Piper and Pangloss

Stephanie Drury recently dug up an interview with John Piper where he was asked, “Why was it right for God to slaughter women and children in the Old Testament? How can that ever be right?”

Here’s part of the response from the transcript:

It’s right for God to slaughter women and children anytime he pleases. God gives life and he takes life. Everybody who dies, dies because God wills that they die.

God is taking life every day. He will take 50,000 lives today. Life is in God’s hand. God decides when your last heartbeat will be, and whether it ends through cancer or a bullet wound. God governs.

Piper isn’t straying from his Calvinism. John Calvin once suggested that every leaf that fell was because of God’s will. Every single thing that happens, happens because God wills it to happen. So, naturally, if someone dies, God must will it.

You can contrast this with the ideas of the Deists like Voltaire. Voltaire believed in general providence, which meant that God had designed the world and put certain forces into place in order that there might be life and people. Voltaire rejected particular providence, which said that God can reach down and change certain things, or reveal certain information, to certain people at certain times.

Calvin and Piper expand particular providence to its absolute extreme. The God of Voltaire did not meddle, but Piper’s God doesn’t just meddle, He controls absolutely everything.

Piper also displays his usual command ethics. He doesn’t really answer the question because there is no question: Whatever God does is right, by definition. To ethically defend God’s action is to miss the point.

But combining command ethics with Piper’s expansive particular providence would seem to lead to a kind of fatalism. Whatever God wills, is right. Whatever happens, happens because God wills it. So whatever is, is right.

And now we’re right back to Voltaire and Candide. Why work to change the world or improve the lot of man? God will save us or He won’t. Piper is a lot more dour than Pangloss, but his theology would seem to lead to the same place. Perhaps this is not the “best of all possible worlds” by our standards, but that’s because we’re fallen creatures who don’t know what we should want. This is God’s world, and therefore the right world, so suffer through and glorify His name.

  • Jerome

    Such a sick worldview :(

  • http://www.laughinginpurgatory.com/ Andrew Hall

    I assume that if whatever happens in the world is ordained by God, then Stalin’s gulags were God sanctioned?

    • Joseph O Polanco

      Which is why such a worldview is so repulsive. More importantly, it vilipends man’s responsibility for the choices he makes. But man cannot afford to be so insouciant. After all, we all must reap what we sow.

  • ctcss

    This is why theological discussions and ponderings have occurred throughout human history. One person has no problems with say, infant damnation, and another finds that completely unacceptable. A view of God’s nature that is indistinguishable from a view of matter’s nature (mindless and indifferent) isn’t a very helpful view of God IMO. Likewise, a view of God’s nature that is indistinguishable from say, Stalin’s nature (cruel, arbitrary, and merciless) is also not very helpful. A view of God’s nature that is indistinguishable from that which is mysterious, cryptic, and seemingly neglectful (little Jimmy had to die so that 3 centuries hence, a chipmunk could be saved from a forest fire) also seems bizarre and uncaring.

    Personally, I don’t understand why so many ideas based on what Jesus is said to have taught end up seeming so far from the general thrust of his ministry. Based on how I read what he taught, Jesus seemed to want his followers to understand God’s loving nature and to joyfully welcome it, not be horrified or mystified by it. He seemed to want them to understand God as he understood God, and thus be able to do the works that he was doing. (Healing, redeeming, blessing, and saving.) So why there are so many views of God’s nature that seem so different from the “good news” that Jesus was preaching seems strange to me.

    I know that many people (Christians and otherwise) would disagree with me, but that’s my point. People who feel drawn towards the conceptual notion of God want to find a God concept that actually comforts them. Who would want to be assigned a God concept and have no say at all in the matter? And considering that the story of Abraham has him leaving the theological background of his upbringing and seeking a God concept that personally struck him as being more compelling should help people realize that this is an OK thing to do. That’s why many often keep looking until they find an “answer” that satisfies them. (And “answers” come in all forms from choosing a different sect, a different religion, or choosing no religion and no God at all.)

    I personally don’t find the views of either Piper or Voltaire to be acceptable, and have chosen a theological viewpoint that is different from what they are propounding and which I find to be more helpful and encouraging to me. And everyone should have the same freedom to choose.

    But since none of us has an absolutely correct view of things and are all “seeing through a glass, darkly”, we need to keep our thinking about such things open so that we can continue to refine our choices and our understanding as we proceed along our individual paths.

    • Michael

      What sense does it make to “choose” a theology? These questions have factual answers. If you can’t demonstrate that your beliefs are true–that is, that they reflect reality–then what use are they? It is some weird game where you make it up as you go along.

      • basenjibrian

        In other words, standard religion. believe what you are taught to believe and what you want to believe. Piper’s God at least makes more “logical” sense.

        • ctcss

          I find it interesting that non-believers (who should understand that God, being non-material, is not discernible in any normal, materialistic way) still somehow assume that there is some completely official and thoroughly humanly vetted view regarding God. Piper’s view may be “logical” given whatever Piper thinks the nature of God is. That doesn’t preclude anyone else’s view of God also being “logical”, given what they think the nature of God is.

          The fact that non-believers don’t believe in God is yet another view regarding the nature of God (i.e. God is non-existent) and their view is also “logical” given their reasoning on the matter. There’s room for all these views. No view (given that they are all likely to be imperfect views by limited humans) precludes any differing view by other humans. The only true view of God is God’s view. And that is the only view which believers should actually wish to aspire to having. In the meantime, those who believe in God should do the best they can to be consistent in following their view of God and to be open to revising that view as further information becomes available.

          • http://www.agnostic-library.com/ma/ PsiCop

            Re: “I find it interesting that non-believers (who should understand that God, being non-material, is not discernible in any normal, materialistic way) still somehow assume that there is some completely official and thoroughly humanly vetted view regarding God.”

            I find it interesting that believers assume their deities to be un-investigatable, even if they concede that everything else in the universe is. It’s awfully convenient for them to hold this position.

            Allow me to explain in a little different direction. Let’s accept for the moment as a given, that your god exists. He’s “out there,” somewhere … wherever it is that gods live. If it is the case that your god exists and is out there, then it stands to reason that, in addition to his existence, then your deity also has other properties as well. Take this a step further, and it also stands to reason that there are things about your god that people can learn, via testing or other methods. After all, things that exist, are also verifiable … because they interact with other things that also exist and thereby leave “traces” of their existence behind.

            Is this an illogical and irrational belief (i.e. that god’s existence and properties are testable)? Perhaps, but experience shows that other things that exist are testable and investigatable. Why, then, shouldn’t your god be? Why should he, and he alone, be immune from testing when everything else, isn’t?

            Now then … assuming your god exists and that he’s investigatable, it stands to reason that humanity’s investigation of him (which ostensibly has been going on for thousands of years) ought, by now, to have arrived at some conclusions which are definitive, or at the very least, extremely probable. In other words, humanity ought to have arrived at certain reasonable conclusions about him, conclusions that are so probably true as to be compelling. As time goes by, and as humanity continues to investigate god, we ought to be able to hone in all his properties, and to have winnowed out any and all false assumptions about him.

            That said, we aren’t anywhere near such a situation! Humanity is as religiously and theologically fractured as it has been at any time in history. That is, the passage of time and with the (presumed) accumulation of knowledge about god, curiously hasn’t drawn us any closer to knowing anything definite about him, than we had known, say, 2,000 or 4,000 years ago. He remains as much of a “mystery” as he’s ever been. Humanity retains as wide a variation of thought about him as it ever has.

            Believers like to think that non-believers are somehow mentally deficient, or “broken,” or insane or something, for insolently daring to view god as something that ought to be investigatable. But really, how irrational is that view? When, as I said, everything else in the universe is testable, why can’t god be? On what valid, rational basis should anyone assume him to be the sole exception to the rule that things which exist are testable? Is this really the “broken,” mentally-deficient viewpoint that believers assume it to be?

            Or is it the opposite … that the assumption that god, and god alone, of all the things in the universe is uninvestigatable?

            • Cake

              There is one thing we can know about god: He’s one indifferent motherfucker.

            • http://www.agnostic-library.com/ma/ PsiCop

              Indeed. If the Abrahamic god exists (and that’s a very big “if”), logic tells us he can only be a malevolent creature.

      • ctcss

        You could also ask what sense does it make to choose a philosophy? If there was only one answer that made sense, there would only be one philosophical approach to life, and yet there are many. I assume that you have some way of deciding how you will conduct your life with respect to your relationship to everything around you. Did you come to a fixed decision, or do you just make it up “as you go along”? And can you prove your approach is “true”, or do you just find that it meets with your general approval as to what is proper and helpful?

        The philosophical and theological stances that different people have taken over the millenia show something of the views that people have towards life and reality, as well as what they consider to be valuable. They are based on ideas and concepts, which is to say, they are based on something invisible and intangible. They aren’t provable in any formal sense, just as God’s existence isn’t formally provable or disprovable. People choose them because they embody concepts that the person finds to be valuable in some way. They help them to navigate the tricky waters in their lives. (If everything was smooth sailing and there were no problems in life, every decision would be a good one. But life doesn’t work that way, does it?)

        The theological viewpoint I have chosen to follow in my life helps me to navigate the tricky waters I encounter. The non-theological viewpoint you have chosen helps you to navigate the tricky waters you encounter. Human life is not a “one size fits all” kind of thing. Everyone needs something to help with their troubling “no easy answer” kinds of needs. We choose what we choose because we find it to be a help to us.

        • ZenDruid

          Theism is an emotional placebo for those who aren’t comfortable with the fact that the universe is a mindless, soulless expression of order and chaos.

        • Michael

          The analogy is flawed in many ways. For one thing, depending on the “philosophy,” it may not bear on many factual statements; subjective philosophies can be chosen like any other subjective statements of truth. But the statement that God exists is not subjective.

          For another thing, we do not simply “choose” to believe philosophies that do bear on objective truth. I cannot choose to believe that truth, justice, and the American way are woven into the fabric of spacetime as Penrose might have it, because that makes no fucking sense and nothing close to any kind of evidence has demonstrated this. It is technically possible, of course, but it is not evidently true.

          Finally, most philosophers do not attempt to present absolute answers to questions. Rather, they explore the depths of the questions themselves, and present an array of possible answers. No philosopher claims to have “figured it all out,” yet this is precisely what theologians claim. I don’t have a ton of respect for philosophy, but I have infinitely more than I do for theology, which is the art of making up stories to back your own prejudices. There is no theological mechanism to approach the truth accept “accept Jesus” or “have faith,” i.e. just believe it for no reason. Choosing your favorite holy book is like choosing your favorite novel–you pick the one with the most cool things, not the one with stories which actually happened, because none of them actually happened. It is utter silliness and has no place in the modern world.

          • ctcss

            “the statement that God exists is not subjective.”

            The statement may not seem to be a subjective one, but the nature of God’s existence certainly seems to be, at least as far as most people understand it. Since God is not material, there is no way to confirm or deny God’s existence thus, one’s view of God is very much a subjective thing. You may not like such a notion, but no one is forcing you to go along with it. That was what I was bringing out in my original post. If one doesn’t like Piper or Voltaire, one can choose any number of other viewpoints regarding God.

            “For another thing, we do not simply “choose” to believe philosophies that do bear on objective truth. I cannot choose to believe …”

            One doesn’t have to choose to believe. But one can be moved to explore a notion that strikes a person as compelling. As I have said, my particular version of the Christian faith intrigues me to the degree that I wish to explore it as far as I can. It may take my entire human life and then some, but I want to find out whatever I can about it before I decide that it lacks merit. And so far, I do feel that there is merit to it, so I continue on my current pathway. But as I have said before, no one else needs to come along with me. You certainly don’t object to me making such a personal choice, do you?

            “[Philosophers] explore the depths of the questions themselves, and present an array of possible answers. No philosopher claims to have “figured it all out,” yet this is precisely what theologians claim.”

            I can’t speak for theologians in general since I don’t personally know any, but I am very interested in exploring what it was that Jesus is said to have claimed that God is all about. And since Jesus also is said to have acted in accordance with his statements (at least I as read it), it would seem that he felt that his knowledge was solid enough that he could demonstrate the effects of that knowledge to those around him. I find that intriguing, as well as inspiring, thus my desire to explore the depths of what his ministry was all about. Once again, since I am the one who is intrigued, no no one else needs to come along with me on my journey. My choice does not compel anyone else’s choice.

            “There is no theological mechanism to approach the truth [except] “accept Jesus” or “have faith,” i.e. just believe it for no reason.”

            You may feel that this was the only option offered to you, but I was never taught to just accept my religious beliefs for no reason, or just based on blind faith. The religious instruction I was given was to make my own efforts to prove to my satisfaction that the theological concepts I was taught were useful and valid. Thus, the whole reason I am exploring my particular pathway is that I desire to determine something substantive about what I was taught. But as before, my choice to do so does not compel anyone else to adopt my choice.

            “because none of them actually happened.”

            You don’t actually know that none (without exception) happened, you just find it highly improbable that they did. You have no physical evidence available to you that they happened, so you cautiously decide not to believe them. But not every one feels the need to have rock-solid evidence of things that happened in the past. Some feel that the record of the past is useful as a pointer, however. The real question is, are such works possible here and now? And once again, exploring this subject area intrigues and inspires me. No one else needs to join in. They are free to make their own choices.

            Which was the point of my post, as I keep trying to tell you.

    • swbarnes2

      “A view of God’s nature that is indistinguishable from a view of matter’s nature (mindless and indifferent) isn’t a very helpful view of God IMO.”

      How do you define helpful? Is it “What makes me feel good”? Or “What helps me correctly understand the world around me”?

      “Based on how I read what he taught, Jesus seemed to want his followers to understand God’s loving nature and to joyfully welcome it, not be horrified or mystified by it.”

      Isn’t there a parable where God beats one of his servants for not investing his money wisely? And those parables about how screwed people will be when God comes and they aren’t prepared? And didn’t Jesus confirm that wiping out almost the entire population of the planet was a thing that God really did? Are you sure you are reading the text as it actually is, not as you wish it were?

      “People who feel drawn towards the conceptual notion of God want to find a God concept that actually comforts them.”

      There is a couple in Pennsylvania whose child died because they indulged in faith healing. They were so comforted by their faith that they let a second child die the same way. Maybe if they had been less comfortable in their faith, there would not be so many dead children in their family.

      • ctcss

        “How do you define helpful?”

        If God was like matter (mindless and indifferent), then any effort that was made by a person to contact God would be pointless. Nothing “helpful” (i.e. useful or practical) would be accomplished because God would be incapable of responding to that effort at contact. “God as matter” (since matter is mindless and indifferent) is not a model of God that would provide any utility or help for a person.

        “Isn’t there a parable …”

        The servant was rebuked for not making the effort to manage what he had been given charge of, and since he was not acting in a responsible way with that resource, what he had failed to manage properly was then transferred to someone who had proven himself to be more responsible.

        ” And those parables about how screwed people will be …”

        You do realize that Jesus was giving people a heads up in those strongly worded stories so that they would be changing their thinking and actions in order to be prepared, don’t you? His purpose was apparently to try to convince them of the importance of actually making the needed effort, thus the strong images he used in his stories and parables. Drill sergeants do something similar by making sure their raw recruits are drilled and trained under demanding and difficult conditions so that they can perform what is required of them when they run into the real deal. They do what they do because they care about the recruits, not because they hate them and want them to fail.

        “And didn’t Jesus confirm that wiping out …”

        Same deal. Strong language and strong imagery to make sure the point gets across. The people knew those stories and what happened in them. Jesus referenced those stories to get his point across.

        ” Are you sure you are reading the text as it actually is, not as you wish it were?”

        Once again, literalism seems to be the only thing that registers with non-believing critics. Please note, you have decided that none of this stuff is important to you. (Entirely your right, BTW.) But for those of us who do think that this stuff is important, it’s our call as to how we interpret and act on this information. (In other words, we take full responsibility for our actions regarding interpretation and follow through, just as you take full responsibility for your action of dismissing this stuff as inconsequential.)

        “There is a couple in Pennsylvania …”

        I don’t think they were so much comforted as they were blindly believing in something (prayer as an effective and safe means of healing) that they had not seen solid proof of. They needed to have done some serious thinking before they acted, not to simply have blindly followed what someone else told them to do. The tragedy that happened did not need to happen.

        • DavidMHart

          “If God was like matter (mindless and indifferent), then any effort that was made by a person to contact God would be pointless.”

          Whoah there! You’re smuggling in an enormous assumtion there. Matter is not always mindless and indifferent. If enough of it gets organized in a sufficiently complex arrangement (say, a human brain), then mindfulness and the capacity to care about things do in fact emerge.

          Of course, if you disagree, all you need to do is produce good evidence, evidence that would be strong enough to win the consensus of the neuroscientific community, that our brains are insufficient hardware to run the software we call our minds, and that our minds in fact cannot run without data being somehow pumped in from a spooky other dimension made of non-physical stuff.

          Until you can do that, don’t knock matter – matter can do some awesome things if it arranges itself in the right way.

          • ctcss

            Please note that matter has not proved itself to be mindful and caring. Falling meteors do not care where they land or what they hit. Disease organisms do not politely check to see if the organic matter they are munching on is alive. Tectonic plates do not safely shepherd and care for those living on top of them.

            You are correct that matter can, in some limited instances, seem to express or simulate intelligence, but it should be quite obvious to anyone with a body that despite having an organ like a brain that seems to express intelligence, aspects of that same matter (disease, poison, accident, age) can cause that seeming intelligence and compassion to vanish.

            So no, I do not consider matter to have intelligence or compassion as a native quality, otherwise we would all be masters of our own domain, and we are obviously not. Thus, if God were composed of matter, God would also be constrained by the same limitations of matter that we seem to be. Matter would be king, and God would be demoted to being, at best, a god. And if God were simply the sum total of all matter (pantheism), then how is God’s intelligence and compassion expressed towards His children when the problems listed above still happen to them?

            So, no, I do not consider “matter as God” to be a viable model for an intelligent and caring God.

            • GubbaBumpkin

              Disease organisms do not politely check to see if the organic matter they are munching on is alive.

              That’s a bizarre example. Most disease organisms are pretty selective as to whether their hosts are alive or not. Most of them ‘prefer’ that their hosts are alive, so as to better spread the disease.

            • ctcss

              The point I was making was that matter does not intrinsically exhibit the qualities of intelligence and compassion. If it did, everything material would be in harmony with everything else. No diseases or disasters or accidents would occur. Everyone and everything would be looking out for the welfare of the other guy. This obviously is not the case.

            • kessy_athena

              So are you arguing that for a being to be truly intelligent, it has to be made of something whose fundamental constituents are also intelligent? And humans aren’t truly intelligent, we’re just faking it? I have to say I find that pretty bizarre. Well, maybe I can go along with the humans just faking it bit, at least in some cases. ;) (j/k)

              Intelligence is about the most complex phenomena I can think of off hand. We understand complex things by dividing them up into smaller, simpler constituents. We consider those constituents to be fundamental when the most complete description of them we can make is as simple as possible. Thus, positing that the fundamental constituents of something be so complex as to be intelligent is something of a self contradiction.

            • ctcss

              No, I am simply pointing out that intelligence, at least as manifested in finite material beings such as humans, is a fragile state, subject to disruption and destruction by either internal or external unintelligent agents. And the main point I was making (your question was referring to a minor point) was that matter does not have intrinsic qualities of intelligence or compassion. Matter, at its base, is simply ignorant and indifferent. And thus, matter doesn’t serve (at least IMO) as something that would qualify as God, or that would serve as the basis or foundation of God, at least as God is normally conceived of.

            • DavidMHart

              “Please note that matter has not proved itself to be mindful and caring. Falling meteors do not care where they land or what they hit. Disease organisms do not politely check to see if the organic matter they are munching on is alive. Tectonic plates do not safely shepherd and care for those living on top of them.”

              You seem to have entirely missed the point. Those arrangements of matter that you cite are not mindful and caring. My point was that there are other arrangements of matter, namely human brains, that do have the capacity to be minful and caring. If any arrangement of matter can be mindful, then that disproves your blanket assertion that matter is [invariably] mindless and indifferent.

              “it should be quite obvious to anyone with a body that despite having an organ like a brain that seems to express intelligence, aspects of that same matter (disease, poison, accident, age) can cause that seeming intelligence and compassion to vanish.

              I don’t understand why you would think that weakens my point. If our minds are dependent on matter, then seeing damage or alteration to our mental functions in response to damage or alteration to the physical structure of our brains is exactly what we would expect. It’s precisely because our brains are physical systems (so far as we can tell) that our minds are hostage to accidents that disrupt those physical systems.

              If you think that minds cannot arise from the interactions of matter alone, but require there to be something supernatural going on, then the onus of proof is on you to demonstrate those claims. The fact that we have not yet fully described the workings of the brain – indeed, the possibility that we may never fully describe such a complex system, does not mean that your hypothesis that effectively says that our minds run on magic, gets to win by default. You assert the necessity of the supernatural – you have to provide the evidence.

              “So no, I do not consider matter to have intelligence or compassion as a native quality

              …which is not what I said. Of course matter is not inherently intelligent, but matter can sometimes acquire the properties of intelligence as an emergent property of its compex arangements…

              “otherwise we would all be masters of our own domain, and we are obviously not.”

              I’m afraid you’ve completely lost me here. Why would the fact of intelligence being an occasional emergent property of non-spooky ordinary stuff necessarily imply mastery of our own domains?

              “Thus, if God were composed of matter, God would also be constrained by the same limitations of matter that we seem to be.”

              Well, we are not constrained by the ordinary limitations of matter in the same simple way that a billiard ball is. Sure, our brains are still entirely beholden to the ordinary laws of physics, but they are so much more complicated than most arrangements of matter that they can be seen as very superior things to billiard balls, even if we are ultimately made of the same kind of stuff. It’s conceivable that some sort of superior being, with thinking parts whose complexity dwarfs our own, would appear to us to be able to transcend our limitations.

              If you would assert that it is possible for things to have mental properties without being composed of smaller interacting subunits that don’t themselves have mental properties (which is effectively what Richard Carrier’s definition of the supernatural is – I linked to it in the previous comment, and you should really read it if you’re going to argue that the existence of the supernatural is plausible), then you need to prove that it’s possible for non-material things to have the properties of mindfulness. In short, you need to give a working explanation of how God’s mind operates, and how you know. If you can’t, then we are entitled to conclude that your claims are not based on you having conscientiously studied reality and tested your hypothesis against it, but are instead based on you making stuff up and inserting it into gaps in our current understanding of reality.

            • kessy_athena

              Carrier’s definition of the supernatural is interesting, but it still seems as full of holes as every other definition I’ve seen. for example, I sometimes amuse myself by taking an optical illusion and mentally turning it on and off, or turning it inside out, or whatever is appropriate to the illusion. This is indisputably entirely mental, I’m changing my perception of the image simply by willing it. Yet I don’t think anyone would describe it as supernatural. By the same token, the forces exerted by two charged particles on each other are irreducible, due to the particles being imbued with the inherent quality of electric charge. How is that any different from them being imbued with the inherent property of attraction, or repulsion, or movement, or something like that? It’s just a change in terminology. (Yes, Michael, I realize that’s not an entirely accurate description, but let’s just take a metaphor for what it is without getting into QM, ok?)

              I still maintain that the actual meaning of “supernatural” is simply a category we put things into that we don’t entirely understand or perceive as being mysterious. It has nothing to do with the inherent properties of the thing in question.

            • DavidMHart

              “This is indisputably entirely mental, I’m changing my perception of the image simply by willing it. Yet I don’t think anyone would describe it as supernatural.”

              But your mind which is doing the flipping on and off of the illusion is still running on the physical hardware of your brain. What Carrier’s definition does is divide minds that run on things that can be broken down into simpler subunits that don’t by themselves have the properties of mindfulness, such as our minds running on brains built of non-mindful neurons, from minds or mind-like processes that just are – that cannot be broken down into simpler units – none of which have yet been discovered to exist, but which does describe what a lot of people claim about God (or souls, or whatever aspect of the universe dishes out karma, etc).

              And I’m not quite sure what you’re getting at with the charged particles – the point is that consciousness, deliberate intention, subjectivity, the what-it-feels-like-to-be-something, is a very different set of properties from simple physical forces (even if they arise out of phenomenally complicated interactions of simple physical forces).

              Your category that “we put things into that we don’t entirely understand or perceive as being mysterious” sounds to me like what Carrier is describing as ‘paranormal’. I think this is a distinction worth keeping; aliens, bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster may yet turn out to exist but have non-supernatural causes, but the ‘ontologically basic mental properties’ definition of the supernatural is the most watertight definition I’ve yet come across, so I’m sticking with it until I see a better one.

            • kessy_athena

              The idea of a mind that can’t be broken down into simpler subunits is simply nonsensical. A fundamental constituent, by definition, is strictly homogeneous. If it’s not homogeneous, it can be divided into subunits. A mind is mostly certainly not homogeneous. As I said before, a mind is about the most complex thing I can think of off hand.

              IF something that occurs entirely in a human mind isn’t mental, then I have absolutely no idea what you mean by the term.

              Carrier was talking about things being imbued with a fundamental property with no intervening mechanisms, such as a love potion imbued with the property of causing love… How is that different from a charged particle being imbued with the property of causing forces to act on other charged particles?

              I think the basic point is the nature of divisibility. Something being divisible into subunits is a function of our understanding of it, not a function of its inherent nature. For example, we talk about normal space being three dimensional. But there’s nothing about space that’s inherently divided into three parts. There are no absolute directions or coordinate systems. Dividing space into three dimensions is how we humans describe space’s nature, not its nature itself. So talking about anything being both complex and indivisible is simply nonsensical and self contradictory.

              Edit:

              And no, I don’t really see a significant distinction between the paranormal and the supernatural. Mainly because I have found all attempts to describe such a distinction (including Carrier’s) to be logically incoherent. A distinction without a difference makes no difference.

            • ctcss

              I think we may be talking at cross purposes. My main point is that God (as is usually defined) would not be useful if attributes of matter (mindlessness and indifference) were the governing properties of God. I agree with you that matter can be used to construct objects that seem to exhibit properties such as intelligence. But both of us seem to understand that such constructions are limited and are not universal nor eternal. God (as usually defined) could not be God if His intelligence and compassion were transitory. God is either God all the time and in all locations, or He would not be God.

              And as for testing reality (by which I am assuming you are referring to that which exists in a material frame of reference, i.e. matter, energy, time, and space), God is not formed by, framed by, or limited by such things. Once again, God, in order to be considered as God, could not be hobbled by such things. I do not look for God in matter.

            • kessy_athena

              That’s as god is usually defined by *you.* The Christian concept of god really is not normal compared to religion as a whole, and in some ways is really quite bizarre. Take the notion of an “unlimited” god – it’s really pretty nonsensical if you really look at it. Defining something, by the nature of definition, inherently limits the thing being defined. By saying that a thing is this and not something else, you are placing a limitation on it. By saying that god is unlimited, you are placing a limit on god that it is not limited. Similarly, all the “omni’s” that christians tend to stick on their god are also logically incoherent and self contradictory. I don’t mean to sound insulting, but honestly those terms seem to be pretty meaningless to me, and amount to little more then saying that Yahweh is an extra super special god.

  • Lurker111

    Why does Piper even bother getting out of bed in the morning? If his religion didn’t already exist, he’d be taken away for psychiatric treatment.

    • GubbaBumpkin

      If he stays in bed, it’s God’s will. If he gets up, it’s God’s will. If a meteorite hits his bed and kills him, it’s God’s will.

  • BobaFuct

    I was basically raised Calvinist…even when I accepted it, I never quite fully understood what kept Calvinists from taking the view to its logical extreme, which is basically “if it happens, it’s because God willed it. Therefore, everything I do, even if it’s sin, is God’s will.” I think my mom eventually came to grips with the absurdity of this and now professes some hybrid of Calvinism and Arminiansim, where we’re pre-destined, but with enough free-will thrown in where we are accountable for our sin. It basically makes no sense and the mental gymnastics required to have it make sense must be completely exhausting, but somehow that still makes more sense to her than “maybe there just is no god…”

    Anyway, some of the militant Dutch Anabaptists went down this road and caused some serious problems in the 16th and 17th centuries. If you haven’t read it, I highly suggest “Batavia’s Graveyard” by Mike Dash. It’s a true story, and the central figure was a child of militant Anabaptists, and he ends up murdering a large number of people after the ship they’re on wrecks on a shoal near Australia…that author speculates that, while the guy was most certainly a psychopath, his anabaptist/Calvinist upbringing probably exacerbated his condition, leading him to believe that what he was doing was God’s will. Totally riveting.

  • ORAXX

    If Calvin was right then we’re all just part of a super natural puppet show, and there’s nothing we can do about it. In my view, that makes the whole business pretty pointless.

  • GubbaBumpkin

    I don’t get it. He says that when anyone, including a two week old child, dies it is God’s will. I see no reason why this wouldn’t also apply to fetuses. And yet, Piper opposes abortion. Why does he oppose God’s will?

  • LesterBallard

    If he really believes that, Piper needs to shut the fuck up about abortion.

  • evodevo

    It’s amazing where logic can lead you, when you start out with a damaged premise. Garbage in, garbage out, as the computer nerds used to say.

  • Evan

    By the same logic, every abortion and every gay sex act is also God’s will, so I assume he’s okay with those?

  • trj

    It’s a sad state of affairs that we can learn better morals from a Spiderman comic than from the Bible. “With great power comes great responsibility”.

    Does a creator not have any kind of responsibility towards his creations? Apparently not, according to Christian fundies.

    It takes a religious mindset to distort morality like this. What a disgusting view of human worth these people have.

  • Mick

    Says Piper: “God is taking life every day. He will take 50,000 lives today. Life is in God’s hand. God decides when your last heartbeat will be, and whether it ends through cancer or a bullet wound.”

    Firm but fair our Yahweh. He’ll knock off as many as he can with the usual cancers and heart attacks, but towards the end of the day, if he hasn’t filled his quota, he simply hauls out a gun and keeps on shooting until he reaches the 50,000 level. Firm but fair.

  • Mark Joseph

    Of course, everyone is right in pointing out that Piper is just a cruel, sick, possibly insane wacko who is projecting his basically totalitarian personality on to what he considers to be god.

    But in addition to that, it is also necessary to realize that what he is saying about who god is and what god does is merely a string of unsupported assertions, which apparently he is just making up, because that is the kind of person he is. And, as Christopher Hitchens so famously said, “What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence.”

  • Joseph O Polanco

    Correct me if I’m wrong but weren’t Elizabeth Bathory, Talat Pasha, Margaret Sanger, Josef Mengele, Reinhard Heydrich, Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, Heinrich Himmler, Adolf Eichmann, Kim Il Sung, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Emperor Hirohito, Nero, Caligula, Attila the Hun, Genghis Khan, Leopold II of Belgium, Tomas de Torquemada, Mao Zedong, Ivan the Terrible, Idi Amin, Pol Pot, Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin and Vlad Dracula once children too? http://bit.ly/11rGfOK

    • Nox

      Do you have any principled objection to the actions of anyone you listed there?

      • Kevin R. Cross

        Who wouldn’t have “principled objections” to the actions of that list? The Showa Emperor was more puppet than mastermind, but the rest were among the worst humanity has to offer.

        • Nox

          Divine command theorists.

          Someone who defends the wholesale murder of children (without knowing how they’ll turn out) because some other children turned out bad as adults, is in no position to have those principled objections.

      • Joseph O Polanco

        I don’t follow. Are you unfamiliar with the evil these perpetrated?

        • Nox

          I’m familiar with all of them. I was just trying to figure out what definition of “evil” you’re using.

          You posted your comment on a thread about John Piper and his defense of the genocide god orders the israelites to commit in the bible. Your comment was a list of people who are generally considered to be horrible with the observation that they were all once children (with the intended implication that it is not necessarily wrong to murder someone just because they are children) followed by a link to an apologetics site claiming god was morally justified in committing mass murder.

          Maybe I misunderstood what you were going for. The impression I got was you were taking a similar position to Piper, that it is right for god to do whatever he wishes because right and wrong are defined by god’s wishes.

          This idea is sometimes known as divine command theory. And the problems with it were pointed out over two thousand years ago.

          This position leaves the one holding it in no position to ever make any objective statement about morality.

          If right and wrong are determined by the whim of a capricious ruler, there is no right and wrong. There is only obedience and disobedience (since Torquemada, Hitler, Ivan, Vlad, Khomeini, Eichmann, Himmler and bin Laden were all motivated by obedience to god, it would be weird to include them as evil men if morality is all about obeying god).

          Are there any actions committed by anyone on that list that you personally would consider wrong if god commanded the person to commit those actions?

          • Joseph O Polanco

            You misapprehend. You see, God wills something because He is good.

            Suppose we concede for the sake of argument that an evil Creator/Designer exists. Since this being is evil, that implies that he fails to discharge his moral obligations. But where do those come from? How can this evil god have duties to perform which he is violating? Who forbids him to do the wrong things that he does? Immediately, we see that such an evil being cannot be supreme: there must be a being who is even higher than this evil god and is the source of the moral obligations which he chooses to shirk, a being which is absolute goodness Himself. As such, if god is evil then there must necessarily exist a maximally great, supreme God who is all powerful, all good and all loving; One who is the very paradigm of good.

            As such, the just execution, au masse even, of evil people is not democide. It’s justice.

            • kessy_athena

              That logic creates an infinite regression. If we assume that there is a good creator, then by your definition, that being is good because it is fulfilling its moral obligations. Those obligations must then, according to your argument, be commanded by someone, thus there must exist a superior god to the creator already postulated. This superior god must then be good, otherwise it would not have the moral authority to issue commandments. If that superior god is good, then it must in turn be faithfully executing its own moral obligations, which implies yet another superior god, and so on ad infinitum. As a general rule of thumb, when you create an infinite loop it’s a good bet you’ve thoroughly screwed up the logic somewhere.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              This does not follow since God doesn’t have moral duties to fulfill. After all, He doesn’t issue commands to Himself. So we don’t praise Him for doing His duty. Rather He is to be adored for His moral character because He is essentially loving, just, kind, etc. It is because God is that way that these qualities count as virtues in the first place.

              Essentially, God is good the same way water is wet, diamonds are hard and stars are blazing hot. So if we think of God’s goodness in terms of His possessing certain virtues rather than fulfilling certain duties, we have a more exalted and more adequate concept of God.

            • kessy_athena

              Yes, it does follow. You defined an evil god as one which does not fulfill its moral obligations. Therefore, that implicitly defines a good god as one which does fulfill its moral obligations. If not fulfilling one’s moral obligations implies the necessity of an authority to give those moral obligations, then fulfilling those obligations equally implies the necessity of such an authority. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. You can’t define morality one way for other people’s gods and then just handwave it away for your own.

              If you want to define goodness as possessing certain qualities (which is far more sensible, IMHO) then you have to define goodness in those terms for everyone and everything, not just for you and your favorite god. However, doing that by necessity creates an objective test for whether or not any given entity, deity or otherwise, possess those qualities. And it’s impossible to say before administering such a test whether or not any given being will pass it. For example, water is not always wet. At low temperatures or high pressures, water is a solid and not wet at all. Similarly it’s a gas and also not wet at all at high temperatures or low pressures. On the other hand, other substances that are not water and are not especially closely related to water are wet – alcohols and hydrocarbons are probably the most familiar examples. By the same token, stars aren’t necessarily hot (brown dwarfs and black dwarfs) and diamonds aren’t necessarily hard (at very high temperatures and pressures diamond can behave more like a viscous liquid.) And in point of fact, I’ll bet a large sum that any example you care to name of something that inherently has a certain quality, either I or someone else here will be able to provide a counter example.

              And to be blunt, I simply can’t imagine any definition of goodness based on the possession of certain virtues that Yahweh wouldn’t fail miserably unless you want to completely jettison the entire body of christian mythology. And if you did that, what’s the point of retaining any aspect of christianity at all?

            • Joseph O Polanco

              I. It almost works except for the fact that it introduces an infinite regress which has no basis in reality; it can’t be turtles all the way down. Necessarily, then, one arrives at a a maximally great, supreme God who is all powerful, all good and all loving; One who is the very paradigm of good.

              II. Water that exceeds its melting or boiling points is still called water? By the same token, are diamonds in their liquid state still called diamonds?

            • kessy_athena

              (Double facepalm) And when you realize that it can’t be turtles all the way down, what is the appropriate thing to do? Declare that there must obviously be one extra super special awesome turtle to take over for the infinite regression? Or decide that the very idea of having something supporting the earth must be fundamentally flawed and there are no turtles to begin with?

              And just what exactly is all good and all loving supposed to actually mean? What is a paradigm of good? How do you define it? How do you measure it? What does it mean in practical terms? Are you going to be good to the lions and keep them from starving to death or are you going to be good to the gazelles and keep them from being torn limb from limb and eaten? When you get right down to it, a paradigm of goodness is just a vague fuzzy idea that doesn’t actually mean anything in the real world.

              As to (II), what does Rita’s sell? Yes, that’s right, water ice. And what’s the gas in the atmosphere that you make clouds from? Water vapor.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              (1) Everything that exists has an objective explanation of its existence, either in the necessity of its own nature or in an external cause. 
              (A) If atheism is true, the universe has no objective explanation of its existence. 
              (B) If the universe has an objective explanation of its existence then atheism is false.

              (2) The universe exists. 
              (3) The space-time universe does not exist out of the necessity of it’s own nature for it did not exist until 13.70 billion years ago.
              (4) Therefore, the space-time universe exists because of an external cause.

              (5) The external cause of the universe must necessarily be a beginningless, spaceless, immaterial, timeless, unchanging, omnipotent and personal being.
              (6) A beginningless, spaceless, immaterial, timeless, unchanging, omnipotent and personal being is the definition of God.
              (7) Therefore, the objective explanation of the universe’s existence is God.

              To borrow from an illustration by Philosopher Richard Taylor, “Imagine you are walking through the woods on a hike and you come across a translucent ball lying on the forest floor. You would naturally wonder where that ball came from – what is the explanation of its existence? If your hiking buddy said to you, “Don’t worry about it – it just exists, inexplicably!,” you would think either that he was crazy or that he wanted you to keep on moving. But you wouldn’t take seriously the idea that this ball just exists without any explanation of its existence. Now suppose that the ball, instead of being the size of a basketball, were the size of an automobile. Merely increasing the size of the ball would not do anything to remove or satisfy the demand for an explanation of its existence, would it? Suppose it were the size of a house? Same problem! Suppose it were the size of a planet or a galaxy? Same problem! Suppose it were the size of the entire universe? Same problem! Merely increasing the size of the object does not do anything to remove or satisfy the demand for an explanation of its existence. And so I think it is very plausible to think that everything that exists has an explanation of why it exists.” (http://bit.ly/Pm4s92)

            • kessy_athena

              ~_~ You fail logic forever.

              The universe simply is. It is under no obligation to explain itself to you, me or anyone else. Do you seriously think that you can forbid the universe to exist if it doesn’t provide you with a satisfying explanation? Get over yourself – that’s unbelievably arrogant and self centered.

              Once we remove the meaningless rhetorical flourishes, your argument boils down to simply saying, “The universe has to have been created by a god because I can’t imagine it being otherwise.” That’s a comment on the limits of your imagination, not on what the universe can or cannot do.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              “If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning.” -C.S. Lewis

              To borrow from an illustration by Richard Taylor, “Imagine you are walking through the woods on a hike and you come across a translucent ball lying on the forest floor. You would naturally wonder where that ball came from – what is the explanation of its existence? If your hiking buddy said to you, “Don’t worry about it – it just exists, inexplicably!,” you would think either that he was crazy or that he wanted you to keep on moving. But you wouldn’t take seriously the idea that this ball just exists without any explanation of its existence. Now suppose that the ball, instead of being the size of a basketball, were the size of an automobile. Merely increasing the size of the ball would not do anything to remove or satisfy the demand for an explanation of its existence, would it? Suppose it were the size of a house? Same problem! Suppose it were the size of a planet or a galaxy? Same problem! Suppose it were the size of the entire universe? Same problem! Merely increasing the size of the object does not do anything to remove or satisfy the demand for an explanation of its existence. And so I think it is very plausible to think that everything that exists has an explanation of why it exists.”

              Concordantly:

              (1) Everything that exists has an objective explanation of its existence, either in the necessity of its own nature or in an external cause. 
              (A) If atheism is true, the universe has no objective explanation of its existence. 
              (B) If the universe has an objective explanation of its existence then atheism is false.

              (2) The universe exists. 
              (3) The space-time universe does not exist out of the necessity of it’s own nature for it did not exist until 13.70 billion years ago.
              (4) Therefore, the space-time universe exists because of an external cause.

              (5) The external cause of the universe must necessarily be a beginningless, spaceless, immaterial, timeless, unchanging, omnipotent and personal being.
              (6) A beginningless, spaceless, immaterial, timeless, unchanging, omnipotent and personal being is the definition of God.
              (7) Therefore, the objective explanation of the universe’s existence is God.

            • kessy_athena

              This is exactly the same thing you posted before, and is just as silly as it was before. The argument is riddled with logical errors and non sequiturs, but the most fundamental mistake is the very first proposition you start with: “Everything that exists has an objective explanation of its existence,
              either in the necessity of its own nature or in an external cause.” This is an assumption with absolutely no justification or basis in reality. Why should the existence of something necessitate that it have an explanation? That’s absurd. There are all manner of things that do not have explanations. For example, pi is defined as the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. And yet pi is irrational – it cannot be expressed as the ratio of two numbers. Why? What’s the objective explanation of this? God did it? Why god and not faeries? Or aliens? Or a wizard? Or the Flying Spaghetti Monster?

            • Joseph O Polanco

              I. Argumentum per falsam analogiam. When did Pi begin to exist?

              II. The crunch here is, how is your metaphysical philosophy more plausible than mine? Better still, what makes my metaphysical asseveration implausible or incoherent? And yes, your contention that the universe came into being sine causa is precisely that, a metaphysical one.

              Unalike Hubble’s Law of Cosmic Expansion or Kepler’s Laws of Planetary Motion, your supposition is not contingent upon the properties, causal powers, and dispositions of the natural kinds of substances which happen to exist. Science certainly has no experience of things popping into being ex nihilo sine causa. (Bohmian quantum mechanics, for instance, is fully deterministic and states that any indeterminacy is merely conceptual.)

              “Being does not arise from nonbeing”; “something cannot come from nothing”. These are putative metaphysical principles, like cause and effect, unrestricted in their application. Thence, we have very good grounds, both conceptually and scientifically, for believing that whatever begins to exist has a cause.

              Accordingly, there is no reason to arbitrarily assert that metaphysical principles are constrained to the natural universe. Unless, of course, you have evidence which necessarily construes such principles as merely physical rather than metaphysical. Do you?

            • kessy_athena

              Oh gods! Not Bohmian mechanics again! Do you have *any* idea how big a landmine you just stepped on? Long story very very short: Bohmian mechanics is one possible interpretation of QM of quite a few possible interpretations, and simply is not relevant to what we were discussing anyway.

              So I ask you to justify an assumption, and your reply is to exclaim that I’m being metaphysical too? I just don’t care how you want to label things. Logic is logic and assumptions are assumptions. You are basing an argument on the rather bizarre assumption that the existence of an object implies that it must have an explanation.

              Let’s take your transparent sphere in the woods example. Let’s say you investigate your sphere as thoroughly as you can. You thoroughly examine it from all angles; you search the surrounding environment for any related examples; you poke it with a stick. You even go around and interview anyone who might have been in the area to see if they observed anything. You go home and lug into the woods all the measuring equipment you can carry. You exhaust every avenue of inquiry you can think of and you find exactly nothing. What are you going to do? March up to the sphere and angrily demand an explanation? Give it an ultimatum to start making sense or get out of your universe? Tell it that it can’t possibly exist and expect it to disappear in a poof of smoke?

              You are asserting that anything that exists must have an explanation. I am making no assertions one way or another on the subject, and asking you to justify your assertion. These are not equivalent positions. You are trying to dictate to the universe how it has to be. I am simply inquiring with as few preconceptions as I can manage what the nature of the universe is. You state that something cannot come from nothing. I ask why. Because you’ve never seen something come from nothing? Do you seriously think you’ve seen every possible phenomenon in the entire universe? You say that you haven’t seen something happen, therefore it can’t happen. I just stop at saying I haven’t seen it happen.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Now you’ve lost all credibility. How can you presume anything can come from no relations, no state of affairs, no properties, or simply put, not anything?

              “Ex nihilo nihil fit.” In other words, something can’t come from nothing. (Not Hawking’s or Krauss’ mendacious pseudo-definition of “nothing” (“The Grand Design”/ ”A Universe From Nothing“) but the concept that describes the absence of anything; the state of nonexistence.)

              If it could, why doesn’t everything or anything? Why aren’t dinosaurs, for instance, popping out of thin air, devouring everyone in sight? Why aren’t we afraid of elephants suddenly popping into existence and crushing us as they fall from the sky? If nothing can in fact produce something why would it discriminate? Conspicuously, then, such an argument is laid bare as nothing more than fallacious special pleading.

            • Nox

              Natural forces are often the beginning of a causal chain. Elephants spontaneously popping out of thin air for no reason is not the only alternative to elephants spontaneously popping out of thin air because someone said “let there be elephants”.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              So, if I’m following you, you’re alleging natural laws came first, then matter. Great! Where did these natural forces come from? Who put them in place to begin with?

            • Nox

              Why do you assume there needs to be a ‘who’? Gravity exists because objects have mass. You don’t need anyone to command it.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              But what really is gravity? Where did it come from? Why do objects posses this property to begin with?

            • Nox

              Take a standard deck of playing cards. Shuffle them well, then deal 13 cards.

              The probability of getting that exact combination of cards was 0.000000000006.

              The probability of getting some combination was 1.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Meaning?

            • Nox

              You don’t need special intervention to ensure things turn out the only way they could have.

              A universe where consistent natural forces don’t cause everything to eventually fall into regular patterns is what you would need divine intervention for.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              You’re being reductionist since science tells us that life prohibiting universes are vastly more probable than life permitting ones.

              Concordantly,

              1. The fine-tuning of the initial conditions of the universe are due to either physical necessity, chance or deliberate design.
              2. It is not due to either physical necessity or chance.
              3. Therefore, it is due to deliberate design.

              Now, mind you, order is not the sole issue. It’s the conformity to an independently given pattern plus high improbability. It’s what makes a distinct signal unmistakable from random white noise. Such ordered complexity is a dead giveaway for the presence of an intelligent mind.

              This is why trying to use “poof” (blind chance)% to explain the absurdly small compound probability of independent events giving us a life sustaining universe is just naked, irrational sophism.

              %“It is our contention that if ‘random’ [chance] is given a serious and crucial interpretation from a probabilistic point of view, the randomness postulate is highly implausible and that an adequate scientific theory of evolution must await the discovery and elucidation of new natural laws, physical, chemical and biological.” -“Inadequacies of Neo-Darwinian Evolution as a Scientific Theory”, Dr. Murray Eden, MIT

              “There is no chance (<10-1000) to see [evolution based on mutation and natural selection] appear spontaneously and, if it did, even less for it to remain. Thus, to conclude, we believe there is a considerable gap in the Neo-Darwinian Theory of evolution, and we believe this gap to be of such a nature that it cannot be bridged within the current conception of biology.” -“Algorithms and the Neo-Darwinian Theory of Evolution,” Marcel P. Schutzenberger, University of Paris (Bracket mine.)

            • Nox

              The vast majority of our current universe is very poorly tuned for life.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Hardly. The number of seconds in the history of the universe, from the very beginning of the universe, is about 10 to the 17th power. That is a 1 followed by 17 zeroes. Just an incomprehensible number – but that is the number of seconds in the universe. The number of subatomic particles in the entire known universe is around 10 to the 80th power.

              With those numbers in mind, consider the following. The atomic weak force which operates within the nucleus of the atom is so finely tuned that an alteration of even one part out of 10 to the 100 power would have rendered the universe life-prohibiting. In order to permit life, the weak force has to be fine tuned to one part out of 10 to the 100th power. Similarly, the so called cosmological constant, which drives the acceleration of the universe, has to be fine tuned to within one part out of 10 to the 120th power in order for the universe to be life- permitting. Here is a real corker: Roger Penrose of Oxford University has estimated that the initial entropy condition – the entropy level of the early universe – has to be fine tuned to one part out of 10 to the 10(123)rd power – a number which is so incomprehensible that to call it astronomical would be a wild understatement.

