When a Contradictory Bible Is a Good Thing

When a Contradictory Bible Is a Good Thing May 27, 2016

Aaron turned his staff into a snake in front of Pharaoh to show that he and Moses were God’s representatives. Why not a public demonstration today to show that you’re channeling God’s power? Pastor Yaw Saul from central Ghana promised to replicate the staff-into-snake trick, but it didn’t turn out as planned. After hours of effort in the market square, the public lost patience. Perhaps inspired by the command in Deuteronomy, “a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded … is to be put to death,” they drove him away by throwing fruit and water bottles.

Balancing act

You must promise, but not too much. That’s the challenge with religion. Promise too little and there’s no attraction. What’s the point in following a god who promises nothing more than an improved complexion and twenty percent fewer weeds in your yard?

But promise too much—that is, make promises that can actually be tested—and you risk getting found out. That was Pastor Saul’s error.

William Miller made the same mistake. He predicted the end of the world on October 22, 1844. When the next day dawned uneventfully, this became known as the Millerites’ Great Disappointment. More recently, Harold Camping predicted the Rapture™ on May 21, 2011 and the end of the world five months later. John Hagee also predicted big things after his four blood moons. Oops—all were too specific.

Almanacs, fortune tellers, and talk-to-the-dead mystics are in the same boat. If they deliver too little, what’s the point? “The winter will be cold” or “This time next year, you will be older” or “A beloved relative says Hi” doesn’t attract many fans. But too specific a prediction and you rack up a list of errors that even the faithful can’t ignore.

One way to avoid this problem is to be ambiguous. The predictions of Nostradamus are famously hammered to fit this or that event from history. (Curiously, no one ever uses these “prophecies” to predict the future. Isn’t that what prophecies are for?)

And, of course, the Bible is ambiguous and even contradictory. Exodus has two conflicting sets of Ten Commandments. Whether you want to show God as loving and merciful or savage and unforgiving, there are plenty of verses to make your case. Jesus can appear and vanish after his resurrection as if he had a spirit body, but then he eats fish as if he doesn’t. Jesus can be the Prince of Peace but then say, “I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”

How can such a religion survive? Wouldn’t its contradictions make it clear to everyone that it was just a collection of writings without divine inspiration?

Contradiction as an asset

Let’s skip over the Bible’s consolidation phase that ended in roughly 400 CE. The hodge-podge of books chosen from a large set of possibilities was accepted as Christian canon, and we can debate about what sorts of compromises or rationales were behind the final list. But the odd amalgam that resulted has a silver lining: a contradictory Bible can make Christianity stronger. Because it contains both answers to some questions, it is able to adapt to new and unexpected challenges.

Take slavery during the U.S. Civil War. From one pre-war book published in the South:

If we prove that domestic slavery is, in the general, a natural and necessary institution, we remove the greatest stumbling block to belief in the Bible; for whilst texts, detached and torn from their context, may be found for any other purpose, none can be found that even militates against slavery. The distorted and forced construction of certain passages, for this purpose, by abolitionists, if employed as a common rule of construction, would reduce the Bible to a mere allegory, to be interpreted to suit every vicious taste and wicked purpose.

And, of course, others used the very same Bible to make the opposite argument.

Rev. Martin Luther King used the Bible to support his argument for civil rights, and Rev. Fred Phelps used the same Bible to argue that “God hates fags.” I’m sure that as same-sex marriage becomes accepted within America over the upcoming decades, loving passages will be highlighted to show that God was on board with this project all along.

The Bible hasn’t changed; what’s changed is people’s reading of it. The Bible’s contradictory nature allows it to adapt like a chameleon. Play up one part and downplay another, and you adapt to yet another social change.

Contradiction as a strength—who knew?

Maybe in order to understand mankind, we have to look at the word itself. 
Basically, it’s made up of two separate words—“mank” and “ind.” 
What do these words mean? It’s a mystery, and that’s why so is mankind.
— Jack Handey, Deeper Thoughts (1993)

(This is an update of a post that originally appeared 5/6/13.)

