Five Christian Principles Used to Give the Bible a Pass (2 of 2)

Five Christian Principles Used to Give the Bible a Pass (2 of 2) February 17, 2016

Let the Bible clarify the BibleStarting with the popular Christian principle, “Let the easy Bible passages interpret the hard ones,” we’ve been examining five principles for biblical interpretation (beginning with this post). Here are the final three.

Principle #3: Begin with the assumption that the Bible has no contradictions

Here’s the principle stated in “How to Interpret the Bible” (HIB):

The “analogy of faith” is a reformed hermeneutical principle which states that, since all scriptures are harmoniously united with no essential contradictions, therefore, every proposed interpretation of any passage must be compared with what the other parts of the Bible teach. In other words, the body of doctrine, which the scriptures as a whole proclaim will not be contradicted in any way by any passage. Therefore, if two or three different interpretations of a verse are equally possible, any interpretation that contradicts the clear teaching of any other scriptures must be ruled out from the beginning.

So before you say, “Aha—there’s a contradiction here in the Bible,” go back and rethink that, because there are no contradictions. (The first rule of Look for Contradictions in the Bible Club is that there are no contradictions in the Bible.)

You can see the problem. “There are no contradictions” would be a conclusion, not a starting assumption, and there is a huge mountain to climb before this principle can be validated.

As an aside, this principle, where Christians simply declare that the Bible has no contradictions, has a parallel in Islam. The Principle of Abrogation states that if there’s a contradiction in the Quran, the later passage (that is, the one written later) wins out over the earlier. Problem solved—no more contradiction.

As damning as the Muslim principle is (how could the Prophet have gotten it wrong the first time?), at least it’s a rule. Principle 3 simply makes a groundless assertion.

Let’s let the Bible itself speak on this.

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16).

You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take anything from it, that you may keep the commandments of Yahweh which I command you (Deuteronomy 4:2).

The verse from 1 Timothy tells us that any passage, even the ones that make Christians squirm, should be read and followed, and the one from Deuteronomy says that the Bible must be allowed to speak for itself and not be treated like a marionette. So next time you pick the more pleasing verse and pretend the “difficult” verse doesn’t exist, don’t!

Principle #4: Begin with the assumption that the Bible is infallible and inerrant.

Here are a few excerpts from the 1978 Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, a joint project of more than 200 evangelical leaders:

We affirm that canonical Scripture should always be interpreted on the basis that it is infallible and inerrant.

We deny that alleged errors and discrepancies that have not yet been resolved vitiate the truth claims of the Bible.

(Infallible means reliable and trustworthy, and inerrant means containing no mistakes in statements of fact.)

There is no interest here in following evidence. You don’t need to make a reasoned argument if you’re simply going to declare this as a faith position. “The Bible is manmade” has been ruled out, not because the evidence points elsewhere but simply as fiat.

What’s the point of scholarship in this environment? This is intellectual in the same way that discussing strategy in a card game is intellectual. Sure, much mental energy can be spent on the project and interesting ideas can come from it, but in the end it’s just a game. It becomes just one stake in the field of Dogma. Without any empirical evidence to ground this view, other Christians will simply put their stakes where they please.

Principle 5: Avoid claims built on uncertain grounds

From HIB:

Don’t build a doctrine upon a single verse or an uncertain textual reading. We should not erect an entire teaching or system of doctrine upon a verse in isolation from its context, or which has dubious textual support. Christian doctrine should be built upon passages which exist in the original manuscripts and can be confirmed through the science of textual criticism.

I agree that the manuscript tradition should be reliable, but keep in mind how difficult it is to know what the originals said. Scholars do a good job deciding which of two variant traditions is the older one. What they don’t do well is deciding between two traditions when they only have copies of one. We have a centuries-long dark ages before the earliest codices of the fourth century—who knows how many hundreds or thousands of changes were made that we don’t know of?

The principle argues that we not build anything substantial on a verse that is an outlier. That sounds sensible until we consider that this conflict—the general consensus versus the outlier—means that there’s a contradiction in the Bible. Principle #3 declares that contradictions don’t exist, but of course that’s a declaration built on nothing.

The second problem is that one of the most important Christian doctrines, the Trinity, violates this principle. There are a few verses that speak of the three persons separately in one sentence (for example, “Make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit” from Matthew 28:19), but this is a long way from the elaborate Trinitarian handwaving in the Athanasian Creed of around 500 CE. This is the one principle that makes sense, and it tells us that there’s scant evidence for Paul or Jesus having a Trinitarian concept of God.

I wonder why Christians don’t apply these principles to other religions’ holy books (or even apply them consistently to their own).

The Bible is the world’s oldest, longest-running, most widespread,
and least deservedly respected Rorschach Test.
You can look at it and see whatever you want.
And everybody does.
— Richard S. Russell

No man ever believes that the Bible means what it says.
He is always convinced that it says what he means.
— George Bernard Shaw

Image credit: Photo Editing Services Tucia, flickr, CC

"This is what I call talk-show theologising. WLC knows how ridiculous his real beliefs sound ..."

Was Jesus Born to a Virgin? ..."
"Sorry I'm having a dig at the kind of argument that people sometimes like to ..."

Was Jesus Born to a Virgin? ..."
"Jesse doesn't seem to have any background in any of these subjects nor any curiosity ..."

How Much Faith to Be an ..."
"Yes no true Catholic ! Sort of like "you go to hell because you don't ..."

Was Jesus Born to a Virgin? ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!


TRENDING AT PATHEOS Nonreligious
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • epicurus

    Principle 3 and 4 make me think of how the Bible and creeds we have was for the most part decided upon by 4th century and later Christians. One has to believe they were also being divinely inspired in their work. I don’t think many of them would be chummy buddies with the Protestant reformers or today’s inerrancy defenders like Norman Geisler.

  • Sophia Sadek

    Anyone with respect for the people who wrote the bible would not consider it to be the product of a single intelligence. There is clearly an intellectual prison at work in the fundamentalist mindset.

  • epicurus

    I recently read a book that had pages and pages of New Testament citations and allusions to what Protestants consider apocryphal and pseudepigraphal writings. Things like Tobit, Maccabees, Sirach etc. So if every gospel writer (and by implication Jesus) and Paul and the writers of the other letters and epistles who wrote inspired inerrant works referred to the apocrypha and others, why aren’t they in the Bible. I know there’s a whole back story, my point is just that there is so much emphasis on the perfection of a book by inerrantists, acting like it dropped shrink-wrapped from the sky, ignores the political and social issues that make it what it is. Everyone here probably knows this, I guess I’m just venting.

    • Greg G.

      My favorite example is Mark 12:18-27 where the Sadducees ask Jesus which of seven husbands would get the wife they each had in heaven. This would be from Tobit 3:7-8, where a woman married seven brothers and the demon Asmodeus killed all but the last one on their wedding night.

      The Apocrypha are in the Catholic bible and are called deuterocanonical. Catholic scholars make connections between NT passages and the Apocrypha, some I think are tenuous. Some connections are based in the use of one uncommon word in both verses.

      • T-Paine

        Cool story: I possess a copy of a NRSV bible that contains the apocrypha.

      • TheNuszAbides

        Tobit is a blast.

    • I think the last book added to the Catholic canon happened in the 16th century.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_canon#Canons_of_various_Christian_traditions

      • epicurus

        Right, sorry, I was mainly thinking of Protestant inerrantists in my comment. I should have specified.

    • TheNuszAbides

      i’d be curious to see them play Creative Interp as to how every turning point (of books added, cast aside, etc.) bore some unmistakable hallmark of Divine Guidance(TM)–even moreso to apologeticize the transition from (A) Great Church Doctors/Fathers making perfectly appropriate decisions about doctrine, translation, which heresies/heretics get burned or cut down, et al. to (B) the Romans and/or Easterns becoming/being corrupt monstrosities and leading their flocks away from the True Path. (i realize the vast, conceptually unadventurous majority would merely handwave with “Gawd wouldn’t allow any truth to be destroyed” or “if anything were lost, Gawd would later reReveal it to His Chosen at Mysterious Way O’Clock”; i just like the idea of stumbling upon more ‘visionary’ adherents for sheer entertainment value. it’s the fantasy roleplay gamer-junkie in me.) perhaps there’s still a Cult (or two) of the First Gutenberg still kicking around?

      EDIT: completed a thought.

  • MNb

    “That is intellectual in the same way that discussing strategy in a card game is intellectual.”
    At least in strategies applied to card games a lot of probability calculation is involved.

    • jh

      I prefer the comic book analogy. Throw a bunch of comic book fans together and you could hear complex, intelligent comments one hypothetical matchups, discontinuity, and characterization.

      • Greg G.

        The Wrath of Khan was a movie based on an episode of the earliest Star Trek TV series. Kahn, played by Ricardo Montalban in both the TV show and the movie, faces Ensign Monsterbait and Chekov, who now has his own starship command. Kahn says to Monsterbait that he doesn’t recognize him but he does recognize Chekov. However, Khan’s episode was in the first season and Chekov first appears in the second season.

        Star Trek apologetics say that Chekov was on the ship but not on the bridge yet, so he simply never appeared on screen, and Khan must have passed him in the halls or passageways of the Enterprise at some point.

        • Myna Alexanderson

          When I was very small, I was convinced that Ricardo Montalban was god. This was long before Fantasy Island, so I don’t know exactly what influenced the notion. The Montalban as god phase was after the one where I was convinced god was a kilt wearing, singing Scotsman who occasionally played the pipes. Both phases lasted about a year a piece. I was completely convinced, mind you. Off topic, I know, but the mention of Ricardo Montalban brought it back to mind.

        • epicurus

          And don’t forget Ricardo’s “Rich Corinthian Leather” in the NEW 1978 CHRYSLER CORDOBA!!!

        • Greg G.

          You beat me to it. Nobody has ever said the word “Corinthian” as elegantly as he did.

        • Michael Neville

          Ricardo Montalban could do more than sell cars and act. Here’s him dancing with Cyd Charisse.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=imxqup1_G9Q

        • epicurus

          Wow he looks young – barely looks like himself 🙂

        • Myna Alexanderson

          I tried just now to find the elegant diamond commercial that featured Mr. Montalban several years ago, but couldn’t find a reference to it. I did find that in 1998 he was awarded Knight of the Order of St. Gregory the Great by Pope John Paul II, though. This may become useful text-wise when Elvis becomes Jesus in 300 years.

        • TheNuszAbides

          i am ashamed to admit that i once cast a vote for a lieutenant-governor candidate primarily because he had been knighted by the King of Spain.

        • Myna Alexanderson

          There’s a spooky allure to the knighthood.

        • Greg G.

          He would have been great on Fantasy Dancing with the Stars.

        • Jack Baynes

          Are you sure he isn’t? Have you ever seen Ricardo Montalban and God in the same place?

        • Myna Alexanderson

          Indeed, neither he nor the Scotsman! Peculiar, that.

        • Len

          Are you saying that god really is a True Scotsman?

        • Myna Alexanderson

          I wouldn’t swear to it, but do have my suspicions.

        • Greg G.

          Sean Connery is God? I knew it!

        • TheNuszAbides

          in Scotland, but not necessarily in the Bahamas.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          No! Chekov not in it from the start!!?? **clutches heart**

          LOL

        • Jack Baynes

          I’ve heard an explanation that off screen Chekov was hogging the bathroom that Khan needed to use, forever searing hatred of Chekov in to Khan’s heart!

      • Hmm. Interesting. Also, there must be something like that within fandom of Star Trek or other SciFi franchises?

        Good suggestion.

    • Right–you can come to a definitive answer to some questions with cards. Not so religion.

    • TheNuszAbides

      something* tells me that most fundagelical card players would be more comfortable with the Gambler’s Fallacy.

      *probably Satan sitting on my shoulder or something,

  • Yonah

    Well, I guess I’ll try my question again. Why? Why does Bob hold that a conservative Protestant notion of authority get elevated in atheist world to the status of being the pan-Christian position? Popes trump the Bible. Orthodox Holy Tradition trumps the Bible. I wanna see Bob take on Catholics and Eastern Orthodox. The Protestants are just way too easy.

    • Giauz Ragnarock

      To paraphrase a quote in a previous comment section, “Having a counter to every apologetic is impossible, which largely doesn’t matter when all of the apologetics rely on the same crap reasoning.”

      Adding to that: The Bible is the common element in Christianity. Later traditions don’t make up for their basis in mythology and fallacy.

      • Yonah

        Catholicism/Orthodoxy existed before the Bible. It made the Bible.

        • Jack Baynes

          As Catholicism and Eastern Orthodox churches have diverged wildly, neither church resembles much the people who decided which books to add to the Bible and which to suppress.

        • Yonah

          Your assertion is beside the point that Catholicism/Orthodoxy in any generation makes claims with a supra-biblical authority.

        • Jack Baynes

          Then what was your point in asserting that they predate the Bible?

        • Yonah

          That Catholic/Orthodox authority/claims do not rest on the biblical system that Bob assumes is the sole matrix of Christian claims.

        • Jack Baynes

          But what does that have to do with your false assertion that they predate the Bible?

        • Yonah

          They predate “The Bible” as a edited whole work. Before the 4th century setting of the canon, the component parts of the Bible were just that…of course the Septuagint was a big canon part already existent as a kind of canon for Jews. But until the canon was set by the Church, there was no “The Bible” as one authoritative text. And even after the canon was set, biblical interpretation was subject to the same Church hierarchical authority that set the canon.

        • Jack Baynes

          There were Christian churches before the Bible. It wasn’t the Roman Catholic Church or Eastern Orthodoxy.

        • Yonah

          Yes, you have extended my point. Christian community was pluralistic pre canon (and even post canon) with many exemplars outside of the Protestant Bible paradigm.

        • adam

          Christian community was pluralistic pre canon (and even post canon)

          And still is….

          So what exactly IS your point?

        • Yonah

          Not all Christian community past or present runs on the Protestant Bible paradigm that Bob assumes is a pan-Christian paradigm.

        • adam

          So?

          And what ‘paradigm’ is that?

        • Yonah

          If you wish to indict the various authoritative paradigms of Christianity (pluralistic as they are), it is for you to chase down those paradigms and take them apart. No one should do your reading for you.

        • adam

          ” No one should do your reading for you.”

          And so which ‘paradigms’ are YOU speaking of?

          Are these not all the “God of Abraham”?

        • Yonah

          We are dealing with paradigms of authority. For evangelical Protestantism, that is an inerrant Bible. For Catholic/Orthodox, it is apostolic succession.

        • What foundation does the claim for an inerrant Bible rest on?

        • Greg G.

          Itself:

          2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NRSV)16 All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work.

          Hebrews 4:12 (NRSV)12 Indeed, the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

          Stuff like that.

        • epicurus

          In my old 1978 Charles Ryrie study Bible (conservative Dallas Theological seminary professor), one of the appendices topics is views on inspiration, where he gives various views, and then he goes on to talk about how it keeps changing (in my opinion because under close examination it doesn’t stand up):

          “Just to illustrate how times have changed, not many years ago all one had to say to affirm his belief in the full inspiration of the Bible was that he believed it was “the Word of God.” Then it became necessary to add “the inspired Word of God.” Later he had to include “the verbally, inspired Word of God.” Then to mean the same thing he had to say “the plenary (fully), verbally, inspired Word of God.” Then came the necessity to say “the plenary, verbally, infallible, inspired Word of God.” Today one has to say “the plenary, verbally, infallible, inspired, and inerrant-in-the original manuscripts Word of God.” And even then, he may not communicate clearly!”

        • TheNuszAbides

          fairly impressive concession for a conservative theologian.

        • Yonah

          Historically, a bullshit Protestant resentment of the Roman Catholic declaration of Papal Infallibility in 1870. Inerrancy is a completely modern made-up bullshit rebuttal.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Just call it by its rightful name, xtian *hadith*

        • What we think of as early Catholicism wasn’t the only strain of Christianity in the first and second centuries.

        • Yonah

          Very true, and those forms were even less applicable to the Protestant Bible methodology you employ.

        • T-Paine

          Emperor Constantine made Catholicism/Orthodoxy and it in turn made the New Testament.

        • Yonah

          The 4th century Church set the canon with an authority that pre-existed the canon, and also reserved the sole authority to interpret the canon and what weight given to the canon.

        • adam

          “The 4th century Church set the canon with an authority that pre-existed
          the canon, and also reserved the sole authority to interpret the canon
          and what weight given to the canon.”

          So?
          So does every other christian sect and cult..

        • Yonah

          Not officially. The Southern Baptist Convention claims it follows the Bible of the 4th century canon. To your point, they really just pull shit out of their ass.

        • adam

          :”To your point, they really just pull shit out of their ass.”

          Everyone with an imaginary god does, so what?

        • T-Paine

          The “preexisting authority” is and always has been a fairy tale. The formation of the cult and the choice of canon began under the eyes of Constantine. Before that – “Christianity” was not but a loose constellation of mystery cults with a variety of writings inspired by the cults’ theologies.

        • Yonah

          Fine, but Constantine merely commanded bishops to get a program together and stick with it. So, their program was their authority, and the canon a tool in their toolbox…not the originating program.

        • T-Paine

          No universal “program” or “cannon” before Constantine = No unified authority, tradition, or theology. The unity of the cult is and always has been a fabrication. Before Constantine, there was no Christianity – only a loose confederation of mystery cults.

        • Yonah

          Prior to Constantine, bishops exercised authority within their bishoprics over property, policy, and support staff and did so in a dynastic succession….without a Bible.

        • T-Paine

          That’s the retroactive fairy tale you’ve been sold. That there was a church hierarchy modeled on the imperial cult before Constantine instituted a new cult built on the preexisting pagan imperial cult structure.

        • Yonah

          Not in the collegial paradigm you assume I assert. Rather, the primitive early succession were local, but successions over local communities, be they Jerusalem, Antioch, Rome, etc. The unfortunate story of the Jerusalem church is that that James and his succession were hounded out of existence by the Pauline church. To their credit they lasted several hundred years. But, the paradigm you assume I assert, yes, materialized in the Constantinian era. That institution adopted the successions of local bishops, tied the successions to the apostles, and created a whole authority system. Your indictment of that system’s historical integrity is beside the point that it was built and my point is that it is simply supra biblical in that system’s assumptions about itself. (I do not have a personal stake in it…I’m currently a Methodist.)

        • T-Paine

          You are only reciting the official narrative back to me. Outside of the texts you wouldn’t know anything about any church or Paul or James – no archaeological trace or any non-christian text or inscription betrays any knowledge of these churches or figures – you only know them from ink on vellum.

        • Yonah

          The Catholic/Orthodox claims flesh and blood…the laying on of hands one generation to the next. My grandma left no texts.

        • T-Paine

          Yes but so what?

        • Yonah

          The sociological communal nature of peoplehood is a 3-D thing which does not allow the feigned arid “intellectualism” of nullifying the credibility of texts and assumptions based on texts. To attack sociological units, you have to skirt and flirt with the edges of racism and general bigotry. You can do it on the net, but not face to face at Walmart.

        • T-Paine

          Believe it or not, your rant makes much more sense than all of Christian dogma.

        • Yonah

          Our systematic theology professor in seminary advised us to have at least one atheist friend to jerk us around.

        • TheNuszAbides

          pragmatic!

        • Yonah

          And therapeutic. A Lutheran pastor buddy of mine who is often getting the crap beat out of him by congregations has an atheist friend from childhood. They go out to dinner and his friend listens and says “told you so”….listens some more. Strangely, it works out for the good.

        • Greg G.

          I don’t always shop at Walmart but when I do, I tend to back away slowly… a lot.

        • Yonah

          I’m there a lot. My brother was an assistant manager several times…I say several times because he quit twice and went back. He finally cut the wires when there was a bomb threat (the caller said it was in the stockroom). He was the head on duty, and upper corporate would not let him call the authorities, but directed him to look for the bomb alone in the stock room. As he was going through boxes, he said to himself “I’m looking for a bomb. I think I need to find another job.” Perhaps this was a religious/existentialist moment. Bob may see it another way.

        • Rudy R

          It’s refreshing to hear from a Christian that Catholicism/Orthodoxy made up all that shit in the Bible, and by the Bible, we can presume you mean the New Testament.

        • Yonah

          The 4th century Church did not write the materials, but was the canonical editor. It chose the canon among many existing works. It did so with an authority structure that pre-existed the canon it chose.

        • Pofarmer

          Uhm, the 4th century church made up and consolidated the authority structure.

        • Greg G.

          They chose Irenaeus as the authority structure. The politicking and non-consensus canonization process shows that was not a universally held opinion.

        • Yonah

          Right. It was all very political. And, I like that.

        • TheNuszAbides

          here’s hoping/presuming you don’t include organized killing under the appreciation-umbrella of “very political”.

        • Yonah

          Unfortunately, that was entirely the case. The “original sin” of the Church is its anti-Judaism and the genocide flowing from that. As a Jew, I am bound to never let the Church forget this.

        • TheNuszAbides

          indeed, i meant to say that you seem (by my rather limited exposure) to be a fellow of peace, and i wanted to tease out whether you incorporate “politics by other means” into the realm of what you appreciate about how creeds developed.

        • Rudy R

          From the 2nd to 4th Centuries, the Bible texts were copied and recopied. It would be quite a leap of faith to suggest that the Catholic Church didn’t have a hand in rewriting the texts we now consider the New Testament.

        • Greg G.

          I recall seeing a study or a reference to a study that the greatest variations in the texts came before canonization.

        • When epistles are merely valuable advice rather than divinely inspired canon, I’d think changes are a lot easier to justify.

        • Yonah

          Such a theory is beside the point that the Catholic/Orthodox didn’t need a Bible for authority to change the Bible…if they changed the Bible…and if they did…the bishops could sit back and sip wine in the study saying “We had a right to change it because of apostolic succession…that’s why they pay us the big denari.”

        • TheNuszAbides

          iffy phrasing on purpose? the authority structure ostensibly pre-existed the choice, not (evidentially) the writings that ‘made the cut’.

        • Yonah

          Test it out for yourself by examining the current cultures of the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches. If you choose for whatever reason to interpret the early church another way, it leaves remaining the Catholic/Orthodox paradigm as it currently is. Currently, one would be hard pressed to find Catholics or Orthodox who do Protestant style Bible study. Among Catholics, I hear more priests teach from the Catechism or papal encyclicals. Among Orthodox, I hear more priests teach from Holy Tradition and the liturgy.

        • TheNuszAbides

          i’m in no way arguing that you’re mistaken about the differences between authority structures. i just thought the way you phrased that bit was too easy to misinterpret in a chronological sense.

        • Yonah

          Okay, I can see that. Thanks.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          Paul was a much later writer? For that matter, are the Tanakh writers, from whom much of the New Testament writings are derived, much much much later writers? Again, you seem to think if one builds enough on mythology and fallacy that one can make their way to fact.

        • Yonah

          I am simply pointing out that Catholicism/Orthodoxy operate upon a system other than the Protestant Bible paradigm and Bob has not, as yet, shown a methodology to counter the authority structure of the Catholic/Orthodox paragidm (he would have to read other books…a lot of them).

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          Can any of them say the Bible is, at the least, outdated and any material in their taditions that relates to the Bible is likewise outdated?

        • I have no obligation and little interest in following up on your homework assignment, but thanks for thinking of me.

          Your position seems to devolve into, “Stop beating the crap out of my position already! Why don’t you slap the Catholics around? Their position is just as ridiculous as mine!”

        • Yonah

          But, you don’t beat on my position. It just seems to me that beating on the evangelicals/fundamentalists is too easy. I think you would have had a tougher time with Marcus Borg, and such an exchange would be educational for all. The thing you don’t have to face with evangelicals/fundamentalists that you would with progressive Christians, neo-orthodox Christians, and Catholic/Orthodox Christians is a strong existentialist dimension skilled in nuance.

        • Susan

          The thing you don’t have to face with evangelicals/fundamentalists that you would with progressive Christians, neo-orthodox Christians, and Catholic/Orthodox Christians is a strong existentialist dimension skilled in nuance.

          I’m pretty sure I’ve seen that show more often than I wish I had.

          It doesn’t provide what it promises.

          Care to give us an example?

        • Yonah

          What did you see?

        • Susan

          What did you see?

          You’ve been here a while now and haven’t provided an example.

          What nuances would you like to see addressed?

        • Ignorant Amos

          I’m pretty sure I’ve seen that show more often than I wish I had.

          Indeed…It would appear Yonah doesn’t get about the interwebz too much. We both have extensive experience of the sublime, aka progressive Christians, to the more ridiculous, the evangelicals/fundamentalists. It’s just a case of shopping around. But the product is generally the same at it’s composition, just reconstituted in various forms and packaged differently.

          I laughed at “skilled in nuance”, so funny. The difference between the Westbro Baptist’s and the RC’s? At least the fuckwits in the Westbro Baptist’s have the courage of their convictions.

          “I meant what I said and I said what I meant.”

          ― Dr. Seuss, Horton Hatches the Egg

        • I don’t know anything specific about Marcus Borg, just that his position is very liberal. The liberal Christians that I’ve argued with have made points that either agreed with mine or are so unsubstantiated that there’s nothing to talk about. Frustrating.

          Nuance? Sounds like an opportunity to obfuscate.

