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God and Science Redux: Lawrence Krauss

A friend alerted me to this piece by Lawrence Krauss from the Wall Street Journal.

Krauss writes:

“J.B.S. Haldane, an evolutionary biologist and a founder of population genetics, understood that science is by necessity an atheistic discipline. As Haldane so aptly described it, one cannot proceed with the process of scientific discovery if one assumes a “god, angel, or devil” will interfere with one’s experiments. God is, of necessity, irrelevant in science.

Faced with the remarkable success of science to explain the workings of the physical world, many, indeed probably most, scientists understandably react as Haldane did. Namely, they extrapolate the atheism of science to a more general atheism.”

No surprise here. But he concludes with

“Finally, it is worth pointing out that these issues are not purely academic. The current crisis in Iran has laid bare the striking inconsistency between a world built on reason and a world built on religious dogma.”

Perhaps the most important contribution an honest assessment of the incompatibility between science and religious doctrine can provide is to make it starkly clear that in human affairs — as well as in the rest of the physical world — reason is the better guide.”

Reason is a better guide than what? Religion? Which religion? All religions? What empircal data does Krauss have to back up this, supposedly, scientific claim. For that matter, what precisely does it mean for reason to be a “better guide”? Better how? This is just another example of a scientist making unsubstantiated philosophical statements in the name of science. It would be interesting to hear how Krauss would explain what went wrong with “reason” with such well known atheists like Stalin or Hitler. How was “reason” a better guide with those guys? Perhaps Krauss could begin by telling us what he means by “reason” in the first place.

It always amazes me how those who claim the high road of science and scientific reasoning so easily abandon the basic rules of logic and reason when it doesn’t seem to suit their argument. He could start by telling us how he knows scientifically that the properties of the cosmos are such that no deity (assuming a deity exists), could take any action whatsoever that would have empirical consequences in what we call Nature, even in principle. If Krauss has no scientific answer to that question (and he doesn’t), then how does he know that the properties of our cosmos are such that miracles can not take place, even in principle? Just because science tells us how babies are formed and born does not mean that in one instance, at least, something quite extraordinary took place. Just because Krauss and his fellow atheists don’t accept such things as true or even possbile doesn’t mean they aren’t. And appealing to science is of little help to his case, since neither he nor anyone else has come up with a detailed, testable, (and potenitally falsifiable) scientific model that eliminates the possibility of miracles from ever occuring in Nature.

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142 Responses to God and Science Redux: Lawrence Krauss

  1. Iran as an example of why religion is bad for a society. How many times can we say cherry-picking a data point. There are many examples where we could state that atheism is bad for a society.

    On the other hand I’d like to see how Krauss responds to this:

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/t.....400568.ece

  2. Professor Krauss does not seem to realize that believe in their religion in the retail and not the wholesale. There is no such thing as “religion” in the wholesale.

    It’s like arguing against or for “sociology” or “golf.” Why should we pay any attention to Prof Krauss if he won’t tell us what religion, what science, and what arguments about what subject he is precisely talking about.

    Don’t take the “religion” bait!

  3. Dumb me. Please insert “people” between “that” and “believe” in the first sentence in my post above.

  4. Krauss fails because not all religions are based on blind faith. The Bible encourages people to think for themselves (see the verse which states “come let us reason”). Paul himself was trained in the law and clearly knew how to debate and use logic as evidenced from his speech at the Areopagus.

    A world built on reason would not necessarily lead to peace, as the examples from Stalin and Hitler (although a Catholic, not an atheist) have already proven.

    As another example, take the controversial book written recently, “A Natural History of Rape”. The authors argue that rape is a natural consequence of the evolutionary process. How many atheist feminists would agree to live in a world where rape was seen as reasonable and natural?

    Haldane’s argument fails because he wrongly assumes that a god or devil will intervene without knowing whether one will or not.

    Clearly, the problem is not god’s or the devil’s;–the problem lies completely with those like Haldane who wish to be the ultimate authority figures for the general population of mankind.

  5. All too often, there is a slide from science to something more, and this slide goes unmentioned — unrealized even. ~ Michael Ruse

    People who tell you that ‘Science tells you everything you need to know about the world’ or ‘Science tells you that religion is all wrong’ or ‘Science tells you there is no God’, those people aren’t telling you scientific things. They are saying metaphysical things and they have to defend their positions from metaphysical reasons. ~ John Polkinghorne

    The fact that there are scientists who appear to be at war with God is not quite the same as science itself being at war with God. For example, some musicians are militant atheists. But does that mean music itself is at war with God? Hardly. The point here may be expressed as follows: Statements by scientists are not necessarily statements of science. Nor, we might add, are such statements necessarily true; although the prestige of science is such that they are often taken to be so. ~ John Lennox

  6. fbeckwith: Exactly!

    Barb: Right. What Krauss et.al. fail to appreciate is the difference between blind faith and informed faith. The idea that faith is without reason or rationality is a red herring and completely bogus.

  7. What empircal data does Krauss have to back up this, supposedly, scientific claim

    how about :
    People in non-religious nations are happier and more successful

    godless societies have fewer people in prison, fewer violent crimes, the best education and health systems, and unsurprisingly, are the happiest!

    Hows that for evidence!

    Love you all!

  8. I am hearing talk about Christianity being an ‘informed’ faith, but the fact that Jesus said he was the only way to get to heaven, does not lead me to believe it is an INFORMED faith, and if the bible is suppose to be inerrant, then please browse The Skeptics Annotated Bible, it list contradictions, incorrect facts, and absurdities.

    Also, for those that believe they have an informed faith, if it is important to you to be ‘informed’, then I’d suggest you research Buddhism and yoga, both traditions don’t ask you to believe anything, but ask that you investigate everything for yourself, and believe nothing that does not sit well with you.

    Contrast the statement : “Believe nothing, no matter where you read it or who has said it, not even if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.” – Buddha

    with : “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” — John 14:6 (NKJV)

    I argue that Christianity does NOT lead to informed opinions by it’s very teachings!

    Love you!

  9. 9

    Barb…so glad to see your posts again.

    Always thoughtful and intersting.

  10. Lawrence Krauss proclaims that “God and science don’t mix.” A more accurate observation would be that metaphysics and science don’t mix.

    Science for its own sake is merely observation. A microbiologist studies a cell and describes his findings without making inferences of any kind. Science, in this sense, can be found in innumerable basic science journals that dedicate themselves to pure description and avoid metaphysical glossing.

    Any inference beyond the limits of pure description is not science but speculation. Cells are wonderfully complex and give every appearance of having been designed. A scientist may feel moved to link the self-evident complexity of the cell to a designer, but this would be an inference; that is, it involves information not found in the cell itself.

    Mr Kraus rails against mixing religion and science because he wants scientists to draw the opposite conclusion: he wants them to claim that cells are not designed. Again, the cell per se does not furnish any such information. The only way to exclude design is to make evolutionary inferences that cannot be found in the cell for its own sake.

    Mr. Kraus wants to believe that his materialist inference is more scientific than a design inference, but this is far from obvious. Indeed, if metaphysical inferences are permitted in science, then the design inference seems more intuitive than materialism, since cells give every appearance of having been designed.

    Pure science and metaphysics have two very different goals. Pure science is engaged in the heavy lifting of obtaining knowledge about nature and how it works in the present tense. Nature is complicated, and knowledge of it is difficult to grasp; ask any scientist who has tried to determine the actual nature of gravity or light.

    The goal of mixing metaphysics with science, however, is to promote a certain worldview. Newton, for example, was a Christian who believed that he saw the genius of the creator in nature. Darwin was an atheist or agnostic who wanted to exclude God from nature and account for the excellence of the species by purely natural means.

    In the last century, Darwin’s metaphysical atheism because the basis of Modernism, which entrenched itself in the academy and the science establishment. It is not surprising, then, that Mr Kraus would be eager to keep God out of science—or keep materialism in.

    True science makes no metaphysical inferences. True science is based on a one-to-one correspondence between fact and observation. Anything that goes beyond this simple rule is not “science,” or actual knowledge of nature. It is speculation.

  11. True science makes no metaphysical inferences

    I like how science is always defined as something that the ToE does not follow (in the opinion of the poster). No matter the subject, there is always one way or another that the study of evolution is defined outside of science in the majority of posts on this site.

    Funny how such a great deal of knowledge has been acquired and verified through the study of common ancestors, but I’ve yet to be provided a definition of ID that can be called scientific, no matter many times I request it.

    Please can someone provide me a scientific definition of the study of ID (or a working hypothesis) that does not attack or try to debase the ToE. (I’ll except an excuse as well, but label it as such so we can discuss the limits of it).

    Love you all!

  12. nnoel

    I am hearing talk about Christianity being an ‘informed’ faith, but the fact that Jesus said he was the only way to get to heaven, does not lead me to believe it is an INFORMED faith, and if the bible is suppose to be inerrant, then please browse The Skeptics Annotated Bible, it list contradictions, incorrect facts, and absurdities.

    I don’t see how Jesus claim leads to the conclusion that faith is not informed. The one does not follow from the other.

    As for the SAB, I am skeptical of the skeptics for several reasons. First off, they all use but one translation, The King James, as if there were no more recent scholarship or translations to go by. Secondly, and far more importantly, in creating all these “annotations”, the skeptics did not research and study the contexts and meangings of the passages they cite nor did they study and decipher the original texts. They take passages and verses completely out of their textual, historical, cultural and lieterary contexts in order to bolster their skepticism. If they applied as much care and study to their skepticism as true Biblical scholars do to their study of the Scriptures, they would probably come to much different conclusions.

    The SAB is not in any way shape or form a scholarly enterprise and I see no reason to give it any real credence.

    godless societies have fewer people in prison, fewer violent crimes, the best education and health systems, and unsurprisingly, are the happiest!

    I wonder if the people of China would agree. Apparently not, since the Christian church in China is growing by leaps and bounds, albeit underground. Some estimates put it at nearly 100,000,000. If they were all so happy, then what would motivate so many to take the risks in order to be Christian in this “godless” soceity?

    Read Jesus in Beijing: How Christianity is Transforming China and Changing the Global Balance of Power by David Aikman.

    Please can someone provide me a scientific definition of the study of ID (or a working hypothesis) that does not attack or try to debase the ToE. (I’ll except an excuse as well, but label it as such so we can discuss the limits of it).

    You might read William Dembski’s The Design Revolution. As a scientific research program, ID seeks to differentiate undirected, natural causes from intelligent causes. Nothing in that “debases” the ToE.

    But all of this is a sidetrack from the main point of the OP which is that Krauss et.al., who claim the high road of science and reason, don’t seem to have any science or reason to back up the sort of claims Krauss makes in his editorial.

  13. Nnoel: Your link doesn’t work. I get a page error.

    No matter, how about this link instead.

    Such “news” as you present that superficially supports the inane idea that atheist countries have less crime etc. are nothing but red herrings.

    The reason why there are so few people in prison is because there are far fewer criminal offenses!

    Prostitution is legal, various drug uses are legal. That covers about half the Western crime rate figures right there.
    “What isn’t legal?”, is the question you need to ask in such places.

    Child abuse, rape, murder etc. are often treated as mental illness – genetic defect – rather than real crime and the sanctions – as applied in the real world – are often just as pitiful.

    And, it’s becoming the same in the West as atheist “values” are adopted by legislation. Abortion, assisted suicide… the list is long, of things that will reduce crime rates simply by legalizing and calling evil good.

    As the doc I linked states many people in Holland are now afraid of hospitals for fear of mortification.

    You are more likely to land in jail for saying something against homosexuals than for murder in those countries.

    Indeed, read the testimony.

    Holland, I believe – or is it Denmark – can’t recall, actually has a pedophile political party now – approved by their courts – as long they don’t actually practice it! Amazing idiocy. That’s like saying in the world of homosexuals no one actually practices it.

    This is the kind of bold and brave stupidity that characterizes much of the atheist states.

    As CS Lewis aptly noted,

    “If naturalism were true then all thoughts whatever would be wholly the result of irrational causes…it cuts its own throat.”

    “Unless thought is valid we have no reason to believe in the real universe.”

    “A universe whose only claim to be believed in rests on the validity of inference must not start telling us the inference is invalid…”

    “Men became scientific because they expected Law in Nature, and they expected Law in Nature because they believed in a Legislator. In most modern scientists this belief has died: it will be interesting to see how long their confidence in uniformity survives it. Two significant developments have already appeared – the hypothesis of a lawless sub-nature, and the surrender of the claim that science is true. We may be living nearer than we suppose to the end of the Scientific Age.”
    M. D. Aeschliman C. S. Lewis on Mere Science 1998 First Things 86 (October, 1998): 16-18.

    “If the solar system was brought about by an accidental collision, then the appearance of organic life on this planet was also an accident, and the whole evolution of Man was an accident too. If so, then all our present thoughts are mere accidents—the accidental by-product of the movement of atoms. And this holds for the thoughts of the materialists and astronomers as well as for anyone else’s. but if their thoughts -i.e., of Materialism and Astronomy — are merely accidental by-products, why should we believe them to be true? I see no reason for believing that one accident should be able to give me a correct account of all the other accidents. It’s like expecting that the accidental shape taken by the splash when you upset a milk-jug should give you a correct account of how the jug was made and why it was upset.” C.S. Lewis, in God in the Dock (p52-53 Answers to Questions on Christianity)

    Atheism is nothing but a process of denial of reality.

    Even Voltaire scathed the atheists:

    The atheists are for the most part impudent and misguided scholars who reason badly, and who not being able to understand the creation, the origin of evil, and other difficulties, have recourse to the hypothesis of the eternity of things and of inevitability.

    How true.

  14. I don’t see how Jesus claim leads to the conclusion that faith is not informed. The one does not follow from the other.

    Ok, well I suppose to me, a religion that prescribes a solution which it dogmatically insists is the only solution is atypical of a religion that allows it’s participants to investigate things for itself, like saying, ‘you welcome to research this for yourself, but if you don’t have the same answer as us then you going to hell’. That is not informing people, that is herding people with fear. Period.

    China is struggling to transition from it’s previously communistic government, which on the surface is Godless, but not very REASONABLE, which is on topic for this article. It is no wonder that in a country in such turmoil and change that people are grabbing onto the first thing that promises them better things. The atheitic government banned religion in china from about 1949 (not a reasonable thing to do), and just like prohibition in the USA, taking that sort of action never leads to anything good.

    But reason says people are happy when they are free, and implementing laws ’cause you think you should’ has shown that it only leads to problems. Country’s that have legalized drugs (more freedom) have lower drug related crime (which means it is a much more peaceful country), portugal is a good example.

    Religion, just like the atheistic government in China, constantly seeks to curtain people’s freedoms (for their own good), which leads to strife in all situations. As long as someone is not directly hurting someone else with their actions, a victimless crime should not be a crime.

    Love you all!

  15. Borne,

    I’m sorry the link doesn’t work for you, but it explains a study done by a professor.

    I think we will have to agree too disagree, because anyone that is too blinded by their faith to have a reasonable discussion about the pro’s and cons of legal prostitution (instead of seeing it as a black and white issue), is not going to see the value in not criminalizing and imprisoning a large portion of your country’s population.

    When religion drives people to see issue in such a black and white manner, reasonable decisions cannot be made, instead BLIND decisions are made on ancient books of ‘wisdom’, instead of critically accessing the situation.

    For that reason, religion does not lead to decisions that benefit the greater society, only a small fraction that think they are ‘holier than tho’ and think everyone else should follow their example.

    Love you all.

  16. Having a belief, thinking you have TRUTH, knowing that everyone else must be wrong, and trying to MAKE people follow your set of morality, even when that other person is not hurting anyone (assisted suicide), is a recipe for disaster, and in western countries without religion, when decisions are made with reason instead of religion, happiness prevails, instead of judgment, and anger, and pain.

    Love you all!

  17. Nnoel: “The Skeptics Annotated Bible” !? I hope you’re kidding. Any informed person knows better than to trust such utter rubbish.

    Maybe you should read the works of actual biblical scholars and archaeologists? Your suggestion is like asking us to read Star Trek novels to get the real science.

    For example
    Manuscript Evidence:

    Aristotle’s Ode to Poetics was written between 384 and 322 B.C. The earliest copy of this work dates A.D. 1100, and there are only forty-nine extant manuscripts. The gap between the original writing and the earliest copy is 1,400 years. There are only seven extant manuscripts of Plato’s Tetralogies, written 427–347 B.C. The earliest copy is A.D. 900—a gap of over 1,200 years. What about the New Testament? Jesus was crucified in A.D. 30. The New Testament was written between A.D. 48 and 95. The oldest manuscripts date to the last quarter of the first century, and the second oldest A.D. 125. This gives us a narrow gap of thirty-five to forty years from the originals written by the apostles. From the early centuries, we have some 5,300 Greek manuscripts of the New Testament. Altogether, including Syriac, Latin, Coptic, and Aramaic, we have a whopping 24,633 texts of the ancient New Testament to confirm the wording of the Scriptures. So the bottom line is, there was no great period between the events of the New Testament and the New Testament writings. Nor is there a great time lapse between the original writings and the oldest copies.

    Sir Frederic G. Kenyon, former director and principal librarian of the British Museum, stated about the New Testament,

    “The interval, then, between the dates of original composition and the earliest extant evidence becomes so small as to be in fact negligible, and the last foundation for any doubt that the Scriptures have come down to us substantially as they were written has now been removed. Both the authenticity and the general integrity of the books of the New Testament may be regarded as finally established.”

    “It may be stated categorically that no archaeological discovery has ever contradicted a biblical reference.”

    – archaeologist Nelson Glueck

    B. F. Westcott and F.J.A. Hort, the creators of The New Testament in Original Greek, also commented:

    “If comparative trivialities such as changes of order, the insertion or omission of the article with proper names, and the like are set aside, the works in our opinion still subject to doubt can hardly mount to more than a thousandth part of the whole New Testament.”

    The evidence for biblical exactitude are far beyond evidence for any other ancient MSS. And we have literally 1000s of extant copies bearing witness to their integrity.

    We even have extra biblical evidence for the darkness following the crucifixion:

    “Circa AD 52, Thallus wrote a history of the Eastern Mediterranean world from the Trojan War to his own time. This work itself has been lost and only fragments of it exist in the citations of others. One such scholar who knew and spoke of it was Julius Africanus, who wrote about AD 221…In speaking of Jesus’ crucifixion and the darkness that covered the land during this event, Africanus found a reference in the writings of Thallus that dealt with this cosmic report. Africanus asserts: ‘On the whole world there pressed a most fearful darkness; and the rocks were rent by an earthquake, and many places in Judea and other districts were thrown down. This darkness Thallus, in the third book of his History, calls, as appears to me without reason, an eclipse of the sun.’”