              It is not just one of these numbers that must be fine tuned but all of them. So you multiply these probabilities together until our minds are just reeling in incomprehensible numbers. Having an accuracy of even one part out of 10 to the 60th power would be like having a range the size of the entire visible universe – 20 billion light years across – and in order for life to exist, a randomly thrown dart would have to land in an area one inch square. And that is just one part in 10 to the 60th power! We are talking about numbers that are just unimaginably greater than that. http://bit.ly/11HxBfp

            • dmantis

              All of those unimaginably great numbers fine tuned ever so incomprehensibly small resulted in a single small rock, orbiting a medium sized star at just the right distance for carbon based life forms.
              The balance of the universe (9.999999… to the 80th power of subatomic particles) has no life or is extremely hostile to life as we know it.
              This only proves that if there is a creator, he is massively inefficient.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              For you to even think to compare your intellect to His is just pure hubris. What are you smoking?

            • dmantis

              I didn’t mean to get you off on a tangent. I’m sorry.
              Please continue with the lecture on morality.
              When are you going to do balloon animals?

            • Joseph O Polanco

              lol, No need to feel so inadequate. Is this the first time you’ve debated anyone outside of Twitter?

            • dmantis

              You are so silly. I wish I could pat you on the head like a cute child.

            • kessy_athena

              We have a sample size of exactly one universe to go on, so we can make absolutely no statements whatsoever about the probability of the occurrence of any kind of universe. As we have no examples of life prohibiting universes, we can only speculate on what conditions are necessary to prohibit life. As we have no examples of differently “tuned” universes, we can only speculate about how “finely tuned” our universe is. We can say that a universe that’s “tuned” significantly differently then ours is would most likely look quite different then ours does. We cannot say with any degree of certainty what such a universe actually would look like, or even if such a speculation is actually physically meaningful. this is all highly speculative, with no real data to work with, and we simply don’t know and can’t know until we can look at actual other universes.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              No speculation needed. Here, let me bring you up to speed. The atomic weak force which operates within the nucleus of the atom is so finely tuned that an alteration of even one part out of 10 to the 100 power would have rendered the universe life-prohibiting. In order to permit life, the weak force has to be fine tuned to one part out of 10 to the 100th power. Similarly, the so called cosmological constant, which drives the acceleration of the universe, has to be fine tuned to within one part out of 10 to the 120th power in order for the universe to be life- permitting. Here is a real corker: Roger Penrose of Oxford University has estimated that the initial entropy condition – the entropy level of the early universe – has to be fine tuned to one part out of 10 to the 10(123)rd power – a number which is so incomprehensible that to call it astronomical would be a wild understatement.

              It is not just one of these numbers that must be fine tuned but all of them. So you multiply these probabilities together until our minds are just reeling in incomprehensible numbers. Having an accuracy of even one part out of 10 to the 60th power would be like having a range the size of the entire visible universe – 20 billion light years across – and in order for life to exist, a randomly thrown dart would have to land in an area one inch square. And that is just one part in 10 to the 60th power! We are talking about numbers that are just unimaginably greater than that.

              To put this in perspective, “imagine a lottery in which billions and billions of white ping pong balls were mixed together with a single black ball. You are told that a random drawing will be made, and if the ball is black, you will be allowed to live. But if the ball is white, then you will be shot. Notice that in this lottery, any particular ball that rolls down the chute is equally improbable. Nevertheless, it is overwhelmingly more probable that which ever ball rolls down the chute, it will be white rather than black. That is the analogy with the universe. Even though every particular ball is equally improbable, it is overwhelmingly more probable that it will be a white ball rather than a black ball.

              Similarly, out of all of the universes that might exist, any one is equally improbable; but it is overwhelmingly more probable that whichever one exists, it will be a life-prohibiting one rather than a life-permitting universe. So in the case of the lottery, if, to your shock, the black ball rolls down the chute and you are allowed to live, you ought to definitely think that it was rigged because it is overwhelmingly more probable that a white ball should have rolled down the chute. And if you still don’t see the point, then sharpen the analogy and imagine that the black ball had to be picked randomly five times in a row in order for you to live. That really would not affect the odds appreciably if the odds against choosing the black ball even one time were sufficiently great. But, nevertheless, I think everyone of us would see that if that happened five times in a row, you know that the lottery was rigged to let you live.

              In the correct analogy, we are not interested in why you got the particular ball that you did – any ball you get is equally and astronomically improbable. What we are interested in is why you got a life-permitting ball rather than a life-prohibiting ball. That is not addressed by saying, “Some ball had to exist or be picked, and any ball is equally improbable.” In exactly the same way, we are not interested in why this particular universe exists. What we are interested in is why a life-permitting universe exists. That question is not answered by saying that some universe has to exist and every universe is equally improbable. We still need to have an explanation for why a life-permitting universe exists.” http://
              bit.ly/139V4uS

            • kessy_athena

              Ahhhh! The stupid, it burns! I strongly suspect you’re thinking of the strong force, not the weak. The weak force doesn’t seem to be essential to any of the physical processes that lead to life. In any event, you’re missing the point. Even if you have a universe where physical laws are sufficiently different that the sort of life we’re familiar with isn’t possible, that does not mean that life in general is impossible. We don’t have a general definition of what life is, or what intelligence is. Without even a definition, how can we even begin to speculate on what conditions are strictly necessary? Even if the processes we’re familiar with would be impossible, there could well be different processes that would operate in analogous ways that we’re unfamiliar with.

              For example, if CO2 levels were a few percent higher then they are in Earth’s atmosphere, humans wouldn’t be able to live. That certainly doesn’t mean that there couldn’t be some sort of life, nor does it mean that life couldn’t become intelligent. Life would just adapt to the higher CO2 levels.

              Or imagine if Earth were flung out into wide orbit around the sun and froze over, cooling down to perhaps 100 K (That’s 100 degrees above absolute zero, or -280 F) Obviously, you’d say, the earth would freeze solid and it would be impossible for there to be oceans or seas or rivers or rainfall, right?

              Wrong.

              Titan is the largest moon of Saturn, and has a surface temperature that’s that cold. It also has seas, rainfall, and rivers. The fluid involved is liquid methane (probably) not water. Even thought the processes of the water cycle we know on Earth is impossible on Titan, you have very similar processes going on with exotic materials.

              So, in an universe with very different laws, normal matter may not be possible, but there could well be other forms of matter or energy that could act in an analogous way. We simply don’t know what is and isn’t really possible.

              And if all you can do is cut and paste bits of posts that have already been dissected and you’ve run away from the results, don’t waste my time, go intellectually masturbate on your own – I don’t want to see it.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Even if veridical, your metaphysically extravagant Anthropic Philosophy, that is, “if the Universe contains an exhaustively random and infinite number of universes, then anything that can occur with non-vanishing probability will occur somewhere,” does nothing to answer the question why there is anything instead of just nothing. It just punts it further down the line.

              The existence of this supposed multiverse still cries out for an objective explanation.

              To borrow from an illustration by Philosopher Richard Taylor, “Imagine you are walking through the woods on a hike and you come across a translucent ball lying on the forest floor. You would naturally wonder where that ball came from – what is the explanation of its existence? If your hiking buddy said to you, “Don’t worry about it – it just exists, inexplicably!,” you would think either that he was crazy or that he wanted you to keep on moving. But you wouldn’t take seriously the idea that this ball just exists without any explanation of its existence.

              Now suppose that the ball, instead of being the size of a basketball, were the size of an automobile. Merely increasing the size of the ball would not do anything to remove or satisfy the demand for an explanation of its existence, would it? Suppose it were the size of a house? Same problem! Suppose it were the size of a planet or a galaxy? Same problem! Suppose it were the size of the entire universe? Same problem! Merely increasing the size of the object does not do anything to remove or satisfy the demand for an explanation of its existence. And so I think it is very plausible to think that everything that exists has an explanation of why it exists.” (http://bit.ly/Pm4s92)

              “If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning.” -C.S. Lewis

              That is to say, when compared to the metaphysically extravagant Anthropic Philosophy, Theism is by far much more modest.

            • kessy_athena

              So, what? Are you too stupid to remember that you already copy pasted those exact paragraphs just a few days ago? Or maybe you’re so intellectually dishonest that you’ve convinced yourself that you didn’t run away from the answers? Or are you going to whine that pointing out that you’re just repeating yourself like a brain damaged parrot is a strawman? It’s not our fault if you don’t understand your own arguments. And I told you that we don’t want to see you satisfying your baser intellectual impulses, here’s some kleenex, go clean up after yourself.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              I don’t respond to ad homs. Try again.

            • kessy_athena

              ROFLMAO And I only respond with derision and mockery to people mindlessly repeating the same talking points over and over and over and over again. Especially when the person in question seems not to understand the original points to begin with. You try again. You have a brain, try using it for something more complex then copy and paste.

              And you never did answer me – what exactly are you going to do to that poor translucent ball? Scream at it that it can’t exist without an explanation and since you don’t understand it it obviously can’t exist? Demand it disappear in a poof of logic?

              Come to think of it, you did offer to instruct me on the points of your theology I don’t understand. I would very much like to know what the moral distinction is between, “Live the way I tell you or my buddy Yahweh is going to damn you forever,” and “Give me all your money or my pal Vinny here is gonna break your legs.” Please, oh wise one, I am deeply puzzled, please explain it to me. I’m waiting with baited breath.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Thankfully, I don’t answer facetious questions. You know, pearls to pigs and all …

            • kessy_athena

              Translation: “I don’t answer hard questions that would involve actual thought and might lead to me having to acknowledge flaws in the logic of my oh so perfect worldview.” What a coward. So you’re only a defender of the faith when it’s not too hard, huh? Yahweh’s so lucky to have such dedicated and steadfast minions.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Actually it means that if you were to ask a sincere question you would continue to receive sincere answers.

            • kessy_athena

              Well, you seem to be confused about the meaning of the word “continue,” along with all the other words you’re confused about. Before you can continue something you have to first begin. Copy pasting from a talking points memo is not a sincere answer to anything.

            • kessy_athena

              Why don’t we walk around terrified that we’re about to be crushed by rocks falling from the skies? Have you ever seen a rock fall from the sky? I haven’t. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. It simply means it’s very rare in our immediate environment. Declaring something to be impossible simply because you’ve never seen it happen and you can’t imagine it happening is just plain idiotic. Or do you really think the universe is somehow bound by what you can imagine? Just how arrogant are you?

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Strawman. Try again.

            • kessy_athena

              ROFLMAO You don’t have the slightest idea what a strawman argument actually is, do you? Just be honest for once and admit you don’t have an answer for me.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Don’t you know? When you attack a gross misrepresentation of your opponents argument he has no need to defend it. Why would he? Try again.

            • Yoav

              are diamonds in their liquid form still called diamonds?

              No they’re not since only when arranged in a specific way then a bunch of carbon atoms form a diamond.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              My point exactly!

            • Joseph O Polanco

              As far as your animadversions of Jehovah are concerned, I don’t follow since Jehovah God is “abundant in loving-kindness,” states the Bible. (Ex. 34:6) “Give thanks to Jehovah, you people, for he is good; for his loving-kindness is to time indefinite”, we also read. (Psalm 118:1, 29) “[God] is kind toward the unthankful and wicked,” states Luke 6:35. “He makes his sun rise upon wicked people and good and makes it rain upon righteous people and unrighteous.” (Matt. 5:45) “Your loving-kindness, O Jehovah,” sang the psalmist, “has filled the earth.” (Ps. 119:64) In fact, the Scriptures contain numerous accounts of how Jehovah showed loving-kindness to his worshippers.

              Jehovah protected and fed the Israelites while they spent 40 years in the wilderness. In the Promised Land, God provided judges to rescue them from their enemies and to bring them back to true worship. Because Jehovah stuck with them through good times and bad during all those centuries, he could tell the nation: “With a love to time indefinite I have loved you. That is why I have drawn you with loving-kindness.”—Jer. 31:3.

              Jehovah goes beyond speaking about forgiveness. He acts accordingly. Jehovah used Jeremiah to exhort: “Do return, O renegade Israel . . . I shall not have my face drop angrily upon you people . . . I shall not stay resentful to time indefinite.” (Jer. 3:12) God does not feel lingering anger or bitterness toward any of his people whom he has forgiven. Rather, though a wrong has been committed, Jehovah wants to repair the damaged relationship. Despite the sins a person may have committed, if that sinner truly repents and seeks God’s forgiveness, Jehovah will ‘bring him back’ to His favor and blessing. (Jer. 15:19)

              Consider the example of King David of ancient Israel, who sang: “[Jehovah] is forgiving all your error, [he] is healing all your maladies.” How David must have appreciated being shown forgiveness for his sin with Bath-sheba and for murdering her husband. He extolled Jehovah, saying: “As the heavens are higher than the earth, his loving-kindness is superior toward those fearing him.” (Ps. 103:3, 11)

            • kessy_athena

              (Facepalm) You’re joking, right? Actions speak louder then words. What sort of a god blows up cities because they’re bored? Or wipes out an entire planet with a titanic flood for shits and giggles? There’s a word for that: genocide. No, actually, on second thought, there isn’t a word for that. There really isn’t an appropriate concept in english for exterminating the terrestrial biosphere of an entire planet. What would that be? Holocide? Panocide? Omnicide? In any case, one word certainly applies: evil.

              Or for that matter, how’s this dying for our sins business even supposed to work? Yahweh isn’t able to forgive sins until *someone* gets tortured? Or Yahweh can forgive those sins any time he feels like, but requires a little blood sport to get him in the forgiving mood?

              You can talk about Yahweh being good and kind and so on all you want. Talk is cheap. There’s really only one conclusion to be drawn when you have a god that acts like a megalomaniacal psychopath.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Do you think it wrong for God to kill in defense of the innocent? While the Bible candidly relates Jehovah God’s past adverse judgments you must bear in mind that they were always against evil people and in defense of the innocent. For example, it was not until the earth of Noah’s day became “filled with violence” that Jehovah said: “Here I am bringing the deluge of waters upon the earth to bring to ruin all flesh in which the force of life is active.” (Genesis 6:11, 17) Regarding another judgment, it was only because the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah had “abandoned themselves to sexual immorality and were bent on perverted sensuality” that God caused it to “rain sulfur and fire.”—Jude 7, The New Berkeley Version; Genesis 19:24.

              Did God relish bringing all flesh to ruin in Noah’s day? Or did he derive some fiendish pleasure from destroying the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah? For an answer, let us look at the events surrounding the Flood of Noah’s day. After stating that God would wipe evil mankind off the surface of the ground in order to cleanse the earth of violence, the Bible says: “Jehovah . . . felt hurt at his heart.” Yes, it devastated God that “every inclination of the thoughts of [man’s] heart was only bad all the time.” Hence, to save as many as possible from the impending Deluge, God dispatched Noah, “a preacher of righteousness,” to sound a warning message and to build an ark for preservation.—Genesis 6:3-18; 2 Peter 2:5.

              Adverse judgments from God have always resulted because evil people adamantly refuse to abandon their depravity and evildoing, not because Jehovah enjoys killing people. But you may wonder, ‘Did not Jehovah encourage the Israelites to war with other nations and annihilate them?’

              The Amalekites, for instance, were “the first one of the nations” to launch an unprovoked invasion on the Israelites after the Exodus, at Rephidim near Mount Sinai. As a consequence, Jehovah decreed ultimate extinction for the Amalekites. (Nu 24:20; Ex 17:8-16; De 25:17-19) Twice during the days of the Judges these bitter enemies of Israel shared in assaulting Israel. They did it in the days of Eglon king of Moab. (Jg 3:12, 13) Again, with the Midianites and Easterners, they ransacked the land of Israel seven years before Gideon and his 300 men dealt them a smashing defeat.—Jg 6:1-3, 33; 7:12; 10:12. Because of this relentless hostility, during the period of the kings Jehovah ‘called to account’ the Amalekites, commanding King Saul to strike them down, which he did “from Havilah as far as Shur, which is in front of Egypt.” (1Sa 15:2-33)

              On the other hand, spiritism, child sacrifice, sadistic violence, and various forms of grotesque sex worship were the order of the day with the Canaanites. As a God of justice, Jehovah could not allow these disgusting practices to disrupt the peace and security of innocent people, especially Israel. (Deuteronomy 5:9) For example, imagine if the community in which you live was without a reputable police force or militia to enforce the laws of the land—would that not lead to anarchy and violence of the worst kind? Similarly, Jehovah was compelled to act against the Canaanites because of their licentiousness and the real danger they posed to pure worship. Therefore, he decreed: “The land is unclean, and I shall bring punishment for its error.”—Leviticus 18:25. “It is for the wickedness of these nations that Jehovah is driving them away from before you”, we read at Deuteronomy 6:4-6, “It is not for your righteousness or for the uprightness of your heart that you are going in to take possession of their land; in fact, it is for the wickedness of these nations that Jehovah your God is driving them away from before you.”

              Divine justice was carried out when God’s executional forces—the Israelite armies—destroyed the Canaanites. The fact that God chose to use humans to carry out this judgment, rather than fire or flood, did not diminish the sentence. Thus, when warring with the nations of Canaan, the Israelite armies were instructed: “It is only of the cities of these peoples that Jehovah your God is giving you as an inheritance that you must not preserve any breathing thing alive, because you should without fail devote them to destruction, the Hit´tites and the Am´or·ites, the Ca´naan·ites and the Per´iz·zites, the Hi´vites and the Jeb´u·sites, just as Jehovah your God has commanded you; in order that they may not teach YOU to do according to all their detestable things, which they have done to their gods, and YOU may indeed sin against Jehovah YOUR God.” —Deuteronomy 20:16-18.

              Unlike with Ares, Otrera, Keres, Enyo, Eris and the like, Jehovah God is a respecter of life. As such, He did not sanction indiscriminate killing. Deuteronomy 20:10-14 explains, “In case you draw near to a city to fight against it, you must also announce to it terms of peace. And it must occur that if it gives a peaceful answer to you and it has opened up to you, it must even occur that all the people found in it should become yours for forced labor, and they must serve you. But if it does not make peace with you, and it actually makes war with you and you have to besiege it, Jehovah your God also will certainly give it into your hand, and you must strike every male in it with the edge of the sword. Only the women and the little children and the domestic animals and everything that happens to be in the city, all its spoil you will plunder for yourself; and you must eat the spoil of your enemies, whom Jehovah your God has given to you.”

              While Israelite soldiers were allowed to marry captives they had to treat them with the same rights and respect due to an Israelite wife. Unlike what’s seen in today’s wars, Israelite soldiers were proscribed from raping or otherwise abusing female captives. Jehovah instructed, “In case you go out to the battle against your enemies and Jehovah your God has given them into your hand and you have carried them away captive; and you have seen among the captives a woman beautiful in form, and you have got attached to her and taken her for your wife, you must then bring her into the midst of your house. She must now shave her head and attend to her nails [for hygienic reasons], and remove the mantle of her captivity from off her and dwell in your house and weep for her father and her mother a whole lunar month; and after that you should have relations with her, and you must take possession of her as your bride, and she must become your wife.” – Deuteronomy 21:10-13

              When the residents of one Canaanite city, Gibeon, asked for mercy, Jehovah granted it. (Joshua 9:3-27) Would a bloodthirsty war god have done this? No, but a God who loves peace and justice would.—Psalm 33:5; 37:28.

              Time and again, the Bible associates God’s blessing with peace. That is because Jehovah is a lover of peace, not war. (Numbers 6:24-26; Psalm 29:11; 147:12-14) Consequently, when King David desired to build a temple of worship to Jehovah, God told him: “You will not build a house to my name, for a great deal of blood you have spilled on the earth before me.”—1 Chronicles 22:8; Acts 13:22.

              While on earth, the Greater David, Jesus Christ, spoke of a time when God’s love of justice would no longer allow him to stomach the present-day evil we see. (Matthew 24:3, 36-39) As he did in the Flood of Noah’s day and in the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, God will soon take judicial action to cleanse the earth of selfish, evil men, thus paving the way for peaceful conditions to exist under his heavenly Kingdom rule.—Psalm 37:10, 11, 29; Daniel 2:44.

              Clearly, Jehovah is not the bloodthirsty God he is undeservedly accused of being. On the other hand, he does not shrink back from exacting justice when it is due. God’s love of goodness requires that he act in behalf of those innocents who love him by destroying the evil system that oppresses them. When he does so, true peace will flourish earth wide as the truly meek ones unitedly worship Jehovah, “the God of peace.”—Philippians 4:9.

            • kessy_athena

              How can you claim to be killing in defense of the innocent when you kill everyone? There are no innocents left. Weapons of mass destruction are not implements of justice, nor can they ever be. By their nature, they are indiscriminate. Otherwise they wouldn’t be described as bringing about mass destruction. Are you seriously going to argue that every single living organism on the entire planet, from infant humans to rabbits browsing in meadows to trees growing on mountainsides, had committed crimes deserving the death penalty? That’s utterly absurd, and you know it. There simply is no justification for such an act, and you are embarrassing yourself by trying to rationalize an excuse for such behavior. Vague mutterings about the greater good are no better at excusing Yahweh’s actions then at excusing Adolph Hitler’s actions.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              First off, all animals die so your sing songy Élégie is misplaced. Next, only the evil (and stupid) died during the Noachian Flood. Noah and his family heeded the warning they received and took the necessary steps to save their lives.

              Interestingly enough, Christ prophesied that before Armageddon the overwhelming majority of the world would, once again, ignore the warning being sounded the world over. Will you heed this warning and escape Armageddon to enjoy eternal life on Paradise Earth with the rest of us or will you make the same senseless mistake Noah’s contemporaries made?

            • kessy_athena

              Oh no, so if I don’t live the way you tell me to, your buddy Yahweh is going to come beat me up? Oh no, I’m terrified! I’m petrified! Whatever shall I do?

              Tell me, what sort of a religion relies on threats and intimidation to spread its message? And what is the moral distinction between, “Live the way I tell you or my pal Yahweh is going to damn you forever,” and, “Give me all your money or my pal Vinny here is going to break your legs”? Aside from Vinny likely being a far more credible threat then Yahweh.

              These are the actions of a spiritual thug.

              Yes, all animals do die. That includes all humans as well. So does that make it morally defensible to slaughter humans en masse for the heck of it?

              So you’re arguing that murdering people because they’re stupid is morally fine? So children with disabilities should be killed for the good of society? I seem to recall someone else who made an argument like that just a few decades ago. He believed that “defective” individuals should be eliminated for the good of society. Now what was his name? Adolph something or another…?

            • Joseph O Polanco

              I. Your accusations of murder are casuistic, unless, of course you’re insinuating that executing evil individuals is wrong.

              II. Again, you misapprehend. If those who heeded Noah’s warning sought refuge in the Ark along with him and his family, would they have died?

              III. Once again, you misapprehend: ‘“As I am alive,” is the utterance of the Sovereign Lord Jehovah, “I take delight, not in the death of the wicked one, but in that someone wicked turns back from his way and actually keeps living. Turn back, turn back from ​YOUR​ bad ways, for why is it that ​YOU​ should die?”’ -Ezekiel 33:11

              Jehovah God, therefore, wants nothing more than for his human creation to do good and be good. So much so that he will grant these eternal life.

            • kessy_athena

              I. (massive sarcasm) Oh yeah, wiping out every living thing in the entire terrestrial biosphere is such a minor detail, calling that evil is obviously splitting hairs. Only a real nit picker would bother with something as insignificant as sterilizing an entire planet. (/massive sarcasm)

              As previously stated, people are not good or evil, actions are. **No one** is pure good or pure evil. Thus, executing someone is only potentially justifiable when they have actually done something sufficently evil to merit the death penalty. Even then, execution is still wrong if there is a better alternative. How many infants would have been killed by that flood? What was their crime? What could a baby that hasn’t even learned to walk or talk possibly have done to merit being drowned?

              II. So all those people deserved to die because they didn’t listen to the crazy person who was standing on the street corner shouting that the world was going to be destroyed by a titanic flood? So in your view, gullibility = virtue?

              III. I don’t give a damn what Yahweh says. I only care what he does. Hitler claimed he was acting for the greater good, trying to create a better world for everyone. Why are such claims sufficient excuse for Yahweh and not for Hitler? Especially when Yahweh supposedly carried out far worse acts of mass murder then Hitler did.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              I. Correct me if I’m wrong but weren’t Elizabeth Bathory, Talat Pasha, Margaret Sanger, Josef Mengele, Reinhard Heydrich, Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, Heinrich Himmler, Adolf Eichmann, Kim Il Sung, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Emperor Hirohito, Nero, Caligula, Attila the Hun, Genghis Khan, Leopold II of Belgium, Tomas de Torquemada, Mao Zedong, Ivan the Terrible, Idi Amin, Pol Pot, Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin and Vlad Dracula once children too?

              II. Prove Noah was “a crazy person.”

              III. On what objective moral basis do you dare condemn Jehovah? Who made you God?

            • kessy_athena

              I. All children are going to do something wrong at some point in their lives. does that make it morally acceptable to go around preemptively punishing children because you know they’re going to do something wrong at some point?

              In any event, are you seriously contending that every single child alive at the time of the flood was going to go on to commit some heinous crime worthy of execution at some point in the future? All of them? Without exception? The entire human species were all a bunch of future Hitlers and Pol Pots? Holy rationalization, Batman!

              II. And how would you characterize someone who went around shouting that the sky is falling, err, the world is about to be destroyed by a titanic flood because the voices in his head told him so?

              III. The definition of an objective moral basis is one which applies to *everyone*, including the gods. Or is Yahweh incapable of living up to the same moral standard as humans and has to be judged on a more lenient one? What is that, a morally challenged god? And you’d actually worship such a being?

            • Joseph O Polanco

              I. Strawman, try again.

              I.I. “And Jehovah saw that the wickedness of Man was great on the earth, and every imagination of the thoughts of his heart only evil continually.” -Genesis 6:5 So, to answer your question, yes.

              II. Argumentum ignoratio elenchi. Prove Noah was “a crazy person.”

              III. Argumentum ignoratio elenchi. On what objective moral basis do you dare condemn Jehovah? Who made you God?

            • kessy_athena

              Despite what you seem to think, “strawman” does not mean, “I have no way to answer your argument so I’m going to ignore it and pretend it’s not a valid argument.” Aren’t you arguing that Yahweh was justified in slaughtering children because they were going to go on and become monsters? That is saying that preemptively punishing children for crimes they have not yet committed is morally justified.

              I’m glad that you’ve mustered the courage to admit that you think that genocide is morally right because *all* the members of group X are wholly evil. I would point out that I’ve heard that argument before, Pretty sure it was that Adolph fellow I mentioned before…

              Whether or not Noah was crazy is not the point. I admit, I used the term loosely for rhetorical impact. The point is that you claimed that those who ignored Noah’s warning and did not seek refuge with him in his ark deserved to die for not believing him. Since Noah was simply claiming, without evidence of any kind, that the world was going to be destroyed because the voices in his head told him so, I repeat my question: are you saying that gullibility is a virtue?

              I condemn Yahweh on the exact same objective moral basis that I use to condemn Hitler. Genocide is evil. On what objective moral basis do you defend Yahweh’s actions? I would point out that saying that it’s only wrong when someone I don’t like does it is neither objective nor moral. If an objective moral basis says that an action is wrong when person X does it, then it *must* also say that the exact same action is also wrong when person Y does it. Otherwise it’s simply not objective. That’s what the word “objective” means, or are you confused about that?

              Of course I’m not a god. Why would you ask such a thing? Do you believe that only gods are entitled to make moral judgements? Do you think that the only correct basis for human morality is to simply do as we’re told? That the only way to be a moral human is to say, “Well, I’m just following orders.”?

              I would point out that while you are remonstrating me for passing judgement on Yahweh, you are also passing judgement on Yahweh. You are simply making the judgement that Yahweh is always right. I make my judgement based on what Yahweh actually does. You seem to be making your judgement simply on the basis that you like Yahweh. How dare you defend genocide simply because it was committed by someone you like?

            • Joseph O Polanco

              I. So you’re saying justice would have been better served to allow these evil children to grow up, maim, rape, slaughter or do worse to innocents and then execute them? Would you claim this if your children and other loved ones were the potential victims of these sadists?

              II. History was their evidence. Remember, these people were just a few short generations away from Adam and Eve and so they all knew that God did not turn a blind eye to the practice of evil. The fact that Jehovah God raised Enoch as a prophet to warn these evildoers of his impending judicial actions further punctuated this reality. The calamity they and their families experienced, then, fell on their heads and their heads alone.

              Same applies today. When Armageddon comes nobody can whine to God, “But I didn’t know!”

              III. Comparing Jehovah Gods just execution of evil individuals to the democide (this is the correct term since genocide is not necessarily murder) Hitler perpetrated is spurious, absurd. When Jehovah God took against evildoers he always, always, took steps to ensure the survival of the innocent. A preeminent example of this was when Jehovah finally took action against the debauched, depraved people of Sodom and Gomorrah. He made sure Lot and his duteous family members survived.

              IV. I’m glad you asked. Suppose we concede for the sake of argument that an evil Creator/Designer exists. Since this being is evil, that implies that he fails to discharge his moral obligations. But where do those come from? How can this evil god have duties to perform which he is violating? Who forbids him to do the wrong things that he does? Immediately, we see that such an evil being cannot be supreme: there must be a being who is even higher than this evil god and is the source of the moral obligations which he chooses to shirk, a being which is absolute goodness Himself. As such, if god is evil then there must necessarily exist a maximally great, supreme God who is all powerful, all good and all loving; One who is the very paradigm of good.

              So we don’t praise Jehovah God for doing His duty, like carrying out justice when protecting the innocent from evildoers. Rather He is to be adored for His moral character because He is essentially loving, just, kind, etc. It is because God is that way that these qualities count as virtues in the first place. Essentially, God is good the same way water is wet, diamonds are hard and stars are blazing hot. So if we think of God’s goodness in terms of His possessing certain virtues rather than fulfilling certain duties, we have a more exalted and more adequate concept of God.

              V. Any judgment I make is based on objective moral values and duties whose ontology is objectively grounded. All you’ve given me is your personal preference, your opinion. That’s why your arguments have no purchase.

            • Yoav

              I. If we apply your own defense of god and allow for free will to trump god’s omnipotence and omniscence then you have to assume some of these kids would have grown and chose good and it is therefore wrong to preamptively murder them.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Not if they were evil it isn’t. Don’t commit a Presentism fallacy. Remember, you’re defending a world where “the wickedness of men was great on the earth, and that all the thought of their heart was bent upon evil **at all times**.” -Genesis 6:2 (Emphasis mine.)

            • Yoav

              So they didn’t have free will back then? That mean they were predestined to be evil, presumably by YHWE since he control everything in the universe, except when he doesn’t, and can’t be held morally responsible for their evil the same way that if I was to be pushed of a roof I won’t be morally responsible if I lend on someone’s head.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Look at it like this: Children born with a strong propensity for evil being raised by evil parents gives you? How else do you think “the wickedness of men was great on the earth, and that all the thought of their heart was bent upon evil **at all times**.” -Genesis 6:2 (Emphasis mine.) After all, “It is very hard for evil to take hold of the unconsenting soul.”
              ― Ursula K. Le Guin

            • Yoav

              You keep making excuses, did they or didn’t they have free will? True it is not always easy to break away from your upbringing but people do it all the time, just look at all the people brainwashed from infancy into a despicable death cult who manage to escape christianity on a daily basis.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              it appears you misapprehend how free will works. To borrow from the brainchild of Harry Frankfurt, “so long as a person’s choice is causally undetermined, it is a free choice even if he is unable to choose the opposite of that choice.

              Imagine a man with electrodes secretly implanted in his brain who is presented with the choice of doing A or B. The electrodes are inactive so long as the man chooses A; but if he were going to choose B, then the electrodes would switch on and force him to choose A. If the electrodes fire, causing him to choose A, his choice of A is clearly not a free choice. But suppose that the man really wants to do A and chooses of his own volition. In that case his choosing A is entirely free, even though the man is literally unable to choose B, since the electrodes do not function at all and so have no effect on his choice of A. What makes his choice free is the absence of any causally determining factors of his choosing A.

              In other words, a limitation in the range of choices is not the same as having no choice at all. If A, B, and C are good choices, and D, E, and F are evil choices, one’s inability to choose D, E, or F does not negate the fact that he can choose A, B, or C.”

              When you go to an Italian restaurant, they may only serve 12 out of 150 possible Italian dishes. The fact that you cannot choose 138 of those dishes does not negate the fact that you can choose any one of the 12 options before you. Likewise, God’s expectation that man act morally does not mean man lacks freedom of will. Hence, God is justified in expecting mankind to do good and punishing those who abuse their limited free will to be evil.

            • Yoav

              Copy pasta of a meaningless reply you used before in a new place doesn’t make it any less meaningless.

              Here are some simple yes no questions.
              1. were people always capable to choose between good and evil (even before eating the magic fruit that allowed them to tell the difference in the first place)? Y/N
              2. Do god sometime hardwire people so they are forced to choose evil? Y/N
              3. Was everyone in the preflood world, except Noah, as well as all the baby amalekites, fitted with your wire so they could freely choose evil but if they freely choose good would be forced to choose evil anyway? Y/N
              4. If you answered Yes to #3, can the ones who chose to do evil because of the wire be held morally responsible for the evil choice that is going to be forced on them and deserve to be preemptively murdered? Y/N

            • Joseph O Polanco

              1. Strawman. Try again.
              2. No.
              3. No. (You’ve got your chronology backwards. The Amalekites existed after the Noachian Flood, not during.)
              4. N/A

            • Yoav

              1. You keep using this word, I don’t it means what you think it means.
              2. Then it is possible that some of these summarily exterminated people would have ended up choosing good which make their preemptive murder even more morally wrong.
              3. Reading comprehension, there is an and between the preflood people and amalekites as in two separate example of supposedly inherently evil people which god decided to go Dalek on.
              4. Try again.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              1. Didn’t you know? When you attack a gross misrepresentation of your opponent’s arguments he is under no obligation to address it. Why would he? Try again.

              2. No, otherwise they would not have been executed. It seems you misapprehend the full nature of inherited sin and its causal relation to evil. (Romans 7:21-23; Romans 5:21)

              3. I suggest, then, that you spend a bit more time proofreading. This should help you communicate your thoughts more effectively.

              4. See 3. (cf. with your original question.)

            • Yoav

              1. True and if any one would have been doing it to your arguments you would have a point in complaining.

              2. So they didn’t have free will but were predestined to choose evil?

              3. here is my original text:

              Was everyone in the preflood world, except Noah, as well as all the baby amalekites,

              look quite clear to me.
              4. Why not try to answer the fucking question.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              No, they were children with a strong propensity for evil being raised by evil parents who would, inexorably, choose to become evil as well. Remember, God is omniscient. Are you?

            • Nox

              You mean the omniscient god who didn’t know Adam and Eve would eat the fruit? So you are saying god was punishing these people for something they hadn’t done.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              That’s a non sequitur. That’s like saying an athlete who can press 400 lbs. can only press 400 lbs., nothing in between.

              More to the point, weren’t Adam and Eve warned that if they so much as touched the forbidden fruit they would die? (Genesis 3:2,3)

            • Nox

              No. You’re saying god was right to punish people for something they hadn’t done because he could see the future and knew what they would do later.

              The fruit is one of the biblical examples of god not knowing what was going to happen.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Because he did not employ his premonitory abilities to see what Adam and Eve would do, not because he couldn’t know.

            • Yoav

              And if someone was to ask why did god, being omniscient and shit, didn’t cause Hitler’s mom to miscarry you would be screaming free will until you turn purple, so which is it?

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Actually, the world is the way it is because you and yours have told God to butt out … and he has.

            • Yoav

              Oooo, did the mean atheist hurt l’il yhwe’s feewings? Is he the omni everything creator of the universe or a 2 year old trowing a tantrum because Richard Dawkins said he can’t have ice cream unless he finishes his veggies first?

            • dmantis

              I. With all of the latin you throw around like a monkey flinging his own poo, you sure as hell don’t know the definition of the word “justice”. One of the hallmarks of justice is the inalienable and inborn rights of all human beings.
              Furthermore, you might want to reread what you have already posted. Hey pompous asshat, two words: Free Will. You are the same guy who upthread argued for this, correct?
              God condemned infants, children and every other living thing on Earth because he knew they were going to turn out bad. All of these living creatures were in a situation that could produce no other result than evil. But who is ultimately responsible for creating the necessary means by which this evil producing situation existed? I’ll give you one guess and it ryhmes with Mod.
              Even if your ‘god’ is capable of convicting all of these creatures in the story of the flood, he is not some ultimate justice giver. He is guilty of entrapment.

              II. These people who chose to ignore Noah had it coming to them? What about their children? Where they given a choice? You can say “God knew in his infinite wisdom that they would have chosen to ignore Noah as well.” You can say that, but you would be an apologetic, illogical dick.

              III. Have you read the bible? It seriously sounds like you have a comprehension problem. He took steps except for Lot’s wife!!! She merely showed the smallest remorse by turning her head and she was killed.

              IV. This is funny. Your logic is completely flawed. There would be no need for a “higher” power for the evil god to subvert because we would be the source of good and objective morality. There is ample good in this world seperate from religion.

              V. Objective moral values based on your socio-economic status, culture, education and familial interaction. You are a product of nature.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              I don’t respond to ad homs. Try again.

            • dmantis

              Its ok. We understand you can’t really provide a reasoned response to the issues we have all brought to your attention. The repeated cut/pastes give the game away. In fact, your failure to answer basic questions about your belief system is all too common.
              Nevertheless, I would offer this bit of advice; layoff the lecturing and condescension. There are people in this community that have more education and inteligence then you realize. You are not dealing with your church bible study group. This group has read the bible cover to cover numerous times.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Given your churlish style of communicating I would have never suspected …

            • dmantis

              I love it when intellectual tough guys hiding behind the anonymity of the internet make vain attempts at erudition. Please, ridicule my communication skills all while trying to lecture us on the morality of the bible. It makes you look like a clown.

              For someone that professes such a strong grasp of the bible, you seemed to have skipped the teaching on humility. Is this how you minister to those without faith?

              Keep juggling…you amuse me.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Your own grody conduct derides you so very well you don’t need anyone else’s assistance, I assure you.

            • dmantis

              A clown with a word-of-the-day-calendar! Hilarious!
              Don’t drop those balls, clown!

            • Joseph O Polanco

              What is it with GED schmos and this animosity they have for those more educated than them …

            • Nox

              What you are being mocked for is trying to sound educated by using words you don’t actually understand.

            • dmantis

              I have no animosity for you…only pity…and amusement.

              If you were truly educated then you would have realized that my response was not an ad hom. I actually attacked your arguments. I compared your style to that of an excrement throwing monkey. I also stated that if you responded in a certain way to a certain argument “you would be an apologetic, illogical dick.” I didn’t call you a dick.

              You have no idea of my academic background. I would put my record up to yours in heart beat, but you don’t want that. You want to hide behind the internet and act like a scolding teacher.

              It’s cool with me though. I find you utterly silly and feeble. Your responses are the height of self-denial and are utterly cliche.

              Do keep up the act. I am enjoying it tremendously.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              You misapprehend for God did not kill Jesus, Satan did. But let’s take a step back and perlustrate why God sent Jesus in the first place.

              “7 Not one of them can by any means redeem even a brother,
              Nor give to God a ransom for him;

              8 (And the redemption price of their soul is so precious
              That it has ceased to time indefinite)” – Psalms 49:7,8

              “Through one man sin entered into the world and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men because they had all sinned.” – Romans 5:12

              We’ve all inherited sin because Adam – a perfect **man** – “sold” us unto sin. Since he and Eve only had children **after** they sinned against Jehovah and began to die, it was impossible for anyone to be born with the physical perfection they were created with. This is why no one could ever redeem us from sin.

              What was needed was “a corresponding ransom.” (1 Timothy 2:6) A ransom which would be equal in value to the perfect **human** life that Adam forfeited and lost for the rest of us – “soul for soul” – Exodus 21:23. The idea of a ransom basically involves two things. First, a ransom is the price paid to bring about a release or to buy something back. It might be compared to the price paid for the release of a prisoner of war. Second, a ransom is the price that covers, or pays, the cost of something. It is similar to the price paid to cover the damages caused by an injury. For example, if a person causes an accident, he would have to pay an amount that fully corresponds to, or equals, the value of what was damaged.

              As it stood, we were doomed. Condemned to continue being born in sin, continue suffering and dying for all eternity because no **imperfect** human being could ever equate the value of the **perfect human** life that was lost.

              Jehovah God understood this better than anyone and so he lovingly intervened making it possible for another perfect human being to be born and disposed to accept the value of his life as the corresponding ransom for what Adam forfeited.

              Since only a perfect **human** life was needed Jehovah could have transferred the life of any of his spirit sons – or angels – into Mary’s womb to be born as a perfect **human** being (Job 1:6; 38:7; Luke 3:38). That would have satisfied the legal requirement.

              Instead he sent us his “only-begotten” son, Michael, who was given the name Jesus upon birth as a **perfect man**. (John 1:18; Matthew 1:21) But why? Why him?

              Because Michael – Jesus in his **pre-human** existence – loved us very, very deeply. Proverbs 8:31 tells us that while he worked alongside Jehovah God in his creative acts as his master worker, “the things [he] was fond of were with the sons of men.” As such, Jesus loved us so much that he happily volunteered to give up his exalted position in heaven, be born a defenseless child and be brought up amongst flawed, imperfect human beings and then be tested to the limit, humiliated, insulted, tortured and finally tortuously murdered all so that we can have the opportunity to be rescued from our slavery to sin and death and, instead, have everlasting life.

              “For the wages sin pays is death, but the gift God gives is everlasting life by Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23

              “16 “For God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, in order that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent forth his Son into the world, not for him to judge the world, but for the world to be saved through him. 36 He that exercises faith in the Son has everlasting life.” – John 3:16,17,36

              Thus, Jesus’ ransom sacrifice came at an **immense** personal cost to Jehovah God himself. He looked on as he saw his son get insulted, humiliated, beaten, tortured then horrifically, painfully murdered. He looked on – and could do nothing.

              For three days his son was dead. Gone …

              Only those who have children could possibly even imagine what Jehovah God felt and even then only imagine. But why did Jehovah God allow himself to be put through all of this pain and suffering? In Romans 5:8 he answers –

              “ God recommends his own love to us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

              Why did Jehovah God do it? Because he loved us.

              How, then, can we show Jehovah God and Jesus our gratitude for all they’ve done – and continue to do – for us? By loving them, obeying them and loving one other –

              Jesus taught, “‘You must love Jehovah your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole mind.’” – Matthew 22:37

              “[Y]ou must love Jehovah your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your vital force.” – Deuteronomy 6:5

              “[T]his is what the love of God means, that we observe his commandments; and yet his commandments are not burdensome.” – 1 John 5:3

              “Jesus said to him: “If anyone loves me, he will observe my word, and my Father will love him []. He that does not love me does not observe my words; and the word that YOU are hearing is not mine, but belongs to the Father who sent me.” – John 14:23,24

              “If YOU love me, YOU will observe my commandments. He that has my commandments and observes them, that one is he who loves me. In turn he that loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him.” – John 14:15,21

              “If YOU observe my commandments, YOU will remain in my love, just as I have observed the commandments of the Father and remain in his love.” – John 15:10

              “By this all will know that YOU are my disciples, if YOU have love among yourselves.”” – John 13:35

              “If anyone makes the statement: ‘I love God,’ and yet is hating his brother, he is a liar.” (1 John 4:20)

              “By this we have come to know love, because that one surrendered his soul for us; and we are under obligation to surrender [our] souls for [our] brothers.” – 1 John 3:16

              By doing so we can hope to continue enjoying Jehovah God and Jesus’ love for all eternity.

            • kessy_athena

              You do realize that this is an atheist blog, don’t you? And that very few people here much care for bad poetry from several millennia ago? Throwing up a wall of random quotes from the christians’ book does not count as an argument. In any event, you’re missing the point. You talk about paying a ransom – why would Yahweh demand a ransom in the first place? You talk about a legal requirement – according to you, wasn’t the law in question written by Yahweh? Do you believe that Yahweh is omnipotent or not? If Yahweh is omnipotent, then he could have chosen to wave any requirements he put in place, but chose not to. If Yahweh is omnipotent, he could have chosen to forgive any sins or consider any price to be paid in full by simply wishing it to be so, but didn’t. In short, the whole fiasco in Palestine 2,000 years ago was nothing more then a stage play put on by Yahweh for his own amusement. What sort of god tortures and kills people for shits and giggles?

            • Joseph O Polanco

              I already answered all of these questions. If there’s any portion of the explication you found too difficult to grasp, please, by all means, don’t be shy and let me know. I’ll be more than happy to continue guiding you along.

            • kessy_athena

              No, you tried to avoid those questions; you didn’t answer them. You claim that Jesus of Nazareth had to suffer for humanity to be redeemed. If something had to happen a certain way whether Yahweh wanted it to or not, then Yahweh is not omnipotent. Are you arguing that Yahweh is not omnipotent? That’s a simple yes or no question.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Of course not. That’s a Strawman.

            • kessy_athena

              If Yahweh is omnipotent then he could have forgiven or redeemed or saved or whatever humanity at any time he felt so inclined without having anyone crucified, but chose not to. That’s not a strawman, that’s simple logic – an inherent consequence of the argument you’re making. That’s the problem with an omni deity, and the original point of this post. *Everything* bad that has ever or will ever happen in the entire history of the universe happens simply because that deity wants it to happen, even though that deity could have produced the exact same effects without the bad thing happening. That’s what omnipotence means.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              I. Don’t be so jejune. The issue wasn’t a matter of power as if all he had to do was lift an object and the problem would have been solved. Had you bothered to perlustrate the careful explication I supplied you would know it was a matter of justice and integrity. In effect, Jehovah God’s actions prove he is not the maniacal tyrant you falsely accuse him of being.

              II. So let me get this straight. If you ultimately refuse to heed Jehovah God’s warnings to be a good person and, as a result, you perish during Armageddon, that would be God’s fault, not your own?

            • kessy_athena

              I. So Yahweh is only omnipotent when it comes to lifting objects, but not when to comes to justice? Or is it simpler then that and just that Yahweh is only omnipotent when it’s convenient for you? If there are standards of justice and integrity that Yahweh has to abide by and cannot change, then Yahweh is not omnipotent. Incidentally, where would those standards of justice and integrity come from?

              II. If the universe were created by an omnipotent, omniscient deity, then *everything* that happens in the universe is that deity’s fault. Since the universe wasn’t created by an omnipotent, omniscient deity, then it’s not. how do I know the universe wasn’t created by an omnipotent, omniscient deity? Because omnipotence and omniscience are logically incoherent concepts that simply don’t make sense if you actually sit down and work out the full consequences instead of just using the terms as synonyms for “extra super awesome” or something equivalent.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              I. Per falsam augmentationem comparationem. Strength or power is immaterial to justice and integrity. Try again.

              II. It appears you misapprehend how free will works. To borrow from the brainchild of Harry Frankfurt, “so long as a person’s choice is causally undetermined, it is a free choice even if he is unable to choose the opposite of that choice.

              Imagine a man with electrodes secretly implanted in his brain who is presented with the choice of doing A or B. The electrodes are inactive so long as the man chooses A; but if he were going to choose B, then the electrodes would switch on and force him to choose A. If the electrodes fire, causing him to choose A, his choice of A is clearly not a free choice. But suppose that the man really wants to do A and chooses of his own volition. In that case his choosing A is entirely free, even though the man is literally unable to choose B, since the electrodes do not function at all and so have no effect on his choice of A. What makes his choice free is the absence of any causally determining factors of his choosing A.

              In other words, a limitation in the range of choices is not the same as having no choice at all. If A, B, and C are good choices, and D, E, and F are evil choices, one’s inability to choose D, E, or F does not negate the fact that he can choose A, B, or C.”

              When you go to an Italian restaurant, they may only serve 12 out of 150 possible Italian dishes. The fact that you cannot choose 138 of those dishes does not negate the fact that you can choose any one of the 12 options before you. Likewise, God’s expectation that man act morally does not mean man lacks freedom of will. Hence, God is justified in expecting mankind to do good and punishing those who abuse their limited free will to be evil.

            • kessy_athena

              Is it just me or is the amount of gratuitous Latin you use inversely proportional to the strength of your argument? Of course strength or power is immaterial to justice and integrity. How is that in any way relevant to what I said? Or do you simply think that because two concepts appear in proximity that must mean they’re being equated? Or do you simply think that everyone else is so stupid that you can get away with pretending proximity implies equivalence and sidestepping the actual point? Now stop trying to weasel out of the argument like some two bit con artist caught in a blatant lie. Is Yahweh omnipotent or isn’t he? If Yahweh is omnipotent that means he is omnipotent in *all* matters, not just the ones that are convenient for you. If Yahweh is omnipotent in all matters, then he can adjust justice and integrity to be whatever he wants. If that is the case then the crucifixion occurred for no other reason then simply because Yahweh wanted it to. Now address the actual logic or admit you can’t.

