Who Wrote the Gospels?

“Enterprising spirits responded to this natural craving by pretended gospels full of romantic fables, and fantastic and striking details; their fabrications were eagerly read and accepted as true by common folk who were devoid of any critical faculty and who were predisposed to believe what so luxuriously fed their pious curiosity. Both Catholics and Gnostics were concerned in writing these fictions. The former had no motive other than that of a Pious Fraud.” Catholic Encyclopedia

How true are the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John? Can you trust them to be genuine and inspired?  Well, for starters, they were not written by the Apostles Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.  We don’t actually know who wrote them, but the men who did, did not know Jesus first hand, they were writing from oral stories being passed along.  They were originally written in the Greek language from 30 to 65 years after Jesus was crucified.  It is doubtful that any of the original Apostles could write Greek.  In the world at that time reading literacy was probably 10% or less, writing literacy 2% to 3% and we don’t know that any of the Apostles were literate outside of their native Aramaic.

Outside of the Gospel of Matthew no other author, Biblical or otherwise, mentions that King Herod slaughtered children around Bethlehem or anyplace else in his kingdom. It seems to be a story made up by Matthew alone, perhaps like John makes up the account of Jesus’ death, to make some kind of theological point.

In Luke we have the story of an empire-wide census that has people traveling to birth places of their 1000 year removed ancestors…in itself a pretty silly premise.  We happen to have very good records of the reign and times of Caesar Augustus, and there is no mention at all, outside of Luke, of such a census at anytime. Why on earth would Joseph or any other citizen of the empire have to return to an ancestral home they probably didn’t even know? Can you imagine the economic upset this would cause?  I really doubt that Caesar Augustus was that stupid.

Another thing to consider is that Luke mentions that Quirinius was governor of Syria when Jesus was born.  The other gospels say that Jesus was born during Herod’s reign.  We know from several other historical sources, including Tacitus and Josephus and from several ancient inscriptions that Quirinius did not become governor of Syria until 6 AD, or 10 years after Herod died.

The genealogy of Jesus is also problematical. Matthew and Luke are the two gospels that give the family line of Jesus; one of the problems is that they disagree.  Both of them trace his lineage through Joseph to the Jewish ancestors, but when you get to the end they disagree as to who is Josephs father, patrilineal grandfather, and great-grandfather.  In Matthew the family line goes from Joseph to Jacob to Matthan to Eleazar to Eliud and into the past.  In Luke it goes from Joseph to Heli to Mathat to Levi to Melchi and on into the past.

Another problem that is as big as the genealogy lineage is the ancestral heritage.  Jesus was supposed to be in the line of David.  The line of David comes through Joseph, but Joseph was not the father of Jesus, God was.  Luke explicitly says that the bloodline is of Joseph, not Mary.  There is no blood of David in Jesus. The two authors of the genealogies, of course, had no idea that their gospels would end up in a Bible and subject to side-by-side comparisons.

We are pretty certain that Mark was the first of the gospel writers and that Matthew and Luke got many of their stories from him…that is why there are so many verbatim agreements between them. In the story of the baptism of Jesus; Matthew, Mark, and Luke all agree that Jesus left immediately for the wilderness.  John writes that on the next day Jesus was gathering his disciples around him and launched into his public ministry by turning wine into water.

Depending on which gospel you read Judas either hangs himself in remorse over betraying Jesus or he falls down and his bowels spill out over the ground.  Matthew has him hanging, Luke in his writing in Acts has Judas falling and spilling his guts.  There is major disagreement on two other points of the Judas story.  Who purchased the field where he died…the Priests (Matthew) or Judas (Acts), and why was it called the field of blood…because it was purchased with blood money (Matthew) or because Judas bleed all over it (Acts).

We don’t have originals (autographs) of any of the four gospels, only copies, and in many cases these are copies made centuries later.  For one part of the resurrection narrative scholars are pretty certain that the final twelve verses of Marks Gospel are not original and were added by scribes in a later generation.  Three of the gospels have different endings for Jesus’ last words or time on the cross.

Another bunch of discrepancies is to be found in the resurrection stories of the Apostles.  There seems to be very little agreement to any of them.  All four agree that on the third day after the crucifixion Mary went to the tomb and found it empty, but on practically all other details they disagree.

Who went to the tomb?
Mary alone  (John)
Mary and another Mary (Matthew)
Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Jesus and Salome (Mark)
Women who had accompanied Jesus from Galilee to Jerusalem…maybe Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary mother of James and others. (Luke)

Had the stone already been rolled away from the tomb?
Yes (Mark)
An Angel rolled it away while the women were there (Matthew)

What or Who did they see there?
An Angel (Matthew)
A young man (Mark)
Two men (Luke)
No one (John)

What were the women told?
Tell the disciples to go to Galilee where Jesus will meet them. (Mark)
Remember what Jesus had told them while in Galilee, that he would die and rise again. (Luke)

Then the women tell the disciples what they heard and saw (Matthew)
They do not tell anyone (Mark)
These two different stories will have great significance later that appears to be irreconcilable.

If they tell someone, who is it?
The eleven disciples (Matthew)
The eleven disciples and “others” (Luke)
Simon Peter and another anonymous disciple (John)

What do the Disciples do?
Nothing because Jesus immediately appears to them (Matthew)
They do not believe the women (Luke)
They go to the tomb to see for themselves (John)

Remember that the writers of these stories had no idea that their works would end up side-by-side in a single book.  The gospels aren’t written by who they say they are and there are many many discrepancies.

Do these books testify to an “inerrant word of God” being passed down?

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Truth Saves

Advertisements

About the word of me
Interested in family and friends,grandchildren, photography, darkrooms, history, archaeology, scuba diving, computers, software, fast cars, journalism, writing, travel, ecology, news, science, and probably most other subjects you could think of. Did I mention family and friends?? I require iced tea or cold brewed coffee and a internet connection to be fully functional. Sometimes there are just so many words in my head they spill out.

48 Responses to Who Wrote the Gospels?

  1. Well after reading your post it simply confirmed in my mind why providing a bible to an individual and having them read it without instructions leads one to a variety of different an conflicting conclusions.

    This may be helpful for you on a verse by verse understanding of the passages for the literal sense of it.
    http://www.rtforum.org/lt/lt131.html

    And here is the spiritual sense of it.http://www.rtforum.org/lt/lt132.html

  2. clinton semley says:

    the more i read a bout jesus the more i feel it wasnt as mystical ,the god thing doesnt come in to play in my mind when reading it.i get the feeling of this been totaly chinese wisspers added to the gosspils over the decades just to make jesus seem the son of god, its been mutilated with heavenly attributes added to make jesus seem to be the son of god. instead of telling the truth about a man next to be king through jewish blood with a religioun he believed in .knew the only way of getting the religioun spread was to be the king of jews …it seems all pre med..past decades of the palms come in to play..old scripts say of a messaiah will come to rule in blood line to david..thats what the people wanted and waited for,thats what jesus give them straight from the older scripts.he could of had the blood line,and that in a way would be a good back up for jesus but it didnt turn out the way it was planned,it went too fare,the king of jews wasnt enough title for him and now thought he was the son of god..thats were it ended christianity died there on the cross.from here on wards, lies cover ups and faulse inpursinations of jesus would be used by the brothers of jesus to keep the magic going and con the 500 that he had risen and it was true he is the son of god….what would you do been oe of the brothers you came so fare and so close to change the world and it all ended on the cross,would you walk away..or would you lie ..would you continue to try and keep the faith going only on lies….if it was a lie it was a lie worth lieing about…..also i carnt help thinking that joseph and mary would be pounding at this young jesus that hes the one for the throne as king if he was blood to david line..who wouldnt…but would you say to your child hes the son of god..either one is a high rank,but the son of god is above every thing ..that to me is just a little too much to contemplate…never mind if you were a child.

  3. thewordofme says:

    Hi Quickbeamoffangorn, Thanks for writing.

    You write:
    “Well after reading your post it simply confirmed in my mind why providing a bible to an individual and having them read it without instructions leads one to a variety of different and conflicting conclusions.”

    Yea, that’s what the Catholic Church did for a thousand years…kept the Bible from laymen. This can lead to all kinds of trouble for the church and common folk. We all know that the leaders and all the way down to the local priests of said church have not been that altruistic and honest at all times. 🙂

    Back to the point though. Am I wrong about any of the stuff I have posted…other than my personal opinions of course? I have put your recommended readings in my bookmarks and will read them as I can…read some already.

    What I am getting at in all of these posts is for the most part aimed at the evangelical fundamentalists out there who have a belief that the Bible is inerrant and the actual “Word of God.” With all of the contradictions, falsehoods, antinomy, Inconsistencies, and discrepancies there is no way that the Bible is actually wholly from God.

    I have gone through the Old Testament and come to the conclusion (my opinion only of course) that it is probably mostly man-made and not a very consistent, logical, or convincing religious book. The god pictured in the OT is evil and has none of the qualities one would expect of a real god. The Genesis story is riddled with mythical events that are being proven wrong…actually most are already proven wrong.

    I have barely started in the New Testament and already found many, many problems. Only 7 of the letters of Paul seem to be really his writing. Do we know which John wrote Revelations and was he writing about the Roman Empire or a coming Apocalypse on earth? All the other books in the NT are written by someone other than the name on the header page.

    So just how has the Catholic Church been instrumental in saving the “Real” gospels and making sure of the real orthodoxy?

    The honest question I have for religion is: Can we common folk really trust anything about the Christian religion, or is it so riddled with problems, some of which I have wrote about, that its probably untrue and on its way out eventually?
    twom

  4. “Yea, that’s what the Catholic Church did for a thousand years…kept the Bible from laymen”

    Come on now. That’s another one of those Black legend props again. A single bible required something on the order of 25k to produce in the first 1,000 years. And as you’ve indicated correctly over 90% of the population was illiterate, so what good would distribution do anyway?

    “We all know that the leaders and all the way down to the local priests of said church have not been that altruistic and honest at all times.”

    Sure but if you fail to recognize that the church preserved the best of the ancients and developed everything that was worth while like the arts, hospitals, orphanages, college system, science etc. I am not asking you to turn a blind eye to those who have erred in the past but those individuals wrongs do not come close to the good that has been produced by the collective efforts of the church.

    “What I am getting at in all of these posts is for the most part aimed at the evangelical fundamentalists out there who have a belief that the Bible is inerrant and the actual “Word of God.””

    Well I can agree with some of your points but they don’t err on the moral principles conveyed through the bible. It is inspired by God but again the intent isn’t to convey science nor historical facts at least not in the modern sense. I don’t believe that detracts from the whole.

    “With all of the contradictions, falsehoods, antinomy, Inconsistencies, and discrepancies there is no way that the Bible is actually wholly from God.”

    Clearly there are discrepancies and APPARENT inconsistencies, but those are reflections on those doing the interpretation (be they believers or non-believers) not the bible itself.

    There are literary genres in the bible it’s not all non-fiction, nor all history.

    Authorship back then isn’t the same as today either.
    Moses is the author of the first 5 books of the OT. But clearly he wasn’t around at the time of Adam & Eve. One uses author in the sense that they are writing in the tradition of that author. Example someone writing in the style of Tom Clancy would use his name for his book.
    The names of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were linked with them as their authors right from the very earliest days
    No other authors were ever suggested for them and there are thousands of Greek manuscripts of the Gospels, and they all give them the same authors.

    If you look at the first church historian Eusebius
    church history book 3, chapter 24
    http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/250103.htm
    You will fine the development of the Gospels. Eusebius also used sources from the 2nd century which did not make it to modern days. It is these extracts which from the basis of who wrote the Gospels. If you look at Chapter 39 you’ll note that the Gospel of Matthew was written in Hebrew(possibly he meant Aramaic) and that St. mark’s Gospel is from the preaching of St. Peter. There is a whole field of study to this from linguists and the study of the various copyists of the manuscripts that we do have copies of.

    The authentic authorship of the Gospels is much stronger then that of the other ancients. Plato up through Shakespeare have questionable authorship.

    All I can say is one has to study the bible. One has to understand context in when the author wrote the passage not in modern times.

    An example of this is your reading the list of names in Jesus’ genealogy. You would have to research the meaning of the names and you’d find that the names themselves carry a theological message about Christ.
    Note how the list is composed in the Gospel.

    D (or daled) is the fourth letter in Hebrew and so has a value of four, and V (or vav) is the sixth letter and therefore has a value of six. Thus, d-v-d correlates to 4-6-4 which has a total value of 14. David, then, equals 14. The fact that 14 generations each separate Abraham and David, David and the exile, and the exile and Jesus, when the object is to connect Jesus to David and David’s name equals 14, serves to reinforce the connection between Jesus and David.

    Now this part of the message is loss because today we only have a Greek version of the Gospel of Matthew. However knowing that it was written to the Jews in Hebrew this meaning was preserved by the church through the ages.

    There is no doubt that the rise of atheism is upon us. However Caesar and his secret police didn’t defeat the church, nor Attila the Hun, nor a host of others up to modern times like Napoleon, Hitler, Stalin. There all sand and the church is still here. The church existed during the age of empires, the creation of the nation-state, and now the demise of the nation-state into the global gov’t whatever form that takes.

    If history is a reflection of what is likely to come that I like the odds of the church outlasting your brief moment on the world stage.

  5. Dear wordofme….

    I think you’re jumping to conclusions a bit too quickly given the evidence that you’ve cited. For example, you are correct to assert that Judas hanged himself, as shown in Matthew 27:5. But the Matthenian account ends there. And by looking at Acts 1:18, Luke finishes where Matthew left off, for obviously this hanging did not work, which means that either the knot slipped, the rope broke, or the branch broke which Judas decided to hang himself upon, and he fell to his death. It is important to note that the Bible never states that Judas died from the hanging. From putting both accounts together, it seems likely that Judas hung himself on a branch on a cliff overlooking a field (possibly to ensure that his death would definitely take place). Something happened that resulted in him falling, and then he fell to his death.

    Furthermore, you cited what you deemed to be a disagreement regarding just who bought the field, Judas or the priests. Both accounts are right, for Matthew shows that the priests outright rejected Judas’ pleas for them to take back the 30 pieces of silver. Since they would not, he threw it into the temple, forcing them to go in and gather it. And instead of putting it back into the temple, they bought the potters field with it as a burial ground for strangers. So although the priests made the purchase, it was with Judas’ money, therefore implying that both parties ‘purchased’ the field. (To illustrate this point: if you gave your granddaughter $1 to buy some bubblegum, although she is the one who will purchase it, it will be with your money, and therefore, you both purchased the gum.)

    Also, the field is noted as the ‘field of blood’ by both authors, Matthew and Luke. Matthew accounts for this b/c the field was purchased with blood money, Luke b/c Judas fell and burst open in it. There is no discrepancy here, for Scripture tells what the people called the field, and gives two very understandable reasons why. Can something not have the same name for different reasons?

    Therefore, the Bible does not contradict itself in this account, for it is simply telling the whole story using different authors. In fact, this “whole story approach” answers many of your statements regarding the different New Testament accounts.

    If you are interested, i would enjoy discussing the other accounts as well. I would also encourage you to read “The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable?” by F.F. Bruce, for in this short book , Bruce will shed much more light on this subject than i can on a blog.

    Take care wordofme…I pray that this will encourage you to look a little deeper into Scripture to see that it is in fact the very Word of God, and points directly to His Son, Jesus, who bore sin on the behalf of those who are His, therefore being their mediator between God and man.

  6. thewordofme says:

    Mr Harmon,

    I am away from home on vacation for a few days, will be replying near weekend. Thanks for your reply.

  7. thewordofme says:

    Hi Mr. Harmon, thanks for your reply.

    Yes, I have had Jehovah’s Witnesses tell me that version of the death of Judas. I have also had Christians of other denominations tell me that if it doesn’t say it in the Bible you shouldn’t extrapolate it. My thoughts are that the accounts are written by people who were not present at the event and just heard different stories and passed them along…none of the authors had any idea that their works were going to end up in a book side by side and open to horizontal comparison.

    The examples I posted were just a few of the many apparent discrepancies to be found in the Bible. If one takes them all together and gives them scholarly critiques, you can only come to one logical conclusion…the Bible is not “the Inspired Word of God” it is a man-made document.

    If modern science weren’t proving many things about the Bible wrong I guess religion would still be credible, but over half of the book is pretty much disproven, and has lost its authority. People are hanging on just because they have a lot of time invested and they don’t want to look at the evidence because they know what will happen. There truly is no magic or supernatural in this world…never was.

    A book you might like to read is “Jesus Interrupted” by Bart Ehrman. The author is a past minister and fundamentalist and a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary.

    I will be happy to hear what you have to say, and debate each others position…twom

  8. Patrick says:

    Dear wordofme,

    Thanks for the response, and i hope the vacation went well.

    Although at the time the Biblical authors did not know that they were writing the inspired Word of God, the point still lies that their accounts of Judas were not contradictory…they simply built upon one another. Furthermore, while i agree that we should not read anything into what Scripture says, this does not mean that we cannot logically deduce what it is that they point to.

    But before we follow this trail, let’s backtrack. I appreciate you stating up front your position deeming that science has disproven Scripture as well as supernatural events, and from this you have regarded Scripture as the words of fallable men, not the Word of God. Allow me to place my cards on the table. I believe that the Bible is the entire, inerrant Word of God and that God wrote it through His Holy Spirit using the abilities and characteristics of men. This is called verbal-plenary inspiration. I further believe that the world has sinned, and that the only way that sinful man could be reconciled to a Holy God is for God Himself to provide the way. He did so through providing His Son, Jesus (who is also God, not an angel as Jehovah’s witnesses believe), to be a propitiation for sin. I believe that Scripture plainly states that we can do nothing to earn salvation, it is free. Furthermore, i do not believe that salvation is means of further health and wealth, but a process of being declared just before the One who is Just on the basis of Christ and Him crucified for sin.

    Now that you know my position, it seems that we are clearly at a crossroads, for i do not follow Christ blindly off of blind faith, but do so because i see that science does not deny God, but instead serves as great proof for His existence and the truthfulness of Scripture. But even before we discuss science, we need to start on the foundation of truth. Do you believe that there is absolute truth, wordofme?

    I look forward to hearing from you. I will be out of town this weekend, and look forward to discussing further next week. Have a great weekend.

  9. Pingback: Truth on trial « Thoughts for Truth

  10. Brian Mahon says:

    Wordofme,

    I appreciate your diligence in seeking the truth – I assume that that is what you are seeking, for it seems that your desire to say that the Bible is not the truth, that Christ is not the truth, is an equal desire to say that something else is.

    I grant you this with ease – everyone comes to the Bible with presuppositions; everyone – not just Christians. You come to the Bible with presuppositions, with preconceived notions of reality, of truth, and these notions color the way that you read and interpret what the Bible says. I fully grant that my presuppositions – that there is a God, that He has defined Himself, that He has done that supremely in His Son Jesus Christ, and done so personally both in natural revelation and special revelation (the Bible). Thus, He is not defined by men but transcends our feeble attempts; indeed, we would not know Him – lest He reveal Himself; this, I hold, He has done through the life, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of His Son. This colors the way that I read and interpret the Bible.

    The challenge, then, is equally distributed to each – to the one who has embraced Christ alone for salvation and to the one who sees no need to – and it is this: what does the Bible say about itself, and how does it do this?

    To be brief, the Bible – not someone external to it – the Bible itself calls itself “the Word of God.” This is called “self-attestation.” For example: “All Scripture is breathed out by God . . .” 2 Timothy 3:16; “And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God,” 1 Thessalonians 2:13; “Sanctify them by the truth; your Word is truth,” John 17:17; “Forever, O Lord, your Word is firmly fixed in the heavens,” Psalm 119:89; “The sum of your Word is truth, and every one of your righteous rules endures forever,” Psalm 119:160; “The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes . . . the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than the honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward,” Psalm 19:7-11; “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God,” John 1:1-2; “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of this nature, and he upholds the universe by the Word of his power,” Hebrews 1:1-3. This is the Bible’s internal witness; I suppose you could say I am convicted that the Bible is the Word of God because “the Bible tells me so.”

