25 Stupid Arguments Christians Should Avoid (Part 4)

25 Stupid Arguments Christians Should Avoid (Part 4) October 8, 2014

stupid Christian arguments apologeticsThe second dreaded “Blood Moon” has come and gone. Everybody in one piece?

Let’s continue with our exploration of stupid arguments Christians really shouldn’t use (Part 1 here).

Stupid Argument #13: Pascal’s wager. Bet on God, and the upside is huge. Bet against God, and the downside is huge. Any questions?

The error is in imagining just two choices, Christianity and atheism. In reality, human societies have invented myriad choices, and Christians are in the same spot they imagine for atheists. What if they bet wrong on the Hindu or Roman or Norse pantheons? Or on the Zoroastrian or Egyptian or Buddhist afterlife? Take a look at Buddhist hell in the image above—it ain’t pretty.

It also assumes that the deity will accept an ass-covering “bet on God” instead of authentic belief driven by conviction. Wouldn’t a god be smart enough to see through the insincerity? And notice that Pascal does nothing to provide evidence for God’s existence. More.

Stupid Argument #14: You’ll be sorry! Watch yourself, smart guy—you won’t be so cocky when you’re standing in judgment before the Creator. You’ll have an eternity in hell to repent your foolishness.

You’re really going to threaten atheists with something we don’t believe in? Why should we be any more concerned about Christian hell than you are about Buddhist hell? Let me again quote St. Christopher (Hitchens): “What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.”

Even if you’re right, how heavenly will heaven be? Don’t you think the ongoing torment of billions of humans in hell—whose crime was nothing more than not getting it—will bother you after a while?

Imagine a different judgment scenario. You and I are standing in judgment before God. You’re feeling pretty smug since it’s clear that you guessed right. But then God turns to you and says, “So this is how you used your brain, my greatest gift to mankind? You just check it at the door and gullibly believe whatever your religious leader tells you? You weren’t supposed to return that brain with low mileage; you were supposed to use it!”

Guess who’s going to hell this time.

Stupid Argument #15: Citing Bible quotes. We know that there is a Judgment Day. Jesus tells us, “Everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.”

As proof that the Bible makes a particular claim, Bible quotes are fine. I use them myself. But don’t cite a Bible quote as evidence of something important. You realize I don’t consider the Bible authoritative, right?

And if the issue is the Bible’s position on a certain topic, don’t simply show me a verse that supports your position. The Bible can be made to support just about any position—witness the thousands of sects of Christianity. Instead, show me how the Bible supports that position and only that position. The context is not just the surrounding verses but the entire Bible.

For example, I’ve read many apologetics for biblical slavery that cite the Bible’s approach to fellow Israelites but ignore that it elsewhere imposes slavery for life on foreigners. Or apologetics that pick and choose verses to create just one interpretation of the afterlife or of the Second Coming.

Stupid Argument #16: Excusing God’s excesses. You’ve got to understand that things were different back then. God supported slavery and ordered genocide in the Old Testament simply because he was working within the culture of the times. Israelite culture had to mature in the same way that a child must mature to properly understand morality.

The apologists making these arguments are fine with modern morality and would be as horrified to see the genocide and slavery described in the Old Testament as any of us. But suggest that homosexuality is natural, and suddenly their hands are tied because the Old Testament is the immutable word of God. They grant themselves license to pick and choose the bits of the Old Testament that they like and discard the crazy baggage that comes along with it. They make the Bible into a sock puppet.

As for Israel maturing gradually like a child, remember that God imposed the Ten Commandments with no grace period. Israel didn’t get the chance to mature into these rules, and breaking most of them was a capital crime on Day 1. God was not squeamish about imposing morality, and he clearly didn’t care what social customs he swept away with new rules. God didn’t demand genocide and support slavery because his hands were tied but because he was okay with them.

These are the same Christians who demand to know how an atheist can reject the Holocaust without objective morality, not realizing that they do the Nazi two-step when apologizing for the slavery and genocide in the Old Testament.

Continue with Part 5.

Pofarmer’s Law: As an online discussion
between an atheist and a theist grows longer,
the probability of the theist threatening
the atheist with hell approaches 1.
— Commenter hector jones

Photo credit: Wikimedia

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • This latest string of “arguments” are in fact little more than threats against Atheists and “differently religious” people.
    Sadly, these rants are often the most popular ones among some apologists.

    • I guess they’re popular because they’re easy.