    One could go on for days writing of the historical evidence of biblical prophecies fulfilled and many other proofs of its veracity. One could also go on endlessly demonstrating why the so-called liberal theology is a sham.

    A question the atheist must ask himself is, “Why is there so much effort put in to destroy that one specific document’s credibility and undo it’s contents and message”?

    That, by itself, is suspicious and indeed conspicuously points to someone or something not wanting that specific writing to be known or believed.

    Atheists have been duped real bad.

  18. Nnoel:

    “I think we will have to agree too disagree, because anyone that is too blinded by their faith to have a reasonable discussion about the pro’s and cons of legal prostitution (instead of seeing it as a black and white issue), is not going to see the value in not criminalizing and imprisoning a large portion of your country’s population.”

    I’m sorry but your response is simply so badly reasoned it is inane.

    Sad.

    But keep looking, if you’re honest you will eventually see how idiotic atheism is.

    Atheism is a disease of the soul before it becomes an error of understanding..

    Plato

    The atheist is one who fain would pull God from his throne, and in the place of heaven’s eternal king set up the phantom chance.

    Glynn

  19. lol,

    If your going to assume I’m an atheist, I’m going to assume your a YEC.

    Idiot, everyone knows the Flying Spaghetti monster created the world in 9 days, not 7!

    Joking aside, you have not told me how my logic to so bad it is insane?

    And, just for your information, the Skeptics annotated bible is not there to be read and believed, it is there to show you points to ponder, as everything you read should be evaluated critically. I like the SAB because it shows responses to the skeptics from Christians to show both sides of the story.

    There are two sets of biblical scholars by the way, those that are christian and bound to believe it’s all true, and those with no belief in the bible that study it as it is, and they usually have _slightly_ opinions to say the least!

    And yes, not the place for a discussion of biblical history, but I’ll just say that most of your sources appear to be slightly bias that you quote.

    Love you !

  20. _slightly_ *different* opinions

    sorry about the typo.

  21. Nnoel wrote, I am hearing talk about Christianity being an ‘informed’ faith, but the fact that Jesus said he was the only way to get to heaven, does not lead me to believe it is an INFORMED faith, and if the bible is suppose to be inerrant, then please browse The Skeptics Annotated Bible, it list contradictions, incorrect facts, and absurdities.

    *smirk*
    Please tell me you’re kidding.

    Please. I’ll wait.
    No?

    The Skeptics Annotated Bible is for those who lack critical thinking ability.

    St. Augustine was right on the mark when he commented regarding supposed biblical errors:
    “If we are perplexed by any apparent contradiction in Scripture, it is not allowable to say, ‘The author of this book is mistaken’; but either the manuscript is faulty, or the translation is wrong, or you have not understood.”

    Nnoel, pay close attention to the final portion of Augustine’s statement. It is eminently more probable that you’ve misunderstood the context of a scripture than it is that the Bible is wrong.

    Also, for those that believe they have an informed faith, if it is important to you to be ‘informed’, then I’d suggest you research Buddhism and yoga, both traditions don’t ask you to believe anything, but ask that you investigate everything for yourself, and believe nothing that does not sit well with you.

    I did just that. I studied the Bible from the age of 14 onward and in college I took courses in world religions. I must say that although a Christian, I admire the Buddhist tenets of following the eightfold path. When examined, it’s not that far off from the teachings of Jesus.

    Why do you assume wrongly that all Christians simply believe without having done their homework, as the saying goes?

    Do you have knowledge of all Christians? Of all religions?

    No?

    Then stop with the hasty generalizations.

    Contrast the statement : “Believe nothing, no matter where you read it or who has said it, not even if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.” – Buddha.

    “For the Boreans were more noble minded than those in Thessalonica; daily they examined the scriptures…” The Boreans did not take Paul at his word; they actively studied what he said and compared it to what they had been taught.

    with : “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” — John 14:6 (NKJV)

    I argue that Christianity does NOT lead to informed opinions by it’s very teachings!

    And I argue that you are deeply mistaken.

  22. “The current crisis in Iran has laid bare the striking inconsistency between a world built on reason and a world built on religious dogma.””

    What he means to say is “I have no idea what religion, reason and science mean in relation to each other. I’m forced into these strange positions because of my generalized hatred. Pfffew, that felt good, finally a moment of relief from my demon mind’s enslavement of me.”

    Science didn’t create my computer for example, invention and reason did.

  23. Here’s a quote from Haldane that makes it look like he was being careful to leave a “back door” open:

    “It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter. For if my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms. In order to escape from this necessity of sawing away the branch on which I am sitting, so to speak, I am compelled to believe that mind is not wholly conditioned by matter.” ( Haldane J.B.S., “When I Am Dead,” in “Possible Worlds: And Other Essays,” [1927], Chatto and Windus: London, 1932, reprint, p.209). [top]

    I wonder if Krauss has a back door?

  24. 24
    CannuckianYankee

    Nnoel,

    “And, just for your information, the Skeptics annotated bible is not there to be read and believed, it is there to show you points to ponder”

    Yeah, the SAB is really well done and definitely allows you to take a well-balanced look at the bible. I especially liked the link to the thubs up “good stuff” section, which is a blank page. Real insightful.

  25. 25
    CannuckianYankee

    Nnoel,

    It might behoove you to read some of the scholarship from the other side of the fence instead of dissing it, and believing what you read from The Skeptics Annotated Bible. There is more than just one side to any story.

    You might want to start with N.T. Wright – who was mentioned in a recent post here. His “Jesus and the Victory of God” is well known as one of the hallmarks of modern biblical scholarship. Why? It’s really quite simple – Because Wright believes that you can’t understand Jesus or Christianity outside an understanding of the culture and context of 1st Century Judaism.

    Unlike other modern scholars, Wright sees through the skepticism of the “Quests for the Historical Jesus,” in their dogmatic refusal to see Jesus as he was depicted in the Gospels and by the early church fathers. Get a faulty view of Jesus, and you miss the whole point of the Christian gospel.

    The “Jesus Seminar” and their groupies (and there are many of them) will give you any preposterous claim about Jesus and Christianity in order to avoid the inevitable evidence that he was as depicted in the most authoritative sources – those who knew him. And they (TJS) are the ones responsible for much of our cultures’ popular understanding of Jesus and early Christian belief – found annually in Newsweek and Time.

    Now Wright is a great place to start, but there are many other great places you can also look to find a much more informed view of Christianity than where you have apparently been looking.

    Now I realize that the SAB is mainly about the scriptures, but they demonstrate that they know little about the scirptures. All they really do is “quote mine” from the scriptures to make their point. And what is their point? That the bible has nothing good to say. Do you really believe that’s a ballanced view of the matter?

    But that’s another discussion altogether.

  26. the world is flat, bats are aves (birds), the earth is the centre of the world, slavery is OK, the bible is inerrant.

    These are all things that people have believed, and used the bible as evidence in support of their ‘Truth’. Why are you so different?

    The fact that there WERE people that DID believe these things and DID base those beliefs on the bible, leads me to believe that the bible is ripe for cherry picking, which is the only way to use it because of all the contradictions therein.

    These are facts, they are not debatable. Closing your eyes to how others have falsely translated and interpreted the bible, and thus believing YOU are incapable of making the same mistake (you are only human are you not?) leads you to judge others, and by your own beliefs (or beliefs of others that read the bible), judgment is the sole domain of ‘God’ (queue bible verses to show me why you MAY judge people)

    One could try to de-emphasize my point to show (and not very convincingly so) how others have used Darwins writing in the same manner as men have erroneously used the bible (a faithful’s favourite is hitler, but he hated the jews because of Martin Luther’s anti-semitic ravings)

    But that would not be a fair comparison because science acknowledges that it CAN be wrong, and WELCOMES correction, thats how it gets so good at what it does! But the bible says there is a special place in hell for anyone that changes the word of god (sorry cant find reference)

    Love you all!

    P.S. http://nobeliefs.com/luther.htm <- is the link if people have trouble with the above

  27. CannuckianYankee,

    Thank you for the tips on literature, but I grew up (at least 4 years at this church) in a church that was heavily into getting an authentic view of jesus. We celebrated the jewish feasts, and our pastor could read Hebrew and all that.

    What i eventually realised is that the old testament is the story of tribe of people that went around warring with others nations, ranksacking, pilaging and raping as they went along, all because their God is a ‘god of pure love’. umm, and people actually fall for that bolony! Your definition of love is a bit skewd if he read the old testament from start to finish and have a complete definition of ‘love’ from it.

    Love you all (not in an old testament fashion)

  28. 28
    CannuckianYankee

    Well Nnoell,

    Not having grown up in a Christian home – my father was a skeptic, and my mother dabled in different spiritualist churches and liberal churches, my upbringing was decidedly atheistic. The only reason my mother attended church was so she could sing in the choir. There was no discussion about religin in my family whatsoever. So you can see that I had every reason to be skeptical about the church as well.

    I became a believer inspite of all this – and that was nearly 30 years ago.

    I discovered that the Old Testament was the story of a group of people in a hostile world, who were brought about the world by a patient and loving God, and furthermore, it didn’t end in the Old Testament, but was fulfilled in the New.

    So you and I were given very different views of the Jewish religion. I’m not Jewish, but I can’t condemn the Jewish religion too harshly, when it was the sacrifices and dedication of many of those people of old, who – led by God, brought us the promise. Were they perfect in that? By no means. The OT is essentially the story of human beings’ failure to abide by the simple demands of a patient and loving God – who got all those “thou shalt nots” because they couldn’t obey the simple rules that were given to them for their own good. And in all of this was the planning and bringing forth of a greater promise.

    I think the key is to not take what KF calls a “hyperskeptical” view – and I would translate that into a view of the OT, but to see the scars for what they teach in the larger scheme of things.

    You have to read these things in the larger context, and not in the hyperskeptical eisegesis of the modern liberals, who make no attempt whatsoever to understand what is going on. Their only motivation is to show what they perceive as the “more correct” – Dawkins view of God. Rather narrow, if you ask me.

    There are two ways of reading the scripture – (well there are realy more than two, but two opposing) – One is exegetical, which is to “take out” only that which the authors intended to convey within their context, and not within our modern context. The other is eisegetical, which means to put into the scriptures what is not there, from our own prejudicial understanding – having not lived in the time of the OT, but adding a perspective that is completely foreign to the intentions and understandings of the authors who lived in that time.

    What the modern skeptics do is eisegesis. They are forced to take everything out of the real context in order to put in their own prejudicial meaning and logic, which doesn’t work. It doesn’t work because the OT starts from a particular point of reference, and that reference develops as the people of the book become more familiar with the workings of God among them; and indeed more rebellious towards his guidance – bringing upon themselves more and more reckoning with his absolute authority – which is intended for their good. But God doesn’t force them into anything they haven’t chosen for themselves. His laws are absolute – yes, but they are free to disobey them – but with consequences.

    So you see a God who is prejudice and murderous, while I see a God who included a particular race of people in the promise of salvation for the entire world – fulfilled in the man who sacrificed himself to that end. And who was the only one worthy because he in-fact was God in the flesh. You don’t get to the New Testament without going through the Old.

    BTW, the skeptics anotated bible missed that point altogether. One of their most ridiculous points was to suggest that the bible is confused as to whether God is spirit or flesh. They did not understand the concept of “incarnation.”

    If you read the gospels carefully, you will see (particularly in John) that Jesus claimed to be the one who spoke to Moses in the burning bush – the “Angel of the Lord” – the “I AM,” and thus, the one who also walked with Adam and Eve in the garden “in the cool of the day.” Your SAB missed this point altogether. I think if you read them as critically as you read the bible, you would see how much more they missed because of their hyperskeptical eisegesis.

    Christianity is lived, not hyperskeptically dabbled into by four years in the sidelines of a church. Perhaps that’s where the difference lies.

    For every story you can give me of someone who left the chuch because they didn’t feel satisfied with the message – I can give you ten real stories of someone who lived and died by the truth – sacrificing the material but empty promises of this world for the larger hope – and in their deaths, satisfied that they had fought the good fight. And these would be people that I have personally known. One I knew – Jim Ziervogl, who died about 5 years ago – spent the better part of his life in Inland China as a missionary. Why? Because he truly cared about the Chinese people. With 100,000,000 Chinese converted or converting to Christianity, do you think that his life had an impact?

  29. 29
    CannuckianYankee

    Nnoell,

    “The fact that there WERE people that DID believe these things and DID base those beliefs on the bible, leads me to believe that the bible is ripe for cherry picking, which is the only way to use it because of all the contradictions therein.

    These are facts, they are not debatable.”

    That seems rather dogmatic.

    Well perhaps they are not debatable any more for you because you seem to have given up understanding them. People can twist anything – and people have twisted the bible to their own ends – that’s true. In fact Jesus and the apostles predicted that people would do just that. You’re not telling us anything we don’t already know or expect. Christian apologists make it their profession to address the distortions people have made of the scriptures in particular – and there are many distortions.

    Let me ask you this – are you using the bible to your own ends, or are you truly making an attempt to understanding what is in it?

    You came to this site (I’m not sure when) with the professed intention of wanting to understand, but I can’t help seeing a different motive than that. Perhaps I’m wrong, as I’m known to be.

  30. Thank you for preaching at me, but you only give two points of view of interpreting the OT, and you miss one altogether, even tho I hinted at it in the post you responded to.

    Outside of Jewish and Christian belief, the stories in the bible have been taken from others sources, that is again a non-debatable fact. If you truly read the ‘context’ of the old testament, and include other historical facts, situations, geo-political issues, I would be surprised if you walk away with the same opinions.

    A good example is the different names in the bible for god, surely one god has one name, but if you do your research properly you will find the reason for so many different names of god in the bible. I wonder if you can guess that reason?

    Referring to your statement that jesus was/spoke from the burning bush, well I’m glad Yahweh/Yeshua/Elohim (to name a few) saw fit to make it so complicated to understand (without your help of course) and then made me in such a way that the inconsistencies convince me beyond a shadow of a doubt against his very existence.

    You see, you are thinking inside a box that the bible creates for you, and you parrot the reasons for things as the bible teaches, but if YOU were all about love and capable of ANYTHING, would you make a tribe in a desert somewhere slaughter a nation of people (with your help), oh and spare the virgins will you, my tribes mighty warriors need people to rape after they done (I like rewarding the faithful), or would you extend your LOVE to EVERYONE!

    The ‘promise of salvation’ has taken so many years to implement, and along the way, people die, people suffer, god condones a few rapes, a few murders, and you praise him for this ‘solution’. The absurdity of it can only lead you to delusion, or the truth that it is all just a fabrication (e.g. if there is a god/something more, then it is not described in the bible. period)

    Step outside the box, think for yourself, the OT that you portray is an excuse, it is not a solution.

    Love you!

    P.S. not fours years thanks, 19 years, 4 years of Sundays Services and Wednesdays bible studies, but another 15 or so pretty much the same but in other churches.

  31. CannuckianYankee,

    I come here to understand ID, but strangly someone always brings up the christian god, which I dont need to understad, I know it is all just made up.

    That seems rather dogmatic.

    Well perhaps they are not debatable any more for you because you seem to have given up understanding them.

    Umm, you then go on to confirm what I call ‘not debatable’, so, umm, yeah, thanks for agreeing with me.

    If you were God, and you loved everyone SO much, and you KNEW the number of innocent people that would go through INFINITY of INFATHOMOBLE TORTURE because they are deceived (so truely innocent, wool over their eyes and all that), why, in your infinite ability, would you choose a solution that ALLOWS that to happen??? (remember how much it would hurt you as god to see them go through that!)

    Whats that old quote…

    The Riddle of Epicurus

    If God is willing to prevent evil, but is not able to then he is not omnipotent.

    If He is able, but not willing then He is malevolent.

    If He is both able and willing then whence cometh evil?

    If He is neither able nor willing then why call Him God?

  32. 32
    CannuckianYankee

    Nnoel,

    “Referring to your statement that jesus was/spoke from the burning bush, well I’m glad Yahweh/Yeshua/Elohim (to name a few) saw fit to make it so complicated to understand (without your help of course) and then made me in such a way that the inconsistencies convince me beyond a shadow of a doubt against his very existence.”

    Sorry, Nnoell, don’t mean to hark on you, but what you stated above has to be the biggest stack of baloney I’ve ever heard. You mean to tell me that you’ve spent all this time “investigating” the “un-debatable facts” of the bible’s untruth, and you can’t take the time to understand what Jesus was talking about when he stated “Before Abraham was ‘I AM?’”

    Who’s fault is that? God’s? It’s his fault that you don’t understand that, yet you think you know so much about the bible through your superior knowledge?

    And it’s really not as complicated as you imply:

    Moses was on the mountain talking to “The Angel of The Lord” (which the scriptures in Exodus make clear is God Himself). Moses asks the Angel “who should I say sent me?” And the angel said “You are to say I AM sent you” etc…

    Then we have Jesus in the 8th Chapter of John, disputing with the Jewish leaders about his identity. They knew Exodus very well. So when Jesus said “Before Abraham was I AM,” they were ready to stone him for blasphemy because he claimed to be the Eternal God. You see, he not only goes back to Moses, but further back – as far back as any Jew could recall, to Abraham, and states he existed before him. And not only that, he says “I AM” inferring eternity, and a clear name for God – YHWH (the tetragrammaton), or Yahweh. You see the name really isn’t Jehovah – that’s a Geman corruption of the name (from JHVH in German).

    What’s so complicated about that? It’s a lot less complicated than your convoluted understanding of the reasons for the names of God, etc. It most certainly is debatable.

    And BTW, I’m not preaching to you. You challenged my beliefs, and I’m defending them.

    So let me get this straight – God made his message too complicated for me, so I’m going to make an even more complicated defense of his non-existence. Umm, right.

  33. It most certainly is debatable.

    The stuff not debatable is the fact that people have done atrocities in the name of ‘god’, and that they have varied beliefs (i’m sure I could find some that would tell you even YOU are going to hell).

    Those things are not debatable, I was not referring to the naming issue, that was a small point, and I was trying to show it is probably cause each name is a different god.

    You dont answer any of my difficult points (you cherry pick my comment), and use my own words in a manner I never intended them used (saying I said something was not debatable, but i was actually referring to something else)

    Above, where I say ‘use my own words..’, i could almost hear ‘god’ in my head say those words about the bible. You read my words, and you interpreted them incorrectly, it’s ok, I forgive you, you meant no harm, your only human and your reading words written by a human who doesn’t always get things right (or explain things well)…

    This is an excellent example of the fallibility of men don’t you think? And we are even talking the same language!