        • epicurus

          I have the same feeling reading Marcus Borg as I do reading John Shelby Spong. Why won’t they just suck it up and leave Christianity? They’ve decimated just about every Christian belief to the point of nothing left, but they just keep plowing on. Surely there is a time to leave? but no, not for them.

        • I’ll add Karen Armstrong. I read her stuff, and it sounds like an analysis by an atheist.

          Maybe they’re just cultural Christians–the customs and community are important but the beliefs have fallen away.

        • epicurus

          Oh ya, I forgot about Karen Armstrong. Same deal. I suffered though a couple of her books. I’d very interested to see the reaction of Armstrong/Borg/Spong to a Muslim or Mormon who had destroyed their religious books to the extent those 3 had. Would they say to that person that it was obviously time to move on and leave an obviously false book like the Book of Mormon? Or would they tell the person it’s ok, just reinterpret everything to show the love of God through Joseph Smith. Hmmm.

        • Yonah

          Yes, exactly. I obfuscate industrially. If they don’t understand what I’m doing, I generally get to do it more.

        • Greg G.

          I obfuscate industrially.

          Great line!

        • Though I interpret this as sarcasm, the best that can be said of many Christian apologetics is that they’re confusing and unclear. That lets the apologist declare victory while his opponent is scratching his head, trying to figure out if there was anything in that argument or not.

        • Yonah

          Sometimes. Sometimes not. One of the chief disagreements between Eastern Orthodoxy and Western Christianity is the latter’s emphasis on dogma. I say emphasis for while the basic dogmatic creeds came out of the unified Constantinian church, the Eastern Christians let basics be basics…and the West just kept on going…which results in the plethora of western denominations that you point out now and again. In everyday Eastern Christian life the emphasis is put on the doxological in praise and worship, and the Orthodox are happy to limit basic piety and understanding to paradigm where the Christian life is a process of gradual union with the life of God…and in that….one is not going to have all the i’s dotted and t’s crossed at any one time. So there is a certain holy partial agnosticism (aka mystery) that is embraced….the trade off being Jesus Christ at the center of everything…the reason why the Orthodox often begin a worship moment with the exclamation of “Glory to Jesus Christ”. Personally, I am much more inclined to the Eastern attitude than the Western….which is probably why I’m going to get my ass kicked bad someday by the United Methodist Church. Oh, well.

        • What do you think of the Clergy Project?

          Why is the West so easy-going about making new denominations (or independent churches)? Is that a cultural (not religious) thing about the West that inclines us to such creativity/arrogance?

        • Yonah

          I have mixed feelings about the Clergy Project. On a human level, I can certainly understand the existential drama…their stress is my stress in many ways. But, on the other hand, a big factor in whether one stays or goes is economic. I quit ministry twice before for moral reasons…to my economic peril. It could happen again. I don’t wish to judge those involved in the Clergy Project on the economics of when and how they left, but I hope as well they would respect that I left abruptly twice such that I did not remain long in a state where I was basically faking it.

          On Western Christianity, my own view is that we ended up with a never-ending split off of denominations because Western Christianity became more de-Judaized. Over against the corporate People of God paradigm where the collective in emphasized more than the individual, the West, be it secular or religious puts the emphasis on the individual. This is less so in Roman Catholicism compared to Protestants, but Catholics still more individualist than Orthodox, and Orthodox more individualist than Jews. So, it’s a continuum that has moved West geographically, culturally, and historically. The Western religious individualist gene was really exacerbated by Luther and then the whole Protestant Reformation. Once the Bible was plucked out of the sole hands of the teaching magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church…and subsequently bequeathed to Uncle Ed sitting in his lazy boy making up his own crap interpretations, the cat was permanently out of the bag. There’s just no way in the Protestant paradigm to stop a continuous division of Uncle Ed cells. In the Protestant West, the “people of God” is a term leadership tries to re-install…but in all honesty, it’s not going very well. Western folk want what they want.

          In biblical scholarship, one the chief accomplishments over the last 40 years has been a firm establishment of new knowledge and understanding about the Jewish roots of Christianity and the Jewish Jesus. The question then emerged and continues to emerge as to what to do with this knowledge. Not many, but a few, have the guts to put the elephant in the room…in terms of employing measures to re-Judaize Christianity…that is to say: Re-install a real peoplehood paradigm/sense of identity and live that out in real and constructive actions that better the world…in line with the same ancient moral patterns of Judaism…to be honest about our sins/failures…our bullshit…deal with it in ourselves, and then just go out, without judging others…just work to better the world. Jews call it “tikkun olam”…repair of the world. Christians, when they think of it correctly, should call it “building the Kingdom of God”….not a political realm on domination, but akin to the biblical vision of a future world at peace…as in the Jewish messianic era. Here, the Reform Jews are helpful as they view the messianic era to come not about an actual person who is messiah…but rather the messiah is all people who work to make the world what it should be at peace…in a sense, John Lennon’s “Imagine” world…the best atheist hymn I suppose. But, from a messianic era point of view (Reform style), a human hymn. I suppose in that vision, humanity would be more balance between “east” and “west”.

        • Myna Alexanderson

          I enjoyed reading your reflections. I do wonder at the implications of this particular statement, though: “Once the Bible was plucked out of the sole hands of the teaching magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church…and subsequently bequeathed to Uncle Ed sitting in his lazy boy making up his own crap interpretations, the cat was permanently out of the bag”

          Isn’t this the natural consequence of mass literary and subsequent translation to common language? It’s the same argument against who is qualified to write literature. Once you have a literate society, individual interpretation is inevitable and everyone becomes a storyteller with a hope of having listeners. With technology, the quest becomes even more accessible.

          Now, there is the opposite argument that just because one is literate or holds an idea does not automatically mean one should write it out or redefine its interpretation against those who are assessed scholastically to be more qualified, and whose interpretive judgement ought to be trusted. However, it does sound like an elitist argument. In that case, wouldn’t it also be an argument against any translation of text beyond its original language or the Greek and Latin translation? The lazy chair Eds might be too intellectually lethargic to spend the 4, 6 or 10 years learning to comprehend those languages, thus eliminating the temptation to reinterpret their translation. Again, it’s a bit of an elitist argument.

          Perhaps I have misunderstood what you meant to convey in the statement.

          I was curious and looked up The Clergy Project. It was very interesting. I hadn’t heard of it before.

        • Yonah

          I appreciate your thoughts.

          My first thought in response is the historical coincidence of Luther’s theological journey concurrent to the advance of print/text. An interesting psychological/sociological question arises for me as to what extent “Luther” was a creation of the media technology of his age. Did he prefigure Trump? Personally, I’ve always suspected that Luther was much more self-centered, opportunist, self-promoting than certainly his Lutheran defenders would ever for a second entertain.

          Historically, the handing over of the tradition to non-elites has never been a straight line, but rather a dialetical one. We saw this with Paul, who extended the Gospel to the gentiles, free from Law (Jews), only to have to walk it back because the Greco-Roman Gentiles did not “get” the corporate dimension they were supposed to translate into “Gentile”. There, the problem was not because they were non-elites, but they couldn’t make the cultural translation of People of God from “Hebrew” to “Greek”. Today, Uncle Ed might well have a doctorate, but still be blinded by his cultural/political/economic inheritance of western individualism. Jesus speaks in terms of a certain kind of elitism…”those who have ears to hear”. In a blunt sense, it is the elitism of the “narrow way”…a mathematically slim community that has said “yes” to what many say “no” to. Theologically, on the western side, this has often been termed “the theology of the cross”. Douglas John Hall wrote a book on this entitled “Lighten our Darkness: Toward An Indigenous Theology of the Cross.” He wrote the book in 1975 for North American Christians to 1) attack the triumphalist nature North American Christianity 2) propose a replacement with a more ancient and authentic but very “thin tradition” of the theology of the cross…or in other words: a form of Christianity where the Christian takes very seriously the denial of self for the good of the community (world). Non elites are certainly called to this as any…in any case, it means leaving the western ideal: the primacy of the individual behind. I think it is on account of this cultural/political divide that the Romans called both Jews and Christians of the first century, “atheists”.

        • Myna Alexanderson

          Thank you for your response. I do appreciate the clarification very much.

          You raise a good point on Luther’s character, but I wonder if he is only another illustration of how followers tend to mythologize a figurehead in order to forward a belief system. I don’t think there is any escaping this. It’s just what humans tend to do. But taking it one step further, Luther seems to be merely another actor on the evolutionary stage of beliefs eventually changing from one formulation to another. The Earth appears to be ardently non-sectarian in its processes and its inhabitants are never static.

          Quote: “Douglas John Hall…1) attack the triumphalist nature North
          American Christianity 2) propose a replacement with a more ancient and
          authentic but very “thin tradition” of the theology of the cross…or in
          other words: a form of Christianity where the Christian takes very
          seriously the denial of self for the good of the community (world)”

          1) I do have to agree with Mr. Hall’s assertion to attack the triumphalist nature of N.A. Christianity, for everyone’s sake. I imagine this superiority complex holds hands with the old notion of Manifest Destiny and the assorted mythologies Americans cling to.

          2) We have reached an unprecedented time in human history, and I cannot reasonably argue that a deeper sense of altruism would not be beneficial, if not crucial, in both a global and localized context. We do tend to forget that what we have grown accustomed to could collapse at any time, which would include our beliefs, and the need for sustaining a cohesive sense of community skills would be critical. But there, again, a new mythology would rise, like the Phoenix from the proverbial ashes, which, again, seems be inherent to the nature of being human and a repetition in the unavoidable ebb and flow of things.

          Individualism does have its critical place, we are a creative species, after all, but would add that when not balanced with altruism, it can all run amok; however, it is equally true the other way around. You stifle individualism, and you stifle ideas. We all have a stake in that balance, no matter our world view. I don’t know if anything can realistically go back 2,000 years to an alternate cosmology in a world that is moving forward into another 2,000 years, even if it is to recover the roots of something feared lost.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I think it is on account of this cultural/political divide that the Romans called both Jews and Christians of the first century, “atheists”.

          In classical times it referred to anyone that didn’t believe in your god/gods, so anyone not following the pagan gods of Rome were atheist to the Romans.

          The word has meant many things to many people depending on the era.

          As Dawkins says in the God Delusion, “We are all atheists about most of the gods that humanity has ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further.”

        • Yonah

          I agree with that.

          Dawkins is interesting. He calls himself a “secular Christian.” I would say there’s something to work with there.

        • I would think that millions of American Christians are “secular Christians.” The next step in the church’s evolution is to welcome those people overtly so they can come out.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Richard Dawkins is atheist as ya know. Saying he is a secular Christian was probably a poor choice of words that got jumped all over by folk who want it to mean something that it really doesn’t. He should have stuck with his being a cultural Anglican in my opinion.

        • Yonah

          Agree.

        • Ignorant Amos

          What do you suppose Dawkins means by the term secular Christian?

        • adam

          Buddhist?

          Seems to me if you do away with the magic and add some reasoning, you end up with something that looks a lot like Buddhism.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Perhaps…but claims cultural Anglican.

        • TheNuszAbides

          that reminds me to look for a copy of Waking Up. (Lying also looked good.)

        • Yonah

          I am not sure…I would have to read more. I know what secular Jews are…in their most admirable ethical stripe, I would count Bernie Sanders. So, I would hope for a non-Jewish version of Sanders with the term “secular Christian”.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I was curious and looked up The Clergy Project. It was very interesting. I hadn’t heard of it before.

          Came about as a result of research by Dan Dennett and Linda LaScola.

          https://ase.tufts.edu/cogstud/dennett/papers/Preachers_who_are_not_believers.pdf

        • Myna Alexanderson

          Thanks for the link, Amos! I had only looked up the main website. I wasn’t really surprised by the reflections of the interview respondents. It was almost as though I suspected it all along. I felt a genuine sympathy for them, of having set out with one ideal, only to find out that in the coarse of events they were only part of a deeper deception. There’s a sense of grief in their stories.

        • The supernatural stuff seems to get in the way. Why not just jettison it?

        • Yonah

          I suppose what the stuff is matters, and whether there’s a better word for it.

          Many in the circles I’ve been in are intent on jettisoning “other worldly” stuff. Thus “heaven” is politely displaced with “Kingdom of God”…which is this worldly. But, the Orthodox would never accept the demarcation of super and natural. It’s all one thing with them, and I find that better than the western habit of compartmentalization.

          The “stuff” has layers and a history. Among atheists, at least Marx had a certain kind of empathy for the reasons of it supposed role. So, one could start with that kind of empathy. What Elaine Pagels has written of the Book of Revelation should be extended to the whole New Testament and the whole early Christian movement: that it was a war-time literature….and the early Christian movement a resistance movement over against the Roman system. A lot of the tools in the early Christian toolbox were adopted from the Pharisees. Let us cut to the chase on the top of the “stuff”: the Resurrection.

          The Resurrection of the Dead has a political history directly out of Pharisaic history. The Pharisees birthed the idea/teaching of the Resurrection of the Dead in a context Marx would understand: oppression…in which the righteous suffer, and the evil triumph. As a matter of human refusal to succumb to Holocaust, the Jewish spirit under the Pharisees said “No”…the righteous shall be redeemed…they shall live. How many envisioned this physically? or Memorially?….as in the effect of their lives on future generations…who can tell? But, what is certain is the utter seriousness by which these people took up the position that Death and the forces of Death shall not have the last word. This ethos was extended and enlarged exponentially to Jesus. It became central to the dna of those who chose this path of saying “No” to Death.

        • at least Marx had a certain kind of empathy for the reasons of it supposed role.

          You mean the “opiate of the masses” comment? Yes, that was indeed praise for religion, but he saw it as simply addressing a symptom. He wanted to remove the problem.

          As a matter of human refusal to succumb to Holocaust, the Jewish spirit under the Pharisees said “No”…the righteous shall be redeemed…they shall live.

          You really want to bring up the Holocaust? What better evidence that God doesn’t exist?

          what is certain is the utter seriousness by which these people took up the position that Death and the forces of Death shall not have the last word.

          What amazes me is how tenacious people hold on to god belief despite the lack of evidence. You think God exists despite his allowing the Holocaust? Your supernatural beliefs have become unfalsifiable.

        • Yonah

          If you re-read my Holocaust comment, I did not write “the Holocaust” as in the Nazi era, but poetically meant Holocaust in terms of the forces of Death. If you look at the sentence, my reference to Holocaust was referenced to the era of the Pharisees which reacted to the oppression of their day (Holocaust) with a new fangled teaching of the Resurrection…which the Sadducees did not agree with…as is the case with many Jews today. The invention of the Resurrection by the Pharisees is unique in that its origin was based in a concept of moral justice for the oppressed as opposed to most religious after-life claims which are panderings to general fear of natural death.

          In reference to the sentence on utter seriousness of opposition to Death (Roman or Nazi machines), apparently you could not imagine human beings who would define or re-define the word “god” to represent a will to resist and counter Caesar or Hitler. The latest in Pauline studies shows a new realization that Paul’s presentation of Jesus as Lord was in direct resistance/counter to the lordship of Caesar. Can people deify morality? You may object to that on some basis, but I think it is entirely understandable why people with nothing else would do so. So, I wonder why you don’t account for non fundamentalist definitions of “God” that are no secret, and which I think can be found in the ancient origins of the Judeo-Christian tradition which fundamentalists have appended themselves to…it’s not like they can remove the obvious existentialist moorings of the tetragrammaton…their only option is just to make up crap and lay it on top.

          But then Christianity is weird. In Christianity, Jesus is God. Yes, there is the Trinity. But that doctrine was made up to support the chief doctrine: Jesus is God.

          A dead man = God. The pope carries a stick around with the dead man on it. Paul said: “I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.”

          Very strange.

        • Ignorant Amos
        • Ignorant Amos

          Many in the circles I’ve been in are intent on jettisoning “other worldly” stuff. Thus “heaven” is politely displaced with “Kingdom of God”…which is this worldly.

          The Kingdom of God and Heaven are not the same. The Kingdom of God is not yet with the believer, though Heaven is, and is the goal of all.

          https://www.tms.edu/m/msj23j.pdf

          Anyway they’ve jettisoned much more than the word “heaven”, they’ve jettisoned six of them already, and erroneously relabelled the 7th as the Kingdom of God if that’s your assertion of the use of the term, The Kingdom of God?

          https://stjudasmaccabaeus.wordpress.com/2012/10/04/the-mystery-of-the-judeochristian-seven-heavens/

          Moving along.

          The Kingdom of God is found in the earliest Christian text’s, the Pauline corpus.

          The Kingdom of God. The Gospel traditions portray Jesus as one who proclaims the presence and coming of “the kingdom of God” (alternatively, “the kingdom of heaven”). Outside the Gospels Paul employs kingdom language more than any other NT writer. The apostle describes the kingdom as consisting of justice (righteousness), peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Rom 14:17). He urges the Thessalonians to walk worthy of God who is calling them into his kingdom and glory (1 Thess 2:12). The gospel Paul preaches is, in fact, a word about the kingdom (1 Thess 2:9-13). He warns the Corinthians that the kingdom is more than fine words and rhetoric; it consists of power (1 Cor 4:20). The unrighteous and immoral, Paul writes, will not “inherit” the kingdom (1 Cor 6:9; Gal 5:21; cf. Eph 5:5) neither will flesh and blood (1 Cor 15:50). The kingdom figures ultimately in Paul’s understanding of the eschaton. Following the parousia, the Son will deliver the kingdom over to God the Father after the subjection of all the powers to the Son so that “God may be all in all” (1 Cor 5:20-28). In Col 1:12-13 Paul gives thanks to God for delivering believers from the domain of darkness and transferring them into the kingdom of his beloved Son. For Paul, the rule of God is realized in the Lordship of Christ, who is the source of forgiveness and redemption. As in the Gospels, there is an “already-not yet” aspect to Paul’s teaching of the kingdom. Likely Paul’s ideas about the kingdom originate in the Jesus tradition. Still the language of the kingdom is not as common in the letters as it is in the Gospels. This has caused some scholars to question whether Paul’s essential message is congruent with Jesus’ teaching. Others find similarity in Paul’s teaching of the Spirit. In the Gospels God’s rule is manifest through Jesus by the Spirit (Matt 12:28; cf. Luke 11:20). For Paul God’s rule is manifest now in the Spirit of God whom he also calls “the Spirit of Christ” (Rom 8:9; 14:17). The Spirit’s powerful presence constitutes a new reality or new creation (2 Cor 5:17) that for the apostle may well correlate with the presence of the kingdom (1 Cor 6:9-11; Gal 4:6-7).

          The Kingdom of God is a Jewish term and is used extensively in the OT.

          But, the Orthodox would never accept the demarcation of super and natural. It’s all one thing with them, and I find that better than the western habit of compartmentalization.

          And that’s where we fall into a lot of problems right there..let the word salad commence.

        • Yonah

          Kingdom of God and Heave are not the same. In Jesus’ usage the Kingdom is larger and includes heaven. But, the modern evangelical/fundamentalist or even general traditionalist subject to the mish-mash of Christianity influenced by surviving Greco-Roman culture thinks of heaven as primary and terminal…mostly because of the individualist emphasis that western culture assumes. So, then, you have a really weird dichotomy on the Resurrection…with Jesus its physical (by Jewish sense of Resurrection), but with Uncle Ed and Velma, it’s spiritual….when Uncle Ed kicks the bucket, Velma says his spirit goes straight to heaven…just like in Egyptian or Norse religion….which begs the question why I even have to go out to the cemetery and do extra mumbo-jumbo at the grave AFTER the funeral…if Ed is already in heaven. No one has explained this to me…yet, lol. Now, if everyone accepted a JEWISH sense of resurrection, it would all make sense. A buddy of mine tried installing that in a congregation. They got up in the middle of the church service and yelled at him really bad…and then fired him. And then I was the next pastor. Oh joy.

          I’ve never talked to Orthodox about this, but it seems to me their one-dimensional attitude would be interesting fodder for discussion with panentheists.

        • Greg G.

          Isn’t “kingdom of heaven” just a Matthew thing? I did a search for both phrases in the KJV and the NIV and got the same result.

          PS. Matthew 4:17 has “kingdom of heaven”. Mark 1:15 is its parallel and has “kingdom of God”.

        • There are lots of Jewish euphemisms in the gospels. For example, Mark and Matthew both have, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?”

          Why not just say “son of God”? Because the name of God (Yahweh or whatever) was dynamite, and one didn’t want to use it carelessly. Maybe “kingdom of heaven” was a circuitous way of getting across what we mean by “heaven.”

          But to Yonah’s point, I’d thought that “Kingdom of God” was more a time period rather than a place. Everything on earth will be the Kingdom of God … eventually.

        • Greg G.

          I looked at those verses in Mark just last night and it struck me that there was something I was missing in the passage but I was chasing another idea at the time.

          You are quoting from Mark 14:61-63 but in Matthew 26:63-65, they asked if he was the “son of God” in both translations I checked. [the Greek has “υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ”, the last word being theos] Jesus doesn’t let his yea be yea or his nay be nay, but answers with “the son of Man” and “coming with the clouds” which alludes to Daniel.

          When I woke up this morning, I was thinking the robe ripping may have been because Jesus said “mattress” “God” but he didn’t say the magic word. So, it must be the implications of “the son of Man”.

          Matthew still uses “kingdom of God” three to five times. The KJV gave five, the NIV gave three. I haven’t looked at context or the Greek.

        • TheNuszAbides

          no no, we want to see the dog kennels.

        • Greg G.

          Pets department. Second floor.

        • Pofarmer

          Hey, Greg. Have you seen Rene Salm’s website? He’s doing a series on mythical Paul.

          http://www.mythicistpapers.com

        • Greg G.

          Thanks. I have seen links to the site before but never clicked one.

          In my view, Mark and the other gospels are dependent on Paul’s writings. I can accept that he may have been known by a different name, “Simon Magus” is one possibility. I see Salm had a series on Tom Dykstra’s book, Mark, Canonizer of Paul”, which I would like to read.

        • Pofarmer

          Salm’s view, as well as, apparently, a few others, is that Paul might be a fictive agent of Marcion. IE, Marcion, or his disciples, might have written all or part of what is considered the Pauline Corpus. There seems to be some corroborating evidence in that none of the Pauline Corpus is quoted by any of the Church Fathers until after Marcion. For that matter, none of the Gospels, either. Which puts both Paul, and the Gospels, very late. like mid to end of 2nd Century, late.

        • Greg G.

          From part 2:

          Indeed, it is now becoming clear that the “Little Apocalypse” in Mk 13 refers to the Bar Kokhba War, not to the First Jewish Revolt.

          Do you know where I can read up on the reasoning behind this? That kinda hangs me up. There is some information in Mark that could come from Jewish Wars but I don’t see anything that would necessarily come from Antiquities of the Jews, which would have been four decades old by then.

        • Pofarmer

          I have seen Robert M. price talk about parrallels to the Bar Kochba revolt in a video. He is one who thinks the Gospels are much later than currently thought.

        • buttle

          “none of the Gospels, either”.

          This can’t be. I’d like for the first written gospel to be this late, as F.C. Baur believed Matthew to be before Markan proprity became mainstream, and i don’t think the epistles of Ignatius are a reliable way to date Matthew, but it looks like Marcion inherited some proto-Luke or Q pretty much as it was used in Rome before 140: he wouldn’t come up with such a text by himself, and more significantly he woulnd’t then use it as evidence against the orthodox “judaizers” in his Antithesis if it wasn’t a pre-existing text shared by both churches (with a few exceptions here and there, but nothing major). Plus the apology of Aristides has a small description of a written gospel with a virgin birth (i can’t check the syriac, the english translation says “and you also if you will read therein”). This apology can be quite precisely dated to a few months before the Bar Kockba revolt, because it was presented to Hadrian visiting Athens on his way to Judea (or during his return voyage i think), and that was the visit that instigated the revolt. I think the epistle of Barnabas, dating before the revolt, could contain evidence of a written gospel (in contrast to the oral gospel of Paul), but i can’t remember or find it now.

          On the other hand is there a good reason to date Mark precisely at 70 and not 80 or 90, or possibly even 100? Maybe something happened under Domitian to justify Mark 13:9, and we just don’t know?

        • Greg G.

          I think Mark 13:9 might be foreshadowing.

          Mark 13:9 (NRSV)9 “As for yourselves, beware; for they will hand you over to councils; [Jesus before the Sanhedrin, Mark 14:53] and you will be beaten in synagogues; [Jesus beaten in the Sanhedrin trial, Mark 14:65] and you will stand before governors and kings because of me, [Jesus on trial before Pilate, Mark 15:1] as a testimony to them.

          The beating of Jesus in the Sanhedrin trial has some irony in it. Jesus had prophesied that Peter would deny him. The trial interrupts the Peter’s denial story to show simultaneity. Jesus is being beaten and ordered to “Prophesy!” as his earlier prophecy was being fulfilled. That might be an indication that Mark 13:9 is foreshadowing the story of Mark instead of reflecting anything historical.

          We see in Acts how Paul was nearly scourged until he played the Roman citizen card. He was tried before a council, he was sent to Felix, the governor, he was sent before Felix, and he was on trial before Agrippa before being shipped off to Rome.