    Furthermore, the discrepancies that you have pointed out are not discrepancies – they are different purviews of the same event. It is like being at a football game, and a guy gets crushed, and afterwards you and your buddies talk about that collision – but you talk about it from one point of view, and your friend says, “no, but there was more, I saw this as well,” and another says the same thing because they were sitting at different places in the stadium; nevertheless, it was one tackle, the same tackle. So it is, that the biblical authors, from Genesis to Revelation, or as you have pointed to, Matthew to John, are bearing witness to the same thing from divinely inspired purviews; these writers lost none of their senses, but the Spirit of God who authored the Scriptures made use of each writers unique personality, historical setting, training, etc. to compile a Word that – when viewed this way or any way for that matter – is nothing less than the whole truth and nothing but the truth. In fact, the science of interpretation sees the various writers, settings, time, event, etc. and the fact that there is no contradiction between Moses and John (writers of the first and last books or anywhere in between) as evidence that it is no mere man-made book, but the very activity and revelation of God by God in writing.

    Moreover, individual texts cannot be extrapolated from the whole and examined autonomously. This is no cover up for the Bible, this is true for any sort of literature. It is the whole that gives the part its interpretation. The Bible is not a verse here and verse there, only, but a unified whole – not a circle, but a line of redemptive activity that stretches over every page from creation to the impending new creation already inaugurated in Christ Jesus at His Incarnation.

    And as a subset, the Bible deals in progressive revelation. This may help with those texts that you deem contradictory. But this is not foreign to us even in nature. For what is an acorn but an oak tree in seed form. The reality of the oak tree subsists in the acorn. As the acorn is planted, so it sprouts, and begins to grow – and goes through many stages of growth until it is in full blossom. This is what you are reading in the Bible; this is the continuity between Old Testament and New Testament, between one verse and the next. Example: Genesis 3:15, God promises to deliver a people from sin by the seed of the woman who He promises will crush the head of the serpent, that is, the devil – this is the acorn. This promise is inherited by Abraham in Genesis 12:1-3, and Genesis 15, such that the promised serpent crusher will come through Abraham – it begins to sprout. It is later inherited by Isaac in Genesis 26:1-5, and Jacob (also named Israel) in Genesis 28:13-15, and to Israel’s sons in Genesis 49, particularly noting Judah in 49:8-12 – it begins to come up out of the ground; when God delivers Israel out of Egypt (see Exodus), He is making good on this promise – the nation of Israel is carrying what was the Genesis 3:15 acorn, and He defines Israel as a nation who is to perfectly obey the law – thus, the promise coming through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is picking up qualifications, it is being progressively revealed: the serpent crusher will be the offspring of Abraham and have to be a perfect law keeper; in 2 Samuel 7, more qualifications are added – this seed will be a son of David, a son of God, and have an everlasting kingdom (keep in mind that this was all in the acorn from the beginning; note also that these things while having an ultimate fulfillment, did have typical/partial fulfillments in their historical settings, thus Solomon in the 2 Samuel 7 passage – but Solomon falls short of the perfect law keeping and thus he can’t be the Deuteronomy 17 king that everyone is looking for – did I mention Deut. 17?); Psalm 2 speaks of this Son as does Psalm 45 as King; Isaiah and the prophets add to this promise as well – the serpent crusher will suffer (Isaiah 53 for instance); He will be born of a virgin (Genesis 3:15, seed of the woman ring a bell?); and His name will be Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace – this is the acorn at pre-teen; the New Testament reveals the full oak.

    Matthew, Mark, Luke, and the entire New Testament canon conclusively reveal this to be one Man, the God-Man, Jesus Christ – He fulfills all of these things; now even amongst your contradictions, this has to be thought-provoking. And more than that, friend, He fulfills them all such that He might save you – by these rights, only He can. See Galatians 3 for how Paul puts all of this together and you will see the unbelievable (except by grace) fusion and fulfillment of the whole biblical story. By the way, His crushing of the serpent you know as the cross (see the end of the Gospels, Colossians 2:13-15, Hebrews 2:10-18, etc.)

    Lastly, and I do include this with all love for you and your soul, standing on the brink of eternity as it were – “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned,” 1 Corinthians 2:14; and “The word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God,” 1 Corinthians 1:18. I bid you, then, to understand that though you can naturally understand the biblical text as you could any sentence of any book, the significance of the text you cannot understand for it is “spiritually discerned,” that is, by the Spirit of God. Thus, I plead, friend, do not flare up, but consider these things, and I pray that God by His Spirit will make your (just as He did my own) sin an eternally consequential reality, and then, make Christ, the sinless One, who died on His cross for sinners, irresistibly beautiful to you for salvation. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

  11. thewordofme says:

    Hi again Patrick, thanks for writing back.

    Vacation time was short but sweet. The coast is great this time of year.

    I believe what you are doing with the story of Judas is closer to extrapolation than logical deduction. I’m curious as to why you haven’t tackled any of the other discrepancies that I wrote of in my post. There are some pretty serious disconnects in the Holy Book.

    You write:
    “…you have regarded Scripture as the words of fallable men, not the Word of God. Allow me to place my cards on the table. I believe that the Bible is the entire, inerrant Word of God and that God wrote it through His Holy Spirit using the abilities and characteristics of men…”

    If one slows down and seriously reads and researches some of the things mentioned in the Bible, you can see the cracks. Serious Biblical criticism only started in the 1700’s, and the people criticizing it had to watch their backs as the Church would go after them with deadly purpose. Thankfully there were brave people who persevered in those times and we moved away from religion controlling our lives, and the very world we live in. Nowadays we live in a secularly controlled world and have freedom to explore and criticize (in a scholarly way of course), anything in religion.

    With just casual reading of the first book in the Bible; Genesis, I am stopped almost immediately by stories that I know to be false. I’m sure that you have had occasion to talk with non-believers about most of them, but unless you actually get down and explore the science behind these objections you cannot seriously dismiss the non-believer, because whether you or the non-believer knows it or not, he has the science on his side.

    You write:
    “…Now that you know my position, it seems that we are clearly at a crossroads, for i do not follow Christ blindly off of blind faith, but do so because i see that science does not deny God, but instead serves as great proof for His existence and the truthfulness of Scripture…”

    Science is continuing to eat away at the concept of God, not by any preconceived evil purpose, but simply by doing what it does…such as explore the natural world and find the truth of things.

    By exploring as it does it is slowly going to disprove God…it has already started, just look at the list below.

    Things that we know are wrong in the early chapters of the Bible because of circumstantial evidence:

    1. Adam and Eve, as portrayed in the Bible, never existed.
    2. There was never a worldwide Noachian Flood.
    3. The Tower of Babel scenario is a myth.
    4. There are several time/place anomalies or anachronisms in Genesis and Exodus.
    5. The Exodus, as described in the Bible, never happened.
    6. Moses did not write the Pentateuch.

    These are just a few of the serious flaws with the bible that indicate it is a product of fallible men and not a perfect God who would, of course, not allow such sloppy exposition of events and editing. These stories are proof of unlearned ancient myth…not proof of a omniscient God.

    It is things like these throughout the Bible that are leading people to question the truthfulness of religion. A truly God inspired or led religion would not be open to these mistakes.

    You write:
    “…But even before we discuss science, we need to start on the foundation of truth. Do you believe that there is absolute truth, wordofme?”

    The ancient Greek origins of the words “true” and “truth” have some consistent definitions through great spans of history that were often associated with the topics of logic, geometry, mathematics, deduction, induction, and natural philosophy.

    Do you mean “Truth” as in the above statement?

    Or…

    Thomas Aquinas stated in his Disputed Questions on Truth:
    “A natural thing, being placed between two intellects, is called true insofar as it conforms to either. It is said to be true with respect to its conformity with the divine intellect insofar as it fulfills the end to which it was ordained by the divine intellect… With respect to its conformity with a human intellect, a thing is said to be true insofar as it is such as to cause a true estimate about itself.”

    Thus, for Aquinas, the truth of the human intellect (logical truth) is based on the truth in things (ontological truth). Following this, he wrote an elegant re-statement of Aristotle’s view in his Summa I.16.1:

    Veritas est adæquatio intellectus et rei.
    (Truth is the conformity of the intellect to the things.)

    “Aquinas also said that real things participate in the act of being of the Creator God who is Subsistent Being, Intelligence, and Truth. Thus, these beings possess the light of intelligibility and are knowable. These things (beings; reality) are the foundation of the truth that is found in the human mind, when it acquires knowledge of things, first through the senses, then through the understanding and the judgment done by reason.”

    Or perhaps in this context above?

    Have a great weekend.

    twom

    • Wordofme, thanks for the response and sorry for the delay in my own.

      Although i appreciate your knowledge of Aquinas… when regarding truth, what i mean is this: To put it very simply, Truth is telling it like it is. It can also be defined as that which corresponds to its object, or something that accurately describes reality.

      And since when you read Genesis you are “stopped almost immediately by stories that (you) know to be false,” then I will assume that you do believe in absolute truth, otherwise your stated factual knowledge here is simply relative to you and thus worth nothing more than a hill of beans.

      So, since there is such a thing as absolute truth which you have alluded to in your previous response, then there are logically three places in which you and I stand. If truth is absolute, and thus narrow in scope (ex. 1+1 always equals 2), then either: 1) you are correct and I am wrong, since my worldviews explicitly contradict yours, 2) I am right and you are wrong for the same reason, or 3) we are both wrong. There is no 4th scenario, for we cannot both be right in this matter….would you agree?

      If so, i would like to begin with science if that’s ok with you, and i believe that it is. But let’s go back to the beginning, shall we? Even before Adam and Eve, what proofs do you have that there is not a Creator who started this all?

      I look forward to your response, and hope that you have a wonderful weekend. Again, i will be traveling, so i will not have a chance to respond until early next week.

      Till next time…

  12. thewordofme says:

    Hi Brian Mahon, thank you for writing.

    Did Mr. Harmon hand off the scepter to you while he is away? 🙂

    You write:
    “…your desire to say that the Bible is not the truth, that Christ is not the truth, is an equal desire to say that something else is…”

    My purpose with this whole blog is to outline the problems with religion…not just Christianity and Judaism, although these are the ones I focus on primarily…but all of them.

    You write:
    “You come to the Bible with presuppositions, with preconceived notions of reality, of truth, and these notions color the way that you read and interpret what the Bible says.”

    Yes, I suppose I do, as all others do I imagine. But, I eventually grew out of it. As I matured and learned of the wonders of our world and our universe I turned to science to interpret and teach me of these wonders.

    As a child I was taken to church and Sunday school and learned of the Christian God and Jesus and all the stories they teach children…as a child I took all that in and simply lived my life without too much thought of God, etc. My natural bent was for science and I followed that muse and never looked back.

    Not too long ago my wife took to religion and bugged me to follow her, so I decided to research religion and find out who had the truth. Imagine my surprise when I found out that no one does. Over two years have gone by now and the further I search the further I get from believing in magic and the supernatural.

    There are simply too many discrepancies and untruths in the Bible. The stories don’t mesh and are mostly unbelievable. The Bible just does not seem to be a work that is inspired by an all-knowing, omnipotent entity. I feel that religion–all religions–are the work of men.

    So, I will say to your post…nice sermon, what else do you have?

    twom

  13. Brian Mahon says:

    Friend,

    I know your enmity against religion. I too grew up in the church, baptized as an infant, always in Sunday school, an acolyte, confirmed at 13, partaking of the Lord’s Supper, a relatively moral teenager. And I thought that I was a Christian; but that thought was based not on what Christ had done for me, but rather on what I thought that I had done for myself. In other words, I trusted what you deem “religion.”

    Biblical Christianity is quite different from religion, and to lump what the Bible is teaching, and those who have truly embraced Christ as He is presented in the Gospel for their salvation, with religion – be it Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Catholicism, spiritualism, and yes, even naturalism and “selfish-ism” – and so to equate the one with the rest is quite inaccurate and poor on your part, for it reveals that you do not understand the central claim of the Gospel itself, the claim which I, as a Protestant Christian, have sought to make plain.

    Religion, then, has one basic principle: “Do this and live.” Conversely, to not do this law, produces death. Every “religion” and, dare I say, every human being naturally operates by this principle, yes, friend, even you. Everyone naturally deals with or relates to other people – regardless of “religious affiliation” – on the basis of works. Scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours. You don’t do what I want, I will have enmity in my heart against you. My friend has this item, I must meet that standard. And if I do these things, if I can keep up, then I will feel a part of society, then I will reckon myself “alright.” Every person, whether they want to admit it or not, no matter a worldview that they claim is contrary, that is, amoral, or irreligious, lives inconsistently with the worldview that they propound on that basis; for everyone knows its not right for me to take my bat to your car and beat it to death – even you, I grant, would be angered with me. And why? Because you, even in your irreligious worldview, are in some sense religious – humanity bears the image of God, and thus, is moral.

    Thus, to the point, we, being sinners, despise the law – “do this and live; don’t do it and you will die” – we hate it; and rightly so. All religions are saying do something, and if you do something, you will be “saved” – no matter what they mean by “saved.”

    God’s law in the Bible says the same thing. In Deuteronomy 27-28, 30, God pronounces curses and blessings in accordance with perfect – perfect – law keeping; if you are not perfect, that is, sinless, then you were cursed; in His grace, God provided the Israelites with a means of temporary atonement – the blood of animals; this temporarily restored them to the worshipping community of God. But unlike every other “religion” in the world, God gave His law, not only for moral governance and out of a concern for the holiness of His particular people, but to reveal to them something radically more: As God was the One who gave the law for Israel to obey perfectly, as a display of His perfect holiness and character, only God could obey it perfectly; no mere man can do what God requires of Him, namely, “be holy even as I am holy,” that is, be sinless and you may have fellowship with me. But here again, God made gracious provision. The law was given by God not only to govern unto holiness of life, but to point us to the reality that our sinful condition is weakened to the point of inability to keep the righteous requirement of the law (Romans 8:1-4). Simply, friend, the law of God only condemns man, and thus, it points to One who could and did fulfill it for us, in our place.

    Deuteronomy 21:22-23, God says that a man hanged on a tree is cursed by God. This is what Paul writes in Galatians 3:10-14: “For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; (why?) for it is written, ‘Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things (repeat, “all things) written in the Book of the law, and do them.’ Now it is evident that no one is justified (made right with God, declared innocent in His courtroom) before God by the law, for ‘The righteous shall live by faith.’ But the law is not of faith, rather ‘The one who does them shall live by them.’ Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us – for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree’ – so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles (that’s us, unless your Jewish), so that we might receive the promised Spirit (see Jeremiah 31), through faith.”

    To put it another way, God made Jesus who knew no sin to be sin for us, so that in Jesus we might become the righteousness of God – the righteousness that He requires of us.

    And, thus, biblical Christianity, no matter what you have heard or read before from others who say that they are Christians, know this, biblical Christianity is NOT like any other religion – it stands alone. It is not, “Do this and live.” It is “You must do this perfectly, you must be as righteous as God is righteous; you haven’t and can’t, and therefore God has done for you what you never would, and He has done it in His Son, Jesus Christ, ‘born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba, Father!’ So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God’ (Galatians 3:4-6), for, ‘God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us,’ (Romans 8:3-4).

    Friend, this is radically different that what you are lumping it into. This is no religion in the sense that you are using the term; no, this is Biblical Christianity, this is the Gospel of God’s grace in Christ Jesus. As has been demonstrated from the text, the one who cannot, would not, has not lived sinlessly, can by faith in Jesus, receive from God a sinlessness that does not belong to us – that is, Christ’s own perfect sinlessness, and thus we are not saved by what we can or ought to do, but by what Christ has done for us.

    So I plead, once more, repent of the lawbreaking that you know you have committed, even as I know I have committed, and trust, embrace Christ alone by faith. I write all in love for you, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

  14. thewordofme says:

    Hello again Mr. Mahon,

    You misunderstand my stance on religion sir. I feel no enmity towards religion in general. I feel I have a lot more to learn about it, and I am enjoying my research and almost all of the people I correspond with from this blog are friendly and easy to get along with.

    The only thing that gets to me sometimes, is occasionally realizing that the people I am “talking” with believe in magic, the supernatural, demons, angels, etc. Sometimes Biblical myths are being discussed and I just can’t understand how people can still believe in these stories that have been so thoroughly disproven. I mean people started questioning the flood story in the 1700’s and it’s been known to be myth for over a hundred years now.

    In the last 70 to 80 years so much has been learned about Biblical times it’s scary. Now, even Jewish archaeologists, born and living in Israel, know and teach things that a hundred years ago would have made them outcasts, or worse, in their own land.

    Now you’re talking to me about ‘Biblical Christianity’ (I thought all Christianity was Biblical), and I’m trying to figure out if you are a Biblical literalist or not. I need more information on your beliefs before I can converse intelligently with you on matters of religion.

    Understand that I don’t believe I am living a life of sin because I reject your God. I live a good life, treat others well, don’t cheat on my taxes, etc. In fact I know I lead a better life than some Christian ministers and priests I hear about…consequently I feel no guilt at all about my lack of religion.

    Think about this…there was no Adam and Eve, therefore no fall from grace, and no original sin, and no need for a “Jesus” to die for our non-existent sins. Those old stories are just that…stories. They are Tribal Genesis myths carried on way too far. We are past our childhood now. 🙂

    twom

  15. Brian Mahon says:

    I suspect, friend, that the sources that you draw from to confirm what you appeal to as “myths” are those who speak or write with a subjective agenda – and that’s fine; but you need to see that what you deem to be certifiable fact is far from the truth; in fact, as science progresses, it is disproving much of what it previously “discovered” to be true; scientists approach the matter with subjectivity, friend – many begin with the presupposition that there is no God, and their findings are colored from that beginning point; in other words an agenda is set before decent science is done. Here again, however, science does not frighten me in the least – for as it becomes more advanced it is only uncovering the reality of intelligent design – that which they observe is becoming increasingly complex, more complex than they desire. So, again, I applaud your research, I think that is great, but the reality is your presuppositions keep you from any consideration of what I have written – and again, that’s fine; I am sorry for that, but its fine.

    As for my beliefs – in short, I am a what the Bible calls a Christian, that is, I do not profess to be what I am not – this is indeed what you may be seeing in the “Christian ministers and priests” that you perceive yourself to exceed in morality; the Bible speaks of discernible marks of a true believer – love for the biblical Jesus, an increasing love for His Word, love for others, a consciousness of eternal things (1 John 4), all the work of God’s Spirit. In other words, I would attempt to discern by these marks given by God’s Spirit in the Bible who is and who may not be a Christian. This obviously would set apart many who proclaim themselves to be Christians and yet live in a way that does not honor the Christ they proclaim to follow. I am a biblical inerrantist as well – it is the infallible Word of God, authoritative over every man, woman and child at any time in history.

    The problem that I see in what you are writing and what you are claiming about your life is this – you write that you are, basically if not absolutely, an atheist – that is, a-theist, no God, and that implies – if you were living consistently with that view – that you would be a-moral, no morality; for if there is no God, then there is no morality, and to try to articulate one would be simply a waste of time – if you will not be held accountable, if there is no omnipresent eye watching you, omniscient being knowing your thoughts before you, then you are “free” to do whatever you want, to do whatever is right in your own eyes – you are your authority, if you hold to any; this, I perceive, you are inconsistent upon, my friend, for you write, “I live a good life, treat others well, don’t cheat on my taxes, etc. In fact I know I lead a better life than some Christian ministers and priests I hear about.” Why? Why write this? Why does this matter to you? It is absolutely inconsistent with the worldview you proclaim; you live contra your words, if this is true of you. Though I would posit that in fact you, just as most do, have a higher opinion of our lives than we ought.

    And once more, what I am writing – biblical Christianity, Christianity that feeds on the Word alone, not tradition also, not experience also, but the Word alone, and the Word interprets tradition and experience; this distinguishes evangelical Christianity in its truest form from Catholicism or existential forms of “Christianity” – this, I say, is not to be grouped in what you call “religion.” It is quite different for the reasons that I have already provided in the previous comment. You can continue to call this religion if you want to, but know that the premise for salvation is quite different than what I am sure you have heard your entire life.