    Please, have any personal beliefs you like, please, do everything in your power that you feel necessary to peacefully convince me of your beliefs, I dont mind. But, after everything I’ve shown you, all the problems in transalation, absurdity of the ‘solution’ provided by god, and everything else, I do have issues when religious people attempt to IMPOSE their beliefs on others, using Governments to create laws and the like.

    My point is clear as day. If you have issues with assisted suicide or homosexuals (i dont know your positions on these things), it is because of INTERPRETATION of the bible, not because of the [T]ruth in the bible, because that can only be an interpretation.

    If you wont admit that I make a good point then either you are deluding yourself or we ARE speaking a different language.

    [oppinion follows]
    Relating all this to the article, surely not making the assumption of a creator or any ‘one true’ religion has served science well thus far?

  34. Nnoel writes: “the world is flat, bats are aves (birds), the earth is the centre of the world, slavery is OK, the bible is inerrant.
    These are all things that people have believed, and used the bible as evidence in support of their ‘Truth’. Why are you so different?”

    Because we don’t misquote, misapply, or mistranslate the scriptures.

    To wit:
    “There is One who is dwelling above the circle of the earth.” (Isaiah 40:22). The book “Galileo Goes to Jail”, which discusses scientific and religious myths, also explains that most people including scientists believed that the earth was round. This can be traced back to ancient Greece. The only people I’ve seen who trot out this obviously false example regarding the Bible are atheists who obviously don’t know what they’re talking about.

    Genesis 2:19 is commonly translated as “flying creatures” which is the only verse I can find that might be mistranslated where bats are mistaken for birds. Again, this is the fault of the translators, not the author of the Bible.

    If I mistranslate a post you make or take your quote out of context, Nnoel, is it your fault or mine? It’s not that hard to figure out.

    The Bible does not claim that the earth is the center of the world (or universe). You’ll have to reference a scripture for me, because I can’t find one right now. Ptolemy, about 150 years after Jesus’ birth, taught that the motionless earth was the center of the universe. His error stayed largely unquestioned until the time of Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543). The sun, he argued, not the earth, is the center of the solar system. In this case, the problem belongs squarely on the shoulders of humans, not the Bible.

    The Bible is inerrant. Let’s first spell out logically why the Bible can’t have errors:
    1. God cannot err.
    2. The Bible is the word of God.
    3. Therefore, the Bible cannot err.

    This is a valid syllogism; if the premises are true, then the conclusion is true. The Bible clearly identifies itself as the word of God as well as stating that God cannot err. Again, remember what St. Augustine stated: the problem is more likely with you than with the Bible. Don’t assume that divergent accounts are contradictory. Also, be careful that you understand the context of the passage you’re reading. Finally, don’t presume that the Bible approves of all that it records. The Bible does not approve of slavery. This was heavily regulated in ancient Israel with provisions for slaves to leave their owners. There is no justification for using the Bible to promote slavery and anyone who’s studied the Bible carefully can tell you this, Nnoel.

    “The fact that there WERE people that DID believe these things and DID base those beliefs on the bible, leads me to believe that the bible is ripe for cherry picking, which is the only way to use it because of all the contradictions therein.”

    Nnoel, you are undisputably the expert on cherry-picking the Bible. You and whoever created that Skeptics Annotated Bible.

    I’ll repeat this for your benefit: there are NO biblical contradictions. There are only verses that you misunderstand, misapply, or fail to read the context.

    “These are facts, they are not debatable.”

    They are not facts and they ae eminently debatable, as I’ve just proven.

    “Closing your eyes to how others have falsely translated and interpreted the bible, and thus believing YOU are incapable of making the same mistake (you are only human are you not?) leads you to judge others, and by your own beliefs (or beliefs of others that read the bible), judgment is the sole domain of ‘God’ (queue bible verses to show me why you MAY judge people).”

    I don’t dispute that people have falsely translated the Bible. I can only read and study and, if needed, pray for further understanding. Generally, though, I believe that I am on the right track spiritually speaking.

    Your attitude is that since people make mistakes, the Bible can’t be trusted. Nnoel, that is ludicrous. People make mistakes in science, too; does that mean that science can be trusted? People make mistakes when recording history, too; does that mean that all of recorded history can’t be trusted?

    You argue that science is self-correcting. Why can’t religion also be self-correcting? The Bible likens spiritual understanding to a light that “keeps getting brighter” as in a sunrise. Religious people don’t know everything. The more they study and read, the more their understanding grows.

    As far as what you posted regarding indefinite torture goes, you should be aware that not all religions teach the doctrine of hellfire. Mine doesn’t.

  35. This is a pretty good read and debate, out side the box for the moment.

    If two people worshipped or believed in the same god, however one person is an accountant and goes to church and all that, while the other (a suicide bomber) blows up a plane in the name of god.

    Is that not down to INTERPRETATION, or were they reading the wrong version of the bible?

    P.S : “I’m not religious, so I would not preach to me about it. I’m merely reading this debate, so any comments towards my spelling and that. Is judging someone with an opinion the world, thus your no better than anyone else on this planet.”

  36. The Bible is inerrant. Let’s first spell out logically why the Bible can’t have errors:
    1. God cannot err.
    2. The Bible is the word of God.
    3. Therefore, the Bible cannot err.

    Did god write the bible, or did someone write it for him using their INTERPRETATION of the gods word?

  37. Barb,

    your whole post is full of holes, I’ve not the time to explain fully, but I’ll try.

    Because we don’t misquote, misapply, or mistranslate the scriptures.

    You say that, and the people that misquote say that, who am I too believe??

    If I mistranslate a post you make or take your quote out of context, Nnoel, is it your fault or mine? It’s not that hard to figure out.

    We both human, we both using imperfect communication techniques, are you judging me or taking all the blame? I dont get it.

    The Bible does not claim that the earth is the center of the world (or universe). You’ll have to reference a scripture for me, because I can’t find one right now. Ptolemy, about 150 years after Jesus’ birth, taught that the motionless earth was the center of the universe. His error stayed largely unquestioned until the time of Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543). The sun, he argued, not the earth, is the center of the solar system. In this case, the problem belongs squarely on the shoulders of humans, not the Bible.

    Galileo got excommunicated by the church for saying that the earth went round the sun, ask the church what evidence they used

    The Bible is inerrant. Let’s first spell out logically why the Bible can’t have errors:
    1. God cannot err.
    2. The Bible is the word of God.
    3. Therefore, the Bible cannot err.

    Circular logic

    This is a valid syllogism; if the premises are true, then the conclusion is true. The Bible clearly identifies itself as the word of God as well as stating that God cannot err. Again, remember what St. Augustine stated: the problem is more likely with you than with the Bible. Don’t assume that divergent accounts are contradictory. Also, be careful that you understand the context of the passage you’re reading. Finally, don’t presume that the Bible approves of all that it records. The Bible does not approve of slavery. This was heavily regulated in ancient Israel with provisions for slaves to leave their owners. There is no justification for using the Bible to promote slavery and anyone who’s studied the Bible carefully can tell you this, Nnoel.

    Salvery is wrong, if you give a manual on how to rape people politely, I dont think it would be well received

    “The fact that there WERE people that DID believe these things and DID base those beliefs on the bible, leads me to believe that the bible is ripe for cherry picking, which is the only way to use it because of all the contradictions therein.”

    Nnoel, you are undisputably the expert on cherry-picking the Bible. You and whoever created that Skeptics Annotated Bible.

    Well played, good cheap shot sir!

    I’ll repeat this for your benefit: there are NO biblical contradictions. There are only verses that you misunderstand, misapply, or fail to read the context.

    My misunderstanding was created by your god according to your beliefs, he created me this way (he created everything), and because I [try] and apply my intelligence, I’m sentencing myself, but I was still built in a way that I would invariably do so, (like a self descructing robot, bad robot!)

    [above needs more explination, but if you really trying to understand my point of view you'll get there]

    “These are facts, they are not debatable.”

    They are not facts and they ae eminently debatable, as I’ve just proven.

    ‘Facts’ refers to people that have different opinions about the [T]ruth, so very many versions of [T]ruth is not debatable (cleared that one up last post, either didn’t read it or your cherry picking :P)

    “Closing your eyes to how others have falsely translated and interpreted the bible, and thus believing YOU are incapable of making the same mistake (you are only human are you not?) leads you to judge others, and by your own beliefs (or beliefs of others that read the bible), judgment is the sole domain of ‘God’ (queue bible verses to show me why you MAY judge people).”

    I don’t dispute that people have falsely translated the Bible. I can only read and study and, if needed, pray for further understanding. Generally, though, I believe that I am on the right track spiritually speaking.

    You say so, others like you would argue with you, I think you all arguing over an imaginary bus (thats taking you all to heaven)

    Your attitude is that since people make mistakes, the Bible can’t be trusted. Nnoel, that is ludicrous. People make mistakes in science, too; does that mean that science can be trusted? People make mistakes when recording history, too; does that mean that all of recorded history can’t be trusted?

    History is written by the victors, science cannot be trusted 100%, you BELIEVE you are 100% correct in your choice of religious beliefs, and wont admit it, or will, but only to a very small degree of error

    You argue that science is self-correcting. Why can’t religion also be self-correcting? The Bible likens spiritual understanding to a light that “keeps getting brighter” as in a sunrise. Religious people don’t know everything. The more they study and read, the more their understanding grows.

    This whole blog is an attempt to get science to self correct

    Religion can be self correcting, when will Christianity self correct that jesus is NOT the only way to heaven? Ludicrous suggestion because Christianity is not self correcting (special place in hell and all that)

    Self Correcting means incorporating knowledge from varied sources where ever value is found, but I’m not seen much of that, I might be wrong about the non-self-correcting nature, but the Christianity I’ve seen certainly isn’t

    As far as what you posted regarding indefinite torture goes, you should be aware that not all religions teach the doctrine of hellfire. Mine doesn’t.

    lol, you choose what to believe, and your entitled to that freedom, but dont expect others not to believe that hell is not full of homosexuals and people that eat shellfish

    Love you!

  38. 38

    The Bible is inerrant. Let’s first spell out logically why the Bible can’t have errors:
    1. God cannot err.
    2. The Bible is the word of God.
    3. Therefore, the Bible cannot err.

    This is a valid syllogism; if the premises are true, then the conclusion is true. The Bible clearly identifies itself as the word of God as well as stating that God cannot err.

    “The Bible” didn’t exist at the time the Bible was written, so the statement “The Bible clearly identifies itself as the word of God” is wrong.

    I’d question the second premise and probably the first. But hey, that’s just me.

  39. 39

    Dear David Kellogg,

    ——”“The Bible” didn’t exist at the time the Bible was written, so the statement “The Bible clearly identifies itself as the word of God” is wrong.”

    The Bible does say that it is inspired (out-breathed) from God. Whether this was written before or after the canonization process doesn’t matter, for the Epistles, Gospels, and Revelation were already widely used among the churches before the canonization. Paul refers to Luke as scripture, Peter refers to Paul as scripture, these guys knew each others writings, as did the church fathers. You could recreate the New Testament based on references from the church father’s writings alone.

  40. 40

    The Bible does say that it is inspired (out-breathed) from God.

    Well, if you’re referring of 2 Tim 3:16, that epistle was almost surely not written by Paul but composed in the second century. But you and I are unlikely to agree on this.

  41. 41

    Dear David Kellogg,

    ——”Well, if you’re referring of 2 Tim 3:16, that epistle was almost surely not written by Paul but composed in the second century. But you and I are unlikely to agree on this.”

    You’re right, we won’t agree on that at all. Was 1st Timothy also written by some unknown person? and written to Timothy years after Timothy died? All you have to do is read the letter, and you’ll, hopefully, see how absurd it would be to be written by anyone other than Paul to a guy named Timothy.

    “St. Paul write this Epistle to his BELOVED TIMOTHY, being then bishop of Ephesus, to instruct him in the duties of a bishop, both in respect to himself and to his charge; and that he ought to be well informed of the good morals of those on whom he was to impose hands: Impose not hands lightly upon any man. He tells him also how he should behave towards his clergy. The Epistle was written about 33 years after our Lord’s Ascension; but where it was written is uncertain: the more general opinion is, that it was in Macedonia.”

    http://www.tldm.org/bible/new%.....imothy.htm

  42. 42

    Clive, my view is in line with the scholarly consensus that Paul didn’t write the Pastoral Epistles (1 and 2 Tim and Titus). I don’t think he wrote Ephesians either, which is also a mainstream view.

    Why would they be identified as from Paul to Timothy? To give them weight and authority for their actual audience.

  43. 43

    David Kellogg,

    My own view is in line with the scholarly consensus that Paul did write the Pastoral Epistles and Ephesians.

  44. 44

    Clive, now you’re just messing with me. There’s no consensus on your side, just a minority holdout view. The vast majority of scholars outside conservative evangelicalism (that is, scholars without a religious need to defend their authenticity) agree with me. On the other hand, they’re happy to defend Romans, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Philemon, Galatians, Philipians, etc. as genuine, so it’s not like they’re opposed to Pauline authorship as such.

  45. 45

    It’s absurd to assert that the Bible is inerrant given the huge number of contradictions it contains.

    A striking example is that the gospels don’t even agree on something as fundamental as when Jesus died. The Gospel of Mark (chapter 14) says that Jesus had the Passover dinner with his disciples (the Last Supper). The next day he was sentenced to death and was crucified at the third hour. The Gospel of John (chapter 19) says that Jesus was sentenced to death at the sixth hour of the day of preparation for Passover and was crucified sometime after that.

    They cannot both be right. At least one of the two is false. The Bible is not the inerrant word of God, no matter how much you want it to be.

    And that particular contradiction is just the tip of the iceberg.

  46. Clive, is there any reason why you have started deleting peoples comments?

  47. 47

    My Dear David,

    Surely you know better than that. That there was a man named Timothy, who was the recipient of the letters, and a man named Paul, who wrote them, is not a minority hold-out view. There is a man named David that is a recipient of this message, and a guy named Clive who is writing it at a certain time in which they both live. Take the two people out of the scenario, and make the time frame a few centuries later, and convince yourself that that correspondence makes more sense?

    “Timothy kept company behind bars with Paul. More than once he nearly died. He was a faithful courier for Paul. He served the church at Ephesus, in Asia Minor, where members were predominantly gentile….”

    http://www.gnmagazine.org/issu.....imothy.htm

    Sometimes I think you just like to play devil’s advocate, or you just like to argue for the sake of it.

  48. 48

    Excession,

    ——”Clive, is there any reason why you have started deleting peoples comments?”

    I haven’t just started, I’ve been deleting them since I became moderator. That’s what moderators do. I just don’t do it very often.

  49. Clive,

    Is there a reason why you recently deleted mine and Nnoel’s comments on this thread?

  50. 50

    Yes, there were two people named Paul and Timothy. Letters written in Paul’s name and addressed to Timothy would benefit from Paul’s borrowed authority. That kind of thing happened all the time. This is well-acknowledged among Biblical scholars (except for a few inerrantists).

  51. 51

    Excession,

    To be honest I don’t remember what they said. I think it was some kind of insulting sarcasm. I’m sure you didn’t mean it that way, and had the highest respect for your adversary, you just happened to have written it that way :)

  52. I believe mine was a satirical point about how the mere act of writing in a book that it is the word of god does not make it that book inerrant.

    It is a shame you felt that this issue had to be brushed under the carpet.

  53. 53

    If insults and sarcasm are reasons for deletion, Clive, you’ll have to start paying more attention to your side.

  54. Nnoel,

    You say that, and the people that misquote say that, who am I too believe??

    You have a brain. Use it.

    Seriously, critical thinking ability requires you to evaluate information as it comes your way, ferret out any potential or actual biases from the source of the information and then make a decision.

    If I mistranslate a post you make or take your quote out of context, Nnoel, is it your fault or mine? It’s not that hard to figure out.

    We both human, we both using imperfect communication techniques, are you judging me or taking all the blame? I dont get it.

    Nnoel, I am asking you to utilize the critical thinking ability that you have. If someone misquotes you, it is their fault. This is logical and correct.

    However, you seem to have it in your mind that if anyone misquotes the Bible it is automatically God’s (or Christianity’s) fault. This is illogical.

    Galileo got excommunicated by the church for saying that the earth went round the sun, ask the church what evidence they used.

    Do your own research, Nnoel. I recommend a book called “Galileo Goes to Jail” which discusses this subject more thoroughly in an essay. The book is not ID-friendly, if that is a concern.

    And again, this is the fault of religious leaders who misinterpreted the Bible. Repetition for emphasis: the Bible DOES NOT state that the earth is the center of the universe. Period.

    The Bible is inerrant. Let’s first spell out logically why the Bible can’t have errors:
    1. God cannot err.
    2. The Bible is the word of God.
    3. Therefore, the Bible cannot err.

    Circular logic

    Try again:

    This is a valid syllogism; if the premises are true, then the conclusion is true.

    Salvery is wrong, if you give a manual on how to rape people politely, I dont think it would be well received.

    The Bible indicates that there is more than one type of slavery. Humanity is described as being “slaves to sin.” Does that mean that we are all literally shackled? No. It refers to being enslaved to one’s desires to the exclusion of other more important things.

    The Bible is obviously not a manual to rape people politely, and I am not sure where that came from. If the Bible is incorrect, why did God allow for the release of slaves under the Mosaic Law covenant?

    Well played, good cheap shot sir!

    You’ll get over it.

    My misunderstanding was created by your god according to your beliefs, he created me this way (he created everything), and because I [try] and apply my intelligence, I’m sentencing myself, but I was still built in a way that I would invariably do so, (like a self descructing robot, bad robot!)

    Your misunderstanding is completely and utterly due to your not examining the evidence for yourself. Don’t blame God or anyone else for your lack of faith and understanding, Nnoel.

    ‘Facts’ refers to people that have different opinions about the [T]ruth, so very many versions of [T]ruth is not debatable (cleared that one up last post, either didn’t read it or your cherry picking :P)

    Facts =/= opinions, Nnoel.

    Do you presume to debate someone over 2+2=4? Or that the earth revolves around the sun? Those are facts and they are indisputable.

    You say so, others like you would argue with you, I think you all arguing over an imaginary bus thats taking you all to heaven)

    Non sequitur.

    History is written by the victors, science cannot be trusted 100%, you BELIEVE you are 100% correct in your choice of religious beliefs, and wont admit it, or will, but only to a very small degree of error.

    Yes, I do believe that I am correct. Why? I have solid evidence to back up my beliefs.