          Perhaps the Christians made a big deal out of their persecutions because of Mark 13:9. Perhaps they forced the worst possible outcome of the Roman courts to “imitate” Jesus, as Paul said he did. (1 Corinthians 11:1, I think)

        • buttle

          Maybe, but it’s also true that 13:8 and 13:10 are talking about things happening after the time of Pilate, and moreover Jesus is talking in the plural, about other persons, christians actually, not himself.

          The reason i mentioned specifically Mark 13:9 is because i recalled reading Michael Turton’s blog (can’t find the link now) that he considered it a description of the Bar Kochba purge of Jerusalem christians in 132:
          http://www.michaelturton.com/Mark/GMark13.html. Turton also thinks the “abomination” in Mark 13:14 may be a reference to the temple of Jupiter wanted by Hadrian, and the root cause of the revolt of 132.

          But as i wrote in the previous comment it is too late for the first written gospel, and anyway it is too speculative: the abomination could simply be the roman standards finally erected in 70 on the temple mount, and there were previous persecutions by governors (for example as described in the epistle from Pliny to Trajan, assuming it is authentic). Previous attempts by old scholars were even more inconclusive (for example the star of Matthew should be related in some way with Bar Kochba, but it doesn’t make any sense).

          So i assumed it must have been something else, maybe related to Domitian (lots of unreliable reports about his reign and death). But scratch all of that, i was wrong.

          Instead consider that Mark 13:14 is precisely dated at september 70. Mark 13:9-13 must be talking about something that happened after Pilate but before 70. According to roman followers of Paul living around year 80-90 what kind of persecutions had happened before 70?
          1 Clement 5 contains everything we see in Mark 13:9-13
          -the preaching to the nations, quintessential Paul.
          -the vague description of martyrdom as testimony in front of governors, something we don’t know anything more specific about.
          -the holy spirit is not there, but is omnipresent in Paul’s letters and characterized just like that as “talking”, for example 1 Thessalonians 5
          -the patient endurance earning a ticket for the holy place.
          -even the specific theme of families being torn apart is present immediately after in 1 Clement 6.

          So i now think Mark is talking about what christians knew about the death of Paul (and Peter: many scholars think Mark didn’t like Peter, i disagree). Which is quite obvious in hindsight…

          This would not be the only uncanny parallel between 1 Clement and Mark, take 1 Clement 17: why is the author of 1 Clement singling out Elijah and Elisha above and over all the other prophets, not even mentioning the much more obviously messianic and often quoted Daniel and Isaiah? Where exactly do Elijah and Elisha preach the coming of christ exactly? What where these christians thinking?

        • Greg G.

          I’ll check this out in the morning when I boot up the computer. I just wanted to point out that I got the idea for my response from Turton from the very page you linked to.

        • Greg G.

          Maybe, but it’s also true that 13:8 and 13:10 are talking about things happening after the time of Pilate, and moreover Jesus is talking in the plural, about other persons, christians actually, not himself.

          There are mentions in Mark 13:7-8 of wars, rumors of wars, famines and earthquakes for which examples can be found of pretty much any point in time. Mark 13:10 could refer to Paul and other apostles but 13:11 is back to foreshadowing.

          Turton also thinks the “abomination” in Mark 13:14 may be a reference to the temple of Jupiter wanted by Hadrian, and the root cause of the revolt of 132.

          I think Hadrian’s plan for the temple to Jupiter came after the defeat of Kokhbar but there were plenty of other causes for the revolt.

          Instead consider that Mark 13:14 is precisely dated at september 70.

          That makes Mark 13:18, “Pray that your flight won’t be in the winter” a curious statement. We are used to focusing on Jerusalem. Bar Kokhba eliminated the Roman garrison from Jerusalem at the beginning of the revolt but most of the battles were elsewhere. The Romans took several other cities over a period of a few years so perhaps some of those were in winter, but the same could be said about Titus in the first war.

          So i now think Mark is talking about what christians knew about the death of Paul (and Peter: many scholars think Mark didn’t like Peter, i disagree). Which is quite obvious in hindsight…

          I think the theme of Mark is mostly based on Galatians, where the three main associates of Jesus are mentioned with disdain in Galatians 2:6, 9, as well as the whole “circumcision faction”.

          Where exactly do Elijah and Elisha preach the coming of christ exactly? What where these christians thinking?

          Perhaps they were focused on the miracles of Jesus, many of which are reiterations of those of Elijah and Elisha. I haven’t given much thought to 1 Clement, though.

        • buttle

          “Mark 13:10 could refer to Paul and other apostles but 13:11 is back to foreshadowing.”

          But Jesus gives only 1 sentence to the high priest when pressed, and not even that to Pilate, he doesn’t really let the holy spirit talk. Since 13:10 is really about preaching to gentiles i doubt Mark is switching the subject back to Jesus.

          “That makes Mark 13:18, “Pray that your flight won’t be in the winter” a curious statement.”

          Not so curious after all: the Jerusalem siege ended in September or October, and Mark 13:20 is well aware those days were “shortened”: it would have been even worse had the siege gone on for a year or more. In verse 14 people are fleeing should flee to the mountains, which is quite reasonable, but then in verse 15 they are supposed to go on top of their houses and take nothing with them? I take it as a reference to Masada as described in JW 7:
          “for the king reserved the top of the hill, which was of a fat soil, and better mould than any valley for agriculture, that such as committed themselves to this fortress for their preservation might not even there be quite destitute of food, in case they should ever be in want of it from abroad.”

        • Greg G.

          Not so curious after all: the Jerusalem siege ended in September or October

          The Jews have a holiday for the bad things that happened on the 9th of Av. The destruction of the first and second temple are said to have been on that date. Av can be in July or August and in 70 AD, it would have been August 10. I suspect the dating would be flexible enough and the length of time it took to completely level it might encompass the date.

        • Yonah

          Yes, the author of Matthew was most likely being respectful to Jewish piety not slinging around the G word casually. As today, observant more conservative Jews will print G-d or use orally use “Hashem” (name).

        • Yes, that’s a nice statement of the confusion about bodily vs. spiritual resurrection.

          I suppose, though, that Ed and Velma would say that Ed goes to heaven spirit-wise initially and then the new ‘n improved body will come later.

        • Yonah

          I think that’s true of many. Others just haven’t thought that far. And some are just okay with some undefined spirity existence. I have a parishioner who is quite conservative in most respects; well educated in the secular sense; and pretty well versed in the Bible. Last month we were discussing this matter in Sunday School and he surprised me that he was quite supportive of a spiritualist/gnostic interpretation of the Resurrection. Then again, he is also a strong Mason. This is an interesting sociological thing to consider in the American context for both theists and atheists…the degree to which American “Christian” theology in various aspects, most importantly American civil religion, has been influenced by Masonry.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Kingdom of God and Heave are not the same.

          That’s what I said. The inference I drew from your, “Thus “heaven” is politely displaced with “Kingdom of God”…” was that they are synonymous terms.

          In Jesus’ usage the Kingdom is larger and includes heaven.

          No I really don’t think so. It is a bit more complicated than that. Particularly with the non earthly Jesus of Paul. It is all very vague.

          But to be fair, we don’t know what Jesus’ usage of Kingdom was, if anything at all. We can only work on what early Christian writers say about it. Now, the Kingdom of God meant a number of things depending on what scripture ya read and which interpretation ya prefer. Here’s one highly credentialed theologian’s take on the matter.

          “The kingdom of God has come near” (Mark 1:15). Our word “kingdom,” it turns out, misses the precise sense of Jesus’ own language. What he proclaimed was not the approach of a place where God rules (our typical sense of “kingdom”), but rather the dawning of God’s kingly authority on earth. Thus, when we read the phrase “kingdom of God” in the Gospels, we need to think in terms of God’s reign, rule, authority, or sovereignty. This, according to Jesus, is what has come near.

          God’s reign surely encompasses what we call heaven. But when Jesus speaks of the kingdom of God, he is not talking simply about life with God after death. Indeed, the kingdom of God touches earth as well as heaven.

          This brings us to a second, common misunderstanding of the kingdom of God. Once again, I’ll put up a negative statement and then defend it with evidence from the Gospels:

          Read the full article at…

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/markdroberts/series/what-was-the-message-of-jesus/#where

          But ultimately…

          R. T. France has pointed out that while the concept of “Kingdom of God” has an intuitive meaning to lay Christians, there is hardly any agreement among theologians about its meaning in the New Testament.[6] Some scholars see it as a Christian lifestyle, some as a method of world evangelization, some as the rediscovery of charismatic gifts, others relate it to no present or future situation, but the world to come. France states that the phrase Kingdom of God is often interpreted in many ways to fit the theological agenda of those interpreting it.

          …which begs the question why I even have to go out to the cemetery and do extra mumbo-jumbo at the grave AFTER the funeral…if Ed is already in heaven.

          Ritualistic tradition?

          No one has explained this to me…yet, lol.

          Ritualistic tradition of Christian ecclesiastical burial rites. Which have morphed considerably over the centuries from solely inhumation to allow cremation, even for Catholic’s.

          Now, if everyone accepted a JEWISH sense of resurrection, it would all make sense.

          Not to me it wouldn’t.

          A buddy of mine tried installing that in a congregation. They got up in the middle of the church service and yelled at him really bad…and then fired him.

          For a concept, religion a mean, to have involved so much change, the adherents really don’t like change.

          And then I was the next pastor. Oh joy.

          Not sure that would be a reason to celebrate, especially as you agreed with your buddy…The Clergy Project is calling.

        • Yonah

          In regard to the Roberts article, first one need consider where he comes from: Fuller and Presbyterian. On the NT Wright – Borg continuum, he’ll side with N.T. Wright who Fullerites like. I like some of Wright, and some not.

          The “already/not yet” discription of the Kingdom of God has been standard American seminary fare ever since I was in seminary. A Jewish read of the article would be helpful. In my view, he does the typical evangelical/Fuller thang and cites only the military side of Jewish messianic expectation…then brings in Jesus, the non-military (superior) savior…and then universalizes. It is standard evangelical quasi-replacement theology…not as strong as modern full tilt replacement theology, but the grandaddy of it. For example, Roberts rightfully cites the connection of the Lord’s Prayer to the Kaddish…the Lord’s Prayer is based on the Kaddish…but then Roberts doesn’t give the Kaddish credit for non-military messianic/kingdom expectation (the promise to Abraham was not that his descendants would have snappy uniforms and the best automatic weapons the Americans can spill the earth with). Then, like a typical evangelical, Roberts slings “Jew” as if it is and was a monolithic descriptor for all times and places…not treating both the obvious distinctions between the known parties of the first century, but also the distinctions between Judea, Galilee, and the Transjordan which biblical scholarship the last 40 years has elucidated. Did no one educate Roberts on BOTH the Judean AND Ephraimite (Galilean) messianic traditions???? Messiah Son of David AND Messiah Son of Joseph. Then I would bring in Robert Eisenman (Jewish) who would rudely point out to Dr. Roberts Jesus’ obvious zealot connections.

          My non-complicated statement of Kingdom of God including heaven is my own design to set heaven down a peg positionally (not dealing with a definition of heaven). And since I find much to admire in Eastern Orthodox theology/attitude I imagine my statement would find some approval there, although I have not tested that.

          So. In terms of practical ministry, the problem is that the “already/not yet” thing we were told to say in seminary, in reality, doesn’t preach. The people just look at you with blank stares; it goes in one ear and out the other. You see how long Roberts wrote to try to get this “just right”, lol.

          My theological imagination often gets directed toward my millennial daughter and son-in-law. It is often said of their generation, that in regard to religion, if they are seeking, they are seeking within an “ancient-future” paradigm. I have a hunch that that is way different than the “already/not yet” paradigm…which still assumes some idea of historical progress….that evangelical fullerites will be most happy to map out for you. My hunch is that both Jesus and a ancient-future generation are talking about the Kingdom of God arriving in the future, but arriving from the future…that ancient prophecy was not fortune telling with a Hail Mary into the great unseen beyond time, but rather description of what was literally coming at one from the other end of time.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The Robert’s article was just an example of theological thinking vis a vis the Kingdom of God and the concept of Heaven/Heaven’s, I neither support nor condemn his interpretation, am merely pointing out that theologians, or at least some of them, can see in the texts that the two concepts are not synonymous.

          Given that I’m an historical Jesus agnostic and a gospel Jesus mythicist, the minutiae of what a fictional being is alleged to have believed or said, according to the texts we have, is moot.

        • TheNuszAbides

          But, what is certain is the utter seriousness by which these people took up the position that Death and the forces of Death shall not have the last word. This ethos was extended and enlarged exponentially to Jesus. It became central to the dna of those who chose this path of saying “No” to Death.

          i imagine this attitude (as articulated, more compelling than most in my experience) engenders a variety of strong responses (whether sympathetic, reactionary, hysterical, disdainful …) to someone like Ray Kurzweil.

        • adam

          “The supernatural stuff seems to get in the way. Why not just jettison it?”

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yonah, you are an intriguing individual no mistaking.

          The Western religious individualist gene was really exacerbated by Luther and then the whole Protestant Reformation.

          The Reformation didn’t set out the way you seem to asserting.

          Politic’s and corruption were at the centre of the debacle.

          As the word implies, those who led the movement did not intend to create new churches separate from the Roman Catholic Church, but rather intended to reform the one true Church, the whole of Christianity. Within the first generation, however, many reformers concluded that the only hope for reform was to create a separate church and either persuade or coerce the Catholics to join. Once the reformers gained adherents who were secular rulers, with treasuries and armies at their command, the basis was laid for religious war. We can say the Reformation era was ended when there were no longer major changes in the religious alignment of the leading European countries.

          But why?

          Reform movements had existed within Christianity for centuries, but they’d always either died out or been incorporated into the mainstream Church. On rare occasions, such movements had been crushed by force. The Reformation was but another in this tradition. What made it different were new socio-economic factors, new political conditions, and new technologies. Where the Church had been able to contain, absorb or eliminate such movements in the past, in the 16th century it was overwhelmed by events.

          Once the Bible was plucked out of the sole hands of the teaching magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church…and subsequently bequeathed to Uncle Ed sitting in his lazy boy making up his own crap interpretations, the cat was permanently out of the bag.

          What? The crap interpretations of scriptures started way before “Uncle Ed” came on the scene.

          Which Bible were those interpretations coming from for starters btw?

          The Catholic Bible didn’t get ratified until Trent in the 16th century as a result of the Reformation. Ironically, the non implementation of the reforms ot the previous council, The Fifth Council of the Lateran, may well have been instrumental in Luther’s action. Even the compilation of the Bible and the 27 books of the NT particularly, was a work of crappy interpretation. Let’s not forget the many other religious texts floating about the first four centuries of the cult, some we know of, but many we don’t, chiefly because a particular group won the day and got the ear of an emperor.

          There’s just no way in the Protestant paradigm to stop a continuous division of Uncle Ed cells. In the Protestant West, the “people of God” is a term leadership tries to re-install…but in all honesty, it’s not going very well. Western folk want what they want.

          There were a multitude of cell’s pre “Uncle Ed” ya know. From the sublime to the ridiculous.

          http://listverse.com/2014/02/07/10-bizarre-early-christian-sects/

          Let’s not get away ahead of ourselves because of the west’s, particularly the American, penchant for making lot’s of new from the old. It is a time honored tradition in Christianity and began at the get go.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Christian_denominations

          The Ante-Nicene period is where the Adversus Judaeos got going.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adversus_Judaeos

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ante-Nicene_Period

          The earliest Christian denominations became known as the heresies, but they were still there.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Christian_heresies

          One persons crap interpretation is another persons religion, we’ll be having none of that “No True Scotsman Malarkey” around here, thanks. The fact is, no one knows which interpretation is correct, if any at all, that’s the reason why they are ALL crap.

          When you find the right foot to fit that glass slipper you are toting around, let us know, until then, it is all just a fairy tale.

        • Greg G.

          Yonah, you are an intriguing individual no mistaking.

          Once I got over the knee-jerk urge to argue against the theist position, I found him to be very interesting. Plus, we live in the same city so there is a possibility that I might meet him. Maybe I have. I’ve lived here for 25 years come June and he has been here longer.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You should.

        • Yonah

          I don’t see much to disagree with in your citations or how they counter my point. In the macro, it was Max Weber’s assertion (not mine) that the Reformation/Luther paved the whole way for modern Capitalism (western individualism on steroids). I’ve not seen a good rebuttal to that. As a Marxist, I am prone to view things economically. As a Jewish Christian, I am prone to observe a de-theist morality in Marx (Jewish-Lutheran background…everything comes from somewhere…unless you believe in magic or gods, lol).

        • Ignorant Amos

          Why is the West so easy-going about making new denominations (or independent churches)?

          What’s the quickest, easiest, risk free way to make a fortune? Selling nonsense to the gullible.

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/paperbacktheology/2012/01/fleecing-the-flock-a-snapshot-of-americas-richest-pastors.html?repeat=w3tc

          Or maybe am just getting a bit too cynical these days.

        • Greg G.

          When the sales pitch is the product, production costs are non-existent so it is all profit.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Indeed…even snake-oil salesmen have overheads. Holy rollers don’t even have to pay for their premises ffs.

        • Pofarmer

          And there’s no penalty for doing it. Every man is a church unto himself.

        • Greg G.

          It is also tax-free. When couched in religion, even fraud is legal.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Nature of the beast I’d say…it’s how religions work don’t ya know?

        • Yonah

          Yes. The Orthodox Church waited the Soviets out for over 70 years doing this schtick. Now KGB Putin crosses himself and puts Pussy Riot in prison for being disrespectful to the Church. Oy vey.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Thank’s for making my point.

          That’s what happen’s when churches have power, they persecute too. You must live in a bubble.

        • Yonah

          I’m sorry, but you just can’t have Pussy Riot in church. You need to keep them people at Walmarts.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Of course ya can. There is no place where a protest against corruption can’t take place.

          What Putin jailed them for and what they actually did was two different things.

          Undeserved respect can kiss my arse.

          Especially when religious fuckers can protest wherever and whenever the hell they please.

          All that is a non sequitur in any case. The point is that when religions cozy up to the political power and are offered a bit of clout, things tend to get messy. I live in Ireland by the way.

        • Yonah

          I’m Irish. My Dad’s people come from NW Ireland….I have the King Niall dna haplo type. That and a dime will get me bagel at the Jewish deli. But, yeah…what Sinead O’Connor said.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Catholicism is just as easy to rip apart and equally as fun. But you’ll need to go to a place where that is the focus. May I suggest “Strange Notions”? The OP’s and comments from approx two-three years are best, because that is before the “new arse tearing” got too great that the site owner felt it necessary to cull a large number of the more astute atheists, using disingenuous and nefarious reasons to do so. Basically because the arguments he thought so sound were cut ta blazes…mostly by ex-Catholics.

          Or you could go to the mirror site set up for those banned non-believers and anyone else wishing to continue to express their disdain, or those believers who show support, for the Catholic woo-woo bollocks still being put up at “Strange Notions”, called “Outside the Sun: Estranged Notions”.

          See below for links to both places respectively…

          http://www.strangenotions.com/

          http://outshine-the-sun.blogspot.co.uk/

          To be requesting BobS to provide particular chew toys is somewhat odd…what if everyone started the same? Chaos would ensue. If you want a McDonalds, you don’t go to KFC and kick off because the Big Mac ain’t on the menu. You go to McDonalds in the first place…it saves that “WTF?” moment from everyone watching.

        • Scott_In_OH

          a strong existentialist dimension skilled in nuance

          Those words, in that order, do not mean anything. They are as perfect an example of “word salad” as I have ever read.

        • Yonah

          Thank you.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          A COMPLETE lie. The chapters making up your book existed long before catholicism was even a glimmer in anyone’s eye.

        • TheNuszAbides

          it brought the threads together but it doesn’t quite look like it authored any of them, so ‘made’ might be a bit of an overstatement. did it ever claim that those threads taken separately were any less authoritative/sacred before being brought together?

        • Yonah

          Let’s just put it this way: In the Catholic/Orthodox Church, the bishop decides who gets Communion. In the Protestant Church, it’s Uncle Ed and his Joyce Meyer Study Bible…and nobody messes with Uncle Ed.

    • tsig

      You mean that sophisticated theology of Catholics and Eastern Orthodox?

      Care to give examples?

      • Yonah

        That’s Bob’s assignment.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          That’s your laziness. Research and come up with questions. To go biblical, you’re not the centurion who can say to this one, go here, and to that one, go there.

    • Greg G.

      Do you mean dropping all the obviously wrong parts of the religion and holding tightly to the parts that are not obviously wrong?

      • Yonah

        I mean simply taking on the “claims” of Catholicism/Orthodoxy as those claims are articulated in historic councils, papal encyclicals, and canon law…all of which trump the Bible, de facto.

        • Greg G.

          That sounds like you are willing to keep some things that are obviously wrong, as long as it has been wrong a long time.

        • Susan

          you are willing to keep some things that are obviously wrong, as long as it has been wrong a long time.

          That’s a keeper.

        • epicurus

          Should be a Cross Examined Quote of the day, or week, or whatever!

        • Greg G.

          I want to frame my CE Quote of the Whatever Award.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          I’ll do it for you as soon as I finish my Procrastination Certificate 😉

        • Greg G.

          I’ve been meaning to get one of those.

        • Yonah

          In this case, the length of time is not the point, but just the different machinery of authority in Catholicism/Orthodoxy. The sequence of how layers of authority got positioned has an element of time to it, but the durations are not important…it could have have happened within the last ten years and all the other factors still in play.

        • Dys

          I do enjoy bringing up the Papal Bull Dum Diversas when Catholics try to tell me how anti-slavery Christianity is, despite the biblical endorsement of it.

        • I’d never heard of that one. Thanks.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dum_Diversas

        • Dys

          I found it and a few others when having an argument with someone who wanted to credit Christianity for ending slavery in the New World. He was doing the typical “everyone else was doing it” excuse for why God just couldn’t say that owning people as property is wrong.

          I used the papal bulls to show that if you’re going to credit Christianity for helping to end slavery in the New World, you’ve also got to admit it was instrumental in establishing it there as well.

        • That’s a nice addition.

        • Pofarmer

          They actually defacto-don’t at least to all the world’s protestants.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          Are you just telling us to dig into that crap as if it exists in a bubble without any relation to Bible and preChristian content?

        • Yonah

          Relation is not the thing related to. Refusal to read stuff is just that.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          To me, the Catholic and Orthodox traditions run into the same problem as the people who say the Bible is the last word on what Jesus wants:

          The clergy talk about what god wants. The clergy talk about what god wants. The clergy talk about what god wants. The clergy talk about what god wants.

          Giauz: Strange. I hear what the clergy want, but it seems they don’t think there is a god that could say what it wants. One would think a god would show up to its own worship.

        • Pofarmer

          Apparently digging into the made up stuff about made up stuff is different than just digging into the made up stuff itself. Because we all know second order madeup stuff is more reliable.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Wow…that’s *so* meta…. 😉

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          And you’re still trying to get BobS to do your work for you.

    • In what way are Catholics screwed up that doesn’t apply to Protestants as well? I grant you there are some issues–the saints (the Church isn’t even sure how many there are), the Pope being infallible, the odd status of Mary–but I’m not sure there’s enough for a post.

      • Yonah

        Well, in science correlation ain’t causation.

        My Dad was a Catholic. Never cracked a Bible…didn’t need to. But, yeah. Your short list is a pretty good starter. Your Protestant Bible method don’t work on it.

        But, the main thang in Catholicism/Orthodoxy impervious to your Protestant Bible methodology is the Eucharist.

        • Pofarmer

          “is the Eucharist.”

          How so? It’s based on the fundamentally flawed idea of Aristotlean physics involving Accidents and Substances. It’s tosh.

        • Yonah

          Your view of the Eucharist is beside the point that the Catholic/Orthodox paradigm asserts an authority for the Eucharist that is supra-biblical. You choose not to read. That is an exercise of your own authority, but it does not treat what machinery the Catholic/Orthodox paradigm uses for authority.

        • Pofarmer

          What in the fuck are you going on about? You have no idea what I have or haven’t read.

        • adam

          ” but it does not treat what machinery the Catholic/Orthodox paradigm uses for authority.”

          We understand their paradigm thoughout history.

          Fear and Violence.

        • TheNuszAbides

          any sort of wild, baseless and unprecedented accusation

          hmm, i dunno about ‘unprecedented’. not much originality that i’m aware of.

        • Greg G.

          But, the main thang in Catholicism/Orthodoxy impervious to your Protestant Bible methodology is the Eucharist.

          1 Corinthians 10:23-33 appears to be based on 1 Corinthians 8:1, 7-13 with a quote of Psalm 24:1. 1 Corinthians 11:1a may be influenced by 1 Corinthians 7:7.

          1 Corinthians 11:2-16 goes all 1 Timothy conflicting with Paul’s egalitarian attitude elsewhere. 1 Corinthians 11:8 and 12a refer to the significance of the order that Adam and Eve were created, like 1 Timothy 2:13 does. 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 is similar to that section and also out of place in Paul’s writings and it seems to be molded from 1 Timothy 2:11-12 while 1 Corinthians 11:5 is also quite similar to that attitude. 1 Timothy 5:18 quotes both Deuteronomy 25:4 and Luke 10:7 as scripture. Since Luke was not written when Paul was around, he would not have referred to it as scripture, so we know 1 Timothy was not written by Paul, but by a forger.