      • Makes about sense. I am in no way trying to imply any bias or something related to that, but most people who use the internet are in fact not schooled or knowledgable concerning the most common of logical fallacies. One of those is the appeal to emotion, which is the basis for most people’s faith, and is not that reasonable if you ask me. Therefore people use silly rebuttals like the 25 that are listed here just to make themselves feel better instead of actually trying to challenge the position of atheists.

  • JT Rager

    “I’m an atheist”
    “You’re going to regret that when you die”
    “I don’t believe in Hell”
    “Hell is real”
    “Demonstrate it”
    “Read the Bible”
    “I don’t believe the Bible is a reliable source of information”
    “Why not?”
    “I’m an atheist”
    “You’re going to regret that when you die”

    • Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

    • Some guy on the internet

      “I don’t believe the Bible is a reliable source of information”

      Some Christians might alternatively say something along the lines of “Well, that’s your problem. The Bible has been proven time and again to be reliable but you choose to remain ignorant.” The proper counter to this is to bring up other religious groups that claim their holy book(s) have sufficed to show their veracity and that they can’t all be true (i.e. contradicting accounts of history/ dissonant morals). However theists generally do agree that atheists have no good reason for not believing in God, but the specifics about God where their religions diverge tend to be not as obvious. And I must admit that the idea of there being an intelligent being creating the universe is not terribly absurd, but sorely lacking in evidence.

      • MNb

        “The Bible has been proven time and again to be reliable”
        Show me (not you, but the christian who states this).

        “is not terribly absurd”
        It’s incoherent, because it assumes an immaterial entity interacting with our material reality while lacking the means to do so (because those means are all material).

        • Erwin

          Enter Jesus Christ,
          “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

          All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made…

          And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us ( and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,)

          full of grace and truth.”
          John 1:1-14; Colossians 1:15-23;
          Genesis 1:26.

        • MNb

          Exit Jesus faster than he enters. His words are meaningless. He doesn’t have any authority and is dismissed out of hand. Irrelevant by definition. Unimportant because 2000 years dead.
          This comment will be repeated to every answer you give. Because I don’t debate trolls and you’re an especially ugly one. Given your thick troll skull I repeat:

          Exit Jesus as fast as he enters. His words are meaningless. He doesn’t have any authority and is dismissed out of hand. Irrelevant by definition. Unimportant because 2000 years dead.

        • Erwin

          For lack of a better argument or of material worthy of discussion,

          ‘they picked up stones ( of ad hominems and red herrings in ad hoc fashion ) to stone Him.’ ref John 10:31-33; John 8:58-59.

        • MNb

          Exit Jesus as fast as he enters. His words are meaningless. He doesn’t have any authority and is dismissed out of hand. Irrelevant by definition. Unimportant because 2000 years dead.

        • Without Malice

          I suggest you read Philo of Alexandria and see where John got his ideas. PS, it wasn’t from God.

    • Erwin

      ref, ‘I Am that I Am’; you’re gonna know that when you die also, but hopefully not too late!
      ref Hebrews 9:27; 2Corinthians 6:2;
      Isaiah 49:8.

      • ZenDruid

        “Dude, you must be on drugs.” — Elevation 4:20

  • MNb

    @13: For once WLC wrote a good piece. He summarizes:

    1a) I believe and God exists: Infinite gain minus finit loss.
    1b) I believe and God does not exist: Finit loss.
    2a) I do not believe and God exists: Finit gain minus infite loss.
    2b) I do not believe and God does not exist: Finit gain.

    I dispute the assumption “infite gain”. I maintain that “God exists” is an infite loss, whether I believe or not. Then betting 2b is the rational choice.

    “because he was working within the culture of the times”

    Even if we grant the apologist this point we easily can make clear that god could have done a much better job. Specific commandment: “whenever a slave expresses his/her wish to walk free you shall set him/her free immediately.

    • The apologist counts as nothing the loss of his integrity in believing something with no evidence.

      • MNb

        And this is why I called it a good piece: for once WLC made his assumptions crystal clear. No obfuscation.

      • Erwin

        “The fool has said in his heart, ( and on this blog ), ‘there is no God’.” Psalm 14:1, 53:1;

        “‘Come now, let us reason together’, says the Lord. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow;

        though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.'”
        Isaiah 1:18.
        ref Romans 10:8-15.

        • SuperMark

          then count me a fool and you an asshole.

        • Kodie

          The fool believes cheap marketing strategies.

        • Who said that? I simply follow the evidence.

        • ZenDruid

          “The lying scoundrel says to the world, ‘I speak for god.'”
          –Me

    • primenumbers

      There cannot be infinite gain because WLC doesn’t believe in actual infinities.