    This whole blog is an attempt to get science to self correct

    Religion can be self correcting, when will Christianity self correct that jesus is NOT the only way to heaven? Ludicrous suggestion because Christianity is not self correcting (special place in hell and all that)

    Not all Christians believe in the concept of hell. Jesus himself stated that he was the only way to God. The only way to be sure is to examine the evidence for yourself, use your critical thinking ability, and make an informed decision. You stated before that we should examine Buddhism. Have you made a study of the world’s religions, say, in college? If not, why not?

    Self Correcting means incorporating knowledge from varied sources where ever value is found, but I’m not seen much of that, I might be wrong about the non-self-correcting nature, but the Christianity I’ve seen certainly isn’t

    You haven’t seen all of Christianity and therefore your argument dies because it is a hasty generalization.

    lol, you choose what to believe, and your entitled to that freedom, but dont expect others not to believe that hell is not full of homosexuals and people that eat shellfish

    So, in other words, if I tell you that I don’t believe in hell, you will continue to assume that I do?

    Talk about being unreasonable.

  55. pKettley: “If two people worshipped or believed in the same god, however one person is an accountant and goes to church and all that, while the other (a suicide bomber) blows up a plane in the name of god.

    Is that not down to INTERPRETATION, or were they reading the wrong version of the bible?”

    I would say interpretation. There are verses in the Quran which (if applied by fanatical muslims) would encourage jihad. I believe it was either Time or Newsweek magazine that did an article in 1999 regarding misapplication of scriptural texts. The Bible does not encourage or condone violence in any form. From what I have read and studied, neither does the Quran.

    “Did god write the bible, or did someone write it for him using their INTERPRETATION of the gods word?”

    God wrote the Bible in the same way that a businessman would dictate a letter to a secretary. Have there been misinterpretations of scripture? Of course; humans aren’t perfect, not by a long shot. Is it fairly easy to find and correct misinterpretations? Yes, it is. But few are willing (as this debate proves) to actually sit down, read, and compare to see what’s correct and what’s incorrect.

    David Kellogg:”“The Bible” didn’t exist at the time the Bible was written, so the statement “The Bible clearly identifies itself as the word of God” is wrong.

    I’d question the second premise and probably the first. But hey, that’s just me.”

    In what way did God err?

    There are repeated references to God as the author of the Bible and these can be found throughout the Hebrew and Greek scriptures (see also 1 Timothy 3:16,17). Why do you think Paul didn’t write this?

  56. 56

    God wrote the Bible in the same way that a businessman would dictate a letter to a secretary.

    That’s an amusing image for fans of Mad Men.

    In what way did God err?

    Look around. :-) Honestly, I don’t know. I don’t have a very vague sense of God, so I’m probably the wrong person to provide any answer on that score.

    Why do you think Paul didn’t write

    1. Doesn’t sound like the genuine letters in vocabulary or style.
    2. Situation shows a more developed and institutional church.
    3. No sense of imminent apocalypse as in the genuine letters. No longer living in the “last days.”

    Etc. I’m just giving you my sense of what mainstream Biblical scholarship says. I might be wrong, and it should be said that there’s a slightly better case for Pauline authorship 2 Tim than for 1 Tim or Titus.

    I would say 2 Tim is written by an admirer of Paul’s and falls in the category of “pious fraud.”

  57. 57

    Correction: “I have a very vague sense of God.”

  58. 58

    mereologist,

    Do not link to After The Bar Closes.

  59. 59

    A list of verboten websites would be nice.

  60. 60

    Excession,

    Are you trying to vilify me? I don’t want that website linked, not because it exposes a moderation policy, but because most of those people have been banned, and I do not want to give them an audience here. You’re welcome to join them if you want, just keep up your tactics.

  61. 61

    To those who accept the Bible as inerrant: how do you rationalize contradictions like the one I pointed out in this earlier comment?

  62. With 100,000,000 Chinese converted or converting to Christianity, do you think that his life had an impact?

    From a Christian perspective, what was the fate of the much larger number of Chinese who would have had the misfortune of dying before the Good News of Christ’s sacrifice came to their country?

  63. Mereologist: Many explanations have been offered by Bible commentators and translators. Several say it is a scribal error in John’s Gospel, the correct reading being “third hour”. There is no evidence of such an error, however.

    Some contend that John figured time as we do today, and that by “sixth hour” John meant 6 a.m., and not 12 noon, as would ordinarily be indicated by “sixth hour” in Palestine at that time. But if John meant 6 a.m. by “sixth hour”, why would Jesus have been resting at Jacob’s fountain, tired out from a journey, at that early hour? (John 4:6) Noon would be a reasonable time for that, and was doubtless the time meant by John when he used the expression “sixth hour”.

    One source even went so far as to say that by “sixth hour” John meant the sixth hour of the night, or midnight. But this does not allow time for the many events to take place, some of which did not even start till daylight. Consider all that did happen and the time it would take, and you will see that even the view that it was 6 a.m. fails to allow the necessary time.

    During Jesus’ last night on earth as a human creature he celebrated the Passover and then instituted the Memorial. This was followed by an extended discussion, then his betrayal and arrest and trials before Annas, Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin. At these trials fruitless searches were made for false witnesses, Jesus was questioned, slapped and maltreated, all of which must have consumed considerable time. When taken to the Sanhedrin for final examination and decision, the time is spoken of as “when it had become morning” (Matt. 27:1, NW), “immediately at dawn” (Mark 15:1, NW), “when it became day” (Luke 22:66, NW), and “early in the day” (John 18:28, NW). From here, Jesus then went before Pilate and then the Sanhedrin.

    Some scholars claim that the Jews divided the day into four parts, and that the expression “third hour” covered the second part, from 9 a.m. to 12 n., when the “sixth hour” would mark the beginning of the third part. This would solve the difficulties, since Mark’s “third hour” could coincide with John’s “about the sixth hour”. However, there are no solid grounds for thinking four such three-hour periods were used to indicate time of day when Jesus was on earth.

    Jesus, after mentioning the ninth hour, refers to the eleventh, showing he did not view the ninth hour as covering from the ninth to twelfth, or our 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. (Matt. 20:5, 6) Certainly John figured on an hourly time division, mentioning the tenth hour (1:39) and the seventh hour (4:52), and not just using ninth and sixth hours respectively, as he would have done if he used any such claimed four larger divisions of the day.

    The explanation that seems logical and unstrained is this. The days were divided into twelve hours, running from sunrise to sunset, or about 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. (John 11:9) Not dividing the hours into minutes, the Jews would say it was the third hour until the fourth started, just as today one may say he is thirty years old, though actually he may be thirty years nine months. Hence Mark’s third hour could be close to the fourth’s start, or 10 a.m. John does not claim to be accurate, saying that “it was about the sixth hour”. It could have been 11:30 a.m., or even earlier. The day was one of great emotional strain on Jesus’ followers, and they would hardly be calmly noting the relatively unimportant exact time of events.

    Also remember that they did not have watches handily strapped to their wrists in those days. Time was doubtless generally calculated by observing the sun, which could have been obscured by haze or clouds, and at best would be only an approximation. It should also be remembered that John wrote his account some 65 years after these events happened. So all of these factors allow much leeway to absorb the time discrepancy in the two accounts.

    Another point that may bear on the matter: the scourging or whipping was considered a part of the process of impalement. It was so terribly cruel that sometimes the victim died under it, and it may have been severe enough in Jesus’ case to necessitate getting another man to help bear the stake, after Jesus started with it alone. (Luke 23:26; John 19:17) If this scourging was the start of the impalement procedure, some time would elapse between its beginning and the actual nailing to the stake. Different persons might give different times for the impalement, depending on the particular stage of the procedure when they might note time. So many factors can account for the difference in the records, and the very fact that there is a reconcilable difference proves that there was no studied effort on John’s part to make his account exactly harmonize with the earlier one by Mark, as he most surely would have done if John were faking the record.

    This is what I mean by “doing your homework” biblically speaking. This is exegetical research and anyone is capable of it. The fact that those who impugn the Bible don’t bother looking for explanations to supposed contradictions doesn’t make the Bible errant.

  64. David Kellogg writes: “That’s an amusing image for fans of Mad Men.”
    Heh, maybe so. But it’s a good analogy.
    “Look around.”
    At what in particular? If you mean the fact that the world is morally and physically decaying, that doesn’t surprise me or any other Christian. I don’t doubt that bad things happen. The Bible states that things would advance “from bad to worse”; both Jesus and Paul alluded to this.

  65. 65

    Barb, was Jesus crucified before or after Passover? What you call “doing your homework” looks a look like “covering your ___” to me.

  66. Did you even bother to read my response?

    Or have you already made up your mind and no amount of evidence will convince you?

  67. 67

    Barb,

    As David points out, you haven’t addressed the fact that the gospels have Jesus dying not just at different hours, but on different days.

    As for the time of day, if “God wrote the Bible in the same way that a businessman would dictate a letter to a secretary,” as you claim, then why didn’t he dictate the same time to all of the gospel authors?

    Do you think he wanted inerrantists to look bad?

  68. Part of the reason comes also from the time frame of when the accounts were written down. I explained all of this above. Try reading my post.

    Why would God dictate the exact same words to all the gospel writers? They were writing to different audiences, for one thing. They also had free will.

    The fact that you refuse to examine the evidence objectively counts against you. You’ve already made up your (closed) mind and no amount of evidence is going to get through. A pity.

  69. 69

    Barb:

    I explained all of this above. Try reading my post.

    Barb,

    Nothing in your comment explains why the Gospels depict Jesus as dying on different days.

    Can you explain, in your own words, why you don’tt see this as a contradiction?

    Why would God dictate the exact same words to all the gospel writers? They were writing to different audiences, for one thing.

    Well, if you aren’t the audience, then why do you even bother reading all of the gospels, much less asserting that they are inerrant?

    They also had free will.

    You’re contradicting your own position. If they were free to write what they wanted, regardless of what God dictated to them, then you have no reason to think that the Bible is reliable.

    On the other hand, if you assume that they willingly wrote what God dictated to them, then that means that God dictated different times to the different writers.

    Either way, you’ve got a problem.

    The fact that you refuse to examine the evidence objectively counts against you. You’ve already made up your (closed) mind and no amount of evidence is going to get through. A pity.

    You might want to look in a mirror as you say that.

    Who is being objective:

    1) a person who assumes that unlike every other book in the world, the Bible has no errors, and who twists and tortures the evidence to fit that preconception, even ignoring outright contradictions like the one I’ve pointed out, or

    2) somebody who looks at the book, sees the many contradictions (not to mention the immorality), and concludes based on the evidence that the Bible cannot be the inerrant word of a perfect God?

    The first person is wishing the evidence away. The second person is looking at it objectively.

  70. 70
    CannuckianYankee

    Contradictions?

    Just as there are websites that list “contradictions” in the bible, there are also websites that answer the “contradictions.” Here are a few:

    http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/bible.htm

    http://www.apologeticsindex.org/b08.html

    http://www.allaboutthejourney......ctions.htm

    I think the third link above is the best I’ve seen so far, but there are hundreds of these sites on both sides of the issue.

    Now I want to point out that none of the above sites contain the works of scholars in the field, but neither do the sites that contain the lists of contradictions. For a more informed view of issues regarding the bible I suggest reading the scholarship over the past say 50 years or so.

    One thing to keep in mind is that much of the content on the contradiction lists are not contradictions at all, just obvious quote mines – examples of forcing the data to prove the point.

    Of course there are a lot of difficulites with the scriptures – one has to be blind not to admit that. However, I am satisfied that whatever I may see as incongruent has an explanation beyond what skeptics may try to lead me to believe.

    One of the best examples is the Quirinius Census in Luke. In Luke chapter 2 it is mentioned that Jesus was born at the time of the 1st census of Quirinius, when he was Governor in Syria. Also, Jesus was born prior to the death of Herod in 6 BC. This seemingly contradicts with Josephus, who mentioned a census by Quirinius while Governor, which took place 10 years later, in 6 AD.

    The NetBible (notes)

    http://net.bible.org/verse.php.....38;verse=2

    states: “This term could simply refer to an administrative role Quirinius held as opposed to being governor.”

    The Greek word translated as “governor” is hgemoneuontov, which can mean any number of positions of authority, including governor. It is most commonly translated as governor in this passage – for most English translations.

    Luke mentions the 1st Census of Quirinius. Now this implies that there were more censuses conducted by Quirinius, and that Luke was refering to one of them. Furthermore, the word for Governor can be translated loosly as having a position of governance – and if you look at the historical record, Quirinius held positions of governance in Syria before his official Governorship of the province. Therefore – while this may seem like a contradiction, it is not necessarily so, and it would be improper to force one on it.

    By all other accounts Luke was a good historian, so it is unlikely that he would not have been careful with this information.

    Now this is perhaps one of the more troubling passages of scripture – most of the other “contradictions” have much clearer explanations – due to the misinformed nature of the ones assuming a contradiction.

    Of course, that is not the only explanation for this problem, but is one of the more common ones.

  71. 71
    CannuckianYankee

    mere,

    “1) a person who assumes that unlike every other book in the world, the Bible has no errors, and who twists and tortures the evidence to fit that preconception, even ignoring outright contradictions like the one I’ve pointed out, or

    2) somebody who looks at the book, sees the many contradictions (not to mention the immorality), and concludes based on the evidence that the Bible cannot be the inerrant word of a perfect God?”

    Your either/or scenario is rather minimalist. To ignore scholarship and prefer the aruments of amateurs is not to do justice to this issue.

    I would suggest you do some more study into the subject for which you don’t appear to be well grounded.

    I would also suggest that you look at the scholarship from both sides of the issue before determining that you are right.

    Bultman, Schlatter, Bruce, Wright, Ehrman, Blomberg, Schweitzer, Metzger, Wenham, Davies, Sanders, Tov, Robinson – the list goes on – have contributed an enormous amount of scholarship to the Bible – from many different perspectives.

  72. Hi Barb,

    Maybe I’ll reword what I said.

    If two people worshipped or believed in the same god (THE SAME ONE YOU BELIEVE IN), however one person is an accountant and goes to church and all that, while the other (a suicide bomber) blows up a plane in the name of god.

    Is that not down to INTERPRETATION, or were they reading the wrong version of the bible?

    I want you to answer without diverting round the question, applying it to a different religion or god.

  73. Narb @ 54 :

    Again, the ‘Fact’ I’m referring to is the FACT that people interpret the bible differently from you and have different beliefs based on the SAME source material. I don’t know how plain I can write that, it is a fact that people believe differently to you.

    If I mistranslate a post you make or take your quote out of context, Nnoel, is it your fault or mine? It’s not that hard to figure out.

    We both human, we both using imperfect communication techniques, are you judging me or taking all the blame? I dont get it.

    Nnoel, I am asking you to utilize the critical thinking ability that you have. If someone misquotes you, it is their fault. This is logical and correct.

    However, you seem to have it in your mind that if anyone misquotes the Bible it is automatically God’s (or Christianity’s) fault. This is illogical.

    OK, I have studied a bit of NLP, and its all about effective communication, and the first thing it teaches is that if you are using language, your understanding of the language may not be the other persons understanding. No one is at fault in these situations, it is just a fact of the communication method you are using, and while some words and phrases may have obvious different meanings to different persons, ALL language is interpreted, you interpret your meaning INTO language (create the sentences etc to say), and the other person interprets your language into your meaning (creates meaning from the sentences) and this process in inherently flawed. So you misquoting me is NOT automatically YOUR fault. See, that was my meaning, I probably put that into language incorrectly, and whose to say I’m finally got my meaning correct even now??

    Galileo got excommunicated by the church for saying that the earth went round the sun, ask the church what evidence they used.

    Do your own research, Nnoel. I recommend a book called “Galileo Goes to Jail” which discusses this subject more thoroughly in an essay. The book is not ID-friendly, if that is a concern.

    And again, this is the fault of religious leaders who misinterpreted the Bible. Repetition for emphasis: the Bible DOES NOT state that the earth is the center of the universe. Period.

    I must correct you, and if you do not humbly accept my correction I would not know how else to say it…

    YOU BELIEVE that the ‘Bible DOES NOT state that the earth is the center of the universe.’ but that is ONLY your belief of the bible, you cannot give me the ABSOLUTE meaning as you can ONLY interpret it, and therefore, when the catholic church threw Galileo out, they did so because THEY BELIEVED the earth WAS the centre, and did so with proof PROVIDED by the bible, whether their proof in the bible was valid, can only be contrasted by YOUR BELIEF, as you CANNOT KNOW.

    The Bible is inerrant. Let’s first spell out logically why the Bible can’t have errors:
    1. God cannot err.
    2. The Bible is the word of God.
    3. Therefore, the Bible cannot err.

    Circular logic

    Try again:

    This is a valid syllogism; if the premises are true, then the conclusion is true.

    Umm, to demonstrate how you know ‘God cannot err’, please inform me where you are told that god cannot err.

    Salvery is wrong, if you give a manual on how to rape people politely, I dont think it would be well received.

    The Bible indicates that there is more than one type of slavery. Humanity is described as being “slaves to sin.” Does that mean that we are all literally shackled? No. It refers to being enslaved to one’s desires to the exclusion of other more important things.

    The Bible is obviously not a manual to rape people politely, and I am not sure where that came from. If the Bible is incorrect, why did God allow for the release of slaves under the Mosaic Law covenant?

    I was using the ‘rape manual’ in place of ‘slavery manual’, as you say the bible states how to treat your slaves wisely and fairly, well slavery is wrong just like rape is wrong, and it a fair comparison in my view. I have heard it said that the bible provides an ABSOLUTE morality that humans can follow (instead of relative morality, which changes as society progresses), but clearly, in this case, the bible verses are either standing up for what they believe (not trying to follow the crowd) and stating that slavery is OK, or it is demonstrating that the bible is NOT a manual for ABSOLUTE morality because in this instance it is just pandering to the public views of the day (slavery is acceptable) and trying to get people to do it better, either way, not good wouldn’t you say?

    Your misunderstanding is completely and utterly due to your not examining the evidence for yourself. Don’t blame God or anyone else for your lack of faith and understanding, Nnoel.

    So you propose that if EVERYONE reads the same source material there would be no argument over the meaning?

    ‘Facts’ refers to people that have different opinions about the [T]ruth, so very many versions of [T]ruth is not debatable (cleared that one up last post, either didn’t read it or your cherry picking :P)

    Facts =/= opinions, Nnoel.

    Do you presume to debate someone over 2+2=4? Or that the earth revolves around the sun? Those are facts and they are indisputable.

    You say so, others like you would argue with you, I think you all arguing over an imaginary bus thats taking you all to heaven)

    Non sequitur.