    Moreover, in college I did my own study on historic archaeology in Israel – 6 years ago, and have been to the country twice; I can assure you your third paragraph is inaccurate and elementary.

    And to simply address your idea that there is no original sin, or sin in general – well, that’s just illogical; forget unspiritual or irreligious; that just doesn’t make sense of the real world; undoubtedly you will attempt to turn this around on evangelical Christians – that we are not living in the real world, but at least we can more forthrightly give an account for the state of the real world that we live in.

    And just on a practical level, to pick one – “I . . .treat others well.” Really? This seems like a blanket statement that, again, is irresponsible, and inaccurate with real life; I am certain, even as I am with myself, that you, like all, have not treated all people with the utmost sincerity and love, or whatever.

    Indeed, “we are past our childhood,” though it appears that your view of reality does not bring anybody out of it, for it does not account for the way things actually are.

    The point that I desired to make from my own childhood was simply this: I, like you, grew up in a religious atmosphere; I underwent the religious rituals; and I thought that I had “it” figured out; but then I heard the Gospel – sin being real, was pressed upon my conscience, and with the knowledge that none of my “goodness” from my religious childhood could measure up to what God required of me, Christ became supremely beautiful for me, for by faith in Him, His righteousness was given to me – a righteousness that infinitely surpassed the “morality” of my religious childhood.

    I shall be resigned then, with great hope, and earnestness that God would be pleased to open the eyes of your heart that you may be made alive with Christ through repentance and faith in Him, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

  16. thewordofme says:

    Hi Mr. Mahon, nice to talk to you again.

    In regard to your statement that my sources are lacking.

    I find that the sources I use for what I am writing about are above reproach and very genuine. The majority of archaeological work being done in the Holy Lands now is by secular archaeologists and they are not trying to prove a Biblical agenda as was done in the past. This is because reviews of past works that had a religious agenda were found to be lacking. Some of the work was purposely made to fit in a Biblical mold or preconceived notion of how it “should be”

    Having said all of that, I realize that most religious fundamentalists just deny the science and go about in their own world…happy as a clam. 🙂 And I am fine with that. I don’t expect to convert any hardcore fundies…but I keep putting the info out there, because sometimes it finds someone on the borderline and maybe, just maybe, I can push him/her towards reality. No disrespect intended.

    I should say that I know a few scientist types, and I have yet to find any kind of agenda or bias against religion in their works. Of course this is just a small sample and means nothing in this debate, but there are surveys taken about such matters and from what I can learn there is no world-wide plot among scientists to denigrate or try to prove religion wrong. The ones I know just really enjoy their work and diligently go about trying to find the truth.

    You write:
    “…this is indeed what you may be seeing in the “Christian ministers and priests” that you perceive yourself to exceed in morality…”

    The ministers and priests I mention were the ones molesting children and having homosexual affairs…and yes I perceive myself to exceed them in morality. They were preaching the word
    on Sunday and ‘doin’ the dirty’ on Monday.

    You write:
    “…I am a biblical inerrantist as well – it is the infallible Word of God, authoritative over every man, woman and child at any time in history…”

    We definitely bump heads here. The Bible is full of errors and contradictions as well as untrue stories and hyperbole. Evangelical fundamentalists tend to ignore these problems and get heavily into apologetics. I find however that the explanations do not adequately solve the problems…and for some there simply is no apologetic that works at all.

    You write:
    “…science does not frighten me in the least – for as it becomes more advanced it is only uncovering the reality of intelligent design…”

    Intelligent design has failed everywhere it has been tried. There is no science or experimentation or search for its truths (of which is has none) there is no attempt to put any actual work behind it…it is nothing but an alternate label for religion. Can you imagine how this world would be if we followed the precepts of ID. Corn crop gone bad—God did it. Got a disease—you haven’t prayed enough or been humble. Can’t find out how to cure cancer—give it up, its Gods will.

    You write:
    “…but the reality is your presuppositions keep you from any consideration of what I have written – and again, that’s fine; I am sorry for that, but its fine…”

    I want to emphasize that there is no disrespect intended by anything I say. I’m sorry, but when someone says or writes something to me that is plainly a sermon and doesn’t touch on any kind of reality, it just flies over my head. I am aware that parts of the scripture can be strung together to back any position you care to take, and this in my opinion, is also one of its problems.

    You write:
    “…you write that you are, basically if not absolutely, an atheist – that is, a-theist, no God, and that implies – if you were living consistently with that view – that you would be a-moral, no morality; for if there is no God, then there is no morality, and to try to articulate one would be simply a waste of time…”

    I’m going to try to remember Harlan Ellison’s words here. “I am so far beyond being an atheist that there are no words for it yet.” You of course have no way to ascertain that I tell you the truth, but I really do have morals…I live by the golden rule and I find that’s all I need. I don’t need a “eye” floating in the sky to remind me to be a good person. Our society defines how a good person lives and interacts with his contemporaries, and that society for the most part lives by the golden rule…at least I try to believe it does. If, as you believe, a God made us in His image, then we are only being as we can be because of our designer’s limitations.

    You write:
    “Moreover, in college I did my own study on historic archaeology in Israel – 6 years ago, and have been to the country twice; I can assure you your third paragraph is inaccurate and elementary.”

    I reprint below a part of a blog I did a few months ago.
    “In 1999, Herzog’s Haaretz weekly magazine cover page article “Deconstructing the walls of Jericho” attracted considerable public attention and debates. In this article Herzog claims that “the Israelites were never in Egypt, did not wander in the desert, did not conquer the land in a military campaign and did not pass it on to the 12 tribes of Israel. Perhaps even harder to swallow is the fact that the united monarchy of David and Solomon, which is described by the Bible as a regional power, was at most a small tribal kingdom. And it will come as an unpleasant shock to many that the God of Israel, Jehovah, had a female consort (Asherah) and that the early Israelite religion adopted monotheism only in the waning period (c920-900 BC ) of the monarchy and not at Mount Sinai” Wikipedia

    Ze’ev Herzog (born 1941) is an Israeli archeologist, professor of archaeology at The Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Cultures at Tel Aviv University. Ze’ev Herzog is the director of The Sonia and Marco Nadler Institute of Archaeology since 2005.”

    I would add here that Mr. Herzog was born and raised in Israel. A link to his page at Tel Aviv University can be found here. Again with respect, if you haven’t been keeping up with archaeology there is a lot going on that may surprise you. If you are keeping up and just not believing any of it, my apologies.

    You write:
    “I am a biblical inerrantist as well – it is the infallible Word of God, authoritative over every man, woman and child at any time in history.”

    My feeling sir, is that the Bible has sooo many problems and untruths in it, that it has no moral authority over us. It never did, but the leaders have kept that from the common folk for over 2000 years

    You write:
    “And to simply address your idea that there is no original sin…”

    Did not “original sin” come from Adam and Eve? Did not Paul make up this concept in his letters, didn’t he blame mans sinfulness on the fall from grace of the first couple?

    No Adam and Eve=no original sin.

    I take the Gnostic position (if I were religious) that men are fully able to arrange their own redemption without intervention from the church or Jesus. After all there was no original sin…just live a good life, and do unto others as you would have others do unto you. 🙂

    I apologize as this reply is all over the place in order of reply, I was trying to do several things at once. I hope you can make sense of it.

    twom

  17. Brian Mahon says:

    Twom,

    Thanks for the respectful reply. All I would add at this point concerns the concept of sin. Whether or not one believes in a historical Adam and Eve does matter, but for the sake of our discussion, let us put them aside and simply consider “reality.” People do bad things, that is, people sin – every day. To look at the world that we live in and conclude that there is not a principle in man that governs his thoughts, intentions, words and actions is out of step with the world we know and live in. That principle is sin. To be clear, the Bible makes a distinction between sins and sin – sin is the indwelling principle that every person is born with, and are subsequently slaves unto, whereas sins are the produce of this principle. In other words, there is a root and there is fruit. What we see in the world every day on the 6 o’clock news, and what we don’t see that is hidden from public view, these are the fruits, tangible sins that we can see. But these are not rootless; they stem from a principle in every person, sin. In other words, a man will lust over a woman (which is a particular sin, as it is the secret abuse of an unsuspecting woman that we are created to honor, not pimp in one’s mind) – and this isn’t rootless, friend, but comes from inside, from inward passions, from a corrupted root, called “sin”. Paul did not make up this concept – he expounded what he read as early as Genesis 3, or read Genesis 6:5. If your not going to believe the truth of the Scriptures, at least it may help not to jump to conclusions that you are uncertain of with regard to particular doctrines. Original sin originated in the Fall, and was explicated by the biblical writers throughout, not just “made up” by Paul.

    And though you offer it with a kindly smiley face, I must, friend – with all respect, find essential holes in your worldview, for it does not equate that one should be beyond a simple atheist and yet be so concerned with living a good life, or living by the golden rule. Now, I am glad that you feel that way, that you desire to live the good life, and I am certainly glad that you know how to pull out the worst examples of “Christianity” (see my previous comments on the nature of true Christianity – which excludes many who profess to be such, yes, even many who are “men of the cloth” – though you will find no cloth on me – just some jeans and a t-shirt, perhaps, even behind the pulpit – but anyway) and use that as your case study on comparative morality. I would be as disgusted with supposed Christians also. But as you well know, the part is not always representative of the whole, and in their case, certainly not representative of Christ. And anyone who bears the name of Christ and seeks to draw attention to their own morality (or lack thereof) rather than the perfect sinlessness of Christ (in their place) is seeking awry of the mark – it is Christ that Christ champions, and so Christians ought to also.

    In the end, however, so long as the words that I write are not accompanied by God’s Spirit to effect and convert, they will be just words, and they may be enjoyable words or not so enjoyable words, but they will not be converting words; and to that point, I pray – and I write that with all surety – that God will open your heart to read and hear what He has done for sinners in Christ, and perhaps, you. Ultimately, God is not obligated to save anybody, though I will pray that He will save you. With respect and a true love in Christ as always, friend.

    Brian

  18. thewordofme says:

    Hi again Mr. Mahon,

    You write:
    “And though you offer it with a kindly smiley face, I must, friend – with all respect, find essential holes in your worldview, for it does not equate that one should be beyond a simple atheist and yet be so concerned with living a good life, or living by the golden rule.”

    Well, it really does equate my friend that although I reject your God I still desire to lead a life that is exemplary because I really do believe in the golden rule. I even find I don’t need the 10 commandments either as the golden rule covers all that. It’s not that I’m concerned about leading a good life, I just find it comes natural.

    You write:
    “…and this isn’t rootless, friend, but comes from inside, from inward passions, from a corrupted root, called “sin”.”

    Let’s see, God created the universe, galaxies, earth, plants, animals, humans and said it was good. Then he got mad at us and killed everything and everyone for being sinful and rejecting Him…He then decided to make a clean start with His handpicked team, Noah, et al, and of course this turned out so much better…right?

    I suppose Adam and Eves original sin passed through with Noah and his family…right?

    So God made us the way we are….right?

    Is this all a big drama that God made up for us and set into motion, because of course He could see all the twists and turns and how it would end…at least that’s what I’ve been told? Seems kind of cold hearted for a God to put His beloved creations through. Think of the 20 or 30 billion people who have lived on this planet and how until the last century we all went through untold agonies and deaths trying to get to a safe place where we weren’t exposed to the vagaries of disease and genocide, not enough food or shelter or means of subsistence…if there is a God, then dammit he is totally responsible for us and our agony of childhood. If there is a God, He is not a loving God…you have been bamboozled.

    People that go out and screw over other humans for profit or pleasure are the sinful ones in our world. People that mind their business, help others when possible, grow their children and instill in them the golden rule, and are generally people you want to know…these are not sinners, even if they have bad thoughts occasionally. To call these people sinners is wrong…and perhaps a sin itself.

    Like Jimmy Carter worried that he had committed adultery in his heart by looking at a woman. He committed no sin; he was simply a man with a man’s mental makeup. It’s part of our evolutionary mandate. We, as men are born with it.

    I kind of resent that “The Church/Religion” has taken little peccadilloes like this and made men/women feel guilty down through the centuries. People aren’t able to toe the line on stuff that is part of their human nature…we would all be automatons if we did what the church seems to want of us at all times.

    Another thing that kind of bugs me about religion is that humans are supposed to give up all earthly pleasure (whatever that is) and put our lives on hold and wish for death in this life so they will have a promised life in paradise or heaven or wherever. Good thing they will be dead…that way they won’t feel disappointed when that’s all there is…just death.

    Religion is so logically wrong and wasteful.

    twom

  19. Cody says:

    Hello thewordofme,

    You stated that you follow the golden rule and lead a good life. May I ask why that is? You said that it simply comes natural, but I assume you typically think before you act so why is it you bother making good choices? I’m glad you do, of course, I just fail to see a logical reason for you to do so from an atheistic perspective. What does good mean to you, by the way? Where do those morals come from?

    You then made several comments and asked several questions regarding the Bible, all of which I will attempt to address.

    “Then he got mad at us and killed everything and everyone for being sinful and rejecting Him”

    You seem to think that “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23) is unjustified. If I’m right, can you please explain why you hold that position?

    “So God made us the way we are….right?”

    In regards to us as sinners, no. God initially created us good, but we chose to use God’s gift of freewill to sin.

    “Is this all a big drama that God made up for us and set into motion, because of course He could see all the twists and turns and how it would end…at least that’s what I’ve been told? Seems kind of cold hearted for a God to put His beloved creations through.”

    Colossians 1:16 says that “All things were created by him and for him”. From what I understand, that’s about as specific as the Bible gets about why God made us. The Bible does, however, says that “God is love” in 1 John 4:8. This is merely my own speculation, but I think that one reason God may have created us is because, as the essence of love itself, He desired to have something to direct that love towards. I think that God being in it for the drama is completely contradictory to His nature.

    “if there is a God, then he is totally responsible for us and our agony of childhood. If there is a God, He is not a loving God…you have been bamboozled.”

    God is not responsible for any agony, actually. Agony is entirely the result of our own sin. Fortunately for us though, our God is in fact a very loving God and so gives us all an easy and undeserved opportunity to escape sin and all that goes with it once and for all. He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). That isn’t something He had to do, it’s something He graciously chose to do because of how much He loves us.

    “People that go out and screw over other humans for profit or pleasure are the sinful ones in our world. People that mind their business, help others when possible, grow their children and instill in them the golden rule, and are generally people you want to know…these are not sinners, even if they have bad thoughts occasionally. To call these people sinners is wrong…and perhaps a sin itself.”

    On what do you base these judgments?

    “we would all be automatons if we did what the church seems to want of us at all times.”

    What do you mean by “the church” and what is it you think it seems to wants of us?

    “Another thing that kind of bugs me about religion is that humans are supposed to give up all earthly pleasure (whatever that is)”

    That bugs me about religion, too. God created all of the good things in this world that bring us pleasure and there is nothing wrong with enjoying them as long as you don’t forget that God is the source.

    “and put our lives on hold and wish for death in this life so they will have a promised life in paradise or heaven or wherever.”

    To wish for death in order to go to heaven sooner would be an incredibly selfish act. No Christian would have that wish when there are so many unsaved people left in the world and if that doesn’t bother them, then they are not true followers of Christ and their wish for death Is not only a selfish one but also a very bad one seeing as how heaven sadly would not be where they’d end up.

    “Religion is so logically wrong and wasteful.”

    Again, based on what?

    I hope to hear back from you.

    Cody

  20. thewordofme says:

    Hi Patrick Harmon, thanks for your reply.

    I hope you had a good trip and all is well.

    You write:
    “…Truth is telling it like it is. It can also be defined as that which corresponds to its object or something that accurately describes reality…”
    We here are basically arguing about the existence of God. Does he exist and play a part in our universe, or is He a figment of our imagination?

    I will confess and admit that I believe IF a God exists He was the cause of it all (universe, Galaxies, etc.) and then He walked away (or floated-whatever), so that makes me a Deist. IF there is a God, he would not stick around and butt into the Hebrews day-to-day lives and make up totally silly laws and tell us how long a menstruating female should be “put away.”

    So, is there a God? Can you prove it to me?

    Is there no God? Can I prove it to you?

    The only thing you have to try to prove it to me is the Bible.

    The only thing I have to try to prove it to you is circumstantial evidence.

    Can I prove that the Bible is full of contradictions and falsehoods, stories that are not true? If the Bible lies, and it does, than it does not contain the truth. Would this be one of those absolute truths?

    If we can prove that the Bible lies in a least a few cases…does that mean we cannot trust it in other cases? I think so.

    You write:
    “And since when you read Genesis you are “stopped almost immediately by stories that (you) know to be false,” then I will assume that you do believe in absolute truth, otherwise your stated factual knowledge here is simply relative to you and thus worth nothing more than a hill of beans.”

    I am stopped almost immediately by the story of Adam and Eve, Cain, Noah’s Flood, the Tower of Babel, Abraham and Ur, Abraham and the age of his father when he died. I am stopped by the circumstantial evidence that I know of against the reality of these stories. Do my objections amount to a hill of beans…no I suppose not, but I know that the stories are most likely lies, or myths put out there as truthful, and somehow believed by some otherwise really intelligent people. I should add that the next chapter of Exodus stops me cold also.

    You write:
    “So, since there is such a thing as absolute truth which you have alluded to in your previous response, then there are logically three places in which you and I stand. If truth is absolute, and thus narrow in scope (ex. 1+1 always equals 2), then either: 1) you are correct and I am wrong, since my worldviews explicitly contradict yours, 2) I am right and you are wrong for the same reason, or 3) we are both wrong. There is no 4th scenario, for we cannot both be right in this matter….would you agree? “

    Is there a God?

    Yes or no.

    We cannot both be right…there is only one absolute truth here.

    You write:
    “If so, I would like to begin with science if that’s ok with you, and I believe that it is. But let’s go back to the beginning, shall we? Even before Adam and Eve, what proofs do you have that there is not a Creator who started this all?”

    By circumstantial evidence I can prove that the Biblical stories of Adam and Eve, Noah’s flood, the Tower of Babel, at least some of Abrahams story, the Exodus, Moses writing the Pentateuch, and probably a few other stories…I haven’t got to them all, are not the truth as a God would know and pass along to His divinely inspired writers.

    There is science behind most of the evidence against these stories; some of the evidence is in the Bible as contradiction or anachronisms in the stories. You of course will not believe the science evidence, but it keeps mounting up.

  21. thewordofme says:

    Hello Cody, thank you for your reply.

    You write:
    “You stated that you follow the golden rule and lead a good life. May I ask why that is? You said that it simply comes natural, but I assume you typically think before you act so why is it you bother making good choices? I’m glad you do, of course, I just fail to see a logical reason for you to do so from an atheistic perspective. What does good mean to you, by the way? Where do those morals come from?”

    Being an atheist does not preclude anyone from doing good deeds, acting civilly to all, being friends with anyone, acting responsibly in all matters, loving your wife and children and friends. The overarching theme to follow in this life is: “How would you like to be treated?” That seems to always be in the back of my thoughts, reminding me to do good. Denouncing God as a myth has nothing to do with my morals or how I act towards people and nature.

    You write:
    “You then made several comments and asked several questions regarding the Bible, all of which I will attempt to address.”

    ““Then he got mad at us and killed everything and everyone for being sinful and rejecting Him””

    “You seem to think that “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23) is unjustified. If I’m right, can you please explain why you hold that position?”

    Define sin in absolute terms.

    “So God made us the way we are….right?”
    “In regards to us as sinners, no. God initially created us good, but we chose to use God’s gift of freewill to sin.”

    Why do you suppose we would do that?

    You write:
    “God is not responsible for any agony, actually. Agony is entirely the result of our own sin. Fortunately for us though, our God is in fact a very loving God and so gives us all an easy and undeserved opportunity to escape sin and all that goes with it once and for all. He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). That isn’t something He had to do, it’s something He graciously chose to do because of how much He loves us.”