          1 Corinthians 11:17-22 to gets back to the subject of food and the Lord’s supper so the previous 15 verses may have been an interpolation of an interpolation or that passage may have been a digression from the pastoral interpolator.

          Then we come to 1 Corinthians 11:23-25. 1 Corinthians 11:23 opens with “For I received from the Lord…” We see a similar use of the ambiguous “Lord” as the source of information in three other places in 1 Corinthians. 1 Corinthians 14:21 is quoting from Isaiah 28:11-12 so Paul uses the term to refer to the Lord saying things through the scriptures. Likewise, 1 Corinthians 7:10-11 is about Deuteronomy 24:1-4 and 1 Corinthians 9:13-14 references Deuteronomy 18:3-8.

          The bread and the betrayal may have come from:

          Psalm 41:9
          9 Even my bosom friend in whom I trusted,
              who ate of my bread, has lifted the heel against me.

          The “pouring of wine” may come from in relation to the whole theme of Jesus death being for the sin of many and the intercession.

          Isaiah 53:12 (NRSV)
          12 Therefore I will allot him a portion with the great,
              and he shall divide the spoil with the strong;
          because he poured out himself to death,
              and was numbered with the transgressors;
          yet he bore the sin of many,
              and made intercession for the transgressors.

          The other places where Paul uses scripture with a “Lord said” phrase, he refers to a single passage. This method of combining Old Testament verses in a mimesis style is how the Gospel of Mark was written. But the “do this in remembrance of me” is found in Luke, who certainly got his version from Mark. So, it would appear that the interpolator used Luke for the source of the story. That would be some additional circumstantial evidence that the interpolator was possible the same person or from the same group as the forger who wrote the pastoral epistles.

          The Eucharist ceremony is based on fiction. The transubstantiation part is ancient science fiction.

        • Yonah

          My comment did not treat the historicity of the Eucharist, but its centrality within the Catholic/Orthodox system. In a way, the issue of authority is tied to sacrament in existential terms. Protestants experience the authority of the Bible/Word/Sermon as sacramental. The Catholic/Orthodox model holds out that the Church itself (through the Eucharist) is the means/vehicle of salvation. Sacramentally, in the Catholic/Orthodox model, the Eucharist trumps the Bible in the sense that the Bible is employed as supportive of bringing people into union with God, of which the chief temporal experience of is the Eucharist. They are not worried about historical critical analysis of Eucharist NT texts.

          Well, I have to use most of the day journeying to another fair city to attend to a parishioner facing gall bladder surgery. Have a good day.

        • Greg G.

          I think I see where you are going with this. Several years ago, a college student in Florida took a Communion cracker out of the church and many Catholics accused him of kidnapping Christ. The matter really upset them. To them, “this is my body” is not a metaphor so a cracker is not just a cracker.

          We see Catholics trying to make deistic arguments based on the worst of ancient Greek philosophy.

          We don’t see many Catholics trying to support claims like transubstantiation using logic. They seem to know that it is futile though they hold to it dearly. The Bible inerrantist seems almost rational next to them*. But they are not trying to push that type of belief into science classes.

          *The presuppositionalists make the transubstantiationalists look relatively rational, though.

        • Yonah

          Catholics, Orthodox, Lutherans, and some high church Anglicans all hold to a belief in the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, even as they come to that through a little different means in each tradition. But since Vatican II, the churches above have all expanded the meaning of the Eucharist by placing more emphasis on the communal in communion over against an older emphasis on the individual partaking of the “elements” as the focus of piety. Now, the Eucharist is celebrated more as a people-of-God preparing to go out into the world to do ministry thing, rather than just reception of the elements…and that’s it. In the Lutheran tradition, the Eucharist used to be used as a sort of big confession and absolution rite in a defacto way. So, as emphasis shifts, so also the experience of people and what they get out of it, and more importantly what they put into it. Perhaps one of most revered American Orthodox theologians, Alexander Schmemann, wrote a book on the Eucharist entitled “For The Life of the World” which preached that the Eucharist prepares the Christian to go back out into the world to do ministry.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          If that college student was seriously believed to have kidnapped Jesus, why are Catholics not worshipping the “one true god”?

        • Ignorant Amos

          I remember that well. P.Z. Meyers run with it big style on his Pharyngula blog…can’t believe it was so long ago…2008…how time flies.

          http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/07/08/its-a-goddamned-cracker/

        • Greg G.

          Same with me.

        • adam

          “: They are not worried about historical critical analysis of Eucharist NT texts.”

          As non-catholic christians are not worried about historical analysis of NT texts.

          In ALL cases it is blind faith, the wishful thinking that deludes all christianity.

        • None of that made sense. But thanks for trying, I guess.

        • Yonah

          Well, the Bible is the “sacrament” for the evangelical Protestant model; the Eucharist is the main sacrament for the Catholic/Orthodox…and the Eucharist preceded the NT…Paul’s description of it is a quotation of already in use liturgy.

        • Pofarmer

          Pauls description of it is more than likely an interpolation. That notwithstanding, wine and food rituals were pretty common.

        • Yonah

          Could be an interpolation by a later editor. It’s still a liturgical fragment pre-existent to the epistle. We see the same kind of stuff in the Didache circa 100 ce.

        • Pofarmer

          “It’s still a liturgical fragment pre-existent to the epistle.”

          It’ generally considered to be more recent. The Didiche is an interesting case. The wording in it works just as well for a celestial, mythical Jesus, as for an Earthly one.

        • Yonah

          The point is whose document that was.

        • TheNuszAbides

          [too lazy/hungry to iron out grammar:] i reckon the point of hows and whys of taking a [Christian] claim/concept seriously is never off-topic on this blog.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Please look up ‘pettifoggery’, because that’s what you’re committing here….

        • Jack Baynes

          All Catholic dogma is based on the recreation of the Last Supper? I understand they take their interpretation of what goes on very seriously, but I can’t see how the rest of Catholic Dogma can flow from that.

        • Yonah

          In Catholic/Orthodox piety, it is not a recreation, but a real-time event. The Orthodox see the goal of Christianity as the “divinization” (theosis) of human beings…a union of the human into the life of God. The Eucharist is held to further this process.

        • Dys

          I’m still not getting your statement that this is somehow impervious to the same methodology.

          Yes, Catholics believe the “breadness” of the bread (aka the substance) changes into Jesus flesh while the accident (the physical bread) remains the same.

          And yes, you are correct that Catholicism doesn’t see the sacrament as a recreation.

          My question is…so what? By definition there’s no evidence that anything about the bread changes – the authority of the church to declare that the substance of the bread changes is irrelevant. It’s witnessing nothing happening, but claiming a miracle happened.

        • Yonah

          You fixate on a fraction of the sacrament. Yes, internal Church theology will be irrelevant to you. But the discussion has to do with imperviousness (to make up a word) of the sacrament to a typical Bob attack. The difficulty of the attack lies not in the realm of element-piety…whether bread has changed, but in the realm of the communicant who has received the sacrament and confesses “I am changed.”

        • Dys

          But that’s not particularly difficult to deal with at all, as it runs into the same problem every testament of personal revelation does – it is necessarily limited to the person who claims to have received it.

          Not to mention that there are psychological factors that can more easily (and rationally) explain a change in someone’s behaviour/outlook/etc. than ingesting a magic piece of bread. In short, you can admit that the person had some time of experience, without accepting their preferred explanation for that experience.

          Where’s the difficulty?

        • Yonah

          So, write a script for the challenge. What would it look like?

          People do not actually go out onto the street and say things…like “I am changed” in response to the sacrament. Their confession “I am changed” is typically borne out in behavior of service.

          Tonight, we did a community meal for the needy. One of the chief cooks is a man who is changed by his relation to Jesus and this man’s internal sense of his own change is strengthened by his experience in the Eucharist. The difficulty in attacking him on this is that he does not say any of this, but rather, he serves the poor. Attack that.

        • Dys

          You seem to have missed my point entirely. Firstly, I’ve already dealt with the assertion that the Eucharist changed the man – it’s necessarily limited to his own subjective personal experience just as any divine revelation would be.

          The difficulty in attacking him on this is that he does not say any of this, but rather, he serves the poor.

          Which doesn’t counter the fact that there could be (and most likely are) other factors that don’t require the mysticism of the Eucharist as an explanation.

          Attack that.

          No need. I’ve already accounted for it. As I already stated, we can admit that the cook in your example has some sort of experience. What we don’t need to do (and shouldn’t) is accept his explanation for it, especially given the supernatural nature of it and the lack of evidence for it.

          And while this may come across as trivializing the example you gave, but there are people who sincerely claim their lives were changed after being abducted by aliens. I can believe they had some type of experience without accepting their fantastical explanation for it.

          So yeah…there really isn’t any difficulty whatsoever.

        • Ignorant Amos

          These people just can’t seem to grasp that woo-woo is woo-woo is woo-woo.

          Here’s an example of what you allude to in yer comment Dys…

          On July 22, 1977, our relationship hit an extraterrestrial wall, literally. This girl was abducted right out of the bed we shared in her condo. They left me behind, but were apparently very interested in and curious about her. If you wish to read all of the disturbing details of what transpired there and then and what the fallout was to this event, you’ll have to read Chapter 10 “Abduction Central” of my book Aliens Above, Ghosts Below: Explorations of the Unknown.

          Nice way to plug a book and increase sales. But Dr.Taff does give an answer of sorts as to what happened after, in the comments section.

          All your questions are answered in detail within chapter ten of my book. Yes, she was returned, but became an emotional vegetable in many ways and then became a religious zealot of a very unusual type. She did not really require hypnosis, as much of what occurred was was able to recall, and as she became more fragmented, delusional and dissociative, it was almost impossible to even coherently communicate with her. Also, back in 1977, all professional psychologists or psychiatrists automatically assumed that such occurrences were either hoaxed to get money and attention or that the individual suffered a psychotic break.

          http://barrytaff.net/2014/06/a-life-changing-paranormal-event/

          There is so much irony here that I had to disable all my meters prior to posting this comment.

          This is by a guy with quite impressive credentials btw…

          http://barrytaff.net/bio/

        • Yonah

          lol, I don’t go for much on the internets…it’s cheap diversion.

          But, anyway. The cook is not a talker. He’s just a doer. So, he’s just doing his life. He doesn’t “explain”…wouldn’t think that up to do. That’s one aspect that Bob’s methodology doesn’t account for: when Christianity is mostly a behavior and not just a speech. Of course there is bad behavior. But of the good, often its by people who would rather do than say. This is especially encouraged by religious systems that are more community and behavior based than individual and thought based. Of course the “Word” is still a major factor in the non-evangelical forms of Christianity, but culturally you still end up with a different product when things go right. (They often go horribly wrong.)

          So, while there are 2000 year old texts, so also 2000 year old behaviors (some good; some bad).

          In this county, the Christians run the food pantries. They just do it. The Eucharist is, for all practical purposes, an interactive training skit in preparation for feeding the world. A Lutheran theologian, Robert Jenson, calls the sacrament a “visible Word.”

          If good and true and constructive Christianity is really the good visible word/deed/behavior which presents itself as pure deed sans explanation….I have no idea how it would be effectively attacked in real life.

        • Dys

          when Christianity is mostly a behavior and not just a speech.

          I would disagree that feeding the poor is Christianity. It’s an action that may be motivated by Christianity, among other things.

          In this county, the Christians run the food pantries.

          Well, they run the majority of them, sure.

          The Eucharist is, for all practical purposes, an interactive training skit in preparation for feeding the world.

          Okay…so what? It doesn’t make the theology behind the Eucharist true.

          is really the good visible word/deed/behavior which presents itself as pure deed sans explanation

          Except there is an explanation. It’s just a question of whether the cook chooses to share that explanation with anyone else. But that doesn’t negate the existence of the explanation.

          I have no idea how it would be effectively attacked in real life.

          Right…I already went over this. Your cook’s motivations are his own, and as such don’t qualify as evidence for anything concerning the Eucharist. That holds regardless of whether he mentions them to anyone else or not.

          It seems to me that I’ve attacked the sacrament of the Eucharist as understood by Catholocism. And while I’m aware of the escape hatches and excuses that can be used to get around my objections, the fact remains that it can be easily argued against.

        • Yonah

          Oh.

          I thought “attack” included an agenda to make it stop.

          And yet, the Eucharist goes on.

          And so it comes to mind the Catholic words, “the mystery of faith”.

        • Dys

          An agenda to make the Eucharist stop? Not so much. Pointing out that it doesn’t really make rational sense is enough. Plenty of people believe weird things.

        • Greg G.

          A group of musicians played in bars under the name “Free Beer”. The bar did pretty well with that on the marquis, too. Maybe there is a similar explanation for the popularity of the Eucharist.

        • Yonah

          We Methodists use grape juice. (sigh) As a former Lutheran (and ever Jew), I have to admit if feels a bit cartoonish…Welches…really? But that’s what we do. It just doesn’t rate with Manischewitz.

        • Susan

          the Catholic words, “the mystery of faith”

          Along with the “Articles of Faith.

          That’s the trouble. Real world consequences.

          There are all kinds of ways in which people feed the poor. The only thing that gets in the way of feeding the poor is the belief that it’s a waste of time and will only undermine the poor (keep them from reaching the socks they oughta pull up).

          You don’t need a eucharist to get that. You just need other humans to say “And it is good.”

          We’re a complicated species but fairly simple in some regards.

          Why all the supernatural crap? Claims about ultimate beings and such?

          A false premise can lead to any conclusion.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Isn’t the concept of the Eucharist a pagan ritual?

        • Greg G.

          Justin Martyr says the Mithras cult copied it from the Christians but Plutarch reports that the Mithras cult’s rites trace back to the first century BC but he doesn’t specify what those rites were.

          Jeremiah 7:1818 The children gather wood, the fathers kindle fire, and the women knead dough, to make cakes for the queen of heaven; and they pour out drink offerings to other gods, to provoke me to anger.

        • Ignorant Amos

          But doesn’t a human blood sacrifice ritual run against the mainstream Jewish tradition of the time of Paul’s corpus?

          Isn’t there blood and body..aka bread and wine…rituals pre-Christianity?

          I’m being facetious cause I know you know the answer, but lurker’s.

        • Greg G.

          I don’t think the Jewish Christians, the Circumcision Faction, believed in the crucifixion and the blood stuff. That was Paul and he was dealing with Gentiles.

        • Dys

          I don’t believe so, but apparently there’s some debate over it.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Human blood sacrifice for atonement is anti Judaism since Abe and Isaac…hence the sacrificial lamb. Unless Yahweh/Jesus is smoting of course.

          Jewish cultist’s and Christian’s maybe mixing it up a wee bit.

          Isn’t that what the Eucharist represents, the blood and body of Christ? Catholics take it a step further than representation.

        • Greg G.

          Yes, the Jews would accept the blood part of it. Two of their biggest holidays would be Passover and Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, both involving blood.

        • Susan

          The cook is not a talker. He’s just a doer. So, he’s just doing his life. He doesn’t “explain”…wouldn’t think that up to do.

          So, he’s never said that the eucharist is what leads him to feed the poor. He’s in a supportive network that organizes to feed the poor.

          Why would you use him as an example for the power of the sacred wafer?

        • Ignorant Amos

          So many awkward questions missus…give the boy a chance.

        • Susan

          So many awkward questions missus…

          Damn it! There goes my New Year’s resolution.

        • Greg G.

          My resolution was to go on a 30 day diet. I finished it in nine days and didn’t lose any weight.

        • Attack that.

          How? Why? Huh??

          Do you not know what’s going on here? This is an atheist blog where I write provocative atheist-ish posts analyzing arguments for or against Christianity or Christian excesses within society, and then we discuss. Why would I attack someone serving other people?

        • epicurus

          And really, does anyone have a problem with the drug addict who find Jesus and gets his life together and helps others and serves meals at the local shelter? Isn’t the reason for blogs like this and others is more to do with the ideas of a Christianity that wants to claim historical truth in an ancient book, get involved in politics to promote it’s agenda, and fill kids heads with mythology touted as fact? In North American Society, that usually comes out of the evangelical conservative protestant tradition.

        • If Christianity’s only affect on society were positive, who’d have a problem with it?

        • Ignorant Amos

          It’s not as if the only people doing good stuff with the poor are Eucharist inspired RC’s is it?

        • Yonah

          Your question is a good reason for Christians to endeavor to convert talk to deed. Flatly, I think: the whole Judeo-Christian tradition needs to be converted to pure political action.

        • Do you at least see how your “Attack that,” aimed at a Christian doing good works, makes it sound like you have no idea how things work?

          To your comment: what kind of political action do you have in mind? I fear that American Christians have conflated their religion and their politics far too much already.

        • Yonah

          We shall see if I understand anything about politics and religion this year.

          But you have a fair point on bad religion. There is good religion. There is bad religion.

          My eye is on Bernie Sanders who secularly distills the moral content of the Judeo-Christian tradition to pure politics. Will he be the Democratic nominee? I doubt it. But Sanders and Warren can serve to be the “religion” of the Clinton machine. Without that religion, Clinton will be just another who drops the self-identifier of “Methodist” and not mean squat by it….because of how she claims “how things work.” The establishment is often so sure of itself.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The difficulty in attacking him on this is that he does not say any of this, but rather, he serves the poor.

          So how do you know then? How do you know it is his experience of the Eucharist that is the cause if he does not say any of this?

          Attack that.

          Attack what? People that help other people, or your naive stupidity? To what ends either? You seem to think you have it worked out.

        • Yonah

          I do.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Which just shows us all here that your delusion is complete.

        • Greg G.

          Humans evolved from a long line of social species. If the pleasure centers of the brain responded to harmful things, those with such genes would die off quickly but those with genes that result in activation of the pleasure centers for beneficial behavior would increase in the population. Doing things for the good of the group would have a payoff.

          The church takes credit when someone discovers the pleasure in helping others.

        • Yonah

          Eh, if someone gets credit for good, it’s a small and tolerable price to pay for the good actually getting done. In my old synagogue, we had a rich do-gooder guy who we periodically had honor dinners for. The event was a fund raiser for a needy cause. So, the rabbi let me in on how it works. When the charity fund got low, the rabbi would corner the rich do-gooder guy, and he would say, “Let me guess…it’s time to honor me again?”

        • TheNuszAbides

          imperviousness (to make up a word)

          imperviety.

        • Greg G.

          I wrote a response to this in Notepad but I see that I posted it in reply to one of Pofarmer’s replies. This is the link:

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2016/02/five-christian-principles-used-to-give-the-bible-a-pass-2-of-2-let-the-bible-clarify-the-bible/#comment-2521705048

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          So you’re saying that because Bob uses a wrench (for example), he should be trying to use it on a phillips-head screw?

      • MNb
    • Susan

      The Protestants are just way too easy.

      Catholics are just as easy.

      Popes trump the Bible.

      I’ve never seen a better case for yer pope than I’ve seen for any bible. Just claims without support.

      Orthodox Holy Tradition trumps the Bible.

      Why should I take any of what you listed seriously?

      How do you support any pope, any bible or any holy tradition?

      • Yonah

        In this writing, I am not supporting them. I am only pointing out that they are based on a different concept and structure of authority than Bob’s Protestant Bible methodology.

        • adam

          ” I am only pointing out that they are based on a different concept and structure of authority than Bob’s Protestant Bible methodology.”

          No, you keep stating that, but failing to point out what Bob’s been missing. Leading us to think it is insignificant.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic…so what?

    • Dys

      You mean nonsense like transubstantiation, papal infallibility, etc.? I was listening to Catholic radio for sheer amusement, and they were seriously discussing the theology surrounding guardian angels.

      Catholicism has plenty of its own ridiculously easy targets.

      • Pofarmer

        They have a theology for just about everything.

        • TheNuszAbides

          record-holding monopoly on free time. (the Orthodox priests get to divert themselves with wives. sticking with the basics indeed!)

      • Jack Baynes

        For some reason, I find the perpetual virginity of Mary the hardest to believe. Really? You think Joseph and Mary just never had sex after Jesus was born and they were married? For reasons?

        • Greg G.

          Joseph was rather old and they didn’t have Viagra until Jesus invented it.

        • Pofarmer

          Just goes back to twisted ideas about sex in general.

        • Michael Neville

          The medieval scholastics determined that Yahweh impregnated Mary through her ear so she would stay “virginal.”

        • adam

          Mary?

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Gives “In your Ear!” a whole new meaning! 🙂

      • Yonah

        You examples are products of Catholic/Orthodox teaching/culture. I am writing of the actual machinery that Catholic/Orthodox use to put forward claims. It is a different machinery than the Protestant Bible method.

        • Pofarmer

          Different but just as flawed. Are you thinking Thomism or Aristotlean metaphysics or what?

        • Yonah

          For example, when Luther was pinned down on the question of authority at the Diet of Worms, he had the option of claiming the authority of the ecumenical councils, but on the spot, chose only the Bible (sola scriptura)…but on his own terms which in no way comports with the modern Protestant Bible paradigm that Bob assumes is pan-Christian. But, Luther’s peculiarities not withstanding, a primary example of authority which is supra-biblical is the authority of the ecumenical councils.

        • adam

          “he had the option of claiming the authority of the ecumenical councils, but on the spot, chose only the Bible (sola scriptura).”

          Ok, so he chose his own interpretation, but so did the ecumenical councils.

        • Yonah

          The councils precede the canon Luther (loosely) claimed to be the only authority.

        • adam

          Only in that sect, so what?

          You havent demonstrated the significance in what you are claiming

        • Greg G.

          Thank you, Yonah, for tying the Diet of Worms and sola scriptura together for me. I knew about the latter but I didn’t know the significance of the former. I knew the Diet was a real thing but I assumed it was only known to me because of the funny name and never suspected it was worth learning more about.

        • Yonah

          The thing I will always wonder about is whether Luther planned any of his stated positions there.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          If not, that would explain a lot. It’s, in the computer OS world, like the difference between Unix and Windows.

          Unix is pretty self-consistent and has an underlying order. Windows just does things and cobbles together kludges when it has to (recursive ‘Application Data’ folder in any Windows from Vista up, anyone?)

          Here, Unix is science, and Windows is religion.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          In many computers, right now, Windows is crashing…

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Luther was also a nasty anti-semite, and hated knowledge because it showed his book as weak, flawed, and self-contradictory.

          Not really an example I’d want to follow, much less hold up as admirable.

        • Yonah

          I was the crappiest Lutheran. Can you imagine a Jewish Lutheran? I got put on probation my first year of seminary. The cool thing was years later when I was a member of a synagogue hosting a Holocaust conference for Jews and Lutherans, my old professors from the seminary had to come and sit for my lecture as a Jew. The rabbi was a little nervous, but we got through it.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          That lecture would be worth a read if you could dump it online.

        • Dys

          Considering the lax standards the machinery uses to evaluate miracle claims for the purposes of determining sainthood, I’d say the machinery may be different, but it doesn’t really work much better.

        • Yonah

          Fine, but Bob wishes to subject the actual Protestant authority paradigm to a scrutiny which does not get a pass…so also should be done to the Catholic/Orthodox supra-biblical paradigm. And do that, one would need to actually hunker down and read the texts of that paradigm. Is somebody being lazy here?

        • Dys

          I’d like to see him examine the other paradigms as well, but to implying laziness on his part is unwarranted.

        • Pofarmer

          Sounds like someone needs to start a blog.

        • Yonah

          No time. I have a church to pastor. So, Bob should go after the other kinds of Christians.

        • Greg G.

          But the claims made by other kinds of Christians are so vague and meaningless.

        • Yonah

          OUCH, lolollolol. You got me! For who can be more vague and meaningless than we Methodists?!!! You get the best post of the year award. Thou art worthy!

        • TheNuszAbides

          For who can be more vague and meaningless than we Methodists?

          i was about to say unitarians … but since (of all denominations) they must have the most time and energy freed up to concentrate on no-frills community/service, perhaps they’re ironic(ish)ally the most “stick with the basics” fundamentalists of all.

        • TheNuszAbides

          awesome–in every sense of the word.

        • Pofarmer

          I get it. You’re playing a time honored game of “Let’s you and him fight.”

        • Greg G.

          Do you want to see a fight between me and Yonah? You stand in the middle.

        • Pofarmer

          I’ll just be over here by the door. Ya’ll knock yourselves out.

        • Greg G.

          What are you drinking? Have you tried the punch?

        • Susan

          No time. I have a church to pastor.

          I get it. You’re busy but Bob’s lazy.

          So, Bob should go after the other kinds of Christians.

          They’re all the same in this regard. They all begin with their conclusion. There are thousands of variations and nothing particularly convincing about yours.

          Signed,

          An ex-catholic

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          You’ve got plenty of time to bother us. Collect it, and, if you dare, make and support a positive statement of your position.

        • Michael Neville

          Is somebody being lazy here?

          Is someone throwing around baseless insults here?

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Now, that’s not quite fair. Yonah IS being lazy…just trying to project his faults onto his opponent, in true xtian loving fashion.

