Old Testament Slavery—Not so Bad?

Old Testament SlaveryYou’ve probably been there. You’ve read one too many articles claiming that biblical slavery was not a big deal, that it was actually a good thing for the enslaved, or that biblical slavery wasn’t at all like slavery in America.

Let’s go there.

Seattle columnist Dan Savage delivered a lecture in 2012 to high school students interested in journalism. His point, roughly stated, was that we discard lots of nutty stuff from the Old Testament (no shellfish, slavery, animal sacrifice, etc.), so let’s discard hatred of homosexuality as well.

Christian podcast apologetics.com responded on 5/13/12 with “Sex, Lies & Leviticus” (the second hour is the interesting part, with host Lindsay Brooks and guest Arthur Daniels Jr.). The interview begins with the guest mocking Savage’s claim that the Bible is “radically pro-slavery.”

The Bible is pro-slavery in the same way that it’s pro-commerce. The book of Proverbs says that God demands honest weights and measures—four times, in fact. Commerce is regulated, so it’s pretty clear that God has no problem with commerce. God is happy to set down prohibitions against wicked things, and there are none against honest commerce. By similar thinking (the regulation and the lack of prohibition), the Bible is pro-slavery.

But more on that later—let’s critique the arguments in the interview. Some of the arguments are truly ridiculous, but I include them for completeness and to give atheists a chance to become aware of them and Christians to realize what arguments need discarding.

1. Selection. The Bible prohibits lots of things, not just homosexuality. Dan Savage is happy with prohibitions against murder, rape, stealing, and so on. Why accept most of the Law but reject just the bits you don’t like?

Because no atheist goes to the Bible for moral guidance! No one, including Christians, know that murder, rape, and stealing are wrong because they read it in the Bible. They knew they were wrong first and saw that, coincidentally, the Bible rejects the same things. Our moral compass is internal, and from that we can critique the Bible to know what to keep (don’t murder) and what to reject (acceptance of slavery).

2. Food Laws. Dan Savage ridicules the kosher food laws (rejections of shellfish, for example), but Paul’s epistle of First Timothy (4:4–5) overturns these food restrictions.

In the first place, Pauline authorship for 1 Timothy is largely rejected by biblical scholars. Apparently, these guys want Christians to follow some random dude rather than Jesus himself, who never questioned the kosher laws and indeed demanded that they be upheld. Jesus said:

Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the Law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:17–20)

And secondly, laws aren’t considered and rejected one by one. Do they have a counter-verse to reject death for adultery (Lev. 20:10), for sassing your parents (Lev. 20:9), and every other nutty Old Testament prohibition that no Christian follows? Christians more typically reject the Old Testament laws with a blanket claim that the sacrifice of Jesus made those laws unnecessary (for example, see Hebrews chapters 7, 8, and 10).

The problem there, of course, is that prohibitions against homosexual acts are discarded along with the rest. You don’t get to keep just the ones you’re fond of. I discuss this more here.

3. Ignorance. Dan Savage is speaking out of turn. Like other atheists, he simply doesn’t know his Bible well.

Or not. American atheists are famously better informed than any religious group. And we’ll see that Savage is on target about slavery.

Continued in Part 2.

Americans treat the Bible 
like a website Terms of Use agreement. 
They don’t bother reading it; they just click “I agree.”
— Unknown

(This is an update of a post that originally appeared 6/7/12.)

Photo credit: Wikimedia

About Bob Seidensticker
  • http://pleonast.com/users/closetatheist Mr. Two

    Young preacher last Sunday was talking about slavery, being careful to mention that it wasn’t the same as what we had here in the U.S. because, hey, Jews who sold themselves into servitude to pay off a debt were freed in the year of Jubilee. He forgot to mention that foreigners didn’t get their freedom.

    • CodyGirl824

      Mr. Two,

      Foreigners did have the right for a family member to buy their freedom (release from servitude) by paying their debt to the head of household which they were indentured. See the OT, Leviticus 25. As for the issues you raise regarding slavery based on Leviticus 25, I recommend that you read Copan, p. 124-134 and most particularly beginning at the section titled Foreign Slaves, p.140-149. On p. 125, Copan says “A mistake critics make is associating ‘servanthood’ in the OT with antebellum (prewar) ‘slavery’ in the South…” On p. 140-141, Copan discusses the quotation for Leviticus 25 that you provided, only he includes verses 42-49 that describe the “redemption right” of a stranger [ger] or sojourner [toshab] where a family member or he himself could buy his freedom. Certainly you must agree that this “redemption right” was not available to black slaves in the prebellum South. Copan explains that “…[F]or poor foreigners wanting to live in Israel, voluntary servitude was pretty much the only option.” Copan goes on to do a thorough analysis of what Leviticus 25 and other related passages in Exodus and Deuteronomy say “foreigners” in Israel under Mosaic law and who these “foreigners” were in terms of their presence in and integration into Hebrew society.

      It appears to me that neither Dan Savage nor Bob Seidensticker has done his homework on this topic.

      • SuperMark

        yes, yes, it’s just not the same as we’re used to hearing about we all know the rebuttal to this argument it’s always the same. I’m sure even you will admit that your holy book was used to justify slavery in america, but somehow your god didn’t have the foresight to distinguish between the slavery you described in your post and the slavery that took place here in america. Why no abolition of lifetime servitude in your holy book?

        • CodyGirl824

          Why do you keep referring to the Bible as “your holy book”? I am a Christian and the Bible is our holy book, but the OT (Torah) is also the holy book of modern Jews. Do they practice slavery? On what side of the abolition question did Jews stand in the Civil War? Have you ever attended a Passover Seder that celebrates the ancient Hebrew’s freedom from slavery in Egypt? Or how about a communion service in a Christian church? Why don’t you talk about how Jews and Christians view slavery.

        • 90Lew90

          “Why do you keep referring to the Bible as “your holy book”?”

          Because… It’s a book and to you it’s “holy”? What’s wrong with that? He probably refers to the Bible as your holy book for the same reason I refer to your god as your god. Allow the stuff to penetrate your concrete skull. Your god is not the only god. Your holy book is not the only holy book.

        • CodyGirl824

          Who said anything about the Bible being the “only” holy book? Certainly not I. As I pointed out, it is the holy book of Judaism AND Christianity. So you must be using “your” as the second person plural possessive pronoun referring to all Jews whose holy book is the Torah and all Christians whose holy book is the OT and the NT. I have no problem with this since this means that all interpretations by all Jews and Christians living today and throughout history must be taken into consideration when atheists attempt a “public spanking” of the Bible.

          But you are wrong in suggesting that my God is not the only God. “Hear, O Israel: the Lord is our God, the Lord is one.” Deuteronomy 6:4

        • SuperMark

          You’re just splitting hairs, you accept the torah as part of your cannon so it is yours. i refuse to differentiate your holy book from all of the others so i refuse to refer to it as “The Bible” as if it is somehow superior to all of the other holy books.

        • CodyGirl824

          So be it. You’re entitled to your opinion, however disrespectful and ill-informed.

        • SuperMark

          Disrespect is the perfect word, that’s why i use jebus because using his name is more respect than he deserves.

        • Lbj

          This only shows your ignorance. Jesus is the smartest and most influential person in history. What kind of respect do you think you deserve?

        • SuperMark

          i think Paul and Constantine were more influential than jebus, without them you would have never known his name..

        • Lbj

          You really should study history. It would save you a lot of embarrassment.

        • SuperMark

          you should read more than one book.

        • Greg G.

          You are defending slavery because you clicked “I accept” on a book before you read it. You should be embarrassed. If the verses about slavery were in the Koran and not in the Bible, you would criticize and condemn them for they same reasons normal people do. What the verses say is intrinsically detestable. Yet you feel obligated to defend them because someone sold you the Bible and you are too emotionally attached to see it. That is the difference between religious faith and mere uncertainty. One allows you to reason and the other prevents reasoning.

        • SomersetJohn

          Smartest? Wasn’t he the one who thought the mustard seed was the smallest of all seeds?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          OK, fine–“most gorgeous” then.

        • 90Lew90

          “You’re entitled to your opinion, however disrespectful and ill-informed.”

          HAH! GUFFAW!

          “Even if your writings were from an angel from heaven I would take this horrible document, and, after having used it as toilet paper, wipe its nose.”

          From The Keys, pg. 362 of Luther’s Works, Vol. 40

        • Barthameus

          where do u get these quotes from? what book? what’s “The Keys” sounds like some buybull bashingly funny stuff 😉

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          If you’ve been paying attention, you can anticipate the next question: Does the OT never acknowledged the existence of more gods than Yahweh?

        • SuperMark

          Ha! yes thank you Bob, i seem to remember something about “the counsel of El” in the OT something I’ve never heard a good answer for other than polytheism. God had a counsel with himself??? Makes perfect sense.

        • Lbj

          Ever hear of the Triity?

        • SuperMark

          give me one verse in scripture that uses that word. the trinity is dogma.

        • Lbj

          The word does not appear in Scripture. The doctrine comes from various passages of Scripture that formulate the doctrine.

        • SuperMark

          You are refusing to answer my real question, if god can do anything why didn’t he give us a message that cannot be misinterpreted? If the trinity is doctrine why didn’t he say so why does such a crucial part of your doctrine have to be an inference?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          And do you suppose Paul understood the Trinity like you do? How about the Jesus of Mark?

          If not, then it’s clear that the Trinity was invented, not original to the NT authors.

        • Greg G.

          It’s a compromise of incompatible doctrines to turn polytheism into monotheism.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Are you saying the ancient Jews didn’t acknowledge the existence of other gods?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          It’s worse than that. Look up “henotheism” in this blog for more.

        • SuperMark

          goddamn i thought that was monism and i just read a book about it. there’s so many ideas about deity it’s hard to keep them straight.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Then there’s “monolatry,” which I can’t distinguish from “henotheism.”

          Anyway, the distinction is between many gods and we worship many or all of them (polytheism) vs. many gods but we only worship one. The second is clearly documented in the Old Testament, as well as later admonitions of monotheism.

        • SuperMark

          Agreed, polytheism in the OT is pretty clear but what I don’t understand is how modern christians are so quick to deny this? Why is it so hard to accept that religions change? Wouldn’t you expect ideas to evolve over a 5k year period?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          You would, except that this is the perfect word of God. You’d expect that he would make sure it got written down correctly and unambiguously and protect the transmission into our own time.

          That it looks identical to the writings of an ordinary, uninspired people destroys the God claim.

        • Lbj

          Polytheism was practiced by various cultures in the Bible. The Jews did not believe in polytheism.

        • SuperMark

          then why the need for the 1st commandment?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          No? Are you making a polytheism/henotheism distinction? Because the Bible certainly records henotheism.

        • SuperMark

          And what about that Elijah story where the other guys god performed miracles? 1 Kings 18 Baal is not the devil Baal was another god.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Or the Pharaoh’s ministers able to do the same snake trick as Moses.

        • Lbj

          Of course we must make distinctions in these matters as we do with most things in life.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Huh?

          The OT records henotheism. Look it up on this blog for more.

        • Lbj

          Here is one example what the Scripture says about the one God.
          “”I am the LORD, and there is no other; Besides Me there is no God. I will gird you, though you have not known Me;
          Isaiah 45:5

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          And? If you’re saying the Bible is contradictory, I agree.

          More

        • https://www.facebook.com/michael.carteron Michael

          From the definitions it appears that monalatry is the worship of one god exclusively, while still believing others exist, whereas henotheism is the worship of one god while believing others exist that can be worshiped. The former appears to exclude worship of the others, while the latter doesn’t. A thin but crucial distinction there.

        • 90Lew90

          No, quite clearly, I was using “your” as a possessive determiner — in the singular — referring to… you. Elementary my dear Cody. I mean, is it a book? Is it holy to you? Yes? Well then. “Your holy book” it is!

        • SuperMark

          Thanks Lew, that’s exactly it. There’s more than one holy book so calling it “The Bible” implies that it is somehow superior to the other holy books.

        • Lbj

          Of course it’s superior to any other book because in it we find the revelation of the true God.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Now that I see it in black and white, I’m convinced.

      • Benjamin Bastin

        Well I just read Leviticus 25: 42-49 and it says pretty much the opposite of what you claim. Foreign slaves are property that can be bequeathed to the owner’s children, but Hebrews can be redeemed. Nowhere does it say that foreigners may buy their freedom in this chapter. I suggest you actually read this chapter for yourself, then apologize for misleading people through your ignorance.

        • CodyGirl824

          I refer you again to the Paul Copan’s (2011) book, “Is God a moral monster? Making sense of the Old Testament God.”

          I quoted Copan’s words verbatim. If you claim that he has misinterpreted Leviticus, take it up with him.

        • 90Lew90

          “You are a little pious prancer.”

          From Against the Roman Papacy, an Institution of the Devil, pg. 310 of Luther’s Works, Vol. 41

        • Benjamin Bastin

          Yes he misrepresented Leviticus. The passage you mentioned is clear and says the opposite of what you claimed. Read it for yourself and see that Copan is a liar.

        • CodyGirl824

          I sincerely doubt that Paul Copan is troubled in the least by your calling him a liar.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I sincerely doubt that you are troubled in the least by thoughtful attacks on your sources.

        • Benjamin Bastin

          If you have accurately represented his position then he is in fact either a liar or incompetent. If he is not bothered by the fact he is either a liar or incompetent then you might want to reconsider using him as a source in the future. But kudos to you for utterly failing to address the fact that the passage you cited says the opposite of what you claim. Trying to pass the blame on to Copan is a very weak defense. At least apologize for lying about what Leviticus says.

        • Greg G.

          Do you quote people without reading them, hoping it supports your case?

        • CodyGirl824

          What exactly do you think my “case” is?

        • Greg G.

          You are defending slavery on the basis that it wasn’t the worst slavery ever. Is that correct?

        • Greg G.

          Wait. Is it your case that atheists are always wrong and must be contradicted even if it means supporting slavery and genocide?

        • Pofarmer

          And lying about what other people say.

      • James Walker

        there are two difficulties here that you don’t seem to be addressing. the first is that practice may have differed significantly from what is codified in Leviticus. just as we cannot expect all “law abiding US citizens” will always 100% adhere to every law on the books (speed limits, anyone?), we should not expect that all Jewish property owners adhered 100% to the codes maintained by the priests and judges.

        the second is that very little of this discussion about “redemption rights” and “years of jubilee” tells us anything about the day-to-day circumstances of the people who were kept as “servants” or “slaves”. I find it telling that in Genesis when Sarai decided she could not bear a child for Abram, she told her maidservant, Hagar, to fill in. No one bothered to consult Hagar on the subject. That means she was property, not in a position of voluntary servitude.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

        Read Lev. 25:44-46.

      • Greg G.

        You may exploit a servant to make him a slave
        Deuteronomy 15:12-17
        12 If a member of your community, whether a Hebrew man or a Hebrew woman, is sold to you and works for you six years, in the seventh year you shall set that person free. 13 And when you send a male slave out from you a free person, you shall not send him out empty-handed. 14 Provide liberally out of your flock, your threshing floor, and your wine press, thus giving to him some of the bounty with which the Lord your God has blessed you. 15 Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God redeemed you; for this reason I lay this command upon you today. 16 But if he says to you, “I will not go out from you,” because he loves you and your household, since he is well off with you, 17 then you shall take an awl and thrust it through his earlobe into the door, and he shall be your slave forever.
        You shall do the same with regard to your female slave.

        Instructions on how to exploit a servant
        Exodus 21:2-6
        2 When you buy a male Hebrew slave, he shall serve six years, but in the seventh he shall go out a free person, without debt. 3 If he comes in single, he shall go out single; if he comes in married, then his wife shall go out with him. 4 If his master gives him a wife and she bears him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall be her master’s and he shall go out alone. 5 But if the slave declares, “I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out a free person,” 6 then his master shall bring him before God. He shall be brought to the door or the doorpost; and his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him for life.

        You may sell your daughters
        Exodus 21:7-11
        7 When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she shall not go out as the male slaves do. 8 If she does not please her master, who designated her for himself, then he shall let her be redeemed; he shall have no right to sell her to a foreign people, since he has dealt unfairly with her. 9 If he designates her for his son, he shall deal with her as with a daughter. 10 If he takes another wife to himself, he shall not diminish the food, clothing, or marital rights of the first wife. 11 And if he does not do these three things for her, she shall go out without debt, without payment of money.

        This one allows the foreign slaves to be treated harshly
        Leviticus 25:44-46
        44 As for the male and female slaves whom you may have, it is from the nations around you that you may acquire male and female slaves. 45 You may also acquire them from among the aliens residing with you, and from their families that are with you, who have been born in your land; and they may be your property. 46 You may keep them as a possession for your children after you, for them to inherit as property. These you may treat as slaves, but as for your fellow Israelites, no one shall rule over the other with harshness.

        It’s OK if they suffer for two days before dying
        Exodus 21:20-21
        20 When a slaveowner strikes a male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies immediately, the owner shall be punished. 21 But if the slave survives a day or two, there is no punishment; for the slave is the owner’s property.

        Jesus sanctions the beating of slaves
        Luke 12:47-48
        47 That slave who knew what his master wanted, but did not prepare himself or do what was wanted, will receive a severe beating. 48 But the one who did not know and did what deserved a beating will receive a light beating. From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required; and from the one to whom much has been entrusted, even more will be demanded.

        Paul is down with slavery
        Ephesians 6:5
        5 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, in singleness of heart, as you obey Christ;

        • CodyGirl824

          And your point is…?

        • 90Lew90

          “For you know that everybody realized how you treat your worthy spouse – not only like an utterly mad brute and drunkard, but also like a senseless raving tyrant, who daily and hourly gorges and fills himself up, not with wine, but with the devil, like Judas at the Last Supper. Out of your whole body, in all you do and are, you simply spew out the devil, with blaspheming, cursing, lying, committing adultery, raving, flaying, murdering, setting fires, etc., so that one cannot find your like in history.”

          From Against Hanswurst, pg. 239 of Luther’s Works, Vol. 41

        • CodyGirl824

          What is your point?

        • Greg G.

          On p. 125, Copan says “A mistake critics make is associating ‘servanthood’ in the OT with antebellum (prewar) ‘slavery’ in the South…”

          You prefer spin to actually looking at the source material. Copan makes the mistake of associating “servanthood” with foreign slaves.

          Certainly you must agree that this “redemption right” was not available to black slaves in the prebellum South.

          Actually they did have the right to do it and some did.

        • CodyGirl824

          …and who do you claim enforced this “right” for black slaves in the antebellum south?

        • Greg G.

          Apparently it was the love of money. As the South got pushback on slavery they became defensive and more severe, even outlawing free blacks. Whoever enforced it wasn’t consistent. Perhaps it was just the passing of generations.

          Who do you claim enforced it?

      • Fox

        Cody, I think you may be mistaken here and are misreading both Leviticus and even Copan in part. There is a clear shift at vv. 47-49. The situation is that is a stranger or sojourner purchases an *Israelite* who has fallen into hard times! the *Israelite* may be redeemed by a family member or himself. There is nothing in that passage about the foreigner being redeemed. Rather, this is a contrast with the foreigner-as-property inherited by children situation. This can be verified by comparing those verses in several different versions.

        Copan’s whole section that follows simply discusses how God commanded love for foreigners, foreigners couldn’t own land and so may have been servants of Israelites, and were allowed to eat non-kosher foods (And why not? They weren’t under Mosaic covenant). Yet Copan notes that all these niceties toward strangers were likely b/c the ger and toshab fell in line with Jewish beliefs to a greater or lesser extent. But the foreigner (nokrim or bene-nekar) were viewed (and treated) in a more negative light. Copan notes that some of these May have been prisoners of war.

        So note that just because some ger or toshab may have chosen to dwell among the Isaelites and even to serve in their households as *servants*, that says nothing of the nokri (or even other ger and toshab, for that matter) who were captured in war, purchased, acquired through debt or inheritance or some other means who were actual *slaves* who could be beaten separated from family and passed on as possessions. Sure, Copan begins by saying foreigners weren’t chattel of the likes of the American south. But his discourse on how *free foreigners* were to treated leaves much unspoken about the topic at hand (which you will remember is the treatment of foreigners *as slaves*).

        • SuperMark

          Thanks Fox! It sounds like you truly have an understanding of Copan and not just what you heard about it. i.e. a talking point.

        • Fox

          Copan’s book came out right about the time I left the faith. I had been struggling with moral and historical contextual issues in the OT. During WL Craig’s debate with Sam Harris On morality, Craig mentioned the book. I immediately ordered it and read it hoping for answers to my questions. Alas, reading it and a lot of background ANE history set me firmly on the path to atheism (most especially where Yahweh is concerned). If you have an interest in the area but don’t want to purchase Copan, search for Thom Star Is God a Moral Compromiser. You’ll find a free pdf by a liberal Christian who rips Copan apart (apparently, as I’ve never read it). I didn’t have to read Stark b/c Reading Copan’s skirting around the issues and background checking his claims was enough to do the job. :)

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Thanks for the suggestion. Stark’s online rebuttal is here.

        • Fox

          Corrections for clarification:
          situation is that *if* a stranger…
          Fallen into hard times*,* the Israelite…

  • RichardSRussell

    X works for Y.
    If X can stop working for Y any time he or she feels like it, X is an employee.
    If not, X is a slave.
    Of course, you’d expect Y to try to put the nicest possible slant on it.
    Nonetheless.

  • CodyGirl824

    I know how much joy the thought of an atheist giving the Bible “a public spanking” must produce in you, Bob but in reality, what Dan Savage does is to “spank” the ancient Hebrews and their laws and traditions. This is a rather ridiculous exercise. But even more ridiculous still is your attempt to continue the “spanking” on the issue of Hebrews’ laws regarding servanthood. I surmise that what you wish to produce is a sort of defensive reaction among Jews and Christians who might feel compelled to defend the Bible against atheistic interpretations, which are frequently more literalistic and extreme than those of the staunchest fundamentalists. I guess we can just sit back and watch with amazement and amusement as the Bible spankers take on the Bible thumpers in this modern day Roman Circus on your website.

    • ZenDruid

      And sarcasm is the flavor of your defensive reaction.

    • Partial_M

      Hear about Scott Esk? The OK wannabe politician who said that, in his opinion, towns should be able to stone gay people to death?

      He said, “I think we would be totally in the right to do it. That goes against some parts of libertarianism, I realize, and I’m largely libertarian, but ignoring as a nation things that are worthy of death is very remiss.”

      It is ridiculous to suggest that the “staunchest fundamentalists” do not take their mythology literally. While many Christians have more liberal interpretations of the Bible, there are many more who insist that they take it to be the literal, unerring word of God.

    • MNb

      Which method do you use when deciding which interpretations are correct and which ones incorrect? I’m sure a 1900 years old chain of theologians would like to see this issue decided.
      Anyhow you’re attacking a strawman. Did you use any of the christian arguments BobS referred to? No? Then this piece is not for you. Yes? Then for once address what we atheists write instead of presenting your silly attempt to be sarcastic.

      • CodyGirl824

        I do not worry in the least about “which interpretations are correct” nor do most Christians. The purpose in reading the Bible is to understand the ancient Hebrews’ covenant relationship with God as they understood God. There is no one “correct” understanding or interpretation of the Bible.

        • 90Lew90

          “I do not worry in the least about “which interpretations are correct” nor do most Christians.”

          Obviously.

        • CodyGirl824

          …and thank goodness!

        • InDogITrust

          “do not worry in the least about “which interpretations are correct” nor do most Christians.”
          This will come as a shock to a lot of Christians and former Christians.

          “The purpose in reading the Bible is to understand the ancient Hebrews’ covenant relationship with God as they understood God.”
          This will come as a shock to a lot of Christians and former Christians.

          “There is no one “correct” understanding or interpretation of the Bible.”
          Whoa! This is definitely going to startle a lot of people.
          You might want to check with your co-religionists before making these sweeping statements.

        • Lbj

          If There is no one “correct” understanding or interpretation of the Bible.” does that mean also that there is no ” correct ” understanding of what you just wrote?

        • hector_jones

          Oops, fail.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          What’s the foolproof algorithm for getting the correct interpretation of the Bible?

        • Lbj

          Understanding the culture, context and purpose of the writing, and what the words mean in their original context. These are just some of the things that need to be applied if one is to gain a correct understanding.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Hardly a foolproof algorithm. More like a maleable structure that you can bend to call someone’s interpretation right or wrong as you choose.

          What fun! You get to be God and judge someone else’s Bible understanding.

        • Lbj

          There really is no such thing as an infallible interpretation by men on most subjects. Not even in your much loved field of science.

        • SuperMark

          But god is incapable of giving us a message that cannot be misinterpreted? I thought your god can do anything?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          So where does that leave us? We have a book clumsily written down by Iron Age tribesmen thousands of years ago, and our interpretation is inherently faulty.

          You’d think that God would’ve anticipated this and written something that would accurately convey his meaning. Since Christians come to many different interpretations, that’s another fail.

        • Lbj

          Most of what the Bible speaks of is very clear. The problem is many who don’t take the time nor have the skills to interpret it correctly. Many atheists are like this sadly.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Explain the very clear Lev. 25:44-46 then. Atheists have no problem explaining this. Let’s see how you do.

        • CodyGirl824

          Why should I check with my “co-religionists” (Christians and Jews before giving my interpretation of the Bible? They don’t have to check with me before giving theirs.

        • InDogITrust

          You misunderstand me: many of your coreligionists will disagree with your statement that, “There is no one “correct” understanding or interpretation of the Bible.”
          The Catholic Church is pretty certain that theirs is the only correct interpretation, the Calvinists are certain that they’re the only ones who have it right, etc.

        • SomersetJohn

          This may go some way to explaining why there are upwards of 30,000 separate and individual religions all calling themselves “Christianity”, many of them mutually exclusive, and all of them calling themselves the one and only right way to God.

        • 90Lew90

          You forgot the Muslims.

        • MNb

          Keep that mind when criticizing an atheist understanding or interpretation of the Bible.

    • wtfwjtd

      Yeah, we get it Cody, having an honest, accurate discussion about anything in the Bible that is embarrassing or uncomfortable for the Christian is “ridiculous” to you. I’ve got more “ridiculous” news for you–we’re gonna do it anyway.

      • CodyGirl824

        When I see “honest and accurate” discussions from atheists about the Bible, it will surely be a miracle.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Insults is all you got? Respond to the specific arguments.

        • 90Lew90

          “You loathsome, accursed, atrocious monster.”

          From Against the Roman Papacy, an Institution of the Devil, pg. 330 of Luther’s Works, Vol. 41

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      what Dan Savage does is to “spank” the ancient Hebrews and their laws and traditions. This is a rather ridiculous exercise.

      If you reject the OT as irrelevant to modern life, join the club. Not all Christians are as enlightened as you.

      I let the Bible speak for itself, which is the most respect that I can give it. Sure, I could pat the Bible (and, by extension, Bible literalists) on the head and say that they’re just a little out of touch, or I could actually respond to what the Bible actually says. I see no reason for apologizing for giving the Bible that respect. Seems to me that by treating it as a mentally disabled child, you’re the one disrespecting the Bible.

      • CodyGirl824

        Why reject the OT as “irrelevant to modern life”? Modern Jews do not. What do you have to say to them about the Torah?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          ?? Why don’t we discuss one thing at a time? How Jews (or indeed believers of any other religion) think is off topic.

        • 90Lew90

          “Stupid spirit.”

          From Against the Heavenly Prophets, pg. 150 of Luther’s Works, Vol. 40

        • tyler

          okay this is getting annoying do you realize that the jewish scriptural tradition is completely different from the christian one and that jews are not just christians that don’t read the new testament

          because most of your comments here suggest to me that you do not

        • 90Lew90

          Annoying? From this person? You should try spending a night with her when she’s really going for it.

    • 90Lew90

      “But what do you say? “Come here, Satan! And if you had more worlds than this, I would accept them all, and not only worship you, but also lick your behind.”

      From Against the Roman Papacy, an Institution of the Devil, pg. 334 of Luther’s Works, Vol. 41

    • duke_of_omnium

      Either the bible means what it says, in which case Jews and Christians have every reason to be defensive, or it does not, in which case christians (and to a lesser extent Jews) should stop pretending that it has meaning. If the former, Christians are stuck with the fact that Biblegod endorses, sanctions and regulates lavery. If the latter, then why should anyone give a crap? I mean, if we can’t trust the bible when it sanctions and endorses slavery, we can’t trust it about people rising from the dead, either.

      Pick one and stick to it.

      • CodyGirl824

        No Jews or Christians living today need be at all defensive about what the Bible says since no one of us wrote a single word of it.

        • SuperMark

          Yes but you hold it up as absolute truth, and here you are defending slavery, you should be ashamed of yourself.

        • Lbj

          Why? If you are an atheist what would be wrong with slavery?

        • duke_of_omnium

          And this is why Christianity is so contemptible: because Christians don’t think that slavery is wrong.

        • Lbj

          On what basis is slavery wrong?

        • SuperMark

          wow just wow, go back to the bronze age where you belong.

        • Lbj

          You might want to rethink your atheism since it cannot answer some simple questions.

        • SuperMark

          the answer is self evident and does not deserve a response, you’re just trying to harp on your one trick pony, “if there is no god then there is no evil” total bull shit.

        • Lbj

          It’s not self evident because most people don’t live on this principle. Also, it’s arbitrary.

        • SuperMark

          so are you saying that most people think slavery is okay? you still haven’t even tried to address my real question, if god can do anything why didn’t he give us a message that could not be misinterpreted?

        • Lbj

          Today most people in the free world would not want slavery. In ancient times the world was a lot different and in many cases it was a good thing for many. I was reading an article that said that there was no movement by the slaves to abolish it but there were times of revolt against being mistreated.

          God has given that message already. It’s that some refuse to believe it because they know the implications if they do. Some don’t believe because they think it’s foolishness. Others just don’t care. I’m sure there are other reasons.

        • SuperMark

          i do care and i refuse to believe for many reasons but one of them is the fact that the message in your holy book is not clear/well defined, if it was there would not be so many different interpretations of your holy book.

          i’ll spell this out for you since you are very evasive, if the message in your holy book is clear and concise why are there so many different interpretations of the message?

        • Lbj

          The Bible is a library of 66 books that deals with hundreds of subjects. Salvation is the most important for us because that determines our eternal destiny.
          That message is clear.

          There are sometimes different interpretations because;
          1- ignorant of how study the texts.
          2- lack of training
          3- not understanding the contexts
          4-we don’t have enough background to know something with certainty.
          5- some read their personal opinions into the text

        • SuperMark

          This isn’t the same as “can god make a rock he can’t lift” if god is perfect he would have given us a clear message.

        • Lbj

          When Jesus was preaching the gospel in parables He did that so that those who wanted to believe would understand while those who did not would not to understand would not. Their hearts did not want to believe and so they did not.

        • SuperMark

          but when jebus was preaching the gospel in parables it was clear that it was a parable because he said so.

        • Pofarmer

          That’s really a pretty stupid method if the point is to save everybody.

        • Lbj

          He did not come to save everyone nor could He.

        • Pofarmer

          Go therefor and make disciples of all nations was just hyperbole?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Maybe a moment of unjustified exuberance.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          There are public school teachers who pass 100% of their students. God as a teacher sucks so bad that he can only pass 5% or so?

          I think you need to find a smarter god.

        • Madison Blane

          Gee, certain versions of Christianity claim he ‘came to save the whole world’ – you know, like Jesus said in John 3:17

        • 90Lew90

          There was me thinking he was just condescending to people he thought were imbeciles.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          So “screw ’em” is the attitude of Jesus?

          Most of God’s children aren’t on board, so Jesus must put up barriers so the riff-raff like us won’t be able to come to your neighborhood in heaven?

        • CodyGirl824

          Bob, you are ignoring what Justas is saying about will, as in free will. Jesus puts up no barriers, but atheists willfully erect barriers to understanding Jesus’s teachings.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Are you blind? Justas made quite clear that Jesus was putting up barriers: “When Jesus was preaching the gospel in parables He did that so that those who wanted to believe would understand while those who did not would not to understand would not.”

        • Lbj

          The barrier is not coming from Christ but from within those who refuse to believe. All men have the capacity to believe in God and all men have the power to suppress this knowledge.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Oh, so Jesus didn’t speak in parables as a way to obfuscate the message.

          OK. I guess I thought the NT was full of them. My bad.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          You made clear that Jesus put up barriers. Are you backing away from that statement now?

        • Greg G.

          6- Took off God-goggles
          7- Contemplated the implications of what it said
          8- Looked at reality

        • Lbj

          9- and now I believe nonsense.

        • Greg G.

          That’s OK. Just take off the God-goggles and you can stop believing in your nonsense.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Clear? The message of the afterlife is clear? How do you explain the myriad interpretations of afterlife within Christianity?

          As for reasons for different interpretations, I wonder why you haven’t noted that the Bible is also ambiguous and unclear. Doesn’t much look like the rule book of an all-wise god.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          You’d think that his/her evasion would be a clue. “If I’ve got to apologize for this guy so much, maybe he’s not as omniscient and omni-benevolent as I’ve been told.”

        • purr

          Explain precisely how, with archeological evidence, that slavery under the Hebrews was totes awesome.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          So was biblical slavery for life a good or bad thing?

          It’s amazing that you portray God as being so confined to that time and place. You make him sound as impotent as a king of that time would be. He can’t just decree correct moral action? He certainly decreed lots of other stuff, and assigned the death penalty to much of it.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          But you can tap into objective truth? Explain how this works and how I can reliably do the same.

        • Lbj

          God is the truth. Jesus Himself claimed to be the truth. So if you want to “tap into objective truth” then start reading the gospels.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          That’s it? That’s your convincing explanation? That we should just take your word for it that the Bible is perfect, so there?

          Perhaps you can understand how that’s laughably unconvincing. This is the best you can do?

          Tip: don’t make claims of objective morality when you have no argument to back it up.

        • Lbj

          You wanted to know how to “tap into objective truth” and after being told how to you refuse to even begin to tap into it. This is another example that I have found with atheists is that they claim they want the truth but when offered an opportunity to get it they reject it right out the gate. I can’t do much about that.

        • Greg G.

          A sense of empathy and fairness are beneficial qualities for social creatures. They can be explained by natural processes. Monkeys and dogs have them. Defending the Bible requires you to suspend the best social qualities you have.