    Yes God, if He existed, would be responsible for the agony of our childhood. You see men/women were on this earth for hundreds of thousands of years (or more). Imagine being a human two hundred thousand years ago, you have no knowledge of fire, no clothing except animal skins, no medicines, no shelter other than trees or caves, no knowledge of what vegetables were safe or deadly, no real ability to store food for any length of time. You could cut your finger on a rock and die from sepsis. In childbirth the baby fell to the ground, more than half died the first year. We humans lived that way probably until 15 or 20,000 years ago. Everyone on earth was infested with lice, fleas, and bedbugs and stunk to high heaven (this part was up to about the mid-1800’s or later). So I really don’t think God was looking out for us much.

    Now according to some religions Adam and Eve were ‘created’ 6,000 +- years ago, and that’s when we became ‘infected’ with original sin. What about those earlier humans?

    You write:
    “The Bible does, however, says that “God is love” in 1 John 4:8. This is merely my own speculation, but I think that one reason God may have created us is because, as the essence of love itself, He desired to have something to direct that love towards. I think that God being in it for the drama is completely contradictory to His nature.”

    Respectfully, go to the Bible and read about the millions and millions of people that God was killing back in the Old Testament. Read about the bashing of babies against the stones and running the pregnant women through with swords, and then tell me again how God is a God of love.

    One of the defining characteristics of any God is omniscience…that is the ability to know all…to know how any thing will ultimately end, and to hear evangelists talk they already know the ending, so yes it’s a drama, but I submit to you it was made up by man, a God wouldn’t touch this drama with a 10 foot pole.

    You write:
    “On what do you base these judgments?”

    My own knowledge of people and what they do and how they act.

    You write:
    “What do you mean by “the church” and what is it you think it seems to wants of us?”

    By church I mean all, or most, religions. It wants from us unquestioning obedience to them and a mythical God. If it were somehow possible for anyone to follow all the precepts in the Bible we would not be humans anymore, we would be following someone else’s vision of how we should be and that vision is impossible to attain.

    You write:
    “To wish for death in order to go to heaven sooner would be an incredibly selfish act. No Christian would have that wish when there are so many unsaved people left in the world and if that doesn’t bother them, then they are not true followers of Christ and their wish for death Is not only a selfish one but also a very bad one seeing as how heaven sadly would not be where they’d end up.”

    Go talk to some evangelical fundamentalists about how soon they want the world to end so that they can go upstairs. Then report back to me 🙂

    You write:
    ““Religion is so logically wrong and wasteful.””

    “Again, based on what?”

    Logically the stories are nonsense, they are not cohesive, a lot are outright lies or myths trying to pass as truth. Religion is wasteful in that over the course of it millions and millions of humans have been killed…continue to be killed to this day in fact.

    twom

  22. Cody says:

    “Being an atheist does not preclude anyone from doing good deeds, acting civilly to all, being friends with anyone, acting responsibly in all matters, loving your wife and children and friends. The overarching theme to follow in this life is: “How would you like to be treated?” That seems to always be in the back of my thoughts, reminding me to do good. Denouncing God as a myth has nothing to do with my morals or how I act towards people and nature.”

    The golden rule is not a sufficient source of morality because it relies on an outside morality itself. For instance, if someone lived by the every man for himself philosophy he could be a merciless, unforgiving, lawbreaker and still be living by the golden rule if he expects the same from others. Most would consider the golden rule a failure in that case. You even indirectly stated yourself that the golden rule is reliant on an outside source of morality when you said it reminds you to do good. So back to my original questions: what is good and what is the source?

    “Define sin in absolute terms.”

    A violation of moral law.

    “Why do you suppose we would do that?”

    Same reason we still do. Sin typically presents the illusion of pleasure and happiness, which it often provides temporarily, though the negative consequences almost always outweigh what little pleasure or momentary happiness was achieved.

    “Yes God, if He existed, would be responsible for the agony of our childhood. You see men/women were on this earth for hundreds of thousands of years (or more). Imagine being a human two hundred thousand years ago, you have no knowledge of fire, no clothing except animal skins, no medicines, no shelter other than trees or caves, no knowledge of what vegetables were safe or deadly, no real ability to store food for any length of time. You could cut your finger on a rock and die from sepsis. In childbirth the baby fell to the ground, more than half died the first year. We humans lived that way probably until 15 or 20,000 years ago. Everyone on earth was infested with lice, fleas, and bedbugs and stunk to high heaven (this part was up to about the mid-1800’s or later). So I really don’t think God was looking out for us much.

    Now according to some religions Adam and Eve were ‘created’ 6,000 +- years ago, and that’s when we became ‘infected’ with original sin. What about those earlier humans?”

    I don’t yet know for sure where I stand in regards to the age of the earth and to answer this paragraph I would have to pick a side. I just don’t really consider the age of the earth a topic of vast importance so I haven’t spent much time studying it and so, though I know the main arguments from both sides, I don’t feel like I know enough to come to a conclusion.

    “Respectfully, go to the Bible and read about the millions and millions of people that God was killing back in the Old Testament. Read about the bashing of babies against the stones and running the pregnant women through with swords, and then tell me again how God is a God of love.”

    Most of the explanations of those apparent cruelties rely heavily on the surrounding context so would you mind providing one or two verse examples? Please no lists or links. I know there are many examples but I don’t want to have to respond to all of them.

    “One of the defining characteristics of any God is omniscience…that is the ability to know all…to know how any thing will ultimately end, and to hear evangelists talk they already know the ending, so yes it’s a drama, but I submit to you it was made up by man, a God wouldn’t touch this drama with a 10 foot pole.”

    I’m sorry, but I don’t think I understand your statement. Care to rephrase?

    “My own knowledge of people and what they do and how they act.”

    I don’t see how you can decide what should or shouldn’t be done based on your knowledge of people.

    “we would all be automatons if we did what the church seems to want of us at all times.

    By church I mean all, or most, religions. It wants from us unquestioning obedience to them and a mythical God. If it were somehow possible for anyone to follow all the precepts in the Bible we would not be humans anymore, we would be following someone else’s vision of how we should be and that vision is impossible to attain.”

    Well in Biblical Christianity the church is all followers of Christ. The head of the church is Jesus Christ. There is no big theocratic conspiracy among major church leaders because we have none but Jesus. All followers of Christ follow Biblical teachings and Christ’s example, not fallible men like the pope.

    “Go talk to some evangelical fundamentalists about how soon they want the world to end so that they can go upstairs. Then report back to me :-)”

    What I said still stands.

    “Logically the stories are nonsense, they are not cohesive, a lot are outright lies or myths trying to pass as truth.”

    My mistake. I thought you meant religion is morally wrong, not factually. I would have asked which you meant but I, for some reason, didn’t think of the synonym. Anyway, could you please post one or two examples of proven myths or lies in the Bible?

    “Religion is wasteful in that over the course of it millions and millions of humans have been killed…continue to be killed to this day in fact.”

    From an atheistic perspective, why does that matter? And what constitutes wasteful?

    Cody

  23. thewordofme says:

    Hi Cody, thank you for replying.
    You write:
    “The golden rule is not a sufficient source of morality because it relies on an outside morality itself. For instance, if someone lived by the every man for himself philosophy he could be a merciless, unforgiving, lawbreaker and still be living by the golden rule if he expects the same from others. Most would consider the golden rule a failure in that case. You even indirectly stated yourself that the golden rule is reliant on an outside source of morality when you said it reminds you to do good. So back to my original questions: what is good and what is the source?”

    The golden rule is totally sufficient for anyone to use all by itself. It is not everyman for himself; it is the calm reflection in any situation that you find yourself in…what would I want to happen to me, how would I want to be treated in this same situation? That is how you act towards others in any situation. What is good is what we want for ourselves…that can mean a thousand things.
    I don’t want to be murdered…I will not kill anyone.

    I would not want my “stuff” stolen from me…I will not steal from others.

    I wouldn’t want to be scammed into giving out my bank info…I will not scam others.

    I would not want to be embarrassed in public…I will not embarrass anyone in public.

    We inherit a phenomenal list of things that are right, and things that are wrong, just by living in society, as all the things mentioned above, and more, are played out every day in our lives. An intelligent person can see right away that murder and stealing, etc. is wrong, we don’t need instruction to figure this out. The source is our own self preservation and wellbeing.

    You define sin as: “A violation of moral law.”

    OK, I can go along with most of that, I know that you take your morality and instruction from Biblical sources. You should know though that the Bible has some strange laws of morality. Most of them are just ignored nowadays, but they are still in effect I am told by religious people.
    I say:
    “So God made us the way we are….right?”

    You answer:
    “In regards to us as sinners, no. God initially created us good, but we chose to use God’s gift of freewill to sin.”

    I answer “Why do you suppose we would do that?” to your statement that we use God’s gift of freewill to sin.

    You answer:
    “Same reason we still do. Sin typically presents the illusion of pleasure and happiness, which it often provides temporarily, though the negative consequences almost always outweigh what little pleasure or momentary happiness was achieved.”

    Most of the sins listed in the bible are ridiculous and make no sense at all, and I can’t see them ever being followed or anyone getting pleasure by breaking them. The ones you mention as bringing pleasure and happiness must be sexual.

    Do you really think that God is watching to see if we masturbate occasionally?

    Do you think he cares if a brother refuses to have intercourse with his dead brother’s wife so there will be blood offspring?

    Do you really think God is watching out to see if unmarried people fornicate with each other…would he care?

    Regarding the seven deadly sins, lots (most) of people break them from time to time…does God care if we overeat or envy someone’s new car sometimes…will he kill us for this?

    You write:
    “I don’t yet know for sure where I stand in regards to the age of the earth and to answer this paragraph I would have to pick a side. I just don’t really consider the age of the earth a topic of vast importance so I haven’t spent much time studying it and so, though I know the main arguments from both sides, I don’t feel like I know enough to come to a conclusion.”

    I think you will find that as you learn more about the differences between creationists and scientists you will need to know this answer. Lots of information about this subject on the internet.

    You write:
    “Most of the explanations of those apparent cruelties rely heavily on the surrounding context so would you mind providing one or two verse examples? Please no lists or links. I know there are many examples but I don’t want to have to respond to all of them.

    Just to make it easy I will mention Jericho and Ai (although the stories of these towns has been pretty much disproven), God helps Joshua slaughter the inhabitants of these cities for no other reason than that they were living in/on the city/land God has promised the Hebrews.

    Have you not heard of the other slaughters of tribal groups in the holy land? I do have a small (incomplete) list of some of them in one of my blog posts.

    I wrote:
    ““One of the defining characteristics of any God is omniscience…that is the ability to know all…to know how any thing will ultimately end, and to hear evangelists talk they already know the ending, so yes it’s a drama, but I submit to you it was made up by man, a God wouldn’t touch this drama with a 10 foot pole.”

    You answer:
    “I’m sorry, but I don’t think I understand your statement. Care to rephrase?”

    We were talking about the whole drama that is set up by the Christian world, of God creating humans, setting them up to fail in the garden, sin, washing away of sin by flood, more sin, coming to earth as a human and redeeming all sins by dying for us…you know the story that any decent God would know how it would turn out not to mention that the results/outcome are written in the book. It is a silly melodrama made up by men…not the result of actual Godly manipulation.

    You write:
    “My mistake. I thought you meant religion is morally wrong, not factually. I would have asked which you meant but I, for some reason, didn’t think of the synonym. Anyway, could you please post one or two examples of proven myths or lies in the Bible?”

    Adam and Eve
    *Noah’s flood
    The Tower of Babel
    The Exodus

    I write:
    ““Religion is wasteful in that over the course of it millions and millions of humans have been killed…continue to be killed to this day in fact.””

    You answer:
    “From an atheistic perspective, why does that matter? And what constitutes wasteful?”

    I don’t like anyone going around killing men women and children by the millions…has to do with my feeling that everyone should be treated with respect and the world should be safe for all.
    One of those killed could have been the inventor of ‘Warp Drive’ or ‘Cold Fusion’ 🙂

    Later addition to post.
    * From **The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible: At one time this widespread distribution of a flood tradition was considered proof of the historicity of the biblical account, which with some expected modification had spread throughout the world as people migrated from their original homeland in the Near East.
    This notion has necessarily been given up. We know, e.g., that numerous peoples have no flood legends in their literature. Flood stories are almost entirely lacking in Africa (none in Egypt-right next door), occur only occasionally in Europe, and are absent in many parts of Asia. They are widespread in America, Australia, and the islands of the Pacific. In addition, many of the known flood legends differ radically from the biblical story and stand independently of it and of one another.
    Many do not know a world-wide flood at all, but only a local inundation…. Often the heroes save themselves in boats or by scaling mountains, without intervention by the gods. Further, only a few of the flood stories give the wickedness of man as the cause for the Flood…. The duration of the Flood, if given, varies from a few days to many years. Facts of this kind disprove the claim that the biblical account is the parent of all flood stories.”
    * * http://www.amazon.com/Interpreters-Dictionary-Bible-Set/dp/0687192684
    Parenthetical addition about Egypt is mine

    twom

  24. Cody says:

    “The golden rule is totally sufficient for anyone to use all by itself. It is not everyman for himself; it is the calm reflection in any situation that you find yourself in…what would I want to happen to me, how would I want to be treated in this same situation? That is how you act towards others in any situation. I don’t want to be murdered…I will not kill anyone.

    I would not want my “stuff” stolen from me…I will not steal from others.

    I wouldn’t want to be scammed into giving out my bank info…I will not scam others.

    I would not want to be embarrassed in public…I will not embarrass anyone in public.”

    With that logic, if you enjoy fighting people so much you want people to pick fights with you, it’s “good” to punch everyone you meet. Not to mention masochists…

    “What is good is what we want for ourselves…that can mean a thousand things.”

    Many of them not good at all. That definition is also insufficient.

    “We inherit a phenomenal list of things that are right, and things that are wrong, just by living in society, as all the things mentioned above, and more, are played out every day in our lives. An intelligent person can see right away that murder and stealing, etc. is wrong, we don’t need instruction to figure this out. The source is our own self preservation and wellbeing.”

    I agree wholeheartedly that people are already aware of morality without instruction, but the source being self-preservation is, again, insufficient. Consider those who put their lives on the line or even sacrifice their lives to save others. Those people are called not only good, but heroic. If the source of morality is self-preservation, those people are not heroes, they are some of the most immoral people on the planet. The golden rule also fails there. Sacrifice your life for someone in the hopes they’ll do the same for you? Good luck with that.

    “You should know though that the Bible has some strange laws of morality. Most of them are just ignored nowadays, but they are still in effect I am told by religious people.

    Most of the sins listed in the bible are ridiculous and make no sense at all, and I can’t see them ever being followed or anyone getting pleasure by breaking them.”

    Examples, please.

    “The ones you mention as bringing pleasure and happiness must be sexual.”

    I wasn’t referring strictly to sexual sin, but they are perfect examples.

    “Do you really think that God is watching to see if we masturbate occasionally?”

    God’s omniscience and omnipresence isn’t something he can just turn off. Whether you’re masturbating or feeding the homeless, God’s going to know about it. While we’re on the subject, masturbating is not a sin, in itself. The lustful motivations are. In the words of Pastor Mark Driscoll, unless your thinking of tractors, it’s a sin.

    “Do you think he cares if a brother refuses to have intercourse with his dead brother’s wife so there will be blood offspring?”

    Why would he?

    “Do you really think God is watching out to see if unmarried people fornicate with each other…would he care?”

    Why wouldn’t he? God intended sex to be between one man and one woman each married to the other.

    “Regarding the seven deadly sins, lots (most) of people break them from time to time…does God care if we overeat or envy someone’s new car sometimes…will he kill us for this?”

    All sins are deadly sins (Romans 6:23). If you are claiming that death is an unjust punishment for sin, then you must either underestimate sin, misunderstand God’s nature, or both. All sin, no matter how small it may seem, is directly against God just as all crimes are directly against law. And just as judges must punish the crimes, God must punish sin. However, crimes committed within the constraints of time against often imperfect laws written by fallible men and sins against a perfect, just, righteous, infallible, and timeless God are two completely different things and so require completely different punishments. Because of the vast significance of sin, there must be significant punishment and, because God logically must be outside of time, the sins we commit are eternally before him and so require eternal punishment. This eternally significant punishment is what Scripture calls “hell”. Lucky for us however, God is absolutely good. Because of that, every characteristic considered morally good applies to God. So not only is God absolutely just and righteous, He is also absolutely merciful and gracious. What that means for us is that God cares enough about us to give us a way out of the whole we’ve all dug ourselves into. That way out is Jesus Christ. The reason that gift isn’t simply given to everyone right off the bat is because of another gift God gave us: freewill. Oddly enough, people often claim that they’d rather go to hell than spend eternity with God. An example is Christopher Hitchens who has said it in almost every debate I’ve seen him in. Just as our government must respect our freedom of speech, God respects our freedom of will even if the choices we use it to make are the furthest thing from respectable.

    “I think you will find that as you learn more about the differences between creationists and scientists you will need to know this answer. Lots of information about this subject on the internet.”

    I know where to find information on it and I’ve read a good deal of it. All I know is that I am a creationist and I see no good reason to rush to pick a side. Honestly, you should actually be glad I’ve chosen not to pick a side just yet because the best arguments I’ve read have been from the young earth side, but I realize that that is merely because most of the Christian websites I frequent are officially young earth creationists. I’m sure that eventually I will make a decision on the subject, but for now I prefer to stick with the essentials.

    “Just to make it easy I will mention Jericho and Ai (although the stories of these towns has been pretty much disproven), God helps Joshua slaughter the inhabitants of these cities for no other reason than that they were living in/on the city/land God has promised the Hebrews.”

    I’m no scholar so I had to look this up and found a short and sweet answer on a list of responses to the skeptics annotated bible: “The Israelites, at God’s command, destroyed Jericho and put to death all of its people. These people were far from innocent, and God gave them 400 years to repent since the time Abraham left the land. Their wickedness was infectious, and survival of that culture would have corrupted Israel’s worship of God. While it is never right for a human to decide who should live or die, God, who has the right to give life and take it, used Israel as his instrument of justice. The young children were mercifully taken out of a situation in which they had no chance to escape wickedness; they were escorted to heaven. Life does not ultimately end at death, after all. It should be noted that the one person who was obedient to God was spared (6:25), just like the people of Nineveh who repented at Jonah’s preaching.”

    “Have you not heard of the other slaughters of tribal groups in the holy land? I do have a small (incomplete) list of some of them in one of my blog posts.”

    Well pick a few and I’ll see if I can’t explain them for you.

    “We were talking about the whole drama that is set up by the Christian world, of God creating humans, setting them up to fail in the garden,…”

    How did he set them up to fail?

    “…sin, washing away of sin by flood, more sin, coming to earth as a human and redeeming all sins by dying for us…you know the story that any decent God would know how it would turn out not to mention that the results/outcome are written in the book. It is a silly melodrama made up by men…not the result of actual Godly manipulation.”

    Possibly because it’s about one thirty a.m. and I’m tired, you lost me here: “you know the story that any decent God would know how it would turn out not to mention that the results/outcome are written in the book”

    “Adam and Eve
    *Noah’s flood
    The Tower of Babel
    The Exodus”

    And what are the proofs?

    “I don’t like anyone going around killing men women and children by the millions…has to do with my feeling that everyone should be treated with respect and the world should be safe for all.”

    Why should you care about the safety of others or whether or not they are treated with respect?