              Free will is irrelevant to the discussion. An omnipotent, omniscient creator implies that everything that happens in the universe happens because that’s exactly how that creator wanted it to happen. That would mean that there is only one possible past and future and there’s no such thing as freewill. The Calvinist interpretation is simply the logical conclusion of your postulates. You’re just running away from the logic of your own argument because you don’t like what it implies.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              I. Therefore, the perfect resolution of the critical issues raised at the Garden of Eden could not be resolved, as you suggest, with Jehovah God making a grandiose display of his power. In fact, that would’ve made things worse!

              II. No it’s not since he created you with the ability to choose your own way in life. You could even choose, just as Satan the Devil did, to foolishly rebel against God. However, you wouldn’t be able to escape the consequences of such an ill fated course. Free will, then, is very much at the heart of the issues you raise and your increasingly sophistic claims.

            • kessy_athena

              You don’t actually understand what “omnipotent” means, do you? It means a being that can do anything at all. If you *ever* say that Yahweh could not do something, you are saying that Yahweh is not omnipotent. Thus, when you say that, “the critical issues raised at the Garden of Eden **could not be resolved** with Jehovah God making a grandiose display of his power,” you are saying that Yahweh **is not omnipotent.**

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Yes he can do anything but Jehovah God is not a tyrant which is why he created his intelligent creations with free will. This also means he does not shield his intelligent creations from the consequences of the poor decisions they make. How would that be just?

              As such, Adam and Eve had to suffer the consequences of their actions, to wit, death. Yet, he lovingly allowed them to have offspring before they died. Then he took steps to give the good the opportunity to regain what they stupidly forfeited, eternal life on Paradise Earth.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              To put it in different terms, yes, Jehovah God could have annihilated Adam, Eve and Satan right on the spot. He could have also obliterated all of the trillions and trillions and trillions and trillions of angels he created before he created the universe. He could have even eliminated his son, Jesus, his very first creation. He could have just wiped the slate clean and started all over again. But, would that have been just? Not by any stretch of the imagination.

              And besides, he had no need. He’s omnipotent! Which means nothing and no one can frustrate his purposes. Jehovah God intended for the righteous members of his human family to live eternally on Earth and that purpose WILL be fulfilled irrespective of what you or anyone else in the entire universe does or doesn’t do.

            • Nox

              Or put the tree in a different garden.

            • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

              I love how you quote from “Reasonable” Faith because you’re too lazy to make your own arguments! Heard that one already.

            • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

              Is God good because he is loving, compassionate and fair, or is being loving, compassionate and fair good because God is good?

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Being loving, compassionate and fair is good because God is loving, compassionate and fair. It is because God is that way that these qualities count as virtues in the first place. Essentially, God is good the same way water is wet, diamonds are hard and stars are blazing hot. So if we think of God’s goodness in terms of His possessing certain virtues rather than fulfilling certain duties, we have a more exalted and more adequate concept of God.

            • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

              You’ve just made a circular argument and failed to answer the question. You’ve basically just said”X is good because God is X.” That explains nothing about why X is good.
              If you pick the former, then the attributes God has that make him good exist independently of God and are merely descriptive terms applied to God, if you pick the latter then how can we possibly know that being loving, compassionate and fair is good? It can’t simply be good because God is good, because then the word “good” is meaningless.
              There has to be a reason why we call something good. So what characteristic comes first – God’s goodness, or his being loving, compassionate and fair? The theist is in a squirm here. He cannot simply define God as being “good” without justification. Goodness has to be justified descriptively. But if those descriptions are warranted, then they imply goodness for epistemological reasons that are verifiable due to their intentions and effects. And thus the source of goodness would exist independently of God.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Brush up on your fallacies bud. A circular argument is something akin to statinig, “What is fittest will survive and reproduce. What is fittest is that which is most adaptive. And that which is most adaptive is that which is most fit to survive.”

              Give it another shot once you’ve figured it out …

            • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

              You mean like saying “The Bible is true because the Bible says it’s true”? Which is what you make over and over again. You haven’t been able to designate god as the ontological source of anything, let alone morality.

            • Nox

              If god possessed those virtues it would be seen in how he acts. Whether or not you consider it a duty, actions are the most visible indicator of character.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              And God’s actions **have** always been virtuous. You’ve yet to prove otherwise. If you wish to make a serious attempt, you’d need to first read the Bible in its entirety, as I have.

            • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

              Global flood. Amalekites. Jericho. Amorites. Hittites. Perizzites. Canaanite. Hivites. Jebusites. Moabites. Rules on selling daughter into sex slavery. Rules on beating slaves only almost to death. Rules on slavery at all, instead of outright condemnation. Exhortations to slaves to obey masters. Commands to women to be silent. Commands to women to be submissive. Putting the damned tree in the garden with a big Do Not Touch red button, which anyone who knows anything about humans means they’ll touch it (and if God created humans, ze’d presumably know it). Eternal curse on humanity. Human sacrifice. Substitutionary atonement. Jealousy (also called envy, one of the seven deadly sins?). Infinite torture for finite misdeeds. Torture at all, really. Killing a fig tree for the grand sin of being a fig tree. Ordering people to kill other people for sins such as: being gay, cursing one’s parents, being a nonbeliever, not being a virgin on wedding night- female only, being a false prophet, working on the Sabbath, and only giving some money instead of all of it to the church.

              Have you read your Bible in its entirety? Because that’s what I came up with off the top of my head and less than 5 minutes Google-searching.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              On what objective moral basis do you dare condemn anyone’s moral values? Who made you God?

            • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

              Morality is based in empathy, which evolved in humans and several other species (dolphins, apes, monkeys, etc) as a means for species survival. It literally hurts us to see other people get hurt. We also have the brain capacity to extend that to fairness, and say that if I wouldn’t want it done to me because it would hurt me, I shouldn’t do it to you because it’ll hurt you. That wouldn’t be fair.

              From fairness and empathy, then, we can build complex moral and ethical constructs to deal with many varied situations. And that is all it takes to get to morality; I don’t know if that’s subjective or objective, and I don’t care. I am not a god; I am a human, and I judge based on my humanity. Anything that does the things your God does would not be a good person, so if God does them then ze’s not a good god.

              Also, God’s apparently a hypocrite. “Do as I say, not as I do” is a pretty shitty thing to say when it comes to the big stuff like murder. Besides, you’re moving goalposts. You said you needed evidence God wasn’t always virtuous, and I gave it. Did you want to redefine virtue now?

            • Joseph O Polanco

              That’s pseudoscience: http://bit.ly/15Mq2gn

              Sorry, try again.

            • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

              Empathy is not pseudoscience, sorry. And the fact that selfishness and empathy coexist is well-known.

              She doesn’t address any of the neuroscience at all, nor does she mention that a dog will come comfort a human or other dog who is feeling ill (empathy). Monkeys share their food with other monkeys and will actually get angry if fairness is not met (one monkey does a task, gets a grape. Other monkey does the same task, gets a cucumber. Both monkeys refuse to do the task and are visibly unhappy). Dolphins will help a laboring female dolphin come up for air, and rescue humans from sharks on a fairly regular basis. When we tried to train dolphins to put mines on boats, they did it happily (mine on nose, stick to boat, swim away). At one point, the boat had wooden dummies on it of people, and the dolphins were clearly distressed at the “people” who were tossed into the water by the explosion. They refused afterwards to stick the bomb on the boat, even though they were offered many fishy rewards for doing so. That demonstrates both empathy and higher-level thinking skills right there.

              Is there obvious striving for social dominance among animals, including humans? Of course. Empathy is one thing motivating us, but it is clearly not the only thing. You should really try again; the world is complicated and people are complicated, full of conflicting impulses and instincts.

              And you still have not responded to my original point. God has clearly acted in ways that are not virtuous and are, in fact, downright non-virtuous. Still going to claim your god is some sort of moral bastion?

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Empathy is predicated on altruism. You can’t have one without the other.

              Btw, forgive me if I take the findings of real academics over your quaint reveries.

            • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

              As opposed to monkey studies, also done by academics of the real variety? Or the dolphin training, done by military and animal training professionals?

              You can try to be condescending, I guess, but it doesn’t work very well when it is there in black and white that your arguments have been torn to shreds. Empathy is not predicated on altruism. It’s the other way around. Altruism can only occur when empathy is present. We can only try to stop someone else being hurt, even at cost to ourselves, once we care about that other person’s (or being’s) hurts. Empathy is a necessary precondition to altruism.

              And you still have not yet answered my question or my rebuttal of your claim. Given the things your holy book says your god has done, can you still call hir a moral bastion and good source of morality?

            • Joseph O Polanco

              God has done no wrong nor evil. I don’t understand what your contention is.

            • Kevin R. Cross

              Pharaoh would disagree with you…if your god hadn’t murdered him and all his men.

              Take a look at that particular story. (It never actually happened, of course, there was no captivity, but take a look anyway). Pharaoh is in his throne room. His long-absent foster brother has just come back. His request? “Let my people go.”

              And Pharaoh WAS GOING TO. Until God Hardened his heart and ensured he didn’t!

              “Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his officials so that I may perform these signs of mine among them 2 that you may tell your children and grandchildren how I dealt harshly with the Egyptians and how I performed my signs among them, and that you may know that I am the Lord.””

              God CHOSE to unleash the plagues, drown the armies. Pharaoh had no choice in the matter – God just chose to conduct some random butchery. Evil.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Riiiiiiight, because Pharaoh just had to chase his former slaves to his death in the middle of the Red Sea instead of just letting them be free …

            • Kevin R. Cross

              Yes – because god required it of him. Exodus 14:8 :”8 The Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, so that he pursued the Israelites, who were marching out boldly.”

              So much for free will.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Your exegesis is flawed for Christ (among many, many others) was equally obstinate in his loyalty to God. Does that mean Christ didn’t have free will either?

            • Kevin R. Cross

              Pharaoh wasn’t being loyal – he wasn’t given a choice. Your own scriptures make it clear that it was your God’s choice that Paraoh do as he did, not Pharaoh’s. Jesus is lauded for having his moment of doubt in the Garden at Gethsemane, facing it, and choosing, of his own free will, to continue into the final act. Pharaoh never gets that choice.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Prove it.

            • Nox

              Thought you said you had read the bible. It says multiple times that Pharoah would have let the people go if yhvh had not overridden his free will to force him to keep the israelites longer so yhvh could do more plagues.

              Kevin R. Cross already cited the verse where yhvh forces Pharoah to pursue the israelites. Since when do you consider bible verses not proof?

            • Joseph O Polanco

              No, it doesn’t. You and he continue to parrot atheist propaganda that Strawmans the Bible.

            • Nox

              No, it would need to be an inaccurate representation to be a strawman. Pointing out that the bible says things which contradict your portrayal of the bible doesn’t qualify.

              Exodus 7:1-4
              1 And the Lord said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet.
              2 Thou shalt speak all that I command thee: and Aaron thy brother shall speak unto Pharaoh, that he send the children of Israel out of his land.
              3 And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt.
              4 But Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you, that I may lay my hand upon Egypt, and bring forth mine armies, and my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments.

              Exodus 7:13-14
              13 And he hardened Pharaoh’s heart, that he hearkened not unto them; as the Lord had said.
              14 And the Lord said unto Moses, Pharaoh’s heart is hardened, he refuseth to let the people go.

              Exodus 9:12
              And the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he hearkened not unto them; as the Lord had spoken unto Moses.

              Exodus 9:35
              And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, neither would he let the children of Israel go; as the Lord had spoken by Moses.

              Exodus 10:1
              And the Lord said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh: for I have hardened his heart, and the heart of his servants, that I might shew these my signs before him:

              Exodus 10:20
              But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go.

              Exodus 10:24-27
              24 And Pharaoh called unto Moses, and said, Go ye, serve the Lord; only let your flocks and your herds be stayed: let your little ones also go with you.
              25 And Moses said, Thou must give us also sacrifices and burnt offerings, that we may sacrifice unto the Lord our God.
              26 Our cattle also shall go with us; there shall not an hoof be left behind; for thereof must we take to serve the Lord our God; and we know not with what we must serve the Lord, until we come thither.
              27 But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let them go.

              Exodus 11:9-10
              9 And the Lord said unto Moses, Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you; that my wonders may be multiplied in the land of Egypt.
              10 And Moses and Aaron did all these wonders before Pharaoh: and the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go out of his land.

              Joe Polanco (who keeps saying he has read this sh*t)
              Riiiiiiight, because Pharaoh just had to chase his former slaves to his death in the middle of the Red Sea instead of just letting them be free …

              Exodus 14:1-8
              1 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
              2 Speak unto the children of Israel, that they turn and encamp before Pihahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, over against Baalzephon: before it shall ye encamp by the sea.
              3 For Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, They are entangled in the land, the wilderness hath shut them in.
              4 And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, that he shall follow after them; and I will be honoured upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host; that the Egyptians may know that I am the Lord. And they did so.
              5 And it was told the king of Egypt that the people fled: and the heart of Pharaoh and of his servants was turned against the people, and they said, Why have we done this, that we have let Israel go from serving us?
              6 And he made ready his chariot, and took his people with him:
              7 And he took six hundred chosen chariots, and all the chariots of Egypt, and captains over every one of them.
              8 And the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued after the children of Israel: and the children of Israel went out with an high hand.

              Do you think we don’t have access to the bible (I personally have 36 copies of various translations of the bible on my shelf, though that might be higher than average for atheists)? Do you think we can’t check your claims? Do you think you can successfully lie about the contents of a book which can be read for free by anyone online?

            • Joseph O Polanco

              That just make the fact that you’ve never read the Bible that much more embarrassing for you.

              “But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, **he** hardened his heart and would not listen to Moses and Aaron.” -Exodus 8:15 (Emphasis mine.)

              “Then Moses left Pharaoh and prayed to the Lord, and the Lord did what Moses asked. The flies left Pharaoh and his officials and his people; not a fly remained. But this time also **Pharaoh hardened his heart** and would not let the people go.” -Exodus 8:30-32 (Emphasis mine.)

              “When Pharaoh saw that the rain and hail and thunder had stopped, he sinned again: **He and his officials hardened their hearts**. So Pharaoh’s heart was hard and he would not let the Israelites go.” -Exodus 9:34,35 (Emphasis mine.)

              Pharaoh chose his path. Pharaoh and his officials chose to defy Jehovah God at every single turn. They brought their calamities, then, upon their own heads.

              I rest my case.

            • Nox

              How do you explain the several passages which say otherwise?

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Simple. Everyone suffers tragedies. Sometimes, there are those who mistakenly blame God and, as a result, become atheists. As far as they’re concerned, even if he wasn’t directly involved in their calamity, he allowed it to happen so it’s just the same. Hence:

              “As for me [Jehovah God], I shall let Phar′aoh’s heart become obstinate.” -Exodus 7:3 (NWT)

            • Nox

              And you’re bitching about translation errors in King James? Do you even know what the NWT bible is? Did you intentionally select the JW’s bastardized translation, or did you just look for any version you could find that seemed like it said what you wanted it to say?

              Since it is the jews’ book, let’s ask them.

              Shemot 7:3
              And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and multiply My signs
              and My wonders in the land of Egypt.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Jehovah “let [Pharaoh’s] heart wax bold” (Rotherham)

              In support of such rendering, the appendix to Rotherham’s translation shows that in Hebrew the occasion or permission of an event is often presented as if it were the cause of the event, and that “even positive commands are occasionally to be accepted as meaning no more than permission.” Thus at Exodus 1:17 the original Hebrew text literally says that the midwives “caused the male children to live,” whereas in reality they permitted them to live by refraining from putting them to death. After quoting Hebrew scholars M. M. Kalisch, H. F. W. Gesenius, and B. Davies in support, Rotherham states that the Hebrew sense of the texts involving Pharaoh is that “God permitted Pharaoh to harden his own heart—spared him—gave him the opportunity, the occasion, of working out the wickedness that was in him. That is all.”—The Emphasised Bible, appendix, p. 919 (cf. Isa 10:5-7)

              Corroborating this understanding is the fact that the record definitely shows that Pharaoh himself “hardened his heart.” (Exodus 8:15, 32, KJ; “made his heart unresponsive,” NWT) He thus exercised his own will and followed his own stubborn inclination, the results of which inclination Jehovah accurately foresaw and predicted. The repeated opportunities given him by Jehovah obliged Pharaoh to make decisions, and in doing so he became hardened in his attitude. (cf. Ecclesiastes 8:11, 12.) As the apostle Paul shows by quoting Exodus 9:16, Jehovah allowed the matter to develop in this way to the full length of ten plagues in order to make manifest his own power and cause his name to be made known earth wide.—Romans 9:17, 18.

            • Kevin R. Cross

              Isn’t that my line? You either believe what your Bible says or you don’t. Exodus 14:8.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Your exegesis is still sophistic especially in light of Exodus 5:1,2. Pharaoh was worshipped as a living god, hence, his extraordinary hubris and braggadocio.

            • Kevin R. Cross

              Sure, and I’ll accept that Pharaoh wasn’t a nice guy, and did unpleasent things. But the stuff he’s condemned, and died, for come down to God. A person who commits a crime may be executed, and we can call that justice. But when someone else forces your decisions, makes you do their bidding? Then the consequences are on the puppet-master, not the puppet. I don’t honestly think it’s sophistry to require the blame to fall on the responsible party.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              No, your sophistry is evinced in your insistence on hurtling unsubstantiated accusations against God. Pharaoh was given a multiplicity of opportunities to do the right thing and free his slaves but he (being the supremely pompous and overweening character he was), instead, chose to defy God .. and it cost him his life.

              I’m sure there’s a lesson in there somewhere …

            • Kevin R. Cross

              Ah, I’m pretty sure I just SUBSTANTIATED the accusations I hurled. AND pointed out that no, Pharaoh DIDN’T have any opportunities to “do the right thing” – despite that being what he WANTED to do – because Jehovah/Yahwe stepped in and MADE DAMN SURE HE DIDN’T. Pharaoh made NO decisions – your God did.
              The lesson? Your God’s a dick.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              “But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, **he** hardened his heart and would not listen to Moses and Aaron.” -Exodus 8:15 (Emphasis mine.)

              “Then Moses left Pharaoh and prayed to the Lord, and the Lord did what Moses asked. The flies left Pharaoh and his officials and his people; not a fly remained. But this time also **Pharaoh hardened his heart** and would not let the people go.” -Exodus 8:30-32 (Emphasis mine.)

              “When Pharaoh saw that the rain and hail and thunder had stopped, he sinned again: **He and his officials hardened their hearts**. So Pharaoh’s heart was hard and he would not let the Israelites go.” -Exodus 9:34,35 (Emphasis mine.)

              Pharaoh chose his path. Pharaoh and his officials chose to defy Jehovah God at every single turn. They brought their calamities, then, upon their own heads.

              I rest my case.

            • Kevin R. Cross

              All fine. It still doesn’t answer the pieces that states that GOD hardened his heart. If Jehovah/Yahwe hadn’t done that right at the start this whole thing would have been avoided. And J/Y SAYS he’s doing it to show off his might. All the Plagues, all the death – all your God’s choice, not Pharaoh’s.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Jehovah “let [Pharaoh’s] heart wax bold” -Exodus 7:3 (Rotherham)

              The appendix to Rotherham’s translation shows that in Hebrew the occasion or permission of an event is often presented as if it were the cause of the event, and that “even positive commands are occasionally to be accepted as meaning no more than permission.” Thus at Exodus 1:17 the original Hebrew text literally says that the midwives “caused the male children to live,” whereas in reality they permitted them to live by refraining from putting them to death. After quoting Hebrew scholars M. M. Kalisch, H. F. W. Gesenius, and B. Davies in support, Rotherham states that the Hebrew sense of the texts involving Pharaoh is that “God permitted Pharaoh to harden his own heart—spared him—gave him the opportunity, the occasion, of working out the wickedness that was in him. That is all.”—The Emphasised Bible, appendix, p. 919 (cf. Isa 10:5-7)

              Corroborating this understanding is the fact that the record definitely shows that Pharaoh himself “hardened his heart.” (Exodus 8:15, 32, KJ; “made his heart unresponsive,” NWT) He thus exercised his own will and followed his own stubborn inclination, the results of which inclination Jehovah accurately foresaw and predicted. (Exodus 8:30-32; 9:34,35) The repeated opportunities given him by Jehovah obliged Pharaoh to make decisions, and in doing so he became hardened in his attitude. (cf. Ecclesiastes 8:11, 12.) As the apostle Paul shows by quoting Exodus 9:16, Jehovah allowed the matter to develop in this way to the full length of ten plagues in order to make manifest his own power and cause his name to be made known earth wide.—Romans 9:17, 18.

            • Kevin R. Cross

              Well, I’d still call using the plagues to spread his word was pretty repehensible. However, the translation note is well-taken, and I’ll withdraw my charge at this time.

            • Nox

              Not necessary. Joe is intentionally using spotty translations. The hebrew text does say yhvh hardened the heart of Pharoah.

            • Kevin R. Cross

              Which is why I’m withdrawing them at this time. It’s going to take me some time to get a real, credible idea regarding the translation of the text (gracias for pointing the way) as I read none of the ancient biblical languages. Fair is fair, and I’ll revisit the point once I have it straight.

            • Nox

              Fair enough.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              I accept your withdrawal.

            • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

              Global flood. Amalekites. Jericho. Amorites. Hittites. Perizzites. Canaanite. Hivites. Jebusites. Moabites. Rules on selling daughter into sex slavery. Rules on beating slaves only almost to death. Rules on slavery at all, instead of outright condemnation. Exhortations to slaves to obey masters. Commands to women to be silent. Commands to women to be submissive. Putting the damned tree in the garden with a big Do Not Touch red button, which anyone who knows anything about humans means they’ll touch it (and if God created humans, ze’d presumably know it). Eternal curse on humanity. Human sacrifice. Substitutionary atonement. Jealousy (also called envy, one of the seven deadly sins?). Infinite torture for finite misdeeds. Torture at all, really. Killing a fig tree for the grand sin of being a fig tree. Ordering people to kill other people for sins such as: being gay, cursing one’s parents, being a nonbeliever, not being a virgin on wedding night- female only, being a false prophet, working on the Sabbath, and only giving some money instead of all of it to the church.

              Those are all wrong and/or evil things to do. Your god is not, can not be, a source of good morality in the world when we humans can clearly see much of what your god orders and does is harmful.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Again I must ask, on what objective moral basis do you dare condemn anyone’s moral values? Who made you God?

            • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

              And I have told you. On the basis of my ethics, which are based in evolved empathy and then carried through to their logical conclusions with my evolved brain.

              On what basis do you condemn anyone’s moral values? Would you call genocide good, because God likes it?

            • Joseph O Polanco

              It appears you continue to miss the thrust of the question. Here’s the thing. Regardless of efforts to the contrary, all life ends. Therefore, a case could be made that maximizing one’s pleasure should be the absolute moral touchstone by which to adjudicate moral values. As a famous adherent of this philosophy candidly expressed, “The greatest obstacle to my freedom, the greatest block and limitation to it, consists in the insupportable ‘value judgment’ that I was bound to respect the rights of others. I asked myself, who were these ‘others’? Other human beings, with human rights? Why is it more wrong to kill a human animal than any other animal, a pig or a sheep or a steer? Is your life more to you than a hog’s life to a hog? Why should I be willing to sacrifice my pleasure more for the one than for the other? Surely, you would not, in this age of scientific enlightenment, declare that God or nature has marked some pleasures as ‘moral’ or ‘good’ and others as ‘immoral’ or ‘bad’? In any case, let me assure you, my dear young lady, that there is absolutely no comparison between the pleasure I might take in eating ham and the pleasure I anticipate in raping and murdering you. That is the honest conclusion to which my education has led me—after the most conscientious examination of my spontaneous and uninhibited self.”” -Ted Bundy

              Since this equally compelling opinion conflicts with yours, how would you show it to be objectively false and yours objectively true? That is to say, which of the two reflects reality?

            • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

              I don’t find it at all compelling, actually. Society would break down were everyone to follow such a framework, which would be unpleasant for everyone, myself included. I evaluate moral frameworks based on their effects, which can be measured and quantified for the most part. And that one? That one leads to people getting hurt, and I wouldn’t want to get hurt, so it’s a bad one. Again, based in empathy and some small amount of self-interest.

              Neither reflects reality except in the reality we want to create. There is no objective source of anything- we evaluate actions and frameworks through our own lived experiences and our own personal ethical frameworks. We can only judge among different moral frameworks using what we consider the basis of morality- Fairness, Justice, Order, Equality, Liberty, etc. Some things seem to be pretty universal among human cultures, and those are the things that are closest to empathy and most basic- don’t lie, don’t murder. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, and do not unto others as you would not have them do unto you. Other than that? It’s very different. This does not mean they are all equal, of course- if a societal framework involves massive suffering inflicted upon the unwilling (such as slavery, rape, etc), it’s an ethically inferior culture to one that does not permit such things. But objectively, looking from the outside? The moral framework that allows the highest survival rate of the species is probably the “most right” one. Shockingly, working together and caring for one another increases our survival rate, so here too, I can point to an empathy-based moral system as superior.

              God likes genocide. Do you then call it good? Upon what basis do you judge your god to be good? Upon what basis do you condemn anyone else’s morals. I will cease to answer your questions (I’ve already done so too many times) until you start answering mine.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              To address your questions:
              1. Argumentum assertio.

              2. I’ve answered this question many, many times already:

              Suppose we concede for the sake of argument that an evil Creator/Designer exists. Since this being is evil, that implies that he fails to discharge his moral obligations. But where do those come from? How can this evil god have duties to perform which he is violating? Who forbids him to do the wrong things that he does? Immediately, we see that such an evil being cannot be supreme: there must be a being who is even higher than this evil god and is the source of the moral obligations which he chooses to shirk, a being which is absolute goodness Himself. As such, if god is evil then there must necessarily exist a maximally great, supreme God who is all powerful, all good and all loving; One who is the very paradigm of good.

              So we don’t praise God for doing His duty. Rather He is to be adored for His moral character because He is essentially loving, just, kind, etc. It is because God is that way that these qualities count as virtues in the first place. Essentially, God is good the same way rain is wet, diamond gemstones are hard and blue stars are blazing hot. So if we think of God’s goodness in terms of His possessing certain virtues rather than fulfilling certain duties, we have a more exalted and more adequate concept of God.

              3. I have not the authority to condemn nor exhonerate anyone. Only the Creator does. I’ve only been charged with making his just norms known to all that I can so that everyone has the choice to adhere to them or not. That way, when Armageddon comes those loyal to our Creator will be granted eternal life on Paradise Earth while those that don’t forfeit this privillege and their lives.

            • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

              Your. God. Hurts. People.

              Thus, he can’t be good as good is defined by, well, every human being ever.

              And you make absolutely no sense. Why does there have to be a good god to balance out the evil one? How does that make any sense? Note that you state your god is loving, just, and kind. How do you figure a loving, just, and kind person could murder almost every living thing on the planet? If that doesn’t make a person good, how can it make a god good? Unless you’re completely redefining the terms ‘good’, ‘loving’, and ‘kind’, your god isn’t good at all.

              Your god’s norms include murdering opposing tribes and selling women into sex slavery and human sacrifice. If you really want to spread those, you are a terrible person.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Correction. He only hurts evil people. He richly blesses the good, kind, loving, just, loyal, respectful, humble, modest, peaceful, moral, sedulous, merciful, honorable, truthful, altruistic, etc., etc.

              Therefore, only those who unrepentantly practice evil need fear his vengeance the same way only criminals fear being caught by the police.

            • Yoav

              Correction. He only hurts evil people. He richly blesses the good, kind,
              loving, just, loyal, respectful, humble, modest, peaceful, moral,
              sedulous, merciful, honorable, truthful, altruistic, etc., etc.

              May I suggest you read the book of Job.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              I have, several times. What’s your point?

            • Yoav

              I guess murdering his entire family and torturing him for shits and giggles is synonymous with richly blessing in yawespeek.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              You are mistaken. Read Job again.

            • Yoav

              We must have been reading different books, I’m talking about the one where yhwe does all kind of really shitty things to a dude, chosen for the part because he’s supposedly the most awesome yhwe fan, as part of a sick game he and satan are playing.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Like I said, read Job for yourself instead of parroting atheist websites. You don’t have a clue what you’re talking about.

            • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

              Right. Bad things never happen to good people. Good things never happen to bad people. Every single Amalekite, Moabite, Jebusite, etc, etc was evil, including the infants. Every single kitten and puppy not on the ark was totally evil. That fig tree? Totally had it coming. The girl sold into sex slavery by her father? She should’ve been born to another, richer family, that’s all. The girl sacrificed by her father? Well, she had it coming and besides, she was totally evil by being a modest, virginal, obedient daughter. Beating your slave only almost to death shows that you are a “good, kind, loving, just, loyal, respectful, humble, modest, peaceful, moral, sedulous, merciful, honorable, truthful, altruistic, etc., etc.” person, clearly, because God has declared it not a crime.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              What’s with all these Strawmen? It’s quite clear you’ve never read the whole Bible for yourself …

            • Nox

              Just saying the word ‘strawman’ does nothing to demonstrate any difference between your statements and your opponent’s representation of your statements.

              And anyone who has read the whole bible can tell Feminerd’s description of it is much more accurate than yours.

            • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

              No? So which of these things didn’t happen? Strawman means a deliberate oversimplification and misinterpretation of your opponent’s argument, which you then argue against as easier than the real argument. I’m engaging your real arguments- the fact that your arguments are weak doesn’t make them strawmen, it makes them bad arguments.

              The Bible actually has all those things in it, and you have argued that God only does bad things to bad people. So clearly, every single person of the tribes the Israelites committed genocide against was evil, right? Including the infants. Noah’s flood killed everything except what was on the ark- thus all the drowned animals, including the kittens and puppies, were evil, right? Jepthah sacrificed his own daughter, which is a bad thing to happen to her- you said bad things only happen to bad people, so clearly she was a bad person, right? Same for a girl sold into sex slavery- it’s a bad thing to happen so she’s a bad person according to you. Owning a slave is something only rich or at least well-to-do people did, which means God likes them, because being not-poor is a good thing and God only lets good things happen to good people, right? So people who own slaves and don’t manage to beat them all the way to death are clearly good people in God’s eyes, according to your own argumentation.

              Why would you say I’ve never read the Bible? Because I’m focusing on the bad parts, and not the (very rare) good parts? Because I’m making you think past the indoctrination into what’s actually in the book? How can a god who does such horrible things be considered a good entity at all?

            • Joseph O Polanco

              I. Indeed.
              II. Argumenum ignoratio elenchi. All animals die.
              III. False claim. Try again.
              IV. False claim. Try again.
              V. Strawman. Try again.
              VI. You’ve never read the Bible because, as I’ve just finished showing, you have no clue what you’re talking about.

            • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

              2) All people die too. I presume you see murder as no bad thing, then? Ending a life before its time in a fit of pique is pretty evil, if you ask me.

              3) Your argument is that bad things only happen to bad people, and that God never does bad things. God did indeed order the genocide of many tribes- that was an evil act. A good entity literally could not order or condone an evil act. -Deuteronomy 13:13-19, Ezekiel 9:5-7, 1 Samuel 15:2-3, Joshua 19:47, Exodus 23:23, Joshua 8:1-29, Joshua 6:20-21, Judges 20:48, Jeremiah 50:21-22, Judges 18:27-29

              4) God condoned and accepted the sacrifice of Jepthah’s virgin daughter, which is an evil act. A good entity literally could not order or condone an evil act. -Judges 11:29-40

              5) God provides rules for selling one’s daughter into sex slavery, which is an evil act. A good entity literally could not order or condone an evil act. -Exodus 21:7-11

              6) God specifically says that beating one’s slave until they almost die is acceptable. If they die right away, that’s bad, but if they linger a few days and then die, oh wells. Slavery is evil. Beating slaves to death is evil. A good entity literally could not order or condone an evil act. -Exodus 21:20-21, Ephesians 6:5, 1 Timothy 6:1-2, Luke 12:47-48

              7) How do I have no clue what I’m talking about? I’m just telling you stuff that’s in the Bible. Do you deny it?

            • Cake

              Christian tactic Numero Uno: Words don’t mean what they mean. Christians and god get to have special definitions for their words.

            • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

              I haven’t looked at his reply yet. Wanna lay odds that I’m going to get “out of context!” or “OT totally doesn’t count except when it does!”?

              EDIT: Huh, not quite. I got the “slavery was totally different” argument, and a lot of “nuh uh because I say so”.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              II. Murdering an innocent is evil. Executing an evil person most certainly is not.

              III. On what objective moral basis do you dare condemn anyones actions and/or moral values? Who made you God?

              IV. False as per Jeremiah 19:3-5 & 32:35. Human sacrifice was a pagan practice proscribed in Israel under penalty of death. (Exodus 32)

              V. Equating Israel’s labor practices to modern day slave trade commits the fallacy of Presentism. (http://bit.ly/1ar8QvO) What you read here is better compared to the modern practice of a Bride Tokens. (cf. Genesis 34:11, 12; Exodus 22:16; 1Samuel 18:23, 25; Genesis 29:18, 20, 27; 31:15; Exodus 22:16.)

              VI. See III & V.

              VII. No, you’re not. You’ve continuously Strawmanned the Bible.

            • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

              2) So all the Amalekites, Jebusites, Midianites, Moabites, etc, etc were evil. Including the infants. God ordered executing all of them, so you think they were all evil. Evil babies. That’s the only conclusion you can draw from your statement.

              3) We’ve been over this. If you want to define loving, kind, good, etc as they are commonly used, and you want to claim your god embodies those qualities, then your god ought to consistently show those qualities and only those qualities. He doesn’t. If you want to redefine them, please put those redefinitions in writing.

              4) How is it false? It’s right there. If you’re going to argue that the Bible is contradictory, I’ll agree with you. If you’re going to argue that a morally horrific Bible story is false because you don’t like it, I’m not going to let you do that.

              5) No, that’s definitely sex slavery. The rules for the “nice” kind of slavery only applied to Israelite men. Women could be bought as sex slaves, married off to other slaves against their will, married to the master against their will, and married to the master’s son against their will. They were not freed at the end of six years, and any children they bore were not born free if borne of slave men or out of wedlock. Foreign men and women were subject to chattel slavery; that is, they could be held for life, their children could be held for life, and they could be passed down as property to heirs. Bride tokens were also a thing, but that’s clearly not what the Deuteronomy verse is talking about.

              6) See my responses as well. And even if you argue that Israelite slavery was less bad, it’s still slavery. And it was still considered completely legitimate to own people and to beat them to death, so long as they lingered a few days first. How is that good?

              7) See again definition of strawmen. Looking at a book and pointing out the things that are there and contradict your assertions is not a strawman argument. It is, in fact, an argument from facts, which is the best kind.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              ii. Correct (cf. http://bit.ly/1dJhvxU)

              iii. You’ve yet to prove he doesn’t. That’s what I’ve been waiting for.

              iv. Again, it’s just pure argument by assertion. You haven’t proven anything. I, on the other hand, just finished showing you that Jehovah God never commanded the Israelites to practice human sacrifice. On the contrary! He condemned them for adulterating his pure worship with that pagan practice.

              v. Argumentum assertio. Try again.

              vi. And, again, I must ask, on what objective moral basis do you dare condemn anyone’s moral values? Who made you God?

              vii. But they’re not there, hence, they’re Strawmen.

            • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

              Did you even read the verses? I went and linked them for you. I guess this’ll be a long pull-quote post, then.

              2) You actually said that infants were inherently evil. And you see nothing wrong with that statement. Your religion is turning you into a sociopath.

              3) Define loving, good, and kind. Then tell me how ordering or condoning genocide, slavery, and human sacrifice meets those definitions.

              4) Human sacrifice for winning

              At that time the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah, and he went throughout the land of Gilead and Manasseh, including Mizpah in Gilead, and led an army against the Ammonites. And Jephthah made a vow to the LORD. He said, “If you give me victory over the Ammonites, I will give to the LORD the first thing coming out of my house to greet me when I return in triumph. I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering.

              So Jephthah led his army against the Ammonites, and the LORD gave him victory. He thoroughly defeated the Ammonites from Aroer to an area near Minnith – twenty towns – and as far away as Abel-keramim. Thus Israel subdued the Ammonites. When Jephthah returned home to Mizpah, his daughter – his only child – ran out to meet him, playing on a tambourine and dancing for joy. When he saw her, he tore his clothes in anguish. “My daughter!” he cried out. “My heart is breaking! What a tragedy that you came out to greet me. For I have made a vow to the LORD and cannot take it back.” And she said, “Father, you have made a promise to the LORD. You must do to me what you have promised, for the LORD has given you a great victory over your enemies, the Ammonites. But first let me go up and roam in the hills and weep with my friends for two months, because I will die a virgin.” “You may go,” Jephthah said. And he let her go away for two months. She and her friends went into the hills and wept because she would never have children. When she returned home, her father kept his vow, and she died a virgin. So it has become a custom in Israel for young Israelite women to go away for four days each year to lament the fate of Jephthah’s daughter. -Judges 11:29-40

              5) Sex Slavery

              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

              Beating a slave to death is fine so long as it’s a lingering death

              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

              New testament is totes fine with slavery

              Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. -Ephesians 6:5

              Christians who are slaves should give their masters full respect so that the name of God and his teaching will not be shamed. If your master is a Christian, that is no excuse for being disrespectful. You should work all the harder because you are helping another believer by your efforts. Teach these truths, Timothy, and encourage everyone to obey them. -1 Timothy 6:1-2

              The servant will be severely punished, for though he knew his duty, he refused to do it. “But people who are not aware that they are doing wrong will be punished only lightly. Much is required from those to whom much is given, and much more is required from those to whom much more is given.” -Luke 12:47-48

              Biblical slavery: foreigners are chattel 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

              Male Israelite slaves must be freed after six years. Their slave wives and children? Not so much.

              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

              6) See #3. Also, basic empathy.

              7) Yeap, they’re there. Just because you’re making me do all the work of finding and quoting them to you doesn’t mean they’re not there. Sticking your hands over your eyes and refusing to see doesn’t make them go away.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              ii. Correct me if I’m wrong but weren’t Elizabeth Bathory, Talat Pasha, Margaret Sanger, Josef Mengele, Reinhard Heydrich, Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, Heinrich Himmler, Adolf Eichmann, Kim Il Sung, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Emperor Hirohito, Nero, Caligula, Attila the Hun, Genghis Khan, Leopold II of Belgium, Tomas de Torquemada, Mao Zedong, Ivan the Terrible, Idi Amin, Pol Pot, Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin and Vlad Dracula once children too?

              iii. Democide is evil. Genoicde not necessarily since the mass execution of evil people is not murder; it’s justice.

              iv. “From time to time the daughters of Israel go to talk to the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite, four days in a year.” -Judges 11:40 (cf. 1 Samuel 1:11, 22-28; 2:11) You were saying?

              iv.b – Judges 11:39

              International Standard Version
              Later, after the two months were concluded, she returned to her father, and he fulfilled what he had solemnly vowed—and she never married.

              New International Version
              After the two months, she returned to her father, and he did to her as he had vowed. And she was a virgin.

              English Standard Version
              And at the end of two months, she returned to her father, who did with her according to his vow that he had made. She had never known a man

              New American Standard Bible
              At the end of two months she returned to her father, who did to her according to the vow which he had made; and she had no relations with a man.

              King James Bible
              And it came to pass at the end of two months, that she returned unto her father, who did with her according to his vow which he had vowed: and she knew no man.

              Holman Christian Standard Bible
              At the end of two months, she returned to her father, and he kept the vow he had made about her. And she had never been intimate with a man

              GOD’S WORD® Translation
              At the end of those two months she came back to her father. He did to her what he had vowed, and she never had a husband.

              World English Bible
              It happened at the end of two months, that she returned to her father, who did with her according to his vow which he had vowed: and she was a virgin.

              v. Equating Israel’s labor practices to modern day slave trade commits the fallacy of Presentism. (http://bit.ly/1ar8QvO) What you read here is better compared to the modern practice of a Bride Tokens. (cf. Genesis 34:11, 12; Exodus 22:16; 1Samuel 18:23, 25; Genesis 29:18, 20, 27; 31:15; Exodus 22:16.)

              Finally, since you’ve yet to answer, on what objective moral basis do you dare condemn anyone’s moral values? Who made you God?

            • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

              2) Leaving aside whether all those people were evil or not, since I definitely don’t agree with the whole list- so what? Were they evil children, or did they grow up to do evil things in the society in which they lived and based on that society’s fucked up norms? Is killing children for whom there is no indication they will ever do bad things the answer, or is changing the society so they don’t grow up to do bad things the answer? I know my choice. What’s yours?

              3) You just said genocide is not inherently evil. You are a sociopath. Define love, good, and kindness. Then tell me how your god fits those definitions.

              4) All the different translations- he did what he had vowed (that is, sacrificed her) and she was a virgin when he did it. Still human sacrifice, still to your god. When the girls of Israel go to “talk” to the daughter of Jepthah, they aren’t actually going to talk to her since, you know, she’s dead. That’s why the translation I found (and every one other than the one you found) says lament or mourn.

              5) I just quoted you ancient Israel’s slavery practices. Did you read any of it? I’m going to go with … no, since you seem to have forgotten the sex slavery, women as chattel slaves, children as chattel slaves, and foreigners as chattel slaves part, not to mention the beating your slave to death part. Also, Roman slavery? The kind Jesus is just fine with? Definitely not ancient Israelite slavery, but rather much closer to the American version.

              6) You haven’t answered why I need to be God to have a moral judgment. Why aren’t you out committing murder and genocide against all the nonbelievers, since God clearly likes it when his followers do that? Is it that you know, deep down, that it’s wrong to do that? How do you know? And if you say God put a spark of conscience in you, how could he since he clearly loves it when people kill other people in his name?

            • Joseph O Polanco

              ii. I don’t know, I’m not God.
              ii.b. Moot question. Even after Jehovah God cleansed the Earth and only Noah and his family remained, evil once again reappeared. Clearly, then, there dwells within man a propensity to do evil. This is the legacy our first parents, Adam and Eve, left us.

              iii. http://bit.ly/14FrvV4
              iii.b. Jehovah God is “abundant in loving-kindness,” states the Bible. (Ex. 34:6) “Give thanks to Jehovah, you people, for he is good; for his loving-kindness is to time indefinite,” we also read. (Psalm 118:1, 29) “[God] is kind toward the unthankful and wicked,” states Luke 6:35. “He makes his sun rise upon wicked people and good and makes it rain upon righteous people and unrighteous.” (Matt. 5:45) “Your loving-kindness, O Jehovah,” sang the psalmist, “has filled the earth.” (Ps. 119:64) In fact, the Scriptures contain numerous accounts of how Jehovah showed loving-kindness.

              Jehovah protected and fed the Israelites while they spent 40 years in the wilderness. In the Promised Land, God provided judges to rescue them from their enemies and to bring them back to true worship. Because Jehovah stuck with them through good times and bad during all those centuries, he could tell the nation: “With a love to time indefinite I have loved you. That is why I have drawn you with loving-kindness.”—Jer. 31:3.

              Jehovah goes beyond speaking about forgiveness. He acts accordingly. Jehovah used Jeremiah to exhort: “Do return, O renegade Israel . . . I shall not have my face drop angrily upon you people . . . I shall not stay resentful to time indefinite.” (Jer. 3:12) God does not feel lingering anger or bitterness toward any of his people whom he has forgiven. Rather, though a wrong has been committed, Jehovah wants to repair the damaged relationship. Despite the sins a person may have committed, if that sinner truly repents and seeks God’s forgiveness, Jehovah will ‘bring him back’ to His favor and blessing. (Jer. 15:19)

              Consider the example of King David of ancient Israel, who sang: “[Jehovah] is forgiving all your error, [he] is healing all your maladies.” How David must have appreciated being shown forgiveness for his sin with Bath-sheba and for murdering her husband. He extolled Jehovah, saying: “As the heavens are higher than the earth, his loving-kindness is superior toward those fearing him.” (Ps. 103:3, 11)

              iv. No, he didn’t. Remember those references in Samuel I sent you to?

              v. You’re still being disingenuous since Christians who happened to have indentured servants before becoming Christians treated their employees as brothers, not slaves. (Ephesians 6:9; Colossians 4:1; 1 Timothy 6:2)

              vi. It’s simple. Unless you’re God all you’re presenting is your personal, subjective opinions and preferences. There’s no reason why your pure opinions or preferences on anything is of any more encumberance than anyone else’s.
              vi.b. God has left the task of judgment to his Son, “the Lord Jesus from heaven with his powerful angels” to take place at Armageddon. (2 Thessalonians 1:6-9)
              vi.c. Again, you are grossly mistaken: ““As I am alive,” is the utterance of the Sovereign Lord Jehovah, “I take delight, not in the death of the wicked one, but in that someone wicked turns back+ from his way and actually keeps living. Turn back, turn back from YOUR bad ways, for why is it that YOU should die?” -Ezekiel 33:11

            • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

              2) Nice dodge. Is it ever acceptable to murder children because of who they might become, yes or no? Even if it is acceptable, is it a good act? Remember, God’s all-powerful. He could just change their minds or cause them never to be born or something, and according to you is also incapable of evil acts. So: is murdering children ever a good act?

              3) Telling someone “I’m awesome” is what abusers do. It’s not what genuinely good people do. If someone has to tell you how amazing they are because it isn’t obvious by their actions, they’re probably lying to you. And if they say “baby, baby, I’m sorry I was angry, I won’t hit you again”, that’s also a pretty good sign that the man or god is not a good entity. And God forgave David for murdering Bathsheba’s husband and then raping her? Didn’t God murder Bathsheba’s baby for David’s sins? That’s … not nice at all, actually, nor is it just. And how is it God’s place to forgive David for the wrongs done to Bathsheba anyways? Isn’t that her place, to forgive or not, since she is the one wronged?

              4) What does the story of Samuel’s birth have anything to do with the sacrifice of Jepthah’s daughter? It’s still human sacrifice to your god, happily accepted by your god.

              5) Riiight. And American slave owners totally treated their slaves as siblings in Christ too. I’ve seen documents that say so, so it must be true. Never mind that beating a slave to death was legit, as was selling away spouse and/or children- still a sibling. Definitely. I mean, when someone says “slaves, obey your masters”, I definitely think I should obey the orders my siblings give me under threat of a severe beating that might kill me. Oh wait, no. How about: slavery is always illegitimate, always dehumanizing, and always wrong. There is no possible way to condone slavery and not be evil.

              6) Incorrect. Words have the meanings we humans assign to them. If you want to claim your god is good, kind, and loving, then you must prove by his actions that he is. If you want to redefine those words to include genocide, rape, human sacrifice, and slavery, then you must do so in front of all of us. To claim God has certain characteristics means you must show that he does, and frankly, your god looks pretty bad. So tell me again, why don’t you go out and kill nonbelievers, since God has clearly ordered it to happen lots? What’s stopping you?

            • Joseph O Polanco

              2. Argumentum per falsam analogiam. When Jehovah God saw him forced to take such drastic action there was no maybe, probably or what if. In his omniscience he knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that those particular children would grow up to be just as evil as their parents or worst. Therefore, the actions he took to protect his loved ones and to stamp out evil were just.

              I challenge you to prove otherwise.

              3. Wait, so David is still alive?
              3.b. Bathsheba was a co-conspirator. She deserved to die as much as David but she showed heartfelt repentance for her sins as did David. Otherwise, Jehovah God would have had them executed.

              4. Samuel’s mother expressed herself just as Jephthah did thus giving us the correct understanding of his words in their cultural context.

              5. History 101 – African slaves were kidnapped and sold into slavery against their will. Antithetically, God’s Law stated that kidnapping and selling a human was punishable by death. —Exodus 20:10; 21:12, 16, 26, 27; Leviticus 22:10, 11; Deuteronomy 21:10-14.

              The Bible gives no indication that the enslavement of humans by other humans was part of God’s original purpose for mankind. Furthermore, no Bible prophecies allude to humans owning fellow humans through slavery in God’s new world. Rather, in that coming Paradise, righteous ones “will actually sit, each one under his vine and under his fig tree, and there will be no one making them tremble.”—Micah 4:4.

