutes tagging along after the military camps and of military officers deliberately providing places of prostitution in the neighborhood for the sexual satisfaction of their soldiers. In the theocratic camp of Israel this was prohibited because the war on which they were set out was theocratic, therefore sacred, and called for sanctification by the fighters. Therefore sexual contact with women, even their own wives and concubines, was prohibited to them and they voluntarily abstained from it.

    This was why Uriah, a Hittite of good will, when called in from the field by King David, did not go at night to his home in Jerusalem to be with his wife. When King David, ignoring the sacred requirements of the military campaign, asked Uriah why he had not gone home that night, that loyal soldier theocratically replied: “The ark, and Israel, and Judah, abide in booths; and my lord Joab, and the servants of my lord, are encamped in the open field; shall I then go into my house, to eat and to drink, and to lie with my wife? as thou livest, and as thy soul liveth, I will not do this thing.” (2 Sam. 11:6-11, AS)

    If the Israelites were commanded to capture a place and kill off the men and the women that were not virgin, they were not free to rape the girls who were preserved alive. That would have been defiling the army, for it would have been committing fornication, immorality. If any Israelite wanted any captive maid he could not have relations with her immediately on capturing her. No, but he must keep himself sanctified for theocratic warfare by following the law that said: “In case you should go out to the battle against your enemies and Jehovah your God has given them into your hand and you have carried them away captive, and you have seen among the captives a woman beautiful in form and you have gotten attached to her and taken her for your wife, then you must bring her into the midst of your house. She must now shave her head and attend to her nails, and remove the garment of her captivity from off her and dwell in your house and weep for her father and her mother a whole month, and after that you should have relations with her and you must take possession of her as your bride and she must become your wife.” (Deut. 21:10-13, NW)

    Until the military campaign was over and its sanctity had been maintained this sexual contact could not occur with divine approval. If a man called to the army was engaged to a girl, he was relieved of his army obligations for one year that he might go home and take his betrothed one in marriage and have a child by her that he might have an offspring and keep his name alive, that thus he might not be killed in battle childless.—Deut. 20:7; 24:5.

    Again for emphasis: the scripture you misquoted does not condone rape in any way, shape, or form.

    “17 Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him.
    18 But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.
    Numbers 31:17-18, KJV”

    The Hebrew verb cha•than?, meaning “form a marriage alliance,” is related to cho•then? (father-in-law), cha•than? (bridegroom; son-in-law), cho•the?neth (mother-in-law), and chathun•nah? (marriage).—1Sa 18:22; Ex 3:1; 4:25; Ge 19:14; De 27:23; Ca 3:11. In the battle with Midian, the Israelites preserved alive only virgins from among the women and girls. (Nu 31:3, 18, 35) The Law allowed for the taking of a wife from among such parentless female war captives. (De 21:10-14) Within the Promised Land itself God’s warning concerning marriage alliances with pagans was often ignored, with resulting problems and apostasy.—Jg 3:5, 6.

    Again, the scripture cited does not condone rape in any way, shape or form.

    “I have read the Bible, cover to cover, both as a Christian and as an atheist. The experience of reading the entire Bible, and not just the cherry-picked verses that everyone loves and cites, did more than anything else to convince me that the Bible is not the word of God.”

    It is plainly obvious that you have difficulty with reading comprehension. You repeatedly misquote scripture in an attempt to bolster your atheism and, unfortunately for you, it doesn’t work. Not when there are people who actually study the Bible and understand the context of what’s written.

    “I encourage Christians everywhere to read the entire Bible, think about what it is saying, and ask yourselves: “Is this the kind of book that a perfectly just, loving, omnisicient, omnipotent creator of the universe would write?”

    Yes, yes it is. For those who understand it and who are willing to put forth the effort to understand it, rather than simply doing a cursory reading and attempting to find anything that convinces them that their preconceived notions are correct. Clearly, you read it with a deeply closed mind.

  31. Very well articulated Barb! I enjoyed reading your response very much!

  32. Barb,

    Despite quoting my question at the beginning of your comment, you didn’t answer it. Let me ask again.

    You wrote:

    If a man raped a virgin, he was required under the Mosaic Law to marry her.

    I asked:

    Does that strike you as a good thing? If your daughter were raped, would you force her to marry her rapist and spend the rest of her life under his control, as the Bible demands?

    Please answer the question.

    The rest of your comment seems to be an argument that forcible sex isn’t rape if you force the woman to marry you first.

    If I go out, find an orphan girl, force her to marry me and to have sex with me, will you defend me in court, saying that I am conforming to the highest moral standard, the Holy Bible?

  33. I will answer your question champ.
    In the context of ancient middle eastern culture and customs, the marrige would most probably be something the rape victim would actually want. Why? Because in those days a woman who was not a virgin would not be seen as a potential bride for anyone. She would not be accepted. Thats just how things were back then. It was a different time. In the case of the rape, the rapist would have robbed the woman of her future prospects the security that would have come from someone providing for her needs and giving her offspring she could live off of ehen she was old. By leaving the rapist no choice but to marry her and paying her father a brides gift, the victim would be getting a chance at security and provision. Marrige back in those days wasnt really about love and romance but about securing ones future and lineage.
    In fact we see this scenario in 2 samuel. A woman is raped and afterwards wishes to marry her attacker.
    A couple more points. Marriage under the law had to be consensual, with both parties and their families coming under a contract as it seems. In fact the original text suggests the father arranging the marriage would consult with the daughter. And finally, the mosaic law was a case laethat was not to be applied blindly in all cases. Much was left to the courts to decide and issue in individual cases. The mosaic law served as a general guide and judges had considerable leeway in how they interpreted the law on a case to case basis depending on the circumstances. The same was true of other ancient middle eastern code laws.

  34. kuartus,

    In the context of ancient middle eastern culture and customs, the marrige would most probably be something the rape victim would actually want. Why? Because in those days a woman who was not a virgin would not be seen as a potential bride for anyone.

    Then why not give her the choice of whether she wants to marry her rapist? Why force her to?

    And why doesn’t God say “Thou shalt not reject a potential wife simply because she has been raped. It was not her fault.”? God makes plenty of demands elsewhere that were uncomfortable for his people to obey. Why not do that in this case?

    In the case of the rape, the rapist would have robbed the woman of her future prospects the security that would have come from someone providing for her needs and giving her offspring she could live off of ehen she was old.

    Easy solution: force the rapist to support his victim, but don’t force her to marry him, unless she chooses to. Surely God is smart enough to think of that, no?

    Marriage under the law had to be consensual, with both parties and their families coming under a contract as it seems.

    What about when the bride’s family was dead, having been slaughtered at God’s command?

    Much was left to the courts to decide and issue in individual cases.

    Please show me the verses where God says, “These are my commandments. It’s up to you whether you obey them in any particular instance. Use your best judgment.”