      • ZenDruid

        It follows that he doesn’t believe in eternity then.

        • primenumbers

          His beliefs appear inconsistent, and change depending upon the particular argument he’s making.

        • ZenDruid

          Just like a spin doctor.

    • Dys

      WLC’s argument only possibly works if he can demonstrate that he knows what factors the god in question uses in judging whether to reward or punish. And he can’t – he just has his dogma. So his wager doesn’t work, even presuming there’s a god. The problem with these types of logic arguments is that they can’t, by their nature, refer to a specific god.

    • Highlander

      He forgot a scenario:
      1c) I believe and (a) God(s) I don’t believe in exists: Infinite Loss.
      He is also basing his infinite gain or loss on the premise that he knows what the criteria for judgment will be. By the dogma of the religion, “No man can know the mind of God”. There are at least two vastly differing opinions on what that criteria is for the Abrahamic God: Catholics believe that both belief and works are important, while protestants believe only the belief is important (and don’t get me started on the various levels of belief necessary for the various sects of Protestantism).

  • Dys

    Stupid Argument #15: Citing Bible quotes.

    Now Erwin won’t feel left out…

    • Erwin

      ref my post

      • Kodie

        Ref: Stupid Argument #15

        How do you authenticate the bible? The bible says the bible is true is not a valid or logical authentication process, so we have no reason to take you or your book quotes seriously.

        TRY SOMETHING SMART FOR A CHANGE!!!!

        • Erwin

          Acts scripture refs are historical accounts ( His-Story ) if you bothered to read them?

          Easier for you, with the sunglasses off, for sure, unless you want to remain in the dark?ref Matthew 15:14; Luke 6:39; John 5:39.

        • SuperMark

          I’ve read them all and am thoroughly unimpressed…

        • Erwin

          ✔ one down, ? more of you to go, on this blog?
          ref Jeremiah 5:21. One more for you to read.

        • SuperMark

          I’ve read the whole bible and don’t believe it, i know the whole story and still reject it. I don’t even care if it’s all true, even if everything the bible says about jesus is true it doesn’t mean that he was right about the afterlife…

        • Erwin

          ref Luke 16:27-31; 1John 2:19;
          John 8:31,15:1-17.

        • SuperMark

          two points: even if tomorrow i saw someone raise someone from the dead and they told me i had to abandon my family and follow him i wouldn’t do it and that man would be an asshole for asking.

          the second set of verses: proof that your bible is full of shit, i was a sincere christian for the first 20 years of my life and truly sought god/truth and “bared much fruit” evangelizing many in my time as a christian and yet I still abandoned it. it’s verses like those who let people like you think you know what’s in my heart. “oh you left the faith, then you never really believed or you didn’t really seek god” i’m sure that makes you feel very comfortable in your delusion. however it just makes you look like an asshole and remind me how i was an asshole just like you once, thanks for that.

        • Erwin

          ref Luke 6:45; Matthew 12:34;
          Ephesians 2:8-10; Hebrews 4:9-13.

        • SuperMark

          dude get it through your thick head i don’t give a shit what your bible says, it holds no power here or with me only in your thick skull.

        • Erwin

          ref Mark 20:26-27…’with God all things are possible.’ vs 27.

          ‘…And such were some of you, …’ 1Corinthians 6:9-11;

          ‘…But God, Who is rich in mercy…’
          Ephesians 2:1-10.

        • busterggi

          Okay, you’ve convinced me that you keep using bible quotes because you have no thoughts of your own. Which page of the good book told you to wipe your ass after taking a shit?

        • Dys

          When you don’t have any evidence, just keep throwing bible verses at people to disguise the fact that you don’t have any good reasons for your beliefs, right?

        • Without Malice

          Rich in mercy? Have you read the bible yourself? If you have how in the world can you come away thinking that the vindictive, blood thirsty god portrayed therein is rich in mercy?

        • Erwin

          Psalm 145:8, “The Lord is gracious and full of compassion; slow to anger and of great mercy.”

          ref Job 1:22, And do likewise!

        • SuperMark

          everything is possible except for demonstrating himself to me.

        • Erwin

          ref John 8:31-32….’if you hold to My teaching, you are really My disciples.’ God/Jesus Christ said it, not me.

          Only ‘then will you know the Truth ( Jesus Christ ) and the Truth shall set you free.’ vs 32.

          ‘No one can pluck them out of My hand…My Father’s hand (including you, yourself )… I and the Father are one!” John 10:25-30; ref 1John 4:4.