              Clearly, the Bible does not condone the ill-treatment of others in any form. On the contrary, it encourages respect and equality among men. (Acts 10:34, 35) It exhorts humans to treat others the way that they would like to be treated. (Luke 6:31) Moreover, the Bible encourages Christians humbly to view others as superior, regardless of their social standing. (Philippians 2:3) These principles are totally incongruous with tyrranical forms of slavery practiced by many nations in recent centuries. – http://bit.ly/1ar8QvO

              6. To Israel, Jehovah God said: “Can a wife forget her suckling so that she should not pity the son of her belly? Even these women can forget, yet I myself shall not forget you.” (Isa. 49:15) Jehovah gave them the guidance of the Law, the encouragement of the prophets, and the protection of the angels. A psalmist wrote: “He is telling his word to Jacob, his regulations and his judicial decisions to Israel. He has not done that way to any other nation.” (Psalm. 147:19, 20; 34:7, 19; 48:14.)

              After crossing the Red Sea, the Israelites wandered in a land described as a “vast and terrible wilderness infested with poisonous snakes and scorpions, a thirsty, waterless land.” (Deuteronomy 8:15, The New English Bible) Jehovah protected his people there too. And what of their entry into the Promised Land? Powerful Canaanite armies opposed them. Yet, Jehovah said to Joshua: “Get up, cross this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the sons of Israel. Nobody will take a firm stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I proved to be with Moses I shall prove to be with you. I shall neither desert you nor leave you entirely.” (Joshua 1:2, 5) Those words of Jehovah did not fail. Within roughly six years, Joshua defeated 31 kings and subjugated large sections of the Promised Land. (Joshua 12:7-24) That conquest would have been impossible without Jehovah’s protective care.

              Shortly after their deliverance from Egypt, God promised the Israelites: “Here I am raining down bread for you from the heavens; and the people must go out and pick up each his amount day for day.” Sure enough, God provided that ‘bread from heaven.’ “When the sons of Israel got to see it, they began to say to one another: ‘What is it?’” It was manna, the bread that Jehovah had promised them.—Exodus 16:4, 13-15. For 40 years in the wilderness, Jehovah cared for the Israelites, providing them with food and water. He even saw to it that their mantles did not wear out and that their feet did not become swollen. (Deuteronomy 8:3, 4) Joshua witnessed it all. Jehovah delivered, protected, and sustained his people, just as he had promised them.

              “When I see your heavens, the works of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have prepared, what is mortal man that you keep him in mind, and the son of earthling man that you take care of him?” (Psalm 8:3, 4) The Earth, the food you eat, the water you drink, the air you breathe, in fact, everything you need to survive and prosper, Jehovah God has given you.

              “OUR Father who is in the heavens [] makes his sun rise upon wicked people and good and makes it rain upon righteous people and unrighteous.” -Matthew 5:45 (Bracket mine.) Even though you insist on treating him with contempt he lovingly continues to care for you. In summary:

              ● He has provided the earth, which is full of natural beauty, fascinating animal life, and productive land.—Acts 14:17; Romans 1:20.
              ● He has given you a marvelous body that enables you to find delight in day-to-day experiences, such as tasting good food, seeing a sunset, hearing a child laugh, and feeling the tender touch of a loved one.—Psalm 139:14.
              ● He provides you with wise guidance that helps you to cope with problems and pressures.—Psalm 19:7, 8; 119:105; Isaiah 48:17, 18.
              ● He gives you a wonderful hope, including the prospect of living in a paradise on earth and seeing the resurrection of your dead loved ones.—Luke 23:43; John 5:28, 29.
              ● He sent his only-begotten Son to die in our behalf so that you might have the hope of living forever.—John 3:16.
              ● He has established the Messianic Kingdom in heaven and given you abundant evidence that the Kingdom will soon take full control over the earth.—Isaiah 9:6, 7; Matthew 24:3, 4, 7; Revelation 11:15; 12:10.
              ● He invites you to approach him in prayer, to pour out your heart to him, and when you do so he readily listens.—Psalm 62:8; 1 John 5:14, 15.
              ● He repeatedly assures you of his deep love and concern.—1 John 4:9, 10, 19.

            • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

              2) The best course of action is a massive genocide? I can think of several better ways, and I’m just a human. Your god’s omniscience sucks, and it’s still an evil act.

              3) Huh? The abuser is God. God says “I’m sorry I hit you, I love you, I promise, see I got you roses manna. But seriously, you made me hit you! Don’t do that again. If you would just be perfect, I wouldn’t have to keep hitting smiting you.” And Bathsheba was a co-conspirator? How? She took a bath on her private roof at night, thinking no one could see her? I guess you think women who go outside their homes are co-conspirators in their own rapes too, because they displayed their femaleness for the world to see?

              4) Sorry dude, but women weren’t allowed to be priests the way Samuel was. And given that Jepthah’s vow was “I will give to the Lord the first thing coming out of my house to greet me when I return in triumph. I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering”, while Hannah said “I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head”, I don’t think you can argue they used the same words at all. One is clearly a burnt offering, a sacrifice (which turns into a human sacrifice) and the other is offering a priest/votary.

              5) You’re still missing the point. Slavery is always wrong. Always. The fact that your god condones and gives rules for it means that he doesn’t see it as wrong, and in fact sees it as a perfectly ethical thing for good men to do. That means your god isn’t perfectly good. Unless you want to argue that slavery is ever acceptable, of course, but I really hope you don’t think that.

              6) See #3. “I love you baby, I love you, I won’t ever hurt you (again)”. See the abused pour praises upon the abuser, hoping to push off the next cycle of abuse just a little bit longer. Again: if you have to tell someone how awesome you are, you’re probably not that awesome. Let your actions speak for themselves. God’s actions speak loudly, but they don’t say very good things about God.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              ii. Use your omniscience and prove otherwise .. oh … wait …

              iii. Bath-sheba took part in David’s ruse. Remember, did she confess her adultery to her husband?

              iv. (http://bit.ly/1amWMed)
              Read Joshua 9:21, 23, 27; Ezra 7:24; 8:20 and Nehemiah 3:26.

              v. Again, on what objective moral basis do you dare condemn anyone’s moral values or labor practices? Who made you God?

              vi. Argumentum ad lapidem. You’ve done nothing to dispel the arguments presented nor the facts that support them. Try again.

            • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

              2) Never been born. Make them not evil. Have them just leave instead of getting slaughtered. All superior options to genocide. I don’t know the best option of them, but there are several choices better than genocide.

              3) You mean she didn’t tell her husband of her rape? Gee, that’s super shocking, given the norms of the time that said a rape victim who wasn’t heard to scream was to be stoned to death for adultery. Also, she never had the chance- Uriah refused to see her, as I recall the story, because warriors weren’t supposed to have sex before battle or something. How does that make Bathsheba complicit in her rape or her husband’s murder by David, and how does killing her baby make God the nice one here?

              4) The least you could do is quote those … I did it for you. Before I go look them up, though (since I know you won’t), I’m going to guess they’re completely irrelevant stories with nothing to do with offering a human sacrifice to God.

              And, back. Yeap, completely irrelevant. That talks about Joshua enslaving a tribe instead of murdering them (the Gibeonites), Ezra going to Jerusalem and exacting tribute, and something about repairing a temple. Are you going to keep throwing random verses out there to try to distract from the fact that your god totally accepted a human sacrifice?

              5) Again, there is no objective moral framework, just the ones that work best by producing the best outcomes. I condemn because I am human, not because I am God, and that is enough. Or do you think that because God likes slavery, slavery is therefore moral?

              6) You’re not even making arguments anymore. Tell me again how your god is the font of love, good, kindness, mercy, etc without completely redefining those words out of existence, and using only God’s actions to back up your assertion. Do you argue the Israelites did not commit genocide, did not commit slavery, did not commit rape, and did not commit human sacrifice, or do you argue that those things are not immoral?

            • Joseph O Polanco

              ii. Right because you can see past, present and future and see how a multiplicity of actions will impact a multiplicity of future events … oh … wait …

              iii. (http://bit.ly/1amWMed)

              Which is why she married him and started a family with him …

              iv. They also listed the various duties servants of the temple, like Jephthah’s daugther, performed. Thus, your previous argument concerning Jephthah’s daughter is laid bare as vacuous folderol.

              v. Then you’re doing nothing more than expressing your opinions. Since your opinion is of no more weight than anyone else’s neither are your condemnations. But thank you for sharing your opinon …

              vi. Responderunt interrogavit. Next!

            • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

              2) Of course I can’t, though I’m educated and foresighted enough to see the common ones for about 100 years into the future from major actions. So what? Genocide is still never going to be the best answer for an omnipotent, omniscient being who could just wish them out of existence, cause them never to be born, etc. God’s not bound by the dictum “be careful what you wish for”; he knows all the weasel wording.

              3) If the King says “I’m going to marry you, widowed woman”, the woman says “yes sir” no matter her personal feelings. You didn’t really think David asked, did you? Especially since he raped Bathsheba earlier and proved his absolute power by sending her husband to his death?

              4) Jepthah’s daughter was able to perform temple duties after being “sacrifice[d] … as a burnt offering”? Damn, Jesus wasn’t the first one to rise from the grave! Why don’t you worship Mizpah instead? There’s really not any wiggle room in that passage, you know. No one is saying there weren’t temple servants- there clearly were. Mizpah just wasn’t one of them, since she was offered up as a burnt sacrifice instead, and that means she was slaughtered on an altar and burned so the smell of her burnt flesh would be pleasing to God.

              5) So tell me how God is good, loving, and kind. I keep asking, you keep not telling. Do try to answer this time.

              6) Saying random pseudo-Latin phrases does not an argument make, you know. Answer the question. Do you argue the Israelites did not commit genocide, did not commit slavery, did not commit rape, and did not commit human sacrifice, or do you argue that those things are not immoral?

            • Joseph O Polanco

              ii. That you would compare your comparably paltry intellect to an eternal being who can see past, present and future is the pinnacle of hubris.

              iii. Argumentum assertio. Prove he raped her.

              iv. (http://bit.ly/16DbWrw)

              Like Samuel, Jephthah’s daughter served at the temple her entire life. Like Samuel, she too wasn’t sacrificed to Jehovah God.

              v. Why, so can continue bleating how I repeating myself? No thanks. Go back and find the first time I answered your question.

            • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

              2) Yes, yes I would. And I would stand before such a being and accuse it of being a horrible, evil, callous being who thought murdering people was a viable solution to a problem. If even I can come up with better solutions, surely God could.

              3) Well, what else could it be? He certainly didn’t ask, he ordered. There’s no way to “prove” it was rape, but it certainly looks that way, and if you’re going to argue with no evidence that Bathsheba was a co-conspirator with David then I feel perfectly justified in saying she was a complete and total victim in the whole thing. I have far more textual evidence to support my claim, not to mention historical context. And God still killed Bathsheba’s baby to punish David, which is still an evil act, and which you have never addressed.

              4) Find me anything at all that says “burnt offering” means “sent to serve at a temple”. I’ll wait. You consistently ignore the plain text of the passage; burnt offerings, girls of Israel mourning her, etc. Human sacrifice is evil, and your god accepted one. What does that make your god?

              5) How can you repeat yourself when you’ve never answered the question? If you want to claim your god is good, kind, and loving, then you must prove by his actions that he is. If you want to redefine those words to include genocide, rape, human sacrifice, and slavery, then you must do so in front of all of us. Do you argue the Israelites did not commit genocide, did not commit slavery, did not commit rape, and did not commit human sacrifice, or do you argue that those things are not immoral?

            • Joseph O Polanco

              ii. And you would be wrong.

              iii. Because you’ve lost all credibility.

              iv. I’ve got one better. Look up what “metaphor” means in the dictionary.

              v. Here’s what I said:

              Jehovah gave Israel the guidance of the Law, the encouragement of the prophets, and the protection of the angels. A psalmist wrote: “He is telling his word to Jacob, his regulations and his judicial decisions to Israel. He has not done that way to any other nation.” (Psalm. 147:19, 20; 34:7, 19; 48:14.)

              After crossing the Red Sea, the Israelites wandered in a land described as a “vast and terrible wilderness infested with poisonous snakes and scorpions, a thirsty, waterless land.” (Deuteronomy 8:15, The New English Bible) Jehovah protected his people there too. And what of their entry into the Promised Land? Powerful Canaanite armies opposed them. Yet, Jehovah said to Joshua: “Get up, cross this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the sons of Israel. Nobody will take a firm stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I proved to be with Moses I shall prove to be with you. I shall neither desert you nor leave you entirely.” (Joshua 1:2, 5) Those words of Jehovah did not fail. Within roughly six years, Joshua defeated 31 kings and subjugated large sections of the Promised Land. (Joshua 12:7-24) That conquest would have been impossible without Jehovah’s protective care.

              Shortly after their deliverance from Egypt, God promised the Israelites: “Here I am raining down bread for you from the heavens; and the people must go out and pick up each his amount day for day.” Sure enough, God provided that ‘bread from heaven.’ “When the sons of Israel got to see it, they began to say to one another: ‘What is it?’” It was manna, the bread that Jehovah had promised them.—Exodus 16:4, 13-15. For 40 years in the wilderness, Jehovah cared for the Israelites, providing them with food and water. He even saw to it that their mantles did not wear out and that their feet did not become swollen. (Deuteronomy 8:3, 4) Joshua witnessed it all. Jehovah delivered, protected, and sustained his people, just as he had promised them.

              “When I see your heavens, the works of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have prepared, what is mortal man that you keep him in mind, and the son of earthling man that you take care of him?” (Psalm 8:3, 4) The Earth, the food you eat, the water you drink, the air you breathe, in fact, everything you need to survive and prosper, Jehovah God has given you.

              “OUR Father who is in the heavens [] makes his sun rise upon wicked people and good and makes it rain upon righteous people and unrighteous.” -Matthew 5:45 (Bracket mine.) Even though you insist on treating him with contempt he lovingly continues to care for you. In summary:

              ● He has provided the earth, which is full of natural beauty, fascinating animal life, and productive land.—Acts 14:17; Romans 1:20.
              ● He has given you a marvelous body that enables you to find delight in day-to-day experiences, such as tasting good food, seeing a sunset, hearing a child laugh, and feeling the tender touch of a loved one.—Psalm 139:14.
              ● He provides you with wise guidance that helps you to cope with problems and pressures.—Psalm 19:7, 8; 119:105; Isaiah 48:17, 18.
              ● He gives you a wonderful hope, including the prospect of living in a paradise on earth and seeing the resurrection of your dead loved ones.—Luke 23:43; John 5:28, 29.
              ● He sent his only-begotten Son to die in our behalf so that you might have the hope of living forever.—John 3:16.
              ● He has established the Messianic Kingdom in heaven and given you abundant evidence that the Kingdom will soon take full control over the earth.—Isaiah 9:6, 7; Matthew 24:3, 4, 7; Revelation 11:15; 12:10.
              ● He invites you to approach him in prayer, to pour out your heart to him, and when you do so he readily listens.—Psalm 62:8; 1 John 5:14, 15.
              ● He repeatedly assures you of his deep love and concern.—1 John 4:9, 10, 19.

            • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

              Right, right. God says “I love you and I’m awesome. I give you good guidance, I give you food when you need it, clearly I’m a super badass. Now if you would only worship me and be perfect, I could stop hitting you! It’s all your fault, Israel! Why do you make me hit you?” That is the language of an abuser, not a good being. I’m not all-good, but I don’t need to be to figure that much out.

              And uh, no, you can’t just claim the bad stories are ‘metaphors’. Jepthah is clearly not a metaphor for anything- he makes a promise to God to make a burnt offering, his daughter comes out to greet him, he makes a burnt offering of her, the girls of Israel mourn her. What in that story makes you think it’s a metaphor? There aren’t any of the markers of it- no ‘this is a teaching story’, no ‘like this, as that’ language, no little moral at the end of it, no clearly impossible things in it like talking animals to denote the story/metaphor nature of it. Just a dude making a stupid promise and then following through on it. A cautionary tale, yes, but a likely true and certainly plausible one. To steal a turn of phrase, who made you God and able to decipher what was metaphor and what was literal truth?

              You can’t just claim to be good. You have to actually walk that walk. And if God is all-good, then God is only-good. You can’t just ignore the slavery, the rape, the genocide, the murder, the burnt human offerings, the fucking with Job for the hell of it, or any of that. You have to figure out how those are also good. So tell me, do you argue the Israelites did not commit genocide, did not commit slavery, did not commit rape, and did not commit human sacrifice, or do you argue that those things are not immoral? How do you define good and kind and loving? You have never answered that. You say God is good and kind and loving, but what does that mean in practical terms?

            • Joseph O Polanco

              i. Argumentum reductio ad absurdum. Try again.

              ii. Oh, you’re fluent in paleo-Hebrew, Aramic and Koine?

              iii. RE: Genocide – http://bit.ly/14FrvV4
              iii.b- No.
              iii. c- If they did they were executed, as I’ve already taught you.
              iii.d- No.

              iv. Good: “moral excellence; virtue; beneficence.”
              Love: 1. “A feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a friend, for a parent or child, and so forth; warm fondness or liking for another; also, the benevolent affection of God for his creatures or the reverent affection due from them to God; also, the kindly affection properly expressed by God’s creatures toward one another; that strong or passionate affection for a person of the opposite sex that constitutes the emotional incentive to conjugal union. One of the synonyms for love is “devotion.””
              2. “Love guided by principle, as love of righteousness or even love for one’s enemies, for whom a person may not have affection. This facet or expression of love is an unselfish devotion to righteousness and a sincere concern for the lasting welfare of others, along with an active expression of this for their good.”

            • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

              1) Again, no. What I have said is an accurate description of most of the OT. You don’t like it, but you can’t deny it. If I’m wrong, if I’m absurd, tell me how. Your assertion without evidence isn’t convincing in the slightest.

              2) I am not. I am, however, friends with someone who is (well, not friends exactly- he’s my former rabbi). And uh, yeah … not metaphor. I also trust the translators of my Tanakh, which is a modern translation done by scholars fluent in Hebrew and Aramaic, complete with scholarly footnotes. And guess what? No indications it’s a metaphor- burnt offering means burnt offering. Why do you even ask? Are you fluent in those languages?

              3) Not clear what you’re responding to. If who did what they would be executed now? If God murdered every single living thing on the planet except for the lucky few in the ark, we’d execute him? How? We don’t even have a term for that level of global destruction- biocide? Terracide? Whatever, I’m quite sure it’s a very bad crime.

              4) Those are all good definitions, with the exception of love, since love doesn’t have to mean anything godly nor does it have to be opposite-sex in terms of romantic relationship. Still, you mentioned benevolent affection, warm personal attachment, moral excellence and beneficence, principal of love for those for whom one has no fondness, sincere concern for the lasting welfare of others, and active expression of this concern. We’re getting somewhere.

              Now tell me how slavery, rape, genocide, human sacrifice, and murder fit into that.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              i. Your burlesque is anything but accurate. Try again.

              ii. Anyone who’s perlustrated these languages knows translating these into English is anything but straightforward. For instance, Judges 11:40 tells us that Jephthah’s daughter was visited “from year to year” by her companions to ‘give her commendation.’ The Hebrew word ta‧nah′, used here, also occurs at Judges 5:11, and in that text is variously rendered “recount” (NW), “rehearse” (KJ), “recounted” (AT), “repeat” (RS). The word is defined in A Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon (edited by B. Davies, 1957, p. 693) as “to repeat, to rehearse.” At Judges 11:40 the King James Version renders the term “lament,” but the margin reads “talk with.” With this context in mind, it’s obvious Jephthah use of the term “burn offering” was metaphorical, not literal, and so, Jepthah’s daughter was not literally sacrificed to Jehovah God.

              Besides, this would be an insult to Jehovah, a disgusting thing in violation of his law. He strictly commanded Israel: “You must not learn to do according to the detestable things of those nations. There should not be found in you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire . . . For everybody doing these things is something detestable to Jehovah, and on account of these detestable things Jehovah your God is driving them away from before you.” (De 18:9-12) Jehovah would curse, not bless, such a person. The very ones Jephthah was fighting, the Ammonites, practiced human sacrifice to their god Molech.—Compare 2Ki 17:17; 21:6; 23:10; Jer 7:31, 32; 19:5, 6.

              When Jephthah said: “It must also occur that the one coming out, who comes out of the doors of my house to meet me . . . must also become Jehovah’s,” he had reference to a person and not an animal, since animals suitable for sacrifice were not likely kept in Israelite homes, to have free run there. Besides, the offering of an animal would not show extraordinary devotion to God. Jephthah knew that it might well be his daughter who would come out to meet him. It must be borne in mind that Jehovah’s spirit was on Jephthah at the time; this would prevent any rash vow on Jephthah’s part. How, then, would the person coming out to meet Jephthah to congratulate him on his victory “become Jehovah’s” and be offered up “as a burnt offering”?—Jg 11:31.

              Persons could be devoted to Jehovah’s exclusive service in connection with the sanctuary. It was a right that parents could exercise. Samuel was one such person, promised to tabernacle service by a vow of his mother Hannah before his birth. This vow was approved by her husband Elkanah. As soon as Samuel was weaned, Hannah offered him at the sanctuary. Along with him, Hannah brought an animal sacrifice. (1Sa 1:11, 22-28; 2:11) Samson was another child specially devoted to God’s service as a Nazirite.—Jg 13:2-5, 11-14; compare the father’s authority over a daughter as outlined in Nu 30:3-5, 16.

              When Jephthah brought his daughter to the sanctuary, which was in Shiloh at that time, he undoubtedly accompanied his presentation of her with an animal burnt offering. According to the Law, a burnt offering was slaughtered, skinned, and cut up; the intestines and shanks were washed; and its body, head and all, was burned on the altar. (Le 1:3-9) The wholeness of such offering represented full, unqualified, wholehearted dedication to Jehovah, and when it accompanied another offering (as, for example, when the burnt offering followed the sin offering on the Day of Atonement), it constituted an appeal to Jehovah to accept that other offering.—Le 16:3, 5, 6, 11, 15, 24.

              It was a real sacrifice on the part of both Jephthah and his daughter, for he had no other child. (Jg 11:34) Therefore no descendant of his would carry on his name and his inheritance in Israel. Jephthah’s daughter was his only hope for this. She wept, not over her death, but over her “virginity,” for it was the desire of every Israelite man and woman to have children and to keep the family name and inheritance alive. (Jg 11:37, 38) Barrenness was a calamity. But Jephthah’s daughter “never had relations with a man.” Had these words applied only to the time prior to the carrying out of the vow, they would have been superfluous, for she is specifically said to have been a virgin. That the statement has reference to the fulfilling of the vow is shown in that it follows the expression, “He carried out his vow that he had made toward her.” Actually, the record is pointing out that also after the vow was carried out she maintained her virginity.—Jg 11:39; compare renderings in KJ; Dy; Yg; NW. -http://bit.ly/1bkVROI

              iii. Rapists, as I’ve already taught you, were executed in ancient Israel.

              iv. They don’t which is why man’s foolish decision to live independent of God is so very foolish.

            • Nox

              I. So you can’t answer Feminerd’s point.

              II. If I had a book that I thought contained such great cosmic knowledge as you think the bible contains, I would read the f*cking thing and want to know what was in it. One would think this would apply extra to you with all the condescension you’ve shown to others over this exact thing. And yet you keep saying things that demonstrate you have not read your source text or not paid any attention to what you were reading.

              How do you justify disregarding the plainly stated meaning of a text which you consider not only infallible, but the actual word of your god?

              III. No. Israelite men who rape the wives of other israelite men are executed under the mosaic law. And the text portrays their crime as violating another man’s property. Compare this with Numbers 31 where Moses (the alleged author of god’s commandments) tells his followers to kill all the males of a competing tribe along with any women who are not virgins, and keep the virgin girls for themselves.

              IV. As you already know (and have inadvertently admitted to knowing), the things which you just said don’t fit with god’s plan are all attributed to god by the bible.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              i. I have no reply for his facetious burlesque, no. Why would I?

              ii. Responderunt interrogavit. I will not repeat myself. Next!

              iii. Argumentum assertio. Try again.

              iv. See iii.

            • Nox

              All I asserted there is that the bible states certain things which contradict your description of it. This is less of a bare assertion than your omnibenevolent genocidal god since I can just point out the passages which back up my assertion.

              Deuteronomy 22:22-29
              22 If a man be found lying with a woman married to an husband, then they shall both of them die, both the man that lay with the woman, and the woman: so shalt thou put away evil from Israel.
              23 If a damsel that is a virgin be betrothed unto an husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her;
              24 Then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city; and the man, because he hath humbled his neighbour’s wife: so thou shalt put away evil from among you.
              25 But if a man find a betrothed damsel in the field, and the man force her, and lie with her: then the man only that lay with her shall die.
              26 But unto the damsel thou shalt do nothing; there is in the damsel no sin worthy of death: for as when a man riseth against his neighbour, and slayeth him, even so is this matter:
              27 For he found her in the field, and the betrothed damsel cried, and there was none to save her.
              28 If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found;
              29 Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days.

              So the passage which orders the death penalty for rapists does specify that their crime is violating another man’s property. And it has a clause wherein a rapist is not put to death if he compensates his victim’s father for the damage to his property.

              So it looks like my assertion is true. Let’s check the other one.

              Numbers 31:1-18
              1 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
              2 Avenge the children of Israel of the Midianites: afterward shalt thou be gathered unto thy people.
              3 And Moses spake unto the people, saying, Arm some of yourselves unto the war, and let them go against the Midianites, and avenge the Lord of Midian.
              4 Of every tribe a thousand, throughout all the tribes of Israel, shall ye send to the war.
              5 So there were delivered out of the thousands of Israel, a thousand of every tribe, twelve thousand armed for war.
              6 And Moses sent them to the war, a thousand of every tribe, them and Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest, to the war, with the holy instruments, and the trumpets to blow in his hand.
              7 And they warred against the Midianites, as the Lord commanded Moses; and they slew all the males.
              8 And they slew the kings of Midian, beside the rest of them that were slain; namely, Evi, and Rekem, and Zur, and Hur, and Reba, five kings of Midian: Balaam also the son of Beor they slew with the sword.
              9 And the children of Israel took all the women of Midian captives, and their little ones, and took the spoil of all their cattle, and all their flocks, and all their goods.
              10 And they burnt all their cities wherein they dwelt, and all their goodly castles, with fire.
              11 And they took all the spoil, and all the prey, both of men and of beasts.
              12 And they brought the captives, and the prey, and the spoil, unto Moses, and Eleazar the priest, and unto the congregation of the children of Israel, unto the camp at the plains of Moab, which are by Jordan near Jericho.
              13 And Moses, and Eleazar the priest, and all the princes of the congregation, went forth to meet them without the camp.
              14 And Moses was wroth with the officers of the host, with the captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, which came from the battle.
              15 And Moses said unto them, Have ye saved all the women alive?
              16 Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the Lord in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the Lord.
              17 Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him.
              18 But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.

              That’s Moses, author of the ten commandments, commandmenting his followers to kill all the males and adult females of a competing tribe and rape the remaining females.

              So I guess that means my other assertion is correct as well.

              It’s weird. You assume I haven’t read the bible, and you brag repeatedly about how much you have read it. And yet you keep making statements that indicate you are not familiar with its contents. If you have read your own holy book I shouldn’t have to tell you what it says.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              i. How does that change the fact that, had the damsel cried out, the rapist would have been put to death?

              ii. Keep reading: “In case you go out to the battle against your enemies and Jehovah your God has given them into your hand and you have carried them away captive; and you have seen among the captives a woman beautiful in form, and you have got attached to her and taken her for your wife, you must then bring her into the midst of your house. She must now shave her head and attend to her nails [for hygienic reasons], and remove the mantle of her captivity from off her and dwell in your house and weep for her father and her mother a whole lunar month; and after that you should have relations with her, and you must take possession of her as your bride, and she must become your wife.” – Deuteronomy 21:10-13 (Bracket mine.)

              Like I keep trying to show you, Numbers 31 has nothing to do with rape.

            • Nox

              I.
              Your earlier claim was that there couldn’t be any endorsement of rape in the law of the israelites because rapists would be put to death under that law. The law of the israelites says otherwise.

              Deuteronomy 22:28-29
              28 If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found;
              29 Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days.

              This doesn’t say the man shall be put to death. It says ‘you break it, you bought it’.

              II.
              The passage you just quoted from Deuteronomy 21 says that when you sack a city it is okay to force the female inhabitants to marry you. It is stated as a prohibition against raping captives and then abandoning them, but it gives no choice to the victim. They are still forced to marry the person who just killed their family.

              Like I already showed anyone in this thread who actually reads words instead of assuming what they say, Numbers 31 does have something to do with rape. Or do you have some other interpretation of what “all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves”. Why were they keeping them “for themselves”? At the very least this is talking about slavery. And considering the requirement that they only keep females who had never been with a man, there’s one particular kind of slavery that is implied.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              i. Because it wasn’t rape, it was consensual. If it were rape, she would have cried out in resistance.

              ii. Are you hard of reading? Where does it say “force to marry”?

            • Nox

              I.
              Deuteronomy 22:28-29
              28 If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found;

              II
              Deuteronomy 21:10-11
              10 When thou goest forth to war against thine enemies, and the Lord thy God hath delivered them into thine hands, and thou hast taken them captive,
              11 And seest among the captives a beautiful woman, and hast a desire unto her, that thou wouldest have her to thy wife;

            • Joseph O Polanco

              i. She didn’t scream. Hence what’s being described here is porneia between lovers.

              ii. So, for you, marriage is rape?

            • Nox

              I.
              The only place it mentions crying out is in the clause that specifies when to execute the victim.

              II.
              I would categorize forced marriage of captives that way.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              i. How does that change the fact that what’s being described is an act of porneia between lovers?

              ii. Prove they were forced.

            • Nox

              The word you’re looking for is fornication. Porneia is a greek word roughly meaning ‘sexual impropriety’ (the hebrews had no such concept, only a list of forbidden acts). You might have thought it made sense to use here since you’ve heard others use it as when discussing the bible’s positions on sexuality. But the reason they did that is because Paul used it in the new testament, not because it is present here.

              There are three scenarios described in those eight verses with separate punishments allotted for each set of conditions.

              Scenario 1 (Deuteronomy 22:22)

              A married woman is f*cked by anyone other than her husband. Both are to be put to death. Both the conscious human agent who violated his neighbor’s property and the woman.

              Scenario 2 (Deuteronomy 22:23-27):

              An engaged woman is f*cked by anyone other than the man who has purchased her. That man is to be put to death for violating another man’s property.

              If it happened in town it is assumed the woman consented and she is to be put to death as well. But if it happened in a field it is assumed it was not consensual and she is spared (this is the only part that mentions crying out).

              Scenario 3 (Deuteronomy 22:28-29):

              If a woman who has not yet been sold is taken and devalued by a man he must compensate her father for the damage to his merchandise.

              The third scenario is the one we’re talking about here.

              This part of the text says the thing you’re trying to read out of it (“a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her”), and makes absolutely no mention of the thing you’re trying to read into it (“he found her in the field, and the betrothed damsel cried, and there was none to save her”).

            • Joseph O Polanco

              i. (http://bit.ly/16Dcmy9) Thank you for the clarification. Sexual impropriety between an unmarried couple is clearly not porneia …

              ii. Argumentum ignoratio elenchi. Deuteronomy here is laying out what sexual impropriety is and its penalties. In the case of rape, as evinced by a woman’s refusal to have sex (hence the screaming), the rapist is not fined but put to death. These facts lay bare the full extent of the sheer sophistry of your “property” argument.

            • Yoav

              1. Most of humanity has edvanced enough since the iron age and have grown to understand that no consent=rape even if the victim was to scared to scream or dressed in ways the rapist find provocative or was drugged or any other excuse used by rape apologists.
              2. Once more, it’s really not that hard, no consent=rape.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              1. Are you hard of reading? She consented! What’s being described here is porneia between lovers.

              2. How do you know the bride doesn’t consent?

            • Yoav

              1. The fact the verse discuss whether the victim screamed for help or not is a clear indication that she was being forced. In addition to that, even if a woman had consentual sex outside of marriage your god is a serious asshole for mandating the death penalty over it.
              2. The woman in this case is a captive the text doesn’t even hint that her consent is even considered and in any case given her position as prisoner any consent she may give should be assumed to have been coerced.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              1. Right. The one that screamed was being forced the one who didn’t wasn’t.

              2. Which is why she was allowed to mourn for a full month before she married … sadistic Israelites … (Deuteronomy 21:10-13)

            • Yoav

              1. The text is not that complicated the only difference is that while in both cases the victim wasn’t heard but in one case someone decided that there is no chance that she could either

              a. couldn’t scream.
              b. was too scared to scream.
              c. screamed but no one heard her
              which put the blame for being raped on the victim which anyone who isn’t a self centered asshole like yhwe can tell you is sick and twisted.

              2. If someone came into your house and massacred your entire family would you consider a month long enough to get it out of your system and be ready to get married to one of the people who murdered them? Somehow I doubt that, why would the women in the story be any different?

            • Joseph O Polanco

              1. It is a simple read indeed. The woman was not heard because she did not scream because **she was committing porneia with her lover**.

              2. If my family were a bunch of Canaanite sadists and I was liberated from their clutches I would be sad they were dead but glad justice was finally done.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              You say you’re building a better world? You mean like in Syria, Mexico, Somalia, Colombia, Afghanistan, Yemen, South Sudan and Iraq? What a joke …

            • Nox

              Didn’t god tell George Bush to invade Iraq?

              Bragging that some places which are still under the yolk of obsolete religions still have problems is hardly a response to the claim that we have reduced problems by moving away from obsolete religions.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              So that’s your solution? Murder all the theists?

              At least that explains the impulsion that drove Danton, Lenin, Sanger, Than Shwe, Stalin, Mengele, Mao, Kim Il Sung, Ceausescu, Honecker, Castro, Pol Pot, Broz Tito, Milosevic, Bonaparte, Mussolini and all the other oppressive, sadistic, democidal atheists to, collectively, butcher ***hundreds of millions*** of innocent men, women and children. They were simply tyring to make the world a better place by ridding it of thesists.

              And, boy oh boy, how they suceed!

              “If atheism were such a blessing for humanity, Mao’s China would have been an empire of sunshine, rainbows and frolicking bunnies, instead of a countryside of cadavers.” – Anonymous

            • Nox

              Who suggested murdering all the theists?

              Is murdering the opposition the only way you can conceive of an argument being won?

              So far I’ve consciously avoided using the word ‘strawman’ to describe your flagrant misrepresentations of what I and others have said. But this is a more flagrant misrepresentation than responding to ‘morality is about what’s best for the greatest number of people’ with ‘so totalitarianism is morally good?’.

              What you were responding to was the claim that humans are making a better world by moving away from moral systems which command killing people for their beliefs.

              Several atheists (and one pagan) in this thread have already explained to you why their moral code does not call for killing all the theists.

              It seems your understanding of what it means to oppose theism is being colored by all the times the christian church murdered and tortured people for not believing christian dogma (this is also what they were trying to distract from by making up that story about atheists killing people) (by the way, your inclusion of several avowed theists on the list of atheists who tried to wipe out theism suggests you don’t know who any of those people are and just copied your accusation from somewhere without looking into it).

              When atheists erase christianity it won’t be like all of christianity’s attempts to erase competing beliefs. There will be none of the violence that your side always had to resort to in the absence of good arguments. There will be no rack, no crusade, no grand inquisitor. We will just continue to point out where you are lying. And useful idiots like yourself will helpfully provide an endless stream of transparent lies for Jesus. Your faith will continue to lose credibility, the moral norms of the bible will continue to fall below the most basic human standards, and the children of christians will continue to reject the myths of their parents.

              You are already destroying christianity.

              We won’t have to kill anyone.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              The facts suggest otherwise. China, after all, has the highest per capita population of Atheists: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/05/23/a-surprising-map-of-where-the-worlds-atheists-live/

              Which brings to mind this quote I once stumbled across:

              “If atheism were such a blessing for humanity, Mao’s China would have been an empire of sunshine, rainbows and frolicking bunnies, instead of a countryside of cadavers.” – Anonymous

            • Nox

              So from China having the highest per capita population of self reported atheists, you extrapolated that they were trying to wipe out all the theists?

              While far from perfect, the human rights record of China is far from the worst in history. There has never been any time when it could have been accurately described as a countryside of cadavers (an apt description for the aftermath of many christian crusades). And state enforced atheism has never been a part of it. You only have the idea that it has because your church has conflated ‘denying the church political power’ with ‘oppressing christians’.

              The government of communist China isn’t at all based on atheism. It merely happens to be a government without a state religion (unsurprisingly, countries which do not compel theism end up with fewer theists).

              It reminds me of a quote I just made up.

              ‘Atheists who are motivated to kill people by their atheism have to be made up because they have never existed in the real world. Whereas christians who are motivated to kill people by their faith in christ crowd the pages of history.’
              -Nox

            • Joseph O Polanco

              No extrapolation required. Their policies speak loudly for them: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/02/21/christians-house-churches-in-china-see-erious-escalation-persecution-report/

              Demonstrably, then, Gnostic Atheism, once again, proves itself a savage enemy of freedom.

            • Nox

              You bring me an article from Fox “News”, which lists a Texas based missionary organization as the only known source for the events it is reporting and it still doesn’t say anything close to the claim you were supposed to be backing up.

              What that advertisement written to convince american christians of the urgent need to give money to missionary organizations actually said was that churches are being closed in China.

              It didn’t say that chinese christians are being killed en masse for their religious beliefs as part of some effort by atheists to eliminate theism. That is what you said earlier (and can you please make up your f*cking mind whether you are trying to argue for religious genocide or against it).

              But to get back to the point you were trying to distract from with that tangent, what Feminerd said was that we were building a better world by moving away from godly values.

              This point, which you have still not answered, still stands.

              The reason you have been trying to argue that the bible does not endorse slavery, rape or human sacrifice is because you have internalized values which are in conflict with the biblical worldview. You only categorize these things as something god wouldn’t approve of because you have accepted the idea that slavery, rape and human sacrifice are bad.

              You didn’t get that from the bible.

              Left with only blind adherence to the bible, christians would never have decided there was anything wrong with compelling labor, sex or belief (and for centuries with only blind adherence to a christian worldview, they didn’t see anything wrong with humans owning each other).

              These are ideas which were developed later when humans dared to start thinking of good and evil in more practical terms. It was only then that we realized every human should own themselves.

              This concept of self ownership stands in direct opposition to the biblical view of god owning everything, which is what you are attempting to defend here.

              Every improvement in the history of western society, from freedom of religion to the widespread abolition of slavery to the sharp reduction in witch burning, has been in the direction of abandoning the primitive worldview enshrined in the bible.

              And every improvement has been opposed by those who quoted the bible to justify their opposition (and those who quoted the bible to justify slavery never had to twist it as much as you have here).

              And there have been huge improvements.

              For obvious marketing reasons the church would like everyone to think the centuries of christian theocracy were beneficial to humanity. So they tell this story where everything was sunshine and rainbows until 1859 and then evolution and communism led people to abandon godly morality and start killing each other by the millions.

              This is where you are getting your revisionist view of history. Your church, which is based on making up fictional stories and having people believe them without checking, made up a fictional story and you believed it without checking.

              Stalin did kill a lot of people. Some were christians. But the atrocity that earned Stalin his bad reputation in christian circles was denying the church political power. They never objected to mass murder when it was the tsars murdering masses on behalf of the church.

              Let’s remember that your god already had a chance to show us what kind of world it would be if everyone followed his will. The christian church enjoyed unchallenged supremacy over Europe for over fifteen hundred years. Every nation of the former Roman empire was governed according to the will of god as interpreted by the christian church.

              And the society that resulted from this godliness was the most oppressive and ignorant society that has ever existed. Everyone in christendom was forced under threat of torture and death to hold patently ridiculous beliefs, including the unquestionable authority of the church in all matters. If anyone was even suspected of believing anything outside the approved list they would be legally subject to all manner of sacred tortures designed to bring them back into orthodoxy.

              Aside from the millions murdered directly by the church or christians acting on church orders, countless millions more suffered and died from diseases which would have been preventable with even ancient roman medicine.

              And all lived under the lack of knowledge imposed by the church, who in zealously burning what would have been most of our documentary record of pre-christian Europe burned or buried all knowledge of anything except the church’s rules (which they still only allowed their employees to read).

              Everyone lived in constant fear, not only of the tyrannical church and its predatory priests but of demons and ghosts.

              Science was nonexistent, medicine was largely exorcism and leech based, occasionally you’d tie a young girl to a stick and set her on fire, and for over a thousand years the most original idea anyone had was ripping off Aristotle.

              It was only when the church lost its monopoly that new ideas were even possible. Since that time we’ve had quite a few new ideas. Among those new ideas have been modifications to our laws and moral codes.

              These modifications have created a better world (note that I’m not claiming the world is currently without any problems. So listing off countries which still have problems, particularly those countries whose biggest problems stem from christianity and islam, won’t address my claim). Not a world that can be so easily exploited by missionaries, so not a better world in everyone’s eyes. But a better world for humanity in general.

              After seeing the better world that resulted from the Enlightenment, most christians have internalized basic Enlightenment values to some degree. One of these is that the individual has full ownership of themself. So things like forcing someone to get on a boat and come work for you, or forcing someone to express belief contrary to their beliefs, or forcing someone into sex, tend to be seen as wrong.

              Since most christians believe these things are wrong, while simultaneously believing the bible is the perfect guide to morality, most christians assume the bible would not endorse these things. They are only able to make that assumption because most have never actually read their own book.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              i. Even if what you claim is wholly accurate, it still confutes your puerile claim that “When atheists erase christianity [] there will be [no] violence.” (Brackets mine.)

              ii. Really? Please show me how a better world can be built without these:

              “YOU heard that it was said, ‘You must love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ However, I say to YOU: Continue to love YOUR enemies and to pray for those persecuting YOU; that YOU may prove yourselves sons of YOUR Father who is in the heavens, since he makes his sun rise upon wicked people and good and makes it rain upon righteous people and unrighteous. For if YOU love those loving YOU, what reward do YOU have? (Matthew 5:43-46)

              “But now really put them all away from YOU, wrath, anger, badness, abusive speech, and obscene talk out of YOUR mouth. Do not be lying to one another. Accordingly, [] clothe yourselves with the tender affections of compassion, kindness, lowliness of mind, mildness, and long-suffering. Continue putting up with one another and forgiving one another freely if anyone has a cause for complaint against another. Even as Jehovah freely forgave YOU, so do YOU also. But, besides all these things, [clothe yourselves with] love, for it is a perfect bond of union.” – Colossians 3:8,9, 12-14. (Brackets mine.)

              iii. Which is why murdering the unborn is perfectly moral in your world, yes?

              iv. What improvement? Better still, what planet are you living on? One need only turn on the news to see that war, violence, abuse, strife, discord, animosity, hatred, bigotry, inequality, injustice, abject poverty, disease and depravity continue to plague mankind. Yeah, some improvement …

              v. You’re contention is not with true religion but false religion. True religion has always been nothing but a blessing for all of mankind. Why, then, throw the baby out with the bathwater?

            • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

              First off, you haven’t “taught” me anything. You’ve made assertions very much not backed up by evidence, which is not at all the same thing. Please stop using that phrasing- it’s condescending to boot, as we are not in a student-teacher relationship and I firmly believe you have nothing at all to teach me.

              1) Sorry, still going to need to see some evidence. Tell me how I’m wrong, or I’m going to translate your words as “Nuh-uh!” and move on. It’s not convincing from a five-year-old, and it’s not convincing from a grown-up either.

              2) So you’re making up a story about Jepthah bringing his daughter somewhere out of whole cloth now, are you? Of course translation isn’t easy, but burnt offering is one of the phrases that is, in fact, quite easy to translate because it shows up quite a lot. You claim a human sacrifice would be appalling to YHVH, but the story doesn’t seem to think so. Human sacrifice at that time was seen as powerful- the Israelites lost a battle because the enemy king ordered his son sacrificed, which gave him enough strength to drive the Israelites back.

              People could be devoted to the service of God as temple votaries. You’re right. There just isn’t any evidence that Mizpah was one of them, and all the other ones you mention were male. Women weren’t allowed to do that, probably, given the patriarchal nature of society at the time. But making shit up because you don’t like the story is … well, it’s remarkably dishonest of you.

              3) Were they now? Rapists were in fact ordered to marry their victims. A rape victim could be executed for adultery if she didn’t scream loud enough that people came and found her, and she was still ruined thereafter, but rapists? No. After all, God ordered the Israelites to rape enemy women many times, so obviously he doesn’t see that as a big deal.

              4) And the fact that God ordered those things to happen? How does that fit in with your narrative? God specifically and deliberately tells people to rape, murder, commit genocide, and enslave people. He does the murder and genocide bits himself. He accepts human sacrifices. How is any of that behavior loving or kind or good? Man’s “foolish” decision to live independent of God is why slavery is going away, rape is widely considered a very serious crime against the woman instead of against her father or husband (personal violation vs. property crime), and genocide is no longer considered a valid answer to a dispute. Your god’s world sucks, and we’re building a better one for all regardless of whether they believe in invisible peeping-tom sky wizards or not.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              i. Your characterization is burlesque since punishing evil is just, not evil and certainly not abusive.

              ii. Hardly. My exegesis, unlike yours, is wholly supported by context.

              iii. Deuteronomy 22:28,29 isn’t describing a rape because rapists were executed in ancient Israel. This is expressly manifested at Deuteronomy 22:25-27:

              ““If, however, it is in the field that the man found the girl who was engaged, and the man grabbed hold of her and lay down with her, the man who lay down with her must also die by himself, and to the girl *** you must do nothing . The girl has no sin deserving of death ***, because just as when a man rises up against his fellowman and indeed murders him, even a soul, so it is with this case. For it was in the field that he found her. The girl who was engaged screamed, but there was no one to rescue her.” – Deuteronomy 22:25-27 (Emphasis mine.)

              What we have described in Deuteronomy 22:28,29 is a case of consensual sex. This law obligated the man to pay a fine and, were he to marry the girl whose virginity he took, he would never be allowed to divorce her. (cf. Exodus 22:16,17)

              These laws obligated the man, not the virgin.

              In other words, what you have here is a good ‘ol fashioned shotgun wedding.

              iv. You are, once again, being mendacious. God has never ordered anyone to commit rape or murder. He’s never accepted a human sacrifice nor murdered anyone. In fact he proscribed all of these things, oftentimes, under penalty of death.

            • Nox

              If you just refuse to admit that the passages which say “god accepted human sacrifices” actually say “god accepted human sacrifices”, and refuse to admit that the passages which say “god murdered people” actually say “god murdered people”, and imagine the only passages which express any disapproval of rape express any concern for the victim, then I can see how you could come to that conclusion.

              But do you really expect anyone else to believe you? Again we are talking about passages from the most widely printed book in human history. Anyone who will ever read this thread will have access to a bible, and it will take most of them mere seconds to figure out you are lying.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              As occurs with most who merely quote mine. But those of us who have actually perlustrated the Bible in its entirety know better. Sorry, try again.

            • Nox

              The context defense only works when the context is one which somehow changes what is being said.

              This entire section of the old testament is about the conquest of Canaan. Within that conquest one guy promises god that if he is victorious in battle he will kill the first thing he sees upon returning home as a sacrifice to god. His pledge is rewarded by yhvh giving him victory in this battle. He returns home, and he sees his daughter, so he sacrifices her to yhvh.

              The only context that suggests Jephthah’s daughter was not sacrificed as a burnt offering to yhvh is your own desire to say god never accepted human sacrifice.

              But just to be sure, let’s check the context of this story and see if god indicates his approval of Jephthah’s vow, and holds up the bargain that would culminate in this human sacrifice.

              Judges 11:29-40
              29 Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah, and he passed over Gilead, and Manasseh, and passed over Mizpeh of Gilead, and from Mizpeh of Gilead he passed over unto the children of Ammon.
              30 And Jephthah vowed a vow unto the Lord, and said, If thou shalt without fail deliver the children of Ammon into mine hands,
              31 Then it shall be, that whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, shall surely be the Lord’s, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering.
              32 So Jephthah passed over unto the children of Ammon to fight against them; and the Lord delivered them into his hands.
              33 And he smote them from Aroer, even till thou come to Minnith, even twenty cities, and unto the plain of the vineyards, with a very great slaughter. Thus the children of Ammon were subdued before the children of Israel.
              34 And Jephthah came to Mizpeh unto his house, and, behold, his daughter came out to meet him with timbrels and with dances: and she was his only child; beside her he had neither son nor daughter.
              35 And it came to pass, when he saw her, that he rent his clothes, and said, Alas, my daughter! thou hast brought me very low, and thou art one of them that trouble me: for I have opened my mouth unto the Lord, and I cannot go back.
              36 And she said unto him, My father, if thou hast opened thy mouth unto the Lord, do to me according to that which hath proceeded out of thy mouth; forasmuch as the Lord hath taken vengeance for thee of thine enemies, even of the children of Ammon.
              37 And she said unto her father, Let this thing be done for me: let me alone two months, that I may go up and down upon the mountains, and bewail my virginity, I and my fellows.
              38 And he said, Go. And he sent her away for two months: and she went with her companions, and bewailed her virginity upon the mountains.
              39 And it came to pass at the end of two months, that she returned unto her father, who did with her according to his vow which he had vowed: and she knew no man. And it was a custom in Israel,
              40 That the daughters of Israel went yearly to lament the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite four days in a year.