Photo credit: Wikimedia

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  • 100meters

    What a revelation (no pun intended.)
    I’ve long held that virtually no one could possibly live strictly by the bible’s rules.
    “Hey Steve, are those two different fabrics you’re wearing? Sorry, we’ll have to kill you, probably over by the copier.”
    But this flexibility, having verses covering nearly any position, does seem actually necessary for xianity it to have hung around so long.
    Thanks for the light bulb over my head today!

    • epicurus

      On my seemingly endless list of books to read is “The Year of Living Biblically” where the guy tries to, well, live biblically, and all the absurdity that entails. I’m hoping to get it read this year. There is also a version for women – “A year of Biblical Womanhood.”

      • busterggi

        Wouldn’t the one about women have to be a blank book just to make sure she didn’t accidentally preach to or educate men in it?

        • Perhaps you’re thinking of the New Testament. I believe the experiment was to live according to OT rules.

        • Cygnus

          …and when it comes to the same divinely inspired book of God, we have to chop it and use it in different soups for the pleasures of different faithfuls in the same One God.

          But I believe one less God than you do 🙂

      • IIRC, this guy’s wife sat on all the chairs in the house just to make things more difficult for him. (Either a chair is contaminated when a woman sits on it or just when she sits on it during her special time of the month.)

      • 100meters

        Thanks for the tip. Must peruse these.

  • Brian Westley

    staff-into-snake trick

    This actually IS a trick. Some snakes can be temporarily paralyzed (and thus stiffened) by squeezing them right behind their heads. If you keep the snake moving, it looks like you’re just holding a stick. When it’s thrown on the ground it recovers and starts moving.

    • busterggi

      I’m too old to stiffen my snake that easilly nor am I about to throw it on the ground.

    • Erp

      Is there evidence of this beyond apologetics trying to explain why the Egyptians could do the same?

      • Brian Westley

        I don’t know of any apologetics even referencing it as a trick, because that would mean Moses was doing a magic trick instead of a miracle.

        This book mentions it:
        https://books.google.com/books?id=gt7WqTdqCuMC&pg=PA175&lpg=PA175

        • Argus

          Maaagic

        • Argus

          Ask Gob Bluth

        • epicurus

          Good ol’ Gob. I miss that show.

        • Erp

          But it is not a biology text. We have “a certain Egyptian snake” but not which species or a description of anyone doing it now.

          Apologetics that do use it
          https://www.backtothebible.org/devotions/satans-imitators
          and
          https://bible.org/illustration/exodus-78-10

          A search indicates that some 19th century sources gave the species as cobra and said that Indian snake charmers did this. One book cites the naturalist Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire (early 19th century) as describing this. What is lacking are more modern accounts.

        • Brian Westley

          OK, go to india and try it.

        • Erp

          I’m assuming the whole story of Moses at the court is fictional, snake rods and all. The explanation that snakes can appear to be rods (and carried around) is what needs to be justified.

        • Brian Westley

          Well, as a trick, they aren’t carried around for any length of time; you use a real stick that closely resembles the snake, and do a switch shortly beforehand.

          And I’m not commenting on whether any of the story was a real event or not, just pointing out that what it describes is an ancient magic trick. If Moses purportedly did the Indian rope trick, I would likewise point out that it’s a magic trick, whether Moses really did it or not.

        • Erp

          But does this trick actually exist in the real world? I would expect more than one early 19th century century report. It is not as though snake biology has changed that much and there are still plenty of people who perform tricks with snakes (but apparently not this one).

        • Brian Westley

          But does this trick actually exist in the real world?

          I have no idea.

    • Cygnus

      “This actually IS a trick.”
      ===
      That’s nothing compared with the tricks Christians scholars to argue that it was not a trick. That shtick was used to produce water from a rock, was transformed into a snake and back, and was used at the parting of the Red Sea.
      So, your mere mortal explanation of the stick as a trick fails in the face of divinely explanation given by Christian scholars. BTW, scholars explain that the stick could be the rod of Moses brother, Aaron. Metaphorically explained, the whole stick shtick is about divine erectile function.

      • Brian Westley

        “If divine erection lasts more than four millenia, consult a witch doctor.”

        • Cygnus

          For divine impotence there are doctors and specialists: doctors of divinity, theologians, apologists, Scientologists, Creationists, philosophers of religion, Christians scholars, etc.