        • TheNuszAbides

          oh, he’s definitely the most aspersion-casting Methodist-identified specimen i’ve ever heard of (though perhaps Chris Hedges would rate a close second–the difference being that Hedges’ aspersions are rarely related to theology and [consequently?] carry more weight in my worldview). but the personal background Y.’s described in bits and pieces, if all true of the same individual, seems like it would be nearly inconceivable for him not to be some kind of outlier.

        • adam

          ” And do that, one would need to actually hunker down and read the texts of that paradigm.”

          Or you could just look at the results of that paradigm:

        • Yonah

          On THAT, I agree with you. Bob would do well to employ that strategy toward the evangelical Protestants rather than go through the whole Bible deal.

        • adam

          Why?

          It is the “God of Abraham” that is primarily the issue.

          And supposedly THAT is what the bible is about….

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Why? He’s doing what interests HIM. If you want it done, do it, and submit it for review.

        • Greg G.

          The problem is Priest–penitent privilege. If a priest confesses to the Bishop, the Bishop cannot do anything. This loophole should be closed. Dangerous people should not receive a Get-Out-Of-Jail Free card for hurting people. You cannot confess a sin because sin is an imaginary construct but you can confess a crime and that person should be removed from society instead of moved to a fresh set of victims.

        • adam

          “This loophole should be closed. Dangerous people should not receive a Get-Out-Of-Jail Free card for hurting people. ”

          But this is THE PRIMARY benefit of Jesus and forgiveness.
          And certainly is not limited to Catholics…

        • Jack Baynes

          Forbidding Priests to go to the police over what’s been confessed to them doesn’t make sense. If you confess sins, you’re supposed to be sorry for those sins and ready to do proper penance for them. If those sins are criminal, the civil punishment should be part of the penance.

        • TheNuszAbides

          unfortunately, priests were historically explicitly not subject to civil law, and many are still reluctant to give up that privilege ‘in spirit’, as it were. cue the “moral expertise” ca[na]rd.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          You do it. BobS is not beholden to you in any way.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Uh, you keep trying to divide the two.

          Without the tricks**t whacko ideas, there wouldn’t be anything for inferior machinery to move around.

    • Michael Neville

      As an ex-Catholic I’ve done a fair bit of Catholic bashing at Patheos. I’ve particularly railed at the Vatican’s official policy of supporting and protecting child-raping clergy while simultaneously insisting that the Catholic Church is the highest moral authority on Earth.

      • Yonah

        You are broaching another topic. This topic has to do with authority systems used to advance claims.

        • Michael Neville

          I’m describing some things I have said about the Catholic Church. Whether or not that has to do with whatever topic interests you is of no concern to me. You can talk about what you want to talk about and other people will talk about what we want to talk about. In short, you must have mistaken me for someone who cares about your favorite topic.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          The Catholic church, and ANY xtian *group*, is already a authoritarian system used to advance claims.

    • MNb

      BobS doesn’t hold that, but I agree with you that he is (anti-)biased towards protestantism (he has tackled some progressive ones as well in the past). I’d like him to criticize catholicism and eastern orthodoxy a bit more indeed – and not only their authority systems.

      • Jack Baynes

        The whole idea of Natural Law (which has nothing to do with nature), would be interesting to address.

        • Pofarmer

          It’s mainly just frustrating.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          Natural Law= we think life is only meant to look a certain way because SHIT that’s why!!!

      • Yonah

        Thank you.

        • If this is a passion for you, give me an outline of a post and I’ll consider it. If this is simply “Why are you being mean to me? Those other guys are weirder than I am!” then that doesn’t argue for a high priority for this topic.

        • Greg G.

          How about if Yonah submits an essay about how Catholicism is superior to Protestantism or points he would like to defend, and since it is your blog, you get to rebut it in the article. Then you both can go at it in the comments while we in the peanut gallery critique and criticize both of you…

        • If Yonah writes a compelling enough comment, I’d consider writing my response as a blog post. Yonah could even pitch me to write a guest post.

        • Yonah

          It’s not that personal. I am neither (currently) Catholic or Orthodox. Currently, a Methodist pastor but a former Lutheran pastor. So, I had to study, like, 8 years all the stuff that does not pertain to your evangelical Protestant bible critique. It seems only fair that someone else should also study.

        • ningen

          I’m not convinced. As I understand it, there are all sorts of different methods for doing astrology. I still feel confident in rejecting astrology as gobbledygook even though I haven’t studied any of those different methodologies.

        • Greg G.

          But which astrology do you reject the most, the Northern sky or the Southern sky? If the Northern sky, is it the Asian constellations or the Greco-Roman constellations?

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Mirror astrology, of course! 😉

        • Greg G.

          Heretic!

        • If your point is that christianity is a big tent, I agree. Not all stupidities apply to all people.

        • Yonah

          Variation on theme: Why not take on a top tier non-evangelical/fundamentalist Christian theologian? You had Marcus Borg right here on Patheos before he passed, may his memory be for a blessing….did you engage him? Why not engage the many like him?

        • Just pass the time of day?

          You need to expand on this. I’m going to find a non-evangelical Christian web site or leader and then do what? If you know of some nutty stuff that applies there but not to evangelical Christians, let me know.

        • Yonah

          Oh, ok. Well, my consolation prize is knowing that my boring Methodist pulpit and feed the hungry programs are safe from Bob.

          The prayers of Yonah herewith end. Selah.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          As the edge recedes (tide of belief and all that), I fear your position will, by not moving, be closer and closer to the unacceptable fringe.

          Time will tell.

        • Yonah

          In truth, mainline church has, at most, 15 years left in it. In 7-8 years the point of no return will be evident. So. In 15 years the evangelicals & Catholic/Orthodox will be the two main options. It’s why I keep my Jewish card in my back pocket (I am Jewish…apostate…but apostates can always go home.)

        • Greg G.

          In truth, mainline church has, at most, 15 years left in it.

          I heard the claim about evolution would be overturned in ten or fifteen years back in 1975 and again in 1995. I have also seen that a preacher was saying that gradualism in geology would be overturned in the next ten or fifteen years back in the 1820s.

        • Yonah

          The lay people running congregational ministry right now are 70 years old. No one is replacing them.

        • epicurus

          Ack! He died?!?! Yikes, I was just flipping through one of his books in the library the other day.

        • Pofarmer

          I commented on Borgs blog few times. It was Secular humanism because Jesus! Kinda odd.

        • Yonah

          I argued with him a lot on the basis that his theology circle self appointed itself a replacement for neo-orthodox theology (Niebuhrs et al) that I think should be rehabilitated. It’s what I do to keep right wing Republicans from going full tilt Nazi. Somebody has to do it.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Again, if you studied that, you should be able to offer effective rebuttals. So far I’m just hearing complaints.

      • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

        Why not research it yourself? When did BobS become your personal assistant?

    • Greg G.

      I watched the movie Hail, Caesar! yesterday. The movie was mainly about Communism in the movie industry 60 or 70 years ago but the backdrop was that studio was making a movie about Jesus through the eyes of a Roman centurion. The studio chief wanted to get input from different religions to make sure the script did not offend anybody. There were three Christian priests/preachers and a Rabbi. I didn’t catch the specific religions of three Christians as I wasn’t expecting the mention of them to be so important to the next scene. I thought the scene was hilarious nonetheless but I think you would like it more than anybody and at a deeper level.

      PS: The Rabbi was played by the holographic doctor from one of the Star Trek series. He owned that scene.

      • epicurus

        I really want to see that movie, looks great. I read a review that said if you are into old movies it might actually be better to see it at home so you can see and review all the references and visuals from that film making era. But of course that doesn’t mean one can’t see it in the theater as well.

        • Greg G.

          They had a really good actor who was good at rope tricks playing a bad actor who was good at rope tricks. The set with the musical had a dance scene that took a twist but the bartender pulling the tablecloth out from under guys who were dancing on the table without them missing a step was cool.

      • Yonah

        Thanks! Sounds great. When I get some time off, I’ll have to take the Mrs. to it.

      • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

        Robert Picardo…he’s a great actor.

        • Greg G.

          Thanks. I didn’t sit through all of the credits. He is very good.

        • Jack Baynes

          My wife’s a big fan of Voyager and Stargate Atlantis. He’s one of the best parts in the former (in the latter he just reminds me of Voyager)

    • adam

      “I wanna see Bob take on Catholics and Eastern Orthodox. The Protestants are just way too easy.”

      Seems to me the Catholics are the easiest.

    • Scott_In_OH

      1. There are lots and lots and LOTS of Protestants, including many with powerful voices in my country. They are worthy of being critiqued, and many people do not find them self-evidently wrong.

      2. I’m happy, as I believe is Bob, to debate Catholicism (I know far less about Eastern Orthodoxy). Pick your arena: Literal Adam and Eve. Damnation of all humans for the acts of two people long ago (Original Sin). Literal, but untestable, transubstantiation of bread and wine at Mass. The impropriety–even “disordered” nature–of any sex act that does not end with a husband ejaculating in his wife’s vagina. Aquinas’s “5 ways” of proving the Christian god exists. The appropriateness of not reporting child molesters to the police, as long as those molesters are priests. The sinfulness of any form of birth control that is intended to do more than put a reasonable amount of space between births. Anything else you think is worth debating.

      • Yonah

        No, we’re talking authority systems that produce goofy beliefs not the beliefs themselves. If you want to go on about apostolic succession, have at it.

        • adam

          “No, we’re talking authority systems that produce goofy beliefs ”

          Which in any system with an imaginary ‘god’ does.

        • Scott_In_OH

          I don’t particularly want to go on about anything, unless someone asks or makes a claim I don’t find credible. Is your complaint that Bob, on his own blog that you read for free, doesn’t delve into the unreliability of apostolic succession? Or Church Tradition, for that matter? I’m quite sure he finds those unconvincing as sources of authority, but I still don’t understand what you want him to write about them.

          We’re getting to the point where it sounds like you just want to tell Bob what to do. Why not write your own stuff and post it someplace? Maybe here?

        • Greg G.

          Apostolic succession is the theological belief that Chinese whispers is reliable method of passing information, while new languages evolve and the original languages die.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Catholicism IS an authority system. It sounds to me like you should be panting from THAT particular goalpost move.

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      Why? That would be beating up on those who are relatively marginalized.

      If one is going to pick a fight, it’s more honorable to punch UP to those in power than vice-versa.

      Especially when those in power are both hypocritical and sanctimonious.

      • Yonah

        A fair point.

      • That would be beating up on those who are relatively marginalized.

        What the hell are you talking about?

        The Catholic Church owns a country, which it rules from a giant fucking palace filled with priceless art. It has crowned and deposed emperors. It has made kings wage war on its behalf. To this day, it influences the laws and leaders in multiple nations.

        The Eastern Orthodox Church has similar historical power and enormous current political power in the world’s largest nation.

        There are multiple large and powerful countries where either Catholicism or Eastern Orthodoxy is dominant among both those in power and the wider population.

        These churches are so far from being marginalised that to call your statement “incorrect” seems wholly inadequate to describe the degree of its departure from reality.

  • JBrown971

    The assumption by you and most of those commenting here is that there is no god. Nothing a Christian says about his/her trust in the Bible is relevant, by your standards. You are correct, #1, 3 & 4 of your principles are invalid in a universe lacking God (#2 is based on bias & #5 is your opinion). It would be like arguing with me over the proper maintenance procedure on your Bugatti. I may have the truth, but you don’t have a Bugatti, so the truth to you is irrelevant.

    Christians accept those 3 principles, not out of ignorance/arrogance or simple written word, but out of belief in God. God gives the Bible it’s power. Get that and rest will begin to fall into place.

    • epicurus

      Is it possible there be a creator god of the universe, but not involved personally with the world, and not the Christian God, but Christians might still believe and accept those 3 principles out of a belief in what they think is a God giving the Bible its power? Or the same example but substitute a Muslim?

      • JBrown971

        “Is it possible”
        Can you apply that to your own worldview? It is possible that intelligent design is the answer?

        If you accept there is a God, the Bible presents the best explanation of that God.

        • Jack Baynes

          If you accept there is a God, the Bible presents the best explanation of that God.

          That’s a very bold statement. Bob presents a number of reasons why that seems unlikely. If there was a God who wanted us to understand him, he could have done a MUCH better job than the Bible.

        • JBrown971

          If you were God, all people would know who you were and follow you blindly, right? You can do it better? Tell me, what would you have done differently?

        • Jack Baynes

          For starters, my Bible would be free from apparent contradictions that make it look like it was just the product of fallible humans. And I’d make regular appearances to correct mistranslations and explain my views on technological advances, and resolve disputes among the church about interpretation of my Bible.

          In contrast, your God’s Bible “the best explanation of God” somehow leads churches to a variety of different understandings of God.

        • adam

          “n contrast, your God’s Bible “the best explanation of God” somehow leads
          churches to a variety of different understandings of God.”

          Religion divides

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          If you were immortal and omnipresent and wanted to really connect with people, I’d rightly determine you would be making a poor choice in having anything to do with written language at all.

        • adam

          Religion by DESIGN divides people and is the source of its own conflict

          Science by DESIGN unifies people and it the source of its unification.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          We’ve had “gods” like those. The very atheist dictators (and Hitler) that believers trot out often when the theism/atheism arguments come up thought faith and absolute morality and justice are the best things ever. Those who kept their commandments were great in their kingdoms (men after their own hearts) while the rest suffered their love and justice in their presence. Really, the best people ever! Just read the praises of their true followers.

        • MNb

          What I would have done differently is this: suggest that reincarnation I call my son Jesus to tell the people of his days to set any slave free that asks for it.
          And provide a recipe for soap.

        • Otto

          Any believer can make the statement that their holy book presents the best explanation for a god with equal validity, they are therefore equally invalid.

        • JBrown971

          The statement can be made, but the evidence doesn’t support that.

        • adam

          “The statement can be made, but the evidence doesn’t support that.”

          Or your claim.

        • Otto

          The evidence does not support any religion…that is the point.

        • adam

          “If you accept there is a God, the Bible presents the best explanation of that God.”

          Of course it does, and ancient tales presents the best explanation of Zeus.

          So what?

        • epicurus

          Yes, I can apply that to my own world view. I’m not stuck on believing in an all powerful/loving/knowing God. Classical Theism is not the only God option. Deism provides as good or better an explanation as the Bible.

    • Susan

      The assumption by you and most of those commenting here is that there is no god.

      Has it occurred to you that there are many ex-christians here? I assume if you are claiming something exists, that you should be able to support it. Instead, you (once again) accuse us of being close-minded and having impossible standards. You need to demonstrate that it’s the case if you’re going to accuse us of that.

      It would be like arguing with me over the proper maintenance procedure on your Bugatti. I may have the truth, but you don’t have a Bugatti, so the truth to you is irrelevant.

      These analogies always fail. It’s not like that at all. We know Bugattis exist and even if I didn’t own one I could see the manual and compare it to the Bugatti you own.

      A better analogy would be if you argued with me about the altitude capacities of a magical flying carpet or produced a manual on how to treat hoofrot in unicorns (I stole that one from one of my favourite internet commentators “epeeist” for whom I don’t have a link right now).

      Or if you argued with me about the Care and Feeding of the Invisible Dragon in Your Garage.

      Christians accept those 3 principles not out of ignorance/arrogance or simple written word,

      Give me an argument that doesn’t begin with its conclusion, then.

      but out of belief in God. God gives the Bible it’s power. Get that and rest will begin to fall into place.

      Something that doesn’t go like that.

      • JBrown971

        “Has it occurred to you that there are many ex-christians here?”
        Does that change my assumption?

        “that you should be able to support it.”
        That is not the topic of this article

        “Instead, you (once again) accuse us of being close-minded and having impossible standards”
        Did no such thing. I simply stated you don’t believe in God. Was a wrong?

        “These analogies always fail.”
        Interesting that after claiming that I called you closed minded and setting up impossible standards (which I didn’t), you turn around and apply it to me.

        • Susan

          Does that change my assumption?

          If I misunderstood your words, I apologize and I’ll ask you to clarify. As you’ve already accused people here of being close-minded, I assumed you meant, again in this case, that we all began with the assumption that there is no god. Many of us were taught to believe in god(s) until we grew to realize that there is no support for that claim.

          That is not the topic of this article.

          It seemed to be the point of your comment. That if you assume the bible is given by your god, then all the rationalizations are acceptable. This is special pleading. If you want to posit the existence of your deity as justification, then it seems reasonable to ask you to support that.

          Interesting that after claiming that I called you closed minded and setting up impossible standards (which I didn’t), you turn around and apply it to me.

          I said this (and every other analogy in apologetics I’ve so far heard in my travels) fails. I explained why. It has nothing to do with impossible standards or close-mindedness. You can’t point to something that we all know exists and use it to explain your knowledge of something for which there is no evidence.

          You ignored the magic carpets, the treatment of hoof rot in unicorns and the dragon in your garage.

          Until you show a distinction between your claim and those ones, those analogies are better.

          You failed to address every point I made.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Bridle fitting for Space Ponies?

        • Scott_In_OH

          I simply stated you don’t believe in God.

          No, you said we ASSUME there is no god. In reality, many of us believed deeply in the Christian god until more and more evidence accrued and we were forced to conclude–often reluctantly–that it is no more reasonable to believe in the Christian god than it is to believe in the Muslim or Hindu gods.

    • Myna Alexanderson

      And your assumption is that the Bible, and more specifically the NT, is the revealed word of God as opposed to, say, the Qu’ran? What is your definition of arrogance?

      • JBrown971

        “is the revealed word of God”
        Yes

        “What is your definition of arrogance?”
        Say the dictionary. I included it, because in a previous post I accused of being arrogant for addressing a Biblical issue to a non-believer. However, that arrogance comes from the belief in a superior being. If you don’t accept a superior being, the whole thing is moot anyway.

        • adam

          “”is the revealed word of God”
          Yes”

        • Myna Alexanderson

          Your assumption, then, is that anyone who doesn’t accept a superior being according to your assumption of what that superior being is, the whole argument is moot. Then why come here to argue at all?

          On a side note, I just now heard on the radio that Harper Lee has died. Her book, “To Kill a Mockingbird”, actually beat out the Bible as the most influential book to date in the United States. The Bible, best seller since 1815 (with the advent of growing literacy) came in second. In the realm of fictions, it might be posited that the first, rather than the second, addressed the heart of the human condition more than the other.

        • adam

          “The Bible, best seller since 1815 ”

          Ehh….

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          Why is it that “superior” beings always seem to be killers with a fire fetish? As an anecdote, a Klansmen in clip from a documentary being anounced on the radio said (paraphrase) that the burning crosses on POC’s lawns represents the light of Jesus triumphing over Satan.

    • Greg G.

      God gives the Bible it’s power.

      Been there, done that. One of the last sermons, maybe the last, was on why people cuss. The preacher claimed it was because THERE IS POWER IN THE NAMEĎ. I thought, “BULLSHIT! Oh, there’s the same power in that word, too.” That power is imaginary. Don’t expect us to believe what you are peddling when everything you believe requires more imagination that anything.

      • JBrown971

        I guess you failed to read the rest of my post. Whether you call it BS or not is irrelevant. If you don’t take the Bible under that worldview, of course you come to a different conclusion.

        • Greg G.

          The “Bullshit” was in relation to what the preacher was preaching. The word “bullshit” is at least as shocking as “Jesus Christ” as an expletive. The point is that it is not the power of the name but the power of the taboo.

          I have given the context of my hearing of that sermon before. I was having a crisis of faith and desperately trying to hold on. I traveled nearly 500 miles to the church where I was “saved” with hopes of having my faith rekindled where it began. Instead of hearing an inspirational sermon with reasons to believe, I got an obviously absurd claim from the pulpit. If there was a god who wanted me, he blew it.

          BTW, the “Ď” after “NAME” was supposed to be a quotation mark but I must not have held the button down or fat fingered it on my phone. My browser doesn’t recognize me as the person who wrote it at this time so it isn’t offering me an Edit.

    • MNb

      BobS asked you a question. It’s telling that you don’t care to answer it.

      http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2016/02/five-christian-principles-used-to-give-the-bible-a-pass/#comment-2519600269

      “God gives the Bible it’s power. Get that and rest will begin to fall into place.”
      Of course. As soon as you have deluded yourself on one point it becomes even easier to delude yourself on other points.

      • JBrown971

        “It’s telling that you don’t care to answer it.”
        Sorry, I move on with my life after talking in circles for a long enough period of time. Furthermore, when 20 people respond I drowned most. Yet, since you guys hang on every word I say, I responded.

        “As soon as you have deluded yourself on one point it becomes even easier to delude yourself on other points”

        True, so true. Hows that consensus working for you? Still eating trans fats? Maybe the ice caps will still melt before the end of 2015? How about a stopping poverty through welfare? Wonder what else they have wrong?

        • adam

          ” Wonder what else they have wrong?”

          Science is self correcting.

          Religion is self delusion.

          ” Wonder what else they have wrong?”
          .

        • Otto

          I wonder what religion has right. Science has boatloads of success verifying aspects of state of the reality we share. Religion does not have even one success, not one. I will be happy to compare batting averages.

        • MNb

          “Hows that consensus working for you?”
          Science.
          Do you have got anything better?

          “Wonder what else they have wrong?”
          Let’s see ….. cars, airplanes, computers, internet, nuclear bombs, Zyklon-B. On every single one of them your (or any other) religion totally outperforms science.
          Or not.

    • Jack Baynes

      Even the existence of God does not make 1, 3 and 4 invalid.

      • JBrown971

        Maybe true. However, that is the framework for reaching those principles for the Christian.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          a framework made of rotten material isn’t very useful.

        • Jack Baynes

          And Bob is discussing the flaws in Christian reasoning. You SHOULD pay attention, if your really believe in God and want to help others you should be interested in knowing why your arguments aren’t persuasive.

        • JBrown971

          He is approaching those flaws from the view that there is no God. I can explain, however, if you read part 1, it is useless. It is like starting a cooking recipe on step 3. If you are unwilling to accept the notion of a God, you won’t accept anything claiming to be written about him.

        • Jack Baynes

          No, YOU are starting with the assumption that there IS a God (and it’s your specific interpretation of God, and he directly oversaw the writing of the Bible). Bob is starting without the assumption that there is a God (That’s different from an assumption that there is no God).

          If you do not assume that there is a God, of course you do not assume that something that claims to be written by him was written by him.

          And if you do not assume that the Bible was written by God, it looks like a contradictory mess. Even if you DO accept that it was written by God, it looks like God wrote a deliberately confusing mess.

        • JBrown971

          “Bob is starting without the assumption that there is a God (That’s different from an assumption that there is no God).”
          Because we have scientifically prove there is no God? Do you have the data on that experiment?

        • Jack Baynes

          I’m not sure what your question has to do with the statement you quoted.
          You do not need to scientifically prove there is no God in order to rationally start without the assumption that there is a God.

        • JBrown971

          Without proof, it’s an assumption. “Rationally’ is a subjective term that doesn’t give one the ability to make statements without assumptions.

        • Jack Baynes

          Do you assume that I have blonde hair, or do you assume that I do not have blonde hair?

        • JBrown971

          I guess in this situation, I can simply say that I don’t assume you have hair. Thus regardless what you say, I am right.

        • Jack Baynes

          Exactly.
          That’s the difference between assuming there is not a God, and not assuming that there is a God.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          Oh, look! you stated an atheist position removed from emotional biases and social pressures to conform!

        • adam

          “Because we have scientifically prove there is no God? Do you have the data on that experiment?”

          Yes, I do.

          How many of the MILLIONS of claimed ‘gods’ have ended up not being what was claimed?

          Answer: ALL of them.

        • Greg G.

          If you start with the assumption that there is a god, you are subject to confirmation bias for the assumption. If you start with the assumption that there is no god, you are subject to confirmation bias for the assumption. If you start with neither assumption, you don’t have the confirmation bias and you don’t end up with reasons to believe there is a god.

          When theological attributes are added to the god, the contradictions between the wishful thinking and observed reality will usually disprove the theological additions.

        • JBrown971

          ” If you start with neither assumption”
          You can either see the world as though it was created or that it created itself. You can’t hold a neutral position.

        • adam

          ” You can’t hold a neutral position.”

          Why not?

        • JBrown971

          I guess you can, but you can’t then claim either side is right or wrong. Because by doing you, you no longer stay neutral.

        • MNb

          You don’t have absolute proof whether Adam can or can’t claim that, so shrug.

        • Otto

          Withholding judgement on whether there is a deistic god and denying the validity of the Christian God are 2 separate issues.

        • adam

          “I guess you can, but you can’t then claim either side is right or wrong. Because by doing you, you no longer stay neutral.”

          Well after the data is in there is no need to stay neutral ANY MORE..

        • Max Doubt

          “I guess you can, but you can’t then claim either side is right or wrong. Because by doing you, you no longer stay neutral.”

          But the base atheist position is neutral. It’s the rejection of claims that gods exist because, and this is where atheists have the luxury of being correct before the conversation even starts, because there is no objective evidence to support any claim that any gods do exist. We are right about that, and unless you or someone else can bring in some objective evidence, we will continue to be right. We have it made. It’s the god believers who have the work cut out for them. It’s been thousands of years of people claiming various gods are real, and thousands of years of failure to objectively support it. God believers haven’t even left the starting line.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          Failure paved in rape, murder, and bling!

