The Sin of Sodom was Homosexuality … Or Was It?

The Sin of Sodom was Homosexuality … Or Was It? June 19, 2015

While on a business trip to Japan in the ’90s, I came across an interesting brand of bath salts. In bold letters across the top of the bag was the word “Sodom.” Salt, Sodom—yes, I see the connection, but that’s not the happiest image to attach to your brand.

So what ought we think of when we think of Sodom?

On a Stand to Reason podcast (“The Bible and Homosexuality,” 9/2/12), Greg Koukl unsurprisingly thinks that the point of the Sodom and Gomorrah story recounted in Genesis 19 is that homosexuality is bad—bad enough, in fact, to get your city destroyed.

He kicks around an alternative possibility, that poor hospitality was really the sin of Sodom. Remember that Lot offered hospitality to the two visiting angels, but the men of Sodom threatened their safety. Koukl rejects this option. And if the sin isn’t lack of hospitality, what could it be but homosexuality? Apparently, he can only imagine two possibilities.

He concludes that “the scripture speaks clearly on this … don’t twist what it says.” I agree, both that the issue wasn’t hospitality and that we mustn’t twist the scripture to make it say what it doesn’t.

Koukl looks to other parts of the Bible for their interpretation. One cross-reference is in the book of Ezekiel. In chapter 16, the faithlessness of the Jews is portrayed with Jerusalem being analogous to an adulterous wife. Other cities are likened to wicked sisters, and one of these is Sodom.

What are wicked Sodom’s crimes?

Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen (Ezekiel 16:49–50).

If homosexuality were Sodom’s crime, wouldn’t this be the only thing on the list? Instead, we have arrogance, lack of concern for the needy, and unspecified “detestable things.” This gives no tangible support for the Homosexuality Hypothesis.

In fact, it’s pretty clear from the Genesis story itself that homosexuality wasn’t the issue.

1. Lot makes this clear. Lot was a resident, and he understood the townspeople. If the men were all gay, he’d know it, and he wouldn’t bother offering them his daughters as a substitute, which he does in Gen. 19:8.

As an aside: it doesn’t say much for the morality of the city’s most godly man that he offers his daughters as if they were just sex toys. And if this is unthinkable today, why would it be an option thousands of years ago? So much for the idea that morality is objective and unchanging.

Lot also had sex with his daughters (which, despite long lists of forbidden familial couplings in the Bible, is incredibly not forbidden). But somehow, Lot is still the hero of the story.

2. An all-gay city wouldn’t be sustainable. “All the men from every part of the city of Sodom—both young and old—surrounded the house” (Gen. 19:4). So “all the men” were gay? How could there be children if all the men were gay? Such a city would simply die out. And why wouldn’t that be an option for God? Just give Sodom a few decades and let the population fade away.

And does it even say “all the men”? That word is often translated as “men,” but it can also mean “people.” This casts more doubt on the idea of a horny gay mob at Lot’s door.

3. Seriously? A city with all men gay? Homosexuality wasn’t studied when it was taboo, but we now know that only a few percent of society is homosexual. Anyway, why would godly Lot stick around if the city was so detestable? Perhaps for literary purposes?

4. Can we assume that there were no women? There is no evidence that this is an all-male city. “All the men” makes clear that this is not everyone, and so some must’ve been left behind. The straightforward interpretation is that all the men came to Lot’s house, that the women stayed at home, and that the women were mothers, wives, and daughters as in any ordinary city.

5. We have a better explanation. Gang rape is less about pleasure than about humiliating or establishing dominance. That the local men wanted to bully or dominate the visitors seems a better explanation than that they were just eager for sexual pleasure.

As we study the story, however, let’s not dismiss the violence. No one can question that there was significant evil in Sodom (even if it’s just legend) when visitors are threatened with gang rape. But what was the sin of Sodom? This is a story of attempted rape. Yes, it was homosexual rape, but the homosexuality isn’t highlighted as the crime.

Koukl is right that we shouldn’t twist the story, but he seems to be the one with the agenda. Only with a desire to find anti-gay messages in the Bible can we imagine one in the Sodom and Gomorrah story.

What’s also clear is that this has nothing to do with the loving, monogamous, homosexual relationship that is the subject of today’s discussion of same-sex marriage.

Every time you see a rainbow,
God is having gay sex
(seen on a bumper sticker)

(This is an update of a post that originally appeared 11/5/12.)

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  • Sophia Sadek

    I adore those funky Japanese brand names. One of my favorite is Pocari Sweat. There was nothing like drinking a can of cold Sweat first thing in the morning.

    The bible is full of stuff that fundamentalists claim to be there, but isn’t. I will never forget the first time I read the story of the Fall and found that there is no apple mentioned in the story. The Church put all sorts of stuff in the bible when few could actually read it. Fundamentalists have yet to wake up and smell the deception.

    • Tina L. Waters

      like with all things This is why you go back to the original writings,

      • MNb

        They aren’t available because they have been destroyed.

      • Greg G.

        I agree but we don’t have the original writings. We have various copies that show lineages so we can kind of work out what one version of it might have been but we have to assume it is close to the original. Those various lineages show that there was more changes made to the texts before canonization than after, so we must allow that there were changes to the texts prior to the best that can be worked out.

        In that spirit, here are some known interpolations:

        Bart Ehrman’s Top Ten Verses That Were Not in the Original New Testament
        1 John 5:7 (NRSV)
        7 There are three that testify:
        John 8:7 (NRSV)
        7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”
        John 8:11 (NRSV)
        11 She said, “No one, sir.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again.”
        Luke 22:44 (NRSV)
        44 In his anguish he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down on the ground.
        Luke 22:20 (NRSV)
        20 And he did the same with the cup after supper, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.
        Mark 16:17 (NRSV)
        17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: by using my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues;
        Mark 16:18 (NRSV)
        18 they will pick up snakes in their hands, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
        John 5:4 (NRSV)
        4 for an angel of the Lord went down at certain seasons into the pool, and stirred up the water; whoever stepped in first after the stirring of the water was made well from whatever disease that person had.
        Luke 24:12 (NRSV)
        12 But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; then he went home, amazed at what had happened.
        Luke 24:51 (NRSV)
        51 While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven.

              From Misquoting Jesus

        I think that what we have is enough to trace the sources Mark used. He borrowed many miracles from Moses, Elijah, and Elisha. The adventures sailing around the “Sea” of Galilee were borrowed from the Odyssey. Mark created characters by reworking another character from a piece of literature of the day and dressing them up in terms of an Old Testament verse or two. The Mocking of Jesus is taken from the story of Carabbas in Philo’s Flaccus. None of it seems to be from an actual memory of a first century Jesus.

        Yet the other three gospels copy from Mark.

        The Epistles don’t support the idea of a teaching, preaching Jesus at all. There are hundreds of mentions of Jesus in the Epistles that are just adulation but the few dozen other references are in terms of the Old Testament scripture. There seems to be no independent memory of Jesus there either.

        It’s consistent with Jesus being a Euhemerized myth.

      • Sophia Sadek

        That is why I lean on literature outside the biblical tradition. Pagan texts are full of insight into how the symbols of sacred literature have been formulated. The flood story is common in a variety of cultures. The differences between them tells us quite a bit. The Assyrians had a metaphorical interpretation of the story which is apparent in their official account of the campaigns of Nebuchadnezzar.

  • If the men were gay, why would they want the daughters? It’s an interpretation that makes no sense. Of course as no such places are known to have ever existed, it’s even more absurd for people to take the story so seriously.

    • Tina L. Waters

      I don’t think they were hay nor monogamous, it was man or beast “stand still long enough” and it’s still prevalent today.

    • Tina L. Waters

      I don’t think they were merely homosexual (gay) nor monogamous, As These Terms Are Used Today. It was a mindset of those ; in those cities not unlike those in cities across the world today. “it was stand still long enough.” It didn’t even have to be human . In a study of the times of the the city’s Sodom & Gomorrah it was anything goes; whatever floats your boat. Attitudes.

      • There’s a difference between “whatever floats your boat” and rape, which is what is talked about in the passage. What part of “consenting adults” do you not understand?

        • Tina L. Waters

          I was not taking about the passage you refereed to; did not read it: i was answering your question: you asked the question: If the men were gay why would they want the daughters? I was explaining they didn’t want the daughters then wanted the men , Lot found it so offensive that he offered his daughters as a substitute because they seen it as such a violation aganist the order that God had set up. and I am quite aware the differences between what ever floats your boat and rape? but the men of the city of that city were not because there was also into bestiality and heterosexual’s who had multiple partners without marriage (whom ever whenever) rationalization and justification of such actions will not make any sexual sin right in the sight of God. I sometimes forget that the people on here simply look for something to reinforce what they already believe not understanding or truth because after all if I say they are wrong then that must mean I am right. It does not. Any way since your reply is in the context it is in. I will take the leap that you don’t believe in the bible or God therefore , none of this explanation will matter but here’s a hint. if your going to gain perspective about a subject , don;t go to your best friend as he is quite likely to agree with your explanation of the subject or you would not be in the same circle of friends.

        • No, none of that matters because as you rightly observe I am an atheist. Sexual morality is about consent and health, not about whether or not some imaginary being cares what body part I put where. But let’s think about this story that you do believe in. Lot was so repulsed by the depravity in the city that he turned his own daughters over to them? What kind of father does that? And what kind of god allows that to happen? Thanks for reminding my why I don’t believe any of this. I read the Bible, the whole thing mind you, for years and the more I read it the more appalled I was by what is in there. Not to mention how much of it is just not true (science, archaeology, common sense). So it’s funny that you, who admittedly did not even read the passage, think you have some insight to share.

        • Tina L. Waters

          an atheist (makes no sense) for he wishes to prove God doesn’t exist ; (*first you would have to prove God did exist to prove he doesn’t) (* for one cannot prove something exist till he can prove it does based only on seeing with the naked eye) ex: germs, even antimatter the most volatile of substances and so on) so you would defeat your own self. Germs and anti-matter and other things you can not see are very real but and you not being able to see them matters not, it is hardly proof for all you geniuses that are atheists. (you tend to out reason and out smart your own selves) I read the article now it makes about as much sense as you do. because that’s where you got your justification to live as you please.* as far as your question “what kind of father does that” one that is tied in religious law.”and what kind of God lets that happen.”Man has his own will as you so eloquently pointed out (consenting adult and all with their own wills) you expect God to force and yet if he did you would say well no on his love is not for real ; for they are made to love him ; obey him). (love is not love without choice.) I was merely trying to answer your question; as I am now. it amazes me how many irresponsible humans will blame God for not preventing them from doing horrible acts that a man commits daily , yet if he struck him dead. your comments would be no less an ignorant argument for he was a “bloody God” how about man take responsibility for his own evil acts, for indeed HE is the one that chooses them.

        • That’s a lot of words to defend a story that quite obviously never happened. I don’t claim to be able to prove that something doesn’t exist. I simply don’t believe in things that cannot be proven, and that would include deities and other supernatural beings.

        • Tina L. Waters

          no the truth is you do not believe that which you cannot see. (it has been proven even by atheists who don’t believe a God at all (that soul and Spirit realm exists) ( but you are definitely religious by nature and nothing will move you not even truth and they have proven this over and over but as i already said : it would require you change and that is not something your willing to look at ; and sure not going to do.

        • LOL No, I don’t believe that only visible things are real, but there is no evidence for a soul. In fact the evidence is quite the opposite. (People with brain tumors having massive personality changes, etc.) And the Spirit realm? Again. No evidence. I am not religious. I used to be. I used to believe in this crap, but I don’t any more. Not willing to look at? I spent a lifetime looking at it, and again, no evidence. If you want to change my mind provide me with evidence. I have been willing on many occasions to set aside what I thought because I was prevented with evidence and sound reasoning.

        • Tina L. Waters

          Not true lost a sister to brain tumor. I have had many things happen in my lifetime like many others and I experience things all the time. I think many others do as well but will reason it away or tell their selves it was just coincidence or randomness. The mind is like that like (surreal moments) cant get our heads around it. So the intellectual mind must come up with a explanation or ignore it completely.

        • How about you–are you willing to look at evidence for other religions? Tell us about how you’ve thoroughly checked them all out.

          Or is it only our obligation to check out religions?

        • Tina L. Waters

          I have search out many and none of them have given results as the personal relationship I have with God and his Son Jesus.

        • I’m sure the Muslim would tell me the same thing. Maybe I should become a Muslim.

        • Tina L. Waters

          No he wouldn’t they would tell you they don’t they pray 5 times a day as well as other things (good work’s) they earn their way and are never really sure whether they have done enough to get to heaven and it is why many will pay the ultimate sacrifice to try to secure it, but there are ” Christians” or call them self such and do such things. That is religion.

        • Yes, there are Christians who doubt their salvation every day.

          And people brag about how Christianity removes their anxiety! They should talk to these Christians who have a new anxiety to end all anxieties.

        • Tina L. Waters

          why would you talk to someone who had tried God his way and it failed. (to seek victory would a man who does not know how to follow Christ except by his own good deeds and his carnal way of thinking )go to man who has only what he has , he will seek out someone who had more that they may have more than what they do. life with meaning.; with purpose

        • Gibberish

        • MNb

          Why would I talk to you when I have tried your god and it failed?
          For instance I don’t need your god to give my life meaning and purpose.

        • Tina L. Waters

          no it can be filled with other things absolutely but when those things are not there does that not remove also the purpose and it was not God who failed , he did not respond in the way you wanted and you decided it was not worth it. You giving up is not God’s failure.

        • MNb

          It is …. because the only thing that came from him is perfect silence.

        • Tina L. Waters

          God is not silent. You just quit listening.

        • Kodie

          Why don’t you shut up and let god talk then?

        • Tina L. Waters

          K. I will. I only spoke because a question was sent. Can’t say it was you that sent the question though.

        • Kodie

          Why can I only hear Christians talking and not their god. Why is he so shy, and why do you think it’s your job to do his job for him?

        • Tina L. Waters

          So did you want me to answer that? Or was you venting and the question was in fact rhetorical? You did just tell me to be silent and let God talk .

        • Kodie

          I wonder if you thought I told you to shut up, why you said anything at all, rather than straight answer my questions to you. It’s all about the same thing, but apparently too subtle for you. Here I am, an actual person speaking actual words in an actual language, and you can’t hear.

        • MNb

          How do you know? Can you look in my head? Do you have direct telephone line with your god and has he told you personally that I don’t want to listen?
          Please tell me – I’m very curious.

        • Tina L. Waters

          Because it is the only reason one does not hear from him daily. All day long. ” He said; you have eyes but you see not; you have ears but you hear not.”

        • MNb

          “Because it is the only reason one does not hear from him daily. All day long.”
          How do you know? Can you look in my head?

          “He said; you have eyes but you see not; you have ears but you hear not.”
          Has he said so via the direct telephone line you have with your god? Has he personally told you that I have eyes but don’t see – that I have ears but don’t hear?
          Please tell me – I’m very curious.

        • adam

          “God is not silent. You just quit listening. ”

          No we are listening

        • adam

          “You giving up is not God’s failure.”

          Then why call it a ‘god’?

          It seems pretty weak and useless.

        • MR

          May I ask what meaning and purpose you have?

        • Tina L. Waters

          to live as Christ did , to do what he said, to show the Love and compassion on all mankind. to spread the Good News of the gospel of Christ. and to obey His words and the Word of the Father (GOD)

        • MR

          Well, those are kind of vague, can you provide more concrete examples? What are you emulating about how Christ lived and said? What is the difference between doing what he said and obeying his words? If I simply say I want to live like my (fill in favorite role model), that wouldn’t tell you much about my meaning and purpose, right?

        • Tina L. Waters

          To do good where one can. too love those who set themselves as enemies because of their life perspectives, love all people, condemn not the people , share the good news of the gospel. Be a witness. There are many things that he said and not enough time or area to write it.

        • MR

          And yet, doing good and loving people are things that give everyone meaning and purpose, aren’t they? They aren’t solely for Christians. You failed to mention many other things that no doubt give you meaning and purpose that have nothing to do with your religion. Don’t family and friends provide meaning to your life, just like me? Are you adverse to beauty and wonder? Do you not set goals, have hopes and dreams? No God is required for those things.

          You say show love and compassion to all mankind, but that is meaningless isn’t it? It is impossible to do that. The best we can do is to show love to those around us. (And I wonder if you really show love to everyone you meet. One can only do so much.)

          Sharing God’s word is only meaningful and purposeful if you are correct about God, but have failed to provide evidence that he exists. You also failed to answer my question about what kind of proof you would require as evidence of someone else’s God. It seems a little disingenuous to insist that we accept your version of God if you can’t even demonstrate his existence.

          If God doesn’t exist, then those other things that give you meaning and purpose are empty, like, sharing the good news, being a witness (again, what is the difference? it just seems like you’re padding your resume here)…. Living as Christ lived is really just about being a good person, isn’t it? Anyone can be a good person, and most people are—without Christ. Do you really obey everything that Christ and God have said? Do you stone unruly children, kill homosexuals, perform miracles? If not, then your words are meaningless.

          I used to be a believer and say the things you say and I now understand that those things I believed are false, not because I didn’t want to believe in God—I am quite happy to believe in God if he existed—but because I realized that my belief was unfounded. I find it rather insulting when Christians tell me things like, “an atheist wishes to prove God doesn’t exist” or that we “just quit listening.” It’s simply not true. And it’s insulting for you to insinuate that we have “set ourselves as enemies.” You are wrong all of those things, and you prove yourself to be blind if you believe those things.

        • Tina L. Waters

          To obey Jesus words and that of the father written word of God.

        • Greg G.

          You probably think your life would fall to pieces if you stopped your “personal relationship with God and his Son”, but the Muslim thinks his life would fall apart if he stopped praying 5 times a day. It’s like the superstitious person who worries for seven years about breaking a mirror.

          If you stop, nothing happens because of it.

          I have a lucky quarter that brings me luck. I have a personal relationship with the quarter. I talk to it and good things happen to me. Sometimes bad things happen that could have been worse. I thank my quarter either way. Would it be more believable if I said the quarter is invisible, too?

        • Tina L. Waters

          we draw into our lives by faith(belief) and emotions(fear- negative faith) and God’s law of his kingdom work.(not ten commandments) just like there are natural laws there are spiritual kingdom laws. (it rains *comes down on) just and the unjust. ( one does not have to be saved to walk in them) though it is taught. God honors faith where faith is found. so if you put faith (in whatever) he honors that faith* not the quarter , the faith. and I have never really known him to not be there but I offically invited to be savior and Lord over all my life July 14, 1979. and I would not ever entertain the idea of not having him there, regardless if I were the only one then so be it I would be the only one , cause he made me a believer.

        • Ron

          Personal relationship? In that case, could you kindly ask Jesus to provide you with the following information:

          – his exact date of birth
          – his exact date of death
          – how many siblings he had
          – the name of the disciple he loved

          …and report back to us?

        • Tina L. Waters

          if i thought for 1 second it would make a difference. I would do exactly that but all those things can be researched and I will not give you what your too lazy to search out for your self.

        • Greg G.

          Luke says Jesus was born while shepherds watched their flocks by night. That means it was not in December or any winter month. John and the Synoptics disagree on whether Jesus died on Passover or the day before. The one Jesus loved is a mystery. Some scholars have suggested Mary Magdalene. Those things cannot be researched. If you had a personal relationship, you could get the information easily. If you have an imaginary friend, you’ll have your natural limitations. The hard part would be making it look like you didn’t just make it up.

        • Tina L. Waters

          well glad to see your reading. nobody claimed that was when the birth was, that is just when it is celebrated ( although you don’t believe what you read, you read what you believe ( as you do live your life.) but here is what I know . the December date was chosen to be inclusive to the pagan community so Christmas and winter solstice (so basically split the baby to appease both groups.

          Clue #1: The High Priesthood of Caiaphas
          The gospels indicate that Jesus was crucified at the instigation of the first century high priest named Caiaphas (Matthew 26:3-4, John 11:49-53).
          We know from other sources that he served as high priest from A.D. 18 to 36, so that puts Jesus’ death in that time frame.
          But we can get more specific. Much more.
          Clue #2: The Governorship of Pontius Pilate
          All four gospels agree that Jesus was crucified on the orders of Pontius Pilate (Matthew 27:24-26, Mark 15:15, Luke 23:24, John 19:15-16).
          We know from other sources when he served as governor of Judea–A.D. 26
          to A.D. 36–so we can narrow down the range by several years.
          But how are we going to get it down to a specific day and year?
          Clue #3: After “the Fifteenth Year of Tiberius Caesar”
          The Gospel of Luke tells us when the ministry of John the Baptist began:
          In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar . . . the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness [Luke 3:1-2].
          This picks out a specific year: A.D. 29.
          Since all four gospels depict the ministry of Christ beginning after that of John the Baptist had begun (Matthew 3, Mark 1, Luke 3, John 1), this means that we can shave a few more years off our range.
          The death of Christ had to be in a range of seven years: between A.D. 29 and 36.
          Clue #4: Crucified on a Friday
          All four gospels agree that Jesus was crucified on a Friday (Matt. 27:62, Mark 15:42; Luke23:54; John 19:42), just before a Sabbath, which was just before the first day of the week (Matthew 28:1, Mark 16:2, Luke 24:1, John 20:1).
          We know that it was a Friday because it is referred to as “the day of
          preparation”–that is, the day on which Jews made the preparations they
          needed for the Sabbath, since they could not do any work on that day.
          Thus thus cooked food in advance and made other necessary preparations.
          The Jewish Encyclopedia states:
          Friday, as the forerunner of Shabbat, is called “‘Ereb Shabbat” (The
          Eve of Sabbath). The term “‘ereb” admits of two meanings: “evening” and
          “admixture” (Ex. xii. 38); and “‘Ereb Shabbat” accordingly denotes the
          day on the evening of which Sabbath begins, or the day on which food is
          prepared for both the current and the following days, which latter is
          Sabbath.
          The idea of preparation is expressed by the Greek name paraskeué,
          given by Josephus (“Ant.” xvi. 6, § 2) to that day (compare Mark xv.
          42; Luke xxiii. 54; Matt. xxvii. 62; John xix. 42). In Yer. Pesaḥim iv. 1
          the day is called “Yoma da-‘Arubta” (Day of Preparation) [Jewish Encyclopedia, s.v., “Calendar”].
          That eliminates six of the days of the week, but there were still quite a few Fridays between A.D. 29 and 36.
          Can we figure out which one?
          Clue #5: A Friday at Passover
          The gospels also agree that Jesus was crucified in conjunction with the annual feast of Passover (Matthew 26:2, Mark 14:1, Luke 22:1, John 18:39).
          Here we encounter a momentary complication, because Matthew, Mark, and
          Luke describe the Last Supper on Holy Thursday as a Passover meal (Matthew 26:19, Mark 14:14, Luke 22:15). That would suggest that Good Friday was the day after Passover.
          However, when describing the morning of Good Friday, John indicates
          that the Jewish authorities had not yet eaten the Passover meal:
          Then they led Jesus from the house of
          Caiaphas to the Praetorium [i.e., Pilate’s palace]. It was early. They
          themselves did not enter the Praetorium, so that they might not be
          defiled, but might eat the passover. So Pilate went out to them [John 18:28-29a].
          That suggests that the Passover would have begun on sundown Friday.
          There are a number of ways of resolving this. For example, some have
          suggested that Jesus and his disciples used a different calendar than
          the Jewish authorities, and we know that there were different calendars
          in use in first century Judaism.
          It’s also possible that Jesus just advanced the date of the
          Passover celebration for him and his disciples. I mean, they were
          already convinced he was the Messiah and the Son of God. If he says,
          “We’re celebrating Passover today,” and it’s a day earlier than most
          people, they’d just go with that. (Note that he made other modifications
          to the ceremony, such as instituting the Eucharist in the midst of it.)
          And there are other solutions.
          However, regardless of what Jesus’ movement did, we can look to John’s
          statement about the Jesus’ captors as an indication of what the Jewish
          authorities or the mainstream Jewish practice was: They were celebrating
          a Passover beginning on what we would call Friday evening.
          That lets us narrow down the range of possible dates to just a few.
          Here is a complete list of the days between A.D. 29 and 36 on whose
          evenings Passover began:
          Monday, April 18, A.D. 29
          Friday, April 7, A.D. 30
          Tuesday, March 27, A.D. 31
          Monday, April 14, A.D. 32
          Friday, April 3, A.D. 33
          Wednesday, March 24, A.D. 34
          Tuesday, April 12, A.D. 35
          Saturday, March 31, A.D. 36
          As you can see, we have just two candidates left: Jesus was either crucified on April 7 of A.D. 30 or April 3 of A.D. 33.
          Which was it?
          The traditional date is that of A.D. 33. You will find quite a number of people today advocating the A.D. 30 date.
          Do the gospels let us decide between the two?
          Clue #6: John’s Three Passovers
          The Gospel of John records three different Passovers during the ministry of Jesus:
          Passover #1: This is recorded in John 2:13, near the beginning of Jesus’ ministry.
          Passover #2: This is recorded in John 6:4, in the middle of Jesus’ ministry.
          Passover #3: This is recorded in John 11:55 (and frequently mentioned afterwards), at the end of Jesus’ ministry.
          That means that the ministry of Jesus had to span something over two
          years. A fuller treatment would reveal that it spanned about three and a
          half years, but even if we assume it began immediately before Passover
          #1, the addition of two more Passovers shows that it lasted more than
          two years at a bare minimum.
          That means the A.D. 30 date is out.
          There is not enough time between the fifteenth year of Tiberius
          Caesar–A.D. 29–and the next year’s Passover to accomodate a ministry
          of at least two years.
          The numbers don’t add up.
          As a result, the traditional date of Jesus’ death–Friday, April 3, A.D. 33–must be regarded as the correct one.
          Can we be even more precise?
          Clue #7: “The Ninth Hour”
          Matthew, Mark, and Luke each record that Jesus died about “the ninth hour” (Matthew 27:45-50, Mark 15:34-37, Luke 23:44-46).
          “The ninth hour” is what we, today, would refer to as 3:00 p.m.
          This allows us to narrow down the time of Jesus’ death to a very specific point in history: around 3:00 p.m on Friday, April 3, A.D. 33.
          Of course, there are a lot of detailed arguments that I haven’t taken
          space to deal with here. But this is the thrust of things.
          family
          Joseph of Nazareth:
          Mary of Nazareth:
          Brothers: James and Joses (Joseph )and Judas(not Iscariot) and Simon
          sisters : Mary, (named after Jesus’s mother)Sarah (not Abraham’s wife) Elizabeth (named after Mary’s first cousin whom bore john the baptist.
          the one that Jesus loved:
          was the apostle John (for he was the youngest of the disciples and the only one that died a natural death. ) and the one that gave us Revelation.

          and if your inquiry is to learn fine but if it is to mock
          then keep your comments directed at someone else.