  35. Champ, I thought I made it clear to you that it was understood the law was a case law. It was never applied indiscriminately. Thats not something they needed to spell out. Sorry but they didnt have us in mind at the time. They werent thinking about making it clear to us. And you just completely ignored what I said. Marrige wasnt about love. The woman would not have had a problem with marrying the guy. She probably would have wanted to, and if she didnt she wouldnt have been forced to, though likely she would have thought it in her best interest to do so. AGAIN, it was a case law which only laid out general ground rules. Marrying the rapist was an option and if she opted for that, guess what, the guy COULD NOT refuse! Thats the whole point. To protect the
    victim. If she didnt, the guy still had to pay the entire bride price which was quite a lot of money. All in all, I dont think many guys would have thought it worthwile to go out and rape someone. Also you seem to think God should have issued even more commandments! As if that would have helped. The ancient israelites rarely ever kept the mosaic law which is why God was always mad at them. God could have commanded them to be nicer, and in many respects he did, but its
    doubtful it would have been heeded anyway.

  36. 36

    It’s important to note that these were laws, not moral principles. They may have provided a better outcome at the time, but that is no indication that they are unconditional moral absolutes or that the scriptures prescribe or condone them for non-Israelites living after and outside of that law.

    A simple evidence of this is that God permitted polygamy but only for a time. His purpose was that marriage would be the union of two people. But there was a time when, due to imperfect circumstances that God had neither willed nor created, allowing it may have been more beneficial than preventing it.

    For anyone to benefit from these laws required that all involved adhered especially to the most important ones, such as love for God and for each other. The nations Israel fought against were quite degraded. That same woman might have grown up to be a temple prostitute and may have been required to sacrifice her own offspring to idols.

    Being brought into the Israelite nation, even under such unusual conditions, may have been beneficial in the long term. Note that she was given time to mourn. But if her husband did not show the love required by that same law, she might not fare as well. There was no benefit from keeping some laws and ignoring the greater ones. That’s the difference between the mosaic law and modern law. It was a way of life, not a bunch of legalities.

    That doesn’t always sit well today. The idea of “rescuing” someone from one culture to live in a supposedly better one is offensive, and rightly so.

    Here are a few things, then, to take away from it:
    - The law provided specific instructions relevant to those people at that time. Not every law constituted an indefinitely lasting principle.
    – What seems quite undesirable to us may have been beneficial under those specific circumstances.
    – If we make absolute statements regarding what would or would not have been beneficial or moral under those circumstances, then we define our own limited understanding as the standard against which all else must be measured. We may feel that we have the wisdom to determine what may or may not have been the better answer, but to what extent can we predict the eventual outcome? And by what standards do we evaluate that outcome? Again, our own? We often don’t realize that when we make seemingly small statements that seem “obviously” right, we make sweeping assumptions about our own wisdom and our ability to determine the best possible future for someone else. That’s usually a mistake. When the people in question lived thousands of years ago in cultures we don’t fully understand (not just Israel, which is better documented, but the other nations which are now long gone) it’s almost impossible to shoot from the hip and decide that we know what would have made their lives better.

  37. “Does that strike you as a good thing? If your daughter were raped, would you force her to marry her rapist and spend the rest of her life under his control, as the Bible demands? Please answer the question.”

    Given that marriage and children were of paramount importance in Israelite daily life, I would say so. Look at it from the perspective of the man: he is now forced to get gainful employment and care for this woman (whom he treated so callously) and any possible children.

    “The rest of your comment seems to be an argument that forcible sex isn’t rape if you force the woman to marry you first.”

    The rest of my argument was based on scripture, which mandates that if rape has occurred, then marriage would follow as per the Law.

    “If I go out, find an orphan girl, force her to marry me and to have sex with me, will you defend me in court, saying that I am conforming to the highest moral standard, the Holy Bible?”

    Hold up a second with your hyperbole. The law required marriage IF RAPE HAD OCCURRED. In your scenario, marriage comes first and then forcible sex. That’s backwards. Ergo, no I would not defend you in court because what you are doing (a) is completely idiotic and (b) is unscriptural. The Bible’s moral standards are clearly higher than your own, as your example proves.

  38. Also, if my daughter were raped, I would not require her to marry her rapist.

    Why not?

    We’re Christians. We’re not under the Mosaic Law, as champignon seems to think. This is made abundantly clear by Paul’s arguments in the book of Hebrews in the New Testament.

  39. I asked Barb:

    Does that strike you as a good thing? If your daughter were raped, would you force her to marry her rapist and spend the rest of her life under his control, as the Bible demands?

    Unbelievably, Barb says yes:

    Given that marriage and children were of paramount importance in Israelite daily life, I would say so.

    Wow.

    Look at it from the perspective of the man: he is now forced to get gainful employment and care for this woman (whom he treated so callously) and any possible children.

    As I remarked to kuartus, why not force the rapist to support her without forcing her to marry him? Instead you would force her to live with, honor and obey him, her rapist, for the rest of her life? That’s horrendous. Shame on you.

    I asked:

    If I go out, find an orphan girl, force her to marry me and to have sex with me, will you defend me in court, saying that I am conforming to the highest moral standard, the Holy Bible?

    Barb responded:

    Hold up a second with your hyperbole. The law required marriage IF RAPE HAD OCCURRED. In your scenario, marriage comes first and then forcible sex. That’s backwards.

    I quoted more than one verse, Barb:

    10 When thou goest forth to war against thine enemies, and the LORD thy God hath delivered them into thine hands, and thou hast taken them captive,

    11 And seest among the captives a beautiful woman, and hast a desire unto her, that thou wouldest have her to thy wife;

    12 Then thou shalt bring her home to thine house, and she shall shave her head, and pare her nails;

    13 And she shall put the raiment of her captivity from off her, and shall remain in thine house, and bewail her father and her mother a full month: and after that thou shalt go in unto her, and be her husband, and she shall be thy wife.

    Deuteronomy 21:10-14, KJV

    Nothing voluntary there. Forced marriage, forced sex. Do you condone it?

  40. Barb, kuartus, Scott,

    You are accusing God of writing the Bible. Think about what a serious accusation that is. What if God actually exists, and you have to answer for your accusation some day?

    For example, you are claiming that God actually commanded this:

    11 If two men are fighting and the wife of one of them comes to rescue her husband from his assailant, and she reaches out and seizes him by his private parts, 12 you shall cut off her hand. Show her no pity.

    Deuteronomy 25:11-12, NIV

    If God asks you, “This is really what you thought of me?”, what will you say? How will you justify your blind allegiance to that silly book?

  41. Your question is misleading. The Bible claims divine inspiration. I believe that God does exist, and while I must answer for my own problems, you also will be held to account for misquoting and misusing scripture to bolster your claims that God doesn’t exist.

    Good luck with that.

    I don’t have blind allegiance, champignon, and this is why your arguments repeatedly fail. I came to the conclusion that the Bible is divinely inspired after years of reading and study. It’s also not silly.