        • Jack Baynes

          I can see a gemstone and not know initially if it was created in a lab or mined out of the Earth. Are you saying I’m incapable of acknowledging that I do not know that?

        • JBrown971

          To a good analogy.

          You are not capable of saying I do not know, while still claiming it is one or the other.

        • MNb

          You don’t have absolute proof if JackB is capable of this or not, so shrug.

        • Jack Baynes

          Not all atheists say “There is no God”. A better generalization of atheist thought is “I do not believe God is real”. Atheists are a varied bunch with no defined “dogma” though, so there are people who call themselves atheists who do not even agree with that.

          Not assuming that God is real is perfectly consistent with the statement “I do not believe God is real”.

          To bring things back on topic, I don’t see anything in Bob’s posts here that require an assumption that God doesn’t exist.

        • Greg G.

          Atheists are a varied bunch with no defined “dogma”

          In contrast to theists who claim to be a unified group with myriads of well-defined dogmas.

        • MNb

          You yourself hold a neutral position, because you demand absolute proof for knowledge which can’t be provided for anything. You’re a nihilist.

          http://www.iep.utm.edu/nihilism/

          That’s to say, if you’re consistent – which you also don’t care about (because no absolute proof). Everything you write is meaningless according to yourself.

        • Max Doubt

          “You can either see the world as though it was created or that it created itself. You can’t hold a neutral position.”

          Perhaps that’s the root of your problem right there. You obviously have an intellectual deficiency that prevents you from understanding that there is a neutral position.

        • Greg G.

          If you don’t know, the honest position is to admit that you don’t know.

          Do I have more than $100 in my wallet or do I have less than $100.01 in my wallet. One is true and one is false but it would be silly to take a position on the question with complete ignorance. You can hold a neutral position.

          Do I have exactly $77 dollars in my wallet or not? Are you going to take a position on that statement?

        • MNb

          Have you scientifically proven there is no square circle? Do you have the data on that experiment?
          No?
          You yourself defined your god out of the scientific realm. That means we are left with other (and only logical) standards. None of them provides absolute proof. So according to you anything goes. Why would you eat? You don’t have absolute proof you need food. You don’t have absolute proof that eating will remedy you feeling hungry.

        • adam

          ” If you are unwilling to accept the notion of a God, you won’t accept anything claiming to be written about him.”

          Or her, or it….

          So what?

          If you are unwilling to accept the notion of Invisible Flying Pink Unicorns, you won’t accept anything claiming to be written about it.

          If you think the default position IS to believe in MAGICAL creatures, I think I can identify your problem…

        • Greg G.

          We know that invisible pink unicorns are invisible because we cannot see them. We know that they are pink by faith.

        • MNb

          Even if we are unwilling to accept the notion of a god we are capable to point out inconsistencies, incoherence and other problems int the writings about him assuming for the sake of argment that we do accept that notion.

        • Otto

          When looking at evidence you don’t start with you conclusion…or at least you shouldn’t.

          You are arguing we need to start with the conclusion of God’s existence before looking at the evidence. That is fallacious and intellectually dishonest.

        • Max Doubt

          “He is approaching those flaws from the view that there is no God.”

          We all approach this from the view that those who claim gods exist have not met their burden of proof. It is wholly unscientific, and dishonest, to discuss something as if it does exist when its existence is indistinguishable from its non-existence. We’re talking about fiction here, like fairy tales, myths, or children’s’ stories. And with fiction you cannot, with honesty, claim people don’t understand the truth of it. Nobody has shown that it’s true from the git-go.

          If you’re honest I’m sure you’ll agree there is, as far as you and we know, no objective evidence to support any claims that any gods exist. I’m sure you’ll agree, if you’re honest, that you cannot objectively differentiate your supposed god from any other figment of your imagination. What I’m not sure of is whether you have the ability to be honest. The evidence so far is against you.

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      With all due respect (none on this matter), don’t try to tell me what I supposedly believe.

      I just don’t believe in anything without evidence. Bad grammar aside, I don’t NOT believe in anything, because it’s both foolish and a waste of time.

      • JBrown971

        “I don’t NOT believe in anything”

        Did you mean ‘do not’?

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          In case you missed it, I specified that it’s bad grammatically.

          I do not ‘not believe’ in anything as a position, as an active/positive statement. I wait on belief until sufficient evidence has accumulated.

          It also doesn’t say much for either your reading comprehension or ‘care’ in understanding opposing positions that you didn’t read it through the few times necessary to understand that.

        • JBrown971

          I don’t jump to conclusions if I don’t understand. We are using an emotionless exchange. Simply writing something as you would say it, doesn’t demand the reader understand it that way. In addition, I don’t have time to sit and contemplate the writings ‘hariyeyedwordbombthrower’.

          Essentially, you are creating a catch 22 for yourself. You don’t have to tie yourself to any worldview, but can deny any worldview at the same time.

        • Otto

          It is not a catch 22, in fact it is the opposite.

          You don’t have to tie yourself to any worldview, but can deny any worldview at the same time.”

          That is the intellectually honest thing to do because it is not based on just simple denial, the denial is based on the evidence. I noticed you just kind of stepped over that part.

          Do you deny the worldview of a person who believes the Earth is flat? I am guessing you do. Do you just deny that worldview out of hand or is it rooted in the evidence that contradicts a flat Earth?

          Leaving oneself open to possibilities is not a Catch 22. Denying unreasonable worldviews that lack substance is not either.

        • JBrown971

          “Leaving oneself open to possibilities”
          That is a dishonest statement. You are actually only open to those ideas that fit your worldview. Without assuming, do you reject Intelligent Design?

        • adam

          ” You are actually only open to those ideas that fit your worldview.”

          Yes, that of EVIDENCE over childish wishful thinking.

          “Without assuming, do you reject Intelligent Design?”

          No, but after looking at its’ “evidence”, even ID is not intelligently designed.

        • MNb

          Yup, I do. But before I did I was open to it. If any IDiot would capable of remedying the problems involved with IDiocy I would become open to it again. I can even specify how to do it. For some reason no IDiot ever even tried, specifically you.

        • JBrown971

          Yet, the science has left no problems still awaiting a remedy. Interesting, you should tell science that.

        • MNb

          Tu quoque is a logical fallacy.
          Plus you here specifically admit “scientific problems hence god” – and the god of the gaps is also a logical fallacy.
          Good job putting two logical fallacies in one sentence.

        • JBrown971

          “scientific problems hence god”

          Remove that as a quote. I never said it.

        • MNb

          You don’t have absolute proof that you never said it, so shrug.

        • Greg G.

          The science method has made progress since its inception a few centuries ago. ID made a statement and has made no progress at all.

        • Otto

          I don’t reject intelligent design. I see no evidence that points to it though.

          I think it is possible Intelligent design happened, I lack any reason at this point to believe it is the case.

          What is dishonest about that statement? “I don’t know” as the answer to a question we don’t know the answer to is the most honest one.

        • Max Doubt

          “That is a dishonest statement. You are actually only open to those ideas that fit your worldview.”

          Now you’ve wandered into flat out lying. Do you really expect to have a productive conversation here when you’re treating these other participants like shit? Really?

        • adam

          “You are actually only open to those ideas that fit your worldview. ”

          And my worldview is to go where the evidence points me.

          The evidence for ID is dishonest at best.

        • Michael Neville

          Intelligent design was invented by Philip Johnson, a lawyer, to get around the inconvenient prohibition on teaching religious mythology as science in public schools. Cdesign proponentsists try to replace God as a creator with an “intelligent Designer” (wink wink nudge nudge) having the same attributes as Yahweh but with the serial numbers filed off. Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District showed that intelligent design was primarily religious, not science and entangled church and state.

    • Otto

      The biggest issue is that there is zero reason to think the Bible was in any way authored, inspired or otherwise connected to a God… nadda, none.

      God gives the Bible power? When a person “gets” that God gives the Bible power it is not God giving it the power, it is the person that gives the Bible power by ascribing the bible to God unconditionally, and that type of thinking is dangerous. The assumption is yours, you assume the divinity of the Bible without any reasonable justification for doing so. We don’t make that assumption. Speaking for myself I did not start with the assumption there was no god. I started with the assumption there WAS one. I was a Christian for most of my life. I have just concluded there is no valid reason to hold on to that assumption after looking at the evidence. It was not an easy thing, every social pressure was to continue with the belief so please don’t “assume” you know what assumptions atheists started with. You have no clue.

      • JBrown971

        ” so please don’t “assume” you know what assumptions atheists started with.”
        Was I wrong? Or are you actually approaching this subject with the belief there is a God? I never made any claims as to how you arrived at your belief, simply it was the belief.

        ” it is not God giving it the power, it is the person that gives the Bible power by ascribing the bible to God unconditionally”
        If you don’t believe in God, correct.

        ” I have just concluded there is no valid reason to hold on to that assumption after looking at the evidence.”
        So you have simply shifted your belief. Great. That doesn’t invalidate mine, nor change anything I have said. You continue to argue, as the author, that your worldview is absolutely correct and can therefore deny others an opportunity at theirs.

        • Jack Baynes

          Was I wrong? Or are you actually approaching this subject with the belief there is a God?

          I’m glad you’ve acknowledged that your demand is we now assume that there is a God, while before you were pretending to demand that we merely not assume that there isn’t one.

        • JBrown971

          Wrong. Don’t misrepresent me.

          Otto didn’t like that I said atheists assumed there was no God. So either a) he then wants to be included with those that assume there is a God or b) he has proof.

          I made no demand.

        • Jack Baynes

          or
          c) He doesn’t assume that there is a God

        • JBrown971

          To know, would require absolute proof.

        • MNb

          Then I don’t know if you’re a christian. You never provided absolute proof. And if you are a christian I don’t know if you mean what you write. You never provided absolute proof for that one either.
          Plus we don’t know anything scientific. Science never provides absolute proof either.

        • JBrown971

          Never claimed to have it. I have also never claimed you are absolutely wrong. I have always stated belief, as such.

        • MNb

          So anything goes? According to you I may as well assume that you’re the reincarnated karma baby of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, send by him to entertain us a bit?

        • JBrown971

          Sure.

        • MNb

          OK.
          Then you’re a nihilist.
          Very unchristian.

          http://www.iep.utm.edu/nihilism/

          You just have taken away any ground for us to take anything you write seriously anymore.
          Thanks.

        • RichardSRussell

          Were you assuming that any such ground existed in the first place?

        • MNb

          Not really, but it’s always nice to see it confirmed by empirical evidence like what he writes himself.

        • adam

          “To know, would require absolute proof.”

          What do you KNOW about Shiva, Ganesh and Zeus?

        • Jack Baynes

          But to not assume that there is a God does not require proof.

        • JBrown971

          You are hung up that statement. Essentially if I make a statement out of confidence it is true regardless of proof?

        • Jack Baynes

          Which statement are we calling true without proof?

        • JBrown971

          ‘to not assume that there is no God’

        • Jack Baynes

          You caught me before I edited that. I meant “to not assume that there is a God”, but it seems you understood what I mean.

          Not assuming that there is a God is just that, not assuming.
          It does not mean that someone knows there is no God, or definitively says it is true, it is just not working from the assumption that the claims of God’s existence are true.
          They may be true, they may be not true. That’s what “to not assume that there is a God” means.

        • RichardSRussell

          Absolute proof is a concept that exists only in abstract fields like mathematics or logic. It seldom exists in the messy world of real life. What we can achieve, however, is reasonably strong assurance, based on unambiguous and widely agreed-upon evidence. No such evidence exists in the case of this hypothetical “God” of whom you speak. And by that I mean “NO evidence“, not merely weak evidence.

        • MNb

          As a teacher math I can guarantee you that proof in math is not absolute either. Proof is always relative to the axioms you use.

        • adam

          “Otto didn’t like that I said atheists assumed there was no God.”

          ” So either a) he then wants to be included with those that assume there is a God or b) he has proof.”

          Or C) the evidence for a “God” is insufficient to support the claim(s).

          Your dishonesty is showing.

        • MNb

          You don’t have absolute proof that JackB represents me. So shrug.

        • adam

          “” it is not God giving it the power, it is the person that gives the Bible power by ascribing the bible to God unconditionally”
          If you don’t believe in God, correct.”

          Even if you do.

        • Otto

          Yes you were wrong. I originally approached the subject with the belief there is a god. After delving into the subject I no longer believe.

          What does whither I believe in God have to do with it? There is no evidence that God gives the power to the Bible as you stated. There is evidence that people give the Bible power.

          You can have any worldview you want. I don’t deny flat Earthers their worldview, I state given the evidence that it is ridiculous to conclude the Earth is flat. Given the evidence it is ridiculous to believe the Bible is connected in anyway to a god.

    • Max Doubt

      “God gives the Bible it’s power.”

      And the little girl who won’t let you sit in that chair because her invisible princess friend is already sitting there gives her princess friend its power. Big deal. You’ve already been reminded, but perhaps you forgot, you’d be an inconsiderate asshole to come into a group of atheists and talk about your god buddy as if it’s real. We aren’t playing your childish game of make believe.

      • Ignorant Amos

        Like Elwood’s pooka Harvey….just because one thinks it is there and all that jazz.

        • Greg G.

          Harvey and I would like to invite you to have a drink with us.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Well ya know me well enough to know that I never refuse the invitation to have a drink with anyone. Ole Nick himself isn’t even safe.

    • Gotta give the evidence first. Otherwise, why believe in God?

      But even if you accepted God, why imagine that the Bible is the accurate transmission of God’s word? God might exist, but the Bible is documenting a different god or a different interpretation of the correct god or complete gibberish.

  • Pofarmer

    So I was thinking a little bit about the story of Job. God is omiscient right? So he would know how an trial would turn out? Right? So all the suffering inflicted on Job was gratuitous. The killing of his children and servants and livestock, the personal afflictions, all cmpletely unnecesary to a God who knows all.

    • Myna Alexanderson

      Certainly, it was gratuitous. If memory of history serves correctly, I seem to recall some story of Vlad the Impaler delighting in killing a man’s family in front of his eyes and then replacing the loss with another family. It’s all in sport, you see.

      • Greg G.

        Vlad the Impaler was known for making his points.

        • MNb

          As sharp as possible.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Nothing but a wee feckin’ prick…allegedly.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          He bloody well sucked!

    • Ignorant Amos

      Like the ten plagues on Egypt. What a lot of fuckwittery.

      • Greg G.

        Especially when the pharaoh was inclined to wish the Hebrews bon voyage but God changed his mind so he could do those plagues.

        • Ignorant Amos

          All done just for the the craic of it, which is exactly my point.

          So much for all that free will bollocks too. Yahweh/Jesus was having none of it when the fecker was at the hardening hearts Malarkey.

          The guy in charge of continuity with the OT and NT deity also really fucked things up. But then again it didn’t really matter at the time.

    • Or Abraham and Isaac. God knew what Abraham would do, so why screw with his head?

    • Ignorant Amos

      The history of this verse is that when Prophet of Islam began preaching the unity of God he was persecuted for 13 years. Since Muslims who are being persecuted are encouraged to leave for safer areas, rather than create disorder, Prophet of Islam(sa) and his followers migrated to Medina.
      After they left, the Meccans attacked them in Medina on and off for a period of nine years until Chapter 9 of the Quran was revealed. Looking at the context of the verses, it becomes obvious that the commandment of this verse only relates to those tribes who continued hostilities against the Muslims even after they had migrated. In particular, reference is made to 5 tribes (‘Banu Khuza’ah, Banu Mudlij, Banu Bakr, Banu Damrah, and Banu Sulaiim) th at did not honour the treaties of peace they made with Muslims.

      Well that’s your version.

      Another version goes like this…

      And whoever shall invent a falsehood after that concerning Allah, such will be wrong-doers. Say: Allah speaketh truth. So follow the religion of Abraham, the upright. He was not of the idolaters. Lo! the first Sanctuary (Ka’ba) appointed for mankind was that at Becca (Mecca) a blessed place, a guidance to the peoples; Wherein are plain memorials (of Allah’s guidance); the place where Abraham stood up to pray; and whosoever entereth it is safe. And pilgrimage to the House is a duty unto Allah for mankind, for him who can find a way thither. As for him who disbelieveth, (let him know that) lo! Allah is Independent of (all) creatures. [Quran 3:94–97]

      This naturally had caused unhappiness among the pious Quraysh of Mecca. The majority of them adamantly rejected Muhammad’s religion. Neither did they hand over the custodianship of the Ka’ba to him. After about thirteen years of preaching in Mecca, Muhammad could only obtain a handful of converts, 100 to 150 in all, before he was allegedly driven out by the Quraysh and he took refuge in Medina in June 622. After securing himself in Medina, he undertook a ruthless mission to destroy the livelihood and religion of the Quraysh over the next eight years. In 630, he conquered Mecca, took possession of the Ka’ba, despoiled the idols therein, and eventually, forced the Idolaters of Mecca to accept Islam on the pain of death. ix Ibid, p. 111 x Muhammad’s father’s name was Abdullah, meaning slave of Allah. Before proceeding further, let us first examine a few popular stories prevalent in Muslim societies about Muhammad’s departure from Mecca and about the cruelty and intolerance of the Quraysh. Was Muhammad driven out of Mecca? Muslims indisputably believe that the Quraysh drove Muhammad and his followers out of Mecca, forcing them to relocate to Medina in 622—a journey, famously known as the Hijra or Hijrat.

      According to this story, the Quraysh had sent assassins to kill the beloved Prophet. Being informed of it by someone, Muhammad fled Mecca in the company of his trusted disciple and friend, Abu Bakr. As the assassins pursued them, they took refuge inside a cave in Mount Thor about an hour’s journey from Mecca. By the time the pursuers came to the cave, pigeons had made nests and laid eggs, whilst spiders had spun webs instantaneously covering the entrance to it. Thinking that no one could have entered the cave a short while earlier, the pursuers left. Thereafter, Muhammad and Abu Bakr left from there in the darkness of night and reached Medina after a twelve days’ journey. This story is presented in Islamic folk-stories and literatures as a miraculous act of God that saved Muhammad.

      Although the Quraysh’s attempt to assassinate Muhammad remains a popular story in Islamic literatures and an incontestable belief amongst Muslims, there is little evidence to substantiate this claim for a number of reasons. Firstly, relocation overseas or attempt to do so was rather common in Muhammad’s community during his prophetic mission in Mecca. By 615, the opposition to Muhammad’s mission grew strong as a result of his increasing insult of the existing religion, customs and culture. This made his preaching activity somewhat difficult. Muhammad’s disciples were now being enticed by their families to return to their ancestral faith. According to al-Tabari, the greatest Islamic historian, the Quraysh were able to seduce some Muslim converts back to Paganism, ‘a trial which shook the people of Islam…’ Fearing ‘that they will be seduced from their religion,’ Muhammad ‘commanded them to emigrate to Abyssinia,’ records al-Tabari.xi With this instruction, about a dozen of his disciples, who were more vulnerable to family pressures, secretly departed with their families in small groups to Abyssinia (Ethiopia). In 616, a second wave of emigration took place. According to different estimates, 82–111 disciples of Muhammad had migrated there. These self-exiled disciples returned to Mecca and later to Medina after six months to thirteen years. A few of them had converted to Christianity and died in Abyssinia as Christians. It is thought that Muhammad had sent them there not only to protect them from being seduced back to their ancestral religion but also to create a sanctuary there in case he had to relocate elsewhere, because of the failure of his mission in Mecca or that staying in Mecca became truly dangerous. Faced with Muhammad’s increasing defiance and insult of their religion and customs, the Quraysh slapped a social excommunication and economic blockade against his community in 617. It was withdrawn two years later. Although the blockade withdrawn, Muhammad’s prophetic mission came to almost a standstill.

    • TheNuszAbides

      IMO, those Jews who don’t have the millstone of theodicy can handwave all of it far more simply (if not at all compellingly) than Christians. the latter have absolutely no excuse for mega-omni-papa causing all of Job’s tribulations to actually happen, rather than putting him through psychomachia in an extended dream-state, in which he would believe it was all happening and react accordingly, but none of his family would actually suffer, be destroyed, etc. oh yes, we can blame the shitty imaginations of the ancient gatekeepers.

  • SparklingMoon

    The Principle of Abrogation states that if there’s a contradiction in the Quran, the later passage (that is, the one written later) wins out over the earlier. Problem solved—no more contradiction.
    ————————————————————————-
    The revelation of the Quran we have at this time is exactly the same as had been revealed by God Almighty to Prophet of Islam (sa). The time between Prophet Adam to prophet of Islam(sa) is about four thousand years. All core teachings of previous revelations of all prophets (in their original form), with some new moral teachings, has been assembled in the Quran and it is informed by God Almighty to all mankind: ”This day have I perfected your religion for you and completed My favors upon you and have chosen for you Islam as religion.”(5:4)

    As it is a Final Law for His people therefore He had promised to safeguard the integrity of His Word for all times to come “Verily,it is We Who have sent down this Exhortation, and most surely We are its Guardians.” (Quran 15:10) In the existence of this clear promise of God Almighty, no human being has this ability to abrogate any word or even a dot of this divine revelation of the Quran.

    There is prevailed a false conception of abrogation of some verses of the Quran. The claim made that the Holy Quran has itself declared that some of its verses have been abrogated by others…later verses abrogating earlier ones etc. is totally unsustainable.The verse cited in support of this allegation usually is ”Whatever Sign We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, We bring one better than that or the like thereof. Dost thou not know that Allah has the power to do all that He wills?” [Quran 2:107]

    It is mistakenly inferred from this verse that some verses of the Quran have been abrogated. The conclusion is patently erroneous and unwarranted. This verse indicates by the Arabic word ‘Ayah” that being abrogated, refers to the previous Revelations. It is pointed out that the previous Scriptures contained two kinds of commandments: (a) Those which,owing to changed conditions and to the universality of the new Revelation, required abrogation. (b)Those containing eternal truths which needed resuscitation so that people might be reminded of the forgotten truth. It was, thereof, necessary to abrogate certain portion of those Scriptures and bring in their place new ones, and also to restore the lost ones. So,God abrogated some portions of the previous Revelations, substituting them with new and better ones, and at the same time re-introduced the missing general spirit of their teaching. The Quran in this sense has abrogated all previous Scriptures; for, better than all the old Laws, but is also meant for all men for all times.

    In this verse [Quran2107] the word Nansakh (We abrogate) relates to the word Bi-Khairin (one better) and the word Nunsiha (we cause to be forgotten) relates to the word Bi-Mithliha (the like thereof), meaning that when God abrogates a certain thing He brings a better one in its place and when He causes a thing to be forgotten, He resuscitates it. It is admitted by Jewish scholars themselves that after the Israelites were carried away in captivity to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar, the whole of the Pentateuch was lost (Enc. Bib.).

    • Ignorant Amos

      The problem with the Quran is that it suffers from the same issues of origin and composition as the, Torah, OT and NT. It is one big cobbled together balls up from hither and tither.

      • SparklingMoon

        The revelation of the Quran is not a thoroughly new religious law in the world of religion but a continual part of God’s previous revelations. As God Almighty says abut the religion of Islam that is revealed in the Quran: “He has prescribed for you the religion which He enjoined on Noah, and which We have revealed to thee, and which We enjoined on Abraham (and Moses and Jesus, saying, ‘Remain steadfast in obedience, and be not divided therein.” (Quran42:14)

        Again it is told by God Almighty:”We have revealed to you, as We revealed to Noah and the prophets who came after him. And We revealed to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, the Descendants, Jesus, Job, Jonah, Aaron, and Solomon. And We gave David the Psalm. (Quran4: 163)

        Secondly, The Arabic words of revelation of the Quran exists in the same form as had been revealed to Prophet of Islam by God Almighty. It is not just a claim but a fact that can be tested by any means. There are about 1.5 billion Muslims in the world and about all Muslims keep this book in their homes. There are more than 70 sects in religion Islam and the followers of these sects have differences on many religious issues but they all have the same Quran with same Arabic words.

        This verse “Verily,it is We Who have sent down this Exhortation, and most surely We are its Guardians.”(Quran15:10)furnishes a powerful proof of the truth of the Quran and of its divine origin. The Arabic words in the verse ”Anna” (verily We) and ”Nahnou” (Ourselves) and again ”Anna” followed by ”Lam” (most surely) have been used in this verse. Thus the claim has been made in the most emphatic and forceful language.

        it is not only the text of the Quran that has been preserved intact by God. He has provided for the preservation of its spirit also. This has been done by raising divinely inspired Reformers among the Muslims from time to time. These Reformers, known in Islamic terminology as Mujaddids, receive revelations from God and interpret and explain the true meaning of the Quranic text. Such Reformers appeared among the followers of other religions also, but that was only for so long as such Scriptures served as guides for their followers. After the advent of Islam, however, all other religious systems and their Scriptures, which were intended only for specific periods and specific peoples, became abrogated and divinely inspired Reformers ceased to appear among them. Now, therefore, the Quran alone among all revealed Scriptures of the world holds the field as a living book and hence divinely inspired Reformers now appear only among the followers of Islam. The appearance of such reformers in itself constitutes proof of the living power of a religion and its Scripture inasmuch as they are really the fruit of their religion and their appearance proves its efficacy.