    I was trying to show you others believe not as you do but read the same source material as you do. And I don’t believe at all while I read the same source material, so you must admit at least 3 different opinions of the same source material

    History is written by the victors, science cannot be trusted 100%, you BELIEVE you are 100% correct in your choice of religious beliefs, and wont admit it, or will, but only to a very small degree of error.

    Yes, I do believe that I am correct. Why? I have solid evidence to back up my beliefs.

    you BELIEVE you are correct, and every other honest person that puts in honest effort (as i’m sure you have) that BELIEVES differently to you, why are they NOT correct but you ARE correct? I think you’d be debating them for hours to no avail. And because of this personal private interpretation, these personal private beliefs should not be lauded over anyone else (for instance you should judge others that seek assisted suicide)

    Not all Christians believe in the concept of hell. Jesus himself stated that he was the only way to God. The only way to be sure is to examine the evidence for yourself, use your critical thinking ability, and make an informed decision. You stated before that we should examine Buddhism. Have you made a study of the world’s religions, say, in college? If not, why not?

    I have not studied in college, because it was not available to me. I have however attempted to get authentic views of these other religions ‘from the horses mouth’ as much as possible, as I find if a westerner attempts to explain an eastern religion, the ‘paradigm’ used would be of a western bent (in this case we all know I’m referring to Christianity), and therefore most of the meaning is lost.

    Self Correcting means incorporating knowledge from varied sources where ever value is found, but I’m not seen much of that, I might be wrong about the non-self-correcting nature, but the Christianity I’ve seen certainly isn’t

    You haven’t seen all of Christianity and therefore your argument dies because it is a hasty generalization.

    umm, I don’t need to see ALL, I have seen a large majority, and if your version of Christianity allows your version of Christianity to change then soon many will not call your Christianity Christianity any longer. BUT, you define your OWN religious beliefs, and are entitled to label yourself as you see fit, but please place yourself in those others shoes as they label you a non-christian, and realise at that point what they are doing to you, you are doing to others (judging them by their beliefs, when beliefs are completely personal)

    lol, you choose what to believe, and your entitled to that freedom, but dont expect others not to believe that hell is not full of homosexuals and people that eat shellfish

    So, in other words, if I tell you that I don’t believe in hell, you will continue to assume that I do?

    OK, I don’t know when I stated what I believe you believe, but as I’ve said, it is a FACT that some others than yourself DO believe in hell, and the FACT that you don’t believe in hell makes me think I could introduce you to people that will tell you you are going to hell. You clearly stated you don’t believe in hell, so in others words, you don’t believe in hell but others do!

    Talk about being unreasonable.

    This whole article was about separation of science and religion, and I have attempted to show you the inconsistencies between yourself and others, to make the point that YOUR beliefs are COMPLETELY personal, and if such PERSONAL BELIEFS are to be incorporated into science, would not be a good move. As you believe, so should you also not judge others as long as others are not harming anyone. If your definition of ‘harming’ incorporated the fact that you believe science in it’s current form drives people away from ‘god’, well I can see your dilemma, but don’t worry, others read the same bible as you do and they believe science is doing ok. Take comfort from that if you can.

    Love you!

    P.S. I do not intend to reply in this thread again, I’ve made my point as clear as I can, but if you cant see my point or I’ve still not explained it correctly, then I dont think I can make any further progress. But that isn’t anyone’s fault!

  74. correction :

    (for instance you _shouldn’t_ judge others that seek assisted suicide)

  75. Mereologist:” Nothing in your comment explains why the Gospels depict Jesus as dying on different days.
    Can you explain, in your own words, why you don’tt see this as a contradiction?”

    I explained this above. Part of the reason that I think is the apostle John’s recall. He probably wrote his gospel many years after the events.

    “Well, if you aren’t the audience, then why do you even bother reading all of the gospels, much less asserting that they are inerrant?”

    Stop trolling. I am a Christian and the gospels are obviously relevant to me.

    “You’re contradicting your own position. If they were free to write what they wanted, regardless of what God dictated to them, then you have no reason to think that the Bible is reliable.

    On the other hand, if you assume that they willingly wrote what God dictated to them, then that means that God dictated different times to the different writers.”

    There is no contradiction. They were free to record about Jesus’ life and ministry and were guided by God’s holy spirit in doing so. Is this really the only hang-up that you have about the Bible? The whole point of the gospels is pointing to Jesus as the Messiah.

    Glad to see that, in the time spent arguing about the time of his death (which was approximately 3 pm on Nisan 14) you completely missed that point.

    The second point is not objective. The second point ignores the context of what the Bible records and assumes (wrongly) that God condones of the immorality described in the Bible. That’s not objectivity. That’s ignorance.

    Pkettley: Asked and answered. Try reading my post. A person who worships the God I worship probably wouldn’t resort to violence. My religion is nonpolitical, so what would be the point of forcing others to worship as we do?

    They’re not “reading the wrong version”. They’re misapplying what they do read.

    Nnoel: “YOU BELIEVE that the ‘Bible DOES NOT state that the earth is the center of the universe.’ but that is ONLY your belief of the bible, you cannot give me the ABSOLUTE meaning as you can ONLY interpret it, and therefore, when the catholic church threw Galileo out, they did so because THEY BELIEVED the earth WAS the centre, and did so with proof PROVIDED by the bible, whether their proof in the bible was valid, can only be contrasted by YOUR BELIEF, as you CANNOT KNOW.”

    Once again, with feeling: The Bible does not state that the earth is the center of the universe.

    Galileo didn’t begin advocting Copernicus’s point about the earth’s revolution until 1609 after he’d perfected his telescope. Conservative philosophers and clergymen felt that the earth’s motion contradicted scripture. Were they right? No. Show me a scripture that states, unequivocally, that the earth doesn’t move. The Bible doesn’t support this view. In this case, the Bible agrees with science.

    Remember, the Bible has to harmonize as a whole. You can’t pick one scripture out and say that it supports “X” unless other scriptures also can be applied as supporting. That’s cherry-picking.

    “Umm, to demonstrate how you know ‘God cannot err’, please inform me where you are told that god cannot err.”

    He cannot lie (Hebrews 6:13-18).

    “I have heard it said that the bible provides an ABSOLUTE morality that humans can follow (instead of relative morality, which changes as society progresses), but clearly, in this case, the bible verses are either standing up for what they believe (not trying to follow the crowd) and stating that slavery is OK, or it is demonstrating that the bible is NOT a manual for ABSOLUTE morality because in this instance it is just pandering to the public views of the day (slavery is acceptable) and trying to get people to do it better, either way, not good wouldn’t you say?”

    Again, you completely miss the point. What the Bible records and what the Bible approves of are two different things.

    Here is a more concise explanation of why slavery was permitted in Israel: God’s Law stated that kidnapping and selling a human was punishable by death. A slave who was maimed by his master would be set free. If a slave died because his master beat him, the master could be punished with death. Women captives could become slaves, or they could be taken as wives. But they were not to be used for mere sexual gratification. The gist of the Law must have led righthearted Israelites to treat slaves with respect and kindness, as if these were hired laborers.—Exodus 20:10; 21:12, 16, 26, 27; Leviticus 22:10, 11; Deuteronomy 21:10-14.

    Some Jews voluntarily became slaves to their fellow Jews in order to repay debts. This practice protected people from starvation and actually allowed many to recover from poverty. Furthermore, at key junctures in the Jewish calendar, slaves were to be released if they so desired. (Exodus 21:2; Leviticus 25:10; Deuteronomy 15:12) Commenting on these laws regarding slaves, Jewish scholar Moses Mielziner stated that a “slave could never cease to be a man, he was looked upon as a person possessing certain natural human rights, with which the master even could not with impunity interfere.”

    “So you propose that if EVERYONE reads the same source material there would be no argument over the meaning?”

    I propose that people who condemn the Bible should at least take the time to read it.

    “you BELIEVE you are correct, and every other honest person that puts in honest effort (as i’m sure you have) that BELIEVES differently to you, why are they NOT correct but you ARE correct?”

    The question comes down to, are we doing God’s will? Jesus very neatly outlined what his followers should be doing. Are we doing that? Are we applying the biblical counsel to ‘put on the new personality’? Are we attempting to display ‘the fruitage of the spirit’? Jesus also made it very plain that not everyone claiming to be a Christian really was a Christian (Matthew 7:21-23).

    “umm, I don’t need to see ALL…”

    So you openly admit your ignorance about a large population of religious people and their beliefs. I’ll remember that the next time you start in on how awful the Bible and Christianity are.

    Remember, critical thinking requires evaluation of ALL the evidence. How about if judges just randomly pick the plaintiff’s side or the defendant’s side without listening to both arguments? Is that just and fair? No? But that’s what you’re doing with religion. It doesn’work.

    My personal beliefs don’t really conflict with science.

    “As you believe, so should you also not judge others as long as others are not harming anyone.”

    I don’t. The only harm I see is when people who could potentially be believers are put off by the arrogance and ignorance of atheists/agnostics/whatever that quote from the Skeptics Annotated Bible and decry anything to do with Christianity simply because they are ignorant of the basic tenets of belief.

  76. 76

    Barb,

    That’s a pretty loose inerrantism that can have Jesus sentenced to death both after Passover (Mark) and before Passover (John).

  77. Barb,

    “take the earth by the edges and shake the wicked out of it (Job 38:12-13)

    “And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed,” (Joshua 10:13)

    If you cannot imagine how these versus could be used as evidence of a flat earth in the centre of the universe, then you have no imagination.

    Once again, with feeling: The Bible does not state that the earth is the center of the universe.

    In light of the above quote from you, I accuse you of LYING Barb, I am calling you a LIAR! Flat out, demanding that you tell the truth, or stand up as THE ULTIMATE source of all knowledge on the stuff you claim to KNOW!

    Either admit it is only your opinion, or stand up and proclaim yourself the only true translation of the message in the bible. It is as simple as that!

    Love you!

  78. Hi Barb,

    I find it atonishing that there is many gods in the same religion, when he is only spoken as to be one.

    I find it hard to believe that people who follow your god are non-violent when they hang out side gay marriages and protest, when also you practically outrightly disgust the thought of atheists or agnostics.

    When everyone is an individual and has the free will to believe what they want to believe without being categorised by someone who believes in a god that really has not shown himself in any form other than through the words of a book called the bible.

    I’ve read many debates in this article only to find people not actually answering with the truth other than side stepping with another passage from the bible or the slating of other religions, other than your own.

    You are constantly told by several other writers that you do not answer their questions directly, without babbling on about something that practically has nothing to do with it.

    Maybe you should step back and think outside the box and then answer, before babbling on.

    P.S – People only need to believe what they want to believe, not what they are told to believe because someone read it somewhere and it must be true.

  79. Barb,

    Remember, the Bible has to harmonize as a whole. You can’t pick one scripture out and say that it supports “X” unless other scriptures also can be applied as supporting. That’s cherry-picking.

    Umm, unless I’m very mistaken, your statement above alludes to CONTRADICTIONS in the bible! Unless it only has ONE thing to say, but it doesn’t, the bible talks of MANY things, and in the convosations about MANY things, why would a book without contradictions need to read ‘as a whole’. that makes no sense TO ME.

    Barb, you are a heretic if you claim absolute knowledge, so anytime anybody claims to have an opinion on the topic in the bible, you cannot contradict them, you can only try and persuade them, but claiming absolute knowledge on this topic is claiming you are God, and you are not sir, cause I KNOW (just as you KNOW other stuff), that there is no Zeus, Thor or Jesus.

    Love you!

  80. Barb,

    “umm, I don’t need to see ALL…”

    So you openly admit your ignorance about a large population of religious people and their beliefs. I’ll remember that the next time you start in on how awful the Bible and Christianity are.

    I think I’m starting to see that we are either talking a different language or you are so deluded that you only read the words that are palatable to you , skipping the bits that don’t make it through your filter that you call ‘what the real world should look like’. And it SHOULDN’T look like someone has something convincing to say against your beliefs (that you have ABSOLUTE TRUTH in your belief in god), so you ignore and pretend it was not even there.

    Barb, have YOU seen ALL religious beliefs, is that not like asking can you count the grains of sand on a beach? Which honest person would answer other than the way I have? and what type of knowledge were you expecting me to have, to claim I am ‘ignorant of a large population’, if you’d say that of me, then you should say that about most, and by your own words, I bet you have very little understanding of anything outside your beliefs, as it appears you dont even understand your own.

    Love you!

  81. On a side note does the bible talk about planet X.

    Or is it the americans that will save us from this one. (Relating to a film there).

  82. David,

    If you had different — equally contemporaneous — historical sources about the same event say the English Civil War or maybe the development of Calculus or whatever, and they differed on relatively minor points would that make you more or less inclined to doubt the areas on which they agreed?

    Suppose if there were several contemporaneous reports with minor inconsistencies but general agreement? At what point would you stop trying to use the petty contradictions to impeach the broader consistencies?

  83. 83

    tribune7, I like the Bible. I have nothing against it. It has lots of consistencies, and lots of inconsistencies.

    Your issue should be the with the person who insisted “the Bible cannot err.”

  84. 84

    CannuckianYankee writes:

    Just as there are websites that list “contradictions” in the bible, there are also websites that answer the “contradictions.”

    Yes, and the question regarding any given contradiction is this: Is it more likely that the contradiction is real, and that the Bible is therefore not inerrant, or that the explanation offered by inerrantists is correct? Many of the explanations are so strained as to be unbelievable.

    The Gospel of Mark says that Jesus died on one day. The Gospel of John says he died on a different day. I have seen no plausible explanation of how this is not an outright contradiction. Do you have one? If not, why would you conclude that the Bible is inerrant?

    For a more informed view of issues regarding the bible I suggest reading the scholarship over the past say 50 years or so.

    The mainstream view of biblical scholars is that the contradictions are real and that the Bible contains errors.

    Of course there are a lot of difficulites with the scriptures – one has to be blind not to admit that.

    Agreed, which raises an obvious question. If the Bible is the word of a perfect God, why are there so many problems with it? Wouldn’t you expect a perfect God to produce something better than the Bible?

    Your either/or scenario is rather minimalist.

    It is an either/or scenario. Either the Bible contains errors or it doesn’t. What third alternative is there?

    I would also suggest that you look at the scholarship from both sides of the issue before determining that you are right.

    I have looked at both sides of the issue, and my conclusion is that the mainstream view taught in seminaries and universities all over the world is correct: the Bible contains errors and contradictions.

  85. 85

    I wrote:

    Nothing in your comment explains why the Gospels depict Jesus as dying on different days.
    Can you explain, in your own words, why you don’t see this as a contradiction?

    Barb answered:

    I explained this above. Part of the reason that I think is the apostle John’s recall. He probably wrote his gospel many years after the events.

    Barb,

    You haven’t thought this through. If the Gospel of John is incorrect due to a failure of recall, then the Bible isn’t inerrant!

    You’ve completely contradicted yourself.

  86. 86

    Nnoel,

    ——”Barb, have YOU seen ALL religious beliefs, is that not like asking can you count the grains of sand on a beach? Which honest person would answer other than the way I have? and what type of knowledge were you expecting me to have, to claim I am ‘ignorant of a large population’, if you’d say that of me, then you should say that about most, and by your own words, I bet you have very little understanding of anything outside your beliefs, as it appears you dont even understand your own.”

    Have you seen all religious beliefs?

  87. 87

    Nnoel,

    ——”Barb, you are a heretic if you claim absolute knowledge, so anytime anybody claims to have an opinion on the topic in the bible, you cannot contradict them, you can only try and persuade them, but claiming absolute knowledge on this topic is claiming you are God, and you are not sir, cause I KNOW (just as you KNOW other stuff), that there is no Zeus, Thor or Jesus.”

    Wow. Firstly, Barb is not a heretic. Secondly, Barb might be a woman. Thirdly, you do now know that there was no Jesus. Fourthly, to claim that you do know anything, is to claim absolute knowledge of that thing, if you’re going to claim that you know it fully. If you want to keep your options open and not contradict yourself, say that you “suspect” something is the case, or some such language that retains the provisionality that you’re maintaining, and not that you KNOW. Otherwise, you contradict yourself.

  88. 88

    pkettley,

    Be respectful, I’ll only tell you this once. Don’t deride others here.

  89. 89

    Nnoel,

    ——”If you cannot imagine how these versus could be used as evidence of a flat earth in the centre of the universe, then you have no imagination.”

    You would certainly need a lot of imagination to see it your way.

    ——”In light of the above quote from you, I accuse you of LYING Barb, I am calling you a LIAR! Flat out, demanding that you tell the truth, or stand up as THE ULTIMATE source of all knowledge on the stuff you claim to KNOW!”

    Goodbye.

  90. Nnoel, I thought you were gone. Guess not.

    take the earth by the edges and shake the wicked out of it (Job 38:12-13)

    “And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed,” (Joshua 10:13)

    If you cannot imagine how these versus could be used as evidence of a flat earth in the centre of the universe, then you have no imagination.

    Or you are allowing your imagination to override logical thinking. I see no mention of the shape of the earth in either verse. Try again.

    “In light of the above quote from you, I accuse you of LYING Barb, I am calling you a LIAR! Flat out, demanding that you tell the truth, or stand up as THE ULTIMATE source of all knowledge on the stuff you claim to KNOW!”

    What? Seriously, what is your problem?

    You state that you won’t post in here again, yet you do TWICE, and you have the nerve to call me a liar?

    Grow up and get over yourself.

    Using the dreaded CAPSLOCK OF RAGE to prove your point isn’t working.

    I don’t claim ultimate knowledge of everything, but I claim that the earth is not the center of the universe. Don’t believe me? Fine. Ask an astronomer.

    “Umm, unless I’m very mistaken, your statement above alludes to CONTRADICTIONS in the bible! Unless it only has ONE thing to say, but it doesn’t, the bible talks of MANY things, and in the convosations about MANY things, why would a book without contradictions need to read ‘as a whole’. that makes no sense TO ME.”

    Just because it doesn’t make sense to you doesn’t mean that it doesn’t make sense at all. Maybe you just don’t get it.

    My statement does not allude to contradictions. You are mistaken. The Bible does have to harmonize as a whole. Many so-called contradictions can be easily explained once the context of the verses is taken into consideration.

    You ask why a book would need to be read as a whole. Why not? All books have themes, whether nonfiction or fiction. The overall theme of the book is covered in the book’s chapters. This is a fairly simple concept to understand.

    What book, if any, can you tell me shouldn’t be read as a whole? What book can we take apart chapter by chapter or sentence by sentence this way? You’re not describing anything logical.

