Christianity’s Unbroken Record of Failure

Show one scientific truth about nature or new technology that was discovered first in the pages of the Bible.

Show one disease eliminated from the earth or one missing limb restored through prayer.

Show one person who can preach the gospel in every human language.

Show one Bible prophecy or interesting prediction by a Christian prophet that is accepted as fulfilled by non-Christians.

Show one supernatural event in the Bible that is accepted by historians.

Show one earthquake or volcano that was halted by an incantation or holy relic.

Show one tsunami or plague whose damage was undone by divine action.

Show any supernatural claim within Christianity that is accepted by non-Christians.

An unbroken record of failure

The Bible has stories of people miraculously cured of disease, but so might a book of fairy tales. The Bible has no discussion of how to avoid germs, no advice to boil water, no sanitation rules for the placement of latrines. It doesn’t even have a recipe for soap.

Jesus could have eliminated plague and smallpox and saved the lives of billions, but instead he withers a fig tree and does less curing of disease in his career than a typical doctor does today. The Bible makes clear that every believer will be able to perform the works of Jesus and more, and yet no medical miracle claims are validated by science.

Some in the early days of the Pentecostal movement claimed the Holy Spirit gave missionaries fluency in any language, though that claim is a little too testable. The “gift of tongues” today usually refers to a gibberish utterance in no human language.

God hasn’t guided his most cherished creation past problems like war, genocide, slavery, prejudice, pogroms, overpopulation, and environmental disasters. Nor has he helped undo the damage from natural disasters. Faith has never moved a mountain, though the Bible says that it will. And prayer doesn’t do anything measurable.

Christian response

Lots of worldviews can encourage you to do good things, and Christianity is one of them. For this post, I’m focused only on the supernatural claims. The Christian may respond with tangible here-and-now contributions of Christianity to society.

  • Majestic cathedrals were built just for Christianity. Show one grand building built by science. How about the Royal Society? Or Scientific American magazine. Or Bell Labs. (And keep in mind that science and engineering put those physical buildings up, not faith.)
  • The Sistine Chapel ceiling is a masterpiece inspired by Christianity. Show one great work of art inspired by science. How about the Large Hadron Collider? Or the Hubble space telescope. Or the Eiffel Tower. Astronomy has given us mind-expanding works of art—photos of a distant galaxy, earthrise from the moon, and the earth caught in Saturn’s rings—that Christianity couldn’t begin to imagine. And it’s not like Christianity has a monopoly on religious art. Consider the ancient Indian, Chinese, Mesoamerican, Greek, Roman, and Egyptian art inspired by their religions (see the Egyptian stone relief above).
  • Christianity inspired Michelangelo’s art. Show a Michelangelo of science. How about Richard Feynman? Or Albert Einstein. Or Stephen Hawking.

The Christian may respond to demands for evidence that God doesn’t perform like a monkey on a leash. However, what we see is nicely explained by God not performing at all.

I compare the predictions of theism against reality in Sean Carroll Slaps Down Fine Tuning Argument.

“Religious truth” bears the same resemblance to “truth”
that “homeopathic medicine” bears to “medicine,”
“creation science” bears to “science,”
or “Fox News” bears to “news.”
— commenter Richard S. Russell

Inspiration credit: the core of this post came from Richard S. Russell.

(This is an update of a post that originally appeared 2/3/14.)

Photo credit: Wikipedia

 

"Are threats and lies all you have? I stopped worrying about the boogeyman when I ..."

Combat Myth: The Curious Story of ..."
"Scary.Does it work both ways? Can I scare you with visions of Buddhist hell?What's that? ..."

Combat Myth: The Curious Story of ..."
"Show me a fossil, and I'll show you a transitional fossil."

Combat Myth: The Curious Story of ..."
"Perhaps you've heard that "Shark Week" on whatever TV channel has it should more properly ..."

6 Innovative Rebuttals to the Fine-Tuning ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!


What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Herald Newman

    Show one person who can preach the gospel in every human language.

    There are probably some Pentecostals who believe they can, but isn’t it rather amazing how this “miracle” doesn’t seem to happen anymore.. It’s almost like they made up that part of the story. Or maybe it’s not part of God’s holy plan anymore… There are so many ad hoc reason the Christian can use.

    The Bible makes clear that every believer will be able to perform the works of Jesus and more, and yet no medical miracle claims are validated by science.

    Not sure what you mean here Bob. Science could never “validate” a miracle, and surely you already know this. At best science would accept the phenomenon, but it could never say that an actual miracle had taken place. Science only deals with natural explanations.

    • Lark62

      The point is nothing has ever happened anywhere anytime that does not have a natural explanation.

      For example, we are figuring out the natural explanation for why lizards can regrow limbs. We have surgeries and transplants to medically reattach severed limbs.

      But there is no human who has regrown a limb by prayer.

      • Herald Newman

        The point is nothing has ever happened anywhere anytime that does not have a natural explanation.

        Prove it! Regardless of whether I agree with you, you’ve making an assertion that I don’t know how to justify.

        But there is no human who has regrown a limb by prayer.

        Okay… Agreed.

        • RichardSRussell

          There is an oft-cited problem in philosophy called the “white crow problem”. It is asserted that there are no white crows, only black ones. How does one prove it? Can’t be done definitively unless you can examine all the crows that have ever existed anywhere in the world at any point in time.

          So what’s usually done is to advance the assertion as a rebuttable presumption and ask for disconfirming evidence. A single counter-example will serve to falsify the proposition. So far, no white crows. Also, no limbs demonstrably regrown by prayer.

          So what’s reasonable to conclude?

        • Herald Newman

          So what’s reasonable to conclude?

          Agreed, our null hypothesis (that all crows are black) prevails. But the null hypothesis is an assumption, and shouldn’t generally be strongly asserted.

          EDIT: Further, we lack any methodology to actually show that the null hypothesis of philosophical naturalism is false. Whether I agree with philosophical naturalism or not, asserting if it is a fact is hard to justify.

        • RichardSRussell

          Yup. And I think that’s consistent with the definition of atheism as simply “without” (a-) “god” (-theos-) “belief” (-ism). That not only IS but SHOULD BE the null hypothesis, pending arrival of some convincing evidence for anything else.

        • Michael Neville
        • RichardSRussell

          Cool beans! Where was this taken?

        • Michael Neville

          I have no idea. I did a google image search for “white crow” and that was one of the choices.

        • RichardSRussell

          Well, following your lead, I too did a google search on the subject and came up with both photos and articles confirming that, indeed, white crows do exist. All we needed was one counter-example to disprove the hypothesis, and now we have several, so it’s definitively refuted.

          Still waiting on the counter-example that will disprove the hypothesis that prayer can’t regrow arms or legs.

        • MR

          That’s not a crow! That’s Rachel Dolezal.

        • Jim Jones

          Or the black swan problem/theory.

        • Lark62

          I also cannot prove my assertion that leprechauns have never existed at any time. If you have an issue with my assertion, if you want to make a positive assertion that leprechauns exist, show me evidence of one leprechaun.

          Likewise, my assertion is that supernatural explanations do not exist. If you have an issue with my assertion, if you want to make a positive assertion that supernatural explanations exist, show me evidence of one supernatural explanation.

      • http://webpages.charter.net/silkroad/ kermit

        There have been plenty of observed phenomena for which we have no natural explanation. This does not, however, mean that there is an unnatural explanation. Science isn’t finished yet – we cannot explain everything we see, nor do we know what there is that we have not seen yet. E.g. we propose a nebulous concept like “dark matter” as a provisional explanation for certain unexpected observations involving gravity at large scales. But not knowing what exactly is going on doesn’t mean that it’s a miracle.

        “God” makes no predictions, nor is it testable. It is cognitive noise, providing no answers at all.

        The point is nothing has ever happened anywhere anytime that does not have a natural explanation.

        I would say instead that of all the explanations we have come up with, that is, all models which make predictions and are testable, are natural.

        Saying, for example, “My mother had terminal cancer, but then it went away. It must have been a miracle of God!” does not provide an explanation. One might just as easily say that the remission was caused by a witch’s spell, or a glitch in the Matrix, or an unknown mutation, or something in the water. None are repeatable, nor testable, nor useful, nor informative.

        Edit: Duh. Models have to be testable (that is, they make predictions) and the observation are verifiable. Sorry for the senior moment.

        • Lark62

          Yep. We agree, but you said it better. Natural explanations include those explanations we haven’t discovered yet. Reality isn’t dependent on human awareness.

    • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

      If someone could walk on water, for instance, under testable and controlled conditions, there is no reason scientific verification couldn’t be made. You seem to be confusing science with methodological naturalism.

      • Herald Newman

        Science is methodological naturalism. What are you talking about?

        • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

          It is only a prevailing view of scientists. Methodological naturalism is not identical with science itself. I gave an example of where a miracle can, in theory, be scientifically verified. The assumption is that only “natural” events can be verified. If this happened, that would be proven false.

        • Herald Newman

          We could verify the phenomena occurs, and rule out things like obvious trickery, but science could never verify an actual “miracle” (a word I hate to use because it tends to be poorly defined. For this discussion I will define miracle to mean an event with supernatural origins), or ever say that there cannot be a natural explanation.

          If we never find the cause of said “miracle”, how do know that the event is actually a miracle?

          Perhaps we’re using different definitions of “miracle”?

        • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

          Well, that’s the difficulty I have too with not only “miracle” and “supernatural” but even “natural”-what do they mean? If there were an event with no known natural cause, it’s fair to say “I don’t know” and leave it at that. However, let’s say that such events only occurred if certain prayers were said, or this was only done by people of specific religions. That seems like better evidence of their beliefs.

          As to what a miracle is, most people define it something like you do, but that brings us back to what is “supernatural” and “natural” at all? Many times I’ve seen “supernatural” defined as just “something that has no natural explanation”, and now we’ve made a circle.

        • TheNuszAbides

          ah, your view of “natural” is rather like Sam Harris’s view of “atheist” – a term that shouldn’t even be needed, let alone quibbled over.

        • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

          I’m not saying it isn’t needed or shouldn’t be quibbled over. Just that it is hard to pin down.

        • TheNuszAbides

          fair enough. it is interesting that two individuals who identify as atheist can pedantically disagree on the technical definition (I continue to prefer the more inclusive usage because to the extent that “I’m-‘just’-an-agnostic”s are repelled by “strong” atheist ‘purists’ [and vice versa], they (a) practically give cover to at least the most apathetic theists, and (b) perpetuate this pedantic segregation from those with whom they could be pooling resources in support against religious encroachment in politics etc.).

          it’s some kind of funhouse-mirror reflection of how two (thousand!) Xians can disagree with each other on what makes a Xian a Xian. I’ve had a Catholic react to my use of “Christian” as a generic term, insisting that it wasn’t an appropriate label for Catholics, and a variety of evangelicals say technically the same thing, but of course she and they were expressing very different sentiments – to the latter group, being labeled “Christian” was of crucial significance, while to that Catholic woman it was seen as an annoying mark of cluelessness.

        • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

          I’ve moved to the more standard atheist definition (at least it’s standard for philosophy, the dictionary and non-atheists usage), that is, belief that there is no God. Agnostics just can get repelled. I don’t think we need to get everyone onboard. Lots of groups are “Atheists, agnostics, etc.” anyway so they can still be inclusive.

          From what I’ve seen, no one can actually agree on what’s a “true Christian”. Catholics have their view of course. Evangelicals often deny Catholics are Christians at all. I go for Bertrand Russell’s view, that it’s a person who believes Jesus was either God or “the best and wisest of men”. Beyond that it doesn’t matter to me.

      • Joe

        Why would that necessarily be a miracle?

        • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

          It wouldn’t be necessarily, but the possibility at least would be confirmed.

        • Joe

          How? If somebody is walking on water, there’s a reason why it’s happening. If there’s a reason, it’s not a miracle.

        • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

          So… miracle means “an event with no reason for it”?

        • Joe

          I don’t know what the word means. You’re the one talking about miracles.

        • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

          I didn’t actually use the word in the comment you replied to. Anyway, let me put it this way-such an observation would tell us events like those many religions allege do happen, at least in some cases.

        • Joe

          And that there’s nothing really remarkable about them.

        • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

          If they’re rare and unexplained, that is still remarkable.

        • Pofarmer

          Rare and unexplained things happen literally all the time.

        • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

          Is that right? Well, they can be remarkable too.

        • Joe

          Yes, but not miraculous.

        • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

          What is a miracle? You didn’t know what the word meant earlier. By many definitions this would qualify.

  • Doubting Thomas

    Show any supernatural claim within Christianity that is accepted by non-Christians.

    Don’t most Muslims believe that Jesus was magically transported to heaven?

    • Michael Neville

      Jesus is a Muslim prophet. According to the Quran both he and Elijah were taken to Heaven, along with Mohammed.

      • Herald Newman

        But isn’t Muhammad buried in a tomb in Medina?

        • Michael Neville

          You’re right. I misremembered.

        • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

          He was taken to heaven but came back and died naturally, so goes the story in the Quran.

        • Herald Newman

          Ah, the flying horse story.

        • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

          Indeed.

      • Lerk!

        I don’t know about the Quran, but the Bible had two transportations to Heaven (3 if you count Jesus). Elijah, and before that, Enoch. I think the Jews actually list 8 people, but they aren’t all in the Christian Bible.
        Enoch actually has his own book, but even though it’s directly quoted in the book of Jude, silly canon compilers didn’t include it in the Christian Bible. Dunno why not… just because it explains all about the Watchers and clarifies who those confusing “sons of God” who had children with the “daughters of men” in Genesis were?

    • Lark62

      Hmmm. Perhaps God could magically transport a few people today, just as a show of good faith.

      • TheApe

        You mean like the rapture? God seems to be having trouble pinpointing a good date for that. Just ask Harold Camping.

        • Lark62

          True. But also like the Vaughn Meador comedy album The First Family with JFK impersonations (from way back in the olden days).

          A reporter asks: “Mr President, when will we send a man to the moon.”
          “JFK” – “As soon as Senator Goldwater wants to go.”

        • MR

          Poor guy died over his beliefs…, but who would die for a lie? He must have been raptured and faked his death! Checkmate atheists!

        • TheNuszAbides

          it needs to be a surprise to pack that extra ‘oomph’.

      • Jim Jones

        Or someone could fly off on a winged horse.

    • Ambaa

      But Islam is a related religion. They believe many of the same claims as Christianity because they are from the same source, worship the same God, and are sister religions. I wouldn’t use them as an example.

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

      Mohammed visited heaven on a winged horse. I don’t know about Jesus.

      What I meant was supernatural claims pretty much universally accepted.

      • Doubting Thomas

        I was just being nit picky due to the wording.

        But just for our edification, I looked it up and, according to wiki “Most Muslims believe Jesus was not crucified, but was raised bodily to heaven by God…”

  • guerillasurgeon

    With the prevalence of halfway decent cell phone cameras, you’d think that more miracles would be recorded not fewer. Or for that matter, un-blurry photographs of flying saucers or Bigfoot. It’s still not happening.

    • Herald Newman

      • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

        They didn’t even need Photoshop. People were fooled with photos of cardboard “saucers” thrown up into the air, or before that just paper fairies. In neither case there alteration of the actual photo.

  • igotbanned999

    Show any supernatural claim within Christianity that is accepted by non-Christians.

    OT stuff shared by Jews and Muslims…

  • carbonUnit

    Lovely set of Show Me‘s. (Are you sure you aren’t from Missouri??)

    Show one Bible prophecy or interesting prediction by a Christian prophet that is accepted as fulfilled by non-Christians.

    My Significant Other would argue that prophecies in Daniel and Revelation have been fulfilled, for example that the capture of the Pope in 1798. (Just discovered Historicist interpretations of the Book of Revelation in Wikipedia, interesting summation.)

    My feeling is that this is just fitting patterns in the noise of history against vague biblical prophecies. It’s like holding a prism up to white light and finding a predicted color. (Noise contains all frequencies.)

    • MR

      Same silliness as is behind Nostradamus predicting the JFK assassination and any and every conspiracy out there. The art of weaving together a narrative by connecting anything and everything by loose and vague connections.

  • alverant

    Inspiring something pretty doesn’t make it true.

  • alverant

    “Show one person who can preach the gospel in every human language.”
    Does Klingon count?

    • Michael Neville

      Only if Quenya counts.

    • carbonUnit

      He said human, not humanoid…

    • Greg G.

      Acts 2:6 says that the preaching doesn’t need to be done in all languages for it to be understood in the listener’s language.

      Acts 2:4-6 (NRSV)
      4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.

      5 Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. 6 And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each.

      Maybe a devout Jewish Klingon could hear the preaching in Klingon, unless heaven is only over this planet.

      PS: Or if the Klingon Empire establishes a nation on this planet.

  • carbonUnit

    Astronomy has given us mind-expanding works of art—photos of a distant galaxy, earthrise from the moon, and the earth caught in Saturn’s rings—that Christianity couldn’t begin to imagine.

    Christianity totally fails to describe the cosmos.

    • http://webpages.charter.net/silkroad/ kermit

      Pre-science descriptions of bacterial contamination or a heliocentric solar system (or the nature of planets!) would have been a strong clue that the biblical writers at least had a link to some sort of information source. Instead, the myths show no information not available to early iron age goatherds and their handful of literate neighbors.

      • Michael Neville

        The Biblical writers didn’t have all the information available to their literate neighbors. The Book of Kings was written during the Babylonian Captivity c. 560 BCE. Contemporary Babylonians and Egyptians had approximated π to 22/7, yet the Hebrew priests didn’t understand the concept of π when they wrote Kings

    • james warren

      It actually does. Not in scientific language but in metaphorical and mythical language.

      • Greg G.

        Only if you understand the science and write the metaphor into it. Otherwise, we could look for metaphors for quantum computers and unlimited power generation.

        • james warren

          “Super brains”?

      • epeeist

        Not in scientific language but in metaphorical and mythical language.

        In which case so does each and every other cosmogony that we have invented. Christianity is just one amongst many others.

        • james warren

          I absolutely agree.
          And I am also aware that many scientists and researchers use metaphor and myth to clarify and illuminate their own theories. Albert Einstein, Niels Bohr, Loren Eisley, Gregory Bateson, etc, all come to mind.
          The world’s faiths have a foundational notion that the divine is unknowable, infinite and is beyond human description and understanding.

        • Greg G.

          I could have earned a doctorate in physics by claiming my answers weren’t wrong, they are metaphors. You just have to search for the correct answer in it.

        • james warren

          Here’s an essay from the Economist that’s titled “The Impossibility of Being Literal”:

          https://www.economist.com/blogs/prospero/2013/11/metaphors

        • adam

          “The world’s faiths have a foundational notion that the divine is
          unknowable, infinite and is beyond human description and understanding.”

          Of course, but then why call it divine?

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/5f13c9a6994d545cc03dc045bf1d796f3f47635db60b7beabd2bae91a593fab4.jpg

        • james warren

          Simply because it is foundational in religion to refer to the divine as “unknowable” and “indescribable.”

        • Greg G.

          It is foundational in religion that the divine be indistinguishable from the imaginary. A reasonable explanation for that is that the divine is imaginary.

        • james warren

          Paul once described God as something in which “we live and breathe and have our being.”
          This is not the God of supernatural theism of today’s Christianity.

          It is a description of a God that is both immanent and transcendent–not a God who dwells outside the universe and dips in occasionally to perform some ostentatious miracle.

          It infuses the cosmos.

          I agree that it does spring from the imagination of one who seems to have had some experience that communicated to him in some major way.

          A scientific theory is also something imagined before experimentation begins. In ancient cultures, I would guess that experimentation of the divine happens every moment one is alive.

        • adam

          “Paul once described God as something in which “we live and breathe and have our being.”
          This is not the God of supernatural theism of today’s Christianity.”

          How it not?

          “It is a description of a God that is both immanent and transcendent”

          I can give you a description of Sherlock Holmes.
          Both IMAGINARY beings.

          “It infuses the cosmos.”
          An evidenceless claim.

          “A scientific theory is also something imagined before experimentation begins.”
          Nope, the data is not imagined, a scientific theory is DERIVED from the data, not IMAGINED, you are thinking religion, not science.

          ” I would guess that experimentation of the divine happens every moment one is alive.”
          Guessing is why we have religion at all.

          Because the facts couldnt support the claims.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/75f6018d11b7534565e1a271187120582baef1ebe1da0dc5c353b6e7ba36dab5.jpg

        • james warren

          You seem to be more rational & logical than intuitive and emotional…

          Since the Enlightenment we have been taught that unless something is factually correct then it is not true.

          And that’s okay.

          That means to me that any posts I make describing my thinking and beliefs will be rejected a priory.

          Facts and faith are two different things.
          “Jesus was a man” is, to me, a statement of FACT.
          “Jesus was the Savior of the World” is a statement of FAITH.

          The word “faith” as Jesus used it actually means trust.
          For me it has to do with “letting the mystery be.”
          There is NOTHING I say, think or do that I can claim is absolutely correct.
          Nor can I ever prove what I say is absolutely correct.

          I don’t always get there, but I strive to be less arrogant and more humble.

        • Greg G.

          Paul once described God as something in which “we live and breathe and have our being.”
          This is not the God of supernatural theism of today’s Christianity.

          I doubt Paul said it. The quote is from Acts 17:28 and Acts is mostly fiction. The quote actually comes from Cretica by Epimenides (6th century BC), Cretan philosopher: “in him we live and move and have our being” so you are correct that it is not even ancient Christianity.

          I think that the idea that space is equal and opposite to the energy that makes up the matter of the universe is plenty ostentatious, and it can be derived mathematically, too, which puts it way ahead of ancient guesses

          A scientific theory is also something imagined before experimentation begins.

          That would be a scientific hypothesis. A scientific Theory is potentially falsifiable but it has passed extensive testing.

        • james warren

          “Scientists once concluded that _______________. Now we know better.”

        • Greg G.

          Science is provisional, always open to change as new information is received. Scientists once thought the Earth was a sphere. Now we know that Earth is an oblate spheroid, but a sphere is closer to an oblate spheroid than to a flat Earth, which was the belief of ancient religions.

        • james warren

          Everything is provisional. “All that is solid melts into air,” observed Marx.

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

          Not sure where you’re going with this. You have another source of knowledge about the world besides science or some application of the scientific method?

        • james warren

          Yes. Poetry, art, love, metaphor, paradox, music–all just as important as logic, rationality or the cerebral.

        • adam
        • Greg G.

          BTW, Epimenides was disagreeing with the Cretans who thought Zeus was mortal.

          Epimenides is also quoted in:

          Titus 1:12 (NRSV)12 It was one of them, their very own prophet, who said,

          “Cretans are always liars, vicious brutes, lazy gluttons.”

          That is one of my favorite Bible verses. Epimenides was probably not intending to be ironic.

        • james warren

          An audience listening to Paul and Barnabas preach concluded that after Paui ordered a crippled man to stand up, they were both gods:

          They called Barnabas Zeus, and Paul they called Hermes, because he was the chief speaker.

          –Acts 14:11-1

        • Greg G.

          Seven verses later, Paul got stoned by some Jews. One day you’re the biggest fish in the pond and the next day, you’re an alligator turd.

        • james warren

          I can totally relate.

          “Some days you eat the bear and other days the bear eats you.”

        • Greg G.

          Acts 14:15 (NRSV)15 “Friends, why are you doing this? We are mortals just like you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them.

          Compare to:

          Now if there be such a person among you, mind, I do not say that there is, to him I may fairly reply: My friend, I am a man, and like other men, a creature of flesh and blood, and not ‘of wood or stone,’ as Homer says.
            Plato, Apology of Socrates, from The Dialogues of Plato, Volume 2 [Benjamin Jowett translation]

          It’s like Luke was using a scroll of quotations to write narrative around in this part of Acts.

        • adam

          “It is foundational in religion that the divine be indistinguishable from
          the imaginary. A reasonable explanation for that is that the divine is
          imaginary.”

          One more upvote

        • adam

          Of course to protect it from exposure of the truth.

        • james warren

          For me, truth is what illuminates the conflict between opposed ideologies.

          Neils Bohr, the famous atomic physicist, once observed:

          “The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth.”

        • adam

          “For me, truth is what illuminates the conflict between opposed ideologies.”

          For me truth is:

          truth Merrriam Webster

          n.
          Conformity to fact or actuality.

          “But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth.”
          Yet, religion offers no profound truth.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/7e6eceefda06b08605b3653301b5e246ee7fbd6ce2a594a4e6a0d18e41ce10f5.jpg

        • james warren

          There is a God and he exists.
          Christ was resurrected three days after he died.
          Jesus performed miracles.

          All these are profound truths of Christianity.

          I don’t think they “really happened” but I see them as profoundly true.

        • Greg G.

          I don’t think Kate Upton is really my girlfriend but, in my fantasies, I see it as profoundly true.

        • james warren

          You probably mean to say you are attracted to her [media image].

          Only by trying to discover what a biblical passage meant to its original writer and the listeners/readers who heard/read it can I begin to apply its lesson to the modern world I live in.

          Since the Bible is by and large a repository of universal themes, this is not difficult to do.

        • Kodie

          What does being a repository of universal themes have to do with anything? We’re all a repository of universal themes. An old book about people who don’t know shit and amplify their superstitious beliefs is not really a good guide for living. I don’t need this old book to tell me how to be a person. I was born a person and I have a particular animal behavior. Maybe you just don’t think enough about sociology to understand what I’m talking about, having bogged yourself down with biblical themes instead.

        • james warren

          Supernatural or natural, it all depends on what those beliefs are.

          You are mind-reading, assuming and guessing at my motives. Just be accountable and come right out and ask me if I have bogged down myself with biblical themes and what those themes are.

        • Kodie

          I’m not making a guess, I’m responding to what you wrote.

        • james warren

          You clearly posted that I probably do not think enough about sociology and–based on that guess–you have concluded that I will not understand what you are saying.

          I still await your definition of the “biblical themes” you are talking about that are “bogging me down.”

        • Kodie

          You think god exists and the bible is a relevant guidebook for life. You don’t think any of it really happened but you do, because of the things you say.

        • james warren

          You are assuming a lot here.

          To me the Bible is a human product and has a complex blend of different & contradictory oral traditions, theologies, traditions, metaphors, legends and myths.

          I believe that some parts of the book go back to real historical events so in that sense, some of it is based on history.

          I don’t believe the Christian God of supernatural theism exists.

          Instead of guessing, just ask me specific questions.

        • Greg G.

          I believe that some parts of the book go back to real historical events so in that sense, some of it is based on history.

          With the solar event of tomorrow in mind, one such story that may go back to a historical event is the story of Samson and Delilah. The name “Samson” is similar to the Hebrew word for “sun” and “Delilah” sounds like the word for “night”. Sun gods tend to be described as being hairy and Samson’s power came from his hair. So the story sounds like a fable of night trying to take control of the day. But some speculate that there was an eclipse which caused everybody to run to the temple as if night had conquered the day. Many may have gone to the roof to watch the event and caused it to collapse on the people inside. Perhaps people got the cheap eye protection from Amazon and went blind so the blindness may have been assigned to Samson.

          Records that predate the Hebrews refer to the Habiru. Archaeology shows that the Hebrews were never in Egypt in large numbers, that there was never an Exodus with a million people living in the Sinai for forty years, and there was never a great revolution in culture around the time the Hebrews were supposed to have conquered the Canaanites but there are sites that have similar cultures but some have pig bones and some do not, which is an indication that the Hebrews were Canaanites with a different religion. So they appear to have invented a history from the historical records of those around them and adopted the name “Habiru”, with some transliteration.

          John 5:2 mentions that the Pool of Bethesda had five porches. That has been shown to be true through archaeology. John 18:13 says that Caiaphas was the son-in-law of Ananus, which is quite plausible. But most of the history of the New Testament seems to come from Josephus.

        • Kodie

          You still think Christianity has some kind of power or predominance that you think the rest of us should pay attention to. It’s silly.

        • james warren

          I just like setting people up on blind dates with Jesus.

          People [including Christians] live in a rational and literal world.

          I am not trying to make anyone “wrong.” I am offering information and based on that information, you should make your own best choice.

          I have said over and over and over again that I can never believe I am absolutely right about anything. Nor could I ever prove I am right.

          After all, I’m trying to talk about ancient history here.

          “The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.”
          L.P. Hartley

        • james warren

          The Bible has a good ethical foundation in Jesus and most of the prophets of the Hebrew Bible.

          Remember–the Bible is a human product. Only those under the haven of supernatural theism would disagree with this fact.

        • Kodie

          SO WHAT!

        • epeeist

          The Bible has a good ethical foundation in Jesus and most of the prophets of the Hebrew Bible.

          Such a “good” ethical foundation that Christianity had to import the ethical systems of Plato, Aristotle and the neo-Platonists.

        • Kodie

          That makes no fucking sense.

        • james warren

          I agree. It certainly does not make any to you.

          The logical, rational, the literal and the analytical have a hard time with poetry, metaphor, dreams, paradox and other “right brain” formulations.

        • epeeist

          I don’t think they “really happened”

          Then they do not correspond to the facts, hence the propositions are false.

        • james warren

          My experience is that the “factually correct” is not the only way to express truth.

        • epeeist

          My experience is that the “factually correct” is not the only way to express truth.

          Well if you are going to use your own definition of truth then and ignore the work of philosophers over the millennia then discussion with you is going to be problematic.

        • james warren

          There are many reputable scientists and researchers who use metaphoric truths to explain their theories.

          Gregory Bateson, Francisco Varela, Albert Einstein, Niels Bohr and Loren Eisley come to mind.

        • epeeist

          There are many reputable scientists and researchers who use metaphoric truths to explain their theories.

          And yet you provide no references to where these scientists use “metaphoric truths”.

          To be blunt, I don’t think you have a clue when it comes to theories of truth. You could always prove me wrong of course…

        • james warren

          Gregory Bateson:
          “Rigor alone is paralytic death, but imagination alone is insanity.”

          Francisco Varela:
          “The relations that define a system as a unity, and determine the dynamics of interaction and transformations which it may undergo as such a unity constitute the organization of the machine.”

          Albert Einstein:
          “God does not play dice with the universe.”

          Niels Bohr:
          “When it comes to atoms, language can be used only as in poetry. The poet, too, is not nearly so concerned with describing facts as with creating images.”

          Loren Eisley:
          “To have dragons one must have change; that is the first principle of dragon lore.”

        • epeeist

          Your examples add meaning, but are not true.

          To use the Einstein example, is there an actual god refusing to play dice with the universe? Let us put it to the Aristotle test:

          To say of what is that it is not, or of what is not that it is, is false, while to say of what is that it is, and of what is not that it is not, is true.

          So is there an actual god refusing to play dice with the universe? Of course not. In other words, if taken at face value the statement is false. If taken as metaphor for the completeness or otherwise of quantum mechanics (which is what the sentence refers to) then they are meaningful but are not to be taken as true or false.

        • james warren

          Was the tearing of the temple curtain when Jesus died a factually correct incident? Of course not. If seen in a literal way the incident is false. If taken as a metaphor the text reveals a profound truth [I won’t bore you with the symbolism].

          “The opposite of a fact is falsehood, but the opposite of one profound truth may very well be another profound truth.”
          –Niels Bohr

        • MNb

          Nope. They use metaphors to clarify their scientific truths. That’s not nearly the same. My favourite is this one.

          Einstein: Quantum Mechanical probabilism is wrong, because God doesn’t play dice.
          Bohr: Einstein, don’t tell God what to do and what not to do!

          If you understand what QM is about you totally get this little exchange of metaphors.
          If you don’t understand, are an apologist and want to jump the scientific bandwagon it you might call both religious and would be almost totally wrong.

        • james warren

          I agree. That is part of what I am saying. Metaphors help clarify reality.

        • al kimeea

          so, how does a Great Celestial Bully and part-time zombie playing party tricks clarify reality?

        • james warren

          “Great Celestial Bully and part-time zombie” are interpretations.
          There are many others.

          I prefer Psalm 82–which to me is the most important collection of verses in the Bible.