    I notice that you categorically ignore the post I made regarding the books of Ruth and Esther, both of which describe strong women. Please explain why you ignore these books and are so hung up on Deuteronomy, which does not apply to Christians today? Please explain to me why you don’t get it. Why obfuscate?

    The fact that you repeatedly ignore the context of the scriptures you misquote tells me a lot about your intelligence and reading comprehension levels. It also tells me that you are, at least, intellectually dishonest.

    I pity you.

  42. Champignon, since it is impossible to ground morality with the atheistic-materialistic framework,,,

    The Knock-Down Argument Against Atheist Sam Harris’ moral argument – William Lane Craig – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tvDyLs_cReE

    Stephen Meyer – Morality Presupposes Theism (1 of 4) – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uSpdh1b0X_M

    Hitler & Darwin, pt. 2: Richard Weikart on Evolutionary Ethics – podcast
    http://intelligentdesign.podom.....3_04-08_00

    Top Ten Reasons We Know the New Testament is True – Frank Turek – video – November 2011
    (41:00 minute mark – Despite what is commonly believed (of being ‘good enough’ to go to heaven, in reality both Mother Teresa and Hitler fall short of the moral perfection required to meet the perfection of God’s objective moral code)
    http://saddleback.com/mc/m/5e22f/

    ,,, and thus since it is impossible for you to justify your ‘moral opinions’ against God with any coherent foundation, Exactly to what ultimate foundation of morality do you appeal so as to be able to judge whether God is evil or good in His actions and judgements?,,, Since you can supply yourself with no solid foundation for morality in your atheistic worldview, I must conclude that you have personal ulterior motives for being so extremely biased in your treatment of scripture. Perhaps you have a problem with ‘religion’ altogether?!? If so you are in very good company:

    Jesus Vs. Religion – Mark Driscoll – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4GJOvwDNEqc

  43. 43

    Champignon,

    Have you ever been to a doctor and been instructed to take a pill without fully understanding its chemical composition? Perhaps you’re even told that it may have undesirable side effects.

    You have a few choices. You can get a second opinion. Or you can choose to trust the doctor and take the pill. Or you can choose to measure the doctor’s understanding against your own. Maybe you know better than he does. You might even be right. Doctors aren’t infallible. But surely you can see the foolishness of paying someone one money because you believe he has expertise you need and then rejecting it because he says something you don’t understand.

    Even though I understand what you are saying and I can see your point of view, like Barb I know enough about the Bible and enough about its source that it would not be wise for me to use your limited understanding and wisdom or mine as the ultimate standard by which to measure it.

    I realize that none of this makes much difference if someone thinks belief in God absurd to start with. But it hardly makes sense to believe in a God whose knowledge and wisdom are a superset of my own, and assume that whenever he says something I don’t fully understand he must be wrong. Why bother listening to anyone at all, for that matter, if we only care what they say when they agree with us?

    I’m not addressing the whole ‘atheists have no basis for morality’ issue because it’s silly and I don’t agree with it. But your arguments imply that you regard yourself as most qualified to define an objective standard for morality. Surely you can understand why others might not recognize that authority.

  44. Just out of interest, Barb, could you summarise, briefly, why you came to that conclusion (that the bible was divinely inspired)?

    And how it affects your interpretation of it?

  45. Barb,

    Your question is misleading. The Bible claims divine inspiration.

    If I claim divine inspiration, will you believe everything I say? Divine inspiration is something that must be demonstrated, not merely claimed.

    I believe that God does exist, and while I must answer for my own problems, you also will be held to account for misquoting and misusing scripture to bolster your claims that God doesn’t exist.

    I don’t quote scripture to show that God doesn’t exist. I quote it to show that it could not have been written by a loving, merciful and just God.

    I don’t have blind allegiance, champignon, and this is why your arguments repeatedly fail. I came to the conclusion that the Bible is divinely inspired after years of reading and study. It’s also not silly.

    Let me echo Elizabeth’s question: How did you come to the conclusion that the Bible is the inspired word of God?

    I notice that you categorically ignore the post I made regarding the books of Ruth and Esther, both of which describe strong women.

    The fact that the Bible “describes strong women” doesn’t excuse its rampant sexism elsewhere.

    Please explain why you ignore these books and are so hung up on Deuteronomy, which does not apply to Christians today?

    Because it applied to the Israelites back then. You think God was perfect back then, don’t you?

    It’s fortunate for Christianity that most Christians don’t read the entire Bible. Here’s an experiment you can try: tell some Christians (preferably evangelicals) about how the Taliban will cut off a woman’s hand if she grabs the genitals of a man who is trying to kill her husband. Listen to their outrage and indignation at this heinous evil. Then show them Deuteronomy 25:11-12 and watch their faces.

    I pity you.

    And vice-versa. You are so committed to this ridiculous book, so determined to claim it as the inspired word of God, that you are willing to accuse God of commanding the amputation of women’s hands for the “crime” of defending their husbands. “Show her no pity”, the verse says.

    You’re willing to slander your God in order to maintain your faith in a flawed, deeply immoral book. It’s bibliolatry, really.

  46. 46

    Champignon,

    You miss the point while getting yourself all worked up. From my earliest memory until now, I have never heard of a woman defending her husband by grabbing hold of the attacker’s genitals. Have you, ever? I’ve seen some basic self-defense stuff on TV, and it never included anything like that.

    So it’s entirely possible that the law highlights the importance of the man’s ability to reproduce by proscribing a penalty for something that no one would do, anyway.

    Or maybe it’s some cultural thing that we can’t relate to. Maybe in some places they would deliberately go after the testicles when there was another way to defend their husband. And apparently the woman could wreak any kind of mayhem imaginable upon his nether regions if she herself were assaulted.

    Here’s a thought. On at least one occasion Jesus spoke to his disciples in an apparently unnecessarily shocking manner, apparently to see who was looking for an excuse to jump ship. They thought they were the ones passing judgment on his speech, when in reality he was the one examining them.

    That’s pretty clever. And it’s not isolated. You decide. Maybe that’s the whole point.