        • Greg G.

          That’s very interesting. I’ll point out that the different calendar fudge doesn’t work. The Passover is timed by the phase of the moon. The calendar doesn’t affect the moon. A different calendar would only make them use a different moon cycle for Passover so their celebration would be the same day or 29 days off.

          That’s what happened for the Tet Offensive during the war in Vietnam. Hanoi and Saigon were in different time zones and the (new moon or full moon, I don’t recall which is used ATM) happened near midnight but on different days. So the North attacked Saigon while the South was celebrating their major holiday.

        • Tina L. Waters

          no your right the calendar does not affect the moon but the moon does effect the calendar not ours the “of the time. ”

          Length
          A standard Jewish year has twelve months; six twenty-nine-day months, and six thirty-day months, for a total of 354 days. This is because our
          months follow the lunar orbit, which is approximately 29.5 days. Due to variations in the Jewish calendar

          ,1 however, the year could also be 353 or 355 days.

          2 Leap Years

          The Torah says, “Guard the month of the spring, and make [then] the Passover offering.

          “3 Meaning, we need to ensure that Passover is celebrated in the spring.

          In fact, all the biblical festivals — Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot — are dependant on the agriculteral seasons. Shavuot is “Chag HaBikurim” (the First Fruits Festival) and Sukkot is “Chag Ha’Asif” (the Harvest Festival). We need to make sure that all the festivals are celebrated in their proper seasons.

          Thus the Jewish lunar calendar must coordinate with the cycle of the sun and the seasons which are determined by the solar orbit. The problem is that a lunar year, twelve lunar months added together, only adds up
          to about 354. 4 days.

          4 A solar year, at almost 365.25 days,5
          is nearly eleven days longer. If no adjustment is made, Passover would
          occur eleven days earlier each year, eventually drifting into winter,
          then fall, summer, and then spring again.

          The solution is to periodically insert an extra (thirty-day) month into a year, creating a thirteen-month year. Such a year is called a shanah meuberet (“pregnant year”) in Hebrew; in English we call it a leap year, and it
          makes up all the lunar calendar’s lost days. It happens about once every three years.

          The month is added to Adar, the last of the twelve months. On leap years we observe two Adars — Adar I and Adar II.

          Thus, the Jewish calendar is both lunar and solar; the months are lunar months while the years are solar years. This is in contrast to the Gregorian calendar, in which the year is a solar year and the months
          are formed by dividing a year into twelve parts, and is also quite different from the pure lunar calendar observed by certain religions, in which each month is determined by the moon and a year is simply twelve
          lunar months strung together.

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          Jewish Practice » Jewish Calendar » About the Jewish Calendar

          The Jewish Year

          The Jewish Year

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          The Jewish Leap Year

          The Jewish year starts on Rosh Hashanah, “the Head of the Year,” the day when Adam
          and Eve were created. The number of any given year (at the time of the
          writing of this article, the year is 5767 (2007)), is the amount of
          years which have elapsed since creation.

          To find the corresponding Jewish year for any year on the Gregorian
          calendar, add 3760 to the Gregorian number, if it is before Rosh
          Hashanah. After Rosh Hashanah, add 3761.

          Length

          A standard Jewish year has twelve months; six twenty-nine-day months,
          and six thirty-day months, for a total of 354 days. This is because our
          months follow the lunar orbit, which is approximately 29.5 days. Due to
          variations in the Jewish calendar,1 however, the year could also be 353 or 355 days.2

          Leap Years

          The Torah says, “Guard the month of the spring, and make [then] the Passover offering.”3 Meaning, we need to ensure that Passover is celebrated in the spring.

          In fact, all the biblical festivals — Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot — are dependant on the agriculteral seasons. Shavuot is “Chag HaBikurim” (the First Fruits Festival) and Sukkot is “Chag Ha’Asif” (the Harvest Festival). We need to make sure that all the festivals are celebrated in their proper seasons.

          Thus the Jewish lunar calendar must coordinate with the cycle of the
          sun and the seasons which are determined by the solar orbit. The problem
          is that a lunar year, twelve lunar months added together, only adds up
          to about 354.4 days.4 A solar year, at almost 365.25 days,5
          is nearly eleven days longer. If no adjustment is made, Passover would
          occur eleven days earlier each year, eventually drifting into winter,
          then fall, summer, and then spring again.

          The solution is to periodically insert an extra (thirty-day) month
          into a year, creating a thirteen-month year. Such a year is called a shanah meuberet
          (“pregnant year”) in Hebrew; in English we call it a leap year, and it
          makes up all the lunar calendar’s lost days. It happens about once every
          three years.

          The month is added to Adar, the last of the twelve months. On leap years we observe two Adars — Adar I and Adar II.

          Thus, the Jewish calendar is both lunar and solar; the months are
          lunar months while the years are solar years. This is in contrast to the
          Gregorian calendar, in which the year is a solar year and the months
          are formed by dividing a year into twelve parts, and is also quite
          different from the pure lunar calendar observed by certain religions, in
          which each month is determined by the moon and a year is simply twelve
          lunar months strung together.

          Hillel’s Fix

          While the Sanhedrin (Rabbinical Supreme Court) presided in Jerusalem, there was no set calendar. They would evaluate every year to determine whether it should be declared a leap year.

          When Hillel II instituted the perpetual calendar in anticipation of the disbandment of the Sanhedrin (see Months), he also incorporated leap years into the calendar.

          Hillel’s calendar runs in nineteen-year cycles, each cycle containing
          seven leap years: the 3rd, 6th, 8th, 11th, 14th, 17th, and the 19th
          years.

          The length of the standard leap year is 384 days, though it could also be 383 or 385.

          There are exactly fourteen different patterns that the Hebrew
          calendar years may take, distinguished by the length of the year and the
          day of the week on which Rosh Hashanah falls. Because the rules are
          complex, a pattern can repeat itself several times in the course of a
          few years, and then not recur again for a long time. But the Jewish
          calendar is known to be extremely accurate. It does not “lose” or “gain”
          time as some other calendars do.

          Before the Fix

          Sanhedrin considered several factors in the course of their
          deliberations whether to declare a leap year on a given year. The
          primary factor, which overrode all others, was the spring equinox. If
          the spring equinox would fall later than the first half of Nissan
          (i.e., on the 16th or later), then the year was automatically declared a
          leap year. This is because, as mentioned earlier, the verse states:
          “Guard the month of spring, and make [then] the Passover offering.
          “6 However, it wasn’t enough for Passover to fall after the equinox, when it was “officially” spring; spring-like conditions needed to be evidenced. If in the land of Israel, the barley had not yet ripened,
          7 and the trees were not yet blossoming with seasonal fruit — that, too, was sufficient reason to delay Nissan by adding a second month of Adar.
          Spring had to be felt; it had to be bright and green.
          There were also several non-season-related factors which the Sanhedrin considered. For example, if the roads or bridges were in disrepair due to the winter rainy season, impeding the ability of the pilgrims to
          travel to Jerusalem for Passover.

          So granted their are quite a few factors as would be in life. and as far as the Vietnam and Israel connection they are on different time zones as you mentioned sounds like a mistake alright. think military would have figured that in and there is quite the relations between the countries dating back as far as 1946.

        • Greg G.

          That is interesting. A lunar calendar is usually tied to a solar event. The Asian lunar calendar is based on the winter solstice and the moon’s phases after that. The Jewish calendar and the Christian Easter calendar are based on the spring equinox and the moon’s phases similar to the Asian calendar, but one is on Jerusalem time and the other on Rome time, so Easter and Passover may differ in a given year. I am relying on years old memories so don’t quote me but feel free to correct me.

          I still think the Synoptics/John Passover resolution to get a crucifixion date is much like Step 2 in this cartoon:

          http://star.psy.ohio-state.edu/coglab/Pictures/miracle.gif

          The whole theme of John is that Jesus is the Passover lamb and so would have to die on preparation day. If Jesus said, “Oh hell, let’s celebrate the Passover today because I’m hungry,” the formula of the Gospel of John is destroyed. The Synoptics (and Hebrews) have Jesus being like an animal sacrifice for sins.

          Mark wrote for a Roman audience as he used both Latin and Aramaic words and phrases but he explains the Aramaic but not the Latin words as he expected his readers to know Latin but not Aramaic. He introduces Bartimaeus as the son of Timaeus so his readers know “bar” means “son of”. Then Mark has Jesus begin his Gethsemane prayer with “Abba, Father”, a phrase borrowed from Paul (Galatians 4:6 and Romans 8:15 ), to teach his readers that “Abba” means “father” and that Jesus calls God “Father”. When Jesus is taken to Pilate, Barabbas is introduced and the alert reader knows that there are two “son of the fathers”. This sets up the scapegoat scenario of Leviticus 16:5-22 where one of the identical goats is killed and the other is released to carry away the sins of the people. There are other cures in Leviticus that involve killing a bird, dipping a second bird in the blood, spreading the blood around, and releasing the other bird. The blood is apparently a conduit to carry the badness away. They thought blood was magical.

          But the Passover Lamb is not a sin sacrifice.

          John used several passages from Mark but the theology is incompatible between them in places.

        • Looks like you got that from an article at the National Catholic Register.

        • Ron

          Your inability to gather the requested information reveals your so-called “personal relationship with Jesus” is nothing but a fantasy.

        • Tina L. Waters

          Wow, okay answer your questions, and still there is none so blind as those who will not see. Bye

        • Ron

          How is:

          “I will not give you what your [sic] too lazy to search out for your self”

          … an answer to my questions?

          If you really had this “close personal relationship with Jesus” you claim to have, then you’d be capable of providing exact answers to any and all questions posed by consulting Jesus directly. But the reality is that you can’t do that; ergo, your “close personal relationship” is merely a fantasy—a fact that’s borne out by the thousands of competing Christian sects and millions of conflicting “interpretations” of what Jesus really meant and said.

        • Tina L. Waters

          I have talked to many people so if I did not answer your question then ask again and I will give you the answers I have.

        • MR

          But Ron is right. If you really have a personal relationship, then why can’t you find out those answers?

        • Tina L. Waters

          I did . He chose not to receive the answers as true. That is his choice.

        • MR

          You did not answer him. You copy/pasted a bunch of stuff from a website. Those questions are in dispute by people much smarter than you and me. Ron asked you to ask Jesus. Jesus would know the answers to those questions and would have provided you a straight-forward, simple answer if you had, as you claim a personal relationship with him.

        • MNb

          No, you didn’t. You refused to answer Ron’s questions with “if i thought for 1 second it would make a difference. I would do exactly that.” You’re violating your very own 9th Commandment. We will forgive you of course, but will your imaginary sky daddy?

        • Tina L. Waters

          I could not find the conversation we had and I have talked to
          Many people so I asked him to resend it. Grow up ,don’t get your panties in a twist

        • Kodie

          I think people are just trying to remind you to be honest.

        • MNb

          Typically the reaction of someone who bears false witness.

        • Tina L. Waters

          well glad to see your reading. nobody claimed that was when the birth was, that is just when it is celebrated ( although you don’t believe what you read, you read what you believe ( as you do live your life.) but here is what I know . the December date was chosen to be inclusive to the pagan community so Christmas and winter solstice (so basically split the baby to appease both groups.

          Clue #1: The High Priesthood of Caiaphas
          The gospels indicate that Jesus was crucified at the instigation of the first century high priest named Caiaphas (Matthew 26:3-4, John 11:49-53).
          We know from other sources that he served as high priest from A.D. 18 to 36, so that puts Jesus’ death in that time frame.
          But we can get more specific. Much more.
          Clue #2: The Governorship of Pontius Pilate
          All four gospels agree that Jesus was crucified on the orders of Pontius Pilate (Matthew 27:24-26, Mark 15:15, Luke 23:24, John 19:15-16).
          We know from other sources when he served as governor of Judea–A.D. 26
          to A.D. 36–so we can narrow down the range by several years.
          But how are we going to get it down to a specific day and year?
          Clue #3: After “the Fifteenth Year of Tiberius Caesar”
          The Gospel of Luke tells us when the ministry of John the Baptist began:
          In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar . . . the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness [Luke 3:1-2].
          This picks out a specific year: A.D. 29.
          Since all four gospels depict the ministry of Christ beginning after that of John the Baptist had begun (Matthew 3, Mark 1, Luke 3, John 1), this means that we can shave a few more years off our range.
          The death of Christ had to be in a range of seven years: between A.D. 29 and 36.
          Clue #4: Crucified on a Friday
          All four gospels agree that Jesus was crucified on a Friday (Matt. 27:62, Mark 15:42; Luke23:54; John 19:42), just before a Sabbath, which was just before the first day of the week (Matthew 28:1, Mark 16:2, Luke 24:1, John 20:1).
          We know that it was a Friday because it is referred to as “the day of
          preparation”–that is, the day on which Jews made the preparations they
          needed for the Sabbath, since they could not do any work on that day.
          Thus thus cooked food in advance and made other necessary preparations.
          The Jewish Encyclopedia states:
          Friday, as the forerunner of Shabbat, is called “‘Ereb Shabbat” (The
          Eve of Sabbath). The term “‘ereb” admits of two meanings: “evening” and
          “admixture” (Ex. xii. 38); and “‘Ereb Shabbat” accordingly denotes the
          day on the evening of which Sabbath begins, or the day on which food is
          prepared for both the current and the following days, which latter is
          Sabbath.
          The idea of preparation is expressed by the Greek name paraskeué,
          given by Josephus (“Ant.” xvi. 6, § 2) to that day (compare Mark xv.
          42; Luke xxiii. 54; Matt. xxvii. 62; John xix. 42). In Yer. Pesaḥim iv. 1
          the day is called “Yoma da-‘Arubta” (Day of Preparation) [Jewish Encyclopedia, s.v., “Calendar”].
          That eliminates six of the days of the week, but there were still quite a few Fridays between A.D. 29 and 36.
          Can we figure out which one?
          Clue #5: A Friday at Passover
          The gospels also agree that Jesus was crucified in conjunction with the annual feast of Passover (Matthew 26:2, Mark 14:1, Luke 22:1, John 18:39).
          Here we encounter a momentary complication, because Matthew, Mark, and
          Luke describe the Last Supper on Holy Thursday as a Passover meal (Matthew 26:19, Mark 14:14, Luke 22:15). That would suggest that Good Friday was the day after Passover.
          However, when describing the morning of Good Friday, John indicates
          that the Jewish authorities had not yet eaten the Passover meal:
          Then they led Jesus from the house of
          Caiaphas to the Praetorium [i.e., Pilate’s palace]. It was early. They
          themselves did not enter the Praetorium, so that they might not be
          defiled, but might eat the passover. So Pilate went out to them [John 18:28-29a].
          That suggests that the Passover would have begun on sundown Friday.
          There are a number of ways of resolving this. For example, some have
          suggested that Jesus and his disciples used a different calendar than
          the Jewish authorities, and we know that there were different calendars
          in use in first century Judaism.
          It’s also possible that Jesus just advanced the date of the
          Passover celebration for him and his disciples. I mean, they were
          already convinced he was the Messiah and the Son of God. If he says,
          “We’re celebrating Passover today,” and it’s a day earlier than most
          people, they’d just go with that. (Note that he made other modifications
          to the ceremony, such as instituting the Eucharist in the midst of it.)
          And there are other solutions.
          However, regardless of what Jesus’ movement did, we can look to John’s
          statement about the Jesus’ captors as an indication of what the Jewish
          authorities or the mainstream Jewish practice was: They were celebrating
          a Passover beginning on what we would call Friday evening.
          That lets us narrow down the range of possible dates to just a few.
          Here is a complete list of the days between A.D. 29 and 36 on whose
          evenings Passover began:
          Monday, April 18, A.D. 29
          Friday, April 7, A.D. 30
          Tuesday, March 27, A.D. 31
          Monday, April 14, A.D. 32
          Friday, April 3, A.D. 33
          Wednesday, March 24, A.D. 34
          Tuesday, April 12, A.D. 35
          Saturday, March 31, A.D. 36
          As you can see, we have just two candidates left: Jesus was either crucified on April 7 of A.D. 30 or April 3 of A.D. 33.
          Which was it?
          The traditional date is that of A.D. 33. You will find quite a number of people today advocating the A.D. 30 date.
          Do the gospels let us decide between the two?
          Clue #6: John’s Three Passovers
          The Gospel of John records three different Passovers during the ministry of Jesus:
          Passover #1: This is recorded in John 2:13, near the beginning of Jesus’ ministry.
          Passover #2: This is recorded in John 6:4, in the middle of Jesus’ ministry.
          Passover #3: This is recorded in John 11:55 (and frequently mentioned afterwards), at the end of Jesus’ ministry.
          That means that the ministry of Jesus had to span something over two
          years. A fuller treatment would reveal that it spanned about three and a
          half years, but even if we assume it began immediately before Passover
          #1, the addition of two more Passovers shows that it lasted more than
          two years at a bare minimum.
          That means the A.D. 30 date is out.
          There is not enough time between the fifteenth year of Tiberius
          Caesar–A.D. 29–and the next year’s Passover to accomodate a ministry
          of at least two years.
          The numbers don’t add up.
          As a result, the traditional date of Jesus’ death–Friday, April 3, A.D. 33–must be regarded as the correct one.
          Can we be even more precise?
          Clue #7: “The Ninth Hour”
          Matthew, Mark, and Luke each record that Jesus died about “the ninth hour” (Matthew 27:45-50, Mark 15:34-37, Luke 23:44-46).
          “The ninth hour” is what we, today, would refer to as 3:00 p.m.
          This allows us to narrow down the time of Jesus’ death to a very specific point in history: around 3:00 p.m on Friday, April 3, A.D. 33.
          Of course, there are a lot of detailed arguments that I haven’t taken
          space to deal with here. But this is the thrust of things.
          family
          Joseph of Nazareth:
          Mary of Nazareth:
          Brothers: James and Joses (Joseph )and Judas(not Iscariot) and Simon
          sisters : Mary, (named after Jesus’s mother)Sarah (not Abraham’s wife) Elizabeth (named after Mary’s first cousin whom bore john the baptist.
          the one that Jesus loved:
          was the apostle John (for he was the youngest of the disciples and the only one that died a natural death. ) and the one that gave us Revelation.

          and if your inquiry is to learn fine but if it is to mock
          then keep your comments directed at someone else.

        • MNb

          “no the truth is you do not believe that which you cannot see”
          And yet another christian who understands better what atheists think and feel than those atheists themselves. Nothing exceeds christian arrogance like yours.

        • Greg G.

          I cannot disprove a malevolent god, an indifferent god, or an impotent god but who wants to worship one of those. But I can disprove the existence of a benevolent being that is sufficiently powerful to prevent suffering, and that includes an omnipotent god.

          I don’t have to prove that Tyrannosaurs still exist to prove there is not one in my basement.

          But I don’t have to prove there is no god. The burden of proof is for the theist but all they can do is offer excuses for why there is no evidence. There is probably a good reason why the only religions left are contrived to be indistinguishable from an imaginary fancy.

        • Tina L. Waters

          So you want to blame God for a man’s actions. Because he doesn’t force him to behave as he knows he should. Yet you would be the first to say he is unloving because he makes him do that which he does not want to

        • Greg G.

          I don’t blame God for anything. You believe a myth.

          If God is sufficiently powerful, he could prevent all suffering and still achieve any positive results of the suffering. If he were omnipotent, he could do a billion miracles per nanosecond or more for every sentient creature in the universe to prevent suffering as easily as not doing it. Even a sufficiently powerful being could do that. It’s just part of the definition.

          So if God can prevent all suffering and still achieve any benefits, then all suffering is unnecessary. If God is powerful enough to stop suffering but doesn’t, then God is either indifferent or malevolent, That being would not be benevolent, sadistic maybe, but not benevolent.

          Or a being could be benevolent but not powerful enough to prevent suffering. Many humans are benevolent but not powerful enough to prevent more than a little suffering.

          It could also be that there is no god and we can only do what we can to make our little corner of an indifferent universe a little better.

          The existence of suffering shows there is no powerful being that is also benevolent. So which God do you worship, the powerful one who chooses for there to be unnecessary suffering or the impotent one who cannot do anything about suffering? Which one of those do you want to spend eternity with? You seem to have a version of one of those who blames the victim for the suffering.

