God Creates Evil

God Creates Evil August 20, 2014

unfalsifiableWe’ve recently seen that God has a hard time following his own Ten Commandments, but he has other moral lapses that aren’t covered by that list.

Slavery

Slavery is first on the bonus list of God’s immorality. I’ve written a lot on this issue already, so let’s keep this brief. I’ll summarize by saying that Old Testament slavery of foreigners was just like American slavery of Africans (more here and here).

Rape

God also has no problem with rape (Deut. 22:28–9), sexual slavery (Numbers 31:18), or forced marriage (Judges 21:11–12). The Bible has a long list of odd ideas about marriage and sex.

Homosexuality

God is on the wrong side of this issue, too.

If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads. (Leviticus 20:13)

(More here, here, and here.)

A better source of morals than the Bible

The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted in 1948. Consider some highlights to see if mere humans can do a better job than God’s holy book.

  • Article 2: These rights apply to everyone
  • Article 3: No genocide
  • Article 4. No slavery
  • Article 5. No torture
  • Article 16. Marriage allowed regardless of race, nationality, or religion. Both spouses must consent. Divorce is allowed.
  • Article 18. Freedom to reject one’s religion

We can thank Western society for these principles, not the Bible.

Not only is the Bible on the wrong side of these moral issues, it also shows its early Iron Age origin on political issues. Again, some highlights from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

  • Article 10. Fair trial
  • Article 11. The accused is innocent until proven guilty
  • Article 19. Freedom of speech
  • Article 20. Freedom of assembly
  • Article 21. Universal suffrage
  • Article 26. Right to education
  • Article 29: Democracy.

None of these come from the Bible. (I’ve written more on the Bible vs. the U.S. Constitution here.)

God creates evil

When bad things happen, where was God? Was he not paying attention? Was he powerless against the intrigues of Satan? No—the Bible makes clear that God creates the evil himself.

I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, Jehovah, do all these things (Isaiah 45:7).

Is it not from the mouth of El Elyon that both calamities and good things come? (Lamentations 3:38)

When disaster comes to a city, has not Jehovah caused it? (Amos 3:6)

Of course, there’s always a Christian apologist eager to show how this is actually a good thing. Megachurch pastor John Piper says:

God is more glorious for having conceived and created and governed a world like this with all its evil.

The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord. … Where would we turn if we didn’t have a God to help us deal with the very evils that he has ordained come into our lives?1

With a god like this, who needs Satan?! And in times of trouble, you’re supposed to turn to the guy who brought you the calamity in the first place? Talk about an abusive relationship!

God is like the guy who sets a fire in the basement of an apartment building and then plays the hero as he sounds the alarm and rescues people.

The ultimate unfalsifiable hypothesis?

What could God do and not be moral? Not killing, lying, and causing evil—he’s already done all these things. Not genocide, slavery, stealing, and rape—he’s already advocated these.

It’s an odd dictionary that has an exception to allow anyone to do these things and still be called “moral.”

God is like a petulant and pampered heir who’s always gotten his way and careens through life, oblivious to the harm he causes, with a train of Daddy’s minions to clean up the damage. In God’s case, it’s Christians who clean up after him, assuring everyone that whatever happens—from suicide for anti-gay bullying, to slavery and genocide in the Bible, to natural disasters—God gets only credit and never blame.

God is good; evil exists; God is all-powerful—
pick any two.
— Anon.

1 quoted by Thom Stark, The Human Faces of God (2011), 65.

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  • MNb

    As Disqus doesn’t allow it: +1.

  • wtfwjtd

    “God is like the guy who sets a fire in the basement of an apartment building and then plays the hero as he sounds the alarm and rescues people.”

    Nailed it! What a perfectly expressed truth about Christianity’s god!

    One might even take it a step further–after he sounded the alarm and started choosing who he would rescue, and who he would let burn to death, he also makes some innocent bystander the fall guy for his miscreant deed. That way, he gets even more glory. He also demands that all of the people in the burning building “praise” him, whether he rescues them or not. He’s a vain and crafty one, that Yahweh.

    • Good thinking! Analogies like this can be taken in fun directions.

      • Dope

        TIL good thinking can be taken in fun directions

    • Greg G.

      Then there are the Christians who feel obligated to warn you that your basement is on fire everyday.

      • wtfwjtd

        Ugh, tell me about it! My wife and I have had an unfortunate spate of that here lately. It makes things a mite uncomfortable at family gatherings. I can definitely empathize with Pofarmer, at least to a degree.

        • Pofarmer

          It may get a little interesting. Some friends of ours, the Dad is Agnostic, but is not put to his kids, maybe not even his wife. Anyway, they have the kids in Youth group, which I had nixed as “too much” even back when I was a Christian, and they have a “lock in” where they watch “God’s not Dead”. Now, I think it’s funny that a Catholic youth group os watching an evangelical film, since they think the evangelicals are going to hell, but, anyway, the kids are over at our house and talking to our kids about the movie, and. I’m standing there listening and the kids “get it” about how Atheists are not just angry at God. So I told them that I was an atheist, and explained that I’m an atheist because I don’t think there’s good evidence for God, and I certainly don’t think there’s good evidence for all the crazy stuff in religion. Then I needed to go and they were talking to my boys and my kids were telling them how dishonest the Cristeros movie was. I dunno, there are only a very few people that I am “out” about my atheism with, could get interesting. On the other hand, my oldest just started public high school after 8 years in Catholic school. He is going to have an interesting time. He considers himself an Agnostic, but one of the things I noticed was all the kids running around with religious T-shirts at open houses and stuff. Will be some intersting navigating.

        • wtfwjtd

          Man, I can’t imagine not being out to my wife, that would drive me completely nuts. Even the kids would be a tough one. I’ve decided in the last year or so that I’ll tell anyone that asks me–but I don’t normally bring the subject up, and I haven’t been asked very much about my religious beliefs,or lack thereof. Lately, however, the wife’s family and a couple of their buds have gotten a little pushy about the going to church stuff, and unfortunately for my wife it’s made for some uncomfortable moments. We’ve tried to tell ’em nicely that we are not interested, but some people have a hard time hearing it, and won’t take a polite decline for an answer. I really don’t want to have to tell them to fuck off, that I think attending their church would be an utter, complete waste of my time, but if they keep pushing we may be left with little choice. Ah yes, such fun to live in the buckle of the bible belt….
          It sounds like you were in an interesting situation there, I hope you aren’t ostracized for “traumatizing” the other kids. I doubt it though, you have your own kids to kind of ease the transition, and your alternative view point would certainly do those other kids a world of good. And, it will be a great example to your boys of living an open, honest life, which they will be much happier for, I guarantee it.
          That’s one thing I won’t do any more, is hide who I am, when it comes to non-belief. It doesn’t mean I’m deliberately antagonistic of course, but I won’t back down when personally challenged with religious nonsense either. I think you probably understand what I’m trying to say.

        • Pofarmer

          Another interesting thing. One of the kids in my middle boys class, a girl, kind of went through a phase where she was going Jewish, which I’ve written about here, and she has now decided that she is agnostic. I think he is the only one she’s told. And she’s pretty much the only one that he’s told. It will be interesting to see how everything there unfolds, but, anyway. The school came out with a challenge to “Show your Christian values” where they are going to be basically doing a good citzenship award. I told my boy, “Fine, go after it, and if you win it, tell them that you are an unbeliever and see what they say.” It needs to be demonstrated that atheists aren’t automatically horrible people.

        • Timothy Cooper

          That’s messed up. Is this a christian school or a public school

        • Pofarmer

          Catholic School.

          Long story.

        • What if you attended the occasional service and then discussed the sermon with your friends afterwards? Perhaps your gentle but probing questioning would make them prefer that you didn’t go to church because you’d ask too many uncomfortable questions.

          Just a thought.

        • Pofarmer

          My wife has been going to a “Marian Conference” in St. Louis for several years. I don’t remember who got her started on it. I think that radicalization is what started some of our problems. A lot of their agenda looks like standard apologetics, and emphasis on how this or that Catholic prayer, rosary, whatever, is so great and powerful. I think this year, if she goes, I’m gonna make the deal that when she gets home that we WILL talk about. Because I’ve had to pretty much totally ignore it to keep our marriage together. But, it sure looks like a lot of the same nonsense that Al And asmondious spout.

        • Interesting how this is just like magic. They don’t call them “charms” or “spells” or “talismans,” but the definitions are the same.

          I wonder if you could ease her into cultural Christianity. That is, she doesn’t make any claims to magic and maybe she doesn’t even argue that the supernatural claims are true, but she just walks the walk of a Catholic. If the rituals and demands of Catholicism become simply cultural habits (like turkey and pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving), perhaps that wouldn’t be so bad.

        • Pofarmer

          Right now I’m just happy to be slowly extracting my kids from the depth of teh crazy. She seems to be calming down a little, but you just never know.

        • wtfwjtd

          If your wife feels comfortable enough to discuss the subject with you, then do so by all means. You’re mature enough to discuss it without mockery or ridicule: just a good, calm, plain-facts discussion using reason, logic, and evidence might be a fruitful endeavor. It’s worth a try, if it can be managed.

        • Pofarmer

          Well, I think I wrote about it, but at our last “marriage counseling” session, by a nice lady who believes “God is everywhere and all around us” I kinda let fly. So my wife knows where I stand now. She also knows I love her very much. The problem is, it is very effective to mock beliefs, to juxtapose them to the way we live. She’s an RN for Pete’s sake, She’s had anatomy and microbiology. She ought to know how stuff works. But, when you mock beliefs, she thinks you are mocking her, and the Catholic Church believes so much crazy shit, it is kind of target rich environment.

        • wtfwjtd

          I admit, it’s hard for me to understand what you are dealing with. My wife and I have always been on a similar page when it comes to religion and god belief/non-belief, and we’ve never had any trouble discussing it. We both pretty much gave up on organized religion over 20 years ago, that was quite easy for us, as many of the Christians that we knew were a lot like the Christians that come here. When I started becoming more agnostic a few years ago, I started discussing my personal journey with her, and at first she was kind of jarred by it. I didn’t push it, or anything, just presented some good evidence and pointed her to some sources that I had run across. It started with basic apologetics, and the shockingly flimsy foundation of the gospels (this was about the time a relative of ours got into apologetics in a big way).She was interested enough to do her own research, and then discovered Hitchens on her own; by then it was all over for both of us.

          I don’t know how this might be relative to your situation, I was just sharing to show that it is possible for mutual change within a relationship to occur. I know what you are saying about the target-rich environment, but a kinder approach I think would be potentially more productive and non-confrontational in your situation. Take a look at this guy’s blog, he has some good stuff in this regard, that you might find useful:

          http://leavingyourreligion.com/2014/08/nothing/

          Like you, I like the at-times rough-and-tumble atmosphere here on the Patheos blogs, but I think sometimes a little more finesse is called for, and would be more effective and successful. Especially in your case, where a deeply personal relationship is involved.

        • Pofarmer

          Well,she did start reading “Demon Haunted World”. That was probably jarring enough. I should gently suggest she start back into it.

        • I’ll also recommend the Living After Faith podcast (web site here) by former Baptist minister Rich Lyons.

        • wtfwjtd

          You know, that’s not such a bad idea, at least not as crazy at it first sounded to me until I thought about it a bit. It would definitely raise some eyebrows, and could tone down the pressure somewhat.
          The problem is, my wife would still like to have some kind of relationship with her parents, but all they seem interested in is whether she is religious in exactly the same way as they are. At some point though, there may be little to lose, and who knows, it might stir the pot a bit and something interesting might come out of it. Then again…

        • Al

          If atheism is true you will be separated someday forever from your loved ones. There is no hope in atheism. Each day it brings you closer to non-existence. I don’t know how an atheist can live without hope.

        • Hmm … empty argument #32a. Let me just look up the response. Again.

          “Life has no hope from an absolute standpoint, but atheists, like anyone else, can find hope in their lives. Look up the word “hope” in a dictionary and you’ll note that there is no absolute component to the definition.”

          I wish there were an app for that. I also wish you’d take into account the responses you get instead of ignoring them and doling out the same shit over and over. Learn and improve–isn’t that what humans are good for?

        • wtfwjtd

          But I do have hope Al–it’s just that you keep hoping that I don’t have hope, to try and justify the zero-evidence false hope that you have invented for yourself that you think comes from your imaginary god.
          You ever think about taking up another hobby? ‘Cause you’re kinda a shitty at this one, frankly.

        • Ron

          That’s news to me. Is it similar to “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity!” type of hopelessness expressed by the God-fearing preacher of Ecclesiastes?

        • “‘The fate of the fool will overtake me also. What then do I gain by being wise?’ I said to myself, ‘This too is meaningless.’ For the wise, like the fool, will not be long remembered; the days have already come when both have been forgotten. Like the fool, the wise too must die!”
          (Ecc. 2:13–16)

          The Bible does have the occasional good bits, but empty hope isn’t covered in that part.

        • Pofarmer

          Pssst. Lot’s of people think the author of Ecclesiastes was an agnostic. A lot of the God parts seem to be later interpolations, because they don’t necessarily jive with what the author is saying.

        • MNb

          It’s better than the idea that each day might bring me closer to spending eternity with you. Hey, are you rejoicing the prospect of sitting hands in hands with Rudolf Höss?

        • Pofarmer

          Would you give up on this nonsense, please? I have as much hope as anybody. I am trying to build a business, raise a family, have some fun. I hope that tommorrow and the days after that will be fulfilling. I have a good chance to live a long life as numerous in my family are in their 80’s and 90’s in pretty good health. To think that it’s hopeless, because someday you will die and that’s it, is just infinitely puerile and naive.

        • Greg G.

          When you don’t live with false hope, you appreciate every day all the more. You should try living that way.

        • Timothy Cooper

          Hope and religion aren’t intertwined. You can hope for a better life without god. If anything its probably better not to have to rely on a book that was written 2000 years ago by people trying to hook people into giving money to them.

  • Scott_In_OH

    And in times of trouble, you’re supposed to turn to the guy who brought you the calamity in the first place? Talk about an abusive relationship!

    This is exactly right.

    God tells you you are shit but that He loves you anyway. God would do anything for you if you would just let Him. God claims to have a set of standards for perfection, but He never makes them perfectly clear, it seems like they might change over time, and anyway you can’t achieve them without His help. All God is asking for is the respect and affection due Him, but you are so selfish that you won’t give it. God hates that He has to appear cruel sometimes, but you brought it on yourself by your transgressions. Now that all the bad stuff is over, why don’t you cry in God’s arms and let Him rock you until you fall asleep?

    It’s fucking sick.

    • 90Lew90

      Yeah. It’s like some sort of Stockholm Syndrome.

    • ZenDruid

      “Did you thank God for sparing your life when the tornado hit?”

      “No, I thought God sent the damn thing. I thank those who made the effort to create an early warning system.”

      • Lance Armstrong was asked if he thanked God for curing him of cancer.

        No, he said, because if he did, he’d have to blame God for giving it to him in the first place.

        You wonder why the Christians don’t anticipate answers like this beforehand.

        • hector_jones

          He does thank God for steroids, however.

        • Al

          Seems to me Lance deserved it considering he was such liar.

        • Compuholic

          So liars deserve a deadly disease? Nice morals you have on display here.

        • smrnda

          If there was a god who cared about lying, couldn’t that god have made Lance not win when he was cheating ?

        • Kodie

          So god gave Lance Armstrong testicular cancer 3 years before he even won his first Tour de France courtesy of steroids.