          “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a
          cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin

          which does so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

          looking unto Jesus Christ the author and FINISHER of our faith;… ” Hebrews 12:1-2.
          ref 2Timothy 4:7-8.

        • Dys

          “God/Jesus Christ said it, not me.”

          Nope. Rather some anonymous author said that God/Jesus said it. As you repeatedly ignore, you have to actually demonstrate that the bible has any actual authority. You can’t do that by just regurgitating bible verses.

        • Without Malice

          No one knows who wrote either of those epistles, but we know it wasn’t Paul, although you probably think he did.

        • SuperMark

          thanks for proving my point.

        • Why do you quote Bible verses? Are they like magic? Since many of the commenters here are well educated about the Bible, what do you imagine these verses will do?

        • Erwin

          ‘Set you free!’
          ref John 8:31-32; 1John 2:15-17.

        • Nope. Nothing. You need to work on your incantation.

        • Kodie

          That doesn’t even address my question. You’re just repeating yourself without giving any new information.

        • hector_jones

          Here’s a prediction – Erwin won’t be around for much longer.

        • TheNuszAbides

          very charitable of you to add ‘new’ to that phrase!

        • Kodie

          These Christians don’t seem to want to address my question about how much money they pay to be brainwashed. 2 so far out of about 8-10 recently have answered the standard 10%, and maybe they don’t want me to know how much money they make in a year, but they could also tell me how many thousands of dollars they are throwing down the drain. Maybe they don’t want to think about it.

        • Erwin

          So said,also the people of Noah’s day ,as also, the residents of Sodom and Gemorrah,

          (save for those who were saved from the wrath of God ) prior to the rain and flood and firey brimstone falling!

          Repent lest you likewise perish (quickly,without warning or the time to repent )! ref 2Peter 3:3-13;
          Luke 13:1-5.

        • Kodie

          It’s a fucking story.

        • Without Malice

          And a damn disgusting one at that. Gee, these folks didn’t come out like I thought they would; guess I’ll just have to kill them all.

        • Without Malice

          Fuck repenting, life’s more fun without it.

        • ZenDruid

          The fellow who was born to repent is a born loser.

      • Dys

        I did. You cited bible quotes, intentionally missing the entire point, which is that citing bible quotes to atheists is pointless when you haven’t demonstrated that they’re actually valid. In other words, you tried to counter the accusation of using a stupid argument with a stupid argument.

  • Blizzard

    God supported slavery and ordered genocide in the Old Testament simply because he was working within the culture of the times.

    Their feelings would get hurt if they couldn’t have slaves and wipe out cities. (Cue “Feelings” by Morris Albert.)

  • My favorite response to Pascal’s Wager:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fZpJ7yUPwdU

    • thanks for the link

    • Nemo

      YES! I was just going to link that very same video. It’s a pity that Qualia and Theramin haven’t posted any videos lately. Those two were the gems of Youtube atheism.

  • Erwin

    Re ‘Citing Bible quotes’: ref Romans 10:14-15; Acts 8:30-39; 17:16-32, 26:19-32.

    The Bible is His-Story ,
    Jesus Christ’s, God incarnate in human flesh, ‘the Word made flesh’;

    from Genesis to Revelation! The Living Word of God! ref Hebrews 4:12.

    ( ie, history ), not ours or what we’d like it to be or not!

    • Kodie

      Why do you think quoting from your fairy tale is productive?

      • MNb

        Because he’s a troll.

      • Timothy Cooper

        Because his little xtian mind can’t come up with any actual, original thoughts.

      • Paul

        Why do you think it’s a fairy tale?

        • SuperMark

          have you read the book? do you really think you would believe in a talking snake, giants, a global flood, a tower reaching to the sky, talking donkeys, and zombies if you hadn’t been told it was real since you were a child?

        • Kodie

          Why don’t you think it’s a fairy tale?

    • SuperMark

      Did you read Bob’s post? quoting bible verses to non-believers who do not believe the bible as authoritative is pointless…

      • TheNuszAbides

        perhaps Erwin is worried that if he DOESN’T spam the comment section with scripture, the benighted contrarians will be able to make the excuse “but we didn’t know!”

        • SuperMark

          yeah, i’m sure that has something to do with it. i’ve heard that line of BS plenty of times “well at least now they know the ‘truth'”. i guess it’s a lot easier to proselytize from a computer sitting on one’s ass than it is to actually try and make the word a better place…

    • busterggi

      Thank you for providing evidence that your arguement is as vacous as Bob said it would be.