        • Lbj

          There is no such thing as fairness in atheism.

        • Greg G.

          There is no fairness in Bible apologetics.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          So we’re just making up stuff? When you don’t have answers you just make them up?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          You sound like ELIZA.

        • duke_of_omnium

          Gee, you mean you don’t know? You really must be a morally bankrupt sort of person.

        • Lbj

          I’m trying to understand on what grounds an atheist claims its wrong. Do you know?

        • duke_of_omnium

          I’m trying to understand how a Christian can be opposed to it, given that their god’s putative book sanctions, countenances and regulates the practice.

        • Lbj

          How much have you studied the Old Testament and slavery in this time period?

        • duke_of_omnium

          So you’re saying that the bible is NOT a timeless book, but is merely a product of a savage people worshiping a savage god at a savage time in history? Wonderful. I’m glad you’re finally conceding that the bible is obsolete, and without any more relevance to today’s morality than does Hesiod’s Works and Days or the Kalevala.

        • Lbj

          Depends what you mean by timeless. The Bible is the most influential book in history. It still is the most influential book for hundreds of millions of people today.

        • duke_of_omnium

          Thank you for the non sequitur.

          P.S. Mein Kampf and Das Kapital were also greatly influential books. “Influential” is not the same as “morally acceptable.” This is doubly when the putatively influential book sanctions, countenances and regulates the practice of slavery.

        • Lbj

          That is not even a good comparison. You don’t understand the slavery issue in the Scripture nor in other cultures at this time.

        • duke_of_omnium

          “Other cultures at this time” is completely irrelevant unless you are conceding that the bible is the product of savage people, worshiping a savage god, at a savage time in history. In other words, it only “works” if you’re agreeing that biblical morality is obsolete.

          If, however, you are trying to claim that biblical morality is relevant for today, then you’re stuck with a god who endorses, sanctions and regulates slavery.

          Pick one and stick with it: is the bible relevant, making slavery a morally acceptable practice; or is slavery a moral evil, making the bible (at best) obsolete?

        • Lbj

          Refusing to understand the contexts in which the Bible was written shows you have a very shallow understanding of it. Your opinions about it carry no weight and are not to be taken seriously.

        • Pofarmer

          Divinely inspired writings require context? Who knew? So, why do the passages on things like the ressurection require context, while the passages dealing with things like original sin, or people raising from the dead, do not?

        • Lbj

          What are you talking about?

        • Pofarmer

          Misstyped. Should have read -Why do things like slavery require context.

        • Lbj

          We need to understand the reasons why slavery was like in the ancient world and why it existed. These are historical questions that will give us some insights on what the Bible says about slavery and if this is God’s ultimate purpose for man.
          For example, Israel was fighting for its existence against other cultures that wanted to destroy them. When Israel defeated its enemies what were they do with the surviving enemies?

        • SuperMark

          I think we do get it in context and yet we still have a problem with it. the only people who defend slavery are racists, bigots, and the religious.

        • Lbj

          No one is defending slavery but are giving reasons why it existed in the past and how Israel dealt with it.
          For example, what Israel to do when it conquered its enemies? They could not lock them up because there were to many. Kill them all. Sometimes yes. Or make them your slaves (but treat them humanely) and improve life.

        • SuperMark

          or they could just let them go, like we do today…

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Yet again, this is “It coulda been worse.” That’s the best you can say for your god?

        • Madison Blane

          So, what you’re saying is: The bible is not divinely inspired and timeless instructions for all people; it’s a book with chapters explaining how ancient people dealt with the dilemmas of their time.

        • Lbj

          Part of the Bible does deal with specific instructions to a specific people. The Bible is a book that deals with how God dealt with a specific group of people. Some of it does pertain to all of mankind such at the gospel of Christ.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          So “enslave the remainder” is the best moral advice that God can give? Can’t God use magic to poof them out of existence? Sounds like the imagination in these stories is limited to, y’know, just what ordinary people can come up with.

        • duke_of_omnium

          You can’t have it both ways. If the contexts are so crucial, then we have evolved beyond biblical morality (if only because WE know, as biblegod did not, that slavery is a moral evil), and it should be accorded no more moral weight than any other religious book written by savages worshiping one or more savage gods in savage times. If the bible is a book of universal and timeless truth, then the “contexts” are not merely irrelevant but a cowardly evasion when it comes to the parts you find distasteful.

          The opinions of someone whose defense consists of distractions and evasions carry no weight, and amply demonstrate the moral cowardice and intellectual bankruptcy of Christianity.

        • Lbj

          The 10 commandments are timeless truths. Sections of the Mosaic law were meant for the nation of Israel alone (context).. The gospel of Christ is a timeless and universal truth that applies to all men.

          Christianity’s influence on mankind is incalculable. If it were bankrupt this would not be true. Atheism is bankrupt because it cannot answer basic questions about life, meaning or morality.

        • SuperMark

          yes grouping women in with animals and other property is a timeless truth.

        • duke_of_omnium

          Oh, so you arbitrarily pick and choose the parts that are timeless. That’s utterly cynical and dishonest. Talk about moral cowardice and intellectual bankruptcy!

          P.S. The influence – both historical and current – of National Socialism or of Stalinism is also incalculable.

          PPS: saying that atheism is bankrupt because it can’t answer “basic questions” is like saying that christianity is worthless because it doesn’t tell you how to repair the brakes on a 1985 Oldsmobile Cutlass.

          PPPS: Christianity cannot provide coherent answers to those questions, either.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Yeah, “don’t covet.” That’s a goodie. No one had ever expressed it so well as the 10 Cs. I have it embroidered on pillow, along with “no blasphemy.” Brilliant stuff–simply brilliant. It doesn’t look like the ramblings of an ancient desert tribe at all.

          Atheism is bankrupt because it cannot answer basic questions about life, meaning or morality.

          Chemistry is bankrupt because it can’t answer these questions.

          Oh … wait a minute. Chemistry isn’t supposed to answer these questions. And neither is atheism.

          Never mind.

        • Lbj

          How many crimes are committed because someone wants something that is not theirs? It always starts in the heart.

          Think of how many people would not do evil if they knew they would be held accountable for it someday?

          I like your comparing atheism to chemistry. They are alot alike…..For the things that matter in life you don’t ask an atheist or chemist what that is. Go figure.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Yeah, thank God for the 10 Cs because otherwise we wouldn’t know any of that stuff. Praise the Lord.

          Think of how many people would not do evil if they knew they would be held accountable for it someday?

          Praise the Lord. It’s great we don’t have to build prisons for the Christians because they never do bad stuff.

          For the things that matter in life you don’t ask an atheist or chemist what that is. Go figure.

          “Go figure”? This is a puzzle to you? You’ve been wasting our time for months and the fact that atheism is nothing more than the non-belief in god(s) is news to you?

          I suppose we’ll have to explain it to you again in a month. You don’t seem eager to learn anything.

        • purr

          Then explain it to us.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Wait–you’re saying that you do understand slavery in the OT?

          Prove it. Tell us what Lev. 25:44-46 says.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Great examples.

        • CodyGirl824

          We have labor laws, including laws against involuntary servitude, in today’s society. Do you object to those laws? Some of them? All of them?

        • duke_of_omnium

          Of course not! I don’t have a god whose book sanctions, countenances and regulates slavery.

        • gusbovona

          Justas399, the content of a criticism of morality in the Bible, and whether that criticism is valid or not, does not depend on who makes the criticism, nor the positions that that person might hold.

          You’re trying to defend your position through your opponent (the person or the person’s position) instead of via the content of that person’s position.

          Your defense becomes one that questions the standing (in the legal sense) of the person making the criticism, which is logically divorced from the content of the criticism.

          You’re very close to saying, “No one can criticize the morality of the Bible because no morality is possible outside of the Bible,” as if the only people who have the standing to criticize the morality of the Bible are people who have true morality, which only occurs in people who accept the Bible.

        • Lbj

          Anyone can criticize the morality of Bible. The issue for the atheist is on what grounds does the atheist criticize the Bible’s morality at any given point in history? Since the atheist has no objective standard of morality all he can do is to give his opinion of what he likes or dislikes.
          The other problem is that most atheist who criticize the Bible fail to take into account how God is working in history and for what purpose.

        • gusbovona

          Justas399, You did not address my ultimate point, even though many of the words in your reply are the same as some of the words in my comment. It’s not the person or the person’s position, it’s the content of the critique.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Objective standard of morality? You’re saying you have one?

          Cool–show us. Take a moral dilemma and show us the objectively correct resolution.

        • CodyGirl824

          What you are talking about is a paradigm for moral reasoning. Based on what paradigm do you judge right from wrong, good from evil, justice from injustice, righteousness from sin? Your paradigm for moral reasoning must be subjective (as in judging God as immoral) because as an atheist, you have no paradigm for reasoning about a moral dilemma since no paradigm for moral reasoning flows from a lack of belief in God.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          You’re changing the subject. My interpretation: you’re admitting that you have no defense of objective morality.

          Join the club. Neither do I.

          Tip: don’t bring it up in the future because your nose will be rubbed in the fact that you have no defense for this remarkable claim. Again.

        • SuperMark

          so just because it happened a long time ago it was okay? i think slavery and baby killing has always been wrong it just took us a while to figure it out, not even your god told us otherwise.

        • CodyGirl824

          All criticisms of what you call “the morality of the Bible” are criticisms of the ancient Hebrews and their laws and society. It is very fair to insist that atheists articulate the moral standard by which they judge these people. They do not, so their moral judgments bear no weight or authority.

        • Pofarmer

          If there was every anything objectively morally wrong, you would think it would be slavery, Christians refute themselves.

        • Pofarmer

          Slavery, torture, killing, sometimes it’s for our own good.

        • 90Lew90

          “On what basis is slavery wrong?” That’s up there with “God has a dick.”

        • CodyGirl824

          This is a ridiculously false statement.

        • SuperMark

          Something is wrong if it hurts other people, i don’t give a shit about god’s feelings.

        • Lbj

          Who says that “if it hurts other people” that it is wrong?

        • SuperMark

          i don’t know maybe every human being that has ever lived.

        • Lbj

          ?????

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          The Christian Shuffle, eh? Nice move! When things get hot, tap dance away and hope that no one notices the change in subject.

          I supposed I’d do the same thing in your position.

        • Ron

          I became an atheist precisely because I’m against all the things the tribal god of the bible condones and commands—slavery, genocide and misogyny. Such a god is the antithesis of an omni-benevolent being and unworthy of my adoration or worship.

          The real question is: why do theists defend a book that promotes such inhumane behavior?

        • Lbj

          I can see you have not spent much time studying the Scripture nor how it addresses these issues. To embrace atheism because you don’t understand the Bible is a lame reason. You should be an atheist if you have some facts and reasons that you know are true.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Wow–if you’re this critical, you must come from a position of substantial confidence. How many times have you read the Bible? What atheist books have you read? Other atheist blogs or podcasts?

        • Lbj

          I have probably read the NT 200 times and the OT 100 times. Can’t think of an atheist book I have read but have listened to over a dozen debates between atheists and Christians. I read your blog and dialogue with atheists quite a bit.
          I expect in dialoguing with atheists for them to school me in atheism. From what I have observed there is not much to atheism. Maybe I’m wrong but I’m waiting for atheists to show me otherwise.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Uh, no, there’s not much to atheism. “I have no god belief” is it. What were you expecting?

          If you want reasons why Christianity isn’t worth following, they’re here in abundance. But if you’re determined for ideological reasons to find them unimpressive, I’m sure you’ll win.

        • Lbj

          I think a lot people who reject Christianity are doing so on frivolous reasons.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          And sadly, you never show us those reasons. Tell us specifically why the atheist rejection of Christianity is wrong. Save your defense of your sad god for your internal dialogue.

        • Lbj

          There are multiple reasons why atheists reject Christianity.

          1- they think its a myth
          2- how could God allow evil and suffering
          3- God is evil because of what He did in the OT
          4- The God of Christianity is one of the many so called gods in the world.
          5- its all a fairy tale.
          6-the gospel accounts are borrowed myths

          These are just some of the reason I have seen atheists make in their rejection of Christianity.

        • Madison Blane

          7- I’m unconvinced that a god exists and have seen no proof to the contrary

        • Lbj

          Then you must believe you are an accident of nature with no ultimate purpose.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Was I not clear? When I make an argument, you show me how my argument is wrong. Specifically.

          All I remember you doing is complaining.

        • Lbj

          You don’t make arguments for your atheism. You just assert atheism is true.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Atheism is the null hypothesis.

          I’ve provided plenty of positive arguments for atheism in this blog. Yeah, I know–you’re unconvinced by the ones you’ve seen and won’t be convinced by the ones you have yet to see.

          (1) It’s not my job to support the remarkable claim because the remarkable claim is the one you are making.

          (2) “I’m unconvinced!” doesn’t explain the error in my arguments.

        • CodyGirl824

          Bob, you have this website for the purpose of convincing your fellow atheists and supposedly, Christians, why Christianity is wrong. I suggest that you read the NT to find out why Christians believe that atheists’ rejection of Christianity is wrong. It’s really quite simple. Rejection of God is wrong because it is based on untruth. You have your reasons for rejecting God, which you articulate clearly and consistently. You exercise free will in your choice to reject God. That choice is not the responsibility of Christians, individually or collectively.

        • Madison Blane

          Truth has evidence. The bible isn’t evidence, it’s a claim of truth with no supporting evidence. The quran also claims to be truth, the book of Mormon claims to be truth, Scientology claims to be truth; all of these are assertions without evidence and the bible is no better. Rejection of claims that have no evidence is what rational people do.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          That’s an impressive number of read-throughs of the Bible. Next time, I suggest you try to read it as a non-Christian would. See if it looks like the most glorious and wise book ever written or the blog of an Iron Age desert tribe.

        • Lbj

          I’m impressed your impressed:)
          We should all read it in its contexts as we would read anything else. That is the way to understand it and any other work.
          There must be something to the Bible if its the most influential book in history that is read and loved over the centuries by hundreds of millions of people. Read Ecclesiastes. Its a short book but its a gem of wisdom. If you do read it I’d be curious what you think.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Yes, context is how we understand what it meant to the original authors and audience. Now, let’s figure out what to do with that. Gullibly swallowing it as history isn’t the next step.

          There must be something to the Bible if its the most influential book in history that is read and loved over the centuries by hundreds of millions of people.

          Bullshit. There will always be a #1 most popular religion, language, book, movie, and so on. Influential doesn’t mean “accurate historically,” especially since the #1 changes over time.

        • Madison Blane

          Atheism requires nothing more than being unconvinced of the existence of gods. You seem to think we must all have advanced religious studies degrees in order to disbelieve ridiculous assertions concerning the invisible. It is no one’s job to ‘school’ you. I don’t have to read every book ever written on Leprechaun or Unicorn lore to disbelieve in their existence either!

        • CodyGirl824

          A book that promotes inhumane behavior? You’re not talking about the Bible then.

        • Greg G.

          All one needs to know slavery is wrong is a sense of empathy that is not crippled by religious faith. You are defending slavery. Doesn’t it make you feel sick and ashamed? You are defending slavery because of Bible idolatry.

        • CodyGirl824

          No, Greg. Justas is merely asking you to articulate your reasons, based on your atheism (lack of belief in God) that slavery is wrong. This is fair to ask of you since we people of faith articulate our reasons for believing that slavery is wrong based on our belief in God.

        • SuperMark

          How about a little thought experiment Cody what would the world look like if there was not god? do you think everyone would be running around raping and killing?

        • CodyGirl824

          There would be no world if there were no God.

        • SuperMark

          i know that’s what you think, that’s why it’s called a thought experiment…

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Show us the evidence.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          “The question I get asked by religious people all the time is, without God, what’s to stop me from raping all I want? And my answer is: I do rape all I want. And the amount I want is zero. And I do murder all I want, and the amount I want is zero. The fact that these people think that if they didn’t have this person watching over them that they would go on killing, raping rampages is the most self-damning thing I can imagine.” – Penn Jillette

        • Greg G.

          I have explained it to him. Atheism is just one conclusion derived from critical thinking. Critical thinking, empathy, or a sense of fairness are enough to know slavery is wrong. It takes indifference, greed, or religious faith to defend slavery.

        • CodyGirl824

          You are wrong. I don’t even know what is meant to “hold it [the Bible] up as absolute truth”. I am not defending slavery. I am merely placing the concept of servanthood and servitude in the OT in its true context. Atheists do not do this because you believe (falsely) that discussing the ancient Hebrews’ laws and customs regarding servanthood is a “gotcha” topic for Christians and Jews to be used for striking blows in your Bible spanking.

        • SuperMark

          you claim your holy book is absolute truth, that seems pretty clear…

          it is the ultimate gotcha talking point against your holy book because even indentured servitude is considered immoral by most societies today. your point seems to be that slavery in the OT was more of a socioeconomic issue and not one anything like american style slavery. we now know that taking advantage of people for economic gain is immoral. why hadn’t god figured this out 5k year ago? if god has the ultimate foresight than he would have given us an edict against it.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Your God supports slavery. Gotcha.

        • duke_of_omnium

          Oh. You don’t believe in the bible, then. Splendid. Why didn’t you say so in the first place?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Yeah, I was confused as well. Seemed to me that Cody was defending the Bible. If she wants to jettison it as much as atheists do, that’s great.

        • CodyGirl824

          No, Bob. I am not defending the Bible. I have no need to defend the Bible. I am merely giving you my interpretation and understanding of the topic you Bible spankers have selected for today’s spanking.

        • CodyGirl824

          What?

        • 90Lew90

          If I believed it was the word of the super-ultra-real-deal-only God, I’d defend it. Naturally.

          “Such loose, lame, empty talk, set forth on the basis of your own reason and idiosyncrasy, would lead me to believe first of all that your opinions amount to nothing.”

          From Letter to the Christians at Strassburg, pg. 68 of Luther’s Works, Vol. 40

        • Pofarmer

          Did Cody actually just throw the “divinely inspired” card into the dustbin? Because if it is divinely inspired, it really wouldn’t matter who wrote it.

        • 90Lew90

          She’s all over the place.

        • CodyGirl824

          Of course it matters who wrote the many books of the Bible, which is actually a “library” rather than just one book. In order to give a context to understand the Bible, it is important to know who wrote it, when, for whom, about what and for what purpose. This is Bible Study 101.

        • Pofarmer

          What about the hundreds of books that weren’t put in, are they relevant too?

        • CodyGirl824

          What about them? The ancient Hebrews redacted their holy scriptures to suit their pedagogical and spiritual purposes.

        • SuperMark

          or maybe they had political agendas.

        • CodyGirl824

          What do you mean by the word “word”? I ask because we Christians believe that the Bible is the Word (written with a capital letter) of God, which means God’s message to humankind, God’s revelation. There is no need for us to defend it, only to understand and interpret it and apply it to our lives. If you don’t want to do this, don’t do it. You have free will.

  • Ron

    “And that slave who knew his master’s will and did not get ready or act in accord with his will, will receive many lashes, but the one who did not know it, and committed deeds worthy of a flogging, will receive but few.”~Jesus (Luke 12:47-48, NASB)

    Straight from the horse’s mouth.

    • FaithIsGlorifiedDelusion

      I especially like that fact that this parable is for the Christians who are hypocrites. Jesus is telling them, if you believe in me and don’t do what I say, you’re gonna get it worse than the non-believers who don’t do what I say!

      • CodyGirl824

        …because Christians have made a commitment to follow Jesus’s teachings. Non-believers have not.

        • FaithIsGlorifiedDelusion

          No shit.

    • CodyGirl824

      …..speaking metaphorically and allegorically, of course, about the Hebrews’ relationship with God.

      • SuperMark

        that’s just it, if i like what my holy book says then it’s litteral if i don’t like what my holy book says then it allegorical.

        This has always been my biggest problem with the interpreting holy text: “yes that’s exactly what it says but you see that’s not what it means and here’s why”.

        • CodyGirl824

          Are you familiar with the tradition of “midrash”?

        • SuperMark

          Why is it unreasonable to expect a perfect god to give us a clear message, one that cannot be misinterpreted?

        • CodyGirl824

          It is we humans who are not perfect who misinterpret God’s message. That is our nature.

        • SuperMark

          so you’re saying it is impossible for god to give us a message that could not be misinterpreted? i thought your god could do anything. yes god created physics but doesn’t know how to wright a book… makes perfect sense.

        • CodyGirl824

          No, that’s not what I’m saying. Each of us must interpret God’s Word (message, revelation) for ourselves. Because we are imperfect, we are capable of misinterpretation. This is an artifact of free will. God doesn’t write books. Humans do. And the books humans write (not wright) reflect their/our understanding, which is imperfect since we are human.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Then why have much confidence in your own interpretation? Why not conclude that you’re making a marionette out of the Bible just like everyone else?

        • 90Lew90

          Itchy torso?

        • wtfwjtd

          Can you say, “The Bible is my sock puppet”? This is a particularly favorite game of Christians everywhere, all the time!

  • James Walker

    Americans treat the Bible like a website Terms of Use agreement.
    They don’t bother reading it; they just click “I agree.”
    — Unknown

    brilliant. =)

  • Lbj

    The laws of the Old Testament in regards to slavery were far superior to the cultures around them.

    • Greg G.

      Are you trying to say they were less horrible?

      • Lbj

        More humane.

        • Greg G.

          You are giving a spit-shine to a turd.

    • 90Lew90

      “You are ignorant, stupid, godless blasphemers.”

      From Against Latomus, pg. 142 of Luther’s Works, Vol. 32

      • Lbj

        That’s a lot better :)

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      (1) And how would you describe those laws? Few Christians who sound like you acknowledge that the OT god was A-OK with slavery for life.

      (2) “OT laws on slavery didn’t suck as much as those in neighboring cultures” sounds like a pretty unimpressive accomplishment for the omniscient and omni-benevolent Creator of the Universe. What–was he just in kindergarten then?

      • Lbj

        This is where it would help you to know the how other cultures treated their slaves so you then could compare how slaves were to be treated under the Mosaic Law. Slavery was so institutionalized that it took centuries to change it. In many respects a slave had a better life than a freeman. Especially if the master valued his slave. The Freeman had to fend for himself and that could be very difficult.

        Ps- God doesn’t care if you are impressed or not.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          This is where it would help you to know the how other cultures treated their slaves so you then could compare how slaves were to be treated under the Mosaic Law.

          Who cares? We compare God’s moral actions against our best understanding of moral rightness, and God fails the test.

          Slavery was so institutionalized that it took centuries to change it.

          Moses comes down from Sinai with the Ten Commandments and says, “OK, people, listen up. It’s a new game, starting today.” God imposed the death penalty starting then. The excuse, “Oh, yeah, but my tribe needs centuries to really understand these new rules” didn’t fly, so don’t give me the centuries argument.

          In many respects a slave had a better life than a freeman.

          You may not hear yourself, but everyone else does and is laughing at you. Here you are, an educated person in the 21st century, apologizing for God because he can’t do it himself. “Yeah, but it really wasn’t so bad”—that’s the best you’ve got? Man up and admit it: God approved of and established the rules for slavery for life.

          Ps- God doesn’t care if you are impressed or not.

          Swell. I’m not. Almost every one of his flock are more moral than he is.

        • CodyGirl824

          Bob, you say this: “We compare God’s moral actions against our best understanding of moral rightness, and God fails the test.” But “we”, I assume you mean atheists. I am left to wonder on what moral criteria or standard atheists judge God since atheism articulates none whatsoever.

        • SuperMark

          So you’re okay with god killing every first born son in egypt before the exodus?

        • wtfwjtd

          Me and Cody went ’round on this very subject about a month ago, and her answer to me was “yes, I’m A-OK with it, because 1)goddunit, and 2) All those murdered children went straight to heaven.”
          FWIW.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          And for her next trick, she experienced no cognitive dissonance explaining away God’s barbarity while calling it a perfect, holy book.

        • CodyGirl824

          What do you mean by “perfect”? I have never used this term in reference to the Bible. Holy, yes. Perfect, no.

        • MNb

          So your perfect god inspired an imperfect holy book? Now that’s impressive.

        • CodyGirl824

          What would you expect, given that humans are imperfect?

        • MNb

          That your god (ie the way you understand him) would have done a better job creating them. Instead your god (ie the way you understand him – that’s why the expression “your god”; as there are so many different understandings there is no use for a capital) is a failure. He pulled off an imperfect creation.
          This is why pastafarianism makes more sense. The Flying Spaghetti Monster himself is imperfect (he was slightly drunk during the Big Boil).

        • wtfwjtd

          Yes, she also has a habit of disappearing when the conversation finally gets interesting.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I wish Disqus had a way of flagging my own comments that I want to not forget to see if my antagonist has responded or not. I do my best to respond to every substantive question/challenge. I don’t have much respect for those who walk away from the tough questions.

        • wtfwjtd

          Yes, that would be handy. But in this particular case, it’s mostly unnecessary. Once you finally get to the tough questions with her, she vanishes, only to show up a week or two later in a different place, acting as though the question had never been asked. Several of us here have seen this plenty of times with her.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I still wonder if Justas and CodyGirl are the same person.

          Where’s Kodie the atheist lately? She’s done some good detective work on problems like this.

        • wtfwjtd

          Yes, I miss Kodie too, she is quite good at figuring things out.

          I recall that both Cody and Justas extolled what a great guy that Simon Greenleaf was. Now, just how many Christians these days have ever heard of this dude, much less talk about him on a regular basis? There was other similarities also, that seemed too close to be coincidental.

          On reflection, I can see how being able to flag comments and even sequences of comments might be useful for people like Cody. You could remind them of their evasion when they popped back up again with a tool like this. You still wouldn’t get a serious answer though, since her thing is mostly just whining and insults. And I agree with you, trying to get an argument with any substance out of her is pretty much a waste of time. I saw this morning in one exchange with you where her “evidence for god” consisted of her touchy-feely emotional experiences that you’re just too blind to acknowledge as truth, atheists are all blind, blah blah blah. What a snooze fest.

        • Pofarmer

          Yep, I hope Kodie is all right. I miss her comments. Probably just got bored or frustrated.

        • CodyGirl824

          Are you okay with Pharaoh killing every first born son of the Hebrews?

        • Greg G.

          Your hesitancy to answer a simple question is an indication of religious faith trumping your humanity.

        • SuperMark

          That’s exactly it, thanks Greg. I keep trying to lead Cody to admit it’s not wrong when god does something evil but she keeps evading.

          God is the great Nixon in the sky “if the president of the US does something then it is not illegal” sounds exactly like “if god does something then it is not immoral”

        • CodyGirl824

          God cannot do evil. If you believe in a god that can do evil, then you are not talking about the God of Judaism and Christianity. If I believed about God that God was capable of evil, I wouldn’t believe in God either.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          “When the President does it, that means that it is not illegal.”
          — Richard Nixon

          Wow–that came in handy pretty quickly!

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Great parallel with the Nixon quote, thanks!

        • CodyGirl824

          So, Richard Nixon is another hero for atheists. Great moral example that he was.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          ?? You really don’t get it?

          Nixon (not a paragon of virtue) says something stupid. And then you make a parallel statement about your god. What do we conclude from this?

        • CodyGirl824

          If you believe about God that God is evil, then I understand why you don’t believe in God.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I read the Bible and conclude that God is evil. (Or is he able to pull a Nixon and declare that his actions are good by definition?)

          Here again, if you think my conclusions are wrong, you can rebut them by showing that nowhere in the Bible does God do anything immoral.

        • CodyGirl824

          We have covered this ground many times before. You seem to think that the Bible is the only source of knowledge that Jews and Christians have of God. We base our understanding of God on our experiences of/with God. The Bible is one source of knowledge of how God revealed Himself to a specific group of people, who chose to have a relationship with God (the Covenant) in which they did their utmost best to live by God’s Law. If you think that God is immoral, probably it is because you have not experienced God the way the ancient Hebrews and other Jews and Christians experience God. Yours is a self-fulfilling prophesy.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          If you react to the crazy shit in the Bible the same way we do, then how about agreeing once in a while?

        • SuperMark

          Thanks! that came to mind after watching Frost/Nixon. Nixon is a crazy guy how can someone simultaneously be a great leader and such a fucking asshole???

        • CodyGirl824

          The issue here is justice. Do you believe that God was unjust to send the angel of death to the first born of Egypt to avenge Pharaoh’s murder of the first born of the Hebrews and to show Pharaoh His power to convince him (who believed he was god) to free the Hebrews from slavery? The Hebrews were convinced that God is just. Go ahead and make the case that God is unjust if you can.

        • SuperMark

          so now you want to defend baby killing??? do i really need to say that it’s always wrong to kill a baby? oh but it’s not immoral if god does it…..

        • CodyGirl824

          Address the issue I raised of God’s justice. Only Pharaoh was guilty of “baby killing” in the Book of Exodus.

        • SuperMark

          ummm the tenth plague???

        • Greg G.

          Yes. Killing the most innocent bystanders is the most unjust action I can think of.

          EDIT:
          Only religious faith can warp a sense of decency so far as to pose the question you put forth.

        • CodyGirl824

          So, you are not okay with Pharaoh’s murdering the sons of the Hebrews shortly after their birth but you object to God’s punishment of the Egyptians for this systematic murder. The ancient Hebrews who worshiped God then and the Jews and Christians who worship God today see God’s justice and God’s mercy toward the oppressed in God’s dealings with Pharaoh. You are certainly free to disagree based on your own moral standards and your own interpretation of the Book of Exodus, but be aware that your opinion is not at all enlightened or persuasive.

        • Greg G.

          Killing the innocent to punish the guilty is not a just system whether Pharoah does it or God does it.

          Luke 1 says Zechariah was struck mute for questioning the angel but Mary was not. Why couldn’t God or an angel strike Pharoah mute before he ordered the death of the first born Hebrews? I know, I know, we atheists don’t have your understanding of God. Perhaps you could articulate your understanding in a sensical way.

        • CodyGirl824

          So, you believe that the Allies in WWII were unjust in destroying Germany because there were some Germans who were innocent?

        • SuperMark

          that is a terrible false comparison. it would only make sense if we had the power to stop them without collateral damage and did not.

        • Greg G.

          If the Allies were omnipotent, they could have ended or prevented the whole war with no bloodshed or injury to anybody. It is an inapt comparison. You have no excuse.

          Is it your understanding of God that is limited or is it your inability to articulate that you cannot give a good reason?

        • CodyGirl824

          Greg,

          Stick to the topic. Do you think it was unjust for the Allies to destroy Nazi Germany? If so, why? If not, why not?

        • Greg G.

          We are discussing whether it is just for God to kill innocent people unnecessarily. Humans have to make tough choices when the options are limited. There may not be a just solution for humans. So the best choice may be the lesser of two evils.

          Limited options should not be an issue for an omnipotent being. A good omnipotent being doesn’t have to choose between two evils. Do you think that of all the options available to an omnipotent being, killing babies is the best one? This is the topic, stick to it.

        • CodyGirl824

          Your understanding of God is simply bizarre. You’re still on this “killing babies” thing without addressing the morality of Pharaoh’s slaughter of the male babies of the Hebrews but without addressing what the Hebrews believed about God’s punishment of the Egyptians for this evil and God’s use of His power in a just way to free them from slavery. And you are mistaken in calling this “baby killing” because among the first born among the Egyptians, many, perhaps even most, were adults. And you do not know the fate of the souls of those innocents. God is the Creator of the Universe. It is God’s province to create and to destroy, according to His just and loving purposes for humankind. Your arguments against the belief of the Hebrews in God’s Justice who were in relationship with God who used His powers to freed them from slavery in Egypt is totally bogus and unconvincing.

        • Greg G.

          Your understanding of God is simply bizarre. You’re still on this “killing babies” thing without addressing the morality of Pharaoh’s slaughter of the male babies of the Hebrews but without addressing what the Hebrews believed about God’s punishment of the Egyptians for this evil and God’s use of His power in a just way to free them from slavery.

          I said:

          Killing the innocent to punish the guilty is not a just system whether Pharoah does it or God does it.

          Let me add that it is also irrelevant what the Hebrews thought of God. It is unjust and immoral to punish the innocent for the crimes of the guilty.

          And you are mistaken in calling this “baby killing” because among the first born among the Egyptians, many, perhaps even most, were adults.

          According to the story as I recall it, Pharoah killed the Hebrew infants when Moses was a baby. Moses left Egypt at age 40 and returned at age 80 to lead his people out. So you think killing adults who had nothing to do with the slaughter than happened eighty years before makes it OK to kill babies and children?

          And you do not know the fate of the souls of those innocents.

          They don’t get to live their lives. What about the fate of the adults?

          God is the Creator of the Universe. It is God’s province to create and to destroy, according to His just and loving purposes for humankind. Your arguments against the belief of the Hebrews in God’s Justice who were in relationship with God who used His powers to freed them from slavery in Egypt is totally bogus and unconvincing.

          Creating something just to make it suffer is not just and loving.

        • MNb

          Ah, you nice christian hypocrite. You are the one who isn’t capable of sticking to topics. Here is what Greg wrote:

          “Killing the innocent to punish the guilty is not a just system”
          With your question you have changed topic. Twice.

          “the Allies in WWII were unjust in destroying Germany because there were some Germans who were innocent?”
          “Do you think it was unjust for the Allies to destroy Nazi Germany?”
          Two quite different questions, none of which say anything about what Greg wrote.

        • SuperMark

          so i guess two wrongs do make a right, we should have executed every german after WWII under gods sense of justice.

        • CodyGirl824

          SuperMark, I speculate that you will find very few people, without regard to their religious affiliation or lack thereof, who believe that the destruction of Nazi Germany was unjust. There are many Nazis who escaped and were not brought to justice in a human court of law, but Jews and Christians who have faith in God believe that they have not escaped Divine Justice, and this gives us comfort and hope.

        • SuperMark

          obviously… my point was, under gods justice even the innocent Germans should have paid for the crime.

        • Lbj

          What is your objective standard of justice that says that ” Killing the most innocent bystanders is the most unjust action”?
          Without an objective moral standard that is not grounded in the thinking of men all you have is opinion. It was Hitlers opinion that the holocaust was good. Without an objective standard that is not grounded in the thinking of men and in which all men are accountable to then you cannot say Hitler was wrong.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          You got an algorithm by which we can tap into objective morality? Show us.