        • Ignorant Amos

          A lot of words that say nothing to address the comment I made.

          Secondly, The Arabic words of revelation of the Quran exists in the same form as had been revealed to Prophet of Islam by God Almighty.

          You might think that. You might even have been taught that and believe it. But it is erroneous bollocks and like most Christian’s you are ignorant of the history of how your scripture was formed. Even a quick view of Wikipedia will give a brief synopsis without having to read lots of scholarly books on the matter.

          The Arabic script as we know it today was unknown in Muhammad’s time (as Arabic writing styles have progressed through time) and the Quran was preserved through memorization and written references on different materials. As Arab society started to evolve into using writing more regularly, writing skills evolved accordingly. Early Quranic Arabic lacked precision because distinguishing between consonants was impossible due to the absence of diacritical marks (a’jam). Vowelling marks (tashkil) to indicate prolongation or vowels were absent as well. Due to this there were endless possibilities for the mispronunciation of the word. The Arabic script as we know it today, the scripta plena, which has pointed texts and is fully vowelled was not perfected until the middle of the 9th century.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Quran

        • SparklingMoon

          The promise of protection made by God in this verse of the Quran: (15:10)“Verily, it is We Who have sent down this Exhortation, and most surely We are its Guardians.” mentions the word in Arabic ”Al Zikr ” (rendered in the text as “this Exhortation”) and not the Quran or any other word.It is essential for a book,to become deserving of the permanent protection of God that the divine revelation should be ‘Al Zikr’ of which the necessary attributes are.(1)that it should establish a close and permanent relationship between man and his Creator, inspiring in the former constant remembrance of God, the word ‘Zikr’ meaning remembering; and (2) that it should elevate man to a state where God may also remember him or in other words favor him with His words and with heavenly help, the word ‘Zikr’ also meaning eminence.

          The meanings of the verse(15:10) are that God undertakes to protect any Scripture so long as it serves the above two purposes. But when,through changes in the conditions and circumstances of man,any Scripture ceases to perform these functions and God,in infallible wisdom, deems it necessary to reveal another Scripture, He naturally ceases to extend His protection to earlier revelations.

          It is explained by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad: Of all the current revealed Books on earth,the Holy Quran is the only Book which is conclusively proven to be the Word of God. Its teachings for salvation are based entirely on truth and are in accordance with human nature. Its doctrines are so perfect and firm that strong proofs bear witness to their truth.Its commandments are based upon truth.Its teachings are free from every type of polytheism, innovation and worship of creatures. It is full of eagerness for the manifestation of the Unity of God and of Divine greatness and of the perfection of the Lord of Honor.It is replete throughout with the Unity of the Divine and does not tolerate any kind of deficiency or defect or unworthy attributes in the case of the Creator.It does not impose any doctrine by mere authority, but sets down reasons for the truth of that which it teaches. It establishes every purpose with proofs and arguments. It sets forth reasons for the truth of every principle and carries the mind to perfect certainty and full understanding. It repels all evils that afflict people’s doctrines, actions and words, and works with bright reasoning. It teaches good manners, the knowledge of which is necessary for every human being. It repels every corruption with as much force as that which inspires the corruption. Its teaching is straightforward and strong and secure, as if it were a mirror of the law of nature and is a true reflection of it. It is an enlightening sun for the insight of the heart It expounds the details of the principles of reason and good manners, the knowledge of which is necessary for every human being. It repels every corruption with as much force as that which inspires the corruption. Its teaching is straightforward and strong and secure, as if it were a mirror of the law of nature and is a true reflection of it. It is an enlightening sun for the insight of the heart.

          The external evidence of the truth and superiority of the Holy Qur’an is of four types. One, that is derived from those matters which need to be reformed; and second, that is derived from those matters which need to be perfected; and third, which is derived from matters which manifest the power of God; and fourth, which is derived from matters relating to the unseen. The internal evidence of the truth and superiority of the Holy Qur’an is all derived from matters manifesting the Power of God.

        • Greg G.

          The Bible says similar things.

          2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NRSV)16 All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work.

          2 Peter 1:21 (NRSV)21 because no prophecy ever came by human will, but men and women moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

          Ganesh has inspired me to point out that claims of inspiration can be written about anything. It is circular reasoning to conclude from such statements that it is true of itself and the surrounding text.

        • SparklingMoon

          These both descriptions of New Testament have truth about revelation and about the revelation of Israel prophets. There is no doubt that all prophets from Moses to Jesus had revelation and their scriptures served to improve the people of Israel in righteousness.

          God Almighty says in the Quran: [16:37] And We did raise among every people a Messenger, preaching: ‘Worship Allah and shun the Evil One.’ [13:39] And, indeed, We sent Messengers before thee .. And it is not possible for a Messenger to bring a Sign save by the command of Allah. For every term there is a divine decree.

          All religions other than Islam claim that Divine revelation was to them only. For example the Jews contend that all the prophets and messengers of God must necessarily be raised from among the Children of Israel. The Christian view, more or less, is the same as that of the Jews. The Sanatanists (a Hindu sect in India) also believe that it was Brahma who was honored with Divine revelation. The Arya Samaj claim that this honor was granted to the following four: Agni, Waayo, Angar and Adeet. They refuse to entertain the idea that anyone else could have been so honored.

          Islam does not agree with this view and claims that revelation is not confined to any particular nation or to a certain people alone. God Almighty is the Creator of the whole of mankind He created air, light and sustenance for one and all. The sun that He created gives light to everyone and everyone breathes His air. In the same way His spiritual light encompasses one and all. They all receive its benefit and prosper. There are no people to whom were not raised God’s messengers and who were not honored with men among them who held communion with God, and provided true guidance for their brethren. All these exalted persons deserve respect and true regard.

          God Almighty says in the Holy Quran: ”And We did raise among every people a messenger with the teaching ‘Worship Allah and shun the Evil One” (16: 37). The verses of the Quran assure us that God Almighty did raise His messengers among every people and exalted them with His revelation, regardless of caste, color or creed. Islam abhors the idea that revelation was confined to only a single race or limited to a few people.

          Having sent His messengers to all His peoples with particular guidance suitable to the conditions prevailing among them, He ultimately raised a messenger who was to be the universal Warner. He was given the Divine Message for all races and all nations. This universal Warner was the Holy Prophet Muhammed (sa), who was commanded by God: ”Proclaim! O mankind! Truly I am a messenger to you from Allah to Whom belongs the kingdom of the earth and the heavens.” This message is for every people and every race, and they all should accept him as the true messenger from Allah. If they obey him they are bound to achieve the aim for which mankind was created. If they follow him, Divine favors shall be granted to all His obedient servants.

        • Ignorant Amos

          All religions other than Islam claim that Divine revelation was to them only. For example the Jews contend that all the prophets and messengers of God must necessarily be raised from among the Children of Israel. The Christian view, more or less, is the same as that of the Jews.

          Nope…the Jewish prophets ARE the Christian prophets…not more or less, in the same way they are the Muslim prophets too.

          But wait a minute. Mohammed is supposed to be the last of the prophets…except for your Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, where does he fit in with his messianic claims?

          The rest of your comment is Muslim preaching with no substance and can be readily ignored as such. We don’t believe the nonsense so ya can save yerself a lot of time and effort by dispensing with all the dribble.

        • SparklingMoon

          Mohammed is supposed to be the last of the prophets…except for your Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, where does he fit in with his messianic claims?
          ————————————————–
          Prophet of Islam(as) is last prophet of law and his revelation completes and perfects the teachings; necessary for human guidance. As it is informed by God Almighty: ”This day have I perfected your religion for you and completed My favors upon you and have chosen for you Islam as religion.”(Quran5:4) Actually God’s Law of human guidance, commenced through Adam and reached the zenith through Prophet of Islam and all core teachings of previous revelations in their original form, with some new teachings, has been assembled in the Quran. It is important to know that human civilization and dispensation always have a cyclic life of seven thousand years to understand the meanings of last prophet of law. The present human race originated from Adam (our common ancestor who came after the previous ‘races), has an age of seven thousand years and we are passing through the beginning of the last one (seventh Millennium).

          Mirza Ghulm Ahmad is not appointed as a prophet of Law by God but as a reformer prophet for the Law (Quran) of prophet of Islam (sa) as Jesus(as) was sent as a reformer prophet for Law of Moses(as). Mirza Ghulam Ahmad has clearly explained his position of prophethood in following words: ”Apart from the Prophets, Messengers and Muhaddathin (Reformers) who appeared at different times in different countries, if one takes into account only those who appeared in Israel, it would be discovered that in the fourteen centuries between Moses(as) and Jesus(as),thousands of Prophets and Muhaddathin (reformers) appeared and occupied themselves diligently in the service of the Torah. The Holy Qur’an and the Bible both testify to this. Those Prophets brought no new book and taught no new faith. They only served the Torah. They appeared whenever atheism, disbelief, misconduct, and hard-heartedness became prevalent in Israel.

          As Jesus, son of Mary, had revived the religion of Moses (as) and had set forth afresh the true teaching of the Torah, which the Jews had forgotten, in the same way this second Messiah(Mirza Ghulam Ahmad) would revive the faith of the Prophet (Mohammed)….Rather than loving their enemies,some contemporary Muslims unjustly use shameful religious pretexts to murder innocent people who, far from harm, have done only good things for them. The advent of one who receives revelation from God, has the characteristics of the Messiah, and brings a message promoting peace was necessary for the reformation of these people. The other type of transgression,which relates to the Creator, is the belief of the present day Christians that has exceeded all bounds. There is no doubt that the Prophet Jesus(as) is a great Prophet of God.He is without question loved and honored by God.. However,it is a serious error and disbelief to raise such a chosen servant of God to divinity . This is a violation of God’s rights

          Both of these violations —against the rights of God’s creation and against those of the Creator— have reached such a height that it is difficult to tell which one exceeds the other. Therefore, God named me the Messiah in relation to the rights of His creation and sent me as the avatar of Jesus(as) the Messiah. Similarly, in relation to the rights of the Creator, He named me Muhammad and Ahmad, and sent me as (Mehdi ) the avatar of the Holy Prophet (sa).

        • Ignorant Amos

          As Jesus, son of Mary, had revived the religion of Moses (as) and had set forth afresh the true teaching of the Torah, which the Jews had forgotten, in the same way this second Messiah(Mirza Ghulam Ahmad) would revive the faith of the Prophet (Mohammed)….

          If you are going to plagiarise text, at least have the decency not to quote-mine.

          My statement concerning the Promised Messiah,
          whose descent from heaven and second advent into
          the world is awaited, which God Almighty has disclosed to me by His grace and mercy, is that there is no mention in the Holy Qur’an of the second advent of Jesus. According to the Holy Qur’an, Jesus has departed from this world forever. Some Ahadith, which are replete with metaphors, predict the second advent of Jesus. Their context indicates that they do not predict the second coming of Jesus, son of Mary, but comprise metaphorical statements which mean that in an age that would resemble the age of Jesus, son of Mary, a person will resemble Jesus, son of Mary, in his temperament, power and function. As Jesus, son of Mary, had revived the religion of Moses (as) and had set forth afresh the true teaching of the Torah, which the Jews had forgotten, in the same way this second Messiah would revive the faith of the Prophet who was like Moses (as) and was the Seal of the Prophets (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.) This Messiah of the Prophet who was the like of Mosesas will completely resemble the Messiah of Moses (as) in the events of his life and in all other consequences that his people will experience on account of their obedience to him or their denial of him. God Almighty has revealed to me that I am that Promised Messiah. [Izala-e-Auham, Ruhani Khaza’in, vol. 3, pp. 121]

          http://www.ahmadiyyagazette.ca/magazine/36/3/gazette-en_36_3.pdf

          Nothing you have said rebukes my comment. Your comments are plagiarised bullshit with no substance other than your wishful thinking. Screed’s of Muslim burble are unimpressive and are nothing more than incoherent word salad of the verbal diarrhoea variety.

          Your flavour of Islam is just as bug nutty bat shit crazy as all the rest and shows contradictions within your faith just as there are with all others. You display such in your interpretation of abrogation, which directly contradicts the Sunni school of thought.

          Another distinction between Ahmadi’s and mainstream Islam is on the death of Jesus and the second coming. It’s absolute unfounded balderdash.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ahmadiyya#Distinct_teachings

          Now don’t get me wrong, if we must have Muslims then Ahmadi’s would be my favoured choice. But none of that is relevant to this conversation. You are not answering questions directly, but providing screeds of theology, and other made up nonsense, that for the most part are not mainstream Muslim thinking. You have plagiarised these remarks from various sources and cobbled them together as means of preaching, not that that matters much either. One pile of crap looks and smells much the same as another.

          While Islamic teaching leaves the door open for more prophets after Mo, nevertheless, your man isn’t one of them.

          Following his claim to be the Promised Messiah and Mahdi, one of his adversaries prepared a Fatwa (decree) of disbelief against Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, declaring him a Kafir (disbeliever), a deceiver, and a liar. The decree permitted killing him and his followers. It was taken all around India and was signed by some two hundred religious scholars.

          Some years later, a prominent Muslim leader and scholar, Ahmed Raza Khan, was to travel to the Hejaz to collect the opinions of the religious scholars of Mecca and Madina. He compiled these opinions in his work Hussam ul Harmain (The sword of two sanctuaries on the slaughter-point of blasphemy and falsehood); in it, Ghulam Ahmad was again labelled an apostate. The unanimous consensus of about thirty-four religious scholars was that Ghulam Ahmad’s beliefs were blasphemous and tantamount to apostasy and that he must be punished by imprisonment and, if necessary, by execution.

          Ahamadi’s are considered as Muslim by other Muslim sects in the same way Mormon’s are considered Christian by other Christian sects…that is, not at all.

        • SparklingMoon

          My statement concerning the Promised Messiah, whose descent from heaven and second advent into the world is awaited, which God Almighty has disclosed to me by His grace and mercy,
          ——————————————
          The prophecy of Jesus (as) about his second coming does not mean that he, who passed away about 2000 years ago, will come again. It is a metaphor that had been used by many prophets.

          It is one of the Divine mysteries that when the law which is brought by a Prophet or by a Messenger is corrupted after his death, his true teaching and guidance are perverted and absurdities are attributed to him, and all this misguidance is attributed to the Prophet himself, the soul of that Prophet is greatly moved for the removal of all the corruption and calumnies that are attributed to him, and then his soul demands that a substitute of his should appear on earth.

          ‘The soul of Jesus(peace be upon him) had two occasions to demand a substitute. The first was six hundred years after his death. This was when the Jews insisted more than ever that he was an impostor and a liar and that his birth was illegitimate and that is why he died on the cross. While the Christians on the other hand proclaimed that he was the son of God and even God himself, and that he had laid down his life on the cross for the salvation of mankind. It was then that the soul of Jesus was moved and demanded to be exonerated from all these charges and beseeched God for a substitute. Thereupon the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was raised, one of the many purposes of whose advent was to clear Jesus of all the false charges made against him and to bear witness on his behalf.

          The second time when the soul of Jesus was agitated was when the Christians (the followers of Trinity) completely assumed the qualities of Antichrist, and, as predicted, the Antichrist was to lay claim to both Prophethood and Godhood. They claimed Prophet-hood by interfering with the Divine word and framing regulations and carrying out changes that were the functions of a Prophet. They established what they wished, and invented doctrines and modes of worship and intervened so freely as if they had been commanded to do so by Divine revelation. Such unwarranted interference with Divine scriptures amount to claiming Prophet-hood. Thus in this age the soul of Jesus was agitated a second time and longed for his substitute to appear in the world. When this desire reached its climax,God Almighty raised one who was his spiritual reflection to defeat the Antichrist of this age. That substitute is called the Promised Messiah, inasmuch as the reality of the Messiah is incarnated in him, i.e., the reality of the Messiah was united with him and he appeared in consequence of the demand of the soul of Jesus(as). That reality is reflected in him like a reflection in a mirror. As he has appeared in consequence of the agitation of the soul of Jesus, he has been named after him. (Ruhanikhazain)

        • Ignorant Amos

          It is one of the Divine mysteries that when the law which is brought by a Prophet or by a Messenger is corrupted after his death, his true teaching and guidance are perverted and absurdities are attributed to him, and all this misguidance is attributed to the Prophet himself, the soul of that Prophet is greatly moved for the removal of all the corruption and calumnies that are attributed to him, and then his soul demands that a substitute of his should appear on earth.

          Like Mohammed ya mean? Except there is no corruption of the word of Allah because it is exactly as handed down. The calumnies of Mohammed, by himself, at the time, are real. Forget about those scum sucking oxygen thief’s, Daesh, that’s all ya need to know.

          I suggest you read “Islamic Jihad: A Legacy of Forced Conversion, Imperialism and Slavery” to observe the pleasantries of your top prophet.

          http://www.islam-watch.org/books/islamic-jihad-legacy-of-forced-conversion-imperialism-slavery.pdf

        • SparklingMoon

          Forget about those scum sucking oxygen thief’s, Daesh, that’s all ya need to know.
          ———————————
          You are right that the condition of Muslims is very rough at this time. The truth is that since man is prone to error and forgetfulness and is unable to show steadfastness in his practice of Divine injunctions, he is always in need of someone to remind him and revive his faith. It was told by the prophet of Islam(sa) in a prophecy that as had happened with all previous religions, a time would come when the state of Muslims would become ruined and corrupted. The Muslim scholars would spread false doctrines and ideologies and there would be great division and conflict within the Muslim world. Whilst the Holy Quran would remain preserved in its original state, false commentaries and interpretations would be made which would lead Muslims away from its true teachings. According to the prophecy,when such a desperate state of affairs came to pass, God Almighty would send a person as the Promised Messiah. The Promised Messiah would guide the world towards living together in love, peace and harmony and would foster a spirit of mutual understanding and reconciliation. Furthermore, the Promised Messiah would bring an end to all forms of religious warfare.

          I would like to refer you an interesting book (60 pages) ” pdf British Government and Jihad ” free online to read http://aaiil.org/text/books/mga/britishgovernmentjihad/britishgovernmentjihad2011.pdf. This book was published on 22nd May 1900. Mirza Ghulam Ahmad has explained in this book the true nature of Jihad and its philosophy. He gives a detailed account of what the misguided Muslim Clergies think of Jihad and how they mislead the people to acts of violence. He further remarks that on the one hand the ignorant Muslim Clergies have wrong notions about Jihad and on the other hand the Christian missionaries have also told false stories to the people, they have published a lot of literature to misrepresent Islam and thus they have caused discontent and unrest.

          He, hundred years ago, had advised Muslims: Now that the Promised Messiah has come, it is the duty of every Muslim to refrain from such jihad. There could have been some justification for misunderstanding this issue if I had not come. But I have arrived and you have witnessed the day that was promised. Therefore, those who now raise the sword on religion’s behalf have no excuse before God Almighty… Is it not shameful that a complete stranger should be unjustly killed while occupied in his daily affairs, thus widowing his wife, making his children orphans, and turning his house into a funeral parlor? Which Hadith or verse of the Holy Quran authorizes such behavior? Is there any Clergy who can respond? Foolish people hear the word jihad, and make it an excuse for the fulfillment of their own selfish desires.Or perhaps it is sheer madness that inclines them towards bloodshed.Why do their Clergies not stop them from these awful actions which bring Islam into disrepute?

          Refrain from evil and be truly compassionate towards mankind. At this time, I specfically instruct my jama‘at [Community], which accepts me as the Promised Messiah, that they should always stay away from these foul habits. God has sent me as the Promised Messiah and has clothed me with the garment of the Messiah, son of Mary. I therefore admonish you: Refrain from evil and be truly compassionate towards mankind. Cleanse your hearts of malice and spite, for you will become like angels through this habit. It is a filthy and unholy religion that is devoid of sympathy for humanity, and polluted is the path riddled with the thorns of a rancor based on selfish desires’.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The Promised Messiah would guide the world towards living together in love, peace and harmony and would foster a spirit of mutual understanding and reconciliation. Furthermore, the Promised Messiah would bring an end to all forms of religious warfare.

          How’s that been working out?

          Mirza Ghulam Ahmad has explained in this book the true nature of Jihad and its philosophy. He gives a detailed account of what the misguided Muslim Clergies think of Jihad and how they mislead the people to acts of violence.

          Well isn’t it a pity no one of any significance took any notice? In fact, as I expressed earlier, this sort of shenanigans got yer man a fatwa.

          He, hundred years ago, had advised Muslims: Now that the Promised Messiah has come, it is the duty of every Muslim to refrain from such jihad. There could have been some justification for misunderstanding this issue if I had not come. But I have arrived and you have witnessed the day that was promised. Therefore, those who now raise the sword on religion’s behalf have no excuse before God Almighty…

          And very few bought into that..I wonder why, since it is so convincing? Oh, that’s right, because it was heretical,that’s why. Mohammed himself used the sword on his religions behalf. In fact if he hadn’t, there would BE no Islamic faith…period.

          Is it not shameful that a complete stranger should be unjustly killed while occupied in his daily affairs, thus widowing his wife, making his children orphans, and turning his house into a funeral parlor?

          Well let’s begin with the example of Mohammed himself.

          Which Hadith or verse of the Holy Quran authorizes such behavior?

          The Islamic “Jihad” or “holy war” stands for Fighting in the Cause of Allah, which Allah has introduced into the Islamic doctrine through a long list of verses in the Quran, such as verse 2:190.4 There are more than 200 divine verses of Jihad in the Quran.

          Allah’s alleged word to his Prophet recounts…

          ‘O Prophet! Wage war against the infidels and hypocrites and be ruthless. Their abode is hell—an evil fate!’

          http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/pages/quran/violence.aspx

          Is there any Clergy who can respond?

          ‘…one must go on Jihad at least once a year… One may use a catapult against them when they are in a fortress, even if among them are women and children. One may set fire on them and/or drown them.’

          — Imam al-Ghazzali, the second greatest scholar of Islam after Muhammad

          ‘In the Muslim community, the holy war is a religious duty, because of the universalism of the (Muslim) mission and (the obligation to) convert everybody to Islam either by persuasion or by force.’

          — Ibn Khaldun, The Muqaddimah

          Foolish people hear the word jihad, and make it an excuse for the fulfillment of their own selfish desires.

          Yeah, the selfish desire for paradise, foolish indeed. Still, foolish people abound and just a few can be a nuisance…particularly when they think holy scripture’s got their back’s.

          Or perhaps it is sheer madness that inclines them towards bloodshed.

          No perhaps about it. They are barking mad, no consolation though is it?

          Why do their Clergies not stop them from these awful actions which bring Islam into disrepute?

          Whaaa? It’s cleric’s that are promoting these awful actions and brainwashing the gullible ffs. They don’t think it brings Islam into disrepute. They hold the actions and proclamations of the prophet as their impetus…and not without support from many in the wider Islamic community.

          ALL right thinking Muslims should be screaming from the mountain tops “not in my name”…some are starting to be vociferous, but they are hardly audible…WHY?

          The remainder of the comment is just more burble.

          BTW, that was yet another un-cited comment full of cobbled together quote-mines…help us out here can ya?

        • SparklingMoon

          And very few bought into that.I wonder why,since it is so convincing? Oh, that’s right, because it was heretical,that’s why. Mohammed himself used the sword on his religions behalf. In fact if he hadn’t, there would BE no Islamic faith.
          ————————————-
          Jihad is certainly not a Quranic commandment. The truth of the matter is simply that some of Islam’s early opponents wanted to forcibly restrain or rather annihilate it. Islam raised the sword against them only in self defense.This permission was for specified circumstances and not forever. The barbaric practices of some Muslims which result in the killing of innocent persons, have two causes:

          First, those Muslim Clergies for whom it is an article of faith that killing people of other religions is an act of great virtue and that such murder opens doors of heavenly reward that cannot be achieved through obligatory salat [Prayers], hajj [Pilgrimage], zakat [obligatory charity], or any other good deed. Many Muslim Clergies who regularly preach in this way, and majority of the ignorant and short-tempered mullahs ( Imams ) of the mosques are not free of these evil thoughts. It can be considered them blameless if their opinions were in accordance with God’s Holy Book because, in a way, one is indeed helpless in matters of faith. They are culprits and offenders in front of God. The Word of God in no way commands us to spill the blood of innocent people. Those who are of this opinion have turned their backs on Islam.

          We acknowledge with great regret that Islam’s Clergies have focused on an improper definition of jihad. Nevertheless, we are also disappointed with the Christian priests—for they have inflamed the passions of the ignorant masses with their harsh and unjust publications. By bringing up the issue of jihad a thousand times,they have led ignorant Muslims to believe that this is an easy path to Paradise. If these priests were free from ill-will, they should have realized the truth themselves and remained silent after comparing the jihad of the Prophet Moses(peace be upon him)and the Prophet Joshua (peace be upon him) to the jihad of our Holy Prophet (sa).

          The Christian priests have embarked on a very dangerous course of action. On one side, they falsely argue that the Quran summons Muslims to jihad at all times, as if seeking to draw attention towards this tradition. And then they incite the Muslims’ passion with provocative literature. It is unclear why these people naïvely fail to recognize that these actions can combine to produce dangerous consequences. I have written repeatedly that jihad is certainly not a Quranic commandment.(Ruhanikhazain)

        • Ignorant Amos

          Jihad is certainly not a Quranic commandment.