    “* From **The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible: At one time this widespread distribution of a flood tradition was considered proof of the historicity of the biblical account, which with some expected modification had spread throughout the world as people migrated from their original homeland in the Near East.
    This notion has necessarily been given up. We know, e.g., that numerous peoples have no flood legends in their literature. Flood stories are almost entirely lacking in Africa (none in Egypt-right next door), occur only occasionally in Europe, and are absent in many parts of Asia. They are widespread in America, Australia, and the islands of the Pacific. In addition, many of the known flood legends differ radically from the biblical story and stand independently of it and of one another.
    Many do not know a world-wide flood at all, but only a local inundation…. Often the heroes save themselves in boats or by scaling mountains, without intervention by the gods. Further, only a few of the flood stories give the wickedness of man as the cause for the Flood…. The duration of the Flood, if given, varies from a few days to many years. Facts of this kind disprove the claim that the biblical account is the parent of all flood stories.”
    * * http://www.amazon.com/Interpreters-Dictionary-Bible-Set/dp/0687192684
    Parenthetical addition about Egypt is mine”

    Why would you expect other cultures to have written about the global flood if all but those on Noah’s ark drowned? It’s not something historians of the time would be able to document. And I’ve never heard any Christian argue that all flood stories stem from the Biblical account. Other floods have occurred and of course someone’s bound to right about them. You should give Mr. Mahon’s posted flood article a read, while we’re on the subject.

    Cody

  25. thewordofme says:

    Hi Cody, thanks for the comeback.

    You seem to be picking very hard at my using the golden rule to guide my life and ways that I interact with the world. Saying or intimating that it’s not sufficient or good enough. All I can tell you is that it works for me and I find no problems with it at all.

    You write:
    “I agree wholeheartedly that people are already aware of morality without instruction, but the source being self-preservation is, again, insufficient. Consider those who put their lives on the line or even sacrifice their lives to save others. Those people are called not only good, but heroic. If the source of morality is self-preservation, those people are not heroes, they are some of the most immoral people on the planet. The golden rule also fails there. Sacrifice your life for someone in the hopes they’ll do the same for you? Good luck with that.”

    Following nothing but the golden rule I have risked my life for another once, volunteered with friends at a church several times, anonymously contributed money and help to a recently widowed lady (ongoing as we speak), stood watch over a dying lady so she would not be alone (others were there too I was just one of them) volunteered time (and money) for charities. So I’m really not getting what your protestations over the golden rule are about.

    You ask for examples of ridiculous sins/laws from the Bible. I’m going to cut and paste a letter that has been circulating on the internet for years that touches on the subject in a funny way.

    Dr. Laura Schlessinger is a radio personality who dispenses advice to people who call in to her radio show. Recently, she said that, as an observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22 and cannot be condoned under any circumstance. The following is an open letter to Dr. Laura penned by an east coast resident, which was posted on the Internet. It’s funny, as well as informative:

    Dear Dr. Laura:
    Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate. I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the other specific laws and how to follow them:
    • When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord – Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?
    • I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?
    • I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness – Lev.15:19- 24. The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.
    • Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can’t I own Canadians?
    • I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?
    • A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination – Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don’t agree. Can you settle this?
    • Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?
    • Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?
    • I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?
    • My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev. 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? – Lev.24:10-16. Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)
    I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging. Your devoted fan, Jim

    You write:
    “I’m no scholar so I had to look this up and found a short and sweet answer on a list of responses to the skeptics annotated bible: “The Israelites, at God’s command, destroyed Jericho and put to death all of its people. These people were far from innocent, and God gave them 400 years to repent since the time Abraham left the land. Their wickedness was infectious, and survival of that culture would have corrupted Israel’s worship of God. While it is never right for a human to decide who should live or die, God, who has the right to give life and take it, used Israel as his instrument of justice. The young children were mercifully taken out of a situation in which they had no chance to escape wickedness; they were escorted to heaven. Life does not ultimately end at death, after all. It should be noted that the one person who was obedient to God was spared (6:25), just like the people of Nineveh who repented at Jonah’s preaching.”

    How were the young children escorted to heaven; by the bashing of heads against rocks? This is a tricky thing anyway as archaeology has found that the city of Jericho was already abandoned 300 years or more before Joshua got there, and Ai had also been deserted for centuries. The word Ai actually means ruins. Some of the other cities mentioned in the story were deserted and some not. Many Biblical scholars (and most archaeologists) believe that the whole Exodus story is manufactured Jewish myth anyway. However all throughout the Old Testament God is commanding the troops to kill and destroy tribes with amazingly cruel outcomes.

    Here are a few more, not all by any means, and not in any particular order

    Saith the Lord
    Numbers 31:17-18, 35 (King James Version)
    “17Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. 18But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.
    35And thirty and two thousand persons in all, of women that had not known man by lying with him.”Yummm…young virgins.

    And the Lord our God delivered
    Deuteronomy 2:33-34 (King James Version)
    “33And the LORD our God delivered him before us; and we smote him, and his sons, and all his people. 34 And we took all his cities at that time, and utterly destroyed the men, and the women, and the little ones, of every city, we left none to remain:” Genocide again?

    God delivers the Og’s
    Deuteronomy 3:6 (King James Version)
    ” 6And we utterly destroyed them, as we did unto Sihon king of Heshbon, utterly destroying the men, women, and children, of every city.”
    The Lord saith: Nothing left that breaths
    Deuteronomy 20:16 (King James Version)
    “6 But of the cities of these people, which the LORD thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth:”
    Is it just me, or does this sound like a sad excuse for killing people to take their land? The Lord made me do it.

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

    With the Lords approval
    Joshua 6:21-27 (King James Version)
    ” 21And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword.”

    Also with the Lords approval
    Joshua 8:23-25 (King James Version)
    23And the king of Ai they took alive, and brought him to Joshua. 24And it came to pass, when Israel had made an end of slaying all the inhabitants of Ai in the field, in the wilderness wherein they chased them, and when they were all fallen on the edge of the sword, until they were consumed, that all the Israelites returned unto Ai, and smote it with the edge of the sword.
    25And so it was, that all that fell that day, both of men and women, were twelve thousand, even all the men of Ai.

    With the Lords approval
    Joshua 10:40 (King James Version)
    “40 So Joshua smote all the country of the hills, and of the south, and of the vale, and of the springs, and all their kings: he left none remaining, but utterly destroyed all that breathed, as the LORD God of Israel commanded.”

    Thus saith the Lord God of Israel
    Exodus 32:27-28 (King James Version)
    “27And he said unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbor. 28And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses: and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men.”

    Enough of that.

    Twom: “We were talking about the whole drama that is set up by the Christian world, of God creating humans, setting them up to fail in the garden,…”
    Cody: How did he set them up to fail?

    The whole garden thing was a setup. God is omniscient, he knows all

    Twom: “…sin, washing away of sin by flood, more sin, coming to earth as a human and redeeming all sins by dying for us…you know the story that any decent God would know how it would turn out not to mention that the results/outcome are written in the book. It is a silly melodrama made up by men…not the result of actual Godly manipulation.”

    Cody: Possibly because it’s about one thirty a.m. and I’m tired, you lost me here: “you know the story that any decent God would know how it would turn out not to mention that the results/outcome are written in the book”

    The whole story from beginning to end is written down in the Bible. It’s all prearranged and set. God already knows he will win…Satan already knows he will fail…it’s written down already. Why on earth would Satan, who is portrayed as a really intelligent being, continue with the melodrama when he knows he’s lost? The whole story just reeks of silliness.

    Twom: “Adam and Eve*Noah’s flood, The Tower of Babel, The Exodus”

    Cody: And what are the proofs?

    Adam and Eve: (4000 +- BC) We know for a fact that modern men/women have been roaming the earth for at least 200,000 years. DNA and archaeology prove it. Millions of pages on internet.

    Noah’s Ark: (2300-2400 +- BC) There is absolutely no archaeological evidence to back up the story. There are millions of pages of information about the flood on the internet. Perhaps you could look at one that has the weight of science behind it: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-noahs-ark.html

    The Tower of Babel: (2000 +- BC) The Tower of Babel incident was one to two hundred years after the flood. We know for a fact that millions of people were spread all over the earth at the supposed time of the ‘Flood’ and ‘Tower ‘ incidents; had been for tens of thousands of years. Do you think they were talking to each other or grunting? Thousands of pages on the internet about this story, to bring out the whole impact of how wrong it is, you have to research civilizations around the world in prehistoric times…lots of info out there.

    The Exodus: Recent revelations by Egyptian archaeological sources that there are no Egyptian records of such a Hebrew society in their midst in the times written about in the Bible. You have to collect surrounding evidence here also, for example the whole population of Egypt at the time of the Exodus was estimated at about two to two and a half million, The Hebrews were said to take over a million when you count women, children, and old people. Boy there goes the tax base. The recent book “The Bible Unearthed” by Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman, recounts all the non-existent archaeological evidence for the story. The following story from the Israeli weekly newspaper “Haaretz adds some more to the controversy.

    “Ze’ev Herzog’s, 1999 Haaretz weekly magazine cover page article “Deconstructing the walls of Jericho” attracted considerable public attention and debates. In this article Herzog claims that “the Israelites were never in Egypt, did not wander in the desert, did not conquer the land in a military campaign and did not pass it on to the 12 tribes of Israel. Perhaps even harder to swallow is the fact that the united monarchy of David and Solomon, which is described by the Bible as a regional power, was at most a small tribal kingdom. And it will come as an unpleasant shock to many that the God of Israel, Jehovah, had a female consort (Asherah) and that the early Israelite religion adopted monotheism only in the waning period (c920-900 BC ) of the monarchy and not at Mount Sinai”
    Ze’ev Herzog (b. 1941) is an Israeli archeologist, professor of archaeology at The Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Cultures at Tel Aviv University. Ze’ev Herzog is the director of The Sonia and Marco Nadler Institute of Archaeology since 2005.” The above was taken from one of my earlier blog posts. 2-27-09

    So with all the lacking evidence, and the known propensity of the Jews to write fables, I think I will go with the scientists here.

    Twom: “I don’t like anyone going around killing men women and children by the millions…has to do with my feeling that everyone should be treated with respect and the world should be safe for all.”

    Cody: Why should you care about the safety of others or whether or not they are treated with respect?

    Because I am a human and I simply care about them.

    You write:
    “Why would you expect other cultures to have written about the global flood if all but those on Noah’s ark drowned? It’s not something historians of the time would be able to document. And I’ve never heard any Christian argue that all flood stories stem from the Biblical account. Other floods have occurred and of course someone’s bound to right about them. You should give Mr. Mahon’s posted flood article a read, while we’re on the subject.”

    Many, many Christians have reasoned that because other cultures have written about a flood that Noah’s one was true. Secular people have been saying for years that there’s no connection…I’m glad you agree. It is thought that the Biblical flood story was taken from the “Epic of Gilgamesh” story which predates the Bible one by about five hundred years.

    I can’t seem to find Mr. Mahon’s flood article…perhaps you could give me a link to the page.

    Peace
    twom

  26. Cody says:

    “You seem to be picking very hard at my using the golden rule to guide my life and ways that I interact with the world. Saying or intimating that it’s not sufficient or good enough. All I can tell you is that it works for me and I find no problems with it at all.”

    I apologize if it seems like I’m putting down your moral philosophy. The golden rule is actually found in the Bible and I think it’s possibly the best rule one can follow…as long as the person using it is generally good. That’s all I was trying to point out to you. The success of the golden rule relies on the morality of the person applying it and, because it is reliant on morality, it cannot be the source. I am simply wanting to know what you believe the source to be, but in order to get an answer, I had to point out why the golden rule is not a sufficient source.

    By the way, if anything I say ever comes across as condescending or insulting, I most likely didn’t mean it that way. It’s just hard to express tone through a keyboard.

    “Following nothing but the golden rule I have risked my life for another once, volunteered with friends at a church several times, anonymously contributed money and help to a recently widowed lady (ongoing as we speak), stood watch over a dying lady so she would not be alone (others were there too I was just one of them) volunteered time (and money) for charities. So I’m really not getting what your protestations over the golden rule are about.”

    But I don’t think you did those things because you want others to do it for you. I’m sure you would want the same to be done for you if you were ever on the other sides of the situations, but you had to know that anonymous donations won’t affect how people treat you. Most likely, you did those things because you felt that it was right. Not because of the golden rule. So where is it that you get this sense of right and wrong?

    “You ask for examples of ridiculous sins/laws from the Bible. I’m going to cut and paste a letter that has been circulating on the internet for years that touches on the subject in a funny way…”

    I started writing my answer to that list of laws myself, but when I checked a couple of websites to see if there was anything I had left out I found this article which includes all that I had written along with a few more key points and isn’t very long: http://www.gotquestions.org/Christian-law.html

    “How were the young children escorted to heaven; by the bashing of heads against rocks?”

    Because, as the article said, “Life does not ultimately end at death, after all.” There is a Christian concept, which basically says that those whom are incapable of understanding their sinful state and need for a Savior, as young children are, are not held accountable for their sins, commonly known as “the age of accountability”, although it also applies to the mentally handicapped regardless of their age.

    “This is a tricky thing anyway as archaeology has found that the city of Jericho was already abandoned 300 years or more before Joshua got there, and Ai had also been deserted for centuries. The word Ai actually means ruins. Some of the other cities mentioned in the story were deserted and some not.”

    I don’t know a whole lot about archaeology, but I found a seemingly well informed response here: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Are_the_archaeological_claims_that_Jericho_had_been_abandoned_long_before_Joshua_arrived_true

    “Many Biblical scholars (and most archaeologists) believe that the whole Exodus story is manufactured Jewish myth anyway.”

    Based on what?

    “Here are a few more, not all by any means, and not in any particular order”

    All of my responses are from that same skeptic’s annotated bible response I mentioned in my previous response, unless otherwise noted.

    “Numbers 31:17-18”

    The context of these verses is holy war against Midian for the seduction of Israel. Similar to the episode of the Moabites in Numbers 25, God’s standards would not allow the Israelites to marry or have foreign women as wives. The command in holy war to kill women and children seems in modern times a terrible thing to do (and it was), and something they ought not to have done. But this criticism fails to understand the situation in the ancient world. The entire life of the ancient world was tribal warfare. God’s judgment is poured out on whole groups of people who act with moral abandonment and in sinful pursuits.

    “Deuteronomy 2:33-34”

    The people of Heshbon, in connection with the other nations God defeated, were a wicked people. Note that God spared the nations that were not beyond repentance throughout chapter two. Heshbon’s king would not allow Israel to pass through peacefully, though Israel had not threatened them. In fact, Heshbon was the first to attack Israel (2:32). Nevertheless, while military conflict is expected, the annihilation of the nation seems extreme. There are several points to consider. First, if God indeed intended for Israel to do this, He had good reason and is just in ending any life He upholds. In many cases, cultures had become so wicked that they were no longer redeemable. This wickedness, if not stamped out, would be a cancer to Israel, through whom God would save the world. As for the innocent children, they were likely taken to heaven never to suffer again or become as evil as their parents. On the other hand, this passage does not directly say that God told Israel to annihilate these people. At times, the Bible reports things which it does not necessarily condone. If God commanded it, then it was just. If not, the Bible merely reports what was done, and does not seem to either condone or condemn the actions.

    “Deuteronomy 3:6”

    Like Heshbon, Bashan attacked Israel first (3:1). The situation here was nearly identical with the one in Deut. 2:34. Please see the comments on that passage.

    “Deuteronomy 20:16”

    This passage is parallel with Deut.7:2. See the response to that passage for a more complete comment. God gives the reason for the annihilation of these people. The practice great wickedness, and might otherwise teach Israel to do the same. God, who sustains life, has the right to take it from whomever He wishes, through any means He wishes. These people would die for their wickedness. As for the children, those without guilt are eternally safe in the arms of God, whereas they may not have been if they had been trained to be corrupt like their parents. (You didn’t post Deuteronomy 7:2 as an example so I will post it and it’s explanation below)

    Deuteronomy 7:2 – “and when the LORD your God delivers them before you and you defeat them, then you shall utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them and show no favor to them.”

    Verse 4 clearly spells out the reason that Israel was to destroy the people God would deliver to them: otherwise, those people would corrupt Israel’s worship, leading to their downfall. The destiny of the world and the success of God’s plan of redemption go hand-in-hand with Israel’s past, present, and future (Genesis 12:3). Those who criticize this passage apparently long for an age of perfect peace, and for the absence of violence and pain. Yet they fail to see that for God to fulfill this desire, He must destroy evil. He could wipe out all evil from existence, but He would also have to destroy all of humanity. Yet He has chosen instead to transform humanity as well as the whole earth through His Son, the Messiah of Israel. This will one day finally be accomplished. Yet if Israel, God’s instrument of salvation, had been corrupted as thoroughly as the Hittites and Canaanites, it would have interrupted God’s plan for salvation, and humankind would be destroyed for good. The command to kill was only meant for that particular people, at that particular time, under those particular circumstances, and is not universally applicable. God is the giver of life and is free to take it through whatever instrument He chooses (in this case, Israel). Which is better, that a wicked people who stand against God’s plan of redemption be destroyed, or all of humanity?

    For more on God’s command to utterly destroy evil nations, including children, see the comments on Joshua 6:21.

    “Deuteronomy 21:10-13”

    The list of responses I am using does not comment on these verses. My Bible’s footnotes do, however:

    In warfare against non-Canaanite nations, the Israelites could take prisoners (cp. 20:11), including young women as wives. This is not a requirement of the Law, or an action the Lord necessarily endorsed; it was a permission granted to make more tolerable a practice common at the time. A captive wife would surely live under conditions more favorable than those for a woman not chosen. If her captor later rejected her as a wife, she could not be made a slave.

    “Joshua 6:21-27”

    The Israelites, at God’s command, destroyed Jericho and put to death all of its people. These people were far from innocent, and God gave them 400 years to repent since the time Abraham left the land. Their wickedness was infectious, and survival of that culture would have corrupted Israel’s worship of God. While it is never right for a human to decide who should live or die, God, who has the right to give life and take it, used Israel as his instrument of justice. The young children were mercifully taken out of a situation in which they had no chance to escape wickedness; they were escorted to heaven. Life does not ultimately end at death, after all. It should be noted that the one person who was obedient to God was spared (6:25), just like the people of Nineveh who repented at Jonah’s preaching.

    “Joshua 8:23-25”

    Again the list of responses has no comment and all my Bible’s footnotes say is, “The Israelites mounted a second assault against Ai, and this time conquered it. The Israelites executed the king of Ai and all its inhabitants. Israel was permitted to keep the plunder and livestock” but the circumstances seem no different than Joshua’s previous conquest of Jericho in Joshua 6:21.

    “Joshua 10:40”

    The response to this passage is basically the same as the one for the extermination of the people of Jericho (see Joshua 6:21). The people inhabiting the land that God promised to Israel were utterly wicked. God, who alone grants life and is just in taking it, used Joshua as His instrument of judgment. Had Joshua acted on his own in taking human lives, it would be unthinkable. Rather, he carried out God judgment against the wicked. Innocent children were taken into the hands of God to care for them and rescue them from the evil of their cultures.

    “Exodus 32:27-28”

    In this passage, God commanded Moses to do exactly what He promised He would in 22:20, to put to death those who commit high treason against Him by rejecting Him to worship other gods or idols. In doing so, He saved His people from harmful influences which would have destroyed the community. This was a command for that time and those circumstances, not for all times. Nevertheless, the idolaters had rejected the Source of Life, so their life was justly demanded of them. It was better that they should die than for the whole community to perish. God’s plan for rescuing the world through them could not be hindered.

    “The whole garden thing was a setup. God is omniscient, he knows all”

    So because God knew that mankind would abuse the gift of freewill, He set us up? What should He have done instead?

    “The whole story from beginning to end is written down in the Bible. It’s all prearranged and set. God already knows he will win…Satan already knows he will fail…it’s written down already. Why on earth would Satan, who is portrayed as a really intelligent being, continue with the melodrama when he knows he’s lost? The whole story just reeks of silliness.”

    http://www.gotquestions.org/Satan-defeat.html

    “Adam and Eve: (4000 +- BC) We know for a fact that modern men/women have been roaming the earth for at least 200,000 years. DNA and archaeology prove it. Millions of pages on internet.”

    Care to reference one?

    “Noah’s Ark: (2300-2400 +- BC) There is absolutely no archaeological evidence to back up the story. There are millions of pages of information about the flood on the internet. Perhaps you could look at one that has the weight of science behind it: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-noahs-ark.html

    I can’t seem to find Mr. Mahon’s flood article…perhaps you could give me a link to the page.”