    • Without Malice

      Why is it those who lack reasoning ability always quote scripture as if it proved anything other than these particular words are in the bible. From Genesis to Revelation; nothing but myths, folk tales, legends, and lies.

      • Erwin

        “There is a judge for the one who rejects Me ( Jesus Christ ) and does not accept My words ( ref Luke 16:31; ie, Genesis through Revelation );

        The very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day.”
        John 12:48,

        • hannahalice1000 .

          “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.”

        • TheNuszAbides

          sadly that’s about as accurate and useful as Erwin’s spam. but i at least appreciate your not attributing it to Einstein.

        • hannahalice1000 .

          And I appreciate you recognizing the difference between Erwin and me

        • TheNuszAbides

          that’s one of my specialties!

        • hannahalice1000 .

          Ah … I spy a fellow BS detector. 🙂

        • Greg G.

          Matthew 7:22-23
          22 On that day many Erwins will say to me, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, Erwin, you evildoer.”

  • curtcameron

    Last week on the Unbelievable? radio show they had a guest who’s recently written a book called Untrumpable, which is supposedly a re-working of Pascal’s Wager. I didn’t see any difference between his and the original, and he never seemed to grok the concept of other gods who would dimly view one’s belief in Christianity.

    And about #14, I’ve been asked what I would do if after my death I found myself standing face-to-face with God. My standard answer is that I’d listen to him, and before passing judgment on him, I’d give him a chance to explain himself.

    • Nice! You’re very considerate.

    • RichardSRussell

      I take the same approach. If asked what I’d do on Judgment Day, I say that I’d look God square in the eye and tell him he had an awful lot to answer for.

  • Sometimes you get the feeling some Christians would be upset if their God was nice. Like they get into Heaven and see an Atheist they knew there and they’re like “Hey you were wrong you’re supposed to be in Hell!”
    “Yeah funny thing that, since it turns out I was wrong and you were right and, like you said, God is infinitely good and merciful he just forgave me and let me into Heaven.”
    “Well… that’s bullshit!”

    • Some Christians would be outraged at that perversion of God’s fabulous justice, and others would be delighted. Good thing there are enough Gods to go around.

    • smrnda

      I had a conversation once with someone bent on recruiting me. When the discussion went to hell, I said ‘you see, the G-d I don’t believe in is different than the god you believe in. The G-d I do not believe in, does not send people to some eternal hell. So what do I have to lose?”

  • chrijeff

    “But then God turns to you and says, “So this is how you used your brain, my greatest gift to mankind? You just check it at the door and gullibly believe whatever your religious leader tells you? You weren’t supposed to return that brain with low mileage; you were supposed to use it!””

    Of course, a Christian would reply, “Where in the Bible does it say that? Is it one of the Ten Commandments?”

    “I’ve read many apologetics for biblical slavery that cite the Bible’s approach to fellow Israelites but ignore that it elsewhere imposes slavery for life on foreigners.”

    Well, consider this: In the King James Bible, it says, “Thou shalt not kill.” Yet the Hebrews did–thousands of times, in war. Who were they killing? Mostly, non-Hebrews. The *actual* quote, in the original language, is, “Thou shalt not *do murder*.” Maybe the Hebrews, somewhat like our Plains Indians, saw “murder” as killing within one’s (in their case ethnic) group, and “killing” as anyone outside it. Maybe slavery was the same way. Human beings, after all, tend to think of *their particular type* of humanity as being more deserving of consideration than others. (I don’t say that’s right; I say it’s the way they think. It’s our Lizard Brain, the amygdala, which says, “If this creature is not like me, it cannot be human.”)

    • Kodie

      They do call it “dehumanizing.” Even biblical apologists will dehumanize some population and say “but they were wicked, every last one of them!” How is that even possible? Killing people to exterminate their alleged wickedness, this is hearsay. Everyone believes the guy who points to that group, like black people, and says they are lower than white people, they live savagely, might as well put them to good use – which is slavery. Slavery, which still exists, by the way. Poor working people are not considered “slaves” but they are given ultimatums. Work your ass off and don’t complain about the wages, hours, benefits, or conditions, or we will get someone even poorer than you to work more of their ass off for even less. Anyway, what is slavery – it is employing the work of a labor animal, owning that animal like you would purchase a machine, to do whatever you ask and not for them to ask for anything. They may need to be beaten a little to get them to work, they may need to be prodded and pushed and shouted at and not treated with any dignity. As a slave-owner of any kind of labor animal, you wouldn’t think you need to treat that animal with any dignity. That animal may be an actual horse, or ox, and treating humans as a labor animal dehumanizes them to the level of a horse or an ox. And still we justify poor treatment of horses and oxen. I don’t know that many labor animals. Elephants are used, camels are used.