        • The Christian is the one making the claim. The Christian has the burden of proof, not the atheist.

          We await with interest your arguments showing that God exists.

        • Tina L. Waters

          Yeah like guilty must prove he is right. last I checked the one bringing the charge must prove his position. So Your Saying God doesn’t exist. You bring the charge where’s your proof. Doesn’t surprise me that you switched that around. But only God and Jesus can convince someone that they are real . SOMEONE that has decided I can’t live as I wish so I will just go on as if my opposition doesn’t. .

        • No, I make no claim.

          I can. And I have. But for you, no. I’m just listening to your argument to give you an honest hearing.

          It’s weird. If I didn’t know better, I’d say that your shouldering the burden of proof for showing God’s existence was a burden.

        • Tina L. Waters

          You make a claim : “There is no God” . And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel (good news) to every creature. (man)
          16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.( one has many burdens ; his family , his friends, his job, but the difference is I do not bear it alone. and i do not even bear the burden of the world’s salvation (that has already been done. but I do bear the burden of telling the good news , the gospel of him because – his yolk is easy; his burden is light.

        • Tina L. Waters

          Tell me , what is it that one could present to you, that would make you abandon the mindset that there was a God?? you said you wanted proof. what proof would you like?

        • Greg G.

          I don’t know what to expect a god to be like. All I hear is excuses why God can’t do things that would be proof. But if God is omniscient, then he would know what evidence would be sufficient. If he was omnipotent, he would be able to present it. If it matters, it would be immoral for him to not present it. It seems God is only willing to show it to gullible people.

        • We can debate whether any particular event would convert us to Christians, but if we at least got something in the running, that would be a heckuva lot more than the nothing we get now.

        • MNb

          1. You claim that your god is capable of communicating with us people. You also claim he is a good god and has perfect knowledge. A few years ago Japan was struck by a devastating tsunami. If the victims had been warned by a collective nightmare I would have accepted that as excellent evidence.
          2. Your god has send his son 2000 years to Judaea and Galilea, so you claim. If that’s the case he easily could have done it twice. If in some remote area of our Earth the same story would have been found (the son of god claim, the preaching, the torture, the resurrection are the key elements) in some culture that we westerners don’t know I would accept that as excellent evidence.

        • MR

          Suppose a Hindu person came on here and said we were all wrong and they could prove that Hinduism was the true religion. What proof would you require from them? I would probably require something similar.

          So, tell me, what proof would you require?

        • Greg G.

          We ask Sparkling Moon for evidence of his India-based form of Islam.

        • Kodie

          You don’t have any?

        • Greg G.

          Well, none that an ungullible person would accept.

        • Kodie

          A person with evidence would just present it. A person asking what kind of evidence would convince you doesn’t have any.

        • The burden of telling the good news is light? Then give us arguments for your remarkable claim.

        • MNb

          You make a claim: there is a god and that god is the god I believe in. You’ve brought up nothing to make us accept that claim.
          Quotes from a badly outdated Holy Book don’t count.

        • MNb

          “But only God and Jesus can convince someone that they are real .”
          Perhaps they haven’t done their best in my case then.

        • Tina L. Waters

          i suppose in fact both have made the claim , what is it that would make you believe in what you have obviously decided aganist? one cannot prove; what cannot be measured.( scientific law) so therefore till he reveals himself no man will believe not even if one gives miracles. for it is not faith : substance that is not seen. ( for no man comes to God unless he first believes God is and is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

        • I don’t ask for proof; I only ask for strong evidence pointing to the rightness of your position.

          If God doesn’t deign to reveal himself to me, I guess he’s just an asshole who sends people to hell just because he can?

          I can’t think of anything that would convince me, though just about anything would be better than what I’ve gotten so far, which is just about nothing. None of the many arguments I’ve read about provide substantial evidence.

          My request is reasonable, I hope you’ll agree?

        • Tina L. Waters

          God presents himself all the time to you, you shut Him down with intellectual reasoning and that you tell yourself it is something else because you do not believe. what evidence would you have me give to you , He has proven time and time again throughout my life. (but i cannot hand you my faith* miracles don’t produce faith,( but God will honor faith) whether you is received salvation or not) on the just and unjust) * this is something that some believers wind up falling from the faith because he doesn;t not answer the way they thought he should but I know he says whosoever may come to him, but they must first believe that He is and a re-warder of them that diligently seek him.

          God sends no man to hell they choose something other than the sacrifice that could keep them from that fate. ( we are responsible for our choice and its consequences in natural and in Spirit) ” each human being must work out his own Salvation with fear and trembling.

        • MR

          God presents himself all the time to you, you shut Him down with intellectual reasoning

          Is God not a god of intellectual reasoning? Is he incapable of reaching people in that way?

        • Tina L. Waters

          Yes but if you reason against him he will honor your choices

        • Kodie

          In a world without a god, everything you have is basically an excuse for god not to be everywhere you claim him to be, nor everything you claim he is. But you feel him! So what, power of suggestion is powerful. Lots of people, every religious person, every Christian, and every Christian who interprets the bible particularly like you do has been influenced by other people to see things that aren’t really there. You have no excuse big enough to cover an actual god, you only have small, weak, pathetic excuses for covering a non-existent god.

        • MR

          a) I did not reason against God, nor do I believe any of the others did.
          b) More importantly, why can you not reason intellectually for God. This is the real problem. You make assertions, but you cannot provide reasoned arguments for them. Is God not a god of reason?

        • MR

          God saving man from hell seems like a fine thing on the surface, but when an all-knowing God is the one who creates people knowing he is creating them to be destined for infinite torment under the guise of finite sins…, well, that’s a pretty shitty thing to do. That certainly is not a God of love.

        • Tina L. Waters

          God created man, gave him free will. He destined them to be restored to him. They choose to do something else.. love is not love unless one can make another than the one presented. That is what he did in the natural and spiritual we are responsible for the consequences of our choices.

        • MR

          Do you believe in justice? How do you define justice?

        • If I’m wrong and I’m standing before God in judgment, I will tell him that I used his gift of a brain to its fullest. I didn’t accept beliefs because they were comforting but only if there was evidence behind them.

          You don’t get extra points if you turn your brain back in with low mileage.

        • Greg G.

          But there’s supposed to be one hell of a mileage penalty when you lease a brain.

        • When when you drive it off the lot, there goes a quarter of its resale value. Ouch.

        • Greg G.

          I like the Hunter S. Thompson philosophy on that:

          Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!

        • that’s a keeper

        • Sophia Sadek

          Some of us know that God exists because we know how it was created by human beings in the image of a human being.

        • Ron

          “…but the men of the city of that city were not because there was also into bestiality and heterosexual’s who had multiple partners without marriage (whom ever whenever)” ~Tina L. Waters

          Which passage provides that particular bit of information?

        • Tina L. Waters

          I have tried to answer questions people have asked and this is not a discussion forum at all. It is a mutual admiration Society. And your God is Bob I guess. I pose a question you should not bother to answer but meditate all you who have no hope who have talked “someone ” out of theirs to the point of desperation bringing the thought I guess there is no hope. They are right I have believed a lie that person takes their life. Then you had a hand in that. All you self righteous, upright individual who would never harm anyone you simply want to find those of like mind and follow suit Bob you are a shepherd these are your blind sheep. ROMANS 2:1

        • Who is Ron?

          I don’t have any gods. I do have people and ideas that I respect, but none that I worship.

          As for your “question” I have no idea what in that mangle of words you are asking? Are you talking about talking people out of suicide? I am in favor of talking people out of killing themselves. Given the number of people driven to suicide by people like you, however, that’s rather absurd.

        • 90Lew90

          Say what?

        • adam

          I will see your ROMANS and raise you TIMOTHY 2:11

        • Tina L. Waters

          Adam you don’t even know what that verse is saying you just spouting what you think it means but don’t feel bad there’s preachers and teachers that don’t know either

        • Dys

          The nice thing about biblical interpretation is that there’s so many ways to do it, and verification isn’t exactly possible.

          And your God is Bob I guess.

          Well, I’m pretty sure no one here thinks Bob is all powerful, all knowing, or any of the other attributes commonly given to God, so I guess you’re intentionally setting up a false equivalence in order to make an ignorant comparison.

          Bob you are a shepherd these are your blind sheep.

          It’s always the same nonsense…atheists are just blind, the evidence is all around you, yadda, yadda, yadda. Stop being silly Tina. You whine about this being a mutual admiration society (it isn’t), but you don’t have any problem shoehorning everyone into your strawman version of atheists.

        • Kodie

          However you’ve justified understanding the opposite of what it says in the bible, it basically means you are telling god what to think.

        • Tina L. Waters

          1. My comment was too Adam. 2. how was what i said to him in replying to his question; “telling God what he thinks?” 3. He doesn’t know what the bible even says about the subject what he said was re-stated from what someone else said about the bible . it wasn’t even from him (Adam) it was from a philosopher named Bertrand Russell. a philosopher. that is someone who offers views and opinions on something with which they have no real experience with *example : a person telling someone with children, how children should be raised, its as useless a a screen door on a submarine.

        • Kodie

          1. This is a public blog and your responses are public for anyone to answer if they choose to! Did you not know that?

          2. Rewriting what it says in the bible to mean what you want it to mean is telling god what he thinks. If you believe the bible is the breathed word of god (?), then interpret it to mean the opposite of what it says – just pointing that out to you.

          3. Adam posted a direct verse of the bible that means words in English from the dictionary that women are to learn quietly and do not preach to men! Adam is a man and you have a woman’s name so assume you are a woman? Who does not take the bible to mean exactly what it says. None of us do, we’re atheists, but if you do, your

          3a. If you know it means something else in a larger context, don’t just say “no way, Adam, you don’t know what it really says!” Show your fucking work. It says what it says, and if you believe it means the opposite or is missing a larger context, your task as the interpreter is to demonstrate that it means what you think it says. You can’t just end at insulting people for not knowing what you’re talking about.

          Example: people who can read can read what it actually says. They don’t need someone else, in this case, a woman defying the exact instructions in the bible she believes is true, and in your case, you got your own information from somewhere else to mean a different thing because you prefer it to mean something else than what it says. I’m sure if you read what it said, you could understand it says you’re basically a piece of shit next to a man and lack the intellectual skills to determine what the bible says, and should submit to men and humble yourself rather than be the brassy ass you prefer to be, even though the bible says god doesn’t like that.

        • adam

          “I’m sure if you read what it said, you could understand it says you’re basically a piece of shit next to a man and lack the intellectual skills to determine what the bible says, and should submit to men and humble yourself rather than be the brassy ass you prefer to be, even though the bible says god doesn’t like that.”

          Apparently no woman believes that the bible means what it says either:

        • adam

          1. public forum
          2. IF the ‘bible’ is the word of your ‘god’ then the ‘bible is what your ‘god’ thinks.
          3. So 1Timothy2;11 IS NOT in your ‘bible’?

          If you attempted to show where I dont know what the bible even says, then you’ve FAILED miserably…

        • Tina L. Waters

          1. I’m aware but if you have to have some back you up that is female probably should not use a verse that is often interpreted that women should be silent.
          2. no, you have that backwards as the world often does; tells it backward the bible is not what my God thinks. “What he thinks is what the bible is.
          3. and yes 2 timothy 2: 11 is in my bible . just saying from your picture that you sent and the comment though you may agree with it ,. is not your thought it was that which belonged to a philosopher ( a person is all about giving their view and opinion which is no better than anyone else;’s.) though you don;t seem to abide by it there is a standard.

        • adam

          “1. I’m aware but if you have to have some back you up that is female probably should not use a verse that is often interpreted that women should be silent.”

          Sorry, I dont understand the word salad that you’ve written.

          “2. no, you have that backwards as the world often does; tells it backward the bible is not what my God thinks. “What he thinks is what the bible is.”

          More word salad, but if the bible is NOT the word of YOUR ‘god’ then it is JUST the words of men. And explains well their misogyny.

          “3. and yes 2 timothy 2: 11 is in my bible . just saying from your picture that you sent and the comment though you may agree with it ,. is not your thought ”

          And so NOTHING of what you post is your thought either.

          Because all your bible thoughts belong to some propagandists (a person who is all about fooling people for political power).

          What standard are you mumbling about that I dont follow?

        • I was hoping that someone had the gift of translation to make sense of Tina’s inspired gibberish.

          I guess not. I’m certainly not so gifted.

        • Kodie

          1. I think she was talking about me backing adam up so he shouldn’t use a verse that negates my input.

          1 TO TINA L. WATERS: WE ATHEISTS DO NOT BELIEVE THE BIBLE. YOU ARE A CHRISTIAN AND BELIEVE THE BIBLE AND WILLFULLY GO AGAINST WHAT IT INSTRUCTS. This is what is being pointed out to you.

          2. She says it’s not that the bible is what god thinks, it’s what he thinks that what the bible is. That is gibberish.

          2 TO TINA L. WATERS: How would we “know” what god thinks. If the bible is “evidence” for god and contains his instructions, THE BIBLE IS WHAT GOD THINKS. IT IS ALL “WE” “HAVE” TO GO BY. If god exists, then the bible is what we have to know what he does think. Deal with it.

          3. She thinks adam used the picture with the quote because he believes it. And then goes on a tangent that he didn’t write it some philosopher wrote it? Then goes totally contradictory – nobody’s thoughts are better than anyone else’s, but even if you don’t believe it, there is a standard. So she does believe some thoughts are better than others?

          3 TO TINA L. WATERS: This is where you, the Christian, instead of going on tangents, contradicting yourself, and avoiding the accusation in every manner possible, YOU SHOULD FULLY AND THOROUGHLY EXPLAIN WHAT YOU BELIEVE THAT PASSAGE (OR ANY OTHER BIBLICAL PASSAGE) DOES MEAN AND WHY YOU THINK YOU’RE QUALIFIED TO EXPLAIN TO US.

          —- All you are doing is whining and stamping your foot. Your argument is invalid and does nothing to try to convince anyone that you are correct or that Christianity is correct or that the bible tells a different story than the one apparent in the actual words on the actual page. As it stands now, adam and Bob and I can read words, and you’re in denial because someone else helped you justify it means something else – your job is to relate to us why and how it means what you believe it means instead of what it actually says. Your ONLY job.

        • Show us what conclusion an unbiased scholar would come to when reading this verse.

        • adam

          Tina you don’t even know what that verse is saying you are not even spouting what you think it means but don’t feel bad there’s preachers and teachers that don’t know either

        • Tina L. Waters

          ok now i understand your a parrot. you obviously repeat what is told to you .

        • adam

          No I didnt repeat, you just obviously can’t read.

          Are you going to tell what 1 Timothy 2:11 means in context in the bible or not?

        • you obviously repeat what is told to you

          Unlike you, of course. You’re an independent thinker. You figure this stuff out from first principles. You’re not a product of your environment or upbringing.

      • TheNuszAbides

        “In a study of the times of the the city’s Sodom & Gomorrah…”

        did you already know it would be a waste of your time to provide a citation of this study?

        • Tina L. Waters

          well it was my time, and you could never say , truthfully you were not told.

      • adam

        “In a study of the times of the the city’s Sodom & Gomorrah it was anything goes; ”

        Citation needed!

        ref:
        “The historicity of Sodom and Gomorrah is still in dispute by archaeologists, as little archaeological evidence has ever been found in the regions where they were supposedly situated. There are some other stories and historical names which bear a resemblance to the Biblical stories of Sodom and Gomorrah, and some possible natural explanations for the events described have been proposed, but no widely accepted or strongly verified sites for the cities have been found.”
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodom_and_Gomorrah

  • So, the crime of Sodom – based on Christians’ favorite example – was bullying and dominating to enforce conformity.

    Let that sink in a moment.

    • David M

      There is a meme for that.

  • dagobarbz

    They were prosperous and didn’t share. “Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.”

    Sounds kind of like communities that criminalize homelessness. Remember London, installing concrete lumps to make living rough even rougher?

    If that was the reason Sodom and Gomorrah crashed, I can name at least ten big cities in the USA that should be next in line.

  • rg57

    “Lot also had sex with his daughters”

    Actually, they raped him in the cave after Sodom’s destruction.

    • Greg G.

      That is Lot’s side of the story. It also says their motive was because they thought there were no other men but they had just left a town that wasn’t destroyed.

  • rg57

    1. To Christians “bi” is as bad as “gay”. It could easily have been that the men were bi.

    2. Of course an all-gay city is sustainable, and it’s homophobic to say that it wouldn’t be. First, we’re gay, not sterile and impotent. We could impregnate women if we had to (most of us). It would be ewww, but whatever. But even if we never reproduced, straight people keep making more of us. So Sodom was the San Francisco of its time.

    3. See above.

    4. If I refer to “all the people” on the moon, am I implying that there are non-humans on the moon? No. It’s silly. (Of course there are certainly bacteria but I doubt anyone but a biologist finds that interesting)

    5. While there are monogamous and loving same-sex couples, that isn’t the only way to be gay. Even straight people can’t handle monogamy. Sex is for fun, as well. We should celebrate that.

    • 2. I meant that it would be unsustainable without an influx of new gay men. And yeah–maybe it was the San Francisco of Palestine. Or Southern Decadence in New Orleans.

    • RichardSRussell

      The trailer for the new Amy Schumer comedy Trainwreck opens with a dad schooling his 2 young dotters to repeat after him: “Monogamy isn’t realistic”.

  • dagobarbz

    We been mistranslating this for centuries.Sodom was destroyed by Gamera!

  • Greg G.

    I was going to say that the prohibition against having sex with your wife’s daughter would cover both daughters and step-daughters but that still allows sex with your daughters from women you never married.

    • Greg G.

      Here it is:

      Leviticus 18:17
      17 You shall not uncover the nakedness of a woman and her daughter, and you shall not take her son’s daughter or her daughter’s daughter to uncover her nakedness; they are your flesh; it is depravity.

      I read it to say that you cannot have sex with the daughter or granddaughter of any woman you have ever had sex with.

      • You make a convincing case, though that’s a little more convoluted than some of the other sexual prohibitions. Why not just the straightforward, “You shall not have sex with your daughter”?

        The sex crimes are so often property crimes–that is, you sleep with a woman, and the problem is the violation of some other guy’s rights.

        • Kodie

          The best guess I have is because there is a tradition of maternal lineage, and you know not for sure whether your wife’s daughters are your own daughters. In all cases, you are to treat your wife’s daughters as if they are your biological daughters. In Greg G’s passage, if you had sex with a woman, just in case, don’t have sex with her daughter, she might be yours.

        • So, what about if the woman gave birth to her daughter before I had sex with her? What if the daughter’s older than me? Can I have sex with them both then, while remaining technically kosher?

        • Kodie

          It would probably be unseemly because people would not know you’re not biologically related. I’m just guessing.

        • I’m just wondering what would happen if somebody had that kink, but wanted to remain technically kosher.

          For some reason I feel extremely confident that somebody, somewhere will have given considerable thought to the problem of having sex with a woman and her mother without breaking any kosher laws. It’s bound to be in the rabbinical literature somewhere.

        • Kodie

          Are you kidding me? Jews are all about the loopholes.

        • I have a horrible feeling we may have stumbled across the reason why Jewish men are disproportionately likely to be good at understanding the finer points of contract law.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Maybe, but doesn’t that seem a bit like punching down, considering that they’re also discriminated against, even now?

        • Kodie

          Not tiptoey enough?

        • Interesting idea, though I’ve never heard of maternal lineage in Hebrew culture. And so many of the sexual prohibitions are simply to make sure that (1) men know whose children their wives are bearing and (2) their property isn’t being violated. Having sex with a random woman isn’t a problem as long as some other Hebrew guy isn’t being harmed by it.

        • Kodie

          I’m not sure lineage was the correct word, and I don’t know much about it, just trivia learned from tv shows in which one parent was Jewish but the other was not. They don’t flip a coin or argue whose faith the child should be raised in, it’s always the mother’s, because they can count on children knowing definitely who their mother is, they can count all the way back to their tribe.

          Yes, there are a lot of laws to make sure the father also knows his child, but they knew you could never be 100% certain, at least as far as some other generation back was concerned. So mostly that law as it appears to me is, fathers accept the slight imaginary possibility that his wife’s child isn’t his own as a matter of biological uncertainty, not assumed infidelity, and to assume all his wife’s children are his and treat them as well (by not having sex with any of them).

          If a woman is not married, having sex with her violates her father’s property, she is not her mother’s property after all, her father paid for her upbringing.

        • I have a vague feeling that matrilineal lineage was something brought in after the Roman invasion, what with all the traditional post-victory raping going on meaning that there were now a bunch of children with unknown and possible non-Jewish fathers. Can’t remember where I heard it though, so it might be a load of BS.

        • Kodie

          That makes sense. I practically got this information from the back of a cereal box or under a snapple cap or something. I don’t know where it came from, it’s all just “DID YOU KNOW…?” Jews follow a matrilineal tradition rather than a patrilineal? So I’ve had this trivia rattling around my brain for a while.

        • Aram McLean

          I’ve engaged with a few Jewish people on this very topic and researched it for a book I’m writing, and it’s not as straightforward as all that. Yes, some say Jewishness comes only from the mother because what we are is apparently in the ‘soul,’ not the DNA, and inside the mother is where we live for nine months before coming into the world. But really, historically, it was because of rape and mixed-marriages. Nothing is agreed upon across the board of course. The Orthodox and Conservative people have come up with many ways to prove their case, being sure to forget verses of their holy book that don’t agree. Other Jewish groups like the Karaite and Ethiopian actually still say the father is the only one alone good enough to pass on his spirit, for in the Torah it is the man and many times in the Tanakh it clearly doesn’t matter that he marries foreign, the children are still labelled Jewish. And traditionally Sephardi with Ashkenazi marriages becomes joined to the father’s tribe. Reform and Reconstructionist Jewish people promise that both parents count. As for the Messianic Jewish person they are said to be completely not Jewish anymore because they believe Jesus is God. And on and on. Everyone fights about it, especially now with Israel’s right of return. Perhaps ‘Whats-his-name’ – a Jewish fellow who’s name escapes me the now – said it best when he wrote, “Whoever is mad enough to call themselves a Jew is a Jew.” Basically no one knows anything for sure on this topic, not even the Jewish people. The only thing for certain is they think of themselves as special based on their holy books of shared ancient history (not recent history as the diaspora ensured they don’t share the same languages and cultures beyond the ancient history anymore – a Russian Jew standing next to an Ethiopian Jew efficiently hammers this reality home). It’s a fascinating look at extreme tribalism, in any case, even as the tribe itself has become heavily splintered from within.

        • Kodie

          Thanks for providing a more thorough background.

        • To go off on that tangent, there was a study done on babies at a hospital that found that the fraction of babies who weren’t the children of their purported fathers to be something like 10%. That number sounds extraordinary (or one done in an extraordinarily promiscuous neighborhood), but I’ve heard that other studies have corroborated that it’s a lot higher than you’d think. (I’d’ve thought 1 in 1000 or so, for example.)

        • TheNuszAbides

          assuming the average man rarely has 10+ children i’m not sure that ‘extraordinary’ is the word… and factoring in one or two unsavory reasons that secrets might be kept…

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          Damn, you ninja’d me!

        • Greg G.

          If you visit a prostitute when you are 23, then go back when you are 47, the prostitute would know who the father of each daughter was and you wouldn’t remember the exact date nor the birthdays of her daughters, but one of them might be yours.

          Uncovering the nakedness of an in-law is not for biological reasons, it is for family peace. Doing a woman and her mother might just be as unseemly as doing your mother-in-law or your step-daughter.