    I apologize I wasn’t more specific; the article I was referring to wasn’t something Mr. Mahon wrote, it was a link he posted in his last reply to you. It addresses much of what you and your linked article said: http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/nab/really-a-flood-and-ark

    “The Tower of Babel: (2000 +- BC) The Tower of Babel incident was one to two hundred years after the flood. We know for a fact that millions of people were spread all over the earth at the supposed time of the ‘Flood’ and ‘Tower ‘ incidents; had been for tens of thousands of years. Do you think they were talking to each other or grunting? Thousands of pages on the internet about this story, to bring out the whole impact of how wrong it is, you have to research civilizations around the world in prehistoric times…lots of info out there.”

    Could you please either provide a reference or go into a little more detail as to what your argument against The Tower of Babel is?

    “The Exodus: Recent revelations by Egyptian archaeological sources that there are no Egyptian records of such a Hebrew society in their midst in the times written about in the Bible. You have to collect surrounding evidence here also, for example the whole population of Egypt at the time of the Exodus was estimated at about two to two and a half million, The Hebrews were said to take over a million when you count women, children, and old people. Boy there goes the tax base. The recent book
    “The Bible Unearthed” by Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman, recounts all the non-existent archaeological evidence for the story. The following story from the Israeli weekly newspaper “Haaretz adds some more to the controversy.

    “Ze’ev Herzog’s, 1999 Haaretz weekly magazine cover page article “Deconstructing the walls of Jericho” attracted considerable public attention and debates. In this article Herzog claims that “the Israelites were never in Egypt, did not wander in the desert, did not conquer the land in a military campaign and did not pass it on to the 12 tribes of Israel. Perhaps even harder to swallow is the fact that the united monarchy of David and Solomon, which is described by the Bible as a regional power, was at most a small tribal kingdom. And it will come as an unpleasant shock to many that the God of Israel, Jehovah, had a female consort (Asherah) and that the early Israelite religion adopted monotheism only in the waning period (c920-900 BC ) of the monarchy and not at Mount Sinai”
    Ze’ev Herzog (b. 1941) is an Israeli archeologist, professor of archaeology at The Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Cultures at Tel Aviv University. Ze’ev Herzog is the director of The Sonia and Marco Nadler Institute of Archaeology since 2005.” The above was taken from one of my earlier blog posts. 2-27-09

    So with all the lacking evidence, and the known propensity of the Jews to write fables, I think I will go with the scientists here.”

    I attempted to find a response by searching the internet and a Christian apologetics encyclopedia I own, but all I found were several answers to arguments regarding the Exodus that I’m not sure you are making, such as the dating of the Exodus, and an article so long, not only do I not want to take the time to read it, I doubt you would appreciate me asking you to…plus, I never post responses I haven’t read. Perhaps if you were to post a link to an article that goes into more detail about your argument, it would be easier for me to find a response or attempt to answer it myself.

    “Cody: Why should you care about the safety of others or whether or not they are treated with respect?

    Because I am a human and I simply care about them.”

    To say that you care about others simply because you care about them is circular reasoning. What is it about your humanity that causes you to care about the lives of others?

    “It is thought that the Biblical flood story was taken from the “Epic of Gilgamesh” story which predates the Bible one by about five hundred years.”

    http://www.icr.org/article/noah-flood-gilgamesh/

    Cody

  27. Cody says:

    I submitted it twice, but my reply doesn’t appear to be posting. Any idea why that is? Possibly your spam guard?

  28. Cody says:

    I’m thinking maybe my reply isn’t posting because your spam guard flagged it because of the amount of links in my comment or possibly because of the length so I’m going to try sending it one half at a time and see if that works (If you’re reading this then it must have).

    “You seem to be picking very hard at my using the golden rule to guide my life and ways that I interact with the world. Saying or intimating that it’s not sufficient or good enough. All I can tell you is that it works for me and I find no problems with it at all.”

    I apologize if it seems like I’m putting down your moral philosophy. The golden rule is actually found in the Bible and I think it’s possibly the best rule one can follow…as long as the person using it is generally good. That’s all I was trying to point out to you. The success of the golden rule relies on the morality of the person applying it and, because it is itself reliant on morality, it cannot be the source. I am simply wanting to know what you believe the source to be, but in order to get an answer, I had to point out why the golden rule is not a sufficient source.

    By the way, if anything I say ever comes across as condescending or insulting, I most likely didn’t mean it that way. It’s just hard to express tone through a keyboard.

    “Following nothing but the golden rule I have risked my life for another once, volunteered with friends at a church several times, anonymously contributed money and help to a recently widowed lady (ongoing as we speak), stood watch over a dying lady so she would not be alone (others were there too I was just one of them) volunteered time (and money) for charities. So I’m really not getting what your protestations over the golden rule are about.”

    But I don’t think you did those things because you want others to do it for you. I’m sure you would want the same to be done for you if you were ever on the other sides of the situations, but you had to know that anonymous donations won’t affect how people treat you. Most likely, you did those things because you felt that it was right. Not because of the golden rule. So where is it that you get this sense of right and wrong?

    “You ask for examples of ridiculous sins/laws from the Bible. I’m going to cut and paste a letter that has been circulating on the internet for years that touches on the subject in a funny way…”

    I started writing my answer to that list of laws myself, but when I checked a couple of websites to see if there was anything I had left out I found this article which includes all that I had written along with a few more key points and isn’t very long: http://www.gotquestions.org/Christian-law.html

    “How were the young children escorted to heaven; by the bashing of heads against rocks?”

    Because, as the article said, “Life does not ultimately end at death, after all.” There is a Christian concept, which basically says that those whom are incapable of understanding their sinful state and need for a Savior, as young Children are, are not held accountable for their sins, commonly known as “the age of accountability”, although it also applies to the mentally handicapped regardless of their age.

    “This is a tricky thing anyway as archaeology has found that the city of Jericho was already abandoned 300 years or more before Joshua got there, and Ai had also been deserted for centuries. The word Ai actually means ruins. Some of the other cities mentioned in the story were deserted and some not.”

    I don’t know a whole lot about archaeology, but I found a seemingly well informed response here: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Are_the_archaeological_claims_that_Jericho_had_been_abandoned_long_before_Joshua_arrived_true

    “Many Biblical scholars (and most archaeologists) believe that the whole Exodus story is manufactured Jewish myth anyway.”

    Based on what?

    “Here are a few more, not all by any means, and not in any particular order”

    All of my responses are from that same skeptic’s annotated bible response I mentioned in my previous response, unless otherwise noted.

    “Numbers 31:17-18”

    The context of these verses is holy war against Midian for the seduction of Israel. Similar to the episode of the Moabites in Numbers 25, God’s standards would not allow the Israelites to marry or have foreign women as wives. The command in holy war to kill women and children seems in modern times a terrible thing to do (and it was), and something they ought not to have done. But this criticism fails to understand the situation in the ancient world. The entire life of the ancient world was tribal warfare. God’s judgment is poured out on whole groups of people who act with moral abandonment and in sinful pursuits.

    “Deuteronomy 2:33-34”

    The people of Heshbon, in connection with the other nations God defeated, were a wicked people. Note that God spared the nations that were not beyond repentance throughout chapter two. Heshbon’s king would not allow Israel to pass through peacefully, though Israel had not threatened them. In fact, Heshbon was the first to attack Israel (2:32). Nevertheless, while military conflict is expected, the annihilation of the nation seems extreme. There are several points to consider. First, if God indeed intended for Israel to do this, He had good reason and is just in ending any life He upholds. In many cases, cultures had become so wicked that they were no longer redeemable. This wickedness, if not stamped out, would be a cancer to Israel, through whom God would save the world. As for the innocent children, they were likely taken to heaven never to suffer again or become as evil as their parents. On the other hand, this passage does not directly say that God told Israel to annihilate these people. At times, the Bible reports things which it does not necessarily condone. If God commanded it, then it was just. If not, the Bible merely reports what was done, and does not seem to either condone or condemn the actions.

    “Deuteronomy 3:6”

    Like Heshbon, Bashan attacked Israel first (3:1). The situation here was nearly identical with the one in Deut. 2:34. Please see the comments on that passage.

    “Deuteronomy 20:16”

    This passage is parallel with Deut.7:2. See the response to that passage for a more complete comment. God gives the reason for the annihilation of these people. The practice great wickedness, and might otherwise teach Israel to do the same. God, who sustains life, has the right to take it from whomever He wishes, through any means He wishes. These people would die for their wickedness. As for the children, those without guilt are eternally safe in the arms of God, whereas they may not have been if they had been trained to be corrupt like their parents. (You didn’t post Deuteronomy 7:2 as an example so I will post it and it’s explanation below)

    Deuteronomy 7:2 – “and when the LORD your God delivers them before you and you defeat them, then you shall utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them and show no favor to them.”

    Verse 4 clearly spells out the reason that Israel was to destroy the people God would deliver to them: otherwise, those people would corrupt Israel’s worship, leading to their downfall. The destiny of the world and the success of God’s plan of redemption go hand-in-hand with Israel’s past, present, and future (Genesis 12:3). Those who criticize this passage apparently long for an age of perfect peace, and for the absence of violence and pain. Yet they fail to see that for God to fulfill this desire, He must destroy evil. He could wipe out all evil from existence, but He would also have to destroy all of humanity. Yet He has chosen instead to transform humanity as well as the whole earth through His Son, the Messiah of Israel. This will one day finally be accomplished. Yet if Israel, God’s instrument of salvation, had been corrupted as thoroughly as the Hittites and Canaanites, it would have interrupted God’s plan for salvation, and humankind would be destroyed for good. The command to kill was only meant for that particular people, at that particular time, under those particular circumstances, and is not universally applicable. God is the giver of life and is free to take it through whatever instrument He chooses (in this case, Israel). Which is better, that a wicked people who stand against God’s plan of redemption be destroyed, or all of humanity?

    For more on God’s command to utterly destroy evil nations, including children, see the comments on Joshua 6:21.

    “Deuteronomy 21:10-13”

    The list of responses I am using does not comment on these verses. My Bible’s footnotes do, however:

    In warfare against non-Canaanite nations, the Israelites could take prisoners (cp. 20:11), including young women as wives. This is not a requirement of the Law, or an action the Lord necessarily endorsed; it was a permission granted to make more tolerable a practice common at the time. A captive wife would surely live under conditions more favorable than those for a woman not chosen. If her captor later rejected her as a wife, she could not be made a slave. (Continued)

  29. Cody says:

    “Joshua 6:21-27”

    The Israelites, at God’s command, destroyed Jericho and put to death all of its people. These people were far from innocent, and God gave them 400 years to repent since the time Abraham left the land. Their wickedness was infectious, and survival of that culture would have corrupted Israel’s worship of God. While it is never right for a human to decide who should live or die, God, who has the right to give life and take it, used Israel as his instrument of justice. The young children were mercifully taken out of a situation in which they had no chance to escape wickedness; they were escorted to heaven. Life does not ultimately end at death, after all. It should be noted that the one person who was obedient to God was spared (6:25), just like the people of Nineveh who repented at Jonah’s preaching.

    “Joshua 8:23-25”

    Again the list of responses has no comment and all my Bible’s footnotes say is, “The Israelites mounted a second assault against Ai, and this time conquered it. The Israelites executed the king of Ai and all its inhabitants. Israel was permitted to keep the plunder and livestock” but the circumstances seem no different than Joshua’s previous conquest of Jericho in Joshua 6:21.

    “Joshua 10:40”

    The response to this passage is basically the same as the one for the extermination of the people of Jericho (see Joshua 6:21). The people inhabiting the land that God promised to Israel were utterly wicked. God, who alone grants life and is just in taking it, used Joshua as His instrument of judgment. Had Joshua acted on his own in taking human lives, it would be unthinkable. Rather, he carried out God judgment against the wicked. Innocent children were taken into the hands of God to care for them and rescue them from the evil of their cultures.

    “Exodus 32:27-28”

    In this passage, God commanded Moses to do exactly what He promised He would in 22:20, to put to death those who commit high treason against Him by rejecting Him to worship other gods or idols. In doing so, He saved His people from harmful influences which would have destroyed the community. This was a command for that time and those circumstances, not for all times. Nevertheless, the idolaters had rejected the Source of Life, so their life was justly demanded of them. It was better that they should die than for the whole community to perish. God’s plan for rescuing the world through them could not be hindered.

    “The whole garden thing was a setup. God is
    omniscient, he knows all”

    So because God knew that mankind would abuse the gift of freewill, He set us up? What should He have done instead?

    “The whole story from beginning to end is written down in the Bible. It’s all prearranged and set. God already knows he will win…Satan already knows he will fail…it’s written down already. Why on earth would Satan, who is portrayed as a really intelligent being, continue with the melodrama when he knows he’s lost? The whole story just reeks of silliness.”

    http://www.gotquestions.org/Satan-defeat.html

    “Adam and Eve: (4000 +- BC) We know for a fact that modern men/women have been roaming the earth for at least 200,000 years. DNA and archaeology prove it. Millions of pages on internet.”

    Care to reference one?

    “Noah’s Ark: (2300-2400 +- BC) There is absolutely no archaeological evidence to back up the story. There are millions of pages of information about the flood on the internet. Perhaps you could look at one that has the weight of science behind it: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-noahs-ark.html

    I can’t seem to find Mr. Mahon’s flood article…perhaps you could give me a link to the page.”

    I apologize I wasn’t more specific; The article I was referring to wasn’t something Mr. Mahon wrote, it was a link he posted in his last reply to you. It addresses much of what you and your linked article said: http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/nab/really-a-flood-and-ark

    “The Tower of Babel: (2000 +- BC) The Tower of Babel incident was one to two hundred years after the flood. We know for a fact that millions of people were spread all over the earth at the supposed time of the ‘Flood’ and ‘Tower ‘ incidents; had been for tens of thousands of years. Do you think they were talking to each other or grunting? Thousands of pages on the internet about this story, to bring out the whole impact of how wrong it is, you have to research civilizations around the world in prehistoric times…lots of info out there.”

    Could you please either provide a reference or go into a little more detail as to what your argument against The Tower of Babel is?

    “The Exodus: Recent revelations by Egyptian archaeological sources that there are no Egyptian records of such a Hebrew society in their midst in the times written about in the Bible. You have to collect surrounding evidence here also, for example the whole population of Egypt at the time of the Exodus was estimated at about two to two and a half million, The Hebrews were said to take over a million when you count women, children, and old people. Boy there goes the tax base. The recent book “The Bible Unearthed” by Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman, recounts all the non-existent archaeological evidence for the story. The following story from the Israeli weekly newspaper “Haaretz adds some more to the controversy.

    “Ze’ev Herzog’s, 1999 Haaretz weekly magazine cover page article “Deconstructing the walls of Jericho” attracted considerable public attention and debates. In this article Herzog claims that “the Israelites were never in Egypt, did not wander in the desert, did not conquer the land in a military campaign and did not pass it on to the 12 tribes of Israel. Perhaps even harder to swallow is the fact that the united monarchy of David and Solomon, which is described by the Bible as a regional power, was at most a small tribal kingdom. And it will come as an unpleasant shock to many that the God of Israel, Jehovah, had a female consort (Asherah) and that the early Israelite religion adopted monotheism only in the waning period (c920-900 BC ) of the monarchy and not at Mount Sinai”
    Ze’ev Herzog (b. 1941) is an Israeli archeologist, professor of archaeology at The Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Cultures at Tel Aviv University. Ze’ev Herzog is the director of The Sonia and Marco Nadler Institute of Archaeology since 2005.” The above was taken from one of my earlier blog posts. 2-27-09

    So with all the lacking evidence, and the known propensity of the Jews to write fables, I think I will go with the scientists here.”

    I attempted to find a response by searching the internet and a Christian apologetics encyclopedia I own, but all I found were several answers to arguments regarding the Exodus that I’m not sure you are making, such as the dating of the Exodus, and an article so long, not only do I not want to take the time to read it, I doubt you would appreciate me asking you to…plus, I never post responses I haven’t read. Perhaps if you were to post a link to an article that goes into more detail about your argument, it would be easier for me to find a response or attempt to answer it myself.

    “Cody: Why should you care about the safety of others or whether or not they are treated with respect?

    Because I am a human and I simply care about them.”

    To say that you care about others simply because you care about them is circular reasoning. What is it about your humanity that causes you to care about the lives of others?

    “It is thought that the Biblical flood story was taken from the “Epic of Gilgamesh” story which predates the Bible one by about five hundred years.”

    http://www.icr.org/article/noah-flood-gilgamesh/

    Cody

  30. “There is a Christian concept, which basically says that those whom are incapable of understanding their sinful state and need for a Savior, as young Children are, are not held accountable for their sins, commonly known as “the age of accountability”, although it also applies to the mentally handicapped regardless of their age.”

    There is nothing scriptural about that statement. If young children aren’t held accountable for their sins then they have no need of Christ, which clearly wouldn’t be scriptural either.

  31. Cody says:

    quickbeamoffangorn,

    You are correct in saying that the age of accountability concept is not specifically addressed in Scripture. However, based on what Scripture says about the nature of God and the power of Christ’s sacrifice (1 John 2:2), it is safe to assume that those mentally incapable of making the decision to follow Christ will be protected by God’s mercy and grace and that Jesus’ death, which is sufficient for all sins, is sufficient for theirs as well. Because the Bible doesn’t specifically say that this is so, I will not be dogmatic on this issue, but I myself stand by it simply because I disagree with you in that I believe that the concept of age of accountability is in fact very Scriptural.

    Cody

  32. thewordofme says:

    Cody as you can clearly see I got your replies…they were stacked up in spam.
    I will go through and clear up the reply column and be answering as quick as I can.

    by the way I am enjoying the session. 🙂

  33. thewordofme says:

    Hi Cody,

    Just a short temporary reply about one section of the discussion. I called up the original article of Dr. Herzog about the Exodus and related stories.

    Here is the original article in Hebrew:
    http://www.hayadan.org.il/wp/bible-no-evidence-291099/

    Here is the article translated:
    http://mideastfacts.org/facts/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=32&Itemid=34

    Here is a short excerpt regarding mostly Jericho and Ai:

    Repeated excavations by various expeditions at Jericho and Ai, the two cities whose conquest is described in the greatest detail in the Book of Joshua, have proved very disappointing. Despite the excavators’ efforts, it emerged that in the late part of the 13th century BCE, at the end of the Late Bronze Age, which is the agreed period for the conquest, there were no cities in either tell, and of course no walls that could have been toppled. Naturally, explanations were offered for these anomalies. Some claimed that the walls around Jericho were washed away by rain, while others suggested that earlier walls had been used; and, as for Ai, it was claimed that the original story actually referred to the conquest of nearby Beit El and was transferred to Ai by later redactors.

    Biblical scholars suggested a quarter of a century ago that the conquest stories be viewed as etiological legends and no more. But as more and more sites were uncovered and it emerged that the places in question died out or were simply abandoned at different times, the conclusion was bolstered that there is no factual basis for the biblical story about the conquest by Israelite tribes in a military campaign led by Joshua.

    twom

  34. Well since you aren’t dogmatic about it I’ll drop it. My point wasn’t about the age of accountability which is generally age 7, but that “children are not held accountable for their sins”.
    Everyone is accountable for their sin otherwise God would not be Just; God’s mercy we hope will forgive them, but that’s an assumption and I don’t want to get off topic for you guys.

    Blessings,

    QB/Tom

  35. On topic,

    I really don’t understand the method of trying to justify ones interpretation of scripture based on biology (how many animals can fit on the ark) archaeology ( for buried ancient cities).

    To me one should debate the moral truths for conduct rather then focusing on how old Adam and Eve were and other historical statements in the old testament gets off track of the message, but that’s me.

    • thewordofme says:

      Hi qboa, thanks for your input.

      I haven’t the training that you do in your faith, and religion in general, I cannot discuss
      the finer points of dogma, theology, and esoterica anywhere near as well as you and
      many others that come on this blog.