              So, yhvh actually intervened to make sure Jephthah would sacrifice his daughter. What part of the context contradicts this?

            • Joseph O Polanco

              What’s more important, one’s life or one’s virginity?

            • Nox

              You mean in general or in a culture which already treats women as nonhuman objects whose only value is in bearing children for men (as described in a book which treats women the same way)?

            • Joseph O Polanco

              To a rational person about to die. What do you think is more important, their life or their virginity?

            • Nox

              To a rational person in the real world, or a secondary character in a story that was specifically written to warn about the dangers of making oaths lightly?

              We are, after all, talking about a book with talking snakes. And even in the real world people often think and act in ways that don’t seem rational.

              You are trying to cite your own interpretation of what would be in character for someone we are told almost nothing about as evidence that the bible does not say what it says.

              Trying to suggest that her behavior wouldn’t make sense if the story was about a burnt offering isn’t going to convince anyone that the story doesn’t say it’s about a burnt offering. Again, the thing you are lying about is something anyone can easily look up.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Then stop backpedalling and answer the question. What’s more important to a person about to die, their life or their virginity?

            • Nox

              What it means by mourn her virginity is mourn that she was going to die without bearing any children, which would be considered a huge dishonor for any woman in that patriarchal society.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Prove it.

            • Nox

              Exodus 13:1-2
              1 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
              2 Sanctify unto me all the firstborn, whatsoever openeth the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and of beast: it is mine.

              Leviticus 27:28-29
              28 Notwithstanding no devoted thing, that a man shall devote unto the Lord of all that he hath, both of man and beast, and of the field of his possession, shall be sold or redeemed: every devoted thing is most holy unto the Lord.
              29 None devoted, which shall be devoted of men, shall be redeemed; but shall surely be put to death.

              Exodus 22:29
              Thou shalt not delay to offer the first of thy ripe fruits, and of thy liquors: the firstborn of thy sons shalt thou give unto me.

              Why do you assume the people you are talking to don’t have access to a bible? Anyone can look for themselves and see that yhvh does command his followers to sacrifice their children to him.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Leviticus 27:29

              King James 2000 Bible
              No one devoted to destruction, who shall be devoted among men, shall be redeemed; but shall surely be put to death.

              New International Version
              No person devoted to destruction may be ransomed; they are to be put to death.

              English Standard Version
              No one devoted, who is to be devoted for destruction from mankind, shall be ransomed; he shall surely be put to death.

              Holman Christian Standard Bible
              No person who has been set apart for destruction is to be ransomed; he must be put to death.

              New World Translation
              No devoted person who might be devoted to destruction from among mankind may be redeemed. He should be put to death without fail.

              Compare with:

              Numbers 21:2:
              Consequently Israel made a vow to Jehovah and said: “If you will without fail give this people into my hand, I shall also certainly devote their cities to destruction.

              1 Samuel 15:18:
              Later Jehovah sent you on a mission and said, ‘Go, and you must devote the sinners, the A·mal′ek·ites, to destruction, and you must fight against them until you will have exterminated them.

              Might I suggest you employ a more accurate rendering of the Bible. Archaic KJV versions are notorious for their translation errors.

            • Nox

              Which does bring up questions of why god allowed translation errors into what was the only version of the bible available to most english speaking christians for over three hundred years.

              Regardless, none of those other translations change what is being said here. You just assumed they would and copied them without reading because you assumed anyone pointing out things in the bible that you don’t know about must be wrong.

              You tried to defend the unprovoked murder of children by saying they were evil. When pressed on what definition of evil you were using, you resorted to saying the canaanites practiced child sacrifice. Then when presented with chapter and verse where yhvh commands and accepts the sacrifice of children, you try to pretend it doesn’t say that by quoting from other translations which also say yhvh commanded and accepted child sacrifice.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              i. Argumentum ignoratio elenchi. Those of us who are sedulous in our studies often refer to the original text in the Hebrew, Aramaic and Koine.

              ii. Again, your exegesis is sophistic. You’re conflating metaphor with reality. Jeremiah 19:5; 7:31; 32:35 and Leviticus 20:3 make it explicitly clear that Jehovah never asked the Israelites to offer him human sacrifices.

            • Nox

              So other (later) passages say that god didn’t order human sacrifices. This retroactively means that the passages where he does order human sacrifices must not exist. Even though they are still in the canon.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Or, as I’ve already taught you, that you’re misapprehending what they’re communicating.

            • Nox

              1) The first born of your children are to be consecrated to yhvh.

              2) No one who is consecrated to yhvh is to be spared. They must be put to death (the text even specifies that this includes humans).

              The law of Moses, said to come right from the mouth of your god, places both of these requirements on the israelites. If yhvh is ordering people to kill their children as an offering to him, how is that any different from human sacrifice?

            • Joseph O Polanco

              i. And what does consecrated mean?

              ii. Argumentum assertio. Try again.

            • dmantis

              No true scotsman, indeed!!!

              Please list the unpleasant parts of the bible we are to take as metaphor so that your version of the Christian ethic is not undermined.

              Keep juggling clown!

            • Valde

              I am learning a lot from what you have to say about the bible, ty ;)

              I was listening to a Reasonble Doubts (FTB) podcast a few months back, and a preacher actually argued that the Amalekites were to blame for their babies getting killed because ‘armies in those days moved slow, so if you didn’t leave the city in time, it’s your fault the Israelites bashed your kid’s head against the rocks’

              SRSLY!!!eleventy!!!

            • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

              WTF? Cuz a refugee column is totally moving fast, especially loaded down with supplies, old people, sick people, and young children!

              I’m glad you’re learning stuff. I’ve found evilbible.com to be a very useful tool. It’s a compendium of much of the worst the Bible has to offer. It doesn’t have a lot of the misogynistic stuff pulled out (other than rape), but it has sections on rape, genocide, murder, human sacrifice, and slavery quotes from the bible.

            • Valde

              Yeah I have argued the slavery stuff, and the genocide stuff before, but, these people are so slick that I am usually left speechless.

              A lot of the arguments used against you right here have been used on me – but I often don’t know how to deal with it.

              One of the worst – after I had just informed the person about slavery in the bible (she was ignorant) – was this “slavery in the bible was permissible because it was part of the story of love and struggle between God and his people, and is not for us to judge”

              I mean, how the hell do you respond to something like that???

            • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

              Look at them funny. Say something like, “No, slavery is wrong. Period. Always. What is wrong with you that you have to try to justify slavery to yourself to keep your faith intact?”

              If the person is a friend, of course, this works less well because it is mean. However, that is just rage-inducing.

              I can’t claim full credit for knowing how to deal with these arguments. There’s lots of really smart and experienced people hanging out on these boards, and I’ve taken their arguments (combined with my own and put in my own words) to use when I hear the same arguments over and over and over again. Joseph isn’t saying anything I haven’t seen before and seen others respond to before. I’m always glad to pass it on :)

            • Jennifer Starr

              I would usually call a response like that a ‘cop out’. Beyond that I’m really not sure how to respond, other than shaking my head in disbelief.

            • Nox

              I would start by strongly emphasizing that the god in question is the one christians pray to today.

              Then that the bible does not merely portray slavery as a thing that happened but actually has god stating his approval of the practice.

              If necessary, the next step would be explaining to the person in question why slavery is inherently wrong (one person chooses to negate the autonomy of another) (if humans have a right to be free, ie if you don’t want to be a slave, then it’s not right for humans to be kept in bondage).

              I would then clarify that it isn’t about judging what happened then. It’s about judging the character of the god who issues these commands. If yhvh does not consider slavery wrong it paints him as the type of god who gets the wrong answers to important moral questions. This has troubling implications for those who base their morality on the words attributed to this god.

              Don’t expect this to change their minds. But it will bring up questions there is no satisfying answer to.

            • kessy_athena

              Why should we bother to read a book when its proponents apparently hold it in such low regard that they’ve never even bothered to give it a proper title? After all, “bible” is just bad Latin for “book.” But since you’re our resident expert on bad and misused Latin, you already knew that, right?

            • kessy_athena

              No, you’re the one purposefully missing the point. It’s quite apparent that your only conception of morality is to just follow your orders. Anything Yahweh does is by definition good, because Yahweh is such an extra super awesome leader who would never ever do anything wrong. We have a name for what happens for when people put that sort of morality into action: crimes against humanity. And we have a name for the people who do such things: moral monsters. And in the civilized world, we put such people on trial and then hang them as an example.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              And so you pretend to punish God? What will you do to him? Please, do tell.

            • kessy_athena

              Punish the gods? Nope, just their self appointed stormtroopers. Which makes me wonder just what sort of a god would need human minions to do their dirty work for them, but that’s another question entirely.

            • Fred

              The story about the dolphins refusing to mine boats, where does it come from? I’m interested in learning more about it.

            • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

              It is necessarily a rumor, unfortunately. The US Navy isn’t terribly open about much of their animal training programs, and strenuously denies it’s ever tried to train dolphins to hurt people.

              I’m trying to source it now, but it’s been awhile so it’ll take me awhile. I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

            • Fred

              Thank you.

            • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

              It’s possible to condemn god on his own supposed “objective moral basis.” And if you say god doesn’t issue commands to himself than if his commands are perfect, and he can break his commands whenever he wants, then god cannot be perfect and good, Because to be perfect and good, god would have to naturally behave according to very commands that you say flow from his loving and perfect nature.

              Another way you can look at it is like this:

              1. Anger and jealousy are negative attributes that one who possesses cannot be perfect.
              2. The biblical god is very angry and intrinsically jealous.
              3. Therefore, the biblical god is not perfect.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              I. God has never broken his own laws which is why he didn’t immediately execute Satan the Devil when he rebelled against him and enticed Adam and Eve to do the same: http://bit.ly/19lpefW

              II. Argumentum assertio. Prove it’s wrong to feel justifiable anger.

            • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

              Ephesians 6:5
              “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear.”
              1 Peter 2:18
              “Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh.”
              Titus 2:9
              “Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them,”
              Prove that these commands are all objective moral virtues and obligations that we should still hold today.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              You’re making the claim, you bear the burden. Prove they’re not.

            • Nox

              I realize you think you’re just pointing out some moral vacuum that would result in the absence of god, but you’re about to brag that christians and their god don’t see anything wrong with slavery.

              At this point you have to know you are just helping atheists and hurting the credibility of your own side. You could not have been written to be a worse messenger for your intended message.

              Next time some more enlightened christian tries to argue that christians don’t believe this sh*t anymore, we can point to your words here and say “apparently as recently as 2013 some still do”. So thanks for loudly associating christianity with things that would offend the conscience of the average christian reader. You’ve been most useful.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Strawman. Try again.

            • kessy_athena

              You know, Nox, this person blithely flew past the moral event horizon quite a while ago. The whole, “Mass murder is moral so long as god tells you to,” thing is – literally and without exaggeration – what leads people to fly planes into buildings. I would imagine they’ve earned a spot on some sort of NSA watch list by now, so I’d say that endorsing slavery is just icing on the cake at this point.

            • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

              You’re making the claim. You said, god’s actions have always been virtuous. Well I’m skeptical of that claim considering his attitudes concerning slavery. The burden of proof is squarely on you to show that the god you worship is indeed perfectly moral and has always conducted and revealed himself in a perfect way. So, prove that these commands are all objective moral virtues and obligations that we should still hold today.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              What attitudes are you referring to? Can you be more specific?

            • Nox

              So just to be totally clear on this your answer to my original question is “No, I don’t have any principled objection to the atrocities I invoked here. There is no reason I disagree with anything the people on that list did. I just disapprove of them because I’ve heard they were evil people. And I thought mentioning some children who grew up to have bad reputations would be a good way to defend indiscriminate killing of children“?

              Isn’t that basically what you’re saying here?

              Is there any action that your god could commit (to keep things on topic I’m gonna talk about your god as though he’s real. We are already talking about the ethical ramifications of a story that he’s a character in. Some temporary suspension of disbelief is called for if only so the topic can be discussed at all) (and that’s totally leaving aside that this mass slaughter probably never even happened) that you would consider wrong? Is there any action that anyone could commit that you would consider wrong if god commanded it?

              If you’re going to call god good under absolutely any circumstances without counting anything he says or does against him, then how much does it really tell us if you call god good? Furthermore, if you then claim there is no accessible standard by which god can ever be measured then what does it even mean to say god is good?

              Only that god is good under certain definitions of good.

              So is everything else. So f*cking what?

              This is why words like “good”, “evil”, “bad”, “right” and “wrong” are completely useless unless they mean something. If “good” is a meaningless word, “god is good” (let alone maximally good) is a meaningless assertion. Not even wrong. Literally without any meaning.

              If there is no amount of evil god could commit which would convince you to say he is not good, then it means nothing for you to say god is good. You are telling us nothing about god’s goodness, nor can you. You are only telling us about your own unshakable allegiance to your own team. By telling us you don’t consider god accountable, you’re not telling us anything about how an account of your god would reflect on his character. You’re only telling us that you wouldn’t ever admit to any flaw no matter how obvious your client’s guilt was.

              You’ve attempted to get around the damning portrayal of yhvh in the bible with the usual apologetic that his victims were evil and needed to be destroyed (the “execution” bit). But the book you’re defending doesn’t quite back you up. Sure the book does say they were all wicked, but the wickedness it attributes to them just makes yhvh look even more like the villain.

              The bible does state what god’s motives were for ordering this genocide. Not that they were doing anything any reasonable person would judge as evil. It says that god commanded the israelites to murder these people because the people in question lived on the land god promised to the israelites and they worshiped competing gods. Those are the stated reasons according to the book this story comes from.

              Neither of those would be compelling reasons to call someone evil, and neither would be a compelling justification for killing them. But even if they were, this could really only apply to the decision makers of those tribes. As in, not the children who were born on that land and taught from birth to worship that god. But the book goes out of its way to specify the children are not to be spared. Infant and suckling, the servants of yhvh are spare nothing that breathes.

              If a god thinks children are guilty of the actions of their parents, that god shows themselves completely unqualified to judge morality. The whole f*cking reason we have more compassion for children than adults and a natural moral sense which inherently tells us killing children is wrong, is because it is common f*cking sense that children did not choose to be where they are. They were born there.

              How would it be determined that the children in those societies were guilty unless god was judging them for the actions of their parents? Was god judging these children to be guilty of something they hadn’t done, or did he not mind killing innocent people?

              I know you’ve already expressed belief that we inherited sin from Adam, so you might not see anything illogical about people being born guilty for something they didn’t do. But it does bring up the question of how you’re defining guilt and sin as well as good and evil. If you’re trying to justify the murder of people who hadn’t done anything by saying they were evil and it had to be done to protect the innocent people who were invading their home and killing them, it does bring us back to the question of what definitions you’re giving to these words.

              If what you’re actually saying here is that these people were automatically evil because of their race and because their parents prayed to gods besides yhvh, you should come out and say it instead of pretending you’re not. If what you’re saying is you’ve been told they were evil and never given any f*cking thought whatsoever to what that word means, you should disclose that as well.

              It could be well argued that the tribal actions of the United States are far more heinous and destructive than anything the midianites could have done. Would you consider it right to say every person in the U.S. is evil because of this? (this sentence assumes you are american, which I know might not be the case, you can modify the illustration as needed) Would you consider it just for someone to murder your children because they happened to be the same tribe as Richard Nixon?

              And that question applies only if the tribes were actually doing anything more than hurting yhvh’s entitled feelings. Again, aside from just living in the land the israelites were ordered to invade, god’s stated grievance is that those tribes worship other gods. If a god thinks that praying to another god is a sin worthy of unprovoked slaughter, he is an insecure, petty, tribal god and he is further completely unqualified to judge morality.

              I mean you pray to yhvh (jehovah), and his followers have caused more f*cking problems than anyone. Every f*cking day the followers of yhvh f*ck things up for all of us. But even my inferior humanist morality is able to detect that killing you isn’t the solution. I recognize that even if we have diametrically opposed goals, we are in the same boat and we are going to the same place. I find it a more sound plan to offer my fellow travelers a better way than to jump immediately to killing them.

              The morality of yhvh and both his fictional and historical followers has rarely been able to rise to that level (but as Exodus tells us, yhvh is a jealous little bitch of a god and will have no gods before him).

              Even leaving aside how stupid the reasons for yhvh’s actions are, there is great stupidity in the actions as well. If it were so god damn important that these people be off the land, why couldn’t this all knowing, all powerful being think of any of the other obvious solutions. Put them somewhere else. Create different land. Don’t create their ancestors in the first place. Maybe don’t get so hung up on silly bullsh*t like holy land anyway (it just makes him look like a pathetically small minded god). That’s just off the top of my head. And all well within the limits of omnipotence. With the powers attributed to god, any person of reasonable intelligence could have solved this issue without sowing the justification for atrocities into humanity’s moral codes.

              Here is where you would say ‘who are we to judge god, you’d need a bigger god to do that’. That is of course only true if it is true that moral obligations can only come from god. This has been asserted countless times by countless dishonest apologists such as yourself. But it has never been true. Moral obligations come from many sources. You have certain moral obligations to your family, certain moral obligations to your neighbors, and certain moral obligations to all living creatures. No one had to demand that it be so. It is simply the nature of your relationship to those other entities.

              Rulers do have a moral obligation to the ruled (otherwise there is no such thing as an unjust ruler and you would need to take a few names off your list) (and a quick tangent while we’re on the list, what did Margaret Sanger ever do? She’s only considered evil by anyone because of her advocacy for abortion rights. This is seen as evil by some because due to a poor understanding of biology they think abortion is murder of a child. Literal murder of children is the exact thing you’re trying to defend here. Kind of odd to include that example). A king who does not protect and provide for his subjects is violating the contract that swindled us into accepting kings in the first place. Kings who abused their subjects in lesser ways than yhvh have earned their way to the guillotine.

              If we grant the unfounded premise that a god exists, then the ridiculous premise that it is this particular god, then the appalling premise that you can own conscious creatures, a person who maliciously tortures their pets or slaves is still a douche (yes that is a value judgment, and a manifestly better one than the value judgments you have put forth).

              Whether you call such a being good or evil, again, this is all about what definitions you are intending those words to represent. But can we at least agree that yhvh’s interests are opposed to the interests of humanity? If there is a god who is threatening us with torture to keep us weak, dumb and subservient, why shouldn’t we consider them an enemy of humanity? Because the book uses words like “good” and “merciful” to describe this vile tyrant?

              That book says a lot of stupid sh*t. That’s not a sufficient reason. You can call anything you want good. It’s an inherently subjective word. But if you are trying to convince this audience to adopt your definitions, you’ll need to give us something better than ‘the same book that attributes merciless behavior to yhvh also attributes to him something it calls mercy’.

              When we observe sadism, cruelness, jealousy, pettiness, unprovoked violence and revenge on unrelated third parties being committed by humans, we rightfully (rightfully because we’ve seen these things before and we know how they play out) call those flaws. You would never praise those traits in your neighbor. It is ludicrous that you feel compelled to praise them in a god.

              I suspect you already know this on some level. You’d be in prison if you actually believed in the morality of the bible.

              I think that if you were just reading some other book and you saw one of the characters say something like “Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering” or “Kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.” Or “He that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death” or “whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death.” Or “go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling.” or “Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour.” Or “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.” Or “When Yhvh thy god shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them.” Or “Of the cities of these people, which the LORD thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth: But thou shalt utterly destroy them.” you would probably not conclude that the characters saying these things were the good guys.

              But this isn’t just some book. This is some book you’re supposed to believe. And that fact has warped your ability to understand basic morality.

              It’s strange. I don’t even believe in absolute morality or intrinsic evil, and yet somehow I’m able to say that genocide is wrong (because in a pragmatic situation based morality, there’s no possible situation where it’s right). But because of your view of “objective” morality you can’t bring yourself to say that genocide is wrong.

              Your divine guide, the reason you think you have access to a better understanding of morality than the rest of us, has so compromised your conscience that you can’t say genocide is wrong.

              Of course I’m pretty sure you do consider genocide wrong (except in cases where you’re afraid to say that because it would imply your all good god is something less). I don’t get the impression you are intending to advocate the mass slaughter of yhvh’s enemies today (speaking as an enemy of yhvh this is a much different conversation if you are). What seems more likely is that you feel stuck with these stories because they are attached to the story about Jesus and you can’t imagine walking away from that.

              But I bet there is still some part of your post-crusades, post renaissance, post-holocaust 21st Century brain that just wishes these stories just weren’t even there at all. What purpose do they serve. It’s not the part of the book you really wanted to talk about anyway. Perhaps you are even tempted to resent your god for putting you in the position of having to defend the indefensible.

              If your god consistently falls so far below the most basic of human morals that defenders of the faith are confined to apologizing for his atrocities, how could his ways really be higher than ours?

              Even if you can’t conceive of measuring god by any of the moral insights that humans do have access to, (you don’t seem to understand that it is humans who have to judge all this) god is still in violation of his own stated definitions of righteousness. The moral standard which frowns on hypocrisy does not need a god to validate it. It’s one of the very few things that legitimately is self evident. It validates itself because the person/god violating principle X is the one claiming to believe in it.

              If a god (or person) says something is wrong and then proceeds to do that thing they have called wrong, they are violating the moral standard they themselves claim to uphold. Thus they are wrong in their own eyes. If they’re right about the rule then they’re wrong about violating the rule. Orders from further up needn’t come into it.

              If for example, god were to issue a set of commandments to his followers including the rule “thou shalt not kill”, and then immediately start ordering those same followers to go out and kill innocent people, he would be going against his own stated standards, regardless of whether he was going against the orders from some bigger god.

              If god’s commandments are perfectly moral, wouldn’t that make them a sufficient yardstick to judge morality? Even god’s morality.

              But even if we ignored all that and stretched the definition of justice enough to say these actions were just, that would only remove yhvh’s moral culpability. We’d still have the problem that yhvh is a liar. A person or god who demonstrates a pattern of willful deception, can be expected to continue to lie and those who are observant will stop trusting them. A pattern of deception from the source of one’s infallible revelation should be a warning of the possible presence of deception in one’s infallible revelation.

              If you don’t mind taking the word of a liar and basing your life on it, that is of course a personal choice (assuming you are not compelling that choice in others) (though that is a very hard assumption to make at this point). It is still troubling that so many people feel comfortable following rules from someone who can change the rules at any time without reason (how many christians lived and died under the now mostly forgotten rule that eating meat on a Friday was a hellworthy offense), and flagrantly violates those same rules he insists you live under.

              But then when you say god’s standard is greater than ours, what you really mean is not that it is more true or more suited to producing good results in this life. What you mean is that it is the standard you expect to be judged on. You believe that cowering before the right throne to kiss the right ass is your ticket into heaven and you have confused this with morality.

              The definition of morality proposed by the bible has nothing to recommend it but its belief among christians. There is no objective reason to say it is anything especially wise. And no reason to think it should be binding on any but those who claim to follow or author it. It is based on following the barbaric commands of a barbaric god who does not even follow these same commands himself (except the ones to kill and pillage), and derived from a book overflowing with plot holes, basic logical errors, the kind of primitive in-group morality that has caused so many problems throughout human history.

              One definition of morality which does stand up on it’s own merits is described by utilitarianism (Kessy has already explained some of this). The basic idea is something is good if it has good effects and bad if it has bad effects (or for moral questions good/bad depending on what effects each available choice is most likely to result in).

              You may ask at this point why this definition of morality is better than god’s. The reason is that it more accurately describes the moral component of human interactions, and if understood and practiced, leads to behavior which has the greatest chance of bringing about maximum possible well being for the maximum possible number of people. As opposed to that other one which commands genocide, and endorses rape and slavery.

              Humans will naturally form societies. And every society in history has had some sort of social code. They’ve had to (we started with something like “We eat in area A, we sleep in area B, we sh*t in area C, no one sh*t in area A” and many subsequent clauses have had to be added as a variety of situations came up). To have anything less is to not even fit the definition of society. Throughout the many years and many attempts our understanding of ethics has evolved quite a bit. We have gained our greater understanding mostly by observing the weaknesses of previous systems and making changes (abolishing slavery for one dramatic example from the somewhat recent past). We’ve not arrived at perfect understanding yet, but the more enlightened understandings of morality that we have access to now have reduced or eliminated many of the pitfalls of earlier failed attempts to understand morality.

              For example, most modern christians (of the minority of modern christians who know or acknowledge that these stories are in the bible) now interpret these metaphorically or say they don’t matter because Jesus changed everything. Despite the holy book shared by all christians containing these horrendous portrayals of the christian god, most christians have the good sense not to openly take the stance that genocide is cool. Of course this was not always the case. The crusaders had a completely literal view of god’s command to slaughter god’s enemies, which they obeyed dutifully. And it didn’t become bad for their image until much later.

              But with the benefit of hindsight, their descendants were able to look back in disgust on those actions. Enough of us decided the mass slaughter of humans based only on what god they worship was something we didn’t want to ever do again that we’ve done it slightly less ever since. Now in the post-holocaust era there is almost a complete consensus that a world where entire civilizations get randomly wiped out is not where we want to live. I mean aside from the cultural and historical loss to everyone else, it sucks to be the ones getting wiped out. A world where we’re going around wiping out civilizations on a whim is a world where yours could be next at any time.

              We have already found a better replacement for “thou shalt not kill”. It’s the desire to live in a world where you are statistically less likely to be killed.

              We are finally starting to realize we make the world we live in. This truth, whether realized or not, provides a much better logical justification for morality than “one fictional deity said so in front of one dead witness”.

              We can know what right and wrong are because we can comprehend that we have an obligation to treat our fellow humans fairly (if it helps, Jesus said something really close to this). We have the natural capacity to see ourselves in others. We feel the joy and pain of those we care about, and our survival depends entirely on cooperation.

              So it’s not like the necessity, objectivity, or basic purpose of human morality would be much affected by the presence or absence of a cosmic judge.

              Morality is objective to the individual, and subjective to the situation. Meaning that situations present individual humans with moral requirements (with natural or societal consequences for failure) which the individual is stuck with whether they like it or not (objective) but which vary greatly from one situation to another (subjective).

              Navigating morality by analyzing situations as they come up is more work than following a list. But the practice of weighing the pros and cons is suited to a greater variety of situations than any list could be.

              In cases where we are right about what right and wrong are it is because we look realistically at the situation and fully consider how our actions will affect ourselves and others.

              In cases where we make uninformed guesses about sin with no thought for which actions would help or avoid harming (the only useful definition of right) and which actions would cause harm (the only useful definition of wrong), and arbitrarily declare certain things to be wrong because they make someone’s imaginary friend sad, there is no real reason to call these things right or wrong, and no reason we should keep the groundless rules which result from these groundless proclamations.

              In the case of the former we couldn’t avoid knowing the logical justifications that separate right from wrong. In the case of the latter, we are gradually beginning to know that right and wrong are inapplicable labels. They never deserved to be called those words. There was never any benefit to divine revelation based morality, and when we lose it we will lose nothing. When we as a species abandon the broken ways of thinking about right and wrong that have caused so much injustice, we will not forget what we now know about the necessity of justice.

              Real morality is an evolutionary imperative. It’s something we couldn’t not do (most of our moral failings come not from a lack of concern for right and wrong, but dysfunctional methods for distinguishing right from wrong). The conscience isn’t something christianity invented. It’s just something the christian church took credit for.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              I. Strawman. Try again.

              II. Your question is misguided. On what objective moral basis could I (or anyone else for that matter) possibly condemn God? After all, I’m not God.

              III. We don’t praise God for doing His duty. Rather He is to be adored for His moral character because He is essentially loving, just, kind, etc. **It is because God is that way that these qualities count as virtues in the first place.** Essentially, God is good the same way rain is wet, diamond gemstones are hard and blue stars are blazing hot. So if we think of God’s goodness in terms of His possessing certain virtues rather than fulfilling certain duties, we have a more exalted and more adequate concept of God.

              IV. You are misinformed. While the Bible candidly relates Jehovah God’s past adverse judgments you must bear in mind that they were always against evil people and in defense of the innocent. For example, it was not until the earth of Noah’s day became “filled with violence” that Jehovah said: “Here I am bringing the deluge of waters upon the earth to bring to ruin all flesh in which the force of life is active.” (Genesis 6:11, 17) Regarding another judgment, it was only because the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah had “abandoned themselves to sexual immorality and were bent on perverted sensuality” that God caused it to “rain sulfur and fire.”—Jude 7, The New Berkeley Version; Genesis 19:24.

              Did God relish bringing all flesh to ruin in Noah’s day? Or did he derive some fiendish pleasure from destroying the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah? For an answer, let us look at the events surrounding the Flood of Noah’s day. After stating that God would wipe evil mankind off the surface of the ground in order to cleanse the earth of violence, the Bible says: “Jehovah . . . felt hurt at his heart.” Yes, it devastated God that “every inclination of the thoughts of [man’s] heart was only bad all the time.” Hence, to save as many as possible from the impending Deluge, God dispatched Noah, “a preacher of righteousness,” to sound a warning message and to build an ark for preservation.—Genesis 6:3-18; 2 Peter 2:5.

              Adverse judgments from God have always resulted because evil people adamantly refuse to abandon their depravity and evildoing, not because Jehovah enjoys killing people. But you may wonder, ‘Did not Jehovah encourage the Israelites to war with other nations and annihilate them?’

              The Amalekites, for instance, were “the first one of the nations” to launch an unprovoked invasion on the Israelites after the Exodus, at Rephidim near Mount Sinai. As a consequence, Jehovah decreed ultimate extinction for the Amalekites. (Nu 24:20; Ex 17:8-16; De 25:17-19) Twice during the days of the Judges these bitter enemies of Israel shared in assaulting Israel. They did it in the days of Eglon king of Moab. (Jg 3:12, 13) Again, with the Midianites and Easterners, they ransacked the land of Israel seven years before Gideon and his 300 men dealt them a smashing defeat.—Jg 6:1-3, 33; 7:12; 10:12. Because of this relentless hostility, during the period of the kings Jehovah ‘called to account’ the Amalekites, commanding King Saul to strike them down, which he did “from Havilah as far as Shur, which is in front of Egypt.” (1Sa 15:2-33)

              On the other hand, spiritism, child sacrifice, sadistic violence, and various forms of grotesque sex worship were the order of the day with the Canaanites. As a God of justice, Jehovah could not allow these disgusting practices to disrupt the peace and security of innocent people, especially Israel. (Deuteronomy 5:9) For example, imagine if the community in which you live was without a reputable police force or militia to enforce the laws of the land—would that not lead to anarchy and violence of the worst kind? Similarly, Jehovah was compelled to act against the Canaanites because of their licentiousness and the real danger they posed to pure worship. Therefore, he decreed: “The land is unclean, and I shall bring punishment for its error.”—Leviticus 18:25. “It is for the wickedness of these nations that Jehovah is driving them away from before you”, we read at Deuteronomy 6:4-6, “It is not for your righteousness or for the uprightness of your heart that you are going in to take possession of their land; in fact, it is for the wickedness of these nations that Jehovah your God is driving them away from before you.”

              Divine justice was carried out when God’s executional forces—the Israelite armies—destroyed the Canaanites. The fact that God chose to use humans to carry out this judgment, rather than fire or flood, did not diminish the sentence. Thus, when warring with the nations of Canaan, the Israelite armies were instructed: “It is only of the cities of these peoples that Jehovah your God is giving you as an inheritance that you must not preserve any breathing thing alive, because you should without fail devote them to destruction, the Hit´tites and the Am´or·ites, the Ca´naan·ites and the Per´iz·zites, the Hi´vites and the Jeb´u·sites, just as Jehovah your God has commanded you; in order that they may not teach YOU to do according to all their detestable things, which they have done to their gods, and YOU may indeed sin against Jehovah YOUR God.” —Deuteronomy 20:16-18.

              Unlike with Ares, Otrera, Keres, Enyo, Eris and the like, Jehovah God is a respecter of life. As such, He did not sanction indiscriminate killing. Deuteronomy 20:10-14 explains, “In case you draw near to a city to fight against it, you must also announce to it terms of peace. And it must occur that if it gives a peaceful answer to you and it has opened up to you, it must even occur that all the people found in it should become yours for forced labor, and they must serve you. But if it does not make peace with you, and it actually makes war with you and you have to besiege it, Jehovah your God also will certainly give it into your hand, and you must strike every male in it with the edge of the sword. Only the women and the little children and the domestic animals and everything that happens to be in the city, all its spoil you will plunder for yourself; and you must eat the spoil of your enemies, whom Jehovah your God has given to you.”

              While Israelite soldiers were allowed to marry captives they had to treat them with the same rights and respect due to an Israelite wife. Unlike what’s seen in today’s wars, Israelite soldiers were proscribed from raping or otherwise abusing female captives. Jehovah instructed, “In case you go out to the battle against your enemies and Jehovah your God has given them into your hand and you have carried them away captive; and you have seen among the captives a woman beautiful in form, and you have got attached to her and taken her for your wife, you must then bring her into the midst of your house. She must now shave her head and attend to her nails [for hygienic reasons], and remove the mantle of her captivity from off her and dwell in your house and weep for her father and her mother a whole lunar month; and after that you should have relations with her, and you must take possession of her as your bride, and she must become your wife.” – Deuteronomy 21:10-13

              When the residents of one Canaanite city, Gibeon, asked for mercy, Jehovah granted it. (Joshua 9:3-27) Would a bloodthirsty war god have done this? No, but a God who loves peace and justice would.—Psalm 33:5; 37:28.

              Time and again, the Bible associates God’s blessing with peace. That is because Jehovah is a lover of peace, not war. (Numbers 6:24-26; Psalm 29:11; 147:12-14) Consequently, when King David desired to build a temple of worship to Jehovah, God told him: “You will not build a house to my name, for a great deal of blood you have spilled on the earth before me.”—1 Chronicles 22:8; Acts 13:22.

              While on earth, the Greater David, Jesus Christ, spoke of a time when God’s love of justice would no longer allow him to stomach the present-day evil we see. (Matthew 24:3, 36-39) As he did in the Flood of Noah’s day and in the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, God will soon take judicial action to cleanse the earth of selfish, evil men, thus paving the way for peaceful conditions to exist under his heavenly Kingdom rule.—Psalm 37:10, 11, 29; Daniel 2:44.

              Clearly, Jehovah is not the bloodthirsty God he is undeservedly accused of being. On the other hand, he does not shrink back from exacting justice when it is due. God’s love of goodness requires that he act in behalf of those innocents who love him by destroying the evil system that oppresses them. When he does so, true peace will flourish earth wide as the truly meek ones unitedly worship Jehovah, “the God of peace.”—Philippians 4:9.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              V. Like Rahab and her family as well as the Gibeonites, many could have saved their lives and that of their families had they renounced their evil ways and, instead, practiced good. This is exactly what happened when Jonah went and communicated God’s warning to those of Niniveh. (cf Jonah 1-4)

              VI. No, he doesn’t: “The soul that is sinning—it itself will die. A son himself will bear nothing because of the error of the father, and a father himself will bear nothing because of the error of the son. Upon his own self the very righteousness of the righteous one will come to be, and upon his own self the very wickedness of a wicked one will come to be.” -Ezekiel 18:20

              This, however, doesn’t mean that when parents makes a bad decision it will not affect their children. The number of homeless children in the world, for instance, attests this.

              VII. You’re conflating the concept of inherited sin with that of willful sin. Yes, we are all born in sin but we’ve also been given the opportunity to escape sin and it’s consequences, to wit, death (which, btw, explains why everyone who’s ever lived has died.) This, however, requires effort on our part: http://bit.ly/19lpefW

              This also explains why some, unfortunately, are just born evil: http://bit.ly/1dJhvxU

              VIII. Not in the slightest for Jehovah God is “abundant in loving-kindness,” states the Bible. (Ex. 34:6) “Give thanks to Jehovah, you people, for he is good; for his loving-kindness is to time indefinite,” we also read. (Psalm 118:1, 29) “[God] is kind toward the unthankful and wicked,” states Luke 6:35. “He makes his sun rise upon wicked people and good and makes it rain upon righteous people and unrighteous.” (Matt. 5:45) “Your loving-kindness, O Jehovah,” sang the psalmist, “has filled the earth.” (Ps. 119:64) In fact, the Scriptures contain numerous accounts of how Jehovah showed loving-kindness.

              Jehovah protected and fed the Israelites while they spent 40 years in the wilderness. In the Promised Land, God provided judges to rescue them from their enemies and to bring them back to true worship. Because Jehovah stuck with them through good times and bad during all those centuries, he could tell the nation: “With a love to time indefinite I have loved you. That is why I have drawn you with loving-kindness.”—Jer. 31:3.

              Jehovah goes beyond speaking about forgiveness. He acts accordingly. Jehovah used Jeremiah to exhort: “Do return, O renegade Israel . . . I shall not have my face drop angrily upon you people . . . I shall not stay resentful to time indefinite.” (Jer. 3:12) God does not feel lingering anger or bitterness toward any of his people whom he has forgiven. Rather, though a wrong has been committed, Jehovah wants to repair the damaged relationship. Despite the sins a person may have committed, if that sinner truly repents and seeks God’s forgiveness, Jehovah will ‘bring him back’ to His favor and blessing. (Jer. 15:19)

              Consider the example of King David of ancient Israel, who sang: “[Jehovah] is forgiving all your error, [he] is healing all your maladies.” How David must have appreciated being shown forgiveness for his sin with Bath-sheba and for murdering her husband. He extolled Jehovah, saying: “As the heavens are higher than the earth, his loving-kindness is superior toward those fearing him.” (Ps. 103:3, 11)

              IX. Really? Can you take a moment and explain what’s so stupid about these?

              “YOU heard that it was said, ‘You must love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ However, I say to YOU: Continue to love YOUR enemies and to pray for those persecuting YOU; that YOU may prove yourselves sons of YOUR Father who is in the heavens, since he makes his sun rise upon wicked people and good and makes it rain upon righteous people and unrighteous. For if YOU love those loving YOU, what reward do YOU have? (Matthew 5:43-46)

              “But now really put them all away from YOU, wrath, anger, badness, abusive speech, and obscene talk out of YOUR mouth. Do not be lying to one another. Accordingly, [] clothe yourselves with the tender affections of compassion, kindness, lowliness of mind, mildness, and long-suffering. Continue putting up with one another and forgiving one another freely if anyone has a cause for complaint against another. Even as Jehovah freely forgave YOU, so do YOU also. But, besides all these things, [clothe yourselves with] love, for it is a perfect bond of union.” – Colossians 3:8,9, 12-14. (Brackets mine.)

            • Joseph O Polanco

              X. Quote mining. Try again.

              XI. Democide is absolutely wrong. Genocide, not necessarily since the execution of evil people au masse is not wrong, it’s justice.

              XII. Jehovah God will pay “every person according to his works: To those who in the patience of good works are seeking glory, honor and indestructibility, he gives eternal life.” However to “those who resist and do not obey the truth, but obey evil, he will pay anger and fury.” The “Lord Jesus from heaven with his powerful angels in a flaming fire” has been tasked to bring about this vengeance at Armageddon. (Romans 2:6-8; 2 Thessalonians 1:6-9; Revelation 16:16)

              XIII. This purpose: “In the end of days, scoffers would come who scoff while they walk according to their own lusts, And they say, “Where is The Promise of his coming? For from when our forefathers fell asleep, everything continues in the same way from the beginning of creation.” For they disregard this when they please: That the Heavens which were from the first, and The Earth, from the water and by the water, arose by the word of God, By which the world which then was, lay in water and was destroyed. But the Heavens and The Earth which are now, by his word are stored up as for fire and are kept for the day of judgment and of the destruction of wicked people.” (2 Peter 3:3-7, cf. Genesis 6)

              XIV. Actually God’s law at Exodus 20:13 declares –

              New International Version
              “You shall not murder.

              New Living Translation
              “You must not murder.

              English Standard Version
              “You shall not murder.

              New American Standard Bible
              “You shall not murder.

              Holman Christian Standard Bible
              Do not murder.

              International Standard Version
              “You are not to commit murder.

              NET Bible
              “You shall not murder.

              GOD’S WORD® Translation
              “Never murder.

              Jubilee Bible 2000
              Thou shalt not murder.

              English Revised Version
              Thou shalt do no murder.

              World English Bible
              “You shall not murder.

              Young’s Literal Translation
              ‘Thou dost not murder.

              Since Jehovah God has never murdered anyone, your clumsy accusations of hypocrisy fall feebly to the ground.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              XV. Here’s the thing. Regardless of efforts to the contrary, all life ends. Therefore, a case could be made that maximizing one’s pleasure should be the absolute moral touchstone by which to adjudicate moral values. As a famous adherent of this philosophy candidly expressed, “The greatest obstacle to my freedom, the greatest block and limitation to it, consists in the insupportable ‘value judgment’ that I was bound to respect the rights of others. I asked myself, who were these ‘others’? Other human beings, with human rights? Why is it more wrong to kill a human animal than any other animal, a pig or a sheep or a steer? Is your life more to you than a hog’s life to a hog? Why should I be willing to sacrifice my pleasure more for the one than for the other? Surely, you would not, in this age of scientific enlightenment, declare that God or nature has marked some pleasures as ‘moral’ or ‘good’ and others as ‘immoral’ or ‘bad’? In any case, let me assure you, my dear young lady, that there is absolutely no comparison between the pleasure I might take in eating ham and the pleasure I anticipate in raping and murdering you. That is the honest conclusion to which my education has led me—after the most conscientious examination of my spontaneous and uninhibited self.”” -Ted Bundy

              Since this equally compelling opinion conflicts with yours, how would you show it to be objectively false and yours objectively true? That is to say, which of the two reflects reality?

              XVI. If that’s true why do you practice Atheism?

              “If atheism is such a blessing for humanity, Mao’s China would have been an empire of sunshine, rainbows and frolicking bunnies, instead of a countryside of cadavers.” – Anonymous

              XVII. What you fail to see is that the panacea you dream of is wholly quixotic because Moral Relativism is, conceptually, an irrational oxymoron. For genuine ‘rights’ and ‘wrongs’ to exist morality cannot be relative for it places ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ at the mercy of mere caprice. Under such an ambivalent paradigm nothing is truly ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ making such terms completely otiose; expressing a distinction without a difference.

              Trying to form a prosperous, harmonious society on such a miry foundation is like trying to build a fantastic neoteric megalopolis on quagmire. It’s an exercise in “la bêtise”.

              This is why we live in a world with more violence, abuse, strife, discord, sadism, hatred, bigotry, inequality, injustice, abject poverty, STDs and depravity, not less …

              XVIII. It’s true, all healthy human beings are born with an innate moral sense, a conscience. This is why since time immemorial, even the most primitive cultures, irrespective of their metaphysical beliefs, enforced laws against murder and other acts of evil.

              However, much like our language skills, our conscience needs to be refined, calibrated, made more robust. If not, it becomes stunted, or worst, perverted such that evil actions are perceived to be good and good ones viewed as evil.

              This is why the eternal well-being and happiness of mankind is inextricably bound to the objective moral values and duties lovingly furnished to us by our Creator. Without them there is nothing to protect our conscience from being disoriented or corrupted.

              Tragically, Atheism corrodes and destroys this protection leaving its adherents stranded in moral ambivalence. This naturally explains why the overwhelming majority of serial murderers, rapists, totalitarians and other sadists have been atheists.

          • Guest

            As such, the just execution, au masse even, of evil people is not murder. It’s justice.

            • kessy_athena

              People are not good or evil, actions are. All people, including you, me, and any and all gods, are capable of both good and evil. Because good and evil are not some sort of cosmic elemental forces, they are assessments of the intentions and consequences of actions.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              “Imagine a person who comes in here tonight and argues ‘no air exists’ but continues to breathe air while he argues. Now intellectually, atheists continue to breathe – they continue to use reason and draw scientific conclusions [which assumes an orderly universe], to make moral judgments [which assumes absolute values] – but the atheistic view of things would in theory make such ‘breathing’ impossible. They are breathing God’s air all the time they are arguing against him.”

              - Greg Bahnsen

            • kessy_athena

              What in the world makes you think the universe is orderly? Or that the scientific process requires the universe to be orderly? Or that moral judgments require absolute values? All you’re doing is bundling up your favorite assumptions and declaring them essential to life, the universe, and everything without putting any thought whatsoever into the process.

              The scientific process is inherently tentative and uncertain, and by its nature leaves all questions open pending further information. It neither assumes nor requires an orderly universe, although it is generally better at modeling more orderly phenomena.

              Real morality requires a recognition that the right and wrong of any situation depends on the circumstances, and blind adherence to absolutes invariably leads to gross miscarriages of justice.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Your hubris does. The fact that you would dare condemn anyone’s moral values is an appeal, albeit misguided, to objective moral values and duties:

              “Imagine a person who comes in here tonight and argues ‘no air exists’ but continues to breathe air while he argues. Now intellectually, atheists continue to breathe – they continue to use reason and draw scientific conclusions [which assumes an orderly universe], to make moral judgments [which assumes absolute values] – but the atheistic view of things would in theory make such ‘breathing’ impossible. They are breathing God’s air all the time they are arguing against him.”
              - Greg Bahnsen

            • kessy_athena

              Objective and absolute are two completely different things. Morality does depend on objective judgements, but not on absolute ones. An objective standard is one that can be repeatedly and independently measured by different observers. An absolute standard is one that is always the same under all circumstances. Velocity is objective – it can be measured independently by any number observers. It is *not* absolute – the particular measurement you get depends on your frame of reference. Morality is objective – it’s about judging the harm caused by an action or set of actions. It is not absolute – that harm depends on the circumstances. The morality of pulling the trigger is highly dependent on things like whether or not the gun is loaded and what the gun is pointed at.

              And I read that quote the first time you posted it. Repeating yourself does not make it any more convincing.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Argumentum distinctionis sine differentia. That’s like trying to claim the speed of light is c but not absolutely c.

            • kessy_athena

              And you fail physics forever as well. C is a special quantity that does not behave the same as classical velocities. something that moves at C (such as a photon) always moves at exactly C, in all frames of reference. That’s not how classical velocities behave at all, and I was (obviously) referring to classical velocity. For example, suppose an athlete hits a ball and sends it moving west at 100 mph. That’s 100 mph west relative to the ground. This velocity is objective but not absolute, instead it’s relative. So a car driving west at 50 mph would measure the ball as moving at 50 mph west. A car driving in the opposite direction at 50 mph would measure the ball moving 150 mph west. A plane flying west overhead at 300 mph would measure the ball as going 200 mph east. A train going north at 100 mph would measure the ball as going 141.42 mph southwest. And so on.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Which just further punctuates how inanely sophistic your “Morality does depend on objective judgements, but not on absolute ones” claim was. Glad you figured it out :)

            • kessy_athena

              And you forget to add that my argument smells like feet and I’m a big dodo head. Hurling insults does not constitute a counter argument. Or are you just saying, “I don’t understand the difference between “objective” and “absolute”, therefore you must be wrong.”?

            • Joseph O Polanco

              I derided your argument not your person. Pay attention.

            • dmantis

              Your arguments for child murder, rape and human sacrifice are vile and borderline pathological.

              Any person that can state this “Genocide, not necessarily since the execution of evil people au masse is not wrong, it’s justice.” is sharing arguments with Hitler, Mao and some of the most evil and vile creatures that have ever walked this Earth.

              Therefore, any argument made by such person about morality, ehtics and judgement is absurd.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Again I’m forced to ask, on what objective moral basis do you dare condemn anyone’s moral values? Who made you God?

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Problem is, your definition of “good” and “evil” is still broad enough to fall victim to subjective opinion. Per the atheistic world view, “good” and “evil” are just social conventions akin to driving on the left versus right side of the road or mere expressions of personal preference akin to having a taste for certain foods or not. If you try and claim morals are valid independently of our apprehension of them, what is their objective foundation? Moreover, if morality is just a human convention, then why should we act morally, especially when it conflicts with self-interest? Or are we in some way held accountable for our moral decisions and actions?