        • Lbj

          The 10 commandments.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Trumped by the Constitution.

        • Greg G.

          Without an objective moral standard that is not grounded in the thinking of men all you have is opinion.

          An objective standard is independent of what anybody believes. If murder is objectively good, but God said it is wrong, then God is wrong. If we have access to these objective standards, then we don’t need God to give them to us and we can judge God by them. If we cannot access these objective standards, we cannot know if following God is right. How do you know that God is the good one and Satan is the bad one if you can’t judge independently? If you say “God is the good one because he said so”, you are in a circular trap.

          The human ability to judge right and wrong is necessarily independent of whether there is a god. Human judgement may not be objective.

        • Lbj

          We can access these objective standards by reading the Bible, The 10 commandments and the teachings of Christ are examples of this. God will have the final say in the judgement on what is right and what is wrong. As Jesus said -“”Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matthew 10:28

        • Greg G.

          No you can’t. That’s exactly what a bad God would want you to think. It’s also what bad people would want you to think. It is exactly what gullible people would believe.

          Nobody who wrote the Bible had any better access to any moral standards than I do.

        • CodyGirl824

          Please consider how your “sense of decency” parallels our understanding of justice.

        • Greg G.

          Yes, I am considering those two things. My humanity is decent. Your justice is despicable.

        • MNb

          Exactly this is why your understanding of your god sucks. You, because of Scripture, write here that your god care more about what he thinks is justice than anything else, even if this makes the entire Earth suffer. That’s what the story of the Great Flood is about.
          The consequences are terrible, both in Northern-Ireland and the USA. Granted, European countries needed two bloody World Wars to learn the lesson. Since then all policy, even when coming from christians, was generally about happiness in the broadest meaning of the world. A shining example of this attitude is provided by Norway. Just look at how the country treats Anders Breivik. He is better off than many an American teenager (especially when black) caught while smoking pot. That’s because the American judicial system is drenched with justice the OT way.

          “make the case that God is unjust if you can”
          You’re going to pull off a circular argument here, because you think anything your god does just by definition.

        • CodyGirl824

          Human justice is imperfect. God’s justice is perfect.

        • MNb

          Thanks for confirming the circular argument. “God’s justice is perfect, hence no atheist can make that God is unjust, hence god’s justice is perfect.”

        • CodyGirl824

          No, this is not a circular argument. Atheists believe about God that God is evil and unjust. That is not the God of Judaism and Christianity, so we are simply not talking about the same thing when we use the term “God”.

        • MNb

          Dishonest as always you haven’t even tried to deny that you use the circular argument as I have presented. You just change subject once again.
          “Atheists believe about God that God is evil and unjust.”
          You’re a liar. Atheists believe exactly zilch about any god, including yours. Your or any god is neither good nor evil, neither just nor unjust in the atheist view, just like the Monster of Loch Ness isn’t.
          But I do think that many a christian’s understanding of god includes not an unjust god, but one who doesn’t give a f**k about human happiness, let alone about animal welfare. It’s what your attitude on this blog reflects over and over again.

        • CodyGirl824

          MNb, again, you merely give us your misunderstanding of Christians’ and Jews’ understanding of God. Frankly, I don’t believe that atheists have no beliefs about God. You don’t believe in God because of what you believe about God.

        • MNb

          “Frankly, I don’t believe that atheists have no beliefs about God.”
          BWAHAHAHAHA! And still you complain about my understanding of christians’ and jews’ understanding of god. You flatout refuse to accept what I write about myself just because. Have you replaced your late husband with a strawman in your bed at night?

          “you merely give us your misunderstanding of …..”
          You’re still invited to correct me. Let’s begin simple with your own understanding of your god. Here is what you wrote above:

          “Do you believe that God was unjust ….”
          It’s about justice. Not about happiness. I applied this to the Great Flood, whether understood literally or metaphorically. This story shows doesn’t give a f**k about human happiness. Now please explain me how I misunderstand your understanding of your god regarding this story.

        • Greg G.

          Atheist don’t believe a god exists. Normal people consider your characterization of God to be evil and unjust.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Just cuz you said so. Got it.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Who cares? Pharaoh was an imperfect man. God is the perfect Creator of Everything.

          Pharaoh failed the morality test–big deal. That God fails it destroys any claim of his omni-benevolence and omniscience.

        • CodyGirl824

          Again, please state the moral standard that you claim that God has failed. How can an all knowing (omniscient) God not know what He is doing in respect to justice for the Hebrews against their oppressor? And besides, Bob, your opinion about God’s role in the liberation of the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt is completely incongruent with your claims about God’s alleged attitude about slavery. Haven’t you noticed this?

        • SuperMark

          yeah because your god and jebus only cared about the jews. for example thou shalt not kill only meant don’t kill other jews. as soon as they made it out of the desert they started killing everyone they met.

        • Lbj

          Another false statement. The gospel not only was the Jew but the rest of the world.

        • SuperMark

          Matthew 15:21 Jesus went away from there, and withdrew into the district of Tyre and Sidon. 22 And a Canaanite woman from that region came out and began to cry out, saying, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is cruelly demon-possessed.” 23 But He did not answer her a word. And His disciples came and implored Him, saying, “Send her away, because she keeps shouting [j]at us.” 24 But He answered and said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” 25 But she came and began [k]to bow down before Him, saying, “Lord, help me!” 26 And He answered and said, “It is not [l]good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” 27 But she said, “Yes, Lord; [m]but even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.” 28 Then Jesus said to her, “O woman, your faith is great; it shall be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed [n]at once.

          I know all too well that Paul changed the message of jebus so don’t bring up something other than what jebus said in defense.

        • CodyGirl824

          Your ignorance of the beliefs about God of the Jews is astounding.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          God fails the moral standards that we in the West hold each other up to.

          How can an all knowing (omniscient) God not know what He is doing in respect to justice for the Hebrews against their oppressor?

          You still don’t understand that presuming God is not helpful in showing he exists?

          your opinion about God’s role in the liberation of the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt is completely incongruent with your claims about God’s alleged attitude about slavery. Haven’t you noticed this?

          No. Nor do I understand what you just said.

        • CodyGirl824

          How can YOU argue that God doesn’t live up to your subjective moral standard without presuming that God exists?

        • MNb

          Going this road again after I showed you it’s the wrong one? BobS is talking about the god according to the understanding of many, many christians plus the ancient Hebrews who wrote this understanding down in their Holy Book. Isn’t he addressing your (understanding of your) god? Then don’t feel addressed. My female counterpart for instance, a muslima, will just shrug off what BobS writes.
          It goes like this. “If we assume there is a god and that he is correctly described in the OT and that I understand how he is described then said god doesn’t live up to my subjective moral standard.”
          You should write this down 30 times to make sure you won’t forget it anymore – or perhaps can resist the temptation to become dishonest.

        • Ron

          The same way we can argue that Norman Bates, Hannibal Lecter, Nurse Ratched, Darth Vader, Lex Luthor, Captain Hook, Cruella de Vil and the Wicked Witch of the West don’t live up to our moral standards without presuming they exist.

          Why should gods be shielded from similar scrutiny?

        • Greg G.

          You insist that God is benevolent. If God cannot live up to our moral standard, we cannot call him benevolent. Therefore you god does not exist.

        • Lbj

          And what exactly is this moral standard that everyone agrees on?

        • SuperMark

          not one single post on this thread even implied that there is a moral consensus in the world? looks like you’re running out of ideas here…

        • Greg G.

          The general goal is wide-spread well-being. We help those who need it in hope we or our friends get the help they need if it is needed. We don’t harm others or take their stuff because we don’t like it when it happens to us. People who don’t abide are considered trouble-makers and removed from society for some time.

          Since we don’t have perfect foresight of the consequences of our actions, it would be impossible to do what would end up being objectively good so we follow a few basic principles.

          This is kindergarten stuff. Why do you ask?

        • Lbj

          It seems you just going by what you see today in your world that is already influenced with Christian ideals. What about North Korea where Christianity does not have much influence?

        • Greg G.

          It’s how non-oppressed people treat one another all over the world as far back as we have records. We have the ancient Chinese, Egyptian, and Greek records that speak of this ethic. We even see it in the Old Testament, such as Leviticus 19:18. I have traveled in Asia and the people there treat people the same.

          What you think of as the Christian ethic predates Christianity.

          Even social animals understand this.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Same way I evaluate any hypothetical situation about a superhero.

          The human mind can do amazing things, eh?

        • SuperMark

          That’s exactly it, I’ve had pretty in depth convo’s with my friends about the movie Prometheus but that doesn’t mean i presume we were engineered by aliens…

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          But “we”, I assume you mean atheists.

          No, we Westerners.

        • CodyGirl824

          All of us?

        • SuperMark

          everyone except racists, bigots and the religious. and i’m thankful that i’m not part of any of those groups.

        • MNb

          My fundamental criterion: happiness.
          God is not interested given the many cruel stories in the OT, whether you interpret them literally or metaphorically.

        • CodyGirl824

          How do you know what God is or is not interested in?

        • MNb

          First answer: because of the cruel stories in the OT, as I write above.
          Second answer: I know what according to your understanding your god is or is not interested in. You write it yourself underneath. His first priority is justice. You wrote that, not me (I add this because you’re a persisting liar on things like these). The Great Flood makes clear that according to your understanding of god he is willing to sacrifice all happiness on Earth for divine justice, whether that story is understood literally or metaphorically.
          So if your understanding of god is correct I think him a sucker.

        • Lbj

          Bob,
          You really should study the cultures before pontificate against what the Bible says and how to interpret it. Understanding the how and why of slavery in the ancient past would gain you a far greater understanding of it. I know I would be impressed if you did.

        • SuperMark

          Really Justas do you really think you’re more well read than Bob? There’s more than one book worth reading…

        • Lbj

          I know Bob must be a super genius. I’m just waiting for him to show us. .

        • SuperMark

          you don’t have to be a genius to know how to read, how many non-fiction books outside your christian bubble have you read?

        • Lbj

          Hundreds.

        • SuperMark

          I find that hard to believe, if you were being honest here you wouldn’t be asking such foolish questions like: “if there is no god then there is no basis for good or evil” a completely ignorant/uneducated question.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          You’re determined to be unimpressed. I’m confident that your impression won’t improve with time.

        • purr

          Provide us with some citations then.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          How does this bail you out of your predicament? God is still a moral monster (I like Copan’s phrasing).

          I suppose you’re saying that the slavery situation in Israel was better than that in other countries? So what if it is? How does that help?

        • Greg G.

          The Freeman had to fend for himself and that could be very difficult.

          Following Old Testament laws must have produced a crappy society then.

        • purr

          I am sure that the sexual slaves were very happy and privileged!

        • Mick

          When a man strikes his slave, male or female, with a rod and the slave dies under his hand, he shall be avenged. But if the slave survives a day or two, he is not to be avenged, for the slave is his money. Exodus 21:20-21

        • MNb

          So much for a loving god.

          “This is where it would help you to know the how other cultures treated their slaves”
          Agreed. I am willing to admit that Mosaic Law was an improvement in its time and place. Same for Jesus’ teachings. I only maintain that mankind has moved on since then and has made moral progress. Hence Mosaic Law and Jesus’ teachings have become irrelevant thanks to for instance the Charter on Human Rights. That’s where the problems begin: guys like you refuse to admit that, because you demand a relevant place for Scripture in modern thinking. As such you are an obstacle in making the world a better place. You even implicitely have admitted you’re not interested in this ideal, because afterlife is your main priority.
          Hence I think you are a s**ker.

        • CodyGirl824

          Who are you to judge the place of the Holy Scriptures of Judaism and Christianity in modern thinking? Do you have even an inkling of how arrogant this statement is? This is cultural imperialism and chronological snobbery at its worst.

        • MNb

          It isn’t. I don’t dispute it’s value in it’s time and place. I dispute it’s value here and now. It has none. To judge this I use my own moral standard. It’s relatively young, so I don’t blame the ancient Hebrews for not using it. I do blame people though who think the ancient Hebrew moral standard bears any relevance in the 21st Century. Because that moral standard sucks.

        • CodyGirl824

          Your opinion of the wisdom of the ancient Hebrews and its relevance to modern day civilization is of no consequence or importance in the great scheme of things.

        • MNb

          I’m not interested in the great scheme of things. I won’t live long enough to get even the slightes grasp on it. I’m interested in making the world a little better here and now. Your and Justas’ understanding of god is an obstacle for this, because you claim that unwisdom of the ancient Hebrews must have relevance to modern day civilization. You have presented nothing to contradict this.

        • Lbj

          How could AN understanding of God be obstacle to making the world a better place when it was the work of millions of Christians over the centuries that has made the world a better place by feeding the poor, educating them, founding great universities?

        • Greg G.

          those things happened in the post-Christian era. The Christian era was the Dark Ages. The world did not prosper.

        • Lbj

          You have got to be kidding me. “The Dark Ages is a historical periodization used originally for the Middle Ages, which emphasizes the cultural and economic deterioration that supposedly occurred in Western Europe following the decline of the Roman Empire” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_Ages_(historiography)

          One the few places left for civilization was in the monasteries and churches.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          You a little slow?

          Christianity was in charge. Things sucked. We blame who was in charge: Christianity.

          See how that works?

        • Lbj

          If i’m not mistaken it was the barbarians who were in charge after the Romans.

        • Greg G.

          From Early Middle Ages (500-1000): Barbarians & the Papacy:

          As noted by Ferguson, “It was of great significance that when the barbarian Germans swept through the western Roman world in the 5th century, they came (for the most part) not as pagans but as Arian Christians.”

        • Lbj

          How did these barbarians become Christians?

        • Greg G.

          I don’t know. You should look it up. Try
          Google
          . It’s faster than waiting for me to do it for you.

        • Pofarmer

          That would require some actual inquisitiveness. A trait which has been practically beaten out of any good Apologist.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          So the church had no power then?

          I’m confused, teacher.

        • Greg G.

          Are you sad that Hebrew-style slavery has been abolished? Do you think stoning children should be brought back? Do you like honor killings in Muslim countries that are based on Hebrew law?

      • CodyGirl824

        You claim to know the mind of God and what God approves or disapproves. How very omniscient of you!

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I’m flattered that you think so highly of my interpretive abilities, but there’s no magic to it. My understanding of God comes from the Bible. I read it just like you do.

        • CodyGirl824

          AS I have stated before, Bob, if I believed about God what you believe about God, I wouldn’t believe in God either.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Given that confidence, it’s amazing that you don’t respond directly to the posts that I write. Show me specifically how they’re wrong and I will believe the same things about God that you do.

          All I get is bluster with occasional gusts of outrage. What I need is arguments. (But I think I’ve mentioned this before.)

        • CodyGirl824

          Bob, I do not expect you to have the same understanding of God as I do. You have not had the same experiences as I have in my relationship with God and with other people. You must arrive at your own understanding of God. You are unlikely to change your understanding of God based on arguments. Nor do I believe that you are open to changing your understanding of you. You have a great deal invested in your atheism. But suffice it to say, I would not believe in a God I believed that I am morally superior to anymore than you do.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          If you got no arguments, what are you doing here? You’re saying that arguments won’t do it, just God’s magic? OK, then tag the Holy Spirit and have him do his work.

          Show me compelling evidence that God exists and I’ll evaluate it. So far, you’ve shown me nothing; you’ve just apologized for the guy. Let him speak for himself.

        • CodyGirl824

          Antony Flew (2008, p. 163) in his autobiography “There is a
          God: How the world’s most notorious atheist changed his mind” says this: “… we have all the evidence we need in our immediate experience [of the existence of God] and … only a deliberate refusal to ‘look’ is responsible for atheism of any variety.”

          All I see from you is a deliberate refusal to look at the evidence, which you must do to sustain your atheism.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Oh, please. Flew didn’t write that.

          Give arguments to refute the atheist position or don’t waste our time.

        • CodyGirl824

          Are you claiming that this description of atheists is false because Antony Flew said them or because Antony Flew did not say them (although they appear in his autobiography) because in either case, you commit an ad hominem fallacy.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          ?? The book was ghost written. Don’t cite Flew as an authority for something he didn’t write.

        • CodyGirl824

          A “ghost written” autobiography is still an autobiography. So, address the content of the words I quoted even if you don’t agree that they are Flew’s own words or thoughts rather than engage in a Red Herring argument.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          (1) Pointing out that your citation is wrong is hardly a red herring.

          (2) The quote is useless. Varghese says that atheists have no excuse. Just like you, he has no argument, just a claim. Typical.

        • CodyGirl824

          You are being evasive. What is wrong about this citation from Flew’s autobiography? Do you claim that we do not “… have all the evidence we need in our immediate experience [of the existence of God].” Address the content of this statement.

          Edit: I checked my copy of Antony Flew’s book and I see Roy Abraham Varghese is Flew’s co-author or as you term it, the “ghost writer” of Flew’s autobiography.I agree with Varghese and the Apostle Paul that atheists have no excuse. That’s the message of Flew’s book, which is why you are making this attempt to discredit it.

        • ragarth

          Because you’re making an appeal to authority. Give an actual argument and you won’t be as vulnerable to being reasonably dismissed out of hand. You quote someone who makes a claim but then provide nothing backing that claim and relying entirely on your assumed authority of the individual to uphold that claim. Prove your claim, otherwise it can readily be dismissed because it has no logical or evidential underpinning. (ie- Can you prove without blindly quoting others that there is sufficient evidence for the existence of god?).

          Either you have a compelling case for your belief or you don’t, but thus far I’ve seen you make no compelling case. If you have no compelling case then your loud claims of superiority in this thread are working to undermine any credibility your belief system has.

          In short, unless you can make a case for your belief, your actions here are making an alternate case *against* your beliefs. Christians like you are the second best way to create atheists (reading the bible being the first).

        • CodyGirl824

          ragarth, I quote Antony Flew regarding evidence for God’s existence because he is an atheist who changed his mind based on his analysis of the evidence. In his book, he gives a thorough analysis of how he was convinced that atheism is false and theism is true. Flew’s book is equally accessible to all participants in this discussion. You might not be convinced by the evidence, but Antony Flew is/was. There are many similar stories of conversions from atheism available if you reject Flew’s account. I sincerely doubt that you are interested at all in my “case” for my beliefs or in the case for the beliefs of any Jews or Christians who believe in God. You are not willing to hear our accounts or read the OT (the account of the ancient Hebrews) or examine the life and teachings of Jesus Christ because you cannot or will not break away from your atheist paradigm. Christians and Bible reading do not create atheists. Atheists create their own atheism according to their free will.

        • ragarth

          It’s disengenious to say ‘you have to read the book’ when making a logical argument. It kills all argumentation because its not realistic to expect others to read a full book fast enough to make a timely post. Rather, why don’t you try giving the pertinent information instead of merely relying upon authority?

          It’s so kind of you to tell me what I think and feel. If it weren’t for the fact that you are here to tell me what I think of something you refuse to state, why I might do something rash, such as forming my own opinions.

          On that same subject, thank you so much for protecting my delicate sensitivities by sheltering your decisions on what I think from any arguments of your own. This is an incredible service by you.

          More seriously, you’ll never know if you can convert me if you never try. State your case, otherwise your case fails by default. This attitude of ‘I have something so awesome that your heathen ears are not deserving of it’ is pretty disgustingly superiorist. The fact that you’re fighting so incredibly hard to share the truth you claim to have leads those you’re trying to convince to question if you have anything.

          Why don’t you trust me for a moment to have the capacity to critically assess your case, instead of just assuming I’m so incredibly inferior to you that I don’t deserve the grace of your words? Or perhaps you feel you’re better than the words of your bible: “But when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you will be filled with power, and you will be witnesses for me in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

          If you want any hope of witnessing to unbelievers, you’ll need to adjust your tactics. It’s quite clear right now that you either do not understand how atheists think or you really don’t care at all about saving us and converting us. Indeed, your actions in this thread work against the commandments of Jesus and are serving only to harden the hearts of nonbelievers.

          You personally may not be doing this, but you’re actions are reinforcing the stereotype of the Christian who gives lipservice to evangelism simply to reinforce their own weak beliefs.

        • CodyGirl824

          I doubt that you know much about Christian witnessing, given your comments here. This is not a website for witnessing. Nor is it to “save” or convert atheists. That is not its purpose. This is Bob Seidensticker’s site for promoting discussion of theism vs. atheism. That’s fine with me. When I post here, I know what I’m in for and what Bob’s “rules” are. If you find your heart hardened (more than it already is) by what Christians say here, then so be it.

        • ragarth

          At this point, I think it’s pretty safe for me to leave your statement standing. It does far more to prove my point to onlookers than anything you’ve been trying to prove here.

        • CodyGirl824

          …based on your assumption that I’m trying to prove something here.

        • Greg G.

          We do not have sufficient evidence for the existence of God. A Christian penning those words for a sick old man in failing health would be detestable if I wasn’t seeing Christians defending genocide, slavery and the revenge killing of innocent children by a so-called benevolent being.

          If God’s sense of justice is that killing innocent children is just, then the good things in nature are not evidence of God and the bad things are not mysteries.

        • CodyGirl824

          Most certainly, many innocent children died in WWII when the Allies destroyed Nazi Germany. Until you say that Nazi Germany should not have been destroyed because innocent children fell victim to what the Allies did, then I will consider your claim that God is unjust to be totally bogus.

        • Greg G.

          If there was an omnipotent, benevolent being, there would have been no wa or killing.

          Because we live in a world with no omnipotent being to protect us, there is no inherent justice in the world. Sometimes there is no just course. It was not just that the children died, or their parents, or anyone else. There were people dying unjust deaths on both sides.

          A just decision gives justice for all. The German babies did not get justice so it cannot be called a just decision. Nevertheless, it was the best decision possible for non-omnipotent humans.

          An omnipotent being cannot use that for an excuse to kill
          that you would raise that question.

          EDIT:
          Emphasis added to show that I not only addressed the question, I had already addressed the goalpost shift in the response.

        • CodyGirl824

          Two important points. 1) There are no omnipotent humans. 2) God does not make excuses.

          You still have not addressed the question. Should the Allies not have destroyed Nazi Germany because there were innocent victims of this action? Should the Allies not have liberated the Death Camps because some innocent Germans died in the process? It is you who claims that we must hold God to the same moral standard as we hold human beings, ourselves and others. If you are unwilling to say that the Allies were unjust, then your claim that God is/was unjust in liberating the Hebrews from slavery under Pharaoh in Egypt is bogus and without any logical support.

        • SuperMark

          wow yes we did!!! several of us here have addressed your BS question, are you really not reading our responses??? just because you don’t like the answer doesn’t mean it’s not a valid response??? WTF!!!

        • MNb

          If I had been an omnipotent etc. god I would have prevented the Holocaust. I would have made Hitler die from a nice little heart attack in at last 1934.

          “we must hold God to the same moral standard as we hold human beings”
          Yeah yeah, the old “god is his own moral standard” canard. Ever heard of the Eutyphro dilemma?

        • Greg G.

          Should the Allies not have destroyed Nazi Germany because there were innocent victims of this action?

          That is a shift of the goalpost. You did not ask that question. You asked if it was just. I told you it wasn’t. When I typed “Nevertheless, it was the best decision possible for non-omnipotent humans”, the question you are now asking was answered. I added emphasis to the post you responded to show you.

          Your religious faith validates unnecessary suffering, genocide, slavery, innocent baby killing, and now the Nazis.

        • MNb

          The problem of the lesser evil is a serious one. God won’t help us out. God though supposedly has created a realm without evil. It’s called heaven. Mankind will not face the problem of the lesser evil, so christians like you keep on telling us. The question rises why your god makes deserving believers like you go through the vale of tears called Earthly life. Your god, because hindu’s have an answer.

        • MNb

          “I agree ….. that atheists have no excuse”
          Because you deliberately refuse to look when I present you the two good reasons. I’ll repeat them:
          a) there is no way an immaterial being like your god can interact with our material realitiy;
          b) you don’t have a methodology to separate correct claims from incorrect ones about the immaterial reality.
          Note that you implicitely admitted b) when you wrote that “there is no correct understanding or interpretation of the Bible hence I’m not interested.”

        • CodyGirl824

          a) Who are you to say that an immaterial God cannot interact with material reality? Why not? He created it. That is most certainly an essential form of interaction. This is merely a statement of your hypothesis about God based on your own definition and conceptualization of God, not mine.
          As I said before, the concept of one “correct” interpretation of the Bible is specious.

        • MNb

          a) “He created it.”
          How do you know? Which means did he use? Which procedures did he follow? Theology hasn’t provided even the beginning of an answer after 1900 years of “research”. Let alone that such answers are testable.
          b) You can’t provide such answers because you don’t have a methodology to separate correct from incorrect answers.
          The only valid conclusion is that the entire idea of god is meaningless. You have offered nothing to contradict this.

        • Lbj

          We know that a cell cannot be created from non living matter nor can DNA. The best explanation is that God must have because both require a mind mind and great power.

        • SuperMark

          we don’t know so god, that response is getting smaller and smaller.

        • Lbj

          Sometimes we are forced to accept that God did it because a naturalistic explanation is absurd.

        • SuperMark

          i think you mean complicated

        • MNb

          No, he means “beyond his imagination”. Every discussion with Justas ends with “how bizarre!” It’s his favourite “defeater” argument.

        • Lbj

          When all else fails i just have to say “how bizarre!” and i win :)

        • MNb

          In your own mind, obviously.

        • smrnda

          Maybe we just need to wait until we know a bit more. To me, we either have a naturalistic explanation, or we don’t have one *yet.*

        • MNb

          Your god of the gaps isn’t a reply to my two points.
          Moreover you’re bearing false witness. There are several hypotheses how the cell developed from non living matter. Just google abiogenesis. Liar for Jesus as you are you won’t – you are way too afraid to learn something new.

        • Lbj

          A theory on a piece of paper is not proof.

        • MNb

          Actually there is some empirical evidence; it’s just insufficient.
          Anyhow, lack of empirical evidence is no proof for your god either.
          What’s more, you don’t have any empirical evidence (from a lab nonetheless!) for your god either. Moreover you lack a coherent and consistent theory, because you’re not able to address the fundamental question: which means and which procedures?

        • Lbj

          Here are some issues that need to be addressed with a cell:
          1- it functions like a high tech factory

          2- the DNA molecule has specified information (like an encyclopedia) . The simplest life consists of 1000 sets of an encyclopedia.

          The only thing that can account for these kinds of things is intelligence. There are no known forces of nature that can produce this. This is why God is the best explanation.

        • MNb

          Repeating your god of the gaps doesn’t make it a correct argument, no matter how often you try. More over you persist in bearing false witness. I just wrote above that there are several hypotheses addressing your issues. You just flatly refuse to study them, because you reject them a priori.

        • Benjamin Bastin

          I am currently working on a PhD in evolutionary developmental biology. I have read the scientific literature quite extensively. What you have posted here is the opinions of Christian apologists, not something based on science. If you knew anything at all about a cell you would know it is nothing at all like a high tech factory. Also specified information is just a bunch of nonsense dreamed up by the Discovery Institute. DNA is not information in any sense that would help your case, and it is not in any way comparable to an encyclopedia. Please read up on the latest scientific literature in quality journals like Cell, Development, Science, Nature, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Science before you try to post anything about science again.

        • Lbj

          So tell me where did the information come for the first DNA molecule come from? What is the information comparable to? What force or forces of nature created it?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Science has unanswered questions, abiogenesis being one of them. What’s your point? Science has unanswered questions, therefore God?

        • Lbj

          Science is a great tool to understand how the world works but it has limitations. I’m not stuck like a lot of people who believe that natural forces alone can account for everything.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          ?? So what’s the point of your question about abiogenesis?

        • Lbj

          That’s a loaded question. What were the processes that created the first life? Can you describe what these processes were?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Aaaah!! And you ask the original question and we’re back to square one! I’m trapped in a Groundhog Day.

          (I’ll type more slowly.) What’s the point of your question? If it’s not “Science has unanswered questions; therefore God,” what is it?

        • Benjamin Bastin

          You are still using that word “information.” DNA molecules do not contain information in the way you seem to think. The “information,” if that’s the word you really want to use, in the first DNA molecule didn’t “come from” anywhere. It’s just chemistry, nothing more. Molecules bump around and interact with each other. Molecules with a “shape” that allows them to propagate as a result of these interactions will persist and increase in number. Please try to learn a little bit about this before you comment again. You are just embarrassing yourself.

        • Lbj

          I thought since you are an expert on this I would have a chance for you to clear some things up for me.
          So what is DNA and what is its function?

          How did the first chemicals create DNA and a cell?

        • Greg G.

          If you were really interested, you would already know. They hide this information on the internet and in books.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          If someone explained abiogenesis so that you got it, how would that change your Christian beliefs?

          If your answer is, “Not one iota,” then you can understand the apathy someone might have in summarizing the Wikipedia article for your education.

        • Benjamin Bastin

          No I am not an expert and never claimed to be. I am a PhD student, but it’s clear I do have a much better understanding of the issue than you do. DNA is a molecule. Do you want me to tell you the chemical structure of its monomers? It doesn’t have a “function.” Again, you are betraying your ignorance on the issue. It interacts chemically with other molecules. That is all.
          DNA is a chemical. All molecules are. But DNA probably wasn’t the original self-replicating molecule that eventually gave rise to life. That was most likely RNA. RNA spontaneously forms, polymerizes and replicates under natural conditions such as are found in deep sea vents. Nothing “created” them, they just form, polymerize and replicate because it is thermodynamically favorable for them to do so, and yes this has been confirmed. Granted that does not mean that they must have been the original replicating molecule, only that there is no reason of any kind to think they could not have been since they have the ability to do so. And there are other lines of evidence that strongly support the RNA first hypothesis such as the the enzymatic ability of RNA that that solves the problem of which came first DNA or protein? the fact that RNA has self-editing ability, and that many of the most essential biochemical reactions in the cell such as the conversion of RNA to protein is done via RNA molecules. If you want an easy-to-read overview of this I suggest Life Ascending: The Ten Great Inventions of Evolution by Nick Lane. The first few chapters will help you clear up some of the misconceptions you have. It doesn’t “prove” how life began, but it does make it abundantly clear that natural processes are perfectly sufficient to have done so.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I’m pretty sure Justas has little desire to learn about evolution or see evidence for naturalism, just plausible ways to attack it.

        • SuperMark

          Seriously, you’re really going to try and argue science with a PhD student about something in his field! Pretty balzy of you, i’m truly impressed by your level of self righteousness.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Have you no faith? God will provide the righteous the right words!

        • SuperMark

          It looks like god agrees with Ben… Ben’s words here are more compelling and the ideas he presents are more beautiful than anything i’ve seen in any holy book.

        • 90Lew90

          To adopt your convention of answering questions with questions: Do you really give a fuck? Allow me to answer my own question. No you don’t. Another question: Do you have the slightest interest in bothering to find this easily accessible information? Don’t answer, I’ll do it for you. No you don’t. Question: Why might that be? Answer: Because you know full well it might make you question the foundations of your faith. What’s your solution? Spend endless hours irritating people on the internet who are smarter than you in just about every way. Do this as an exercise in reassuring yourself that you’re right, despite that the only feat you’re actually accomplishing is to make a human being capable of using a computer still look dumber than a fruit fly. Does your wife waggle her ass in a certain direction for a certain amount of time to tell you how to find church?

        • SuperMark

          i willingly admit that some arguments for deism are very compelling. But saying that the cell is complicated therefore jebus makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

        • Lbj

          I’m shocked you would even open the door for deism. Maybe you are not as hardcore atheist as I thought you were.

        • 90Lew90

          There is no point in bothering with this guy. It’s just giving him oxygen, likewise Cody. He trotted out this “cell” and “DNA” line the other day and I spent some time giving him an overview of what comprises DNA and also of cell generation. And here we have it again. What’s the point?

          I opt for the Lutheran insulter.

          “You completely close your mind and do nothing but shout, “Anathema, anathema, anathema!” so that by your own voice you are judged mad.”

          From Against Latomus, pg. 152 of Luther’s Works, Vol. 32

        • MNb

          The fact that he makes you quoting Lutheran insults is point enough for me. They are great!

        • 90Lew90
        • Lbj

          Right. So you have discovered how the cell and DNA came about by natural processes and its been demonstrated in the lab. I must have missed that headline.

        • MNb

          Repeating your god of the gaps doesn’t make it a correct argument.

        • Lbj

          I agree. Its just that somethings are best understood as being done by God.

        • 90Lew90

          DNA is not living material. It is a chemical compound like water is a chemical compound.

          Read about abiogenesis here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abiogenesis#Current_models

          Your non-answer to a very much live question would mean we should just stop looking for a real answer. That’s basically what had us in the Dark Ages for more than a millennium.

          “You are like the ostrich, the foolish bird which thinks it is wholly concealed when it gets its neck under a branch. Or like small children, who hold their hands in front of their eyes and seeing nobody imagine that no one sees them either. In general, you are so stupid that it makes one feel like vomiting.”

          From Against the Heavenly Prophets, pg. 186 of Luther’s Works, Vol. 40

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Awesome Luther quote! The great man has captured my frequent reaction.

        • Greg G.

          Insult by Shakespeare
          [Thou art] a fool, a coward, one all of luxury, an ass, a madman.

          Measure for Measure

          This one is from a Shakespeare imitator I modified.

          Thou art a ruttish, agatering, pottle-deep measle and you lie.

        • Lbj

          What??? God has interacted with our material reality in the person of Christ. His is miracles are proof of this.

        • MNb

          How do you know? Because your Bible tells you. God inspired it, it tells you about the miracles and they prove god. Circular argument. Proves nothing.
          Which means did Jesus use? Which procedures did he follow? I have asked you this a gazillion times before and you invariably have failed to answer it.

        • Lbj

          I know this because the Bible does record this and the gospels has been shown to be historically reliable. There is nothing illogical about miracles happening if God exist. It multiple eyewitnesses claim to have seen something that cannot be explained by natural causes then we are good grounds to believe a miracle has happened.

          Jesus did a lot of miracles by speaking and laying on of hands. I know of no other way to describe it. In one incident on His way to raise a 12 year old from the dead, someone touched Him and was healed of an ailment. He mentioned that He was aware of power coming out from Him.

        • Greg G.