    “Barb, you are a heretic if you claim absolute knowledge, so anytime anybody claims to have an opinion on the topic in the bible, you cannot contradict them, you can only try and persuade them, but claiming absolute knowledge on this topic is claiming you are God, and you are not sir, cause I KNOW (just as you KNOW other stuff), that there is no Zeus, Thor or Jesus.”

    No, actually it’s not, but logic doesn’t seem to be your strong suit.

    When others in this thread have asked for evidence, I posted it. The fact that they choose to ignore it is not my problem.

    You know there is no Jesus? Really? So all the writers who wrote about Jesus including historian Will Durant, Tertullian, and Napoleon Bonaparte were wrong? The fact that our calendar is based on when his birth was is wrong, since he never existed? I would love to see you prove that, but you can’t. Too bad.

    “think I’m starting to see that we are either talking a different language or you are so deluded that you only read the words that are palatable to you , skipping the bits that don’t make it through your filter that you call ‘what the real world should look like’. And it SHOULDN’T look like someone has something convincing to say against your beliefs (that you have ABSOLUTE TRUTH in your belief in god), so you ignore and pretend it was not even there.”

    I’m not quickly shaken from my reason. I have confidence in the Bible because of corroborative evidence from history as well as science. I choose (generally) not to debate because of people like you, who stubbornly refuse to consider anyone’s viewpoint other than their own.

    As of yet, nobody here or anywhere else on the Internet has posted anything that would remotely shake my faith. Sorry.

    “Barb, have YOU seen ALL religious beliefs, is that not like asking can you count the grains of sand on a beach? Which honest person would answer other than the way I have? and what type of knowledge were you expecting me to have, to claim I am ‘ignorant of a large population’, if you’d say that of me, then you should say that about most, and by your own words, I bet you have very little understanding of anything outside your beliefs, as it appears you dont even understand your own.”

    I understand my beliefs just fine, since I am perfectly capable of defending them, as I have done here. Or do you just not bother to read what I post?

    I have studied Buddhism, Shintoism, Hinduism, Judaism, Islam, a few New Age-y type belief systems, and Christianity. I found that in comparison, when looked at objectively and when considering the evidence of history and science, Christianity won out.

    Mereologist:Many of the explanations are so strained as to be unbelievable.

    So, in other words, the explanations aren’t palatable to you. Fine. The fact that you missed the entire point of the book of John (the gospel account) showing that Jesus was the Messiah stands. You can’t see the forest for the trees.

    Wouldn’t you expect a perfect God to produce something better than the Bible?

    Not if he used human writers with all their foibles. He could have had angels write the Bible, but He didn’t. The writers’ humanity comes across when they describe their feelings or the circumstances they found themselves in as well as the candor with which they admit their mistakes. That, for me, was one reason why I accepted the Bible.

  91. I have looked at both sides of the issue, and my conclusion is that the mainstream view taught in seminaries and universities all over the world is correct: the Bible contains errors and contradictions.

    Quick question: have you ever sat down and studied the Bible yourself? Or at least read it?

  92. Nnoel:”In light of the above quote from you, I accuse you of LYING Barb, I am calling you a LIAR! Flat out,”

    Sheesh …where is the love? LOL

    love you all

    Vivid

  93. 93

    Quick question: have you ever sat down and studied the Bible yourself? Or at least read it?

    I know you asked that of mereologist, but since mereologist and I agree, I’ll say for me: oh yeah. I’ve studied the bible, I’ve read it through dozens of times, in several translations (KJV, NASB, NIV, RSV, NRSV, Jerusalem Bible etc.), and with many commentaries including inerrantist ones. I wore out study bibles with highlighters and colored pens. I had to get a special version of the NIV with really wide margins so I had room for my pencilled notes.

    I was myself an inerrantist for a number of years, and my rejection of that view does not come from ignorance of its arguments.

  94. 94

    Glance on the shelf for bibles I currently own:
    * NIV
    * Open Bible (early 80s study bible, NASB)
    * New Jerusalem Bible
    * MacArthur Study Bible, NKJV
    * Harper Collins Study Bible, NRSV
    * Oxford Annotated Bible, NRSV

    Also extrabiblical texts including Complete Gospels (Scholar’s Translation of canonical and noncanonical early Christian texts), Other Bible (Willis Barnstone’s collection of apocrypha). Also Oxford Companion to the Bible etc.

  95. 95

    After realizing the sheer depth to which deception is sold as science in evolution, I know for a fact I cannot trust evolutionary biologists.

    Whereas my realization in the accuracy and truthfulness of the Bible has grown dramatically. This is because I do not deliberately seek to discredit the bible from the start of investigation but try to build from the base, of what can be accurately known, up and let the weight of evidence carry the argument of the issue instead of starting from known weak areas trying to tear it down as Noel is trying to do. This is not fair to the evidence and reveals a bias prior to investigation that reflects the heart of the “seeker”.

    The Scientific Method Proves Bible Prophecy and Authenticity – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1MdNLj0hPo

    The Physical Ashen Remains Of Sodom and Gomorrah and The Real Reason God Destroyed Them – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yf8aUk1C-SQ

    Shroud Of Turin Carbon Dating Overturned By Scientific Peer Review – Robert Villarreal – Press Release video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UEJPrMGksUg

    Turin Shroud Hologram Reveals The Words “The Lamb” – short video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7XLcdaFKzYg

    A Quantum Hologram of Christ’s Resurrection?
    http://www.khouse.org/articles/2008/847

  96. 96

    This following video shows one reason why I personally know there is much more going on than what the materialistic philosophy would lead us to believe:

    Miracle Testimony – One Easter Sunday Sunrise Service
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tj0L5dwuX0g

    Proverbs 8:27
    “When He prepared the heavens, I was there, when He drew a circle on the face of the deep”,

    Euler’s Number – God Created Mathematics – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0IEb1gTRo74
    This related website has the complete working out of the math of Pi and e in the Bible, in the Hebrew and Greek languages:
    http://www.biblemaths.com/pag03_pie/

    Michael Denton – Mathematical Truths Are Transcendent And Beautiful – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h3zcJfcdAyE

  97. 97

    I wrote:

    Many of the explanations [of inerrantists] are so strained as to be unbelievable.

    Barb replied:

    So, in other words, the explanations aren’t palatable to you. Fine.

    I didn’t say they were unpalatable. I said they were unbelievable. There is a huge difference.

    The fact that you missed the entire point of the book of John (the gospel account) showing that Jesus was the Messiah stands. You can’t see the forest for the trees.

    Ironically, I may actually understand the point of the gospel of John better than you do, because I can offer a plausible reason for the discrepancy between John and Mark.

    As Bart Ehrman explains in his book Jesus, Interrupted:

    John is the only Gospel that indicates that Jesus is “the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” This is declared by John the Baptist at the very beginning of the narrative (John 1:29) and again six verses later (John 1:35). Why, then, did John — our latest Gospel — change the day and time when Jesus died? It may be because in John’s Gospel, Jesus is the Passover Lamb, whose sacrifice brings salvation from sins. Exactly like the Passover Lamb, Jesus has to die on the day (the day of Preparation) and the time (sometime after noon) when the Passover lambs were being slaughtered in the Temple.

    In other words, John has changed a historical datum in order to make a theological point: Jesus is the sacrificial lamb. And to convey this theological point, John has had to create a discrepancy between his account and the others.

    I wrote:

    Wouldn’t you expect a perfect God to produce something better than the Bible?

    You responded:

    Not if he used human writers with all their foibles. He could have had angels write the Bible, but He didn’t. The writers’ humanity comes across when they describe their feelings or the circumstances they found themselves in as well as the candor with which they admit their mistakes. That, for me, was one reason why I accepted the Bible.

    How odd. I would think that you would accept a book as the word of God because it appeared divine, not because it appeared human. After all, there are millions of books that appear human. Nothing special about that.

    Quick question: have you ever sat down and studied the Bible yourself? Or at least read it?

    Yes. I was raised as an inerrantist, and ironically it was when I started studying the Bible seriously that I began to have doubts. I was shocked at the blatant errors and contradictions I found.

    I think that if we could get every evangelical Christian to read the entire Bible (no cherry-picking) with an open mind, the number of inerrantists would drop dramatically.

  98. 98

    mereologist,
    Do you deny Jesus is Lord?

  99. 99

    mereologist,
    Do you deny Jesus is Lord?

    If it isn’t already obvious, yes. I am no longer a Christian.

  100. 100

    As a Christian why should I trust anything you have to say?

    1 John 2:22
    Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ?

    You did not even hedge you position by saying it seems improbable that He conquered death, you just flat out denied Him!

    I implore you to closely examine the shroud evidence I presented with a critical eye and a open mind, for the Bible also says Christ will deny those who deny Him.

  101. David Kellogg: What’s your take on the NRSV vs the NASB? I like the Jerusalem Bible myself. I’ve read the Living Bible, but I don’t generally gravitate to paraphrased versions. I also have the Septuagint and Vine’s Expository Dictionary.

    Mereologist: You claim that the explanations I posted were unbelievable. Is that an objective statement or is that your default since you are no longer a Christian?

    I ask because in this thread I’ve been told repeatedly that I’m not objective. Are the atheists/agnostics posting here also being subjective with respect to what they read and what they believe? The argument cuts both ways.

    And, no, you don’t understand the gospel of John better than I do. After all, I’m still a believer and you’re hung up over a simple sentence. Missing the point =/= understanding.

  102. 102

    bornagain77 writes:

    As a Christian why should I trust anything you have to say?

    First, if it isn’t obvious to you, unbelievers are just as moral as believers. Ask George Barna.

    Second, I’m not asking you to take me at my word. Double-check what I say. Read Mark 14 and John 19. You’ll see that they do indeed describe Jesus’ death as happening on different days.

    You did not even hedge you position by saying it seems improbable that He conquered death, you just flat out denied Him!

    I deny that Jesus is Lord in the same sense that I deny that Russell’s teapot is out there orbiting between Earth and Mars. I can’t disprove either one, but they both seem highly unlikely.

    I implore you to closely examine the shroud evidence I presented with a critical eye and a open mind, for the Bible also says Christ will deny those who deny Him.

    It’s interesting that evangelical Christians profess to believe in a perfectly loving God, but then they turn around and say that God will reject (or even torment eternally) anyone who rejects Christianity because it appears untrue to him or her.

    That’s not exactly what I would call “perfectly loving”. Why would a loving God reject someone for using their mind to the best of their ability?

  103. 103

    “using their mind to the best of their ability?”

    Would that include allowing their beliefs (at least those made in the name of empirical science) to be subject to falsification by the evidence?

  104. David– I like the Bible. I have nothing against it. It has lots of consistencies, and lots of inconsistencies.

    But you are not addressing my point :-)

    At what point do you start considering the consistencies to be true, or at least likely?

  105. 105

    Ditto to what upright said

  106. 106

    Barb wrote:

    Mereologist: You claim that the explanations I posted were unbelievable. Is that an objective statement or is that your default since you are no longer a Christian?

    The explanations you posted were far, far less plausible than simply acknowledging that the gospels contradict each other. And you never did explain why the gospels have Jesus dying on different days. See below for more on this.

    Even many Christians — including Christian biblical scholars — acknowledge that the Bible is not inerrant. These people would be happy — overjoyed, in fact — if we actually had access to a book that contained the inerrant word of God. However, honesty prevents them from making that claim about the Bible. They’ve seen the evidence, and they can’t ignore it.

    Bart Ehrman, whom I mentioned above, is an interesting example. He started out as an evangelical Christian and an inerrantist, studied at Moody and Wheaton, and then went on to the Princeton Theological Seminary.

    He writes:

    And so I came to Princeton Theological Seminary young and poor but passionate, and armed to take on all those liberals with their watered-down view of the Bible. As a good evangelical Christian I was ready to fend off any attacks on my biblical faith. I could answer any apparent contradiction and resolve any potential discrepancy in the Word of God, whether in the Old or New Testament. I knew I had a lot to learn, but I was not about to learn that my sacred text had any mistakes in it.

    Some things don’t go as planned. What I actually did learn at Princeton led me to change my mind about the Bible. I did not change my mind willingly — I went down kicking and screaming. I prayed (lots) about it, I wrestled (strenuously) with it, I resisted it with all my might. But at the same time I thought that if I was fully committed to God, I also had to be fully committed to the truth. And it became clear to me over a long period of time that my former views of the Bible as the inerrant revelation from God were flat-out wrong. My choice was either to hold on to views that I had come to realize were in error or to follow where I believed the truth was leading me. In the end, it was no choice. If something was true, it was true; if not, not.

    He’s right. The truth matters.

    And, no, you don’t understand the gospel of John better than I do. After all, I’m still a believer…

    As if being a believer were proof of understanding.

    …and you’re hung up over a simple sentence.

    Yeah, it’s not like Jesus’ death is important to Christians or anything. Who cares when it happened? What’s the big deal?

    Sarcasm aside, you claim that the Bible is inerrant. That means you are making the extraordinary assertion that the Bible contains no errors — none! In evaluating that claim, of course it matters whether the gospels agree on the day of Jesus’ death.

    Interestingly, though you claim that the Bible is inerrant, you seem to have admitted the opposite in a prior comment.

    From earlier in the thread:

    I wrote:

    Nothing in your comment explains why the Gospels depict Jesus as dying on different days.

    Can you explain, in your own words, why you don’t see this as a contradiction?

    Barb answered:

    I explained this above. Part of the reason that I think is the apostle John’s recall. He probably wrote his gospel many years after the events.

    Barb,

    You haven’t thought this through. If the Gospel of John is incorrect due to a failure of recall, then the Bible isn’t inerrant!

    You’ve completely contradicted yourself.

    What was that all about? It sounds like you were admitting that the Gospel of John was wrong due to John’s failing memory.

    Are you an inerrantist or not?

  107. 107

    Upright wrote:

    “using their mind to the best of their ability?”

    Would that include allowing their beliefs (at least those made in the name of empirical science) to be subject to falsification by the evidence?

    Of course.

  108. 108

    Barb, I typically use the NRSV. NASB was the first Bible I read through, though now it seems kind of wooden. I like Jerusalem’s approach to poetry, and (by extension) to the Gospel of John. (I was drawn to the Jerusalem Bible because my mother is a French-Canadian catholic and I had a French bible as a child; the Jerusalem Bible was originally an English version of a French translation.) I love the Scholar’s Version of the curses on the Pharisees in Luke. I no longer read the NIV.

  109. 109

    tribune7, like everybody, I make my own judgements on what’s true. I tend to view the bible as varying considerably: some parts (Esther, Job, the story of Samson) are clearly fiction and even more or less delivered as such, some gospels (Mark) have a decent amount of historical material but others (John) almost none. I think the birth narratives of Matthew and Luke are clearly fiction, that Matthew’s gospel as a whole is largely midrash, and that the meeting with the woman at the well in John 4 is entirely literary convention. I think the Jesus of the Gospel of John resembles the others almost not at all.

    Too much information? ;-)

  110. 110

    Mere,

    Then why don’t you?

  111. 111

    Well I have a very different take on the bible than most people do:

    Strange But True
    It was in the summer of 1993, I was down and out in Ft. Myers, Florida. This was about the second year that I was homeless. I was staying at the Salvation Army in Ft. Myers working temporary day labor and paying 8 bucks a night to stay at the homeless shelter. Once again I had come up with yet another grand plan to defeat the destructive desires for drinking and using that had kept me bound to the street. I was going to read the Bible cover to cover. Surely, this would cure me once and for all. Every night before I would go to sleep I made sure that I would read though at least 30 minutes worth of the Bible. This was done in my bunk in the open dormitory of the salvation army. Well, after a month or 6 weeks of this, I was getting pretty far into the Bible and had pretty much established myself, among the guys staying there, as some sort of Jesus Freak. One evening a man, who like me wasn’t fairing to well in this world, comes up to my bunk, as I was reading the Bible, and angrily says this to me,” Where Is God? Just where is God ? If I knew where God was my life would be alright.” So I told him the truth “Well I know that it may sound strange, but sometimes when I really need it, God speaks directly to me from the Bible. I believe that He may speak directly to you since you seem to be in a bad spot.” Then I closed the Bible and handed it to him. Then he asks me “Do you mean like this?” and he just randomly opens the Bible up, but instead of gently reading the first words his eyes landed on, as I thought he would do, he went and stabbed his finger down onto the page that the Bible had fell open to. Then, he looks over to me and asks “Like That?” I nervously said, in spite of my reservations of the brazenness of his act, “I guess that will work”. Well his brazenness paid off for his finger landed right on top of Job 23:3 which says “Oh, that I knew where I might find God, that I might come to His seat!” Well, needless to say, we both were in awe about God revealing Himself to him in the Living Word that clearly, so we went to the chaplain of the Salvation Army and got him his very own Bible. Let me end this by saying that I believe God speaks to all people in many different ways. Don’t be upset if God doesn’t speak in this certain way to you. He very well could be speaking to you in ways that He doesn’t speak to other people in. He could speak through your dreams, or visions, or He could speak to you through people. He could be in that still small, intuitive, voice in your mind that speaks warnings to you every so often, or T.V., or radio, or the clouds, or even a lightning bolt could express His feelings and guidance to you, or etc… etc… . The point I’m trying to make clear is this. I’m firmly convinced that God does indeed desire to speak to each and every one of us, His children! BUT, we have to open our minds up enough to allow the possibility that God, the Father of all creation, might actually care enough for us, His children ,to actually want to speak intimately to each of us. Think about it. What parent doesn’t talk personally to each one of their very own children every once in a while? I truly believe it is a very powerful thing to have the Lord speak into our lives, more powerful than we can possibly understand right now. My reasoning for this is this: He who speaks living words into the voids of our life, Is the very same One who spoke living words into the void of the night.

