Religion Prof: The Blog of James F. McGrath
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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Is it lying if they sincerely believe it?
I would say yes, if one spreads a lie because one did not investigate the claim but simply believed it, one is still lying. Is someone not lying about Barack Obama if they say he is a Muslim, just because they heard the claim from someone else and sincerely believed it?
I’m with Mike Aubrey on this one, James. It’s not lying. It’s damnable ignorance.
Well, if this matters to the two of you that much, please make a version that mentions damnable ignorance instead of lying, and I will be happy to share it on my blog, so that people can circulate whichever version they are most comfortable with!
I, FWIW, am of the opinion that someone who circulates a lie, even if they did not originate it, but could have determined it was a lie and did not care to, is complicit in the lie and not merely ignorant – although they may be that too.
I think it is more than just ignorance. I think it can be characterised as a sort of “willful ignorance” where people know deep down that they are wrong but simply don’t want to acknowledge it. Yes they can ignore science but there are obvious problems with the bible where you don’t really need to know much science at all. For instance, Noah’s flood. Anybody can figure out that the logistics required for this story to be true are impossible. It is self-evident. I have seen Christians come up with the wackiest ideas to solve the problems with this story. Ironically they have to embelish the account in the bible in order to try to make it work. Um, wait a second, I thought their position was to not add stuff to the bible! I saw a posting on line one time where this woman claimed she had solved the problem of both how the Ark could hold millions of species on it and how to feed them all. Her “logic” was impeccable. Obviously (in her mind anyway) there was more than one ark, in fact there were dozens! And as far as food? She “reasoned” that since dogs sometimes eat their poop that all the animals (humans too?) survived on their own excrement. Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt…
@James: Wouldn’t it be more accurate to say that YECs are spreading information that is not in harmony with the best scientific evidence currently available? Rejecting a scientific consensus in favor of a biblical interpretation, whether sound or unsound, doesn’t make someone a liar, IMO, unless one can prove that science rightfully has the authority of a deity.
No, this is not about science having the authority of a deity, it is about YECs making claims about what science concludes, what scientists say, and what the Bible says, which are demonstrably false, misleading, and deceptive. I am not referring to their rejection of a scientific consensus. I am referring to their lies. And those lies about what the creation indicates are all the more egregious because they claim to believe what the Bible says, and yet one of the things that the Bible says is that nature testifies truthfully about the Creator.
since science and scientists are NOT the people God said to follow, especially when they are unbelievers the only liars out there are OEC, progressive creationists, theistic evolutionists and evolutionists. Calling God a liar is a grave error and you are being called on it. You are disobeying God so what makes you think you have the truth? 1 John 1 & 2 makes it clear that those who continue to sin do not walk with God, lie and do not have the truth. Those verses apply to you . You lie about God, His word and those who believe Him over scientists. You are wrong and YOU need to repent and give up your sins. Secular science and scientists do not have the truth but are deceieved and they have deceived you. Don’t mess with God’s word or lead people away from the truth of the Bible. God created in 6 24 hour days and evolution was not part of His creative act.
It is you who makes God a liar, as well as Paul, since you deny that God’s creation testifies truthfully about the processes involves, denying both the evidence in nature and rejecting the clear teaching of Romans 1:20.
Really?? I am not the one changing God’s word to attack a group of people I disagree with. You seem to keep ignoring the fact that God did not say use nature to determine your origins. God said–where were you…? Job 38 He also said how everything was done, who are you or any other human to say otherwise?
P.S. I have never said what I follow YEC. I am a mere creationist who has been taught by God to see that God never said when He created. All the passage says is ‘in the beginning GOD created…’ Then it goes on to describe the one time supernatural act He performed which provide us many lessons about God. Your way removes all of that and calls God, Jesus and the biblical wrioters liars and deceivers. In other words, you make them out to be the devil. You are in deep do-do with God. It would be wise of you to repent if you can and get right with HIm.
No, but if you want to keep saying that over and over despite it being a lie, them just keep in mind who the Bible says your father is.
the question is: why do you disobey God, ignore the truth and follow after secular science and scientists?
The answer is, I don’t, but you do, making God the Creator out to be a liar, and believing the secular scientists who say that you must choose between God and science, instead of listening to your brothers and sisters in Christ who are scientists.
they aren’t my brothers and sisters n Christ. they call God a liar, demote Him to human status, make Him a sinner, fallible and incapable of telling the truth. At best they are false teachers and they need to be removed from the church, the sunday school classrooms, the bible colleges and seminaries. they are leading people to satan.
Well, they are brothers and sisters in Christ, but clearly your allegiance to Satan means that they are not your brothers and sisters. You, after all, are the one who makes God out to be a liar, by claiming that human writings from the ancient world are the words of God, and setting them up against the evidence of God’s own handiwork in creation. Thinking yourself wise, you have become foolish, and darkness has come to reign in your hardened and stubborn heart. Oh, that you would only repent and seek forgiveness for setting yourself up against the Creator of is amazing universe!