        • Greg G.

          Which makes me wonder if God can make a Viagra tablet so large that he can’t swallow it.

        • Cygnus

          Divine Viagra are those “holy” pills in the bible, qumran, and torah, the doctors in divinity theologians, apologists, Scientologists, Creationists, philosophers of religion, Christians scholars prescribes for the flaccid penis of God to make it look “almighty” in the eyes and the arses of the faithful.

  • Tony D’Arcy

    The “Bible” ! Hah which version of the many different ones ? The most hateful collection of stories collected together over many centuries, filled with more death and destruction than any Hollywood blockbuster.

    A prawn sandwich deserves the death penalty ? Aw shucks I had one at lunch today !

    • Don’t get me started on how bad crab cakes are …

      • busterggi

        So Bob, how bad are crab cakes?

        • Cygnus

          Depends on the crabs

        • Greg G.

          Crab cakes only break one of the 613 laws whereas bacon cheeseburgers violate the law against eating pork, one of the original Ten Commandments about seething a kid in its mother’s milk, and, at certain times of the year, eating yeast bread.

          I recommend a Surf n Turf Shrimp Bacon Cheeseburger while wearing a wool-cotton blend sweater on Passover.

        • TheNuszAbides

          about seething a kid in its mother’s milk

          maybe an accidental interpolation from a cookbook that mentioned how tricky it was to do this while the milk was still in the mother?

        • Argus

          Perhaps this was the original title…

        • Oddly enough, I had crab cakes for dinner tonight in Reedville, VA, near the Chesapeake Bay. And they were delicious.

      • RoverSerton

        some crab cakes are so good, i’d risk hell for them.

  • MNb

    “The distorted and forced construction of certain passages, for this purpose, by abolitionists.”
    Lovely quote. We have had several discussions with apologists on Biblical slavery. They love to accuse us atheists of exactly this.

  • RichardSRussell

    The Bible is the world’s longest-running, most widely respected, and least reliable Rorschach Test. You can look in it and see anything you want to see, find anything you want to find, justify any pre-ordained conclusion you prefer, or validate any prejudice — because the Bible has it all: love, hate; revenge, redemption; war, peace; slavery, freedom; humility, arrogance; kindness, cruelty; and, as Mark Twain observed, “upwards of a thousand lies”!

  • Michael Neville

    Rev. Fred Phelps uses the same Bible to argue that “God hates fags.”

    Praise the Lawd, Fred Phelps did on 19 March 2014 after being excommunicated by the church he founded. Apparently he allowed women, particularly his daughter Shirley Phelps-Roper, to have leadership roles in the church, which is a no-no.

  • Myna A.

    The Bible’s contradictory nature allows it to adapt like a chameleon.

    Kind of spooky how it protects itself, like a wicked tome of mental fuckery. Add to this the horrendous violence, the bigotry, the enslavement and misogyny, and one begins to wonder why it has been deemed holy for as long as it has. Because it says it is? And one will burn in hell if a naysayer? Seems more dark than light.

    I found this at another forum on Patheos. I don’t know if it’s been uploaded here before:

  • Mick

    I like the bit in the bible where Moses and Aaron change all the water into blood; the water in the rivers, canals, ponds, pools, and even in the wooden barrels and the stone jars. “There was blood throughout the whole land of Egypt,” says Exodus 7:21.

    So what happened next? According to verse 22: “The magicians of Egypt did the same by their secret arts.

    As Foote and Ball remarked in their ‘Bible Handbook’, “Moses and Aaron cleverly transmuted all the water there was, but their opponents still more cleverly transmuted all the water there wasn’t!

    http://bible.oremus.org/?passage=Exodus+7

    • Argus

      So maybe the dueling priests should have had a Wizard Rumble

  • Take slavery during the U.S. Civil War. From one pre-war book published in the South:

    If we prove that domestic slavery is, in the general, a natural and necessary institution, we remove the greatest stumbling block to belief in the Bible; for whilst texts, detached and torn from their context, may be found for any other purpose, none can be found that even militates against slavery. The distorted and forced construction of certain passages, for this purpose, by abolitionists, if employed as a common rule of construction, would reduce the Bible to a mere allegory, to be interpreted to suit every vicious taste and wicked purpose.