          The miracles don’t happen in the historically reliable parts. Lots of historical documents tell of supernatural things happening. We can’t believe them all. Historians ignore those flourishes. They don’t make an exception for Jesus and you have no jusification for doing it either. We have Vespasian, whose son conquered Jerusalem, healing the blind in a Serapis temple in Egypt, too.

          All your case for the Bible is special pleading.

        • 90Lew90

          Chuckle.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Varghese (and the Bible) says I have no excuse. OK–got it. What response do you expect besides my saying that I don’t agree? That’s an incredible claim.

          Show me some evidence–or is that against your religion?

        • Lbj

          Did Flew approve of the book? Did he put his name on it?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Read my post to get my take. I’ve already given you the link.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker
        • 90Lew90

          What was done to Anthony Flew was despicable. Two articles which should be considered in the tsunami of Christian gloating over this supposed “conversion” are here: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/04/magazine/04Flew-t.html?_r=0 and here: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/23/books/review/Gottlieb-t.html?_r=1&ref=review&oref=slogin

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Yeah. It’s not cool to take advantage of an old man like that.

          His comments about some of the deist arguments show he had only the most one-sided and simplistic understanding of them. Sad.

        • wtfwjtd

          A similar parallel was the late Charlton Heston. I remember his long-time association with the NRA, and how late in life he supposedly “changed his mind” about what he had advocated for decades.
          It was painfully obvious in a final TV interview that the man’s mind was slipping, and to use someone in such a state simply as a pawn was…not very ethical, or convincing, in my view. No matter which side of these debates one might be on, trumpeting the declining mental ability of a past great figure is pretty shameful, and no great help to any cause.

        • MNb

          “we have all the evidence we need in our immediate experience”
          If Flew wrote that – it’s highly doubtful – he is as arrogant as you. How does he know about my “immediate (whatever that means) experience [of the existence of God}”? I never had any. How does he know this comes from my “deliberate refusal to ‘look'”?

          “All I see from you ….”
          Which means that you are the one who deliberately refuses to look. Your ‘evidence’, of which you hardly presented anything, is shown to be false over and over again. Moreover I have presented you two good reasons to assume that god doesn’t exist. You never have answered them.

        • MNb

          “You must arrive at your own understanding of God.”
          Guess what? The atheists who engage in discussions with believers like you have likely met more understandings of god than you. The first problem is that there is no reason to assume there is one and there are a few good reasons to accept there isn’t any. The second problem is that if – and it’s an if as big as you hardly can imagine – god exists that all understandings of god bar The Flying Spaghetti Monster totally suck.
          That specifically includes yours, given your (and your god’s) lack of empathy for Elisabeth Fritzl and the victims of natural disasters, based on the understanding of your god as you have presented on this site.
          The god understandings of John and Justas suck because they disapprove of homo sex. They also suck – and does yours – because they reject science in one way or another. Yours does specifically in your defense of the supernatural.
          The bottom line is that we atheists don’t have an understanding of any god, like we don’t have any understanding of fairies. We must borrow from you theists. If BobS or any other atheist is not addressing your understanding of god then just don’t feel addressed. Simple, eh?

        • CodyGirl824

          MNb, you have articulated exactly what atheism is: opinions about what atheists understand, or think they understand, about other people’s understanding of God.

        • MNb

          If I understand your understanding of your god wrongly you can always correct me. You totally haven’t regarding Elisabeth Fritzl, the victims of natural disasters and you rejecting science when it suits you. As long as you don’t I am entitled to assume that my understanding of your understand of god is correct.

        • CodyGirl824

          What is a “correct” understanding of God (not god with a lower case g, which means something quite different from God with a capital letter G).? How is it that you claim to know what the “correct” understanding of God is, so as to compare yours and mine?

        • MNb

          What I mean with god with a lower case g is not for you to decide, you arrogant christian.
          Your questions are irrelevant regarding my comment. I claimed specifically that I don’t have any understanding of any god, because there is no god with or without capital. The “correct” understanding of your god is your problem, not mine. I’m willing for the sake of argument to accept that your understanding of your god is “correct”. If I discuss with John or Justas I have the same attitude. John being a mormon has quite a different understanding (according to his understanding his god has a dick for instance) than yours.
          Hence I don’t need to compare your and my understanding of god. I’m not anymore interested in comparing your understanding of your god with John’s understanding of his god than in comparing a dog’s turd with horse manure.
          You may though, if you like, compare your understanding of your god with my understanding of your understanding of your god. If you conclude that my understanding of your understanding of your god is incorrect you are free to correct my understanding of your understanding of your god. If you don’t (whether like or conclude) I will assume that my understanding not of any god, but of your understanding of your god is correct.

        • CodyGirl824

          Wow, what a mouthful of mush! I glad to hear you admit that we are talking here about your understanding (misunderstanding) of my understanding of God. Let’s get down to the basics here. Your understanding of God is that god/gods/God does not exist. It is not up to me or any Christian to correct your misunderstanding of God or your misunderstanding of our understanding (individually or collectively) of God. So what is your goal or purpose in these discussions?

        • MNb

          To make you look ridiculous and to expose you as a dishonest person. You once again succeed:

          “It is not up to me or any Christian to correct your misunderstanding …..”
          The relevant question of course becomes why then you are contradiciting atheists on this site all the time. You’re too dishonest to recognize that you should ask your question yourself.

    • Ron

      “The laws of the Old Testament in regards to slavery were far superior to the cultures around them.”

      [citation needed]

    • smrnda

      A man who kills 10 people is preferable to one who kills 100, but that’s still not much of an achievement.

  • Greg G.

    Step right up, folks. After defending genocide in another post, we have Bible-idolaters defending slavery on the basis that it could be better than being a free person under Bible law. Now we have self-described Christians defending baby killing while claiming atheists have no reason to consider these things wrong. Where will they go next? No thought too detestable. No action too atrocious. If it’s in the Bible, they support it.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      I’m seeing a sideshow barker charging 10¢ entrance to see the amazing sight.

    • CodyGirl824

      Greg,

      You entirely mischaracterize the arguments here. Atheists claim that a God they don’t even believe exists is immoral because this god/God that they/you don’t believe exists does not meet your own subjective moral standard, so you are basically claiming to be more moral than God, the God you don’t believe exists. You also claim that your belief in the immorality of your non-existent god/God is the belief of the entirety of Western civilization. This is nonsense, but you can’t seem to admit it.

      • Greg G.

        My claim is that the deeds you attribute to God would be immoral if he existed.

        • CodyGirl824

          First of all, let’s be clear about whose claim it is that God sent the angel of death to the Egyptians to liberate the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt. It is the ancient Hebrews. If you have a problem with their claim, you can take it up with them. Meanwhile, what you give us is your opinion about their beliefs, based on your own understanding of God, who you also claim does not exist. Debating the morality of a non-existent God is rather bizarre, don’t you think?

        • MNb

          Yes. Alas there are way too many people in our days who refer to that non-existent god for their morality. These people for some reason think the moral views of the ancient Hebrews are relevant one way or another for us in the 21st Century. They think so because they claim that these outdated moral views are written down in a divinely inspired book called the Bible.
          Better to put those outdated moral views in the same dustbin as the moral views of the ancient Romans, where they can be researched by historians. Modern people should recognize because a) there is no god and b) the moral views of the ancient Hebrews are outdated that we have to keep god out of debates on morality. Will you join us spreading this good news?
          Slogan: we don’t need no god for our morals.

        • CodyGirl824

          I find your recommendations for civilization to be uninformed, unenlightened and self-serving. What you think “modern people should” do is not advice that they/we should take. When you say what “we” don’t need, you speak only for yourself.

        • 90Lew90

          You are like the ostrich, the foolish bird which thinks it is wholly concealed when it gets its neck under a branch. Or like small children, who hold their hands in front of their eyes and seeing nobody imagine that no one sees them either. In general, you are so stupid that it makes one feel like vomiting.

          From Against the Heavenly Prophets, pg. 186 of Luther’s Works, Vol. 40

        • CodyGirl824

          And should I care?

        • 90Lew90

          “Since you are such vulgar blockheads that you think such lewd and stupid gossip will harm me or bring you honor, you are the real Hanswursts – blockheads, boors, and dunderheads.”

          From Against Hanswurst, pg. 187 of Luther’s Works, Vol. 41

        • Greg G.

          Insult by Shakespeare
          Beauty starv’d with [your] severity cuts beauty off from all posterity.
          Romeo and Juliet

        • smrnda

          Your opinions are duly noted. Could you explain to me why secular nations have lower levels of social dysfunction than more *Christian* ones (since that appears to be your religion of choice?)

        • Lbj

          If you ” don’t need no god for our morals” then you can justify anything. This is what Hitler, Stalin and Mao did.

        • Pofarmer

          The problem is, the things done in the name of religion are scarcely better.

        • CodyGirl824

          Nothing is done in the name of atheism because atheism has no name.

        • SuperMark

          I think that’s the most rational thing you’ve said on this thread for the past two days.

        • Greg G.

          Anybody can do something if they want to do it. Theists can be convinced to kill or shun somebody when convinced that a god says they should. Atheists cannot be convinced to do kill or shun for that reason.

        • SuperMark

          An oldie but a goodie:

          Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion. – Steven Weinberg

        • 90Lew90

          “Nothing is done in the name of atheism because atheism has no name.”

          You just called it atheism. Maybe it should be called “BLEEEEP”? That would fit with the Christian impulse to censor very nicely.

        • Pofarmer

          At least you got something correct, if only accidentally.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Correct. I think we’ve been telling you this for a couple of months now.

          And now you introduce it as if it’s your own realization? Whatever.

        • Greg G.

          Hitler and Stalin came from Christian backgrounds. Hitler remained a Christian. He used Christian prejudices to gain power.

          You can justify anything morally with a god, too. You just pretend what you are doing is God’s will. It worked for Hitler.

        • CodyGirl824

          Show us evidence that “Hitler remained a Christian.” In what ways do you claim that Hitler carried out the ideals and teachings of Jesus Christ. You obviously know nothing about either Hitler or Christianity if you make claims like this.

        • 90Lew90

          Very Christian.

          “The National Government will regard it as its first and foremost duty to revive in the nation the spirit of unity and cooperation. It will preserve and defend those basic principles on which our nation has been built. It regards Christianity as the foundation of our national morality, and the family as the basis of national life….”

          [Adolf Hitler, Berlin, February 1, 1933]

        • Pofarmer

          Oh-my.

        • Greg G.

          “I am now as before a Catholic and will always remain so”
          — Adolf Hitler

          Would you doubt the word of a Christian?

          You have said that the universe was evidence of God because it was God. Samuel Koehne wrote that Hitler was “conflating God and nature to the extent that they became one and the same thing…”

          Hitler was never excommunicated by the Catholic Church. Goebbels was excommunicated, though. He married a Protestant.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Well, you gotta give a guy a pass for the Holocaust. His heart was in the right place.

          But marry outside the faith?! Don’t get me started.

        • CodyGirl824

          Have you no shame, Bob? You claim that the most evil regime in the history of humankind administered by some of the most evil human beings known to humankind had its “heart in the right place”? This is what atheism teaches you?! And you consider yourself to be morally superior to God?! You give us ample evidence that atheism is morally bankrupt and contemptible.

        • 90Lew90

          “Are you not mad, and crazy, and crass Nestorians, not knowing when you say yes and when you say no, stating one thing in the premise and another in the conclusion? Away with you stupid asses and fools!”

          From On the Councils and the Church, pg. 159 of Luther’s Works, Vol. 41

        • SuperMark

          Is your sarcasm detector broken?

        • 90Lew90

          It’s pretty well established that they’re irony-free zones. Pretty humourless too.

        • Greg G.

          I suspect that Matthew may have read Galatians 5:12:

          12 I wish those who unsettle you would castrate themselves!

          and change the words to put into Jesus’ mouth to get

          Matthew 19:12
          For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let anyone accept this who can.

          and that Origen took it seriously. There has been a lack of a sense of irony from the beginning.

        • SuperMark

          I know this is completely out of my ass but I think Paul was a self hating homosexual. Thorn in the flesh anyone… if only he had been able to accept who he actually was maybe the world would be a better place.

        • 90Lew90

          That would add up. “Better to marry than to burn” can be read in any number of ways. Throw into the mix that many surmise he was either prone to psychotic episodes or epileptic trips and… You have “the first Christian”. They’ve upheld his tradition proudly.

        • Greg G.

          I think some of the anti-woman stuff was interpolated into 1 Corinthians though. In one place he tells women how to speak in church and a few chapters later he is saying they can’t speak in church. The writer of 1 Timothy may have played a role in that caper.

        • SuperMark

          You’re totally right Greg, and that’s one of the things that makes debating Christianity so difficult there’s no way to tell what was added to the NT. I know it’s a dream but hopefully one day the Vatican will open up it’s library to Scholarly scrutiny and we will know the truth.

        • 90Lew90

          My dream is that one day the Vatican — a big house with a big garden — will have its “statehood” rescinded. It’s a house with some outbuildings and a bit of land around it. And it’s considered a “state” with its own laws and courts and police and army. And envoys, and diplomats, and a jail, and treaties with real states (concordats). That’s mad. Mad!

        • Pofarmer

          Catholic priests have proudly kept up the tradition.

        • SuperMark

          Nice!!! I’ve been watching the new season of Louie all day and your comment still made me laugh harder than i have all day.

        • 90Lew90

          I’d say catholic priests have let the side down very badly.

        • Pofarmer

          Oh, I agree. But with the conservative estimates of Gay priests at around 36%, from the Catholic Church itself, and the number by independent reports at close to 60%, how do you not have a bunch of self haters preaching the “Word of God.” It has to be terribly conflicting. My wife just can’t believe that any of the priests she’s known were Gay, but I’ve got news, the statistics and common sense say otherwise.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I’ve read the same hypothesis from a scholar.

        • Pofarmer

          Probably removed.

        • SuperMark

          What part of the US do you live in Po? your sense of humor seems really similar to myself and my friends here in the South East.

        • Pofarmer

          North South? I dunno what my region is called. Central MO.

        • SuperMark

          Nice! I guess it has nothing to do w/geography just smarts.

        • Pofarmer

          Your sense of irony is seriously on the fritz, which is common for fundies.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          No, this is what sarcasm teaches me. Don’t push me to sarcasm and you won’t hear it. Deal?

        • Greg G.

          The person who defended killing babies as just is whinging about a Hitler joke.

        • SuperMark

          Ha! Thanks for the Goebbels fact, I’ve read a lot about WWII but haven’t heard that yet. It is unfortunate but even historians shy away from unflattering religious facts.

        • 90Lew90

          The best historian of WWII I’ve read is Antony Beevor. He’s spent pretty much his entire working life on it and is first rate.

        • 90Lew90

          Hitler: “I SAY: MY FEELING AS A CHRISTIAN POINTS ME TO MY LORD AND SAVIOUR AS A FIGHTER. IT POINTS ME TO THE MAN WHO ONCE IN LONELINESS, SURROUNDED ONLY BY A FEW FOLLOWERS, RECOGNIZED THESE JEWS FOR WHAT THEY WERE AND SUMMONED MEN TO THE FIGHT AGAINST THEM AND WHO, GOD’S TRUTH! WAS GREATEST NOT AS SUFFERER BUT AS FIGHTER. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and of adders. How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison. Today, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before – the fact that it was for this that He had to shed His blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice. And as a man I have the duty to see to it that human society does not suffer the same catastrophic collapse as did the civilization of the ancient world some two thousand years ago – a civilization which was driven to its ruin through this same Jewish people.”

          Speech in Munich, 1922. http://www.hitler.org/speeches/04-12-22.html

        • CodyGirl824

          Now do your homework Lew and find any teachings of Jesus Christ’s that talks about “Jewish poison” and advocate the slaughter of his fellow Jews. You make yourself out to be a fool by quoting Hitler’s Nazi hate speech in this discussion.

        • 90Lew90

          Have some more Luther then.

          “Think what you will, so make in your pants, hang it round your neck, then make a jelly of it and eat it like the vulgar sows and asses you are!”

          From Against Hanswurst, pg. 187 of Luther’s Works, Vol. 41

          [I think that means ‘eat shit’.]

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I haven’t read Luther’s On the Jews and Their Lies. I hear chapter 11 is a goodie. Give ol’ Martin a read and tell us what you think.

        • 90Lew90

          That Luther. He was a one, wasn’t he! He made Hitler look like a right pinko.

        • smrnda

          The gospel of John reeks of antisemitism. Maybe I just notice that because I’m Jewish.

        • wtfwjtd

          Heck, there’s pretty wide-spread agreement among certain biblical scholars that the gospels (and other NT books) may have been tampered with and re-written, in an attempt at shifting blame for the crucifixion of Jesus from the Romans to the Jews, to make the whole story more marketable to Gentiles. It seems very possible to me, anyway. And, I reckon that when you are in the group that’s singled out for “special treatment” you tend to notice these things more. And as I am sure you are aware, empathy is not exactly one of Christianity’s strong suits.

        • smrnda

          Yeah, I’ve had some rather unpleasant run-ins when I’ve pointed out the antisemitism, either in the NT itself or which Jews have been experiencing ever since. Worst is the ignorance – Judaism is *legalism* as opposed to Christianity (how? Christianity invented *thought crimes*) or else I’ve been told that, thanks to Jesus we can quit killing animals for our sins.

        • wtfwjtd

          The biblical teachings of Christianity itself can’t resolve the question of whether or not Jewish customs need to be followed in order to be a real Christian. Paul of course, says no; Peter says yes (sometimes); and Jesus? He says both! Of course, most Christians today say no, but then stubbornly cling to bits that they want to–such as hating gays, for example. I guess that’s one reason why Christianity has survived for so long–if you don’t like one version, pick another, or just make up your own. It’s still being done today.

        • Lbj

          How about some examples so we can be clear what you mean. Just so were clear this is what antisemitism means:
          “Antisemitism (also spelled anti-semitism or anti-Semitism) is prejudice, hatred of, or discrimination against Jews as a national, ethnic, religious or racial group.”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antisemitism

          Will need some specific examples where John is guilty of this.

        • Lbj

          Good point.

        • Pofarmer

          So, are the Ancient Hebrews making claims now, or is it the divinely inspired word of God? I’m having trouble keeping up.

        • SuperMark

          Yeah i’m having a hard time pinning down exactly what Cody believes about his/her’s (sorry Cody i’ve met both men and women with that name) holy book.

        • Greg G.

          She uses the words and phrases of Christianity but I pinned her down on what she meant by God and it is the universe. Seeing the universe is evidence for God for her. She also defines soul as just brain functions. She is slippery. You can argue for days only to find that you’ve argued two different things.

        • SuperMark

          Yeah she seems to be speaking out of both sides of her mouth most of the time. but i guess the philosophy is whatever argument works, it has nothing to do with what she actually thinks/feels.

        • wtfwjtd

          Yep, you’ve got her figured out all right.

        • smrnda

          You should ask some actual Jewish rabbis whether they believe this actually happened.Wouldn’t they know better than Christians?

      • smrnda

        A non-existent person can be immoral. The Joker is not real, Lex Luthor is not real, yet we could say they are *bad people.* Fictional characters are often supposed to be immoral, they are called villains.

  • Nemo

    Nonstampcollector had a video on this topic. Apologists often like to point out verses talking about slavery for fellow Israelites, and how it was more like indentured servitude. They avoid the verses talking about foreign slaves, which were pretty much just like early American slavery.

    • Greg G.

      It’s worse than that. The Christians here are defending the worst parts of slavery and think killing innocent children is just punishment for actions performed by the Pharoah eighty years before.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

        My focus is on what Christianity does to the Christians. Do they not hear themselves? They’re justifying genocide and slavery? Maybe their philosophy is forcing them to do sick things.

        • Lbj

          I thought you knew some things about Christian history. Where has the Christian church justified genocide or slavery in the past 2000 years? It is true there were some in the south during the civil war period but they a minority. If anything, it was Christians who worked to end slavery. Wilberforce is a example of this.

        • Greg G.

          Where has the Christian church justified genocide or slavery in the past 2000 years?

          In every Holy Bible printed in the last 2000 years.

          It is true there were some in the south during the civil war period but they a minority. If anything, it was Christians who worked to end slavery.

          There were Christians on both sides of the issue. The Baptist Church split over the issue. That’s how the Southern Baptist Church got started.

          I’d like to see you support the “but they a minority” statement without going to the No True Scotsman fallacy.

        • Lbj

          Just because there are printed Bibles does not mean that Christians endorse genocide or slavery.
          The total number of Christian slave owners in the south compared to the rest of the US Christians were probably in a minority.
          I wonder how many atheists supported slavery.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Christians don’t endorse slavery but the Bible does? See a problem with that?

          Yeah, good call about the atheists. I bet the South was a hotbed of them in the 1850s.

        • CodyGirl824

          The Bible does not endorse slavery. The premise of your claim is false so your argument fails. On what basis would atheists not endorse slavery? They recognize no moral prohibitions whatsoever against it. That’s why they argue as if they side with the Confederacy in the Civil War post hoc.

        • 90Lew90

          It doesn’t have to endorse it to condone it. And it definitely does condone it. Remember, “not one jot or tittle…”.

        • Pofarmer

          Oh, hell, not only does it endorse it, it tells the hebrews specifically to take Virgin girls a sex slaves.

        • 90Lew90

          I must have skipped over that bit in favour of some brutally violent rape porn or a snuff video.

        • Pofarmer

          1) Murder, rape, and pillage at Jabesh-gilead
          (Judges 21:10-24 NLT)

          So they sent twelve thousand warriors to
          Jabesh-gilead with orders to kill everyone there, including women and children.
          “This is what you are to do,” they said. “Completely destroy all the males and
          every woman who is not a virgin.” Among the residents of Jabesh-gilead they
          found four hundred young virgins who had never slept with a man, and they
          brought them to the camp at Shiloh in the land of Canaan.

          The Israelite assembly sent a peace delegation to
          the little remnant of Benjamin who were living at the rock of Rimmon. Then the
          men of Benjamin returned to their homes, and the four hundred women of
          Jabesh-gilead who were spared were given to them as wives. But there were not
          enough women for all of them. The people felt sorry for Benjamin because the
          LORD had left this gap in the tribes of Israel. So the Israelite leaders asked,
          “How can we find wives for the few who remain, since all the women of the tribe
          of Benjamin are dead? There must be heirs for the survivors so that an entire
          tribe of Israel will not be lost forever. But we cannot give them our own
          daughters in marriage because we have sworn with a solemn oath that anyone who
          does this will fall under God’s curse.”

          Then they thought of the annual festival of the LORD
          held in Shiloh, between Lebonah and Bethel, along the east side of the road that
          goes from Bethel to Shechem. They told the men of Benjamin who still needed
          wives, “Go and hide in the vineyards. When the women of Shiloh come out for
          their dances, rush out from the vineyards, and each of you can take one of them
          home to be your wife! And when their fathers and brothers come to us in
          protest, we will tell them, ‘Please be understanding. Let them have your
          daughters, for we didn’t find enough wives for them when we destroyed
          Jabesh-gilead. And you are not guilty of breaking the vow since you did not give
          your daughters in marriage to them.'” So the men of Benjamin did as they were
          told. They kidnapped the women who took part in the celebration and carried
          them off to the land of their own inheritance. Then they rebuilt their towns
          and lived in them. So the assembly of Israel departed by tribes and families,
          and they returned to their own homes.

          3) More Murder Rape and Pillage (Deuteronomy
          20:10-14)

          As you approach a town to attack it, first offer
          its people terms for peace. If they accept your terms and open the gates to
          you, then all the people inside will serve you in forced labor. But if they
          refuse to make peace and prepare to fight, you must attack the town. When the
          LORD your God hands it over to you, kill every man in the town. But you may
          keep for yourselves all the women, children, livestock, and other plunder. You
          may enjoy the spoils of your enemies that the LORD your God has given you.

          The list is actually longer than I thought.

          http://www.evilbible.com/Rape.htm

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Explain Lev. 25:44-46.

          (Oh, sorry–is that a sore spot? I’ve asked twice before and gotten no response. Perhaps I’m being rude by shoving your face in your God’s acceptance of slavery. The manners on the internet, amiright?!)

          And why would being an atheist suggest an endorsement of slavery? Why wouldn’t it suggest a non- endorsement of slavery by similar non-logic?

          I’ve got a good idea: why don’t you think before you write shit? If you did, you might see that, by putting yourself in an atheist’s shoes, there are all the constraints and prohibitions that the Christian has, just not the God one. You think laws don’t apply to atheists? You think atheists aren’t driven to be good citizens in society, just like the Christian?

        • Greg G.

          The Bible gives explicit instructions on how to turn an indentured servant into a slave.

          Exodus 21:2-6 (NRSV)
          2 When you buy a male Hebrew slave, he shall serve six years, but in the seventh he shall go out a free person, without debt. 3 If he comes in single, he shall go out single; if he comes in married, then his wife shall go out with him. 4 If his master gives him a wife and she bears him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall be her master’s and he shall go out alone. 5 But if the slave declares, “I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out a free person,” 6 then his master shall bring him before God. He shall be brought to the door or the doorpost; and his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him for life.

        • Lbj

          So what the Bible endorses slavery at the time. It was basically the only way people could live given at the time of Christ the population was probably over 80%. Slaves did all kinds of jobs and were provided for by their masters.
          You think to much like a modern.

          If there were any atheists in the south I can’t think of one that did anything to stop it. Can you?

        • Pofarmer

          Google is your friend.

        • 90Lew90

          There are no words. Moron? Even that’s not good enough.

        • wtfwjtd

          You idiot, why don’t you read Pofarmer’s post from about 15 minutes ago, quoting the secular Robert Ingersoll. Sheesh, must we do all of your thinking for you???

        • Lbj

          I don’t know about you but its difficult keeping up with the comments.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          And I’m having a problem keeping you and CodyGirl separate.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Address the issue squarely and honorably instead of changing the subject … or are Christians unable to do that?

          Your god sanctions slavery for life. Just like in the good ol’ U. S. of A. back in the day. What do we make of an omniscient and omnipotent god who does this?

        • Lbj

          Just answered it 6 posts above.

        • Greg G.

          You have been endorsing genocide and slavery simply because it is in the Bible ordered and sanctioned it by God.

          But the Christian slave owners among slave holders was probably very high.

          Since there were few atheists back then, I doubt there were many who owned slaves.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          ?? You are justifying the Bible’s stance on slavery. That’s my point. Is this obvious enough now?

        • Lbj

          For the time, it was right. AS i said, many slaves were better off than freeman.

        • Pofarmer

          This is the exact argument given in the antebellum South, and it’s still a horrible one.

        • Lbj

          They might make that argument but its not a good one. Slavery was widespread in OT times and was a necessary evil. In the south it was not and the NT does not justify it.

        • Pofarmer

          Until the advance of the Cotton Gin, and later the mechanical Cotton picker, it was most definately seen as necessary. Slaves were also widely used on the Tobacco plantations all up and down the east coast.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Jesus could’ve eliminated it or demanded that slaves be released. That he didn’t reflects badly on him. Makes him look not very divine.

        • 90Lew90

          But a day ago you asked this: “On what basis is slavery wrong?”

          Did you have an epiphany?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Even if that were so, who cares? The point is that your god is sanctioning slavery.

          Problem #2 is what that makes you do. You’re probably a good neighbor who’s honest and pays your taxes. And your religion is making you say this?

          Doesn’t there seem to be a lot wrong with that? That this god of yours is making you compromise your principles to defend these immoral actions? No cognitive dissonance going on?

        • Lbj

          Yes. He sanctioned slavery for the nation of Israel.
          This is no problem for me. This was the times they were living in. The whole world was involved in slavery and was accepted. The OT Jews were to treat their slaves humanely which is something the other nations did not do from what I have read.

          Slavery does not surprise me given that men have an evil bent. God worked His purposes through it and eventually centuries later has been largely eradicated. In the NT, there is no command that Christians are to have slaves. In the church, the slave and the master were on equal grounds which is something that was unheard of. The apostles were wise enough not to teach Christian slaves to revolt because they would have been crushed if they had. It took centuries before the conditions would be right to stop slavery.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Yes.

          If you’d said so 100 comments ago, instead of handwaving excuses, this conversation would’ve been sped along

          This is no problem for me. This was the times they were living in. The whole world was involved in slavery and was accepted.

          It must’ve been such a bitch being a god back then. People think it’s so easy, y’know? But it’s hard being confined by the conditions of the day. It was so much easier back on Day 1, when he sculpted the earth and everything on it in 6 days. But all those constraints from those bullshit human civilizations, amiright?

          Yahweh and the other gods must’ve had bitch sessions where they complained about how tough it was being omnipotent and how little respect they got and blah blah blah.

          The OT Jews were to treat their slaves humanely which is something the other nations did not do from what I have read.

          You keep saying this. No one cares. The point is that your omni-benevolent sanctions slavery. And the other point is, you’re defending him!

          God worked His purposes through it and eventually centuries later has been largely eradicated.

          He imposed new rules at Sinai that went into effect immediately. He could’ve added “no slavery,” but y’know, the tablets were full and he should’ve chosen a smaller font in hindsight. Oh well—not a big deal. A few more millennia of slavery won’t matter much in the end, right?

          The apostles were wise enough not to teach Christian slaves to revolt because they would have been crushed if they had.

          Or Jesus could’ve snapped his fingers and eliminated slavery in an instant with magic. Just too busy cursing fig trees, I guess.

        • Lbj

          To bad your not God.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I’m more moral than Yahweh. I bet you are, too.

          What lesson have we learned today?

        • Lbj

          What do you mean you are “more moral than Yahweh”? By what objective standard are you comparing yourself to?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I use the dictionary’s definition of morality, not an objective moral standard. Why–is there one? I’m dying for you to demonstrate objective morality. Give us a demonstration.

        • CodyGirl824

          Given that you don’t believe in Yahweh’s existence, this is a meaningless claim. Why be so proud and arrogant about your moral superiority to what/who you claim is non-existent? How ridiculous is that!

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Changing the subject? That’s embarrassing. Can’t stay on topic, just like Justas?

          I’m making the simple observation that the morality that we all share as Westerners labels God’s actions as reprehensible. You and I aren’t reprehensible, therefore, we are morally superior to God.

        • CodyGirl824

          Bob, you keep repeating this lie: “You keep saying this. No one cares. The point is that your omni-benevolent sanctions slavery. And the other point is, you’re defending him!”

          Stop it! You have no evidence that God sanctions slavery so there is no need for Justas or me or any Jew or Christian to defend God.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Lev. 25:44-46

        • CodyGirl824

          This is a cop-out argument. Show us specifically in the teachings of Jesus Christ where Jesus advocates enslavement of other human being or murder of any race or ethnic group? What we have here is atheists claiming that the wrong side won the Civil War and that there is no moral argument against the Holocaust. Get real, Bob. Atheism is morally and intellectually bankrupt. You simply won’t admit it.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Jesus was a staunch defender of the Scriptures, and the Scriptures endorse and codify slavery.

          But you’ve already been told this.

          What’s to admit? That atheism doesn’t do something that it doesn’t do? I admit it.

        • CodyGirl824

          Jesus was a “staunch defender” of God’s Law and instituted the Jewish celebration of God’s liberation of the ancient Hebrews from slavery in Egypt as the central ritual to commemorate him and his teachings the night before he was crucified: the Passover Seder. This is incongruent with an endorsement of slavery, so no Christian need pay any attention to your theorizing about Jesus’s teachings about human’s freedom from bondage and oppression.

        • SuperMark

          Why don’t you address Greg’s quote below? Doesn’t seem to fit with what you just presented here…

        • Greg G.

          The Hebrews celebrated not being slave to Egypt. They didn’t celebrate freeing foreign slaves.

        • SuperMark

          Here’s a fun verse:

        • 90Lew90

          Was Martin Luther a Christian?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Yes. He was arguably the originator of Protestantism.

        • 90Lew90

          I asked that twice and she vanished. I’m going to push that question.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Sorry. Have at it.

        • Lbj

          Yes.

        • 90Lew90

          Excellent. So what makes Adolf Hitler any less of a Christian than Luther? Luther was stronger in his language against the Jews than Hitler. All Hitler did was attempt to carry out what Luther said should be done. Where does that leave us in the logic twister?

        • Lbj

          Hitler was no Christian. He used the church for his purposes. No one who understands Christianity would support the idea he was Christian. He lived antithetical to what Christ taught.

          What Luther said about the Jews was wrong and I would not be surprised if later he regretted saying it.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          No True Christian = No True Scotsman

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          And you get an F. There is no reasoning here, just rationalizing.

          Slavery is no problem if it happens to someone else. Who cares? Some Edomite is enslaved? Yeah, it sucks to be him, but why should a Jew care? This is what the OT rules on slavery say.

          Slavery is bad when applied to us, and it’s a handy tool when applied to others. Why is the atheist schooling the Christian who reads the Bible cover to cover half a dozen times per hear, yet again?

        • CodyGirl824

          You, like the slave holders of the Confederacy, have not made your case that God condones slavery to/for humanity. You are not “schooling” anyone but you sure need to go back to school yourself.

        • 90Lew90

          Yeah yeah. Do you reckon that Martin Luther guy was a Christian?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Oh? Explain Lev. 25:44-46 to us.

          (Attempt #4.)

        • Lbj

          They were allowed to have slaves.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          … according to God. Your god says that slaves for life is OK.

          What do you think about that?

        • CodyGirl824

          How are you able to distinguish between what God says/said and what the ancient Hebrews’ interpretation of what God said is with such certainty? You are theorizing that God approved of everything the ancient Hebrews did and that they were “just following orders.” You are also claiming that God’s revelation of His Law to humankind ended when the last word of the Bible was written.

        • Ron

          Cite one passage where the god of the Bible clearly and unequivocally states: “You must not take slaves, for it is an abomination unto me.”

        • Lbj

          There is none. How ever I think this does apply: “The second is this, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 112:31.
          Think how the master would treat his slave if he loved the slave like himself.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          So God is cool with slavery, but he has other ideas that are actually moral.

          Is that supposed to fix the problem?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Is this a trick question? I know that God said it because the Bible says that God said it. Lev. 25 begins, “The Lord said to Moses at Mount Sinai …”

          Now, of course, you could say that the Bible is unreliable. And I’d agree–let me know if you want to play that card.

        • Greg G.

          You have been defending the Bible’s sanctioning of slavery and now you say Jesus didn’t support it? Jesus used brutality against slaves as a parable.