        • Timothy Cooper

          Well god knew he would sin eventually. Nobody can live up to those standards without jesus

        • Kodie

          For people who like to give god credit in the outcomes of sporting competitions, you think god cared if Lance Armstrong was a cheater at bicycling? Only god can imbalance the playing field, is that it? So what he did was take drugs to affect a race, ok 7 races. So goddamned diddly what? People care about the integrity of sports, but this is a human diversion, this is for our own glory and entertainment.

          So give that guy ball cancer!

        • Timothy Cooper

          There’s a lack of consistency with most Christians I know. If something bad happens to non christian it’s God’s “righteous” judgment. To a Christian they’re being tested or some nonsense. Cancer is just a disease not a god curse.

        • Kodie

          Sure, but people act like Lance Armstrong murdered someone.

        • Timothy Cooper

          Entertainment is serious business. Unfortunately all some people care about.

        • Kodie

          Notice, the punishment of losing a ball didn’t stop him from cheating on 7 Tours de France, either. What does he have to lose, his other ball? He took steroids for fuck’s sake. I don’t think he cares.

        • Timothy Cooper

          Well I don’t know his beliefs on religion but creating man in your image giving them free will and then punishing them forever because they use it and don’t follow a 2000 year old moral system sounds like a “great” creator. I wouldn’t care either.

        • wtfwjtd

          “So give that guy ball cancer!”

          Hmm, that sounds familiar…

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iq10bz3PxyY

          Patton Oswalt’s xmas shoes

        • wtfwjtd

          Leave it to a Christian to tell the world that someone, anyone, “deserved” cancer. Some people just don’t have a fucking clue as to what they are talking about.

        • Timothy Cooper

          I wonder if he would blame the victim if it was himself or someone he knew

        • wtfwjtd

          Ah yes, good question! My feeling: I doubt it. Christians are great at condemning others for their shortcomings, but are experts at completely overlooking their own. It’s part of the faith, you know.

        • Timothy Cooper

          I know all to well. Was one for several years. Still go to a church with the family. Get a good laugh from some of the sermons too

        • wtfwjtd

          “Still go to a church with the family.”

          You poor guy!
          I remember one Sunday morning, over 20 years ago, I went to the lake with my brother on a beautiful summer Sunday , and he taught me how to water ski. I had an absolute blast! It hit me that morning, while we were out having so much fun: “No wonder preachers rail against those sinful heathens that go to the lake on Sunday morning. If people ever got a clue how much fun this is, churches across America would be nearly empty on Sunday morning!”

          It was the beginning of the end of the religious devotion that had been beat into me as a child. It took another several years to complete the process, but once started there was no going back. Enjoying life kinda puts a damper on a lot of religious nonsense.

        • Timothy Cooper

          Church attendance is in decline from what I hear. The southeast, where I live,you get comments if you say you’re an atheist.

        • Pofarmer

          The last straw for me, was a sermon on “God is infinitely Good.” and by the end of it I was just about red faced at the stupidity, and everyone looking on like the priest was making some profound commentary. Can’t hardly make myself go back.

        • Timothy Cooper

          The pastor at my church had one where he was saying Abraham never doubted god. I’m like, duh the bible isn’t going to cast doubt on the father of jewdism

        • wtfwjtd

          It’s interesting, when you look at some of those vaunted hero stories in the Bible without the God-goggles on, you discover that many of them were displaying rather repulsive and sometimes just downright awful behavior.

        • JohnH2

          I haven’t actually tested this, but it would not be out of character for the scribes that compiled the Bible to have God violate each of the commandments that God could logically violate, excluding the breaking of specific covenants that God makes with people.

        • wtfwjtd

          I was reading somewhere that writers like to give the gods that they write about their own bad habits and traits, so what you are saying would certainly be in alignment with that claim.

        • JohnH2

          The Old Testament as we have it was compiled by a division of the Hebrew religion that really liked the idea of an absolute King that got to make laws for people and had a covenant with people but was otherwise unbound by anything but His prior word. This appears to have started possibly slightly prior to Josiah, but largely with Josiah who really liked the idea, and then was promoted under Persian rule as well. Think of the kings in Daniel and Esther, but bigger. Such an idea fits well with an unmoved mover, and the idea of an omnipotent God makes it possible to claim (if you really want to) that even the most blatant editing was designed and dictated by God so that the result is perfect.

        • Al

          So what do you live for now? If you are an atheist its all pointless.

        • Hmm … empty argument #32. Let me just look up the response. Again.

          “Life is pointless from an absolute standpoint, but atheists, like anyone else, can assign purpose and meaning to their lives. Look up the word “purpose” in a dictionary and you’ll note that there is no absolute component to the definition.”

          I wish there were an app for that. I also wish you’d take into account the responses you get instead of ignoring them and doling out the same shit over and over. Learn and improve–isn’t that what humans are good for?

        • Timothy Cooper

          Life is what you make of it. It you live in fear of crossing the big guy upstairs is that worth living for?

        • Christians are like a woman with an abusive boyfriend.

        • wtfwjtd

          Geez Al, haven’t you been paying attention? The Hokey Pokey is what it’s all about, of course!

        • MNb

          I live for the opportunity to kiss Hanks Ass. The reward will be a million dollar.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDp7pkEcJVQ

        • Greg G.

          What do you live for, Al? Do you think heaven will live up to the hype that preachers promise? How long are you going to be awed by streets of gold? Streets of concrete were pretty awesome when they were new but you take them for granted now. Gold will just be pavement. Remember the manna from heaven to the starving Israelites during the exodus? They got tired of it pretty quickly, even though they were starving. God isn’t much of a caterer. What if heaven is a Puritan party that even the Puritans think is lame. Like Hotel California, you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.

        • MNb

          My son (19 and atheist since 6 years or so) feels empathy for you. Last Sunday he went to church with his mother and had to listen to a sermon about the importance of prayer for an hour.

        • Well, yeah. God is a time traveler.

        • Pofarmer

          God works in mysterious ways. 1000 years is like a day, er, something.

        • Seen on a cartoon: “I know God works in mysterious ways, but if I worked that mysteriously, I’d get fired.”

        • The cheating (breaking the rules) was the bigger issue, IMO.

          And you do know that the cancer came years before the cheating, right?

        • adam

          So all that lying you do for YOUR god?

          He must have punished you with blink ignorance.
          Otherwise YOU would be able to DEMONSTRATE this MAGIC power of YOUR god….

      • The Man With The Name Too Long

        I always wonder what the rationale is of God killing some people in a natural disaster but sparing others when he assures that everyone is going to die and be resurrected (or live on in some other realm) anyway. It seems like he’s killing people indiscriminately rather than having a reason. That’s why I refer to God as random chance with a face. Or sometimes just Nature with a face.

        It’s pretty common for people to anthropomorphize things in order to make them more appealing. Like Mickey Mouse or Cars (the Pixar film). I think a lot of religious people have a strong inclination towards the narrative bias, to the point where viewing the workings of the universe as a story (Like the Fall of Adam and Eve as an explanation for unsavory things like disease) just “makes more sense” than viewing it as just being there for no reason or forces with no will or intent (which is the case as far as I can tell). We tend to remember things better and more fondly when they are story-like or poetic (or traumatic, of course).

        • wtfwjtd

          Yes, the indiscriminate nature of natural disasters is almost like…there isn’t a god at all. Hmm…

        • Ron

          Funny you should mention it, but God’s “surgical precision” with Katrina wiped out numerous churches while sparing the French Quarter—the part where Southern Decadence is held (though admittedly, the festival was canceled that year). I mean, what are the odds of that being just a “natural” coincidence? 😀

        • wtfwjtd

          Damn Ron, that kinda makes me want to go to Mardi Gras sometime and see what all the fuss is about!

    • The recent Friendly Atheist video below is short and to the point. It goes beyond parody–the relationship with God is almost exactly like a relationship with an abusive boyfriend.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AoxzD2Qy60M

      • wtfwjtd

        I love that video!

      • Scott_In_OH

        I agree. I wasn’t kidding in my post above.

        It’s got the same psychological effect, too, at least on the people who take it seriously. It’s a big reason why even the love-focused progressive Christianity I’m very familiar with is dangerous. You are not shit. The fact that you want to be kind to others is a credit to you. If God it going to torture you forever for not being perfect (according to His arbitrary standard) or torture someone else forever because s/he didn’t believe in the right deity, then God is the asshole, not you. But even progressive Christianity teaches the opposite of that.

    • The Biblical God seems to suffer from a serious form of multiple personality disorder because multiple people over the centuries used Him as a tool for expressing their ideas, hopes, fears, desires, prejudices, traditions, & also superiority/inferiority complex…
      Moreover, “God” was born from a merger of several Semitic deities, each
      one with his own “personality” (i.e., Elohim demanding Isaac’s sacrifice & Jahweh preventing it).
      Quite a mess, actually.

      • The Biblical God seems to suffer from a serious form of multiple personality disorder because multiple people over the centuries used Him as a tool for expressing their ideas

        Not to mention the way the Christian God concept piggybacked on power structures that converted the people they conquered. A major part of colonialism was the philosophical rewiring of the subjugated population.

        You didn’t think the Spanish used YouTube debates and facts and evidence to make the Aztecs abandon their false beliefs, did you?

        • Ron

          It was a simpler time. Cortés found the “Mass Genocidal Argument for God” more to his liking.

        • Greg G.

          I reckon I would have been persuaded by that one.

      • smrnda

        When a few different people write a fictional character, consistently becomes a problem. We’re talking a book written across centuries. They can’t keep superheroes consistent across a decade.

  • Barrak Obama

    1People of Israel,
    I rescued you from Egypt.
    Now listen to my judgment
    against you.
    2Of all nations on earth,
    you are the only one
    I have chosen.
    That’s why I will punish you
    because of your sins.
    The Work of a Prophet
    3Can two people walk together
    without agreeing to meet?
    4Does a lion roar in the forest
    unless it has caught
    a victim?
    Does it growl in its den
    unless it is eating?
    5How can anyone catch a bird
    without using a net?
    Does a trap spring shut
    unless something is caught?
    6Isn’t the whole city frightened
    when the trumpet
    signals an attack?
    Isn’t the Lord the one who brings
    disaster on a city?
    7Whatever the Lord God
    plans to do,
    he tells his servants,
    the prophets.
    8Everyone is terrified
    when a lion roars—
    and ordinary people
    become prophets
    when the Lord God speaks.
    Samaria Is Doomed
    9Here is a message
    for the leaders
    of Philistia and Egypt—
    tell everyone to come together
    on the hills of Samaria.
    Let them see the injustice
    and the lawlessness
    in that city.
    10The Lord has said
    that they don’t even know how
    to do right.
    They have become rich
    from violence and robbery.
    11And so the Lord God has sworn
    that they will be surrounded.
    Enemies will break through
    their defenses
    and steal their treasures.
    12The Lord has promised
    that only a few from Samaria
    will escape with their lives
    and with some broken pieces
    of their beds and couches.
    It will be like when a shepherd
    rescues two leg bones
    and part of a sheep’s ear
    from the jaws of a lion.
    The Altars at Bethel
    13The Lord God All-Powerful
    told me to speak this message
    against Jacob’s descendants:
    14 When I, the Lord, punish Israel
    for their sins,
    I will destroy the altars
    at Bethel.
    Even the corners of the altar
    will be left in the dirt.
    15I will tear down winter homes
    and summer homes.
    Houses decorated with ivory
    and all other mansions
    will be gone forever.
    I, the Lord, have spoken!

    Dont Cherry pick idiots. if you read the entire chapter even, before christ, imagine if you used a group of people and saw them as your children. imagine if they lied to you or disobeyed you or said they didnt believe in you, ect. imagine if your children even said they hated even knowing you and they would rather worship a big gold cow they just made in front of you and said out with the 2000 year ideas, lets get some real selfishness going… If you were a parent, Would you kindly and gently just say… ok whatever here is a new iPhone, do you love me now? many people who dont understand parenting do… and suprisingly,
    Atheist seem to think so. The refrence for Amos, is through a prophet of Israel giving a speech that had very little of a 4th grade education, who somehow articulated a message delivered by the one who wanted the message delivered to the Jews “nation of Isreal”
    The message was, Love. Not what the humans have been doing but, the statements that God was always there providing a way. When a city was needed to live in, God was there to provide access and to provide the surge of power to take it over. (Isn’t the whole city frightened
    when the trumpet
    signals an attack?
    Isn’t the Lord the one who brings
    disaster on a city?)
    this verse refers to the idea that as humans we are weak and going to die if we rely on ourself and our greed and selfishness. With a belief and a devotion to God anything is possible. Reaching and questioning and looking should be our motivation that drives us closer to obeying things that help us live better because we are protected. We are satisfied, and thankful.

    Atheist want to silence and get rid of the cancer or virus they call religion. Humans have shown the tendency to reject, even hate even the idea of a creator that they cant see. God tells you, you are special and supposed to be set apart and honor what is good. Human always looks to hide in the darkness and loot gas stations and break property and commit rape. Love does not create this, no more than light loosing to darkness.

    • ZenDruid

      tl;dr

    • Right—in the early phases of Judaism, God was just the God of the Jews. Other tribes had their own gods—not imaginary gods, real ones—and the Jews knew that. This is a good chapter to remind us of the early polytheism from with Judaism came.

      imagine if you used a group of people and saw them as your children. imagine if they lied to you or disobeyed you or said they didnt believe in you

      Oooh—that would make me furious! I think I’d kill lots of them and then have another tribe overrun their country and exile them. And they’d consider themselves lucky, because I’d just as soon drown the lot of them—and I’ve done it before.

      The message was, Love.

      Are you saying that I misquoted it above? That when disaster hits, the Bible is wrong and God actually is not behind it?

      God was always there providing a way

      Would the explanation “God was never there; it was just wishful thinking” explain the facts just as well?

      With a belief and a devotion to God anything is possible.

      Anything? I doubt it. The Christian with God behind him looks no more powerful or capable as the Christian with no god.

      Human always looks to hide in the darkness and loot gas stations and break property and commit rape.

      Huh? I feel very little inclination to do this. Perhaps this charge is overblown.

  • JohnH2

    I would be amused to see this conversation take place here.

    • MNb

      Ah, just another right wing ignorant christian doofus. He writes nothing I haven’t seen before.
      “Romance is truth and truth is romance”.

      “http://www.everyjoe.com/2014/07/16/politics/secret-to-the-most-mind-blowing-sex-ever/

      • JohnH2

        He actually is really quite intelligent and writes usually pretty good scifi/fantasy, also used to be an atheists. You would probably like his Golden Age series, maybe. I’ve argued with him quite a lot previously because there are places of pretty deep disagreement.

        • MNb

          “He actually is really quite intelligent”
          So are WLC, Emmanuel Rutten and you with your material god. You all three are probably more intelligent than me. An intelligent person can be an ignorant doofus just fine.

        • Maybe deluded doofus rather than ignorant.

      • OK, but any article with heavy deepities like that has just gotta be true. Or something.

    • smrnda

      Just to make sure I have Mormon belief down, but in previous discussions,you’ve said that Mormons do not view god as omnipotent, right? So god is powerful but not all powerful, so the Problem of Evil is not such a big problem?

      • JohnH2

        We redefine Omnipotence, so yes

        • smrnda

          What was the rationale? Was the standard view rejected for any reason (problem of evil, logically incoherent) or was it more a revelation thing?

        • JohnH2

          It actually relates to God having a body, us being His offspring, and being able to be like Him; Revelation on those subjects.