        • al kimeea

          Zo, how does:

          82:1 God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods.

          82:2 How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked? Selah.

          82:3 Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy.

          82:4 Deliver the poor and needy: rid them out of the hand of the wicked.

          82:5 They know not, neither will they understand; they walk on in darkness: all the foundations of the earth are out of course.

          82:6 I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.

          82:7 But ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes.

          82:8 Arise, O God, judge the earth: for thou shalt inherit all nations.

          clarify reality?

          “Great Celestial Bully and part-time zombie” are metaphors, snarky yet accurate, given the contents of the BuyBull. Metaphors are useful that way as descriptors of the “THING” at hand.

          The snake metaphor describes a circular “THING” made of benzene. What knowledge can be derived from this?

        • Greg G.

          82:1 God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods.

          What happened to “there is no god besides me”?

        • james warren

          I was lucky to have been raised with caring, respect and fairness. I can learn something from anything. My reality is constantly being clarified.

          Psalm 82 is unique because it imagines a scene in which God sits among the gods and goddesses in divine council. Those pagan gods and goddesses are
          dethroned not just because they are pagan, nor because they are other, nor because they are competition.

          They are dethroned for injustice, for divine malpractice,for transcendental malfeasance in office.

          They are rejected because they do not demand and effect justice among the peoples of the earth. And that justice is spelled out as protecting the poor from the rich,
          protecting the systemically weak from the systemically powerful.

          This sort of injustice creates darkness over the earth and shakes the very foundations of the world.

          As far as the benzene ring discovery, whatever Kekule thought or dreamed, it was the scientific breakthrough he needed.

        • al kimeea

          There is a God and he exists.
          Christ was resurrected three days after he died.
          Jesus performed miracles.

          What knowledge or great insight can be gleaned from these profound truths?

        • james warren

          “IT” exists in my view.
          Not “He.” “IT.”
          It’s what drives the cosmos–the “beating heart” of the universe.
          In other words, SOMETHING is going on down under.
          But it is beyond words and human understanding.

          No one, anytime or anywhere causes dead people to rise up from their grave. Period.
          I believe in the resurrection but it has nothing to do with Jesus’ body.

          Jesus did healing but he did not cure.

        • al kimeea

          There is a God and he exists

          Interesting Freudian feminine undergarment you’re wearing there.

          “IT” exists in my view.
          Not “He.” “IT.”

          It’s IT now is it? So you’re a proponent of Amorphous Blobism. Either Blobism or The Bully is a maniacal clown, which kinda fits Yahweh anyway.

          Anyhoo, show how this “THING” is behind all the other things we have learned that actually do clarify reality.

        • james warren

          Silly and immature name-calling, sarcasm and petty insults are of no use for me.

        • Kodie

          You’re way too sensitive and that makes it hard to communicate with you. Someone disagrees with you and you don’t like it, so you deflect with complaining.

        • adam

          “But it is beyond words and human understanding.”

          No just beyond yours

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/526c48e422cf67b5651b29d969287063512b92caef0f4d139debf02de0f981cd.jpg

        • james warren

          And not just beyond mine!

          I am certainly not one to claim omniscience.

        • adam

          You dont need omniscience to experience the emotion of divine, you can spend long years meditating or you can use any number of psychodelics that give the experience directly.

          But this emotion/experience has nothing to do with anything divine, but simple brain chemistry.

        • james warren

          I don’t believe the concept of divinity has “emotions.” Only people do.
          I like feeling love. It’s divine. I need more of it.

        • adam

          Not what I am saying.

          Divinity IS an emotion.

        • james warren

          I would clarify that statement by adding that a sense of the divinity is mediated through human emotion.

        • adam

          You might.

          But I have actually experienced and studied the divine, it is an emotion.

        • Greg G.

          It has been shown that a sense of the divinity can be artificially stimulated by touching a part of the brain with a small electrode.

        • Greg G.

          How could a being that thought it was omniscient actually know it was omniscient? A sufficiently powerful being (SFB) could manipulate another being, for ineffable reasons, to think it was omniscient by putting whatever knowledge the SFB wanted it to think it knew but would block all knowledge of itself from the other being. The SFB could also make the other being think it was omnipotent, too. Any being that thought it was omnipotent and omniscient would “know” that it could give the illusion to any other being so it would realize that it could also be deluded the same way and would know that it is not really omniscient regarding that piece of knowledge.

        • james warren

          Said in a Bronx accent: “Holy Father, could God create a rock He could not lift?”
          –George Carlin

        • adam

          “My experience is that the “factually correct” is not the only way to express truth. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b955a46f71e48b4828ca74e63fa9559bad4dc91bfc74ec2a30335545626863d4.jpg

          so you are more in the Trump ‘alternate reality’ group

        • james warren

          You have said so.

          Particle physicist Niels Bohr once observed “The opposite of a fact is falsehood, but the opposite of one profound truth may very well be another profound truth.”

          If quantum mechanics does not profoundly shock you, you haven’t understood it …

        • adam

          “My experience is that the “factually correct” is not the only way to express truth.”

          So are you assuming profound truths that you cant demonstrate factually?

          And if profound truths are not ‘factually correct’ but ‘alternate reality correct, what is the true value?

        • james warren

          Yes. Like the Resurrection. Or like the curtain temple tearing in two the moment of Jesus’ death. Or John’s gospel asserting that Jesus died a full 24 hours BEFORE the day the other three gospels claim.

        • adam

          So these ‘profound truth’ you assume?

          They sound no different than any myriad of tales told to children over the years.
          Mere Wishful Thinking of the Indoctrinated.

          All based on ‘alternate reality’.

          No true value, only the value of deception and dishonesty.

          No foundation for a sustainable future.

        • adam

          “All these are profound truths of Christianity.”

          “I don’t think they “really happened” but I see them as profoundly true.”

          So you recognize them as propaganda as well.

        • james warren

          Absolutely. Human history is full of it.

        • epeeist

          And I am also aware that many scientists and researchers use metaphor and myth to clarify and illuminate their own theories.

          Metaphor yes, in that it can help to explain things for people without the necessary background to understand, say, tensor calculus in general relativity.

          Not too sure about myth though, I have never come across scientist who uses myth to explain scientific theories.

        • james warren

          A mystic or mythologist has to start from the topic of actual language [as anthropologists often do].

          Language is not the ultimate reality; it is a way of approaching that reality.

          Many rational, logical Westerners should learn this….

          Most of us are still caught in language and the belief that if something cannot be described then it does not exist.

          Language is a vehicle to the sacred, but it is not a hard and sure path. It is like a river which operates its own force and carries us where it will, It’s not the golden throne at the top of the hill where we discover the sacred. It is in an uncertain and chaotic river journey where the varieties of the sacred are fluid and sometimes dangerous. But for those who take the plunge, they become profoundly meaningful.

          Right now I am fearing that my post is failing, simply because I do not have the language to post it.

          We are all like a colony of ants crawling across an oil painting. We can sense a succession of colors and textures, but we are unaware of the entire painting. It’s the poets and mystics who articulate the whole gestalt and scientific confirmations are in the wings ready to find bits within the mythic whole that can stand logical and rational scrutiny.

          But the immense framework that supports the nuggets of rationality is still there like the ancient scientific truth of “ether” that permeates everything in space.

        • adam

          “Right now I am fearing that my post is failing, simply because I do not have the language to post it.”

          That is because you are not explaining reality but emotional responses.

          ” It’s the poets and mystics who articulate the whole gestalt and
          scientific confirmations are in the wings ready to find bits within the
          mythic whole that can stand logical and rational scrutiny.”

          Poetry and mystics describe EMOTIONS and EMOTIONAL reactions, not Truths.

        • james warren

          Anyone who tries to divorce him/herself from the emotional side of life is committing a serious epistemological error in my opinion.

          We all have good intentions. We seldom are able to recognize and accept the EFFECTS of our good intentions. This applies to science as well as faith concerns of religion.

          The tongue can’t taste itself and the eye can’t see itself [unless one uses a mirror]. It stands to reason that it is difficult to look within oneself and see with a critical, objective eye.

          Perhaps that is why Socrates preached “Know thyself.” That applies to scientists and pastors.

        • Greg G.

          The tongue can’t taste itself and the eye can’t see itself [unless one uses a mirror]. It stands to reason that it is difficult to look within oneself and see with a critical, objective eye.

          The brain is the only organ that can think about itself, though. One can’t comprehensively contemplate emotions one has never felt nor can one comprehensively contemplate an emotion in the thralls of it. Even subjective experiences are best analyzed objectively.

        • james warren

          Approaching the world with rationality and logic results in an arid landscape.

          Everything is metaphor–even the word “literally.”

          Most of the time we are unconscious that nearly every word that comes out of our mouths has made some kind of jump from older, concrete meanings to the ones we use today.

          Simple language change is a fact. Yesterday’s metaphors become so common that today we don’t even process them as metaphors at all.

          Studies in “cognitive bias” have shown that being irrational is a good thing. We don’t always make decisions by carefully weighing up the facts. But we often make better decisions as a result.

          I believe the mind can’t know itself. Neurological frontiers are still being crossed.

          “Logic cannot comprehend love; so much the worse for logic.”
          –Theologian N.T. Wright

        • Greg G.

          Approaching the world with rationality and logic results in an arid landscape.

          Baloney. I can appreciate the beauty of a sunset, a bouquet of flowers, an ancient statue, or a beautiful painting. But the sunset is even more magnificent when the refractions and shadows are understood, the complexity is greater considering that as beautiful as it is, it may be a terrible storm on the morning side. The bouquet is enhance by contemplating the insects the flowers attracts and how the mix of colors and textures affect my perception. I see an ancient statue and think about the environment it was sculpted in, the people who were involved, how it was received, and the geology that made the stone. I am fascinated by paintings not only by the overall effect, but by how the techniques creates the overall effect, the history of how the painter composed the painting, which to include and what was omitted, the paint, and so on.

          Approaching the world without logic and rationality is so shallow as to be nearly meaningless.

          Simple language change is a fact. Yesterday’s metaphors become so common that today we don’t even process them as metaphors at all.

          The metaphors are baby steps.

          Studies in “cognitive bias” have shown that being irrational is a good thing. We don’t always make decisions by carefully weighing up the facts. But we often make better decisions as a result.

          I think our sub-conscious brains work as analog computers while our conscious thought is capable of critical thought. There is room for both. Paying attention to the the subconscious is fine when the information is hard to quantify and qualify. When I go to a restaurant, I pay attention to what makes my mouth water as I read the menu.

          I believe the mind can’t know itself. Neurological frontiers are still being crossed.

          Much of the basic brain chemistry has been sussed out for years. It is a matter of how trillions of the neurons and signal channels work together that is more difficult since observing it in the necessary detail would kill it.

          “Logic cannot comprehend love; so much the worse for logic.”
          –Theologian N.T. Wright

          Love without logic is wonderful. Love with logic is even better.

        • james warren

          In love one might say “You are the most beautiful person I have ever known.”
          Logically, one has to say “No. I’m afraid you’re not.”
          Love is a red, red rose.

        • Greg G.

          There is a difference between a perfect relationship and a great relationship. A perfect relationship can withstand complete honesty. I think perfect relationships are mythical.

          Logically, one can privately maintain an opinion that does not have to be expressed, in order to maintain a great relationship.

        • james warren

          “You are the perfect wife for me. Of course, rationally you are far from perfect. I can appreciate your good looks but you fall short of being the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. Logically the halves of your face are slightly mismatched and your eyebrows have more hair on them that is average. But this fact just means I will love you always–I hope. Your less-than-attractive attributes show the amazing power of our DNA and our genetic allotment and variety.”

        • Kodie

          You are just objectifying women with your comment. On the drive into work this morning, they were talking about 22% of women were unsatisfied with the man they married, which is more than the men who were dissatisfied with the women they married (I think they said something like 12%). I am not looking up the study.

        • Kodie

          My other big insight for the day was “physics” in response to a young person expressing “I don’t know how that happened.” God doesn’t really care about this petty bullshit, it had to have been physically possible. If you ignore how things actually work, then mundane coincidences will continue to easily impress the ignorant.

        • Kodie

          My deep moment of today was the idea that people angle for popularity more than they enjoy spending time together, and it’s sort of the same thing. I didn’t analyze it, it was one of those Wonder Years moments when I “realized” something. I mean, speaking of the bible or whatever, it’s sort of just a form of art, it is people expressing their perspective. On The Wonder Years, Kevin as an adult* would express realizations in every episode, and supposedly his life would never be the same. I can’t verify that no themes repeated themselves to double his impression of his own perceptions, but goddammit, fucker, people have impressions of life and social interactions. The bible isn’t even unique, first, or interesting in this aspect. The whole known body of literature since the bible has done nothing but refine and modernize human impressions of social interaction. Emotions, to get to your actual point, are not always accurate. People feel feelings, but sometimes let their feelings rule them. That’s what I know about emotions.

          *Fred Savage can’t be as old as he is, but he is cool.

        • Greg G.

          Language is also a vehicle to the purely imaginary. How do you make the distinction between sacred and imaginary?

          One man’s sacred cow is another man’s bacon cheeseburger which would be forbidden by Jainism for the meats, Hinduism for the beef, Islam for the bacon, and by Judaism for the bacon and for being a cheeseburger from “seething a kid in its mother’s milk” (Deuteronomy 14:21b).

        • james warren

          From what is factually correct and what is metaphorically or mythically true.

        • Kodie

          You are pseudo-deep. You think everyone doesn’t know everything you don’t know, and that applying some bullshit to the problem, we’ll be impressed. Sorry, you’re just a moron.

        • james warren

          Your assumptions, mind-reading and guessing at my motives are interesting.

          It would make more sense to me to figure out what you think and feel and then just be honest and accountable and ask me directly.

          Childish and disrespectful name-calling isn’t going to do it with me.

        • Kodie

          You seem to think you have something important to say, so you keep talking about yourself in a condescending way. I don’t care what you like.

        • james warren

          I’m sorry you feel that way.

          …Take care!

        • adam

          “The world’s faiths have a foundational notion that the divine is
          unknowable, infinite and is beyond human description and understanding.”

          Of course to protect insane claims from scrutiny.

        • james warren

          Human awareness of the holy and the sacred is not “insane” in my view.

          The famous biochemist August Kekule and his research of the compound benzene is noteworthy:

          “The new understanding of benzene, and hence of all aromatic compounds, proved to be so important for both pure and applied chemistry after 1865 that in 1890 the German Chemical Society organized an elaborate appreciation in Kekulé’s honor, celebrating the twenty-fifth anniversary of his first benzene paper. Here Kekulé spoke of the creation of the theory. He said that he had discovered the ring shape of the benzene molecule after having a reverie or day-dream of a snake seizing its own tail (this is an ancient symbol known as the ouroboros). This vision, he said, came to him after years of studying the nature of carbon-carbon bonds.

          And of course Albert Einstein came up with the metaphorical, mythic vision of “God not playing dice with the universe. Other scientists like Gregory Bateson, Loren Eisley and Thomas Kuhn were dependent on myth and metaphor themselves. And many, many others.

        • Greg G.

          IIRC, Kekulé had a dream with a fever.. But our brains have some error correction capabilities to save on weight and energy as a trade-off for larger signal channels between neurons. Sometimes the error correction makes “incorrect corrections” that happen to be better than the original. That would give us the illusion of creativity and free will.

          Scientists are trying to illustrate by using metaphors, not saying that the metaphor is the proper view.

        • james warren

          What scientist took his temperature?
          If a researcher defines a fever as feeling feverish, one’s head feels hot is not using strict, literal scientific observations.

          If a metaphor or myth works, it is proper. Myths are not true or false–they are useful or not useful.

          Myth, metaphor, dreams, the imagination, visual or auditory epiphanies, paradox, humor–all examples of what I am talking about.

          http://www.hughhowey.com/everything-is-metaphor/

          https://www.economist.com/blogs/prospero/2013/11/metaphors

          https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/908874-everything-in-life-is-metaphor-we-accept-irony-through-a

          Something that rigidly “left brain,” super-rational and -logical people are unwilling or unable to grasp is that the human mind is a metaphorical machine.

          It associates events, objects, people with our perceptions of them. In a sense, everything’s a metaphor, because our perceptions—not raw facts—determine how we react. And these metaphors, these perceptions, are more important even than the reality behind them.

          When people say “I stand by my country” they are not talking about the land mass south of Canada and north of Mexico.

          They are saying “America AS.”

        • Greg G.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/August_Kekul%C3%A9#Kekul.C3.A9.27s_dream

          It may not have been a dream at all. The story was told 35 years after the benzene ring structure was published and there had been parodies in the meantime. Kekulé may have gone along with the joke.

          It associates events, objects, people with our perceptions of them. In a sense, everything’s a metaphor, because our perceptions—not raw facts—determine how we react. And these metaphors, these perceptions, are more important even than the reality behind them.

          But the metaphor is not the reality behind itself. It is easier to understand something that is related to what you understand but the understanding gained that way might be wrong because of it. For many people, the metaphor is the destination but it’s not where you want to go.

          Thinking of something in metaphor might be OK for something one doesn’t care about. I can say, “I’m hungry” without adding “as a horse.” If there I was interested in worshiping a deity, I would want my religion to be more than metaphors. I have developed the hobby of studying the gospels but not to learn what they are like but what they are, their real sources.

        • james warren

          To be blunt, a religion without metaphors makes no sense to me.

        • Kodie

          Religions abuse metaphors to impress idiots. You seem like one so far.

        • james warren

          You must have had a different sense of ethics that I did growing up.

        • Kodie

          No, my parents were racists like yours surely were.

      • Kodie

        You’re settling for a very blurry image.

        • james warren

          You might be saying that metaphorical language is not very clear to you.
          And that’s okay.

        • Kodie

          I’m saying you glorify a myth for terrible reasons and you are expecting us to follow your terrible reasons for even more terrible reasons.

        • james warren

          You are mind-reading and mischaracterizing my beliefs and my motives.
          Again, it would be helpful if you could just ask me specific questions.

        • Kodie

          How am I mischaracterizing your beliefs? I read all your posts in this thread and responding to it. If you meant something else, you didn’t make that as clear as you think you did.

        • james warren

          By making guesses and reaching conclusions about my posts that were never intended.

          It works better to ask me questions directly instead of mind-reading and wondering about my intentions.

          If you want something, asking is the best way.

      • adam

        “Not in scientific language but in metaphorical and mythical language.”

        So it doesnt.

        It attempts to raise ignorance to the level of science.

        https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/57d8812041d27bff15f48eb5ac5edd1f3cb26a8df7bfd55a8bae3b5a093d53c8.jpg

      • Fred Knight

        “It actually does. Not in scientific language but in metaphorical and mythical language.”
        mythical language? you are speaking Greek! ..interestingly the common language of the New Testament…..which is, of course, unscientific! (oh, the ironies!)

        • james warren

          Here’s a useful book that I go back to again and again:

          “Did the Greeks Believe Their Myths.”
          https://www.amazon.com/Did-Greeks-Believe-Their-Myths/dp/0226854345

        • adam

          And this demonstrate your claim, just how?

        • Fred Knight

          I look forward to getting into more detailed discussion on this topic. One quick point that I’m sure you’ve considered is that even if they did hold to a literal view, this does not change the power and poignancy of the myth…just as today so many simple believers hold a naive literal interpretation but yet the underlying myth (truth) is powerful enough that it still brings forth life. There is a little something in there for everyone, from the deepest intellectual systematic theologian to the simple farmer who says grace with his family at each meal.

        • james warren

          I admire your insights here and especially the even-handed way you express them.

          To me myths are not false or true. They are either useful or they are not.

        • Fred Knight

          The Bible is a collection of various genres, some co-opted and re-worked for their own sacred purposes (Babylonian flood myths, for example) the very best of the best of Jewish myths, stories, wise sayings, inspirational writings, ceremonial law, censuses, tribal histories (with a little color thrown in) and more – but time-tested over millennia, often recording the infancy of their ethos and evolution….ancient wisdom of that sort may not always be useful or translate one for one into our modern era, but it has incredible insight into human nature that’s hard to rival. Most Jews and thoughtful Christian traditions do not hold to a literal view at all. So poking holes in it for that reason utterly misses the mark because they never believed that in the first place.

        • james warren

          Sometimes I think the Bible is just too complicated for believers as well as nonbelievers. The difficulty might come from digging around and finding out what a particular verse or passage actually meant to those who actually wrote them down in the first place.

          “The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.”
          J.T. Hartley

        • Fred Knight

          It’s ironic that it’s actually too complicated….

        • Kodie

          I don’t find the bible that useful. I think we had this discussion much earlier – I don’t think the bible is total shit, but I also think there’s no reason to revere it like you do. The parts of the bible that aren’t total shit aren’t that original either. You’re not establishing any reason to listen to you or the bible.

        • Kodie

          That’s marketing for you!

        • Fred Knight

          how is that marketing for me in any sense of the word?

        • Kodie

          Because the popularity of Christianity and all its 10s of thousands of denominations of over a billion literal believers is due to it being “something for everyone”. It doesn’t bring forth life, I don’t even know why you would say something like that. I mean, say we lived in a world without any Shakespeare, because it’s almost like we do. Humans are animals, and as such, have a lot in common. It doesn’t take a lot of close observation and the ability to string words together to get inside someone’s emotions. If you can say something stupid out loud to someone, there’s a good chance they will think you are wise. Even if they are already a Christian, and you paraphrase some biblical schmuckery to them, they will credit you for being so wise. People aren’t smart, they are dumb. It’s not that hard to be poetic and touching and attractive to others if you can say something as though they can observe it immediately. That’s the parlor trick of the bible. You don’t have to be a deep thinker to find it impressive, it actually helps. In reality, humans have been making quotable observations of humanity and teaching how to live long before and long since the bible. They call it “THE BOOK” and the word “bible” has entered the lexicon as the kind of book you don’t need any other book to tell you how to study x subject. This is called MARKETING.

        • Fred Knight

          actually, I’ll give you credit, you are making sense.

          “People aren’t smart, they are dumb. It’s not that hard to be poetic and touching and attractive to others if you can say something as though they can observe it immediately. That’s the parlor trick of the bible.”
          It’s ironic that you bring this point up, as it’s something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately. But you are wrong to assume this is a religious trick, in fact, this is precisely what I see secular comedians, actors, and other employing daily, and to the delight of the public. Instead of charging this as some kind of religious trickery, perhaps be fair and realize that the secular do it far more, and as a matter of course….and only religious charlatans do it on their end.

          as for my part in all this, I’ve yet to capitalize on it!

        • Kodie

          That’s why I called it “marketing”.

        • Fred Knight

          “That’s marketing for you!”
          Oh, I think I get it now, yeah, for sure, incredibly good marketing! The rise of Christianity was a perfect storm in that regard. And that’s also why it endures. American Evangelicalism hones it to a fine art – effective evangelism = good marketing?

        • Greg G.

          only religious charlatans do it on their end.

          Are you distinguishing the religious charlatans from the religious fools who actually believe their schtick?

        • Fred Knight

          yeah, I make a distinction, for sure. sincere dupes are guilty of a fallacy, but their sin is less than the charlatans….and sadly there are fools who willingly and with considerable effort follow the charlatans.

        • Fred Knight

          all that being said, I’m not a Christian, so how does that help me in the least?

        • Kodie

          How does what help you?

        • adam

          all that being said, I’m not a Christian, so how does that help me in the least?

          “I found much more intellectual freedom in the Catholic Church than in
          the Evangelical…in fact, I converted right during the height of the
          abuse scandal.”

          ” plus the aspect that they recognize that goodness and truth is Hidden
          in the Divine Mystery of God and that it’s up to each individual to work
          our their own salvation with the inspiration of the Saints”

          https://disqus.com/home/discussion/crossexamined/the_bible_defeats_its_own_resurrection_story/#comment-3495085360

      • adam

        “It actually does. Not in scientific language but in metaphorical and mythical language.”

        So it really doesnt.

        https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c8d01ed1b9f53173e882c769fa69e63c3584d87fd6bca730bcd98beca9e5c76c.jpg

  • Jim Jones

    > Jesus could have eliminated plague and smallpox and saved the lives of billions, but instead he withers a fig tree and does less curing of disease in his career than a typical doctor does today.

    … and does less curing of disease in his career than some doctors do in a day.

    Sight for sore eyes: ‘Maverick’ doctor who restored the vision of 100,000 people

    Bill Whitaker: Is it ever daunting? I mean, you look out there and you see that line of people, all who need this surgery.

    Geoffrey Tabin: It’s daunting on a worldwide basis. It may be a long line but this individual person I’m gonna give the very best care I can.

    Dr. Ruit set a rapid pace. He repaired an eye; the patient got up; the next patient was ready on an adjoining table. Just minutes an eye, then onto the next. Dr. Tabin performed the delicate surgery just feet away.

    Geoffrey Tabin: Want to take a look. See how nice and clear that is. I don’t know what that was – maybe 4-5 minutes. And it’s going from total blindness to great vision.

    They kept up this pace until 7:00 in the evening.

    Bill Whitaker: It’s almost like an assembly line. But assembly line sounds too mechanical. I mean, this is people’s eyes.

    Geoffrey Tabin: It’s people’s lives.

    • Lerk!

      I saw that report on 60 Minutes yesterday. Now THAT’S inspiring! I think they said it costs them $11 or $12 per eye, and they can do several in an hour. Thanks for reminding me… I want to see if there’s a way to financially support them.

      EDIT: It’s cureblindness.org

      • Jim Jones

        $20 there, $2,000 in the US IIRC.

        • Lerk!

          They did explain the reason. They’re making their own lenses, and they’re not subject to the same regulations as they are in the U.S. They’re also using a procedure that allows them to do the job really quickly.
          In the story, they didn’t comment on the success rate. I have no reason to think it’s not nearly 100%, but it may not be high enough to be acceptable in the U.S.
          I was also curious as to whether the lenses were all the same. They don’t seem to be measuring anyone’s eyes, just taking out the old lens and inserting a new one. Doing that, the patient’s resulting vision may not be 20/20. But it’s way better than being blind!

        • Jim Jones

          I assume they have a few steps not shown in the video. But I don’t know.

  • ClintonKing

    This is not the first time these challenges have been made, nor these questions asked. It’s almost as if Christianity were designed to provoke such questions.

    • Philmonomer

      Can you explain further?

      • ClintonKing

        Well, Mr Seidensticker doesn’t exactly say this, but his essay put me in mind of a question I’ve heard from others that goes something like, “if God is good, and God is all-powerful, why does anyone suffer unjustly?” CS Lewis wrote a whole book about it called “The Problem of Pain”.

        • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

          Yes, it’s as old as the religion.

        • Joe

          CS Lewis wrote a whole book about it called “The Problem of Pain”

          He also wrote books about a magical wardrobe and a talking lion that were more convincing than his arguments.

        • ClintonKing

          And who have those books convinced?

        • Joe

          Not me, for one.

        • ClintonKing

          I would be surprised if the Chronicles of Narnia have convinced anyone of anything.

        • Joe

          I would be surprised if “Mere Christianity” converted anyone, but it did. Don’t write off The Chronicles of Narnia just yet.

        • Ambaa

          I loved the Narnia books and as a kid my Jewish friend and me (a Hindu) had no clue that they were Christian in nature. Didn’t lead us towards any understanding or acceptance of Christianity either.

        • james warren

          Apologetics never convince. They are meant for insiders, not outsiders.

        • james warren

          That’s a sneaky way of smuggling the Christian faith across the border between adults and children!

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

          The Riddle of Epicurus is another variant of that.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Problem_of_evil#Epicurus

        • Greg G.

          How does he solve the question?

          If suffering can achieve anything, the achievement is logically possible. If God is all-powerful, then he can do anything that is logically possible which means the suffering part is unnecessary and, thus, superfluous. If an omnipotence allows unnecessary suffering, then it is sadistic and the label “good” cannot apply.

        • ClintonKing

          It’s been too long since I read the Problem of Pain, but for my own part, I don’t believe that God is omnipotent.

        • Greg G.

          I was looking at this outline of the book. I went through all the reasons he gives for pain. If the pain serves a purpose, the purpose is then logically possible to achieve and could be done by an omnipotence and would be done by an omnibenevolence.

          I gave up on it when I read “when we say ‘this animal feels pain’, we are misspeaking.”

        • james warren

          The Book of Job depicts Job as asking God “Why do I suffer? I’m a good guy and have done nothing wrong.”

          God answers Job out of the whirlwind with a lengthy lesson in natural history.

    • Herald Newman

      And all theistic religions come up with ad hoc excuses for the problem of {evil, suffering, pain, whatever.} Apologists have had a long time to come up with “answers”, but I’ve yet to see that any of them have good justification.

      • ClintonKing

        Yes, I suppose that all theistic religions do try to answer these questions. Could you expand on what you mean by ‘ad hoc’ in these cases?

        • Herald Newman

          That the explanation is specific to the specific problem and doesn’t generalize. I tend to use “just-so”, and “ad hoc”, interchangeably.

    • Joe

      It’s almost as if Christianity were designed to provoke such questions

      It doesn’t seem ‘designed’ for anything.

      • ClintonKing

        Curse my advanced hominid brain that sees patterns where none exist.

        • Joe

          The hominid brain evolved to do that very well. Don’t curse yourself.

        • Greg G.

          Of all the organs in all the species of animals that have ever lived on earth, the human brain is the only organ that has ever given itself a name.

        • TheNuszAbides

          … according to our understanding of naming 😉

    • Otto

      When you have a human invention claimed to be of divine origin it is inevitable.

  • skl

    With such an unbroken record of failure, what’s remarkable is that Christianity still exists.

    • Herald Newman

      Never underestimate the power of confirmation bias, ad hoc excuse making, along with childhood indoctrination. We generally want our beliefs to be true, and don’t like knowing that we believed something that is false.

      • ClintonKing

        It’s also remarkable that anyone ever changes their beliefs in adulthood.

        • carbonUnit

          I was Christian by default. When my Significant Other went SDA, I intended to follow to the new church, but decided to take a look at what I was purporting to believe first. Didn’t get through Genesis before the overwhelming stench of BS made me stop. I’ve been essentially atheist ever since.

          I would, at some point, like to read the Bible from cover to cover, asking innocent questions along the way. Might make SO recognize all the holes in the darn thing. As it is, I have a feeling SO (and the sources SO reads) does a lot of extrapolating. It would be nice to confirm that…

        • TheNuszAbides

          best of luck to you and your partnership.

        • TheNuszAbides

          indeed, i wouldn’t know how feasible/resource-intensive it might be to undertake the study, but comparative stats on how often a significant such change occurs could be very useful [esp. if (a) variations were found + (b) causal factors for variations were confirmed].

      • skl

        “Never underestimate the power of confirmation bias…”

        But how would the first Christians have confirmation bias?
        I thought they were all expecting a shining world conqueror, not an obscure
        victim conquered by the world.

        • Herald Newman

          I thought they were all expecting a shining world conqueror, not an obscure victim conquered by the world.

          They probably were expecting this, but that doesn’t always matter. There are people who, once convinced of something, will never give up the belief, no matter what evidence is presented to them. The human brain doesn’t like to admit to being wrong, and people will sometimes go to great lengths of convince themselves that their belief is actually true. Have you ever talked to a conspiracy theorist?

        • Pofarmer

          Many of the first Christians may have expected that figure to come to Earth in the near future. They didn’t think he’d actually been here. Early Christianity had all kinds of beliefs.

        • Joe

          I thought they were all expecting a shining world conqueror

          Some still are.

        • Greg G.

          They thought the savior would come as a human, then again later, you know, like the Rapture.

        • al kimeea

          and I’m pretty sure Jesus mentions at least once that he’ll be back within his audience’s lifetime

          or am I taking it outta context?

        • Greg G.

          But some of the people in the audience are still alive. For some, that is easier to believe than the Bible is wrong, especially when quoting Jesus.

          I think the quote is that some standing there would not taste death before he returned. Maybe he was being macabre and meant that some of them would have their tongues pulled out while they were still alive.

        • TheNuszAbides

          there’s still a refuge for scoundrels/tools as long as “generation” and “taste death” (or whatever the original words indisputably? meant) can be spun this way or that.