    ———

    Scientific Evidence For God Creating The Universe – 2008 – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQhO906v0VM

    Explaining Information Transfer in Quantum Teleportation: Armond Duwell †‡ University of Pittsburgh
    excerpt: In contrast to a classical bit, the description of a qubit requires an infinite amount of information. The amount of information is infinite because two real numbers are required in the expansion of the state vector of a two state quantum system (Jozsa 1997, 1) — Concept 2. is used by Bennett, et al. Recall that they infer that since an infinite amount of information is required to specify a qubit, an infinite amount of information must be transferred to teleport.
    http://www.cas.umt.edu/phil/fa.....lPSA2K.pdf

    More supporting evidence for the transcendent nature of infinite information is found in these following studies:

    Single photons to soak up data:
    Excerpt: the orbital angular momentum of a photon can take on an infinite number of values. Since a photon can also exist in a superposition of these states, it could – in principle – be encoded with an infinite amount of information.
    http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/7201

    Ultra-Dense Optical Storage — on One Photon
    Excerpt: Researchers at the University of Rochester have made an optics breakthrough that allows them to encode an entire image’s worth of data into a photon, slow the image down for storage, and then retrieve the image intact.
    http://www.physorg.com/news88439430.html

    This following experiment clearly shows information is not a “emergent property” of any solid material basis as is dogmatically asserted by some materialists:

    Converting Quantum Bits: Physicists Transfer Information Between Matter and Light
    excerpt: A team of physicists at the Georgia Institute of Technology has taken a significant step toward the development of quantum communications systems by successfully transferring quantum information from two different groups of atoms onto a single photon.
    http://gtresearchnews.gatech.e.....mtrans.htm

    ——————–

    Even with the advantage of all our advanced space-age technology at their fingertips, all scientists can guess is that it was some type of electro-magnetic radiation (light) which is not natural to this world. Kevin Moran, a scientist working on the mysterious “3-dimensional” nature of the Shroud image, states the ‘supernatural’ explanation this way:

    “It is not a continuum or spherical-front radiation that made the image, as visible or UV light. It is not the X-ray radiation that obeys the one over R squared law that we are so accustomed to in medicine. It is more unique. It is suggested that the image was formed when a high-energy particle struck the fiber and released radiation within the fiber at a speed greater that the local speed of light. Since the fiber acts as a light pipe, this energy moved out through the fiber until it encountered an optical discontinuity, then it slowed to the local speed of light and dispersed. The fact that the pixels don’t fluoresce suggests that the conversion to their now brittle dehydrated state occurred instantly and completely so no partial products remain to be activated by the ultraviolet light. This suggests a quantum event where a finite amount of energy transferred abruptly. The fact that there are images front and back suggests the radiating particles were released along the gravity vector. The radiation pressure may also help explain why the blood was “lifted cleanly” from the body as it transformed to a resurrected state.”

    http://www.shroudstory.com/natural.htm

    If scientists want to find the source for the supernatural light that made the “3-dimensional photographic negative” image I suggest they look to the thousands of documented Near-Death Experiences (NDE’s) in Judeo-Christian cultures. It is in their testimonies that you will find mention of an indescribably bright “Light” or “Being of Light” who is always described as being of a much brighter intensity of light than the people had ever seen before. All people who have been in the presence of “The Being of Light” while having a deep Near Death Experience have no doubt whatsoever that the “The Being of Light” they were in the presence of is none other than “The Lord God Almighty” of heaven and earth. (It should be noted: All non-Judeo-Christian foreign culture NDE’s, I have studied, have a extreme rarity of encounters with “The Being Of Light”(Todd Murphy – NDE study)

    In The Presence Of Almighty God – The NDE of Mickey Robinson – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FRpbNgBn8XY

    The Day I Died – Part 4 of 6 – The NDE of Pam Reynolds – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WA37uNa3VGU

    Another very interesting point is, since the Shroud had to be extremely close to the body when the image was made, and also considering the lack of any distinctive shadow patterns on the image, it is apparent the only place this supernatural light could have possibly come from was directly from the body itself ! Yes, you read that last sentence right:

    THE SOURCE OF LIGHT WAS THE BODY ITSELF !!!

    God’s crowning achievement for this universe was not when He created this universe. God’s crowning achievement for this universe was when He Himself inhabited the human body He had purposely created the whole universe for, to sanctify human beings unto Himself through the death and resurrection of his “Son” Jesus Christ. This is truly something that should fill anyone who reads this with awe. The wonder of it all is something that I can scarcely begin to understand much less write about. Thus, I will finish this portion of my paper with a scripture.

    Hebrews 2:14-15
    “Since we, God’s children, are human beings – made of flesh and blood – He became flesh and blood too by being born in human form; for only as a human being could He die and in dying break the power of the devil who had the power of death. Only in that way could He deliver those who through fear of death have been living all their lives as slaves to constant dread.”

    —————————————————————————————————————————————

    He’s Alive – Dolly Parton – 1989 CMA – music video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iXo8qOcS3yQ

  112. 112

    Upright:

    Mere,

    Then why don’t you [allow your beliefs to be subject to falsification in light of the evidence]?

    I do.

    See my reply to you here. You seem to have made some unwarranted assumptions about my beliefs.

  113. David, Too much information?

    Well, no :-)

    All four Gospels talk about the the Betrayal, The Trial, the Crucifixion, the Resurrection; His historical existence; that He performed miracles; that He taught love and mercy; and that He is the Messiah sent from God.

    Why doubt that?

  114. 114

    Mere,

    You stated in your link:

    It’s logically possible that we’ll find a supernatural explanation for some future physical phenomenon, though I’ll be surprised if we do. After all, we haven’t found a single one in the entire history of science up to this point.

    Actually We can witness the “supernatural” by experiment and have been able to for some time:

    What blows most people away, when they first encounter quantum mechanics, is the quantum foundation of our “material reality” blatantly defies our concepts of time and space. Most people consider defying time and space to be a “miraculous & supernatural” event. I know I certainly do! This “miraculous & supernatural” foundation for our physical reality can easily be illuminated by the famous “double slit” experiment. (It should be noted the double slit experiment was originally devised, in 1801, by a Christian named Thomas Young).

    The Miraculous Foundation of Reality – Dr. Quantum – Double Slit & Entanglement – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzQuU6FpYAk

    The Electron – The Supernatural Basis of Reality – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jv_YQl6XSMM

    In fact, the actions observed in the double slit experiment are only possible if our reality has its actual basis in a “higher dimension”.

    Explaining The Unseen Spiritual Realm – Dr. Quantum – Flatland – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UhjNlp5RIZs

    etc…etc…etc…

  115. 115

    David Kellogg,

    Can you read Koine Greek? I can, and I can read Attic. What about the Greek among the Gospels seems like literary convention to you in the woman at the well narrative?
    Why are the birth narratives clearly fiction? Are you judging history because of a philosophical prejudice against the miraculous?

  116. 116

    mereologist,

    ——”I deny that Jesus is Lord in the same sense that I deny that Russell’s teapot is out there orbiting between Earth and Mars. I can’t disprove either one, but they both seem highly unlikely.”

    Given the multi-verse that teapot is out there, and so is Jesus. Really, the universe and everything in Nature self-organized according to the atheist, so why not a lil’ ol’ teapot?

    ——”It’s interesting that evangelical Christians profess to believe in a perfectly loving God, but then they turn around and say that God will reject (or even torment eternally) anyone who rejects Christianity because it appears untrue to him or her.”

    “In the long run the answer to all those who object to the doctrine of hell is itself a question: “What are you asking God to do?” To wipe out their past sins and, at all costs, to give them a fresh start, smoothing every difficulty and offering every miraculous help? But He has done so, on Calvary. To forgive them? They will not be forgiven. To leave them alone? Alas, I am afraid that is what He does.”

    “God can’t condone evil, forgiving the willfully unrepentant. Lost souls have their wish – to live wholly in the Self, and to make the best of what they find there. And what they finds there is hell. Should God increase our chances to repent? I believe that if a million opportunities were likely to do good, they would be given. But finality has to come some time. Our Lord uses three symbols to describe hell – everlasting punishment (Matthew 25:46), destruction (Matthew 10:28), and privation, exclusion, banishment (Matthew 22:13). The image of fire illustrates both torment and destruction (not annihilation – the destruction of one thing issues in the emergence of something else, in both worlds). It may be feasible that hell is hell not from its own point of view, but from that of heaven. And it is also possible that the eternal fixity of the lost soul need not imply endless duration. Our Lord emphases rather the finality of hell. Does the ultimate loss of a soul mean the defeat of Omnipotence? In a sense, yes. The damned are successful rebels to the end, enslaved within the horrible freedom they have demanded. The doors of hell are locked on the inside.”
    C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

  117. 117

    BA77,

    Your characterization of quantum mechanical phenomena as “supernatural” is bizarre. Do you really think that quantum physicists are studying the supernatural? I’m sure they (as well as philosophers of science) would be very surprised to hear that.

    The fact that something is counterintuitive doesn’t make it supernatural. The Monty Hall problem is counterintuitive, but surely you wouldn’t consider it supernatural, would you?

    And if QM’s counterintuitiveness doesn’t qualify it as supernatural, then what does?

  118. 118

    Mere,
    If you do not accept Quantum mechanics as proof that our dimension is based in a higher “supernatural” dimension which is not limited by time and space, Please explain the actions observed in Quantum mechanics in “natural” time and space terms which are non transcendent. And since it is clearly impossible for anyone to do as such, i.e. to explain higher dimension actions in lower dimension terms, why are you deceiving yourself that it possible? as a sidenote, Exactly what constraint of evolutionary thought is going to prevent a infinitely powerful, transcendent, Being from existing? Reality surely does not present such a constraint to prevent God from existing, why should your imagination conjure up one? Do you truly believe the lies you tell or do you know better and just hate God/Jesus for no particular reason other than insanity?

    Why Quantum Theory Does Not Support Materialism – By Bruce L Gordon:
    Excerpt: Because quantum theory is thought to provide the bedrock for our scientific understanding of physical reality, it is to this theory that the materialist inevitably appeals in support of his worldview. But having fled to science in search of a safe haven for his doctrines, the materialist instead finds that quantum theory in fact dissolves and defeats his materialist understanding of the world.
    http://www.4truth.net/site/c.h.....ialism.htm

    In what I consider an absolutely fascinating discovery; Space itself was created in the Big Bang and continues to “expand equally in all places” i.e. The universe is not expanding “into” anything outside of itself. Thus from a 3-dimensional perspective, any particular “material” spot in the universe is to be considered just as “center of the universe” as any other particular spot in the universe is to be considered “center of the universe”.

    There Is No Three-Dimensional Center To This Universe – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_7Ta5igSEc

    Where is the centre of the universe?:
    Excerpt: There is no centre of the universe! According to the standard theories of cosmology, the universe started with a “Big Bang” about 14 thousand million years ago and has been expanding ever since. Yet there is no centre to the expansion; it is the same everywhere. The Big Bang should not be visualized as an ordinary explosion. The universe is not expanding out from a centre into space; rather, the whole universe is expanding and it is doing so equally at all places, as far as we can tell.
    http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/.....entre.html

    So in a holistic sense, from what we now know to be true from 4-Dimensional space-time cosmology, and from other facts revealed later on in this paper, everything in the entire universe can be found to be “centered” on the earth, since there is no true “3-D material center” to this universe. In fact, depending on how much relative importance can be found in a single person, the whole universe could truthfully be said to be revolving, or to be “centered”, on that single person. Thus, much contrary to the mediocrity of earth, and of humans, that was brought about by the heliocentric discoveries of Galileo and Copernicus, this finding of a “4-dimensional space-time” for our universe is in fact very comforting to Theistic postulations in general, and even lends very strong support of plausibility to the main tenet of Christianity which holds Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God.

    Matthew 28:18
    And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and upon earth.”

    As well, I find the fact this seemingly insignificant earth is found to revolve around the much more massive sun to be reflective of our true spiritual condition. In regards to God’s “kingdom of light”, are we not to keep in mind our lives are to be guided by the much higher purpose which is tied to our future in God’s “kingdom of light”? Are we not to avoid placing too much emphasis on what this world has to offer, since it is so much more insignificant than what heaven has to offer?

    Sara Groves – You Are The Sun – Music video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=foz25j0r2rM

    Louie Giglio – How Great Is Our God – Part 2 – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bfNiZrt5FjU

    Psalm 8: 3-4
    When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have
    ordained; What is man that You take thought of him, And the son of man that You care for him?

    Journey Through the Universe – George Smoot – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sakXMFwkffo

  119. 119

    Also of note Mere, you are not the only one to be severely mislead by the materialistic philosophy:

    This materialistic belief of the universe being stable and infinite was so deeply rooted in scientific thought that Albert Einstein (1879-1955), when he was shown his general relativity equation indicated a universe that would collapse under its own gravity, added a cosmological constant to his equation to reflect a universe which would not collapse, rather than entertain the thought the universe had a beginning.

    Einstein and The Belgian Priest, George Lemaitre – The “Father” Of The Big Bang Theory – video
    http://www.history.com/video.d.....1475165841

    of note: This was not the last time Einstein’s base materialistic philosophy had severely mislead him. He was also severely mislead in the Bohr–Einstein debates in which he was repeatedly proven wrong in challenging the “spooky” postulations of the emerging field of quantum mechanics.

    Einstein’s general relativity equation has now been extended to confirm not only did matter and energy have a beginning, but space-time also had a beginning in the Big Bang. i.e. The Big Bang was an absolute origin of space-time, matter-energy, and as such demands a cause that transcends space-time, matter-energy.

    “Every solution to the equations of general relativity guarantees the existence of a singular boundary for space and time in the past.” (Hawking, Penrose, Ellis) – 1970 – http://www.leaderu.com/real/ri9404/bigbang.html

    When astronomer Edwin Hubble published empirical evidence indicating a beginning for the universe, Einstein ended up calling the cosmological constant, he had added to his equation, the biggest blunder of his life. But then again mathematically speaking, Einstein’s “fudge factor” was not so much of a blunder after all. In the 1990′s a highly modified cosmological constant, representing the elusive “Dark Energy” to account for the accelerated expansion of the universe, was reintroduced into general relativity equations to explain the discrepancy between the ages of the oldest stars in the Milky Way galaxy and the age of the universe. Far from providing a materialistic solution, which would have enabled the universe to be stable and infinite as Einstein had originally envisioned, the finely-tuned cosmological constant, finely-tuned to 1 part in 10^120, has turned into one of the most powerful evidences of design from many finely-tuned universal constants of the universe.

    The numerical values of the transcendent universal constants in physics that are found for gravity which holds planets, stars and galaxies together; for the weak nuclear force which holds neutrons together; for electromagnetism which allows chemical bonds to form; for the strong nuclear force which holds protons together; for the cosmological constant of space/energy density which accounts for the universe’s expansion; and for several dozen other “universal ratios and/or parameters” (a total of 93 as of 2006) which are universal in their scope, “just so happen” to be the exact numerical values they need to be in order for life, as we know it, to be possible in this universe. A more than slight variance in the value of any individual universal constant, over the entire age of the universe, would have undermined the ability of the entire universe to have life as we know it. To put it mildly, this is a irreducibly complex condition.

    Anthropic Principle – God Created The Universe – Michael Strauss – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tjn8poWD7tM

    Psalm 119:89-91
    Your eternal word, O Lord, stands firm in heaven. Your faithfulness extends to every generation, as enduring as the earth you created. Your regulations remain true to this day, for everything serves your plans.

    Here are a few sites that list the constants:

    Fine-Tuning For Life In The Universe
    http://www.reasons.org/fine-tuning-life-universe

    Evidence for the Fine Tuning of the Universe
    http://www.godandscience.org/a.....ignun.html

    Evidence For God In The Cosmos – Fine Tuning of Constants – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDm9nBD-w_A

    There are no apparent reasons why the value of each individual transcendent universal constant could not have been very different than what they actually are. In fact, the presumption of any materialistic theory based on blind chance expected a fairly large amount of flexibility in any underlying natural laws for the universe, since the natural laws themselves were postulated to arise from a material basis. They “just so happen” to be at the precise unchanging values necessary to enable carbon-based life to exist in this universe. All individual constants are of such a high degree of precision as to stagger comparison to the precision of any man-made machine. For example, the individual cosmological constant (dark energy) is balanced to 1 part in 10^120 and the individual mass density constant is balanced to 1 part in 10^60.

    Fine Tuning Of Dark Energy and Mass of the Universe – Hugh Ross – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7B0t4zSzhjg

    To clearly illustrate the stunning degree of fine-tuning we are dealing with in the universe, Dr. Ross has used the illustration of adding or subtracting a single dime’s worth of mass in the observable universe would have been enough of a change in mass density to make life impossible in this universe. This word picture he uses, with the dime, helps to demonstrate a number used to quantify that fine-tuning of mass, namely 1 part in 10^60 for mass density. Compared to the total mass of the observable universe, 1 part in 10^60 works out to about a tenth part of a dime, if not smaller.

    Where Is the Cosmic Density Fine-Tuning? – Hugh Ross
    http://www.reasons.org/where-c.....ine-tuning

  120. 120

    .“A striking example is that the gospels don’t even agree on something as fundamental as when Jesus died.”

    I think a lot of the problems one encounters when reading the gospels is that we fail to judge them as to their accuracy by the only standard which is fair to judge them, that is the standards applicable at the time they were passed down.

    To impose our standards of our modern era of what we deem to be an accurate portrayal of events and sayings on a oral culture existing 2000 years ago is to impose a standard that is unwarranted. Books, or actual scrolls of papyrus were relatively rare. Education was done by word of mouth. Oral cultures emphasized memorization. Furthermore what was considered an accurate portrayal of an event or even an accurate description of what someone said was different than in our current age. Many do not realize that ancient Greek and Hebrew did not have a symbol for quotation marks. An accurate portrayal of what someone said at the time of the gospels did not depend on the exact wording rather an accurate summation of the message or point the one was making.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that in cultures with oral traditions there was freedom to vary how much of the story was told on any given occasion. Certain things could be included , certain things left out and certain things about the event could be paraphrased. But there were always fixed points. From Dr Craig Blomberg

    “ However, there were always fixed points that were unalterable, and the community had the right to intervene and correct the storyteller if he erred on these important aspects of the story. A lot of the similarities and differences can be explained by assuming that the disciples and other early Christians had committed to memory a lot of what Jesus said and did, but they felt free to recount this information in various forms, always preserving the significance of Jesus’s original teaching and deeds.

    Once you allow for the elements of paraphrase, of abridgement, of explanatory additions, of selection, of omission, the gospels are extremely consistent with each other by ancient standards, which are the only standard by which it is fair to judge them.”

    Vivid

  121. 121

    Bornagain77

    Please explain the actions observed in Quantum mechanics in “natural” time and space terms which are non transcendent.

    Which do you follow then?

    The Ensemble Interpretation?
    The Copenhagen Interpretation?
    The Consistent Histories Interpretation?
    The Instrumentalist Interpretation?
    Bohm’s Interpretation?
    Modal Interpretation?
    Decoherence Interpretation?

    If you choose the Copenhagen, do you tend towards Ballentine or Stapp?

    Given that a very recent study (Ravi Gomatam 2007) agrees with Howard’s exposition in arguing that Bohr’s interpretation of complementarity and the textbook Copenhagen interpretation (i.e. wave-particle duality and wave packet collapse) are incompatible, does that make any difference to your position?