          But it also keeps a man from doing his daughter.

          PS: the “they are your flesh” might be an indication that it means “your daughter and granddaughters”.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          It’s probably assumed that it’s a lot easier to establish the mother of the child than the father :-*

  • David M

    There is a second reference to the crime of Sodom and Gamorrah.

    Jeremiah 23:13-14 “And I have seen folly in the prophets of Samaria; they prophesied in Baal, and caused my people Israel to err. I have seen also in the prophets of Jerusalem an horrible thing: they commit adultery, and walk in lies: they strengthen also the hands of evildoers, that none doth return from his wickedness; they are all of them unto me as Sodom, and the inhabitants thereof as Gomorrah.”

  • Clover and Boxer

    Well, even if this story doesn’t happen to be anti-homosexual, those laws about stoning people who are gay to death certainly are.

    • Leviticus 18 and 20? Yes, but don’t forget that Christians see the sacrifice of Jesus as deleting all the ceremonial laws (no shellfish, women can’t cut their hair, no mixing of fabrics, etc.). The anti-gay stuff is mixed in there with all the rest. Only nostalgia lets Christians pull out the prohibitions they’re fond of.

      • Rare Bat

        There’s still that bothersome matter of “neither homosexuals nor effeminate,” though I’ve heard that’s either a lost figurative expression or an outright mistranslation.

        • Are you thinking Leviticus or 1 Corinthians? In the latter, Paul uses the word arsenoikoites which, I understand, is the first use of that word. As such, it’s poorly understood. It certainly sounds like some sort of sexual immorality, but the precise meaning is unclear.

      • Clover and Boxer

        Conservative Christians I’ve talked to make distinctions (which I don’t think are delineated in the text) between ceremonial law, civil law, and moral law. According to them, none of the laws apply anymore since they have been “fulfilled” by Jesus’ death or something, so there isn’t any circumcision, stoning people, or other stuff that needs to be enforced. But the moral rights and wrongs are still the same with it being bad to be homosexual. That’s an explanation I’ve heard but that I don’t really care to explore since I don’t get into any of that when I talk with Christians. Feel free to point out the weaknesses of that argument if you like.

        • I understand that they say that, but I wonder how well that argument holds up. If “stone the gays!” is mixed in with “women can’t cut their hair!” and “don’t eat lobster!” then conservatives run the serious risk of reading into the Bible what they want.

  • Cozmo the Magician

    “Instead, we have arrogance, lack of concern for the needy, and unspecified “detestable things.” Sounds like every religious right wing conservative everywhere.

  • Nullifidian

    A parallel story to Sodom and Gomorrah is found in Judges 19:22 onward, with a particularly grisly ending for the unfortunate concubine.

  • Charlie Johnson

    Hi, I like your write-up here. Even the later Hebrew Bible’s tradition of Sodom don’t fit a focus on homosexuality. I think there’s an additional angle on this text that would really round it out. It comes from source criticism. Most critical scholars believe that this story was written at a later period. The question is why?

    The key seems to be in the last few verses, in which Lot’s daughters’ children are identified. They are Moab and Ammon, two groups outside the Canaanite lands Israel was given. Nevertheless, Israel had tense relations and sometimes warfare with them.

    So, this story is not about the sin of Sodom, but of Lot. It’s an etiological story that roots Israel’s present (at time of writing) tensions with its neighbors in their ickiness. Lot is far from the hero; he is a depraved character who serves as a counterpoint to righteous Abraham.

    • I’m familiar with the etiological element (“Y’know why the Moabites are such bastards? Because they came from incest–eww!!”), but I hadn’t heard the idea that Lot wasn’t as righteous as the story says.

      Are we talking two stories here? One about how God likes to smite people (Sodom) and another about where the Moabites came from?

      • Charlie Johnson

        I think you’re right that there may be two stories. Some people think that the destruction of Sodom was a well-known event in ancient times, and cultures would make up reasons for it.

        The story doesn’t say that Lot was righteous. In fact, all the indications seem to be to the opposite. Most Jewish interpreters don’t think Lot was rescued based on his righteousness, but based on his relationship to Abraham.

        On the other hand, one New Testament author did make that connection, but I think it’s a pretty tendentious reading.

        2 Pet. 2:4-10
        4 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell[a] and committed them to chains[b] of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; 5 if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; 6 if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly;[c] 7 and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked 8 (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard); 9 then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials,[d] and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, 10 and especially those who indulge[e] in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority.

        • The story doesn’t say that Lot was righteous.

          I was thinking about 2 Pet. 2:7-8. Thought that word isn’t specifically applied to Lot, we see Abram debating with God to spare the Sodom because of the righteous. In that context, it would seem that Lot was one of the to-be-saved and therefore righteous. But, yes, Gen. 19 doesn’t say that.

          Even if there are clues that Lot was righteous, I could imagine that your point would carry if there were several prior stories that were munged into Gen. 19. In those prior stories, the protagonist might indeed not be righteous.

      • Tina L. Waters

        The fact that your familiar with. etiological element might be an issue especially when one studies from their experience of the words mentioned . Such as “righteous”; which to most would be that he did no wrong. Instead of “he did that which right in his own eyes “law unto themselves” attitude. Judgment meaning “a determination” not wrath as most would interpret it. It was not two stories. The purpose of death in the setup is to put an end to sin.hence flood, Sodom, Gomorrah, others in the bible and it was to stop the further decay unless all is lost. ( like when we burn all to stop a disease and keep further contamination. He wasn’t after to destroy the people (it’s never about destroying people but to put an end to the destruction and decay.

  • RichardSRussell

    Fundies also think that what Catholic priests were doing with altar boys would’ve been at least understandable if not outright forgivable if only they’d picked on little girls instead. They’re just freakishly obsessed with homosexuality.

    • Chris Dagostino

      I think it’s more to do with the Catholic denomination itself being freakishly obsessed with not wanting to admit that forced celibacy oftentimes leads to seriously twisted sexuality.

  • Rare Bat

    Yes, Japanese people who aren’t good at English use it in the strangest ways…

  • Chris Dagostino

    As the article mentioned, the citizens of Sodom had a habit of disrespecting the less fortunate among them, which Proverbs 14:31 says is outright blasphemy.

  • Rob

    The Bible is clear, man shall not lay with man and woman shall not lay with woman.

    Sin is behavior God has deemed unacceptable, we all engage in sin.

    Humbly asking forgiveness and turning from sin is a requirement.

    • Otto

      Why should we care what the writers of the Bible thought?

      • Rob

        Its the Word of God.
        You can look in a mirror and deny you own soul, that is your freewill, but seriously you are not a product of random chance.

        • Otto

          You do realize this is an atheist page right?

          We don’t believe the Bible is anything more than mythology.

        • Rob

          I didn’t notice, but I used to be atheist.

        • Kodie

          Now you’re a gullible pawn.

        • Rob

          Nah, but now more humble. My pride was a big hurdle.
          How silly of me to think I had any say in my existence, I didn’t, none of us do, we all are created and die without any choice in the matter.

        • Otto

          Telling people your god doesn’t like their behavior because you think you have special insight to what he likes and doesn’t like isn’t humble.

        • Rob

          I’m not humble to sin, sin is not my master, I will deny sin, but I don’t deny people. We are all in the same boat.

        • Otto

          Telling people they shouldn’t have sex because of what you think god doesn’t like is the same as telling people they shouldn’t have ice cream because you are on a diet.

        • Rob

          Its a worldwide movement, wishing for no opposition is not gonna happen.

        • Otto

          That is an argument from popularity, it is a fallacy…it doesn’t make what you say true.

        • Kodie

          It’s a superstition, it’s not too humble of you to beat people up with your superstition. Why does god need people to make something happen? Why do Christians have so little faith that they have to take matters into their own hands? Worldwide, even. Seems to me you get off on getting in other people’s business, not too humble.

        • Otto

          I don’t think it is right for you to think people outside your religion should be expected to follow its rules.

        • Rob

          Its a worldwide movement and its important to counter that which I am being told is acceptable, when I am aware its wrong.

        • Kodie

          Why do you think it’s your business?

        • Rob

          Cause its often put out as public news and I am a citizen.

        • Kodie

          So you think other people’s sex lives is your business. You are a perv!

        • Rob

          projection

        • Kodie

          Deflection. Christians always have too much pride to take on any valid criticism, but y’all got too much interest in sex and other people’s sex lives, and no faith in god to sort it out. Get a hobby!

        • Rob

          deflecting projection, agreed

        • Otto

          If don’t want to have gay sex don’t do it…short of that it is none of your business,

        • Rob

          keep it private and you’ll get no reply, make it public as news and you will get opposition

        • Otto

          Equal rights for all people…period.

        • Rob

          Agreed. People are people and behavior is behavior.

        • Kodie

          It’s a secular society – you have no control. Your religious beliefs are superstitions and have no application to the rest of us. So, you can also keep your faith in hate private, but when you make it public, you will get opposition.

        • Rob

          secular society is your spin but you are correct regarding public comments

        • Kodie

          You’re more deluded than I thought. The U.S. Constitution is our law, not the bible, that’s just your fantasy.

        • Rob

          Secular is a crutch that is used to oppress religious freedom.

        • Kodie

          You have the religious freedom to be personally disgusted by homosexuality and speak freely how much you hate it, but you do not have the right to oppress other people in the name of your religion by laws, and you do not have the right not to be challenged when you voice your hatred or beliefs.

        • Rob

          Freewill is the gift of God, it doesn’t come from your pedestal of atheism

        • Kodie

          I don’t know how that is relevant to what I said. You seem to be a bot.

        • Rob

          Al Bot ??

        • Otto

          Freedom is guaranteed by our Constitution and the Bill of Rights…that has nothing to do with your god.

          And freewill is incompatible with the existence of your god.

        • FaithIsGlorifiedDelusion

          Imaginary beings cannot bare gifts.

        • adam

          ..

        • Otto

          Religious freedom isn’t a bat you get you bash people with. YOU are free to practice you religion…it doesn’t mean you get to use your religion to withhold right from others.

        • Rob

          Behavior and personhood are two different things.

        • Otto

          That makes no sense…I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.

        • Rob

          bash is your word, however bashing behavior is much different than bashing a person

        • Kodie

          Enslaving people to conform to your religious beliefs is not a freedom you’re given by anyone. Why do you have to do god’s job, he won’t do it himself?

        • Rob

          Freewill is the gift of God, freewill is not enslaving

        • Kodie

          You’re not listening. Maybe I go slower. You can say what you want, think what you want, believe what you want. So can everyone else.

        • FaithIsGlorifiedDelusion

          Free will, like God, is imaginary.

        • adam

          It is not free from the bible ‘god’, it is a THREAT.

        • Otto

          Freedom is about allowing people to behave in ways you may not agree with. For instance I strongly disagree with your religion but I would never want to stop anyone form practicing it and would fight next to you if anyone tried.

        • FaithIsGlorifiedDelusion

          Except it isn’t.

        • adam

          What a LIAR..

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          How?

        • Greg G.

          Secular is just a way to keep one religion’s freedom from crushing the freedom of others, be they secular or religious.

          The early Christian settlers of the US came over to escape from Christian oppression in Europe. Jefferson’s letter that mentioned separation of church and state was an assurance to the Danbury Baptists that other Christian denominations would not be able to use the government to oppress them.

          A secular government is your friend.

        • Dys

          Then you don’t have the first idea what the word secular means. Because it’s the real reason you have religious freedom in the first place.

        • Well put. Seems to me that there’s secular, and there’s theocracy.

          Most Christians wouldn’t like theocracy, even if it sounds nice initially.

        • Otto

          They are no more required to keep it in private than anybody else is.

        • adam

          Yes the bible is clear what kind of ‘opposition’ you mean…

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          You are not aware it is wrong, and the best arguments your defenders have made in court lend further evidence of your ignorance.

        • TheNuszAbides

          “…I am aware its wrong.”

          now if only there were some way you could establish that as factual…

        • adam

          Oh, I bet even he doesnt follow it’s rules…

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          I wish they would start crediting those quotes to Jesus since many if not most Christians have claimed Jesus and YHWH are the same person. So, according to Christians of that stripe, Jesus said some very crazy things in the Tanakh.

        • adam

          No kidding, isnt it weird that they dont?

          Sounds awfully schitzo not to.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          It seems like a lot of people, even progressive Christians and a lot of atheists don’t even think to drive that little “fact”of their the “Jesus was God made flesh” theology home. I do suppose there’s another aspect to this, though. Attributing Tanakh YHWH quotes to Jesus who Christians used to shit on Jews and their beliefs (leading to centuries of persecution and the Holocaust) might come accross as supporting said tradition of shitting on Jews just to make a point. On the other hand I think YHWH is a horribly written villain in its own right, and I don’t want harm to come to any groups. Am I making any sense?

        • FaithIsGlorifiedDelusion

          You’re full of it.

        • adam

          Sin?

        • Kodie

          How silly of me to try to talk to someone who’s in a cult.

        • Rob

          Feel better?

        • Kodie

          I do! Getting visitors who think they’re the first Christian to point out what’s in the bible to us is fun!

        • Rob

          As an atheist, I found myself surrounded by Christians at work. I loved to mock and find fault in their beliefs, I was certain it was a reflection of weakness. Looking back I see my error.

        • Otto

          You came here…you are free to leave.

          Ridiculous beliefs deserve ridicule.

        • Rob

          Here is a public forum, its not in your control.

        • Kodie

          But you asked to be mocked! We’re just fulfilling the request.

        • Rob

          you project as an effort to control the conversation

        • Kodie

          I just want you to feel good and persecuted so you can report back to your cult that atheists were mean to you because we disagree with you and aren’t deluded like you.

        • Rob

          I’ve seen and said many similar things as you, no surprises here,nothing new.
          Wanna surprise me? Give me thumbs up, lol

        • Kodie

          Why would I add to your humongous ego?

        • Otto

          Wanna surprise us? Give us a valid reason to think your god is real.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          Better yet, Jesus should be able to objectively give us the truth whether Rob is a troll. It’s like a double miracle!

        • Otto

          I didn’t threaten you to leave…I just said it is your choice. Feel free to stay but don’t feel bad when your beliefs are questioned.

        • Kodie

          You just hated god, you weren’t really an atheist.

        • Rob

          Your pride is coming through loud and clear, I can relate.

        • Kodie

          You’re the one who hates love and think it’s your personal responsibility to rid homosexuality from the earth. I thought you believed there’s a god – doesn’t sound like you’re sure he can handle his job.

        • Rob

          this is projection on your part

        • Kodie

          Every time you say ‘projection’, Jesus whacks off to gay porn.

        • Rob

          I’ll say a prayer for you

        • Kodie

          To do what?

        • adam

          Why what good is prayer to an IMAGINARY god?

        • thatguy88

          Prayer is like masturbation; it may feel good to you, but it does nothing for the person you’re thinking about.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          You say you found fault… yet you converted. OK, so what ned to all the questionable stuff you noticed n the Bible, realizing that Mormonism has a lot more proof than what is claimed of the traditional Abrahamic eligions combined, the debunked miracle claims, the crap apologists pull in YouTube debates, etc. Either you cut out your memories upon buying the touchy-feely but sometimes ultraviolent songs and sermons or you are misrepresenting your past for the commonly fraudulent “conversion story”.

        • thatguy88

          And this is where you failed to grasp what atheism is. Atheism is the simple lack of faith/belief in a god. You can be surrounded by Christians and STILL be an atheist if you had the confidence to live your life the way you knew how. It sounds like you gave into their pressure after you mocked and ridiculed them. You threw the first punch. If that’s not the case, then you weren’t properly armed to defend yourself against your fellow co-workers. Mocking and ridiculing is never the anser, but if you mocked and found weakness in them, then you did it all wrong.

        • TheNuszAbides

          “…but seriously you are not a product of random chance.”

          “How silly of me to think I had any say in my existence…”

          do you seriously think either of these is somehow at odds with the average perspective of a nonbeliever?

        • Rob

          Name calling just tells me your pride is insulted by my belief in God and belittling me makes you feel better.

        • Kodie

          Telling me you used to be an atheist and that you had too much pride is just your way of slapping atheists in the face with your fake humility. Are you sure you want to be the bigger asshole here?

        • FaithIsGlorifiedDelusion

          I think you insult our intelligence in claiming to believe in imaginary beings.

        • Otto

          I used to be a Christian.

        • Rob

          God will always be there if you want Him.

        • Otto

          I don’t believe your god is real.
          I wouldn’t worship your god if he was.

        • FaithIsGlorifiedDelusion

          God is imaginary. And you know it.

        • That’s what they said about Zeus. Yahweh looks just as made up.

        • adam

          “I didn’t notice, but I used to be atheist.”

          Of course we ALL used to be.

        • Christians are welcome here. Bring us interesting arguments thoughtfully argued, and we’ll respond with something to think about. Perhaps we can both learn something.

          What are the best argument(s) that should convince an atheist that Christianity is correct?

        • adam

          Yes, take a look in a mirror

        • Rob

          Your posting is that of humanism, not Christianity.

        • FaithIsGlorifiedDelusion

          Without humans, there would be no Christianity or religion. Period.

        • adam

          No, it is christianity, and WHY none of you can agree on that YOUR bible means.

        • DigitalAtheist

          Sigh… It ain’t the word of “God”, it is the words of a bunch of bronze age sheepherders. It is about as useful today as a 17th century medical text… in other words it is a glimpse into the minds of people in the past, nothing more. Any book that condones slavery and advocates rape and murder isn’t a book to be living by.

        • Greg G.

          Actually the Bible was written by the most educated people in the land who had no idea where the sun went at night. They exploited the sheepherders.

        • FaithIsGlorifiedDelusion

          Its the Word of God.

          Except it isn’t. There’s no such thing.

        • Greg G.

          I am a product of the laws of physics, its subset, the laws of chemistry, natural selection and its biases, and random chance working within those limitations.

        • So “evolution makes no sense; therefore, God” is your philosophy?

          I suggest you work on that one some more.

        • MNb

          It’s the badly outdated word of 47 humans who died 2000 years ago or more.

        • Greg G.

          Hmmm,I never thought about doing a census of Bible authors before. I have worked out one scenario in my head to get to 47 authors but it assumes such things as Isaiah and Job were two single authors when I suspect each book comes from two or more. I counted the Torah as one author but I suspect at least four plus some redactors.

          I haven’t looked at it with pen and paper yet. Do you have a source for that number?

        • What makes the number even more difficult is figuring out whose Christian Bible to use–Catholic, Protestant, other? The “canon” has various definitions.

        • MNb

          A highly unreliable one – my memory. So feel free to add or subtract some. It’s not relevant for my point anyway.

        • Dys

          No, it’s not. There’s also no good evidence that there’s any such thing as a soul, the existence of free will is highly questionable, and evolution isn’t random.

        • Tina L. Waters

          Not much into science, not too good of an evolutionists either. but it probably looks good to those reading your comments that don’t know either.
          http://www.spiritscienceandmetaphysics.com/scientists-photograph-energy-field-leaving-body-at-death-according-new-study/

          http://www.esotericonline.net/profiles/blogs/russian-scientist-photographs-the-soul-leaving-the-body-at-death

          I have been in the medical flied 23 years, when the soul ( mind ) leaves the body, one is brain dead in facts of anatomy and science. all people and even animals have souls.

        • Dys

          You’ll note that I did specify good evidence. People will find all sorts of bad reasons to believe in magical spirits and such. The problem arises when trying to scientifically validate any of it. And despite your rather dubious links, it hasn’t happened. I’ve no idea why you brought up evolution, since my statement that it isn’t random is factual. If you disagree, I’m afraid it’s you that doesn’t know what you’re talking about.

          Upon further inspection, your links appear to be little more than kirlian photographs of the same type used to insist that people have coloured auras, chakras, or chi. It’s specious, pseudoscientific nonsense, and about as valid as the experiments of Duncan MacDougall when trying to measure the weight of a soul by comparing pre and post death weights. There’s real science behind the effects of kirlian photos, but it doesn’t involve magic energy fields, spirits, or souls.

          Given your attempt to dismiss my comment as ignorant of science and evolution, I’m going to go ahead and say that regardless of whatever expertise you have in the medical field, it’s not a defense against gullibility and unsubstantiated religious dogma.

        • Tina L. Waters

          https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/biocentrism/201112/does-the-soul-exist-evidence-says-yes
          (this one is from MAYO CLINIC)

          http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2002/01/02/soul.aspx
          (this one is from Mercola from the university of California .

          seriously there is none so blind as those who will not see. you will not admit their is such a thing (as a soul) no matter the evidence -* it is in fact that, which one makes decisions with and makes his choices of right and wrong; good and bad) and there is a place a realm of Spirit though you certainly have no plans to see the truth there because then it would hold you to a standard from which you are unwilling to live by. But once you pass from this into The Spirit realm then you will certainly know for all the good it will do at that point.

        • TheNuszAbides

          how do those links establish any connection between a granted-for-the-sake-of-argument “soul” and “that which one makes decisions with” or “right and wrong”? regurgitating traditional theology, angelology, soulology or whatever else comforts you and billions of others to supplement those isn’t science and is barely even worthy of the label ‘medicine’.

        • Tina L. Waters

          First article said:

          The reality of the soul is among the most important questions of
          life. Although religions go on and on about its existence, how do we
          know if souls really exist? A string of new scientific experiments helps
          answer this ancient spiritual question.

          The idea of the soul is bound up with the idea of a future life and
          our belief in a continued existence after death. It’s said to be the
          ultimate animating principle by which we think and feel, but isn’t
          dependent on the body. Many infer its existence without scientific
          analysis or reflection. Indeed, the mysteries of birth and death, the
          play of consciousness during dreams (or after a few martinis), and even the commonest mental operations – such as imagination and memory – suggest the existence of a vital life force – an élan vital – that exists independent of the body.

          and the second article:

          I’ll sum it up for you. when you soul leaves your body; your body will not do another thing.it will lay there_doing nothing because the soul (that which you make all decisions) is no longer present )
          your mind- One’s Soul directs the brain which directs the body to do what it does (conscious or UN-conscious) movements and when it departs it all stops.

          mystery of the soul solved. stop complicating it the most power truths are quite simple.

        • Greg G.

          AIUI, the date rape drug prevents a protein from being formed that neurons use to make new connections to other neurons, thus blocking the formation of new memories. Memory is a hardware function, no soul needed.

          Signals in the brain travel on ion channels. The larger the diameter, the stronger the signal and fewer errors but more energy costs and fewer neurons. Smaller diameters with an acceptable tradeoff for error rates allows many more neurons so the brain can use some for error correction This is not going to be perfect but some incorrect attempts at error correction will be better than the original pattern. That accounts for creativity and imagination without a soul.

          When the brain stops working, it won’t control the body whether there is a soul or not. You don’t need a soul to explain that. When a part of the brain is damaged, the function of that part is lost. The soul hypothesis is no better than a brain only explanation.

          Why would a soul be tied to only one brain? The question is simple if it is just the brain doing it. Why is personality altered by brain injury?

          The mind is what the brain does like vision is what the eye does. Why mistake it for a soul?

        • Tina L. Waters

          This is a complicated thing. you have confused the brain and soul (it is the soul, that is comprised of memory, emotions, pleasure, pain, fear, feelings, identity, personality, preferences, desires, passions , not the brain and these electrical impulses are relayed to the brain and the body simply obeys the command
          Why is personality altered by brain injury? I had a patient like this and when the brain is damaged ; all its inhibitions are removed (like when consuming alcohol or drugs even) when a person is influenced what is in them will surface (violence, anger, complete separate personality emerges) what is really in a person is no longer restricted and what is truly in the soul comes through not what one was taught to be.

          this is not book, article or reading, I have seen this operate too many time over the last 23 years . The Spirit and The Soul and the brain and body are separate things in the same way organs can operate independently of each other.