          Luke 12:47-48 (NRSV)47 That slave who knew what his master wanted, but did not prepare himself or do what was wanted, will receive a severe beating. 48 But the one who did not know and did what deserved a beating will receive a light beating. From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required; and from the one to whom much has been entrusted, even more will be demanded.

        • wtfwjtd

          Now God dammit Greg, you know that Cody will just respond with the passage right after this where Jesus condemns slavery as being morally wrong. I wonder what’s taking her so long? Oh, wait….

        • Greg G.

          We must have convinced her that slavery was wrong. She knows she could never have been wrong so she must have been against slavery all along and the atheists were for it.

        • CodyGirl824

          Atheists make the same argument as the slave holders in the antebellum South and Confederacy made: That God condones slavery. What else are we modern day Christians who believe that the abolitionists had/have the superior Bible-based arguments supposed to think?

        • Greg G.

          You and Justus have been defending Bible slavery. Now you are trying to argue that the Bible doesn’t condone slavery.

          Did we convince you that slavery was wrong?

        • Lbj

          As its been said, in atheism there is nothing wrong with slavery. All they can say is “stuff happens”.

        • Pofarmer

          You person, are a first rate moron.

          “And Robert Ingersoll, the great agnostic orator, fought for the Union
          in the Civil War and was likewise an unflinching foe of slavery:

          “We must be for freedom everywhere. Freedom is progress — slavery is desolation, cruelty and want.
          …I am astonished when I think how long it took to abolish the slave,
          how long it took to abolish slavery in this country. I am also
          astonished to think that a few years ago magnificent steamers went down
          the Mississippi freighted with your fathers, mothers, brothers, and
          sisters, and may be some of you, bound like criminals, separated from
          wives, from husbands, every human feeling laughed at and outraged, sold
          like beasts, carried away from homes to work for another, receiving for
          pay only the marks of the lash upon the naked bark. I am astonished at
          these things. I hate to think that all this was done under the
          Constitution of the United States, under the flag of my country, under
          the wings of the eagle.

          “On the contrary, freethinkers played a role as well. In my post on the freethinker Abner Kneeland,
          I pointed out how his lecture hall was the only place in Boston that
          would give the fiery abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison a place to
          speak after the churches turned him away. As Garrison later said:

          It was left for a society of avowed infidels to save the city from the
          shame of sealing all its doors against the slave’s advocate.

          Garrison himself was a freethinker who said, “The human mind is greater than any book… All reforms are anti-Bible” (source)”

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism/2009/11/did-christianity-abolish-slavery/

        • SuperMark

          Who Po Who, Don’t bring up facts when we’re talking about ideology…

        • Lbj

          Great. We have one atheist that spoke out against slavery. Anymore?

          I’m a bit skeptical that all the churches in in the east turned him away. Maybe they had other reasons for doing so or were already speaking out against it. Would you happen to know?

        • CodyGirl824

          Justas, Pofarmer describes Robert Ingersoll as a secularist. This does not mean that he was an atheist, since secularists are merely people who claim no affiliation with a traditional religion who may or may not believe in God.

        • Lbj

          Interesting. Its good to see many people from different walks of life trying to end slavery.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Wait–how is this relevant to the question of omniscient gods not realizing that slavery was immoral?

        • Lbj

          Good question. We should also ask why God allows over a million babies to be murdered every every year in the US or why He allows spouses to cheat on each and break up families or people to take drugs?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          You do yourself no favors to flail around for another topic when the current one gets uncomfortable.

          Man up and focus on the question at hand: your god’s support of slavery.

          Hey, y’know what? Why are you doing the heavy lifting here? Have God get off his ass and get down here to face the music himself. I think you’re taking too much of the heat that belongs to him.

        • CodyGirl824

          Since your complaint about slavery in the OT is a complaint against the ancient Hebrews, you better hold a seance to get them to take the heat. Meanwhile, ask any Jew at a Passover Seder what he or she believes God’s position on slavery is.

        • Ron

          Passover? You mean the annual celebration commemorating the night that Yahweh supposedly killed every first-born Egyptian male?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          My complaint is about the God who Christians say lives today. We read about him in the pages of your Bible. If you actually repudiate the OT, then correct me and I won’t tar you with that brush.

        • Greg G.

          Atheism is a conclusion about one thing. It is not an all-encompassing philosophy.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Uh … the pro-slavery pastors in the South had the better arguments. Let me suggest you read that Old Testament just once more, but pay attention this time.

        • CodyGirl824

          Stand with the slave holders of the Confederacy if you feel compelled to do so, but recognize and acknowledge that your side lost the war. The abolitionists’ arguments have been vindicated.

        • Pofarmer

          What kind of an idiotic non reply is that? Bob isn’t condoning slavery, you moron, it’s your bible that does.

        • SuperMark

          Just another christian denying the parts of history that makes their religion look bad.

        • CodyGirl824

          You’re the only one who looks bad in this argument.

        • CodyGirl824

          The Bible is a book, Pofarmer. Books can’t condone anything. We have entertained your argument that the authors of Leviticus, the ancient Hebrews condoned certain forms of involuntary servitude, but this does not allow you to claim that “the bible” condones slavery or that God condones slavery, based on your theory that God condoned everything that the ancient Hebrews did. What evidence do you have to support that theory? Are you ready to go up against scholars like Paul Copan, Glenn Sunshine and William Lane Craig to argue your case? I ask because we Christians give their scholarly and academic analysis much more credence on this topic than the ramblings of the Bible spanking atheists crowd.

        • Ron

          Where are the writings of Paul Copan, Glenn Sunshine and William Lane Craig found in the Bible?

          “However, you may purchase male and female slaves from among the nations around you. You may also purchase the children of temporary residents who live among you, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. You may treat them as slaves, but you must never treat your fellow Israelites this way.” Leviticus 25:44-46, NLT

          Care to address that passage?

        • Lbj

          They were allowed to own slaves. Where did these slaves come from?

        • Ron

          It says right within the text I posted. Is English not your primary language?

        • Lbj

          Missed that. So what? Tell me using your atheism why this is wrong? On what objective moral basis is slavery wrong?

        • Ron

          Define “objective” moral basis. And how does it relate to the above passage granting the Israelites permission to hold slaves and bequeath them to their heirs as a permanent inheritance?

        • CodyGirl824

          The Israelites believed that God granted them permission to practice certain forms of indentured servitude. How do you claim to know that God actually did?

        • Ron

          Well, that’s my point. I don’t believe in gods and readily acknowledge that the Hebrews granted themselves divine rights to own foreign slaves.

          Nonetheless, the bulk of Christianity proclaims the Bible to be the inerrant word of God; so those professing themselves to be Christians are charged with explaining why their divine instruction manual includes such passages.

        • CodyGirl824

          The “bulk” of Christians? No Christian or Jew living today has any “charge” to explain anything in the Bible. We can and do offer our analysis and interpretation of its meaning. That’s all that we can do or are expected to do. I am still puzzled by why atheists take the same position regarding slavery in the OT that the antebellum slave owners took rather than the abolitionists’ position.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          And I’m still puzzled over what the hell you’re talking about. What position do atheists take and why do you think they take that?

          For someone who’s anxious about my claiming to know the word of God (here’s a tip: it’s pretty easy when God is quoted in the Bible), you seem to have a remarkable clairvoyance about what all atheists think. I’m dying to hear what that is and why you think so.

        • Ron

          Yes, the bulk of Christendom.

          The Inerrancy of Scripture and the Second Vatican Council

          Cum ergo omne id, quod auctores inspirati seu hagiographi asserunt, retineri debeat assertum a Spiritu Sancto, inde Scripturae libri veritatem, quam Deus nostrae salutis causa Litteris sacris consignari voluit, firmiter, fideliter et sine errore docere profitendi sunt.

          The Austin Flannery translation, adopted as authoritative in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, reads:

          “Since therefore all that the inspired authors or sacred writers affirm should be regarded as affirmed by the Holy Spirit, we must acknowledge that the books of Scripture firmly, faithfully, and without error teach that truth which God, for the sake of our salvation, wished to see confided to the Sacred Scriptures.”

          The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy

          Article VI

          We affirm that the whole of Scripture and all its parts, down to the very words of the original, were given by divine inspiration.

          “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” 1 Peter 3:15

        • CodyGirl824

          The only “answer” that any Christian can give is his or her own understanding of the Holy Scriptures, which I have done here with gentleness and respect, based on much research, study, thought and preparation.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Indentured servitude for Jews; slavery for life for Others. Read Lev. 25:44-46.

        • CodyGirl824

          According to Paul Copan, these “foreigners” AKA “strangers” or “sojourners” had the right of “redemption” which means that they were not “slaves for life”. On
          p. 140-141, Copan discusses the quotation for Leviticus 25 that you provided, only he includes verses 42-49 that describe the “redemption right” of a stranger [ger] or sojourner [toshab] where a family member or he himself could buy his freedom. Copan provides a thorough analysis of what Leviticus 25 and other related passages in Exodus and Deuteronomy say “foreigners” in Israel under Mosaic law and who these “foreigners” were in terms of their presence in and integration into Hebrew society.

          Also see Copan’s (2001) excellent analysis of this topic in Chapter 19 of his book “That’s just your interpretation: Responding to skeptics who challenge your faith.

          But I doubt that you will do any research on this topic. Your mind is made up and no amount of scholarly analysis from recognized and respected scholars will change it.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          But I doubt that you will do any research on this topic.

          What’s to research? That’s how I remember it. Yes, sojourners could be redeemed. No one cares. Obviously, the interesting part is the slaves for life bit in 25:44-46.

          Every form of slavery or indentured servitude the US had? God imposed those on Israel, too. Praise be.

        • Pofarmer

          It’s not “my theory” that God condoned everything the Ancient Hebrews did, it’s Apologists like William Lane Craig insisting thatthe biblemis divinely inspired, from God’s lips to the Hebrew pen. What you are doing is trying to explain away the parts of the bible you find objectionable, but in doing so, you admit it has no more authority than Dr. Zuess.

        • MNb

          Are you aware of WLC’s God Command Theory? If yes, how much credence do you give it? It seems to me it applies to slavery as well.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Not by the Bible.

          You lose.

        • CodyGirl824

          No, Bob. You lose and you continue to defend the losers and the losing side in this moral debate.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Explain. What’s this losing side in the moral debate, Ms Defender of Slavery? ‘Cause I think you’re on it.

        • CodyGirl824

          Defender of slavery? You claim that the Bible condones slavery. I didn’t write a single word of the Bible and I am not defending slavery. This is a straw man argument. I am merely attempting, unsuccessfully, to get you to understand the whole context of OT teachings about slavery, referring you to the scholarly analyses of knowledgeable academics and theologians such as Paul Copan, Glenn Sunshine and William Lane Craig.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I’m not blaming you for the Bible. When you whitewash what the Bible says God says about slavery, that’s a problem.

          All I hear is tap dancing about how things sucked back then, and God’s rules didn’t suck quite as bad as the other tribes’ rules, and so on. God could’ve eliminated slavery with his magic or could’ve demanded that slavery be eliminated within Israel. He did neither. That reflects badly on him.

          you’re saying you haven’t been defending God?

        • CodyGirl824

          No one is “whitewashing” the Bible. You have quoted the relevant passages from Leviticus correctly. No one disputes what the Book of Levitucus says. We are discussing your interpretation of these passages from Leviticus, from which you conclude that God condones slavery, while ignoring the entire account from the Book of Exodus of how God acted to free the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt. It is puzzling why the Hebrews worshiped and thanked God for their freedom from slavery but nonetheless, made laws to set parameters for their own ownership of slaves (under certain conditions). They did this in disobedience of God’s commandment (the Tenth Commandment) that they were not to covet their neighbors’ servants. This is also within the laws of the sabbatical year and the Jubilee year where all slaves’ debts were dismissed and all the wealth of Hebrew society redistributed. So, in light of these contradictions that the Hebrews’ themselves document in their sacred scriptures, how do you claim to know God’s mind and will on the topic of slavery? I repeat, there is no need to “defend” God but there is a need to explore and understand the contradictions in the imperfect ancient Hebrews’ interpretations and actions in formulating their laws and the evolution of moral reasoning regarding involuntary servitude.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          The Exodus is irrelevant. God does not make clear that slavery is bad for everyone in the book of Exodus–or anywhere else.

          It is puzzling why the Hebrews worshiped and thanked God for their freedom from slavery but nonetheless, made laws to set parameters for their own ownership of slaves (under certain conditions).

          What’s puzzling? God is on the side of the Israelites. Yay for God! And it sucks to be anyone else, because he has no problem with their being slaves.

          This is also within the laws of the sabbatical year and the Jubilee year where all slaves’ debts were dismissed and all the wealth of Hebrew society redistributed.

          Nope. We’re not talking about Jews but about non-Jews, remember? Slaves for life. Do not pass Go; do not get freed.

          So, in light of these contradictions that the Hebrews’ themselves document

          I’m curious to hear more about this contradictory Bible you speak of, but that’s a separate topic. Curiously, the Bible is consistent on this topic. Slaves for 6 years for Jews (and sojourners too, I think?). Slaves for life for everyone else.

          how do you claim to know God’s mind and will on the topic of slavery?

          Didn’t we go over this? Lev. 25 begins stating that this is all from God. God lays out the rules for non-Jewish slaves.

          But you’ve known about this for years, right? If you’ve read the OT 100 times, surely you’ve seen this before.

        • CodyGirl824

          Bob, how can you say that the Book of Exodus is irrelevant to an understanding of God’s will regarding slavery? How can you say that the Ten Commandments are irrelevant to the Hebrews’ laws regarding servanthood? How can you say that the outcome of the Civil War is irrelevant to an understanding of God’s will regarding slavery (human freedom vs. human bondage)? You are unwilling to grapple with the entire context and meaning of the OT and the ancient Hebrews’ relationship with God (the Covenant) as they understood God and sought to obey God within their historical, cultural, religious and spiritual context. And you are also unwilling to accept that God’s revelation to humankind continues to this day.

        • Steph

          Which ten commandments?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Ooh, ooh! Do we get to pick? I pick Ex. 34, the Ten Nutty Commandments.

        • Stephen

          No prizes for guessing which set Cody will pick.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Bob, how can you say that the Book of Exodus is irrelevant to an understanding of God’s will regarding slavery?

          I don’t. (But then you already knew that—you’re just changing the subject. Again.)

          We understand the big picture. The least pleasant part to swallow is Lev. 25:44-46.

          And you are also unwilling to accept that God’s revelation to humankind continues to this day.

          Well, obviously. You’ve refused to provide me with any evidence. Again.

        • MNb

          But how to understand and interpret that revelation is up to every single individual. It took christians only 1650 years to figure out that theology.

        • CodyGirl824

          What about how God “lays out the rules” about not coveting the servants of their neighbors and eradicating all debt of indentured servitude every seventh year and redistributing all the wealth and property every Jubilee year so as to equalize masters and slaves? You are cherry picking Bob. Examine the entire context of Hebrew society and all the laws they devised in relationship with God.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          You are cherry picking Bob.

          Or maybe just focusing. You’re eager to zoom out and take in the big picture. Y’know, to change the subject again. Facing up to reality can be tough work, so I understand your reluctance.

          Sure, we could stop and smell the roses, but let’s instead focus on God’s barbaric side and see how bad it is.

        • Steph

          The character Yahweh who features throughout the Bible and who Jesus believed was a god, is quoted in Lev 25. We read that he has certain views on how a slave should be treated. From that we conclude that Yahweh, at that time, was perfectly fine with the practice of one human being owning another. That is the evidence we present in order to show what the Yahweh character probably believed about slavery.

          Has he changed his mind since then? If so, how do you know that?

        • MNb

          “We are discussing your interpretation of these passages from Leviticus.”
          What’s there to discuss if there is no correct understanding and or interpreting? That’s what you answered when I asked you about your methodology. Consistency is not your forte, is it?

        • CodyGirl824

          MNb,

          You claim that your interpretation of Leviticus is correct. I disagree, based on my interpretation and the interpretations of scholars I have consulted and my analysis and understanding of the larger context of the OT and Hebrew society of the times. This is consistent with the premise that there is no one correct interpretation. You are weaseling when you leave out the word “one” here.

        • 90Lew90

          For the third time, would you consider Luther to have been a Christian?

        • Lbj

          Of course.

        • 90Lew90

          You’ve already answered that. Did you forget? I wondered then why if Martin Luther was a Christian Hitler wasn’t, since Luther’s language against the Jews was stronger by far than Hitler’s, and Hitler merely attempted to carry out what Luther said should be done to them?

        • Lbj

          Luther was an authentic Christian. We know this by his books he wrote, his sermons, his family and friends. He also did not murder anyone.
          Hitler is the opposite of this. Hitler broke many of the commandments such as lying and murder.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          And you have no problem with Luther’s antisemitism?

        • Lbj

          I do. He was a flawed man like all of us. I wonder if he changed his mind later on this.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          So Luther gets, “Ah well–he was flawed, but who isn’t, after all?” And Hitler gets your condemnation. How do you figure that?

        • 90Lew90

          And Calvin? Was he also an authentic Christian?

        • Lbj

          Yes. Did you know that Paul used to persecute the church and approved the murder of Stephen before he became a Christian? Did you know that one of the leaders of the apostles denied Christ when Christ needed Him most?

        • MNb

          Cody,

          once again you’re pulling off prejudiced nonsense. I didn’t interpret Leviticus in any way. Let alone that I claimed that that non-existing interpretation is correct.
          Fortunately for you this time it can be easily corrected without changing your point. As I try to be honest, unlike you, I will take your comment in that improved way.

          “You are weaseling when you leave out the word “one” here.”
          Of course as the righteous christian you are, all about justice and none about empathy, the concept “benefit of the doubt” is alien to you. A priori you rule out the option that I misunderstood you, even if you brought up that option yourself very recently. That option is the very basis of my invitation that you may correct me whenever you feel like.

          “there is no one correct interpretation.”
          Here is the misunderstanding. I just overlooked what you meant with the word “one”. It’s remarkable that you don’t consider this option, while being aware of humans (in case you didn’t realize: I’m one too) being imperfect. Instead you opted to violate Matth. 7:1. In fact you were the one weaseling out, as I’ll show.
          But first still thanks for correcting me. Believe me or not, I always appreciate that.
          So you agree that there are incorrect interpretations of the Bible. Then you were dishonest when you answered my question: “How do you decide which interpretation is correct? What is your methodology?”

          In this specific case: which methodology do you use to determine that BobS’ interpretation of Lev. (which happen to be one shared by many christians in the past) is incorrect and yours is one of the correct ones?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Doublethink comes in handy for some people. Perhaps for some Christians, life is like living in 1984’s Oceania.

        • Lbj

          How does it follow that Jesus using slavery as a parable means He endorsed it? Where did He teach His disciples to have slaves?

        • Pofarmer

          Where did he speak out against slavery?

        • CodyGirl824

          Jesus spoke out against slavery every time he celebrated the Passover, most especially when he instituted the ritual we know as Holy Communion.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Wrong again. Who cares about slavery of the other guys? Passover is very clearly focused just on the travails of the Jews.

        • Greg G.

          Didn’t Philemon celebrate Passover? He owned at least one slave, the one Paul sent back.

        • Lbj

          There were lots of things He did not address directly. What Jesus understood was after was changing the hearts of men through the gospel. Consider this:
          ” Beginning in the second century, many masters, upon converting to Christ, began to release their slaves. Slavery was abolished in Great Britain after people began being converted to Christ under the preaching of John Wesley and George Whitefield.”http://christiananswers.net/q-aiia/aiia-slavery.html

        • Pofarmer

          Uhm, John Wesley was in the 18th Century. Took a while, I suppose, for them to figure the theology out.

        • Lbj

          Depends where he was preaching and focusing on. I suspect there were other issues he was dealing with.

        • Greg G.

          Were they releasing slaves because they thought slavery was wrong or were they just taking a vow of poverty?

          The quote says the second century but then jumps to the 18th century. Apparently the release of slaves was a few individuals but not a wide-spread or long-lived practice.

          EDIT:
          I had a look at the link. It’s the standard apologetic on slavery. We’ve already demolished it.

        • CodyGirl824

          Matthew 22:36-40 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

          Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

          Now, explain to us how you think slavery, as practiced in the antebellum South, is compatible with this greatest commandment that Jesus said is the basis for all the Law, which includes the laws governing conditions of servitude.

        • Pofarmer

          So, not gonna answer the question.

        • Greg G.

          Jesus is quoting Leviticus 19:18, which gives tacit support for Leviticus 25.

        • Ron

          The Jewish understanding of the word “neighbor” was one’s fellow countryman, i.e. fellow Jews, not outsiders.

          I note that Strong’s also defines plēsion as:

          C. according to Christ, any other man irrespective of nation or religion with whom we live or whom we chance to meet

          But as Jesus is purported to have said: “By their fruit you will recognize them.” (Mat 7:20), and Jesus’ “fruit” included the rottenness of overt racism. He called the Canaanite/Phoenician woman a “dog” and instructed his disciples to avoid the Gentiles and Samaritans and preach only to the Israelites.

        • Greg G.

          Paul said that the Leviticus quote fulfilled the whole Torah. Mark had Jesus demote it to second place. James said Paul’s idea was a start but did not fulfill the Torah because breaking any point broke the whole law. The Bible can’t agree with itself on kindergarten level ethics.

          If God said in the Bible that the could buy and breed slaves and will them to the heirs then doing so is following what Jesus said was the first commandment even if it conflicted with the second. If Jesus had reversed those commandments, you argument might hold water once you show Mark wasn’t plagiarizing Paul’s ideas and giving them to Jesus.

        • MNb

          I totally love my neighbour, who accidentally also is my slave, ie is not allowed to quit labour. When my neighbour the slave doesn’t fulfill his/her servitude I whip him/her with all my love. No doubt there is a Biblical quote somewhere about “love means not sparing the rod”.
          This would be my understanding of the biblical god and his commands if I would convert to christianity. You already stated that you’re not interested in the correct understanding of the biblical god, so you have nothing to bring up anything against this position.
          I suppose you’ll agree that everybody is better off, including me, when I don’t convert.

        • SuperMark

          Because the racists in the south at that time didn’t even consider slaves to be people but animals. Why would they consider the slaves as neighbors?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Africans were slaves for life, while Europeans were indentured servants. Two different schemes in the US, and the same two were in Israel. The indentured Europeans would be the “neighbors.”

        • Lbj

          This shows that those who take such a view of another human being are depraved. Their moral reasoning’s is not to taken seriously or trusted.

        • primenumbers

          Slaves are not neighbours. They are slaves.

        • Lbj

          Not so. A slave can be a neighbor. In fact in the parable of the good Smaritarian we have an illustration of who a neighbor is: “The word “neighbor” in the Greek means “someone who is near,” and in the Hebrew it means “someone that you have an association with.”Read more:http://www.gotquestions.org/parable-Good-Samaritan.html#ixzz35OLsQz1u

          Clearly this would include the master-slave relationship.

        • primenumbers

          Clearly you’re just rationalizing. If Jesus had meant us to treat slaves as neighbours with love, he’d not have told us when they should be beaten as slaves.

        • Lbj

          Actually it appears you are rationalizing. The commandment is clear that we are to love our neighbor as ourselves. A neighbor is another human being regardless of status.

        • primenumbers

          “. A neighbor is another human being regardless of status.” – absolutely. That’s the nice way of looking at things. But that’s absolutely not what Jesus did when he told a parable about beating slaves. Slaves wouldn’t want for a religious leader to tell parables about them being beaten, nor would they want a religious leader to remain silent on their plight, and they would want a religious leader to outright condemn slavery.

        • Lbj

          Jesus was telling a parable that probably was based on real life events. His parables for the most part have a main point that He is making. Certainly the people who lived during this period were familiar with these things. Otherwise they would not have made sense to them.

          As for “Slaves wouldn’t want for a religious leader to tell parables about them being beaten, nor would they want a religious leader to remain silent on their plight..” is all speculation on your part.

        • MNb

          “Otherwise they would not have made sense to them.”
          Ah yes, the good old “don’t tell them slavery is wrong, because it would not have made sense to the audience” canard.

        • primenumbers

          “Jesus was telling a parable that probably was based on real life events. ” – is just speculation from you.

          “His parables for the most part have a main point that He is making.” – so anything you present on what this parable means is just speculation as you can’t actually know.

          But remember speculation is key to how “do unto others…” works. You have to speculate what it would be like to be in the other person’s place. Those of us with a working sense of empathy feel for the plight of slaves, and can put ourselves in their place.

        • Lbj

          Its not all speculation. We can determine that point Jesus is making with His parables. Certainly those who first heard this parable would have known what it meant.

          What comes to mind when you think about slavery?

        • primenumbers

          “We can determine that point Jesus is making with His parables.” – no we can’t. We can guess, but without the ability for us to interrogate him, we have no way of knowing if our guess is correct.

          “Certainly those who first heard this parable would have known what it meant” – no certainty at all actually. People get the wrong end of the stick all the time. Speaking in parables is not a reliable method of communication, and even more unreliable in the long term when time divorces us from the culture and the language.

        • MNb

          Yup. As there is also a Bible quote somewhere about rods I will whip my slaves with all the love I’ve got if they don’t serve me well, condoned by your Bible. After all I do the same to my self if I think I don’t serve the Lord well; I’m a flagellant.
          It’s better that I stay atheist, don’t you think?

        • Lbj

          No. You should learn how to interpret and understand the Bible. Your interpretations are lame.

        • MNb

          My interpretation is as lame as yours. You don’t have a Bible-based method to decide which one is correct and which one is lame.

        • Lbj

          I sure do. The same methods you use to determine the meaning of other pieces of literature you apply to interpreting the Bible.

        • primenumbers

          Your interpretations are wrong.

        • Lbj

          Show me how they are wrong.

        • primenumbers

          They’re your interpretations, not mine. Demonstrate the objective method by which you show you’re correct.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Translation: “Your interpretations are wrong because they conflict with mine.”

          You’re welcome.

        • Lbj

          Thank you.

        • Lbj

          I don’t know of any.

        • smrnda

          The use of slavery in a parable could be easily used to argue that it’s okay, particularly given the fact that Jesus does not condemn it.

        • Lbj

          Anyone who would use this parable to justify slavery is not dealing with a full deck.
          Jesus didn’t condemn a lot of things directly but He did indirectly. See Mark 7:20-23 as an example.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          What does an objective person reading the NT conclude about Jesus’s attitude toward slavery?

        • Lbj

          Well there is the case in Matthew 8 where Jesus heals the centurion’s slave and does not rebuke him for having one.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Yes, excellent example. Then there’s the fact that Jesus makes clear that the Scripture to the last jot and tittle is still in force, so he adopts all its “wisdom” about slavery. And that he does preach morality but says not a jot or tittle about eliminating slavery. Sounds like pretty good circumstantial evidence that he has no problem with the morality of slavery.

          Either Jesus got it wrong, or we have. Slavery can’t be both moral and immoral.

        • Lbj

          Since Jesus did not rebuke the centurion for having a slave I guess He had no problem with it. Evidently the relationship that the centurion had was a very good one given that he was concerned about his health.
          What this means is that not all kinds of slavery is immoral.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Is slavery moral? Are some parts immoral but some moral? And how do you figure this out?

        • Lbj

          This is where historical contexts can help us understand it. “In Bible times, slavery was based more on economics; it was a matter of social status. People sold themselves as slaves when they could not pay their debts or provide for their families. In New Testament times, sometimes doctors, lawyers, and even politicians were slaves of someone else. Some people actually chose to be slaves so as to have all their needs provided for by their masters.” Read more:http://www.gotquestions.org/Bible-slavery.html#ixzz35OcuIwA2

          So would it have been wrong for someone in ancient times to choose to be a slave so as to have their needs provided for?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Yet again, we have a Christian source that whitewashes the issue.

          How many times must we go over this? Slavery for Jews was like indentured servitude in the US. Bad, but not all that bad. Slavery for non-Jews was slavery for life. And God commanded both of them.

          Doesn’t put God in a good light, does it? What kinds of godly slavery would you like to see used in our society today?

        • Lbj

          Wait a minute. You sound like you have some kind of objective moral standard that you are appealing to when you claim slavery is wrong. That can’t be right given that in atheism there is no such thing. All you have is one opinion among billions. None is better than the other morally.

          BTW- you are a slave. A slave to sin and your own bent reason.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          You sound like you have some kind of objective moral standard that you are appealing to when you claim slavery is wrong.

          Perhaps you haven’t been paying attention. Search here for “objective morality.” My position is clear and unchanging.

          What observers have also noticed about me is my pleading and begging Christians who claim objective morality to provide evidence for this remarkable claim. You have much company in your inability to provide this.

          None is better than the other morally.

          Not in my mind. I think my moral opinions are correct. Isn’t that the way it works for you?

          BTW- you are a slave.

          Well, if Justas sez so, you can take that to the bank! Or something.

        • Lbj

          I guess I have not been clear enough. Take the 10 commandments. They are objective commandments given by God. They satisfy the criteria for objective morality because they come from a Being that created the universe.

          You can claim your moral opinions are correct but you have no objective standard by which to judge them. Without that, all you have is an opinion.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          What?? This is just logorrhea. Some idiot put a bunch of words here under your name. Justas, you should check to make sure you haven’t been hacked.

          When you presuppose your god, you get laughed at.

          Come back when you have an actual argument instead of a claim.

          I make no claim to objective morality. You can’t, either.

        • Lbj

          Nice try. The God of the Scriptures who appeared in history is the God that billions of people across time have believed in. From this God we get objective morality. A way to know right from wrong.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Nice try. Repeating your claim that the Christian god exists doesn’t mean that he exists.

          Point 2: you say that objective morality exists? Show us. Don’t make some random Christian claim; attack some moral issue in society (there are plenty to choose from) and show us the objectively correct moral resolution to this problem. (Hint: you get an F if you simply state your opinion.)

        • Lbj

          Thous shall not commit adultery and murder i.e.”Murder is the unlawful killing, with malice aforethought, of another human, and generally this premeditated state of mind..”

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder

          The “objectively correct moral resolution to this” is DON’T DO IT.

          You going to mark me down for an A?

        • 90Lew90

          Calvin? Also a Christian?

        • Lbj

          Yes.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Let’s see. You look up the definition of murder and just say, without justification, that this is objectively true?

          And your definition talked about “unlawful killing.” What about euthanasia, which is legal in some states and parts of the world and illegal in others? What about a killing that might be called justifiable self-defense or might not?

          Uh, no. This is not objectively true morality. Do you even know what we’re talking about here? You’re sitting at the adults table, remember? Childish arguments won’t do.

          F.

        • MNb

          The very fact that people had to sell themselves as slaves when they could not pay their debts or provide for their families is immoral in my view. In secular countries we handle such problems in a better way – and from the little I know the USA handle them better than The Netherlands.

        • SuperMark

          you should be a politician.

        • CodyGirl824

          Jesus did not use the word “scriptures.” He referred to the Law. For the Jews, Torah means the the Law. You don’t understand the meaning of the Law. Jesus said that he came to fulfill the purpose of The Law. Until you understand the law’s purpose, you cannot understand what Jesus meant by these words.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          If you don’t want to engage the question, it would be more honest to simply say so.

        • Greg G.

          They would use the Old Testament laws to justify slavery and the Luke 12:47-48 to confirm that Jesus didn’t object to slavery or beating them.

          The fact that they would use the Bible to justify anything would tell you they weren’t playing with a full deck.

        • Lbj

          In your examples that would be true but not in your last statement.

        • Greg G.

          You can’t get your morality from God. You have to be able to know good and bad before you know whether to be on his side before you join him. If you know the difference already, you don’t need to get it from the Bible. If you didn’t know from the start, you may have picked the wrong God. You’d never know because you believe it blindly.

        • Lbj

          How does one “know good and bad” ? People have different ideas of what good and bad is. So who decides?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          You know how to resolve this kinds of moral puzzles, don’t you? Tell us all about objective morality and how we can reliably access it.

        • Lbj

          Ok. Lets’s take murder. The commandments say murder is wrong. (Objective morality) You can find the commandments in the Scripture. (accessed by reading the Scripture).

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          (Wow–what a moron.)

          No, we don’t start with the assumption that God exists and gave us the 10 Commandments. God’s existence is the conclusion you’re eager to arrive at, but this is circular reasoning. I’m sure you’d see it in an instant if I did it. Tougher if you do it? Or does God logic get a pass?

        • Lbj

          You already know the many arguments for the existence of God. No need to retell them here again. Refute them if you can but don’t tell me we don’t have good arguments for His existence because you don’t like them. This is where you need to support atheism as being true. That is something you and your friends have not done.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Let’s see–you could’ve manned up and responded to the issue directly. You could’ve defended your bold claim of objective morality in some way besides, “OK, let’s begin with the assumption that God exists …”

          But, no, you want to change the subject. OK, fair enough. You’ve thrown in the towel on the objective morality issue. Just don’t claim that it exists in the future.

          Now, to your point: yes, I know the Christian apologetics arguments fairly well. I’ve responded to many of them in this blog. Help yourself (the search bar is at the top, on the right).

          And just to be clear (and repetitive), the natural explanation (atheism) is the null hypothesis. We start there. I have indeed provided positive arguments for atheism (give specific criticisms of those if you’d like), but those are just a bonus. If they all fail, atheism remains the null hypothesis.

          don’t tell me we don’t have good arguments for His existence because you don’t like them.

          You don’t have good arguments for God’s existence because your arguments fail or have insufficient evidence.

        • MNb

          Because the commandments say something it doesn’t follow that these make objective morality. Scripture is unreliable, ie not objective, because it describes how the supposed source of this objective morality violates the commandment to murder himself.
          Note that you still suffer from the Eutyphro Dilemma. Bigot as you are I bet you haven’t looked it up on say Wikipedia.

        • MNb

          Actually people largely agree about good and bad.
          Anyhow a source that tells us that murder is wrong but the next moment orders to murder (like the Canaanite genocide) and a few moments before has killed off almost the entire planet (the Great Flood) is not exactly a reliable source for knowing good and bad.

        • Pofarmer

          Society decides, always has.

        • 90Lew90

          Your store of patience is a credit to you. This guy and Cody both make me feel like Sisyphus.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Speaking of pushing distasteful balls, a dung beetle is another possible analogy.