  47. Champignon, I still want to know exactly which moral authority you are using to judge the God with. i.e. Exactly why should I take your judgement of morality to be superior to God’s? Is it just because we know that you are such a nice guy who is not prone to severe self deception in such matters? And if you appeal to the ‘commonly known morality’ of our hearts, exactly where does this commonly known morality in our hearts come from? As Dr. Craig has clearly shown, your atheistic materialism simply cannot account for objective morality,

    The Knock-Down Argument Against Atheist Sam Harris’ moral argument – William Lane Craig – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tvDyLs_cReE

    just as your worldview cannot guarantee that our beliefs will conform to the truth;

    Should You Trust the Monkey Mind? – Joe Carter
    Excerpt: Evolutionary naturalism assumes that our noetic equipment developed as it did because it had some survival value or reproductive advantage. Unguided evolution does not select for belief except insofar as the belief improves the chances of survival. The truth of a belief is irrelevant, as long as it produces an evolutionary advantage. This equipment could have developed at least four different kinds of belief that are compatible with evolutionary naturalism, none of which necessarily produce true and trustworthy cognitive faculties.
    http://www.firstthings.com/ont.....onkey-mind

    Philosopher Sticks Up for God
    Excerpt: Theism, with its vision of an orderly universe superintended by a God who created rational-minded creatures in his own image, “is vastly more hospitable to science than naturalism,” with its random process of natural selection, he (Plantinga) writes. “Indeed, it is theism, not naturalism, that deserves to be called ‘the scientific worldview.’”
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12.....wanted=all

    The following interview is sadly comical as a evolutionary psychologist realizes that neo-Darwinism can offer no guarantee that our faculties of reasoning will correspond to the truth, not even for the truth that he is purporting to give in the interview, (which begs the question of how was he able to come to that particular truthful realization, in the first place, if neo-Darwinian evolution were actually true?);

    Evolutionary guru: Don’t believe everything you think – October 2011
    Interviewer: You could be deceiving yourself about that.(?)
    Evolutionary Psychologist: Absolutely.
    http://www.newscientist.com/ar.....think.html

    Champ, you simply have no moral basis in which to claim moral superiority to God. Shoot, you don’t even have a moral basis to claim moral superiority to any other animals on earth who may eat their young!!!

    As to the divine inspiration of scripture:

    The Case for Jesus the Messiah — Incredible Prophecies that Prove God Exists By Dr. John Ankerberg, Dr. John Weldon, and Dr. Walter Kaiser, Jr.
    Excerpt: But, of course, there are many more than eight prophecies. In another calculation Stoner used 48 prophecies (even though he could have used 456) and arrived at the extremely conservative estimate that the probability of 48 prophecies being fulfilled in one person is one in 10^157.
    How large is the number 10^157? 10^157 contains 157 zeros! Let us try to illustrate this number using electrons. Electrons are very small objects. They are smaller than atoms. It would take 2.5 times 10^15 of them, laid side by side, to make one inch. Even if we counted four electrons every second and counted day and night, it would still take us 19 million years just to count a line of electrons one inch long.
    But how many electrons would it take if we were dealing with 10^157 electrons? Imagine building a solid ball of electrons that would extend in all directions from the earth a length of 6 billion light years. The distance in miles of just one light year is 6.4 trillion miles. That would be a big ball! But not big enough to measure 10^157 electrons.
    In order to do that, you must take that big ball of electrons reaching the length of 6 billion light years long in all directions and multiply it by 6 x 10^28! How big is that? It’s the length of the space required to store trillions and trillions and trillions of the same gigantic balls and more. In fact, the space required to store all of these balls combined together would just start to “scratch the surface” of the number of electrons we would need to really accurately speak about 10^157.
    But assuming you have some idea of the number of electrons we are talking about, now imagine marking just one of those electrons in that huge number. Stir them all up. Then appoint one person to travel in a rocket for as long as he wants, anywhere he wants to go. Tell him to stop and segment a part of space, then take a high-powered microscope and find that one marked electron in that segment.
    What do you think his chances of being successful would be? It would be one in 10^157.
    Remember, this number represents the chance of only 48 prophecies coming true in one person (there are 456 total prophecies concerning Jesus).
    http://www.johnankerberg.org/A.....1103-3.pdf

    The King Jesus (A Precise Mathematical Prediction)
    http://www.iclnet.org/pub/reso.....esenpr.htm

    ‘Other than Christ, no other religious leader was foretold a thousand years before he arrived, nor was anything said about where he would be born, why he would come, how he would live, and when he would die. No other religious leader claimed to be God, or performed miracles, or rose from the dead. No other religious leader grounded his doctrine in historical facts. No other religious leader declared his person to be even more important than his teachings.’ – StephenB – UD Blogger

    Here is a particularly sobering prophecy that has been fulfilled in our time;

    The Precisely Fulfilled Prophecy Of Israel Becoming A Nation In 1948 – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4041241

    Bible Prophecy Fulfilled – Israel 1948 – article
    Excerpt: Although July 15, 537 B.C. can not be verified by outside sources as the exact day of Cyrus’s proclamation, we do know that 537 B.C. was the year in which he made it. As such, we can know for certain that the Bible, in one of the most remarkable prophecies in history, accurately foresaw the year of Israel’s restoration as an independent nation some two thousand five hundred years before the event occurred.
    http://ezinearticles.com/?Bibl.....;id=449317

    The preceding start date, used in the prophecy calculation, is confirmed by the archaeological record:

    SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT
    Excerpt “In late years several cuneiform tablets have been discovered pertaining to the fall of Babylon which peg both Biblical and secular historic dates. The one tablet known as the “Nabunaid Chronicle” gives the date for the fall of Babylon which specialists have ascertained as being October 12-13, 539 B.C., Julian Calendar, or October 6-7, 539 B.C., according to our present Gregorian Calendar. This tablet also says that Cyrus made his triumphant entry into Babylon 16 days after its fall to his army. Thus his accession year commenced in October, 539 B.C. However, in another cuneiform tablet called “Strassmaier, Cyrus No. 11″ Cyrus’ first regnal year is mentioned and was determined to have begun March 17-18, 538 B.C., and to have concluded March 4-5, 537 B.C. It was in this first regnal year of Cyrus that he issued his decree to permit the Jews to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple. (Ezra 1:1) The decree may have been made in late 538 B.C. or before March 4-5, 537 B.C.
    In either case this would have given sufficient time for the large party of 49,897 Jews to organize their expedition and to make their long four-month journey from Babylon to Jerusalem to get there by September 29-30, 537 B.C., the first of the seventh Jewish month, to build their altar to Jehovah as recorded at Ezra 3:1-3. Inasmuch as September 29-30, 537 B.C., officially ends the seventy years of desolation as recorded at 2 Chronicles 36:20, 21, so the beginning of the desolation of the land must have officially begun to be counted after September 21-22, 607 B.C., the first of the seventh Jewish month in 607 B.C., which is the beginning point for the counting of the 2,520 years.”
    http://onlytruegod.org/jwstrs/537vs539.htm

  48. Scott,

    From my earliest memory until now, I have never heard of a woman defending her husband by grabbing hold of the attacker’s genitals.

    So you’re arguing that in the Bible, God issues pointless commands that have no bearing on reality? How does that help your case?

    Have you, ever? I’ve seen some basic self-defense stuff on TV, and it never included anything like that.

    Of course I have! It’s an extremely effective technique for a woman who is trying to subdue a physically stronger man. I hope you will teach it to the women in your life. (And then stay on their good side :-)).

    For example:

    Self Defense Technique # 4 – Groin Grab
    By saying “groin grab”, I mean testicles grab, not penis. Use this self defense technique when you are in close range of the aggressor. You can do this while either facing him or being held from the back, and it hardly requires any particular self defense skills. Once the aggressor stands that close to you, he automatically puts himself in a vulnerable position. Most victims, however, tend to forget to use this helpful technique and not be aware of their opportunity to fight back because they panic. If the attacker is in tight-fitted jeans, don’t try to use this technique. Instead, hit his groin area with your knee, fist or forearm.