        • Greg G.

          If the soul does memory, why does a drug that blocks a process for forming a synapse also prevent the formation of long-term memory?

          Scientists have shown that it is possible to read thoughts by monitoring brain activity. They can determine what someone is looking at. They can predict a choice a person is going to make several seconds before the person knows what the choice will be. They can predict when a person will make an error about 30 seconds before by observing brain waves.

          It sounds like you started with a bad idea and have reinforced it through confirmation bias. Everything you’ve experienced for 23 years could have been explained by the brain only but you imagined it was the brain plus a soul. You’ve imagined a ghost in the machine.

        • Dys

          I’m surprised she hasn’t broken out that terrible radio analogy yet.

        • Greg G.

          That’s essentially her argument. Eight years of med school to understand the body as an RC robot.

        • Dys

          If it makes you feel any better, I checked out her Google+ page…she’s also an end times, biblical prophecy impending apocalypse believer. Not exactly at the forefront of anything approaching scientific understanding. She also apparently thinks there’s some vast conspiracy involving the CERN LHC and brain implants to control people…Mark of the Beast style lunacy.

        • Dys

          You do realize the neuroscience doesn’t support your faith-based assertions, right?

          But this is easily solved. Just provide some mechanism for the soul to influence the brain. There must be some method, some means of communication. Where and how does it happen? Because the people who actually study the brain haven’t found any such thing.

        • MNb

          “the brain and soul (it is the soul, that is comprised of memory, emotions, pleasure, pain, fear, feelings, identity, personality, preferences, desires, passions , not the brain and these electrical impulses are relayed to the brain and the body simply obeys the command”
          Your previous contradiction results in a next one.
          Memory, emotions, pleasure, pain, fear, feelings, identity, personality, preferences, desires, passions all belong to the brain. No brain no memory ….. to passions.
          The first question you have to answer is what exactly is left for the spiritual/immaterial/supernatural soul. I say nothing.

        • MNb

          “how do we know if souls really exist? A string of new scientific experiments helps answer this ancient spiritual question.”
          Excellent contradiction. The synonym for the scientific method is methodological naturalism. As the spiritual by definition belongs to the supernatural (and so do souls) science can’t say anything about it.
          So if we do know it’s not due to scientific experiments.

        • Dys

          Did you actually read your first article? It’s basically little more than a “quantum weirdness, so maybe souls are real” editorial. And it recognizes that the scientific consensus doesn’t support your view. Instead it’s peddling the notion of biocentrism, which is more pseudoscience peddled by the article’s author and also by king of quantum bullshit, Deepak Chopra. It’s pseudoscience of the quantum mysticism variety.

          http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/biocentrism-pseudoscience/

          And Mercola? You’re joking, right?

          But you’re looking for reasons to support religious beliefs, despite an overwhelming lack of evidence (to the point where you’re referencing Mercola articles). The assertions you’re making are nothing more than your incredibly biased and misinformed opinions, not established or reputable science. So stop pretending it is.

        • Dys

          Oh, and the blog post from Psychology Today isn’t from the Mayo Clinic, nor does Robert Lanza work there.

        • That’s it? That’s your evidence for the soul? A single article? Are you saying that with this one article, we’re obliged to believe in the soul?

        • thatguy88

          Except that “random chance” is a strawman definition of how evolution works and has worked. Congrats, you have no idea what you’re talking about.

          Also, free will isn’t mutually exclusive to religion, let alone, your god. Free will is the philosophical concept that a person has an element of control over their own actions, though this control may be subject to external influences and pressures.

    • adam

      Yes, the bible is VERY clear….

    • FaithIsGlorifiedDelusion

      The Bible is a book. Books are word of men. Gods are imaginary.

    • Greg G.

      Where does it say that women shall not lay with women?

    • Partial Mitch

      Your Bible if a flawed book of fable, no more worthy of respect than the any other “holy” book. It is full of contradictions, inaccuracies, unscientific and ahistorical myth.

      Heck, your Bible can’t even agree on the day of the crucifixion (Matthew, Mark & Luke say one thing; John says another). The single more important day in your theology, yet your “word of God” can’t even get THAT right. Sorry, but your Bible is a flawed mishmash of legends.

      You are free to believe whatever you want, but do not expect anyone else to take your mythology seriously.

    • Sure, the Bible says all kinds of stuff that Christians ignore. It’s not that they’re just being lazy; their own doctrine says that the sacrifice of Jesus means that they don’t have to follow the ceremonial stuff anymore.

      When Lev. 18 and 20 are full of ceremonial stuff that Christians today ignore, going back and pulling out anti-fag verses that you’re nostalgic must be done with excellent justification. I simply don’t see it–sure looks like ceremonial law to me.

      Or are you referring to other parts of the Old Testament?

    • MNb

      Too bad for the Bible.

    • Dys

      Rob, you either missed the point of the article or intentionally ignored it.

    • 0nly This

      You’re wrong. The Bible clearly prohibits only the “men of Israel” referenced in Lev 18:2 from having sex with each other as the would with women. That’s it.
      Women, on the other hand, were merely to be restrained (presumedly by those selfsame “men of Israel”) from presenting themselves before animals. No mention of other women, though.
      Yes indeed, the Bible is very clear.
      Why, then, would you obfuscate its pristine clarity by omitting the qualifier “as with women” from your citation? It’s been appended, so it must have been considered important. In fact, that single modifying phrase – AS WITH WOMEN – clearly illustrates that the Levitical lawgivers did not, (perhaps, could not) consider the possibility that the forbidden act might be motivated by other than perverse heterosexuality. Socially expressed same-sex attraction (homosexuality) most certainly lay far beyond their Bronze Age tribal comprehension; hardly acknowledged, much less condemned.
      Even then, any law, howsoever divine its purported origin, prohibiting such same-sex attraction (homosexuality) would have been as legally enforceable as the Tenth Commandment.

  • Plain English

    Thanks for this, Bob. I really appreciate a fresh, wider look at scriptures. Often, when I am fortunate enough to come across writing like yours, I feel compelled to share it with believers I know, family and others. Sadly, the wider the perspective, the more open, “Rob” appears to remind us that none of this matters at all. God is all about sex. Christians are often obsessed with controlling everything, the Give-it-to-God denial of service 😉 Rob will not be moved from what he knows to be true. He believes he cannot be wrong because the big HE said so… end of story.
    Thanks again for the perspective. Hey Rob, I could be wrong.

  • JGY

    Wow, as I read all the comments from those who express all the various arguments trying to disqualify the existence of God and the truths of the bible it just reminds me and reaffirms how these are the same old arguments that non-believers have used for quite a long time now and they continue to latch on to them for the various reasons that they present. Yet ultimately they continue to ignore the actual reason for their disbelief. PRIDE and the sin nature of man…..Fact is there is plenty of evidence for the existence of God, the reliability of the bible, and the defense of the Christian faith. Unfortunately non-believers are the one’s who choose to ignore the evidence to the point that it becomes a fruitless exhibition for the Christian to continue to engage with people of such prideful arrogance. I for one don’t have to try and convince the non-believer who refuses to acknowledge the evidence that’s available to them. They can continue on their merry way living their life of deception, it’s their choice and they one day will find out the truth, either in this life or the next, hopefully they will find it in this life otherwise it won’t matter in the next for then their eternal life will be determined for them.

    If there’s someone out there wishing to have a valid discussion on God, the Bible, and the Christian faith, and looking for an honest exploration of why they dismiss absolute truths that God has put forth, I’d be willing to have that discussion but not at the expense of just wasting my time so they can continue to express worn out arguments just for the sake of expressing their disbelief without evidence to support it. Christians have the evidence to support their belief, non-believers do not. Non-believers think they do but it’s not evidence, to the contrary, it’s supposition, wishful thinking,and philosophical arguments that have long been disproven. Additionally, Mr. Seidensticker’s web site is really just a masturbatory exhibition of his own prideful arrogance and narrow mindedness. A sure sign of how dark forces in the world use deception to have it’s way on this earth.

    • Dys

      it just reminds me and reaffirms how these are the same old arguments that non-believers have used

      So? It’s not like the arguments for god have gotten any better; they’re still as flawed as ever. If the arguments for god are just as bad as ever, there’s little reason to update the arguments exposing those flaws.

      Yet ultimately they continue to ignore the actual reason for their disbelief. PRIDE and the sin nature of man

      Unfortunately for your own ignorant position, you don’t have the ability to dictate people’s reasons for disbelief to them. And despite what I’m sure is your belief to the contrary, neither does your favourite book.

      Fact is there is plenty of evidence for the existence of God

      As long as you assume your conclusion first.

      the reliability of the bible

      There’s also plenty of evidence concerning the unreliability of the bible. It’s not an all-or-nothing deal. In addition to the various contradictions, failed prophecies, anonymous authorship, and the timing of the writings, there’s also the fact that much of it (and especially the all-important miracle claims) is completely unverifiable.

      I for one don’t have to try and convince the non-believer who refuses to acknowledge the evidence that’s available to them.

      So you’ll ignore or dismiss people who don’t accept your assertions as fact. Why would any atheist (or any other person, really) want to have a discussion with you again?

      If there’s someone out there wishing to have a valid discussion on God,
      the Bible, and the Christian faith, and looking for an honest
      exploration of why they dismiss absolute truths that God has put forth

      In other words, you’re not looking for an honest discussion, you’re looking for someone to preach at.

      Additionally, Mr. Seidensticker’s web site is really just a masturbatory exhibition of his own prideful arrogance and narrow mindedness.

      You’re quite the arrogant blowhard, aren’t you? And it’s been my experience that those making accusations of narrow or closed-mindedness are seriously prone to rampant projection.

    • Greg G.

      Fact is there is plenty of evidence for the existence of God, the reliability of the bible, and the defense of the Christian faith. Unfortunately non-believers are the one’s who choose to ignore the evidence…

      If you have unambiguous evidence for a god, present it. Don’t ignore it.

      • SJ

        The evidence is inside atheists…they accuse theists of fear mongering when talking about the devil.

        But a lot of theists aren’t afraid of the devil that’s why we mention him.

        Atheists are afraid of the devil and his illegal claims to them because they lack the Holy Spirit to drive him out so they pretend he doesn’t exist.

        But Christ said the devil exists and we have historical records that Christ lived.

        • adam

          “Atheists are afraid of the devil”

          Yes, just like christians are afraid of Flying Spaghetti Monsters.

        • Greg G.

          Do you get all starry-eyed when you type that stuff?

          Not everybody is motivated by fear. You may as well threaten us with coal in our Xmas stockings.

          The only evidence for God is inside your imagination. All I need is some unambiguous evidence of a supreme being. That should be easy if there was one.

        • Dys

          Atheists are afraid of the devil and his illegal claims to them because they lack the Holy Spirit to drive him out so they pretend he doesn’t exist.

          You’re a shitty mind-reader, ignorant, and arrogant. You should probably work on correcting that. We don’t believe in God, and we don’t believe in Satan either – that’s your bit. Stop projecting it on other people; you’re embarrassing yourself.

          But Christ said the devil exists and we have historical records that Christ lived.

          Even setting aside the issue of whether Jesus existed or not, the gospels were written after he died, and not by eyewitnesses. At best you have an estimation of what he said. But just because an apocalyptic Jewish prophet made a claim thousands of years ago doesn’t make what he supposedly said true.

        • Kodie

          Atheists aren’t afraid of imaginary beings. If Christ lived and said such things, keep telling yourself that Jesus Christ wasn’t crazy too.

        • adam

          THIS Christ?

        • SJ

          Of course, there could be exceptions to this. Atheists could be hypnotized.

          Skepticism is so quick it reminds me of a hypnotic response.

          Sometimes people are born with generational curses they don’t know about. If I am an atheist I will investigate generational curses and how to remove them just in case.

        • Dys

          Skepticism is so quick it reminds me of a hypnotic response.

          You don’t understand skepticism at all. For that matter, you don’t have a good grasp on reason or critical thinking either.

          Sometimes people are born with generational curses they don’t know about.

          No, but humans are prone to irrational thoughts, and superstitions like these are one type. Of course the goal should be to minimize these types of irrational beliefs.

          If I am an atheist I will investigate generational curses and how to remove them just in case.

          Why would someone learn how to remove things that don’t exist? If you’re going to play the “just in case” game, there’s a ton of irrational nonsense you should be worrying about. Instead, we ask for evidence. Worrying about irrational superstitions makes no sense.

        • adam

          “Atheists are afraid of the devil”

          No, we dont believe in your IMAGINARY beings

      • Alicia

        I think the evidence is “It makes me feel good.” Which honestly I don’t knock. When I believed (very liberal not-particularly-Christian who didn’t believe the bible was any more than a human document) it felt really good. It felt really real (I just ran into a little patch of trouble with the problem of evil and it all kind of fell apart on me). I miss it.
        The only problem is when someone takes those subjective feelings and thinks that they somehow prove something empirical for everyone else.

        • Greg G.

          I have pointed out several times recently that most any religion can produce that same feeling. Since the religions are mutually exclusive, some religions must be wrong even if they give a good feeling. So the good feeling is not a reliable method for determining truth because it is ambiguous.

        • Alicia

          Of course! That was precisely the point of my second paragraph. Feeling connected to something greater than yourself is a great feeling, but that only barely even suggestive that there IS a “something greater than yourself,” and is zero argument whatsoever for the specific content of the “greater than yourself” that your culture has provided you with.
          “When I see a sunrise I feel good, therefore the bible is true, therefore homosexuality is wrong” is not a valid line of argument, but I posit that that is what is going on for certain persons who will remain politely unspecified.

    • Christians have the evidence to support their belief, non-believers do not.

      Your comment is a long, evidence-free list of claims. You want to back any of it up?

      We’d be interested to hear your arguments supporting Christian claims, but our patience will be thin for the old standbys that we’ve heard many times before. You might want to use the Search box to see what I’ve already covered about particular arguments so we don’t have to plow old ground.

    • Kodie

      Sorry, I don’t find any of the evidence Christians present for god credible. It’s not because of pride, but would you believe it if you didn’t already want it to be true? Wishful thinking doesn’t mean anything is true, and wishing that it were pride between belief and non-belief doesn’t make “pride” the issue either. We’re not too proud to believe in an evident god. You’re all too shitty at bringing credible evidence. That means you believe something that’s not true, just in case that wasn’t clear enough. That means you believe the evidence that’s not credible for some other reason, usually emotional, but sometimes just gullible as a child.

  • Charles Jackson

    It is correct to use the Ezekiel 16 passage as a commentary on the judgment of Sodom, but don’t forget there is a New Testament passage in Jude 17: “as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.” (NKJV) A more modern translation states it this way: “What happened to Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities near them is an example for us of the punishment of eternal fire. The people of these cities suffered the same fate that God’s people and the angels did, because they committed sexual sins and engaged in homosexual activities.” (God’s Word)

    Being inhospitable was bad, but they were also judged for their sexual immorality. What is translated in the New King James as “strange flesh” is traditionally understood as homosexuality and it is a very fair possible interpretation of the phrase. However you accept or reject what the author of Jude meant, it is clear that the Bible states that it was not merely being inhospitable that brought about their destruction.

    • Both the New Testament and particular translations may have an anti-gay agenda. I’d rather go back to the source to see if that was indeed the point of the story.

      • Charles Jackson

        I agree. The point of Jude was the warning that false teachers had slipped into the church and were using the grace of God as a cover to justify all manner of consensual sexual misconduct. Homosexuality would be just one form of such misconduct. Jude used Sodom and Gomorrah as examples that sexual misconduct can bring God’s judgment. As followers of Christ and new creations by the Spirit of God, these practices and lifestyles are not to be part of their lives any longer. This all goes back to your post’s original point as to whether Sodom and Gomorrah were judged because of homosexuality. In the context of the problems addressed by Jude, it is clear that consensual unbiblical sexual conduct, not sexual violence was one factor in Sodom and Gomorrah’s destruction.

    • Alicia

      How confident are we that readers of that era would understand that “strange flesh” meant man-on-man action and not bestiality or inter-ethnic relationships?

      • Scott_In_OH

        Or just someone you’re not married to?

  • SJ

    Bob, you’re just like a lot of Christians. Atheists are steeped in doctrinal error.
    Christians are sometimes steeped in doctrinal error so that’s why everyone needs to be told the truth.

    The truth is: God loves everyone all the time in spite of their bad behavior.

    Google “If God Could Save Everyone, Would He?” by Dr. Stephen E. Jones

    God loves everyone….the question is whether or not they will learn from Him well enough to accept a doctrinal correction in their error.

    God Bless you! Stephen E. Jones has the perfect works for an atheist to read. He corrects and explains a lot of false doctrines.

    Study requires more time than discussion or debate but it always yields more fruit.

    • Dys

      Different people have different interpretations, and your crush on Stephen Jones doesn’t make his opinions dogma. There are theologians, for example, that disagree with his opinion on God’s liability for all the evil in the world (because it essentially denies omni-benevolence).

      You don’t get to just assert that Stephen Jones is right on every point of doctrine.

      Oh, and you ignored the entire point of the post.

    • You need to read the Good Book, bro. All you’re doing is giving it lip service.

      In the Old Testament, God hates all kinds of people. God wants all kinds of people dead. Look up “genocide” in this blog.

      • SJ

        You can entertain the world’s thinking and learn to disobey God pretending you are special.

        Or you can learn to tune out the world and listen to God and entertain His thinking and obey Him.

        • Greg G.

          You tuned out reality and live in make-believe land.

        • SJ

          You’re living in the devil’s territory when you reject Jesus Christ.

          Everyone but certain rebellious people know that Christ brings the Kingdom of God within them.

          But sometimes you have to break through the devil’s lines to bring the peace and put him down once and for all.

          Strong people obey God and learn His Ways. He’s the only one that can put the devil down in a person’s life permanently.

          But a lot of people get used to playing with the devil like people who grow up in broken homes think drama is normal and will create it when it is absent.

          God is peaceful though. Christ is His peacemaker and the Holy Spirit is His peacekeeper.

        • Greg G.

          Cute. You double down on the crazy.

        • adam

          “You’re living in the devil’s territory when you reject Jesus Christ.”

        • Dys

          Repeating your beliefs doesn’t make them true, nor does it provide a compelling reason to believe you.

          The mythology you present can be interesting, but there’s no reason to believe it’s actually true.

        • MNb

          “You’re living in the devil’s territory when you reject Jesus Christ.”
          There is a third option: living in the real world iso an imaginary one like yours.

        • SJ

          If God is in control you’re screwed.

          I consider myself a work in progress. 70 or 80 years is nothing on God’s horizon…

          He can be preparing me for great things for all eternity all I have to do is get the training and I already have quite a bit.

          If I were you I’d start to seek to know God….you could be a better believer than me if you made the right mental connections….you might be the next John Wesley.

          Wesley was quite logical and he started Methodism.

          Once your perspective is right then everything will proceed logically for you.

          You just have to realize God Loves Everyone All The Time and if God says He will save the world then it is a done deal.

          Because God has the strongest will in the world and would never let his children go into a helll fire.

          Most of the hell and tests are in this world and that’s what science spends its’ time studying so it surprises me they didn’t notice we’re already out of the,frying pan into the fire so why not let God save you from the fire in this world?

          Didn’t Adam and Eve leave Eden and isn’t any place less than idyllic a type of hell?

          Read ” If God Could Save Everyone, Would He”? by Stephen E. Jones

          Jesus already saved everybody but people have trouble realizing it. You know you can ask God everyday for forgiveness just in case you committed a sin and didn’t notice and you are instantly forgiven.

          God is divinely omniscient and he already covered your sins past, present and future.

          He is going to take care of His children.

        • Dys

          SJ: “I know…since I can’t answer a single criticism, I’ll just repeat my beliefs at them for the thousandth time and hope they don’t notice!”

          We noticed. We don’t believe in God. Get it through your skull.

        • Dys

          If God is in control you’re screwed.

          Good thing there’s no indication that’s the case. Also, Pascal’s Wager is a terrible argument.

          Once your perspective is right then everything will proceed logically for you.

          You haven’t demonstrated that your perspective is correct.

          You just have to realize God Loves Everyone All The Time and if God says He will save the world then it is a done deal.

          Atheists don’t believe God exists. So no, we don’t have to accept your assertions at all.

          Didn’t Adam and Eve leave Eden

          No, actually, they didn’t. Because they didn’t exist.

        • I’m always surprised when I see if-then statements applied to (1) something incredible that is (2) the very thing we’re trying to decide.

          If God exists, then you’d better watch your manners” or something. Yes, perhaps so, but why even raise this unless your goal is to avoid the difficult process of analyzing data and following the evidence?

        • Kodie

          Keep telling yourself you are not crazy.

        • Kodie

          Your delusions do not apply to reality.

        • That’s what other believers say, in their own way, about their religions. They sound just as compelling as you. Why should I follow your path? Maybe I should become a Mormon or Muslim.

        • SJ

          The bible is God’s Word and God has already refuted both Islam and Mormonism within its’ pages if you know where to look.

          Besides there are allegations coming from ex-Muslims (Walid and Theodore Shoebat) that the bad angels are listed in the Koran and could be hanging around Islam heavily.

        • Dys

          The bible is God’s Word

          No, it’s mostly an anonymously authored selection of books from different periods of time that have been bundled together. It contains a variety of myths and stories. It also contains some verifiable history, but also contains inaccurate, unverifiable and highly improbable historical claims. It also has contradictions.

        • Alicia

          The Bible is an anthology of various people’s best guesses about God. Some of those people were ok (Amos, writer of Ruth). Some of them seem to have trusted that God was as OCD as they were (writers of Leviticus). Some of them seem to have been frankly disturbed (writers of Joshua).
          No bible story (other than *possibly* the 10 commandments at Sinai) mentions God having the sort of physical body that can do things like hold pens, and few of them mention allegations of dictation, so apparently they are human documents.
          We’re just naked apes, groping around trying to figure out how to live together best we can.

        • adam

          “The bible is God’s Word”

          And yet you ignore the parts that dont fit with YOUR morality

        • You’re not getting it. I’m asking you to avoid symmetrical arguments. If argument X works for you but the other religious guy could also use argument X to support his religion, then don’t use it. Similarly, if argument Y attacks the other guy’s religion, don’t use it if it applies just as well against your religion.

          You say that your holy book is true. Guess what: the Mormons and Muslims say the same fucking thing.

          You say that your holy book says that the other guys are boneheads? Ditto.

          You make an evidence-less claim that demons like the other religion? Ditto.

        • SJ

          I never use formal logic.

          You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,

        • I never use formal logic.

          Nor do I.

          Just shooting the breeze? Or was this supposed to be relevant?

        • Kodie

          You never use any logic.

        • Dys

          Or we can recognize that there’s probably no God.

      • SJ

        Bob,
        God never hates people but He does hate sin and He sent His Son, His Law, and His prophets and His apostles and disciples to correct them.

        Accepting Jesus is the first biggest correction/ step…..after that God encourages us to walk in the footsteps of Jesus like his disciples did and help Jesus carry His cross across all generations. God’s children are still being born every day and they take time to mature. The devil is our opponent and sometimes his hand rocks the cradle like he did with Moses. Remember how the Pharoah like a devil asked the midwives to kill the Hebrew babies?

        The devil can influence a person….in Moses case he was trying to upset the line of the Messiah before Jesus is born. If Jesus wasn’t born then there is no spiritual birth possible in the world.