      I just know I watched something on tv once, and students at a school that had only white people were asking questions like will black people evolve into white people one day. Like, we’re taught there’s an “us” and humans at the highest level, such that someone could even ask as though black people weren’t also humans.

      I wanted to say something else about brains and using them – part of the argument for theism often includes reverence for the brain as an indicator of a higher power, the ignorance of the intelligence of other creatures, the ignorance for each creatures unique qualities and why we are all different species with different evolved abilities. Nope. Just the intellectual capacity of the human, the art and poetry, etc., and then just use it for following dogmatic instructions and conforming to narrow expectations and suppressing curiosity. So amazing our animal abilities are that it’s sinful to use them; keep them on a shelf and wait for Jesus to call you home.

    • The Bible doesn’t say to use one’s brain fully. Seems like the obvious conclusion, though.

      “Thou shall not commit murder” is a tautology. Not very helpful.

      I agree that slavery of “others” would seem less evil than slavery of “us.”

      • chrijeff

        No, I wouldn’t call it a tautology. “Killing” can mean swatting a fly! Is that murder? Of course not.

        I like the Old West definition: “If someone is armed, and has been given sufficient warning and a chance to unlimber his weapon, it’s not ‘murder;’ it’s ‘a killing.’ If the wounds are in front, we assume he’s been justifiably killed.” (Of course, this also assumes that the person doing the killing wasn’t simultaneously involved in the commission of a felony, in which case, legally, any killings he commits are legally “felony-murder.”)

        • No, I wouldn’t call it a tautology. “Killing” can mean swatting a fly! Is that murder? Of course not.

          You said that the commandment was “do not murder,” which is a tautology. “You shouldn’t do any killing that you shouldn’t do (is forbidden)” is a tautology.

        • chrijeff

          Sorry, you’ve confused me again. If there is (as there must be) a distinction between “[all] killing” and “murder,” then forbidding the latter can’t be a tautology; it’s simply a way of saying, “You may kill under certain circumstances, but not under others.” In law, for example, we have the concept of “justifiable homicide.” *Any* killing of a human being, accidental or on purpose, is defined as “homicide,” but some homicides aren’t actionable; once you show that they happened under certain conditions, the law says, “OK, there’s the door, goodbye.”

        • Greg G.

          “You shouldn’t do any killing that you shouldn’t do (is forbidden)” doesn’t specify which killings you shouldn’t do. Is killing in self-defense on you should or shouldn’t do?

        • chrijeff

          It’s a “should”–or it should be. Self-preservation is, after all, the First Law. If God created us, and if this law is his doing, then killing to defend our own lives must be OK with him. (See my Old West definition above.)

          Murder, OTOH, I define as the unprovoked killing of an unarmed, unwarned, and/or nonbelligerent sapient.

        • Greg G.

          But that doesn’t come out of “You shouldn’t do any killing that you shouldn’t do”. Is killing a terminal patient who will be in great pain until death a “should” or a “should not”? What is the pain threshhold cutoff?

          “Don’t do an unprovoked killing of an unarmed, unwarned, and/or nonbelligerent sapient” would remove mpst of the tautology.

          It may be merciful to put a terminal patient out of misery one day but not the next if a cure is found.

        • If murder = “killing you shouldn’t do” then “You shouldn’t murder” = “You shouldn’t kill that which you shouldn’t kill.”

          Wouldn’t you call that a tautology?

          Your fretting about justified homicide, etc. is fine but off topic.

  • tgbx

    The amusing thing about the “Bet on god” argument is that the only reason they’re betting on that particular god is due to the location of their birth, not divine providence. The only reason they’re betting on the Christian god is because they were born in North America, the UK or similar. So, everybody’s only betting on the home team. Then keep in mind that there are 1.37b Chinese people and 1.31b people in India, the majority of them betting against Christianity.

  • Robert Wayne Vernon Jr.