      However, although I have no formal training in any particular science, I really study
      and keep up in my fields of interest, which include archaeology, geology,
      paleoanthropology, bioarchaeology, genetics, biology, and a few others…I bore my
      poor wife to death. 🙂

      So I tend to argue what I know, and I really think it is pertinent to the subject because
      I believe that all the different science that happen to relate to religion in one way or
      another are disproving the literalness of the Bible. If the stories are wrong, how much
      can we trust the book, if the book is wrong, how much authority can it have over us,
      and most importantly, is there really a God?

      Everything in Christian religion is predicated on that old book, the Bible. I truthfully
      believe that it is a man-made, not divinely inspired, book of myths and tales. We humans
      had no way of divining the truth of its writings until the last few decades in our
      history, and as the science gets better and the facts keep piling up, the outlook
      for the Bible gets worse.

      I’m not crowing over this fact because although religion is responsible for millions and
      millions of unnecessary deaths in the last few thousand years, today it is fairly responsible
      and does help the communities somewhat.

  36. Cody says:

    twom,

    I’m not ignoring you, by the way. I saw your reply, but I’d rather just wait and answer everything at once.

    And I’m enjoying this discussion, too. 🙂

    quickbeamoffagorn,

    Though I believe in the age of accountability, I don’t think that there’s a set age. It depends on the mental capacity of the child. For instance, a child genius’s age of accountability may be four, whereas a child with a learning disability’s may be twelve or thirteen. It’s not about whether or not they are accountable for their sins or if they need Jesus (they are and they do), but rather if they are capable of comprehending their sinful state and why they need Jesus Christ. If not I think that is where Jesus being the propitiation for the sins of the whole world may come into the equation.

    If your second message was directed to me, the reason I am debating thewordofme on scientific topics is because science is always on the side of truth, and I consider Scripture to be true. Therefore, science is a topic just as important as any we could discuss. As you can see from previous comments between twom and I, we are also discussing the topic of morality and I have tried to make clear to him why he, along with the rest of the world, needs Christ.

    Cody

  37. Cody says:

    twom,

    Sorry about the wait. I actually just now saw your reply. For some reason I didn’t get a notification email on that one and haven’t scrolled up until a just few minutes ago.
    Do you think you could re-post what you said as a normal comment at the bottom of the screen, though? For some reason, the right edge of your reply was cut off and there are quite a few sentences that guess work won’t allow me to finish. For instance, “I know no othe Star Wars…”

    Thanks,
    Cody

  38. thewordofme says:

    Hi Cody

    Sorry about the reply panel putting your post in the spam jail, I guess it was the spam filter kicking in.

    You write:
    “I apologize if it seems like I’m putting down your moral philosophy. The golden rule is actually found in the Bible and I think it’s possibly the best rule one can follow…as long as the person using it is generally good. That’s all I was trying to point out to you. The success of the golden rule relies on the morality of the person applying it and, because it is reliant on morality, it cannot be the source. I am simply wanting to know what you believe the source to be, but in order to get an answer, I had to point out why the golden rule is not a sufficient source.”

    No need to apologize, I was just curious why you were making such a thing about it; and now I know. I think the success of the GR is not dependent on the morality of the person using it, but rather how well said person applies it; it can’t be a part time effort, it must be applied at all times. I think the first recorded writing of the GR was by Confucius about 500 BC. The wording is a little different, but it says essentially the same thing as the biblical reference.

    Cody: “By the way, if anything I say ever comes across as condescending or insulting, I most likely didn’t mean it that way. It’s just hard to express tone through a keyboard.”

    Twom: That goes double for me, sometimes I can’t find the words to say something the way I should, and I have to resort to a smiley face…I will never write something that is meant to be insulting, well sometimes I do… to really obnoxious people, but most people are not obnoxious. I tend to attract the High Class people. 🙂

    Cody: “But I don’t think you did those things because you want others to do it for you. I’m sure you would want the same to be done for you if you were ever on the other sides of the situations, but you had to know that anonymous donations won’t affect how people treat you. Most likely, you did those things because you felt that it was right. Not because of the golden rule. So where is it that you get this sense of right and wrong?”

    Twom: Doing things because they are right is, I think, part of the GR. For instance I look at this poor women who lost her husband recently and has tremendous medical bills and apparently not enough insurance, and I think, if I were in her shoes I would appreciate any help that came my way…and do unto others pops into my mind immediately. I happen to be in a position where I can help some…and I do. I’m not looking for any admiration or recognition (the only ones who know of this is me and my wife, and now you) basically I think I am paying it forward…not paying it back.

    You may be a little harsh in your perception of people like me who don’t believe in your God. I know some really good Christians and I know some really good atheists, and I stand by both groups and call them friends. I get my sense of right and wrong from being self aware and realizing that if I want to be treated well, I must treat others well. If I want to be thought of as a good person by others (and who wouldn’t) I must be good, and being good equates with treating others with respect and friendliness. I don’t need a God to give me a sense of morality, I just treat others the way I want to be treated, and everyone wins.

    Twom: “How were the young children escorted to heaven; by the bashing of heads against rocks?”

    Cody: “Because, as the article said, “Life does not ultimately end at death, after all.” There is a Christian concept, which basically says that those whom are incapable of understanding their sinful state and need for a Savior, as young children are, are not held accountable for their sins, commonly known as “the age of accountability”, although it also applies to the mentally handicapped regardless of their age.”

    The narratives record the bashing of children and running through with swords of pregnant women it doesn’t mention that the children or the fetus’s were teleported to heaven…can I safely assume you are talking about souls here? If so, how sad for those children and women facing their certain death and the pain coming with it…makes me think of those Vietnam photos of the poor children running away from the bombs and napalm. I’m sorry, but there is nothing in this world that would make me get behind a God that does such things. (Talking of biblical stories).

    You see, I have read the Bible many times over, and I constantly think of all the death and slaughter that went on in the Old Testament and all the death and slaughter that went on in New Testament times when Christianity was trying to establish itself (this you have to find in secular writings), millions and untold millions of innocent people have been murdered in the name of the Christian God, children are still being molested by the perverted servants of God, probably being told its in the name of God.

    We take the name of God into wars, we use the Atomic bomb in the name of God, and Muslims who say they worship the same God we do, are using the name of God to kill tens of thousands of innocent bystanders and members of our military, who happen to be killing the Muslims in the name of God.

    In just the last 25 years or so Muslims and Christian Eastern Orthodox and Catholics. etc. in former Communist Eastern bloc countries such as Bosnia, Serbia, Yugoslavia, Azerbaijan, and others I can’t even pronounce, have killed upwards of 10 million souls in the name of their God. All of the people who have been doing this are no better than the Hitler’s and Pol Pot’s and Stalin’s in the world, but they represented Christianity and we are led to believe that Christianity is a religion of peace. Yeah, peaceful until you get in the way of someone’s particular interpretation of Scripture.

    Twom: “This is a tricky thing anyway as archaeology has found that the city of Jericho was already abandoned 300 years or more before Joshua got there, and Ai had also been deserted for centuries. The word Ai actually means ruins. Some of the other cities mentioned in the story were deserted and some not.”

    Cody: “I don’t know a whole lot about archaeology, but I found a seemingly well informed response here: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Are_the_archaeological_claims_that_Jericho_had_been_abandoned_long_before_Joshua_arrived_true”

    You must understand that Kathleen Kenyon’s and others mentioned work was done in the 50’s and there was much competition among Biblical archaeology and secular archaeology still going on. And the technology we have now was missing. I tend to discount much of the archaeological conclusions up until about the mid eighties (unless they are very well authenticated by later studies) If you found that link to Ze’ev Herzogs findings I left earlier and read it you understand where I am speaking from

    Twom: “Many Biblical scholars (and most archaeologists) believe that the whole Exodus story is manufactured Jewish myth anyway.”

    Cody: “Based on what?”

    Physical evidence. See Ze’ev Herzog story.

    Cody: “All of my responses are from that same skeptic’s annotated bible response I mentioned in my previous response, unless otherwise noted.”

    Twom: This is regarding the killing of whole towns…men, women, and children.

    Cody: “God’s judgment is poured out on whole groups of people who act with moral abandonment and in sinful pursuits.”

    Cody: “The people of Heshbon, in connection with the other nations God defeated, were a wicked people.”

    Cody: “…He had good reason and is just in ending any life He upholds. In many cases, cultures had become so wicked that they were no longer redeemable. This wickedness, if not stamped out, would be a cancer to Israel…”

    Cody: “God gives the reason for the annihilation of these people. The practice great wickedness”

    Cody: “…the reason that Israel was to destroy the people God would deliver to them: otherwise, those people would corrupt Israel’s worship…”

    Cody: “Those who criticize this passage apparently long for an age of perfect peace, and for the absence of violence and pain. Yet they fail to see that for God to fulfill this desire, He must destroy evil. He could wipe out all evil from existence, but He would also have to destroy all of humanity. Yet He has chosen instead to transform humanity as well as the whole earth through His Son, the Messiah of Israel. This will one day finally be accomplished. Yet if Israel, God’s instrument of salvation, had been corrupted as thoroughly as the Hittites and Canaanites, it would have interrupted God’s plan for salvation, and humankind would be destroyed for good.

    I must comment on this thought you give me from the words above. See this perfectly illustrates that God knew/knows all along exactly what is going to happen in this melodrama. God has to have set the whole thing up because he has a plan already (in OT times) and he knows of the death and destruction that has to come of all this. He allows everything to happen knowing what pain and suffering there will be on us.

    This is surely not the signs of a loving God. This is evil incarnate.

    Cody: “In warfare against non-Canaanite nations, the Israelites could take prisoners (cp. 20:11), including young women as wives. This is not a requirement of the Law, or an action the Lord necessarily endorsed; it was a permission granted to make more tolerable a practice common at the time. A captive wife would surely live under conditions more favorable than those for a woman not chosen. If her captor later rejected her as a wife, she could not be made a slave.”

    This practice was common for a long time, as was slavery, yet God could not take it upon Himself to tell humans that these practices were really bad and evil and ungodly. God would seem to be a misogynist like all the other male characters in the Bible. And since He apparently, along with Jesus, gave out advice on how to treat slaves he was an advocate of the practice. All God or Jesus (same entity?) had to do was insert something in scripture and those practices would go away fairly quickly, certainly sooner than 1865 for slaves and the 1920’s for women.

    My feeling is that the Bible was written purely by men (not divinely inspired men) and since these practices of slavery and raping were common place, the fathers and grandfathers and their fathers did them or accepted them, the writers thought nothing of it. If there were a *real God* involved here He would have spoke up. Just my feeling.

    Twom: “Adam and Eve: (4000 +- BC) We know for a fact that modern men/women have been roaming the earth for at least 200,000 years. DNA and archaeology prove it. Millions of pages on internet.”

    Cody: “Care to reference one?”

    http://ezinearticles.com/?Biblical–Adam-and-Eve-Laid-to-Rest-by-National-Genome-Project&id=94643

    Human Genome study.
    https://genographic.nationalgeographic.com/genographic/index.html NatGeo in conjunction with IBM genographic study. Original source on much DNA tracing.

    http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/ index to creationist claims, very well referenced.

    http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_arhs.htm article on Biblical characters, referenced.

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/homs/mitoeve.html Mitochondrial Eve, referenced, also covers Y-chromosomal Adam.

    Twom: “I can’t seem to find Mr. Mahon’s flood article…perhaps you could give me a link to the page.”

    Cody: “I apologize I wasn’t more specific; the article I was referring to wasn’t something Mr. Mahon wrote, it was a link he posted in his last reply to you. It addresses much of what you and your linked article said: http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/nab/really-a-flood-and-ark

    I will read the article soon.

    Twon: “The Tower of Babel: (2000 +- BC) The Tower of Babel incident was one to two hundred years after the flood. We know for a fact that millions of people were spread all over the earth at the supposed time of the ‘Flood’ and ‘Tower ‘ incidents; had been for tens of thousands of years. Do you think they were talking to each other or grunting? Thousands of pages on the internet about this story, to bring out the whole impact of how wrong it is, you have to research civilizations around the world in prehistoric times…lots of info out there.”

    Cody: “Could you please either provide a reference or go into a little more detail as to what your argument against The Tower of Babel is?”

    The argument is that God did not confuse the language of men one or two hundred years after the flood. Most creationists put the flood about 2300-2400 BC and the Tower of Babel a couple of hundred years later, which would put this act of God to confuse us at 2100-2200 BC.

    However there is tremendous evidence that man was spread all over the earth at the time the Bible speaks of God confusing the language of man.

    We know when the Mammoths died out in North America c.10, 000 BC and in Arizona we find spearheads with butchered Mammoths. We find other evidence that men have been in the Americas at least 15,000 years ago. We find plenty of evidence that man was in China, India, Australia, Asia, Africa—my God, Africa has evidence of modern man going back 200,000 years and precursors of man going back several million years, it is considered the cradle of mankind. At any rate there were humans everywhere and I seriously doubt that they did not have language—and that they were different than what was spoken in the plains of Shinar

    All blood lines and DNA from around the world, from all races tested, traces back to and end in Africa. Note that the evidence/procedure used in finding these things out is the same as is used to convict criminals and send them to their death or prison.
    This DNA evidence can also tell us when (time) bloodlines split and can be used to accurately place in time different lines of humanity.

    You might want to decide about age dating soon as the science is coming on strong and fast. So far most creationists I know just ignore the evidence coming out OR they take their views from CRI or AiG and such places. I’m sure they are nice people in those institutes, but I don’t trust their papers on science because they were written by Doctor’s of Divinity.

    Cody: “I attempted to find a response by searching the internet and a Christian apologetics encyclopedia I own, but all I found were several answers to arguments regarding the Exodus that I’m not sure you are making, such as the dating of the Exodus, and an article so long, not only do I not want to take the time to read it, I doubt you would appreciate me asking you to…plus, I never post responses I haven’t read. Perhaps if you were to post a link to an article that goes into more detail about your argument, it would be easier for me to find a response or attempt to answer it myself.

    This is in reference to my mention of the Exodus and the recent archaeological evidence regarding the story. I posted a link in a separate reply. It should be above this entry.

    “Cody: “Why should you care about the safety of others or whether or not they are treated with respect?”

    Twom: “Because I am a human and I simply care about them.”

    Cody: “To say that you care about others simply because you care about them is circular reasoning. What is it about your humanity that causes you to care about the lives of others?”

    No sir this is not circular reasoning. I simply care…it is my nature. I know no other way to describe it. Think of Star Wars…”there’s a tear in the “Force”. I get really sad thinking about the tens of thousands of people being killed and displaced in Darfur and other parts of Africa…though I know none of them.

    Twom: “It is thought that the Biblical flood story was taken from the “Epic of Gilgamesh” story which predates the Bible one by about five hundred years.”

    Cody: “http://www.icr.org/article/noah-flood-gilgamesh/ “

    Some 20 points of similarity and the Gilgamesh story was earlier…maybe as far back as 3200 BC.

  39. Cody says:

    Sorry about the wait twom,

    “Just a short temporary reply about one section of the discussion. I called up the original article of Dr. Herzog about the Exodus and related stories…

    You must understand that Kathleen Kenyon’s and others mentioned work was done in the 50’s and there was much competition among Biblical archaeology and secular archaeology still going on. And the technology we have now was missing. I tend to discount much of the archaeological conclusions up until about the mid eighties (unless they are very well authenticated by later studies) If you found that link to Ze’ev Herzogs findings I left earlier and read it you understand where I am speaking from

    Physical evidence. See Ze’ev Herzog story.

    This is in reference to my mention of the Exodus and the recent archaeological evidence regarding the story. I posted a link in a separate reply. It should be above this entry.”

    http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2274

    Sorry about leaving you so many links instead of answering myself, but when I said before that I don’t know a whole lot about archaeology, that was really an understatement, to be honest.

    “I think the success of the GR is not dependent on the morality of the person using it, but rather how well said person applies it; it can’t be a part time effort, it must be applied at all times.”

    But what about the example I gave regarding people with “every man for himself” philosophies? Many of their actions will still be bad, not because they aren’t applying the golden rule well or because they aren’t applying it full time, but because the roots of their actions (their “every man for himself” philosophy) are bad. Would you not agree?

    “Doing things because they are right is, I think, part of the GR. For instance I look at this poor women who lost her husband recently and has tremendous medical bills and apparently not enough insurance, and I think, if I were in her shoes I would appreciate any help that came my way…and do unto others pops into my mind immediately. I happen to be in a position where I can help some…and I do. I’m not looking for any admiration or recognition (the only ones who know of this is me and my wife, and now you) basically I think I am paying it forward…not paying it back.

    You may be a little harsh in your perception of people like me who don’t believe in your God. I know some really good Christians and I know some really good atheists, and I stand by both groups and call them friends. I get my sense of right and wrong from being self aware and realizing that if I want to be treated well, I must treat others well. If I want to be thought of as a good person by others (and who wouldn’t) I must be good, and being good equates with treating others with respect and friendliness. I don’t need a God to give me a sense of morality, I just treat others the way I want to be treated, and everyone wins.”

    Doing things because they are right has nothing to do with the golden rule. The golden rule is simply doing unto others as you would have them do unto you. There is nothing about right and wrong in that and it is really quite broad. What you do unto others depends on what you would have them do unto you, which depends directly on your moral principles.

    I don’t think that I have demonstrated a harsh perception of atheists anywhere in our discussion (feel free to call me out with an example if I’m wrong) and I am aware that many follow their moral codes just as strictly, and often more so, as many Christians. All I’m saying is that an atheistic worldview provides no sufficient explanation for morality, not that atheists can’t be moral. The mere fact that even the most logical atheists often maintain a sense of morality without a logical reason as to why is, I believe, evidence for God’s existence. The golden rule is a common argument from atheists, the source being, as you said, self-preservation, yet, if that is the case, the only reason people should perform acts of kindness is if they feel that such acts will help them in some way in the future. With yourself is an example, people betray that self-preservative golden rule all the time and yet their actions are still considered “good”. So if there can be good outside of the golden rule, there must be some other, higher source of morality. I am not implying that that source necessarily has to be God, though I believe it is, I simply wish to hear a sufficient and logical explanation from you (I have been emphasizing the words “sufficient” and “insufficient” so much because none of the explanations that I’ve heard from atheists explain every situation and most only explain a few so they are, therefore, insufficient).

    “The narratives record the bashing of children and running through with swords of pregnant women it doesn’t mention that the children or the fetus’s were teleported to heaven…can I safely assume you are talking about souls here? If so, how sad for those children and women facing their certain death and the pain coming with it…makes me think of those Vietnam photos of the poor children running away from the bombs and napalm.”

    The pain of death coming to those children is nothing in comparison to the pain of eternal punishment that would have come after a life lived in a society as wicked as the one they were born into. It was too late for the adults of the community, whose hearts had already been corrupted, to not be held accountable, but, for the children, death was a good thing in the long run considering where they would have ended up had the attack not have occurred.

    “I’m sorry, but there is nothing in this world that would make me get behind a God that does such things. (Talking of biblical stories).”

    Well, it seems that that would be a matter of pride. You can say that the God of the Bible does not exist all you want, but you cannot logically say that, if the God of the Bible exists, He is immoral or that you are His better. Consider this quote from C. S. Lewis: “Perhaps we feel inclined to disagree with Him. But there is a difficulty about disagreeing with God. He is the source from which all your reasoning power comes: you could not be right and He wrong any more than a stream can rise higher than its own source. When you are arguing against Him you are arguing against the very power that makes you able to argue at all: it is like cutting off the branch you are sitting on.”

    “You see, I have read the Bible many times over, and I constantly think of all the death and slaughter that went on in the Old Testament and all the death and slaughter that went on in New Testament times when Christianity was trying to establish itself (this you have to find in secular writings), millions and untold millions of innocent people have been murdered in the name of the Christian God, children are still being molested by the perverted servants of God, probably being told its in the name of God.

    We take the name of God into wars, we use the Atomic bomb in the name of God, and Muslims who say they worship the same God we do, are using the name of God to kill tens of thousands of innocent bystanders and members of our military, who happen to be killing the Muslims in the name of God.