        • adam

          “God never hates people”

          LIAR

          Does God hate anyone? The answer is yes.

          Romans 9:13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.

          Psalm 5:5, “The boastful shall not stand before Thine eyes; Thou dost hate all who do iniquity,”

          Psalm 11:5, “The Lord tests the righteous and the wicked, and the one who loves violence His soul hates.”

          Lev. 20:23,
          “Moreover, you shall not follow the customs of the nation which I shall drive out before you, for they did all these things, and therefore I have abhorred them.”

          Prov. 6:16-19, “There are six things which the Lord hates, yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: 17 Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, 18 A heart that devises wicked plans, feet that run rapidly to evil, 19 A false witness who utters lies, and one who spreads strife among brothers.”

          Hosea 9:15, “All their evil is at Gilgal; indeed, I came to hate them there! Because of the wickedness of their deeds I will drive them out of My house! I will love them no more; All their princes are rebels.”

        • SJ

          God talks in poetic symbolism sometimes….He contrasts ideas a lot.

          Esau is symbolic of carnality undermining spirituality.

        • MNb

          Ah, we see. When it doesn’t suit you it’s poetic symbolism. When it does we must take it literally.

        • Dys

          And SJ knows that interpretation is correct because she assumes it is.

        • adam

          God doesnt talk at all.

          But the bible shows you a LIAR…

          IF you want to believe in the ‘word of a ‘god”

        • What adam said.

          Sure seems to me that God hated the Amalekites since he ordered every single one including the children and infants killed.

          Or is that just God’s paradoxical “love” that you won’t find in the dictionary?

        • SJ

          I leave you to research the Amalekites. Try defending God for a change and try to locate some evidence to defend Him or else you’re not impartial.

          Most people have the foresight to look for a reason to defend God before throwing him under a bus.

          I already have a multiple defense for the Amalekites…but I’m not giving them to you.

          It’d be like me doing physical therapy for you when you’re the paralyzed one and need the therapy.

          You make the pro God case for several years then you come back and present the evidence.

          Who told you you could play judge and demand that I present evidence.

          Go find your own….and don’t you make a charge against God again until you looked for multiple reasons to find Him innocent.

          I used to work in criminal law and you’d make a piss poor judge or attorney.

          You remind me of that ridiculous Judge Judy.

        • Dys

          Try defending God for a change

          So you want someone else to do your job for you because you’re terrible at it.

          Go find your own….and don’t you make a charge against God again until you looked for multiple reasons to find Him innocent.

          In other words, you want someone to jump through hoops, invent loopholes, and dismiss the blatant problems instead of reaching a reasonable conclusion. What’ll happen if we don’t make excuses for your God? You’ll throw a temper tantrum?

          I used to work in criminal law and you’d make a piss poor judge or attorney.

          One would think you’d learn how to make a decent argument at some point.

        • The_Wretched

          Attorneys get to assume the conclusion and work towards it.

          Science (reality) does it very differently. It starts with the data on hand and makes a hypothesis and then tries out the hypothesis to see if it still works or not. Working up from the ‘facts’ in the bible shows OT god to have some several problems. The Amalekite story is one of many questionable cases.

        • SJ

          This is why I have been telling people to research. I have the kind of research in mind that a lawyer would do. The bible has many legal concepts in it and so I believe that is the better research approach.

          God set up a lot in the bible based on the witness concept. He said you couldn’t try someone in Old Testament times without two or 3 witnesses.

          God really approves of seekers. See Proverbs 25:2.

          When you start to research the Old Testament then you unearth the diabolical nature of the Canaanites who refused to make peace with God. Look at Deut. 20. God said to the Israelites to offer peace before making war…..but only one nation out of 31 sought peace with God.

          You can go to Shamah Eliakim’s site and research the nature of the people opposing the Israelites. A good number of descendants of the Lost Tribes of Israel are living around the world particularly in The West so when you do this Old Testament research on origins you are actually doing something like a genealogy search.

          If Old Testament history hadn’t played out like it did maybe none of us posting would be here today…

        • The_Wretched

          I’m still not doing your job for you and have wasted too much of my short life giving your side the benefit of the doubt. That’s over and done.

        • adam

          research?

        • SJ

          If you want to see an expert evidence opinion on testimony then google The Testimony of the Evangelists by Simon Greenleaf

        • The_Wretched

          Still not doing your work for you. And I’d never consult an expert on Star Wars for the truth of Darth Vader (though they could tell me every little detail about Him).

        • adam

          testimony?

        • Dys

          And if you want to see the weaknesses in the case presented in that book, you can read Richard Packham’s critique.

          http://infidels.org/library/modern/richard_packham/montgmry.html

        • SJ

          Really you put up a non legal expert against a legal testimony expert?

          Who is Packham? Some ex- Mormon.

          Greenleaf has written legal evidence tomes while working as a professor for Harvard Law.

          Vet your expert opinions.

        • Dys

          Who is Packham? Some ex- Mormon.

          Peckham is a retired attorney. And as the article I provided explains, there are problems with the assumptions made by Greenleaf that fundamentally undermine the case he makes in his book. Which you’ll probably ignore.

          Vet your expert opinions.

          Oops on your part. I suspect you’ll try an argument from authority fallacy next.

        • Nicely stated. Lawyers and scientists work in very different ways.

        • adam

          evidence?

        • I leave you to find research the Amalekites. … You remind me of that ridiculous Judge Judy.

          We turn to the book of First Samuel, fifteenth chapter, verses two through three. And we read, “Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘I will punish the Amalekites for what they did in opposing the Israelites when they came up out of Egypt. Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have; do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’”

          The prosecution rests.

          Most people have the foresight to look for a reason to defend God before throwing him under a bus.

          I’ve looked, hard. In dozens of places, “God” looks like the Iron Age men who wrote his story. That’s my hypothesis.

          I already have a multiple defense….but I’m not giving them to you.

          Dang! Just when I thought I’d give God a 50th chance, I’m thwarted!

          You make the pro God case for several years then you come back and present the evidence.

          I’ll think about it after you make the pro-Muslim argument for several years and come back to present the evidence.

          Who told you you could play judge and demand that I present evidence.

          I have evidence in front of me. The two leading candidates are: God is mythology, and God is real. Which one is correct. As imperfect as I am, I must evaluate the evidence. We don’t assume God first so we can say, “Well, God must’ve had his reasons for the crazy shit in the Old Testament, right? He’s very smart, after all.”

        • SJ

          You have to research Jewish sources on the Amalekites. IIRC they were guilty of treacherous attacks on the Israelites rear and killing children when the Israelites left Egypt…they were vile and didn’t even bury their dead.

        • The Amalekites were bad people? Big deal. You are a bad person, but you’d be outraged if God demanded genocide for whatever race/tribe you belong to.

          The Israelites were invaders into Palestine. Why didn’t God praise the Amalekites’ defense of their land? That’s what he’d have done if the Hebrews had done it.

          God was a tribal deity, assigned by his father El. Other tribes had their gods as well. Early Judaism was henotheistic. No, this early version of Yahweh didn’t love everyone equally.

        • Kodie

          So you admit you’re a Nazi.

        • Kodie

          Your theology is to make excuses for your abuser. Your suggestion is to try and think of a way to spin the actual words of the bible so god doesn’t seem like such a petty genocider. He must have had a good reason, and who do you think you are to tell god how to be? Well, SJ, you crazy fucking nut, who do you think you are going out of your way to do things for an inactive and impotent god – the kind of god that doesn’t really exist, not a god with a list of good reasons why you’re working in his sweatshop and he’s on a lavish vacation from his responsibilities.

          You have no faith.

      • SJ

        Sin is powerful and awful…all you have to do is study human behavior and world history to know it exists and it operates on many levels in people.

        So God gives anyone who accepts Jesus the chance to grow up into the Fruit of the Spirit attributes and learn to overcome personal sin before teaching others how to do that.

        It’s just hard to understand the theology concepts because God reveals them to us through growth stages. He always involves His children….He never leaves us out…He keeps us occupied overcoming sin because He knows the world is waiting to trip us up and guilt trip us….but that’s usually the Old Carnal man….we have a whole new nature to tap into….if we don’t fall for the devil’s tricks and traps….

        • adam

          “Sin is powerful and awful”

        • SJ

          No sin is not imaginary. Fear makes some people obsess and become anorexic. Fear is a sin. Gluttony makes people fat and unhealthy and that’s not imaginary. Etc…..

        • MNb

          Your god is imaginary hence sin is imaginary. Fear, gluttony etc. are no sins.

        • adam

          No fear is fear.

          Gluttony is gluttony

          Sin was invented to sell you an IMAGINARY cure.

        • SJ

          i’m going to delete your posts until you learn some common sense.

          Sin is real.

          The one thing philosophy reveals is who is truly delusional….I knew an atheist once who said the soul didn’t exist…

          These people are too far gone to reason with and you can’t hold a conversation with people who have distorted views of reality.

        • adam

          “Sin is real.”

          No sin is IMAGINARY..just like your ‘god’

        • Dys

          Sin is real.

          No, it’s a label theists use to describe actions that their claimed god doesn’t like. But it cannot be established that any god exists, therefore the existence of sin as such is highly questionable as well.

          I knew an atheist once who said the soul didn’t exist…

          Probably because there’s very good reasons to think that it doesn’t. Plus the people who insist the soul does exist have done a poor job of making their case. Neuroscience has been chipping away at that notion for a while now.

          These people are too far gone to reason with

          I sincerely hope you aren’t under the impression that you’ve been using reason in your comments here. Because I can assure you that your posts are severely lacking in it.

        • So you have evidence that souls exist? Show us.

          Sin is offending a god. Show us that this god exists first, and then we can talk about sin.

        • SJ

          Really Bob, I expected better of you.

          What is an ego if not a soul?

        • Dys

          What is an ego if not a soul?

          It’s an aspect of consciousness, which is a product of the mind.

          The soul as generally described by Christianity, is essentially a magic spirit that drives around the meat puppet that is the human body.

          You’ve confused terms.

        • Really, SJ, I expected better of you.

          What Dys said. I’m amazed that you conflated these two.

        • Dys

          No sin is not imaginary.

          Sure it is. No god, no sin. There are still things we identify as moral wrongs, but it’s nothing to do with any deity.

        • The_Wretched

          “Sin” is a conclusion and a label used to describe something. Turns out you can be a good person and never give one second’s thought about sin.

        • SJ

          No you can never be as good a person as God intends you to be without God’s help.

          Check the ” filthy rags” verse. You have no legal standing before God without Jesus Christ.

          And even if you could be a moral glutton you couldn’t be a healthy one.

          God isn’t just a moral counselor He’s a health counselor, too.

        • The_Wretched

          But can he change the oil in my auto-mobile?

        • SJ

          Is God a bellhop?

        • The_Wretched

          You seem to think so.

        • Kodie

          God is a slacker. Just look at how hard you’re shilling for him while he is very lazy.

        • Dys

          You keep asserting things we don’t accept and don’t believe, and which you can’t defend.

          Your assertions can be dismissed out of hand. Hitchen’s Razor eviscerates pretty much all your comments:

          “What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.”

          Check the ” filthy rags” verse. You have no legal standing before God without Jesus Christ.

          A verse in a book we don’t believe has any real authority about a God we don’t believe in and a guy who, if he really did exist, is long-since dead. You simply can’t be this thick.

        • The_Wretched

          “No you can never be as good a person as God intends you to be without God’s help.”

          I’m disgusted by your insistence that i need your god(s) to be good. I’m perfectly capable of handling my own morality and I don’t like the insinuation that I’m incomplete or defective.

        • Kodie

          Just not a mental health counselor.

        • adam

          “No you can never be as good a person as God intends you to be without God’s help.”

          Yep, even SJ’s ‘god’ is a sinner..

        • Sin? There is no sin without a god to get sad when various offenses are committed. Show me this god exists.

          God reveals them to us through growth stages

          … or the theology of the Bible changes because the imaginings of the supernatural of that primitive tribe of people changed over time.

          Why would God reveal stuff slowly? The people 3000 years ago were as inherently smart as we are. They could get it.

        • SJ

          I don’t know why….He could be filling a quota. The bible says people are saved each in his own order. So God could be arranging us in a future order.

          We already have a lot of scriptures saying there will be a new age that will last a thousand years and the world will change quite a bit when God ushers in the new age.

          The ancient Hebrews lived in the Passover Age.

          We’re living in the Pentecostal Age though some people claim we’re moving into the Millenial Kingdom aka The Tabernacles Age soon if we haven’t already. There are complex bible calendar calculations and people that watch the stars trying to determine biblical astrological signs.

        • Dys

          I don’t know why

          So really, you’re just assuming that you’re right.

          There are complex bible calendar calculations and people that watch the stars trying to determine biblical astrological signs.

          Since astrology is complete garbage, it makes sense that they’d try to match it up with vague prophecies.

        • The Bible says only 144,000 are getting a golden ticket.

          I hope you were extra good this year.

        • SJ

          Some people don’t consider that number literal.

        • And some people are going to be on God’s naughty list.

          People reinterpreting passages as not literal based on their whims? Oh, please–don’t get me started. I hear baby Jesus crying.

        • SJ

          . Google PARDES on wikipedia..

        • Kodie

          All your sources are demonic justifications to deny god exists in your image, and pretend you exist in his. You have no faith.

        • SJ

          Wikipedia

          Pardes (Jewish exegesis)
          EditWatch this page
          Pardes refers to (types of) approaches to biblical exegesis in rabbinic Judaism or to interpretation of text in Torah study. The term, sometimes also spelled PaRDeS, is an acronym formed from the name initials of the following four approaches:

          Peshat (פְּשָׁט) — “surface” (“straight”) or the literal (direct) meaning.[1]
          Remez (רֶמֶז) — “hints” or the deep (allegoric: hidden or symbolic) meaning beyond just the literal sense.
          Derash (דְּרַשׁ) — from Hebrew darash: “inquire” (“seek”) — the comparative (midrashic) meaning, as given through similar occurrences.
          Sod (סוֹד) (pronounced with a long O as in ‘sore’) — “secret” (“mystery”) or the esoteric/mystical meaning, as given through inspiration or revelation.
          Each type of Pardes interpretation examines the extended meaning of a text. As a general rule, the extended meaning never contradicts the base meaning. The Peshat means the plain or contextual meaning of the text. Remez is the allegorical meaning. Derash includes the metaphorical meaning, and Sod represents the hidden meaning. There is often considerable overlap, for example when legal understandings of a verse are influenced by mystical interpretations or when a “hint” is determined by comparing a word with other instances of the same word.

          Some books such as Tolaat Yaakov, divide Pardes into Peshat, Remez, Din (law), and Sod. According to this understanding, Derash is divided into the homiletics, which are classified under Remez, and legal interpretations, which are classified under Din.

        • Uh huh. Give me a brief rule by which someone can distinguish a passage that must be interpreted literally from one that must be interpreted in some other way.

          Obviously, they have different genres. The parables of Jesus aren’t history–they’re just stories. That’s easy. Your challenge is to take Revelation, which is either a bad acid trip or the literal experience of someone privileged with a trip to heaven to see how the end was going to play out, and justify taking some passages literally and others not.

          Sure looks like special pleading to me.

        • Kodie

          You don’t know god, you are guessing, stabbing in the dark, he won’t reveal what he really wants, so you just do what you want. Based on signs you see that aren’t there, and feelings you have that you think mean something but don’t.

        • Meepestos

          And why does this God have the same traits and characteristics of the primitive tribe people that created and worshiped this god?

        • It’s like they wrote it while looking in the mirror.
          http://www.nrm.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/TripleSelf_web.jpg

        • Meepestos

          The doctrine of sin (that is central to Christianity, but not all religions) is just a concept of human construct, and so are gods. There are societies that existed over 500 years ago that did not have or recognize the concept of sin though did recognized wrongdoings, personal errors, or injustices, but they did not consider them spiritual crimes such as “hatred of another” especially kept to oneself. The notion that one could “sin” by just thinking was inconceivable and superfluous let alone confusing until being indoctrinated into belief systems like those of the Abrahamic religions or Hinduism.

        • Alicia

          In the days before effective government, sin was probably a very productive tool to get people to behave in socially productive ways. If you make murder, theft, adultery, and other socially disruptive practices sins punishable by spending eternity in a burning lake of fire, you might be able to make it a couple thousand years without a police force.
          For that matter, I’ve heard that some cultures managed their fisheries by having the priests put species on the sin list until they had recovered their populations.

        • Greg G.

          That was probbly an improvement over the Law of Hammurabi where the penalty for violations was death on the theory that nobody would risk that for crimes. But that meant that the penalty for murder was the same as theft but the risk of being punished was reduced for lack of witnesses.

      • SJ

        You need to throw the humanistic way of looking at the bible away.

        You can never reach your godly potential until you start to see things from God’s perspective more.

        God owns everything by right of creation.

        So until you start to try to see thing from God’s point of view you can’t see His big picture.

        You are important to God. He has a great plan for everybody but you have to learn to stop blocking His big picture view with your little picture view.

        We are all works in progress while we cooperate with God.

        • MNb

          “You can never reach your godly potential until you start to see things from God’s perspective more.”
          Agreed. Plus you can never reach your godly potential either if you start to see things for god’s perspective more. Because there is no god.

          “He has a great plan for everybody”
          Well, his plan for me obviously is that I remain an atheist. So I will.

        • I’ll care about my “godly potential” when you show me a god. So far, zilch.

          Your evangelism is wasted pixels until you give me good arguments that God exists. Got any?

        • Dys

          You need to throw the humanistic way of looking at the bible away.

          Translation: Stop reading the bible using critical thinking and reason.

          God owns everything by right of creation.

          Bit of an illogical assumption, actually. But considering that God endorses slavery in the OT, it’s understandable from a theistic perspective.

          Atheists don’t believe God exists. And you’re not making any case that he does.

        • Alicia

          “God owns everything by right of creation.”
          Ah, but as poetry, it’s rather lovely.
          Well, unless the God that “owns creation” is the one he has in mind. In that case it’s freaking terrifying.

        • The_Wretched

          “You need to throw the humanistic way of looking at the bible away.”

          Under your your argument below, you must spend several years arguing and seeking the truth of the humanistic way before you can make the first argument against it.

      • Meepestos

        Kills infants too, but that is understandable considering the times of the folks that imagined/created this god during a era of warfare and population movements that led to violent changes that elicits behaviours (like killing infants) that we obviously see in their god.

  • SJ

    Study the Magnificat….it gives the clue to the truth about God. Mary obeyed God and she could have been stoned. Her words from The Book of Luke set to music.
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=6_iixWJo-7k

    • Dys

      I think the appropriate response here is “Cool story bro”.

    • adam

  • SJ

    It’s hard for me to keep up with so many replies in this thread but I do like to see atheist realize they are God’s children, too.

    Read this online book. I believe it’s the most important book ever written after the bible and Dr. Jones let’s people read it for free on his site.

    I particularly like the way it corrects free will. Masterful. It’s only about 80 pages.

    Creation’s Jubilee
    http://gods-kingdom-ministries.net/teachings/books/creations-jubilee/

    Since you’re up for adoption as God’s children make sure you know,as many theological options as possible. Sometimes the world tells doctrinal lies to cut God’s children off from God.

    God can always use a few more good thinkers.

    • adam

      “God can always use a few more good thinkers.”

      Even one….

    • The_Wretched

      If you think any of us are about to switch teams, you’re sadly mistaken.

    • Dys

      but I do like to see atheist realize they are God’s children, too.

      So you haven’t been reading the replies you’ve been getting with much discernment.

      Once again, atheists don’t believe God exists.

  • Judith Hatfield

    you my friend need god in your life for god did destroy sodom for it was called sodom for the sodomites, unnatural affection. he destroyed it because of that and the drinking, killings, lying, lots of sex, all that is going on today for it is all evil in the sight of god and one cannot tear this page or that page out of the bible and set it for himself what he wants it to say or mean we can change the word but it was still written by gods holy men so if i were you and the liberals i wouldnt try to pesify it for yourselfs and say and try to say something it does not mean for you will be judged god is going to wipe out those from the book of life if they change the word of the bible or pecify for these people of sodomy are not saved from grace and god does not or ever will approve no matter what you say or show

    • MR

      so if i were you and the liberals i wouldnt try to pesify it for yourselfs

      I sense a political agenda over a biblical one. This is in part how I came to leave Christianity. Judith, do you abhor sexual sin? Do you believe God abhors sexual sin?

      • Judith Hatfield

        i see you are not a christian and will soon be in hell if you do not get saved

        • Susan

          I see you are not a christian and will soon be in hell if you do not get saved.

          Thank you for cutting to the chase.

          I wonder why disqus didn’t convert your small “c” in “christian” to a capital “c”. I have to make an extra disqus move to not capitalize it.

          (Not suggesting anything. Just curious. Technical question.)
          .

        • Greg G.

          Smartphone browsers will make corrections like that. It’s not Disqus doing it.

        • Susan

          Smartphone browsers will make corrections like that.

          Thanks. I don’t have a Smartphone. I’m using IE on my laptop. I always do. The layout works better (for me) for the sites I visit, including this one.

          The auto-correct seems strong when I participate on a disqus site. Not so much in other situations.

          I always assumed it was disqus related without thinking much about it. It turns out I was wrong.

          In my case, it’s not a Smartphone but that doesn’t mean it’s disqus.

          Thanks for the info.

        • The auto-correct seems strong when I participate on a disqus site.

          Disqus is like the Force. For some of us, it has a strong influence.

        • Greg G.

          But does Disqus have a light side?

          Firefox doesn’t like the way “Disqus” is spelled.

        • Can there be a Force that only has a dark side? Maybe that would be like a magnetic monopole. But then magnetic monopoles might actually exist … and maybe Disqus only has a dark side.

        • Kodie

          I think the light side of disqus is that we can communicate with each other. I don’t have as many difficulties with it as others do. There doesn’t seem to be another widely used format for blog messaging and send it to your email or go to the disqus site and see the short list of direct replies. If someone made a better one and we all could switch to it, or be forced by the site once it became a thing, but there doesn’t seem to be a “better” way. On the blog I formerly posted at, we also had a bulletin board that was ok… not perfect either, but I liked if we wanted to chat off-topic or make our own questions that had come up. That blog went away and many of us have a facebook group but it doesn’t get a lot of traffic. The dark side I have is that I am offline most of the day for a while and the messages really build up. I may have to break again.

        • MNb

          I liked the old system – all comments chronologically ordered – better. It still happens that I read comments several days later I would have liked to react to immediately.

        • Kodie

          I don’t remember the old system, seemed quite the same to me? I really don’t remember. You can switch disqus to post chronologically from oldest with subthreads, so say the oldest post was 6 months ago, and someone can remark on that post, it would not go dead last, it would thread underneath that post. Or reverse, or most popular. That’s only if you open a post and then load the comments. If you are responding from your email, it will load the relevant subthread first, and if it’s short, the preferential first comment in direct response, so for me it would be the oldest comment on the thread would load underneath the subthread. The subthread of the comment you’re responding to may not have every comment on it.

          Relevant main comment to the response you choose. This is what it would look like for me.
          -r1
          —r* response missing
          -r2
          —r*1(2)
          -r3
          —r*1(3)
          —some responses missing
          —r*6(3)
          —–r**(6)(3)
          —–Kodie responds to this one – it doesn’t indent again.
          —–r***(6)
          —–In normal thread opening, Kodie’s response appears here now.
          —r*7(3)
          Oldest
          -next 1
          -next 2
          2nd oldest
          -etc.