              More particularly, what is the basis for the value of human beings? If God does not exist, then it is difficult to see any reason to think that human beings are special or that their morality is objectively true. Withal, why think that we have any moral obligations to do anything? Who or what imposes any moral duties upon us?

              If there is no God, then any ground for regarding the herd morality evolved by humans as objectively true is purely arbitrary. After all, what is so special about human beings? They are just accidental by-products of nature which have evolved relatively recently on an infinitesimal speck of dust lost somewhere in a hostile and mindless universe and which are doomed to perish individually and collectively in a relatively short time.

            • kessy_athena

              You’re making a load of incorrect assumptions about me and my opinions. Firstly, I’m a pagan, not an atheist.

              There is a difference between morality and social conventions and taboos. Morality is about the consequences of actions and whether those actions are harmful to individuals or the group as a whole, which makes morality an objective thing. Murder is a moral question. Obviously, it causes great harm to the victim. It also harms society as a whole because it reduces everyone’s security, and results in people being more suspicious of each other, failing to act cooperatively, and defensively taking hostile actions towards each other. Thus, murder is morally wrong, and taking action to correct the situation by discouraging murder through punishment is justified.

              Social conventions, on the other hand, are generally almost entirely arbitrary. Things pertaining to sexuality are generally in this category. If no one is being harmed, it’s simply not a question of morality.

              And of course there’s nothing special about humans, why in the world would you think there is?

            • Joseph O Polanco

              You forgot to add, “in my opinion.”

              You see, regardless of efforts to the contrary, all life ends. Therefore, a case could be made that maximizing one’s pleasure should be the absolute moral touchstone by which to adjudicate moral values. As a famous adherent of this philosophy candidly expressed, “The greatest obstacle to my freedom, the greatest block and limitation to it, consists in the insupportable ‘value judgment’ that I was bound to respect the rights of others. I asked myself, who were these ‘others’? Other human beings, with human rights? Why is it more wrong to kill a human animal than any other animal, a pig or a sheep or a steer? Is your life more to you than a hog’s life to a hog? Why should I be willing to sacrifice my pleasure more for the one than for the other? Surely, you would not, in this age of scientific enlightenment, declare that God or nature has marked some pleasures as ‘moral’ or ‘good’ and others as ‘immoral’ or ‘bad’? In any case, let me assure you, my dear young lady, that there is absolutely no comparison between the pleasure I might take in eating ham and the pleasure I anticipate in raping and murdering you. That is the honest conclusion to which my education has led me—after the most conscientious examination of my spontaneous and uninhibited self.”” -Ted Bundy

              Since this equally compelling opinion conflicts with yours, how would you show it to be objectively false and yours objectively true?

            • kessy_athena

              I base my morality on the objective results of actions. What do you base yours on, “Because a god said so!”? Eris must have a lot of fun with you, then.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              You missed the thrust of my rejoinder. Here, perhaps this simple thought experiment will help: Suppose the Neo-Nazis were to attain world domination and exterminated everyone who thought racism was wrong, would that suddenly make racism and bigotry moral?

            • Nox

              Humans are interdependent. Morality (not the same thing as following orders) is not something we could avoid if we wanted to.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Thing is, mankind doesn’t treat acts like ped0philia, the gunning down of innocent children, racial bigotry, sadism, genocide, gang rape and serial murder as just socially unacceptable behavior, like, say, picking your nose at the dinner table. Rather, these cause shock and horror and are treated as a moral abominations – acts of evil.

              On the flip side, love, equality and self-sacrifice are not just treated as socially advantageous acts, like, say, bringing a girl flowers on a first date, but, instead are treated as things that are truly good.

              Now, irrational beasts don’t have **objective** morals. When a lion savagely kills another it doesn’t think it’s committing murder. When a peregrine falcon or a bald eagle snatches prey away from another it doesn’t feel it’s stealing. When primates violently force themselves onto females and their young they’re not tried and convicted of rape or ped0philia. Obviously, then, we certainly didn’t “inherit” our **objective** moral sense from them.

              **Objective** morals do not come from science either because science, by it’s very nature, is morally nihilistic. Where, then, do we get our **universal objective morals** from?

              Consider the following:

              (1) If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist.
              (2) Evil exists.
              (3) Therefore, objective moral values and duties do exist.
              (4) Therefore, God exists.
              (5) Therefore, God is the locus of all objective moral values and duties.

              That is to say, as Dostoevsky once mused, “If there is no God, everything is permitted.”

            • Nox

              Two people can bring down bigger game than one. Societies which are more successful in uniting their citizens have a greater chance of thriving.

              This is a far more objective basis for morality than the will of a single capricious being. If god could just decide to change right and wrong any time he wants that would make morals less objective.

              (by the way, this is the same thread where you were just invoking subjective moral values made up by god to defend genocide)

            • Joseph O Polanco

              So Totalitarianism is morally good?

            • dmantis

              You are guilty of the fallacy of defective induction.

              “Mankind” does not treat those things in any way. In fact, some cultures do not consider them crimes at all.
              Love, equality and self-sacrifice mean differnet things to different people and cultures.

              There is no such thing as **objective** morals.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              It appears you missed the thrust of my rejoinder. Let’s try this:

              If the Neo-Nazis were to attain world domination and exterminated everyone who thought racism was wrong, would that suddenly make racism and bigotry moral?

            • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

              If god commanded Hitler to kill the Jews as punishment as he believed, just like how god commanded the Jews to kill the Canaanites, would it then have been moral for the holocaust to have happened?

            • Kevin R. Cross

              Dostoevsky was wrong. It is WITH god that everything is permitted. Human sacrifice, mass murder, mass rape – I’m not sure I’m even out of Genesis yet, and God COMMANDS all these things.
              And your little platitude above is like most Christian Apologetic “logic” – it starts with a stupid premise and goes down hill from there. It’s right there in (2) – “Evil exists”. But evil is a human creation – we make it, we define it. Nature contains no evil – it has no morality. Evil is as subjective as everything else.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Strawman. Try again.

            • Kevin R. Cross

              Okay – first, you don’t know what a “strawman argument” is. Stop using terminology you don’t understand. FYI, a strawman is setting up an argument that the opponent did not make and then demolishing it. What I did was provide a countervailing argument to yours, which is in no way a strawman. And you can’t call strawman on the Dostoevsky quote since YOU made it.
              If you want to admit you have no answer, go ahead. Or, you can “try again”.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              And your characterization of Jehovah God as one responsible for “Human sacrifice, mass murder, mass rape” is a Strawman. Try again.

            • Kevin R. Cross

              All of the above: ordered by your god. Human Sacrifice: “Take your son,
              your only son – yes, Isaac, whom you love so much – and go to the land of Moriah.
              Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains, which I will
              point out to you.” (Genesis 22:1-18) Isaac gets a reprieve, but in Exodus 13:2 the Lord said “Consecrate to me every first-born that
              opens the womb among Israelites, both man and beast, for it belongs to me.” Exodus 13:2 the Lord said “Consecrate to me every first-born that
              opens the womb among Israelites, both man and beast, for it belongs to me.” A bit further on it allows for substitutions, but that allowance is revoked in Leviticus: “Note also that any one of his possessions which a man vows as
              doomed to the Lord, whether it is a human being or an animal, or a hereditary
              field, shall be neither sold nor ransomed; everything that is thus doomed
              becomes most sacred to the Lord. All human beings that are doomed lose the
              right to be redeemed; they must be put to death.”

              Mass Murder: And at midnight the LORD killed all the firstborn
              sons in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sat on the
              throne, to the firstborn son of the captive in the dungeon. Even the firstborn
              of their livestock were killed. Pharaoh and his officials and all the people of
              Egypt woke up during the night, and loud wailing was heard throughout the land
              of Egypt. There was not a single house where someone had not died. (Exodus
              12:29-30 NLT) (not only ordered, but actually COMITTED by your god).

              “Then I heard the LORD say to the other men, “Follow
              him through the city and kill everyone whose forehead is not marked. Show no
              mercy; have no pity! Kill them all – old and young, girls and women and little
              children. But do not touch anyone with the mark. Begin your task right here at
              the Temple.” So they began by killing the seventy leaders. “Defile the
              Temple!” the LORD commanded. “Fill its courtyards with the bodies of those you
              kill! Go!” So they went throughout the city and did as they were told.” (Ezekiel
              9:5-7 NLT)

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

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

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

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

              It’s not a strawman when it’s true.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              I. False claim. Isaac lived to a very ripe old age.
              II.a. Your exegesis is grossly sophistic. It conflates two completely distinct affairs. Leviticus 27:29 instructs, “No person specially set apart for destruction may be bought back. Such a person must be put to death.” Who were these? The firstborns of Israel? Not at all. Psalm 1:6 explains, “Lord Jehovah knows the way of the righteous ones and the way of the wicked will be destroyed.” This is why the evil Canaanites, for instance, were executed.
              II.b. At Numbers 3:13 we read, “I hallowed unto me all the firstborn in Israel, both of man and beast; mine shall they be: I am Jehovah.” What does hallow or consecrate mean?
              III. Again, only the evil perished. The good followed God’s instructions, thus, preserving the well being of their loved ones. (Exodus 12)
              IV. Again, your exegesis is specious. Ezekiel 8-11 was a prophetic vision, not a report of actual events. As anyone who’s perlustrated the Bible knows, Ezekiel wrote the book bearing his name from Babylon, not Jerusalem. The prophecies of judgment against Jerusalem in these chapters saw their fulfilment when she was razed by Nebucadnezzer in 607 BCE.
              V. Are you strabismic? Where does it say they were raped?

            • Kevin R. Cross

              1: I NOTED that Isaac got a reprieve. But the firstborns didn’t, and the context makes it quite clear that in this case “consecrate” means “kill and burn on a fire in my name”. And NOTHING in the area says that Leviticus’ prohibition only appled to enemies.

              3: Arrant bullshit. The ISRAELITES were the only people told how to evade the gaze of the Angel of Death. Every family, every child, adult, old man who happnened to be a first born, was evil? The Bible makes no such claim.

              4: I’ll accept the Ezekiel as being a vision. Good point.

              5: “Taken as wives”. No choice? That’s rape.

              “keep for yourselves all the women…You
              may enjoy the spoils of your enemies that the LORD your God has given you.”

              Rape.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              I- False. Isaac wasn’t being executed as punishment.
              I.b- You’re exegesis is still flawed because of Jeremiah 19:3-5. Human sacrifices were a Canaanite practice and it was but one of the reasons why they merited execution.

              III- Argumentum assertio. Try again.

              IV – :)

              V- Prove they had no choice.

            • Kevin R. Cross

              1: He was still being executed. He still got a reprieve.

              1b: So what? It wouldn’t be the only time someone else was vilified for something the vilifiers themselves did. The fact they condemned the Canaanites for human sacrifice doesn’t mean the Israelites didn’t do it themselves.

              3: Wrong. Says so in your book.

              5: Forced marriage = Rape. A case may be made as to the women seized at the festival – as Israelites themselves, they may (or some of them may) have accepted their god’s orders. No such case can be made for the four hundred women of Jabesh-gilead.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              I. http://bit.ly/14FrvV4

              I.b – Argumentum ignoratio elenchi. Try again.

              3. Prove it.

              5. Argumentum assertio. Prove they were forced.

            • Kevin R. Cross

              1: Reprieve (among others): The cancellation or postponement of an undesirable event. Being sacrificed certainly wasn’t on Isaac’s list of most desired activities.
              1b: Just as soon as you post an argument that actually contradicts mine.
              3: Read your own Bible.
              4: “Were given to them as wives”. Not “were courted to be wives” or “were asked to be wives”. And since their families were all dead, who was doing the giving? Presumably, their captors. Forced Marriage=Rape.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              1. Again, you’re being sophistic. Abraham was a very old man (well over 100 years old) and could have easily overpowered his father. Instead, he **willfully** cooperated with his God’s request. This is why they are both held up as examples of extraordinary faith.

              3. I have, dozens of times. How many times have you read the Bible in full?

              4. I asked you for proof not innuendo. And the burden you bear is only made more crushing by the fact that rapists were executed in ancient Israel. How is it that you didn’t know that?

            • Kevin R. Cross

              1 I don’t doubt it. And it works as such. But it doesn’t change the fact that Jehovah/Yahwe asked for a human sacrifice, which is a reprehensible action. That he later rescinded it speaks well of him.
              3: Only six or seven times. I was quite religious as a young man.
              4: Actually, the position of rapists in ancient Israel is unclear. By some verses, yes, a rapist should be executed (along with his victim, in some cases). In other verses, a rapist is required to marry his victim.
              And the words you’re looking for are “inductive reasoning”, not “innuendo”.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              1. Again, on what objective moral basis do you dare condemn anyone’s actions? Who made you God?

              3. What made you choose to stop believing in God’s necessary existence?

              4. Deuteronomy 22:28,29 isn’t describing a rape because rapists were executed in ancient Israel. This is expressly manifested at Deuteronomy 22:25-27:

              ““If, however, it is in the field that the man found the girl who was engaged, and the man grabbed hold of her and lay down with her, the man who lay down with her must also die by himself, and to the girl *** you must do nothing . The girl has no sin deserving of death ***, because just as when a man rises up against his fellowman and indeed murders him, even a soul, so it is with this case. For it was in the field that he found her. The girl who was engaged screamed, but there was no one to rescue her.” – Deuteronomy 22:25-27 (Emphasis mine.)

              What we have described in Deuteronomy 22:28,29 is a case of consensual sex. This law obligated the man to pay a fine and, were he to marry the girl whose virginity he took, he would never be allowed to divorce her. (Compare with Exodus 22:16,17)

              These laws obligated the man, not the virgin.

              In other words, what you have here is a good ‘ol fashioned shotgun wedding.

            • Kevin R. Cross

              1: On the moral basis of basic ethics. That a human being has rights, and value, and that to end one’s life without good reason is crime. One need not be a god to condemn (or praise) another’s action – merely a thinking human being.

              3: I had, if you will, an epiphany. I was reading a book on astronomy (a long term fascination of mine) and I found myself considering scale. I undertook a thought experiment – just how much of the universe could my mind encompass? How great an understanding did I have of the size of the universe, the distances involved.
              I first sought to comprehend the size of the Earth. This is harder than it sounds! But from there, I sought the size, in terms I comprehended, the distance to the moon. Holding that firmly in my mind, I sought to extend that observation to the planets. Making the leap to the nearby stars was all but beyond me…until, in a single, blinding flash, I comprehened, I think, the scale of our galaxy.
              My mind could not contain the construct, and it was gone. But I remember thinking, in that moment how small everything of man truly was. And of what little use the god of the bible was in understanding the true greatness of things – that he was small, petty, and ultimately, unimportant.
              Of course, that was only the beginning of a long journey. I re-read my Bible – and it was with new eyes. Without the rose-coloured glasses of belief I saw the monster behind the mask – a “god” of pain and suffering and evil, whose “miracles” suddenly seemed petty and weak. I searched other faiths – I have read the Qu’ran, the Bagavad-Gita, the Tao Te Ching. I found some wisdom in the latter, but no reason for faith. Eventually, I found the term “atheist” best described myself, and I seek always to be honest to myself. I don’t know if that helps, but it is the answer I have.
              4: I could accept that, but for the surrounding verses, which make it clear that the execution of the man only applies IF the maiden was betrothed. The sequence is: If the woman id betrothed, and lies with a man in the city, they are both executed, as it is assumed she consented (did not scream). If she is betrothed and lies with a man in the country, only the man is executed (as she may have screamed, but no one heard). If she is not betrothed, the man must pay fifty shekels of silver, marry her, and my not divorce her.
              The terminologyis somewhat ambiguous as to whether they’re talking about rape (at least in the King James, which I’m using primarily as it’s the one I have in the house), and doesn’t seem to make a distinction between rape and pre-marital sex. But from my reading of it, the problem isn’t the rape, it’s the use of another’s property that carries the death penalty.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              i. If, then, morality is just a human convention, then why should we act morally, especially when it conflicts with self-interest? Or are we in some way held accountable for our moral decisions and actions?

              More particularly, what is the basis for the value of human beings? If God does not exist, then it is difficult to see any reason to think that human beings are special or that their morality is objectively true. Withal, why think that we have any moral obligations to do anything? Who or what imposes any moral duties upon us?

              After all, what is so special about human beings? Per your Atheism, we are just accidental by-products of nature which have evolved relatively recently on an infinitesimal speck of dust lost somewhere in a hostile and mindless universe and which are doomed to perish individually and collectively in a relatively short time.

              iii. Fascinating. If I may, why do you hold God responsible for all the pain, suffering and evil in the world instead of those responsible?

              iv. I kindly suggest, then, that you employ a more accurate rendering of the ancient Hebrew, Aramaic and Koine Scriptures.

            • Kevin R. Cross

              1: Because we can logically assemble a moral code that is fair, equitable, and reasonable to all; and because enlightened self interest shows us that supporting a moral code that is protective of us and others provides the greatest possibility of personal positive outcomes. A morality that is constructive rather than prescriptive not only grants all involved maximum freedom but also a maximum pro-self drive, making self interest serve, rather than oppose, the moral structure.
              As to who imposes moral structure upon us, first, an imposed structure is less than ideal, but I will accept that a purely opt-in structure has it’s flaws also. The most common basis for morality amongst Atheists is simply empathy and society – to care for others, and to care for the culture we live in. Many simply use the golden rule – do as you would be done by. It does not matter if such is an objective truth or a subjective one, only that we make an enlightened and informed choice.
              And I see very little special about human beings. The one thing that makes us stand out amoingst the life on earth is our intellect, our ability to problem solve, to view and understand the past and anticipate the future. That appears to be quite rare in this universe, and rarity makes it precious. We are small and weak, and could be destroyed in any number of ways (an unfortunate number of them human made), but we have the power, through the synergy of mind and hand and those things we create, to chnage everything…even ourselves.

              3: I don’t hold god responsible for anything – I don’t believe he exists. The evils perpetrated by human beings are the responsibility of those human beings, them and them alone.
              IF god was proven to exist, I would hold him responsible for some things. The things he has done, the things he has not done, and those things done in his name.
              The things he has done: numerous instances of ordering his followers to war, acts of genocide and mass murder, not to mentionhis own multiple homicides.
              The things he has not done: prevented human suffering on a tremendous scale. If he actually existed god would be responsible for the worm that causes River Blindness, the Malarial parasite, the Yersinia Pestis microbe – I could go on. Also, for all the many, many children born deformed, disfigured, maimed. He would have the power to prevent all that – and power conveys responsibility. I would at the least demand an accounting.
              That done in His name: Human being are capable of drastic evil, and no god is responsible for that – it would be like holding a King responsible for the actions of all of his subjects. Even if god existed, I would not hold him accountable for the actions of the Nazis, or serial killers, or nations. But when an act is done in your name, a responsibility falls upon you. If someone were to murder another in my name, it would be on me to deny and denounce that act.
              In the history of humankind, more foulness has been done by man to man in God’s name than for any other reason or cause. I do not blame god for this, and would not even if he existed. But I do hold him accountable for his silence – that he has never been willing to simply say :”I do not support this.”
              4: Do you have any particular translations or translators your would promote?

            • Joseph O Polanco

              i. It appears you missed the thrust of my rejoinder. Let’s try one more thing … If the Neo-Nazis were to attain world domination and exterminated everyone who thought racism was wrong, would that suddenly make racism and bigotry moral?

              iii. What evidence for his nonexistence led you to conclude he does not nor cannot exist?

              iv. English Revised Version

              New World Translation

              New International Version (©1984)

              New Living Translation (©2007)

              English Standard Version (©2001)

              GOD’S WORD Translation (©1995)

              Bible in Basic English

            • Kevin R. Cross

              1: By their lights, it would.

              3: Not evidence against, but a lack of evidence for. There is no evidence for his existence. He is spoken of in one source: the biblical texts – everything else in Christian thought derives from these. And they’re wrong – over and over the “events” of the Bible have ben shown never to have happened. There was no Great Flood, there was no captivity, and of the numerous historians who have chronicalled the period 10BC to 50AD only one mentions anything about a Jesus of Nazareth – and it’s pretty clear that the one that does is a later insert by another hand.
              Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, it is true, but when every major event of the universe, with the sole exception of it’s actual creation, is understood and explainable by mundane means, of what use is god? And which god? There is equal evidence for Krishna as for Jehovah as for Allah as for Odin. And as far as numbers go, there are more Hindus than Christians. Occam’s Razor comes into play – the simplest solution is probably the best one. If there is no need for gods, there probably aren’t any.
              4: Thank you.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              i. I don’t follow. Please elaborate.

              iii. Are you familiar with Godel’s Second Incompleteness Theorem?

              iv. You’re most welcome :)

            • Kevin R. Cross

              1: If Nazis, neo or otherwise, took over and wiped out everyone, or just took over, they would believe that racism and bigotry are moral. But then, they believe that NOW. I, and you, and pretty much everyone else disagrees.
              The thing is, even if they wiped out all their “enemies”, I find it unlikely in the extreme that they could eliminate all of the literature, monuments, history of other ideas. And that means the idea of other ideologies and morals would survive. And since modern morals aren’t based on what one person said, or one god determined, but on logical and sound principles, they could even be rediscovered. So, for a time, it would seem that the neo-nazi philosophy had strangled out other morality, in actuality, this too shall pass.
              3: I have not encountered it, no. I shall look it up.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              So, if I understand you correctly, you’re saying that racism and bigotry would still be immoral even if Neo-Nazis ruled the world and wiped out everyone who disagreed, correct?

            • Kevin R. Cross

              No, not exactly. I’m saying that killing a person doesn’t kill an idea. Neo-Nazis could kill every human being that disagrees with them, but that only means their ideas have “won” until someone came along and either reasoned or inuited a different moral code. No moral code can ever “win” – it will always be challenged by newer or different ways of thinking.
              No one ever believes they are the bad guy. They either accept that they are violating their moral code, but have a good reason for doing so, or they have a moral code that allows for what they are doing. A society survives by putting boundaries on what moral codes are acceptable to practice.
              Historically, tighter, more restrictive moral codes have proven less able to withstand internal and external stresses, while broader, more inclusive codes have greater flexibility.
              In your example, the Neo-Nazis would indeed have the power to define what is “right and proper”. But given the combination of their inflexibility and basic irrationality, I would not believe that their “moral rule” would last.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              So you’re saying racism and bigotry would not be immoral in this reality?

            • Kevin R. Cross

              Not by the standards of those in it. That doesn’t change our opinions.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              But anyone and everyone who opined otherwise would be dead leaving only those who agreed that racism and bigotry are perfectly moral. In this scenario, would their claim be true or false?

            • Kevin R. Cross

              I hesitate to say either. I’m not trying to duck the question – but in my view, a moral code is a choice made by individuals. But I would say that the culture they would create would view such things as moral, yes.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              This would seem to indicate that, therefore, you’re not a bigot and a racist is because most of society isn’t. Is this the case?

            • Kevin R. Cross

              No, I don’t think so. Had I been born and raised in the white American society of the first half of the twentieth century I would have been born and raised in a culture in which racism and bigotry were, indeed, the norm. But my moral code does not rely upon the society in which I dwell – if it did, I would have a moral obligation towards God, as the majority of people do in the society I was raised in.
              That is not to say I’m not influenced by the society I live in – that would be impossible. But my basic moral code is based on logical relationships of human interaction and care for individuals as such. In the circumstance you postulate, I much more strongly believe I’d end up dead.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Thus pointing to the reality of objective moral values and duties. To put it another way:

              (1) If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist.
              (2) Evil exists.
              (3) Therefore, objective moral values and duties do exist.
              (4) Therefore, God exists.
              (5) Therefore, God is the locus of all objective moral values and duties.

              That is to say, as Dostoevsky once mused, “If there is no God, everything is permitted.”

            • Kevin R. Cross

              The Argument from Morality has always seemed a weak one to me, because I disagree with the initial postulate. Since a moral code, such as the one I profess, can be discerned from logical inference and stated positions, it can be seen to objectively exist once stated – it exists within and of itself, rather than existing only in the mind of a human being.

              Also, even if one assumes the postulate, ANY god will do.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Allow me, then, to put that to the test. Is the murder of the unborn objectively moral or immoral? Why?/Why not?

            • Kevin R. Cross

              I consider it objectively moral, on the consideration of rights of the individual, and particularly the concept of bodily sanctity.
              I do not question the idea that a pre-birth human is alive. I do not hold with life beginning at conception – a small mass of cells is NOT a human being – but at some point, and likely quite early, the traits and qualities that describe a human being do appear. Wiser people than I have failed to come to a consensus of when this occurs, and I choose not to commit the folly of trying – indeed, I suspect that the process is too gradual for such a cut and dried decision to ever be made.
              However, at least for me, the point becomes moot once you accept the base premise of two individuals. Neither has any intrinsic duty towards the other (socially, that’s another question, and emotionally, but I’m just speaking of basic relationships here). The foetus is in the unfortunate position of relying upon the mother for all physical needs – a reliance that the mother made absolutely no decision to or acceptance of responsibility for. There is no contract, implied or defined, between the two. And thus it is perfectly moral for a woman to choose to revoke any and all rights to the use of her body by another individual – a decision she, and she alone, has the right to make.
              Now a common counterargument is that a person does have a responsibility under law in many jurusdictions to provide aid and support to others within limits in order to save life, and the revocation of rights by the mother will kill the foetus. This is true, but misses two important points – first, such responsibilities are NOT universal, and do not exist in many other jurusdictions. Second, even in those jurusdictions where it does, one is NEVER required to risk ones OWN life and health in pursuit of the saving of another – one may, of course, but it is never required (save in the case of trained, on duty rescue workers – who nevertheless do their work volutarily also). The process of pregnancy and birth is NOT without such risk. One in ten pregnancies have some degree of complications. Without modern medical intervention, the risk of death in childbirth to a woman is apallingly high – and even with modern intervention, unpleasently so.
              Were another option available, such as transfer to an artificial womb, I would support that as a superior course of action. But until or unless that becomes available, I must support abortion as the most moral (or perhaps, least immoral of the possible choices).

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Let’s keep going then. Please show me how the rights of the individual and the concept of bodily sanctity are objective moral truths, not arbitrary opinions.

            • Kevin R. Cross

              I will, but not immdiately, as I have work today. I will reply tomorrow at the latest.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              I look forward to it! :)

            • Kevin R. Cross

              The concepts of Bodily Sanctity and Individual Rights are, respectively, secondary and primary derivatives of the interaction between Enlightened Self Interest and Logic. I believe that you will agree with me that the tools of logic and logical analysis are indeed objective. Thus, I will primarily put forward my argument that Enlightened Self Interest is also.
              Human beings want certain things. Some are merely confined to the individual, but some are universal desires – all humans have the basic desire for self continuation, for instance. Both the US and French attempted to codify this with basic slogans – “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness,” “Liberte, Fraternite, Egalite”. However, the universality of those concepts can be argued, and the adding of others as universal can be put forwards. Ultimately, the only true constant seems to be people’s desire to live on their own terms and by their own beliefs. A merely self-interested person might support a system that gives him that freedom but denies it to others; but once the step is taken to enlightened self interest – a simple understanding that one may not be the top dog forever is often enough – then that position demands that ALL people have such freedom, simply to ensure that the individual himself receive such. A good example of this is the so-called “Wall of Separation” between government and religion in the US governmental system – the enlightened position is that this is best for all religions and religious people, since it ensures religious liberty for ALL. Indeed, the only arguyment against this proposition I’ve seen is from people who desire to deny liberty to others, and do not realise that it could be turned around to deny them such liberty. But I digress.
              In order for all people to be free to live as they choose, certain curtailments are necessary. Where one person’s liberty would impinge on another’s, a ruling must be made. The logical and equitable one is that one person may do as they like up to and until it directly impacts the liberty of another – “Your right to throw a punch ends at my nose.”
              From this, logically, we can derive certain moral truths. The rights of the individual is a codification of the desire for liberty inherent in the human condition. Bodily Sanctity is a derivation of this – a human cannot be free if his physical corpus is subject to outside interference and confiscation. This is especially important in the modern era of organ transplantation, when the right to refuse to donate must be equally respected as the right to do so. Likewise, the emergent moral argument over self-termination must be, eventually, decided in favour of allowance – logically, a human being must own himself to be free, and thus be allowed to end his or her life at any time of their choosing.
              My evidence for this concept being universal and thus objective (that is, independent of any singular system of thought or belief) is it’s emergence and reemergence throughout history in a fundamentally unchanged form. The Golden Rule, or Ethic of Reciprocity, dates at least from Ancient Babylon, and likely earlier, and has reappeared in whole or in part in virtually EVERY religious, legal and philosophical treatise or conjecture made by human beings (or, supposedly, gods). It even appears in certain historical treatises of the Aztecs and Incas* despite these civilizations never having any real contact with the Old World philosophies prior to the European invasions. There is very little that we can point to as universally human – but this, I submit, is one of them.

              *This is according to SOME translations. Given the paucity of written forms remaining among those civilizations, the danger of misunderstanding remains great.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Problem is, logic is not the ultimate arbiter of truth. Quantum Mechanics is ample proof of this.

            • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

              That’s why the cosmological argument fails!

            • Kevin R. Cross

              Quite so. Logic has the same failing as any method of analysis: GIGO, Garbage in, Garbage out. Which is why you must be very careful of the postulates you initially use. Quantum Mechanics does not seem to be actually illogical, but it is certainly counterintuitive, and I don’t think we have all of the postulates down yet – let alone the outcomes!

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Btw, what did your research into Godel’s Second Incompleteness Theorem turn up?

            • Kevin R. Cross

              An interesting mathematical premise. I lack the mathematical background to truly understand all of the implications (my field of expertise is history), but the idea that any argument that uses itself as a referent is by definition inconsistent is appealing. However, Both Godel himself and his explainers make it clear that both of his Incompleteness Theora apply only to formal mathematical proofs, not to other areas.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Really? For instance, the principle of induction cannot be scientifically justified. Trying to provide a good inductive argument for radical positivism is hopeless since it necessarily begs the question by presupposing the validity of inductive reasoning in the first place!

              Even more fatal is that radical positivism is self-refuting. At its heart, this pernicious philosophy tells us that we should not accept any proposition that cannot be scientifically proven. But what about that very premise? It cannot itself be scientifically tested much less corroborated. Therefore we should not believe it. Radical Positivism thus asphyxiates itself.

              Or, as Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem revealed, ‘Whatsoever can be bounded cannot explain itself without referring to that which is without itself – some postulate whose certainty is unobtainable.’

              This is what renowned Physicist and Mathematician James Clerk Maxwell alluded to when he concluded, “Science is incompetent to reason upon the creation of matter itself out of nothing. We have reached the utmost limit of our thinking faculties when we have admitted that because matter cannot be eternal and self-existent it must have been created.”

            • Kevin R. Cross

              I actually largely agree with you on radical positivism, which has always seemed to me too restrictive a philosophy for the universe we live in. However, I would strongly caution against the use of purely mathematical premises in the real world. The perfect example of where this goes wrong is not even high schoool, but GRADE school math – “The whole is equal to the sum of it’s parts”.
              In mathematics, this is obviously true, and the basis for virtually all basic calculus. In the real world, it is arrant nonsense. If you have all of the parts of a car, you can’t go anywhere in it unless someone inputs the labour to put it together – making it, mathematically, A=A+B, where both A and B are real numbers! Worse, if you have all of the PARTS of a human being, not only do you not have a human being, you can’t get there from here – A does not equal A!
              As to Maxwell, and noting that I hold the man in the utmost regard as one of the true founders of modern physics, his knowledge was product of his time. He was one of the giants upon whose shoulders Gold and Bondi stood when they proposed the Steady State Theory, and when Hubble and company proposed the Big Bang Theory – both of which reach beyond Maxwell’s “utmost limit”. What is unthinkable in one generation becomes eagerly consumed fodder for the next – such is often the way in science.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              You make some very valid points. I’m curious though, how does this change the fact that science can never explain why the universe came to exist in the first place?

            • Nox

              Why do you assume that science can never explain how the universe came to exist in the first place?

              Questions of how the universe operates (including the origin of the universe) are scientific questions.

              It is still a matter for further research, but we do already have far more likely explanations than the story in Genesis where god creates a flat earth out of nothing (and then creates the rest of the universe three days later) (and places all the stars inside Earth’s atmosphere).

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Strawman. Try again.

            • Nox

              Joe: “How does this change the fact that science can never explain why the universe came to exist in the first place?”

              Nox: “Why do you assume that science can never explain how the universe came to exist in the first place?”

              Joe: “Strawman”

              Nox: “Those were literally your exact words from five minutes ago.”

            • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

              Joseph isn’t interested in having a real debate. He’s just copying and pasting his responses from William Lane Craig’s writings. And whenever he’s cornered, he’ll claim you made a strawman or he’ll pretend you weren’t clear. That’s what being a Christian forces you to do.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Then you don’t know how to read …

            • Kevin R. Cross

              It doesn’t. But a further question is, why does there need to be a why? Reality does not need a reason – that is a human conceit, and the universe does not care.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Because everything else has a “why”; everything else has an objective purpose. This is at the very core of rational thought.

              To borrow from an illustration by Richard Taylor, “Imagine you are walking through the woods on a hike and you come across a translucent ball lying on the forest floor. You would naturally wonder where that ball came from – what is the explanation of its existence? If your hiking buddy said to you, “Don’t worry about it – it just exists, inexplicably!,” you would think either that he was crazy or that he wanted you to keep on moving. But you wouldn’t take seriously the idea that this ball just exists without any explanation of its existence. Now suppose that the ball, instead of being the size of a basketball, were the size of an automobile. Merely increasing the size of the ball would not do anything to remove or satisfy the demand for an explanation of its existence, would it? Suppose it were the size of a house? Same problem! Suppose it were the size of a planet or a galaxy? Same problem! Suppose it were the size of the entire universe? Same problem! Merely increasing the size of the object does not do anything to remove or satisfy the demand for an explanation of its existence. And so I think it is very plausible to think that everything that exists has an explanation of why it exists.” (http://bit.ly/Pm4s92)

              “If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning.” -C.S. Lewis

            • Kevin R. Cross

              I would not, in general, agree that everything has a rational purpose. Most things constructed by human beings, yes, that I’ll accept – but you still have a subset of things that were not, such as those items made by the unfortunately insane (though an argument could be made, I suppose, that they were created to irrational purpose).
              But what is the purpose of a tree? To a Tawny Frogmouth, a kind of bird, it is a place for a hole in which to build a nest. To a Leafcutter Ant, it is a source of usable matter to grow fungus on. To a philosopher, a source of shade in which to consider (and perhaps get bonked by an apple). The tree might consider itself a factory for making seeds, and thus more trees. But the reality is that all of these are simply uses of the tree – it exists, and the only real reason for it to exist is to continue existing.
              The universe appears at first an artifact, a creation of intelligence. But physics and chemistry show us laws of motion, laws of bonding, laws of gravity – rules by which the universe can have come into being that require no intelligence at the helm. There is, as always, the question of First Cause – in the currently accepted cosmology, the event that initiated the Big Bang. This remains a mystery. If there was a creator, it is there that it acted. But we have no evidence for or against that surmise.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Thing is, the laws of the universe are merely descriptive, not prescriptive so, in effect, you’re not answering anything but merely punting the question further down.

              With this in mind, consider the following:

              Definitions
              D1. All matter, energy, space, time and natural forces are bottom up phenomena that constitute the universe in its entirety.
              D2. All phenomena in the universe subject to its natural laws have a naturalistic explanation.
              D3. God is a living being who is spaceless, timeless, immaterial, not a force and not energy. (Per: http://bit.ly/1197U6R)
              D4 Information is that which is conveyed or represented by a particular arrangement or sequence that produces a specific effect.

              Axiom
              A1. By D4, information is not matter, energy, space, time, or a natural force.

              Theorems
              T1. Therefore, information is immaterial.
              T2. By T1 and D1, information is not of the universe.
              T3. By T2 information originated outside the universe. (cf. Godel’s Second Incompleteness Theorem)
              T4. By T2 and T3, information is a top down phenomena.
              T5. By D2, the origins of information do not have a naturalistic explanation.

              Axiom
              A2. By D3 and D1, God is not of the universe.

              Theorems
              T6. Therefore, God is a being who exists outside the universe.
              T7. By T2, T3 and T6, information originated with God.

            • Kevin R. Cross

              The problem is, the General Theory of Relativity disagrees with your Axiom A.1.
              The largely simplified version of this theory is that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light, and for most purposes that’s enough. But what the Theory ACTUALLY says, in layman’s terms (which is what I know of it – I can’t follow the math) is that no information can be transmitted faster than the speed of light. Certain naturally occuring processes have been observed that may, in fact, impinge on the C barrier – but invariably, these have been processes that carry no information.
              You have heard, I don’t doubt, the term “the medium is the message”. It’s usually invoked in arts or media connotation for unusually subtle or misunderstandable works, but in fact it is literally true. Information does not exist without a medium – even if that medium is the chemo-electric patterns in our brains or the pattern of magnetic force on a hard drive. Information is not immaterial – while it can be readily and easily transferred between media, it must always exist within one, or cease to be.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Hang on a sec, didn’t you say your field of expertise was history?

            • Kevin R. Cross

              It is. But to be a good historian (as I try to be) one must have a basic grounding in all sciences and arts – and in the modern world, that most assurely includes at least a good layman’s understanding of theoretical physics. What is esotrica for most people directly impacts my chosen profession – after all, how can I speak authortatively about the work of the Manhattan Project without learning the implications of E=MC^2, or the influence of Ayn Rand without comprehending the ideology of Objectivism? General Relativity changed everything about how physicists view the universe. We’ve been reaping the benefits ever since.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Thing is, theories are made to be torn down and replaced by better explanations. Since General Relativity (GR) remains irreconcilable with Quantum Mechanics a new and more accurate description of reality is being sought.

              So, if A1 truly is inconsistent with GR it wouldn’t at all be surprising. Doesn’t necessarily mean it’s false though. Unless you have evidence to that effect. Do you?

            • Kevin R. Cross

              If I did I would be the toast of the Physics community! :)
              However, while we know that our understanding of the physical world is imperfect, no data has yet come forth that actually obviates either GR, SR (Special Relativity) or QM. It is equally likely that they are in fact reconcilable in some manner that we haven’t yet determined.
              Without drastic and dramatic evidence, I would be at best extremely reluctant to accept any hypothesis that relied upon GR being inaccurate to any great degree.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              QM is evidence that GR is flawed.

            • Kevin R. Cross

              No, our failure to unify QM and GR has several possible causes – General realtivity is flawed, OR Quantum Mechanics is flawed, OR both are flawed, OR neither are flawed but our understanding of them is insufficient to allow us, as yet, to reconcile them. Withoit greater evidence, I should not choose to make a decision as to which of those options was even the most likely.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              And so, I would think, it should also make you amenable to positions that don’t fit nicely with either. After all, we are awaiting their exchange with a new understanding that accurately reflects reality, yes?

            • Kevin R. Cross

              Apologies for how long it has taken for me to get back to this – life has not been kind to my free time the past few days.
              In answer, I am indeed open to unusual and even unlikely options. However, These options ned to be grounded in observable reality. Just as we still use Newtonian physics for most everyday needs, we will continue to use General Relativity where it makes sense to do so. I cannot prove GR accurate – but you cannot prove it isn’t, and it conforms to our current understanding of reality. That said, I am willing to accept a violation of it, if the evidence for this violation is sufficiently clear and unambiguous.

            • Guest

              Because everything else has a “why”; everything else has an objective purpose. This is at the very core of rational thought. To borrow from an illustration by Richard Taylor, [url=http://bit.ly/Pm4s92]Imagine you are walking through the woods on a hike and you come across a translucent ball lying on the forest floor. You would naturally wonder where that ball came from – what is the explanation of its existence? If your hiking buddy said to you, “Don’t worry about it – it just exists, inexplicably!,” you would think either that he was crazy or that he wanted you to keep on moving. But you wouldn’t take seriously the idea that this ball just exists without any explanation of its existence. Now suppose that the ball, instead of being the size of a basketball, were the size of an automobile. Merely increasing the size of the ball would not do anything to remove or satisfy the demand for an explanation of its existence, would it? Suppose it were the size of a house? Same problem! Suppose it were the size of a planet or a galaxy? Same problem! Suppose it were the size of the entire universe? Same problem! Merely increasing the size of the object does not do anything to remove or satisfy the demand for an explanation of its existence. And so I think it is very plausible to think that everything that exists has an explanation of why it exists.[/url]

              “If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning.” -C.S. Lewis

  • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

    This brings up many issues. First, under divine command theory, if something is morally wrong, such as the killing of children or defenseless women, and it becomes morally right if god commands it, then you are taking the first horn of the Euthyphro dilemma that asks, “Is something morally good because God commands it, or does God command it because it is morally good?” In other words, a theist would have to agree that something is good because god commands it. It doesn’t help to try and weasel their way out of the Euthyphro by saying “God is good.” The Canaanite conquest illustrates why that is not a valid circumvention of the dilemma, because the theist will have to admit that the conquest would have been wrong if god didn’t command it, and so the only thing making it morally right, is god’s command.

    Second, if god being perfect love and justice can allow for the wholesale slaughter of unarmed women and children, I’d hate to see what imperfect love and justice is like. The theist thinks that whatever god does is perfect by definition. How can anyone then say god is good, if he can do whatever he wants? It seems to me that the word “good” becomes meaningless to describe god if you say that he can also do whatever he wants. I mean, what limitations would there be on god that his “perfectly just and loving” nature prevents him from doing, if genocide gets a pass?

    It shows how inept divine command theory is as an ethical theory.

  • Joseph O Polanco

    Where does God institute slavery?

    • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

      Have you read the bible?

      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)

      Ephesians 6:5

      “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear.”

      1 Peter 2:18

      “Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh.”

      Titus 2:9

      “Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them,”

      • Joseph O Polanco

        Again, on what objective moral basis do you dare condemn anyone’s moral values? Who made you God?

        • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

          So you’re saying human slavery is a good thing in Christianity? I need to know before I decide to convert.

          • Joseph O Polanco

            I’ve never made such a claim.

            • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

              Ok, so before I can convert, I need to know that god disapproves of human slavery in all circumstances. So please explain to me the following verses:

              EX 21:7-11 — A father can sell a daughter into slavery to pay a debt. A daughter sold into slavery is not released at the end of six years as is an ordinary male slave.

              LE 25:44-46, DT 15:17, EP 6:5, CN 3:22, TS 2:9, 1PE 2:18 —Slavery is an everlasting institution. Slaves are to obey their masters in everything. In case you forget what they say:

              Ephesians 6:5

              “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear.”

              1 Peter 2:18

              “Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh.”

              Titus 2:9

              “Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them,”

              Leviticus 25:44-46

              “‘Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property. You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly.”

            • Joseph O Polanco

              As I already taught you, Micah 4 points to a time when slavery, along with all human suffering, will be no more.

              Until the, man will continue to suffer the consequences of his choice to live sundered from God.

            • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

              But apparently until then, your lord god thinks slavery in the mean time is perfectly OK. In other words, god is for increased human suffering endured under slavery, when he could have abolished it with a simple command.

              “Until the, man will continue to suffer the consequences of his choice to live sundered from God.”

              So man is wrong for abolishing slavery? We should live according to the divine will and reinstate slavery according to LE 25:44-46, DT 15:17, EP 6:5, CN 3:22, TS 2:9, 1PE 2:18 ????? Will that increase or decrease man’s suffering?

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Again, why would God give the impression that rebelling against him is not without consequence? If you’re looking for someone to blame for the state of the world point your finger at Satan the Devil, Adam, Eve … and yourself.

            • Nox

              Even granting the simplistic view that all problems come from one person eating a piece of fruit thousands of years ago, how could that be the fault of any currently living person?

              And that is leaving aside the questions of who put the tree in the garden in the first place and why there is anything sinful about gaining knowledge.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Who said it was?

            • Nox

              It was you who said that, but I could see how the confusion isn’t your fault this time since Disqus placed my comment in a completely random place.

              “Even granting the simplistic view that all problems come from one person eating a piece of fruit thousands of years ago, how could that be the fault of any currently living person?” was supposed to be a reply to “If you’re looking for someone to blame for the state of the world point your finger at Satan the Devil, Adam, Eve … and yourself.”

              Can a person be guilty of something someone else did before they were born?

              And side question for those who believe in original sin; are all people born guilty of something someone else did before they were born?

            • Joseph O Polanco

              i. Nope.

              ii. Not at all. But that’s not what Adamic sin is: http://bit.ly/1a5IGl7

            • Nox

              That is the fifth time you’ve cited a Watchtower source as authoritative.

              Are you trying to argue for the version of christianity promoted by jehovah’s witnesses?

              We can talk about that if you like, but it is something that needs to be clearly stated. JW doctrine is after all, a very different set of propositions than what is generally meant by “christianity”.

              II.

              Even if you don’t believe everyone who isn’t in some book is going to be sent to hell for the sin of Adam, you do keep saying that the reason these things happen is because we all chose to rebel against god.

              What choice are you referring to? Who made that choice?

            • Joseph O Polanco

              i. Argumentum ignoratio elenchi. The Bible is the authoritative source being employed.

              ii. We must all reap what we sow. For instance, it’s a pretty safe bet AIDS would not even exist much less spread to pandemic proportions if everyone sedulously followed God’s moral laws.

            • Nox

              I’m just trying to get a clear picture of what proposition you are arguing for here.

              And if I was trying to tie the credibility of your statements here with whether you are a JW, that would have been a good time to use the words “ad hom” if you knew what they meant. It would be ignoratio elenchi if I failed to address the issue in question.

              Since you offered no argument beyond that link, and that link offered no argument beyond the leaders of the Watchtower Organization said so, your source is exactly the issue in question.

              You can hardly claim the bible as your authoritative source for ripping pages out of the bible. The source you have been employing against the bible is a set of entirely unjustified alternative translations written for the sole purpose of shoehorning JW doctrine into the bible.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              It most certainly is ignoratio elenchi because it does not address the issue, to wit, your misapprehension of Adamic sin and its implications. Do try and stay on topic kiddo.

            • Nox

              Which implications of which version of Adam’s sin? The Torah’s version, Paul’s version, Augustine’s version or the JW version?

              This is why the JW thing is relevant. Because the different versions of this doctrine have different implications.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              The Bible’s version, to wit:

              “That is why, just as through one man sin entered into the world and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men because they had all sinned.” -Romans 5:12

              “Who can produce someone clean out of someone unclean?
              There is not one.” -Job 14:4

              “Look! With error I was brought forth []
              And in sin my mother conceived me.” -Psalm 51:5 (Bracket mine.)

              “For there is no man righteous in the earth that keeps doing good and does not sin.” -Ecclesiastes 7:20

            • Nox

              Counting both Genesis and Romans as canon, there is more than one version in the bible (when people refer to “the Torah” they are talking about the first five books of the old testament).

              Judging by the verses you employed to portray “the bible’s version” as biblical, you seem to have gone with Paul’s version (those other verses do not refer to Adam). The words you quoted there were “That is why, just as through one man sin entered into the world and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men because they had all sinned.”

              What Paul is saying there is that everyone had committed the sin of Adam.

              When I asked you if all people were born guilty of something someone else did before they were born you said no and insisted this is not what “Adamic sin” was.

              Has your answer changed?

            • Joseph O Polanco

              They do, nonetheless, refer to Adam’s sin and the consequence it had for his offspring, of which the most ghastly is death.

            • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

              Argumentum assertio. Prove Adam and Eve actually existed.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Happily! First, let us review the key elements in the account of the creation of the first man. Regarding Adam, the Bible says: “Jehovah God proceeded to form the man out of dust from the ground and to blow into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man came to be a living soul.” (Genesis 2:7) Is this statement scientifically credible?

              Robert A. Freitas’ work “Nanomedicine” states that the human body is made up of 41 chemical elements. These basic elements—carbon, iron, oxygen, and others—are all present in the “dust” of the earth. Thus, as Genesis states, humans truly are formed “out of dust from the ground.”

              How did those lifeless building blocks come together to form a living human? To illustrate the enormity of the challenge, consider the NASA space shuttle, one of the most complex machines ever devised. This technological marvel contains a staggering 2.5 million parts. It took teams of engineers years to design and put it together. Now consider the human body. It is made up of some 7 octillion atoms, 100 trillion cells, dozens of organs, and at least 9 major organ systems. How did this biological machine of mind-boggling complexity and superb structure come to be? By blind chance or as the denouement of an ordered mind?

              Moreover, what makes humans live? Where does the spark of life come from? Scientists confess that they do not know. In fact, they cannot even agree on an acceptable definition of life. To those who accept the idea of a Creator, the conclusion is obvious. The Source, of course, is God.