        • smrnda

          All said, it’s almost more like the Greek or Norse gods then. Does have some advantages logically.

    • Anything interesting? Any rebuttals to what I’ve said here? I may not have time to read it.

    • I read the article. It’s a bit pretentious. It reads well, but it’s the same old arguments when you scratch away the clever talk.

      If you see something especially relevant or useful, point it out.

  • Catholics try to explain evil saying that it’s our own fault due to the Fall, etc. etc., but this can just tell us something about moral evil (wars, poverty…)
    What about natural disasters?
    Well, they often say that:
    1) It’s our fault anyway, our sinfulness spoiled the Creation (how did it work?)
    or
    2) God chooses not to intervene, since His open action would force everyone into believing, and faith would not be a “merit” anymore
    or, as a last resort
    3) Both good and evil are part of God’s plan, and we are just to irrelevant to know and understand it with our feeble reason.
    Which explanation is more likely, in our opinion? (spoiler: in my opinion, NONE).

  • John Piper is a Calvinist, and the Calvinists seem to embrace divine cruelty, with some going so far as to say they’d gladly be tortured forever if that was God’s pleasure (the most traditional also say that who gets spared this is a completely arbitrary matter). The masochism and self-loathing are more blatant here than anywhere else among Christians.

  • Al

    What does the UN say about the murder of the unborn?

    • Ron

      What does the bible say about the murder of the unborn?

      Hint: Hosea 13:16, 2 Kings 15:16, Numbers 31:17

      • Pofarmer

        Don’t forget, Numbers 5:11-30 or so.

      • Al

        What is the contexts of Hosea 13:16, 2 Kings 15:16, Numbers 31:17?

        So what does the UN say about the murder of the unborn? After all, we consider ourselves more advanced than ancient societies. Right?

        • smrnda

          Ancient societies were mostly fine with infanticide. So, even if you’re going to complain about abortion, we’re still better.

        • Pofarmer

          How can that be? We’re fallen, evil, morally degrading.

        • Al

          True. That’s why we see abortions, crimes, wars, lying, cheating and stealing.

        • Pofarmer

          Could you maybe come up with something they weren’t complaining about in the Didache, fer Pete’s sake.

        • smrnda

          Totally, we never saw crime, wars or lying or cheating or stealing until they took god out of public schools.

        • Al

          Actually in the past 100 years we have killed and murdered more people than did the ancients.

        • smrnda

          Are we talking raw numbers, or % of the population?

          Keep in mind that our technology has advanced a great deal, along with our population. World War One was the first war when casualties from combat were higher than casualties from illness or famine or other non-combat actions.

          On top of that, post WWII we’ve seen (at least in the West) a decline of violence. When was the last time France and Germany fought a war?

        • JohnH2

          “World War One was the first war when casualties from combat were higher than casualties from illness”

          Unless you count the flu epidemic that troop movements helped spread and develop.

        • smrnda

          Yeah, there’s also an issue with counting *accidental* illness exposure to deliberate illness exposure. So we might be pushing the war with the most deaths from combat all the way into WWII?

          My take was that people haven’t necessarily become more violent, just that in the past, the technology for killing just wasn’t adequate.

        • Pofarmer

          I always thought it was WWII. And, even in WWII, an awful lot of deaths and injuries were accidental away from the front lines and in training. Just look at the laws in most of the civilized world. It’s hard to imagine what could get you killed just 250 years ago.

        • smrnda

          Also, with lack of proper technology, it’s hard to investigate crime. Shave of your mustache and become “Jon Smith” and avoid doing time for murder.

        • JohnH2

          Probably.

          Imagine what the Khans could have done if they had had nukes; although I guess making pyramids out skulls becomes harder with nukes, as some would be vaporized and others not safe to handle.

        • smrnda

          Wow, what an interesting idea. I would suggest a sci fi story with that premise.

        • My take was that people haven’t necessarily become more violent, just that in the past, the technology for killing just wasn’t adequate.

          Science wins again!

        • MNb

          Yes. That’s why the religious/ethical rejection of science is so peculiar. Scientific results raise a lot of ethical questions. Denying those results doesn’t look like the best reaction.

        • Ethical, schmethical. I just hope our scientific knowledge doesn’t progress faster than we can idealize it.

        • Greg G.

          Science and technology are tools that can leverage brilliance or stupidity and the human race can’t quit stupid cold turkey.

        • Meh. Are you really saying that a fairly limited domain war made much of a difference when there was already extensive global travel (steamships, trains, etc.)? You don’t think 20M people would’ve died, war or no war?

        • JohnH2

          Hard to say; it is known that the troop movements did a lot to spread the flu, and cause its evolution into the form it took. Would it have evolved and spread as it did without those movements? I don’t think there is enough information to really say for sure.

        • Al

          Both. Remember were supposed to be more “civilized” that the ancients and yet we have killed and murdered far more than they did.

        • Greg G.

          Not on a per person basis. Are you home-schooled? Don’t you understand math?

        • Pofarmer

          Shhhh. Math is hard. Statistics is harder.

        • Greg G.

          Especially when you can’t put two brain cells together.

        • Al

          Amen.

        • Are there any other factors that count against your hypothesis? Can you think of any ways that life has improved in the last 100 years?

        • Al

          Sure it has improved. Man has not fundamentally improved over the centuries.

        • Kodie

          Christianity is just not catching on, I guess.

        • Al

          Over 2 billion strong worldwide. I guess its not catching on.

        • Kodie

          “Man has not fundamentally improved over the centuries.” – Al

        • And yet man has fairly consistently improved the quality of life within society.

          Thanks, mankind.

          No, God doesn’t take a bow for this one.

        • Al

          Science would not be possible unless man had a reason to study the world and why it works. The early scientists had a theistic worldview. They were not atheists.

        • Their theism and their bread eating each had no effect on their science.

          Are you saying that only in Christian countries was proper science done?

        • Pofarmer

          I wonder what Pinker says about whether or not man has fundamentally improved? What does sociology say, psycholoqgy? I say we definately have. Christisn Theology needs man to be depraved, evil, it has to be thus, and it always has been. You could read a sermon from 1000 A.D. And it would sound exactly the same. Except then they thought God hurled Comets from heaven to express his displeasure.

        • MNb

          I don’t think man has fundamentally improved. I think that society has fundamentally improved. See, Al has a point when referring to the Soviet-Union and Nazi-Germany. Given the success of Geert Wilders

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geert_Wilders

          plus the radical spin off which resulted from his campaigns I have no doubt that given the necessary circumstances something similar could happen all over again, in The Netherlands as well.

        • Pofarmer

          I think you could easily argue it’s social instead of individual. That’s fine. I think you can also argue that secularization has had an impact on reducing religious violence and oppression.

        • MNb

          The words social and society are related, aren’t they? In Dutch it’s at least as clear: the word for society is “samenleving”, literallly “living together”. So yes. My argument is all about finding ways to live together with less violence.

        • Steven Pinker argues that social conditions in the West are improving when considered logarithmically (I might say, fractally). I write about that here.

        • MNb

          That seems to be a key difference, don’t you think? Christianity tries to improve (the character of) Homo Sapiens. The Dutch christian-democratic party once had a program called Ethical Revival.

          http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethisch_reveil
          Of course this tends to fail; the stereotypal reactions are ignoring and punishing.

          Secularists at the other hand take Homo Sapiens for granted and try to find out how societies should be constructed to get the best out of him/her.

        • smrnda

          The ancients were certainly trying harder than we were, they just didn’t have adequate tools.

          Is a nation where lots of people go on club and knife rampages *morally better* than one where there have been a few firearm related incidents that claim more lives? This is more or less what’s happened.

          Crime is down in the US even, and the US is the most violent western nation. Check out Asia. Japan isn’t invading anywhere. China is less violent than it was during the Cultural Revolution, and far less violent than during the Taiping Rebellion.

          On improvements – how many totalitarian regimes have fallen? How many more people have access to education? Though there are some vocal racists out there, racism has declined. Slavery has been abolished in many places. We agree that child abuse exists. Marital rape didn’t even exist as a crime until the 1990s in US law.

          Hey, something that I like is that there has been a massive decline in both antisemitism and prejudice against GLTBQ people, since I fit both categories.

        • I’ve heard that slavery per capita is down to record lows.

        • adam

          REALLY?
          PER CAPITA?

          Let see your data…..

        • Greg G.

          Dear Al Gebra,

          Stop using my name.

          Stop asking me to find your X. She left you. Get over it.

          And I don’t know Y, either!

          Signed,
          Al

        • Ron

          The relationship was doomed from the start. Too many arguments, lack of equality, and no signs of a positive outcome. She just couldn’t function with so many negative elements.

        • Sadly, there was just no hope for a rational solution.

        • MNb

          Actually the Spanish flu begun during WW-1 and demanded more casualties than the entire war. Your point still stands.

        • Pofarmer

          That’s really not the point. In Ancient societies it was pretty common to leave unwanted children out in the elements to die.

        • adam

          REALLY?
          PER CAPITA?

          Let see your data….

        • You’re not getting it. Ron’s point was that you can complain about support for abortion in the West, but your Bible is no refuge.

        • Al

          I didn’t say anything about the Bible. Your the one that made the claim that the UN ” can do a better job than God’s holy book.” Allowing the murder of the unborn is not a better job by a long shot.

        • Murder? Killing a single cell is murder?

          Wow–you do not want to see what I do to mosquitoes …

        • Al

          You were once a zygote. Is it murder to kill a fetus a 9 months while it is still in the womb? Is partial birth abortion ok with you?

        • Greg G.

          I am not a zygote now. If I had been aborted, I wouldn’t even consider holding it against my parents. I wouldn’t have known I was alive or what was happening.

          Partial abortions are rarely performed and are almost always done for medical reasons.

        • Al

          Are you for abortions at 9 months if there is no medical problems?

        • Greg G.

          I’m not “for” abortions but I’m against people sticking their noses into other people’s business. I can’t think of a good non-medical reason to have a late-term abortion, and I doubt you can either, but perhaps someone could come up with one.

          What if a woman had a religious reason for wanting an abortion at 9 months? Would you accept that?

          How many abortions happen at 9 months for non-medical reasons?

        • Al

          Why aren’t you for abortion? If abortions are not the killing of a human being you should be fully for them at any time. If they are human beings then we all have every right to stick our “noses into other people’s business” on this issue.

        • Greg G.

          I am incapable of getting pregnant so I have no stake in the abortion debate. I have empathy for the stranger in the womb and for the stranger who owns the womb. I think the rights to the body of the person with the fully functioning brain take precedence over the rights of the fetus with no fully functioning cerebral cortex. Even a person with a fully functioning brain has no right to a part of another person without consent.

        • smrnda

          It would be preferable for them to be done as early as possible, since then they are medically less complicated.

          Late term abortions occur either because of risks, or possibly owing to barriers to obtaining an abortion earlier.

          It’s the same reason I’d support better health care so surgeries of various sorts are unnecessary. Better to avoid having a blocked artery than need surgery to fix one.

        • It’s a spectrum of personhood. Does the fetus become a person at 6 months? 7? 8? Different legislatures have decided differently.

          But it sure ain’t at conception.

        • Al

          This is a problem. For the pro-abort has the problem of deciding when the fetus becomes a human being. Is it 6 months? What about 1 day short of 6 months?

          Conception is by far the best and strongest position. Doesn’t lead to the problems you have in trying to say how long it takes to “become” a human being.

        • Sure, it’s a tough decision. Lots of decisions are tough. Look at the enormous corpus of laws–lots of them are tough decisions just like this one. You imagine some insurmountable problem where there isn’t one.

        • Al

          Why is it a tough decision? If it’s not a human being then its like eating ice cream.

        • I never said it wasn’t a human being.

          It’s a spectrum. Where to draw the line is a tough decision. If you don’t understand why then go back and read up on the spectrum argument.

        • Al

          I understand the spectrum argument. Its just that it creates more problems than it solves.
          I don’t have this problem because life begins at the zygote.

        • No, obviously you don’t understand the spectrum argument.

          If it’s “life” at both ends of the spectrum, then that’s not what the spectrum is of. What property does a newborn have that the single cell doesn’t? Personhood? Humanity? What?

          Kinda hard to tell me that the spectrum argument creates more problems than it solves when you’ve clearly demonstrated that you don’t understand it.

        • adam

          And yet, IF HE EXISTS YOUR god does almost all the abortions after CONCEPTION…

          How MORAL are YOU and YOUR IMAGINARY god?

        • RowanVT

          By this logic, if the embryo fails to implant, my body has committed murder.

          Shall I send you my used pads so you can scan the leavings under a microscope and check to see if I’ve killed a ‘person’?

        • Al

          Your body cannot commit murder unless you will it so.

        • RowanVT

          But if my body fails to allow the embryo to implant, and you think an embryo is as much a person as I am, then clearly my body has murdered that embryo because it prevented implantation somehow.

          What’s your address that I might send you my used kotex so you can be sure I haven’t murdered anyone.

        • What if a woman had a religious reason for wanting an abortion at 9 months? Would you accept that?

          Abraham was going to abort his teenage son on God’s orders. Again, the Bible doesn’t look so good in this category. Al is definitely living in a glass house.

        • Asmondius

          Hmmm – how does one ‘abort’ a teenager?

        • Ron

          As I’ve mentioned before, less than 1.5% of all abortions in the US occur after the 20th week, and the majority (92%) are now performed prior to the 14th week. Moreover, the percentages have been gradually shifting towards the earlier time periods over the last decade. (Source)

        • Al

          1.5% of 1 million is a huge number. Are you for abortions at 9 months if there is no medical problems?

        • wtfwjtd

          Name 1 state in the US where an abortion at 9 months is legal.

        • Al

          There is no restrictions that I’m aware of in any state since Roe-wade. Do you have a problem with aborting a 9 month fetus if there are no medical problems?

        • Pofarmer

          Al, I know you think you have some profound moral position here. But, unfortunately, you do not. There is a growing body of evidence that not having children that are not wanted are a benefit to society. Personally, if aborting a zygote, or a fetus before 20 weeks keeps someone from being murdered 20 years later, If it makes our society a safer place, I’m all for it. Nothing is ever as simple as it seems.

          http://pricetheory.uchicago.edu/levitt/Papers/LevittUnderstandingWhyCrime2004.pdf

          I can’t cut and paste from the document. Relevant info starts on page 181 or so.

        • Good stuff. I’d read that in Freakonomics but haven’t seen much to back it up.

        • Pofarmer

          Oh, and Goddammit Al. Log. The Fuck. In.

        • Ron

          That works out to 15,000. By way of comparison, there are 1.1 million fetal losses every year due to miscarriages, still births, congenital defects, preterm births, low birth weight, maternal complications, umbilical cord and placenta complications, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

          Source: Estimated pregnancy rates and rates of pregnancy outcomes for the United States, 1990-2008

          In fact, it’s been estimated that total rate of pregnancy loss after implantation, including clinically recognized spontaneous abortions is around 31 percent.

          Furthermore, it’s a moot point because currently 42 states prohibit abortions after a certain period, of which:

          – 21 states impose prohibitions at fetal viability
          – 3 states impose prohibitions in the third trimester
          – 18 states impose prohibitions after a specified number of weeks (20–27 weeks LMP)

          Source: State Policies on Later Abortions (PDF) – as of August 1, 2014

          Given that most genetic abnormalities aren’t diagnosed until after week 20, plus the increased health risks of having a late-term abortion, it’s highly unlikely that many women opt to terminate their pregnancies at a late stage due to lifestyle considerations.