          So you assert, and yet millions see that it is, from passages like these…

          But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war)…

          from Qur’an 9:5

          Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book…

          from Qur’an 9:29

          I referenced a book on the subject.

          “I read your book and found it fascinating. It is one of those few books which everybody, Muslims and non-Muslims, must read.”

          — Prof. Sami Alrabaa

          Read the book.

          This book is a small effort to give readers an idea of what Jihad truly means. It goes through the life of Prophet Muhammad as he progressively received revelation from the Islamic God (Allah) as contained in
          the Muslim holy book, the Quran. It will examine when and under what circumstances, Allah introduced the
          concept of Jihad into Islamic doctrines. It will demonstrate—based on the Quran, authentic prophetic traditions, and original biographies of Prophet Muhammad—how the Prophet of Islam had applied the doctrine of Jihad as he founded the Islamic creed during the last twenty-three years of his life (610–632 CE). Having thus made a sense of the religious foundation and prophetic model of Jihad, it will examine how this prototypical model of Jihad was perpetuated by Muslims through the ages of Islamic domination.

          It is worth noting beforehand that, in putting Allah’s doctrine of Jihad into practice at the birth of Islam, Prophet Muhammad had established three major models of Jihadi actions:

          1. Use of violence for the propagation of Islam,

          2. Islamic imperialism,

          3. Islamic slavery

          The historical accounts of these legacies of Jihad will be discussed in separate chapters in this book.

          The truth of the matter is simply that some of Islam’s early opponents wanted to forcibly restrain or rather annihilate it. Islam raised the sword against them only in self defense.

          The truth of the matter is that you need to wise-up and learn the history of your religion. You are a lot like most Christians in this respect.

          It is both ignorant and naive to think military conquest played no part in the success of early Islam getting a foothold.

          Men fought for their religion, the prospect of booty and because their friends and fellow tribesmen were also doing it.
          Hugh Kennedy, The Armies of the Caliphs: Military and Society in the Early Islamic State, 2001

          This permission was for specified circumstances and not forever.

          Yeah, ya see that’s one of the big problems right there…who decides how those circumstances are to be interpreted and to what time scale that is less than forever?

          The barbaric practices of some Muslims which result in the killing of innocent persons, have two causes:

          First, those Muslim Clergies for whom it is an article of faith that killing people of other religions is an act of great virtue and that such murder opens doors of heavenly reward that cannot be achieved through obligatory salat [Prayers], hajj [Pilgrimage], zakat [obligatory charity], or any other good deed. Many Muslim Clergies who regularly preach in this way, and majority of the ignorant and short-tempered mullahs ( Imams ) of the mosques are not free of these evil thoughts. It can be considered them blameless if their opinions were in accordance with God’s Holy Book because, in a way, one is indeed helpless in matters of faith. They are culprits and offenders in front of God. The Word of God in no way commands us to spill the blood of innocent people. Those who are of this opinion have turned their backs on Islam.

          No Shit Sherlock. T

          The Word of God in no way commands us to spill the blood of innocent people.

          The problem is that everyone outside Islam is guilty. Worse than that, to many of a particular flavour of Islam, those that are not of that flavour are also not innocent and are of fair game.

          The Islamic punishment for being an infidel is what?

          The punishment for apostasy in Islam is what?

          http://www.answering-islam.org/Silas/apostasy.htm

          We acknowledge with great regret that Islam’s Clergies have focused on an improper definition of jihad.

          Who is this “we” referred to here?

          Nevertheless, we are also disappointed with the Christian priests—for they have inflamed the passions of the ignorant masses with their harsh and unjust publications. By bringing up the issue of jihad a thousand times,they have led ignorant Muslims to believe that this is an easy path to Paradise.

          Someone else to blame? But the Christian cleric’s are parroting what they hear from Muslim clerics and what they can literally read from the texts. Muslim clerics are doing little to nothing in dissuading them if their take is erroneous. And surely Muslims are not influenced by the infidel?

          If these priests were free from ill-will, they should have realized the truth themselves and remained silent after comparing the jihad of the Prophet Moses(peace be upon him)and the Prophet Joshua (peace be upon him) to the jihad of our Holy Prophet (sa).

          The Christian priests have embarked on a very dangerous course of action. On one side, they falsely argue that the Quran summons Muslims to jihad at all times, as if seeking to draw attention towards this tradition. And then they incite the Muslims’ passion with provocative literature. It is unclear why these people naïvely fail to recognize that these actions can combine to produce dangerous consequences. I have written repeatedly that jihad is certainly not a Quranic commandment.(Ruhanikhazain)

          Absolute bollocks.

          Unlike nearly all of the Old Testament verses of violence, the verses of violence in the Quran are mostly open-ended, meaning that they are not restrained by historical context contained in the surrounding text (although many Muslims choose to think of them that way). They are part of the eternal, unchanging word of Allah, and just as relevant or subject to interpretation as anything else in the Quran.

          http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/pages/quran/violence.aspx

          Look, I admire your ideal of what you view, think, or want the Islamic faith to be. It would be fabulous if your desires were realised, they’re not. Like Christianity, there are enough nasty folk to make the religion rotten and they can and do quote the texts to rationalise the nastiness. Trying your apologetics doesn’t cut it because the evidence is greater than your wishful thinking and the rantings of a particular cleric that had delusions of grandeur way above his station and that the majority within the faith view as a heretic.

          The question you must ask yourself is what sort of supreme being is it that can fuck up a message so badly, or allow it’s messengers to fuck the message so badly? That goes for all religions. It’s the sort of thing one would expect from a not so clever human being. And guess what, that’s exactly where it comes from.

        • SparklingMoon

          So you assert, and yet millions see that it is, from passages like these… ”But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war)…
          ————————————————–
          In the whole Quran there is not even a single verse that says to the follower of Islam to kill a person because of his being an infidel or non Muslim or the follower of an other faith.

          The verses of the Quran that have descriptions of different wars are accounts of those wars that Muslims had to fight in the begging of Islam. These wars had no purpose to kill the people of other faith or infidels but to stop persecution.

          This verse [9:5] in the Quran, in its context ,clearly guides the application of these verses. For example the verse: [9:5] ”And when the forbidden months have passed, kill the idolaters wherever you find them and take them prisoners, and beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them at every place of ambush. But if they repent and observe Prayer and pay the Zakat, then leave their way free. Surely, Allah is Most Forgiving, Merciful.”

          The history of this verse is that when Prophet of Islam began preaching the unity of God he was persecuted for 13 years. Since Muslims who are being persecuted are encouraged to leave for safer areas, rather than create disorder, Prophet of Islam(sa) and his followers migrated to Medina.

          After they left, the Meccans attacked them in Medina on and off for a period of nine years until Chapter 9 of the Quran was revealed. Looking at the context of the verses, it becomes obvious that the commandment of this verse only relates to those tribes who continued hostilities against the Muslims even after they had migrated. In particular, reference is made to 5 tribes (‘Banu Khuza’ah, Banu Mudlij, Banu Bakr, Banu Damrah, and Banu Sulaiim) that did not honour the treaties of peace they made with Muslims.

          One verse before it is advised by God Almighty the Muslims of that time to keep in peace with those idolaters who had not broken their treatise: [9:4] ”Excepting those of the idolaters with whom you have entered into a treaty and who have not subsequently failed you in anything nor aided anyone against you. So fulfill to these the treaty you have made with them till their term. Surely, Allah loves those who are righteous.”

        • TheNuszAbides

          Muslim clerics are doing little to nothing in dissuading them if their take is erroneous.

          hang about … what could they possibly do to achieve such a thing? it’s terribly odd how many times “interfaith dialogue” is bandied about and how few times anyone presents any kind of result from such supposed activity.

        • Ignorant Amos

          This is all just a lot of asinine bollocks with neither evidence for, nor relationship to, the Christ mythology as known from the Christian texts. Dan Brown’s “Da Vinci Code” makes more sense.

          It is a lot of words placed one behind the other in meaningless incoherent jibber jabber.

        • SparklingMoon

          Jesus (as)also had explained in clear words the meanings of this metaphor ”Second Coming” before his followers in Gospels. ‘According to the Bible, and other records, only two Prophets are supposed to have physically ascended to the heavens, namely Elijah, also known as Elias, and Messiah son of Mary, also known as ‘Isa or Jesus. Concerning both these Prophets some books of the Old and New Testament say that they were raised to the heavens and shall return to the earth sometime in the latter days, and that people will actually witness their descent from the skies.

          Concerning Elias, whose Biblical name is Elijah, the Gospels positively declare that the prophecy of his descent from the skies has been fulfilled with the birth of Yahya or John, son of Zechariah. The Messiah son of Mary declares in unmistakable terms: “He is indeed the Elijah who was expected to come. Acknowledge him if you will.”(Matthew 11:13-15 and 17:10-13)

          Through this arbitration by no less a person than a Prophet of God, the case of Elijah, his ascension to the skies and subsequent descent has been effectively settled and the manner and meaning of the ‘Second Coming’ clearly determined.This, therefore, is the doctrine, consistent with the Gospels, to which Christians should unanimously subscribe, that Elijah, whose descent was awaited, did, in the time of the Messiah, return from the heavens in the person of John who was born to Zechariah, with the temperament and qualities of Elijah. The Jews, however, continue to await Elijah’s descent. They believe that he will physically descend from the skies and land on the minarets of Baitul Muqaddas, where the Jews will assemble and lower him down to the ground with the help of ladders or some such device. When you confront the Jews with Jesus Christ’s interpretation of the descent of Elijah,they come into a rage and start abusing not only Jesus Christ but also John the Baptist,and condemn as heresy the solemn declaration of a Prophet of God.

          The real connotation of the term ‘descent from the skies’ has been determined by the verdict of Jesus Christ himself, and the dispute about Elijah’s descent has been finally settled. The manner of his descent has also been conclusively established. But, concerning the descent of the Messiah, it is still claimed with great fervor that he will descend from the skies, clad in rich royal robes, accompanied by angels.

          Were the Christians not waylaid by their holding fast to their hackneyed opinions, they could have realized, that the descent of the Messiah should take place in exact conformity with what has already been spelled out in such clear terms by Jesus Christ himself, for it is impossible for two similar scenarios to admit of contradictory interpretations.

          This is a point which deserves serious consideration by all serious minded people. If Jesus Christ’s interpretation regarding the descent of Elijah from the skies is true, the question arises that the case of the Messiah being parallel to that of Elijah, why not draw the same conclusion, particularly when a Prophet of God has already lifted the veil off the face of this close secret? And, what is more, this interpretation is also in exact consonance with the laws of nature.Why then digress from the right and straight path and opt for one that is both crooked and objectionable? There is no reason to adopt an alternative interpretation. Can the conscience of honest and enlightened people, fully supported by Jesus’ own verdict, accept any other meaning of the term ‘Descent’? (Ruhanikhazain)

        • Ignorant Amos
        • TheNuszAbides

          yeah, i predict that’s never going to happen. Sparky seems too enamored of his freedom of dribble.

        • Michael Neville

          So the Quran is the word of God because the Quran says it is the word of God. That’s not a convincing argument to nonbelievers.

          If they obey him they are bound to achieve the aim for which mankind was created. If they follow him, Divine favors shall be granted to all His obedient servants.

          Why does a god need worshipers?

        • SparklingMoon

          Why does a god need worshipers?
          —————————–
          It is obvious that it is not open to man that he should himself lay down the purpose of his life by his own authority inasmuch as man does not arrive in the world of his own will, nor will he depart from this world of his own will. He is a created being and He Who created him and bestowed upon him better and higher faculties than those bestowed upon other animates, has enjoined a purpose for his life. Whether anyone comprehends that purpose or not, without doubt the purpose of man’s creation is the worship and understanding of God Almighty and to lose himself in Him.

          The purpose of the creation of a thing is determined by its highest achievement beyond which its faculties cannot rise. For instance, the highest a bullock is capable of is ploughing, or irrigation, or transportation, and therefore these are the purpose of its life and it cannot rise above them. But when we take stock of man’s faculties and powers to discover his highest capacity, we find that he is invested with the faculty of seeking after God so much so that he desires that he should become so devoted to God’s love that he should have nothing of his own and that everything should become God’s. He shares his natural needs like food and drink and rest with other animates, and in industry some animals are ahead of him; for instance, the bees produce such excellent honey from every type of flower that man has so far not been able to compete with them. It is clear, therefore, that the highest capacity of man is meeting with God Almighty and thus the true purpose of his life is that the window of his heart should open towards God.(Ruhanikhazain)

        • Susan

          It is obvious that it is not open to man… blah, blah, blah… copy/paste… copy/paste… blah, blah, blah….

          None of that even acknowledges, let alone answers, Michael’s question.

          Which was:

          Why does a god need worshippers?

        • Ignorant Amos

          So you’ve noticed that everything SparklingMoon has posted is a copy & paste job too?

          Nothing wrong with that if, 1) the person differentiates the work in some way or other from their own or the accusation of plagiarising can be levelled, and 2) the bollocks being plagiarised is relevant to the comment being addressed and not used as an attempt to preach woo-woo nonsense.

          This is the source of one of the comments a thought was copy & pasted.

          http://sahih-al-islam.blogspot.co.uk/2016/01/15-years-of-divine-manifestation.html

          There is copious amounts of irony in everything SparklingMoon posts.

        • SparklingMoon

          This is the source of one of the comments a thought was copy & pasted.
          ———————————
          You are wrong to refer this source as it is never used by me. My descriptions are mostly from the writings of Mirza Ghulam Ahamd that are called ” Ruhanikhazain” (that can be seen in the end of my posts) I mostly use this website for references: https://www.alislam.org/books/

        • Susan

          This is progress, SM.

          You typed out a full two-sentence paragraph. It felt briefly like we were interacting with a fellow human being.

          Try to do more of this. Please.

          No one will read your copy/pastes if you are unable to talk about them.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You are wrong to refer this source as it is never used by me.

          It doesn’t matter…the quotes you use are littered up and down the internet. I gave that link as an example of plagiarised source…in other words, from somewhere else. That it is not the exact source you cite from is unimportant.

          My descriptions are mostly from the writings of Mirza Ghulam Ahamd that are called ”Ruhanikhazain”

          That might be the case, but unless everyone knows what “Ruhanikhazain” is, it looks like part of the comment. There are a number of various ways to separate and show you are citing another’s work, you employ non of them.

          (that can be seen in the end of my posts)

          Not all of them I’m afraid. See your comment at…

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2016/02/five-christian-principles-used-to-give-the-bible-a-pass-2-of-2-let-the-bible-clarify-the-bible/#comment-2530587037

          And my reply at…

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2016/02/five-christian-principles-used-to-give-the-bible-a-pass-2-of-2-let-the-bible-clarify-the-bible/#comment-2530764624

          Where I show your quote and where you mined it from, in italics, complete with the reference… [Izala-e-Auham, Ruhani Khaza’in, vol. 3, pp. 121]…and secondary source link.

          The problem with your comments is they are a hotch potch of burble and the reader can’t tell what is your own musings, or the work of another ranter. It’s all very confusing. Learn to separate paragraphs, use quotation marks, use html tags, or cite your sources properly…lest you get called out on it for plagiarising. Not too difficult and it will make the experience a lot better and dare I say, easier for your interlocutor.

        • SparklingMoon

          Why does a god need worshippers?
          —————————————
          It is true that through the worship of God man’s own welfare is intended, yet the Rububiyyat (the attribute to create and supporter to progress) of God Almighty demands that by avoiding evil and devoting himself to His worship and obedience, man should achieve his good fortune. If man does not wish to follow that path His wrath is aroused not for His own sake,but for the sake of man and He subjects man to diverse types of warnings and admonitions.

          It is not permissible that anyone should say to Him: Why do You bother about what would harm me or benefit me? Why do You admonish us and send revealed Books and punish us? If we worship You, it would be for our own good and if we do not worship You, we shall suffer loss. Why should You worry? Should anyone say that, and indeed if the whole world and all mankind were to supplicate Him that He should spare them His admonitions and commandments and revealed Books, and that they do not desire paradise,but would be content with this world and should be left forever to it, that they do not desire the great bounties of the hereafter, that He should not interfere with their actions and should abstain from planning rewards and punishments for them and should not concern Himself with their benefit or their loss, their supplication would not be granted even if they continued to submit it throughout their lives with crying and weeping.

          It is not enough that a person is free and worships God for his own benefit and that God Almighty has no concern with it, but the Glory and Greatness of God demand that man should carry out the worship of God and should follow the ways of goodness. His Godhead naturally demands that the signs of servitude should be manifested before Him and His perfection demands that man should humble himself in His presence. That is the reason why in the end His chastisement overtakes the disobedient, the vicious and those who persist in wrong-doing. His Blessed Being has eternally possessed the power to award reward and impose punishment; otherwise, He would not occupy Himself awarding good recompense to the virtuous and ill recompense to the vicious. Were it not for His attribute of awarding recompense, He would have kept silent and abstained altogether from bestowing recompense.(Ruhanikhazain)

        • Greg G.

          Why would God chastise people for not worshiping him? What are we talking about? People who follow a different sect don’t fair better or worse on average. People who follow a different religion don’t fair better of worse. People who follow no religion don’t fair better or worse.

          If you don’t break the law, you probably won’t get arrested for anything. If you don’t do wrong to others, people probably won’t waste time taking revenge against you. Pretending you don’t do those things to please a god who doesn’t exist doesn’t make the situation better.

        • Michael Neville

          So your god is a sadistic, narcissistic bully who’ll punish people for not kissing his ass or even not kissing it hard and often enough. Sounds like a typical god, an egotistical, self-centered megalomaniac with the emotional maturity of a spoiled six year old. That still doesn’t answer the question: why does a god need worshipers? Not want worshipers but need worshipers.

        • SparklingMoon

          why does a god need worshipers? Not want worshipers but need worshipers.
          —————————————

          Though it is true that the harm or benefit of man’s actions reverts to him and the greatness and kingdom of God Almighty are neither increased nor decreased thereby, yet it is true and is a firm verity that His attribute of ”Rububiyyat” (the attribute to create and then support to progress) demands that His servants should be firmly established in their position of His worshipers, there is a demand in God’s Being for the manifestation of His Greatness, His Godhead, His Supremacy, His Glory and His Kingdom, and recompense and the requirement of obedience and servitude and worship are the consequences of that very demand. For the manifestation of His Rububiyyat and Godhead, He has created this variegated world. Had His Being been free from this desire of manifestation, why should He have addressed Himself to creation at all? Who had coerced Him that He should create the universe and by establishing a relationship between souls and bodies should make this world the manifestation of His wonderful powers? He must have possessed a power of determination that moved Him to the creation of the universe. There are indications in His Holy Word, the Qur’an, which show that God Almighty created the universe so that He should be recognized through His attribute of creation, and after creation He showered His mercy and benevolence upon the world so that He should be recognized through His mercy and benevolence. In the same way, He instituted punishment and reward so that His attributes of retribution and bounty might be recognized.After death, He will raise up mankind again so that He might be recognized as All-Powerful. His purpose in all His wonderful works is that He should be recognized. Thus, by the creation of the world and by the system of recompense, what is desired is the understanding of God, which is the essence of worship. This proves that God Almighty Himself demands that His creatures should attain His understanding, the perfect reality of which is known through worship. As a beauteous one on account of the perfection of his beauty desires to display it, so God Almighty, Who possesses to perfection the reality of beauty, desires that His excellence should be disclosed to people. This proves that God Almighty demands worship which is the basis and means of recognition from His servants (Ruhanikhazain)

        • Susan

          That still doesn’t answer the question.

          Why do you think it does?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Par for the course isn’t it?

          Muslim’s learn the Quran by parrot fashion rote learning. They can regurgitate passages ad nauseum but they need different texts or worse still, “scholarly” clerics, to explain the meaning of the waffle. Watch Muslims talk about their scripture and all they can do is ramble incoherently. That’s because the Quran as a bunch of cobbled together incoherent scribblings.

          SparklingMoon is citing the incoherent ramblings of a particular “scholarly” cleric, and for some reason unbeknownst to me, he thinks it make sense and addresses the issues being put to him in this thread.

        • Michael Neville

          This proves that God Almighty demands worship which is the basis and means of recognition from His servants (Ruhanikhazain)

          No, it doesn’t prove anything. You’re making an assertion backed only by opinion, yours and the person who originally wrote what you’ve copied and pasted. I’ve yet to see any benefit to me or to your god from me worshiping it. As I said before, your god is a narcissistic bully and therefore doesn’t deserve my worship, let alone my belief.

        • Michael Neville

          That is so much nonsense. My wife and I created our daughter. Since she is now an adult, any purpose I might have for her would require her agreement to fulfill.

          I’m a sentient person. I have no obligations to a mythological being who supposedly “created” me. As for this being being “greater” than I, he’ll have to prove it. Since he or his worshipers can’t even prove his existence, then I reject any obligation you think I have towards a figment of Mohammad’s imagination.

        • Ignorant Amos

          So much nonsense in fact, that I couldn’t even be arsed addressing such a display of pure unadulterated ignorance.

          Bee’s ffs…are for making honey? And all a bullock is capable of is ploughing, or irrigation, or transportation, and therefore these are the purpose of its life, wtf?

          The mind virus is bad in that one.

        • So the Quran is the word of God because the Quran says it is the word of God.

          Well, yeah. How are you going to challenge that? It’s the Quran–the very word of God!

        • Ignorant Amos

          Fakir’s…sorry, a mean faker’s… the lot of them.

          Everywhere ya look there are Scotsmen trying hard to be true.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You are employing the fallacy of circular reasoning.

          It is explained by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad: Of all the current revealed Books on earth,the Holy Quran is the only Book which is conclusively proven to be the Word of God.

          Well that settles it then. Everyone should just pack up shop and head on home a suppose?

          Isn’t Mirza Ghulam Ahmad a heretic in mainstream Islamic circles? So much for the one true religion and only word of God worthy of recognition.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mirza_Ghulam_Ahmad#Legacy

        • SparklingMoon

          Isn’t Mirza Ghulam Ahmad a heretic in mainstream Islamic circles? So much for the one true religion and only word of God worthy of recognition.
          ———————————-
          We learn from history of all religion that everyone appointed by God was faced with a storm of opposition. All prophets came with the message of truth and eternal life but were opposed by those who preferred falsehood to truth, and spiritual death to spiritual life. This indeed is the process of the birth of religions. When impurities and corruption crept into religions, their rebirth also took the same course. The reformers sent by God also suffered as the prophets had suffered. Whenever the Almighty chose to revive a nation spiritually, it split into two groups – those who saw the truth and those who opposed it. And neither group ever changed its demonstrated attitude. The Holy Quran describes this oft repeated cycle in a most effective and moving manner. A study of the Quran shows that:

          – Religions are born and revived through divinely appointed reformers. Never have the scholars ever reformed a religion through conferences and consultations.
          – The divinely appointed reformers are invariably rejected by their people and treated with arrogance and disdain.
          – Such reformers are always opposed by violence. They are accused of corrupting the religion of their forefathers. They are branded heretics and held guilty of apostasy.
          – The creed professed by the opponents prescribes death or banishment as the punishment for apostasy. The reformers are offered a choice of either a return to the fold or exile, failing which they are threatened with death.
          – The reformers never advocate violence. Their followers demonstrate steadfastness of such a high degree that they would rather be exiled or killed than recant.
          – The reformers do not entice people with promises of power and high office: they dispel worldly ambition. They do not lure people with wealth; they inculcate the spirit of sacrifice. The rich who believe consider it their good fortune to give their all in the service of God; the mighty shrug off the trappings of power. It is then that divine providence adjudges them fit to take over temporal power.

          This is the process of religious revival of nations that the Quran and the Scriptures reveal. All prophets – from Adam to the Holy Prophet Muhammad – went through these stages. They gave their nations new life by leading them over the path of suffering and sacrifice. They taught love. They inculcated love of hard work, of sustained effort and incessant actions. It is this revolutionary spirit which breathes life into dead nations. This oft-demonstrated and unchanging divine law is in consonance with man’s nature, conscience and intellect. It is this law that the Messiah of the time Mirza Ghulam Ahmad and his followers acknowledged.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yes, yes, yes…I know you believe all that piffle. You are at the circular reasoning Malarkey still.

          https://mostintolerantreligion.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/circular-reasoning.jpg?w=700

        • Ignorant Amos
        • Greg G.

          We learn from history of all religions that everyone appointed by God was faced with a storm of opposition. All prophets came with the message of truth and eternal life but were opposed by those who preferred falsehood to truth, and spiritual death to spiritual life.

          But false prophets face the same type of oppositions. Is that because they are opposed by those who prefer truth to falsehood? All prophets are false prophets and most people prefer the falsehoods they are comfortable with while there are a few who are tired of the falsehood they are comfortable with so they will accept another falsehood.

          This indeed is the process of the birth of religions.

          In your view, religions are born whether they are true or false. You cannot make a distinction between a false religion and a true one without making false assumptions about one of them. To us, all religions look the same and since they make conflicting claims, some are necessarily false, which makes them all look false.

    • Maoh

      You know, I think the reason Amos isn’t convinced by your arguments is that you are being too brief. You need to add some block quotes from the Quran, not just verse numbers.