    What you call genocide is called a “ban of destruction” or to be “devoted” an “anathema”. חֶרֶם חֵרֶם It was not limited to men, women, children and infants. it was a curse that was put on people or Canaanite cities. See this curse according to the scriptures was on people, idols, objects, animals, and the city or town itself. So everything under the “ban of destruction” (well other than what went into the treasury of Adonai) was to be destroyed and then burned. See if you read about Achan you will find he took objects that were under the “ban of destruction” Then somehow this ban came on him even on Israel, so because Achan sinned transgressed the covenant then Israel had Achon and his whole family, and animals stoned and all his possessions and their bodies were burned…See Achan was under the ban of destruction along with his family possessions and even animals… See a ban of destruction is collective punishment anyone who fell under it, was to be destroyed, but not just people but their objects, and their animals even their whole city…

    Exodus 22:19 vs 20 in other Bibles
    Numbers 21:1-3
    Deuteronomy 13:16-18
    Joshua 6:17-18
    Joshua 7:10-26
    Joshua 7:15
    1 Samuel 15:3

    Yeshua the Messiah and his atonement

    Then it is evident it is no longer about war or destroying idol worshipers, or setting up the nation of Israel through conquest of Canaan… It is about being repenting and saved… I list verse below because they show how idol worshipers are not considered to be under a ban of destruction anymore. but unrepentant idol worshipers are stated not inherit the Kingdom of God.

    Acts 14:15-17
    Act 17:22-32
    1 Corinthians 8:1-13
    1 Thessalonians 1:9-10

    • epeeist

      See a ban of destruction is collective punishment anyone who fell under
      it, was to be destroyed, but not just people but their objects, and
      their animals even their whole city…

      There is a simple word for the destruction of a whole people, it is “genocide”.

      • MR

        Not much chance for repenting and being saved. Boom! [Death and Destruction], people. Take that!

        [Sorry, had wrong genocide there. ;p Point remains.]

    • Robert Wayne Vernon Jr.

      Well most are saying it was all hyperbole, and i was probably wrong. I don’t think it was hyperbole.

      • Greg G.

        Archaeology in Egypt shows that the Israelites were never enslaved there in large numbers. Archaeology in the Sinai Desert shows that no large group of people lived the for 40 years. Archaeology in Israel shows that there was never a conquest at that time. It shows that there were many sites with indistinguishable culture except that some had pig bones and some did not. That shows the Israelites came from the Canaanites.

        Most of the Old Testament is fiction. Genesis is fiction, Exodus is fiction. Joshua is fiction. The stories about Elijah and Elisha are fiction. They seemed to invent it while in captivity in Babylon using their writings.

        PS: Hyperbole suggests exaggeration. Nothing was exaggerated. It is fiction.

        • Robert Wayne Vernon Jr.

          I don’t trust their archaeology what do the ones at Hebrew University say?

        • Michael Neville

          So we should only trust you on what you say the archeologists at Hebrew University say and disregard Finkelstein because he’s a mere professor at Tel Aviv University?

        • Robert Wayne Vernon Jr.

          I go to a site that has Biblical archaeology and they disagree really.

        • Pofarmer

          Because they’re doing theology, not archaelogy. Israel Finklestein is an Israeli archaeologist. He says the Exodus story is bunk.

        • Michael Neville

          So where are the Egyptian records on the ten plagues and an entire army drowning in the Red or Reed Sea? From the lack of attention the 15th and/or 13th Century BCE Egyptians gave to Hebrews in Egypt it’s like they were never there.

          Egyptologists and many Biblical scholars think the Exodus was a propaganda piece, basically a small country saying that their god was a bigger badass than the gods of the local superpower.

        • Robert Wayne Vernon Jr.

          No you are wrong, and you have some kind of bias, there may not be evidence for it in Archaeology. This does not make them fiction or rule them out like you want to do.

          “So, is the Biblical Exodus fact or fiction? Scholars and people of many faiths line up on either side of the equation, and some say both. Archaeological discoveries have verified that parts of the Biblical Exodus are historically accurate, but archaeology can’t tell us everything. Although archaeology can illuminate aspects of the past and bring parts of history to life, it has its limits.” http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-topics/exodus/exodus-fact-or-fiction/

        • Greg G.

          It is not my bias. The Israeli archaeologists are motivated to find evidence to support the Old Testament so they would have a bias to find it, but they are also honest. They have searched very thoroughly. If there were millions of people and livestock wandering the Sinai for forty years, it should be easy to find evidence of it. Absence of evidence where there should be evidence is evidence of absence.

          “Bible archaeology” is an antiquated term. When they first started doing archaeology in the region, they called it that, expecting to find evidence of Bible claims. But they found evidence that contradicted Bible claims just as often as anything to support them. That is why archaeologists dropped “Bible archaeology” decades ago. Now the term is a sign of bias.