    And:

    The Grab, Twist, and Pull: If you can remember the name of this move, you’ll remember how to do it. Of course, if you’re facing a woman attacker, this probably shouldn’t be your go-to method. The grab, twist, and pull (or in long-form, the grab, twist, and pull testicles) technique is an effective way to incapacitate an attacker for several seconds, enough time to run away or use another defense move on him. The steps are simple: grab the testicles, twist quickly (or squeeze tightly), and pull as hard as you can.

    Ouch. Sounds pretty effective to me.

    Or maybe it’s some cultural thing that we can’t relate to. Maybe in some places they would deliberately go after the testicles when there was another way to defend their husband.

    You’re grasping at straws, Scott. And even if that were the case, why didn’t God specify that the punishment was to be applied only if the woman had an equally effective alternative means of defense that she failed to employ? Instead, we have this brutal, categorical statement:

    12 you shall cut off her hand. Show her no pity.

    Grasping at another straw, Scott writes:

    Here’s a thought. On at least one occasion Jesus spoke to his disciples in an apparently unnecessarily shocking manner, apparently to see who was looking for an excuse to jump ship.

    Good point. Maybe God wants to see who will blindly follow a ridiculous, immoral book full of barbarism, even to the point of claiming that He wrote it, versus those who refuse to believe that He would ever write such a book.

    Look at the Bible objectively and ask yourself this question:

    Is this the kind of book that a perfectly just, loving, omnisicient, omnipotent creator of the universe would write?

    You’re accusing God of writing the Bible. It’s a serious accusation.

  49. Elizabeth asks, “Just out of interest, Barb, could you summarise, briefly, why you came to that conclusion (that the bible was divinely inspired)? And how it affects your interpretation of it?”

    I came to the conclusion after studying and reading the Bible for many years; I still do this regularly. I considered several things when it came to divine inspiration, primarily biblical prophecy, historicity, internal harmony, and practical value.

    champignon January 31, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    “If I claim divine inspiration, will you believe everything I say? Divine inspiration is something that must be demonstrated, not merely claimed.”

    See what I wrote to Elizabeth above. You are right in that merely making a claim does not prove inspiration; however, studying the Bible and seeing how it fits with secular history, science, and prophecies that have been fulfilled convinced me.

    “I don’t quote scripture to show that God doesn’t exist. I quote it to show that it could not have been written by a loving, merciful and just God.”

    I think we’ve already established that you don’t understand what you read in the Bible. Cherry-picking verses without examining the context, as you did above, prove nothing but your lack of reading comprehension.

    If God is not a god of love and mercy, then explain why Hosea was required to stay married to his wife, even though she proved unfaithful. If God is not a god of love, then explain why Christian husbands are required to love their wives as their own bodies as noted in chapter 5 of Ephesians. If God is not merciful, then why did he allow the tribes in the promised land to live on for 400 years before being conquered—in fulfillment of prophecy, mind you—by the Israelites?

    “The fact that the Bible “describes strong women” doesn’t excuse its rampant sexism elsewhere.”

    Where? All you’ve done is post scriptures without considering the context. That doesn’t prove sexism.

    “Because it applied to the Israelites back then. You think God was perfect back then, don’t you?”

    Yes, he was. Unfortunately for you, you can’t or won’t appreciate the points being made because you mind is very solidly closed.

    “It’s fortunate for Christianity that most Christians don’t read the entire Bible. Here’s an experiment you can try: tell some Christians (preferably evangelicals) about how the Taliban will cut off a woman’s hand if she grabs the genitals of a man who is trying to kill her husband. Listen to their outrage and indignation at this heinous evil. Then show them Deuteronomy 25:11-12 and watch their faces.”

    More cherry-picking? Have you not learned anything yet?

    Again, let’s examine the context, which you again blatantly ignore. These scriptures concern what we term today as sterilization. Remember, you’re dealing with an agricultural society that values parenthood and marriage.

    God is the Giver of reproductive powers to human creatures; he set the example by making laws for the protection of these powers. His law stated: “Soul will be for soul, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.” (Deut. 19:21) But now suppose a woman’s husband got into a fight with another man. In order to protect her husband and keep him from being whipped or defeated, she reached out and grabbed hold of the other man’s private parts in order to put him out of action!

    By doing this, the woman doubtless ruined the man’s reproductive powers; here’s the point, champignon: she violated God’s law that was against the crushing of a man’s testicles and made this man unfit for God’s congregation. This woman could not argue that she was using jujitsu and acting in defense of her husband and thus for her own self-protection. She had to be punished.

    Notice, though, that God allows her to reproduce although she has taken that right away from the man she injured. God’s law respected her and her husband’s reproductive powers, for it said: “You must then amputate her hand. Your eye must feel no sorrow.” (Deut. 25:11, 12)

    God’s law said this thing right after it had approved of brother-in-law marriage within a family. This law specified that the man who refused to perform brother-in-law marriage toward his dead brother’s widow should be publicly disgraced, for refusing to give his brother’s widow a child in the name of his dead brother (Deut. 25:5-10).

    All this gives us some idea of how God feels when a person or a nation dedicated to him tampers with the reproductive organs, preventing their normal function. It is true that the Mosaic law containing the above provisions was done away with in Christ.

    “And vice-versa. You are so committed to this ridiculous book, so determined to claim it as the inspired word of God, that you are willing to accuse God of commanding the amputation of women’s hands for the “crime” of defending their husbands. “Show her no pity”, the verse says.”

    See above for details.

    “You’re willing to slander your God in order to maintain your faith in a flawed, deeply immoral book. It’s bibliolatry, really.”

    No, it’s faith, which is clearly not a possession of all people. I’m not slandering anyone, champignon, you are, by claiming God to be merciless, pitiless and cruel—all without benefit of evidence to back up these outrageous claims.

  50. Thanks, Barb :)

  51. 51

    Champignon,

    You’re right. Whatever I said about that sort of grabbing was pure speculation. And men back then wore skirts.

    But that’s not the relevant point. Jesus once spoke about eating his flesh and drinking his blood. It was figurative. No one ever did anything of the sort. But he said it metaphorically in a way that shocked many of the disciples, and they took a hike.

    It was entirely unnecessary. And he knew how they would react. These were not people who watched zombie movies for fun. Why say something so disturbing that could have been expressed differently?

    Apparently that was the whole point. Some people would decide to take offense without even seeking an explanation, even though they had good reason to trust that as a devout Jew he would never promote cannibalism or drinking blood.

    That’s just a thought. And I’m still just speculating. But there’s more than a few examples in the Bible suggesting that God operates on that sort of level. He doesn’t hit us over the head or back us into a corner. He gives us enough and then leaves us to believe whatever we want. One verse even says that the Bible can discern what we think and what our motivations are. It’s always a few steps ahead. Take it or leave it.