          In any case, I think that a person’s reproductive choices should remain a private matter.

        • Al

          Do you have a problem with abortions at 9 months if there is no medical problems? Claiming its a private matter is irrelevant to the morality of it.

        • Ron

          No, I don’t.

        • Are you saying that an abortion at 9 months is equivalent in every meaningful way to one at 1 day?

        • Al

          Yes. At 9 months its a lot more obvious.

        • So the fact that it’s more obvious is insignificant, and everyone knows that they’re the same. But then why is one more obvious? Maybe you should clarify what “obvious” means.

        • adam

          Speaking of morality..

          YOU keep avoiding the DEMONSTRATION of the MAGIC of YOUR god.

          This makes you appear like you are LYING when talk about YOUR gods MAGIC..

          Are you IMMORAL enough to LIE?

        • Asmondius

          One-Note Charlie!

        • adam

          Hi One-Note Charlie!

          I suppose ad hominem is YOUR very BEST evidence of YOUR god as well….

        • smrnda

          You know, if my parents had not had sex on one particular occasion, I would not exist. Must I oppose celibacy?

        • JohnH2

          Some Ultra-Orthodox Jews come really close to that.

        • Greg G.

          Abstinence makes the heart grow fonder, or so I’ve misheard.

        • Asmondius

          Do youu have recollections from the womb?

        • Greg G.

          No. I have a memory from 6 or 7 months of age.

        • Asmondius

          yah, that diaper reeked for everyone else in the room as well.

        • I have little problem with the various U.S. state legislatures drawing the line at different places. What I find groundless is saying that a single cell = a baby or person and so therefore can’t be killed.

        • JohnH2

          I actually really quite like the idea of a single cell = person being legal and counted in the census. One could totally screw with the house of representatives if that were the case. Which probably means that it is a really bad idea to actually do in practice.

        • Al

          Is it ok to kill an 8 month fetus if there are no medical problems?
          Is it wrong in some states that if a person murders a pregnant that person can be charged for a double homicide?

        • Q1: Not my area of expertise. I have no opinion.

          Q2: No. The worth of the fetus is defined by the state (the objective worth) and the mother (subjective). If she wants to say it’s precious and that it’d be a crime to kill it from day 1, no problem.

        • Al

          1- COP OUT

          2-This is how the nazis operated. They defined what a human being was and thus they created a holecaust.

        • 1. Why? I have no opinion. Legislatures from many jurisdictions have made the decisions. They have access to the expertise.

          2. Society defines what a human being is. Deal with it.

        • Al

          If you were in a class and the teacher asked you what your thoughts are on killing “an 8 month fetus if there are no medical problems” and you claim to have no opinion is absurd. You have strong opinions about abortion and you have thought about it. I do understand why you would not want to answer this.

          The problem with “Society defines what a human being is” is who in the society gets to do this? What are their credentials? This is what the nazis did with the Jews and others. They made them subhuman which made it possible for the holocaust. It could happen again.

        • Oh? Tell me then: why would I not want to answer this? I have made clear what I care about and what I don’t.

          Sounds to me like you’re losing the battle on the issue of the spectrum of personhood so you’re desperately trying to change the subject.

          How about you? Tell me whether string theory is correct or not. You say you have no opinion? Absurd.

          The problem with “Society defines what a human being is” is who in the society gets to do this? What are their credentials?

          I don’t know how to begin to answer this. Are you a Martian who’s just come across human culture and has no idea how it works? Or are you an adult human who reads the newspaper and understands how Western society and government work?

        • adam

          Speaking of COP OUTS.

          When are YOU going to demonstrate the MAGIC power of YOUR god.

          No the Nazi’s operating under Martin Luther’s CHRISTIAN Protestaancy.

          ..
          Kristallnacht was held on Martin Luther’s BIRTHDAY and BASED on Martin Luther’s writings.

          And Hitler doesnt help your case at all…

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zt5gLf455Q8

        • RowanVT

          I appreciate your poor opinion of women as evidenced here, that you assume they would go through 8 months of pregnancy and only then decide one day that they didn’t want to be pregnant afterall despite already having had time to experience any of a huge number of health complications..

          You think women are stupid and shallow.

          A whopping 1% of abortions are performed after 20 weeks. The vast majority of those are for viability issues; anencephalus, mermaid syndrome, severe heart defects, etc as well as maternal health complications. A *few* of those post-20 are because of the massive hoops that have been written into law making obtaining an abortion exceptionally hard and those women were unable to get one any sooner.

          You are a bad person, and you should feel bad about that.

          No one has the right to the use of my body without my consent. Ever.

        • Asmondius

          No one has the right to take an innocent life.

        • RowanVT

          *no one*? Not even God?

          What do you say of situations where the option is to either abort the fetus, or the woman AND the fetus dies? If *no one* has the right to take a life, then to be consistent, your stance must be for the woman to die.

          Per this stance, you want 1 in every 50 pregnancies to result in the death of a woman due to the pregnancy being ectopic.

          How kind of you. You are sooo moral.

        • Asmondius

          This rule is for us, not for God.

          Your statistic is way off.

        • So there’s objective moral truth but it only applies to us? How can it be objective then? Maybe I don’t know what you mean by the word.

        • Asmondius

          Oh, I see Bob – you’re on the same plane as God and demand that He behave as one of us.

        • No idea how this addresses my questions.

        • Asmondius

          There you go.

        • RowanVT

          Odd. My reply to this vanished. I guess it had too many links?

          Anyway, if you take the time to google “How common are ectopic pregnancies” you will find that the stats given are between 1 in 50 and 1 in 90 (from a brittish site). This is a very simple thing to do. You will see that my stats are not at all ‘way off’. At BEST it’s that you want 1 in every 90 pregnancies to end up with a woman dead due to an ectopic pregnancy. Then we can add in other factors that cause maternal mortality and the odds just get worse for women.

          But you don’t care about women, about actual developed human beings. You care about controlling us. You don’t actually see us as human.

          Also, by the by, God is a ‘one’. If you say ‘no one’ that means absolutely NO ONE is allowed to take an innocent life. By saying, though, that God IS allowed to kill on a whim, you are proving God to be incredibly immoral. Good job!

        • Odd. My reply to this vanished.

          More likely: it’s just not shown. Go to the bottom and click “Load more comments.” Keep doing that until they’re all in. Then search for your comment. It should be there.

        • RowanVT

          When I clicked on my own disqus account, I wasn’t seeing the comment I remember writing in my own history, which is why it was odd to me. Logging further into disqus, I can see now that it was indeed marked as spam. I am assuming it is because of the 4 links to outside sources, or maybe a certain someone didn’t like me proving them wrong?

        • Greg G.

          I had that happen to me once. I assumed it was because of links to Amazon as I was recommending books.

        • Was that at this blog or another?

          4 links could default a comment to spam. I recall a default setting like that that I changed.

          My favorite blogger to be annoyed at here is Rebecca Hamilton. I’ve always made polite comments, but I’m now blacklisted. I guess she prefers yes-men.

        • RowanVT

          It was definitely this blog, and the comment about the statistic of 1 in 50 pregnancies being ectopic being wrong.

        • Let me check into that to see if comments are being considered spam.

        • Asmondius

          Oh, I see. You find a number on one site and that makes it legitimate. Your research is about as solid as your use of semantics as substitution for logic.

        • RowanVT

          Because the National Health Services for the UK is totally a random site with random numbers.

          Here’s the CDC, which puts ectopic pregnancies at less than 2%, but greater than 1%. Which is in the 1-in-50 and 1-in-90 range I previously said. And that’s an old study. For some reason, we in the US don’t keep real track of the data of ectopics, so they might be a bit more frequent than what the CDC says. Without treatment, it is fatal.

          http://wonder.cdc.gov/wonder/prevguid/m0031632/m0031632.asp#Figure_1

        • Asmondius

          It’s the same person throughout the process.

          Do you believe that the magic fairy of ‘personhood’ waves her wand over each life at a specific point in the pregnancy?

        • I’m pretty sure that I’ve made clear that I see a spectrum of personhood, from 0% as an invisible single cell to 100% as a newborn. Where you draw the OK/not-OK line for abortion is a debatable issue, but it’s hard to argue that the entire spectrum must, based on objective grounds, be allowed to live. And that this idea must be forced on everyone by law.

          It’s hard to imagine that the atoms that will 10 years from now be me are now “Bob.” Similarly, it’s hard to imagine that the single cell that I was to become is the same Bob.

        • Asmondius

          That’s not a ‘spectrum’, it’s just your old opinion that human life is based upon volume, not content.

          Are you trying to tell me that your DNA keeps changing at the atomic level?

        • I’m not saying that the value of human life is based on volume. I’ve made my position clear. Perhaps you don’t much care what it is. I won’t trouble you with a repeat.

          I’m saying that the atoms in my body get recycled.

        • Asmondius

          Everyone poops – you think this is an accomplishment?

        • Kodie

          You are your brain. The flesh is not you. The fetus without any brain is just flesh.

        • Asmondius

          Impossible conclusion – modern science still knows very little about the brain.

        • Kodie

          How much does modern science know about the soul? Modern science knows more about the brain than you know about anything, combined.

        • Asmondius

          The brain is material, the soul is not. Science measures the material. Make sense?

        • Kodie

          Science doesn’t study imaginary things.

        • MNb

          You are not your DNA. Ask any single biologist.

        • Asmondius

          Name a human w/out unique DNA.

        • MNb

          That doesn’t bear any relevance regarding my statement. Name me a human without unique fingerprints. Still you aren’t your fingerprints.

        • Greg G.

          Monozygotic twins.

        • Asmondius

          Another person w/ dated knowledge – so-called ‘identical twins’ do not have identical DNA.

        • Greg G.

          If you want to go there, then no one person has identical DNA. But there is an overlap of similarity between identical twins.

          Monozygotic twins and chimeras mess up your conception/soul calculus. No wonder you have to split hairs all the way down to the molecular level and deny facts.

        • Can I guarantee that I have identical DNA in two of my own cells? Given the mutations that occur during division, I imagine not.

        • Greg G.

          I doubt that you could guarantee that any two are identical but I don’t know what the error rate would be. Given that there are trillions of cells, you would be long dead before the testing was complete but you’d probably want to wait until you were already dead because manipulating the DNA in every cell would be fatal anyway.

        • Wait–I’m supposed to take science knowledge from you? I thought you denied the scientific consensus–no?

        • Asmondius

          One difference between us is that I actually conduct research and don’t rely upon 2nd or 3rd-hand sources for information regarding science, for example. This has been common knowledge for some time now – you seem to forget that the process of discovery does not always support a godless universe. Just like all of the supposed Biblical and historical ‘expertise’ being vaunted on this blog each day, the claim of scientific expertise is often a hollow shell.

          http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-superhuman-mind/201211/identical-twins-are-not-genetically-identical

        • I’m not interested in the question of DNA and identical twins; I’m asking if you reject evolution.

          the process of discovery does not always support a godless universe.

          Like what?

        • Greg G.

          Also, chimera have two distinct sets of DNA. Two fertilized eggs can implant so close to one another that each other’s developmental hormones affect the other so they grow into a single fetus. Sometimes it’s noticeable as in different eye color, hair color, or skin tone and sometimes it isn’t. You could be one and not know it.

        • Asmondius

          There is no such thing as a human chimera.

        • Greg G.

          Lydia Fairchild and Karen Keenan. Both were thought to not be their children’s mother due to DNA comparison. When a cervical sample was done, they were vindicated. That’s just the tip of the iceberg.

        • Pofarmer

          No, but your cognitive abilities certainly change. a zygote, basically just a clump of undifferentiated cells, has none.

        • Asmondius

          Do we execute people with poor cognitive abilities?

        • Pofarmer

          A zygote, by any reasonable definition, is not a person.

          However, let me ask a question. It is talked about in freakonomics, and there was a recent govt paper that I linked, that indocated that in about 1990, 30 years after Roe V Wade, violent crime in the U.S. dropped dramatically. This has been linked, albietly not 100% to the abortion of unwanted babies, for lack of a better term. So, less children being raised in homes with drugs, and crime, and unloved, with fetal alcohol syndrome and all the rest. So, is there any merit to the argument that abortion in the U.S. Has made society in the U.S. safer, and prevented children from leading dangerous, impoverished lives, many of which might wind up in prison?

        • A. will respond that improved social conditions is no reason to kill people (ignoring the fact that a zygote is not a person). But he still must acknowledge the social consequences of his demands.

        • Asmondius

          Here’s a reasonable definition – alive, human, unique genetic code. Does the magic ‘personood fairy’ wave her wand over a fetus just before birth?

        • You mock “personhood” as the trait that the newborn has that the single cell doesn’t? Not a problem–give us a better term.

        • Asmondius

          Both have personhood – no new term needed.

        • I asked, “Give us a better term.” And you throw in the towel.

          OK.

        • Asmondius

          I just did – pick up the soap.

        • I guess the advantage of appearing to be crazy is that there are just so many ways to explain your actions. Maybe you’re crazy. Maybe you like being an asshole and assigning busy work to waste everyone’s time. Maybe you actually don’t understand, and your questions are an honest appeal for information. (Yeah–that last one is a stretch.)

          I doubt you care, but let’s just lay out the problem for anyone reading along at home. You have a 9-month-long spectrum, with a single cell at one end, and a newborn baby at the other end. Since we have loads of terms for graduations after birth–newborn, baby, infant, toddler, etc.–it shouldn’t be a problem to find a term for what the newborn is and the single cell isn’t.

          I say that the newborn is a person and the single cell isn’t. You don’t like that term. I challenge you to find a better term, and you reject the challenge.

          And that’s expected. Many other Christians like you have thrown in the towel at this point and refused to participate, knowing that to admit that the difference between single cell and newborn eclipses that between, say, “newborn,” “baby,” and “toddler.” You can’t participate honestly because to do so would be to admit holes in your argument.

        • Pofarmer

          So, why is a clump of undifferentiated cells a person?

        • Asmondius

          See above – not sure I can use smaller words.

        • Pofarmer

          Unless that clump old cells is Implanted in a, woman’s uterus, it is, just a clump of cells

        • Kodie

          You forgot “sentience”.

        • Asmondius

          Does a fetus at birth minus one day have ‘sentience’?

        • Kodie

          If it’s ready to be born the next day, it probably has a brain, that is if it’s not premature. Are you back harping on late late late abortions that don’t occur again?

        • Asmondius

          ‘Probably’ has a brain????

        • Kodie

          Some babies are born without a brain.

        • Greg G.

          Have you ever asked a fetus if it was sentient? The fetus may not be able to get enough oxygen through the placenta to have full brain function. That happens when they can get oxygen into the bloodstream through the lungs.

          Does a zygote plus one day have “sentience”?

        • Asmondius

          ‘Sentience’ is an amorphous concept you have proposed – you tell me. My definition of human life is not based upon it.

        • Kodie

          Your life is not based upon it.

        • Greg G.

          “Sentience” is a better word than “soul”. At least it can be defined.

        • MNb

          And tested, even if indirectly.

        • Greg G.

          It takes sentience to consider sentience, or to imagine a soul.

        • Greg G.

          Does the magic ‘personhood fairy’ wave her wand over a zygote at conception? How many persons are in a zygote? Zygotes sometimes divide in two or three to become monozygotic twins or triplets. What happens to the other persons if the zygote doesn’t separate into more than one? Sometimes separate zygotes merge into one fetus. Does that mean there are fractional persons in a zygote?