        • james warren

          Again, there is a difference between the historical figure and the Christ of Christian theology.

        • Greg G.

          No, one is imaginary and the other is imaginary.

        • james warren

          It may well be true that those who believe in a god or some spiritual aspect suppress analytical thinking and instead engage the empathetic network.

          Any question of faith from the analytic point of view, then seems absurd.

          From what I understand about the brain, the leap of faith to belief in the supernatural amounts to pushing aside the critical/analytical way of thinking to help achieve greater social and emotional insight.

        • Greg G.

          greater social and emotional insight

          I don’t think “insight” is the appropriate word. Maybe “experience”. Why does it have to be an either-or situation? Giving up on critical thinking is just giving up on caring what is real versus what is imaginary.

        • TheNuszAbides

          oh, to be sure, nothing holds up to “plain reading” like whatever was translated into the “generation”, “tastes death” etc. of English.

          cue another round of “but but but deeply profound concepts can only be communicated in metaphor!”

        • james warren

          After the Enlightenment, the idea of the Bible is to be generally to be read literally made its appearance.

        • TheNuszAbides

          sure, it made an appearance. are you suggesting that Augustine of Hippo came up with the concept of literalism before anyone else had and proceeded to firmly pre-empt it from consideration for the next dozen centuries?

        • Greg G.

          Before the Enlightenment, very few were able to read the Bible.

        • james warren

          The belief in an apocalyptic Jesus is in flux right now within the community of Jesus scholars. Much of the apocalyptic language does not cohere with Jesus’ teachings. The examples come from the later church dogma that were inserted into Jesus’ mouth decades after his death.

        • Greg G.

          The apocalyptic ideas are basic to Christianity. The Pharisees apparently were expecting a Messiah to come during their own lifetime because the OT suggested that David’s throne would be filled. But Judea was under control of other nations.

          The teachings of Jesus are a hodge-podge of Stoical and Cynical thought plus Jewish philosophy. Many of the topics attributed to Jesus in Matthew appear to have been lifted from the Epistle of James, which never attributes anything to Jesus and most of that stuff was derived from the OT.

          The epistles don’t have any teachings of Jesus and the gospels are creative fiction. Jesus was the Suffering Servant read as an actual person from the past. Mark wrote a fictional anachronism putting the fictional Jesus in the early first century.

        • james warren

          I am convinced that the genre of the apocalyptic makes its appearance when actual history forces a crisis in a culture, a politics or a religion.

          Things are so bad that only the Lord as a deus ex machina can set things right.

        • Greg G.

          I think that is probably correct. I also think it is a good reason to keep the Christian Dominionists out of power.

        • james warren

          Jesus, please protect me from the Dominionists! And your other followers!
          😉

        • adam

          “Things are so bad that only the Lord as a deus ex machina can set things right.”

          You mean while he’s so fucked it up til now?

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/701ad31004c57acab5bab2092d271b38e35efb5a87d32ff6631714eef0cfc9e4.jpg

        • james warren

          That’s not how I would put it.
          Foundational for the majority of religions is the idea that God is infinite and humankind is finite. Even the name of the divine was unmentionable and indescribable.
          Here on earth, God’s work has to be our own. God has to operate through the same physical and scientific laws everything else has to conform to.
          The Christian God of supernatural theism lives outside the universe and ducks in now and then to pull an ostentatious miracle out of his hat.

        • Kodie

          I still don’t understand why you need a god character in this story.

        • james warren

          It is symbolic. It stands for the beating heart of the universe. It is beyond human understanding and always will be.

          Paul wrote about God this way: “In him we live and move and have our being.”

        • Greg G.

          Acts was written by Luke, who was saying Paul was quoting Epimenides, who was referring to Zeus.

        • Kodie

          You’re not making that much sense.

        • james warren

          It is foundational in Christianity that the concept of divinity is beyond human description. It is beyond the finite human mind.

        • epeeist

          It is foundational in Christianity that the concept of divinity is beyond human description.

          And yet pastors, priests and the like don’t seem to have any difficulty not only producing descriptions but also telling us what this divinity wants.

        • james warren

          Absolutely. Many do.

        • Greg G.

          But it is not beyond the finite human mind to understand that saying “the concept of divinity is beyond human description,” is woo.

        • Kodie

          Why do you think I care what Christianity says.

        • james warren

          The mere fact that you are commenting on this forum and that you are apparently dead set on following me around indicates that you DO care.

          You need some ordinance in your arsenal.

        • Kodie

          I’m not following you around. You don’t really understand what I think, so stop making assumptions.

        • james warren

          Don’t take it literally.
          It’s only a metaphor. 😉

        • Michael Neville

          You’ve managed to confuse ordnance (military supplies such as weapons, ammunition, vehicles, etc.) and ordinance (a piece of municipal legislation).

        • james warren

          Thank you. And I am happy you were able to criticize respectfully without mockery or put-downs.

          Some times my typing is so fast that I misspell fast as well!

        • Fred Knight

          “It is foundational in Christianity that the concept of divinity is beyond human description. It is beyond the finite human mind.”

          absolutely. I don’t know if you speak as an orthodox Christian believer (it appears to me as if you are approaching it from outside of it) but you definitely get mythical language and have no hang ups in that regard. Just curious, are you familiar with Jordan Peterson?

          http://bit.ly/2vFqWZz

        • james warren

          No I have not until now, I went to his website and he seems pretty compelling to me. Thanks for broadening my outlook.
          The Bible is poetic and useful as a personal guide to being a better human being.

          Those who took high school classes that introduced them to poetry should at least have an inkling of what we are talking about.

          They seem to bristle and retreat from the facts when they hear the words myth, metaphor or mythical language.

          I understand what and why they are doing what they are doing, I just think they are marginalizing themselves within a global culture that is emerging whether they like it or not.

          As Joseph Campbell observed:

          Half the people in the world think that the metaphors of their religious traditions, for example, are facts. And the other half contends that they are not facts at all. As a result we have people who consider themselves believers because they accept metaphors as facts, and we have others who classify themselves as atheists because they think religious metaphors are lies.

          How, in the contemporary period, can we evoke the imagery that communicates the most profound and most richly developed sense of experiencing life? These images must point past themselves to that ultimate truth which must be told: that life does not have any one absolutely fixed meaning…

          If we give that mystery an exact meaning we diminish the experience of its real depth. But when a poet carries the mind into a context of meanings and then pitches it past those, one knows that marvelous rapture that comes from going past all categories of definition. Here we sense the function of metaphor that allows us to make a journey we could not otherwise make, past all categories of definition.

        • adam

          “As Joseph Campbell observed:

          Half the people in the world think
          that the metaphors of their religious traditions, for example, are
          facts. And the other half contends that they are not facts at all. As a
          result we have people who consider themselves believers because they
          accept metaphors as facts, and we have others who classify themselves as
          atheists because they think religious metaphors are lies.”

          And as Joseph Campbell observed:

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/cec86c13ff651044ebf846246f7b360fb2d8a3eccf42e97c497a2d680eb4b44d.jpg

        • james warren

          Literal, logical and rationalistic thinking has a hard time with metaphor.

        • Kodie

          You just strike me as someone who is in love with the sound of his own voice, and you are feeding your ego here. You want attention and agreement, and barring that, you find some squirrely way to insult people who think you are just narcissistic and full of shit. Which you are.

        • james warren

          I admit to sometimes falling in love with my voice. Sometimes at funerals or weddings it’s an interesting phenomena: the universe seems to get into position and life–at the moment–just flows. I find myself speaking flawlessly in whole paragraphs–topic sentences and all! It is a definite easy feeling and time just seems to stand still.

          I recently saw an interview with musician Neil Young who spoke to Dan Rather about those exact feelings when he is sometimes playing music on stage.

          In adult dialogue I believe it is helpful to specifically point out the words or the sentences or quotes that read “squirerly”or sound insulting.

          I was raised to be aware of my sometimes lousy communication skills for which I always need to apologize for.

          Other people DO characterize ourselves as “full of shit” and other silly insults. I have learned to believe that childish insults say more about the person who makes them than the person they are bent on trying to hurt and mock.

          I have a healthy set of boundaries and if you cannot speak to specifics in my prose, then your post here does not tell me anything i want to know. I do crave respectful criticism and love the feeling of having my comfortable little rug ripped out from underneath me! But that is something different than what I believe you are doing.

        • Kodie

          Wow you are a windbag.

        • james warren

          Read the post again. I think you missed the fact that I agree with you totally.

        • adam

          “Foundational for the majority of religions is the idea that God is infinite and humankind is finite.”

          And beyond judgement, right?

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/5187527e742b91e3f0a93cf26afa64df31b76a8d4339974c66c3c8b15c9943dd.jpg

          “Here on earth, God’s work has to be our own”

          Because there is no ‘God’.

          ‘God has to operate through the same physical and scientific laws everything else has to conform to.”

          then God needed to do the same thing to create this universe, so in effect NO GOD is needed.

          “The Christian God of supernatural theism lives outside the universe”

          Yes, of course, in the IMAGINATION.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c4e3bbea2d1e4d81dbd3798980be2ee8b39f893fee5d1d2b81b76b5e7ba184e1.jpg

          THIS is the reason there are so, so, so many different views on God, because each CREATES God in their OWN IMAGE.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/20c2caec6da789198d80d544880d1c6c23a3280abf0b5004330ac387920a4d1f.jpg

        • james warren

          To be blunt, all human beings possess a judgmental, evaluating mind.
          Affirming that “there Is no God” is in conflict with people who disagree with you.
          I try for humility and less arrogance, and because of that I can never believe that I am absolutely right about anything. Nor can I ever prove that I am right.
          As for me, my prayer is “Jesus, please protect me from your followers.”

        • adam

          “Affirming that “there Is no God” is in conflict with people who disagree with you.”

          That sounds like a good thing, when examining the claims for such “God”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/1e5d18558cc16fc4ee741077ba106dc02595a3556dba58aef424f2cb79d40452.jpg

        • james warren

          As I have said over and over again, the idea of the divine is beyond human language. That’s why the holy and sacredness of world religions is expressed in metaphor.

          We judge, for example, that the ancients took their religious stories literally, but that we are now sophisticated enough to recognize their delusions.
          But what if those ancients intended and accepted their stories as metaphors or parables, and we are the mistaken ones?
          What if those pre-Enlightenment minds were quite capable of hearing a metaphor, grasping its meaning immediately and its content correctly, and never worrying about the question: Is this literal or metaphorical?
          Or, better, what if they knew how to take their foundational metaphors and stories programmatically, functionally, and seriously without asking too closely about literal and metaphorical distinctions?

        • adam

          “As I have said over and over again, the idea of the divine is beyond human language.”

          I have experienced it, it is an emotion.

          ” That’s why the holy and sacredness of world religions is expressed in metaphor.”

          No, it is painted over as a metaphor to protect the power that it gives priests and tyrants.

          “Or, better, what if they knew how to take their foundational metaphors
          and stories programmatically, functionally, and seriously without asking
          too closely about literal and metaphorical distinctions?”

          Of course, that is why they created the myths.

          the problem comes when the myths are taken as literal truths, long after the culture that they were built around is no longer viable and they then present a danger to all:

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/cdf1945c329723ddbb7c03a5aa7c5a3ef1bae3c5f93caabe7aed79f438227c78.jpg

          The biblical myths all lead one place….
          To the total annihilation of human beings and the planet earth.

          While that may have served ‘metaphorically’ to prescientific society, it is a real danger to a society that actually has that capability.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c8d01ed1b9f53173e882c769fa69e63c3584d87fd6bca730bcd98beca9e5c76c.jpg

        • james warren

          Your opinions are noted.

          My point has never been that Jesus was a good guy who accepted everybody, and thus we should do the same (though that would be good).

          Rather, his teachings and behavior reflect an alternative social vision. Jesus was not talking about how to be good and how to behave within the framework of a domination system. He was a critic of the domination system itself.

          He was a social activist who believed in grace, justice and mercy.

          Whenever a person tells me they don’t believe in God, I sometimes respond by saying “Tell me about this God you don’t believe in somebody says to me, “I don’t believe in God,” my first response is, “Tell me about the God you don’t believe in.”

          Almost always, it’s the God of supernatural theism–the basic, distorted lens that today’s Christians use to view Jesus and the Bible.

          Because of the pervasive influence of the Enlightenment on our society today, we value metaphorical language less than literal language, even distrusting metaphorical language.

          But when describing profound truths that can transform lives, metaphors MUST be used.

          Metaphorical truths are profoundly true but not necessarily factual.

          This “more than literal” meaning is what a Native American storyteller means when he says, “I don’t know if it actually happened this way or not, but I know this story is true.”

          Many of us used to listen to Garrison Keillor tell about the happenings in Lake Wobegon on the “Praire Home Companion” NPR radio show and hear the truth in the fictional stories (and laugh at the silliness & foolishness of ourselves).

          The truth of the Bible does not depend on historical facutality. It contains true stories even if the particular stories are not factual reports.

          The reason for the literalist Christians’ passion on their interpretation of the Bible is that they have “identified truth with factuality,” thus, in their minds, if the stories aren’t factual, they aren’t true.

          And if these stories aren’t true, the Bible isn’t true. What is at stake is their view of the Bible.

          Many scientists [not all] view the Bible with the same literalist filter but come to the opposite conclusion: Snce the Bible is not factual, it cannot be true and the two camps shout at each other trying to prove a Bible passage correct or wrong

        • adam

          “Rather, his teachings and behavior reflect an alternative social vision. ”

          Yes, for most part the Buddhist one.

          But Jesus was shy on morality: https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ae1afb4336eb43eac4eb6542320889b4c9068fa20364f91b3a3a3b8f6e3a0f88.png

          “He was a social activist who believed in grace, justice and mercy.”

          Hell, with it’s eternal system of torture is none of that.

          ” “Tell me about the God you don’t believe in.””

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/fe4f85db4759e41e6b97a929743f5278be0c5c5b4ac46c7d4849a954219e949c.jpg

          Let’s just simplify this to mean, I dont see evidence for MAGIC.

          “But when describing profound truths that can transform lives, metaphors MUST be used.”

          No, they must NOT, the problem using metaphors from a different culture is that they can become VERY, VERY dangerous.

          Let’s examine the bible metaphors:

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/cdf1945c329723ddbb7c03a5aa7c5a3ef1bae3c5f93caabe7aed79f438227c78.jpg

          The bible’s End Goal is complete destruction of humanity and the planet.

          In ‘biblical’ times man did not have this capability, so the metaphor is about destroying the very ‘domination systems’ that you describe and then relying on MAGIC to build a new system.

          This is an unbelievable DANGEROUS metaphor.

          Just a the Abraham metaphor for killing your child:

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/576b5354eb99d2993f45ae1c298d7ea1beb6be63a081a92e69a99632f9b856b3.jpg

          “The truth of the Bible does not depend on historical facutality.”

          but it does, otherwise it depends on non-truth or lies and deception.

          “It contains true stories even if the particular stories are not factual reports.”

          You mean it contains lies and misrepresentations used by people of power to create ‘domination systems’ like the one it claims to oppose?

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b6b5240f53deb4a0141b0d9196de29540d1f8931a4c8d5713b9547eca65cbd2f.jpg

        • james warren

          “Love your enemies.”
          “The Father makes his sun to shine on the evil and the good and sends his rain to fall on the righteous and the unrighteous.”
          “Give to everyone who begs of you.”
          “Sell all you have and give to the poor.”
          “Pray to the Father in secret.”
          “[God] desires mercy, not sacrifice.”
          “Friend, who made ME a judge over you?”
          “Why do you call ME good? Only God is good.”
          “The Father is greater than I.”

          If Jesus and the Buddha sat down underneath a tree together, neither would try to convert the other.

          https://www.amazon.com/Jesus-Buddha-Parallel-Sayings-Seastone/dp/1569751692

        • Kodie

          People are not generally more sophisticated now than they were then. Delusions fund the lottery commission. I would say some of the stories in the bible are relevant, applicable, and in my opinion, good things to know. But that doesn’t make it for me. The bible is full of total bullshit and bad advice, and you seem to not want to recognize that either. Let’s both agree here and now that we both consider the bible metaphorical. You want me to ask you questions directly, why do you think the bible is more full of goodness than I do? Why do you think the bible is unique? Why do you call yourself a Christian if you don’t literally believe in magic? Why do you weigh the bible as specifically important in the aspect of cultural obligation? Some of the advice and metaphor is twisted and fucked up, and I see you want to use and excuse all of it for the sake of WHAT EXACTLY. Is that enough fucking direct questions for you?

        • al kimeea

          I’m pretty sure everything we know aboot this character is from decades after he is claimed to have existed.

          “Don’t beat slaves too badly ’cause if they die too quick you’re on the hook” – Jebus in modern parlance

        • james warren

          Slavery was a fact of life in the world of Jesus of Nazareth. It is not surprising that he would have used that dynamic to help illustrate his parabolic teachings.

          In the earliest gospel written [Mark] Jesus’ aim was not only to preach the coming/present Kingdom of God on earth but to “set the captives free.”

          Slaves and servants were often the same thing.

          Exodus and Deuteronomy both advocate treating slaves humanely.

        • adam

          “Exodus and Deuteronomy both advocate treating slaves humanely.”

          Not so much:
          When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard that
          the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, the
          slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the
          slave is his own property. (Exodus 21:20-21 NAB)

          “Slaves and servants were the identical or close to the same thing.”
          Stormtrooper.com is misleading you.

          Slaves
          However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the
          foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of
          such resident foreigners, 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 your slaves like
          this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated
          this way. (Leviticus 25:44-46 NLT)

          Servents
          If you buy a Hebrew slave, he is to serve for only six years. Set
          him free in the seventh year, and he will owe you nothing for his
          freedom. If he was single when he became your slave and then married
          afterward, only he will go free in the seventh year. But if he was
          married before he became a slave, then his wife will be freed with him.
          If his master gave him a wife while he was a slave, and they had sons
          or daughters, then the man will be free in the seventh year, but his
          wife and children will still belong to his master. But the slave may
          plainly declare, ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children. I would
          rather not go free.’ If he does this, his master must present him
          before God. Then his master must take him to the door and publicly
          pierce his ear with an awl. After that, the slave will belong to his
          master forever. (Exodus 21:2-6 NLT)

          Your KKK is showing…

        • james warren

          Mark, the earliest gospel, says Jesus came, among other reasons, to “free the captives.” Paul’s Letter “Philemon” talks about the nascent Christian view of slavery.
          Elsewhere Paul says “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
          Jesus was said to have died to pay a “ransom for many.” The word is “lutron” and it referred to the money paid to a guard to release a slave or a criminal from prison.
          We make an error when we assume that all slavery in the ancient world can be compared to the Antebellum south in the 1800s.
          “The past is a foreign country. They do things differently there.”
          –J.T. Hartley

        • Greg G.

          We make an error when we assume that all slavery in the ancient world can be compared to the Antebellum south in the 1800s.

          But when slavery was instituted in the Antebellum (Revolutionary War, that is, even the French and Indian War) South, it was based on the Old Testament law. They changed it as they went because the Bible laws didn’t work as well as expected.

        • james warren

          I am not aware of anything that proves that the Old Testament was responsible to the immoral and pragmatic use of slavery to help with colonists’ farming chores.

        • adam

          “We make an error when we assume that all slavery in the ancient world can be compared to the Antebellum south in the 1800s.”

          No, the mistake is when people DISHONESTLY try and claim servitude and slavery were the same in the bible.

          The following passage shows that slaves are clearly property to be bought and sold like livestock.

          However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the
          foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, 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 your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way. (Leviticus 25:44-46 NLT)

          The following passage describes the sickening practice of sex
          slavery. How can anyone think it is moral to sell your own daughter as a
          sex slave?

          When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed
          at the end of six years as the men are. If she does not please the man
          who bought her, he may allow her to be bought back again. But he is not
          allowed to sell her to foreigners, since he is the one who broke the
          contract with her. And if the slave girl’s owner arranges for her to
          marry his son, he may no longer treat her as a slave girl, but he must
          treat her as his daughter. If he himself marries her and then takes
          another wife, he may not reduce her food or clothing or fail to sleep
          with her as his wife. If he fails in any of these three ways, she may
          leave as a free woman without making any payment. (Exodus 21:7-11 NLT)

          So these are the Bible family values! A man can buy as many sex slaves as he wants as long as he feeds them, clothes them, and has sex with them!

          What does the Bible say about beating slaves? It says you can beat both male and female slaves with a rod so hard that as long as they don’t die right away you are cleared of any wrong doing

          When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard
          that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since theslave is his own property. (Exodus 21:20-21 NAB)

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/13282502375d3da24cf6b663f813609c25b2ff6c1bdd9b750a6d095cf6c73c07.jpg

        • james warren

          Slavery was a fact in the ancient world. Jesus’ affirmed that part of his mission was to “free the captives.” He spoke about slavery in parables that pointed to something beyond slavery. The story of the Samaritan is a story. The man beaten on the road to Jericho would not show up in police department records.
          The epic narrative that is expressed in the Bible is the fact of bondage and liberation from that bondage.
          The Bible says that Jesus “died as a ransom for many.” The Greek word for “ransom” is “lutron” which refers to the payment made to liberate a captive held in prison. It often meant a bribe paid to prison guards.

        • adam

          ” Jesus’ affirmed that part of his mission was to “free the captives.” ”

          And yet he didnt
          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ae1afb4336eb43eac4eb6542320889b4c9068fa20364f91b3a3a3b8f6e3a0f88.png

          And given the opportunity to say you shouldnt own slaves, Jesus tell how you can beat them.

          “The Bible says ”

          That you CAN own people as slaves, as property.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/cd5d9e6773e80543419ef8028245051a34011eb1f46153f332a77d61748d7c46.jpg

        • james warren

          Ad I have said over and over again, Jesus frequently refers to slaves in his parable [the witty stories that marked his most distinctive teaching style].

          He never addresses slavery as an institution, though unfortunately one of the parables assumes that beating a slave is acceptable as in the verse from Luke that you have provided.

          More controversial is the apostle Paul, often blamed for promoting or condoning slavery.

          As the Romans adopted Christianity as its official religion, the writers of the Bible [including Paul] de-radicalized Christianity and substituted Roman Christianity for it. Radical liberty is replaced by Roman slavery.

          By the Fourth Century, the transformation was complete. Bow down to the Emperor Constantine!

          “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ …”
          –From one of Paul’s authentic letters

          It almost seems to me that you perhaps see Jesus like many believers do. But he was a human being and was not able to perform an exorcism on the culture of the age and make the institution of slavery disappear.

        • adam

          “It almost seems to me that you perhaps see Jesus like many believers do.”

          I see the story of Jesus as a myth.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e389054ce6c972f909aee2e1015b3f98cdad7f4e59ed68593237da544ca0616c.jpg

        • james warren

          The mythic Jesus came into being after Easter.

          I prefer the Jesus of history that had gnarly toenails, urinated and had bowel movements and vomited from bouts of stomach flu.

          The mythic Jesus was a creation of early Christian theology–particularly in the Gospel of John.
          I define myth like most of anthropology does: not as fable but as metaphorical truth.

        • adam

          “I define myth like most of anthropology does: not as fable but as metaphorical truth.”

          Again the problem is that most people WANT that truth to be true and not metaphorical.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/cdf1945c329723ddbb7c03a5aa7c5a3ef1bae3c5f93caabe7aed79f438227c78.jpg

        • james warren

          Since the Enlightenment, factual truth has trumped metaphoric truth and has resulted in fundamentalism and literal interpretations of religious language.

          We began after the Enlightenment to think that ancient peoples (those “other” peoples) told dumb, literal stories that we were now smart enough to recognize as such.

          Not quite.

          Those ancient people told smart, metaphorical stories that we were now dumb enough to take literally.

          http://www.ericknelson.net/Apologetics%20Papers/Metaphorical%20Gospel%20Theory/MG10/ZAppendix/CrossanQuotes1.htm

        • Kodie

          That’s such a weak excuse. Jesus as a human like me or you could have condemned the practice of slavery, unless you’re saying he was just being a politician and didn’t want to alienate his base. If you don’t believe Jesus had supernatural powers, I don’t know why you think whatever he had to say is any more important than anything anyone else had to say.

        • james warren

          Same with Plato and Einstein. Who cares that whatever those two had to say is any more important than anything anyone else has to say?

        • Greg G.

          He spoke about slavery in parables that pointed to something beyond slavery.

          But slavery was used as a normal thing in the parables, not as a negative to learn from.

          The story of the Samaritan is a story. The man beaten on the road to Jericho would not show up in police department records.

          You will find it in 2 Chronicles 28:15.

          The Bible says that Jesus “died as a ransom for many.” The Greek word for “ransom” is “lutron” which refers to the payment made to liberate a captive held in prison. It often meant a bribe paid to prison guards.

        • james warren

          “The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.”
          J.T. Hartley
          The word you refer to can be translated to “the way justice works” in English.

        • Greg G.

          Slaves and servants were the identical or close to the same thing.

          Exodus and Deuteronomy both advocate treating slaves humanely.

          That is something Christian apologists like to say but the Bible says otherwise. It’s like they get there information from other Christians without doing the research themselves.

          Slaves were bought from foreigners with no questions asked. Indentured or bound servants were Hebrews who worked for six years and the males were rewarded with stock and goods. The colonies in America adopted this system with indentured servitude for six years for young British men and women and foreign slaves bought from foreigners kept for life and their offspring.

          Exodus 12:43-45 (NRSV)43 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron: This is the ordinance for the passover: no foreigner shall eat of it, 44 but any slave who has been purchased may eat of it after he has been circumcised; 45 no bound or hired servant may eat of it.

          Leviticus 22:10-11 (NRSV)10 No lay person shall eat of the sacred donations. No bound or hired servant of the priest shall eat of the sacred donations; 11 but if a priest acquires anyone by purchase, the person may eat of them; and those that are born in his house may eat of his food.

          These passages show that purchased slaves were not indentured servants.

          Leviticus 25:44-46 (NRSV)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.

          Slaves could be kept forever and could be bequeathed to the owner’s heirs. They could be treated like slaves and they are excluded from the injunction of not being treated harshly which was just for Israelis.

          Exodus 21:20-21 (NRSV)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.

          A slave could be beaten to death without punishment if they could walk away from it and suffer through the night, or at least until sunset when the next day started.

          Deuteronomy 15:12-17 (NRSV)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.

          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.

          These passages show that a Hebrew could be an indentured servant. Even a Hebrew could be made a slave for life. Both passages spell out exactly how to use family values to con an illiterate teenager into becoming a slave for life.

          Jesus doesn’t think slaves should even be thanked for their service.

          7 “Who among you would say to your slave who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field, ‘Come here at once and take your place at the table’? 8 Would you not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, put on your apron and serve me while I eat and drink; later you may eat and drink’? 9 Do you thank the slave for doing what was commanded?” –Jesus, Luke 17:7-9

          Compare that with a first century Roman pagan:

          “‘They are slaves,’ people declare. NO, rather they are men.

          ‘Slaves! NO, comrades.

          ‘Slaves! NO, they are unpretentious friends.

          ‘Slaves! NO, they are our fellow-slaves, if one reflects that Fortune has equal rights over slaves and free men alike. That is why I smile at those who think it degrading for a man to dine with his slave.

          But why should they think it degrading? It is only purse-proud etiquette… All night long they must stand about hungry and dumb… They are not enemies when we acquire them; we make them enemies… This is the kernel of my advice: Treat your inferiors as you would be treated by your betters.

          ‘He is a slave.’ His soul, however, may be that of a free man.”

              — Seneca the Younger (4 BC – 65 AD), Epistulae Morales, 47.

        • Kodie

          In modern parlance, it would be more like voiding the warrantee on your dishwasher or lawn mower. It used to be smacking your machines could buy you some time until sending it for repair, but that doesn’t work with computerized stuff so well. Beating, say, an animal, to push it to move, to plow your field or drive your wagon, or some shit, that is how slaves are also treated, but if you beat them hard enough to die, you don’t get to call your slave dealer and get an exchange for a new one. I really think the warning isn’t against accidentally murdering a person, but rather caution against accidentally spiting yourself out of a worker because your temper got out of hand. And sometimes it is just weird because slaves are people with whom one could empathize. One expects everyone to know their place, and who is in charge, and what will happen if the slave speaks up against their owner, which is something animals can’t exactly do, and inanimate machines cannot do. Then we are coming into robotics and machines that can resist being ordered what to do also.

        • Greg G.

          I really think the warning isn’t against accidentally murdering a person, but rather caution against accidentally spiting yourself out of a worker because your temper got out of hand.

          The passage allows punishment if the slave dies right away so I don’t think it is a warning. It is in the midst of crimes involving death.

          Exodus 21:20-21 (NRSV)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.

          I don’t know how they actually interpreted this but the next day started at sundown so if the slave survived until then, the master might have been off the hook.

        • Kodie

          So, some recognition that slaves were actually humans, only if they died immediately, but if they suffered and didn’t die until a few days later, it’s the slave-owner’s prerogative. Thing is, I think it’s really hard to beat someone to death right away. It seems they realized this as well, that they knew beatings would occur, that slave owners would have some aggravation at the humanity of their slave acting up, and would resort to beatings as a matter of course. You can beat someone pretty hard before they are actually incapacitated, and so, to me, it’s really just like saying, hey make sure you don’t beat your slave too hard so they can’t do their work.

        • Greg G.

          It doesn’t seem to have mattered that much to them about the slave.

          Exodus 21:28-32 (NRSV)28 When an ox gores a man or a woman to death, the ox shall be stoned, and its flesh shall not be eaten; but the owner of the ox shall not be liable. 29 If the ox has been accustomed to gore in the past, and its owner has been warned but has not restrained it, and it kills a man or a woman, the ox shall be stoned, and its owner also shall be put to death. 30 If a ransom is imposed on the owner, then the owner shall pay whatever is imposed for the redemption of the victim’s life. 31 If it gores a boy or a girl, the owner shall be dealt with according to this same rule. 32 If the ox gores a male or female slave, the owner shall pay to the slaveowner thirty shekels of silver, and the ox shall be stoned.

          The worst you get for a slave being killed by an ox is thirty shekels, for a child, there is a judgement. For an man or a woman, it was the death penalty.

        • james warren

          Remembered history and records of past events are part of the historical method.
          You certainly seem to be a slave for slavery lately.

        • http://www.amazon.com/dp/1518617530/ PartialMitch

          How would the first Mormons have a confirmation bias? The first Muslims? The first Zoroastrians? The first followers of Jim Jones? The first Scientologists? The first believers in Gray aliens?

          The existence of gullible people who buy into woo is in no way surprising or unique. It’s certainly not evidence that there’s any truth to any myths. People fall for nonsense constantly.

        • MR

          Leon Festinger’s experience with the UFO cult would be a perfect example. He studied a small religious group in 1952 who believed they would be rescued by a UFO from a great flood. When the event didn’t happen, many of them doubled down on their belief and proselytized even more.

        • Jack Baynes

          That’s easy! Satan did it. /s

        • james warren

          Satan Claus would never do such a thing. 😉

        • MR

          As a follow on, I was just reading about the Fox sisters who were instrumental in the creation of Spiritualism in the late 1800s. Later in life they confessed that their ability to communicate to the dead was a hoax. The “rappings,” mysterious knocking sounds supposedly made by the dead, were actually made by the sisters by snapping their toes (if I’m interpreting their description correctly).

          From Wikipedia:

          The Fox sisters have been widely cited in parapsychology and spiritualist literature. “…many accounts of the Fox sisters leave out their confession of fraud and present the rappings as genuine manifestations of the spirit world.” [A critic] notes that “remarkably, the Fox sisters are still discussed in the parapsychological literature without mention of their trickery.”

          Christ could have denied himself three times and they still would have believed.

        • Susan

          I thought they were all expecting a shining world conqueror, not an obscure
          victim conquered by the world.

          Harold Camping’s followers were expecting the world to end when he said it would. When it didn’t, some left and many others dug in even deeper.