  52. Though I should add, in all honesty, that I fail to follow your logic! Your response to Champignon seems completely self-contradictory to me.

    But I do appreciate the response.

    Cheers

    Lizzie

  53. Barb:

    “I think we’ve already established that you don’t understand what you read in the Bible. Cherry-picking verses without examining the context, as you did above, prove nothing but your lack of reading comprehension.”

    No, we haven’t established that. We have established that you don’t agree with Champ’s analysis. Your response to someone who has a different interpretation of a book to you is that they lack reading comprehension. Not very christian of you.

    “If God is not a god of love and mercy, then explain why Hosea was required to stay married to his wife, even though she proved unfaithful”

    What is loving about requiring someone to stay married to a woman who clearly doesn’t love him? Much more loving to encourage people to face reality.

    The passages about God’s law, crushed testicles, and tampering with the reproductive organs; I just don’t see how you could write that with a straight face. You might not be aware of this, but in most cases, grabbing someone by the testicles will not render them infertile. Maybe God could at least have let them find out if there was irreparable damage before the woman had her hand cut off?

  54. Scott, it’s not about God saying something we don’t understand. There is nothing ambiguous about those passages. It’s about taking the position that forcing a woman to marry a rapist is never moral. Cutting a woman’s hand off if she squeezes a man’s testicles in a fight is never moral. This is not Champ setting himself up as “most qualified to define an objective standard for morality”. These are things that we surely all agree on as being immoral.

  55. “These are things that we surely all agree on as being immoral.”

    Now a’days we may (keyword of course is ‘may’). Course we’ve had a bunch of guys guiding humanity to some unforseen better path to get there. Jesus for one.

    “No, we haven’t established that. We have established that you don’t agree with Champ’s analysis. Your response to someone who has a different interpretation of a book to you is that they lack reading comprehension. Not very christian of you.”

    What about that isn’t Christian? Especially if its true? You can love your neighbor and still think they have reading comprehension problems.

    “You might not be aware of this, but in most cases, grabbing someone by the testicles will not render them infertile.”

    The mere fact that it CAN should tell you something.

    Snorting a little coke won’t always lead to a rabid addiction. But it can.

    Shooting someone wont always lead to death. But it can.

    If Barbs take on what the bible suggests is correct, then making sure no one gets sterilized in a fight (which should be handled by the two fighting to be honest – there are laws regarding them too) is a top priority, yes?

    “What is loving about requiring someone to stay married to a woman who clearly doesn’t love him? Much more loving to encourage people to face reality.”

    So everyone who’s ever been unfaithful doesn’t love their spouse? Not every infidelity occurs because a spouse falls out of love (she loved him enough to give him two kids). Shoot, some happen in spite of being in love.

    Aside from that, when she left her situation went from decent to terrible. She managed to get herself sold into slavery. Hosea loved her enough to pay off her debts and take the mother of his kids back home.

    Maybe I’m a romantic, but theres something about two lovers reconciling that seems almost heartwarming.

    “Maybe God could at least have let them find out if there was irreparable damage before the woman had her hand cut off?”

    With what exactly? X-rays? Surgery? Let him have sex with a woman and if she doesn’t get pregnant declare him sterile?

    I mean we’re not talking about if she’s being assaulted. Theres no verse that says ‘if you’re getting raped – DON’T grab the dudes junk’. We’re talking if she CRUSHES a man’s junk during a fight she’s not even a part of.

  56. 56

    Timbo,

    I twice mentioned how Jesus deliberately phrased his speech in a way that would be shocking to some. Many left.

    What I didn’t mention is that Jesus apparently didn’t go chasing after them. Maybe they all had other things that were more important to them, and now they had an excuse to check out. He knew they would. That was the point.

    God saw fit to put some things in the Bible that would challenge us. If we’re looking for an excuse to discard the whole thing, there it is. If you wish to set aside the Bible because it contains laws that seem unjust to you, and which no longer even apply, so be it. I am not on a mission to change your mind.

  57. Fair enough.

  58. Scott,

    God saw fit to put some things in the Bible that would challenge us. If we’re looking for an excuse to discard the whole thing, there it is.

    Allah saw fit to put some things in the Koran that would challenge us. If we’re looking for an excuse to discard the whole thing, there it is.

  59. 59

    I tossed a few points out for the sake of onlookers. (And for you.) I have no idea whether it does any good. But I’m certain that an internet blog is one of the worst forums possible for such a discussion. If anyone is interested in the Bible, even if they are bothered by some of what they’ve heard, I’m sure they’ll find someone to talk to.

    I’ll never blame you or anyone else for the discussion I get myself into. But now I’ll excuse myself.

  60. Scott wrote:

    God saw fit to put some things in the Bible that would challenge us. If we’re looking for an excuse to discard the whole thing, there it is.

    I responded:

    Allah saw fit to put some things in the Koran that would challenge us. If we’re looking for an excuse to discard the whole thing, there it is.

    My point, of course, is that you can justify anything by that kind of reasoning.

    Far better to look objectively at the Bible (and the Koran, and the Guru Granth Sahib, and the Bhagavad Gita…) and to ask yourself: Considering the evidence, is this book more likely to be the work of man, or the work of an omnisicient, omnipotent, merciful, loving God?

    I was raised as an evangelical Christian, so I understand how exhausting it can be to try to defend the Bible. After a while, you feel like asking God, “If You wrote this book, why didn’t You make it look like You wrote it? Why is it so hard to defend Your word? Why do you make it so easy for critics to find obvious flaws in it?” And then you feel guilty, because you’ve been taught that it’s wrong to question God’s word.

    But when you look at the Bible as the work of humans, everything suddenly makes sense:

    1. Absurd scientific claims, like the story of Jacob and the goats, or God placing the rainbow in the sky as a symbol of his promise not to flood the earth again? They make perfect sense: the people who wrote those stories were scientifically illiterate. They didn’t know any better.

    2. A petty, jealous, vindictive God? Makes perfect sense: that’s how the Israelites actually conceived of God.

    3. Different laws in the Old and New Testaments? Sure — they were different societies with different conceptions of good and evil.

    4. Cruelties like commanding the amputation of women’s hands? The Israelites actually believed in a God who was like that, so the book they wrote naturally reflects their view of God. They approved of things that we think are absolutely evil, so of course we are appalled by their holy book.

    5. Contradictions throughout the Bible? Of course! Those books were written over hundreds of years by different people. Why would you expect them to agree on everything? Their authors were only human.

    6. Failed prophecies? Ditto.

    It all makes sense. You just have to have the courage to consider something that you’ve been taught is heretical. You have to decide that the truth is more important than orthodoxy. You have to decide that you are going to seek the real God, not a fictional one. And if you get brave enough (it took me a while), you’ll consider the possibility that there is no God at all.