        • MNb

          “I don’t remember the old system, seemed quite the same to me?”

          Like this:

          http://scienceblogs.com/evolutionblog/2015/06/12/what-does-it-mean-to-teach-id/#comments

          “The subthread of the comment you’re responding to may not have every comment on it.”

          Exactly. And comments in subthreads I have not been involved but still might find interesting tend to get hidden when the amount of comments increases.
          The result is that I miss stuff.

        • MNb

          Sharing eternity with you in what you call Heaven is the very definition of Hell.

        • Going to harp lessons in heaven with Judith will be how God punishes you in the afterlife.

        • MR

          Ah, well, yes, I am an ex-Christian. One of the main reasons I am no longer a Christian is because the idea of hell made no sense to me when I considered it honestly. I had always been taught that God is a god of love. Yet, how is it that God brought the majority of mankind into existence knowing he would be sending them to hell? We think Hitler a terrible man for what he did to the Jews, and yet, that will pale in comparison to what God has in store for them. Does that make sense to you? When I raised this question to my fellow Christians, seeking an honest answer to this dilemma, rather than a sincere answer, I got the same threat of hell you provided. This, I thought, is not the God I had been taught to respect.

          My question, which you did not answer, was whether you think God abhors sexual sin. If you believe he does, why do you suppose he saved Lot’s family knowing they would commit incest? Doesn’t make sense, does it? Lot’s wife, whose only sin was to look behind her, was the only person in that story who was punished. Have you read that story in the Bible? Can you not see how it goes against common sense?

        • Dys

          First you have to demonstrate that there’s something to be saved from. The lack of evidence suggests that hell is an imaginary place invented by fear mongers.

        • adam

          Hell?

    • Dys

      you my friend need god in your life for god did destroy sodom for it was called sodom for the sodomites, unnatural affection

      The entire point of the article is that the correlation of sodomite to homosexual sex is erroneous. You ignored it, and didn’t even attempt to address it with anything but inane ranting. The story in the bible doesn’t make sense.

      Oh, and you got the naming order wrong. The place was named Sodom, and the people from it were therefore Sodomites. The modern meaning attached to the term did not exist then – it’s the same thing as recognizing that Samaritans were from Samaria.

      And there’s no reason to get right with God, since it’s a fictitious character in an anonymously authored book.

      • Judith Hatfield

        liar it is not fiction it is the truth and sodom a lot of them were gays and a lot of other sin as is today why do you think all of the evil is happening today around you it the devil and he is taking over

        • MNb

          You’re the liar.

          “why do you think all of the evil is happening today around you it the devil and he is taking over”
          Actually there is a lot less (though still way too much) evil in the world today than in the past, as for instance your own Old Testament testifies, with all its genocides on the command of your god.
          If the devil is taking over it’s in the form of human devils like you.

        • Dys

          Stop being silly – just because something’s written in the bible doesn’t make it true. And the devil is an imaginary being. If you’re looking to unintelligently engage in fear mongering, you’re in the wrong place.

        • How do you know that a lot of the residents of Sodom were gays?

          You do know how gay rape is used in prison, right? It’s not for homosexual pleasure but rather to humiliate.

          I see plenty of bad in society, but are you saying it’s getting worse? Compared to 1943, it sure looks like it’s far better.

        • MR

          We live in one of the most amazing times in the history of mankind, yet have an immense capacity to bitch about it nonetheless. Yes, there is still much evil in the world, but honestly, who would give up what they have today to go back to living like we did a hundred years ago, or during the Middle Ages, or even during the time of Christ?

        • Would a poor person today (with internet, TV, cell phones, and vaccines) trade places with a king from 1000 years ago?

        • MR

          Those things would seem magical to a king!

          Hell, I’d be tempted to go back to see what life was like in a “time travel, Connecticut Yankee” kind of way, but I’d want a return ticket…. Eh, I’ve lived a pretty good life so far, maybe a one-way ticket to, I dunno, ancient Greece, wouldn’t be so bad after all; but I wouldn’t want to give up what I know now just to go live back then.

          But this whole “the devil is taking over” bull is just fear-mongering hyperbole. So a few gays can get married, like it’s going to change your life any. Move on.

          Judith likely lives in a first world country during the greatest time to date in mankind’s history yet imagines she lives in some dark ages of demonic warfare when everything is going to come crashing down at any moment. This is how religion hamstrings your mind.

          I say, give thanks to God, if you must, for the incredible times in which you live, stop being ungrateful for what you have, and quit whining about the bad bits and the bits you don’t like, and do your part to ease the suffering for those who don’t have it as good as you.

        • Greg G.

          maybe a one-way ticket to I dunno, ancient Greece

          Remember that the beginnings of the English language would be many centuries in the future. I’d rather not go back more than 250 years.

        • MR

          Bah! No sense of adventure!

          Before we get too far off track, though. My original point wasn’t about time travel, it was about living today like we did back then. Imagine 7 billion people without the medical and scientific advances of today, let alone the creature comforts we take for granted.

          Still, it’s fun to speculate: Where would you go?

        • Greg G.

          Early second century Rome.

        • MR

          Of course. We should start a Kickstarter campaign to send you so you can clarify a few things for us. 😉

        • Greg G.

          Make sure we get enough for the round trip ticket before I go.

        • Greg G.

          How about Jerusalem in the early 30s?

        • MR

          Such a backwater. 😉 How about Rome instead?

        • Greg G.

          That way when I say the crucifixion never happened and I get “Were you there?” thrown back, I can show them the pictures of Golgotha every Passover for four years and the tickets to show I was there.

        • Alicia

          Curious why you think they would have made up the crucifixion story. That they were promoting a god-man who was executed in a deeply unpleasant way seems to have been a real marketing hurdle for them.
          If it weren’t for all the “no A/C or clean drinking water” problems everyone has cited I’d go back so I could find out what actually happened that got transmuted through retelling to a resurrection (my default is that a few people had grief/survivor guilt/lack of sleep induced visions, and those who didn’t were sure to say they did, so no one would say they weren’t adequately spiritual, but I don’t lose sleep over it), but I can’t see what would be in it for who in lying that their hero had been executed.

        • Greg G.

          Curious why you think they would have made up the crucifixion story. That they were promoting a god-man who was executed in a deeply unpleasant way seems to have been a real marketing hurdle for them.

          I think they were one of the apocalyptic cults of Judaism that was expecting the Messiah to come at any time. They happened to believe that Jesus had been crucified hundreds of years earlier. They got their information “through his prophets in the holy scriptures” (Romans 1:2) and “through the prophetic writings” (Romans 16:26). They thought they were reading “the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages” (Romans 16:25). They thought it was “God’s wisdom, secret and hidden, which God decreed before the ages for our glory” (1 Corinthians 2:7). They were reading the scriptures in a new way and thought they had seen prophecy that had long been taken for allegory. The fact that it was revealed to their generation was evidence that it would be fulfilled during their generation.

          This is confirmed by seeing that every tidbit of information about Jesus in the early epistles can be found in the Hebrew scriptures. They didn’t have any first century information about Jesus.

          1 Corinthians 15:3 starts with “For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received” and Paul says in Galatians 1:12 that he received it through a revelation, and “that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures”, the scripture being Isaiah 53:5 & 12. The next verse has “and that he was buried” from Isaiah 53:9 and “and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures” which is Hosea 6:2.

          Paul goes into the crucifixion reasoning in Galatians 3:6-14 quoting from scripture. The NIV has footnotes that give the quoted verses.

          But Paul and the Jerusalem cult didn’t agree on certain things so we don’t know exactly what they were preaching.

        • The NIV has footnotes that give the quoted verses.

          Interesting point. To make your case that the key points in Paul’s writings are all taken from earlier works (much of which is the OT), those footnotes must amount to damning evidence.

        • MNb

          A city worse than the worst Third World slum today? No, thanks.

        • MR

          Yeah, you’re right, most of the cool stuff probably wasn’t even built yet, anyway. Maybe Pompeii a few years before the eruption. Would I be under an ethical obligation to warn them?

        • Greg G.

          How would they say “Chicken Little” in Latin?

        • Dys

          “Parum Pullum” apparently. I’d have to dig out the latin textbook I, uh…appropriated…yeah, that’s the ticket…from my high school to verify google’s translation though, lol.

        • MR

          Pulcina Piccola in Italian.

          Pullum Paolo according to Google.

          I hope they have Wi-Fi.

        • Kodie

          While seeing people going about their day entombed in lava and ash looks really cool, it must have been terrifying.

        • MNb

          Meh. About 99% chance you would belong to the poor.

        • Greg G.

          I’m outside the 1% now.

        • Kodie

          Recent times. 100 years I could go, and if I could stay in America. That’s pretty much all the history I’ve been exposed to, but to maybe be an adult around the time I was born, or earlier. I don’t think I could live without industry. I’ve seen those PBS programs where they make families live like pioneers and it sucks. I am too lazy. Also I am a woman, so life would never be as pleasant for me then as it is now.

          Seriously, when I think of chores I hate to do now, if I had to go live back in time anywhere, all I can think of is how much more difficult chores. All y’all think, talking to the locals and being kind of a tourist would be neat, and I’m thinking I’d have 10 babies and all their clothes to wash on a rock.

        • MR

          Oh, Kodie, another reason I love you. So pragmatic, and you just lay it all so bare. It goes back to my original point. Mankind has it pretty fucking good right now compared to the past. Fundy whining rings hollow put into context: “Woe is me! The gays can get married!” Yeah, and your ancestors died in childbirth with ten kids to fend for themselves in the middle of the plains of Nebraska surrounded by Indians… Get over it!

        • I saw a bit of a reality show where they repopulated an Edwardian house with a family and a zillion servants. Life was definitely a bitch for those at the bottom.

        • Kodie

          The ones I saw were “Frontier House,” with a teenage daughter and her cousin who hid some makeup for the first few weeks and hung out in what would be considered underwear all summer. The father at that family was also the least competent in providing his family over the winter. I don’t even remember how long they were there, but I think Oprah showed up at some point? And 9/11 happened without the appropriate media for the cast to witness it, and they were told and raised an American flag on the prairie. The other one was “1900 House,” and this was just one family in a Victorian house, and the father kept his job so he wasn’t “1900” during the day. Their initial hardship was lack of access to regular shampoo and I think the mom snuck it on one run to a shop that was only supposed to sell supplies they would have had in 1900. I’ve seen enough of both these programs that didn’t involve survivor challenges and tribal councils to know I would not do very well. I would probably do better on “Fear Factor” eating scorpions – and I don’t care about make-up and I could go without bathing as long as necessary if it was the done thing.

        • MNb

          The ancient Greeks loved wars. I hate them. No, if I had to go back in time I would go to a nice, quiet place, where nothing happened. Like the area where my ancestors came from:

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Friesland_(region)

          It seems – though we don’t really know – that even nasty things as bubonic plagues never reached the region; it was too isolated. I have one reservation though: I don’t want to go there in the 13th Century. Bad soil management (yup, ignorance) had caused subsidence, hence floods, famine, which forced my ancestors to go on looting sprees, which ended with Count Floris V quite bloodily conquering West-Frisia. But say 25 years after the conquest everything was OK again as the conquerors also took appropriate measures against the floods.

        • MR

          Ich kenne Ostfriesland, jetzt in Deutschland. You’re right; nothing happens there.

        • Kodie

          I’m not really sure what’s happening in their heads. They fret and complain about things, and then the only sunny side of it they can see is that it must be the end times. How sick does your religion have to make you to think the end of time is better than gay people winning the right to get married.

        • Yes, a “Connecticut Yankee” kind of adventure sounds like it might be fun–pit your superior knowledge of reality against the difficult times back then.

          The Man Who Came Early” is a short story of this type that explores some interesting ideas.

        • MR

          Interesting. I was thinking that the things a modern day person might rely on to impress people from the past could ultimately get them into hot water. Being able to tell the future, or having modern tools like matches or something, might be considered sorcery and get you burned at the stake, for example (edit: with your own matches, no doubt. Oh, the irony!). It’s probably best I stick to the 21st century…. though, given the opportunity it would be hard to resist….

        • It would be quite an adventure if you could only bring, say, a backpack. You could bring a gun but only so much ammunition. You could bring matches, but that would take up space for something else. Maybe books on primitive medicine.

          Much better an on-demand teleporter that could quickly deliver an antibiotic or hand grenade or Land Rover as your predicament required, though I guess that wouldn’t be very sporting.

        • Greg G.

          As I understand it, nothing can go back in time unless it is covered with living tissue and it is a one way trip. I think I saw a documentary about that with Arnold Schwarzenegger.

        • Ron

          Sounds like you need…

          The Utility Belt

        • Kodie

          All you have to do is wait for the opportunity to heal one person, and then everything after that would make you a god to them. You could take out all your modern toys, you just have to make someone who is sick well. If you’re going to time travel back very far, that’s your area of preparation.

        • MR

          Being made a god can be a double-edged sword. Just look what they did to my vato, Jesus.

        • Greg G.

          Well, just don’t throw temple tantrums or resurrect anybody and you’ll be fine.

        • MR

          Forgot to give you kudos on the word play. ^1

        • Greg G.

          I got “temple tantrum” third hand. I use it a lot.

          I read once who said it originally. I cannot recall the name but she was a scholar.

        • Greg G.

          Here is somebody else who likes the phrase. An article just went up on vridar.or with “temple tantrum” in the title:

          http://vridar.org/2015/07/08/saving-jesus-from-hypocrisy-explaining-jesus-temper-tantrum-and-mudslinging/

        • MR

          Interesting link, thanks! It’s about Stoicism’s influence on early Christianity. Stoicism helped wean me off Christianity. I’ve already put the referenced book on my wishlist, though I’m going to see if my local bookstore can order it. Right now I’m in the middle of The Philosophy of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy: Stoic Philosophy as Rational and Cognitive Psychotherapy. It’s more interesting than it sounds. =)

        • MR

          My order for “Stoicism in Early Christianity” came in today, Greg. Thanks for pointing me to that article!

        • Kodie

          Greg G. is right. You know better. Learn from someone else’s experience, you have to find a balance and don’t let it go to your head.

        • Kodie

          And I realize I’m talking to you like you are actually packed and ready to go back in time.

        • MR

          Well, I kind of am. ‘Cept I thought we’d agreed that Greg G was to go to Jerusalem and I was going to Athens. Just need to be careful not to corrupt the youth or piss off the men in power…. Ooh, I sense a theme….

        • Greg G.

          Just remember that anyone from that time who has descendants in this day and age are probably your ancestor, too.

        • MR

          Yes, mom.

        • Greg G.

          I might do that if not for the Sword of Damocles. I’d order my subjects to make better use of bread mold.

        • Greg G.

          I would go back fifty years if I could be young again.

        • Tailored

          If god is all powerful the devil can’t take over.

        • adam

          But then there’s no story…….

        • adam

    • As Dys noted earlier, you’ve ignored the point of the article. No, the sin of Sodom wasn’t homosexuality. It’s a very short story in Genesis–read it yourself.

      • Judith Hatfield

        it was the biggest part of it and drinking and being merry they were all doing as they are doing today and were ungodly sinful men and women so god destroyed it and lots wife still stands at the dead or red sea today in a pillar of salt my friend don’t take up for sin for a sinner will go to hell and i would be afraid of god and what he can do to the soul

        • Greg G.

          There are lots of pillars of salt near the Dead Sea. None of them are Lot’s “pillar of salt” wife.

        • MR

          Geological formations turned tourist traps for the gullible.

        • Anat

          Whenever the current ‘Lot’s wife’ rock breaks or tumbles downhill some other rock is declared ‘Lot’s wife’.

        • Kodie

          It’s quite obviously a legend. I don’t understand how anyone would take it literally.

        • Dys

          The rest of those pillars were all of his concubines.

        • Alicia

          Um. Not that I actually think any of them are, but how on earth would you _prove_ that they weren’t? Other than “the story is a myth, dork,” which my guess would be is provable only within the confines of the mentality in which it doesn’t need to be proved (“well, see, because we know that the Bible is a human document-” “Is not! It’s divinely inspired!”), or by examining them all and determining that they were all made of the same substance. But by the terms of the myth, wouldn’t we expect that they would be indistinguishable? What good is it to be able to turn someone into a pillar of salt if they don’t turn into exactly the same kind of pillar of salt that populated the area?

        • Greg G.

          Yes and how do we know that they were told not to look back while they were running away through a bunch of pillars of salt, it was just that looking backwards while running forwards will alter your course so that a slight turn means you will “turn into a pillar of salt”. Lot and the daughters didn’t look back to know that she had run into a pillar of salt at full speed, perhaps dazing herself, so she couldn’t catch up. They just assumed it meant “being changed into a pillar of salt”.

          Besides, I was there. Can you prove I wasn’t?

          But, seriously, it is impossible to prove anything to a person who believes in magic and miracles. We can’t really prove the world didn’t come into existence last Thursday.

        • Susan

          drinking and being merry they were all doing as they are doing today and were ungodly sinful men and women so god destroyed it

          Not drinking and being merry! (palms on face cheeks in panic) No!!!!!!

          In that case, you’re right. They deserved to be destroyed. Every last one of them. Screw ’em.

          They weren’t even christians! So, even if they dedicated themselves to being sober and depressed, they’d be going to hell, anyway.

          Fire and brimstone either way.

          Yahwehjesus*. The perfect answer to every question.

          *Order now while supplies still last.

        • I’m wondering what you’re concerned about. That there are homosexuals? One wonders what’s wrong with homosexuals if God made them.

          But in terms of America slapping God in the face with its sin, our granting same-sex marriage is, at worst, nothing compared to American slavery and the genocide of the American Indians (who, it must be admitted, were here first). If God gave those a pass, he must be snoozing through this issue.

        • Dys

          I really can’t understand how some people can take such an obvious piece of propaganda and insist it was a real historical event. It’s essentially the same nonsense we see going on today – some bigot (like Pat Robertson with Hurricane Katrina) blames a natural disaster on a perceived sin of the population. Fortunately, most of us are less superstitious overall in modern times, and don’t pay much attention to such hateful garbage. But because the same type of story was written down in the bible, it’s given a pass by far too many people who really should know better.

          lots wife still stands at the dead or red sea today in a pillar of salt

          You do understand that just because a natural geologic formation exists doesn’t mean that it used to be an actual person, right? There are myths about Hercules forming the Straight of Gibraltar and that Paul Bunyan or Pecos Bill formed the Grand Canyon. Those deserve to be taken just as seriously as the notion that the rock formation used to be Lot’s wife.

          don’t take up for sin for a sinner will go to hell

          Luckily for us (and humanity as a whole), there’s absolutely no good evidence that hell exists. So there’s no need to worry about it at all.

        • Alicia

          Are there any cool Native American myths explaining who was turned into the various hoodoos of (for example) Bryce Canyon? Seems like that kind of landscape would naturally inspire that sort of myth making…

        • Dys
        • Alicia

          Wow, talk about service! Thanks.
          The really fascinating bit is that the cause was roughly the same as that listed by Ezekiel et al.

    • MNb

      “you my friend need god in your life”
      We atheists are better off without.

    • Heather

      Ezekial 16:49-50
      49 Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.
      50 And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good.

      Pride, gluttony, laziness, greed, inhospitality. Rape, probably (rape is about dominance and control). But no homosexuality. Most translations include all the people of the city along with young and old men.

      Genesis 19:14 (KJV): 4 But before they lay
      down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house
      round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter:

  • Chris Fisher

    Very interesting. I wrote an article making the opposite point. If you would like to read and comment I would be appreciative. Quick question, as a non-Christian, do you think homosexuality was acceptable in Judiasm or early Christianity?

    http://realityisnotoptional.com/2015/07/03/what-was-the-sin-of-sodom/

    • That’s a long piece, but I’ll try to take a look.

      Quick answer: I imagine that homosexuality would not have been acceptable in Judaism or Christianity. Minorities are often not accepted in any society.

    • I read your post. I see nothing there except that you disagree with my points. My only response would be to re-point you to this post.

      If you want to respond to my points directly, that would be the next step.

      • Chris Fisher

        I do thank you for your time. And I would like to point out that I found your website through a well written article by you on polytheism in the OT.

        1. The crime does not seem xenophobic. Lot’s response is a sexual diversion. They want to rape Lot after this is suggested. Your article seems to misunderstand sexuality. See accounts of Alcibiades for a more realistic look at ancient sexuality.
        2. Homosexuality was widely regarded as worthy of the death penalty in ancient Israel, so it makes sense this is a large part of the reason for destruction.
        3. The Ezekiel passage is as informed as the modern reader plus it is written towards Israel with a specific comparison in mind. We should not make too much of it, especially considering how the Bible uses euphemisms.

        • 1. Yes, it was gay sex, but why think that sexual pleasure was the goal?

          They’re thinking: Who are these two dudes who just waltz into town? Maybe they need to be taken down a peg or two. So Sodom’s tough guys decide they’re going to show these guys who’s boss, kinda like they do it prison today.

          Lot’s offer of his daughters would make no sense to gay men looking for gay sex (as I mentioned above).

          2. Why do you say that? You can’t use the story of Sodom and Gomorrah to make a presumption to help guide the interpretation of the story of Sodom and Gomorrah.

          3. Why reject Ezekiel? Ezekiel makes clear that “the point of the story of Sodom and Gomorrah is that gay sex is evil” is wrong. Sounds like you don’t like Ezekiel simply because it doesn’t support your conclusion as well as you’d like.

        • Chris Fisher

          1. Was Alcibiades a homosexual? Yes. Did he have a lot of sex with women? Yes. There is an event when he gathers all the women in a city for a huge orgy. The modern categories that Americans try to superimpose on human sexuality are frankly absurd. Twin studies (where they control for genetics by using fraternal and identical twins) show that there is only slight or no genetic dispositions. By enlarge, our sexual behavior is a product of ourselves.

          2. See my comment to your other post. The story does not give any solid reasons why Sodom is destroyed. The angels are confirming rumors and the events confirm the rumors. We are not told what the rumors are or in what why the events confirm the rumors. We should be looking to the mindset of the author to inform us on what those rumors are.

          3. It is not a rejection of Ezekiel. One, homosexuality is called an abomination, so Ezekiel very well could be including that in the category (and this would make sense with the prominent use of euphemisms in the Bible… what is the equivalent word for “homosexual” in the Biblical Hebrew language?). Two, if homosexuality is not a sin of Ezekiel’s audience, Ezekiel would want to downplay it as it would break his comparison. Sodom is an object lesson that Ezekiel is drawing on for his audience. Does that make sense to you? This is really just me repeating what I have already written.

        • Was Alcibiades a homosexual? Yes.

          I’m not familiar with Alcibiades, but thanks for sharing.

          Twin studies (where they control for genetics by using fraternal and identical twins) show that there is only slight or no genetic dispositions.

          And … ?

          By enlarge, our sexual behavior is a product of ourselves.

          So homosexuals aren’t born that way? It’s just behavior that they choose to engage in? Could you engage in homosexual sex?

          The story does not give any solid reasons why Sodom is destroyed.

          But … didn’t you say that it was because of homosexuality?

          Maybe we should take a step back to see what we’re talking about.

        • Chris Fisher

          “Could you engage in homosexual sex?”

          Definitely I could. Anyone can. And one easily can be taught to lust and desire certain things. In various societies, such as Alcibiades’ Greece, homosexuality was the norm. Women were for babies, but young men were for pleasure. It was a societal norm. There was not a division between “homosexuals” and “heterosexuals”. That is a modern construct. In the Bible, there is also no division. The Bible condemns acts. You are a homosexual, not by who you desire, but in what acts you perform.