        • Asmondius

          Have you ever met twins or triplets who were not unique individuals? I believe that answers your question. Brand new, unique human life begins at conception – consult your doctor.

        • Greg G.

          Yes, there are polyzygotic twins and triplets, which come from multiple fertilization involving different eggs and different sperms. Then there are monozygotic twins and triplets that come from one fertilization event – the same egg and the same sperm. You haven’t answered that question at all. Nor have you addressed single individuals who are the result of more than one fertilization event. The idea that a human individual begins at conception is wrong and always has been.

          That’s why you shouldn’t believe what the Church tells you. They get their marching orders from wishful thinking.

        • Asmondius

          Human beings are not insects.

        • Kodie

          What’s the qualitative difference?

        • Asmondius

          Take a mosquito on a date and get back to us with notes.

        • Kodie

          That’s not an answer. Why do you think it’s ok to kill a mosquito, but you don’t think it’s ok for a mosquito to kill you? Only perspective. You prefer yourself to the mosquito, but all of human achievement doesn’t mean dick to a mosquito. They don’t care about war or politics or gossip. Do you have blood? But it’s not ok to kill a human mosquito? That’s all fetus is, a human mosquito. You treat it like it’s something else, that’s superstition. That would be like if you were superstitiously afraid to kill mosquitoes and you called people murderers for killing mosquitoes, or you counted mosquito deaths as brutality that humans commit, with no regard! If someone posed to you that argument, you would think they were fucking stupid and a lunatic.

        • Asmondius

          A mosquito is not human – end of story.

        • Kodie

          Way to miss the point, you have a chronic problem with that.

        • Asmondius

          There was no point. Your analogy makes it OK to kill a passed-out drunk.

        • Kodie

          Another baseless assertion you pulled out of your ass to compensate for your inability to read.

        • And the inherent value of a single-celled “human being”–which is certainly not what I’d call it–is pretty small.

        • Pofarmer

          Hadn’t ever looked.

          http://www.lifenews.com/2014/05/06/united-nations-calls-catholic-churchs-pro-life-teachings-promoting-torture/
          “The United Nations is stepping up its attack on the Catholic Church‘s historic opposition to abortion,
          suggesting at a meeting Monday in Geneva that it amounts to
          “psychological torture” of women and should be repealed, a move Vatican
          officials refuse to consider.

          A member of the United Nation Committee Against Torture also charged
          that the church’s anti-abortion stance has led women to seek out
          dangerous abortions, according to a pro-church representative at the
          Geneva hearing Monday.

          “They are almost blaming the Catholic Church for unsafe abortions,”
          said Ashley E. McGuire of the group Catholic Voices USA in a telephone
          call from Geneva. “The church doesn’t believe there is anything as a
          safe abortion,” she added.

          Among the questions about the Vatican’s anti-abortion position raised
          by the torture committee Monday was how it impacts the minds of women.
          One U.N. questioner said the “restrictions amount to psychological
          torture” of women, according to McGuire. “That’s crazy,” she added.

          “Abortion is among the most egregious forms of torture than can be
          perpetuated against a child, and attacking the church’s moral and
          religious beliefs violates the religious liberty of the church, a human
          right which the United Nations affirms. Yet, the U.N. Committee Against
          Torture seems to be setting the stage that if you are pro-life you are
          pro-torture,” she added.”

        • The Man With The Name Too Long

          “What is the contexts of Hosea 13:16, 2 Kings 15:16, Numbers 31:17?”

          The context of that first verse doesn’t make it appear even remotely better than abortion. I don’t know if you’ve read those verses, or you think you can safely assume, without reading them, that whatever God does or commands in them is completely moral and justified, but I’ll post the first anyway.

          “The people of Samaria must bear their guilt,

          because they have rebelled against their God.

          They will fall by the sword;

          their little ones will be dashed to the ground,

          their pregnant women ripped open.” -Hosea 13:16

          Maybe you don’t think we’re any more advanced morally than ancient societies but I doubt you’ll find anyone in the U.S. today who views taking a pregnant woman, no matter how evil she is, and ripping her open as anything less than an atrocity.

        • JohnH2

          I am certain that Al is referring to abortion, which there are plenty of people in the US today who view a pregnant woman in some cases having herself get ripped open and the brains of the little one turned into goop to be a moral decent thing to do; even when there is nothing wrong with the child, the mothers life is not in danger, and she isn’t a victim of anything, just so long as she desires it.

          Also, the prophecy is what will happen, not that God necessarily caused it to happen, just that He doesn’t take their guilt and save them from it happening.

        • Greg G.

          If you grant a fetus with a non-functioning brain personhood, that doesn’t give it the right to exist inside the body of another person who doesn’t want it sucking nutrients and oxygen from her bloodstream.

          Hosea 13:4-9 NRSV
          4 Yet I have been the Lord your God
              ever since the land of Egypt;
          you know no God but me,
              and besides me there is no savior.
          5 It was I who fed you in the wilderness,
              in the land of drought.
          6 When I fed them, they were satisfied;
              they were satisfied, and their heart was proud;
              therefore they forgot me.
          7 So I will become like a lion to them,
              like a leopard I will lurk beside the way.
          8 I will fall upon them like a bear robbed of her cubs,
              and will tear open the covering of their heart;
          there I will devour them like a lion,
              as a wild animal would mangle them.

          9 I will destroy you, O Israel;
              who can help you?

          The context shows that God is making threats and trash-talking, promising to take responsibility for what happens in retribution to the people for “kissing calves”. If God doesn’t have a problem with performing late term abortions, why should Al worry about it?

        • Al

          Hosea has nothing to do with abortion. To say that the human fetus ” doesn’t give it the right to exist inside the body of another person who doesn’t want it sucking nutrients and oxygen from her bloodstream” shows how depraved you are.

        • Greg G.

          The phrase “their pregnant women ripped open” is an abortion.

          Do you not understand how pregnancy works? Have you even thought about it? Is it “depraved” to understand how placental mammals reproduce?

          Also consider that a woman might not want someone dumping biological wastes into her bloodstream.

        • Al

          That is not an abortion. The woman would not survive this if it happened to her.
          For you to refer to the human fetus the way you do is a sign depravity. Any woman that looks at the baby in womb like this is also depraved.

        • Greg G.

          Women have survived being ripped open and having the baby kidnapped. It’s not necessarily a death sentence. If God was ultimately responsible, as in Hosea 13, and the mother dies, it’s his fault.

          A fertilized egg cell divides into 8 cells. If it is lucky, it becomes attached to a wall of the uterus. Seven of the cells will hormonally stimulate the lining of the uterus to grow blood vessels to support the fetus, not unlike the way a tumor does it. Those seven cells will eventually be the afterbirth. The eighth cell becomes the fetus itself. It possible that the fertilized egg could separate during a division so that there could be identical twins which shows that any one of the eight cells could have been the fetus or another person. The placenta exchanges nutrients and oxygen from the mother’s bloodstream and gets rid of waste products until the fetus has working kidneys and can urinate inside the woman’s body.

          The fetus also releases hormones into the mother’s bloodstream that manipulate her emotions. A woman might not want that, either, and should be able to make the choice.

        • Al

          You make it sound like being pregnant is awful and fundamental something inhuman has invaded the woman’s body.
          It is false to say “The fetus also releases hormones into the mother’s bloodstream that manipulate her emotions.” This is really the natural processes at work. No woman should be allowed to kill her fetus-baby for unjustifiable reasons.

        • Greg G.

          You make it sound like being pregnant is awful and fundamental something inhuman has invaded the woman’s body.

           
           
          Do you think pregnancy is a walk in the park? Do you think there is no increased risk of death? There are physical changes, physical risks, psychological effects, and financial risks, too. Becoming a parent when you are not ready to be one is not really a good idea.
           

          It is false to say “The fetus also releases hormones into the mother’s bloodstream that manipulate her emotions.” This is really the natural processes at work.

           
           
          From Parental brain on Wikipedia
           

          Research has shown that hormones such as oxytocin, prolactin, estradiol and progesterone are essential for the onset and the maintenance of maternal behavior in rats, and other mammals as well.

           
          The article goves more details on the effects of the different hormones and footnotes for the claims if you are interested in eliminating false ideas that you hold.
           

          No woman should be allowed to kill her fetus-baby for unjustifiable reasons.

           
           
          But you want to be the judge of what are justifiable and unjustifiable reasons, rather than the person who is most affected by the situation. You want the government to have the power to exercise your will. Your will is based on notions that are many centuries out of date that have nothing to do with the subject. 
           
          All your ideas are wrong and all because of religion. There is no soul. The mind is a collection of processes performed by the brain. A early fetus doesn’t have a cerebral cortex. A late fetus doesn’t get enough oxygen across the placenta to support full brain function.
           
          Life can be sentient awareness, which requires something to process it, and life can be biological cellular activity. Those are two different meanings of the word “life”. Don’t muddle the two meanings. That’s equivocation. Sentient awareness in animals and humans requires biological cellular activity but biological cellular activity can occur without sentient awareness.
           
          Your conflating different definitions of the word “life” is not a justifiable reason to stick your nose into other people’s private business.

        • Asmondius

          ‘Life’ is a biological reality – it either exists or it does not.

        • Greg G.

          That’s biological life. Another meaning of the word “life” has to do with cognitive awareness. Try not to conflate the two meanings. The abortion debate seems to hinge that equivocation.

        • Asmondius

          Last time I looked, humans are alive in the biological sense.

          An unconscious person is still alive, so your definition needs some further work.

        • Greg G.

          But not everything that is biologically alive is human.

        • Asmondius

          But all unconscious people are.

        • Greg G.

          There’s a difference between unconscious people and brain dead people yet both are biologically alive.

        • Good catch. It is worse than an abortion. And it’s celebrated in your holy book!

        • I thought it was simply disagreeing with you that showed how depraved he is.

        • Al

          Hosea 13:16 is the language of a covenant curse. Because they rebelled against God this is what could happen or would happen. To rebel or sin against God is no trivial matter.

        • Greg G.

          In chapter 13, God threatens to personally see that those things happen. He has no problem with late-term abortions being performed under his guidance. You shouldn’t worry about those things either. Live your life while you can.

        • That doesn’t address the problem, though, does it? Your Bible celebrates savagery. (Or what we would call “savagery” today.)

        • Al

          There are consequences for rebelling against God. It doesn’t celebrate this but warns people not to do these things. The ultimate consequence for rebelling against God will be hell. Jesus Himself warned of the consequences of this.

        • And these consequences are shocking to modern readers. We wouldn’t imagine any legal system meting out these punishments. Why does God seem like such a barbarian?

        • Al

          Not shocking to everyone. Atheists in particular are. We have all kinds of barbarians in our society. Who do you think are committing the crimes?

        • No, I suppose you’re right. Christian apologists who have to clean up after God and explain away the Bible’s excesses have no trouble with OT barbarity … and then they turn around and get outraged at society killing a single human cell.

          Religion drives people to do weird things, eh?

        • Ron

          Well, since you’ve brought it up…

          Why don’t you tell me under which contexts slaughter and infanticide are A-OK, Al?

          As for the UN, it’s an advisory organization comprised of many nations, several of which are still determined to keep their women under subjugation. Fortunately, its more enlightened members are working to fix that by granting all women an opportunity to receive comprehensive reproductive health care services, such as proper sex education and unrestricted access to contraception. As has been pointed out to you a number of times, nations offering those options have lower abortion rates.

        • Al

          In times of war there may be justification wipe out a society. In modern times it was certainly justified to wipe out the nazis. Sadly, their children suffered the consequences of the evil of the parents.

        • Ron

          So then your issue isn’t really with the killing of babies; it’s with the circumstances leading up to their death. Oddly enough, Hitler cited reasons similar to yours as justification for wiping out the entire Jewish population:

          I SAY: MY FEELING AS A CHRISTIAN POINTS ME TO MY LORD AND SAVIOUR AS A FIGHTER. IT POINTS ME TO THE MAN WHO ONCE IN LONELINESS, SURROUNDED ONLY BY A FEW FOLLOWERS, RECOGNIZED THESE JEWS FOR WHAT THEY WERE AND SUMMONED MEN TO THE FIGHT AGAINST THEM AND WHO, GOD’S TRUTH! WAS GREATEST NOT AS SUFFERER BUT AS FIGHTER.

          ~Adolf Hitler, Munich – Speech of April 12, 1922

          Given the OT prophecies proclaiming the Jewish people would suffer as a consequence of their sinfulness, how can you be certain that God wasn’t using Hitler to fulfill them?

        • 90Lew90

          Are you saying we’re not more advanced than the ancient societies? If so, in what way? Morally or technologically? How exactly were the ancient societies more advanced than us?

        • Al

          To answer your question we have to have an objective criteria to determine if something is better or worse. Without it, its all opinion.

          We are more advanced technologically.

        • adam

          Faith is just ‘feelings’, so I agree with you.

          1ob·jec·tive adjective əb-ˈjek-tiv, äb-

          : based on facts rather than feelings or opinions : not influenced by feelings

          Leave whatever you FEEL about the ‘bible’ and let us use use REASON to determine if something is better or worse.

          No, you KNOW, you could settle all this by showing us YOUR gods MAGIC…..

        • 90Lew90

          How about we’re not killing each other as much. In secularised countries, you are by far less likely to die at the hand of another now than at any point in history. I would say morally that’s a great leap forward.

        • Pofarmer

          It’s, all, opinion anyway.

  • Pofarmer

    I would like to propose no one respond to Al until he logs in. It’s highly dissrespectful and completely annoying, and makes finding his posts a complete pain.

    • MNb

      I join. Sometimes he does log in; those comments we can answer.

  • Asmondius

    In the interest of charity, I am going to post several responses in order to correct the misinformation, misassumptions, and just plain incorrect material presented in this article.

    To begin with, there is a classic philosophical argument concerning God and Evil, but that is not presented here because Bob gets lost in the weeds with supposed examples and details. And that is probably inevitable because it doesn’t appear that Bob has the training to address arguments in a classical philosophic manner. I don’t mean that as a personal put down, for any complex pursuit requires some form of training.

    Similarly, the manner in which Bob and most of the other pundits here tear apart the Bible indicates a parallel lack of training or knowledge. They read the Bible as if it were the most recent Time or Sports Illustrated magazine rather than as an ancient document from another culture. This method of thinking could lead one to claim that Shakespeare believed the world was a giant spring (‘this mortal coil’) or to frantically envision a murder weapon when a Britisher exclaims they can’t find ‘the bloody knife’.

    Many serious atheists I have encountered arrived at their position only after obtaining the intellectual means to address the Bible and issues related to God in general. I view them as seekers of truth. The opposite appears to be true on this blog – a group of people proclaim that God does not exist, for whatever reason, and then frantically scurry about trying to support their proclamation with supposed ‘evidence’. Most of which consists of mangling the Bible, history, and reliance upon similar-minded folks in other blogs.

    My next few posts will address some of the specific errors presented here.

    • In the interest of charity…

      Very thoughtful of you to take the time to do this.

      Bob gets lost in the weeds with supposed examples and details. And that is probably inevitable because it doesn’t appear that Bob has the training to address arguments in a classical philosophic manner.

      Uh huh. I await your specific critique with interest.

      Many serious atheist s I have encountered arrived at their position only after obtaining the intellectual means to address the Bible and issues related to God in general. I view them as seekers of truth. The opposite appears to be true on this blog

      Bingo! The facts are hard, so we usually just make up our own around here.

      a group of people proclaim that God does not exist, for whatever reason, and then frantically scurry about trying to support their proclamation with supposed ‘evidence’.