          Have you never heard of the Sunk Cost Fallacy?

        • skl

          “Harold Camping’s followers were expecting the world to end
          when he said it would. When it didn’t, some left and many others dug in even deeper. Have you never heard of the Sunk Cost Fallacy?”

          Yes, I think I’ve heard of Sunk Cost Fallacy. It’s different, though, from the confirmation bias Herald and I were talking about.

          Perhaps the difference between Harold Camping’s followers
          and the Christians is that the latter claimed they actually saw the thing which their leader had predicted but they hadn’t understood or believed.

    • Joe

      That statement can, and should, be read literally.

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

      Is it also remarkable that Scientology and Islam and Mormonism are going strong? Or can we attribute that to human imperfection and a dangerous world?

      • skl

        “Is it also remarkable that Scientology and Islam and Mormonism are going strong?”

        I don’t know if they’re as remarkable. But that could be an idea for future
        articles – Scientology’s Unbroken Record of Failure; and the same for Islam and Mormonism.
        If their unbroken record of failure is just as long and bad, then their
        still going strong would be just as remarkable.

        Or on second thought, perhaps not remarkable. Because maybe their followers just evolved to believe such things.

        • al kimeea

          taught from birth is far more likely

      • al kimeea

        dinna forget the JWs laddie, no matter how many times the world doesn’t end, including from the get go, they endeavour to persevere…

        Had a visit from one the other day. He talked about the dog mostly as he was there to sell the upcoming meeting not preach

  • Michael Lonergan

    There was that time when Pat Robertson prayed away a hurricane… 😉

    • Greg G.

      In 2011, an earthquake and a hurricane hit his house in the same week.

      • Herald Newman

        I’m sure it’s because he’s made a pact with the devil. Only reason I can see that that codger is still alive. 😉

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

      Here’s hurricane Isabel (2003) making landfall, very close to Virginia Beach where Pat Robertson’s ministry is located.

      https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/7/7f/Hurricane_Isabel_18_sept_2003_1555Z.jpg/455px-Hurricane_Isabel_18_sept_2003_1555Z.jpg

      • TheNuszAbides

        very close to Virginia Beach

        “Almost only counts with horseshoes and hand grenades.” I’ll bet Pat spun it either as ol’ Jove waving “Hi!” to his trusty minion en route to the unrighteous target of retribution – or as a suggestion that if he didn’t try harder to raise that Ca$h4God, he was On The List!

  • Ambaa

    Well said!

  • epeeist

    The Sistine Chapel ceiling is a masterpiece inspired by Christianity.

    Painted by a gay artist who did it for the money.

    Have their been artists who have been committed Christians? Yes, J.S. Bach comes to mind, but many others who have produced religious art have only done so on commission.

    • Michael Neville

      There’s a > missing from your blockquote.

      • epeeist

        Already fixed!

        I post a fair amount on the Guardian. Their comment box comes with buttons to italicise, embolden, quote and link selected text. Why Disqus can’t do this I don’t know.

        • Michael Neville

          If you’re using Firefox there’s an app BBCodeXtra that will let you do the same thing. Despite the name, it also supports HTML. I used it in this post to give the link.

          EDIT There’s also a similar app for Chrome.

      • james warren

        How is the symbol used?

        • Greg G.

          Disqus allows many HTML codes and has some of its own. Well, one that I know of.

          Here’s a sample of things you can do.

          <b>This</b> = This
          <i>This</i> = This
          <u>This</u> = This
          <strike>This</strike> = This
          <s>This</s> = This
          <blockquote>This</blockquote> =

          This

          <spoiler>This</spoiler> = Fooled you

          The last one is just for Disqus show you can talk about movies without spoiling it. Move your cursor over the block.

        • james warren

          Thanks!

          Or should I say:

          THANKS

        • Greg G.

          Also
          <s><u><i><b>This</b></i></u></s> = This

    • MR

      Oh, sure, you do it for money one time and they label you gay!

      • james warren

        Historical evidence indicates he WAS gay. And so was King James of England who was responsible for one of the first biblical translations to be available to the reading public.
        Ellen DeGeneres is also gay. And Liberace was as well.

        • MR

          Um…, I think you missed the joke….

        • james warren

          I am not aware of missing it, but maybe I did. I chose to replay with some history and some modern humor.
          I may be old but at least I am stupid! 😉

        • Greg G.

          Aye, ya build the finest fences in the land for thirty year and nobody calls you “Angus, the fence builder” but you fuck one goat…

        • al kimeea

          with a palpable WOOOOSH

  • Chuck Johnson

    Evidently, in ancient times there was a shortage of paper and people who could read and write. So they wrote down only the most important things to them. This would include law, politics, morality, historical tales, etc.

    Then, when the Jesus stories became popular, these were written with the same portentous style as the Old Testament to make them more dramatic.

    This is too much like the more modern Joseph Smith scam.

  • Kevin K

    I’m actually reading an historical account of the painting of the Sistine Chapel, which is fascinating. Michelangelo was as concerned about getting paid for his work as he was about actually doing the work. When the pope commissions you to create a religiously themed work of art, that’s what you do.

    • lady_black

      Michelangelo also put clues in his work that probably escaped the notice of the religionists. For instance, the divine beings pictured in the depiction of the creation of Adam are contained within a structure that looks suspiciously like a human brain and the beginning of the spinal column.

      • james warren

        Thanks for your comment. It is very interesting for me and I will have to take a look.

        There are two little cherubs near the bottom of the painting and I remember a story that they were portraits of actual kids that were hanging around Michelangelo when he was trying to do his job–so he included them in the final painting.

        I was very lucky to have seen the chapel two times about 20 or 30 years apart. I remember the first time that here was a possible curator who was walking around shouting “No flesh! No flesh!” He was actually speaking to people who had flash cameras. It was his Italian accent!

        …jw

        • Greg G.

          I have a vague recollection that Michelangelo painted someone’s rear end toward the place where the Pope or someone who was causing him grief would be seated.

        • james warren

          I am glad some artists are not without a healthy sense of humor !!!

  • james warren

    Jesus–from the accounts we have in the New Testament–was a healer.
    Since he was a human being, a teacher from the peasant class he certainly did NOT cause the storms over the Sea of Galilee to stop, nor could he walk on water or come to live after being dead for three days.

    We have to draw a line between healing and curing. He might have been able to cure skin diseases such as psoriasis but in may have been healing that most characterized his encounters with sick and diseased people.

    A cure for any disease is desirable and indeed welcomed.
    But the healing of infirmities and maladies can be healed by refusing to engage in the ostracizing of diseased people, to empathize with their anguish and to envelope their suffering with love, compassion and respect.

    The rigid exclusion of sick people was just the way it was in the religion and culture of first-century Palestine.

    Jesus overturned and dislocated this pervasive idea and was able to give the marginalized the healing they were born to have.

    Was Jesus curing disease from an intervention in the social world or was he healing an illness or though an intervention in the social world?

    Since Jesus directly challenged the social and religious world of his day over and over and over again, I tend to believe the latter.

    One more thing. When you visit Lourdes, the Catholic healing shrine with the trickling water and the statue of the iconic Mary, you can see a lot of cast-off canes and crutches as well as empty wheelchairs at the end of the pilgrims’ path. But no empty coffins, artificial limbs or piles of toupees.
    The pagan healing shrine of the god Asclepius in Turkey also has piles of canes, crutches and wheelchairs at the end of the path.

    • Greg G.

      It has been pointed out that more people have been killed in train accidents on the last leg of the trip to Lourdes than the number of miracles validated by the Catholic Church. The number killed doesn’t include those who died on the way to France or on the return trip.

      • james warren

        That does not surprise me… It’s incredible how many horrific bus accidents I read about; they occur all over the world. I especially feel bad when a busload of older people careens down a hill and kills people. A bus ride to a Christian shrine is a money-maker, I’m sure.

        Everyone’s out to make a buck and I am positive many bus drivers are neither screened or regulated.

        I remember some tourist buses in Turkey and there were probably buses at Lourdes. I really don’t remember.

        I learned the other day that shortly after suicides or terrible accidents [all heavily publicized] there is a general uptick in both suicides and fatal accidents in the surrounding area.

        But this is just something I heard or read and I cannot be sure this is the actual truth.

        • Greg G.

          Just a few months ago, a small church bus was returning with several elderly church members from a trip. A texting driver in a pickup hit them. Twelve of the fourteen died. So tragic. I think I read that they were all wearing seat belts, too.

        • james warren

          Once we get rid of the government, we will be free of all those pesky regulations that mandate licenses for bus drivers. Drivers should be able to drive how they want. The Charlotte, North Carolina sidewalk driver comes to mind… 😉

        • Greg G.

          I saw a meme that showed the irony of the people in that march carrying a Confederate Flag in one hand and a sign in the other that said, “You Lost! Get Over It!”

        • james warren

          Classic!

          I happen to be one of those people who see no reason to tear down statues of Confederate soldiers. It’s all about history for me–certainly not racism.

          A true story: liberals at some American university are trying to get the name changed on a campus building. The building was named after a benefactor named Lynch and was known as “the Lynch Building.” Simply because of that single word, some students are demanding the building be re-named because blacks and others might be made uncomfortable b y the word.

          Unbelievable!

        • Greg G.

          I happen to be one of those people who see no reason to tear down statues of Confederate soldiers.

          I have been thinking about this. The monuments for Civil War soldiers were not erected shortly after the War. They were put up in the 20th century when Jim Crow laws were being created. It does not seem that the monuments were for the soldiers themselves except as a proxy for the racism. Perhaps they could be moved to a museum and viewed as an example of the behavior we should not condone.

          The party of Lincoln is becoming the party of Jefferson Davis.

        • adam

          What other country deifies traitors to it’s own country?

        • james warren

          There is at least one statue of Gandhi in London.
          Also a huge bust of Karl Marx was recently installed outside of Highgate Cemetery in London.
          There are statues of American World War II soldiers throughout Germany.
          I am also thinking of at least one statue to the honor of Benedict Arnold, the famous American traitor.
          I wonder if there are any statues or monuments to Oliver Cromwell, Guy Fawkes or William of Orange in England?

        • adam

          “There is at least one statue of Gandhi in London. ”

          A new statue of Mahatma Gandhi has been unveiled in London’s Parliament Square to mark the 100th anniversary of his return to India to start the struggle for independence from British rule.

          “By putting Gandhi in this famous square we are giving him an eternal home in our country. This statue celebrates the incredibly special friendship between the world’s oldest democracy and its largest, as well as the universal power of Gandhi’s message,” he added.

          “India and the UK share the same values and we are a partnership of equals.

          https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/mar/14/new-gandhi-statue-unveiled-in-londons-parliament-square

          So Gandhi wasnt a traitor.

          We already understand the ‘universal power’ of Confederates – subjugation of human beings as property.

          You are willing to place freedom (Gandhi) on the same level as oppression?
          Is this is the town center or does it represent the capital? What are America’s shared values with racists?

          “Karl Marx”
          You mean at his GRAVE?

          Karl Marx is an author, not a traitor.

          Stormtrooper.com is misleading you….

        • james warren

          Based on your characterizations, re-definitions and personal interpretations of history and historical persons, you can certainly claim you are right. Sometimes it is easier to deny nuance and complexity when studying past events. And that’s perfectly okay.

          We all do it at times. At least I do.

          That said, I have no use for immature and disrespectful comments that indicate I read white supremacist literature or have any affinity with it.

        • adam

          “Based on your characterizations, re-definitions and personal
          interpretations of history and historical persons, you can certainly
          claim you are right”

          I’ve redefined nothing.

          And you havent demonstrated where anything in my post is incorrect.

          ” I have no use for immature and disrespectful comments”

          You’ve got plenty of use for such comments when you make them.

          You are just too cowardly to actually DEFEND your claims.

        • james warren

          The political and cultural conflict of democracy and Marxism needs no further explanation. Neither does the anti-colonialism of Mahatma Gandhi vis-a-vis the British Empire.

          And calling me:”cowardly” and arrogantly assuming I have not defended my claims shows a regression to insults and name-calling. Maybe this comes from the way you were raised in your own family dynamic. I don’t know….

          There are a myriad ways to criticize someone’s ideas and statements without feeling the need to give in or fight back.

          I think it is childish and immature to use such comments. They have no place in an adult dialogue in my view.

          Instead of saying “I’ve redefined nothing” you might have said “I am not aware of redefining anything, but perhaps I have. If you can show me specific examples where I have done this, we can certainly go over them together.”

          Instead of “You’ve got plenty of use for such comments when you make them,” you could have said “On one hand you call attention to my so-called disrespectful comments, yet on the other hand you, too, have made similar comments. I cut and pasted your own comments, such as ________, __________, and ___________.”

          You posted: “You are just too cowardly to actually DEFEND your claims.”
          What prevents you from saying “I don’t see how you have yet defended your claims. Would you be willing to do so once again so I can understand what you are communicating?”

        • epeeist

          The political and cultural conflict of democracy and Marxism needs no further explanation.

          When Marx was writing democracy in the UK consisted of land owning white men voting to put other property owning white men into the House of Commons while the House of Lords consisted of unelected aristocrats. Marx claimed that, certainly in the case of France, democratisation did not go far enough after the French revolution, it still left a society very much derived from the ancien regime. Marx (and Engels) wanted more democracy.

          But you would obviously have realised that if you had actually read any Marx rather than relying on right-wing caricatures.

        • james warren

          To be blunt, your assumptions, guessing at my motives and mind-reading are dead wrong. Your adverb “obviously” illustrates this and hints of a deliberate put down.

          I have read Marx long ago. Even Cliff Notes about Marx point out that he held that democracy under capitalism is not democracy at all.

          Because Marx was such a masterful critic of our capitalist system and our economic reality, apologists for our “system” characterize him as our perpetual unworthy opponent.

          That is my point.

        • adam

          “That is my point.”

          I thought your point was that he was a traitor and that the UK deified him with a statue?

        • james warren

          He used nonviolent action to upend British colonial rule. For his non-cooperation with Britain he was arrested and tried and was imprisoned for several years, if I remember right. When he was in England after his release he had to have two bodyguards with him at all times because of his treasonous acts.

        • adam

          “He used nonviolent action to upend British colonial rule.”

          Yes, he used democracy, but we all knew that.

          ” For his non-cooperation with Britain he was arrested and tried and was imprisoned for several years, if I remember right. When he was in England after his release he had to
          have two bodyguards with him at all times because of his treasonous
          acts.”

          Citation needed.

        • james warren

          Non-violence in a violent system is not democracy.
          It is a direct challenge to that system.

          Put in Gandhi Wikipedia into the search engine of your choice. Nothing is stopping you from doing your own research. I have done mine.

        • adam

          democracy – Merriam Webster

          n.

          Government by the people, exercised either directly or through elected representatives.

        • james warren

          The deliberations of the Constitutional Convention of 1787 were held in strict secrecy so anxious citizens gathered outside Independence Hall when the proceedings ended in order to learn what had been produced behind closed doors.

          The answer was provided immediately.

          A woman asked Benjamin Franklin “What have we got–a republic or a monarchy?”

          Franklin immediately answered “A republic, if you can keep it.”

          We live in a hell of a good country but we shouldn’t be like five-year-olds who think that Mommy is good and every thing she does is perfect–and anyone who criticizes her is wrong.

          We need to love America like adults [like progressives do].

          Al Franken said Grown-up love means actually understanding what you love, taking the good with the bad and helping your loved one grow. Love takes attention and work and is the best thing in the world.

          That’s why liberals want America to do the right thing. We know America is the hope of the world, and we love it and want it to do well.

        • adam

          “Non-violence in a violent system is not democracy. ”

          democracy – Merriam Webster

          n.

          Government by the people, exercised either directly or through elected representatives.

          We have a democratic republic.

        • adam

          “The political and cultural conflict of democracy and Marxism needs no further explanation.”

          But it does if you want to claim Gandhi was a traitor.

          “This statue celebrates the incredibly special friendship between the
          world’s oldest democracy and its largest, as well as the universal power
          of Gandhi’s message,””

          “What prevents you from saying “I don’t see how you have yet defended your claims.”

          The same thing that prevented you from defending your claims in the first place.

        • james warren

          Gandhi undermined British colonialism and the attitude toward Gandhi was accusatory and cast him as an enemy of the British status quo.
          Marxism has been popularly conceived as the enemy of capitalism. That fact can easily be described in terms of treason against America.

        • adam

          So Gandhi raised arms against the British colonialsim?

          Of did he just use democratic methods.

          epeeist covers Marx better than I would.

        • james warren

          He refused to cooperate with British colonial rule and he did it without violence.

          But you already knew that.

        • adam

          So not a traitor.

          Yes, I already knew that.

        • james warren

          A clever way of responding. But I find it unpersuasive.
          Gandhi was not a traitor but yet he stood firmly against the British Empire and because of this he was jailed and imprisoned?

        • adam

          I have already post the definition of traitor.

          Why dont you give me YOUR definition?

        • james warren

          Will it matter?

        • adam

          Obviously your is different.

        • james warren

          You’re right.

          And thanks for your clarity, even-handedness and respect shown in your comment!

        • adam

          I have already post the definition of traitor.

          Why dont you give me YOUR definition?

        • adam

          “That fact can easily be described in terms of treason against America.”

          Only if you redefine treason:

          Definition of treason

          1 : the offense of attempting by overt acts to overthrow the government of
          the state to which the offender owes allegiance or to kill or personally
          injure the sovereign or the sovereign’s family

        • james warren

          We have been taught to believe that there are only two ways to deal with conflict: giving in or fighting back.
          Nonviolence is seldom considered, even though organized resistance worked every time against the Nazis or that in the 80s and 90s, a dozen nations underwent nonviolent regime change.
          Our metaphors are still violent and war-like. There is a better way to “kill” violence nonviolently.

        • adam

          “Based on your characterizations, re-definitions and personal interpretations of history and historical persons”

          See, all claims you failed to demonstrate.

          “That said, I have no use for immature and disrespectful comments that
          indicate I read white supremacist literature or have any affinity with
          it.”

          Stormtroopers are Star Wars characters created out of FANTASY.

          My mistake was not checking the websites current configuration.

        • Michael Neville

          Neither Gandhi nor Marx were traitors to Britain. Gandhi wanted the British out of India and Marx wanted Marxism throughout the world.

          The statute of Benedict Arnold on the Saratoga battlefield is of his leg, which was broken during the battle. Arnold took command of the American forces at Saratoga from the indecisive Horatio Gates and led a successful charge against a British redoubt. If Arnold had died at Saratoga he would be considered one of the heroes of the Revolution.

          There are four statutes of Cromwell in Britain including one outside the House of Commons. [link]. There’s a statue of Guy Fawkes in Welwick, East Yorkshire [link]. Why wouldn’t there be statues of William III in England? Go to google images and google “statue of William III”. You’ll find a whole bunch of statues of him.

          Kodie is right, you’re poor at expressing yourself.

        • james warren

          I used to be the last reporter in the building on Wednesday nights. I covered the city council meeting and I always had a hell of a time getting it right. And I was bored as well. A few times I was able to write a story on the meeting by making the first letter in each paragraph spell out silly and obscene messages to my friends.

          Creativity did not come easy. And most of the time it was like pulling teeth to me.

          The bad thing is that the guys in the back shop were pacing and grumbling waiting for my story so they could set it up on the front page dummy and go to the bars. That really put pressure on me!

          I have worked as a mediator, a drug/alcohol counselor and an oncology tech working with end-stage cancer patients and their families. I seem to do better when I have a live human being in front of me.

          I won’t soon forget the first cancer patient I met. She was a beautiful 27-year-old woman who had advanced leukemia. She was bleeding from her nose and I think I felt like *I* was the one who was dying. A valuable lesson I had to learn was that if I wanted to help her and other patients, “helping” them was the absolute worst thing I could do. I had to learn to just be with them in the moment and deal with whatever came up in the present.

        • Michael Neville

          I’ve also learned to live in the moment. I’m a combat veteran who’s been wounded twice and saw men go from being normal, walking, talking, intelligent people to dead in an instant. As the ancients would say: Ars longa, vita herring or something like that.

          I have Asperger’s Syndrome which means I am not good at dealing with live human beings. Over the years I’ve learned to be functional around people but I am not comfortable with anyone other than a few friends and family members.

        • james warren

          You have dealt with and surmounted a lot. I cannot imagine going through battle in a long war.
          I applied for a Conscientious Objector status during Viet Nam because I was afraid of what war might do to me. I was headed to Rawlins Penitentiary in Wyoming for a seven year term. Luckily, in the meantime I was called to my physical and flunked it because of both knees.
          You are definitely a special person because of your getting through your challenges. I have nothing but admiration and respect. Continue with your healing!

        • james warren

          Moving them to a special museum is a good idea. Or maybe to a park–the Gettysburg battlefield or somewhere.

        • adam

          “It does not seem that the monuments were for the soldiers themselves except as a proxy for the racism.”

        • adam

          “The party of Lincoln is becoming the party of Jefferson Davis.”

          Two incredibly insightful comments.

        • james warren

          The historical pendulum swings. History is not just one thing after the other.

        • adam

          Yeah, the Nazi pendulum swings, the War pendulum swings….

          Let’s just all get on board…

        • james warren

          I disagree. I don’t think everyone CAN get on board.
          We sure need to be aware of it, though. Don’t you agree?

          Nonviolence is a good way of demonstrating that there are more ways of dealing with conflict besides giving in or fighting back.

          http://www.cnn.com/2014/02/22/us/tuff-survivor-gunman/index.html

        • adam

          “I disagree. I don’t think everyone CAN get on board.”

          You dont need everybody, you just need enough.

          “Nonviolence is a good way of demonstrating that there are more ways of dealing with conflict besides giving in or fighting back.”

          6 million Jews are probably NOT going to disagree with you.

        • james warren

          Read my post again carefully. I did NOT say about the souls in the camps mounted any organized nonviolent efforts.
          If I am wrong about this [and I am always admit that I AM wrong–most of the time] then I would like to see your information.

          The Holocaust Museum in Washington had an exhibit that talked about Jewish and non-Jewish resistance in World War II and also said [I think] that many, many people organized nonviolent protests against the camps themselves, but I myself looking online saw no confirming figures as to who and how many showed their opposition.

          I was talking about the nonviolent actions that forced Adolph Eichmann to admit that the implementation of Hitler’s “Final Solution” in Denmark was a total failure because of nonviolent resistance.

          Nonviolence saved thousands of Jews during the last war and it did so every time it was tried.

        • adam

          “Nonviolence saved thousands of Jews during the last war and it did so every time it was tried.”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/3a2984cf4b45d492ea31da9c40a99aa5808c8a92c35b95adb415ba88cefbce0b.jpg

          Millions were herded into death being nonviolent by Eichmann and the Nazis.

          “I was talking about the nonviolent actions that forced Adolph Eichmann to admit that the implementation of Hitler’s “Final Solution” in Denmark was a total failure because of nonviolent resistance.”

          Again, 6 million Jews are probably NOT going to disagree with you.
          Because they were mass murdered by Nazis

        • james warren

          I am a student and practitioner of nonviolence. I know from history it worked.

          –Thousands of Jews were “converted” to Christianity by Protestant bishops and pastors.

          –In the 1930s in Germany there were a series of small and usually isolated groups that used nonviolent techniques against the Nazis. These groups included the famous White Rose group and the Confessional Church.

          –During World War II, after the invasion of the Wehrmacht, the Danish government adopted a policy of official co-operation (and unofficial obstruction) which they called “negotiation under protest.” Embraced by many Danes, the unofficial resistance included slow production, emphatic celebration of Danish culture and history, and bureaucratic quagmires.

          –During World War II, with the leadership of two pacifist local ministers André Trocmé and Edouard Theis, the citizens of the village of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon (and of the neighbouring areas) risked their lives to hide Jews who were being rounded up by the Nazis and the collaborationist Vichy regime and sent to the death camps. This was done in open defiance of the Vichy government’s orders. It is estimated that the people of the area of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon saved between 3,000-5,000 Jews from certain death. A small garden and plaque on the grounds of the Yad Vashem memorial to the Holocaust in Israel was dedicated to the people of le Chambon-sur-Lignon.

          –Norwegian civil disobedience included preventing the Nazification of Norway’s educational system, distributing of illegal newspapers, and maintaining social distance (an “ice front”) from the German soldiers.

          –War criminal Adolph Eichmann admitted during his trial that the “Final Solution” was a total failure in Denmark.

          –Bulgaria’s Orthodox Bishop Kiril told Nazi authorities that if they attempted to deport Bulgarian Jews to concentration camps, he himself would lead a campaign of civil disobedience, lying down on the railroad tracks in front of the trains. Thousands of Bulgarians, Jews and non-Jews, resisted all collaboration with the Nazis. It is thought, that because of these and other non-military measures, all of Bulgaria’s Jewish citizens were saved from the death camps. Non-violent resistance made a difference and it worked. Perhaps if there had been more pockets of peacemakers, and they could have joined efforts, the outcome might have been different.

          –One night there was a Frenchman named Andre Trocmé of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon, France. He answered a knock at his the door and there stood a hungry, cold woman–a Jewish refugee fleeing the Nazis.

          A simple act of kindness became a beacon of hope for thousands of people fleeing the Vichy government, conspirators with the Nazi regime. 5000 refugees were saved – housed in private homes, on farms and in public institutions.

          They hid in the countryside whenever the Nazis came through. One of the villagers later recalled: As soon as the soldiers left, we would go into the forest and sing a song. When they heard the song, the Jews knew it was safe to come home. The locals welcomed and sheltered them, educated their children. Some even arranged for many to escape to safety in Switzerland or Spain via a well-organized underground network.

          History shows Jews were smuggled out of occupied countries often under the protection of everyday civilian citizens.

          German wives demonstrated in front of a famous Nazi prison in Berlin and successfully got all their imprisoned husbands released.

          THESE ARE JUST A FEW OF THE MANY EXAMPLES I CUT AND PASTED FROM THE INTERNET.

          They are true facts.
          They are real events that actually happened.
          They are based on historical reports.
          They are EVIDENCE of my claim.
          They actually happened.

          I say it is bullshit to be ignorant of history.
          Convenient maybe.
          But not wise.

        • adam

          “War criminal Adolph Eichmann admitted during his trial that the “Final Solution” was a total failure in Denmark.”

          Yes, we understand that 6 million Jews mass murdered was a total failure of the “Final Solution”

        • james warren

          You seem to be refusing to understand that organized non-violent action worked when used against the Nazis.
          As far as I have been able to find out, I don’t know anything about non-violence undertaken in the camps. It makes sense to me that living in a closed concentration camp would make nonviolence ineffective from the start.

          “…But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also….”

          Greek word translated “resist” in Matt. 5:39 is antistenai, meaning literally to stand (stenai) against (anti). Jesus is not telling us to submit to evil, but to refuse to oppose it on its own terms.

          We are not to let the opponent dictate the methods of our opposition. He is urging us to transcend both passivity and violence by finding a “third way.” [one that is at once assertive and yet nonviolent].

          And “turning the other cheek” has nothing to do with being a passive doormat. That the statement specifically states “the RIGHT cheek” is no accident.

          According to the Jewish cultural context he left hand could be used only for unclean tasks. At Qumran, a Jewish religious community of Jesus’ day, to gesture with the left hand meant exclusion and penance for ten days.

          To grasp this you must physically try it: how would you hit the other’s right cheek with your right hand? If you have tried it, you will know: the only feasible blow is a back hand.

          The backhand was not a blow to injure, but to insult, humiliate, degrade. It was not administered to an
          equal, but to an inferior. Masters backhanded slaves; husbands, wives; parents, children; Romans, Jews. The
          whole point of the blow was to force someone who was out of line back into place.

          The anthropological reality of “an honor and shame culture means the “superior” has been rendered impotent to instill shame in a subordinate but by turning the other cheek, that superior automatically has been stripped of his power to dehumanize the other.

          The two are made equals and the inherent power imbalance is now gone.

          “I refuse to be humiliated.”

          “The first principle of nonviolent action is that of non-cooperation with everything humiliating.”
          –Gandhi

        • adam

          “I am a student and practitioner of nonviolence. I know from history it worked.”

          IF that were true, then why do you HAVE to lie about it?

          “”Nonviolence saved thousands of Jews during the last war and it did so every time it was tried.””

        • james warren

          I have elsewhere offered just a few examples of my claims about nonviolent resistance against the Nazis.
          Because the Nazis wiped out 6 million Jews does not make the history of organized non-violence nil.

          Indicating that actual history is “bullshit” is a worthless and last-ditch effort to try and burnish your pride.

          You are not correct regarding the evidence, I believe. But what is worse is that you actively want to be ignorant of it.

          Sounds like a Trump supporter. Instead of facts and historical evidence, you seem to operate from a deep chasm of irrational emotion and cruelty.

        • adam

          “I have elsewhere offered just a few examples of my claims about nonviolent resistance against the Nazis.”

          1. Unsupported unannotated unreferenced unreliable
          2. You’ve already displayed dishonesty – see one
          3. You’ve offer exactly ZERO evidence to support the claim you made.

          “Because the Nazis wiped out 6 million Jews does not make the history of organized non-violence nil.”

          But that is not your claim.
          So you try and deceive even more.

          “Indicating that actual history is “bullshit” ”

          I indicated no such thing

          See how you have lie more and more to cover the lies you lied about already? All this while trying to demonstrate how your ‘christianity’ defeated Nazi christianity by Nazi christianity not being able to kill ALL the Jews ONLY 6 million. And you claim this is a christian success story?

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/15ca0861e39343c39684a19ac9ceddd9534f334c6757b32dc5e2772146b00297.jpg

          “I believe”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/45073611cfd4bd5480072c507bfcee971898f02d6e1d0170379f0196bc377da1.jpg

        • adam
        • james warren

          I agree.

          But It also sounds like you may be trying to discount successful non-violent action.

          Did you mean it that way?

          The horror of six million dead does not prove nonviolence is not effective. It has to be organized and focused. And it is not for sissies.
          The weakness of the sword is just as visible today as it was from Jesus and the Jewish prophets of the Bible.

          I myself used it effectively in confronting a gang of drunken bikers who were setting off bombs in the woods behind our house.

          In 1989-90 over a dozen nations underwent nonviolent regime change that was successful in every country but Red China.

        • adam

          “But It also sounds like you may be trying to discount successful non-violent action.

          Did you mean it that way?”

          It should sound more like – it’s stupid to depend on IMAGINARY Gods.

          “The horror of six million dead does not prove nonviolence is not effective. ”

          If they were nonviolent it certainly does.

        • adam

          “I happen to be one of those people who see no reason to tear down statues of Confederate soldiers.”

          What other country deifies traitors to it’s own country.

          “It’s all about history for me–certainly not racism.”

          Then why deify racists traitors?

        • james warren

          Having historical statues and deifying trators are two different things.

        • adam

          Not in this case, these are traitors who got deified.

          This is merely AN ACT OF TERRORISM, against the very people they lost a war over.

        • james warren

          War is the terrorism of the well-to-do and terrorism is the war of the poor.

        • Kodie

          Some more of your patented pseudo-deep blithering.

        • james warren

          You seem intent on name-calling and immature put downs. I don’t accept that as part of an adult dialogue.

          I would like it if you could fully feel your emotions, give them a name and express them with decency and respect.

          When GOP congressman Joe Wilson shouted out “YOU LIE!” to interrupt Obama’s State of the Union address, he later was forced into an apology by the press and said “I guess I let my emotions get the better of me.”

          Exactly.

        • Kodie

          When you talk, you just sound like you think you are saying something, but you’re not.

          I am being forthright, honest, without emotion. I don’t care what you would like.

        • james warren

          In other words you are unable to know what I am saying.

          I am, however, puzzled that a human being would declare they have no emotion.

          😉

        • Kodie

          I declared that I did not have an emotional response to your posts, as you accused me of having an emotional response to your post. You are frightened of honesty.

        • james warren

          That’s correct. Sometimes I am very frightened of honesty–from others and within myself.