              What of the description in Genesis that Eve was fashioned from Adam’s rib? (Genesis 2:21-23) Before dismissing the account as myth or fantasy, consider the following facts: In January 2008, scientists in California, U.S.A., produced the world’s first mature cloned human embryos from adult skin cells. In fact, using similar techniques, scientists have cloned at least 20 animals. The most famous of these, Dolly the sheep, was cloned in 1996 from the mammary gland of an adult sheep.

              What will come of such experiments remains to be seen. But the point is this: If humans can use biological material from one organism to produce another one of its kind, could not the almighty Creator fashion a human from existing biological material of another human? Interestingly, surgeons routinely use the rib bone in reconstructive surgery because of its ability to regrow and replace itself.

              Consider now the Jewish ancestral lists recorded in the Bible book of First Chronicles chapters 1 to 9 and in the Gospel of Luke chapter 3. These remarkably detailed genealogical records span 48 and 75 generations respectively. Luke traces the genealogy of Jesus Christ, while Chronicles records the royal and priestly ancestral lines for the nation of Israel. Both lists include the names of such well-known figures as Solomon, David, Jacob, Isaac, Abraham, Noah, and finally Adam. All the names in the two lists represent real people, and Adam was the original real person on each list.

              In addition, again and again the Bible presents Adam and Eve as real human beings, not as mythical characters. Here are some examples:

              • “[God] made out of one man every nation of men.”—ACTS 17:26.
              • “Through one man sin entered into the world and death through sin, and thus . . . death ruled as king from Adam down to Moses.”—ROMANS 5:12, 14.

              • “The first man Adam became a living soul.”—1 CORINTHIANS 15:45.
              • “Adam was formed first, then Eve.”—1 TIMOTHY 2:13.
              • “The seventh one in line from Adam, Enoch, prophesied also regarding [the wicked].”—JUDE 14.

              More important, Jesus Christ, the most credible witness in the Bible, acknowledged the existence of Adam and Eve. When challenged on the subject of divorce, Jesus answered: “From the beginning of creation ‘[God] made them male and female. On this account a man will leave his father and mother, and the two will be one flesh’ . . . Therefore what God yoked together let no man put apart.” (Mark 10:6-9) Would Jesus use an allegory to establish a binding legal precedent? No! Jesus quoted Genesis as fact.

              Summing up the scriptural evidence, The New Bible Dictionary concludes: “The New Testament confirms the historicity of the account given in the early chapters of Genesis.”

              http://bit.ly/1b6TzxJ

            • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

              LOL. I knew this would be good.

              Basically you’ve stated an argument from ignorance, and you’ve just asserted the reliability of the bible. You’ve provided no positive evidence that Adam and Eve were two historical people who were the first two human beings. (And no one ever claimed that a full human being randomly assembled from raw material. That’s the most pathetic and ignorant misunderstanding of science I ever heard.)

              Try again buddy.

              “Jesus Christ, the most credible witness in the Bible,” LOL. Argument assertio. Prove it.

              If Adam and Eve lived 6,000 years ago, according to an estimation of the chronology you state in Luke, (which differs from Matthews) then how did we get black people, and Indians, and Chinese people in just 4,000 years?

            • Joseph O Polanco

              i. Over the years, skeptics have challenged— and continue to challenge— the Bible’s accuracy regarding the names of people, events and places it mentions. Time and again, though, evidence has shown such skepticism to be unwarranted. The Bible record, therefore, is wholly factual.

              For example, at one time scholars doubted the existence of Assyrian King Sargon, mentioned at Isaiah 20:1. However, in the 1840’s, archaeologists began unearthing the palace of this king. Now, Sargon is one of the best-known Assyrian kings.

              Critics questioned the existence of Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor who ordered Jesus’death. (Matthew 27:1, 22-24) But in 1961 a stone bearing Pilate’s name and rank was discovered near the city of Caesarea in Israel.

              Before 1993, there was no extra-biblical evidence to support the historicity of David, the brave young shepherd who later became king of Israel. That year, however, archaeologists uncovered in northern Israel a basalt stone, dated to the ninth century B.C.E., that experts say bears the words “House of David” and “king of Israel.”

              Until recently, many scholars doubted the accuracy of the Bible’s account of the nation of Edom battling with Israel in the time of David. (2 Samuel 8:13, 14) Edom, they argued, was a simple pastoral society at the time and did not become sufficiently organized or have the might to threaten Israel until much later. However, recent excavations indicate that “Edom was a complex society centuries earlier [than previously thought], as reflected in the Bible,” states an article in the journal Biblical Archaeology Review.

              There were many rulers on the world stage during the 16 centuries that the Bible was being written. When the Bible refers to a ruler, it always uses the proper title. For example, it correctly refers to Herod Antipas as “district ruler” and Gallio as “proconsul.” (Luke 3:1; Acts 18:12) Ezra 5:6 refers to Tattenai, the governor of the Persian province “beyond the River,” the Euphrates River. A coin produced in the fourth century B.C.E. contains a similar description, identifying the Persian governor Mazaeus as ruler of the province “Beyond the River.”

              Regarding the historical accuracy of the Bible, the October 25, 1999, issue of U.S.News & World Report said: “In extraordinary ways, modern archaeology has affirmed the historical core of the Old and New Testaments— corroborating key portions of the stories of Israel’s patriarchs, the Exodus, the Davidic monarchy, and the life and times of Jesus.” While faith in the Bible does not hinge on archaeological discoveries, such historical accuracy is what you would expect of a book inspired by God.

              Even more staggering, however, is the fact that there’s more historical evidence for the death and resurrection of Christ than there is for evolution. In fact, any denial of the historicity of Christ’s resurrection is comparable to denying the US declared its independence in 1776 or that Columbus landed in America in 1492.

              In his book “The Historicity of the Resurrection of Jesus”, Michael Licona provides a list of scholars who attest to the historicity of Christ’s death and resurrection which includes Brodeur, Collins, Conzelman, Fee, Gundry, Harris, Hayes, Hèring, Hurtado, Johnson, Kistemaker, Lockwood, Martin, Segal, Snyder, Thiselton, Witherington, and Wright.

              Concordantly, British scholar N. T. Wright states, “As a historian, I cannot explain the rise of early Christianity unless Jesus rose again, leaving an empty tomb behind him.” (N. T. Wright, “The New Unimproved Jesus,” Christianity Today (September 13, 1993)), p. 26.

              Even Gert L¸demann, the leading German critic of the resurrection, himself admits, “It may be taken as historically certain that Peter and the disciples had experiences after Jesus’ death in which Jesus appeared to them as the risen Christ.”(Gerd L¸demann, What Really Happened to Jesus?, trans. John Bowden (Louisville, Kent.: Westminster John Knox Press, 1995), p. 80.)

              These are just a minute sampling from the massive throng of scholars who all attest to the historicity of Christ’s resurrection – http://amzn.to/13MQiTE

              Prominently, in his book, “Justifying Historical Descriptions”, historian C. B. McCullagh lists six tests which historians use in determining what is the best explanation for given historical facts. The hypothesis “God raised Jesus from the dead” passes all these tests:

              1. It has great explanatory scope: it explains why the tomb was found empty, why the disciples saw post-mortem appearances of Jesus, and why the Christian faith came into being.

              2. It has great explanatory power: it explains why the body of Jesus was gone, why people repeatedly saw Jesus alive despite his earlier public execution, and so forth.

              3. It is plausible: given the historical context of Jesus’ own unparalleled life and claims, the resurrection serves as divine confirmation of those radical claims.

              4. It is not ad hoc or contrived: it requires only one additional hypothesis: that God exists. And even that needn’t be an additional hypothesis if one already believes that God exists.

              5. It is in accord with accepted beliefs. The hypothesis: “God raised Jesus from the dead” doesn’t in any way conflict with the accepted belief that people don’t rise naturally from the dead. The Christian accepts that belief as wholeheartedly as he accepts the hypothesis that God raised Jesus from the dead.

              6. It far outstrips any of its rival hypotheses in meeting conditions (1)-(5). Down through history various alternative explanations of the facts have been offered, for example, the conspiracy hypothesis, the apparent death hypothesis, the hallucination hypothesis, and so forth. Such hypotheses have been almost universally rejected by contemporary scholarship. None of these naturalistic hypotheses succeeds in meeting the conditions as well as the resurrection solution.

              http://bit.ly/10y5Qfp

              ii. Read “Genes and DNA: A Beginner’s Guide to Genetics and Its Applications” By Charlotte K. Omoto, Paul F. Lurquin

            • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

              LOL. Hahaha. Please don’t tell me you just copied and pasted that from the Watch Tower site: http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/2009321

              And from William Lane Craig.

              Show me extra-biblical evidence that 1-2 million Jews were enslaved in Egypt, that they made an exodus, that they wandered Sinai for 40 years, and that the conquered Canaan in a rapid military conquest. Oh yeah, and that Adam & Eve were real.

              And since we’re copying and pasting, to your 6 points that you plagiarized:

              1. Explanatory scope. The reburial hypothesis explains additional facts besides the report that the tomb was empty over the temporary burial hypothesis. The temporary burial hypothesis explains the prominence of women in the story, the preaching of the resurrection in Jerusalem, Jewish polemic, and the lack of veneration of Jesus’ tomb as a shrine. But the reburial hypothesis also explains these facts. Moreover, the reburial hypothesis explains other facts as well: why a Sanhedrist buried a criminal in his own family tomb; the ultimate disposition of the corpses of the lestai; etc. The reburial hypothesis therefore has greater explanatory scope.

              2. Explanatory power. Both hypotheses confer probability upon the facts they do explain quite strongly. If Jesus had been quickly buried in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea in order to beat the Sabbath, then it is quite probable that detailed Christian reports of the burial would have said so. And if the body was moved after the Sabbath to a criminal’s graveyard, then the other details of the burial, which I discuss in 1.1, were quite probable. Thus, both hypotheses are equal with respect to explanatory power.

              3. Plausibility. Given our background knowledge, it is unlikely that a criminal would have been permanently buried in the family grave of a Sanhedrist. This makes the temporary burial hypothesis implausible and the reburial hypothesis plausible.

              4. Ad hocness. The temporary burial hypothesis requires numerous new suppositions: that a member of the Sanhedrin would be a sympathizer of Jesus, that the Jews would be motivated to bury one executed criminal (Jesus) but not others (the two lestai), that a prominent member of the Sanhedrin would not permanently bury a criminal like Jesus in the criminals’ graveyard, etc. In contrast, the reburial hypothesis requires none of these dubious assumptions.

              5. Disconfirmation. None of the specific evidence disconfirms the temporary burial hypothesis. And although it might seem that the explanation provided in Mark 16:6 is incompatible with the reburial hypothesis, the reburial hypothesis can explain the Markan story of the empty tomb. If Jesus had been reburied, permanently and dishonorably, in the criminals’ graveyard, this would have been embarrassing to early Christians. The author of Mark would want to deny that such a thing had happened to Jesus.

              6. Relative superiority. The reburial hypothesis is clearly superior to the temporary burial hypothesis according to the other criteria. It is plausible; has much greater explanatory scope; it is not ad hoc; and it is not disconfirmed by accepted beliefs. However, the reburial hypothesis does not so far exceed its rivals that there is little chance of a rival hypotheses exceeding it in meeting these conditions. It would not take much specific counter-evidence–such as a first-century Jewish text specifying that criminals like Jesus and the two lestai did not have to be buried in the criminals’ graveyard, combined with an account by Joseph of Arimathea himself stating he was a sympathizer of Jesus–to make the temporary burial hypothesis more acceptable than the reburial hypothesis. But this entails that, according to McCullagh’s methodology, we should suspend judgment on the reburial hypothesis since we lack direct evidence for it.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              i. Argumentum ad lapidem. You’ve done nothing to dispel the arguments presented nor the facts that support them. Try again

              i.b. Argumentum ex silentio. That’s not how rational thought works. Arguments are proven false based on positive evidence of their falsehood not by rhetoric, tautologies, nor by the intelligentsia. Try again.

              ii. The reburial hypothesis fails in light of Matthew 28:11-15. Try again.

            • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

              1. What facts? You’ve yet to state any facts that every single claim in the bible is true, you’ve just asserted them. And one correct detail in the bible does not mean the entirety of the bible is true, it just means that one detail is likely true.

              1b. Not a single piece of evidence supports that part of the biblical narrative. What can asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.

              1c. You made the claim that “modern archaeology has affirmed the historical core of the Old and New Testament” and yet you haven’t backed it up with any evidence. Is a glaring lack of evidence “what you would expect of a book inspired by God”? Nope.

              2. You can’t use the bible to prove the bible. I want extrabiblical accounts. Matthew’s account is obviously full of legendary embellishments. Matthew’s account has the tomb closed, watched by two Roman guards (who are not mentioned in any other account), and an earthquake that occurs as an angel descends from the sky and rolls the door of the tomb away, sits on it and tells Mary and another woman named Mary there that Jesus has risen. No other gospel mentions this and their accounts contradict Matthews.

              So even the bible contradicts your own claim from the bible.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              i. The facts in my rejoinder. I invite you to assay and attempt to directly refute them.

              i.b. Argumentum assertio and a very fatuous one at that given all the evidence I’ve presented you with: http://bit.ly/192WmfR

              i.c. I made no such claim. It was a quote from a 1999 US News and World Report article. Get your head in the game. You’re not helping your cause.

              ii. Right because Dawkins quoting Darwin is just as circular … http://bit.ly/16Dcmy9

              ii.b. What you speciously call contradictions are exactly the kinds of facts you’d expect from independent eyewitness testimonies. This establishes the credibility of these accounts in that no case for collusion can be made. Try again.

            • Nox

              So the fact that the gospels give mutually conflicting details means they are all telling the truth?

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Unless they’re mutually exclusive such distinctions can be accounted for as complementary details inherent to separate eyewitness accounts.

              To illustrate: Matthew 8:5 says that “an army officer came to [Jesus], entreating him” to cure a manservant. At Luke 7:3, we read that the officer “sent forth older men of the Jews to [Jesus] to ask him to come and bring [the] slave safely through.” The officer sent the elders as his representatives. Matthew says that the army officer himself entreated Jesus because the man made his request through the elders, who served as his mouthpiece. This is just one example showing that alleged discrepancies in the Gospels can be resolved.

            • Nox

              The contradiction between those stories isn’t just between the centurion going to see Jesus himself and sending the jewish elders to see him (and no you haven’t resolved that discrepancy either).

              If Luke did say the elders spoke as the centurion (which Luke doesn’t say) we would still have two different answers to ‘did Jesus go to the house where this sick servant was or did he heal him remotely from where he was standing?’.

              In Matthew 8 we read of a centurion who came to see Jesus to request his dying servant be healed. Jesus tells the centurion he will go to his house to heal the servant, but the centurion tells Jesus he is powerful enough to heal his servant from there with just a word. Jesus does this and goes on his way.

              In Luke 7:2-10 we read a slightly different account where the centurion sends the jewish elders to go get Jesus to help his dying servant. They get Jesus and he goes with them to the centurion’s house. When they get there, the centurion sends out some other servants to tell Jesus the house is not worthy to have him inside and to just heal the dying servant from outside. Jesus does this and goes on his way. Neither Mark nor John ever mention anything about this incident.

              And this is not one of the more significant discrepancies. This is just the example Craig chose to use to give the impression that there are not such irreconcilable claims in the four canonical gospels. But there are more and bigger discrepancies than defenders of the faith want to admit to. Nearly every detail of Jesus’ life that is mentioned at all is mentioned in at least two conflicting forms.

              Here’s a few examples. And to keep this concise I’m just going to include the crucifixion and resurrection (since that is theoretically the central moment in the biblical narrative, at least as most christians would see it), and limit this to internal contradictions between the new testament accounts (but if you actually had read the entire bible you would see contradictions by the second chapter of Genesis) (let alone the several places in the gospels where Jesus or the narrator misquote the old testament).

              Did the sign posted on the cross include Jesus’ name?

              Matthew (27:37): “This is Jesus the king of the jews”

              Mark (15:26): “The king of the jews”

              Luke (23:38): “This is the king of the jews”

              John (19:19): “Jesus of Nazareth the king of the jews”

              While these are all reasonably close, no two gospels quite agree on what the accusation on the cross said. But that isn’t the only part of this scene that they disagree on. Almost every detail that is related by the gospel authors appears in at least two contradictory forms.

              Did both the thieves crucified with Jesus revile him, or did one repent on the cross and receive a promise of redemption from Jesus?

              Matthew (27:44): “The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth.”

              Mark (15:32): “They that were crucified with him reviled him.”

              Luke (23:39-43): “One of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.”

              John does not say anything about these 2 men except that they were crucified along with Jesus.

              John (19:18): “Where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst.”

              What was Jesus given to drink, while on the cross?

              Matthew (27:34): “They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink.”

              Mark (15:23): “And they gave him to drink wine mingled with myrrh: but he received it not.”

              Luke (23:36): “And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegar.”

              John (19:29): “there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth.”

              What time of day did the crucifixion occur?

              Matthew (27:45-46): “Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say my god my god why hast thou forsaken me.”

              Mark (15:33): “When the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.”

              Luke (23:44): “And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour.”

              Matthew, Mark, and Luke all have Jesus on the cross at the sixth hour (noon). John has the sundial strike 12 while Jesus is in the judgment hall with Pilate.

              John (19:14): “And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King!”

              What were Jesus’ last words on the cross?

              Matthew (27:46): “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”

              Mark (15:34): “And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”

              Luke (23:46): “And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.”

              John (19:30): “When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.”

              Was Jesus killed by the romans or the jews? Was Jesus crucified on a cross, or hung from a tree?

              All 4 of the gospel accounts describe Jesus being crucified, yet in the book of Acts, both Peter and Paul state that his method of execution was hanging. And Peter is quoted as using the odd phrase “whom ye slew and hanged on a tree” while talking to the Pharisees.

              Acts 5:30
              The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree.

              Acts 10:39
              And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree:

              Acts 13:29
              And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a sepulchre.

              While crosses were traditionally made from wood, it should be self evident that a cross and a tree are not the same thing.

              What did the centurion in charge of the crucifixion say after Jesus died?

              Matthew (27:54): “Now then the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.”

              Mark (15:39): “And when the centurion, which stood over against him, saw that he so cried out, and gave up the ghost, he said, Truly this man was the Son of God.”

              Luke (23:47): “Now when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, Certainly this was a righteous man.”

              Was there an earthquake coinciding with the death of Jesus? Was Jerusalem overrun with zombies?

              Matthew (27:51-53): “The veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent. And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.”

              Matthew tells us these ghouls “appeared unto many”. They did not appear unto Mark, Luke, or John. Mark and Luke mention the veil being rent, but no earthquake or zombies. John makes no mention of any of this.

              What did the roman soldiers do with Jesus’ clothes?

              Matthew (27:35): “And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots.” (on a side note this is one of those misquotes I was hinting at earlier)

              John (19:23-24): “The soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout. They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be: that the scripture might be fulfilled, which saith, They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots. These things therefore the soldiers did.”

              These may all seem like minor details. And to be fair, each of them individually, are relatively minor. But these are all the details the gospel authors chose to include (the most important details are missing from every version of the story). And when taken together these discrepancies give the impression that these four witnesses are describing four entirely separate executions. All of the new testament authors agree that this was one of the most important moments in all of human history. They just don’t seem to agree on what actually happened.

              Moving on to the resurrection…

              Who discovered that Jesus’ body was not in the tomb?

              Matthew (28:1): “In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.”

              Mark (16:1): “And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him.”

              Luke (24:10): “It was Mary Magdalene and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the apostles.”

              John (20:1): “The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away
              from the sepulchre.”

              Was the stone still there when they got to the tomb?

              Matthew (28:2): “And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the
              stone from the door, and sat upon it.”

              Mark (16:4): “And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great.”

              Luke (24:2): “And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre.”

              John (20:1): “The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.”

              Were there angels at Jesus’ tomb? Where they actually angels or just men? Was there one or two of them? Were they inside or outside the tomb? Were they there before Mary (and pals?) arrived or did they appear
              after?

              Matthew (28:2): “And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.”

              Mark (16:5): “And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted.”

              Luke (24:3-4): “And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments.”

              John (20:11-12): “But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre, and seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.”

              What (if anything) did the man/men/angel/angels say?

              Matthew (28:5-7): “And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from
              the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.”

              Mark (15:6-7): “Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him. But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you.”

              Luke (24:5-7): “And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.”

              John (20:13): “And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my LORD, and I know not where they have laid him.”

              What did Mary do after she talked to the men/angels?

              Matthew (28:8): “And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word.”

              Mark (16:8): “And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre;for they trembled and were amazed: neither said they any thing to any man; for they were afraid.”

              Luke (24:8-9): “And they remembered his words, and returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest.”

              John (20:14-15): “And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.”

              Are you sure you want to get into how accurate the bible is?

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Which of these dissimilitudes mutually exclude each other?

            • Nox

              Did you even try reading the verses I listed before you wrote that?

              Each set is mutually exclusive. If the things which are said to have happened in one account did happen, then the things which are said to have happened by another account could not have.

              And again, that is the short list. Merely two scenes in their various versions.

              This is not even mentioning the hundreds of other places the bible disagrees with itself (some of which you must already know about since you’ve based numerous arguments on your ability to find some verse which contradicts the verses you were trying to deny), let alone the hundreds of places the bible says things that are just demonstrably wrong whether they contradict scripture or not.

            • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

              1. That Pilate had existed, or that a stone mentions the house of David, does not vindicate the entire bible as true.As I said, one correct detail in the bible does not mean the entirety of the bible is true, it just means that one detail is likely true. That would be like saying the X-Men were real because it took place in New York City which happens to be real.

              And there is much less evidence for a historical Jesus then for evolution. We actually have physical evidence for evolution, we have nothing for Jesus.

              1b. I’m still waiting for the extrabiblical evidence that 1-2 million Jews were enslaved in Egypt, that they made an exodus, that they wandered Sinai for 40 years, and that the conquered Canaan in a rapid military conquest. Oh yeah, and that Adam & Eve were real.

              1c. So you don’t stand by your own claim? Why make the claim then?

              2. Nonsequitor, So far almost every argument you’ve made his circular. The bible is not reliable, you have to corroborate it with extrabiblical accounts. If you can’t do so, just admit it.

              2b. LOL. Hilarious. If Matthew and Luke were copied from Mark, as they were, you’d expect them to embellish their accounts. That’s how legends evolve as they’re retold from person to person. You still can’t get a single coherent account of the empty tomb from the gospels.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              i. Agreed. Proceed then with your proof of the Bible’s many, many historical falsities.

              i.b. Argumentum ex silentio. That’s not how rational thought works. Historical events are proven false based on positive evidence of their falsehood not by rhetoric, tautologies, nor by the intelligentsia. Try again.

              i.c. Are you hard of reading? I am not the author of that 1999 US News and World Report article being referred to. Feel free to look it up and see for yourself. Then try and debunk it.

              2. Only if Dawkins quoting Darwin is just as circular.

              2.b. Prove they were copied from Mark.

              And speaking of legends:

              “A character so original, so complete, so uniformly consistent, so perfect, so human and yet so high above all human greatness, can be neither a fraud nor a fiction. . . . It would take more than a Jesus to invent a Jesus.”—Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church.

              “That a few simple men should in one generation have invented so powerful and appealing a personality, so lofty an ethic and so inspiring a vision of human brotherhood, would be a miracle far more incredible than any recorded in the Gospels.”—Will Durant, Caesar and Christ.

              “It may seem incomprehensible that a globe-spanning religious movement could have been triggered by a nonexistent person dreamed up as the ancient equivalent of a marketing device, given the ranks of incontestably real people who have tried and failed to found faiths.”—Gregg Easterbrook, Beside Still Waters.

              ‘As a literary historian I am perfectly convinced that whatever the Gospels are, they are not legends. They are not artistic enough to be legends. Most of the life of Jesus is unknown to us, and no people building up a legend would allow that to be so.’—C. S. Lewis, God in the Dock.

              Forgive me for taking the word of authentic historians over your quaint reveries.

            • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

              1. For starters, watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJwrQAJ6DOk

              And here: http://ehrmanblog.org/historical-problems-with-the-hebrew-bible-the-conquest-of-canaan/

              1b. See 1. “What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.” The burden of proof is on you to demonstrate at the very least:

              a. References to the invasion and conquest in other written sources outside the Bible.
              b. Evidence that there were indeed walled cities and towns in Canaan at the time.
              c. Archaeological evidence that the cities and towns mentioned actually were destroyed at the time (Jericho, Ai, Heshbon, etc.).
              d. Shift in cultural patterns: that is, evidence of new people taking over from other peoples of a different culture (as you get in the Americas when Europeans came over bringing with them their own culture, different from that of the native Americans).
              e. Archaeological evidence indicating there was a Jewish presence in Sinai for 40 years.

              1c. I know those weren’t your words. But you don’t seem to stand by them.

              2. Non-sequitor. Try again.

              2b. There’s a reason why they’re called the synoptic gospels. No scholar denies Matthew and Luke were copied from Mark. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Relationship_between_synoptic_gospels.png

              Quote mining Christians about their faith in Christianity is as pointless as quote mining Muslims in their faith in Mohammad and the Koran as the perfect word of god. Try again.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              1. Again, all argumentum ex silentio fallacies. Irrespective, the Bible is an anthology of 66 historical works recorded by 40 amanuensis over the span of some 1,600 years making it’s internal harmony just that much more compelling.

              2. See 1.

              3. Let’s see what the facts say then, shall we?

              “Early in the third century, Origen, in discussing the Gospels, is quoted by Eusebius as saying that the “first was written . . . according to Matthew, . . . who published it for those who from Judaism came to believe, composed as it was in the Hebrew language.”” -The Ecclesiastical History, VI, XXV, 3-6.

              “Forty-two percent of Matthew’s Gospel account is not to be found in any of the other three Gospels. This includes at least ten parables, or illustrations: The weeds in the field (13:24-30), the hidden treasure (13:44), the pearl of high value (13:45, 46), the dragnet (13:47-50), the unmerciful slave (18:23-35), the workers and the denarius (20:1-16), the father and two children (21:28-32), the marriage of the king’s son (22:1-14), the ten virgins (25:1-13), and the talents (25:14-30). In all, the book gives the account from the birth of Jesus, 2 B.C.E., until his meeting with his disciples just prior to his ascension, 33 C.E.” -Introduction to the Study of the Gospels, 1896, B. F. Westcott, page 201.

              iii. False charge at fallacy. Careful your bigotry is showing more and more. As historians their conclusions are valid and persuasive. Besides, you don’t really expect an Atheist to avow the historicity of Christ’s life, ministry and resurrection, do you? His bigotry simply won’t let him! (as does yours)

            • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

              1. Then why does the bible contain so many contradictions, and historical errors?

              3. Facts? How are church “historians” reliable considering that it was known in the early centuries that they added interpolations into the gospels? Nothing they say is reliable. You wouldn’t trust a Muslim “historian” affirming that Mohammad flew to heaven on a winged horse would you?

              Did I ever say Jesus was not a historical figure? Show me where I wrote that.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              i. What historical errors are you referring to?

              iii. So you expect an atheist who is convinced by the evidence of the historicity of Christ’s life, ministry, death and resurrection to remain Atheist? How droll …

            • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

              1. http://tinyurl.com/yqc2e3

              http://tinyurl.com/y5o6l7f

              2. I’m an agnostic as to whether Jesus actually existed, I’m certainly not convinced he performed miracles or was resurrected. That you have to believe entire on faith. How farcical of you,,,

            • Joseph O Polanco

              i. I’m beginning to understand how you came to be so terribly nonplussed. You really ought to just read the Bible for yourself in its entirety and rely on accurate resources to avoid being so gullible to disingenuous shysters.

              For instance, Genesis 1:1 clearly states “In [the] beginning God created the heavens.” (cf. Deuteronomy 4:19; Isaiah 13:10; 1 Corinthians 15:40, 41; Hebrews 11:12) Therefore, the claim that God “didn’t make the light producing objects (the sun and the stars) until the fourth day” is mendacious casuistry of the highest order.

              ii. No, actually, I don’t. There is plenty of historical evidence for his accomplishments. Therefore, it’s a matter of noetical integrity, not nescience or viridity.

            • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

              1. Really, go ahead and refute every contradiction and historical inaccuracy. Here’s a starter: According to the bible, how long does god’s anger last?

              2. All you have is faith in the bible, that’s it. If the bible is evidence for Christianity, then the Koran is evidence for Islam. Otherwise, it’s special pleading.

            • Yoav

              ii. Right because Dawkins quoting Darwin is just as circular

              You really don’t get how science work do you? No one say evolution is true because Darwin or Dawkins say so, it is true because it is supported by mountains of evidence that you can look at yourself instead of taking the word of professional lying scumbags like Ken Ham or Rey Comfort.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Argumentum ignoratio elenchi. Do try and pay attention.

            • Yoav

              In what way is pointing that your argument is based on a complete lack of understanding of science and how the evidence for evolution actually exist while the best you can produce is the actually circular argument that the bible is true because it say so in the bible actually fit the definition of argumentum ignoratio elenchi or are you reduced to doing, a rather good, imitation of a spambot and just type random phrases.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              You lost me. How is this germane to the multiple nails I drilled into the coffin where your argument lies?

            • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

              The devil didn’t write the bible according to you, god did, and he thinks slavery is perfectly fine. So according to god human slavery is an absolute moral, and objective moral duty forever. And according to you god is a moral compromiser.

              You’re simply ignoring the issue because it will force you to justify slavery in the name of your god. How could man rebelling make god think slavery is morally permissible?

            • Joseph O Polanco

              No he doesn’t as per Micah 4 and other analogous expressions.

            • Nox

              Could you perhaps quote the part of Micah 4 which says anything against slavery?

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Here’s some homework for you:

              Explore the meaning of the trope “And they will actually sit, each one under his vine and under his fig tree” as employed throughout the Bible.

            • Nox

              I have.

              I let your earlier claim that I hadn’t read the bible slide since there were more important misconceptions to clear up. But I am actually an expert on the topic you are speaking ignorantly about.

              I haven’t made an issue of this since my goal is more about showing others to information they can easily verify for themselves than bragging about my own knowledge. But I have spent years studying the bible (both the text of the bible and the history of how those words wound up there), both as a follower and a critic. I learned Hebrew to find god. I went to Israel to find god. I read a dozen versions of the canonical gospels and a hundred noncanonical gospels to find god. All you did was cut and paste someone else’s answers without thinking about them.

              The reason I asked you to quote the relevant passage is because I have read it and I already know it does not say what you are trying to make it say.

              A prophet writing in the diaspora, whose entire body of writing is intended to predict the end of the diaspora, says that the jews will be returned to possession of the land of Israel. That is what the fig tree trope represents.

              Since you are so concerned with context, let’s look at the context of this verse which doesn’t mention slavery. And while we’re scouring this passage for any mention of slavery, let’s count the explicit references to the end of the jewish exile.

              Micah 4:1-13 (the whole chapter)
              1 But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it.
              2 And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways,
              and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
              3 And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither
              shall they learn war any more.
              4 But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the Lord of hosts hath spoken it.
              5 For all people will walk every one in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of the Lord our God for ever and ever.
              6 In that day, saith the Lord, will I assemble her that halteth, and I will gather her that is driven out, and her that I have afflicted;
              7 And I will make her that halted a remnant, and her that was cast far off a strong nation: and the Lord shall reign over them in mount Zion from henceforth, even for ever.
              8 And thou, O tower of the flock, the strong hold of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion; the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem.
              9 Now why dost thou cry out aloud? is there no king in thee? is thy counsellor perished? for pangs have taken thee as a woman in travail.
              10 Be in pain, and labour to bring forth, O daughter of Zion, like a woman in travail: for now shalt thou go forth out of the city, and thou shalt dwell in the field, and thou shalt go even to Babylon; there shalt thou be delivered; there the Lord shall redeem thee from the hand of thine enemies.
              11 Now also many nations are gathered against thee, that say, Let her be defiled, and let our eye look upon Zion.
              12 But they know not the thoughts of the Lord, neither understand they his counsel: for he shall gather them as the sheaves into the floor.
              13 Arise and thresh, O daughter of Zion: for I will make thine horn iron, and I will make thy hoofs brass: and thou shalt beat in pieces many people: and I will consecrate their gain unto the Lord, and their substance unto the Lord of the whole earth.

              Fifteen clear mentions that this prophecy is about Israel as opposed to all mankind, eight clear mentions that this is a prophecy of the israelites being returned to their home, and zero mentions of the abolition of slavery.

              So here’s your homework. Explore what the word “Zion” and the phrase “daughter of Zion” and “house of the god of Jacob” mean when used throughout the bible.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              And, after all that, you still haven’t found your Creator?

            • Joseph O Polanco

              “But you have approached a Mount Zion and a city of the living God, heavenly Jerusalem, and myriads of angels, in general assembly, and the congregation of the firstborn who have been enrolled in the heavens, and God the Judge of all, and the spiritual lives of righteous ones who have been made perfect, and Jesus the mediator of a new covenant.” (Heb 12:22-24)

              http://bit.ly/16cVMEJ

            • Nox

              Since we’re talking about god lying to people and you thought that would be a good time to bring up Adam and Eve, let’s talk about god’s lie in Eden.

              In Genesis 2:17 god tells Adam “of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die”.

              We see this repeated in Eve’s answer to the talking serpent (did I mention there’s a talking snake in this story?) “’You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die”(Genesis 3:3).

              The talking snake tells Eve “You will not surely die, For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:4-5).

              Obviously one of these characters is lying.

              We find out in verse 7 after they eat the fruit and “Then the eyes of both of them were opened” (also Adam lives another 930 years according to Genesis 5:5).

              The kicker to this is that after god banishes the humans he uses almost the exact same words as the serpent to describe the effects of the tree, “And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil”(Genesis 3:22).

              So according to the bible, the talking snake (commonly thought to be the devil, though Genesis makes no mention of this) was telling the truth and god was lying.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Adam and Eve are still alive?

            • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

              You’re avoiding the issue. Owning human slaves is not rebelling against god, it is obeying god’s commands. Therefore, obeying god increases human suffering endured through the institution of slavery.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Where does God command you to own slaves?

            • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

              God doesn’t command me to do anything, but should I want to buy another person as a slave, and beat them if they misbehave my orders, god is perfectly alright with it.

              As your hero William Lane Craig has said, “An action is morally permissible if it is not forbidden by god.” Therefore, since human slavery is not forbidden by god, then it is morally permissible.

              Do you deny that this increases human suffering?

            • Joseph O Polanco

              I can speak for myself, thank you very much.

              And should you kidnap someone and hold him/her prisoner as your servant or should you sell him/her to someone else to serve that individual while imprisoned you would certainly provoke God’s fury. (Exodus 21:16) Such were executed in ancient Israel. In other words, God proscribed slavery.

              Problem is, you’re confusing slavery with waged labor practices. Looks like you need better glasses …

            • Nox

              Exodus 21:16 orders the death penalty for stealing someone else’s slaves. Not for enslaving people, which as you have already been shown repeatedly, is endorsed by the law.

              When god wanted to forbid working on the sabbath or sacrificing to other gods there was no ambiguity. It just said ‘don’t f*cking do this and kill anyone who does’. It would have been easy enough to be this unambiguous about condemning slavery if it had occurred to the authors of the Torah.

              And yet the only passages you can show us in opposition to slavery are passages which do not contain any opposition to slavery. Meanwhile you offer no explanation for the verses which do openly say god approves of human bondage.

              So, since humans owning each other is an expression of obedience to god’s laws, how can the institution of slavery be blamed on man disobeying god?

            • Joseph O Polanco

              You really are hard of reading, aren’t you.

              “One who kidnaps a man and who actually sells him or in whose hand he has been found is to be put to death without fail.” -Exodus 21:16

            • Nox

              Which translation are you getting “kidnapped” from?

              It says “steal” and almost immediately follows a passage that conveys yhvh’s rules for the buying and selling of humans (what was that about context).

              Exodus 21:1-21
              1 Now these are the judgments which thou shalt set before them.
              2 If thou buy an Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve: and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing.
              3 If he came in by himself, he shall go out by himself: if he were married, then his wife shall go out with him.
              4 If his master have given him a wife, and she have born him sons or daughters; the wife and her children shall be her master’s, and he shall go out by himself.
              5 And if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free:
              6 Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an aul; and he shall serve him for ever.
              7 And if a man sell his daughter to be a maidservant, she shall not go out as the menservants do.
              8 If she please not her master, who hath betrothed her to himself, then shall he let her be redeemed: to sell her unto a strange nation he shall have no power, seeing he hath dealt deceitfully with her.
              9 And if he have betrothed her unto his son, he shall deal with her after the manner of daughters.
              10 If he take him another wife; her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish.
              11 And if he do not these three unto her, then shall she go out free without money.
              12 He that smiteth a man, so that he die, shall be surely put to death.
              13 And if a man lie not in wait, but God deliver him into his hand; then I will appoint thee a place whither he shall flee.
              14 But if a man come presumptuously upon his neighbour, to slay him with guile; thou shalt take him from mine altar, that he may die.
              15 And he that smiteth his father, or his mother, shall be surely put to death.
              16 And he that stealeth a man, and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death.
              17 And he that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death.
              18 And if men strive together, and one smite another with a stone, or with his fist, and he die not, but keepeth his bed:
              19 If he rise again, and walk abroad upon his staff, then shall he that smote him be quit: only he shall pay for the loss of his time, and shall cause him to be thoroughly healed.
              20 And if a man smite his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and he die under his hand; he shall be surely punished.
              21 Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished: for he is his money.

              Kind of hard to square the reading that this is a condemnation of slavery with the conditions for how it is okay to sell your daughter as a slave.

              A more parsimonious explanation of verse 16 is that this is a condemnation of stealing someone else’s slaves. It could not be a condemnation of possessing slaves. And it would be insane to read it as a death penalty on possessing slaves, since three verses later it prescribes less than a death sentence for one who beats his slave to death (and beating your slave to death would require already owning slaves) (so why weren’t the slave owners already being executed for owning slaves).

              And even that lesser penalty in the midst of death sentences for such crimes as cursing ones father or mother, only applies if the slave dies right away.

              If the slave dies a few days later, the person who beat their slave to death, the person who by definition had already committed the act of possessing a slave (which you just claimed would be a death penalty) is not to be punished. It even f*cking says that the reason you aren’t supposed to punish this person is because the slave is their property.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              New International Version
              “Anyone who kidnaps someone is to be put to death, whether the victim has been sold or is still in the kidnapper’s possession.

              New World Translation
              “And one who kidnaps a man and who actually sells him+ or in whose hand he has been found is to be put to death without fail.”

              New Living Translation
              “Kidnappers must be put to death, whether they are caught in possession of their victims or have already sold them as slaves.

              New American Standard Bible
              “He who kidnaps a man, whether he sells him or he is found in his possession, shall surely be put to death.

              Holman Christian Standard Bible
              Whoever kidnaps a person must be put to death, whether he sells him or the person is found in his possession.”

              International Standard Version
              “Whoever kidnaps a person, whether he has sold him or whether the victim is still in his possession, is certainly to be put to death.

              NET Bible
              “Whoever kidnaps someone and sells him, or is caught still holding him, must surely be put to death.

              GOD’S WORD® Translation
              “Whoever kidnaps another person must be put to death, whether he has sold the kidnapped person or still has him.

              World English Bible
              “Anyone who kidnaps someone and sells him, or if he is found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death.

              “Kidnapping, or stealing men to make them slaves, was a very early and very wide-spread crime. Joseph’ s brothers must be regarded as having committed it (Genesis 37:28); and there are many traces of it in the remains of antiquity. (See Herod. 4:183; Strab. 7. p. 467; Sueton. Octav. § 32; etc.) We may gather from Deuteronomy 24:7, that the Mosaic law was especially levelled against this lena of the crime, though the words of the present passage are general, and forbid the crime altogether.” – Pulpit Commentary

            • Joseph O Polanco

              ● Kidnapping a man and then selling him was punishable by death. (Exodus 21:16) However, if despite all the provisions made to prevent poverty, an Israelite found himself deeply in debt, perhaps as a result of poor management, he could sell himself as a slave. In some cases he might even be able to earn a surplus by which he could redeem himself.—Leviticus 25:47-52.

              ● This was not the oppressive kind of slavery that has been common in many lands through the ages. Leviticus 25:39, 40 says: “In case your brother grows poor alongside you and he has to sell himself to you, you must not use him as a worker in slavish service. He should prove to be with you like a hired laborer, like a settler.” So this was a loving provision to care for Israel’s poorest.

              ● A person found guilty of stealing who was unable to make full restitution according to the Law could be sold as a slave and in this way pay off his debt. (Exodus 22:3) When he had worked off the debt, he could go free.

              ● Cruel and abusive slavery was not allowed under God’s Law to Israel. While masters were allowed to discipline their slaves, excesses were forbidden. A slave killed by his master was to be avenged. (Exodus 21:20) If the slave was maimed, losing a tooth or an eye, he was set free.—Exodus 21:26, 27.

              ● The maximum time that any Israelite would have to serve as a slave was six years. (Exodus 21:2) Hebrew slaves were set free in the seventh year of their service. The Law demanded that every 50 years all Israelite slaves were to be set free nationwide, regardless of how long the individual had been a slave.—Leviticus 25:40, 41.

              ● When a slave was released, the master was required to be generous toward him. Deuteronomy 15:13, 14 says: “In case you should send him out from you as one set free, you must not send him out empty-handed. You should surely equip him with something from your flock and your threshing floor and your oil and winepress.”

            • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

              Then why is it that more then half the stuff you’ve posted here I’ve already read on Craig’s site? You’re arguments are second hand, like the gospels.

              And that Exodus passage only applied to Hebrew slaves, not non-Hebrew slaves. And it must also be objectively moral, according to you, that kids who strike their father (20:15) and curse their parents (20:17) should also be put to death. Jesus affirms this in Matthew 15:4.

              Sorry dude you still have to deal with the fact that god permits human slavery in the bible. It is you who is blind, and it is your cognitive dissonance regarding biblical morality that forces you to argue fallaciously and in circles like this.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              i. Argumentum ignoratio elenchi. Unbelievable, yet another red herring. You can’t defeat the arguments I’ve presented so you resort to noetical legerdemain? Risible!

              ii. Argumentum assertio. Prove it.

              iii. On what objective moral basis do you dare condemn anyone’s moral values? Who made you God?

            • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

              1. Denial is not just a river in Egypt.

              2. Exodus 21:2 shows these laws pertain to Hebrew slaves.

              3. I’m just trying to establish your moral values. Is human slavery morally permissible? Is killing unruly children morally permissible? Seems that your answer is yes.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              2. Which means all the preceding and succeeding verses (12-15; 17-36) only applied to Hebrews as well, yes? (cf. Exodus 12:49; Leviticus 24:22; Numbers 15:16)

              3. Again, kidnapping or aiding in the kidnapping of individuals and holding them in lifelong captivity for any reason is immoral. This is why, in ancient Israel, such were executed.
              3.b. Argumentum reductio ad absurdum. Where is death prescribed for cantankerous children?

            • Nox

              2. No dumbass, the reason that verse applies specifically to hebrew servants is because the verse says ” these are the rules for keeping hebrew servants”.

              Exodus 21:2
              If thou buy an Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve: and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing.

              Compare this with Leviticus 25, which states you are to take slaves “of the nations that are round about you”, and rather than saying they should be released after a set period, it says they and their children belong to you forever and you can pass on ownership of them to your children.

              3. You’ve already been shown that this is not true. Your repeating of this already debunked argument indicates yet again that you don’t care what’s true, only what seems like a useful thing to say in the moment (with the heavy assumption that the people you are talking to won’t remember what you said a moment earlier).

              3b.
              Deuteronomy 21:18-21
              18 If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them:
              19 Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place;
              20 And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard.
              21 And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              I don’t respond to ad homs. Try again.

            • Nox

              What do you think ad hominem means?

              Do you think it means the same as “insult”?

              I did not suggest that your argument was invalidated by the stupidity of the person presenting it. I did suggest that it was an argument which relies on such a lack of understanding that only a profoundly stupid person could think of it.

              And then I explained why your argument was not in accord with the available facts.

              Unless you’re making up your own random definitions again that’s kind of the opposite of ad hominem.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              If name calling is your best argument, you really should stay out of this debate. Grow up kiddo …

            • Nox

              So I guess you stopped reading right before this part:

              The reason that verse applies specifically to hebrew servants is because the verse says ” these are the rules for keeping hebrew servants”.

            • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

              2. Those other commands pertain to passover restrictions, blasphemy etc. not slavery. Leviticus 25:44-46 makes it very clear non-hebrew slaves can be treated cruel and kept for life.

              3. That did not apply to non-Hebrew slaves who can be kidnapped and enslaved for life. For example, the Canaanites were forced into slavery. “When the Israelites grew stronger, they forced the Canaanites to work as slaves, but they never did drive them out of the land.” Judges 1:28. And Deuteronomy 24:7 specifies kidnapping fellow Israelites.

              3b. Do you really need me to point that out to you? There are many instances where death is prescribed. Should we still do the following today since these are “objective” morals that are not relative to people, place & time as you believe?

              Kill People Who Don’t Listen to Priests

              Anyone arrogant enough to reject the verdict of the judge or of the priest who represents the LORD your God must be put to death. Such evil must be purged from Israel. (Deuteronomy 17:12 NLT)

              Kill Witches

              You should not let a sorceress live. (Exodus 22:17 NAB)

              Kill Homosexuals

              “If a man lies with a male as with a women, both of them shall be put to death for their abominable deed; they have forfeited their lives.” (Leviticus 20:13 NAB)

              Kill Fortunetellers

              A man or a woman who acts as a medium or fortuneteller shall be put to death by stoning; they have no one but themselves to blame for their death. (Leviticus 20:27 NAB)

              Death for Hitting Dad

              Whoever strikes his father or mother shall be put to death. (Exodus 21:15 NAB)

              Death for Cursing Parents

              1) If one curses his father or mother, his lamp will go out at the coming of darkness. (Proverbs 20:20 NAB)

              2) All who curse their father or mother must be put to death. They are guilty of a capital offense. (Leviticus 20:9 NLT)

              Death for Adultery

              If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife, both the man and the woman must be put to death. (Leviticus 20:10 NLT)

              Death for Fornication

              A priest’s daughter who loses her honor by committing fornication and thereby dishonors her father also, shall be burned to death. (Leviticus 21:9 NAB)

              Death to Followers of Other Religions

              Whoever sacrifices to any god, except the Lord alone, shall be doomed. (Exodus 22:19 NAB)

              Kill Nonbelievers

              They entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and soul; and everyone who would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, was to be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman. (2 Chronicles 15:12-13 NAB)

              Kill False Prophets

              If a man still prophesies, his parents, father and mother, shall say to him, “You shall not live, because you have spoken a lie in the name of the Lord.” When he prophesies, his parents, father and mother, shall thrust him through. (Zechariah 13:3 NAB)

            • Joseph O Polanco

              ii. But, per your own reasoning, these only apply to Hebrews, no one else, correct? (cf. Exodus 12:49; Leviticus 24:22; Numbers 15:16)

              iii. The Canaanites were not “seized by unlawful force or fraud” by the Israelites. This accusation, thence, is just as fatuous as all your previous ones.

              iv. Argumentum ignoratio. Where is death, per your claim, prescribed for cantankerous children?

            • Nox

              Micah 4 points to a time when the jewish diaspora will end. That’s the whole point of Micah.

              This is an interesting interpretation method you use, where “they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree” is a reference to the abolition of slavery, and “Both thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, which thou shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you; of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids. Moreover of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begat in your land: and they shall be your possession. And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them for a possession; they shall be your bondmen for ever” is not a reference to god endorsing slavery.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              In the context of other eschatological prophecies, i.e. Revelation 21:3-5; Luke 23:43; John 5:28,29; Isaiah 35:5-7, Micah’s prophecy that all wars will cease is also eschatological in nature.

      • Joseph O Polanco

        Moreover, this isn’t God instituting slavery but merely regulating it. Brush up on your ancient history. Slavery existed long before God constituted Israel into a nation.

        • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

          God isn’t condemning it, he’s allowing it. So the supposed perfect moral god you worship, thinks slavery is A-OK. So I have to ask you, is slavery is a good thing and an objective moral obligation commanded from god.

          • Joseph O Polanco

            Strawman. God allows it because he must allow man to suffer the consequences of choosing to live independent of him.

            • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

              Nonsensical. In one sentence god could declare all forms of slavery an abomination, like wearing clothes made of two different fabrics. Living according to god means living with human slavery.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Not at all: “And many nations will certainly go and say: “Come, YOU people, and let us go up to the mountain of Jehovah and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will instruct us about his ways, and we will walk in his paths.” For out of Zion law will go forth, and the word of Jehovah out of Jerusalem. And he will certainly render judgment among many peoples, and set matters straight respecting mighty nations far away. And they will have to beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning shears. They will not lift up sword, nation against nation, neither will they learn war anymore. And they will actually sit, each one under his vine and under his fig tree, and there will be no one making [them] tremble; for the very mouth of Jehovah of armies has spoken [it].” -Micah 4:2-4

            • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

              And this is supposed to show that god disapproves of slavery how exactly?

              It has nothing to do with it. God could simply say, “Thou shall not own another human being as chattel. It is an abomination.” That would be more clear if god said it. And why, after the book of Micah was written, does the New Testament affirm the slavery laws of Exodus, Leviticus and Deuteronomy? If god changed his mind on slavery, don’t you think he would have told a prophet in the New Testament? Living according to god means living with human slavery, just as god intended us to live.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Your benighted claim was that “Living according to god means living with human slavery.” Micah shows this clearly to be false since God’s purpose is that we “sit, each one under his vine and under his fig tree”, that is to say, that we all live peacefully and freely, not as slaves to suffering, sin, death, sickness, wages or to anyone or anything.

            • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

              If that’s god’s way of saying slavery was wrong, it’s awfully subtle. And it would fail to explain why the NT reiterates the OT’s slavery laws. So at best for you god is contradicting himself. Why wouldn’t god just be crystal clear like he is about eating shellfish, or getting tattoos, or killing homosexuals? God is not subtle on those things. And the fact that both old and new testaments constantly reiterate the permissiblility of human slavery shows your answer to be erroneous.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              i. Not to those of us who have actually perlustrated the Bible in its entirety it’s not.

              ii. It’s irrelevant. Since when do the proclamation of laws forestall anyone from doing what they want to do?

            • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

              1. You’re really just a cafeteria Christian then, picking and choosing whatever “morals” from the book you want. God spends an awfully lot more time making it known that slavery is morally permissible, and he never repudiates it.

              2. The issue is morality in theory not in practice. In practice no one obeys all the rules in the bible, which is why divine command theory fails. But in theory, god supports human beings owning other human beings as slaves, and this has been put to practice by many Christians until it was abolished by man.

              Again you’re ignoring the issue. The issue is that god allows slavery, he doesn’t forbid it.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Not in the slightest. You’re confusing God’s permission for explicit approval. To sharpen this distinction further, I challenge you to prove there is no good reason God might have for permitting suffering in the world. Can you?

            • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

              There is no where in the bible where god disapproves of the institution of human slavery. If he did, don’t you think god would have made it clear since it is such an important moral issue? The issue is not god permitting suffering – that’s another debate – the issue is that god’s commands increase human suffering if obeyed. Are you unable to grasp this simple concept?

            • Joseph O Polanco

              WHERE does God command you to own slaves?

            • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

              But you admit that your god permits human slavery, right? And if god permits it, we can permit it, since you believe god determines objective moral values correct?

            • Joseph O Polanco

              WHERE does God command you to own slaves?

            • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

              Are you ignorant or are you just a fundamentalist?

            • Joseph O Polanco

              You can’t show me because he doesn’t thus revealing all your self-righteous animadversions as nothing more than petulant bleating.

            • Nox

              No one claimed that he did.

              You’ve been shown where god commands genocide.

              You’ve been shown where god endorses rape and slavery.

              The problem isn’t that yhvh forces slave owners to have slaves. It’s that in instituting the laws of Israel he states his approval of slavery. Thus demonstrating that this is a god who doesn’t understand why slavery is wrong.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              i. “The Thinker” has over and over again.

              ii. The genocide of an evil, sadistic, depraved, evil peoples, yes. Your point?

              iii. False, since, as I’ve taught you, rapists were executed in ancient Israel as well as anyone and everyone who was convicted of kidnapping or aiding in the kidnapping and sale of a person. Aut disce aut discede.

              iv. Again, you’re conflating his permission with explicit approval. And the reason why he permitted it is the same for why has permitted mankind to suffer: http://bit.ly/11EyvgO

            • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

              4. How could a being, whom you claim is the paradigm of goodness, be such a wimpy compromiser and explicitly permit human slavery? If he can compromise on slavery, but not on eating shellfish, why even call him the paradigm of goodness? Sounds to me like semantics and sophistry. God permits slavery, but doesn’t approve of it how exactly? Where in the bible does Yahweh say he disapproves of the institution of slavery?

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Because there is more at stake than just humanity’s comfort, so much more: http://bit.ly/11EyvgO

            • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

              i can’t help get over what kinds of cognitive dissonance you might be suffering. I know I’d have it if I adopted divine command theory. I’d prefer you answer my question instead of sending me to a link that is filled with bad arguments that I’ve already heard. You owe it to god to defend his character sincerely and honestly and directly.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Let’s take it from the top, then. How would a loving and capable parent feel if he was publicly accused of lying to his children, abusing his authority over them, and withholding good things from them? Would he disprove those slanderous accusations by physically assaulting his accuser? Of course not! In fact, by reacting in such a manner, he might give credibility to the accusations.

              This illustration helps to explain Jehovah God’s way of handling a challenge raised against him at the dawn of human history in a place called Eden. There God announced to the first two humans, Adam and Eve, a wonderful project for his earthly children. They were to fill the earth, subdue it, and turn it into a global paradise. (Genesis 1:28) Moreover, hundreds of millions of spirit sons of God were keenly interested in this exciting project.—Job 38:4, 7; Daniel 7:10.

              Being a generous God, Jehovah gave Adam and Eve a beautiful garden home with all its delicious fruits. Only one tree was out of bounds for them—“the tree of the knowledge of good and bad.” By not eating from this tree, Adam and Eve would demonstrate their full trust in their Father, recognizing that he had the right to decide what was good and bad for his children.—Genesis 2:16, 17.

              Sadly, though, one of God’s spirit sons, motivated by the desire to be worshipped, told Eve that if she ate the forbidden fruit, she would not die. (Genesis 2:17; 3:1-5) Thus, this wicked angel, Satan, blatantly contradicted God, essentially calling him a liar! Satan also went on to accuse God of withholding vital knowledge from Adam and Eve. Humans, Satan implied, should be able to decide for themselves what is good and what is bad. Simply put, Satan accused God of being an unfit Ruler and Father and implied that he, Satan, could do a better job.

              By means of those cunning and malicious lies, the angel made himself Satan the Devil. These names mean “Resister” and “Slanderer.” What did Adam and Eve do? They sided with Satan, turning their backs on God.—Genesis 3:6.

              Jehovah could have destroyed the rebels on the spot. But, as mentioned in our illustration, such issues cannot be settled by violent retaliation. Keep in mind too that when Satan challenged God, millions of angels were listening. In fact, a significant, but undisclosed, number later joined Satan in his rebellion, making themselves demons.—Mark 1:34; 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6.

              By seducing Adam and Eve into choosing independence from their Creator, in effect, Satan founded a family that was not truly independent but under his authority. Influenced, knowingly or unknowingly, by their “father,” the Devil, this family would choose its own goals and standards of conduct. (John 8:44) But would that way of life bring them true freedom and lasting happiness? Jehovah knew full well that it would not. Still, he allowed the rebels to pursue their independent course, for only in this way would the issues raised in Eden be fully settled for all time.

              For over 6,000 years now, mankind has built a world system of things, trying all kinds of rulership and codes of conduct. Are you delighted with the result? Is the human family truly happy, peaceful, and united? Clearly, the answer is no! Instead, wars, famines, natural disasters, sickness, and death have plagued mankind, causing “futility,” “pain,” and “groaning,” just as the Bible states.—Romans 8:19-22; Ecclesiastes 8:9.

              Still, some may ask, ‘Why has God not prevented tragedies?’ Really, that would be an injustice, and it would cloud the issue by making it seem that rebelling against God is without consequence. Hence, Jehovah has not been behind the scenes preventing all the crimes and tragedies that result, directly or indirectly, from disobedience to him. Jehovah would never be party to the harmful lie that Satan’s system can succeed, that it has found the key to happiness! Nevertheless, Jehovah has not been indifferent to events. In fact, he has been very active, as we shall now see.

              “My father has kept working”, Jesus once said. God has not been sitting idly by, watching events unfold. (John 5:17) Rather, since the rebellion in Eden, he has been very busy. For instance, he inspired Bible writers to record his promise that a future “seed” would crush Satan and all who stuck with him. (Genesis 3:15) Additionally, by means of that Seed, God would form a government, a heavenly Kingdom, that would bless obedient humans and end all causes of suffering, even death itself.—Genesis 22:18; Psalm 46:9; 72:16; Isaiah 25:8; 33:24; Daniel 7:13, 14.

              As a step in the fulfillment of those wonderful promises, Jehovah sent to the earth the One who would become the primary Ruler of that Kingdom. This one was none other than Jesus Christ, the Son of God. (Galatians 3:16) In accord with God’s purpose for him, Jesus focused his teaching on God’s Kingdom. (Luke 4:43) In fact, Christ provided a living preview of what he will accomplish as King of that Kingdom. He fed hungry thousands, healed the sick, resurrected the dead, and even showed his power over the natural elements by calming a violent storm. (Matthew 14:14-21; Mark 4:37-39; John 11:43, 44) Concerning Jesus, the Bible states: “No matter how many the promises of God are, they have become Yes by means of him.”—2 Corinthians 1:20.

              Those who listen to Jesus and come “out of the world”—the system of things that is estranged from God and ruled by Satan—are welcomed into Jehovah’s family. (John 15:19) This global family of true Christians is governed by love, committed to peace, and marked by determination to eradicate any trace of bigotry and racism in its midst.—Malachi 3:17, 18; John 13:34, 35.

              Instead of upholding the present world, true Christians support and proclaim God’s Kingdom in obedience to Jesus’ command recorded at Matthew 24:14. Think: Who preach the “good news of the kingdom” worldwide? Who have refused, as a worldwide spiritual family, to engage in warfare and divisive national and tribal disputes? And who let God’s Word guide their conduct, whether its lofty standards are popular or not? (1 John 5:3) Many have observed these traits in Jehovah’s Witnesses. Please examine the evidence for yourself.
              Mankind, alienated from God and misled by Satan, has built a world system that breeds more and more misery and hopelessness. Even the earth itself is being ruined! Jehovah, on the other hand, has set up a heavenly government that has changed the lives of millions for the better and that has given each one a sure hope. (1 Timothy 4:10) Which will you choose?

              Now is the time to decide, for God will not allow Satan and his wicked world to go on indefinitely. God’s original purpose to make this earth a paradise has never altered. To that end, his Kingdom and its supporters will go from strength to strength, while the world under Satan’s control will experience increasing “pangs of distress” until God brings it to an end. (Matthew 24:3, 7, 8) So if you have sincerely cried out, “Why?” to God, listen to him by taking to heart the Bible’s message of comfort and hope. Even now, your tears of sorrow can become tears of joy.—Matthew 5:4; Revelation 21:3, 4.

              http://bit.ly/AANB01

            • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

              Not at all. You admit that your god permits human slavery, right? And if god permits it, we can permit it, since you believe god determines objective moral values correct?

              Otherwise, just say that human slavery is morally wrong if you believe it to be so, and then show me where in the bible it says that. That should be easy, since according to you, your god is the paradigm of goodness. Clearly the paradigm of goodness wouldn’t tolerate human slavery now would he?

              If goodness compromises, it ceases to be good, don’t you think?

            • Joseph O Polanco

              How very droll. How many times do I have to tell you that God proscribes the kidnapping and sale of people into perpetual captivity? Are you hard of reading? (Exodus 21:16)

            • Nox

              There’s not any magical number of times that you have to repeat this to make it credible. What you need to do is demonstrate that it is true. Which will be pretty hard to do since anyone can look up the verse you are quoting and see it doesn’t say that.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              New International Version
              “Anyone who kidnaps someone is to be put to death, whether the victim has been sold or is still in the kidnapper’s possession.

              New World Translation
              “And one who kidnaps a man and who actually sells him+ or in whose hand he has been found is to be put to death without fail.”

              New Living Translation
              “Kidnappers must be put to death, whether they are caught in possession of their victims or have already sold them as slaves.

              New American Standard Bible
              “He who kidnaps a man, whether he sells him or he is found in his possession, shall surely be put to death.

              Holman Christian Standard Bible
              Whoever kidnaps a person must be put to death, whether he sells him or the person is found in his possession.”

              International Standard Version
              “Whoever kidnaps a person, whether he has sold him or whether the victim is still in his possession, is certainly to be put to death.

              NET Bible
              “Whoever kidnaps someone and sells him, or is caught still holding him, must surely be put to death.

              GOD’S WORD® Translation
              “Whoever kidnaps another person must be put to death, whether he has sold the kidnapped person or still has him.

              World English Bible
              “Anyone who kidnaps someone and sells him, or if he is found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death.

              “Kidnapping, or stealing men to make them slaves, was a very early and very wide-spread crime. Joseph’ s brothers must be regarded as having committed it (Genesis 37:28); and there are many traces of it in the remains of antiquity. (See Herod. 4:183; Strab. 7. p. 467; Sueton. Octav. § 32; etc.) We may gather from Deuteronomy 24:7, that the Mosaic law was especially levelled against this lena of the crime, though the words of the present passage are general, and forbid the crime altogether.” – Pulpit Commentary

            • Nox

              Did you see that little translation note in your NASB? The one that lines up with “Lit: steals” on the bottom of the page.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              ● Kidnapping a man and then selling him was punishable by death. (Exodus 21:16) However, if despite all the provisions made to prevent poverty, an Israelite found himself deeply in debt, perhaps as a result of poor management, he could sell himself as a slave. In some cases he might even be able to earn a surplus by which he could redeem himself.—Leviticus 25:47-52.

              ● This was not the oppressive kind of slavery that has been common in many lands through the ages. Leviticus 25:39, 40 says: “In case your brother grows poor alongside you and he has to sell himself to you, you must not use him as a worker in slavish service. He should prove to be with you like a hired laborer, like a settler.” So this was a loving provision to care for Israel’s poorest.

              ● A person found guilty of stealing who was unable to make full restitution according to the Law could be sold as a slave and in this way pay off his debt. (Exodus 22:3) When he had worked off the debt, he could go free.

              ● Cruel and abusive slavery was not allowed under God’s Law to Israel. While masters were allowed to discipline their slaves, excesses were forbidden. A slave killed by his master was to be avenged. (Exodus 21:20) If the slave was maimed, losing a tooth or an eye, he was set free.—Exodus 21:26, 27.

              ● The maximum time that any Israelite would have to serve as a slave was six years. (Exodus 21:2) Hebrew slaves were set free in the seventh year of their service. The Law demanded that every 50 years all Israelite slaves were to be set free nationwide, regardless of how long the individual had been a slave.—Leviticus 25:40, 41.

              ● When a slave was released, the master was required to be generous toward him. Deuteronomy 15:13, 14 says: “In case you should send him out from you as one set free, you must not send him out empty-handed. You should surely equip him with something from your flock and your threshing floor and your oil and winepress.”

            • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

              You have to show that those laws apply to non-Hebrews because the bible makes it clear that the laws prescribed in Exodus 21 are only for Hebrews. E.g. Ex 21:8 says those slaves cannot be sold to “foreigners.”

              And you have to explain the fact that in numerous verses, god is perfectly fine with slaves being kept for life. Those are the verses I gave you earlier. Are you making the case that the Laws in the Old Testament are the idea laws for society to live by forever? Or even the New Testament?

            • Joseph O Polanco

              http://bit.ly/16Dcmy9

              Read: Exodus 12:49; Leviticus 24:22 & Numbers 15:16.

            • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

              Are you a broken record? I already responded to those irrelevant verses.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Argumentum ad lapidem is an inapposite response. Sorry, try again.

            • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

              Argument ad nauseum. If you can’t refute my arguments just admit it. Those other commands pertain to passover restrictions, blasphemy etc. not slavery. Leviticus 25:44-46 makes it very clear non-hebrew slaves can be treated cruel and kept for life.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              And in case an alien resident resides with you as an alien in YOUR land, YOU must not mistreat him.” -Leviticus 19:33

              “And you must not oppress an alien resident, as YOU yourselves have known the soul of the alien resident, because YOU became alien residents in the land of Egypt.” -Exodus 23:9

              “And I will come near to YOU people for the judgment, and I will become a speedy witness against [] and against those acting fraudulently with the wages of a wage worker, [] and those turning away the alien resident, while they have not feared me,” Jehovah of armies has said.” -Malachi 3:5 (Brackets mine.)

              “And you must not maltreat an alien resident or oppress him, for YOU people became alien residents in the land of Egypt.” -Exodus 22:21

              “Defraud no [] no alien resident or afflicted one, and scheme out nothing bad against one another in YOUR hearts.’” – Zechariah 7:10 (Brackets mine.)

              “For Jehovah YOUR God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the God great, mighty and fear-inspiring, who treats none with partiality nor accepts a bribe, executing judgment for [] and loving the alien resident so as to give him bread and a mantle. YOU too must love the alien resident,+ for YOU became alien residents in the land of Egypt.” -Deuteronomy 10:17-19 (Brackets mine.)

              Had enough?

    • Nox

      Leviticus 25:44-46 (this is yhvh talking in this passage)

      44 Both thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, which thou shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you; of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids.
      45 Moreover of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begat in your land: and they shall be your possession.
      46 And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them for a possession; they shall be your bondmen for ever: but over your brethren the children of Israel, ye shall not rule one over another with rigour.

      • Joseph O Polanco

        Again, on what objective moral basis do you dare condemn anyone’s moral values? Who made you God?

  • Joseph O Polanco

    The same applies to employees today. Your point?

    • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

      Show me a law in the US today that is just like those laws about human slaves that were inspired by god.

      • Joseph O Polanco

        Again, where does God institute slavery?

        • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

          Do you assert that there are no verses in the Bible that regulate and allow human slavery that show god approves of it? If not, when does god say the institution of slavery is wrong?

          • Joseph O Polanco

            I’ve asked you time and again to show me where God **institutes** slavery. Can you?

            • Nox

              You have already been shown where god institutes slavery.

              Leviticus 25:44-46
              44 Both thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, which thou shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you; of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids.
              45 Moreoverof the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begat in your land: and they shall be your possession.
              46 And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them for a possession; they shall be your bondmen for ever: but over your brethren the children of Israel, ye shall not rule one over another with rigour.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              It says “buy” which implies the sale of labor which, in turn, evinces the existence of long established labor practices among ancient nations. But that’s not what I’m asking. I asked where God, not man, establishes, creates, institutes the practice of slavery.

            • Nox

              It’s god speaking in that passage. This is one of the relatively few parts of the “word of god” that actually says ‘this part is a transcription of words which came directly from god’s mouth’.

              Leviticus 25:1&44
              1 And the Lord spake unto Moses in mount Sinai, saying,
              44 Both thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, which thou shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you; of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids.

              And it says ‘buy people’ which implies the ownership of people, also known as slavery. How much more explicit could yhvh be about his endorsement of slavery?

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Still can’t see the forest for the trees … http://bit.ly/11EyvgO

            • Nox

              That link is inapplicable. The problem is not merely god’s failure to stop slavery from happening. It’s that the bible quotes god as expressing approval of slavery.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Now why in the world would God shield mankind from suffering the horrific consequences of choosing to live their lives sundered from him?

            • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

              Inspired by god are these objective moral values and obligations:

              Ephesians 6:5
              “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear.”
              1 Peter 2:18
              “Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh.”
              Titus 2:9
              “Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them,”

              Leviticus 25:44-46
              “Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property. You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly.”

              Apparently you are incapable of explaining these passages and others like it, so you are running around in circles trying to avoid them. It shows your weakness.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Do Pakistan’s laws have force in France? If you were to be arrested and tried in a Japanese court would you be tried as per Korean or Canadian law?

            • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

              So you’re a moral relativist now?

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Depends on how you’re defining the term.

            • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

              Is morality relative to people, place, time, and circumstance?

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Absolutely not.

            • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

              So it is still OK to kill homosexuals (LE 20:13), adulterers (LE 20:10), witches (Ex 22:17) and disobedient children (LE 20:9) as the Bible commands?

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Your burlesque characterization notwithstanding, it is just for God to execute evildoers.

            • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

              God is not executing them, people are! Duh!! You’d have to believe that it is morally permissible, in fact, morally obligatory for people to execute those “evildoers.” Is that true? Should we as a society today be doing this?

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Guess again. Divine justice was carried out when God’s executional forces—the Israelite armies—destroyed the Canaanites. “It is for the wickedness of these nations that Jehovah is driving them away from before you”, we read at Deuteronomy 6:4-6, “It is not for your righteousness or for the uprightness of your heart that you are going in to take possession of their land; in fact, it is for the wickedness of these nations that Jehovah your God is driving them away from before you.” The fact that God chose to use humans to carry out this judgment, rather than fire or flood, did not diminish the sentence.

              Since, however, only the ancient Israelites were charged with such a limited responsibility, no Christian today is authorized to act as God’s executioner especially since Christ Jesus, his co-rulers, and his angels have been appointed as such. (Revelation 19:11-16; 2:26,27; Matthew 25:31, 32)

            • Nox

              Those verses don’t refer to the killing of the canaanites. They prescribe capital punishment for israelites for a variety of “sins”.

              The question you were responding to was “So it is still OK to kill homosexuals (LE 20:13), adulterers (LE 20:10),
              witches (Ex 22:17) and disobedient children (LE 20:9) as the Bible commands?”

              If it was right for god to command those things then and morality isn’t relative that would mean it is right for god to command those things now.

              Do you think it is currently moral to kill someone for working on the sabbath?

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Except he doesn’t. As I’ve clearly explained at great length, God has charged Christ Jesus with that task at Armageddon.

            • Nox

              Which task? Killing people who work on the sabbath or abolishing slavery? It is unclear which question you intended “Except he doesn’t” to be a response to.

              Are you saying that god didn’t command the things that god commands in the bible, or that god was right in issuing these commandments?

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Do Pakistani have jurisdiction in Greece? If you’re arrested in China are you tried according to Canadian or Japanese law?

            • Nox

              Has anyone here claimed the laws of Canada or Greece are infallible moral codes personally handed down by the all knowing creator of the universe? No? Then what the f*ck does that have to do with anything?

              Are you saying that god didn’t command the things that god commands in the bible, or that god was right in issuing these commandments?

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Just as Canadian laws only have jurisdiction in Canada, the specific laws given to the ancient Israelites only had jurisdiction with them. While a few of those laws were extended to Christians, the overwhelming majority weren’t. Now, do you know what purpose the Mosaic Law served? Are you aware of the new arrangement that followed it? http://bit.ly/17i5ZFO

            • Yoav

              You would think a perfect god would be able to get it right on the first go and wouldn’t need to reboot the franchise after the first movie bomb.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Argumentum reductio ad absurdum. Try again.

            • Yoav

              It’s just that taking a source material like the bible and making it look more absurd then it already is, is not that easy.

            • Nox

              What original purpose the mosaic law served according to the text of the mosaic law itself, or what purpose was assigned to it when it was appropriated by another religion?

              The text of the law when it is given says this law is for the israelites and their descendants to follow for all time (of course at the time, yhvh was only the god of the israelites, so the idea of these laws applying to goyim wouldn’t have occurred to anyone).

              Jesus repeatedly says that the law still stands and will stand forever, and that following the law is the most important thing his followers can do.

              Paul says that even though these laws were given to the israelites, they are the measure of righteousness for all. In Romans 3 Paul even says the reason everyone is a sinner in need of christ’s sacrifice is because they have violated the law of Moses. The actual definition of sin according to the new testament is failure to follow the old testament law.

              Canadian laws exist only in Canada because the canadian government only exists in Canada. Unless you’re suggesting the god of Israel only exists in Israel, there is no analogy to be made.

              Even if the law were intended to be temporary it is still attributed to the god you are trying to defend here. Meaning, even if he doesn’t currently want us following those commandments, he still commanded them in the past. Which things this god chose to mandate or prohibit is a demonstration of the character and priorities of this god.

              Which brings us back to that same question:

              Are you saying that god didn’t command the things that god commands in the bible, or that god was right in issuing these commandments?

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Moses speaking of Israel’s exclusive receipt of God’s Law asked, “And what great nation is there that has righteous regulations and judicial decisions like all this law that I am putting before YOU today?” – Deuteronomy 4:8

              Regarding the annulment of the Mosaic Law we read:
              “For Christ is the end of the Law.” – Romans 10:4
              “Christ by purchase released us from the curse of the Law.” – Galatians 3:13
              “But now we have been discharged from the Law.” – Romans 7:6
              “By means of his flesh [Jesus] abolished the enmity, the Law of commandments consisting in decrees.” – Ephesians 2:15 (Bracket mine.)
              “[God] blotted out the handwritten document against us, which consisted of decrees.” – Colossians 2:13,14 (Bracket mine.)

              Now, do you know what purpose the Mosaic Law served? Are you aware of the new arrangement that followed it? http://bit.ly/17i5ZFO

            • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

              So you are admitting that morality is relative to people, place, and time since you believe the Jews had different laws that only pertained to Jews at that time, correct?

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Not all the laws given to the ancient Israelites were moral laws. Try again.

              Better yet, read the Bible and then come back and debate. That way you’ll have some semblance of knowing what you’re actually talking about.

            • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

              But you’re still admitting, given your claim, that some were moral laws. Is warranting the death penalty for unruly children a moral law? I think it is since it involves death. Then is this relative to people, place, and time?

            • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

              So murder is wrong, unless god commands it, then it becomes right, according to you. That means you take the first horn of the Euthyphro Dilemma. If something is immoral on its own and only becomes moral if god commands it, or vice versa, then the sole factor separating the morality or immorality of the action, is god’s command. This also means that god cannot be following an absolute and non-arbitrary morality: If something is morally good because god commands it, it must also be morally good if you do it on your own, because otherwise if performing these morals on your own wouldn’t be good unless god commands it, it means you take the first horn of the Euthyphro Dilemma – that something is morally good because, god commands it.

              Oh and angels are god’s executioners? Apparently they’re not so angelic.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              i. Strawman. Try again.

              ii. God wills something because He is good.

              iii. For accurate definitions I kindly suggest you actually read the Bible in its entirety and revise your definitions accordingly.

            • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

              1. Not at all. You freely admitted that murder is OK if god commands it. You take the first horn of the Euthyphro Dilemma.

              2. I already refuted that and your response was that being loving compassionate and fair is good because god is loving compassionate and fair, and god is good because he is loving compassionate and fair. It’s a circular argument.

              3. Reading the bible made me an anti-theist. Do you want me to get even more anti-theist?

            • Joseph O Polanco

              1. No, I haven’t. Hence the Strawman.

              2. You’re conflating moral ontology with moral semantics. Our concern is with moral ontology, that is to say, the foundation in reality of moral values. Our concern is not with moral semantics, that is to say, the meaning of moral terms. We have a clear understanding of moral vocabulary like “good,” “evil,” right,” and so on, without reference to God. Thus, it is informative to learn that “God is essentially good.”

              To put it another way:

              1. It is possible that a maximally great being exists.
              2. If it is possible that a maximally great being exists, then a maximally great being exists in some possible world.
              3. If a maximally great being exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world.
              4. If a maximally great being exists in every possible world, then it exists in the actual world.

              5. If a maximally great being exists in the actual world, then a maximally great being exists.
              6. Therefore, a maximally great being exists.
              7. God is defined as being a maximally great being.
              8. Therefore, God exists.

              9. It is greater to be the paradigm of goodness than to conform to it.
              10. Moral values are not contingent but hold in every possible world.
              11. Therefore, God is morally perfect.
              12. Therefore, God is the locus of all morally perfect values and duties.

              As you can see, God doesn’t have moral duties to fulfill, since He doesn’t issue commands to Himself. So we don’t praise Him for doing His duty. Rather He is to be adored for His moral character because He is essentially loving, just, kind, etc. It is because God is that way that these qualities count as virtues in the first place. Essentially, God is good the same way rain is wet, diamond gemstones are hard, a photon moves at the speed of light and blue stars are blazing hot. So if we think of God’s goodness in terms of His possessing certain virtues rather than fulfilling certain duties, we have a more exalted and more adequate concept of God.

              3. Really? Please explain how the following made you anti-theist:

              “YOU heard that it was said, ‘You must love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ However, I say to YOU: Continue to love YOUR enemies and to pray for those persecuting YOU; that YOU may prove yourselves sons of YOUR Father who is in the heavens, since he makes his sun rise upon wicked people and good and makes it rain upon righteous people and unrighteous. For if YOU love those loving YOU, what reward do YOU have? (Matthew 5:43-46)

              “But now really put them all away from YOU, wrath, anger, badness, abusive speech, and obscene talk out of YOUR mouth. Do not be lying to one another. Accordingly, [] clothe yourselves with the tender affections of compassion, kindness, lowliness of mind, mildness, and long-suffering. Continue putting up with one another and forgiving one another freely if anyone has a cause for complaint against another. Even as Jehovah freely forgave YOU, so do YOU also. But, besides all these things, [clothe yourselves with] love, for it is a perfect bond of union.” – Colossians 3:8,9, 12-14. (Brackets mine.)

            • Nox

              You plagiarized that one from Saint Anselm (and yeah, everyone here has seen William Lane Craig’s moral argument well before you copied it here, so if you did come up with that yourself, you should get in touch with Craig about your royalties).

              Before you base any arguments on our universally agreed definitions of “good” and “evil” you would need to answer the earlier question about how you are defining “good” and “evil”. Otherwise the claim that god is maximally great is meaningless.

              Before it’s even wrong it is without meaning.

              But even without you specifying the meaning, anyone can spot that (4) does not follow from (3).

              What the ontological argument claims is that if something is merely possible it will definitely happen in every possible version of the universe.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              i. Responderunt interrogavit. I will not repeat myself. Next!

              ii. Argumentum assertio. Prove (4) does not nor cannot follow from (3).

            • Nox

              If (4) does follow from (3) then anything which can be imagined definitely exists in our universe.

              Prove that if a maximally great being exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world. All you’ve done is assert this. You haven’t offered any reason to think it’s true. And you haven’t explained away how nonsensical it is that definite existence follows from any possible existence.

              And stop trying to f*cking use Latin. You don’t know Latin. You don’t know what any of those phrases mean or how to use them. You just heard others use them and thought they seemed like a good way to sound smart.

              If you can speak for yourself, then f*cking speak for yourself.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Argumentum ad passiones. Just because your argument is riddled with profanity it doesn’t mean you actually know what you’re talking about. Try again.

            • Nox

              There was no profanity there until after the part you’re pretending you didn’t see. Nowhere in my post did I suggest that the profanity was part of the logical support for my statement.

              But since you are apparently using some sort of internet filter that censors anything you don’t want to hear, I’ll try saying this nicely to see if you are able to perceive what has already been said to you.

              If (4) does follow from (3) then anything which can be imagined definitely exists in our universe.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              How does that change the fact that its still childish behavior?

            • Nox

              How does your handwaving over my selection of words change what was said?

              If (4) does follow from (3) then anything which can be imagined definitely exists in our universe.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              What can I say? I don’t care for debating children …

            • Nox

              I’m not debating you Joe. If any of this were intended to convince you of anything, I would have stopped as soon as you made it clear you weren’t interested in defending your assertions or reading the responses to your posts.

              Since you got here, my only goal in this “debate” has been to get you to actually say what you are trying to imply so that you can more effectively demonstrate the shoddiness of christian apologetics.

            • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

              1. So it was wrong to kill homosexuals, adulterers, and the Canaanites, Midianites, Amalekites, etc. when god commanded it? If it was right when god commanded it, it must be right if he doesn’t command it, otherwise you must concede that you take the first horn of the Euthyphro, that something is good because god commands it.

              2. I know perfectly well the difference between moral ontology, moral semantics and moral epistemology. You’re just cutting and pasting other people’s arguments without even reading my responses to you because you know you will have to make a circular argument to get out of the Euthyphro dilemma.

              You’re again plagiarizing William Lane Craig because you have nothing to offer. I’ve heard that already and it’s false. You’re just asserting that god is essentially good, but as i’ve already stated, defining god as the source of “good” is mere theological wordplay. It doesn’t demonstrate that “good” cannot exist independently of god. Even if goodness is an essential property of god, it is a property that can apply to other things independently of god’s existence. Just think of how being hot is an essential property of fire – fire must be hot, it cannot be cold. But “hot” can apply to many other things independently of fire. For example, microwaves cause things to be hot and so does friction.

              You have to define what you mean by good in the moral sense. Nothing can be good just because, or else the word “good” becomes meaningless. Things have to be good for a reason.

              And then you bring up the ontological argument, which is the worst argument for god ever. I can even use it against you to prove that Yahweh is not god:

              1. God is the greatest conceivable being.
              2. I can conceive of a greater being than Yahweh.
              3. Therefore, Yahweh is not God.

              If you agree with the logic in the ontological argument, then you have to agree with the logic here, because as proponents of the OA often say, “If you can think of a being greater than god, that would be god. Therefore Yahweh is not god. You’ve just disproved Yahweh is god, thanks.

              3. Anyone who actually loves their enemy and does good to them will seal their doom and it’s impractical. But I agree that love, compassion, and kindness are of course good things, and they’re good independently of whether god exists. No deity required.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              i. Which is why Jehovah God has tasked Christ Jesus and his angelic armies with their execution at Armageddon.

              ii. Who is this god that is greater than Jehovah you appeal to?

              iii. And how do you know with absoluteness that love, compassion and kindness are, in fact, good?

            • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

              1. Thanks for conceding. Now prove Jawannaman God is coming back with an army of angels without asserting it.

              2. Any god that also forbids slavery and actually exercises compassion towards his creatures.

              3. First you have to define the word “good.”

            • Joseph O Polanco

              i. You really are hard of reading. It’s what I’ve been arguing from the outset.

              ii. But, as I’ve already shown, Jehovah God is most certainly compassionate and forbids the kidnapping and sale of people into perpetual captivity. What are you talking about.

              iii. The quality or state of moral excellence; virtue. It is a positive quality and expresses itself in the performance of moral and beneficial acts toward others.

            • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

              1. Ad Hom. try again. Apparently you do not know how to read your own bible. Context is king. Exodus 21 pertains to Hebrews only. For example, Numbers 31 states the Canaanite virgins can be kidnapped as spoils of war for the Israelite soldiers.

              2. But he’s perfectly fine with people killing homosexuals, adulterers, witches, unruly children, nonbelievers, false prophets, entire towns who worship other gods, and he’s perfectly fine with non-Hebrews being kept as slaves for life.

              3. Love, compassion and kindness are positive qualities that benefit others.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              i. http://bit.ly/18fW3e8
              So foreign residents, for instance, who kill someone or whose bull killed someone got off scott free, right? (vs. 20, 22,23 & 29)

              ii. It is just for evildoers to suffer execution for their evil.

              ii.b. Argumentum assertio. I’m still waiting for you to show me where death was prescribed for cantankerous children.

            • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

              1. Argumentum ad absurdum. What’s your point, god was more concerned with bulls than the humane condition of slaves? Some priorities.

              2. So we should kill homosexuals, adulterers, witches, unruly children, nonbelievers, false prophets, entire towns who worship other gods, and be allowed to keep non-Hebrews as slaves for life today? Remember, according to you, morality is not relative to people, place, time and circumstance, so you cannot contradict yourself.

              2b. Exodus 21:15, Leviticus 20:9, Proverbs 20:20, Matthew 15:4. Enough for you?

            • Joseph O Polanco

              i. Thank you!! Finally! Thank you for conceding the absurdity in your claim that Exodus 21 only applied to Hebrews.

              ii. You are not authorized to do so. Only Christ Jesus, his heavenly co-rulers and his angelic armies have been commissioned to do so. You will see this take place at Armageddon.

              ii.b. Attacking or calling down evil on one’s parents is a minor, childish offense?

              Thank you for demonstrating how warped the atheist’s moral compass actually is …

            • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

              1. You’ve gone to a new low. I’m not sure I’m even communicating with a rational human being now.

              2. Then how do you explain the commands to do so inthe OT, and like when Jesus says children who curse their parents are to be killed in Mat 15:4?

              2b. So you believe these are serious offenses that warrant the death penalty?

              Thank you for demonstrating how warped the Christian’s moral compass actually is ……..slavery good, sex before marriage bad.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              1. Argumentum ad hominem. Now you’re just being childish. If name calling’s the best argument you can put forth …

              2. The penalty described would have to be the result of a trial brought before “the older men of his city”. (Deuteronomy 21:18-21 ) The execution of any individual accused of any crime without a trial would be murder – also punishable by death.

              To overlook these facts in your facetious attempt to morally indict God is not only noetical deceit, it’s an obscene perversion of the truth.

              2.b. Strawman, try again.

            • Nox

              And those elders of the city would have been ordering the execution of children according to the commandments of which god?

            • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

              1. Childish? You make no rational sense and I appear to be arguing with a person who is unable to use basic logic.

              2. So gluttons and drunkard children are to be stoned to death? And this is something we should continue with today? That’s two-thirds of America who are gluttons who’d have to be killed. But then again, you have no problem with genocide, as long as god sanctions it.

              2b. You’re just evading the logical consequences of your own moral beliefs. If you can’t deal with them, then don’t profess them.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              i. What part did you not understand. I’d be more than happy to explicate further. I’ll even use crayons if need be :)

              ii. An objective reading of this passage reveals that the penalty prescribed is for a ‘glutton and a drunkard’. As such, it is intellectually dishonest to conclude that this passage refers to young children.

              Furthermore, this penalty would have to be the result of a trial brought before “the older men of his city”. The execution of any individual accused of any crime without a trial would be murder – also punishable by death.

              To overlook these facts in your facetious attempt to morally indict God is not only noetical deceit, it’s an obscene perversion of the truth.

              ii.b.It’s still a strawman because I’ve never claimed slavery – the kidnapping and sale of individuals to be held in permanent captivity as domestics – is good.

              When you grow up and get tired of arguing with yourself, take a stab at actually engaging what I’ve very clearly stated over and over and over and over and over again.

              Or is the problem your glasses …

            • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

              1. Then articulate how I conceded that Exodus 21 refers to non-Jews.

              2. An objective reading of the passage refers to a son who is still under the jurisdiction of his parents. Besides the death penalty is prescribed by your god for unruly children here: Exodus 21:15, Leviticus 20:9, Proverbs 20:20, Matthew 15:4, & Mark 7:10. So it is unavoidable for you to play such games.

              DE 21:18-21 says nothing about a trial. I just says that the rebellious son will be taken before the elders of the city, then stoned by “all the men of his town.” The parents know before they even take the son before the elders what the outcome will be. They are taking him to be executed.

              The code of Hammurabi actually requires a trial for the same offense. Moreover, if the son was found guilty in the trial, then the father was legally required to forgive him the first time. If the son is found guilty a second time, then the father disowns him. The son isn’t executed, not pummeled with stones. He is disowned. Problem solved.

              Which one sounds more humane to you? And which would be more practically applied today?

              To overlook these facts in your facetious attempt to morally justify God is not only noetical deceit, it’s an obscene perversion of the truth.

              2b. The logical consequences of your moral beliefs are that human slavery is permissible, and so is stoning to death homosexuals, adulterers, witches, unruly children who curse their parents and many others. If you can’t man up to that, then stop calling yourself a Christian.

  • Joseph O Polanco

    i. Argumentum assertio. Try again.

    ii. The protection of God’s loved ones.

    iii. It appears you misapprehend how free will works. To borrow from the brainchild of Harry Frankfurt, “so long as a person’s choice is causally undetermined, it is a free choice even if he is unable to choose the opposite of that choice.

    Imagine a man with electrodes secretly implanted in his brain who is presented with the choice of doing A or B. The electrodes are inactive so long as the man chooses A; but if he were going to choose B, then the electrodes would switch on and force him to choose A. If the electrodes fire, causing him to choose A, his choice of A is clearly not a free choice. But suppose that the man really wants to do A and chooses of his own volition. In that case his choosing A is entirely free, even though the man is literally unable to choose B, since the electrodes do not function at all and so have no effect on his choice of A. What makes his choice free is the absence of any causally determining factors of his choosing A.

    In other words, a limitation in the range of choices is not the same as having no choice at all. If A, B, and C are good choices, and D, E, and F are evil choices, one’s inability to choose D, E, or F does not negate the fact that he can choose A, B, or C.”

    When you go to an Italian restaurant, they may only serve 12 out of 150 possible Italian dishes. The fact that you cannot choose 138 of those dishes does not negate the fact that you can choose any one of the 12 options before you. Likewise, God’s expectation that man act morally does not mean man lacks freedom of will. Hence, God is justified in expecting mankind to do good and feeling anger towards those who abuse their limited free will to be evil.

    • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

      1, Argument ad nauseum, If you cannot actual refute my argument, just admit it.

      2. So god only loved 8 people? I thought he was all-loving. Maybe not.

      3. How can god be omniscient and have freedom of the will? If one knows all things, they cannot have free will. For example, if I know what I’m going to eat for breakfast tomorrow, I cannot have free will to choose something different; I have to eat what I know I’m going to eat. Likewise for god, if he knows he will create a universe just like ours in which all the events that happen in our universe occur, he cannot do otherwise. He’s simply locked into his choices through his omniscience. I don’t call that free will at all. I’d actually argue, that in such a scenario, our universe would be necessary, since it would be impossible that god wouldn’t have created it.

      Without free will, god’s effects are as necessary as the being itself. Logically it looks like this: If A is a necessary object in that it must exist, and if A exists, then B must exist too, in that you cannot have A alone and it must always be accompanied by B, then since A necessarily exists, B necessarily exists too, since it is impossible that B cannot exist. This is exactly why the god hypothesis fails. You have not explained how it’s possible for an omniscient being to be “endowed with freedom of the will.” Here, you simply assert it.

      Sorry man, your cut and paste answers from William Lane Craig won’t suffice.

      • Joseph O Polanco

        i. You’ve yet to present a legitimate argument. Aut disce aut discede.

        ii. Argumentum reductio ad absurdum. Try again.

        iii.Argumentum reductio ad absurdum. You presuppose God has no control over his abilities such that he can’t employ them in discriminant measures. Sorry, try again.

        • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

          1. Argument ad nauseum, If you cannot actual refute my argument, just admit it. I mean, if genocide is justified for a greater good, then what possible actions are off limits for god to commit?

          2. If you cannot actual refute my argument, just admit it.

          3. You’re presupposing god can have all knowledge of the future and make free choices. And you’re presupposing a temporal god. The onus is on you to show how a timeless, omniscient being can do things that require time, like making decisions and having free will, without logically contradicting yourself.

          • Joseph O Polanco

            I’ve made no such presupposition. Try again.

            • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

              If you cannot actual refute my argument, just admit it. The onus is on you to show how a timeless, omniscient being can do things that require time, like making decisions and having free will, without logically contradicting yourself.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              You’re being reductive in your conflation of metaphysical time with physical time. Sorry, try again.

            • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

              The onus is on you to demonstrate that metaphysical time is real and not just a logically incoherent cop out that theists use to explain the fact that god’s attributes are illogical.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              How so very jejune …

              A sequence of mental events alone is sufficient to generate relations of earlier and later, wholly in the absence of any physical events. So, for instance, there was a time at which God created the initial cosmological singularity, even if that moment was not in physical time.

            • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

              Woa, another William Lane Craig plagiarization. How original of you. Craig’s quote actually works against you. If thoughts require time, god cannot be a mind. A mind is the thinking aspect of a brain. This means that if god were to count from one to five, “1,2,3,4,5” there would always be a moment prior to him counting and a moment after him counting. This means that in order to think, you cannot logically escape the dimension of time, even in the absence of physical matter. This puts a heavy burden of proof on the theist who asserts that god is a thinking mind and a timeless mind. It would also seem that the absence of time and of possessing temporal qualities prevents any ability to think along with the ability to execute one’s will, and it certainly prevents god from being able to impregnating an underage Palestinian virgin, so that god could have her give birth to himself.

              A timeless mind is by definition, non functional.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Metaphysical time, yes. Physical time, no. Aut disce aut discede.

            • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

              Sounds like time to me. Anything with distinctions between “earlier and later” is time. Sorry buddy, your plagiarized arguments don’t hold up under scrutiny.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Let me bring you up to speed then. Physical Time “is a mathematical method that defines a quantity of momentum from the relationship between the positive reality of mass and the negative reality of space.” Metaphysical Time, on the other hand “is the perception of time as a continuous flow that is without interval and is thus immeasurable. It is the comprehension of motion and therefore of time’s passage. Clocks do not measure time. “Time itself” is a metaphysical concept and as such cannot be identified by any physical measurement nor can it be altered in any way by a physical effect. Clocks function by monitoring the constant relationship between mass and space known as the conservation of momentum and angular momentum. Time does not move the world, but the motions of the world can be quite beautifully generalized into the metaphysical idea of time.”

              Let me know if you require any additional clarifications.

            • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

              The “positive reality of mass and the negative reality of space” is why the universe has zero total energy, and took zero energy for it to begin, No deity required. The problem with metaphysical time, and the description you copied, is that it is unverifiable. It’s just an idea, a concept. It makes no sense of reality and has no basis in reality. It sounds like the now discarded absolute time Newton believed in. Time doesn’t flow and is more like a frozen river. Physicist Paul Davies explains, “Nothing in known physics corresponds to the passage of time.” He adds, “Physicists prefer to think of time as laid out in its entirety—a timescape, analogous to a landscape—with all past and future events located there together. It is a notion sometimes referred to as blocktime.” [i]

              “We do not really observe the passage of time,” Davies writes, “what we actually observe is that later states of the world differ from earlier states that we still remember. The fact that we remember the past, rather than the future, is an observation not of the passage of time bit of the asymmetry of time.”*

              [i] Davies, Paul (September 2002). “That Mysterious
              Flow”. Scientific American 287 (3): PP. 82-86.

  • Joseph O Polanco

    Context is king:

    “But the lawless one’s presence is according to the operation of Satan with every powerful work and lying signs and portents and with every unrighteous deception for those who are perishing, as a retribution because they did not accept the love of the truth that they might be saved. So that is why **God lets an operation of error go to them, that they may get to believing the lie,** in order that they all may be judged because they did not believe the truth but took pleasure in unrighteousness.” – 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 (Emphasis mine.)

    • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

      That passage has nothing to do with Ezekiel. And you also have to contend with JE 20:7:

      You deceived me, Lord, and I was deceived;
      you overpowered me and prevailed.
      I am ridiculed all day long;
      everyone mocks me.

      • Joseph O Polanco

        What part did you not understand? I’d be more than happy to clarify.

        • Nox

          Pointing out passages which contradict what is plainly stated in other passages does not make those other passages no longer part of the bible. It only calls attention to how much the bible disagrees with itself.

          Which wouldn’t be surprising if it were written by men with conflicting beliefs who were in (often violent) conflict with each other over what god wanted. But it would seem counterproductive if it were the word of some all knowing unchanging god who intended it to have a coherent message.

          • Joseph O Polanco

            Oh, so you know ancient Hebrew, Aramaic and Koine?

        • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

          How is a deceptive god perfectly good and moral?

          • Joseph O Polanco

            Who has God ever deceived?

            • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

              EZ 20:25 God says that he intentionally gave out bad laws. (This means that God-given laws or commandments are sometimes suspect.)

              1KI 22:23, 2CH 18:22, JE 4:10, EZ 14:9 God deceives some of the prophets.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Again, context is king:

              “And so I let them go in the stubbornness of their heart;
              They went walking in their own counsels.” -Psalm 81:12

              “That is why God lets an operation of error go to them, that they may get to believing the lie.” -2 Thessalonians 2:11

              “Therefore God, in keeping with the desires of their hearts, gave them up to uncleanness, that their bodies might be dishonored among them.” -Romans 1:24

            • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

              That doesn’t explain the context. Those verses refer to other things. God is still a deceiver and therefore he is a liar. If god deceives a person, you can’t say it is the person’s fault for receiving intentionally bad wisdom from god.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              Allow me to clarify further. What this context bears out is that God is more than happy to help fools who foolishly ignore him to continue fooling themselves. That’s all.

            • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

              That in no way repudiates the fact that according to the bible, god intentionally deceives some of his prophets. If your boss lies to you and causes you to do your job improperly, you cannot be blamed for having a stubborn heart. It’s your boss’s fault for intentionally deceiving you. You did what you were told.

            • Joseph O Polanco

              You’re, once again, confused. God has never deceived any of his prophets.


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