      Yep, yep, just so. We start with the conclusion first and then crawl around the floor looking for any evidence that can be twisted to argue for that preconception.

      • Asmondius

        Thanks for your support!

  • Asmondius

    What is essentially being presented here is:

    ‘God condoned slavery and other bad things, therefore God can not exist’.

    This is, of course, a logical fallacy. An interesting tertiary thought here is:

    ‘The Bible says God condoned evil, therefore the God of the Bible does not exist’.

    This seems to say that the Bible indeed must be a historically reliable work, yet the Bible also testifies to the existence of God.

    Thoughts for pondering.

    • What is essentially being presented here is:

      ‘God condoned slavery and other bad things, therefore God can not exist’.

      Wrong. That’s not my point here, and I’ve never made this argument.

      Thanks for bringing this forward so I could correct you.

      ‘The Bible says God condoned evil, therefore the God of the Bible does not exist’.

      Existence really isn’t the point. If you want to draw that (reasonable) conclusion, that’s fine, but I’m stopping a step before that point. I simply point out what the Bible does. If you compare that to the typical loving God portrayed by Christians and find a mismatch, great.

      This seems to say that the Bible indeed must be a historically reliable work

      Nope, I don’t argue this, either.

      • Asmondius

        I think the blog should be retitled ‘Etch-A-Sketch Examined’.

    • Pofarmer

      The argument would be more along the lines of “God condoned things that society today considers immoral, so the idea of objective morality is extremely suspect.”

      • Asmondius

        ‘Objective’ means it stands on its own regardless who – right?

        • Pofarmer

          Objective means more along the lines of, available to and automatically agreed upon by everybody, as well as unchanging.

  • Asmondius

    ‘I’ll summarize by saying that Old Testament slavery of foreigners was just like American slavery of Africans….’

    This is another ahistorical claim made using what I call the ‘Flintstones Method’ of historical analysis – that is, thinking that everything in all times has been the same, only the technology differs.

    One, Americans slavery was based solely upon race. That practiced by the Israelites was not.

    Two, Americans actively kidnapped or solicited the kidnap of people to furnish their need for slaves. The Israelites were expressly forbidden to do so.

    Three, there is an ongoing debate among scholars as to the seemingly interchangeable use of the words ‘servant’ and ‘slave’ in different tracts of the Old Testament. References to ‘slaves’ in some cases may actually refer to what we would consider to be ‘indentured servants’.

    Four, there is evidence in passages of the Bible that the breakup of slave families was not a normal practice. This was not the general case in the Americas.

    Five, the most common source of slaves mentioned in the Bible is from defeated opponents. This is not true of American slavery, which was strictly a commercial venture.

    Six, slavery in the Bible is seen as an alternative to the common practice of completely annihilating a defeated culture. No parallel in American slavery.

    Seven, the slave system formed a major component of the economy of the southern Colonies and later, states, in America. There is no evidence that foreign slaves were a requirement for or a major portion of the Jewish culture or economy.

    • thinking that everything in all times has been the same, only the technology differs.

      Nope. I respect the Christians’ claims about objective morality from an unchanging god and then see where that takes us. You’d think that I’d only get kudos from Christians, but you wouldn’t believe the feathers I ruffle.

      One, Americans slavery was based solely upon race. That practiced by the Israelites was not.

      American chattel slavery was based on Other. Africans were “Other” to European-Americans, and foreign tribes were “Other” to Israelites.

      Two, Americans actively kidnapped or solicited the kidnap of people to furnish their need for slaves. The Israelites were expressly forbidden to do so.

      Oh? Show me. I’m guessing you’re thinking of kidnapping verses that are referring to kidnapping fellow Israelites.

      How do you think the Israelites got their slaves (not indentured servants), anyway? Pitfall traps? Chloroform? Clever ruses? Someone captured in war is kind of kidnapped, no?

      Three, there is an ongoing debate among scholars as to the seemingly interchangeable use of the words ‘servant’ and ‘slave’ in different tracts of the Old Testament. References to ‘slaves’ in some cases may actually refer to what we would consider to be ‘indentured servants’.

      I’m quite familiar with the difference and have written about it extensively. America had both forms, as did the Israelites.

      Four, there is evidence in passages of the Bible that the breakup of slave families was not a normal practice. This was not the general case in the Americas.

      You’re not thinking of the awl/ear thing, are you? That refers to indentured servants.

      Five, the most common source of slaves mentioned in the Bible is from defeated opponents. This is not true of American slavery, which was strictly a commercial venture.

      You’re a Moabite (say) captured in war, or you’re an African taken by force by a raiding party in West Africa and sold into slavery. I’m missing the difference.

      Six, slavery in the Bible is seen as an alternative to the common practice of completely annihilating a defeated culture. No parallel in American slavery.

      Right, cuz the only options Yahweh can think of are the same ones that ordinary people can think of. He never uses magic to solve a problem, and he never comes up with a stratagem that blows your mind. If I didn’t know better, I’d say that he was just a personification of ordinary people.

      Seven, the slave system formed a major component of the economy of the southern Colonies and later, states, in America. There is no evidence that foreign slaves were a requirement for or a major portion of the Jewish culture or economy.

      Huh? The fraction of the GDP is relevant here? In the first place, I’d like to see the data to back this up, and second, why would it matter? If it contributed 10% of GDP to the United States in 1850 5% of the GDP of Israel (random guesses here), how is that relevant?

  • Asmondius

    ‘God also has no problem with rape (Deut. 22:28–9)..’

    This passage actually states that any man who molests a virgin will be required to support her for the rest of his life in the same manner as if he were her husband, regardless of whether she eventually marries or not.

    Not only does this not support rape, it is a much wiser and just handling of rape than our own society provides because it recognizes that the harm done is not temporary.

    • It’s a terrible handling of rape. The victim is forced to marry the rapist? Lovely.

      But yeah, there are better verses in the Bible where rape is supported. Fair point.

      • Asmondius

        Bob, you either need to reread my post carefully or stop creating fiction. The victim has no obligation here, only the perp.

        I hope for your sake there is a ‘better verse’ to support your contention, because this ain’t it.

        • The victim has no obligation here, only the perp.

          Huh–that’s an interesting twist. Show me. I sure don’t see the opt-out clause for the girl. As I read it, it’s a transaction between the father and the rapist. The girl’s opinion is never solicited.

        • Asmondius

          It’s not a twist. Please quote the specific sentence that states the ‘victim’ or ‘woman’ must do this or that. The ‘girl’ will receive restitution for the harm caused her – what ‘opinion’ need she express?

        • Oh, this is fun. You can’t just respond to my question? I have to package it a certain way? Golly–I hope I don’t forget to say, “Simon says” or “pretty please.”

          The Good Book says this: “If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, he shall pay her father fifty shekels[a] of silver. He must marry the young woman, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives.”

          Not a great option for the girl. She is obliged to marry her rapist.

          Please quote the specific sentence that states the ‘victim’ or ‘woman’ must do this or that.

          “He must marry the young woman” means that she must marry him.

        • Kodie

          Who gave property an opinion???? WHO???

        • RowanVT

          Her father gets restitution. The rapist must give her FATHER money… and then he gets to marry the woman he raped, and continue raping her! HOORAY!

          Oh wait. No. That’s a bloody atrocity.

        • Well, yeah. The father got the full price, so he’s good. he’s not stuck with a daughter he can’t marry off.

          Where’s the problem?

        • Asmondius

          Marriage to the woman is not mentioned at all. Try reading it instead of trying to impress with your creative mind.

        • RowanVT

          …. You don’t read the bible at ALL do you.

          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 man marries and we’re not allowed to imagine a rape victim as the bride in here?

          I already slapped down this argument, and you’re still at it?

        • Asmondius

          ‘But if the man meets the engaged woman out in the country, and he rapes her, then only the man must die. Do nothing to the young woman; she has committed no crime worthy of death. She is as innocent as a murder victim. Since the man raped her out in the country, it must be assumed that she screamed, but there was no one to rescue her.

          “Suppose a man has intercourse with a young woman who is a virgin but is not engaged to be married. If they are discovered, he must pay her father fifty pieces of silver. Then he must marry the young woman because he violated her, and he may never divorce her as long as he lives.’

          Once again the problem is that you read things without any sense of context. In the first paragraph the penalty for rape is death – period. It would therefore make absolutely no sense for the second paragraph to punish the victim of rape with a forced marriage. Depending upon the version of the Bible text reviewed, the second paragraph may indicate a consensual coupling (as it does here) or it may relate sexual abuse. In the former case a shotgun wedding is in order, in the latter the pronoun ‘she’ does not appear, thus there is no obligation for the victim to act as a wife. The obligation is for the man is to support her for the rest of his days (‘he must’). You are debunked.

        • So “he must marry the young woman” (or “she shall be his wife” or “she must become his wife” in different translations) actually doesn’t mean that she must become his wife.

          Isn’t the Bible marvelous that it can simultaneously support so many interpretations! I suppose it helps to know the correct interpretation beforehand so you can just shape the Bible into whatever you want. Fun!

        • Asmondius

          I believe no translation says ‘she must’.

        • Kodie

          Thanks, I also didn’t know a man with a mangled package isn’t allowed in church.

        • Asmondius

          Let’s see it, Bob.

        • Kodie

          Welcome to the internet. If you left-click on your mouse on the blue words, you will be taken directly to a page that was linked. Your settings may have the new page in another tab. If you right-click on your mouse on the blue words, you will see a menu and you can choose to open the page, open the page in a new tab or window, and several other options will be listed as well. Good luck on your new journey!.

          http://www.kentcountylibrary.org/Images/Mouse.gif

        • !

        • Asmondius

          Such is life without a rudder.

        • Ron

          “In the first paragraph the penalty for rape is death – period.”

          No, the penalty for rape of an engaged woman out in the country is death, because it’s assumed no one could hear her scream.

          Especially since two verses prior we read:

          “Suppose a man meets a young woman, a virgin who is engaged to be married, and he has sexual intercourse with her. If this happens within a town, you must take both of them to the gates of that town and stone them to death. The woman is guilty because she did not scream for help. The man must die because he violated another man’s wife. In this way, you will purge this evil from among you.”

          In the third instance (vv. 28–29) the penalty for raping a young woman who is a virgin but is not engaged to be married is forced marriage.

          “A text without a context is a pretext for a proof text.” ~Donald A. Carson

        • Asmondius

          The penalty for rape is death in either case. Your attempt to belabor the issue at hand is not very effective. The crime of rape is not given the ultimate punishment in two cases and then actually rewarded in the third. Anyone telling that tale is foolish in the attempt.

        • Ron

          You really need help with your reading comprehension, especially given the fact that I highlighted the differences. Here they are again:

          Rape a young woman who’s engaged to be married outside of city limits: death penalty for the rapist only.

          Rape or have sex with a young woman who’s engaged to be married within city limits: death penalty for both parties.

          Rape a young woman who’s not engaged to be married: forced marriage between the woman and her rapist, and her father gets paid fifty shekels of silver.

          In other words…

          Rape only incurs the death penalty when the rapist violates a woman who’s engaged to be married to another man, because as verse 24 (which I had put in bold and underlined) clearly states: he’s violated another man’s wife.

        • he’s violated another man’s wife.

          More correctly: he’s violated another man’s property.

  • Asmondius

    ‘God also has no problem with……sexual slavery (Numbers 31:18)’.

    Wrong again, Bob.

    This is Moses speaking in this tract – not God.

    • Zeke

      Is it the love and attention of others that you seek?

      • Realitycbd

        Another gay atheist assho/e trolling.
        What losers you sodomites are.

      • Asmondius

        I respectfully appreciate your interest, but I am not here seeking a date.

    • Pofarmer

      So, God wasn’t tellng Moses what,to do?

      • Asmondius

        Show me where it says this.

        • Pofarmer

          I thought it was generally a given that God was leading Moses and the early Jews. You are saying they were just winging it?

        • RowanVT

          I am amused by the fact that assmondius is obviously avoiding answering this.

        • Is that possible? The guy who said, “Don’t change the channel now, Bob. I’m calling you out on this one” to ensure that no one walked away from acknowledging an error?

          No, I’m sure you’re thinking of someone else.

    • Just Moses rambling on his own here? Or Moses giving orders based on God’s demand, as mentioned in verses 1 and 7?

      • Asmondius

        Bob, you specifically attributed this to God. You fibbed, and I caught you. Now you want to play Who Struck John?

        • Num. 31:18 isn’t a direct quote from God. Yeah, got it. Never said it was.

          I do think that it was just a wee bit of a consequence of God’s direct commands, though.

          Tell me: what is your reaction to Num. 31:17-18? Here it is:

          Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

          Does that sound reasonable to you? Or are you horrified by it? Is this something you’d like to see in today’s society? Give me your thoughts.

        • Asmondius

          ‘Never said it was.’

          Don’t change the channel now, Bob. I’m calling you out on this one – your theme is ‘God telling lies’ and you used this quote as a specific example. You either misread or fibbed. Which is it?

        • your theme is ‘God telling lies’ and you used this quote as a specific example.

          Wrong, yet again. Here’s the quote from the post: “God also has no problem with rape (Deut. 22:28–9), sexual slavery (Numbers 31:18), or forced marriage (Judges 21:11–12).”

          If the sentence didn’t make it clear for you, the heading before it should: “Rape.”

  • Asmondius

    ‘God also has no problem with …. forced marriage (Judges 21:11–12). ‘

    This passage relates events at the end of a form of civil war. The victors have a group of former opponent warriors who need wives, as well as a group of virgins who are the survivors of a purge. Life in the desert is harsh – it is difficult for a person to survive all alone. Therefore the Israelites take the logical approach by joining these two partner-less groups. Arranged marriages are a part of the culture at this time, and they are still practiced in many cultures today. Everyone involved is an Israelite, and this is quite normal for them. Only someone trying to layer the confusion of modern American society onto an ancient culture could be misled here.

    And by the way – God did not order them to do this.

    • “Two partner-less groups”? What a beautiful marriage. A tribe is slaughtered, and the virgin girls left are married by force. I’m sure that after a couple of days to acclimatize, they found their new situation just peachy.

      If God is against this, I don’t see that here.

      • Asmondius

        Once again – everyone involved here is an Israelite accustomed to the ways of their society at the time. This is not American culture at a different time and place, put your opinion in perspective. Perhaps you feel they should have had random hookups and viewed pornography first.

        • No, I just think that it’s not cool to (1) kill a girl’s family and then (2) force her to marry one of her family’s murderers. I’m funny that way–that’s just my old-fashioned values, I guess.

        • hector_jones

          You’re just not used to it, Bob. Stop judging God by your lofty standards.

        • Yeah. My bad.

        • Asmondius

          Your ‘old-fashioned’ values would permit all of those girls to be executed before they are ever born. And once again, you read the passage incorrectly – the intended husbands are not ‘her family’s murderers’; they had nothing to do with it.

        • Yup, my “old-fashioned” values say that hacking a girl’s family to pieces and forcing her into marriage are each far worse that aborting an insensate month-old fetus.

          the intended husbands are not ‘her family’s murderers’; they had nothing to do with it.

          You’re right.

          I don’t follow the “once again, you read the passage incorrectly.” When was the last time?

        • Kodie

          Whatever you believe to be true just has to be so true you can just wish it were true and so it is. No.

          The victors have a group of former opponent warriors who need wives, as
          well as a group of virgins who are the survivors of a purge.