    If you assume that the Bible is the word of God and if you always interpret the evidence to fit your assumption, then if you are wrong, you will never discover your error.

    Likewise, a Muslim who assumes that the Koran is the word of Allah and always interprets the evidence to fit that assumption will never discover his error.

    Far better to follow the evidence where it leads and to embrace the truth, even if it is uncomfortable at first.

  61. “You have to decide that you are going to seek the real God, not a fictional one.”

    …Aren’t you atheist?

    What real god are you talking about? -_-

    Also. The bible isn’t just one book. It’s an anthology – several books of about and relating to God. Asumming every book is the absolute word of God is silly from the get go.

  62. Scott,

    But I’m certain that an internet blog is one of the worst forums possible for such a discussion.

    If it’s good for discussing evolution, then why not the Bible? I’ll bet that some of the people reading this thread have thought about things they never considered before.

    Thinking is good.

  63. 63

    The only thing a Christian needs to defend is the resurrection event. If an argument in favor of the resurrection has more explanatory scope than the competing arguments, than quibbling over OT passages is pointless.

    Start with the historical method as applied to the gospels and the letters of Paul. Develop a historical nucleus and pinpoint the extraordinary claim. In this case, the resurrection event. Support extraordinary claim with evidence. In this case the Shroud of Turin. Apply scientific method to the Shroud of Turin. Find a model that best fits all the data.

    Extraordinary claim: Jesus was the divine interface between man and God, in which God raised Jesus from the dead.

    Extraordinary evidence: Shroud of Turin

  64. Barb,

    I’m not slandering anyone, champignon, you are, by claiming God to be merciless, pitiless and cruel—all without benefit of evidence to back up these outrageous claims.

    After this long exchange, do you still not recognize that I don’t believe the Bible is the word of God? I don’t believe that God ordered the amputation of women’s hands, that he commanded rape victims to marry their rapists, that he demanded that the Israelites commit genocide, or any of those horrible things. You believe those things about God, but I don’t.

    Furthermore, I never said that the God of the Old Testament was merciless and pitiless. Cruel, yes. Merciless and pitiless, no. He showed mercy and pity at times, but far less often than you would expect from a God who Christians claim is perfect.

    I suspect that you have gone through life seeing your devotion to the Bible as virtuous. I hope you can now see that when you say that God wrote the Bible, he may (if he exists at all) see that as an accusation rather than as a compliment.

  65. Timbo:“No, we haven’t established that.”

    Uh, actually, we have, seeing as how I have been posting the context of the verses that champignon insists are sexist and devalue women. Notice how he hasn’t yet responded to my points about the Bible books of Ruth and Esther? Or the biblical command to love one’s wife as one’s body? Why is that, I wonder?

    “ We have established that you don’t agree with Champ’s analysis. Your response to someone who has a different interpretation of a book to you is that they lack reading comprehension. Not very christian of you.”

    Spare me the ‘no true Christian’ fallacy, Timbo. He isn’t analyzing anything. He’s cherry-picking scripture that validates his atheistic worldview, and nothing more.

    “What is loving about requiring someone to stay married to a woman who clearly doesn’t love him? Much more loving to encourage people to face reality.”

    Try reading the book. Timbo. You might learn something. Hosea’s marriage was prophetic in showing how forgiving God was towards the nation of Israel, which abandoned worshipping him for other gods.

    Jesus indicated to his followers that adultery was the only source of dissolution of marriage in God’s eyes. However, he did not encourage it. The choice to divorce a mate who’d committed adultery was the right of the innocent mate who’d been cheated on.

    “The passages about God’s law, crushed testicles, and tampering with the reproductive organs; I just don’t see how you could write that with a straight face.”

    Why not? It provided a simple explanation for why the law existed. Notice how the woman wasn’t sentenced to death. Notice also how she wasn’t to remain barren; she wasn’t forcibly sterilized. Both of those could have been alternative forms of punishment.

    But, then again, you apparently aren’t interested in hearing anything that contradicts your preconceived notions about the Bible. This, ladies and gentlemen, is what a closed mind looks like.

    “ You might not be aware of this, but in most cases, grabbing someone by the testicles will not render them infertile. Maybe God could at least have let them find out if there was irreparable damage before the woman had her hand cut off?”

    What part of this statement that I posted earlier did you not understand: “By doing this, the woman doubtless ruined the man’s reproductive powers”? Who are you to say that the man was examined medically to see if that was the case?

    Champignon: “Afer this long exchange, do you still not recognize that I don’t believe the Bible is the word of God? I don’t believe that God ordered the amputation of women’s hands, that he commanded rape victims to marry their rapists, that he demanded that the Israelites commit genocide, or any of those horrible things. You believe those things about God, but I don’t.”

    I know you don’t believe the Bible is the word of God. I wish you would at least attempt to read it with an open mind, though. At least I attempted to understand why God had these laws written, and for what purpose.

    “Furthermore, I never said that the God of the Old Testament was merciless and pitiless. Cruel, yes. Merciless and pitiless, no. He showed mercy and pity at times, but far less often than you would expect from a God who Christians claim is perfect.”

    So, God is cruel. That is slander, which is what I posted about you earlier. Looks like I was right after all.

    How many times did he forgive Israel for straying and following other Gods? How many centuries passed? Did you notice in the book of Genesis that Abraham bargained with God over the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah? If as few as ten righteous people could be found, the cities would have been spared. Did that ever catch your attention while you read the Bible? Or did you, like so many other atheists, simply skim through its contents looking for something, anything, to justify your hatred of God?

    And by what standard to you, a lowly human who doesn’t even begin to understand God’s word, presume to judge God’s perfection? That is laughable.

    “I suspect that you have gone through life seeing your devotion to the Bible as virtuous. I hope you can now see that when you say that God wrote the Bible, he may (if he exists at all) see that as an accusation rather than as a compliment.”

    Prove to me, champignon, that devotion to the Bible isn’t virtuous. Prove to me that living by the Golden Rule is somehow bad and prevents development of good relationships between people. Prove to me that living by what Paul wrote at Colossians (“clothe yourselves with love for it is a perfect bond of union”) is somehow wrong.

    The Bible claims divine inspiration, champignon. I’m merely restating that. You call it an accusation. I call you ignorant.

  66. Champignon continues:
    “I was raised as an evangelical Christian, so I understand how exhausting it can be to try to defend the Bible. After a while, you feel like asking God, “If You wrote this book, why didn’t You make it looklike You wrote it? Why is it so hard to defend Your word? Why do you make it so easy for critics to find obvious flaws in it?” And then you feel guilty, because you’ve been taught that it’s wrong to question God’s word.”

    Funny, I feel just the opposite. I’m happy to defend my faith when asked why I believe what I believe. And I don’t have any problem with doing research when I don’t fully understand what I read.