    Let’s try this on for size:

    But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:25–28)

    Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. (John 15:20)

    Whoever says he abides in [Jesus] ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. (1 John 2:6)

    So, we have that Jesus refused to be served by people and he refused to dominate people. Instead, he served them and gave his life for them. Jesus’ disciples are not “above” him, in the sense of getting to have an easier life than Jesus (serving others is hard). Indeed, a person who wants to claim to be Jesus’ disciple better be behaving as Jesus did. This would most surely involve serving others and even dying for them. At the very least, it would not be dominating them. The institution of slavery requires domination.

    • Greg G.

      Luke 12:47-48 (NRSV)47 That slave who knew what his master wanted, but did not prepare himself or do what was wanted, will receive a severe beating. 48 But the one who did not know and did what deserved a beating will receive a light beating. From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required; and from the one to whom much has been entrusted, even more will be demanded.

      Jesus thought beating slaves was the right thing to do, even if the slave didn’t know, it was right to beat them a little anyway, just because you could.

      • Or, he’s working with extant intuitions to make a point. But hey, it’s best to interpret the Bible as terribly as possible, amirite? That’s also the best way to treat people. It makes democracies awesome.

        • Greg G.

          Jesus never spoke out against slavery nor against beating slaves. He never said, “This is important. If any of you write down what I tell you, record this: Do not own people.” If he had said that, it is strange that what was written down instead was an endorsement of beating people that you own. It would make the whole New Testament suspect.

        • I argued that three of Jesus’ sayings logically combine to say that “Jesus’ disciples don’t own slaves, to the extent they are his disciples”. Can you find a flaw within this logic without appealing to any other texts?

        • adam

          ” Can you find a flaw within this logic without appealing to any other texts?”

          Why would anyone limit the choices of texts to ones you’ve cherry picked, unless they were being DISHONEST.

          When Jesus had the opportunity to just say
          “Owning another person is wrong”

          But then again he would be contradicting his ‘own’ words as the “God” character in earlier texts.

        • Greg G.

          You took three passages from three different authors. 1 John is not a Jesus quote. John 15:20 endorses that the master is greater than the servant. Matthew 20:26 says they should be slaves.

          There cannot be a flaw in the logic without there being some semblance of logic. Each passage fails on its own without appealing to other verses.

        • The 1 John quote is merely saying the obvious; it need not be said by Jesus. If you’re going to be a follower of Jesus, you need to, ya know, actually follow Jesus. Otherwise words don’t mean things and we can be done here.

          What you don’t seem to understand is that Jesus is using the master/​slave dichotomy to drive home points. Paul does this too, and he’s explicit that he’d rather use better language, if only that would work for his hearers:

          What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification. (Romans 6:15–19)

          The flipping around Jesus does in Mt 20:20–28 subverts the idea that the way to be human is to rise to dominance above other humans and force them to work for you. Instead, he advances an existence where people voluntarily give to one another. How on earth does this automatically “fail on its own”?

        • Greg G.

          What you don’t seem to understand is that Jesus is using the master/​slave dichotomy to drive home points.

          If Jesus meant that the master/slave dichotomy was wrong, his points would be invalidated. If he objected to slavery, his points would be showing it was wrong.

          Paul does this too, and he’s explicit that he’d rather use better language, if only that would work for his hearers:

          How come you get to use other passages after declaring them off limits? If your god is the creator, any natural limitations are his fault. Too bad Paul couldn’t think of a better analogy. If Jesus was such a great teacher, why couldn’t he come up with a better way to explain it? Must have been his natural limitations.

          The flipping around Jesus does in Mt 20:20–28 subverts the idea that the way to be human is to rise to dominance above other humans and force them to work for you. Instead, he advances an existence where people voluntarily give to one another. How on earth does this automatically “fail on its own”?

          It fails because he is using the slavery metaphor. Why not say that they are all equals and they should help one another without a tacit nod to slavery. Why not speak out against slavery? It could be done:

          Galatians 3:28
          There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.

        • If Jesus meant that the master/​slave dichotomy was wrong, his points would be invalidated.