        • Pofarmer

          The only reason, and I mean the only reason I am currently respoding, is for the hoped benefit for those who may be questioning who lurk on blogs like this. Otherwise, their biggoted ignorance is almost intolerable.T

        • Lbj

          What society? Hitler and the German govt decided to persecute and kill innocent people. According to them, that was not bad.

        • Greg G.

          Yes, that shows we didn’t get knowledge of good and bad from a fruit. There are some things that are good for us personally and some that are good for us as a group but that requires sharing, which can be a conflict with the personal good. Everybody has similar ideas what is good for either case but the difference is in balancing the two approaches. Both can be necessary in changing situations.

          There is a cost to being selfish because you don’t build social alliances. If you don’t help, you get less help when you need it.

          There are no rules for every situation. If there was, it would be impossible to read the situation accurately enough to choose the optimal rule. Without perfect foresight, we can use some general principles, but those will not always work.

          In a complex world, each person determining the best action is better than one over-riding rule. Those who exploit the system will be restricted.

        • Greg G.

          If the Jesus character opposed slavery, endorsing beating them is not a way to express that. Why not a parable that teaches releasing slaves?

          You defend slavery in the OT. Why suppose Jesus was against it?

        • CodyGirl824

          You keep repeating the same wrong statements, perhaps in the hope that repetition will make your falsehoods more convincing.

        • Greg G.

          You defended the Bible in a post on what the Biboe says on slave r y. Justus defended Bible slavery. You defended the revenge killing of babies 80 years after the crime. Then you point at others who said it was all immoral to say they are immoral. You are dishonest.

        • Greg G.

          My apologies for the typos. I was on the handheld with the keyboard taking 2/3 of the screen and new post notifications from Disqus covering the rest.

        • 90Lew90

          “You keep repeating the same wrong statements, perhaps in the hope that repetition will make your falsehoods more convincing.”

          What the…? GUFFAW!!!

        • Lbj

          Jesus used many kinds of things that people were familiar with to teach them about the kingdom of God. Slavery was something they could relate to.

          I don’t defend slavery in the OT but acknowledge the reality of it. Jesus could have been against it. We don’t know everything about Him. All that we have is in the gospels and that is limited.

        • Greg G.

          You defended slavery in the Bible all day. You said it was better than being free in somecases. You said it was better than slavery in the neighboring nations. Now you are trying to back away from it. You would like to say that Jesus probably said slavery was bad but it didn’t get recorded. Maybe he did tell his disciples to buy slaves and that was what was left out. You are trying to make it up as you go. The Bible doesn’t say what you want it to say nor what you thought it said. You’ve been brainwashed to defend it no matter how unrational it is.

        • Lbj

          Not really. Jesus certainly said and did more than what is recorded in the gospels. John 20:30

        • Pofarmer

          Yes, loads and loads of things, that nobody else bothered to record either. Enough to fill many books, and yet?????????

        • Greg G.

          Right, that’s what John says but that doesn’t give you leeway to suppose what he said. If it’s true, you may only have the expurgated Jesus quotes. Maybe all you see are the few positive quotes. You can say Jesus said more things but you cannot say that the other things support you. You don’t know if Jesus agrees with you or if you would agree with Jesus, if he had actually existed.

        • Lbj

          I was only speculating and not presenting any facts. My speculations could be wrong.

        • 90Lew90

          “Atheism is morally and intellectually bankrupt.” And you have a breezeblock for a brain. Yet again you wheel this out, demonstrating a complete inability to grasp a very simple thing. Which has been explained to you ad nauseum.

          “You conduct yourself like one drunk or asleep, belching out between your snores, “Yes, No.””

          From The Bondage of the Will, pg. 113 of Luther’s Works, Vol. 33

        • Pofarmer

          Jesus said that not one tittle or jot or whatever of the law was not to pass away. I would assume that would include the laws governing slavery?

        • SuperMark

          Until Paul came around, i’ve brought up the fact that Paul completely changed the jebus message to numerous xtians in my family before and they always give me the blank stare…

          but it seems so clear to me if you look at what jebus said in a closed system and then compare it to what Paul taught it is completely different. but xtians have never been good at stepping outside of their worldview and examining other ways of thinking…

        • wtfwjtd

          One thing that is crystal-clear by actually reading the New Testament–the Jesus of Paul is not the Jesus of the gospels.

        • SuperMark

          That’s fucking right, I just don’t understand it at all it seems so obvious when you actually read the text.

        • Ron

          When you actually read the text… without the god goggles on.

        • primenumbers

          Or the Jesus coloured spectacles.

        • Pofarmer

          Hell, the Jesus of Mark is not the Jesus of John. The teaching of James is not the same as the teaching of Paul, and Cephas and Paul had open disagreements. The whole thing is like it was made up in a trailer park.

        • wtfwjtd

          Yes, I think maybe they got a little carried away with the “wine” part when doing a few too many of the Lord’s suppers. That would explain a lot…

        • Ron

          “Creative differences” are the bane of every artistic endeavor.

        • Greg G.

          “The whole thing is like it was made up in a trailer park.”

          My new favorite description of the Bible! I’m stealing it.

        • Lbj

          Your confusing this with atheism. Atheism must have been made up in a trailer park. That’s why most people don’t take it seriously.

        • Pofarmer

          Read what I wrote. Am I wrong on the theological disputes?

        • Lbj

          You are wrong. Jesus is the same in all the gospels. Different details given in each.

          “Jesus taught and lived in a Jewish contexts while Paul lived in a Gentile context.Paul addressed different issues than Jesus did and approached his ministry differently. In other words, Paul took the message of Christ and contextualized for Gentiles. Same core message, differ styles.”

        • SuperMark

          So jebus unequivocally says that the OT law should remain in place, Paul says the complete opposite and this is somehow the same core message? That’s not contextual that a contradiction.

        • Lbj

          Where does Jesus say all the OT laws should remain in place?

          Paul does not contradict Jesus. Jesus is addressing the Jews in His ministry while Paul is addressing the Gentiles.
          The Gentiles would not have been familiar with the OT laws that were for the Jews and not the Gentiles.

          The first time there is a conflict with the Jewish laws (circumcision) is in Acts 15. The issue was: should the Gentiles be circumcised to be Christian. The council decided that they did not.

        • wtfwjtd

          (sigh) Here it is (again, for about the fifth time) : Jesus:

          “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.18″For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.19″Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.…”

        • CodyGirl824

          … what does it mean “until all is accomplished.”? Jesus also says in Matthew 22 that the greatest commandment is love. What do you say to that?

        • wtfwjtd

          “until all is all is accomplished” is after “heaven and earth pass away”, Jesus says. Which will be long after we’re dead.
          Actually, the greatest commandment is “Love your God.” People have been known to do all sorts of things in pursuit of this dictate from on high.

        • Lbj

          Jesus came to fulfill the Law.What did He mean when He said He came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets?

        • wtfwjtd

          Whatever it is “to fulfill”, it is specifically not “to abolish”. This means the Law and the Prophets remain firmly in place.

        • Lbj

          Specifically Jesus came to fulfill all the Law and what was written about Him in the Prophets. He lived out perfectly what Israel failed to do.

          Jesus also changed the food laws. “..because it does not go into his heart, but into his stomach, and is eliminated?” (Thus He declared all foods clean.)”

          Here we have an example of Jesus having authority to change the Law of God.

        • wtfwjtd

          Oh? And what was Israel supposed to do?

        • Lbj

          What do you mean?

        • wtfwjtd

          You claim that: “He lived out perfectly what Israel failed to do.”
          I’m asking you to clarify your statement.

        • Lbj

          Jesus kept the Law of God perfectly while Israel failed to do so. The OT clearly shows this.

        • wtfwjtd

          So Jesus fulfilled the Law by keeping it. OK, I’ll buy that. And, good for him, I say. Thanks for clarifying.

        • SuperMark

          it’s always the same argument, that’s what jebus said but that’s not what he meant. again, i at least would expect a perfect deity to give us a clear message.

        • MNb

          Prediction: god gave us a perfectly clear message, but we imperfect humans understood him wrongly.

        • SuperMark

          MNb appears to be clairvoyant, under Justace’s logic that must mean he is a deity. It’s a miracle!

        • Greg G.

          That dodge always make me wonder why they think an omnipotent being couldn’t anticipate the misunderstandings and correct them beforehand.

        • Lbj

          He did. The problem is not with God giving a clear message but your ability to understand it. Some refuse to understand willfully. I suspect you are in that camp.

        • SuperMark

          yeah and there’s no way that god can understand humans well enough to make sure misunderstandings don’t happen.

          yes god fulfilled the law therefor the law is no longer valid, but only the parts that you don’t like. makes perfect sense.

          and i do understand it all just fine, i don’t willfully misunderstand i willfully reject it.

        • Lbj

          God became a man so He understands humanity very well.

          The moral Law is still valid. Breaking the 10 commandments is a sin.

          On what basis do you reject the message?

        • SuperMark

          I could write a book on my problems with christianity and religion in general.

          The only problem that really matters to me is the hell doctrine, this is not an emotional problem so don’t come back at me about how people only reject jebus on emotional grounds like Ray Comfort. A perfect god wouldn’t send people to hell it’s that simple. Monotheism is completely illogical at it’s core, how can one being simultaneously damn and save us at the same time.

          Other issues:

          What kind of sick fuck demands human and animal sacrifice. What is god’s fascination with blood? sounds like ancient tribal BS to me.

          God answers prayer, total BS? Why is answered prayer completely indistinguishable with chance?

          God has emotions? WTF so does god have a brain with serotonin and norepinephrine? Why would god have any jealousy about anything? it doesn’t make any fucking sense.

          The bible comes from god? why so many inconsistencies and why is there no morality in the bible ahead of its time? “All men are created equal” is a more moral statement than anything in the OT&NT. what if that was one of the 10 commandments? we probably wouldn’t be discussing slavery if that was the case

          i could go on but it’s sunday and i have shows to watch.

        • Lbj

          I don’t like hell either but I don’t reject it because I don’t like it. Truth doesn’t work that way.

          The animal sacrifices in the OT are meant to be understood in a metaphorical way the way God dealt with the sins of men. It was meant to be a graphic illustration of the consequences of sin. In other words, animals were killed in the place of men. This was also meant to show that the wages of sin is death. The real death for sin would come when Christ came into the world who died as a substitute for sin for those who believe in Him.

          What do you do now with your guilt? How do you deal with your own sin and wrong doing?

          God does answer prayer, especially those according to His will. Millions will attest to this, This cannot be refuted.

          The way to know if “answered prayer completely indistinguishable with chance” is to continue to ask and pray. One prayer answered may look like a coincidence but prayers that are answered 5-6 times is beyond coincidence. Keep a log and record them. I would think that if you prayed consistently for a couple of months and recorded them I think you might conclude their is more than coincidence going on. BTW- don’t expect stupid requests to be answered like wanting a million dollars so you can spend it on your pleasures.

          Of course this whole thing won’t work if you truly do not believe in God. The you might as well cast your fate to the wind.

          God is the ultimate source of the Scriptures. It was men who were guided by he Spirit to write it. The apparent
          inconsistencies is due in large part people not taking the various contexts into consideration or expecting it to be written like a modern book. Also in regards to the gospels people think that there are inconsistencies because they don’t mention all the details at once. For example, was there one or 2 angels at the tomb?

          Jesus’s teachings are certainly ahead of His time. His view of woman is one such example. Loving your enemies and do good to those that mistreat you is another.

          Slavery was not God’s intention since the beginning but He worked through it to accomplish His will and purpose. Slavery is not the only thing that is wrong in the world.

          What do you mean “how can one being simultaneously damn and save us at the same time”?

        • SuperMark

          Like i said i don’t reject hell because i don’t like it i reject hell because it doesn’t fit with your version of god. you tell me god is perfect so i say a perfect god wouldn’t torture people.

          as for god becoming a man, i’m not impressed. just because it knows what it feels like to have a body doesn’t mean he knows what it’s like to be a human. jebus never knew doubt, jebus never knew what it was like to wonder if you were going to make it through the next day, jebus never understood the fear of death (dying maybe but not death).

          as for all of your other points i’ve heard them all i was in christian schools for 15 years and they are all weak and lacking.

          if god can damn us to hell he can save us without preconditions.

        • Pofarmer

          You are assuming modern theology to Ancient rituals. Sacrifices were often seen as a “payment” to god for services rendered. Two doves to the high priest upon the birth of a child, for instance. Ancient people didn’t look at the deaths of animals, or people for that matter, like we do. Your beliefs are a hodgepodge of apologetic nonsense.

        • wtfwjtd

          Pofarmer, you may have replied to the wrong thread.

        • Pofarmer

          You are correc. My disqus foo is weak tonight.

        • Greg G.

          You are looking at it through your theological lens at theologically translated verses. Other translations suggest that the scripture stands as long as heaven and earth exist.

        • Lbj

          Jesus did say “”Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.” Matthew 24:35

        • Greg G.

          But John 20 tells us that the vast majority of Jesus’ words did pass away. Maybe John thought the rest wasn’t worth the parchment it would have been written on. If the line about salt losing its flavor was deemed worth the ink, there probably wasn’t anything else worth writing.

        • Lbj

          John 21:25 does not say His words would pass away but that there were other things Jesus did that were not recorded.
          One of the reasons that not all that Jesus did was recorded was because of space limitations of the scrolls.

        • wtfwjtd

          “Space limitations of the scrolls?” You’ve got to be fucking kidding me. Ha ha, look, the message from the great god of the universe is limited to a few lines of parchment because he ran out of space in the scrolls! Sorry folks, that’s the best our limited little god can do!

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          So you’re agreeing with Greg? Or are you saying that the author of John was just a poor editor and lots of great stuff wound up on the cutting room floor while salt that loses its savor got put in?

          Dang! Ah, well–I guess we’ll never know of all that great stuff. C’est la vie.

        • Lbj

          Like I said, the gospels are not exhaustive accounts of Christ. No book could be. And yes the scrolls they wrote on had limited space. Also, these gospels were copied and passed on to other churches. Having a gospel that was 50 scrolls long so as to get everything down would be to cumbersome. The main goal was to get the essentials down and not every detail.

          I wish there was more but here wasn’t.

        • Greg G.

          If space was so precious, why include the bit about salt losing its flavor? That is not something the smartest man who ever lived would have said.

          Can we assume everything he said that was not recorded was dumber than that?

          If the words were not recorded, what were they? We can’t possibly know, therefore the words have passed away.

        • Lbj

          I can see you don’t have a good grasp and understanding of the what Jesus taught. The mere fact that statement is remember after 2000 years shows how powerful it is.

          We today don’t know what else Jesus said but there were probably some in the early church that did.

        • Greg G.

          What exactly did the early church know about what Jesus taught are you referring to? It’s the words that did pass away.

          Words that have been forgotten have passed away. This is not that hard.

        • Nemo

          Here we have an example of Jesus’s fanclub saying he can change the unchanging rules. The Old Testament divides the laws of Yahweh into exactly one category: laws of Yahweh. The whole idea of some laws being temporary (such as the actual Ten Commandments) was an interpretation that one sect of Jews following a particularly charismatic leader superimposed onto their holy texts in order to attract a wider audience.
          Imagine the year is 2 BC. I find out my neighbor worships Zeus, and so I slowly torture him to death while chanting “Blood for Yahweh, skulls for His throne!”. Is this an objectively good, moral, always moral act, or not? If you decline to answer this, you yourself reject the notion of unchanging morals.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Then the council’s vote was just one opinion. Read James and Jude. They were Ebionite and said that you had to be a Jew first.

          Looks like there’s a bit of squabbling in the family.

        • Lbj

          Since Christianity is a historical belief system and is a complex system there will be differences. This is where atheists have the advantage. Its so simple that there is nothing to squabble over.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          “A historical belief system”? Don’t you mean, “the one and only true spiritual belief, guided by a loving and omniscient Creator”?

          Squabbling means that it’s manmade. Stuff made by and guided by a perfect being doesn’t have squabbling.

        • Lbj

          Not sure how it follows that there would be no squabbling since the Scriptures have as its source a perfect Being. The problem is not with God, but with men.

        • wtfwjtd

          So, didn’t God create men?

        • Lbj

          God created man.

        • wtfwjtd

          He didn’t seem to do a very good job, did he?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          So omniscient God is unable to guide the Scriptures to be unambiguous? I gave him more credit than that.

        • Lbj

          There is plenty in Scripture that is unambiguous.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Could be. Obviously, that’s not the part that I’m talking about.

          “My God is so fabulous that he guided the creation of a book that is only somewhat ambiguous.” I bet you feel proud.

        • Lbj

          What specifically is ambiguous? I agree there are some things that are but I don’t draw the conclusion that God is unable to guide people to draw inferences from it that will help their lives.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Does the Bible look like it was guided by an omniscient and omnipotent Creator of the universe? Tens of thousands of denominations have sprung out of it, and more are now extinct. Is this what you’d expect from a god who wanted to get a clear and unambiguous message out to his cherished people?

        • MNb

          Ambiguity means imperfection means your god fails to be perfect.

        • MNb

          Bingo! One internet point for MNb for writing

          “Prediction: god gave us a perfectly clear message, but we imperfect humans understood him wrongly.”

        • MNb

          “Where does Jesus say all the OT laws should remain in place?”
          Matth. 5:17-19, from the part all christians drool about: the Sermon on the Mountain.

        • Pofarmer

          There is adoptionist theology in mark, there is the theologg of logos in John. All four of the canonical gospels have theologically different views.

        • Lbj

          In a sense this is true. It took 4 gospels to tell us what God is like.

        • Greg G.

          But one of them says they didn’t tell everything.

        • Lbj

          True. “24 This is the disciple who is testifying to these things and wrote these things, and we know that his testimony is true.

          25 And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they *were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself *would not contain the books that *would be written.” John 20

        • Greg G.

          Shouldn’t there be more gospels canonized then? The reason there are only four is that the early church fathers said there should be four gospels because there are four winds. That’s is a terrible argument for limiting it to four considering what John 20:25 says.

        • Lbj

          The reason that there are 4 canonized gospels in the NT is because what the church of the 4th determined would be based on the evidence that the 4 were written by either an apostle or one associated with one. Other tests were also used. Out of all the various “gospels” written over the centuries only these 4 have apostolic support. None of the others do even if they are named after an apostle such as the gospel of Peter.

        • Greg G.

          Why not three? Why include John? In John 3, why does Jesus speak Greek to a Pharisee? We know this because Nicodemus misunderstood the “born again/born from above” pun. That confusion is only possible in Greek. Was this story supposed to be humorous to the Greek readers or was Jesus deliberately using confusing language.

          Oh, and there goes John 3:16 with it.

        • wtfwjtd

          We have no idea who wrote any of the gospels. Why single these out as special?

        • Lbj

          Jesus was preaching and teaching to the Jews while Paul to the Gentiles. Same message, different contexts.

        • SuperMark

          so jebus was just too busy to give his message to all the tribes in the region? Why didn’t jebus foretell the coming of the man who would complete his teachings if he wasn’t going to do it himself???

        • Lbj

          Are you talking about the 2nd coming?

        • SuperMark

          No i’m talking about Paul, will you admit that if Paul had not come along and the NT was only the gospels the christian doctrine would be very different.

        • Lbj

          Jesus Himself said that He had many more things to say to them at the night of the Lord’s supper. (John 16:12) This would include things He would teach them after His resurrection and the letters they would write later.

          Paul was personally appointed by Christ to be an apostle. The other apostles recognized this.

          Jesus taught and lived in a Jewish contexts while Paul lived in a Gentile context.Paul addressed different issues than Jesus did and approached his ministry differently. In other words, Paul took the message of Christ and contextualized for Gentiles. Same core message, differ styles.

        • 90Lew90

          Ah you’re back. Cody vanished when I started pushing the question. Do you reckon Martin Luther was a proper Christian?

          “There you are, like butter in sunshine.”

          From Concerning Rebaptism, pg. 252 of Luther’s Works, Vol. 40

        • Lbj

          Yes. Luther was a great Christian.
          BTW- What would be a proper atheist?

        • Lbj

          here is what He said–” For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.”

        • SuperMark

          so has heaven and earth passed away then?

        • Greg G.

          There are many theological translations of the verse. Other translations end with “till that all may come to pass” so it is just repeating the meaning of “until heaven and earth pass away” for emphasis. It means “until the end of the earth”.

        • Ron

          Well, there’s certainly no scriptural basis upon which to formulate a moral argument against slavery or the Holocaust, because the Bible—which Christians appeal to as their sole source of moral authority—records God commanding both genocide and slavery.

        • Lbj

          Sure there is. The holocaust is against the commandment not to murder. Slavery is dealt with in a number of places such as in Exodus 21.

          The atheist on the other hand cannot by any atheistic principles say that slavery is wrong.

        • 90Lew90

          But Luther called for the annihilation of the Jews. How come he gets to be a Christian and Hitler doesn’t?

        • Lbj

          Do you know if Luther changed his mind about the Jews after he said this? Did Luther kill one Jew?

          Hitler showed by his actions he was not a Christian.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Did Hitler kill one Jew?

          What if the antisemitism of Luther so polluted Protestant thought that Luther is indirectly responsible for the deaths of the Jews in the Holocaust as well as those in the many pogroms before. Maybe Luther is the real bad guy here.

        • Lbj

          Hitler killed millions. We both agree this guy was evil.

          Hitler did not take all of Luther’s writings etc into consideration but used one small part in which in part to justify his evil.

          Would it be right if someone later took something out of your blog writings and used them to justify killing Christians? Of course not. You would never support such a thing and would be appalled. Right?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Hitler killed millions himself? That’s news to me. If Hitler is guilty of anything, his crimes are indirect. Same as with Luther–how many killed after being inspired by his writings like Hitler was?

          Show me that there’s something inflammatory in my blog analogous to Luther’s On the Jews and their Lies and I’ll see your point. Until then, you have no point.

        • Lbj

          Hitler approved the killings. He would have been found guilty in a court of law as many as his henchmen were.

          Something does not have to be inflammatory to be abused. Someone could take your writings to mean you don’t like Christians and think by its ok to kill em. If the Bible can be abused then so can your blog.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          And was Luther’s On the Jews and their Lies inflammatory? Much more so than my blog, I’m betting.

          I’m simply asking you to embrace the fact that Luther, the founder of Protestantism, was antisemitic.

        • Lbj

          Never read it. Let’s assume Luther’s “On the Jews and their Lies” was inflammatory. So what? That would not justify anyone to kill Jews or anyone else.

          “Luther was not an anti-Semite in the racist sense. His arguments against Jews were theological, not biological.”
          http://www.ctlibrary.com/ch/1993/issue39/3938.html

          This still would not justify his remarks against the Jews.

          This incident would not overshadow all the good that Luther did. He is no different than anyone else. All of us have said and done things we wish we had not done.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          You and I think that killing people because of some inflammatory pamphlet is wrong. Others might think it’s noble or patriotic. Where’s your objective morality when we need it?

        • Lbj

          We know one place we don’t look for the answer to that question. It is certainly not in atheism.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Duh. “I have no god belief” says nothing about morality.

          Now that we’ve had a good share, maybe you can provide evidence for this objective morality, like I’ve been asking. Or, if you admit that your claims are bigger than you intended, feel free to climb down from them.

        • Lbj

          I already gave you objective evidence for morality such as the 10 commandments. What makes it objective is that it does not come from man but God and God has the power to hold men accountable to it in the judgement.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          You just yanking my chain? No one can be this stupid.

          You don’t get to assume God’s existence at the outset.

        • MNb

          “No one can be this stupid.”
          Fundies can be that bigot. Quite often actually.
          Moreover what Justas says here is basically the same as WLC’s argument from morality, but without the fancy phrasing.

        • MNb

          God is a subject, so saying it comes from god makes it actually subjective. The word objective means that morality is independent from any subject, including your god. That Biblical morality is subjective is proven by the many times your god violates his own morality.

        • Pofarmer

          Not only that, but we only have to look at how morality has advanced. If morality truly were objective, it wouldn’t change, ever, it would just be. But we see all kinds of advances in, and differences in, morality over time and in different places. Objective morality is a huge fail.

        • Greg G.

          If you get your morality from God, you cannot know whether it is objective or good. If you just picked a god, you are stuck with no way to determine actual good from what the god tells you. If you have an understanding of good and bad, you don’t need a god to tell you. If the god puts his needs and desires first on the list, you should question the validity of the god. If you are getting the message from humans who benefit from people believing it came from a god, you’d be foolish to believe it. Read the Leviticus laws about who gets the sacrifices and who they can share it with.

        • Lbj

          No. I did not “just pick a god” to believe in. I have good reasons from multiple sources to believe He exist.

          Again, where does this “understanding of good and bad” come from? If you say from society then we have the problem of different societies have different moralities that they live by. What is wrong in one society may be right in another. Who is to say one is superior to another?

        • Ron

          By what standard do you determine whether God is moral or immoral?

        • Greg G.

          No. I did not “just pick a god” to believe in. I have good reasons from multiple sources to believe He exist.

          But you have only shared bad reasons for believing in God. You do not have good evidence.

          Again, where does this “understanding of good and bad” come from? If you say from society then we have the problem of different societies have different moralities that they live by. What is wrong in one society may be right in another. Who is to say one is superior to another?

          We have pain and pleasure sensations. We associate what causes pain as “bad” and that which brings comfort “good”. We learn empathy. What is good to us is good to others and what is bad to us is bad to others.

          As we grow we learn more complex interactions. We learn what brings long-term well-being and what brings short-term pleasure and realize we must make a choice between the two.

          One culture may think they have a fair system not realizing there is a better system that hasn’t been invented yet or they fail to see the benefit of another culture. It may be a matter of a fair education.

          However, in some cases, there is no ideal solution to conflicts where what is good for one and bad for the other. We can try to do our best. Religious solutions only make things worse. It’s just reality.

        • Greg G.

          You have justified genocide of the Canaanites because of baby killing. Cody justified divine revenge baby killing 80 years after the first baby killing. If killing innocent babies is objectively immoral, why did God do it?

        • Lbj

          I would book, chapter and verse to know what you are talking about.

        • Ron

          “This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt. Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.'” 1 Sam. 15:1-3 NIV

          Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man,but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.” Num. 31:17-18 NIV

          “When the LORD your God hands these nations over to you and you conquer them, you must completely destroy them. Make no treaties with them and show them no mercy.” Deut. 7:2 NLT

          “So we captured all his cities at that time and utterly destroyed the men, women and children of every city. We left no survivor.” Dt 2:34 NASB

          “The Israelites carried off for themselves all the plunder and livestock of these cities, but all the people they put to the sword until they completely destroyed them, not sparing anyone that breathed. As the Lord commanded his servant Moses, so Moses commanded Joshua, and Joshua did it; he left nothing undone of all that the Lord commanded Moses.” Josh. 11:14-15 NIV

        • Lbj

          Ok. So what was Israel to do with potentially thousands of prisoners? There was no such thing as encampments to keep prisoners of war.

        • wtfwjtd

          Ever heard of a concept called “assimilation”? Look it up sometime, you might be surprised what you can learn with a little research. Surely your great god of the universe could come up with something besides commanding murder and atrocities be committed in his name, couldn’t he?

        • Lbj

          That did happen sometimes. The problem with assimilation is that it will influence the rest. Some of these cultures such as the Canaanites were so wicked that they could not be assimilated lest they corrupt Israel.

          Since God is the creator of life and thereby owns it, He can do what He pleases.

        • MNb

          The problem with assimilation is that it will influence the rest. Some of these cultures such as the jewish were so wicked that they could not be assimilated lest they corrupt Nazi-Germany.
          Since Hitler was the Führer of German life and thereby owned it, he could do as he pleased. And so he did.

          This is the very definition of subjective morals. Bigot fundie as you are you are doomed to make the same mistakes over and over again. You once again perfectly have argued that your divine morals are subjective – they depend on the subject called god.
          I bet you don’t have read the Wikipedia article on the Eutyphro dilemma yet. You are stuck in a hole of ignorance and bigotry, a hole you dug yourself.
          Nasty person as I am I like you for it.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          What would God say if he were to read what a sick fuck you’ve made him out to be?

          Squashing a sand castle that you built is one thing. Squashing people because you created them is not analogous. Uh, you do see the difference?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Ooh–I think you’ve got a good one here. Israel has nothing more than an omnipotent god on their side. An omnipotent god who could poof things into and out of existence with magic, turn people into birds, go back in time, and so on.

          Dang–all I can think of are slavery and execution!

        • wtfwjtd

          Now wait just a minute! It sounds like you’re saying that the whole story was just made up by some bronze-age sicko!

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          No, no–an Iron Age sicko. Big difference.

        • wtfwjtd

          Ahhh, yes, of course. My bad.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          What fun! I want to follow that deity.

        • Greg G.

          When Moses was a baby, Pharoah had all the children of the Hebrews killed. One of the plagues involved the Passover where the first-born of the Egyptians were killed by the angel. She argued that the tit-for-tat revenge was just. She wanted someone to explain why it wasn’t just. I pointed out that killing the most innocent bystanders was not just. She kept arguing that until I pointed out that it happened 80 years later and I think she abandoned the argument.

          I believe it was you who defended the OT genocides on the basis that those killed were evil people who sacrificed babies in a thread a few days ago. Disqus is cumbersome to use when there are that many replies.

        • Pofarmer

          Just when I think you can’t get any dumber of amoral, you come out with it’s o.k. to hurl vitriol at a group for theological reasons? You think that actually flies?

        • wtfwjtd

          Because of the “no true Scotsman” fallacy, that’s why. You should have seen that one coming(you probably did).

        • Ron

          You shall not murder whom? The Torah groups these four commandments together as a capital sin:

          “You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”

          While the English text includes periods, the Hebrew text does not. And the English word “neighbor” is derived from the Hebrew word rea which means: friend, intimate, fellow, fellow-citizen, and (in a weaker sense) another person. So it appears these prohibitions apply only to acts committed against fellow citizens.

          Moreover, the god of the Bible frequently instructs his “chosen” people to loot, pillage and annihilate the inhabitants of the lands they’re commanded to invade—a clear demonstration that prohibitions against theft and murder were in-group regulations rather than universal principles.

          And my views on slavery are informed by my compassion and empathy for others. Do you honestly require an outside source to tell you that slavery is wrong? If so, then what does that say about your personal values?

        • MNb

          We have walked that road before, Justas. Have you forgotten? You want to play that little game again? That commandment is not absolute. Your god himself has violated it a couple of times: when he pulled off the Great Flood and when he ordered the Hebrews to kill off the Canaanites. Replace your god by Hitler, the creator by Führer and the Canaanite genocide by the Holocaust and the latter is justified completely with biblical means. Hitler only has to claim that your god ordered him.

          “The atheist on the other hand cannot by any atheistic principles say that slavery is wrong.”
          Never learning from your mistakes, as the good christian you are. I already told you that I need exactly one assumption to say murder is wrong. That same assumption sufficed to say slavery is wrong. You need way more assumptions.

        • Lbj

          The commandment is absolute and it applies to all men. The commandments of God express His nature.

          You are making a category mistake Man cannot take an innocent life but God can because He is the Creator of all things and owns all things. Therefore He is in a different category than man.
          Hitler was a man who broke the Law of God.

          The atheist has no objective moral law to say that murder or slavery is wrong. An assumption is not an objective moral principle that all men are bound to. All you have is opinion.

        • MNb

          “The commandment is absolute and it applies to all men.”
          But not to your god, which means it is not absolute, as the Canaanite genocide (plus a few others) shows.

          “An assumption is not an objective moral principle.”
          Correct. I never claimed that. You just neglect my point: you have to make many more assumptions to condemn murder and slavery than I do. What’s more, your own assumptions lead to the conclusion that your moral law is not objective at all. You only have to claim that god whispered an order in your ear and you are fine with both murder and slavery. End of objectivity.

        • wtfwjtd

          “The atheist has no objective moral law to say that murder or slavery is wrong.”

          Neither does the Christian. So what?

        • Lbj

          Christians certainly do. We can start with the 10 commandments that was given not by man but by God.

        • wtfwjtd

          Show some evidence that these are objective morality, and you might have something. Otherwise, it’s just another of your fanciful claims.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Nor can chemistry. Atheism and chemistry don’t deal with morality. Clueless much?

        • Lbj

          Good insight. So you must steal another belief systems morality to have some kind morality. What’s with that?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          That’s what I said! Chemistry has no grounding for morality, so therefore it’s wrong.

          I put that on my Chemistry final. Unfortunately, my teacher didn’t buy it. (Must’ve been an atheist.)

        • MNb

          Writes someone who over and over again shows lack of empathy for victims, whose understanding of her god includes preferring cruelty (under the disguise of justice) above happiness and whose understanding of her god implies rejecting science when it suits her.

  • purr

    I can’t believe that the Christians here have spent the last few days defending genocide and slavery.

    Unfucking believeable.

    • Jeff

      You must not know many born-againers. Sadly, I live in a part of the country where they’re all over the place, and believe me, their love of slavery and genocide doesn’t surprise me one bit.

      • wtfwjtd

        Yep, as long as they can say “goddunit” it’s A-OK with them, because, they say, since their god created man, then man is god’s plaything, to abuse and/or destroy as their god wishes. And BTW, it’s this great god who is the source of all our morality.
        And they wonder why spewing this nonsense meets resistance outside their little bubble. Sheesh.

        • Lbj

          Let’s take the atheist view on man. An accident of nature with no purpose. A meat machine that eats, sleeps, procreates and dies.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Let’s see … reality or the happy delusion. Reality or the happy delusion–which one should I pick … ?

        • Pofarmer

          Too many pick happy delusion. But, then again, it’s not really a happy delusion, is it? Is something that leads you to question science happy? Is something that leads you to fundamentally missunderstand what humans are and what makes us, happy? Is something thay makes us think of our life here, on this planet, among our fellow humans, a “walking shadow” happy? So, it’s not a happy delusion at all, but an immenintly ignorant and destructive one.

        • primenumbers

          Sad Christians at funerals would imply the delusion is more of a game that doesn’t actually work to protect the believer from the implications of reality.

        • Lbj

          Not really. I can be sad but that does not mean we are without hope.
          When the atheist is sad at a funeral he is sad without hope because he believes he will never see that person again.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          How could you possibly be sad at a funeral? That person is in a way better place than sucky earth. You should be celebrating their death.