  122. 122

    Clive,

    Can you read Koine Greek? I can, and I can read Attic

    Good for you! I took a year of Classical (Attic) Greek in college but wasn’t very good at it.

    What about the Greek among the Gospels seems like literary convention to you in the woman at the well narrative?

    The convention lies in the narrative itself rather than a linguistic feature. By the time of the Gospels, a story of meeting a woman at a well would have been well known as a prelude to marriage (as in several earlier Bible stories). “Man meets woman at well” was a setup for a marriage story. In the later story, Jesus meets a woman at a well and they discuss — ta da! — marriage. I think the story would have been recognized as a somewhat ironic variation and commentary on those earlier stories by the first audiences.

    Why are the birth narratives clearly fiction

    A bunch of reasons. For example, the descent into Egypt in Matthew (not found in Luke) seems obviously a variation on the slavery of the tribes of Israel and their escape from Egypt, meant to emphasis the parallels between Jesus and Moses as someone who comes out of Egypt. There’s no historical support for this, just Matthew’s account that Herod is (in a literary sense) equivalent to Pharoah. Etc.

    Are you judging history because of a philosophical prejudice against the miraculous?

    I don’t know. I came to this view when I was much more favorable toward miracles. Are you judging history because of a philosophical prejudice toward the miraculous?

  123. 124
    William J. Murray

    I’ll never understand why atheistic materialists argue against religious beliefs as if holding them was the worst crime imaginable.

    They often extend compassion to all manner of criminal, from paedophiles to murderers, as being only the product of their genes and environment, but rant and rage against religious as if their crimes were more despicable, or something other than physics at work.

    Under their paradigm, how is holding a religious belief any different than holding the materialist belief? If someome believes in a god, and then does good or bad things, isn’t it for the same purported reason any materilist doesn’t believe in a god, and then does good or bad things – the inevitable march of physics playing out its hand as dealt by necessity and chance?

    How does one argue that a belief in god is “misguided”? Misguided according to what? Logic is whatever each individual believes it to be via the chance and necessity that drives the processes of their brain; they have no option to halt or rearrange molecules or atoms that generate their thoughts so that they conform to any “true” logic or reason; if these clanking molecules tell them to believe something, they will, regardless of whether or not it bears any correlation to any real world. True and false are simply whatever one’s clanking molecules says they are – nothing more, nothing less.

    If these clanking molecules tell them to see the world as the success of their views; they will. If these clanking molecules tell them to argue with other clanking molecules; they will .. because “they” are those clanking molecules, and nothing else.

    If the product of clanking molecules is to see god, experience miracles, OOBEs, faith-healed terminal diseases, and all progress in the world due to a loving god in the form of answers to prayers .. that is simply what some clanking molecules produce. Arguing that those people “aren’t” experiencing what their clanking molecules say they are, is like trying to tell a tree it’s leaves are false.

    It is no different in value or principle than clanking molecules producing a belief that the material world is all there is, that what one does is the result of clanking molecules, that such a view generated all reak progress in the world and that religious views are foolish.

    The only real distinction is that the first perspective isn’t self-refuting; fort the second, however, if one believes that their thoughts and beliefs are the result of clanking molecules, then they have no reason to believe that they are the result of clanking molecules, because clanking molecules can make anyone believe any false thing to be true.

    However, one would have to be able to step outside of the cacaphony of their own clanking molecules to understand that meaningfully; unfortunately, atheistic materialists have left themselves no such means for truly rational judgement.

  124. 125

    I’ll never understand why atheistic materialists argue against religious beliefs as if holding them was the worst crime imaginable.

    Who are you talking about?

  125. 126

    Echidna-Levy,
    You never concede anything when proven wrong so I will politely pass on ever discussing anything with you. And to be brutally honest with you, I find you an arrogant jerk.

  126. Clive @ 116:

    Given the multi-verse that teapot is out there, and so is Jesus. Really, the universe and everything in Nature self-organized according to the atheist, so why not a lil’ ol’ teapot?

    Congratulations, Clive. You’ve just discovered that the teapot might be there. Now, start looking, and get back to us if you actually find it.

    After that, we can discuss whether or not this is evidence for a multiverse.

  127. As a Christian why should I trust anything you have to say?

    1 John 2:22
    Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ?

    Is this a common view among ID supporters? One would be discouraged from thinking this if someone who is Jewish or Muslim could respond. This should be an easy to fulfill request, considering how many people of other faiths must support the movement.

  128. 129

    Kappa,
    The question and its context was a trap for mere, for he was claiming expertise in this area. The proper response for someone who is truly seeking truth, and has not had a personal experience from the Lord, would have been to say they were unsure or that it was improbable, yet Mere stated it as an absolute fact that Jesus was not the Lord and only backtracked on his statement after he realized I caught him in his dogmatism. Thus his statement was not reflective of his true state of knowledge and was a dogmatic assertion i.e. he actually did lie as far as his true state of knowledge was concerned! This is the same way I’ve seen him operate in science, i.e. he lets his beliefs dictate what the evidence must say. Most people no matter what their religion, Muslim Jew etc.., would be open to this line of discussion and would not rule the possibility out of hand as he did. Thus I stand by the scripture I quoted in this matter. For it separates those who are truly seeking truth from those who are only seeking to assert their particular brand of dogmatism. So Kappa, now that you know the ins and outs of my reasoning with mere, can you deny with 100% certainty that Jesus is Lord?

  129. 130

    I wrote:

    It’s absurd to assert that the Bible is inerrant given the huge number of contradictions it contains.

    A striking example is that the gospels don’t even agree on something as fundamental as when Jesus died. The Gospel of Mark (chapter 14) says that Jesus had the Passover dinner with his disciples (the Last Supper). The next day he was sentenced to death and was crucified at the third hour. The Gospel of John (chapter 19) says that Jesus was sentenced to death at the sixth hour of the day of preparation for Passover and was crucified sometime after that.

    They cannot both be right. At least one of the two is false. The Bible is not the inerrant word of God, no matter how much you want it to be.

    And that particular contradiction is just the tip of the iceberg.

    vividbleau replied:

    I think a lot of the problems one encounters when reading the gospels is that we fail to judge them as to their accuracy by the only standard which is fair to judge them, that is the standards applicable at the time they were passed down.

    Are you saying that the gospels are not intended for modern readers, only for Jews of the first century? Then why do present-day Christians make such a fuss over them? And why doesn’t God care enough about present-day Christians to give them an accurate account of the life and death of Jesus? That seems like it ought to be pretty important.

    Also, are you really claiming that first century Jews didn’t care whether they were talking about the day of preparation for Passover vs. the day of Passover itself? Give me a break.

    Even if that were true (and it obviously isn’t), do you think that God himself doesn’t know the difference between the two days? Do you think he didn’t realize that these contradictions would become an issue to future readers of the Bible?

    If God doesn’t even care enough to make the Bible accurate on something as fundamental to the faith as the story of Jesus’ death, why do Christians (especially evangelicals) think that the Bible is important at all? If God doesn’t care about the Bible, why should you?

  130. 131

    BA77:

    The proper response for someone who is truly seeking truth, and has not had a personal experience from the Lord, would have been to say they were unsure or that it was improbable, yet Mere stated it as an absolute fact that Jesus was not the Lord…

    No, I didn’t. You asked me this:

    Do you deny Jesus is Lord?

    I replied:

    If it isn’t already obvious, yes. I am no longer a Christian.

    Denying something is not the same as asserting that it cannot possibly be true. Are you claiming that you have never answered a question with a simple “no” when you weren’t 100.0% sure that you were correct? Give me a break.

    Also, I like your double standard. You say that it’s wrong to claim certainty, but then you make an exception for those who have had “a personal experience from the Lord”. How convenient.

    Doesn’t all of this strike you as hypocritical, to say the least?

    Motes and beams, BA77.

  131. 132

    Barb wrote:

    The Bible does not approve of slavery. This was heavily regulated in ancient Israel with provisions for slaves to leave their owners. There is no justification for using the Bible to promote slavery and anyone who’s studied the Bible carefully can tell you this, Nnoel.

    It looks like you haven’t studied the Bible carefully enough, Barb:

    Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property. You can will them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly.

    Leviticus 25:44-46, NIV

    The God of the Bible condones slavery, Barb. It may be unpleasant. It may be inconvenient. But it’s true.

    Do you condone slavery?

  132. 133

    Mere,
    You said yes to the question! What am I suppose to think? Is it not you splitting hairs by trying to backtrack? But IF you truly meant you were not sure about Christ conquering death and thus becoming Lord, I am truly sorry for I truly believe the consequences are absolutely horrific for those who deny His sovereignty and align themselves with His enemy. To me it really is as simple as this mere, I was at a really low spot in my life and I cried out to Jesus and He let Himself known to me in a way that blew my socks off. Christ is as real to me as possibly can be! That is how sure I am of His existence. If I cannot trust the reality of my own senses I just might as well refrain from ever saying it is day or night or raining or windy or whatever! That is how real the experience of Christ was, and still is, to me! Moreover, the fact that all these promises of heaven and paradise are actually true is absolutely amazing to me. Sometimes the wonder of it all actually being true still blows me away. It truly is far more than I could have ever wished for when I originally cried out to Jesus!

    Here is another video for you to chew on mere:

    Shroud Of Turin’s Unique 3 Dimensionality

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8RVPdHMUtc

  133. mereologist @132,

    The Biblical definition of slave is a far cry from the more modern definition. Did you know that if a property owner did not have a male descendant, his slaves would inherit his property?

    Also, a slave (indentured servant, really) was to be set free from their contract with his owners after a certain number of years. The slave had the option to remain with his master if he so desired. Many did.

    Many slaves were well regarded (craftsmen, artists, etc.) and could own property. Some slaves in the Greek and Roman Empires were rather wealthy and could even acquire slaves of their own.

  134. 135

    Mapou, if only we could have slaves like they had in the Bible, huh? /snark

  135. Kellog @135,

    You’re a slave now. You just don’t realize it.

  136. 137

    Mapou,

    Did you even read the verse I quoted? It says:

    You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property. You can will them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life…

    What part of “will them to your children” and “make them slaves for life” don’t you understand?

    Why is it that Christians don’t know these things about the Bible? Don’t any of you read it without cherry-picking?

    I just don’t get it. It’s right there in black and white. There’s nothing ambiguous about that verse. God is telling people that it is okay to buy slaves, keep them for life, and will them to your children.

    Don’t you people find that appalling? Aren’t you glad that modern societies have mostly rejected the so-called morality of the Bible?

  137. 138

    Mapou @ 136, I heart you too.

  138. Most people no matter what their religion, Muslim Jew etc.., would be open to this line of discussion and would not rule the possibility out of hand as he did. Thus I stand by the scripture I quoted in this matter. For it separates those who are truly seeking truth from those who are only seeking to assert their particular brand of dogmatism.

    There have been many Christians I’ve come across in online forums who identify themselves as truth seekers. Yet they are absolutely sure they know the nature of God and that those who do not believe as they do will meet a horrible and eternal fate. That strikes me as dogmatic.

    From what I have been reading about Judaism and Islam, devout followers in these faiths would in fact rule out the claim of Jesus as Lord based on what they believe are the true words of God. All the faiths think they have truth already, and they don’t identify it as dogmatism on their part but what God has communicated to them about his nature. I know to Jews that everything about Christ and the concept of Original Sin violates what they believe has been given to them.

    It also seems clear those of the other Abrahamic faiths claim to experience a divine connection, which does not identify itself as Jesus. If it in fact was and chose to reveal itself as such, it would clear up a lot of confusion.

    To better understand your position, would you specifically identify the force that made itself known to you as Christ, or God, and what allowed you to make the distinction?

    So Kappa, now that you know the ins and outs of my reasoning with mere, can you deny with 100% certainty that Jesus is Lord?

    As a Jew by birth, the concept was not part of my upbringing. I will say that I’ve read the words online of many Christians who are convinced they possess absolute Truth(tm) and that all others will burn, and I find that disturbing. At the same time I question the sureness my own faith has–in fact any faith. The concept of faith seems interchangeable with religion for most people, so that they end up protecting their own dogma while casting that accusation on everyone else. Me, I’ve always been open to possibilities, even including there could be elements of different faiths that have some truth. So my personal answer is no, I’m not sure.

    I don’t think that would be the response you would get from devout Jews and Muslims. Based on your earlier words, would this mean you don’t trust the people of these faiths?

  139. 140

    Kappa:
    Here is one experience from when I first became a “bornagain” Christian:

    Miracle Testimony – One Easter Sunday Sunrise Service – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tj0L5dwuX0g

    To answer you question of other religions, I have always been fascinated with the Jewish and Muslim predicament, and could probably go into a lot of fancy theological stuff, but to cut to the chase this following excerpt from a Near Death Experience of a Jewish woman, sums up for me what appears to be happening with the Jewish people.

    “I arrived in an explosion of glorious light into a room with insubstantial walls, standing before a man about in his thirties, about six feet tall, reddish brown shoulder length hair and an incredibly neat, short beard and mustache. He wore a simple white robe. Light seemed to emanate from him and I felt he had great age and wisdom. He welcomed me with great love, tranquility, and peace (indescribable) – no words. I felt, “I can sit at your feet forever and be content,” which struck me as a strange thing to think/say/feel. I became fascinated by the fabric of his robe, trying to figure out how light could be woven!

    He stood beside me and directed me to look to my left, where I was replaying my life’s less complementary moments. I relived those moments and felt not only what I had done but also the hurt I had caused. Some of the things I would have never imagined could have caused pain. I was surprised that some things I may have worried about, like shoplifting a chocolate as a child, were not there, whilst casual remarks which caused hurt unknown to me at the time were counted. When I became burdened with guilt, I was directed to other events which gave joy to others, although I felt unworthy. It seemed the balance was in my favor. I received great love.”
    http://bibleprobe.com/reneturner.htm

    Needless to say I was flabbergasted that she did not infer it was “the Messiah” Jesus Christ, but I was also comforted that she was brought into a “real spiritual” connection with God that far surpasses what “head knowledge” by itself can do. I am also fascinated that Jesus is not real big on proclaiming his name in these NDE’s. I only know of a few instances where he does as such.

    As far as finding adult Muslim NDE’s, which mention “the Being of Light” they are extremely rare, as are other non-Judeo-Christian cultures. In fact most non- mono-Theistic cultures have an extremely negative rate of “horrid” NDE’s

    Near-Death Experiences in Thailand: Discussion of case histories By Todd Murphy, 1999:
    Excerpt: We would suggest that the near-constant comparisons with the most frequently reported types of NDEs tends to blind researchers to the features of NDEs which are absent in these NDEs. Tunnels are rare, if not absent. The panoramic Life Review appears to be absent. Instead, our collection shows people reviewing just a few karmically-significant incidents. Perhaps they symbolize behavioral tendencies, the results of which are then experienced as determinative of their rebirths. These incidents are read out to them from a book. There is no Being of Light in these Thai NDEs, although The Buddha does appear in a symbolic form, in case #6. Yama is present during this truncated Life Review, as is the Being of Light during Western life reviews, but Yama is anything but a being of light. In popular Thai depictions, he is shown as a wrathful being, and is most often remembered in Thai culture for his power to condemn one to hell. Some of the functions of Angels and guides are also filled by Yamatoots. They guide, lead tours of hell, and are even seen to grant requests made by the experient.
    http://www.shaktitechnology.com/thaindes.htm

    A Comparative view of Tibetan and Western Near-Death Experiences by Lawrence Epstein University of Washington:

    Excerpt: Episode 5: The OBE systematically stresses the ‘das-log’s discomfiture, pain, disappointment, anger and disillusionment with others and with the moral worth of the world at large. The acquisition of a yid-lus and the ability to travel instantaneously are also found here.
    Episode 6: The ‘das-log, usually accompanied by a supernatural guide, tours bar-do, where he witnesses painful scenes and meets others known to him. They give him messages to take back.
    Episode 7: The ‘das-log witnesses trials in and tours hell. The crimes and punishments of others are explained to him. Tortured souls also ask him to take back messages to the living.

    http://www.case.edu/affil/tibe.....death.html

    Thus Kappa, from my own experience, and from all evidence I can gather, I feel extremely justified in proclaiming Christianity to be true to the exclusion of other “pagan religions”. And this is especially true of my attitude on this site where most of critics of ID are dogmatic atheists who trash Christianity!

  140. Here is one experience from when I first became a “bornagain” Christian:

    Miracle Testimony – One Easter Sunday Sunrise Service – video

    Sounds like a wonderful, inspirational experience. I would think there are many Jews and Muslims who can describe events that prove their interpretation of God is real as well. And that is what leaves me confused: if God as the Abrahamic faiths define him exists, why would he allow such varying interpretations of his word? It’s hard to see as a free will issue, since we supposedly know his will by him making himself known. It seems logical that part of safeguarding your word would be taking care in what you say and how you say it, to avoid misinterpretation by the people you are trying to make yourself known to.

    On the near death experiences, they often seem to grow out of the particular faiths the recipients have been exposed to. At least with the story of the Jewish woman you mentioned, even with the presence of what could very easily be seen as a Christ figure, I’m glad there’s no sense of damnation for believing the wrong way. The interpretation of sin also seems very Jewish, with significance placed on awareness of the harm we can do to others. When I read Christian views on sin, the emphasis is usually on how it is an affront to God, and the punishment you might receive from him due to it. There doesn’t seem to be much concern for the people you’ve actually wronged. To me, such a viewpoint is an obstacle to truly moral behavior. If you behave yourself in order to avoid a negative effect on yourself, that’s more of a practical behavior than a moral one. I find myself identifying more with the Jewish view of our actions in this world, even though it doesn’t come from being active in the faith.

    It troubles me a bit that you would refer to other religions as “pagan,” though maybe you have a less harsh definition as indicated by your use of quotes. My respect and admiration for people of the Asian countries has grown stronger as I learn more of their ways and culture (the kappa is a Japanese mythological creature). The idea that hundreds of millions of people would be abandoned by God as the Christians define him disturbs me. That, rather than whatever conflicts exist between Judaism and Christianity, make it hard for me to accept such a concept of a supreme being. That doesn’t mean I feel I can completely rule it out; only that I could not see such a god as being moral and just. Maybe that is what our reality actually comes down to, but I personally hope it does not.

  141. 142

    Kappa, Though I can empathize with your “feelings” of how a Supreme Being ought to act, I learned a while back that my feelings have very little to do with how reality is actually constructed and as such I listed some of the most rigorous foreign NDE studies available for you to study(I have more). The point is Kappa that you have put your feelings ahead of the available facts in this case. But don’t believe me on this matter, it is far to important, Search for yourself.

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