          I see no reason to accept this as true. There are dynamics in the master/​slave relationship which have analogous aspects in relationships which do not require slavery.

          How come you get to use other passages after declaring them off limits?

          What? This“declaring [other passages] off limits”.

          If your god is the creator, any natural limitations are his fault.

          This is absurd; you’re presupposing that in order to communicate with finite beings, God is not limited by the nature of said finite beings.

          If Jesus was such a great teacher, why couldn’t he come up with a better way to explain it?

          Please demonstrate, in any way you find convincing, that “a better way” would have resulted in a better history. If you have no idea how, but simply believe so, then I’ll refuse to allow that mere belief into the common ground of our discussion.

          Why not say that they are all equals and they should help one another without a tacit nod to slavery.

          Because they aren’t all equals. Mt 20:20–28 supposes that some are greater and some are lesser. It just says that the greater you are, the more you serve others. It turns the extant way of seeing how greatness should operate on its head. As it turns out, if the greater are constantly giving to those who have less, then soon the disparity between how much they have grows small. Hmmm, I wonder what happens one that process is left to run for a while…

          Why not speak out against slavery? It could be done:

          Galatians 3:28There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.

          I thought your claim was nothing in the NT speaks against slavery?

        • adam

          “you’re presupposing that in order to communicate with
          finite beings, God is not limited by the nature of said finite beings.”

          So now your Omnipotent ‘God’ is limited by nature.

          I now feel sorry for you, worshiping such a useless being…

        • Greg G.

          Oh, I get it. It’s Jesus of the Gap.

        • adam

          Well you dont expect him to make his own clothes too.

          He is apparently limited by nature from just poofing up clothing.

          The uni verse is one thing, but creatin a clothin line?
          Not for amateurs like Luke’s Jesus.

        • Greg G.

          Luke’s Jesus knew “the piece from the new will not match the old” when repairing clothing (Luke 5:36) so he must have known something about sewing.

        • adam

          From the verse, he just sounds like a fashion snob.

        • busterggi

          I heard a rumor that Jesus was a baste-rd.

        • Greg G.

          I see no reason to accept this as true. There are dynamics in the master/​slave relationship which have analogous aspects in relationships which do not require slavery.

          Sure, but commenting on the relationship in terms of the similarity in a master/slave relationship is how you point out the negative qualities of the other type of the relationship. If you point out the similarity to slavery and put a positive spin on it, you are putting the positive spin on slavery.

          What? This ⇏ “declaring [other passages] off limits”.

          You said, “Can you find a flaw within this logic without appealing to any other texts?”

          This is absurd; you’re presupposing that in order to communicate with finite beings, God is not limited by the nature of said finite beings.

          Natural limits would not be limits to an omnipotent supernatural being. If there are natural limits within a design, they are because of the designer.

          Please demonstrate, in any way you find convincing, that “a better way” would have resulted in a better history. If you have no idea how, but simply believe so, then I’ll refuse to allow that mere belief into the common ground of our discussion.

          I gave you Galatians 3:28.

          Because they aren’t all equals. Mt 20:20–28 supposes that some are greater and some are lesser. It just says that the greater you are, the more you serve others. It turns the extant way of seeing how greatness should operate on its head. As it turns out, if the greater are constantly giving to those who have less, then soon the disparity between how much they have grows small. Hmmm, I wonder what happens one that process is left to run for a while…

          OK, you give me your money until we have the same amount, then I will give you my money until we have the same amount.

          I thought your claim was nothing in the NT speaks against slavery?

          I retract that claim. I have asked many Christians to show me one and I believed them when they couldn’t provide one. I had to stumble over it myself. Of course, it also says there is no more male and female so Christians shouldn’t worry so much about Target’s bathroom policies.

        • adam

          ” Of course, it also says there is no more male and female”

          But there is still male and female.

          So another biblical FAILURE.

        • If you point out the similarity to slavery and put a positive spin on it, you are putting the positive spin on slavery.

          Oh good grief, you think that Lk 12:35–48 is putting a positive spin on slavery? This is quite ironic, because earlier you were arguing that people who believe that Jesus will come soon will be less likely to take care of things here on earth. And yet, this passage is precisely about not slacking off, whether the master comes soon or is delayed. And we see something curious in v37: the master is going to serve the servants! Oh did you miss that, because you were trying to paint scripture as terribly as you can?