          The victors have a group of opponent warriors and specifically spared a class of people – virgin women but they killed everyone else. I think it’s you who is not reading WHAT YOU WROTE correctly. It’s like, you have to rationalize it. Why would they do that unless it just worked out well for everyone? Except the dead people and the women who had no way to make it on their own because their family is dead now.

          Oh, thank god you came along to slaughter my family and take care of me, opponent warrior!!!!

        • Asmondius

          You’ve got the story all wrong. You have my sympathy for trying to comment without knowledge of the topic. I know it must hurt.

        • RowanVT

          I’d rather have not existed at all, and been ENTIRELY UNAWARE of even potentially existing then to have my family be murdered, be married to their murderer, and then be raped for the rest of my life.

        • Asmondius

          More fiction. If I wanted this I’d head for the library.

        • MNb

          “This is not American culture at a different time and place”
          Ie relative morals. If this applies to Judges 21:11-12 it applies to say abortion as well.
          Thanks.

        • Asmondius

          There are no morals in current American culture.

        • Pofarmer

          Just not morals you approve of, which I won’t consider consider bad off hand.

  • Asmondius

    ‘Homosexuality

    God is on the wrong side of this issue, too.’

    Well, you’re entitled to your opinion, Bob – but that’s about all it is.

    Homosexuality is actually on the wrong side of nature, evolution, and every human society that has ever existed – but you know better.

    • Pofarmer

      ” Homosexuality is actually on the wrong side of nature, evolution, and every human society that has ever existed – but you know better.” Being ignorant of biology and science is not a strength. If you understand, but intentionally misslead, then you are disshonest.

      • Asmondius

        Homosexuality requires ignorance of biology, science, and physiology – yes.

        • Shazaam! Just repeat your original point–I like your boldness, sir!

          Can we start by agreeing that homosexuality is commonly observed in nature and so, by definition, is therefore “natural”?

        • Pofarmer

          No, no, no. Catholics don’t like it, therefor it is unnatural. It’s like a theological game of “who’s on first.”

        • Asmondius

          Coprophagia is commonly observed in nature as well – are you recommending it as a ‘natural’ behavior for humans?

          Occurring in nature and conforming to the natural norm are two entirely different issues. Your attempt to turn the world on simple wordplay with the term ‘nature’ only illustrates the shallowness of your argument.

          Incidentally, when you are forced to use the behavior of lower species to justify your own behavior, I’d say you are in too deep.

        • Coprophagia is commonly observed in nature as well – are you recommending it as a ‘natural’ behavior for humans?

          Does it cause harm? There’s your answer.

          Your attempt to turn the world on simple wordplay with the term ‘nature’ only illustrates the shallowness of your argument.

          Are we both valiant warriors making sure that words are used correctly? Then help me slap down idiots who say stuff like, “Homosexuality is actually on the wrong side of nature.”

          Incidentally, when you are forc ed to use the behavior of lower species to justify your own behavior, I’d say you are in too deep.

          Justify? Who’s doing that? I’m simply pointing out the naturalness of something to respond to the idiots who say that that thing is not natural. Sound fair to you?

        • Kodie

          Religion is a made up thing, made-up rules from a made-up deity. It holds no authority over anyone in reality. Do you think war is natural? War and rape is natural?

          If Islamic extremists came over to America and killed a bunch of people and saved the virgin girls to be their wives, wouldn’t you think that was FUCKED UP? When another group does it to your people, you can recognize that it is fucked up.

        • Asmondius

          ‘Made up’ – just like your proclamations? Not impressed with your use of Big People words, by the way.

        • MNb

          How dishonest again. You condemn gay sex because it’s ‘unnatural behaviour’ – BobS never gave as a reason for approval that it’s natural.

          “Occurring in nature and conforming to the natural norm are two entirely different issues.”
          The natural norm is nothing but “what Asmondeus personally approves or disapproves”.

          “the behavior of lower species”

          Again our christian displays a serious lack of humility. Most atheists don’t think in terms of higher and lower species. Evolution Theory has taught us that these terms are meaningless.

        • Asmondius

          And you can’t even spell.

        • RowanVT

          Actually, sometimes coprophagia can be beneficial, especially if the gut flora have become unbalanced. This is, actually, used in modern western medicine, just more sanitized. Or did you think probiotics weren’t poop bacteria grown to be not-in-poop-until-you-eat-them?

        • Asmondius

          Is this some sort of hangover remedy you leaned while in college?

        • RowanVT

          This response reeks, to me, of someone who has taken a probiotic and is now disgusted to learn they ate the bacteria found in poop. 😀

        • MNb

          Abortion definitely is on the right side of nature.

          http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001488.htm

          “On the wrong side of nature” is just an ad hoc argument. You only use it when it suits you, hypocrite.

        • Asmondius

          You are mistakenly confusing induced abortion with instantaneous abortion; apparently you are unaware that ‘abortion’ is a general medical term for the loss of any pregnancy. Your assumption that all causes of abortion are equal is grossly mistaken.

          Incidentally, I did not use phrase ‘wrong side of nature’ at all. If you have a problem with that description, it is of your own doing.

          But I do agree that induced abortion and homosexual activity are two of the largest moral errors humans engage in.

        • Why is homosexual activity (by that, I assume you refer to homosexual sex?) bad? It’s just people acting the way God made them, right?

        • hector_jones

          You are projecting again.

        • Asmondius

          Look up the word, that way you will stop misusing it..

          Whoever told you it is a clever retort is not your friend.

        • hector_jones

          What a tedious fool you are. You’ll post anything to avoid having to address the central issue – your ‘god’ doesn’t exist.

        • Asmondius

          Because you say so? Make a ham sandwich appear for me while you’re at it, Genie.

        • hector_jones

          There you are doing it again. If you had evidence of your god, you’d post it, instead of irrelevant ravings about ham sandwiches.

        • adam

          Ad hominem is the VERY BEST ‘evidence’ that Asmondius has for the existence of HIS ‘god’

        • Asmondius

          You and I are both evidence – you have simply forsaken your heritage.

        • hector_jones

          When our ancestors adopted Christianity they had forsaken their heritage.

        • Asmondius

          Of barbarism, yes.

        • adam

          NOT

        • hector_jones

          And I’ve forsaken my heritage, just as you say – the heritage of the barbarism of christianity.

        • Asmondius

          Not exactly Shakespeare.

        • Pofarmer

          Uhm, no. Homosexuality is common in nature. It occurs in between 6 and 10 percent of humans, as far as we can tell, and apparently has for a very long time. The fact that 2000 years of Christians railing against it hasn’t changed that fact one iota ought to be a clue. The fact that an inderminately large number of Catholic priests, between 35 and 60 percent, depending in who’s numbers you use, are homosexual, ought to give one a clue. Hell, anyone who has ever been around a pen of Billy goats would know homosexuality is quite common in nature. If you have confounding information, besides the Churches “natural law” then perhaps you could present it.

        • Pastor Charles L. Worley of North Carolina idiotically suggested corralling all the lesbians and “the queers and the homosexuals” (I’m not sure how his taxonomy works, but whatever) into a big fenced area. Since they can’t breed, they’d die off—problem solved.

          Uh, “Pastor” Worley, where do you think the lesbians and the queers and the homosexuals come from?

        • Pofarmer
      • Asmondius

        Hence the case for homosexuality as normative.

        • Pofarmer

          I think you are projecting. Are you going to make a case that homosexuality does not exist in other species? Are you going to make the case that the percentage of homogenous in the, population hasn’t been roughly constant for thousands, of years? Are you going to make testable claims, or spout ignorant dogma?

        • Asmondius

          I’m not aware that animals exhibit complex human activity or emotions, nor is it licit to justify human behavior based upon what we observe in animals. Please produce for me the Roman census records on homosexuals.

        • Pofarmer

          We are evolved primates. We have the same basic makeup as all other primates and most other mammals. It’s not much of a stretch to imagine we might exhibit many of the same behaviors.

        • Pofarmer
    • Pofarmer nicely answered your last paragraph. As for the rest, you’re right that this was quite brief. I’ve discussed homosexuality and same-sex marriage in detail elsewhere and didn’t want to repeat myself here.

      Search for posts on that if you want more.

      • Asmondius

        You need not repeat anything – I’ve heard it all before.

        • Pofarmer

          So you simply pick and choose which science to believe, like you pick and choose which parts of the bible to believe.

        • Asmondius

          ‘…pick and choose which parts of the bible to believe…’

          Like Bob?

        • You think I believe any dogma or supernatural claims in the Bible?

    • 90Lew90

      “Homosexuality is actually on the wrong side of nature, evolution, and every human society that has ever existed – but you know better.”

      Sorry to interject but homosexuality is an evolved trait. It is natural. And whatever of exclusive homosexuality, I happen to think the world might be a happier place if men didn’t feel it shameful to give sexual expression to strong bonds of friendship. That is something the Greeks realised; a “human society” which flourished and whose influence is still felt strongly today, including the fact that Greek thought pulled your religion out of the hole it was about to perish in. You’d do well to look at the influence of Plato and Aristotle on Augustine and Aquinas. Then read Plato’s Symposium on love.

      I might say more forcefully and more accurately that the three Abrahamic theisms have been detrimental to every human society they have ever touched. For evidence of that you need only dip into a bit of history and watch the fucking news ya moron.

      • Asmondius

        Sorry, but since the claim for homosexuality to have a genetic source more or less went up in smoke, any claim that it is an ‘evolved trait’ follows suit.

        • 90Lew90

          I’d like a citation for the claim that homosexuality isn’t genetic because as far as I’m aware we don’t know. But there are pretty plausible hypotheses from evolutionary psychology as to why homosexuality evolved and we also observe it in our closest ape cousins. All sex is not for breeding. It is not pleasurable for nothing. It’s pleasurable because that’s how it was intended to be but you and your lot have warped it because of the ascetic practices of so-called holy men which have become ingrained in our culture and inculcated as “moral” their warped behaviour. Which they had no business imposing on anyone other than themselves. Spare us from “virtuous” virgins who couldn’t get it up and ran and hid. Your church loves them. That’s also where your child abuse problem came from.

        • Pofarmer

          Epi-genetics.

        • 90Lew90

          Epigenetics, pre-natal chemistry such as exposure to an excess — yes, that’s an excess — of the male hormone testosterone in the uterus. The more boys a woman has the greater the chance that the younger ones may be gay. The fact that it runs in families. I have a gay uncle and one other gay cousin. Bit of nature, bit of nurture in terms of your first experience of sex which will nurture the nature. And POOF. You’ve got yourself a poof. I’ve stopped digging into these questions of why-me because I’ve come to terms with myself.

          But when people like Asmondius come along trying to make out that I’m gay by choice, I have to ask: What sane person would “choose” to take all this nonsense from people like you and forfeit the prospect of having a family and living a picket-fence life?! You deal with the hand you’re dealt and get on with it.

        • MNb

          OK, let’s assume that homosexuality is a choice. So what? Who are you to decide that I shouldn’t have sex with Lew if I’d ever like to? Just because you claim you have god at your side? Well, perhaps your god needs to be screwed then. Especially for you a nice piece of Dutch literature, written by a devout catholic (he was involved with the most recent translation of the Bible):

          ……..”Als God zich opnieuw in de Levende Stof gevangen geeft, zal hij als Ezel terugkeren, hoogstens in staat een paar lettergrepen te formuleren, miskend en verguisd en geranseld, maar ik zal Hem begrijpen en meteen met Hem naar bed gaan, maar ik doe zwachtels om Zijn hoefjes, dat ik niet te veel schrammen krijg als Hij spartelt bij het klaarkomen.”

          “If God has caught himself in Living Matter again, he will return as Donkey, at most capable of formulating a few syllables, misjudged and abused and beaten, but I will understand Him and immediately go to bed with Him, but I’ll wrap his little hooves in bandages, so that I won’t get scratched too much when He struggles while coming.”

          “Mijn Heer en mijn God! Geloofd weze Uw Naam tot in alle Eeuwigheid! Ik houd zo verschrikkelijk veel van U”, zou ik proberen te zeggen, maar halverwege zou ik al in janken uitbarsten, en Hem beginnen te kussen en naar binnen trekken, en na een geweldige klauterpartij om de trap naar het slaapkamertje op te komen, zou ik Hem drie keer achter elkaar langdurig in Zijn Geheime Opening bezitten, en daarna een present-eksemplaar geven, niet gebrocheerd, maar gebonden – niet dat gierige en benauwde – met de opdracht ‘Voor de oneindige, zonder woorden’.”

          “”My Lord and my God! Praised be Your Name Forever and Ever! I love You so much”, I would try to say, but already halfway I would burst into tears, and begin to kiss Him and draw Him inside, and after an enormous climbing effort to get up the stairs to the little bedroom, I would own Him three times after another in His Secret Opening for a long time, and give him a present copy (of his book – MNb) afterwards, but binded – not greedy and stuffy – with the dedication ‘For the Eternal, without words’.”

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerard_Reve

          Another book of his resulted in the best Dutch movie ever:

          http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0086543/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

          It’s also the best movie by Paul Verhoeven – a spiced up version of Basic Instinct. It’s full of catholic symbolism.
          This poem shows Reve’s devotion:

          http://cowbird.com/print/story/41422/Sister_Immaculata/

        • 90Lew90

          You Dutch and your porn… 🙂

        • I don’t follow. You’re saying homosexuals don’t exist or they aren’t born that way or that evolution didn’t create them or what?

        • Asmondius

          Evolution is a delta, not an alpha – it can ‘create’ nothing. Homosexuals do indeed exist, just as people with club feet or a cleft palate exist. However homosexuality is not a genetically determined trait and people are not ‘born that way’.

        • Instead of likening homosexuals with people with deformities, I’d liken them to left-handed people (who were, at one point, similarly condemned by the Catholic church).

          As far as the research that I’ve seen goes, homosexuality isn’t something in the genes; nevertheless, it is can be expressed due to different environments during gestation.

          But the complete story isn’t known yet. Tell me this: if homosexuals aren’t born as such, why are there homosexuals?

        • Pofarmer

          Left handed people, cross eye dominance,(dominant hand different than dominant eye), color blindness………There are all kinds of mishmashed inherited traits that don’t condemn us as a species. Look at the spectrum of genetic diseases, Hurlers syndrome being the one I’m most familiar with, but there are quite a number of them, both lethal and non lethal.

        • 90Lew90

          There are a number of other very sound explanations for homosexuality and all of them are naturalistic. What are you saying? “It was sin what dunnit?”

        • Asmondius

          ‘Naturalistic’ – that looks suspiciously like a meaningless word. Everything occurring in the natural world (blindness, STD’s, defective organs, athletes foot, etc.) – is ‘naturalistic’. “Natural’ does not mean ‘desirable’ or ‘normative’. And there is certain nothing natural about two males trying to simulate copulation. Know the term the medical field initially had for HIV? ‘Gay Bowel Syndrome’.

        • hector_jones

          Let’s hear from an actual biologist on the subject, rather than someone who has to come here and ask why there are different species.

          http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2014/08/31/homosexuality-and-evolution/

        • “Homosexuality has been documented in 1500 animal species, and homophobia has been documented in only one.

          “Which one seems unnatural now?”

        • Asmondius

          Uh huh, some random dude on a blog has a mental burp and you inhale the zephyr. Very convincing.

        • I hear you, bro. Read about biology from a biologist? Don’t get me started.

          I’d much rather inhale the 3000-year-old fart that is the Old Testament. That’s some good bouquet.

        • Asmondius

          er, someone on the web claiming to be a biologist. And even better, ‘The Biologist Who Speaks for All Biologists’!