          Like the child I once was, I feel physically and mentally uncomfortable before I tell certain truths to people–especially to those I love. And a moment can seem like an hour after someone says to me “May I be honest with you?”
          Fear is a powerful emotion, and when I was in my 20s and 30s I often felt that being emotionally honest with a woman would result in my being disrespected, taken advantage of or dumped. That is definitely coming from a place of fear.

          Now that I am older I have recognized that too much of the time we have all unknowingly created a culture that punishes people for honesty.

          One more thing: The net result of fearing honesty is that we become dishonest with ourselves. We drink the Kool-aid, so to speak.

          We know that no investment returns 15% year, even in bad years, but we continue to give our money to the Bernie Madoffs of the world, hoping. We tell our spouses that the relationship is strong because we can’t bare to tell them the truth. Instead of being direct, we step out on them.

          We know we need to change, but not as much as the next guy.

          I’m just glad I am finally beyond that now. I often do a fearless and searching moral inventory of myself. That certainly keeps me more humble and less arrogant.

          Jesus said in the New Testament that we should pay attention to the giant logs in our own eye before we deem to point out the tiny speck of sawdust in our neighbor’s. This is a good example of pop psychology from 2,000 years ago.

          What are the logs in my own eye? Besides my racism, hypocrisy and muddle-headedness there is plenty of time for me to make an exhaustive list at the drop of a hat.

        • james warren

          When Lee surrendered to Grant, he handed his sword over to the Union general.

          Grant said to Lee “You have been a noble foe, General. Keep your sword.”

        • Kodie

          The statue just says, hey, I’m a great guy, I’m one of your heroes. Real history says he’s not. Books keep history, statues glorify important figures.

        • james warren

          A statue actually says nothing. Humans have to concoct a meaning for it and some humans believe that meaning has to be affirmed by everyone else.

        • adam

          And racial terrorism is the terrorism of racists.

        • Kodie

          Having statues erected for a long time doesn’t make them “historical”. We generally make statues of important people to our country. That would be like if they erected a statue to Hitler in the 1940s in the US, and you’re like, well, it’s historical so keep it. Confederates were against the United States of America, and classifies them as traitors, an making/keeping statues or flags about the CSA is like saying you wish you lived in another country, not the US.

          Make the CSA great again, get out, make your own fucking country. That’s what these statues signify. They were not Americans. They were seceding from the US to form another fucking country entirely. That’s being a traitor. I mean, it’s history that that happened, but glorifying symbols and heroes of the CSA is traitorous and not American.

        • Greg G.

          They claimed they were seceding for states rights. But the only state right they ever mentioned was the right to own slaves.

        • james warren

          Storm the parks, vandalize the museums, burn those textbooks….
          Sounds familiar to me.

        • Kodie

          So, once someone decides to erect a statue, it has to be there forever, even if it’s to celebrate something or someone we think is terrible…. everything has to stay the same forever. We can’t change our minds ever if a statue that ought never have been erected should be where it is anymore, ever. We can never come to our senses about whatever is considered “traditional” or “historical” by anyone else. I mean, there are no confederate statues on my street. There is a park at the end of the block with no statues about Robert E. Lee there. Should we start making sure we have historical statues of Robert E. Lee in every park? If we can’t take the ones that were put up down because you’ll cry, shouldn’t we start making sure every neighborhood has a statue of Robert E. Lee? What is the difference in a statue taken down and one that was never there in the first place? Aren’t we whitewashing and revising history if we don’t put up more statues to make sure everyone knows who Robert E. Lee was?

        • james warren

          I did not say statues should be where they are forever.
          And I did not say that everything has to stay the same forever.
          Or, that we cannot come to our senses.
          And as for making sure we have Robert E. Lee statues in every park that too is not even close to what I was saying.

          All of your statements are unfounded. You have quickly assumed something and spent your time accusing me of things you have invented.

          Like I said before, fully feel your emotions, give them a name and simply express them honestly and respectfully.

          Sarcasm is always a “cover emotion” for anger.

        • Kodie

          You did say it’s historical, and I don’t understand the difference in taking down statues of traitors and not erecting them in the first place.

        • Michael Neville

          Sarcasm is always a “cover emotion” for anger.

          Not always. Sometimes sarcasm is used to get people’s attention. It’s considered nicer than saying, “You’re a fucking idiot for believing that bullshit.”

        • james warren

          Sarcasm is far from “nice.” It is a scornful dig that tries to disguise itself as reasonable language. It can do untold damage used with children and–if not challenged–can lead to feelings of confusion and pain in adults.

          It’s hostility disguised as humor. It is intended to hurt.

        • Michael Neville

          I didn’t say sarcasm was nice, I said it’s nicer than using foul language.

        • james warren

          Got it. Thanks for clarifying.

        • james warren

          Nothing prevents us from affixing a new plaque on the monuments that put the statue into historical context.

        • Kodie

          What is your emotional obsession with retaining these statues in place?

        • james warren

          It’s not emotional. And it certainly is not an obsession. It is my opinion. I think every human behavior has good intentions behind it. Those who want to want to tear them down and those who don’t.

          We all have good intentions, but we seldom consider the possible EFFECTS of those “good intentions.” That takes a lot of effort and it may mean we have to broaden our outlook a little.

        • adam

          ” I think every human behavior has good intentions behind it.”

          ” The “Final Solution of the Jewish Question” was the Nazi code name for the plan to murder all Jews within reach, and was not limited to the European continent.[1] This policy of deliberate and systematic genocide starting across German-occupied Europe was formulated in procedural and geo-political terms by Nazi leadership in January 1942 at the Wannsee Conference near Berlin,[2] and culminated in the Holocaust which saw the killing of 90 percent of Jewish Poles,[3] and two-thirds of the Jewish population of Europe.[4]”
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Final_Solution

          Good for you……..

        • james warren

          I often use Nazi war criminal Adolph Eichmann’s words during his trial as an example of how organized, nonviolent resistance worked every time it was tried against the Nazis in World War II.

          He was forced to admit that in Denmark Hitler’s “Final Solution” was a total failure.

        • adam

          ” I think every human behavior has good intentions behind it.”

        • adam

          “I often use Nazi war criminal Adolph Eichmann’s words during his trial as an example of how organized, nonviolent resistance worked every time it was tried against the Nazis in World War II.”

          For some reason, I really believe you do.

          “He was forced to admit that in Denmark Hitler’s “Final Solution” was a total failure.”

          Yeah, they were totally unable to mass murder every single Jew.

          “This policy of deliberate and systematic genocide starting across German-occupied Europe was formulated in procedural and geo-political terms by Nazi leadership in January 1942 at the Wannsee Conference near Berlin,[2] and culminated in the Holocaust which saw the killing of 90 percent of Jewish Poles,[3] and two-thirds of the Jewish population of Europe.[4]” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Final_Solution

          Total FAILURE………

          But thanks for making your point.

        • adam

          “I often use Nazi war criminal Adolph Eichmann’s words during his trial as an example of how organized, nonviolent resistance
          worked every time it was tried against the Nazis in World War II.”

          Eichmann said towards the end of the war that he would “leap laughing into the grave because the feeling that he had five million people on his conscience would be for him a source of extraordinary satisfaction.”[1]

          “Long live Germany. Long live Argentina. Long live Austria. These are the three countries with which I have been most connected and which I will not forget. I greet my wife, my family and my friends. I am ready. We’ll meet again soon, as is the fate of all men.

          I die believing in God“.[190]

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adolf_Eichmann

        • al kimeea

          We have a similar discussion in Halifax aboot Cornwallis. He committed atrocities (also germ warfare?) while, in service of Empire and The Amorphous Blob, founding the city. A plaque reflecting that would work for me. but if they come down? Meh. Long after the statues of Stalin started falling, I read a book about him. I have a book on the US Civil War full of Brady photos and have played dozens of the battles on topographical maps. What a meat grinder.

          So, how about a plaque for Jeff Davis:

          Here is the face of racism and all that is the worst of us. A person who turned brother against brother in a traitorous act of sedition for the bigoted notion of the Amorphous Blob given right to own other people based on how little pigment your skin might have. This heinous act divided our nation and left a deep rift that may never heal. For this, his principles must be reviled.

        • james warren

          Sounds a bit like a rant instead of a dispassionate lesson in history.
          What makes good people act the way they do?
          What makes good people want to crucify others?
          What are the underlying good intentions behind every human behavior?

          A dentist told his patient that “I see a little plaque on your teeth.”
          “Oh really?” said the patient. “What does it say?”

        • Greg G.

          A dentist told his patient that “I see a little plaque on your teeth.”
          “Oh really?” said the patient. “What does it say?”

          I hope I remember that when I take my wife to the dentist next week.

        • adam

          “Here is the face of racism and all that is the worst of us. A person who
          turned brother against brother in a traitorous act of sedition for the
          bigoted notion of the Amorphous Blob given right to own other people
          based on how little pigment your skin might have. This heinous act
          divided our nation and left a deep rift that may never heal. For this,
          his principles must be reviled.”

          Seems proper historical context.

        • adam

          Being up on a pedistal or at the seat of government prevents putting these kinds of statues in to proper historical context.

        • james warren

          You may be too young, but years ago there was a PBS documentary by the filmmaker Ken Burns called “The Civil War.” Burns is an American treasure and a great historian.

          We have it on Netflix but I remember seeing it years ago on television.

          I would recommend it to anyone. There is a notable Civil War historian featured in the series named Shelby Foote. He knows his history and has an in-depth knowledge of those times.

        • Michael Neville

          What does Burns’ documentary or Shelby Foote (whose Civil War trilogy is about five feet from where I’m sitting now) have to do with statues of Robert E. Lee?

        • james warren

          To me it demonstrates we are racists and have supported a racist nation. And [which is important to me] that the series shows the depth of our ignorance of our own hearts and of the hearts of our enemies.

          It would be a good thing if we could divide the evil people over there from the good people over there. And then all we need to do is destroy those evil ones and the world would be a better place. But the line between good and evil actually runs down the center of every human heart. Personally, I am unwilling to destroy half of my own.

          As long as racism and violence are seen as redemptive, we Americans will continue to be unable or unwilling to be accountable for our own anger and racism.

        • Kodie

          If you’re actually paying attention, I already referred to this fucking miniseries as an example of a way for people to learn about the Civil War and why we don’t need to keep statues of your confederate heroes. Obviously, you just think about yourself and whatever you want to say, and how to combat people who think you are a blowhard.

        • james warren

          You said the series was a few feet from you as you wrote your post. It sounded like your mind was made up. I took no information from you that you were interested in other ideas or collaborative problem-solving.

          I try not use a metaphor such as “combat people.” We have plenty of war metaphors we use every day as it is.

          At one end of the line I confront people. At the other I share information.
          And sometimes I do both.

          I think of those skills when I confronted a gang of drunken bikers who were setting off bombs in the woods behind our house. Proof to me that nonviolence is a valid option for conflict.

        • Kodie

          I never said that the series was a few feet from me. I refered to it in one post saying nobody suggested burning books, you Hitler, basically, you screeched about that one, and then you brought it up as though you were teaching me something that I didn’t know and suggested I watch it. History is history, nobody is against learning what happened. You are the one in favor of celebrating the losers and the traitors and the white supremacists because if we don’t, you think we’ll lose perspective or something, and the children won’t know how great white people used to be in this country.

          Pay attention, bucko.

        • james warren

          Let me make one thing clear: celebrating and attempting to understand are two different things.

          I apologize for confusing you. Sometimes I think I must be brain-damaged. Awhile ago my wife sent me to the store to pick up some tomatoes. I brought back POTATOES instead!

        • adam
        • james warren

          Authoritarian rule succeeds because the historical narratives of the past are changed. People forget, the present rule is made to seem “normal” and–more importantly–the people lose their way.

        • adam

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/86effa5e2bc761ae95f687bf44f1632c13ebd40a54b07502d779f242a887cc3e.jpg

          Authoritarian rule is what racism was all about.

          But people didnt forget about Luther, they remembered him when they needed a scapegoat to blame the problems on.

          Some minority that they could create an enemy out of to create a cause against.
          What better one than one sent by God Almighty?

        • james warren

          It’s helpful to realize the authoritarianism in every movement and–more importantly–to be accountable for the authoritarianism in ourselves.

          Luther was an anti-Semitic as well. Christians tend to view Paul through Luther’s lens. And it is a distortion.

          And we all find scapegoats. At least I do. I am slow to be aware of my good intentions and the less-than-good EFFECTS of my “good” intentions.

          “It’s THEIR fault we had a disagreement or it’s not MY fault this happened: they MADE me react that way!”

          God is known by many different metaphors in the Bible. The Bible is a human product and was often used by
          many biblical authors as an excuse to punish their real-life enemies.

          But there is a definitely different tradition of the God of Israel that runs through the entire Bible.

          It is the God of mercy, justice and grace. And salvation means personal transformation in THIS life.

          It has been extremely helpful for me to find out what a particular biblical verse meant to the original authors and listeners/readers. Only then can I draw a lesson that will be useful for the present age. Much of the language of supernatural theism of Christians today is useless. The words have been misunderstood and so the church has been left to misunderstand what the Bible actually says.

          Jesus did not die to save humankind for sin and he never claimed to be divine. His God was a God of mercy who demanded self-forgiveness before we can forgive others. He did not believe in a human sacrifice for sin. His God wanted repentance and a contrite heart.

          Jesus, please protect me from your followers….

        • adam

          “But there is a definitely different tradition of the God of Israel that runs through the entire Bible.It is the God of mercy, justice and grace.”

          but justice is the suspension of grace, and grace is the suspension of justice.

          So this is just more mental (religio) masturbation.

          “It has been extremely helpful for me to find out what a particular biblical verse meant to the original authors and listeners/readers.”

          You have absolutely no way of knowing without the original authors and listeners/readers, SO….

          So this is just more mental (religio) masturbation.

          ” Only then can I draw a lesson that will be useful for the present age. ”

          AGAIN, no way for you to know, So this is just more mental (religio) masturbation.

          You create the same problem that everyone does trying to fit old mythology into new culture:

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c8d01ed1b9f53173e882c769fa69e63c3584d87fd6bca730bcd98beca9e5c76c.jpg

          ” His God was a God of mercy who demanded self-forgiveness before we can forgive others. ”

          but his God was NOT a God of mercy:

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/25868c89df190f1a1b0c4fea7ddc7591c0d18461fcd81749e02a9ccebceaab91.jpg

          ” His God wanted repentance and a contrite heart.”

          Nope, he wanted to kill children and harden heart:
          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/2cc44055c5339231f0c74be689bfcd26b4a683baa74097f02aaa9746f70099e4.jpg

          You should really read your bible:

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/bbce14a42148cb7935b08d9c8ed885e034ab959153a97ca0c1e9bfd3a95ee7bb.jpg

        • james warren

          To careful readers of the Bible, it is a complex blend of remembered history, oral tradition, legends, metaphors, different theologies and traditions, etc.

          There is a historical method and every good scholar–in my view–is up front about her/his methodology and draws conclusions based on evidence. Out in the open for peer and public review.

          I suppose it is an interesting comment to devalue thinking or opinions of others as “mental masturbation.” To me that expresses a real “love” of learning! 😉

        • Greg G.

          I read the Bible carefully but I don’t see a lot of remembered history which makes the oral traditions more like fairy tales.

          The Old Testament is based on historical records of other cultures that are invented as a history for the Israelites to distinguish themselves from Canaanites who are the people they came from. The New Testament comes from a misreading of the Old Testament and taking it too literally.

        • james warren

          Christians and others need to realize that Bible Study is actually “studying the Bible.” And most people read it through the lens of supernatural theism.

        • Greg G.

          Right. When I was a Christian, I was taught to read it for inspiration. Nobody ever really said to read it for comprehension.

        • adam

          All you need to comprehend is that WHATEVER you do (yes, eating the dead bodies of raped babies, is all forgivable), minus blasphemy of the Holy Ghost, is forgivable by believing in Jesus.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b5bd9e1b970416b43f0dcdebb0f07063c20e5d84ef8599c0c9c2974e19ae8954.png

        • adam

          “Christians and others need to realize that Bible Study is actually “studying the Bible.””

          Oh, but it is not.

          Bible Study is about relating the Bible to your life.
          Most people dont actually want to ‘study’ the bible…..

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/784d8199f09dff075b2d3ecc7333f0de5901857775bf803c837cc5f630ff0a3e.jpg

        • james warren

          Relating things to our lives is normal.

        • adam
        • james warren

          The Bible clearly states that what we call “gay sex” is an “abomination.”
          It also clearly states that eating shellfish is also an “abomination.”

          How do I apply that today?

          Simply by saying that Christians should not go to Red Lobster after attending Sunday services.

        • Greg G.

          My wife wanted to go to Red Lobster for lunch on a Sunday once. It happened to be during Lent.

        • james warren

          God’s wrath mysteriously missed you two in the parking lot.

        • adam

          “Relating things to our lives is normal.”

          The Bible clearly states that slavery is OK,

          The Bible clearly state that a serpent spoke, as well as a donkey, btw.

          “Relating things to our lives is normal.”

          Relating FANTASY to our lives can be very dangerous both to individuals and society.

        • james warren

          I should have been more honest. It might be more helpful to you if I had posted “relating things to MY life is normal.”
          Seriously, thanks for the heads up!

        • adam
        • james warren

          Both read the Bible day & night,
          But thou readst black where I read white.

          –The mystic poet William Blake “The Everlasting Gospel.”

        • adam

          “I suppose it is an interesting comment to devalue thinking or opinions of others as “mental masturbation.””

          Certainly when it is due.

          “But there is a definitely different tradition of the God of Israel that runs through the entire Bible.It is the God of mercy, justice and grace.”

          but justice is the suspension of grace, and grace is the suspension of justice, so to PRETEND differently is mental masturbation.

          “It has been extremely helpful for me to find out what a particular
          biblical verse meant to the original authors and listeners/readers.”

          You have absolutely no way of knowing without the original authors and listeners/readers, SO….

          So this is just more mental (religio) masturbation.

          ” Only then can I draw a lesson that will be useful for the present age. ”

          AGAIN, no way for you to know, So this is just more mental (religio) masturbation.

          You create the same problem that everyone does trying to fit old mythology into new culture:

          If you dont want it called out as mental masturbation, quit masturbating mentally.

          “To careful readers of the Bible”

          If you have to do all the mental gymnastics above to PRETEND to understand the Bible, then you are not a careful reader.

        • james warren

          The Bible is not “the Word of God.” Or even the “words” of God. They are words written down by human beings who were concerned about themselves as a people.

          The Jews were conquered and exiled and killed. They knew full well that life was brutish and short.
          In biblical terms God dispensers real justice by grace. If we are talking about rules or conditions, we are obviously talking about something, but we are certainly not talking about grace.

          “The Father makes his sun to shine on both the evil and the good, and sends his rain to fall on the righteous and the unrighteous alike.”

          The God of Jesus is a God of justice and compassion. The God of Jesus [and other parts of the Bible] is full of compassion and passionate about justice. God’s passion for justice flows out of the very character of God. God cares about suffering, and the single greatest source of unnecessary human misery is unjust and oppressive cultural systems.

          These systems range from a few that have been relatively benign and humane to more that have been “demonically” destructive, with many in the middle range of mildly to severely oppressive. The God about whom these voices speak wills human well-being and rages against all humanly constructed systems that inflict unnecessary wounds. They speak about God’s passion for life on earth – for the dream of God in the world of the everyday.

          For Christians, Jesus is seen as the decisive disclosure of God in human form.

          Jesus said next to nothing about Heaven. It was in good shape and could take care of itself. He taught the Kingdom of God ON EARTH in parables. The Kingdom of God phrase brings home the question as to what the world would be like if the Jewish God sat on the throne instead of Caesar.

          The majority of the words of the pre-Easter Jesus were concerned with social inequality and poverty. The Roman world was engaged in massive commercialization that forced the peasant population off their family farms or their sharecropping.

          Mark was the first gospel written and Jesus is made to say “Blessed are the poor.” Matthew had a copy of Mark in front of him when he wrote his gospel. Both Luke and Matthew follow Mark’s order of events but change them according to their own agendas.

          When Matthew writes down the saying, his Jesus says “Blessed are the poor IN SPIRIT.” The tradition of Jesus was changing. Matthew’s community might have felt overwhelmed by blessing all the beggars and homeless.

          On more thing. Reading Christian history has taught me that the names of the gospel authors are unknown. Bishops and church fathers affixed “holy” names to the accounts to make them more authoritative.

          Scholars who study texts can usually determine if a certain writer’s style coheres with his other writings. This is exactly how researchers found out that less than half of Paul’s letters are actual forgeries.

          Once you become familiar with the themes, theology and the agenda of a certain biblical author it becomes easy to deal with the commonalities and differences.

          It was only after the Unabomber published his “manifesto” in public that his own brother recognized the fact that it was written by his own brother.

          Hopefully I have never claimed to “understand” the Bible. But I have read old and new biblical scholarship fairly extensively. I have learned a lot but I would never say I have perfectly learned anything.

          When I buy another researcher’s book, I tend to go though it like a bag of sour cream potato chips. Then I slowly re-read it for the larger themes. And I am always going back to my library to re-read.

        • Greg G.

          Mark was the first gospel written and Jesus is made to say “Blessed are the poor.” Matthew had a copy of Mark in front of him when he wrote his gospel. Both Luke and Matthew follow Mark’s order of events but change them according to their own agendas.

          When Matthew writes down the saying, his Jesus says “Blessed are the poor IN SPIRIT.” The tradition of Jesus was changing. Matthew’s community might have felt overwhelmed by blessing all the beggars and homeless.

          Mark doesn’t have “blessed are the poor.” Matthew probably got it from:

          Psalm 34:18 (NRSV)
          18 The Lord is near to the brokenhearted,    and saves the crushed in spirit.

          Luke then dropped the “in spirit”

        • james warren

          You’re correct. That’s Luke. Being tenderhearted and compassionate.

        • Greg G.

          Randel Helms, a scholar, and Bernard Iforgothislastname both argue that Luke was a woman. Both give about a dozen reasons with only one point of overlap.

          Helms argues that Luke was a well-to-do widow who lost a child.

          Luke liked to pair an example with a male with another example with a female and did thevsame with Jews and Gentiles.

        • james warren

          Was it “Gospel Fictions”?

          That was one of the first books I bought on biblical scholarship–probably four decades ago. I remember first learning about the anti-imperial language he traced out in Luke.

          I still have it.

          Since Caesar was declared Lord, Son of God, Redeemer and Savior of the World [carved into buildings & temples and stamped on the coins], by saying “Jesus is Lord” you were saying “Jesus is divine and Caesar AIN’T !”

          High treason.

        • Greg G.

          Was it “Gospel Fictions”?

          Who Wrote the Gospels?

        • adam

          ” They are words written down by human beings who were concerned about themselves as a people.”

          Doubtful, it is highly more accurate to say it was written down by human beings who were concerned bout POWER over other human beings.

        • james warren

          “Everybody wants to rule the world.”
          –Tears for Fears

        • adam
        • james warren

          “You cannot both love God and be enslaved to a bank account.”
          Jesus according to the Scholar’s Translation.

        • adam

          “”You cannot both love God and be enslaved to a bank account.””

          But you can beat those you have enslaved.
          According to Jesus himself.

        • james warren

          You like Joseph Campbell?

          The old anti-Semite could not have said it better:

          Half the people in the world think that the metaphors of their religious traditions, for example, are facts. And the other half contends that they are not facts at all. As a result we have people who consider themselves believers because they accept metaphors as facts, and we have others who classify themselves as atheists because they think religious metaphors are lies.

          How, in the contemporary period, can we evoke the imagery that communicates the most profound and most richly developed sense of experiencing life? These images must point past themselves to that ultimate truth which must be told: that life does not have any one absolutely fixed meaning…

          If we give that mystery an exact meaning we diminish the experience of its real depth. But when a poet carries the mind into a context of meanings and then pitches it past those, one knows that marvelous rapture that comes from going past all categories of definition. Here we sense the function of metaphor that allows us to make a journey we could not otherwise make, past all categories of definition.

        • adam

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/2abb0a4193d36cd9cf6427f05a662a3bf40529abcbe85637e7584c390ed8529c.jpg “As a result we have people who consider themselves believers because
          they accept metaphors as facts, and we have others who classify
          themselves as atheists because they think religious metaphors are lies.”

          No, because atheist RECOGNIZE that the metaphors are METAPHORS and nothing more.

          “How, in the contemporary period, can we evoke the imagery that
          communicates the most profound and most richly developed sense of
          experiencing life? ”

          By created appropriate mythology and metaphors for THIS culture.

          “These images must point past themselves to that ultimate truth which
          must be told: that life does not have any one absolutely fixed
          meaning…”

          Correct, each instills and develops their own meaning.

          Trying to shoe horn a Satan or talking serpent into THIS culture is more damaging than not.

          “If we give that mystery an exact meaning we diminish the experience of its real depth. ”
          “Here we sense the function of metaphor that allows us to make a journey
          we could not otherwise make, past all categories of definition. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/34808a1d1a0e1ec0f9b81c38fc59a273c733cd092d56545d7a16541aab6c3a67.jpg

          No we dont, that is the error people make by trying to shoe horn religion into places it no longer fits:

          but the larger danger is in trying to shoe horn in apocalyptic self destructive metaphors into a society capable of fulfilling them:

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/cdf1945c329723ddbb7c03a5aa7c5a3ef1bae3c5f93caabe7aed79f438227c78.jpg

        • Michael Neville

          but the larger danger is in trying to shoe horn in apocalyptic self destructive metaphors into a society capable of fulfilling them:

          This is probably my greatest fear of the Dominionists seizing power in the US. They would bring on a nuclear war to hurry on the Apocalypse and think that was a good thing.

        • Greg G.

          I don’t think it is smart to try to force an imaginary being to become real in order to save the world form itself.

        • adam

          “They would bring on a nuclear war to hurry on the Apocalypse and think that was a good thing.”

          Well of course, the ONLY WAY Jesus is going to show up is IF billions of people are killed and the planet lit on fire.

          This is the ULTIMATE DREAM of christianity.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e389054ce6c972f909aee2e1015b3f98cdad7f4e59ed68593237da544ca0616c.jpg

        • james warren

          We should be cognizant of any book that reveals a diversity of human thinking, different theologies, contradictory traditions and other discrepancies germane to human thought and behavior.

        • adam

          “We should be cognizant of any book”

          Whose God condones the ownership of other human beings and whose basis is rooted in fear-mongering.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c656ca44fa9b468da744fa45cf86dbf02ac0cf478925c38a10e348f4d98c8718.jpg

        • james warren

          Seeing the Bible as a monolithic book written by God is a mistake. It was written and edited by real human beings.

          To be bunt, we do not possess any of the original books of the text–including those in the New Testament.

          We have plenty of translations and copies and the oldest text we have is a tiny fragment of the Gospel of John that dates from the second century CE.

          If you cannot comment on a copy of a copy of a copy, you may have nothing left to comment ON.

        • adam

          “Seeing the Bible as a monolithic book written by God is a mistake. It was written and edited by real human beings.”

          About what?

          God

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/7786df5050a13684367f90eb753b953b17c746ef048fe8e05b1f3a989a977fd3.jpg

        • james warren

          Much of Christianity is obsessed by a death wish, in my opinion.

        • Michael Neville

          I agree. Also much of Christianity is obsessed with a fear of death, eased by promises of an afterlife. However the threat of Hell raises its own fears.

        • james warren

          The Salvation theology of Christianity is a rues. Jesus, like most Jews, saw salvation as transformation in THIS life.

          The theology of a blood sacrifice for sin was finally worked out by Christian theologian Anselm of Canterbury some 900 years after the crucifixion.

        • james warren

          It’s when logical or lyrical minds mock and undervalue each other’s way of thinking that saddens me.

        • adam

          “It’s when logical or lyrical minds mock and undervalue each other’s way of thinking that saddens me.”

          What’s really sad is those who take out of date metaphors as applicable to modern society, then use those metaphors to direct belief in fantasy and IMAGINARY character instead of the finest wonderments of REALITY.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/06e5cbc11c0b5e348b2f3f1cc50a68e15b60d8ebc251479c2a18bd5f8bc97478.jpg

        • james warren

          But wait! What do you think of Joseph Campbell and his words that I provided?

          Makes me feel smart! He and I agree totally. I have taught him well! And he might just teach you in turn! :)

        • adam

          Yes, Mr. Trump, your racists followers adore you….

          Go hold another rally for them so that you can see them clap for you.

        • james warren

          You are quite the pill. Often I see little difference between Trump’s crowds & supporters and your insults and rhetoric.

        • adam

          And I see little difference between Trumps dishonest blustering self-praise and yours.

        • Fred Knight

          “If we give that mystery an exact meaning we diminish the experience of
          its real depth. But when a poet carries the mind into a context of
          meanings and then pitches it past those, one knows that marvelous
          rapture that comes from going past all categories of definition. Here we
          sense the function of metaphor that allows us to make a journey we
          could not otherwise make, past all categories of definition.”
          sadly, you are not speaking modern atheist movement language….they are otherwise intelligent folk, but they suddenly get ultra stupid on this point….as if you are speaking a foreign concept…..in fact, it is they who radically re-interpret “truth” to be hyper-literal and “scientific” language, even if it’s an invention of the modern age.

          I’m not even sure I agree with where you are going with all this, but I get your non-literal point, and it’s a good one.

        • james warren

          A closed mind-set like fundamentalists and most online atheists I have interacted with have made up their minds.
          They batten down the hatches to protect themselves from the global culture. So I can’t blame them for feeling under attack.

          I do maintain that their zeal is real and understandable. Until they will have to eventually have to confront their own contradictions.

          They see themselves as rational and logical. Even though it is not near enough to allow them to fall in love or kiss their grandchildren.

        • Fred Knight

          “So I can’t blame them for feeling under attack.”
          defensive, for sure…I actually don’t understand that.

          “I do maintain that their zeal is real and understandable. Until they will
          have to eventually have to confront their own contradictions.”
          imagine, if you will, the concept that you have risen above contradictions and only the other groups have them.

          “They see themselves as rational and logical. Even though it is not near enough to allow them to fall in love or kiss their grandchildren.”
          I am not religious in any sense, but I totally get your point….I’m trying to make sense of it all

        • Fred Knight

          “AGAIN, no way for you to know, So this is just more mental (religio) masturbation.”
          atheists never mentally masturbate! (I hope you’re not uptight on that issue!)

          “You create the same problem that everyone does trying to fit old mythology into new culture:”
          again, you are being hyper-literal without an actual point….”mythology” is not a bad word, it’s a good word….old and new alike…..it tells powerful moral messages in story telling language….what’s wrong with that?

        • adam

          “atheists never mentally masturbate! ”

          I cant speak for all atheist, because there is nothing in atheism concerning mental masturbation, but I do.

          I also recognize when I do.

          “”mythology” is not a bad word,”
          ” it’s a good word”
          It is just a word.

          “.it tells powerful moral messages in story telling language….what’s wrong with that?”

          Myths are written to, and in the language of the culture they are written to.

          As I have been clear.

          A myth for one culture – i.e. the myth of complete destruction of one’s ‘enemies’ while the one’s are ‘rescued’ MAGICALLY from planetary destruction, work fine for ignorant sheep herders with no power to destroy the planet.

          They are a cause for alarm when this is the goal of nuclear powered ‘believers’.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/cdf1945c329723ddbb7c03a5aa7c5a3ef1bae3c5f93caabe7aed79f438227c78.jpg

        • Fred Knight

          “Myths are written to, and in the language of the culture they are written to.

          As I have been clear.”
          It is my view that modern day literalist Christians are taking morality tales written in ancient mythical forms and have twisted them….this is not the whole of the matter, for sure – the bronze age sheep herders you allude to probably did hold to it more literally than liberal Christians of today would like to admit.

        • adam

          “the bronze age sheep herders you allude to probably did hold to it more
          literally than liberal Christians of today would like to admit.”

          I’m not all that concerned about ‘liberal Christians’ who dont believe in MAGIC, and view Jesus like a non-divine philosophers.