    “1. Absurd scientific claims, like the story of Jacob and the goats, or God placing the rainbow in the sky as a symbol of his promise not to flood the earth again? They make perfect sense: the people who wrote those stories were scientifically illiterate. They didn’t know any better.”

    Scientifically illiterate? Hardly. Try these scriptures as an example:

    For one thing, the true God revealed to them that he governs the universe by precise laws, or statutes. For example, more than 3,500 years ago, Jehovah God asked his servant Job: “Have you come to know the statutes of the heavens?” (Job 38:33) In the seventh century B.C.E., the prophet Jeremiah wrote about “the statutes of heaven and earth.”—Jeremiah 33:25. As a result, those God-fearing individuals neither bowed down to created entities, such as the sun, the moon, or the stars, nor did they have a superstitious attitude toward them. (Deuteronomy 4:15-19) Rather, they saw God’s works as objects of study that reveal his wisdom, power, and other qualities.—Psalm 8:3-9; Proverbs 3:19, 20.

    The ancient Hebrews also believed that the universe had a beginning. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” says Genesis 1:1. Also, some 3,500 years ago, God revealed to his servant Job that the earth ‘hangs on nothing,’ or is suspended in space. (Job 26:7) And finally, more than 2,500 years ago, the prophet Isaiah wrote that the earth is a circle or sphere.—Isaiah 40:22.

    The Bible also shows the correct order in which all living things were formed (Genesis, chapter 1), which can be confirmed scientifically, and the effects of the hereditary process (Psalm 139:16). Long before people had any concept of germs and hygiene, the Bible provided the Israelites with instructions that anyone touching a dead body (or excrement) became unclean and had to wash himself and his garments.—Numbers 19:11-22; Deuteronomy 23:12-14.

    You call the claims made earlier absurd; why? If God created the earth and its physical laws, then surely he can control such laws which would include creating a rainbow.

    The story of Jacob and the goats relates to genetic inheritance. Jacob asked for the unusually colored animals born to Laban’s flocks. It is said that in that region, sheep were generally white and goats were black or dark brown; only a minority was parti-colored. So thinking he was getting a bargain, Laban readily agreed and promptly moved all his animals with unusual markings a distance away in order to avoid contact with the flocks remaining in Jacob’s care. He obviously believed that Jacob would gain little out of the agreement, certainly not the 20 percent of newborn kids and lambs that ancient shepherds typically received as wages. But Laban was wrong, for Jehovah was with Jacob.—Genesis 30:25-36.

    Under divine guidance, Jacob bred sturdy animals of the desired coloration. (Genesis 30:37-42) His ideas on stockbreeding were not valid. Nonetheless, “scientifically, the required results could be achieved by the successive interbreeding of . . . single-colored animals that carried recessive genes for spottedness,” explains scholar Nahum Sarna, and “such animals are detectable by . . . [their] hybrid vigor.”

    Unscientific? Not really.

    “2. A petty, jealous, vindictive God? Makes perfect sense: that’s how the Israelites actually conceived of God.”

    Actually, they didn’t. They viewed him as the only true God as noted in Isaiah chapter 43. Your biased opinion isn’t helping any.

    “3. Different laws in the Old and New Testaments? Sure — they were different societies with different conceptions of good and evil.”

    The law covenant, or Mosaic Law, was done away with by the death and resurrection of Christ. Surely you as a former evangelical Christian can understand this simple point. The entire Bible book of Hebrews contrasts the two, and surely you’ve read that.

    “4. Cruelties like commanding the amputation of women’s hands? The Israelites actually believed in a God who was like that, so the book they wrote naturally reflects their view of God. They approved of things that we think are absolutely evil, so of course we are appalled by their holy book.”

    Who are you to define absolute evil when you cannot comprehend absolute good?

    “5. Contradictions throughout the Bible? Of course! Those books were written over hundreds of years by different people. Why would you expect them to agree on everything? Their authors were only human.”

    There are scores of websites that describe supposed contradictions in the Bible. Most of them are the result of not understanding the context, which is what you are guilty of. Spare me.

    “6. Failed prophecies? Ditto.”

    Fulfilled prophecies? Yes. There are none so blind as those who will not see. It’s sad, really.

    “It all makes sense. You just have to have the courage to consider something that you’ve been taught is heretical.”

    I did consider that. Then I continued studying and reading the Bible and realized that it wasn’t heretical. So I took one more step than you did, apparently.

    “You have to decide that the truth is more important than orthodoxy. You have to decide that you are going to seek the real God, not a fictional one. And if you get brave enough (it took me a while), you’ll consider the possibility that there is no God at all.”

    I do worship the true God. And trust me, Christianity is not for the cowardly. It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to those who repeatedly and continously mock you and your God–people like you, Champignon, who refuse to seek the truth even when given a map and directions.

    “If you assume that the Bible is the word of God and if you always interpret the evidence to fit your assumption, then if you are wrong, you will never discover your error.”

    I started with the assumption that if the Bible is really the word of God, then it should be given the opportunity to prove itself. Then, I broke down what I wanted to study (see my post to Elizabeth above).

    Notice how I didn’t start out thinking that the Bible was wrong and simply began looking for scriptures to justify that belief. There are countless atheists who are guilty of this.

    “Likewise, a Muslim who assumes that the Koran is the word of Allah and always interprets the evidence to fit that assumption will never discover his error.

    Far better to follow the evidence where it leads and to embrace the truth, even if it is uncomfortable at first.”

    I did follow the evidence. You gave up looking. There’s the difference.

  67. Barb, I may be a bit biased in all this, but I find that you are truly a woman of grace, strength, and wisdom in your defense of Scripture!,,, Here are a couple of songs you may enjoy.

    Sara Groves – The Word – music video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ofE-GZ8zTU

    Sara Groves – Something Changed – music
    http://www.vimeo.com/28076423

  68. Barb:

    I started with the assumption that if the Bible is really the word of God, then it should be given the opportunity to prove itself.

    And I’m sure you diligently studied the Koran and gave it the opportunity to prove itself, since it also claims to be the word of God. Right?

  69. I don’t know about ‘dilligently’, but I’m working through the Quaran now.

    Thus far my problem is it misrepresents what Christians and jews actually believe, which makes me question it’s authorship. The new testament doesn’t do that for Judaism, so why the strawman for ‘people of the book’?

    It is kinda interesting though.

  70. I have studied world religions, including Islam, twice in college courses as well as on my own. I trust that it’s far more than what you have studied.

  71. I have studied world religions, including Islam, twice in college courses as well as on my own.

    That doesn’t answer my question:

    Barb:

    I started with the assumption that if the Bible is really the word of God, then it should be given the opportunity to prove itself.

    And I’m sure you diligently studied the Koran and gave it the opportunity to prove itself, since it also claims to be the word of God. Right?

    Barb again:

    I trust that it’s far more than what you have studied.

    You’d be quite mistaken. I’m fascinated by religion and I love reading about it. My library has more than 130 titles on religion, and that’s not even counting my 65+ volume ID/creationism collection.

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