        • someone on the web claiming to be a biologist

          Yeah–that “PhD” in “Biology” from the “University of Oregon”? Oh, please. The chancellor’s signature is probably in crayon.

        • hector_jones

          And the pope is just some random dude in a dress with a twitter feed.

  • Asmondius

    ‘The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted in 1948. Consider some highlights to see if mere humans can do a better job than God’s holy book.’

    er, which came first, Bob?

    How many people has the UN saved from ISIS?

    • How many people has God saved from ISIS? Or from any bad situation?

      I don’t follow your point here. The UN’s declaration gives far better morality than the supposedly divinely inspired message in the Bible.

      • Asmondius

        Are we elevating the UN to God status now, Bob?
        Since the ruminations of the UN came much later in history than the Bible, one can hardly claim they are original. In my travels I have never found a copy of UN rules in the desk drawer at any hotel.

        • I agree–the principles in the UN Declaration didn’t appear there first (as far as I know). But then the moral principles in the Bible probably didn’t appear there first, either.

          I’m simply making the fairly obvious point that the claim that Western society was built on Christian principles is false. The most fundamental points that we celebrate today are either foreign to the Bible or contradicted in the Bible. The points that we do still agree with in the Bible (“murder is bad”) weren’t invented by Judaism/Christianity.

        • Asmondius

          ‘But then the moral principles in the Bible probably didn’t appear there first, either.’

          I am not aware of any known ancient tract which lays out a model for human behavior so succinctly and clearly.

          As for ‘I’m simply making the fairly obvious point that the claim that Western society was built on Christian principles is false’ is a fool’s errand. Regardless of one’s personal beliefs, the influence of Christianity upon the West is undeniable from a historical standpoint.

        • So succinctly and clearly as what? You can’t be referring to the OT since that’s not succinct. You can’t be referring to the 10 Cs since that is a religious dictate and doesn’t apply to everyone.

          the influence of Christianity upon the West is undeniable from a historical standpoint.

          Sure. Is this bland statement all you’ve been saying all this time? I thought you were talking about something foundational.

        • Asmondius

          Of course it’s ‘foundational’ – do you believe that Western Civilization evolved despite Christianity?

        • 90Lew90

          I would say it developed in spite of Christianity. Absolutely. Christianity did not help. Print did more for people than Christianity. Your religion is a bane and you’re a pretty good example of why that is a scratched-record fact.

        • Asmondius

          Ahistorical nonsense.

        • 90Lew90

          Ahistorical? Read Lucien Febvre’s The Coming of the Book: The Impact of Printing 1450-1800 and Elizabeth Eisenstein’s The Printing Press as an Agent of Change for starters. Solid, thoroughgoing works of history. I look forward to the day when you make a response that I can’t club you round your stupid head with. Did it escape you that print is my trade? I might have studied it a bit? Pay attention.

        • MNb

          So what? He has god at his side. You haven’t. Unbeatable.

          OK, serious again. I would say that christianity was a necessary, but far from sufficient condition (as especially the stagnation of Byzantium shows). European thinking got an enormous boost after the conquest of Toledo and that was long before Gutenberg. Given the fact that all scholars were christians their belief system obviously didn’t hinder them too much.

        • 90Lew90

          I’m not remotely qualified to comment on the conquest of Toledo but I realise from the Wikipedia entry on it that it was part of the Muslim conquest of Spain, by which I’m aware ancient Greek thought was reintroduced to the West, since Christians basically shunned and ignored it and persecuted as “pagan” anyone who took it seriously. But I would say that the emergence of print was an extremely important event in human history and that it led to an exponential growth in the spread of knowledge and debate. As a subject it may be a bit esoteric but I’ve cited two good books there if you’re interested. Not for nothing is the internet compared to the printing press for the (unforeseeable) impact it may have. Print was overall a Good Thing though. People became more knowledgeable, literate, less gullible. Protestantism emerged, basically on the back of the fact that the Bible could be printed and read by the public. So yes, there were horrors too but humans and politics don’t seem to mix very well so I suppose you take the rough with the smooth.

        • MNb

          “ancient Greek thought was reintroduced to the West, since Christians basically shunned and ignored it and persecuted as “pagan” anyone who took it seriously.”
          You’re contradicting yourself here – it were christian scholars who took the knowledge found in the library of Toledo to Italy and founded the University of Bologna three years after the conquest.
          What’s more, christians didn’t need to persecute pagan manuscripts.

          http://rambambashi.wordpress.com/2009/05/15/common-errors-9-the-gnostic-gospels/

          “I would say that the emergence of print was an extremely important event in human history”
          Obviously. What I’m denying is that it was a sufficient factor for some consequences, like one you suggest here:

          “Protestantism emerged ….”
          That probably would have happened without print as well.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Wycliffe
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jan_Hus

          But yeah, printing protestant stuff surely helped a lot.

        • 90Lew90

          I’ve already told you I have no knowledge of the Toledo conflict. None. And I don’t have the belly for a fight with someone who I would probably consider a kindred spirit. Never mind the belly, I don’t have the time. No offense.

        • MNb

          No offense taken. I’m just one of those nasty guys who can’t let a contradiction go without commening on it. Good to read that you don’t have the time.

        • 90Lew90

          Hang on a minute. I think better in the morning… Yes, Christian scholars took seriously what was given unto them, by Muslims, as I said. It was mostly Greek writing. Their application of Plato and Aristotle enabled them to give intellectual meat to their intellectually threadbare religion. Without the Greek stuff we would never have had Aquinas’s “Five Proofs” which are all taken from Plato and Aristotle, ingenuously twiddled by an acknowledged genius, and tacked onto Christianity. All of that “First Cause” and “Unmoved Mover” stuff is straight from Aristotle. It is however generally agreed that around the time of Hypatia Christians rejected the Greek thought that they had all access to. Muslims preserved and reintroduced it by their conquest of Spain.

          In any case, I’m not actually disputing that there have been other momentous events in the history of the West. That would be stupid to argue. I’m only saying that the emergence of the printing press is often overlooked as perhaps one of *the* most momentous. It’s impact was incredible almost as soon as it was invented and the spread of Luther’s Protestantism was so rapid not only because Bibles could be printed (and the Bible was the most printed book initially) but also because of what you might call bite-sized pamphlets which were printed and shared in their tens of thousands.

          There were presses in every city in Europe within a hundred years of Gutenberg, the last one was in Dublin which was (and remains) a complete backwater. By the time of Jonathan Swift — an Anglican — books were radicalising people all over the place because information and thought and satire could spread like wildfire. The history of Gulliver’s Travels is interesting in itself. I don’t see anywhere I’ve contradicted myself in relating this. And I’m sorry but both your Wikipedia entries are dodgy (read the disclaimers at the top of both pages) and I’m not about to take a blog as a serious source. As I said, the Febvre book is landmark, the Eisenstein one is less well-known, but both are solid, substantial works which can’t be sniffed at. Anyway. Nuff said.

        • MNb

          “I’m only saying that the emergence of the printing press is often overlooked as perhaps one of *the* most momentous.”
          That surprises me, possibly because every Dutch school kid (at least in my time) learned that book print was invented by Laurens Janszoon Coster from Haarlem and that before him everything was written by hand. That claim is wrong in several ways, but it was connected to the Reformation and subsequently to the Dutch Rebellion. As such I’m very aware of the importance of this invention. A Dutch link:

          http://protestantisme.wordpress.com/about/

          “Causes of the Reformation. Fourth header: Book Print spread new ideas”.
          This author didn’t overlook it either.

          “I don’t see anywhere I’ve contradicted myself in relating this.”
          No, not relating this. Where you did contradict yourself is for our main topic quite irrelevant and even without that I dislike repeating myself.

          “I’m sorry but both your Wikipedia entries are dodgy”
          Well, I didn’t bring them up to provide you with detailed and reliable information about these guys. I only mentioned them as the two most important examples of proto-reformation from before the invention of print. There is a lot of information to be found on them, both on internet and outside.

          I like it that you have found back your fighting spirit, but unfortunately there seems to be precious little to fight about!

        • The printing press is indeed pretty remarkable. We marvel at the changes in our own day and are often dismissive or ignorant of the changes in previous generations, which were sometimes just as powerful.

        • 90Lew90

          I find it fascinating. A large part of a module I did at Birkbeck College in London was devoted to the impact of print and I devoured it. The Febvre book is affordable and there’s a shorter work by Eisenstein, The Printing Revolution in Early Modern Europe if you’re interested. Eisenstein’s is the more recent and probably more authoritative work. Meanwhile, Asmondius has no response but a narky one.

        • MNb

          “Asmondius has no response but a snarky one.”
          What else is left when the facts refuse to fit in your worldview and you can’t admit you’re wrong because god?

        • Yes, Asmondius is becoming more trouble than he’s worth.

        • Asmondius

          Stagnation of Byzantium? Is that like constipation?

        • MNb

          Yes, caused by christianity.

        • Pofarmer

          But, didn’t an awful lot of scholars have to compartmentalize their belief, or couch things in terms of showing how God worked in the world?

        • Asmondius

          Another Amazon scholar. You fool no one but yourself.

        • 90Lew90

          I studied this at degree level under Dr James Brown at Birkbeck College, London. I got the highest mark in a year-group of almost 200 very bright mature students for what I wrote about it.

          You were saying “ahistorical”? Perhaps you’re just a-knowledgeable.

          Hey. Your knees are knocking and your pants and falling down.

        • MNb

          Stupid question. No, we are downgrading the status of your god way below the UN.

          “In my travels I have never found a copy of UN rules in the desk drawer at any hotel.”
          Excellent idea. A copy of the Declaration of Human Rights is far more useful than an outdated Holy Book.

        • Asmondius

          Please tell me where, exactly, the UN has managed to enforce the ‘Declaration of Human Rights’.

  • Asmondius

    ‘We can thank Western society for these principles, not the Bible.’

    Western Civilization is largely the product of Christianity – so is the Bible.

    • Just a bland statement completely contradicted by the lists I gave in the post? I think you’ll have to actually support your claim if you want it to stand.

      • Asmondius

        I see no lists. I’ll support my claim by buying you a junior high history book covering Western Civilization.

        • If you had read the post, you would’ve seen the lists.

          But don’t strain yourself scrolling up. Let me repeat the two lists (combined) for you:

          Article 2: These rights apply to everyone
          Article 3: No genocide
          Article 4. No slavery
          Article 5. No torture
          Article 16. Marriage allowed regardless of race, nationality, or religion. Both spouses must consent. Divorce is allowed.
          Article 18. Freedom to reject one’s religion

          Article 10. Fair trial
          Article 11. The accused is innocent until proven guilty
          Article 19. Freedom of speech
          Article 20. Freedom of assembly
          Article 21. Universal suffrage
          Article 26. Right to education
          Article 29: Democracy.

          We celebrate these in the West, but we didn’t get them from the Bible.

        • Asmondius

          No same sex ‘marriage’ eh?

        • Nope. Nor “eat vegetarian.” Perhaps those two will be seen as outrageous omissions a century from now.

        • Asmondius

          Perhaps politicians will be honest.

        • Pofarmer

          Or apologists

        • Asmondius

          Of any stripe.

        • RowanVT

          Someone doesn’t apparently understand history well enough to realise it took us a while to figure out that whole “slavery bad” thing. Apparently unless it has already happened, it’s not supposed to happen. Which means that Assmondius thinks slavery should have been kept around, and that women shouldn’t be allowed to vote.

        • Asmondius

          Speaking of history, the concept of freedom is much older than current American society – your knowledge seems to be limited to just a century or so. And the passage of time will never make two men equal to a man and a woman.

        • RowanVT

          Well, two thousand years ago women were regarded as property. So the passage of time has made women (close to) equal to men, so therefore, if men and women are equal then man+woman can also be expressed as man+man or woman+woman. 😀 Math is fun! Poking holes in bigotry is more fun!

        • Asmondius

          Name a few homosexual species.

        • Pofarmer

          Have you actually researched this at all? I mean, there are books and scientific papers out there dealing with this. Because from here, you are coming off as a catechism thumping idiot.

        • RowanVT

          You want a list of species that has members that practice homosexuality? That’s going to be only very very long.

          For a short list of mammals: bonobos, bison, raccoons, dolphins, rats.

          Short bird list: Parakeets, swans, penguins.

          Reptiles: anoles, corn snakes, desert tortoises.

          If you want a species that practices ONLY homosexuality… there are some species comprised of nothing but females who copulate with each other to stimulate reproduction.

        • You want a list of species that has members that practice homosexuality?

          Phone numbers would be more useful.

        • 90Lew90

          Why? No reason why not. Not as long as bigots like you keep hanging around being pests.

        • MNb

          “junior high history book”
          Written by dishonest apologists like you, no doubt.

        • Asmondius

          Well, if you don’t believe history is factual there is absolutely no sense in your whining about slavery or the early Israelites.

        • MNb

          Only in your overheated fantasy I don’t believe history is factual. I haven’t noticed yet though that you understand what a fact is. Moreover you present a non-sequitur.

        • Asmondius

          Uh oh, the magic ‘non sequitur’ chant to save one’s derriere when losing a debate.

  • Asmondius

    I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, Jehovah, do all these things (Isaiah 45:7).

    Is it not from the mouth of El Elyon that both calamities and good things come? (Lamentations 3:38)

    When disaster comes to a city, has not Jehovah caused it? (Amos 3:6)’

    These refer to specific judgements, not random acts. You are out of context here.

    • “I, Jehovah, do all these things” actually means, “I, Jehovah, do some but not all these things”?

      • Asmondius

        God is specifically addressing the liberation of Israel in this tract – He is not taking responsibility for your having a bad day.

        • So some things are beyond or outside of God’s control?

          That’s odd–I would think that “I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the Lord, do all these things” is making quite clear that God controls the horizontal, and God controls the vertical. You name it, and God controls it.

        • Ron

          I seem to recall a story in the book of Judges where God’s power gets thwarted by iron chariots.

        • Pofarmer

          Also by a king sacrificing his son to another God.

        • Ron

          Right. Forgot about that one.

          Kemosh 1 : Yahweh 0

        • Asmondius

          Verse?

        • $26708516

          2 Kings 3.

          The account is told from the other perspective in the Meshe Stele. To both Israelites and Moabites it appears to have been evidence of the power of Chemosh.

        • $26708516

          Judges 1:19

          And the Lord was with Judah; and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron.

        • Asmondius

          Quotation?

        • Asmondius

          Nothing is outside of God’s control, but whether He chooses to intervene is another issue. God is not a puppeteer or a janitor.

          Once again, you are making a lame attempt to lift a statement from a specific situation and broad brush it into a general application. Obviously the statement is related to what is occurring at the time.

        • Obviously God controls and takes responsibility for everything, both light and dark.

        • Asmondius

          Did God make you eat that pizza?

        • $26708516

          But knowing all and creating a system that looks like this one comes with a certain responsibility.

          Free will has nothing to do with hurricanes or earthquakes.

  • Asmondius

    ‘Of course, there’s always a Christian apologist eager to show how this is actually a good thing. Megachurch pastor John Piper says…..’

    Disagreeing with one person’s opinion is one thing, but trotting it out as an item of faith for all Christians is specious.

    • Good point. I’m glad we’re on the same page here.

      • Asmondius

        Absolutely.

  • Seriously, the system of morality set up by the Old Testament laws is sick and evil. Even by ancient standards, it had major problems. MAJOR.

    And, right now, to apply this to modern society is hilariously wrong.