          It is those who herald Jesus’s so called “Second Coming” Armageddon.

        • Fred Knight

          that is a bit of a bogeyman, as even most true believers don’t fit into the category you are addressing…there is group-think stereotyping done on both sides. Atheists are not the immoral monsters, nor are the believers….if you don’t intend to paint all with the same brush, perhaps you should throw that in from time to time.

        • adam

          “the bronze age sheep herders you allude to probably did hold to it more
          literally than liberal Christians of today would like to admit.”

          And NO probably not, they were USED to story telling and understood what it really was about.

        • Fred Knight

          so, for you, the most important thing is whether it was literal or not? I care more about whether it was moral or not. morality tales tell a story, often punishing the bad, warning the wicked, affirming the good….which part of that is so heinous in your eyes?

        • adam

          ” I care more about whether it was moral or not.”

          Really? So OWNING people as SLAVES is MORAL?

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/60865103a336b5d68f96eb3254e706491af8f8a5dbd80dafef9edf2beab0319d.jpg

          Genocide is moral?

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/7bf2c5903bd31c63ade7c2254ddea26df3b1fa938214c6c4db160ffe36546367.jpg

          ” morality tales tell a story, often punishing the bad,”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c5445e273728092c84dc583a4e5d5b4272a1e62c42654b930aa001a7c5c86900.png

          “which part of that is so heinous in your eyes?”

          the real question is WHY is this not heinous in YOUR eyes?

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a18a3237d360e002dbdd901e4a3f5688a3463b7d939dbc595090ceadb5ae4faa.png

        • al kimeea

          Nice strawman on a slippery slope, sunshine. Nobody’s saying anything like that but you.

        • james warren

          At least I’m unique. People tell me something similar a lot of the time.

          I have been cursed with too much empathy for my own good and can always see and understand most sides of an issue. That quality has helped me immensely in my work life but sometimes it does get a little tiresome for others. For me as well!

        • Greg G.

          I see what you did there. You are using that psychology you linked to a while back.

        • james warren

          Hmmm… What’s that?
          If it WAS “psychology” I wasn’t aware of it. But a lot of how I communicate is pretty much engrained, I think.

          When my former wife and I found out we were going to have a baby, I took a crash course in communication because I was scared spitless of passing down my own family dysfunctions to the next generation! It felt strange at first because it was new but I guess now it is finally a part of me.

          My daughter is my greatest accomplishment. And now I have a four-month old grandson!

        • james warren

          A necessary part of actually obliterating history is to get rid of museums and textbooks. If you want to wipe historical memory from a population, we cannot ignore it unless we are not hypocritical and attack history from all fronts.
          The politically correct thing to do is to is hide racism by any means necessary. According to this view, we have to be willing to hide ALL expressions of racism.

        • adam

          “A necessary part of actually obliterating history is to get rid of museums and textbooks.”

          Who is trying to obliterate history?

          That is different than celebrating racists and taitors.

        • james warren

          A sizable group of students at Lebanon College in Pennsylvania are demonstrating against Lynch Memorial Hall–named after a former college president–and demanding the building be renamed. It’s the word “lynch” that bothers the students, much like being bothered by statues or confederate history.

          Out of sight, out of mind. Obliteration.

        • adam

          Yeah, so?

        • james warren

          It’s an interesting idea that a person would have no interest in talking about such a ridiculous happening like this. I guess I am just surprised at not hearing anything from YOU.

          Hint: you can, however, use “Yeah, so?” in response to any of my comments. And I understand. It’s perfectly okay.

        • adam

          “It’s an interesting idea that a person would have no interest in talking about such a ridiculous happening like this.”

          It’s ridiculous, what other interest should I have?

        • james warren

          I just find your response puzzling, that’s all.
          Or should I have said “Yeah, so?”

        • Michael Neville

          To put your mind at ease, the building was renamed the Clyde A. Lynch Memorial Hall, thus preserving recognition of the late President Lynch of Lebanon Valley College.

          All too often conservatives like you will complain about “political correctness” when people comment, debate or protest about things that you personally aren’t concerned with. You don’t care that some people might have an adverse reaction to the word “lynch” and therefore you whine when they do. Sorry, James, but your whining does not impress me.

        • james warren

          You are guessing. Blithely so. And you guess wrong.

          I am a tree-huggin’ liberal and always have been. However, I am totally accountable for my hypocrisy, racism [“white privilege”] and an unreasonable and racist fear of many African Americans I do not know] and many, many other shortcomings. I am no ideologue, however.

          I try to be humble, fair, honestly accountable and not arrogant.

          I don’t possess the truth, nor do I claim to. I believe truth is always provisional. It’s what highlights the conflict between opposing views. Truth is found in the relationship between or among the beliefs and truth claims of every human being.
          I go deeper and have been condemned to seeing all sides of an issue, always aware of the kernel of truth in every statement–even the ones I disagree with.

          Plus I am a voracious and curious reader. I have always had a library card and often take a book to movie theaters. The light is okay for reading a bit before the lights go out for the film.

          How would YOU express a fear of losing our history in a way that does not show whining?
          You construct the sentence and I will study it and keep it in mind for my next post(s).
          Show me specifically the right way to communicate my ideas without sounding like I am “whining.”
          And given all the properties of the written word, how in hell can you guess at my whiny voice tone and facial expressions?

        • Kodie

          I don’t know why you think exerting your perceived power over others is the way to express whatever you think Christianity is. You idolize a character in a story. I find that I agree the last name “Lynch” is … well, the verb was named for another guy named Lynch. The verb comes from “Lynch Law”, or punishment without trial.
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lynching
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extrajudicial_punishment
          It’s too bad the last name “Lynch” got demonized with the usage “to lynch” as in hang a black person from a tree.

          It sucks if that’s your last name!

          It sucks that a generation of people have no other definition of Lynch as a surname, nor know the namesake of the hall, that they think it might be clarified lest any black students feel like they might be invited to a hanging there. I don’t know why you think people should just react the way you wish they would. I know and you know it’s just some patron’s unfortunate last name, but why are you so strictly against accommodating people? You want the right to feel like you want to feel as a white male whose last name isn’t Hitler or Lynch, but you think your feelings matter more than other people’s feelings. That’s what oppression is, asshole.

        • james warren

          I always idolize good character, compassion, justice, nonviolence, acceptance of the homeless, the destitute and the immigrant.

          I respect the people in history who die for their vision.

          Your ugly name-calling is odious to me,

          I suspect you are following the behavior of your own family you grew up in. I hope you are able to teach your children other ways of dealing with conflict that are decent and respectable.

        • adam

          “I respect the people in history who die for their vision.”

          Really?

          What’s to respect about the Nazis, the Klan, and people like them?

        • james warren

          That’s why I deliberately did not use the word ALL people, everywhere, all the time.

          Words matter.

          That’s why I ask you to simply write a sentence on a topic that would not send a person claiming it was an example of “whining.”

        • adam

          “Words matter.”

          “I respect the people in history who die for their vision.”

          Yes, they do.

          So what’s to respect about the Nazis, the Klan, and people like them? (you know those who died for their vision)

        • james warren

          I have no power over anyone. It would be an amazing feat of immature magical thinking, but shared reality is something else.
          Displays of power are nuanced and complex.

          Adolf Hitler sent out “spies” to find out what his enemies in the public were against him.

          Ironically, he was allowing the power of the opinions of segments of the public to wield power over HIM.

        • al kimeea

          I try to be humble, fair, honestly accountable and not arrogant.I don’t possess the truth, nor do I claim to.

          Quatloos to doGnuts your eyes are brown, ’cause you’re so full of IT.

          A very large number of your comments are in service to your claim to KNOW, KNOW The Amorphous Blob exists, supported by a handful of analogies and aphorisms, along with the ubiquitous deflection by unknowability. All topped with a Herculean dollop of Humpty Dumptyism.

          You personify arrogance.

        • james warren

          You’re absolutely correct. Too many times i DO personify arrogance. Among fundamentalists [and Trump supporters] anything that seems remotely elitist, academic, intellectual, scientific, etc. sounds arrogant to them. The immediately play the victim as a country bumpkin being put down by the clever city slicker. It falls back into the same old mythic American cultural dichotomy.

          I have said again and again and again that there is know way I can truly claim my thoughts and opinions are absolutely correct. Moreover I can never prove I am absolutely correct.

          I just like offering information I have learned. And based on that, people can certainly make their own best choice about how to respond.

        • adam

          “How would YOU express a fear of losing our history in a way that does not show whining?”

          What history are ‘we’ losing?

          The Confederacy LOST, the losers are not heros to anyone except those who want them to be the victors.

        • james warren

          Again, how would YOU express any fear of losing our history in a way that does not sound like whining?

          And are you comfortable with your judgement even though you cannot hear my voice tone and see my facial expression?

        • adam

          What judgment?

        • james warren

          I’d like you to please answer my question first.

        • adam

          I have answered this question more than once:

          “Again, how would YOU express any fear of losing our history in a way that does not sound like whining?”

          By rational explanation of why such history is so important.

          Why is that even a question?

          https://disqus.com/home/discussion/crossexamined/christianitys_unbroken_record_of_failure_04/#comment-3482017818

        • adam

          “Again, how would YOU express any fear of losing our history in a way that does not sound like whining?”

          By rational explanation of why such history is so important.

          Why is that even a question?

        • james warren

          I will try to put my idea in words that might help you to understand.
          First off, I should have asked you if you have ever had the thought that we may be loosing our history when you were attending a high school history class?

          If so, how would you express that concept in a way that would not communicate “whining” to you?

          Again, if you are game, what specific indications do you have that I have been “whining?”

          You don’t have to answer these questions for me if you don’t want. But I hope you will take them as serious and honest questions and just do some thinking about them.

        • adam

          ” I should have asked you if you have ever had the thought that we may be
          loosing our history when you were attending a high school history
          class?”

          Why? What does this have to do with anything?

          “If so, how would you express that concept in a way that would not communicate “whining” to you?”

          Even if no, I already answered you:

          By rational explanation of why such history is so important.

          ” But I hope you will take them as serious and honest questions and just do some thinking about them.”

          Why?
          They dont seem serious or honest and dont address the question.

          It just seems like you are dancing around something like racism because you dont think it will be accepted here.

        • adam

          “I will try to put my idea in words that might help you to understand.”

          You mean avoid answering the question?

        • james warren

          How would it be helpful for me to say that your post sounds like whining, whimpering or grousing?

        • adam

          “How would it be helpful for me to say that your post sounds like whining, whimpering or grousing?”

          That I would know how it is coming across.

        • Michael Neville

          You are guessing. Blithely so. And you guess wrong.

          I’m not guessing. Twice now you’ve whined (and yes, whine is the correct word) about protests concerning Lynch Hall. Obviously that’s something that important to you or else why mention it twice, especially after the first whine was ignored by the commentariat? You claim to be “concerned” about the history of a small college whose only historical achievement of note was being the first co-educational college “east of the Alleghenies”.

          My job is to try and figure out why good, presumably intelligent college students would even consider such an act. How did they come to see the issue of racism so that the last name of a past college president provoked such fear?

          You aren’t concerned about racism so you whine about people who are. I’m assuming you’re a middle-aged, middle class, cis-hetro, white male who’s never been the focus of discrimination (I’m one myself other than being past middle age). But unlike you I do care about racism. I’ve seen it. I have friends who have been the victims of racism. I know that the killing in Ferguson, MO and its aftermath were not isolated incidents. I’m fully aware that I live in a racist society. It warms the cockles of my heart to know that students at Lebanon Valley College take racism seriously enough to protest the name of a building for its unintentional but real racist overtones.

          I used to be a dialysis patient and a nurse that worked part-time at another clinic told me that one of her patients there was a gang member.

          “Wow,” I said. “I would LOVE to meet him and listen and learn from him.”

          But she shivered and shook her head: “No WAY would I ever do THAT,” she said. “Uh-Uh!”

          I spent a year as a machine gunner on a riverine monitor in Vietnam. We had two guys on that boat who had been members of different, rival gangs in Chicago. It took a while but both of them finally realized that pissing off the rest of the crew, men who were armed to the teeth and didn’t give a damn about gang rivalries, was not a good thing to do.

          Old joke: What’s the difference between the Navy and the Sea Scouts? The Sea Scouts have adult supervision. I ended up doing 20 years in the Navy, retiring as a Senior Chief, the second highest enlisted rank. I met many people in the Navy that otherwise I never would have known. A good friend of mine, and one of two I’ve kept in contact with after my retirement, was a West Virginian hill-billy who made the Navy his career to keep out of the coal mines. Now there was a man with an interesting history (his last name was Hatfield and he was a member of the famous feuding family).

        • james warren

          Again *sigh* I am asking for the specific wording in my posts that demonstrates “whining.”

          I think you could have been much more honest and direct by writing instead that “I see your posts as whining. Here are some examples that show me your voice tone and facial expressions that led me to conclude this: _____, ______, and _____.”

          Based on my awareness of reality, I am guessing that you may be refusing to be accountable for your own personal opinion [“I am whining”] than you are evaluating my statements based on your own assumptions and are projecting them onto myself instead of trying to focus on helpful adult understanding.

          The ONLY way I can confidently identify emotions in others is that I myself have those same emotions at times.

        • Michael Neville

          Again *sigh* I am asking for the specific wording in my posts that demonstrates “whining.”

          Just the general tenor of your posts complaining (is that a more acceptable word?) about Lebanon Valley College losing its historicity by having Lynch Memorial Hall renamed Clyde A Lynch Memorial Hall gave me the very strong idea that you were whining. Especially when you brought the incident up twice. I do not see how a minor renaming which specifically shows the building is named after a person rather than a form of terrorism does anything to the history of the college. For you to harp that somehow history is not being preserved strikes me as ludicrous.

          I think you could have been much more honest and direct by writing instead that “I see your posts as whining. Here are some examples that show me your voice tone and facial expressions that led me to conclude this: _____, ______, and _____.”

          I apologize for not living up to your high standards of having your whining explained. Next time you whine I’ll be sure to point it out. But hark, next time has already arrived. You’ve whined about me not being “more honest and direct” by pointing out specific incidents of your whining.

        • james warren

          Well thank you for THAT.

          The word “complaining” is a word that every objective reader could agree with. It is acceptable but more than that, it is honest.

          I was raised to take honesty and kindness as high standards for living. I was luckier than most. I admit that.

          But that said, it does not excuse my own hypocrisy, cruelty, racism, etc

        • james warren

          “General tenor” is an opinion, a judgement and an interpretation–unless you are listening to a recording or watching a film.

          You are being curiously stubborn on this “whining” thing.

          Maybe you are afraid to admit you have no evidence for it except your own assumptions.

          Asking why any one of college age would object to a name on a campus building is something I do. I don’t plaintively whimper or whine when I am in a state of strong curiosity and full-bore “learning mode.” I am intrigued and excited as all get out!

          That’s why I once posted that I would love to visit that campus and do some deep listening to those students.

        • james warren

          I still need to know how you can fairly and honestly assert that someone is “whining” by just reading the written word on a public forum.
          Something is seriously stopping you from explaining that whining is something I am actually doing by quoting my own posts and showing authentic proof.

          I would like you to realize that your judgement of “Whining” comes from you and you alone.

          Does that make sense to you?

        • Michael Neville

          You don’t need to know, you want to know, which is not the same thing. I’ve already explained that your general tone, your obsession with a small college’s students protesting the name of a building and, when I explained how that situation had been remedied, your continued complaints about “why do intelligent students do that?” all give me the impression that you were whining.

          Now you’re whining about why I think you’re whining.

          You may have the last word on this topic because I don’t care enough to pursue it any further. You’ve gotten boring with your new obsession.

        • james warren

          “…That is different than celebrating racists and taitors.”

          Taitors. I love them with butter and sour cream!
          :)

        • james warren

          Deification and understanding are two separate things

          And I wish more Christians and atheists would actually READ and study this Bible they seem to be so concerned about.

          Context in biblical history is profoundly important. We make an important error when we assume that ancient culture and our modern one are the same thing.

        • adam

          “Deification and understanding are two separate things”

          Of course, and putting statues of PEOPLE high on pedestals in the government square as a sign of reverence and respect does which one?

          “And I wish more Christians and atheists would actually READ and study this Bible they seem to be so concerned about.”

          Me too

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f4dfabc0ef18dc9d0baa54f7626dcc4d5a915fad73af80c35518f54e8195072c.jpg

          ” We make an important error when we assume that ancient culture and our modern one are the same thing.”

          We make the same error thinking slavery (owning other human beings) in the bible was all that different from slavery in America.

          But you know whats really sad?

          People like you who cant back up such claims with factual evidence, instead of trying to propagandize the evil in the bible as good.

        • james warren

          Is it sad to make an accusation that I have claimed that biblical evil is GOOD?
          Maybe not sad, but certainly ill-informed.

          Studying the theology of Paul in the New Testament is going to be useful for you. I would also recommend the scholarship on Paul by Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan. They draw their conclusions by what is actually IN the Bible as well as the religious, political and cultural context of the time.

        • adam

          “Studying the theology of Paul in the New Testament is going to be useful for you.”

          It has been useful to me, to understand why so many people calling themselves ‘Christian’ actually ignore Jesus to worship the words of Paul.

          I understand it, I do:
          People long for a comfortable lie over the truth.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/78c238a8fdac57c3bb855616ad55fbd78f3dc526cd6d2a22046ad574b30f4edf.jpg

          ” They draw their conclusions by what is actually IN the Bible as well as
          the religious, political and cultural context of the time.”

          You mean like the EASIEST moral question there is, that God gets WRONG:

          Should people OWN other people as PROPERTY?

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e389054ce6c972f909aee2e1015b3f98cdad7f4e59ed68593237da544ca0616c.jpg

        • james warren

          The character and passion of the God of Jesus is preferable to the God of Caesar.

          To someone who asserts the non-existence of God, in saying that God gets it “WRONG,” you might be more clear by posting “some other people’s interpretation of God is a violent, pro-slavery being.”

          Does that make sense? It seems more honest to realize that “God” is an interpretation made by human beings.

          Christians and atheists tend to focus on the God of supernatural theistic dogma that was placed into Jesus’ mouth by the early theology of the church long after the crucifixion.

          Joseph Campbell once noted:

          “Half the people in the world think that the metaphors of their religious traditions, for example, are facts. And the other half contends that they are not facts at all. As a result we have people who consider themselves believers because they accept metaphors as facts, and we have others who classify themselves as atheists because they think religious metaphors are lies.”

          –From “Thou Art That: Transforming Religious Metaphor,”

        • adam

          “The politically correct thing to do is to is hide racism by any means necessary.”

          But the effective thing is to expose it for what it is.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/6a5ce862a330f3605ae834bd01805b9f95e6c7b76e373b5245d7a0e104804989.jpg

        • james warren

          I totally agree.

          Historical memory, however, is one of the best ways to expose racism.

          But that’s just my opinion.

          I have no way of proving I am right. Or knowing I am right.
          I cherry-pick my opinions and feelings from the same immense cherry orchard we all live in.

        • adam

          “Historical memory, however, is one of the best ways to expose racism.”

          I agree.

          But deification of said racists is the worst way to expose racism.

        • james warren

          I see a difference between describing a statue as racist and exposing racism out in the open. Racism comes from ignorance. We don’t do any good by refusing to look it in the face. In Europe you can hire a tour guide to explain what you are seeing and put it in context. Or you can rent a set of headphones and recordings that do the same thing.
          This prevents people toppling over statues of Constantine who made Christianity part of the Roman Empire, converted to the faith during a battle and poured molten lead down the throat of his own brother. And who believed in power and injustice from the top, held together by violence and a crushing commercialization of peasant farmers. And used violence to get his way.
          People should not be ignorant of racism.

        • adam

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ae1afb4336eb43eac4eb6542320889b4c9068fa20364f91b3a3a3b8f6e3a0f88.png “Racism comes from ignorance. ”

          No, most of our racism comes from the bible:
          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/86effa5e2bc761ae95f687bf44f1632c13ebd40a54b07502d779f242a887cc3e.jpg

          “In Europe you can hire a tour guide to explain what you are seeing and put it in context. Or you can rent a set of headphones and recordings that do the same thing.”

          In Europe many symbols of public racism are illegal.

          “People should not be ignorant of racism.”

          Then stop spreading the ignorance.

        • james warren

          It actually comes from ignorance. And ignorance is no stranger to some of the writers of the Bible.

          I myself am perpetually ignorant and I have lots of company. I think we all need to be responsible for it.

        • adam

          “It actually comes from ignorance.”

          No, it actually comes from the bible.
          And the writers that condoned slavery didnt do for divine reasons, they did it for power.

        • james warren

          No. We are an ignorant species. Long before the Bible and also in this day and age.

        • adam

          Yes, we are an ignorant species.

          Yes, the bible God condones slavery.
          Had the bible God CONDEMNED slavery instead, it would have been a different society altogether.

        • james warren

          Many of the epic themes of the Bible do condemn it and often show that all of us [landowners included] are tenant farmers of Creation, not the owners. The Bible drives home the idea that human beings are called to be stewards.

          Of course, making a one-to-one comparison of slavery then and slavery today is, ipso facto, problematic.

        • adam

          “The Bible drives home the idea that human beings are called to be stewards.”

          Yes, the Bible God condones slavery.

          “Of course, making a one-to-one comparison of slavery then and slavery today is, ipso facto, problematic.”

          Nope, the bible is very clear:

          However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the
          foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of
          such resident foreigners, 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 your slaves like
          this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated
          this way. (Leviticus 25:44-46 NLT)

          Maybe you should go back to quoting Nazis…..

        • Greg G.

          Make sure you are comparing modern slavery with ancient slavery and not modern slavery with ancient Israeli indentured servitude. Christian sources usually make no distinction and equivocate them.

        • james warren

          And slavery did not come from the Bible. You probably meant to say it is IN the Bible and too often condoned.

        • adam

          “And slavery did not come from the Bible.”

          Yes, the bible God condones slavery.
          Had the bible God CONDEMNED slavery instead, it would have been a different society altogether.

          ” You probably meant to say it is IN the Bible and too often condoned.”

          Close enough

        • james warren

          Slavery came from humanity. The Christian preacher John Wesley condemned it and fought it.

          The Christian hymn “Amazing Grace” was written by the captain of a “slave ship” who had an “Ah-Ha” moment and religious experience that meant he immediately turned the ship around.

          I hope my BO doesn’t offend you, he said with a wink. I just happen to like getting closer than “close enough.”
          We cannot do what is right and moral if we don’t see the whole picture.

        • adam

          “The Christian preacher John Wesley condemned it and fought it.”

          God and Jesus condoned it

          “We cannot do what is right and moral if we don’t see the whole picture.”

          And we cant do what is right and moral if we believe morality comes from a MAGICAL IMAGINARY being.

          AND WE IGNORE the FACTS:

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/13282502375d3da24cf6b663f813609c25b2ff6c1bdd9b750a6d095cf6c73c07.jpg

        • james warren

          Which God and Jesus in the Bible are you referring to?

          We humans always cherry-pick. We only have a short lifetime to gather what we can while living in an immense cherry orchard.

          The Bible is a complex book, which scholars have recognized for nearly 300 years.
          It is a human book which often includes numerous contradictions and discrepancies.

          What Christians won’t tell you and what we all need to know:

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2014/09/29/8-things-your-pastor-will-never-tell-you-about-the-bible/

          Methodist minister Richard Hagenston is the author of “Fabricating Faith” which I definitely recommend to curious readers and others interested in the Bible and Christianity.

        • adam

          “Which God and Jesus in the Bible are you referring to?”

          Seriously?
          Havent we been covering this for days?
          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/86effa5e2bc761ae95f687bf44f1632c13ebd40a54b07502d779f242a887cc3e.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ae1afb4336eb43eac4eb6542320889b4c9068fa20364f91b3a3a3b8f6e3a0f88.png

          “http://www.patheos.com/blog…”

          No new news here.

          “Methodist minister Richard Hagenston is the author of “Fabricating Faith””

          Faith must be the poorest method of determining reality that man has ever created.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/1357a48063668004e778c51c086fa594d46a773bdf2765fa279fcf4fe251c363.jpg

        • Greg G.

          Which God and Jesus in the Bible are you referring to?

          We humans always cherry-pick. We only have a short lifetime to gather what we can while living in an immense cherry orchard.

          Looks like the leftovers of the Bible after the Christians are finished cherry picking.

        • Greg G.

          Slavery and indentured servitude under Christian slave-masters has been done following the laws and examples of both the Old and New Testaments.

        • Kodie

          I am worried that people are fearful to have these statues removed, they get emotional about it. It’s like taking away their public prerogative to be a racist. They hate “PC” language, or actually thinking about other people’s feelings. They put the burden on other actual people for feeling ways they would, being treated or labeled as they are, to feel more conveniently less confrontational to the racists, because the racists just want to use free speech without necessarily hurting other people and can’t handle that their speech hurts other people. The idea is that victims of racism just don’t feel anything so racists don’t have to feel bad, because it’s the worst for racists to feel bad…. and they don’t feel bad, they just mock their targets for feeling bad!

          Anyway, removing these statues makes racists cry!

        • james warren

          “Your man Hitler,” you said.
          Pretty unintelligent and childish, wouldn’t you say?
          Let’s try and elevate things.

        • Kodie

          You mean put your racism on a pedestal? If you think you’re not offensive, unintelligent, childish, etc., you’re wrong.

        • james warren

          We live in a racist nation. To the extent that I live in this country, to that same extent I am racist and a person of white privilege.

          I put honesty and truth on a pedestal.

          Jesus once said that we are called to pay attention to the logs in our own eye first before we deem to point out the tiny speck of sawdust in our neighbor’s.

          I try to do a fearless and moral inventory of myself as often as I can. I know all too well what my “logs” are.

          And “your man Hitler” is childish, disrespectful and odious.

        • james warren

          Deification of Hitler was a great way to expose Nazism to the world.

        • adam

          “Deification of Hitler was a great way to expose Nazism to the world.”

          Yep, demonstrated to the world how GREAT his ideas of mass extermination, white supremacy, and blaming the Jews for all the worlds problems really were.

          That’s why he had so many willing to kill and die for him.

          But really…..
          What is your point?

        • james warren

          My point is from Kurt Vonnegut, Jr’s book “Slaughterhouse Five”
          I have opted to use literature instead of rationality or science:

          “The guide invited the crowd to imagine that they were looking across a desert at a mountain range on a day that was twinkling bright and clear. They could look at a peak or a bird or cloud, at a stone right in front of them, or even down into a canyon behind them. But among them was this poor Earthling, and his head was encased in a steel sphere which he could never take off. There was only one eyehole through which he could look, and welded to that eyehole were six feet of pipe.

          “This was only the beginning of Billy’s miseries in the metaphor. He was also strapped to a steel lattice which was bolted to a flatcar on rails, and there was no way he could turn his head or touch the pipe. The far end of the pipe rested on a bi-pod which was also bolted to the flatcar. All Billy could see was the little dot at the end of the pipe. He didn’t know he was on a flatcar, didn’t even know there was anything peculiar about his situation.

          “The flatcar sometimes crept, sometimes went extremely fast, often stopped–went uphill, downhill, around curves, along straightaways. Whatever poor Billy saw through the pipe, he had no choice but to say to himself, ‘That’s life.”

        • adam

          THAT’s the best you can do to support Hitler and expose Nazism to the world?

          “Deification of Hitler was a great way to expose Nazism to the world.”

        • Kodie

          Sorry — for far too long, we ignore racism. We ignore the ugly attitudes that we imagine our culture has outgrown. Leaving the statues up only says we don’t care about racism, we care about “history” and symbols that were erected to express racism. You cling to the bronze inanimate statue as more important than actual people. That’s so fucking Christlike of you.

        • james warren

          It’s your inference that I don’t care about racism. I see it in my own heart daily. My sense of white privilege sickens me.
          Again, your assumptions are childish and plain wrong.
          You also make the incredibly silly claim that I think statues are more important than actual people.

          More important than actual people.

          Incredible, my friend.
          Incredible.

          I have no interest in being “Christlike.” If you have been paying attention, I much prefer Jesus of Nazareth. Christ is a later interpretation of the church, made decades after the crucifixion.

        • Kodie

          Burning books was your man Hitler’s thing. We’re just talking like we probably shouldn’t commemorate certain people with the honor of a statue in their image. We usually erect statues and monuments to events and people we want to honor. If we leave them there, it means they have an honored place in history, and you want to celebrate and remind people of these people and events. Having a monument or statue is a positive thing, so you are saying they are positives in our country’s history. The statue isn’t there to remind people that Robert E. Lee was a traitor. The people who want the statue to remain aren’t expressing an interest in using the statue as an educational tool to learn about a traitor – they celebrate the Confederacy. “The South will rise again”! They romanticize this history and glorify the Confederate heroes, who, like, hated the US so much they created another country and warred against us. It’s not American history. They are not American heroes. We can still read about the Civil War in books or like, watch a famous miniseries.

        • adam

          “It’s not American history. They are not American heroes. We can still
          read about the Civil War in books or like, watch a famous miniseries.”

        • james warren

          “My man Hitler.”
          How superficial, crude and insulting.

        • adam

          “”My man Hitler.”
          How superficial, crude and insulting.”

          But Hitler is an HISTORICAL FIGURE!

          AND a CHRISTIAN!!!!

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c95e927c4e95d2cffdd3ef1e9366cb46bfed529f568bfad72911e50e30e88468.jpg

          Don’t act like he’s not one of yours.

        • Kodie

          Yeah, you are.

        • james warren

          You don’t know what you are saying. You may be repeating a cruel meme you picked up from your upbringing.

          YOU are my man. I love you dearly.

          😉

        • Kodie

          You make me sick. Stop creeping people out, sicko.

        • james warren

          You make yourself sick.
          I apologize for “creeping you out.” That was not my intention.

          That speaks for an idea I have always found useful:

          We all have good intentions but we are too often unwilling or unable to be accountable
          for the EFFECTS of those “good” intentions.

          Perhaps it might be easier on you if you just block me. And I will gladly do my part by no longer responding to y our posts.

        • Fred Knight

          exactly, this is what it means to be a free thinker…..sadly, many atheists &/or progressives can be quite intolerant on this point…our racist uncomfortable past was something we all could acknowledge until recently, now we have to expunge it from the record to somehow vindicate ourselves

        • james warren

          Your post is similar to my own opinions.

          It would be just dandy if we could keep all the good & enlightened people over here and then get all those evil racist people over there. Then all we would need to do is to get rid of all those racists and America will be a better place.

          But what many do not even realize is that the line between good and evil runs down the center of every human heart.

          And who is willing to destroy a piece of one’s own heart?

        • Fred Knight

          “”But what many do not even realize is that the line between good and evil runs down the center of every human heart.

          And who is willing to destroy a piece of one’s own heart?”

          I can honestly say that I am, that destruction is a tremendous opportunity for re-birth. I do this now as a non-believer, but it’s one of the basic ideas that I learned from my time as a sincere Christian believer.

          “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: Col 3:5 NIV

          This is a huge part of authentic Christianity…..not that I agree with the direction it gets taken, but to be sure, they get that point, in spades.

          I see lots of good points (and bad points) from various different groups….I’m left to try to accept the best and reject the rest.

        • james warren

          Your last sentence is one you might post many times on this forum.

          If what I have read, heard and studied has any resonance, I know that war is like an addictive drug for many soldiers. The experience in the midst of listening to rifle fire and dodging incoming shells and seeing your buddies get their faces blown away becomes almost like a mystical, Zen-like state.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_Is_a_Force_That_Gives_Us_Meaning

          I have read a few first-person accounts of war correspondents from Vietnam to after 9/11. They are scared spitless of the danger, yet they keep wanting to return.

        • Fred Knight

          thanks james, twitter/internet warriors are perhaps the weakest and most pathetic form of this, but in some weird sense, perhaps we crave the “fight” , it might be in our dna…..it’s a bit of a wake up call for me to see people fighting over literally non-issues that should concern no one.

        • james warren

          The statues are modeled on real people who actually lived in human history. In that sense, we can agree that they are in fact actually historical.