    In just the last 25 years or so Muslims and Christian Eastern Orthodox and Catholics. etc. in former Communist Eastern bloc countries such as Bosnia, Serbia, Yugoslavia, Azerbaijan, and others I can’t even pronounce, have killed upwards of 10 million souls in the name of their God. All of the people who have been doing this are no better than the Hitler’s and Pol Pot’s and Stalin’s in the world, but they represented Christianity and we are led to believe that Christianity is a religion of peace. Yeah, peaceful until you get in the way of someone’s particular interpretation of Scripture.”

    Yes, people do wrong in the name of God. Just like people do wrong in the name of religion, political ideology, atheism, and simply anger. It’s not whose name the wrongs are done in that is wrong, it is the actions. People are sinful and their actions reflect that, despite their worldview.

    “I must comment on this thought you give me from the words above. See this perfectly illustrates that God knew/knows all along exactly what is going to happen in this melodrama. God has to have set the whole thing up because he has a plan already (in OT times) and he knows of the death and destruction that has to come of all this. He allows everything to happen knowing what pain and suffering there will be on us.

    This is surely not the signs of a loving God. This is evil incarnate.”

    C. S. Lewis actually addresses that in the surrounding context of the quote I provided above:

    “Christians, then, believe that an evil power has made himself for the present the Prince of this World. And, of course, that raises problems. Is this state of affairs in accordance with God’s will, or not? If it is, He is a strange God, you will say: and if it is not, how can anything happen contrary to the will of a being with absolute power?

    But anyone who has been in authority knows how a thing can be in accordance with your will in one way and not in another. It may be quite sensible for a mother to say to the children, ‘I’m not going to go and make you tidy the schoolroom every night. You’ve got to learn to keep it tidy on your own.’ Then she goes up one night and finds the Teddy bear and the ink and the French Grammar all lying in the grate. That is against her will. She would prefer the children to be tidy. But on the other hand, it is her will which has left the children free to be untidy. The same thing arises in any regiment, or trade union, or school. You make a thing voluntary and then half the people do not do it. That is not what you willed, but your will has made it possible.

    It is probably the same in the universe. God created things which had free will. That means creatures which can go either wrong or right. Some people think they can imagine a creature which was free but had no possibility of going wrong; I cannot. If a thing is free to be good it is also free to be bad. And free will is what has made evil possible. Why, then, did God give them free will? Because free will, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having. A world of automata—of creatures that worked like machines—would hardly be worth creating. The happiness which God designs for His higher creatures is the happiness of being freely, voluntarily united to Him and to each other in an ecstasy of love and delight compared with which the most rapturous love between a man and a woman on this earth is mere milk and water. And for that they must be free.

    Of course God knew what would happen if they used their freedom the wrong way: apparently He thought it worth the risk. Perhaps we feel inclined to disagree with Him. But there is a difficulty in disagreeing with God. He is the source from which all your reasoning power comes: you could not be right and He wrong any more than a stream can rise higher than its own source. When you are arguing against Him you are arguing against the very power that makes you able to argue at all: it is like cutting off the branch you are sitting on. If God thinks this state of war in the universe a price worth paying for free will—that is, for making a live world in which creatures can do real good or harm and something of real importance can happen, instead of a toy world which only moves when He pulls the strings—then we may take is as worth paying.”

    It goes on, but I think that seems like a good ending point.

    “This practice was common for a long time, as was slavery, yet God could not take it upon Himself to tell humans that these practices were really bad and evil and ungodly. God would seem to be a misogynist like all the other male characters in the Bible. And since He apparently, along with Jesus, gave out advice on how to treat slaves he was an advocate of the practice. All God or Jesus (same entity?) had to do was insert something in scripture and those practices would go away fairly quickly, certainly sooner than 1865 for slaves and the 1920’s for women.

    My feeling is that the Bible was written purely by men (not divinely inspired men) and since these practices of slavery and raping were common place, the fathers and grandfathers and their fathers did them or accepted them, the writers thought nothing of it. If there were a *real God* involved here He would have spoke up. Just my feeling.”

    http://www.gotquestions.org/Bible-slavery.html

    “http://ezinearticles.com/?Biblical–Adam-and-Eve-Laid-to-Rest-by-National-Genome-Project&id=94643

    Human Genome study.
    https://genographic.nationalgeographic.com/genographic/index.html NatGeo in conjunction with IBM genographic study. Original source on much DNA tracing.”

    http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2008/04/26/news-to-note-04262008

    “http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/ index to creationist claims, very well referenced.”

    What exactly are you wanting me to read from that?

    “http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_arhs.htm article on Biblical characters, referenced.”

    I don’t really get the point of this link.

    “http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/homs/mitoeve.html Mitochondrial Eve, referenced, also covers Y-chromosomal Adam.”

    How does any of that disprove the existence of Adam and Eve?

    “The argument is that God did not confuse the language of men one or two hundred years after the flood. Most creationists put the flood about 2300-2400 BC and the Tower of Babel a couple of hundred years later, which would put this act of God to confuse us at 2100-2200 BC.

    However there is tremendous evidence that man was spread all over the earth at the time the Bible speaks of God confusing the language of man.

    We know when the Mammoths died out in North America c.10, 000 BC and in Arizona we find spearheads with butchered Mammoths. We find other evidence that men have been in the Americas at least 15,000 years ago. We find plenty of evidence that man was in China, India, Australia, Asia, Africa—my God, Africa has evidence of modern man going back 200,000 years and precursors of man going back several million years, it is considered the cradle of mankind. At any rate there were humans everywhere and I seriously doubt that they did not have language—and that they were different than what was spoken in the plains of Shinar

    All blood lines and DNA from around the world, from all races tested, traces back to and end in Africa. Note that the evidence/procedure used in finding these things out is the same as is used to convict criminals and send them to their death or prison.
    This DNA evidence can also tell us when (time) bloodlines split and can be used to accurately place in time different lines of humanity.”

    I’m not really sure how much of that has really been proven. From what I’ve seen, a lot of the “discoveries” of secular scientists are based on atheistic assumptions and scientific assumptions can obscure the evidence.

    “So far most creationists I know just ignore the evidence coming out OR they take their views from CRI or AiG and such places. I’m sure they are nice people in those institutes, but I don’t trust their papers on science because they were written by Doctor’s of Divinity.”

    I don’t think most creationist ignore scientific evidence. It’s simply difficult to know what claims to trust because of the reasons I gave above when you have no scientific background and so we often turn to resources that share our beliefs so as to get an idea of what to think of alleged discoveries that contradict Biblical teaching.

    CRI is the Christian Research Institute and is, from what I understand, just a resource for people with theological questions where they’ve done a lot of the research for you, not a place of scientific articles. You may have meant ICR, the Institute for Creation Research. If that is what you meant, you are mistaken about them being unqualified to write about science. I’ve seen many articles written by Doctors of Science, Masters of Science, Doctors of Medicine, Doctors of Education, and Doctors of Philosophy, but none by Doctors of Divinity and, from what I’ve seen, the staff at AiG are similarly accredited so I think it may be better to focus on the arguments rather than just the credentials.

    “No sir this is not circular reasoning. I simply care…it is my nature. I know no other way to describe it. Think of Star Wars…”there’s a tear in the “Force”. I get really sad thinking about the tens of thousands of people being killed and displaced in Darfur and other parts of Africa…though I know none of them.”

    Actually, to say you care because you care, which is basically what you said, is circular reasoning at its best. Much like if I were to say “the Bible is true because it says so in the Bible”.

    By saying that the only way you can explain why you care about others is because it is in your nature is simply supporting Scripture’s (and logic’s) claim that we are all born with a moral code because we are all made in the image of God.

    “Cody: “http://www.icr.org/article/noah-flood-gilgamesh/ “

    Some 20 points of similarity and the Gilgamesh story was earlier…maybe as far back as 3200 BC.”

    Read the last two paragraphs of that article.

    Cody

    P.S. I was kind of all over the place in typing this reply, skipping things to answer something else and then coming back to what I skipped and answering a couple of things a day and then saving it on MS word, so if I missed something, please let me know.

  40. thewordofme says:

    Hi Cody, I hope you are well.

    Cody, the source you mention (Apologetics Press) just reiterates the standard story of Abram without adding anything new.

    First, the city Ur of the Chaldeans was not called that at the supposed time of Abram. It would be over a thousand years later that the city would take on that designation.
    Another thing that is not mentioned in the Apologetics Press article, but is mentioned in the Bible, is that Abram rescues Lot from his kidnappers in the city of Dan, but the city will not have that name until 300 years later…it was called Laish when this supposed rescue took place. Another problem with the story is the age of Abrams father, Terah, at the time of his death, there is a 70 year discrepancy in two parts of the Bible.

    Regarding the work of William F. Albright who is mentioned in the Apologetics Press article as an expert on Biblical Archaeology. Following is the excerpt:

    “William F. Albright, the famed archaeologist of the Bible lands, remarked:
    It is now becoming increasingly clear that the traditions of the Patriarchal Age, preserved in the book of Genesis, reflect with remarkable accuracy the actual conditions of the Middle Bronze Age, and especially of the period between 1800 and 1500 B.C. (as quoted in Unger, p. 121).”

    William Dever rebuts Albright in this article “What Remains of the House that Albright Built?” The Biblical Archaeologist, Vol. 56, No. 1 (Mar., 1993)
    William Dever, an archaeologist who suggests that the Bible contains stories, often fictions, in contrast to Albright, suggests that: “His (Albright’s) central theses have all been overturned, partly by further advances in Biblical criticism, but mostly by the continuing archaeological research of younger Americans and Israelis to whom he himself gave encouragement and momentum…The irony is that, in the long run, it will have been the newer “secular” archaeology that contributed the most to Biblical studies, not “Biblical archaeology.” Wikipedia

    This is not merely a fight among archaeological rivals it is the results of new methodology, new sciences involved in the discipline, cross referencing of other investigations, and not trying to fit the actual evidence into a Biblical model.

    Creationists are continually recycling old stories and research that has been passed by and refuted decades ago.

    From the Apologetic Press article:
    “In a response to Herzog’s attack, Hershel Shanks suggested that the archaeological evidence we now possess “is minute compared to what we don’t know, and is subject to change tomorrow” (Shanks, 1999).

    You notice he makes no attempt to discredit Prof. Herzog. And yes, all science is subject to revision as new facts come in, that is a good thing, and new facts have come in.

    Archaeology has been looking for evidence of Moses and his followers 40 year trek through the Sinai desert for many, many years and cannot seem to find it…this is well known fact in archaeological circles and by most Biblical scholars. You will find it taught in Princeton theological seminary among others.

    The archaeological evidence for the cities that Joshua was supposed to have destroyed is also missing; this fact has been known for many years in the science fields that relate to these stories.

    If you wish to debate these subjects you need to know the science behind them, although I know you will reject what I have to say, I must say it. If you go to religious sites for science you *are* going to be mislead…You may get someone who has a degree telling you such and such a thing, but if you research further you invariably find that the overwhelming majority of scientists or experts in that field disagree, sometimes vehemently, with the religious site author. This is widespread knowledge by those who research these things…of which I am one (the researcher part–not the scientist or expert). 🙂

    Another thing widely known is that the religious right (evangelicals, fundamentalists, creationists) lie…Mightily…in their science and their efforts to instill religion into secular institutions and schools. It’s got to the point that I almost trust Catholic scholars. 🙂 If you dig into their Catholic encyclopedia you will find they actually admit that much of what people think about the bible and its many stories is wrong. They are admitting to some of the new science findings, not all of course, but at least they are open to change as real evidence comes in.

    With so many irreconcilable discrepancies and mistakes and obvious untruths found in the Bible I find it hard to believe that people still say or think that every word is inerrant.

    I am out of time right now…I will answer more as soon as I can.

    Peace
    twom

  41. thewordofme says:

    Hi Cody, thanks for your patience.

    I am having a hard time getting a large enough block of time to reply in full to your post. I will answer parts of it as I can, and thanks again for your patience.

    From the ICR article you mentioned about Noah’s flood myth and Epic of Gilgamesh
    “The divine inspiration of the Bible would demand that the Genesis account is the correct version. Indeed the Hebrews were known for handing down their records and tradition.24 The Book of Genesis is viewed for the most part as an historical work, even by many liberal scholars, while the Epic of Gilgamesh is viewed as mythological. The One-source Theory must, therefore, lead back to the historical event of the Flood and Noah’s Ark.25 To those who believe in the inspiration and infallibility of the Bible, it should not be a surprise that God would preserve the true account of the Flood in the traditions of His people. The Genesis account was kept pure and accurate throughout the centuries by the providence of God until it was finally compiled, edited, and written down by Moses. The Epic of Gilgamesh, then, contains the corrupted account as preserved and embellished by peoples who did not follow the God of the Hebrews.” Frank Lorey, M.A.

    Only problem with Mr. Lorey’s thesis is there is no real evidence for Noah’s flood. Yes, there are a very small percentage of scientists (less than 5% last I heard) who support a flood, but…and this is a big but…they deny the actual evidence that mainline science provides. I think I’ll go with the mainline view. Also if you will check out mainline biblical scholars you will find they believe that Genesis (in fact the whole Pentateuch…and maybe much more) as being written around the time of the Jewish exile in Babylon, or later. All of this came down from oral tradition and was not written by Moses. Most liberal scholars of the Bible regard much the OT as myths and allegorical stories. The science simply does not support a literal view. A lot of people think the OT is mostly as mythological as the Epic of Gilgamesh.

    I don’t know if you are aware of it, but naturalists (early scientists. Darwin was a naturalist), have been doubting the flood story since the 1600’s

    Another paper by Mr. Lorey:
    Impact #252, by Frank Lorey, M.A. Although no living trees are older than about 4,600 years, by stringing together data sets and correlating dead tree rings with radiocarbon dating, chronology up to eight thousand years old have been claimed. I regard this as the *most serious scientific challenge still remaining* (even more so than radioisotope data) to the young-earth position, even though it demands no more than ten thousand years of time.

    OK, now here Mr. Lorey is saying that he is an expert on Dendrocronology, and he is also saying here that he is a YEC (young earth creationist). I think I will follow Prof. A. E. Douglass, who is the founder of the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research at the University of Arizona, and is the real authority on this method of dating that is known to be extremely accurate. This method of dating has also been found to follow C-14 dating very closely. You might want to see my blog on Carbon Dating and The Bible, on June 6, 2009 for further dating information by an actual fundamentalist scientist. Can be found here:
    https://thewordofme.wordpress.com/2009/06/06/carbon-dating-and-the-bible/

    Here is an excerpt from the Wikipedia article on Dendrochronology:

    “Fully anchored chronologies which extend back more than 10,000 years exist for river oak trees from South Germany (from the Main and Rhine rivers). Another fully anchored chronology which extends back 8500 years exists for the bristlecone pine in the Southwest US (White Mountains of California). Furthermore, the mutual consistency of these two independent dendrochronological sequences has been confirmed by comparing their radiocarbon and dendrochronological ages. In 2004 a new
    calibration curve INTCAL04 was *INTERNATIONALLY RATIFIED* for calibrated dates back to 26,000 Before Present (BP) based on an agreed worldwide data set of trees and marine sediments.”

    Mr. Lorey is correct in his belief that Dendrochronology dating is more threatening to the YEC position than C-14. It’s amazing what scientists can do when they get together from all over the world…and work together.

    Full Wikipedia article can be found here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dendrochronology

    Here is a US government site run by NOAA with plenty of real information on tree ring data
    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/treering.html

    Peace
    twom

  42. thewordofme says:

    Hi again Cody, I hope you are well.

    In regard to my simply saying I care, and you’re telling me I’m using circular reasoning, I’ll try one more time. It isn’t I care because I care…it’s I care because that’s the way I am, my makeup so to speak. I have no control over it, when I hear a sad story, I get sad and it happens without conscious thought on my part, I empathize strongly with people (or animals) that are hurt.

    You write back regarding the golden rule: But what about the example I gave regarding people with “every man for himself” philosophies? Many of their actions will still be bad, not because they aren’t applying the golden rule well or because they aren’t applying it full time, but because the roots of their actions (their “every man for himself” philosophy) are bad. Would you not agree?

    I have to say I haven’t known anybody who thinks like this, although I know they exist. Many thousands of examples can be found in the business world and politics and dictators. Now we know there are God believers in business people and all politicians SAY they believe, and dictators in Muslim countries (who believe in the same God…right?) say they are followers of the One True God. Here are these self proclaimed believers in God screwing people out of their life savings, taking them to unrighteous wars and death, and in the case of the Muslims riding roughshod over any hint of civil behavior and wanting to get ahead; keeping them in metaphorical medieval shackles.

    You write again in regards the golden rule: “Doing things because they are right has nothing to do with the golden rule. The golden rule is simply doing unto others as you would have them do unto you. There is nothing about right and wrong in that and it is really quite broad. What you do unto others depends on what you would have them do unto you, which depends directly on your moral principles.”

    I’m going to emphatically disagree with you on this, and I think many people would agree with me here. “Doing unto others as you would have them do to you.” Think about it…would you want someone to kill you or your family; would you want your home or business burglarized, your dog mistreated, your 401K raided by the bank or money traders, your car stolen and trashed, and so on, ad infinitum? The right and wrong (or morality) in the GR is implied by the thought behind the words.

    You write: “…I am aware that many follow their moral codes just as strictly and often more so, as many Christians. All I’m saying is that an atheistic worldview provides no sufficient explanation for morality, not that atheists can’t be moral…”

    I like the line from P.Z. Myer’s blog that states: “…. Morality is a derived property generated by the interactions of individuals; it is not imposed on us from above.”

    You write: “…So if there can be good outside of the golden rule, there must be some other, higher source of morality. I am not implying that that source necessarily has to be God, though I believe it is, I simply wish to hear a sufficient and logical explanation from you…”

    See the above quote from P.Z. Myer. I am a civilized fairly intelligent person and I realize, as do many, many others in this world, that you cannot go around doing whatever you want, to whomever you want. There are the laws of the land to consider and if you really think about them these laws are derived in part from the golden rule. In matters that are not really covered by civil and criminal law you are free to do what you will…but not everyone does wrong or evil things in these circumstances, many are driven by the thought that they would want to be treated well…so they handle the situation as gently or honorably as they can.

    Sociopaths have no comprehension of right and wrong; no empathy for other life. All the prayer and religious instruction in the world does not change them. These are the likely misbehavers and “What’s in it for me” type of people and I don’t think God ever enters into their equation of how to live.

    Consider the Eastern religions, the Buddhists, the Shinto’s, the Baha’i, the Confucianists, the Hindu’s, etc., they have no “One True God” looking over them and imparting moral rules and yet they seem to do just fine in this world. I think it is the very height of conceitedness to think that your particular way of life is the only acceptable one. That’s partly where the “Ugly American” concept comes from…’We are so much better’ attitude.

    Peace
    twom

    • Anonymous says:

      I feel like it is necessary to inform you that all your information is horribly wrong. The 4 Gospels were clearly written by those disciples. In that day, it was clear that just about all letters and Gospels, and documents were written by dictation. For those of you that don’t understand, that means that the disciple would take a scribe along with him on his journey and tell that man what to write, and it would then be published. The fictional fantasy that they had nothing to do with the writing is nothing but junk on the internet, no offense. You should be ashamed for misleading people just so.

  43. thewordofme says:

    Hi Anonymous, thanks for writing.

    You write:
    “The fictional fantasy that they had nothing to do with the writing is nothing but junk on the internet, no offense. You should be ashamed for misleading people just so.”

    No, actually that is one of the things that is taught in Princeton Theological Seminary and is written about by Bart Ehrman in his book *Jesus Interrupted* Mr. Ehrman is a professor of religion at UNC Chapel Hill. You can find his books on Amazon or B&N. You may also notice the quote at the beginning of this post, that is a direct quote from the Catholic Encyclopedia.

    I’m not trying to mislead people…the churches do that, I am trying to get the truth out there. Sorry if it disagrees with your sects dogma.

    twom

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: