Exploring Our Matrix
The Blog of Dr. James F. McGrath, Clarence L. Goodwin Chair in New Testament Language and Literature at Butler University, Indianapolis
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This episode from the PBS documentary Evolution is a useful one, and I’ll be having my class on Religion and Science watch it. Since the entire episode is available online, I thought it might be useful to share it here too.
Wait, what about the Flying Spaghetti Monster? Geez…
i saw he’s stealing meat balls now. quite an evolutionary behavior. ha.
The sad thing is supposed christian professors and schools are disobeying God and are accepting then teaching the lies of the secular world. http://theologyarchaeology.wordpress.com/2012/08/30/two-questions/
they are leading students to sin and unbelief. You cannot be a christian and continuously say that God and Jesus lied. Nor can you say that the secular world is right over God.
Think about it.
Unfortunately you can be a Christian, apparently, and tell lies about what your opponents say. My point is precisely that human beings have been wrong in the past and are wrong at times even in the present. The irony is that you agree regarding human fallibility, but because you idolatrously turn the human authors of Scripture into inerrant deities, you then turn their shortcomings into lies by God.
The only response I have for you are the words of Christ to Paul: Why do you kick against the pricks?
Oh and I see you have limited my response ailities even though I have never abused anyone. Shame on you
Those “words of Christ” from Acts 9:5 are not even in the majority text, let alone any of the critical texts.
Ironically, you have just proven James’ point.
Membership in texts does not indicate validity or lack thereof.
are not even in the majority text, let alone any of the critical texts.
Membership in texts does not indicate validity or lack thereof
i don’t know if our esteemed “Dr. David Tee” doesn’t know the term majority text as opposed to critical text or genuinely discounts textual criticism’s methods of textual families and lines of descent. (“Membership in textual families” is a proper way to express the thought, as is the sentence does not make any sense)
Personal attack to avoid the truth. It doesn’t matter if it is in the majority text or not God is the one who promised to preserve His word and we have it today including those words. They could be left out of every text but 1 fragment and still be true and God’s word.
It’s certainly true that one fragment could retain the exact words of any author. But how do you know which fragment that is?
To put it another way, how do we know which of these texts, if any, is correct?
I do apologise for making a remark which it turned out was slightly obscure, without explaining it further. I figured that anyone reading this blog would know (even if not in detail) a little bit about the history of the New Testament text, and what phrases like “majority text”, “critical text” and “Textus Receptus” mean.
My intended point is that the evidence is that the “words of Christ” that you quoted were probably not actually words of Christ. They do not appear in any modern Bible translation, nor do they appear in any most historic translations. They don’t appear in the majority of Greek manuscripts of Acts, much less the earliest and highest quality ones.
In other words, they are precisely one of those things that humans can and have been wrong about.
I’m a Christian. I interpret that as meaning that I’m supposed to be a theist, not a bibliolator or bibliomancer.
Here you go–a response to your title question
“God” is an idea that has developed over time via religion. “God” explains the human experience in the present and the future, according to believers.
If there was no God, there would never be any religion nor developement of any religion. There would be no morality, nor right or wrong, no good or evil
If there was no God, there would never be any religion nor development of any religion. There would be no morality, nor right or wrong, no good or evil
how do you know such a thing? said with such confidence that it borders on arrogance.
Traditional Chinese philosophy like Taoism and Confucianism has no God, yet it has a very well developed morality with definite ideas about right and wrong. There are lots of other cultures without any notion of God or gods, but no cultures i’m aware of without morality.
the statement seems far truer written backwards, that all people have notions of right and wrong, their morality and some of these moralities have supernatural justifications that anchor their precepts in religion or commandments from god(s)..
Do you ever read your comments and see what kind of point you are making? Your point is absurd because God does exist, has established right and wrong and both those false religions & civilizations developed within that reality.
Their rejection or exclusion of God is immaterial as the influence of God’s existence and HIS established morality permeate all life and societies. Whether they choose to follow Him and HIs way or not is not declaring that God or His morality does not exist, it is merely choosing one’s own path in favor of God’s.
Do you ever read your comments and see what kind of point you are making?
Do you ever read your own comments and see HOW you are arguing with people reflects on the God you claim to follow? you will drive people away from God with your arrogance, self conceit and certainty despite your obvious ignorance. people will judge the truth of the message based on their impression of the messenger.
(Have you ever read *Euthyphro* ?)
I am astounded at that question.
why am i not surprised that you don’t know about nor even see the issues of Euthyphro’s dilemma despite given the name to google before you reply with your stuck-up self-conceited insulated ignorance.
i sure hope you are different in person than you are online or you will single-handedly deconvert everyone you talk to IRL.
I do not believe I addressed that work in my reply so your leaps to conclusions are unwarranted. I do not accept Plato as an authority on anything. he was a philosopher at best who had limited knowledge and was subject to the sin and corruption that entered the world at Adam’s sin.
In other words, he is just a man who didn’t believe in God and did not have the truth in him. Plato’s words are no more relevent than Camus’.
Your false accusations only undermine your point as you read into printed words emotions that do not exist in them.
What you do not grasp is that without God there i sno sin, no evil and no devil to tempt people in hopes of destroying them. Life on this planet would reflect that. With no God, no religion’s moral teachings would mean anything because there is nothing to obtain and no greater being to enforce their words.
You are not seeing the whole picture but want to use apples to discuss oranges.
“With no God, no religion’s moral teachings would mean anything because
there is nothing to obtain and no greater being to enforce their words.”
Ah, so it does just comes down to carrots and sticks?
It sounds like I should follow God’s commands for exactly the same reasons I should do what my boss tells me: to obtain things on the one hand (heaven and my paycheck respectively) and avoid censure on the other (hell and being fired).
I don’t really find that a particularly moral position – I would call it more ‘prudent’.
You are forgetting that God exists as does His moral standard and that free choice also exists. Because God has always existed, nothing is free from His moral standard. If they were then God would not be able to be the final judge.
You do what your boss tells you to do because that is part of God’s moral standard but if your boss tells you to disobey God or committ sin then you have the free choice to say no.
but i think you are not serious here so i will stop this discussion.
I am absolutely serious about my substantive point here. You say without God there is no morality. I’ve never understood why anyone thinks that. The accounts I’ve seen either smuggle in some self-standing moral principle (like, God created us, therefore we should obey him, which tacitly supposes a principle of subservience to one’s creator, which in itself requires justification), or the route you’ve taken, which is to stress God’s ability to reward and punish.
But the route you’ve taken just seems morally bankrupt. The principle here seems to be: “do whatever you can to get good stuff for yourself and to avoid bad stuff happening to you”. So you should do what the Mafia tells you, because they might reward you if they’re pleased with you, or burn down your house if they’re not. You should do what God tells you for exactly the same reason. And if the Mafia tells you to go against God’s word, then obey God, not because God’s better than the Mafia in any morally substantive sense, but because you might be able to escape the Mafia.
You were on better ground earlier when you refused to give an explanation and just reiterated your position. This explanation is wretched.
I can never understand how this is supposed to work. Perhaps you can explain it to me.
If there’s no right or wrong independent of God, how can God make something right?
I mean, I understand that an omnipotent being can threaten to punish me if I disobey his commands, but the Government does that too. God may well know better than me as to what’s good for me, too, being omniscient and all, but if he really *knows* that (rather than just *stipulates* it). it implies that my good isn’t directly dependent on God’s will (although it may depend on how God made me, so it might have some indirect dependence).
(Have you ever read *Euthyphro* ?)
I am astounded at that question. Do you read your own posts? If God says something is right and another thing wrong, then there is ample room for him to make things right. There is NO independent right and wrong. If a government says something is right but God says it is wrong, guess what? It is wrong regardless of what man and governments say.
Governments are not rulers of right and wrong, They are mere stewards and if they are deceived then they will do things that are wrong. There is only 1 right or wrong standard that matters and that is God’s, as He is the final judge.
You’re not answering my question. I’m not astounded by this, because it seems to be a habit with you. Do you read posts before you reply to them, or read your own replies?
“If God says something is right and another thing wrong, then there is ample room for him to make things right.”
“There is only 1 right or wrong standard that matters and that is God’s, as He is the final judge.”
<- these are just restatements of the problem.
*How* does he make things right and wrong? Why should I care what God says over what the Government says?
One answer might be he can punish me more, but that doesn't really distinguish him from the Government, it just means he's got a bigger stick.
Please answer in a way that doesn't just say "because God decides what's right and wrong" in different words. To explain something, you need to do more than just rephrase it. That only could work if my lack of understanding results from the language used to phrase it, but here that's not the case — my puzzlement is conceptual.
There are no different words to use. God determined what is right and what is wrong and He laid it all out in the Bible then set examples . One example, is the sabbath rest. God worked 6 days and rested on the 7th and commanded His followers to do the same. Another example is His punishment of Cain and after that the pre-flood world.
Note that the Bible says that Noah was a righteous man thus the pre-flood world already knew what was right and what was wrong.
The governments are not eternal and will have to give an account to God for their actions at the final judgment. They have a choice to follow God’s ways or not and as you see they do not.
The Bible tells us that we are to obey God first over man though we still need to be law abding, if secular governments impose laws that interfere with God’s ways then we have to make a choice–stand with God or man.
All governments and religions exist in a place where God exists and has made His morality known to all. You cannot say that they exist and operate in a reality that doesn’t include God. Their idea of right and wrong may include some of God’s and they may have much perverted because they are corrupt people but they do not exist where God does not.
His teachings have been passed down since the beginning and carried throughout the world because of the Disporia at Babel. God’s morality affects all people whether they gree with it or not.
Ah, so you don’t have an explanation.
That’s fine, but of course it doesn’t help convince me, and it doesn’t alleviate my suspicion that God is superfluous to the question of morality.
“God determined what is right and what is wrong”
Does that mean that if God had chosen to make murder, theft and rape right, they would have been right?
If you say “God would not have done this because God is good”, you imply the existence of a standard independent of God.
This was of course meant as a reply to David Tee, not to arcseconds. My mistake.
Why do you create more problems than you need to? and no, there would be no implication of the existence of a standard independent of God. where would you get such an idea?
Actually if you look at the OT it DOES SAY that murder, theft, and rape are right (as long as the victim was non-Jewish).
Unfortunately much of the bible depicts an immoral God so you can’t argue morality based on a “Good God”
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