          But wait a minute … could it be that you don’t really drink the Kool-Aid on this one? Is there some doubt? That you’re sad suggests that you’re not really on board with the Christian afterlife message.

        • Lbj

          So what do you do when a loved one dies? Click your heels in the air now that they no longer have to suffer and no longer exist? I suppose you feel great knowing you won’t see them again.

        • Pofarmer

          Honestly? When my 98 year old Grandma died I think I was the only one who was happy. She had been bedridden, nearly blind, and demented for 6-8 months. It was clearly time for her to go. She was a good Christian woman, but she constantly repeated how afraid she was to die. Although, I’m not really sure it was fear, as much as it was a desire to hold onto all her Grandkids and Great Grandkids and all the kids she had babysat over the years. That was my first funeral as an atheist, and I must say it was a little surreal.

        • primenumbers

          Hope. I can hope that tomorrow when I wake up I’ll be like Superman and can fly through the air and travel to other planets or through time. But it’s a pointless hope because we have no good reason to believe that such a hope is actually going to happen.

          “When the atheist is sad at a funeral he is sad without hope because he believes he will never see that person again.” – yes, they’re sad and with good reason, but it’s an honest sadness. It doesn’t indicate they’re acting at odds with how they believe.

        • Lbj

          There are very good reasons to believe we survive death.

        • 90Lew90

          Like what?

        • Lbj

          Near death experience and the resurrection of Christ.

        • 90Lew90

          Near-death-like (going on reports) and out-of-body experiences can be induced in the lab. There is no evidence for the resurrection of anybody. I don’t know what’s so difficult about those things for you to grasp, other than obstinate obtuseness and an infantile mind.

        • Pofarmer

          Near death experiences seem to mainly be evidence that people have near death experiences in a fairly consistent way when, well, near death. As 90 Lew 90 said, we can now recreate them in the lab. There is no good reason to believe in the resurrection of Jesus, at all. Yeah, yeah, I know. But, you have no first hand story, not Dr’s certificate certifying death, then life. And even if you did, it wouldn’t particularly be proof of anything. Mainly because a) there is no evidence, whatsoever, even a little bit, at all, of certain people being the offspring of divine beings, and there is no evidence, at all, whatsoever, by what method anyone could resuscitate after being clinically dead for 2 or more days. It didn’t happen, it was just another ancient fable, myth, tale, whatever you want to call it. This is the 21st century, get a clue.

        • wtfwjtd

          Even if NDE’s were some kind of “afterlife” evidence, and even if we could demonstrate positively that the bible resurrection story happened as told, there is still not a shred of evidence to support Christianity’s central claim–that belief in Jesus grants us entrance into some kind of afterlife paradise. At the end of the day, all those claims are still rubbish, with no evidence whatsoever to support them.

        • Lbj

          How could there be evidence if it’s still in the future?

        • wtfwjtd

          You’re the one making the bold and remarkable claim of an afterlife, you need to show me the evidence that convinced you. All the evidence I have ever seen indicates the opposite–death is final and end of our existence.

        • Jay

          First is what Christ taught about it and His resurrection. Next would NDE’s. Also, the desire for immortality. Its not an unreasonable. I’m not the only one who thinks like this. There are millions.

        • wtfwjtd

          I was asking for evidence, not wishful thinking. NDE’s are easily duplicated in a lab; the resurrection of Jesus story is as credible as all the other resurrection stories of antiquity–that is to say, they also didn’t happen; and no matter what my desires are, reality is still…reality. Just because millions or billions believe the “earth is flat” don’t make it so.

        • Lbj

          There is evidence for NDE’s and the resurrection.
          In regards to NDE’s there are a lot of credible stories that confirm some kind of immaterial existence without a physical body.
          For example: A woman “dies” on the 2nd floor of the hospital. When she comes to, she describes everything that the doctors in her room were saying and doing while unconscious. She also mentions on the roof of the hospital a red shoe. Both checked out.

          A 5 year old dies. His parents go home 5 miles away. The kid comes back to life again and is able to describe in detail what was going on back at his parents house.

          It is not true there are other credible resurrection stories as the gospel accounts. The eyewitness accounts for the resurrection have never been refuted for the past 2000 years by any counter evidence to it.

        • Pofarmer

          You don’t have eyewitness accounts to the ressurection. We’ve been over this, and you continually repeat the same nonsense claims.

        • Lbj

          We have been over this but you are not getting it. Here is the evidence from I Corinthians 15:

          “3 For I delivered to you [b]as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; 7 then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; 8 and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also.”

          For an eyewitness account it doesn’t get an stronger than this. If this was presented in a court of law it would be irrefutable.

        • 90Lew90

          You’re a troll. Go away. If this was my blog, your days would be numbered. You’ve derailed umpteen threads now with nothing but utter drivel. You have the debating skill of a fruit fly. You should be kicked.

        • Greg G.

          First, Paul says in Galatians 1:12 that he did not get that from human sources. You cannot say that it is an eye-witness account. “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures” means “But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed” according to Isaiah 53:5. “And that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” means that “They made his grave with the wicked and his tomb with the rich” in Isaiah 53:9 and “After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him” according to Hosea 6:2. The “received” means he read it in the scriptures.

          Paul uses the Greek word “optanomai” for the “appeared to” for each person including his own. Jesus appeard to him in the scriptures and he thinks that’s where Cephas, the twelve, the 500, James, and the other apostles so Jesus, too. None of them had an eye-witness account.

          Even if your version was true, it would be hearsay evidence unless you could put them all on the stand.

        • Lbj

          If I Corinthians 15 is hearsay evidence then all of ancient history is also. Scholars take this account as very strong eyewitness account for the resurrection. What Paul is recounting who some of these eyewitnesses were. Remember: Paul himself saw the risen Lord Himself on the Damascus road. We know Peter and the apostles also saw Him more than once and on multiple occasions.

        • wtfwjtd

          Paul saw Jesus as a vision and he says all those other dudes saw him in the same way. So your courtroom analogy just got blown to bits (again).

        • Greg G.

          Read 1 Corinthians 15:12-19. That line of arguing for a resurrection doesn’t sound like they had witnessed a risen Jesus. Verse 12 says they preach that Jesus was raised but he doesn’t claim anyone said they were eye-witnesses. The rest of the passage is about what it would be like if Paul was wrong. If he had seen a risen Jesus or the others had, he wouldn’t have to argue this way.

          In verse 20 to verse 34, Paul quotes from or makes allusion to Genesis 2:17, Genesis 3:6, Genesis 3:19, Isaiah 53:11-12, Isaiah 25:8, Psalm 8:6, 2 Maccabees 12:43-45, Isaiah 22:13, Psalm 4:4, and the Greek poet Menander instead of relying on those in the verses above. If he had eye-witness testimony, he wouldn’t need to quote ancient scripture to make the point.

          Compare the Acts accounts with the way Paul describes it. Compare the Acts accounts with each other. They contradict each other and embellish Paul. Acts 26:14 has Jesus quoting Dionysus! The Acts accounts are fiction.

        • MNb

          “Scholars take this account as very strong eyewitness account for the resurrection.”
          Apologists do. Scholars don’t. That’s because unlike you scholars have a sound methodology.

        • Lbj

          What scholars? Sound historical methodology points to this as being a record of those who saw the risen Christ.

        • MNb

          Those who have studied history of Antiquity at a University.

          “Sound historical methodology points to this as being a record of those who saw the risen Christ.”
          The only reason you call this sound is because it delivers the conclusion you desire at beforehand. In fact you don’t have any idea what sound historical methodology consists of. You don’t understand what Testis Unus Testis Nullus means for instance.

        • Lbj

          Testis Unus Testis Nullus means “”One witness is (as good as) no witness”. In other words if only one person has seen something or has observed an effect and it can’t be repeated, it doesn’t necessarily mean much.”

          This doesn’t apply to the resurrection since there is more than one witness.

        • MNb

          Thanks for confirming that you don’t know what TUTN means. We have one witness that there are 500 witnesses. That witness, Paulus, admits he got his info from the apostles, who obviously also knew the authors of the Gospels, even if indirectly. So the NT counts as one ie no witness for the Resurrection.
          That’s how the scientific method works.
          But we already have known since long that you reject it when the results don’t suit you. See also your cliche about “indifferent natural forces never can bring up something as complicated as a cell”. Your existential fear justifies everything, no matter how nonsensical, no matter how contradictory, no matter how invalid.
          I only point out why the vast majority of scholars rejects your position and says that historical research can’t prove or disprove the Resurrection. It’s a matter of faith and nothing more.
          You’re just to dishonest – in the first place to yourself – to admit it.

        • Pofarmer

          Even if we were to take your passage at face value, Paul is not giving eyewitness testimony of an event, he is relaying what was told to him or what he has learned from others. Also, the text is widely known to be tampered with. The 500 is almost certainly a later interpolation, since it appears nowhere else in the Gospels. Paul also never mentions “the twelve” anywhere else. If you have actually read Paul, the passage was probably. “3 For I delivered to you [b]as of first importance what I also received,
          that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that
          He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the
          Scriptures, 5 and that He appeared to Cephas, then to James, then to all the apostles; 8 and last of all, as to
          one untimely born, He appeared to me also.” Why is this important? Because now it is consistent with everything else that Paul wrote, which is that you have 3 main dudes, including him, pushing a rising messiah religion in and around Jerusalem.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Irrefutable? You’ve got a bunch of ancient words on paper, and you’re going to pass them off as evidence?

          Try it and tell us how it goes.

        • Lbj

          That is how history is done. Most of what we know about ancient history is by documents. Sometimes that is all the evidence we have and many times from only one source that is written many years later.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Does this work for any document? Words on paper = history?

          How about the Iliad? That’s words on paper.

        • Lbj

          Right. Its mostly all about documentations written on scrolls etc.
          The words on the scroll is not the history itself but a human account in words.

        • Pofarmer

          That is nothing like an eyewitness account.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Both [stories] checked out.

          And would you abandon your Christian faith if either of these stories were shown to have a plausible natural explanation? If not, then it’s a tangent. We have no need to refute it if it is irrelevant to the conversation.

          Next!

        • Lbj

          If a natural explanation could explain all the facts related to the resurrection then I would have to conclude it probably not a miracle. The problem is that all the natural explanations that have been offered over the centuries have failed.

        • Ron

          Maria’s shoe

          – the story was told by the attending nurse several years after it supposedly occurred

          – the patient was never formally identified or interviewed

          – it was later demonstrated that the shoe would have been visible to anyone standing at ground level and also from most points within the hospital room, including the patient’s bed.

          The Skeptical Inquirer
          Vol. 20, No. 4, July/August 1996

          “Maria’s Near-Death Experience: Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop”

          records.viu.ca/www/ipp/pdf/NDE.pdf

          Hayden Ebbern, Sean Mulligan, and Barry L. Beyerstein

          Simon Fraser University

        • Pofarmer

          Aw hell, what a killjoy. Are you saying that Justas is spreading Christian urban legends!? I’m shocked, shocked I tell you.

        • Lbj

          Not sure about that. However, there are literally hundreds more that cannot be explained away.

          Did you find any thing on the 5 year old?

        • Pofarmer

          They can all be explained away in nearly the same way. I didn’t bother looking because I know beforehand it’s bollox. Every story that has been thoroughly examined has failed

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Nice detective work. Since evidence doesn’t ground Justas’s position, I wonder why he bothers to give it. And whichever ones skeptics explain away, he’ll pull out more from his bottomless carpet bag of weak evidence.

        • 90Lew90

          We have no reason to take for granted anything Jesus is supposed to have said. Indeed we would be wise not to take anything he is supposed to have said for granted, given that it is a matter of such dispute. Out-of-body experiences and near-death experiences have been monitored in the lab and the areas of the brain responsible for them isolated. They can be induced by stimulating those parts of the brain with small electrical currents. That millions of people think alike counts for nought. What you are talking about is faith: belief without evidence. Nothing more.

        • Pofarmer

          Christ also taught that demons make you ill. Give me a fucking break. The desire for immortality is not unreasonable, the thought that we might receive it, is. Millions and billions of people believe all kinds of goofy things. There have even been whole books written about it.

        • Lbj

          How do you know that demons don’t exist? There are cases today of it still happening.

          The thought we might receive immortality is not unreasonable either. Jesus certainly promised it and He was the most truthful human being to have ever lived.

        • 90Lew90

          Oh fuck off.

        • Pofarmer

          Yeah, the dude who said he would be returning while his apostles were still alive, that dude. How could anyone not believe that?

        • wtfwjtd

          And he also told his disciples that they could drive out demons, handle snakes, and drink poison and not be hurt at all. I wonder if Justas here has enough faith to take a swig of Drain-O for Jesus?

        • Pofarmer

          We could hope.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          You think you deserve immortality? Isn’t that a bit arrogant?

        • 90Lew90

          You’re impossible. A couple of posts ago you said: “There are very good reasons to believe we survive death.” The you offered a couple of bullshit “reasons”. And now we can’t know? Having your cake and eating it? As well as being so obtuse and stupid in your arguing that it’s actually insulting.

        • Jay

          Can’t know what?

        • 90Lew90

          Read the exchange.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          So then you don’t have evidence of the afterlife. OK, got it.

        • primenumbers

          If there was sure and certain knowledge of life after death, there’d be no sadness. That is why you say Christians have hope. They hope, but they don’t know. You don’t know hence you have hope. There are only good reasons to think that death is final.

        • Lbj

          What would count as “sure and certain knowledge” for life after death?

        • primenumbers

          That’s what you should be telling me because you’re the one who says we have “very good reasons to believe we survive death”

        • Lbj

          Yes. The reasons I gave are very good.

        • primenumbers

          What reasons?

        • 90Lew90

          If it weren’t for sheer numbers we’d be seeking to treat people with your affliction. If your daft set of beliefs had no detriment on anyone but you (and they obviously do), then I wouldn’t give a shit. Knock yourself out. What bothers me deeply is that your stupid beliefs, held en masse, and propagated by very powerful, insidious organisations, have a detrimental effect on us all. I can’t put up with that and I don’t see why right-thinking people should.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          “And Justas saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.”

        • Lbj

          If you pick the atheist view you might as well get drunk since it doesn’t matter what you do. It will help you forget that life is meaningless.

        • Pofarmer

          Maybe your life is meaningless, mine is not, so fuck you. If the most meaning you can find is groveling at the feet of an imaginary God, then have at it. Your life is wasted.

        • wtfwjtd

          …so, we are finally at the heart of the matter, what really motivates Justas and/or Jenna here; simply fear of facing reality. I guess they think that if they keep saying what they’re saying long enough and loud enough, it will make their version of reality …a reality, evidence or no.

        • Lbj

          Don’t shoot the messenger. What I told Bob was the implications of atheism.

        • MNb

          What you told Bob was the non-sequiturs that you think are implications of atheism.

        • primenumbers

          You got that the wrong way around. Reality implies atheism.

        • Lbj

          How so? How could the mindless forces of nature alone account for a world like this? How could it account for your brain???

        • Tom

          How do you not know this? It’s common knowledge, and out there for anyone to see. Seek and ye shall find. Google, dude. Google. If you want to have a discussion, research your facts. Know your enemy. When you argue from ignorance, you lose.

        • Lbj

          What are you talking about?

        • SuperMark

          Perhaps you should study logic, it seems to escape you. Start with Bob’s next post…

        • Lbj

          How have I been illogical? Give me some examples so I know exactly where I have erred.

        • 90Lew90

          They’ve been given to you all along. Why do you think you’re exasperating everyone here? Do you think people lose their temper because they’re just nasty, amoral atheists? Ya fucking blockhead. Tell you what, and this is my view at its harshest: given the vanishingly small — the infinitesimally small — chance that has seen you not only be born but grow into adulthood, you don’t deserve it. You’re a waste of a life. That’s how much contempt I have for you. And you have the sheer gall to think you’re the one occupying the moral high ground! You’re despicable! Not even funny. Utterly pathetic, wilfully stupid, proud of it, pathetically afraid of ghosts, and you fucking hate people! Without whom you couldn’t live! You’re lower than a snake’s fucking balls! I mean… Jesus Christ man. You’re ludicrous. Sometimes to my shame I find myself wishing there was a hell for you people to go to. You’re fucked in the head.

        • Lbj

          Why are you so angry about this? I have demonstrated clearly the implications of atheism on the meaning of life. Other atheists such as Dawkins and Ayn Rand concur with the view. Even if I am pathetic that does not change what the implications of atheism are. Deal with the arguments because its a waste of time to attack me personally.

        • 90Lew90

          There’s nothing left *but* to attack you personally because you’re just plainly trolling. You’ve “demonstrated” fuck all but that you’re impenetrably stupid. You’re like some recording on a loop. Debates/arguments progress to ends, then people move on. You come back repeatedly, no matter what the topic is, and parrot the same utter garbage every single time. You’re actually beneath contempt. I have a hard time actually believing that YOU really think the way you say you do. I end up wondering this every time I come across a Christian of your stripes and the only reason I don’t doubt that your brand of Christianity is tantamount to mental illness is that I’ve been encountering you online for a few years now and you’re all the fucking same.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I’ve heard that either positive and negative feedback feed trolls. The answer is to ignore them. Justas is determined not to learn and continue making a fool of himself.

        • MNb

          He’s angry because he aspires a higher level than you’re capable of. I’m having fun with you because I recognize that you won’t raise above your poor level anytime soon and like to expose your poor leve as often as possible. Fortunately for me you’re very cooperative.

        • Lbj

          I don’t know how much longer you and I will be able to dialogue. I’m waiting for Bob to throw switch and ban me to blog hell. It’s been nice chatting with you in case this is it.

        • purr

          Your panties are wet with anticipation aren’t they?

          Gonna jizz all over the screen if Bob gives you your martyrdom?

          Lol

          Dream on sweetie.

        • primenumbers

          How so? How could a timeless unchanging super-natural perfect being account for a world like this?

        • Lbj

          Easily. Just as car requires an intelligence to create it so to the world given that the world is more complex than a car.

        • primenumbers

          Perfection allows for no desires, and no desire to create. Timelessness and changelessness allow for no thoughts. Natural things are made by natural means. Perfect beings (if they could have a desire to create, which they can’t) would create only perfect things and this universe is far from perfect.

        • Lbj

          Are you saying Perfection is God? Not sure I follow you here.

        • primenumbers

          Are you saying your God is not perfect?

        • Lbj

          No. He is perfect but much more. He is the Creator. God gave Adam a freewill and he used it to bring sin and its destructive consequences into the world.

        • primenumbers

          Perfection denies a will to create. Perfection can (if it had the desire, which it doesn’t) only create perfection.

          The rest is merely a statement of faith on your part and a failed rationalization on the problem of a non-perfect universe.

        • Lbj

          What is the basis for you to say”Perfection denies a will to create.”?

        • primenumbers

          Creation satisfies a need. Perfection allows for no needs.

        • SuperMark

          Shit dude great point, that thought hasn’t even crossed my mind yet thanks for this.

        • Lbj

          I agree. God has no needs. However, that does not mean He cannot create if He desires to and has power to.

        • primenumbers

          But without needs, he can have no desires. That’s the point. A desire is a wish to fulfill a need.

        • Lbj

          God does not have “needs” like we do. It is in His nature to create. That is not a need.

        • primenumbers

          If your nature is to create, then you need to create to act with your nature. If it’s your nature to create, your nature has a desire to create. If you have a desire to create, you have a need.

        • 90Lew90

          Perfection *needs* nothing. Perfection itself is, well, perfect.

        • 90Lew90

          Perfection is an end. You don’t gild a lily, so to speak. Why, if as a being you are perfection itself, would you create something so shoddy? Why, other than out of a need to be worshipped, which would imply that you’re not actually perfect? Or arrogance? Again, not a quality one would expect of perfection itself. Or perhaps sadistic psychopathy? Not exactly perfection…

        • SuperMark

          Why does everyone of your arguments always devolve into this? Life has no meaning without god, how incredibly arrogant. I’m not afraid of death at all, i’m afraid of dying mind you because most of the time it is very painful. I defer to a great mind to make my point:

          “I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.” – Mark Twain

          in my experience the religious seem to be more afraid of death than the nonbelievers. Accepting your fate can be very freeing.

        • Lbj

          i wouldn’t say this my one “devolving” argument. Its an important issue and we all have beliefs about it.

          Its not arrogant to say there is no meaning without God. It follows from the argument of atheism.

          As you get older you may find yourself thinking more about death than when you are younger. Many people do. Time is running out.

          How does believing you will cease to exist, no longer part of this world, no longer knowing love and companionship and all the good things of life as being “very freeing”?

        • SuperMark

          Because every time my friends here put you up against a wall with logic, you always use this as a go to.

          It is incredibly arrogant to say that my life has no meaning because of my beliefs about the unknown. You are also implying that everyone’s life who disagrees with you is pointless. If that’s not arrogance i don’t know what is.

          I’m sure i will be thinking more about death in the future but that doesn’t mean i’m going to seek out fairy tails to make my self feel better.

          Accepting reality is freeing because you don’t have to worry about getting a pitch fork up your ass for all eternity. How do you know you picked the right religion, what if the Muslims got it right? What if you’ve committed the unforgivable sin?

        • Lbj

          Ok. You just assert you have meaning when you present no objective facts to support it.

          Here is what the great Richard Dawkins says about meaning. Its brilliant:
          ““The total amount of suffering per year in the natural world is beyond all decent contemplation. During the minute that it takes me to compose this sentence, thousands of animals are being eaten alive, many others are running for their lives, whimpering with fear, others are slowly being devoured from within by rasping parasites, thousands of all kinds are dying of starvation, thirst, and disease. It must be so. If there ever is a time of plenty, this very fact will automatically lead to an increase in the population until the natural state of starvation and misery is restored. In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.” ― Richard Dawkins, River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life”

          This is what the atheist must accept.

        • wtfwjtd

          And it’s also what you must accept, because you have no credible evidence to the contrary.

        • 90Lew90

          This is what the atheist DOES accept you bedwetting fucking moron. And this doesn’t touch the kind of “meaning” you were talking about which was, if I’m not mistaken, personal meaning in one’s own life.

        • Lbj

          You can kid yourself your life has meaning but its a fantasy. If the “universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.” then there can be no real personal meaning either.

        • Pofarmer

          Why could there be no personal meaning in indifferent universe?

        • wtfwjtd

          So you want to honestly tell us that grovelling before an imaginary being gives your life meaning? Oh, please….

        • Pofarmer

          Even if the being weren’t imaginary, still…………….

        • SuperMark

          you don’t even understand what meaning is. why do i need facts to assert my life has meaning.

        • Lbj

          Then how can we take you seriously without some facts or reasons? I have been challenged to present evidence and reason for my faith and so should the atheist or any other belief system.

        • SuperMark

          not every assertion requires evidence. Me: i like ice cream You:”FUCKING PROVE IT”

          my life has meaning because i say it has meaning. just like, you are an asshole because everyone here says you are an asshole.

          not every word has meaning, even the word meaning is meaningless. you are the only one that can give your life meaning, you have chosen god and religion i have chosen friendship and love. it’s not god it’s you you are the one who chose to be religious.

        • Pofarmer

          Peoples lives have meaning to the other inhabitants of this planet. Do you honestly wish to dispute that?

        • SuperMark

          Thanks Po, to me love and friendship is all that matters in life. Even fleeting interactions with like minded folks here on the blog has meaning to me.

        • Pofarmer

          I’m just tired of these asshats redefining words and putting a qualifier like “objective” in front of it, and thinking they have some kind of clever argument.’

        • Pofarmer

          And?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Where are you going with this? “My Christian worldview is happier”? I disagree, but even if we allowed that, so what?

        • MNb

          Now I’m 50 I actually don’t think more about death – there is little to think about it, is there? – but a lot about how I will spend my remaining years.

        • SuperMark

          Yes! Thank you another point my hero Hitchens brought up in his final book on mortality. If you accept that this is the only life you get then you will live it more fully than if you think everything is going to be better when your dead.

        • 90Lew90

          Arrogant, obtuse, egotistical, narcissistic, ignorant blockhead. These points you raise repeatedly have been addressed repeatedly. You’re a troll. Fuck off.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Its not arrogant to say there is no meaning without God. It follows from the argument of atheism.

          Wrong yet again.

        • Lbj

          How so??? Enlighten me..

        • SuperMark

          please, like you would open your mind to new ideas. you’ve already got it all figured out right. you seem pretty certain about your beliefs, so where is your faith.

          with absolute certainty there is no room for faith and without faith you are not a christian so seems to me like you are a heretic.

        • SuperMark

          funny meme:

        • Lbj

          I do have convictions about my beliefs but i don’t have it all figured out. Not even close.

          Being certain and thinking you are right about something does not mean a person doesn’t have no room for faith. Rather it shows you can have a confident faith. Even when we have confidence in something or someone you still at times must put your and trust in it. Flying in an airplane is like this. Confidence and faith are both applied.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I’ve explained it a half-dozen times, moron. You refuse to be enlightened.

        • Pofarmer

          He’s here to preach, not to learn.

        • purr

          Every now and again we get a whole gaggle of religious fruitbats on the reproductive rights site that I post on.

          They just come to preach and tell us that we are all baby killing sluts who are going to hell.

          I think they all type it one handed too.

          But seriously. These people are narcissists, and they need to feel like glorious, heroic crusaders every now and again.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Well, yeah, but I’m amazed that he doesn’t even want to try. My bad for thinking this guy could carry on a conversation.

        • MNb

          Nice guys like you tend to have too high expectations now and then.

        • Pofarmer

          YEah, he’s shown absolutely zero capacity to entertain any sort of opposing argument. I would suppose he is trying to save us.

        • purr

          I think about death all the time because I have a death fetish.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Justas is operating with a very simple script. “When in doubt, ask a clarifying question” is supposed to help slow down the opponent.

          (After a while, it annoys the opponent.)

        • SuperMark

          I know! how many times can he ask the same people the same question!!! Prime’s point above is honestly blowing my mind i’ve had this thought for a long time but haven’t been able to wrap my mind around it but he hit the nail on the head. the very idea of a perfect creator god doesn’t make any sense! Thanks for doing what you do Bob, your blog has already taught me a lot!

        • Pofarmer

          Or, the world is how it is, and how it’s always been. Give me some evidence of this perfect world.

        • Lbj

          This world is not perfect. I do have evidence that it is broken.

        • Pofarmer

          Sure, it’s not as perfect as it could be, but it’s better than it ever was. Give me some evidence of this perfect pre-fall world. It should be easy, as the fall happened supposedly relatively recently.

        • Lbj

          Before I can do that what would count as evidence in a “pre-fall world”?

        • Pofarmer

          You give me what you’ve got, and we’ll hash it over. Maybe something that would make Neil Degrasse Tyson go “Hmmm, hadn’t thought of that.”.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Adam cursed us all and yet he’s in heaven now, and God doesn’t punish the children for their parents’ mistakes.

          Pretty confusing. I don’t know how you keep all the rationalizations straight.

        • Greg G.

          I still don’t understand how God screwed up so bad with Adam instead of creating Jesus in the first place.

        • Pofarmer

          Sure would have saved a whole lot of war and killing.

        • Lbj

          I don’t know either.

        • Ron

          Christians make the following claims:

          1. God is a perfect being.
          2. God created the universe.
          3. God desires adoration and obedience.

          By definition, the word “perfect” means to be complete, i.e:

          – lacking in no essential detail
          – entirely without flaws, defects, or shortcomings
          – conforming absolutely to the description or definition of an ideal type
          – excellent or complete beyond practical or theoretical improvement.
          – as good as it is possible to be.

          In other words, a perfect being is a self-fulfilled being without needs, wants or desires.

          However, claims two and three contradict claim one. And more importantly, the god of the Bible exhibits fits of rage, anger, hatred, jealousy, vengefulness, grief and remorse—hardly the traits of a perfect and complete being, let alone one that’s also all-knowing.

          To summarize: the Christian conception of God is severely flawed.

        • Jay

          God is complete. He needs nothing. However, that does not mean He cannot create nor desire to do so.
          The fact the the Bible RECORDS emotions of God does not dimish Him in the least. Rather it shows man what God considers important. It is something all men should pay attention to. To ignore this is to put your soul at great peril.

        • 90Lew90

          Need and desire and two very similar things. Perfection itself neither need nor desires. You just refuted yourself.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          The fact that the Bible records the emotions of a “perfect being” suggests that the authors invented him.

        • MNb

          I don’t have a soul, so there is no peril to fear afaIc.

        • Pofarmer

          Actually, the world is not more comples than a car. It runs on relatively simple natural mechanisms. AA

        • Lbj

          You should read up on the complexity of a cell. It is unbelievably complex in its design and complexity. I was reading somewhere that there are over 150 characteristics that all must work in harmony to make our world possible. If any one of them were different by a small percentage we would not be here. Its that complex and fine tuned.

        • Pofarmer

          Absolutely a cell is complex, but you didn’t say cell. And we can explain the complexity of a cell.

          “Its that complex and fine tuned.”

          And here comes another stupid argument. Life tuned itself for the conditions here, the conditions were not tuned for life.

          Ban this troll.

        • 90Lew90

          How it could account for *your* brain would be a better question but I’m sure even that’s covered.

        • MNb

          That’s only a question for ignorant bigots like you (you apparently stopped learning anything anythime the moment you quit school, as your analogy above shows).
          The answer is: science provides the answers. Not all, but the work is in progress and faster than I could imagine 30 years ago. So if you’re sincerely interested in the answers start studying. Thanks to internet there is a whole world open for you to discover.
          But my bet is you won’t. You’re stuck in your self-dug hole of ignorance, bigotry and existential fear, enabling me to throw some stinky mud to you.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          And what Pofarmer told you was the implications of Christianity! You got pwned.

        • MNb

          I don’t need to forget that my life doesn’t have any external meaning. You are the one who needs to. Your religion is your drug and you’re hopelessly addicted. That’s why you pray and go to church – because you can’t handle reality and are incapable of giving your life meaning yourself. We atheists totally can and are only happier for it.

        • Lbj

          Your life has meaning. To say that it does is a fantasy.

          True. I do need meaning as all people do. Only a Being who created me and has power over me can give my life meaning.

          The atheist has nowhere to go to find true meaning. He can lie to himself for time while things are going well but the bubble breaks when faced with death.

        • Philmonomer

          The atheist has nowhere to go to find true meaning. He can lie to
          himself for time while things are going well but the bubble breaks when
          faced with death.

          This seems like it doesn’t follow to me. Why do I need life after death to have meaning in this life?

        • Lbj

          If this life is all there is and you cease to exist at death then you are never accountable for your life. It matters not how you lived.
          For life to have meaning you must survive death, held accountable by a Being greater than you who can either reward or punish you for what you have done.

          Think of like school. It is the school authorities who put the value and significance of your education. They have the power to grade you, tell you what is important and reward you or not based on your work. They have the power to give you a degree that is recognized by others as being significant. No one can make these things happen on their own .

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          If this life is all there is and you cease to exist at death then you are never accountable for your life. It matters not how you lived.

          Damn it! Learn something, just once, OK?!

          What you mean is: it matters not in an absolute sense how you lived. I presume you’re not so idiotic to look around and imagine that atheists have no meaning, purpose, and hope in their lives.

        • Lbj

          They do but the reality is that ultimately they don’t. They don’t live consistent atheistic lives.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          So you’re going to use “ultimately” or some similar word when that’s what you mean, right?

          Seriously, this isn’t hard.

        • 90Lew90

          What’s a “consistent atheistic life”? We don’t all suffer from the interminable existential angst you need your security-blanket-god to assuage. Again: failure of the imagination; obscene egotism; infantile, exceedingly limited mind.

        • Lbj

          Acknowledging that life is meaningless and purposelessness for starters.

        • Pofarmer

          So, you’re going to tell me the life someone like Frederick Douglas was meaningless and purposeless? How do you get to decide what amounts to meaning purpose? Did the life of Ghandi have meaning? Thomas Paine? S

        • Lbj

          If “The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.” ― Richard Dawkins, River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life
          then how can anyone claim to have meaning?

        • 90Lew90

          Neatly, this post lands right above Bob’s response to your position on this. Look below. 4 hours ago. And he’s been pressing the point all day since I’ve been on. You are a troll. Fuck off.

          To other posters: There really isn’t any point in giving this person oxygen. I started following this blog because the level of discussion was of a better quality than usual on a blog about religion. This guy derails the thing repeatedly. He brings NOTHING to the table. I say don’t feed the troll.

        • Pofarmer

          Lew, I’m with you, and I am pretty much never in favor of banning anybody, but I’d make an exception here.

        • 90Lew90

          I’m not in favour of banning people either but this guy is beyond a joke and he’s laughing up his sleeve. And he’s making what could be a good place extremely boring. I don’t know about you but he’s making me feel like a kitten being microwaved or something.

        • MNb

          Well, personally I enjoy Justas as the best antipropaganda for christianity I have met since a long time. But I recognize the argument of boredom.
          So I will have fun with him as long as it lasts, but won’t shed a tear when BobS actually does ban him.

        • 90Lew90

          I’m the microwaved kitten and you’re the one with a ball of wool? My god the universe is just so indifferent!

        • MNb

          As long as my good friend Justas pulls off nonsensical gems like

          “For life to have meaning you must survive death”
          I’m dead against banning him. He provides way too much fun.
          Then again I’m Dutch. We are infamous for dragging guys like Justas down to a poor level and then defeating them on experience. For me there is no bottom.

        • wtfwjtd

          My favorite one of the day was when Justas tells us that “God created life, so he owns it, and can do whatever he pleases with it.” I’m to the point where I’m leaning in Lew’s direction now though, after a few days of the same old recycled drivel it gets really boring.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          You’re right, of course. It’s just so hard not to slap someone who desperately needs it.

          On a page of foreign words that might be nice to have in English, I came across Backpfeifengesicht, German for “a face that cries out to be punched.”

        • wtfwjtd

          That’s a good one!

        • MNb

          Sometimes I’m jealous that Dutch split off from German a couple of hundred years ago.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I think I’ve heard that Dutch is the living language that’s closest to English. Can you confirm?

          I didn’t realize that Dutch split off so recently.