No, the author of the Book of Job depicts God as asking that, which is not the same thing as knowing what God said. But apparently despite that author’s wise warning, you seem to assume that you were indeed there and know how it unfolded without even having to observe the creation, which the Book of Job again makes a point of drawing attention to.
I do not have to be there, God informed us how He did it in Genesis 1. Now, if you love God, you would follow what 1 cor. 13 says and believe His words. Love believeth all things. Those who doubt and say God lied, do not love God.
Yes, God informed us how he did it. All we need to know can be figured out from what God made. Yet you imstead substitute the wrods of mere human beings who were not there and who lived before we had investigated what God created as fully as we have now, and use their writings as a basis for rejecting God’s own testimony.
Since the biblical authors were led by the Holy Spirit and God as to what to write, they did not have to be their either. The question remains–where did God say or give permission to fiollow the ungodly against His word? We all know the passage in 2 Tim. that clearly states that unbelieving people are deceived and deceiving so why would you risk your salvation, if you have it at all, and disobey God and follow after those who are blind and cannot see? No you would be very wrong. Nature does not hold any clues or evidence on how God made everything. God already told us thus we do not need to waste time , money or other resources pursuing what we already know. Those who continue to pursue the study of origins are really being bad stewards and allow people to suffer as they siphon off items desperately needed elsewhere. Billions are spent on evolutionary studies all the while people, even in America, go hungry at night, can’t work, can’t take care of their families. If you were honest with yourself you would see how selfish and greedy evolution really is and how it is not of God.
Money spent on science has proven helpful to humankind, including our increased capacity to take evolution into account in developing medicines to combat disease – diseases that those ancient authors you deify did not even explain to us, for they could not, since they did not have access to science’s tools. But the money thrown away into the pit of ignorance that is young-earth creationism is indeed shameful, sinful, despicable behavior from people claiming to be Christians. Perhaps if you can accept the first commandment, and stop deifying ancient authors and claiming that their words are the Words of God, there may yet be hope that you may become a follower of Jesus, instead of an enemy comstantly associating him with the worst examples of human stupidity.
i think, after reading “dr. david tee” et al, both here and elsewhere, that the issue is aptly summed up by “You cannot reason people out of a position that they did not reason themselves into.”
DEEP EMOTIONAL COMMITMENT trumps everything else. they believe without reason, & contrary to reason, & even in the absence of any reasoning at all, in order to demonstrate their view of god as over riding certainty and commitment, so that nothing else can approach that idea. nothing else can even look like it is near the lofty peak of that idea of “faith in god”, not reason, not evidence, not data, nothing.
why? because they have made this allegiance their primary emotional goal. the only way to address it is to show that this allegiance is not to a real God but to a misbegotten figment of the fevered imagination.
What you do not understand or refuse to acknowledge is that the truth, creation, and the Bible do not have to be ‘in harmony with the best scientific evidence.’ God said how He did it and if you claim to love God then as 1 Cor. 13 states, you would believe His words over secular man’s. Doesn’t matter what scientific evidence unbelievers claim claim to exist, if it goes against God and His word then it is false teaching, a lie, and wrong.
Weren’t you a creationist once, James?
If so, would you characterize the articulation of your (former) belief as lying?
Would you have characterized people who held the scientific view as being liars?
Yes I was, yes I think that by spreading YEC views as a teen I was guilty of lying – when I eventually investigated the matter, I realized that I had been lied to and had perpetuated the lies – and yes, as a YEC I characterized mainstream scientists as liars. And yes, I am deeply ashamed and embarrassed that I was ever connected with that deceitful enterprise known as young-earth creationism.
Well, OK.. I’m not trying to guilt trip you :-]
It does seem odd to me, though, to be holding people morally accountable when they don’t actually know any better.
People are taught that a certain thing is the truth by authority figures they trust, they’re emotionally invested in keeping their beliefs (and in what further beliefs they’ll adopt), they’re not taught that they should assess their beleifs against counterarguments, and even if they’re so inclined they don’t know how to do this. Most everyone is like this, not just creationists, and including many science afficionardos.
And no, I don’t think the Birthers are lying.
Now, it may be that there’s some kind of failure going on where they’re avoiding becoming responsible epistemic agents somewhere along the line, but it’s very difficult to assess what is actually possible for them here.
(and as for you – you were a teenager, for goodness sakes. If the dumbest thing you ever did as a teenager was to do what was socially expected of you and advance creationism, then you’re doing better than many.)
Well, I hold myself accountable not simply not to make things up about people, but also not to pass on things I hear without fact checking them.
Of course, I wasn’t brought up to accept YEC claims. It is indeed much more challenging to challenge what one was brought up to believe. But even when it comes to things that we inherit from family or culture, we should at least be open to the possibility of being wrong.
I think that any atheist is not seeing “his eternal power and divine nature”, either. Ready to put out the fact that they are being misled and by what?
The difference, of course, William, is that the YE Creationist is presumably a biblical literalist, and so should care about what the apostle Paul has to say.
The atheist, on the other hand, finds nothing particularly “self-evident” about this verse, and doesn’t have any particular reason to.
Oh James, quite being such a Sheldon:
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