          Did you even read the article you linked to besides the quote? They found some ruins that date to a time that doesn’t match up with the Exodus story and say that it could refer to something built by Hebrew slaves but it tells nothing about evidence the structures were built by slaves, let alone Hebrew slaves. That’s how desperate Bible archaeology is these days.

        • Robert Wayne Vernon Jr.

          Well see you have a bias, and are wrong an see this qoute “So, is the Biblical Exodus fact or fiction? Scholars and people of many faiths line up on either side of the equation, and some say both. Archaeological discoveries have verified that parts of the Biblical Exodus are historically accurate, but archaeology can’t tell us everything. Although archaeology can illuminate aspects of the past and bring parts of history to life, it has its limits.” http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-topics/exodus/exodus-fact-or-fiction/

        • Robert Wayne Vernon Jr.

          No you are wrong it is not fiction, and just because the archaeological data hasn’t been found yet doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. In your opinion they are fiction, and it is just an opinion This what you said is not evidence in itself that these things never happened. There will always be people who disagree with you, or have varying views or beliefs even . So according to you it is fiction, these books in the Bible, but it is not an objective answer.

        • Pofarmer

          What precludes it from being fiction?

        • Greg G.

          No you are wrong it is not fiction, and just because the archaeological data hasn’t been found yet doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

          If the Exodus story was true, it would be easy to find evidence of it in the desert.

          Even in the 1970s, people were beginning to realize that the stories were borrowed from the literature of the surrounding civilizations. The archaeology ended up corroborating that. The objective facts do not support the Bible’s fairy tales.

  • Chris Nandor

    “The error is in imagining just two choices, Christianity and atheism.”

    That *can* be an error, but it’s not necessarily one, if Pascal’s wager is offered to someone who is making the choice between those two options.

    “It also assumes that the deity will accept an ass-covering “bet on God” instead of authentic belief driven by conviction.”

    Yes, many Christians recognize that and dislike it for that reason. I think, however, most people use the wager as a part of a path, and not an end state.

    To me, a bigger problem with it is that it doesn’t properly weigh the options. Yes, if the Christian God exists and I disbelieve, the cost is infinitely massive. But if I think there is essentially zero chance of that being true, and I further think the relatively minimal cost of belief is — while *relatively* minimal — significant, then I *shouldn’t* believe.

    Folks have used this to argue for an acceptance of — if not a belief in — global warming orthodoxy. But it similarly doesn’t weigh the options well; they demand I accept the cost of nonacceptance is massive, while the cost of acceptance is small. But the economic cost to many people, of acceptance of orthodoxy, *is* massive. Astronomic increases in environmental mitigation and regulation compliance kills livelihoods. This is fine if you believe not doing this will result in catastrophe, but if you believe catastrophe is extremely unlikely, then it is not only unwise, it’s downright immoral.

    • That *can* be an error, but it’s not necessarily one, if Pascal’s wager is offered to someone who is making the choice between those two options.

      When Pascal’s wager is offered with the caveat, “OK, now this is only helpful if we assume beforehand that other religions don’t exist” then your point makes sense. I’ve never seen that caveat, except by skeptics.

      Yes, if the Christian God exists and I disbelieve, the cost is infinitely massive.

      Maybe. What if the Christian line is incorrect, and God actually loves people who use their brain to its fullest and don’t accept bullshit? Then God exists and yet the disbeliever isn’t punished.

      Folks have used this to argue for an acceptance of — if not a belief in — global warming orthodoxy.

      An interesting analogy.

      But it similarly doesn’t weigh the options well; they demand I accept the cost of nonacceptance is massive, while the cost of acceptance is small.

      I doubt even those who see climate change accurately would say that. They’d say that the cost of correction is large, while the cost of environmental catastrophe is very large.

      • Chris Nandor

        “When Pascal’s wager is offered with the caveat, “OK, now this is only helpful if we assume beforehand that other religions don’t exist” then your point makes sense.”

        No. My point in no way requires that. It requires, rather, someone who is personally choosing between Christianity, or atheism.

        “What if the Christian line is incorrect, and God actually loves people who use their brain to its fullest and don’t accept bullshit?”

        In fact, that would not, in any remote way, make the Christian line incorrect.

        “I doubt even those who see climate change accurately would say that.”

        Where “accurately” means … they have seen the future? Because that’s the point here, we *do not know* what will happen. For all we know, stopping global warming would being another Ice Age, and global warming will give us more and better crops. We have guesses, but the experts disagree significantly on the scope and timelines of these guesses.