          And I said it was in part due to homosexuality. If I said otherwise, I apologize. Here was my conclusion to my article:

          ********
          With a long history of anti-homosexual positions taken throughout Judaism and ancient Christianity, one would be hard pressed to make a claim that the Bible supports homosexuality, embraces it, and that homosexuality was not a major factor in the destruction of Sodom.
          *********

        • So there are no homosexuals? You reject this whole “born homosexual” thing? We’re all heterosexuals, and some of us just take a walk on the wild side?

          one would be hard pressed to make a claim that the Bible supports homosexuality, embraces it …

          That’s not my claim.

          … and that homosexuality was not a major factor in the destruction of Sodom.

          Because the rape happened to be homosexual, OK, but that’s just incidental. The issue is: they humiliated men. I suppose if they’d attempted something equally humiliating but non-sexual, the crime would’ve been the same.

        • Chris Fisher

          “Maybe we should take a step back to see what we’re talking about.”

          And I appreciate this dialogue and your inputs.

        • Greg G.

          Was Alcibiades a homosexual? Yes. Did he have a lot of sex with women? Yes.

          Those two statements cannot both be true unless Alcibiades was a female. If Alcibiades was a male, he would be a bisexual. That’s the letter “B” in LGBT.

        • Chris Fisher

          Oh, excuse me while I entertain your ridiculous 21 century sexual categories.

        • Greg G.

          Have at it, Hoss.

        • Chris Fisher

          🙂
          But you do understand that your categories are a modern invention and any 1st century Jew (or before) would not make your distinction. It is a logical mistake to take modern arbitrary categories and superimposed them onto other cultures. Right?

        • Greg G.

          Are the categories arbitrary or are they derived from a better understanding of the range of human emotions?

        • Chris Fisher

          I would say there are highly arbitrary. It seems to me they were created such that people could try to make themselves more “unique” and self absorbed. In Christianity, actions define people. Someone is a homosexual who has sex with the same gendered person, regardless if they also have sex with sheep or children or the opposite gender and regardless of who they are attracted to. When these self absorbed people berate Christians for not accepting or using their arbitrary categories this is evidence that the movement is a mania and not a serious intellectual movement.

        • Greg G.

          It seems to me they were created such that people could try to make themselves more “unique” and self absorbed.

          People do many things because they are self-absorbed and because they want to do those things. If people are having consensual sex with the same gender people, it is because they have a desire to do that. Some people do and some people don’t. That is not an arbitrary distinction.

          Sexual desire is a spectrum. Some people want to have lots of sex with the opposite gender, some want to have a little sex with the opposite gender, some want to have sex with both genders and some of them want lots and some want little. Some prefer to have sex with a same sex partner and some want lots and some want a little. Some people don’t care to have sex with anybody. These are just personal desires, not arbitrary choices.

          Maybe you are one who has desires for both genders but arbitrarily choose to have sex with only one gender. But that is just your desire.

          Someone is a homosexual who has sex with the same gendered person, regardless if they also have sex with sheep or children or the opposite gender and regardless of who they are attracted to.

          No, it does not define them as homosexuals any more than it defines a sabbath-day-stick-picker-upper as anything. It just says to kill them for the act.

        • It is a logical mistake to take modern arbitrary categories and superimposed them onto other cultures.

          Do we have a choice? If we’re trying to find out if the OT condemns a certain practice, we must use the 21st-century definition. Of course, since they don’t necessarily have that concept (they wouldn’t have all of the LGBTQ categories, for example), then that question may be unanswerable.

        • Chris Fisher

          I was in Science class in High School. The teacher began talking about the Greeks. The Greeks, he said, called the smallest particles “atoms”. He then said the Greeks were wrong: “Atoms are not the smallest particles, there are even smaller particles.” Do you see the logical fallacy happening here? It is equivocation.

          If an ancient Jew were given overviews of the lifestyles of Gay and Bi people, would they make the distinction. Would they make distinctions between monogamous gays and promiscuous gays.

          And if not and if we want to play ball in their theological mindset, we need to adopt their terminology. Not the other way around.

        • If you use the word “homosexual” or “bisexual” or whatever, we will want to use Webster’s definition since we’re using modern English.

          If you’re saying that they had different ideas or interpretations or words back then (for example, making a distinction between the giver and the recipient in gay sex or trying to find a definition for “arsenokoitai”), fair enough–introduce the appropriate new terms or concepts.

        • Chris Fisher

          So, if a 1st century Jew would combine your categories “Bi and Homo” into one category and condemn it, you can’t use modern definitions to attempt to make a distinction that they did not make, and then pretend that they made those distinctions when writing their laws.

        • Greg G.

          We can still say that they were wrong to make the distinction that they did. The clean and unclean animals distinctions were arbitrary. When they made picking up sticks legal six days a week but a capital offense the seventh day, the day was chosen arbitrarily in the beginning.

        • Chris Fisher

          If we are going to discuss Jewish law on homosexuality, we ought to use their categories.

        • Since the word “homosexuality” is an English word defined in the dictionary, and that’s the concept we’re talking about, at some point you must make the translation from ancient Jewish concept to modern English concept.

        • Greg G.

          Their law was catching them in the act. There was no law about living together or caring for one another. There was no law against kissing one another. David kissed Jonathan, IIRC, near the end of 1 Samuel 20. So they didn’t express any notion of homosexuality, only one particular act. Mohels have traditionally performed circumcisions orally so that must not have been a no-no.

        • Chris Fisher

          One more and sorry to flood you. If the early Jews condemn stealing, and I go illegally download a song, it would be a mistake for you to make the claim I am violating Jewish laws against theft. The modern world might consider violating intellectual property as “stealing”, but there is considerable evidence the Jews held to no such concept. In fact, Intellectual Property is a modern invention and itself is theft (prohibiting people from using their own property how they wish).

        • Greg G.

          You could say that saying “God damn it” when you hit your finger with a hammer isn’t taking the Lord’s name in vain because you are not uttering words that the Jews ever imagined. Blasphemy in English would be fine with them because English didn’t exist 2000 years ago. No?

          If the Jewish lawmakers thought that stealing something gathered, stealing something crafted, and whether they were items to be used by the owner or sold were all theft and they made no distinction between these types of items, then the music would be like the something crafted. If you took them from the person who crafted it against their will, it would still fall under the old Jewish concept of theft.

          In fact, Intellectual Property is a modern invention and itself is theft (prohibiting people from using their own property how they wish).

          Oh, come now. Writing new laws is not theft. You are really trying to twist the meaning of the word. The laws that keep you from using your own gun the way you want, if you want to rob banks with it, is not theft.

        • Chris Fisher

          Neither here nor there. But the concept that someone can own arrangements and patterns is absolutely not part of Jewish law and is a modern invention that VIOLATES property rights. You think someone I never met has absolute right over every other being on Earth and the universe to ensure those beings do not arrange their data bits in certain patterns? Ludicrous and a violation of property rights. If I see a chair I should have every right to build with my own materials my own chair in that pattern. For you to say that I do not have that right with my own property is theft of my property.

          http://realityisnotoptional.com/2013/01/22/the-christian-case-against-copyright-2/

        • If I see a chair I should have every right to build with my own materials my own chair in that pattern.

          What if it’s protected by a design patent?

        • Greg G.

          If somebody diligently designed the ideal chair in order to market it, you could build one for yourself, but you could not market it. If someone worked for a year to arrange notes in a novel way that was pleasing to people, you are free to sing it but you are not allowed to sell that arrangement without permission which may be paying a cut of your profits. If not, the best song writers find other work and music in the world is diminished. We are all robbed.

        • Heather

          “The modern categories that Americans try to superimpose on human sexuality are frankly absurd. Twin studies (where they control for genetics by using fraternal and identical twins) show that there is only slight or no genetic dispositions. By enlarge, our sexual behavior is a product of ourselves.”

          http://www.nature.com/news/sex-redefined-1.16943

          Not quite…

        • Kodie

          I’m sort of jumping in the middle of this, but I’m thinking maybe they were gay. There is prison rape to humiliate someone and I think prison gay is another thing, because there is no female comfort and they are just horny, but not actually gay. Then people have said homosexuality wasn’t the same thing then as it is now and some people were just free to fornicate whomever they chose to.

          Offering daughters to some gay guys to fuck instead seems to be on par with reprogramming strategies under the miscomprehension that homosexuality is a choice. Christians today think gay guys are just so horny that they will “even fuck a dude” and so it is sensible to that agenda to say, if you’re just going to fuck anyone, why not girls, I have two, take your choice.

          And then my idea that Sodom may be a real place that was really destroyed, and of course the author’s perspective was that it was god and it was because of the things that went on there that god doesn’t like. Just like they would blame Hurricane Katrina on sin, or an earthquake/tsunami in Japan because of WWII. That was really stupid – the US essentially exacted its revenge eventually for Pearl Harbor, over 70 years ago, we’re all on good terms now, and “god” is just getting around to it now. Maybe Sodom wasn’t a terrific place to live and just so happen to be hit with a natural disaster that appeared to the author like punishment for being such a nasty city. I would not try to guess what everyone’s motivation in that story was, because it’s fucked up, but instead, realize that the author had opinions of that city and the people who lived there. This story is really fucked up, because Christians today still think that the US will invite the wrath of god and be destroyed because our citizens have allowed homosexuals legal equality with heterosexuals, they are now disgusted and invite god to destroy us and show us the error of having done that.

          If that happens in close proximity to the SCOTUS decision, it would still be a total coincidence. If it takes another 70 years and whatever is like twitter then is filled up with idiots asserting god is taking his stand against marriage equality, it will be predictable. I imagine, since it is hurricane season, a few make land, and all taken as signs. “God” with his pinpoint accuracy, damning only those who deserve to be punished, will hit some predominantly Christian town on the shore of S. Carolina, and they will call it a sign to put the rebel flag back up and oppose gay marriage, because the whole country is going to hell in a handbasket, he only sends a message to one podunk on the East Coast.

          The authors of the story had some reason to find Sodom a shithole amongst cities, and either fictionalized its destruction because that’s what he would do, or recorded its destruction, because a coincidental catastrophic incident struck that city and he inferred god’s reasons that were his own reasons.

        • There is prison rape to humiliate someone and I think prison gay is another thing, because there is no female comfort and they are just horny, but not actually gay.

          A guy’s got needs, and if there were a whole bunch of gay men (with needs) in a big group, it sounds like the solution is pretty obvious. No need to gang rape the strangers, just go find other gay guys to have fun with.

          A likelier option IMO is (1) we’ve got some strangers who need to be taught who’s who and (2) the men have wives and families in town.

          Just like they would blame Hurricane Katrina on sin, or an earthquake/tsunami in Japan because of WWII.

          I like: the earthquake that damaged Haiti was because of their pact with the devil.

        • Heather

          I can’t access the website while at work: http://www.gaymarriageandthebible.com/

          This is a pretty good site. From what I can remember he pulls all quotes regarding Sodom and discusses them.

          I know this is an old thread but I get bored at work and go looking for new comments. 🙂

        • Looks like this book was written by a straight Christian man but is supportive of same-sex marriage–is that right?

          If you’re just giving this to us as a data point, thanks. But if you’re hoping to expand the conversation, it would be helpful if you’d summarize any arguments from the book you find relevant.

      • Chris Fisher

        As a side note: There is a parallel account found in Judges 19. In this case the men accept the substitute. Jumping strangers at night for surprise sex seems to have been the popular thing to do, man or woman.

        It is odd to me that your article seeks to disassociate the punishment from being in part based on the homosexual behaviors, while you acknowledge that ancient Judiasm was intolerant of such actions. Everyone can agree Sodom was destroyed for a host of combined reasons. that an advowed death penalty activity would not rank higher on your personal guesses is interesting. Even if it is granted that the angels were gut reacting to violence and not the sexual preferences of the masses

        • your article seeks to disassociate the punishment from being in part based on the homosexual behaviors, while you acknowledge that ancient Judiasm was intolerant of such actions.

          You want to say that homosexuality was wrong? Fine, just make your argument without the Sodom story, since that’s not the conclusion of the story.

          You want to say that Sodom is all about the homosexuality? Fine, provide the external evidence, since you can’t get that from the Sodom story.

          Everyone can agree Sodom was destroyed for a host of combined reasons

          Have you switched to Ezekiel now? I don’t see how Gen. 19 says that.

        • Chris Fisher

          Sir,

          You misunderstand my intentions. Whether I personally believe homosexual sex is good or bad is another issue entirely. Whether the event actually happened is also irrelevant. What we should be focused on, and I think you do a good job of it, is to figure out the intentions being communicated by the author of Genesis 19.

          The story of Genesis 18-19 provides no “internal” reasons why Sodom was destroyed. In Genesis 18 we get an idea that sin was pervasive:

          Gen 18:20 Then the LORD said, “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is very grave,
          Gen 18:21 I will go down to see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry that has come to me. And if not, I will know.”

          So, we know there is a general outcry. For any destruction that follows, we know that it will be for a host of complaints. The Sodom visit is just to confirm that the reports are true. The angels do not have to see every complaint in actions, just to get a general sense of what the atmosphere is like. So you would be amiss to claim that the attempted rape scene is the “reason” Sodom is destroyed. That was the evidence that the other claims were true and that Sodom was in need of destruction. Make sense?

          Ezekiel is on the right track by listing various possible offenses. This fits the Genesis 18 narrative. That a Hebrew author of Genesis 18-19 would not be mentally including homosexuality (a capital offense) in the charges is hard for me to believe.

        • For any destruction that follows, we know that it will be for a host of complaints.

          That they gang rape strangers isn’t enough? Just “general asshole-ishness” sounds pretty specific.

          The Sodom visit is just to confirm that the reports are true.

          Which is crazy when you stop to think about it. God isn’t omniscient here.

          That a Hebrew author of Genesis 18-19 would not be mentally including homosexuality (a capital offense) in the charges is hard for me to believe.

          Do we agree that gang rape is about humiliation, not about sexual pleasure?

          And how do you know that homosexuality is a capital offense? If you’re referring to Leviticus, I see that, but that doesn’t carry over into New Testament times (ceremonial law and all that).

        • Chris Fisher

          It doesn’t seem to me that reoccurring gang rape is the issue. It might be part, but not the whole. Here is Old Testament scholar Walter Brueggemann:

          **********
          “It is likely that interpretation can go in a more general or a more specific direction. It is possible that the offense of Sodom is understood with specific reference to sexuality. But if such a reading is accepted, the turbulent mood of the narrative suggests gang-rape rather than a private act of either “sodomy” or any specific homosexual act.

          However, the Bible gives considerable evidence that the sin of Sodom was not specifically sexual, but a general disorder of a society organized against God. Thus in Isa. 1:10; 3:9, the reference is to injustice; in Jer. 23:14, to a variety of irresponsible acts which are named; and in Ezek. 16:49 the sin is pride, excessive food, and indifference to the needy.”
          ***********

          We see gang rape in Judges 19 with no comment from God. The cities that are accosted by God are those in which sin is systematic (like Nineveh and Tyre). I would be hard pressed to say “Sodom was destroyed primarily for xyz sin.” We have hints what their sins were from the Genesis 18-19 narrative, but nothing in the text identifies any primary reasons Sodom is destroyed.

          You say: “Which is crazy when you stop to think about it. God isn’t omniscient here.”

          The idea that God is omniscient/omnipresent is actually not found in the Bible (and tends to be pulled from vague prooftexts). The author/s of Genesis most definitely did not have in mind a God that knows the future. See Genesis 6 where God regrets of making man. God is not regretting that people sinned, but God is regretting that He at one time made man.

          Yale Scholar Christine Hayes writes:

          *********
          The character “Yahweh” in the Hebrew Bible should not be confused with the god of western theological speculation (generally referred to as “God”). The attributes assigned to “God” by post-biblical theologians — such as omniscience and immutability — are simply not attributes possessed by the character Yahweh as drawn in biblical narratives. Indeed, on several occasions Yahweh is explicitly described as changing his mind, because when it comes to human beings his learning curve is steep. Humans have free will; they act in ways that surprise him and he must change tack and respond. One of the greatest challenges for modern readers of the Hebrew Bible is to allow the text to mean what it says, when what is says flies in the face of doctrines that emerged centuries later from philosophical debates about the abstract category “God.”
          ************

          The modern Negative notions about God are a result of Platonism that was infused into the church during and after the time of Paul. If you are dedicated to attacking Christianity, you should point this out more. I have a large body of work proving this assertion. I will link my Honor’s thesis:
          http://www.academia.edu/4080560/THE_HELLENIZATION_OF_CHRISTIANITY_A_DEFENSE_OF_OPEN_THEISM

          You say: Do we agree that gang rape is about humiliation, not about sexual pleasure?

          It does not seem that way in the Judges 19 story or in many gang rape stories that I see in the news. Men tend to be very sexual and often sex is a driving force in their actions.

          You say: And how do you know that homosexuality is a capital offense? If you’re referring to Leviticus, I see that, but that doesn’t carry over into New Testament times (ceremonial law and all that).

          The extent that the New Testament can inform us about the story of Sodom is in cultural norms that we then have to assume traversed centuries. The Bible does not talk much about homosexuality, so we tend to take what we can get.

          In my original article I did my best to survey popular moral theology of the time. Paul claims that homosexuals are worthy of death, apocrypha and Church fathers echo this claim. To the extent that Paul’s theology of dissolution of ceremonial law affected popular moral opinion, it does not seem to have changed any Judaic feelings on homosexuality. The Acts 15 compromise between Paul and the Apostles (Acts 15:29) seems to exclude “sexual immorality” from being dissolved. Take that how you will.

        • It doesn’t seem to me that reoccurring gang rape is the issue.

          Could you summarize your point? Is it that Sodom is a clear statement that homosexuality is wrong in God’s eyes?

          Here is Old Testament scholar Walter Brueggemann

          … but the quote you give supports my position! What am I missing?

          We see gang rape in Judges 19 with no comment from God.

          Duh. It was a woman—who the hell cares?

          There was no meaningful insult to her; the issue is that the man’s property was damaged.

          I would be hard pressed to say “Sodom was destroyed primarily for xyz sin.”

          xyz = general unpleasantness to your fellow man?

          The idea that God is omniscient/omnipresent is actually not found in the Bible (and tends to be pulled from vague prooftexts).

          I’m surprised. We agree.

          The author/s of Genesis most definitely did not have in mind a God that knows the future.

          Oh, yes—strong agreement here. The concept of God evolves over time. God gains superpowers and, as you note, not all of that is supported from the Bible. What’s especially hilarious is modern apologists who, confronted by the demands of modern science, must imagine God as outside space and time, omniscient, omnipotent, creator of 100 billion galaxies, and other concepts that would be gibberish to the original audience of Genesis.

          The modern Negative notions about God are a result of Platonism that was infused into the church during and after the time of Paul. If you are dedicated to attacking Christianity, you should point this out more.

          Agree again. Thanks for the prodding. I’m simply not well versed enough in this area to speak with any authority yet. Perhaps with time.

          You say: Do we agree that gang rape is about humiliation, not about sexual pleasure?

          It does not seem that way in the Judges 19 story or in many gang rape stories that I see in the news. Men tend to be very sexual and often sex is a driving force in their actions.

          Gang rape of women may not be about humiliation. With the mob situation described in the Sodom story, however, dominance and humiliation seem like precisely the desired ends.

          The Bible does not talk much about homosexuality, so we tend to take what we can get.

          Yes, one reason why I’m cautious here.

          Paul claims that homosexuals are worthy of death

          (1) We’re not always sure what Paul is trying to say, but (2) the topic here is Genesis and Sodom.

        • Chris Fisher

          You write: Could you summarize your point? Is it that Sodom is a clear statement that homosexuality is wrong in God’s eyes?

          Taking the story of Sodom by itself, no. If this story was found stand-alone in some Sumerian tablet, then we would have no clear indication what mix of sins (and the various weights of sins) were the reason for the destruction of Sodom.

          But within the Biblical context, we have an idea of what ancient Israel and 1st Century Israel believed were the major factors. Professor Christine Hayes, who I think is an atheist, writes:

          ///////////////////

          The story of Sodom and Gomorrah has often been cited as a condemnation of homosexuality, the assumption being that the Sodomites were destroyed for homosexual intercourse with the divine visitors. The very terms sodomy and sodomize represent such an interpretation. But the idea that the fundamental sin of Sodom was its homosexual nature is not at all clear in the Hebrew Bible (it is suggested in later interpretations found in the Christian New Testament such as [Jude] 7 and 2 Peter 2: 6– 10 and subsequent texts). The Sodomites are guilty of gang rape, and the gender of the victims is hardly relevant. The Sodomites, like the generation of the flood, stand condemned by the “outcry” against them, a Hebrew term generally associated with the appeal of victims of violence, bloodshed, and oppressive injustice (Sarna, Genesis, 144– 146). The Sodomites’ violation of the unwritten desert law of hospitality to strangers, their violent desire to abuse the strangers they should have been sheltering, is evidently merely one instance of their violent brutality.

          ///////////////////

          Hayes understands the story to be considered as homosexual destruction by the 1st century Jews:

          Jud 1:7 just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.

          2Pe 2:6 if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly;
          2Pe 2:7 and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked

          If Genesis is written by a Jew in the time of the Kings (Genesis 36:31) then that Jew most likely had the Levitical law in mind when formulating reasons behind Sodom’s destruction. The author of Jude and the author of Peter also seem to think so. Do you at least admit the authors of Jude (and perhaps Peter) see the sin of homosexuality as the commanding reason behind the destruction of Sodom?

          You say: I would be hard pressed to say “Sodom was destroyed primarily for xyz sin.”… xyz = general unpleasantness to your fellow man?

          I would say sure.

          You write: Gang rape of women may not be about humiliation. With the mob situation described in the Sodom story, however, dominance and humiliation seem like precisely the desired ends.

          It could be. And it could be supported if the story is taken by itself. But referring to Jude and Peter, later Jews associate it with sexuality.

          Again, I think you are a smart man and with your input I will be revising the wording in my article. Thank you for your time.

        • If Genesis is written by a Jew in the time of the Kings (Genesis 36:31)

          I imagine you’re familiar with the documentary hypothesis? Richard Friedman says that the Sodom story in Genesis 19 was part of the J source.

          “Who wrote Genesis?” then becomes a bit more complicated.

          … then that Jew most likely had the Levitical law in mind when formulating reasons behind Sodom’s destruction.

          The documentary hypothesis argues that Lev. 18 and 20 (the “God hates fags” chapters) are from the P source. J and P had different agendas.

          Do you at least admit the authors of Jude (and perhaps Peter) see the sin of homosexuality as the commanding reason behind the destruction of Sodom?

          No. The language is unclear—sexual immorality and unnatural desires in Jude, and ungodly and lawless in 2 Pete. Are we talking incest? Bestiality? Adultery? Premarital sex? Prostitution? Heck, given the crazy sh*t in Leviticus, it could mean having sex with a woman on her period.

          And 2 Pete is a pretty weak source. It wasn’t written by Peter but seems to show the hand of several different authors—not a very authoritative source, even though it’s canon.

          But referring to Jude and Peter, later Jews associate it with sexuality.

          We see the OT radically reworked to suit the purposes of New Testament authors—for example, Matthew when he reworks Isaiah 7 to imagine Mary as fulfilling a “virgin birth” prophecy. Even if New Testament authors thought that homosexuality was 100% wrong, that doesn’t mean that that interpretation is what was intended by the author of the Sodom story (the understanding of which is my goal).

          Thank you for your time.

          It’s been a civil and informative chat. Thanks.