        • adam

          “In that sense, we can agree that they are in fact actually historical.”

          Yep, historically RACISTS

          So put them up on pedestals in positions of reverence.

          That will teach them……….

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/819dd400156ed12785f52499dcf2ce585fdadb88d1e8e3f8ece9b478ac2c5eb3.jpg

        • Kodie

          The statues are erected to monumentalize people who we should admire. You want to pretend that’s not true. That’s where we get to here, where everyone thinks you’re a racist who wants to protect the other racists and their emotional attachment to physical symbols that express their power and dominance over other cultures. If you keep pretending that’s not true, nobody will believe you.

        • james warren

          I have found that truth is nuanced and complex:

          We like to feel we know everything. At least I do at times.

          https://whowhatwhy.org/2017/08/23/civil-war-still-fought-today/

        • Kodie

          I have found that people like you like to think they’re smarter than they are and more racist than they want to be perceived.

        • james warren

          I agree. Sometimes I like to think I am smarter. And that’s when I get in trouble.
          As for my many faults I am learning to be honest about them and not be so defensive when someone confronts them directly.

          Yes, I am more racist than I would like to be perceived. You hit the nail on the head.

        • Kodie

          You didn’t get the nail. You like to think the effect of your opinions shouldn’t be perceived as racist, and you can’t understand people explaining to you what a racist looks like – you. You want to live under the protection that you can just say whatever to whomever and “no offense, but”… and then they shouldn’t feel bad about having to share oxygen with a racist like you. You’re not going to come out and call anyone the n-word, and you don’t like to carry on conversations with people who come right out and call you an asshole, but you are doing every bit of using racist sculptures to keep certain people in that place where they know you think they are an n-word, but you’re not a racist asshole because you would never actually use those words on them or recognize yourself as every bit of using statues to call them an n-word and hiding behind something “neutral” like “history”. So when someone calls you an asshole, it’s because that’s what you’re actually being. It’s not trying to put you down to avoid open discussion, it’s what you’re actually being when you think you’re being nice.

          When you finally get that, then we can have a nice dialogue, but not before. You’re not having an open dialogue, you’re telling us that we have to get over it and let you be entitled to be such an asshole without suffering the consequence of being called one. Meanwhile, every time you talk, you’re saying fuck you to everyone. You think you’re being nice, but all you say every time you talk is “fuck you, I am who I am, I want to live in a racist-protected America while shitting all over every other group, and tell them how I think they should feel, and fuck you and fuck them, I am just a stinking racist and this is MY America, they should leave if they don’t like it.”

          That’s how you come off. That’s literally exactly how much of an asshole you are.

        • james warren

          If my honesty is not perceived as racist then I can do nothing about that.

          I live in a nation that is racist and is built on white privilege. So by fearlessly looking within, I have to be honest and transparent.

          The meaning of my message is ALWAYS found in the response I get. And if I find I don’t get the response I intended, I need to change what *I* am doing–not blame others for not getting it.

          I apologize for going back on my word. You will certainly agree with me that I am brain damaged.

          I totally forgot my intention to disengage with you.

          So take care, broaden your outlook & try to be kind.

        • Kodie

          So your answer is just vague nonsense. You fearlessly look within? I don’t see that at all about you.

        • adam

          What is the historical significance of having racists and traitors deified in the public square.

          I mean other than to terrorize the very victims of racism?

        • james warren

          Being terrorized by a statue is a little ridiculous in my view.

        • adam

          the statue is merely the symbol of such terrorism.

          To ignore the history of racial terrorism is VERY ridiculous in my view. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ab50ccbdec528e64b66ec2dce7f785204fef516bac228d7c319a5a13c1200994.jpg

        • Fred Knight

          gotta love the low hanging fruit…careful lest you think you are actually making a significant point.

        • adam

          You gotta ask yourself, why is slavery and the bible such low hanging fruit?

          It IS a significant point that the bible condones slavery.

        • james warren

          It is also significant that the world of the Roman Empire and the cultural/religious/political matrix does not show an exact correspondence to American slavery. Sorry to bring this up. I know you don’t have much interest in Christian history.

          You can always say “So what?” I think I understand more than you know. I did not say “I understand more than you know.”
          I only “think” I do. I don’t know everything. I have a treasure trove of faults and shortcomings.

        • Greg G.

          But it looks like British Colonial slavery from the early days is built on biblical principles as they bought slaves from foreigners and instituted 6 years of indentured servitude. Where do you suppose that came from? It changed over time as the rich started making the rules for slavery. I have read that as servants approached the end of their servitude, they got some dangerous jobs like carrying explosives, like nitroglycerin, because the master didn’t want to risk a long-term capital investment.

        • james warren

          I have tried so hard to say in so many ways that Pauline Christianity does not advocate slavery–at least as far as Paul’s theology is concerned.

          Saying the entire Bible is pro-slavery is just not accurate.

        • Greg G.

          Philemon is a letter returning a slave to his master with a hope that Philemon to treat him like a fellow Israelite, per Lev 25:46. He had the chance to ask that Philemon free the slave but didn’t think that was important.

          Paul was so convinced that they were going to be changed and the dead raised any minute that he didn’t think marriage and having children was a good thing. Why not argue that having slaves weren’t worthwhile at that time?

        • james warren

          That might make sense, however it makes no sense to me in the light of Paul’s idea that he considered himself as the slave’s father and the slave [“Onesimus”] to be his son.

          Also, Paul’s message elsewhere is important to take note of, I think:

          “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

          Besides, near Antioch In a garden you can see what looked like the funeral stele of a laborer whose Greek name was clearly: PHILEMON. In northern cemetery of Hierapolis there is a name on one wall: ONESIMUS.
          And in a garden in Antioch there is what looks like a funeral stele of a laborer whose Greek name was clearly: PHILEMON.

          Reading Paul’s letters is reading somebody else’s mail.

          If we do not understand them, Paul and his recipients did, and so the problem is mine and yours, not his and theirs.

          ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

          Onesimus was a slave under threat of serious or maybe even fatal punishment from his master Philemon. Following an option allowed by Roman Law, he fled for intercession to Paul as his master’s most important friend. But when Paul converted Onesimus to Christianity, a problem arose immediately. Could a Christian master own a Christian slave since “as many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ” so that “there is no longer slave or free … for all of you are one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:27-28). How could Christians, as Christians, be equal and unequal at the same time?

          Paul, therefore, writes this letter and sends it back to Philemon by Onesimus, calling him “my own very heart,” and proclaiming him “no longer a slave but more than a slave, a beloved brother — especially to me but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord” (16). Imagine Onesimus knocking on Philemon’s door to announce that he had good news and bad news for his master: good that he was back, bad that he was free.

          But why such a long letter to say, in effect, “Dear Philemon, Free Onesimus. Yours, Paul”? Because Paul is trying — paradoxically — to command Philemon to free Onesimus freely since, as he says, “I preferred to do nothing without your consent, in order that your good deed might be voluntary and not something forced” (14). Poor Philemon is on what we might see as a yo-yo of emotional manipulation but which advanced Greco-Roman education would have seen as a small masterpiece of very successful rhetorical persuasion created by a relentless oscillation of Good-Cop and Bad-Cop verses.

          As just one example, compare these two verses at either end of the letter. Good-Cop Paul: “Though I am bold enough in Christ to command you to do your duty, yet I would rather appeal to you on the basis of love — and I, Paul, do this as an old man, and now also as a prisoner of Christ Jesus” (8-9).

          Bad-Cop Paul: “Confident of your obedience, I am writing to you, knowing that you will do even more than I say.”

          Did Philemon free Onesimus? Oh yes, because otherwise it would not have been necessary for those later post-, pseudo- and anti-pauline letters — seen in an earlier blog — to deradicalize Paul back into a compassionate conservatism acceptable to Roman cultural normalcy. To repeat, once again: Constantine, here we come.

          –From John Dominic Crossan’s book “The Real Paul.”

        • adam

          “however it makes no sense to me in the light of Paul’s”

          Fuck Paul

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ae1afb4336eb43eac4eb6542320889b4c9068fa20364f91b3a3a3b8f6e3a0f88.png

        • james warren

          Aha! Your true moral compass is showing.

          Trump talked of having sex with his own daughter as well as grabbing women by their genitals.

          Adults like yourself might entertain the thought that your lewd and immature sentiments can actually be expressed like an adult. There is no need to react from a well of deep and irrational emotionalism. I expect that from Trump supporters.

          I feel really sad if you have any children.

          “Contempt [not honest disagreement] is the weapon of the weak and a defense against one’s own despised and unwanted feelings.”
          –Alice Miller

        • adam

          “Aha! Your true moral compass is showing.”

          Actually YOUR moral compass has been showing all along.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/60865103a336b5d68f96eb3254e706491af8f8a5dbd80dafef9edf2beab0319d.jpg

          “I feel really sad if you have any children.”

          I feel really sad about all the people who are exposed to your evil apologetics of the Bible.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/7bf2c5903bd31c63ade7c2254ddea26df3b1fa938214c6c4db160ffe36546367.jpg

        • adam

          “Trump talked of having sex with his own daughter as well as grabbing women by their genitals.”

          And like you he supports racists idols in the government square.

          “Adults like yourself might entertain the thought that your lewd and immature sentiments can actually be expressed like an adult”

          https://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2015-12-17/study-people-who-swear-more-are-smarter-have-larger-vocabulary

          Funny how the word FUCK, drives you crazy at the same time you defend slavery in the Bible.

        • Michael Neville

          Damn but you’re an arrogant, condescending, patronizing, pompous twit. And Alice Miller is flat out wrong about contempt. I have contempt for you because you’re an asshole, not because I’m weak or despise my feelings.

        • adam

          “Damn but you’re an arrogant, condescending, patronizing, pompous twit.”

          So just a typical Christian Apologist?

        • james warren

          Do you kiss your family with that mouth?

        • Michael Neville

          I kissed my mother with my mouth, you prudish asshole. If you think your prissy whining is going to change the way I describe you then you’re not just an asshole but a stupid asshole.

          If you don’t like the way adults talk then you have two choices, you can go back to the kiddie table or you can fuck off.

        • james warren

          You have yet to demonstrate how the evaluation of “whining” can be done within the written word.
          I see no proof at all. Voice tone cannot be inferred from a post on an Internet forum.

          Connect with your emotion and give it a name. And express it responsibly and maturely.
          And childish name-calling is not helpful to me.

          Simply be honest and ask me directly. And with respect and fairness.

          You probably mean to say that you believe I am a “prudish a****** “ my “prissy whining” or the inexcusable “F*** off.” I am guessing that your bottom-line honest feeling is one of irritation. Speak to that and provide evidence.

          You are welcome to describe me anyway you want. If you step over my personal boundaries, I will let you know. Hopefully without name-calling, obscenities or disrespect.

        • Michael Neville

          You have yet to demonstrate how the evaluation of “whining” can be done within the written word.

          Sorry, whiner, but your whining comes through when you say whiny things like “Do you kiss your family with that mouth?” when you’re called an asshole. You’re probably too self-absorbed to realize that your whining shows when you whine.

          Connect with your emotion and give it a name. And express it responsibly and maturely.
          And childish name-calling is not helpful to me.

          I’ve already told you my emotion towards you is contempt. If you can’t keep up, take notes. Calling you an asshole is not childish, it’s descriptive. The Urban Dictionary defines asshole thusly:

          someone being arrogant, rude, obnoxious or annoying

          You’ve hit every one of those criteria, ergo you’re an asshole.

          You probably mean to say that you believe I am a “prudish a****** “ my “prissy whining” or the inexcusable “F*** off.” I am guessing that your bottom-line honest feeling is one of irritation.

          I don’t bowdlerize my speech. I said what I meant and I meant what I said.

        • james warren

          You are guessing, in my opinion.
          And you guess wrong.

          Unless you are able to demonstrate that whining can be “read into” the written word then I can still maintain that your judgement is actually an interpretation.

          It says more about yourself and your opinions than it does about me.

          I have said again and again that I am not arrogant enough to deny my shortcomings. I am not afraid to admit that I am indeed whining, if that were the case.

          The ball is still in your court. You will never be able to prove your guess as to my “whiny” voice tone and facial expressions.

          Never.

          But since you are unable to demonstrate real proof of your guessing and can only come back with emotionalism [blame and anger based on your litany of labeling, blaming and obscenities] makes any attempt at an adult discussion frivolous at best and totally immature at worst.

          I am through with you.

        • Michael Neville

          Of course my judgement is an interpretation. Everyone’s judgement is an interpretation. If you were one-half, even one-quarter as smart as you think you are, you’d realize that. It’s my interpreted judgement that you’re a whiny asshole. You have a different interpreted judgement. Both of our judgements are purely subjective, something else you’d realize if you had the intelligence of a concussed fruit bat. So there cannot be any “proof” to demonstrate. I think you’re an arrogant, rude, obnoxious, annoying, prudish, prissy asshole and you have a different opinion of yourself. Can you prove that you’re not an asshole? Of course not. So it’s stupid, with a capital STUP, for you to whine that I can’t prove something that’s not provable.

          You’ve also become boring so you may have the last word. I won’t respond further.

        • james warren

          When I was about your age, I thought I was smart and knew everything.
          From actual life experiences, I now know better.

        • Fred Knight

          casting pearls before swine comes to mind….a perfect metaphor, it seems

        • james warren

          One of the great metaphorical statements found in the New Testament. Some are unable or unwilling to dive into the phrase and appreciate its authentic truth.

          I have seen that taking biblical truths literally just forfeit the epic claim of hope in the Bible.

        • adam

          “I have seen that taking biblical truths literally just forfeit the epic claim of hope in the Bible.”

          So the Bible doesnt mean what it says, or even say what it means, so YOU THINK you can derive ‘truth’ from that?

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/fc5052395df4245eea4be5c0ed8c3b68e270c0fa018bedc137d977df5526cff2.jpg

        • Fred Knight

          it’s interesting to me that when I come upon any of your posts, it’s like a breath of fresh air. I, for one, sure appreciate the depth you are bringing to the conversation. In my experience, that is some pretty hard won knowledge you are laying down, and most likely it causes a lot of misunderstanding in both non-believing circles and religious circles as well.

        • james warren

          Thank you Fred !!!
          That means a lot.
          It’s hard for most people to follow you if you go deeper.

          The meaning of my message is only found in the response I get. And if that response is not what I might want, I then try to change what *I* am doing. And if that doesn’t work, I do something else. And if THAT doesn’t work, I try something else again.

          Clinicians who work with autism try all sorts of things. But when they don’t work, they use their imagination to come up with other ways to help their patients.

          They never give up. Unfortunately, particularly on this forum, I have given up on a few posters who do not know how to be respectful and kind.

          If I am “too sensitive” then I wonder why they will start treating me as such.

          I had a late uncle who was really deaf. Instead of mocking him for being that way, I talked very loud around him.
          I considered it an act of respect. When other posters react from a deep well of irrationalism and rage. it makes it difficult to exchange ideas like adults.

        • Fred Knight

          “They never give up. Unfortunately, particularly on this forum, I have
          given up on a few posters who do not know how to be respectful and kind.”
          and rightly you should, don’t feel bad…I tend to give and give until it get’s too outrageous to bear….perhaps too co-dependent, and yet I’m still the asshole (in their eyes) in the end, oh well.

          You’re only fault appears that you are too kind. peace, my friend.

        • james warren

          Just like I am a violent person trying to become non-violent, I am an unkind person trying to be kind.

        • Fred Knight

          at some point, I really want to get into some Jordan Peterson with you, he’s so refreshing, as near as I can tell, he is a believer, but he’s so damn sharp that many atheists end out liking him because of his non-religious approach….I don’t follow him super closely, but he’s always spot on when I do.

          This is interesting to me, he went on the Joe Rogan podcast, who’s fans are a bunch of radical sometimes enlightened but mostly non-religious meatheads, Peterson came on and made some great sense to that audience http://bit.ly/2vOoYGC

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

          Thanks for the Joe Rogan recommendation.

        • Fred Knight

          He also went on the Sam Harris podcast, but they stalled out – I didn’t enjoy that one so much.

        • Greg G.

          That might make sense, however it makes no sense to me in the light of Paul’s idea that he considered himself as the slave’s father and the slave [“Onesimus”] to be his son.

          My wife and I have had some foreign college students stay with us so they wouldn’t have to pay rent during breaks. I feel like they are my kids. But I know they really aren’t. Exodus and Deuteronomy give explicit instructions about how a master could try to force an indentured servant into becoming a permanent slave by giving him a wife early in his servitude and forcing him to decide whether to go free and leave his wife and children as slaves or stay with them by becoming a permanent slave. That was how they operated back then.

          I found the bulk of your post here:
          http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-dominic-crossan/how-to-read-a-pauline-letter_b_972400.html

          I responded to most of this a few minutes before I read your post. See it here: http://disq.us/p/1lmubdb

          Did Crossan and Borg date those monuments to verify that they were 19 centuries old? How did they distinguish whether they were not just tourist attractions like all those skulls of John the Baptist, splinters of Noah’s Ark, or burial shrouds of Jesus? They were on a tour. If they would have had more time to wander about, they might have found more tombs of Philemon and Onesimus.

        • adam

          “How did they distinguish whether they were not just tourist attractions
          like all those skulls of John the Baptist, splinters of Noah’s Ark, or
          burial shrouds of Jesus. ”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/0618711d45daa8dbd9279d4fd56aa468905735520adeaae1b71037ffa900be28.jpg

        • Greg G.

          I noticed in your reply that I ended a question with a period. I changed it. Thanks.

        • james warren

          As for your remarks on Crossan and Borg I find them just as silly as saying “Did you read Crossan’s “The Historical Jesus” or Borg’s “Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time”?

          If you read the link carefully, they made no claim that the statues were referring to the Bible’s Philemon and Onesimus.
          That’s how scholars operate. They offer evidence [“I visited a cemetery and this was what I found’] and made no conclusion as to any evidence that the two names referred to the men written about by Paul.

          That’s integrity. The evidence was at best interesting, but Crossan seems to let the mystery be.

        • adam

          “They offer evidence [“I visited a cemetery and this was what I found’] ”

          And didnt bother to verify it, instead let it stand as presented..

          “That’s integrity. ”

          Christian integrety = dishonesty.

        • james warren

          Writers who value clear and honest communication provide evidence that any objective observer would accept.
          It there was a video camera, it would show Crossan and his wife visiting two cemeteries in Turkey.

          I think I am through with you.

          I have rarely seen the level of reading & comprehension, willful stubbornness, plus a giant chip of militant & fundamentalist atheism–not to mention a hefty amount of biblical illiteracy as well as a resistance to learn facts and history you may have been unaware of–

          So I will happily bow out I feel you are wasting my time.

        • adam

          “So I will happily bow out I feel you are wasting my time.”

          Ahhh, poor lil victim

          Hopefully, you are just tired from all your misdirection and side-stepping and avoiding truth.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/fb4c2dd302a61d022368bd0b4663a7caa9eb57354da9947f37578b685f4d8115.jpg

        • adam

          “Writers who value clear and honest communication provide evidence that any objective observer would accept. ”

          So why didnt they?

        • Greg G.

          As for your remarks on Crossan and Borg I find them just as silly as saying “Did you read Crossan’s “The Historical Jesus” or Borg’s “Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time”?

          Crossan’s historical Jesus was a peace-loving hippie-like dude. Hoffman’s Jesus was a rather belligerent dude who went around picking fights with Pharisees. It is amazing how a historical Jesus biography is like a Rorschach test to show the temperament of the author.

          If you read the link carefully, they made no claim that the statues were referring to the Bible’s Philemon and Onesimus.

          I was pointing that out.

          That’s how scholars operate. They offer evidence [“I visited a cemetery and this was what I found’] and made no conclusion as to any evidence that the two names referred to the men written about by Paul.

          I think he was just mentioning it as a coincidence, not as evidence. I expect Crossan and Borg suspected they were not authentic, so not evidence of Philemon or Onesimus. I just don’t know why you would present them. I accept that Philemon and Onesimus were real as pretty much everybody Paul mentions in the authentic letters. I just think he was wrong about the existence of Jesus, which he thinks could only be known of through the Old Testament.

          That’s integrity. The evidence was at best interesting, but Crossan seems to let the mystery be.

          If Crossan thought they were authentic evidence, he would have tried to learn more and presented his findings in the book the article was taken from.

          It was not evidence. It was a coincidence but I think he was wise enough to know that Bible tourism has been a thing for centuries and much of what is seen is faked.

        • james warren

          There’s a great metaphor that says that a biblical scholar looks for Jesus down a deep well and comes up gazing at his own reflection staring back at him in the well water. The scholars who quote this wisdom are ones that I tend to take their craft seriously and honestly.

          I looked up something Crossan once wrote regarding what happened after joint lecture he and Marcus Borg were doing at a church.

          “My pastor told me not to come here because you are even to the left of Borg.”

          “Give your pastor my best regards,” Crossan replied “and tell him that is the good news.
          The bad news is that both Borg and Crossan are to the right of Jesus. And worse still, if he will recall Psalm 110, Jesus is to the right of God.”

          In the article I read, Crossan described what he saw. The same names recounted in Paul’s letters, but not the same bodies. Probably. I guess Crossan and his wife might have gone to Philemon’s home and procured a bit of DNA from his toothbrush and compared it with the soon-to-be-exhumed body.

        • james warren

          “I just think he was wrong about the existence of Jesus, which he thinks could only be known of through the Old Testament.”

          I think it was either Borg or Crossan who said that Old Testament prophecy said to be about Jesus was prophecy historicized, not history remembered.

          Matthew is the main writer who picks out phrase and verses that he willy-nilly applies to demonstrate that the Jews were waiting for centuries with baited breath for one Jesus of Nazareth to come from Galilee and make the world right for the Jewish people.

        • adam

          “Saying the entire Bible is pro-slavery is just not accurate.”

          You mean the “Word of God”

          And what did this “God” say?

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/831e274b356c03b8778b1d9672b8ab244560e2fda7a4cd57b0436d5bda02694f.jpg

        • james warren

          Again, which God of the Bible are you referring to?

          It has been immensely helpful for me to read critical scholarship on Jesus and the Bible. In my view, scholarship is key because of the disturbing amount of biblical illiteracy around.

          Critical scholars are accountable to the established body of knowledge and theory.
          They adopt the methodology germane to their field of study.
          Scholars practice their craft by offering their work for peer and public review.
          They offer their conclusions to be judged by the standards & criteria common to of all scholarship.
          Of course–just like all of us who are unafraid to admit to our own shortcomings and faults–they are human and subject to human frailties, so they must insist every fact, every theory, stands the test of examination by other scholars with different private interests but common standards.
          Scholars must make their cases on the basis of evidence accepted by all scholars.

          From the Jesus Seminar website.

          “Conservative theologians may be skeptical about certain historical events (and often are). Liberal theologians may make conservative historical judgments (and often do). To cite one example, critical scholars may value secondary material in the gospels more highly than something Jesus said. For these reasons, it is difficult to guess the religious convictions or church affiliation of scholars on the basis of their critical judgments. In fundamentalism, by contrast, theology and fact are collapsed into each other, because religious conviction is the controlling element.”

        • adam
        • james warren

          Billboards put up by believers or unbelievers are not biblical scholarship. And the fact that they are often placed like statues above ground level does not mean they are true.

          “Love your enemies.”
          –the God of Jesus

        • adam

          Suppose you hear in one of the towns the LORD your God is giving you
          that some worthless rabble among you have led their fellow citizens
          astray by encouraging them to worship foreign gods. In such cases, you
          must examine the facts carefully. If you find it is true and can prove
          that such a detestable act has occurred among you, you must attack that
          town and completely destroy all its inhabitants, as well as all the
          livestock. Then you must pile all the plunder in the middle of the
          street and burn it. Put the entire town to the torch as a burnt
          offering to the LORD your God. That town must remain a ruin forever; it
          may never be rebuilt. Keep none of the plunder that has been set apart
          for destruction. Then the LORD will turn from his fierce anger and be
          merciful to you. He will have compassion on you and make you a great
          nation, just as he solemnly promised your ancestors. “The LORD your God
          will be merciful only if you obey him and keep all the commands I am
          giving you today, doing what is pleasing to him.” (Deuteronomy 13:13-19 NLT)

        • james warren

          God is violent because we are violent. People want cover and sanction of their immoral habits. Firebombing Dresden or dropping atomic bombs are, at the very least, war crimes.

          You have shown me that you are as yet unable or unwilling to accept that the God of the Bible has a lot of distressing disguises.

          Jesus said in his parables that the unclean and the corrupt are integral parts of God.

        • adam

          “God is violent because we are violent.”

          But of course, that is MY CLAIM: https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ae1ee2515b89022446d029f7aa397845b841c7af79c03fa498660b13179b4044.jpg

          “You have shown me that you are as yet unable or unwilling to accept that the God of the Bible has a lot of distressing disguises.”

          You have shown me that you are as yet unable or unwilling to demonstrate that the God of the Bible is anything but IMAGINARY.

          “Jesus said in his parables that the unclean and the corrupt are integral parts of God.”

          Jesus said in his parables that it is acceptable to beat your slaves.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/362b8e87ab112e731aefcb64cda9cd670499ee3d720793eaaefa14f375072969.jpg

        • adam

          “Billboards put up by believers or unbelievers are not biblical scholarship.”

          The quote however is.

          Keep on telling us that your Bible doesnt mean what it says or say what it means.
          It makes your Bible seem even more credible.

        • james warren

          The quote is simplistic, uninformed and dishonest.

          To be blunt, God and the divine can only be mediated through human experience.

          The quote is not the Word of God. The Bible was written by human beings, not God. A God-dictated book is the purview of most Christians and many atheists.

        • adam

          “The quote is simplistic, uninformed and dishonest.”

          Ahhh, the old – the Bible doesnt say what it means or means what it says, it means what “I” say it means.

          “The quote is not the Word of God”

          The Bible does attribute that to God.
          But hey, if you are going to throw out quotes from God, you might just as well create your own religion and your own bible.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/1fe90d396e4d4703c73fc5e1ae60cbd0e56aa66a2d4f8519d7b044c62dd6be56.jpg

        • adam

          “The quote is simplistic, uninformed and dishonest.”

          What’s dishonest about a direct quote?

          I mean besides YOUR dishonesty.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/681785c573e0e941d7e81f66dd2e305bc7671f7e9b41f0b84b263f098be05d79.jpg

        • adam

          “Pauline Christianity ”

          Oxymoron.

          You might as well choose Joseph Smith Christianity or Islamic Christianity.

          But of course, Paul has the Easy Button to Heaven, almost everybody can get there.
          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/78c238a8fdac57c3bb855616ad55fbd78f3dc526cd6d2a22046ad574b30f4edf.jpg

          Jesus on the other hand says ‘few’ will find heaven….

          Matthew 7:14
          Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f94b0037eccec85b544dc3d581c61382e53517cfe2cd379c0be014b4d64b78f9.jpg

        • adam

          ” Paul’s theology is concerned.”

          You mean Paul who most likely had epileptic seizures and hallucinations?
          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/5f13c9a6994d545cc03dc045bf1d796f3f47635db60b7beabd2bae91a593fab4.jpg
          What about Paul makes him worth worship?

          What about Jesus’ theology?

        • adam

          “Saying the entire Bible God is pro-slavery is just not accurate.”

        • adam

          “It is also significant that the world of the Roman Empire and the
          cultural/religious/political matrix does not show an exact
          correspondence to American slavery.”

          Thanks for not taking the time to expouse the ‘not exactly’ the same kind of slavery, this is common apologetics for both slavery and the Bible.

          The question is: did they have Biblical slavery, you know OWNING people as PROPERTY:

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/86effa5e2bc761ae95f687bf44f1632c13ebd40a54b07502d779f242a887cc3e.jpg

          And BTW

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/9573cb930ea8243cc773b9fde059a7b645a8143aa695ee97bc6e00d1cfcb0364.jpg

          But again, very common for slavery and bible apologists.

        • james warren

          Any student of Paul’s authentic letters knows full well his quotation from Galatians:

          “…There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus”

          Paul was very clear in saying that Christians shouldn’t own Christian slaves. Christians must be free. Hel wanted everybody to become a Christian. I see him as a strong advocate against slavery.

          There are very troubling passages about slavery in other letters in the Bible that are attributed to Paul. These other letters seem to indicate that Paul thought slavery was just fine — and he ordered slaves to obey their masters.

          There is a scholarly consensus that those letters actually weren’t written by Paul himself.

          The authentic letter in terms of vocabulary, sentence structure and theology is his shortest letter where he addresses Philemon who was a slave holder whose slave Onesemus is described by Paul characterizes his relationship with Onesmus as “father and son.”

          Paul was not the only one. The philosopher Philo was his contemporary–a Jew who said quite clearly that all slavery is unnatural. Philo says it’s a matter of greed.

          If you are interested in a view of how slavery was like in Paul’s day studying this letter is useful.

          I loved the “Calvin and Hobbes” comic strip. Calvin was thanking his mother for bringing him back a book she got at the library:

          Calvin: “I read this library book you got me.”
          Calvin’s Mom: “What did you think of it?”
          Calvin: “It really made me see things differently. It’s given me a lot to think about.”
          Calvin’s Mom: “I’m glad you enjoyed it.”
          Calvin: “It’s complicating my life. Don’t get me any more.”

        • adam

          “Any student of Paul’s authentic letters knows full well his quotation from Galatians:”

          Again, I understand that you are a worshiper of Paul’s words and an ignorer of Jesus’s.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ae1afb4336eb43eac4eb6542320889b4c9068fa20364f91b3a3a3b8f6e3a0f88.png

          “There is a scholarly consensus that those letters actually weren’t written by Paul himself.”

          So is it evidence you are presenting or just claims you are hiding behind?

          ” philosopher Philo was his contemporary–a Jew who said quite clearly
          that all slavery is unnatural. Philo says it’s a matter of greed.”

          And Jesus?

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ae1afb4336eb43eac4eb6542320889b4c9068fa20364f91b3a3a3b8f6e3a0f88.png

          “If you are interested in a view of how slavery was like in Paul’s day studying this letter is useful.”

          What difference does it make?
          God and Jesus were very clear – owning other people as PROPERTY is condoned.

        • james warren

          “Worshiper of Paul?”
          Really?
          What in God’s name are you even TALKING about?

          I don’t worship anyone. But since you seem to go around lock and loaded, you will probably read my post with inattention and to merely confirm your own human prejudices.

          You cannot carry on an adult discussion without giving me a little dig. Luckily my own parents raised me with caring, respect and fairness. I was spared from family-sanctioned psychological pain and seldom felt the instinct to throw that onto other people to avoid my own suffering.

          Hurt people hurt people.

        • adam

          “”Worshiper of Paul?”
          Really?
          What in God’s name are you even TALKING about?”

          You keep invoking Paul words over Jesus’, relying on Pauls words over Jesus.

          “Hurt people hurt people.”

          STUPID people hurt people by pretending that imaginary characters from a story are real, and will deliver eternal torture to those who dont believe.

          So you are the ABUSER not the VICTIM

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c4f62ba0c613c669ab653cfb78f05544969e86fec643225f5730886021d56a26.png

        • james warren

          Again, you are right. Too many times I bullshit. I am unafraid to acknowledge my shortcomings, as I have communicated to you again and again and again…

          So you say because I am quoting Paul and his letter to the slave owner that then means I am worshiping Paul?

          I don’t call that rational reasoning or logical either.

          Think about that.

          You can answer the question in private if you want.

        • adam

          “So you say because I am quoting Paul and his letter to the slave owner that then means I am worshiping Paul?”

          Nope, try again.

          “You can answer the question in private if you want.”

          Why would I want you to be able to hide your bullshit and lies from others?

          It is exactly this type of deception that exposes christianity for what it is.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e60da69b09f90cdf455366214de1c302250519c28b2fc82edbcdee62ca93a7e3.jpg

        • Greg G.

          Any student of Paul’s authentic letters knows full well his quotation from Galatians:

          “…There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus”

          That’s Galatians 3:28 (or very near it without looking it up.) Paul didn’t see any sense in distinguishing one from the other as he believed it was a short-term problem that would be rectified any minute.