        • MNb

          Dutch is way closer to German than to English. For instance I immediately recognize “Gesicht” as “gezicht”, which is “face” in English.
          Some Dutch who tend to nationalism will argue that Dutch goes back to the early Middle Ages. But I doubt if it is meaningful to speak about a language called Dutch even before 1637:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statenvertaling

          There were so many dialects which weren’t mutually understandable. Even today there isn’t any language border between Dutch and German; it’s a continuum from the North Sea to the Polish border.
          So Dutch and German indeed didn’t share several important linguistic developments between say 600 and 1500 CE. But I doubt if that’s enough to recognize Dutch as an independent language in the Middle Ages.
          One argument for Dutch being closer to English is the example of “book”, which is “boek” in Dutch (pronounced in almost the same way) and “Buch” in German.
          To complicate matters a bit more it also depended on the part of The Netherlands. The provinces near the German border obvously were influenced more by German, while Flemish due to trade was more influenced by English.
          Bottom line: before 1637 Dutch was a mess.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          England was a hodge-podge as well. There’s a famous story told about William Caxton (1400s). They were traveling in England, and one of his fellow travelers asked a local woman for eggs. Her reply: “I don’t speak French.”

          I have marveled that small England has (seemingly) a far broader range of dialects than the U.S. Naively, I would’ve thought that distance (as with speciation) would allow a new dialect room to grow.

          How familiar are you with American and British accents?

        • 90Lew90

          I’m inclined to go with Steve Jones’s opening remarks in his review of Dawkins’s ‘The Greatest Show On Earth’:

          “To wrestle with a blancmange is, in my experience, a mistake. Pink, sickly and smug, the sugary pudding happily takes any number of blows, absorbs the attack, quivers a bit and comes back – unperturbed – as a blancmange.

          “Creationists have the same talent. For them, evidence is of no interest. I once told someone who used the enormous gap in the fossil record between the chimp-human ancestor and modern chimpanzees as evidence against evolution that it had been partly filled: an ancestral chimp half a million years old had just been found. His face lit up: “See,” he said. “Now there are two gaps!””

          http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/bookreviews/6202333/The-Greatest-Show-on-Earth-the-Evidence-for-Evolution-by-Richard-Dawkins-review.html

          Steve Jones is himself the author of a great book called ‘The Language of Genes’ and is the world’s leading authority on snails. Don’t snigger. “There is grandeur in this view of life…”. Snails are important. They also have a homing instinct. If you’re a lover and not a fighter, and throw them instead of stamping on the bastards (yes, I do some gardening), you’d better be sure to get them at least fifty metres away from where you lop them, or they’ll be back. Painting an ‘x’ on their shells will show this to be true.
          So now I’m inclined to stamp. Blancmanges? I don’t like them. Snails? I prefer my vegetables. Justas? I want him at the bottom of a mosh pit. Especially since, fittingly, his moniker is a bastardisation of “justice”. That’s just desserts for a fucking blancmange.

        • Pofarmer

          UNIVERSE moron. And there isn’t any evidence the Universe has any particular purpose or meaning. But, just because the Universe has no meaning, doesn’t imply that human lives don’t have meaning to other living things on our own little planet.

        • Greg G.

          That means that the universe does not give meaning to your life. The meaning of life is not top-down. You miss so much of life from the attitude that the meaning of life must be external. Where did you get the idea that meaning requires that it never ends. Was that before or after you were asked for money and made to feel guilty about not emptying your wallet?

        • MNb

          I do. So what? It’s only a good reason to make the best of it, simply because that’s way more enjoyable than making a mess of it. Every single psychologist will confirm so.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Can’t even make your own case? Let me help you out. Again.

          You mean “life is meaningless and purposeless from an absolute standpoint.” I think we’re all on board. You can stop flogging this horse.

        • 90Lew90

          He says: “They [atheists] don’t live consistent atheistic lives.”

          I say: “What’s a “consistent atheistic life”? We don’t all suffer from the interminable existential angst you need your security-blanket-god to assuage.”

          He says: “Acknowledging that life is meaningless and purposelessness for starters.”

          In order to be “consistent” as atheists, we should all be terrified and writhing around in abject misery. Since we’re not, we’re the ones living in a fantasy world, whereas he, with his god delusion, is the epitome of equilibrium.

          It’s like a schizophrenic saying: “If I didn’t keep taking my anti-psychotics I’d be completely crazy. None of you are taking my anti-psychotics. You’re all bonkers!”

          Wrestling blancmanges? Pissing in the wind? Purposelessness?

        • 90Lew90

          Why doesn’t it surprise me that you also so badly miss the point of education. Because you haven’t had any? Ah right, that’ll be it.

        • MNb

          “It is the school authorities who put the value and significance of your education.”
          Ah, that’s why you stopped learning anything long ago – you quit school. Wow, your version of christianity is a sorry one as I’ve rarely met before. Indeed you’re not capable of doing anything yourself; you turn into a zombie the moment there is no imaginary god behind you telling you “Justas do this, do that”.
          I’m 50, a teacher myself and one of the great benefits of internet for me is that I can learn whatever and whenever I want. I know a lot more than 25 years ago, when I graduated. Still I know very, very little of all there is actually to know.
          My son, atheist since he is 13, started to ask me questions about physics (I teach the subject) that belong to universitary level. We don’t need no fairy tale to give our lives meaning, to enjoy it and to learn.

        • Lbj

          Enjoying life is not the same thing as meaning in life. You can learn all you want be in the end its all vain since in the end you cease to exist.

        • Ron

          Why must their be an afterlife with accountability to a greater being for this life to have meaning? In fact, why do you feel that life must have meaning at all?

          Your school analogy fails to consider the following points:

          Formal education follows a carefully structured framework spanning 12 or more years. Grading and course requirements are clearly outlined and communicated at the beginning of each year. The lessons are presented by trained professionals using course materials that have been checked for accuracy, consistency and relevance. Testing occurs at set intervals to help students discover and correct their deficiencies in a timely manner. Moreover, students are evaluated for their mastery of the subject matter—not their belief in the examiner’s existence—and corrective action takes shape in the form of additional tutoring/study/homework, not prolonged periods of physical torture.

          I’d also encourage you to reevaluate your views on the purpose of receiving an education. It’s not about passing tests to win someone’s approval—it’s about equipping yourself to navigate life. The tests only serve as feedback to your progress.

          And learning for the sake of learning has its own merits.

          “Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.” ~Socrates

        • Lbj

          There does not have to be an afterlife by necessity. If there is no accountability to someone greater than yourself then it does not matter.

          I think the school analogy is helpful. No one can make up themselves what the requirements are for being considered educated. Formal education requires an authority outside of the person to give his education legitimacy and is not determine by the person himself.

          The school authorities is who gives the diploma meaning and significance and not the student. So it is with life.

        • Greg G.

          Can a meal have delicious flavors and wholesome nutrition without a dessert?

          Life can have fun, challenges, and rewards that give it meaning without an afterlife. You just have to savor the courses you are served. You could miss a delicious meal anticipating a dessert that isn’t on the menu just because people who have never had the dessert or talked to anyone who had a dessert tell you that there is one.

        • Pofarmer

          To the true Christians, life here is just the appetizer, the “real meal” is coming in the afterlife, Heaven, when they got to be with God and Jesus forever and ever. Their existence here is just a “walking shadow” of what their real existence will be after they “pass on” to the next, better existence..

        • Philmonomer

          If this life is all there is and you cease to exist at death then you are never accountable for your life. It matters not how you lived

          Huh? The way I live my life matters to me, and to the people around me.

          For life to have meaning you must survive death, held accountable by a Being greater than you who can either reward or punish you for what you have done.

          I don’t understand why that is the only way life can have meaning. As I just said, my life can have meaning to me/the people around me/the world I live in. I think just about everyone would agree that, even if there is no God, Ghandi (as but one example) led a meaningful life.

          Think of like school. It is the school authorities who put the value and significance of your education. They have the power to grade you, tell you what is important and reward you or not based on your work. They have the power to give you a degree that is recognized by others as being significant. No one can make these things happen on their own .

          I don’t understand this analogy. That is, I don’t see how life is like school.

          Also, if I went to a school that didn’t give grades (actually, I did for a while), does that mean my schooling was meaningless?

        • Lbj

          There is no meaning in the universe. Richard Dawkins makes this perfectly clear. Since this is true, you can’t get meaning from non-meaning.
          Ultimately it matters not how you live since when you die you cease to exist. All that you did comes to nothing ultimately.
          The only way to avoid this is to survive death and be accountable to a Being greater than yourself and can reward or punish you for the kind of life you lived.

          The school analogy is meant to demonstrate this by showing that unless one is under the school authority for the purpose of gaining a certified diploma your education has no ultimate meaning. The meaning comes from outside the person by an authority. In other words, you don’t certify yourself. So it is with meaning in life. It must come from the “outside” by an authority greater than ourselves.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          You’re a waste of time. You make unfounded claims rather than arguments backed with evidence. You never adapt to new information, and you keep repeating the same debunked arguments.

          For example, here you mean ultimate meaning but don’t say so. I’ve corrected you how many times on this?

          Become a useful contributor to the conversation or leave.

        • Greg G.

          The school analogy is meant to demonstrate this by showing that unless one is under the school authority for the purpose of gaining a certified diploma your education has no ultimate meaning. The meaning comes from outside the person by an authority. In other words, you don’t certify yourself. So it is with meaning in life. It must come from the “outside” by an authority greater than ourselves.

          Meaning does not come from an “outside authority”. The value is what is learned. You can get an A in arithmetic for being able to multiply by two. This comes in handy when you want to double the recipe for baking cookies. But if the A student doesn’t understand the principles, even though the recipe was doubled right down the line, they aren’t going to produce edible cookies if the cookies are baked at 700F instead of 350F. Somehow, I doubt you knew that.

        • Philmonomer

          My guess is that (as Bob said below) you’ve been over all this before, and there really isn’t any point continuing.

          (At any rate, I don’t understand your school analogy because I don’t understand what “your education has no ultimate meaning” means.)

        • Greg G.

          So, you’re saying that because I got grades and diplomas, that part of my life had meaning? That would mean all the attaboy’s, thank you’s, and get off my lawn’s were ratings, too, and also give my life meaning. So you cannot argue that an atheist’s life has no meaning, because I do get evaluated by authorities greater than myself.

          But my question now is: where does God find an authority greater than himself to give his life meaning?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          If it’s like school, God is a terrible teacher. What fraction of his students pass–40%? 5%?

          Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.

        • Greg G.

          If this life is all there is and you cease to exist at death then you are never accountable for your life. It matters not how you lived.

          In Christianity, you can be a sociopathic murderer and convert with your last breath and never be held accountable for your life.

          For life to have meaning you must survive death, held accountable by a Being greater than you who can either reward or punish you for what you have done.

          If the meaning of your life is based on that, you are missing out on life. There is far more meaning to your interactions with others, your intellectual pursuits, your cognitive reflections, experiencing emotions, the joy of learning, and throwing grapes into the street and watching cars smash them. Life is to be lived while you have the chance. Life doesn’t give second chances on this.

          Think of like school. It is the school authorities who put the value and significance of your education. They have the power to grade you, tell you what is important and reward you or not based on your work. They have the power to give you a degree that is recognized by others as being significant. No one can make these things happen on their own .

          No, the value of education is the learning, not the grades you get.

        • 90Lew90

          It takes a lot of soapy suds and the mangling magic of the Christian logic laundry.

        • Pofarmer

          You don’t. It’s the Christians with their idea of life as a “walking shadow” than need the afterlife. They make this life to be as difficult and painful as possible to prepare for the next one.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          So you’re gloating over what everyone agrees to? Atheists have no evidence of objective meaning, and neither do you. I guess we’re in the same boat.

        • Lbj

          Not gloating. Life has meaning because God gives it meaning.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          And despite countless opportunities, you have given us no reason to even imagine that God exists. And you fall back on just declaring it as a given.

          You’re not doing much of a job showing that your life is meaningful, worshipping an imaginary friend as you do.

        • 90Lew90

          Do you still suck your thumb too?

        • MNb

          I suppose that gives his life meaning.

        • Greg G.

          What meaning does God give to a person’s life?

          Many people want to live forever who are bored on a rainy day. I don’t have time for boredom yet eternal life seems tedious.

        • Pofarmer

          “Only a Being who created me and has power over me can give my life meaning.’

          How does this being have power over you?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Maybe God is like a Haitian priest who zombifies people and forces them to do his bidding.

        • MNb

          Indeed I fail to see any significant difference, given Justas’ unability and unwillingless to learn.

        • 90Lew90

          Again, just because your life and your mind, and indeed the life of your mind are so obviously impoverished, it is not reasonable for you to presume everyone else must be like you. If without your belief in your god you’d be a jabbering wreck, you speak for yourself. You have no grounds to say my life must be meaningless to me, and that I’m being dishonest in saying it does, just because you’d be that jabbering wreck. By pushing that line you’re condemning yourself and your position on this “god?” argument, repeatedly.

        • MNb

          So now you fall back to the “no true meaning” fallacy, at the same time violating Matth. 7:1 for the zillionth time. If your belief system makes any sense you’re in great danger of going to Hell, so often you have sinned on this blog alone.
          I don’t need to go anywhere to find meaning. I have myself and the people around me.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I’ll correct this error so that you’ll never, ever make it again. How’s that sound?

          Life is indeed ultimately meaningless. But obviously that doesn’t make it meaningless (consult the dictionary to see of “ultimate” is in the definition). Atheists find meaning just like Christians do.

          Whenever you’re tempted to vomit out some statement about the atheist position and meaninglessness, purposelessness, and so on, see if “ultimate” or “objective” needs to be stuck in there to make your sentence make (irrelevant) sense rather than just being meaningless crap.

          There we go! Now you’ll never have to look like an idiot when you make this mistake again.

        • Lbj

          Thanks for making that clear. Now you need to get over your self deception that you can lie to yourself and tell yourself your life has meaning when in reality it doesn’t. You need to be consistent.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          God dammit! I just corrected you, and you make the same mistake in the very next comment!

          that you can lie to yourself and tell yourself your life has meaning when in reality it doesn’t.

          You mean that I can’t tell myself that life has absolute meaning. I never do. Never been a problem. I can’t fathom why you keep harping on this non-problem.

          And (yet again) atheists have no problem finding meaning in their lives, just like Christians.

        • 90Lew90

          And you need to develop the capacity to see that not everyone thinks like you (thankfully, since you wholeheartedly hate people) and that just because you absolutely *need* to believe in your god, that doesn’t mean everyone else must too. There are many ways to live. There are more ways than one to invest one’s life with “meaning”. Not least an appreciation of the intrinsic value of life itself, which is something not only denied in the Christian faith but actually opposed.

        • MNb

          The best guarantee of happiness is accepting reality and making the best of it.
          When reality strikes Justas hard he won’t know how to cope with it.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Christianity imagines a bubble-wrap world where no one gets hurt.

        • wtfwjtd

          Y’know, it seems like I’ve read a post about this very topic. Oh, wait, it’s coming to me now:

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2013/07/a-god-created-world-would-look-like-a-60s-family-sitcom/

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Brilliant!

        • wtfwjtd

          :) That post is one of my favorites!

        • Lbj

          No. Your confusing this with atheism where you cease to exist. No one gets hurt. In Christianity many will suffer in hell.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Fair enough–I stand corrected. Christianity is a hideously sick religion that imagines eternal torment for not believing the right things.

          Thank you for the correction.

        • Lbj

          Half right. People go to he’ll for the sins they have committed in word and deed.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Why only half right? Because a small fraction get to go to heaven?

          Do you think you’ll be able to enjoy heaven as an enlightened being knowing that I’m there roasting in agony? Or do heavenly beings not care about other people any more?

        • Lbj

          Thats a good question. Some theologians think we will understand completely why it turned out the way it did and it will not cause pain.

          I don’t relish anyone going to hell.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Not now, anyway. Are you going to be lobotomized so that you won’t care anymore? Will all your human compassion be erased or overridden somehow?

          Sounds dishonest if you’re shielded from reality in heaven.

        • MNb

          Ah – when entering Heaven you will lose the ability of feeling empathy for the loved ones who weren’t as fortunate as you. Thanks for adding another reason for a conclusion I drew several years ago: Heaven sucks as much as Hell.

        • Lbj

          So you conclude nonexistence is better?

        • Greg G.

          What about all the things you were supposed to do that was the will of the Father, only they didn’t get recorded as in John 20?

          Matthew 7:20-23
          20 “Thus you will know them by their fruits. 21 “Not every one who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven

          22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers.'”

          So you could live your whole life believing that stuff but still not go to heaven.

        • Lbj

          Yes. People can be self-decieved.

        • Greg G.

          Including you, right? How do you know that you are not futilely calling “Lord, Lord” and the praying in public instead of your prayer closet isn’t getting you damned?

        • Lbj

          Including me. There are tests a person can know if he is saved.

        • MNb

          Not believing the right things is a grave sin in word and deed.
          How do you cope with the thought that a loved one of yours has sinned in that way and will enjoy eternal torment? Will it spoil the fun you will have in Heaven?

        • Lbj

          How do you make the best of death and nonexistence for a loved one and yourself?

        • 90Lew90

          By living well and honouring the memory of loved ones. Are you that much of a bedwetter? “Hmm. Hmmff. What’s gonna happen when I don’t exist? Hmmf. Snivel.”
          You won’t exist. The world will keep on turning. Only a vanishing minority will even notice you’re gone, and within minutes of your death quite a large number of new people will be born. I find your obsession with your own non-existence more than a little egotistical. But I suppose obscene egotism probably follows from the belief that you’ve got a direct line to the creator of the universe and that he gives a shit about you.

        • MNb

          I told you before. I accept the fact and foster my memories.

        • Pofarmer

          If you have actual evidence that anything else is the case, that would be great. Thing is, being evolved, self aware beings, on a tiny speck among trillions of tiny specks in a universe billions of light years across, does nothing to diminish us. It’s all the more wonderful to to know that of all the chances in all the Universe, here we are. Our purpose is what we decide it is.

        • Lbj

          And then you die and cease to exist as the universe continues to expand and run out of energy and the lights go out and you are long long forgotten. It will not have mattered on wit if you had lived.

        • wtfwjtd

          So, facing that reality frightens you? Is that why you cling to your fantasy world of god and Jesus, because you are afraid of facing reality as it really is?

        • Lbj

          Some things do frighten me. I do not want to be separated from my loved ones. Even though I believe in life after death (for the reasons I have given) I still fear it.

        • MNb

          Great. Some of your loved ones are supposed to go to hell. Good luck living your eternal live grieving for them.
          Thanks for admitting. You suffer from a fear while I simply have learned to cope with it. You cannot learn that because of your god.
          The sucker. And you the bigger sucker for worshipping this sucker.

        • Lbj

          I don’t know where my loved are who have died. I assume they are not in hell. I hope they are not.

          So you are not really bothered by the nonexistence of those whom you loved and will never see again? You have absolutely no fear of nonexistence?

          Just as I said to Bob applies to you. You are a better man than I am. I am in awe.

        • Tom

          Sure I’m bothered. Sure I have fear. So what? That’s life, and death. My being bothered by or afraid of it doesn’t change reality. I can’t pretend that reality doesn’t exist by deluding myself into believing that I will live forever, and all my relatives and friends and enemies and exes will all peacefully co-exist in a paradise of perfect love. If that is possible, it won’t really be us there. We’d have to be changed beyond recognition for that to be true. I’d rather stay me, thanks.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          That Justas keeps hammering on the happiness of the message makes it pretty clear that he picks his worldviews based on how pleasing they are, not how accurate they are.

        • wtfwjtd

          At the end of the day, it’s a pretty standard Christian “defense” to simply say their their version of reality is the greatest, and they don’t need no stinkin’ evidence to back it up. Just pick whichever version sounds most pleasing, and it just has to be the right one!

        • MNb

          That’s one big problem I have with christianity. These worldviews are not pleasing at all. If I ever convert sure not to christianity.

        • Lbj

          On what grounds do you claim you don’t survive death?

        • 90Lew90

          Because all of the processes that sustain the body and brain stop. I’ve seen a number of dead bodies and they were all definitely dead.

        • Tom

          I’ve never seen anything to indicate otherwise.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I don’t know where my loved are who have died. I assume they are not in hell. I hope they are not.

          I have a solution. Become an atheist and your relatives won’t be in hell anymore.

          Who’s got the pleasant worldview now?

        • Lbj

          Right. Changing my beliefs will make hell go away. I do think nonexistence might be better than he’ll though. Can’t do this though. Jesus said there is a hell and I should do everything in my power to not sin so as to be condemned there. ” If your hand causes you to stumble cut it off because it’s better to be a cripple I this life than to be thrown st ‘s soul in hell.

        • 90Lew90

          So, presumably you’ve never looked at a girl and felt lust then? Because you haven’t plucked out your eyes? Presumably you’ve never masturbated? I may be wrong but I’d say it’s a safe bet your offending hand is being used in these communications.

        • Greg G.

          That’s if he really believed the Bible. You just don’t see many one-eyed, one-handed people carrying crosses these days.

        • 90Lew90

          I’m at a loss as to what is to fear about non-existence. It’s daft. I have no fear at all of being dead. That would make as much sense as fearing for the condition of someone not yet conceived. How I die gives me some slight heebie-jeebies, but then it would be completely morbid to dwell on that. As to my lost loved-ones, I’d much prefer it if they were still around, but they’re not. Nothing whatsoever can be done about that. Death is a vital part of life and living.

        • Greg G.

          Don’t worry about whether your loved ones are in hell. There is only joy in heaven. When you get there, you will feel joy that your loved ones are getting tortured forever, exactly what they deserve under your belief system.

        • MNb

          Not necessary a better man. Just an atheist.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Let me get this straight. You’ve invented a fantasy world that eliminates the problem of death, but you’re still freaked out by it? What good is this religion if it doesn’t work?

        • Lbj

          Its emotional response to the problem of death. So your telling me that when a loved one dies or think of your own death and nonexistence that does not faze you in the least?

          If it doesn’t then you are a better man than i am.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Are we actually talking about how reality affects us? Who cares?

          Reality is reality–do you face up to it or try to handwave a new, happier reality? That’s what we should focus on.

        • MNb

          A great comfort, if you ask me. It makes that I can concentrate on helping to improve the lives of my neighbours, something which gives great and life-lasting reward.
          As I told you before I was forgotten before I was conceived; it didn’t bother me at the least. You suffer from existential fear, not me.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          When the Christian has a trillion years yawning out in front of him, why care about much of anything?

        • Lbj

          I would rather have a trillion years of yawning than not to have existed for a trillion. You would be long long forgotten.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          ?? Would I care? I certainly don’t now. I’ll be forgotten a century after I’m gone.

          Maybe you need to rein in your ego a bit. You bring very little to the table. You imagine that your paltry contributions to discourse will be talked about for trillions of years?

        • Pofarmer

          You already didn’t exist for approximately 12.5 billion years. Was it a burden on you?U

        • Ron

          Speak for yourself. I’ve been around since the hadron epoch. My mommy was a hot quark and my daddy was a gluon. It was plasma at first sight.

        • Ron

          “Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.” Ecclesiastes 1:1 ESV

          “For people and animals share the same fate—both breathe and both must die. So people have no real advantage over the animals. How meaningless! Both go to the same place—they came from dust and they return to dust. For who can prove that the human spirit goes up and the spirit of animals goes down into the earth? So I saw that there is nothing better for people than to be happy in their work. That is why we are here! No one will bring us back from death to enjoy life after we die.” Eccl 3:19-21 NLT

          “The living at least know they will die, but the dead know nothing. They have no further reward, nor are they remembered. Whatever they did in their lifetime—loving, hating, envying—is all long gone. They no longer play a part in anything here on earth.” Eccl 9:4-6 NLT

          The Preacher says life is meaningless even with god beliefs.

        • Lbj

          His conclusion is not “life is meaningless even with god beliefs.” Rather it is this:

          “13 The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because thisapplies to every person. 14 For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.”

          Ecc 12

        • 90Lew90

          Fear motivates you more than anything else. It’s pathetic.

        • Pofarmer

          Psst, most of the God mentions is Ecclesiastes are thought to be later interpolations, because, pssst, they disagree with the authors main points.

        • Greg G.

          I recall reading about the interpolations and after reqding through Ecclesiastes, I agree. Do you know where I read that?

        • Pofarmer

          I wish I could remember.

        • Lbj

          The problem is that there is no proof for your assertion. No need to take it seriously.

        • Pofarmer

          I actually quite agree, except a plain reading of the text reveals it.

        • Lbj

          Where?

        • Greg G.

          That doesn’t give any meaning to life though. It’s like saying that a movie or a book has no meaning except for the critics’ reviews.

        • Greg G.

          But it will have mattered to you while you lived. If you view the time-space continuum as a whole instead of the present, then your lifetime exists forever.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Correct! Now, given this, what do we do with this knowledge? Invent a daddy to run crying to?

        • MNb

          That’s what a pantpooper like Justas does.

        • Lbj

          No. Look to see if there is a God. If not, then you will have accept nonexistence.

        • Tom

          Yeah, sucks don’t it. So? I fail to see your point. Reality IS, whether I like it or not. I can’t just stick my fingers in my ears and go la la la, I have to suck it up and deal with it.

        • MNb

          Bingo! I gave Justas the same answer, in my own words, a gazillion times. Don’t worry, he will bring up his point again and again. I have concluded a while ago that these things are a problem for him, not for any atheist.

        • 90Lew90

          Bedwetter.

    • Ron

      Under divine command theory (DCT) everything God commands is moral and justified… no matter how much your brain cells scream otherwise.

      • Pofarmer

        And that screaming is the whole reason the idea of objective morality and divine command theory are bullshit.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

        “I do believe in spooks. I do believe in spooks. I do I do I do I do I do believe in spooks.” — Cowardly Lion

  • Philmonomer

    I don’t have time to wade through nearly a thousand comments, so someone may have mentioned this point:

    Rather than getting bogged down in what Leviticus says, or comparisons of biblical slavery to slavery in the U.S. South, the take away should be (IMHO), that the Bible clearly finds (some forms) of slavery morally acceptable. Any Christian who finds ALL forms of slavery morally unacceptable is NOT a Biblical Christian.

    In a related manner: We all agree on a basic fact about human existence: Slavery is wrong. Yet, somehow, this most basic fact of human existence is not found in the Bible.

    • MNb

      Yes, I have mentioned it somewhere in another form: “do you think it OK that people have to sell themselves as slaves if they can’t pay their debts or support their families?” Due to Disqus I don’t know if any christian has answered it though.

  • Dez

    As an America black woman I was raised with stories of slavery my ancestors went through. Rape, torture, lynching, families ripped apart, and straight up executions were perfectly allowable since slaves were considered property like a chair. All justified from a book that was forced on slaves so they would expect that treatment as holy. Sorry but I will always see Christianity as a evil ideology because of the horrors it justified onto my family and the family I will never know because they were thrown away as trash. There is absolutely no reason to treat others as property.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Thanks for the input. You have a perspective I will never have.

      I’ve wondered why African Americans can be so Christian. Wouldn’t you think that they would see it as part of what enslaved their ancestors and reject it? But they’re perhaps the most Christian group in America.

      Any thoughts for why it has such a tenacious hold?

      • MNb

        See above – I have the same question regarding Surinamese christians.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I don’t know their history. Were they oppressed? Are they descendants of the native people?

        • MNb

          Surinamese christians are largely the descendants from slaves brought over from African. Slavery was only abolished in 1863.

      • Dez

        Simply Christianity was forced on slaves for slave owners to have better control of their property. The native beliefs of slaves were torn from them and then they were indoctrinated into Christianity as a way for slaves to think that slavery is holy. Eventually the bible was used as a source of comfort for slaves so they can hope for the one day they would be freed because the christian god will save them. It’s truly sad and despicable that Christianity was only a tool to mentally control slaves along with the physical punishments to keep them in line. Like I told my husband, “If I was ever to become a theist, I would never be a Christian knowing what I know about Christianity.”

        • Lbj

          Where does Christianity endorse slavery specifically?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Lev. 25:44-46.

        • Dez

          Read it yourself. I have.

    • Stephen

      Your comment strikes a nerve.

      I on the other hand as a 41 year old white South African male stand accused of being complicit in a crime against humanity namely Apartheid.

      This was a system of government designed to dehumanize a part of our fellow citizens in unspeakable ways.

      Christianity was used as the primary force in the indoctronation of otherwise ordinary people into accepting and perpetuating racism. It continues to this day.

      The reality of course is that, the divisions continously created by Christianity and of which Jesus spoke isn’t something restricted to a particular race.

      That said, it is difficult to read the comments on this blog from so called Christians without thimking about whether or not they would persist in their views if they were exposed daily, to an evil such as Apartheid and its life support Christianity

      • MNb

        Two of the most evil things Dutch christianity contributed to the history of mankind are Apartheid and

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orange_Order

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

        Stephen: Thanks for your comments.

        I know little about S. Africa. Is Christianity accepted widely within the black community in your country? Has it been rejected by them now that S. Africa is post-Apartheid?

        In American, the African-American population is substantially more Christian than the American average (more).

    • MNb

      I live in Suriname, a former Dutch colony where slavery was abolished in 1863.

      “All justified from a book that was forced on slaves so they would expect that treatment as holy.”
      The descendants from those slaves strongly tend to be christian even in the 21st Century. I don’t really get it. Me being white and Dutch it would be rather patronizing if I told them again they were wrong (the first time they were told so was when they gave up their original religions). So I’m a bit reluctant. But I would expect more Surinames people to take your point of view:

      “I will always see Christianity as a evil ideology”
      The amazing thing is that there have been so many admirable christians.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

        What caused the abolition of slavery in Suriname?

        • MNb

          Hm, I thought I had answered this question. OK.
          Basically the Dutch began to suffer from a bad international reputation, which is bad for trade. And Dutch economy always has depended on trade.
          Of course it was important to set the priorities right. So the slave owners received ample financial compensation, while the ex-slaves had to continue their service for another ten years for a small salary.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Sounds like a thoughtful way to end it, ignoring modern sensibilities.

          U.S. slavery ended at about the same time, and the idea of compensating slave owners was suggested–it would’ve cost far less than the war–but that didn’t work.

      • Dez

        Yes there are many good Christians but that is in despite of their religion. They would be good people without it. I’ve read the bible and it is morally repugnant. The only way some Christians are good is to ignore a bulk of their book.

  • philip

    I am going to be honest with you guys. You have many valid arguements but something you don’t realize is the time and timespan in which the Bible was written slavery was the very common and was the norm. In the Bible it says all men are created equal. You cannot cross the Old Testament with the New, they applied differently. The Old Testament was written in the time before Jesus came while the New Testament was written afterwards. Jesus’ death on the cross changed everything. The Old testament is no longer supposed to be taken at its exact words. It is no longer the law for mankind but more of a moral compass for us. The new testament was the new set of laws set down after Jesus changed the human condition of being condemned because of past transgressions. You implore Christians to be rational but at the same time you stereotype them. The bible was not written by one individual but by many based on what they believe God told them to write. Maybe they were biased in their assumption but the fact remains that the Bible has remained the most read book in the world and also the most influential. To understand religion you must understand history and the times in which these people lived in. Jesus implored us to love and forgive the world. It is when politics get into religion that hate begins to creep in. These are my points and I hope that they are greeted with the same respect and rationality in which I view yours. One thing I do know is that I would rather be wrong about Evolution than God.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Yes, slavery was common back then. If you’re saying that the culture of the Jews during that time was no more elevated than any others, I’ll agree—not much evidence for God, though.

      Show me where the Bible says, “All men are created equal.” Perhaps you’re thinking of the Declaration of Independece.

      The death of Jesus is simply one more step in the evolution of a manmade religion. You’ll see the same kinds of evolution in other religions.

      Moral compass? The Old Testament has either good moral advice that’s obvious or bad moral advice.

      Yes, the Bible is the most read book. Irrelevant to its truth value.

      Why bring up evolution? What are your thoughts on this?

    • wtfwjtd

      “The bible was not written by one individual but by many based on what they believe God told them to write.”

      So you are saying that the writers of the Bible may have made mistakes because they might have misunderstood what God told them to write? That sounds plausible; I’m in total agreement with you on this point.

    • Mudhammutt (DaveUcannotta)

      The Old Testament was written in the time before Jesus came while the
      New Testament was written afterwards. Jesus’ death on the cross changed
      everything.

      From the New Testament:

      Colossians 3:22-24New International Version (NIV)22 Slaves,
      obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their
      eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and
      reverence for the Lord.

      The Old testament is no longer supposed to be taken at its exact words.
      It is no longer the law for mankind but more of a moral compass for us.

      The Old Testament is chock full of godly directives to commit rape, murder, incest, infanticide, genocide. It treats women like slaves, and that really isn’t nice. The irrational hatred expressed toward homosexuals is so thick you can cut it, and despite this the life of Lot’s daughter meant nothing compared to that of a complete stranger (male) who the mob outside otherwise would have raped. Now isn’t the idea that an angel (if he really was one) could be raped kind of funny? What an interesting excuse for a moral compass that bible is, and if you really go by the Old Testament than I hope you don’t live near me.

      The rest of your post is basically the bible is popular, blah, blah, blah, therefore it must be correct – never mind the fact that Christians ruled society until very recently, and that any books which challenged the bible could easily be banned by religious authorities with the political power to carry out brute enforcement against any who they didn’t like, just like the Islamic mullas with their fatwas.

      You really are poorly informed on the matters of which you post here. You should keep on reading your bible, but I don’t mean read it as somebody else would lead you to read it. Read those parts which you haven’t been directed to read, and then read them through your own, wide-opened, and unfiltered eyes. Discover your own moral compass, which is probably quite good and then much better than your bible programming. Most people have well-working, socially-tuned moral compass, and with those who don’t they aren’t any better for masking it behind the vagaries and the twisted morality of the bible.

  • Merari

    Since when does the bible condemn rape? As far as I know just about the only mention of it is that if someone rapes a virgin he will be forced to buy her from her father and take her for his bride.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      I know of no place where the Bible condemns rape except perhaps as a property issue. Why? Do you think I would say otherwise?

      • Merari

        “..No one, including Christians, know that murder, rape, and stealing are wrong because they read it in the Bible. They knew they were wrong first and saw that, coincidentally, the Bible rejects the same things..”

        Which made me question where it was said that it was wrong in the bible. I couldn’t remember it but I could be wrong, it says a lot of things and I’m sure I don’t remember all of it.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Good point.


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