          Paul was very clear in saying that Christians shouldn’t own Christian slaves. Christians must be free.

          That is the opposite of true. Paul told slaves to stay slaves even if they could gain their freedom:

          1 Corinthians 7:21-24 (NRSV)21 Were you a slave when called? Do not be concerned about it. Even if you can gain your freedom, make use of your present condition now more than ever. 22 For whoever was called in the Lord as a slave is a freed person belonging to the Lord, just as whoever was free when called is a slave of Christ. 23 You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of human masters. 24 In whatever condition you were called, brothers and sisters, there remain with God.

          Nowhere does Paul tell Christians to release slaves. He didn’t tell Philemon to release Onesimus. He made Onesimus return to being a slave. In fact, according to the passage above, Onesimus should have refused it even if he was given freedom from Philemon.

          Paul thought the Lord was coming at any minute so changing one’s earthly status was pointless. He didn’t think married people should divorce nor should widows or any single people marry. He didn’t think there was any reason for a man to touch a woman. He thought marriage was better than fornication so the only reason to get married was for sex if you couldn’t resist. He never even considered the possibility of sex resulting in children so that is an indication of how soon he was expecting the Lord to come.

          Paul always used the first person plural for those who were alive when the Lord came and always the third person plural for the dead. He was a first century Harold Camping.

        • james warren

          Paul and his communities were living in the Roman Empire. But I cannot speak to the inner thoughts and emotions of Paul. I can only guess based on his writings and what I have learned from scholars.

        • Greg G.

          Even scholars can be biased. Religious scholars tend to bend over backwards to soften the Bible on slavery.

          Paul talks about his urgency somewhere but epistle, chapter and verse are not coming to mind ATM. See 1 Corinthians 15:51-54 and 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 to see that he expects his eschatology to occur while he is living. Another passage I do not recall ATM is him explaining away that some members are “falling asleep” but reassuring the readers that those will be raised. Practically the whole of 1 Corinthians 7 shows how Paul is all about the here and now so he is not concerned about any long term earthly goals.

        • james warren

          Softening is not attempting to understand.
          In my humble view, the best scholars don’t soften anything, even though the EFFECT of their work may seem like they are trying to “soften” the “Word of God” of normative Christianity.

        • adam

          “Softening is not attempting to understand.”

          Then why do you spend so much time softening biblical slavery?

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/49ed4a65c217619db273eb191506b8428aa86f753e98599f6612a2172cc89641.jpg

        • Greg G.

          I pointed out the actual verses that Paul apparently wrote that show that what you said was the opposite of what Paul said. One of the verses I quoted says “make use of your present condition now more than ever”. That shows urgency but not to get out of slavery. Paul is elaborating on the “neither slave nor free” meaning a slave is free in Jesus while a free person is a slave of Christ. As far as Paul was concerned, they were essentially equal because they were soon to be irrelevant.

        • james warren

          “neither slave nor free” meaning a slave is free in Jesus while a free person is a slave of Christ.”

          I am having trouble finding this. Is it a part of the Bible or is it someone else’s characterization of the Bible?
          Also, is there evidence that Paul showed a difference between Jesus and Christ?

        • Greg G.

          1 Corinthians 7:22. I quoted it two or three posts upthread.

        • Greg G.

          Also, is there evidence that Paul showed a difference between Jesus and Christ?

          As a matter of fact, I wrote a routine to do a text search for some of the names and titles of Jesus a couple of weeks ago. I used the NRSV since I had it already in a text format. I searched for “Lord Jesus Christ”, “Jesus Christ”,”Christ Jesus”, “Christ” and “Jesus” for the whole New Testament. I did a presearch for “Lord Christ Jesus” for the NIV on Blue Letter Bible and got no hits on the exact phrase. The routine deleted the phrases so the individual words would not be counted twice. The routine tabulated the numbers for each book. It did not consider the context of the use, even if “Messiah” was used generally. I have noticed that sometimes English translations will use a name when it is merely implied in the Greek text but I have never investigated how often it happens and I did not check how often this occurred in this “study”. The percentage in parentheses is the total usage of any of the terms divided by the number of verses.

          The seven “authentic” Pauline epistles, 1493 verses (20.6%)
          LJC 30
          JC  31
          CJ  46
          J   35
          C   164
          M   1

          Ephesians, Colossians, 2 Thessalonians, 297 verses (30.6%)
          LJC 16
          JC  1
          CJ  15
          J   8
          C   51
          M   0

          The Pastorals, 242 verses (12.8%)
          LJC 2
          JC  4
          CJ  24
          J   0
          C   1
          M   0

          “Authentic” Paul usually used “Christ” but used “Jesus” and “Christ” together over a hundred times, though 2 Corinthians and 1 Thessalonians usually use “Jesus”. The Pastorals usually use “Christ Jesus” but never just “Jesus” and “Christ” only once. The other three are like the “authentic” except they only used “Jesus Christ” once.

          So Paul used “Jesus” and “Christ” in conjunction about a third of the time so I would think he did not make a distinction between them.

        • james warren

          Sorry. It looks like I seriously misled you. I should have made a distinction between Jesus in the real world from the theology that aimed to describe the meaning of the man.

        • adam

          Paul didnt know a Jesus in the real world. He said he never met such a Jesus.
          Paul created Jesus from the OT.

        • Greg G.

          I think Paul thought of the Suffering Servant metaphor of the nation of Israel was the hidden mystery Paul mentioned in Romans 16:25-26 and 1 Corinthians 2:7 and by whoever wrote Ephesians 3:3,5,9, was actually a person who lived and died at or before Isaiah’s time. He read that he died for sins in Isaiah 53:5, that he was buried in Isaiah 53:9, and that he was making intercession for transgressors in Isaiah 53:11-12, which implies that he was not dead, so he got that he was raised in three days from Hosea 6:2.

          Then he got his eschatology from:

          Isaiah 26:19-21a
          19 Your dead shall live, their corpses shall rise.
              O dwellers in the dust, awake and sing for joy!
          For your dew is a radiant dew,
              and the earth will give birth to those long dead.
          20 Come, my people, enter your chambers,
              and shut your doors behind you;
          hide yourselves for a little while
              until the wrath is past.
          21a For the Lord comes out from his place…

          Daniel 7:11a, 13a; 12:2
          11a I watched then because of the noise of the arrogant words that the horn was speaking….
          13a As I watched in the night visions,
          I saw one like a human being
              coming with the clouds of heaven….
          12:2 Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.

          Isaiah 25:8a
          8a he will swallow up death forever.

          You see those themes in 1 Corinthians 15:51-54, 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17, and Philippians 3:20-21.

          I think his eschatology came from being a Pharisee as their beliefs appear to be from Daniel 12:2:

          Jewish War 2.8.14
          They [Pharisees] say that all souls are incorruptible, but that the souls of good men only are removed into other bodies, – but that the souls of bad men are subject to eternal punishment.

          I think he may have come up with the name Jesus, or earlier Christians, from Zechariah 3:1-10 and Zechariah 6:11-13, plus some influence from Philo, On the Confusion of Tongues XIV, (60-62) (“Behold, a man whose name is the [East/Branch/Rising]!” ) where he seems to be quoting from Zechariah 6:12.

          So, I think Paul saw Jesus as having been a lowly servant who died, was resurrected, and would return as the Messiah at any time.

          I also think that the death by crucifixion was Paul’s idea and the Jews disagreed completely:

          1 Corinthians 1:23
          but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,

          but especially Galatians. Chapter 3 starts off with Paul’s astonishment that they had been bewitched after he had proved to them that Jesus was crucified. Then he goes through his reasoning step by step but fails by taking the word “cursed” from one verse and “cursed” from “anyone hanged on a tree is cursed” to make his case by word association. But he rhetorically asked who had bewitched them. He just spent two chapters discrediting Cephas and James and continues being sarcastic to the circumcision faction along with crucifixion mentions.

        • james warren

          Your arguments are impressive, as always.
          I appreciate the time you obviously spend on them.
          And especially the respectful way you offer them.

          I do think Jesus did exist, however.
          The early church fathers and defenders of the new faith spent a lot of time criticizing and refuting the “heretical/pagan.” We now know that early post-Easter groups and disparate theologies demonstrate the rich variety of Judaism at that time.
          Many heresies were confronted, but there are no heresies I know of that show a committed effort to assert Jesus was only a mythic figure.

          I also take seriously the extra-canonical historical evidence. For instance, the Jewish historian Josephus mentions Jesus twice.

          There were at least a dozen charismatic figures around Jesus’ day that were slaughtered by the Romans for espousing apocalyptic and treasonous ideas.

          He was not the only crucified messiah.

          In fact, a Roman historian named Celsus made fun of the fact that there were so many pretenders to messiahship around. He imagined a nameless savior wandering around the Galilean countryside, speaking to no one in particular:

          “I am God, or the servant of God or a divine spirit. But I am coming, for the world is already in the throes of destruction. And you will soon see me coming with the power of heaven.”

          The ancient historian was merely giving a caricature of what he saw around him daily.

          This helps me put Jesus in the historical context in his day.

          –Theudas, mentioned in the Book of Acts, had 400 disciples until Rome captured him and cut off his head.
          –A mysterious figure known only as “the Egyptian” raised an army in the desert and were all massacred by Roman troops.
          –A poor shepherd names Athronges crowned himself “King of the Jews.” He and his followers were brutally cut down by soldiers.
          –A man known only as “the Samaritan” was executed by Pontius Pilate, even though he seems to have marshaled any threat at all to the empire (maybe this tells us how much of a dangerous tinderbox Palestine was back then).

          There were many, many others now lost to our own history:
          –Hezekia the Bandit Chief,
          –Simon of Paraea,
          –Judas the Galilean,
          –Judas’ grandson Menahem,
          –Simon, Son of Kochba

          All were men who declared messianic ambitions and were quickly despatched by the Roman Empire.

          And the parables… It still amazes me that his major parables show the divine as unclean and corrupted.

          Pagan challengers lived in a world that accepted resurrections as a fact of life. Their arguments about Jesus were not that he was resurrected, but that a lowly peasant who did not have a royal birth could be truly resurrected.

          A living figure is supported by a massive consensus of historians.

          Paul knew James, the brother of Jesus as well as Peter, the key disciple of Jesus. These were real people who had known Jesus and Paul describes having a major theological difference with the pair which indicates the argument got a bit rancorous.

          I think it would be an incredible and joyous time for nonbelievers and committed atheists to learn of the discovery of a new text that would definitively show Jesus never existed. There would be singing, handholding and celebrations like dancing around the Maypole.

          So I strongly disagree the characterization of a mythic Jesus.

          .

        • Greg G.

          Your arguments are impressive, as always.
          I appreciate the time you obviously spend on them.

          Why, thank you James.

          I do think Jesus did exist, however.
          The early church fathers and defenders of the new faith spent a lot of time criticizing and refuting the “heretical/pagan.” We now know that early post-Easter groups and disparate theologies demonstrate the rich variety of Judaism at that time.
          Many heresies were confronted, but there are no heresies I know of that show a committed effort to assert Jesus was only a mythic figure.

          Most of the ancient literature we have today has been passed to us by Christians, mostly the Catholic Church. Ignorant Amos recently posted an old quote from them that they were going to copy the good stuff and not the heretical at some point. Consequently, we have Contra Celsus but not Celsus. We can see that the argument went on for centuries. By then, neither side had any more reliable evidence than they did in the year 99. I often cite 2 Peter 1:16 where it seems to be defending against the claim that they follow “cleverly devised myths.” Then 2 Peter cites the Transfiguration story from Matthew, one of the most obvious cleverly devised myths in the Gospels, as proof that they didn’t follow cleverly devised myths.

          I also take seriously the extra-canonical historical evidence. For instance, the Jewish historian Josephus mentions Jesus twice.

          Josephus mentions several Jesuses. But the Testimonium Flavianum is a forgery. Origen commented on Josephus five times. Twice was just that Josephus wrote about the ancientness of the Jews. Once he mentioned the “James brother of the one called Christ” passage, once he has “as Josephus says, of James the Just, the brother of Jesus who was called Christ”, and another time, he pointed out the volume where the story of Jon the Baptist was and the James passage, and he said that Josephus didn’t believe “in Jesus as Christ.” If the TF had been in his copy, he would certainly have mentioned it at this point and not said Josephus didn’t believe. The TF is just a few paragraphs before the John the Baptist account.

          Origen bequeathed his library to the city of Caesarea. Pamphilus became the curator and added to Origen’s library. Pamphilus was Eusebius’ mentor. Eusebius was the first person to ever mention the TF. Most scholars recognize that the TF has been embellished by a Christian hack. The Coincidences of the Emmaus Narrative of Luke and the Testimonium of Josephus [Link] by Gary J. Goldberg, Ph.D. shows that with the obvious Christianese removed, what is left corresponds point for point with the Emmaus Road story, which is more Christian gloss. Goldberg considers three scenarios:

          1. Coincidence: Which he rejects because of the density and specifity of the similarities.
          2. Copying: Which he rejects because he is incredulous that anybody in that day and age could mimic Josephus’ style.
          3. A common source: Which he accepts.

          But the Emmaus Road story is just a summary of the Gospel of Luke. Luke got the basic story from Mark but not as a summary. So his common source theory is not rational.

          The Testimonium Flavianum, Eusebius, and Consensus by Ken Olson finds that Eusebius used many of the words and phrases of the TF, those thought to be indicative of Josephus’ hand, in his own writings, used the same way, from both the acknowledged gloss and the Emmaus Road rewording, plus some similarity with that passage found nowhere else in Josephus.

          So, we have strong evidence that it was not in Origen’s copy of Antiquities, that Eusebius had access to the same copy, and the TF has Eusebius’ fingerprints all over it, and that the TF is acknowledged to not be untouched.

          Now the mention of the “Jesus who was called Christ” has no other mention in Josephus’ writings. It would only make sense to a Christian. But there is another Jesus mentioned in the next sentence who was made the high place to replace James.

          We have no other Christian author mentioning the passage. The phrase may have been a margin note of the the Christian who had the copy that Origen’s copy was made from. Interpolated margin notes are very common. Sometimes the margin notes are corrections to a copyist’s mistake, so a copyist may well have assumed that.

          So it looks like none of the Testimonium Flavianum was in there which makes the other mention of Christ meaningless to anyone but a Christian.

          There were at least a dozen charismatic figures around Jesus’ day that were slaughtered by the Romans for espousing apocalyptic and treasonous ideas.

          Which would make a fictional account believable.

          And the parables… It still amazes me that his major parables show the divine as unclean and corrupted.

          Isn’t that the Stoic and the Cynic style?

          Pagan challengers lived in a world that accepted resurrections as a fact of life. Their arguments about Jesus were not that he was resurrected, but that a lowly peasant who did not have a royal birth could be truly resurrected.

          Or they may have just been reading Paul’s letters and believed him. See his argument where he quotes several Old Testament verses to demonstrate to the Galatians that Jesus was crucified. His logic is:

          Deuteronomy 27:26 (NRSV)
          “Cursed be anyone who does not uphold the words of this law by observing them.” All the people shall say, “Amen!”

          Deuteronomy 21:23 (NRSV)
          his corpse must not remain all night upon the tree*; you shall bury him that same day, for anyone hung on a tree is under God’s curse. You must not defile the land that the Lord your God is giving you for possession.

          So Christ redeemed people by being hung on a tree. The Hebrew word is the word for “tree”. The Septuagint uses “ξύλον” (xylon) that can mean tree, wood, or cross. Paul is using the Septuagint version and that word. So does 1 Peter 2:24 where it is sometimes translated as “cross”.

          Paul had been talking about Cephas and James as if the Galatians were familiar with them. Why didn’t he just say that those to two were witnesses? Because he was discrediting them. Why? It appears that Cephas and/or James were who bewitched them to thinking that Jesus was’nt crucified.

          A living figure is supported by a massive consensus of historians.

          How many of those historians came to that conclusion after they were qualified to be historians? How many of them were convinced of that before they learned critical thinking?

          Paul knew James, the brother of Jesus as well as Peter, the key disciple of Jesus. These were real people who had known Jesus and Paul describes having a major theological difference with the pair which indicates the argument got a bit rancorous.

          Compare the first verse of Galatians with the opening verse of his other letters. He immediately starts in with a rant that he is not sent by human authority but be the Lord. He usually says he is sent by the Lord but nowhere else does he make the point that it is not human authority. He make the point that he got his information from revelation, not from human authority, right before he tells us he visited with Cephas and James, which also tells us he didn’t get his information from them. He points out that Cephas didn’t follow the kosher rules until some agents from the circumcision faction were sent by James. In Galatians 5:11-12, he says he wishes the circumcisers would castrate themselves. So Paul was very sarcastic about them. He says he is unimpressed by the “pillars” in Galatians 2:6, and names them in Galatians 2:9 as Cephas, James and John. So Paul is hot about human authority sending people places because he sees that as what the Lord does. That James sends people places means he must be at the Lord’s level, or “the Lord’s brother”.

          Paul also mentions the Lord’s brothers in 1 Corinthians 9:5 where it seems that someone has suggested that the Corinthians shouldn’t support him financially, so he is arguing that he should be paid. One can infer the people making that argument are those associated with Cephas. In 1 Corinthians 9:8, he brings up human authority again so the Lord’s brother is his sarcasm for people who act like they have the Lord’s authority.

          I think it would be an incredible and joyous time for nonbelievers and committed atheists to learn of the discovery of a new text that would definitively show Jesus never existed. There would be singing, handholding and celebrations like dancing around the Maypole.

          You know that theists would consider faith to be strengthened by denying that evidence.

          I strongly disagree the mythic characterization of a mythic Jesus.

          So did I about 12 to 15 years ago. Then I started studying the evidence for the proposition.

        • james warren

          Emmaus never happened.
          Emmaus always happens.

        • Greg G.

          Emmaus was a literary device.

        • james warren

          Of course. It’s a definite metaphor.

        • james warren

          The word symbolism is related to interpretation. And those interpretations are made by human beings and are necessarily not going to be the same.

        • adam

          What is the historical significance of having racists and traitors deified in the public square.

          I mean other than to terrorize the very victims of racism?

        • james warren

          Historians are human beings and the significance of one page of history will be different from another page of history. Consequences and significance are often hard to predict.

        • adam

          “Consequences and significance are often hard to predict.”

          Not when you deify racists who LOST and long for the days when racism rising again.

          You just feed into their desires by giving them hope by having these as governmental deities.

        • james warren

          Again, *sigh* consequences and significance are hard to predict.
          Defying any racists has consequences.
          If they can be exposed to honest dialogue and nonviolent communication they will not necessarily think their desires are being fed into.

          We all need a little hope these days.

        • adam

          “Defying any racists has consequences.”

          Of course and very different consequences than deifying them.

          Hope in one hand and shit in the other, tell me which one has substance.

        • james warren

          Oh, that’s too easy! :)

        • adam

          The value of hope.

        • james warren

          The value of your personal INTERPRETATION of the value of hope.

        • adam

          Value hope in one hand and shit in the other, tell me which one has substance.

        • adam

          “The word symbolism is related to interpretation.”

          And yet these statues are primarily racist symbolism.

          “And those interpretations are made by human beings and are necessarily not going to be the same”

          So?

          Are you trying to deny that these people were racists, had racist goals, and committed WAR to enforce their racism?

        • james warren

          All of us are racists, have racist goals and are willing to commit war to enforce this racism.

        • adam

          Nope,

          You can only speak for yourself.

        • james warren

          We live in a racist America.

          Geeze Louse!

          How many times do we have to realize that before we start to acknowledge the racism in our own hearts?

        • adam

          “How many times do we have to realize that before we start to acknowledge the racism in our own hearts?”

          ” All of us are racists, have racist goals and are willing to commit war to enforce this racism.”

          Nope,

          You can only speak for yourself.

        • james warren

          We live in a country of racism and white privileged. To the extent we live here, we are all tainted.

          Jesus imparted a bit of 2,000-year old pop psychology that we need to pay attention to the logs in our own eyes first before we deem to arrogantly point out the tiny speck of sawdust in our neighbor’s.

          It is all about hypocrisy.

          I know very well all about the logs in my own eyes. And have no fear about acknowledging them. Shame, yes. But not fear.

        • adam

          “We live in a country of racism and white privileged. To the extent we live here, we are all tainted.”

          “” All of us are racists, have racist goals and are willing to commit war to enforce this racism.””

          Again, NOPE, you can only speak for yourself.

          “Jesus imparted a bit of 2,000-year old pop psychology that we need to
          pay attention to the logs in our own eyes first before we deem to
          arrogantly point out the tiny speck of sawdust in our neighbor’s.”

          Yes, and part of that pop psychology was condoning slavery, and beating such slaves, ignorant or not,

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ae1afb4336eb43eac4eb6542320889b4c9068fa20364f91b3a3a3b8f6e3a0f88.png

          “It is all about hypocrisy.”

          No, it is all about LOVE for monsterous “God”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/49ed4a65c217619db273eb191506b8428aa86f753e98599f6612a2172cc89641.jpg

        • james warren

          I find nothing in Jesus’ aphorism that even touches on slavery.
          And a focused study of the Bible tells me it was written by human beings. Who all had their own agenda.

          It is more accurate to just admit that there are many unique and often contradictory characterizations of the character of God.

          I totally understand that as a militant atheist, you seem to be unaware of this.

          You might be surprised to know that many cutting-edge biblical scholars have taken up the subject of “God” in their studies.

          https://www.amazon.com/Folly-God-Theology-Unconditional-Future/dp/1598151711/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1503600810&sr=1-1&keywords=the+folly+of+god

          https://www.amazon.com/Science-God-Convergence-Scientific-Biblical/dp/1439129584

          https://www.amazon.com/Reimagining-God-Journey-Modern-Heretic/dp/1598151568

          https://www.westarinstitute.org/store/gods-human-future/

          https://www.westarinstitute.org/store/above-us-only-sky/

          https://www.amazon.com/History-God-000-Year-Judaism-Christianity/dp/0345384563

        • adam

          “It is more accurate to just admit that there are many unique and often contradictory characterizations of the character of God.”

          “I totally understand that as a militant atheist, you seem to be unaware of this.”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/130fd73d4d1fb8d44561582f5da3d25a01a3ce6610d72d62008d60c7e7067449.jpg

          Oh, I am fully aware of how malleable the character of the bible stories “God” is.

          You gave me no valid reason to follow any of your links.

          You can go back to apologizing why the Bible doesnt mean what it says or say what it means, now.

        • Greg G.

          I find nothing in Jesus’ aphorism that even touches on slavery.

          It doesn’t say “beat your neighbor for his mistakes”. It doesn’t say “beat your brother for his mistakes”. It doesn’t say “beat your friend for his mistakes”. It doesn’t say “beat your wife for her mistakes”. It says “beat your slave for his mistakes”. The point that is being made only works for slaves (of maybe children) being beaten.

        • adam

          But Greg, beat doesnt mean beat and slave doesnt mean slave,

          Mistake? The bible clearly doesnt say mistake.
          See, clearly the whole idea of slavery is repugnant to the Bible….

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/4e5bf0bb965dfea057390a60ed5831b4a71e150c0766d79eca7bf17a4b30f682.jpg

        • Greg G.

          Thanks! I am clarified!

        • adam

          “I find nothing in Jesus’ aphorism that even touches on slavery.”

          Well then look at what he says in Luke

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ae1afb4336eb43eac4eb6542320889b4c9068fa20364f91b3a3a3b8f6e3a0f88.png

        • Kodie

          Needing to keep the statue “for history” is the most ridiculous.

        • james warren

          Your opinion is noted. Get me a cold beer and a country-western tavern and I can help you understand. Sometimes we read with inattention and to reinforce our own prejudices.

        • adam

          ” Get me a cold beer and a country-western tavern and I can help you understand.”

          Why not just use words, right here and now?

        • Kodie

          You are in favor of keeping statues of racists, slave owners, and confederate soldiers because?????? Because you think people are too sensitive who want them taken down? Because, you sound like you’re the one who’s too sensitive because you need to keep them and are offended by a difference of opinion.

        • james warren

          All of us are sensitive. It’s in our shared DNA. Saber-tooth tigers surround us!

          Unless you can be morally accountable for your own sensitivity when you react to my admonishments to broaden our outlook and stop attacking others you will probably continue to insist I am just “too sensitive.”

          It’s a calculated barb. But I refuse to feel small, needy, and pathetic. Or very, very flawed.

          If you actually believe that I am hurt too easily [and I am not] then you can take a page of ethics from my own family.
          Both parents told me if a person tells me “That’s hurtful. I’m sensitive,” I apologize and do my best to refrain from saying hurtful things to you.

          But that’s just me.

        • Kodie

          No, you are whining because someone might compare you to Hitler or call you an asshole, but you don’t care if someone else stands up against oppression. Check yourself, you are the whiner. You are not being morally accountable for your own sensitivity and you think everyone else needs to shut up and let you be an asshole to them.

        • james warren

          Read your post. I see lots of “YOU are whining,” “YOU don’t care,” “YOU are not being morally accountable…” “YOU think” etc.

          Your language is accusatory; it is not honest.

          You might have said
          “ *I* feel like you are whining….” when you say ________ or __________.”
          “ *I* think you don’t care” when you post _________, _________, and _______.”
          “In my view *I* believe you are not being morally accountable because to me it seems like you are saying ______________.”
          “ *I* am picking up that you think every one else needs to shut up when you post that _____________.”

          These possible replies show a willingness to take personal responsibility for your own beliefs, thoughts and feelings. Instead of blaming me for your own discomfort and anger, you would be honest and would be communicating in such a way that would be more accountable.

          As I have posted again and again and again, I am not afraid to be aware of my own hypocrisy and racism.
          For me being honest is all about doing a fearless and searching moral inventory of my own shortcomings and faults,

          And, as I have posted again and again, your accusation that I am “whining” is specious and dishonest.

          You probably mean to say that my posts irritate you because you write ___________ and ______________.

          Show me how your personal belief that I am “whining” can be absolutely proven.
          The written word can never show voice tone, skin color, facial expressions or breathing.
          In short, your characterization that I am “whining” cannot be proven.

          “Whining” is a jugement, opinion or interpretation of yours. It says more about your own state of mine–not mine.

          It sounds to me that you may be simply irritated at my remarks. Remember, you are speaking for yourself.

        • Kodie

          You want to live in your safe racist space without considering the feelings of others. You want everyone to cater to your emotional fragility, actually, and keep up statues that reflect a racist history, and let them stand in monument to racism, because you are a fucking liar if you believe that if we take statues down, that’s extremism like ISIS and the children of America will never learn anywhere else than fucking statues about slavery and about the Civil War and about systemic racism that you uphold. You pretend that you don’t, that’s the thing, You think we can’t see through you, and you are just so fucking petty about material monuments in symbolism of a racist white America. You are a fucking liar if you think that we need these symbols to remind us of some kind of embarrassing era in our nation’s history. You are a fucking liar if you think we can’t see through these transparent excuses to be a fucking racist openly. We have a problem in the US right now where people are becoming bolder about their racism than they’ve felt free to be in over a generation, and you are making shitty arguments and lies, LIES, because you think if you can win emotionally that “history is important to remember so we don’t repeat it or pretend it never happened”, that’s fucking bullshit. That’s a racist’s way of saying “settle down, sugar, it’s just a statue, it can’t hurt anyone, and I happen to like it and like what it stands for.” Other people don’t like what it stands for, and recognize it for what it is and what it represents, and aren’t fooled by your shitty excuses. Really. Get a clue. Nobody’s buying your act.

          At least be honest – something white supremacists can’t seem to do.

        • MNb

          Tell that the Germans who even today have forbidden nazi symbols like statues of Hitler.
          Better still – tell that the descendants of Holocaust survivors.

        • Fred Knight

          who’s deifying? that is a stretch.

        • adam

          “who’s deifying? that is a stretch.”

          You mean placing them high on a pedistal in the government courts?

          Where they are to command respect and reverence?

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/bbdfae937bc96ee180090909f136e59245f7c768688979de258c39642c51a248.jpg

          Where’s the stretch?

        • Fred Knight

          “I happen to be one of those people who see no reason to tear down
          statues of Confederate soldiers. It’s all about history for me–certainly not racism.”
          very reasonable, indeed. it’s interesting that “iconoclasm” (mindless destruction of images) was deemed a heresy by the early Church.
          oh, how history loves to repeat itself.

        • james warren

          Jesus of Nazareth was an iconoclast that Christianity has turned into an icon.

        • james

          why do christian say that jesus was a healer when in gospel healing is done as photo opportunity? he doesn’t go every where to prevent human suffering and even tell his pals to allow authorities to beat the shit out of them. he says if persecution gets too much they should run to the mountains. jesus did not come as healer but tell people to pretend that they are in heaven even when they are getting beaten the shit out of. not every one has right to receive healing , a non-jewish woman had to admit she is animal of the children before she get a healing for her ill daughter.jesus says nothing about gentile children.

        • Greg G.

          But, but, but Jesus healed a woman accidentally. There was so much of that going on they couldn’t document it all. They had to have the permission of the patient before they could publicly disclose any healing, and since nearly everybody was illiterate, most couldn’t sign their names.

          They weren’t all photo ops. Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law so she could make him a sandwich. </apologeticsmode>

  • james warren

    Spirituality decays during the passage of time.

    In ancient Sumer, it went like this:

    1. The gods rule
    2. The gods rule through me
    3. I RULE !!!!

    Jesus ate and drank with the marginalized, the destitute and the rest of the human trash in his day sharing simple meals that dislocated the social order of the day.s
    Three hundred years later the bishops of the empire gathered to eat an opulent banquet in Constantine’s court, surrounded by armed Roman soldiers.

    In Exodus, “the Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend.”
    A short time later he says “…you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.”

    Christianity is a developing tradition. Mark is believed to be the earliest gospel. With a parallel Bible, it is useful to trace how Matthew and Luke follow Mark and change their accounts to reflect their own agenda.

    And the Fourth Gospel–written around 100 CE–is an example of early Christian theology.

    Instead of speaking in parables and short, memorable aphorisms Jesus goes on and on in long, dense theological monologues all about himself and the importance of believing in him.

    John has no parables, No concern for the poor. No Last Supper. No miracles. No birth narratives. The word “repent” will not be found in John. John’s Jesus dies a full 24 hours BEFORE he dies in the other three accounts.

  • Jason

    “Show one scientific truth about nature or new technology that was discovered first in the pages of the Bible.”

    Adam was the first Scientist, for he CLASSIFIED living things, naming them into classes. Science cannot exist without CLASSIFICATION, COUNTING, and CONJECTURE.

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

        A name is a classification since no two animals or things are truly identical, even when they “look alike”. Adding descriptive nouns and verbs to a name gives them a sub-class.

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

          If you’re saying that Adam did some pioneering biology, I’m missing it.

          What did he name an elephant? A rhinoceros? Presumably not those words. How would you know? Maybe he named the elephant “Mary.” And how did the names (which don’t form part of the foundation for anything in modern biology) help?

        • Greg G.

          Adam was the only person. Why would he need names for the animals? He didn’t have anybody to tell about the animals. He had no need to communicate anything. He didn’t need language. When he did the animals of the field, did he categorize the black horse and the white horse as the same species? Would he be able to figure out that steers with one thing between their hind legs as the same as cow with something else there? Would he distinguish stallions and steers as being more alike that each with mares and cows the first time he saw them?

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

          Wow–it’s almost like the naming thing is a just-so story.

        • Kodie

          You mean you don’t have your own names for animals and other stuff?

          http://boredomtherapy.com/funny-animal-names/

    • Susan

      Adam was the first Scientist

      Adam is a mythical character in one creation story among many.

      So, no.

    • Michael Neville

      You certainly have the conjecture part of science well in hand. To support your conjecture you first have to show that such a person as Adam existed. After you’ve done that to OUR satisfaction (remember that you’re discussing this with a bunch of atheists) then we can consider whether or not Adam could tell the difference between a right whale and a humpback whale.