          You said, “Can you find a flaw within this logic without appealing to any other texts?”

          Yep, and the ‘flaw[s]’ you found was due to you not understanding how language and concepts were used by Jesus, Paul, et al. So I had to go to an additional passage and demonstrate this. I didn’t expect that you wouldn’t even understand how language is used in the three texts I provided; that caught me off-guard. You foiled my original plan.

          Natural limits would not be limits to an omnipotent supernatural being. If there are natural limits within a design, they are because of the designer.

          Limits would be inherent to finite beings.

          I gave you Galatians 3:28.

          So do you think antebellum Southern slaveowners just ignored Galatians 3:28, or had some way to rationalize around it? You certainly read it as anti-slavery from a Western perspective in the 21st century; how about people before? What if someone were to say that Paul is saying that everyone is equally human but some still get to dominate others? Does Galatians 3:28 instantly defeat such an interpretation?

          I retract that claim. I have asked many Christians to show me one and I believed them when they couldn’t provide one. I had to stumble over it myself.

          My suspicion is that it wouldn’t really help overmuch if Negroes were seen as animals. What folks like you and Bob don’t seem to really grok is that humans can circumvent any system of laws in order to rationalize domination over fellow humans. The letter of the law is impotent in the long term without the spirit of the law being active in folks. We aren’t robots who programmatically follow the rules.

          I’ve been meaning to investigate the arguments traded by abolitionists and slaveowners; I recall that Philemon was a big one. I’d love to see what was done with Mt 20:20–28 and Jn 13:1–20. I’ve never heard of Gal 3:28 mentioned, but then again I don’t have a good sampling.

        • adam

          “because you were trying to paint scripture as terribly as you can?”

          No need to TRY, the bible is terrible already

        • Greg G.

          Limits would be inherent to finite beings.

          But they could be arbitrarily set by an omnipotence, even adjusted on the fly as necessary.

          So do you think antebellum Southern slaveowners just ignored Galatians 3:28, or had some way to rationalize around it?

          Obviously. They held slaves for a couple hundred years. After a generation or two, it seemed like a perfectly natural state of affairs.

          My suspicion is that it wouldn’t really help overmuch if Negroes were seen as animals. What folks like you and Bob don’t seem to really grok is that humans can circumvent any system of laws in order to rationalize domination over fellow humans. The letter of the law is impotent in the long term without the spirit of the law being active in folks. We aren’t robots who programmatically follow the rules.

          We understand what humans do. We see it all the time. Being “spiritual” doesn’t change that fact.

          I’ve been meaning to investigate the arguments traded by abolitionists and slaveowners; I recall that Philemon was a big one. I’d love to see what was done with Mt 20:20–28 and Jn 13:1–20. I’ve never heard of Gal 3:28 mentioned, but then again I don’t have a good sampling.

          Just remember that permanent slaves were not indentured servants.

        • catfink

          you’re presupposing that in order to communicate with finite beings, God is not limited by the nature of said finite beings.

          If God created us, he’s responsible for our nature and any limitations of our nature. So, yes, our natural limitations are God’s fault. Otherwise, you’re just imposing another arbitrary limitation on your supposedly omnipotent God. You keep doing that.

          Please demonstrate, in any way you find convincing, that “a better way” would have resulted in a better history.

          We don’t need to do that. If Jesus was God (and also God’s son, which makes him his own son — go figure) he could simply have used his omnipotent-God-superpowers to convince his followers.

        • adam

          “I see no reason to accept this as true. ”

          Sure, why let facts stand in your way?

        • adam

          ” There are dynamics in the master/​slave relationship which have analogous aspects in relationships which do not require slavery.”

          Then WHY was the conversation about SLAVERY?

          I mean this “God” of yours is an EXTREMELY poor communcator, apparently.

        • adam

          “What you don’t seem to understand is that Jesus is using the master/​slave dichotomy to drive home points.”

          We understand this.

          So do you,

          The character “God” in the bible says slavery is ok and gives rules for it.

        • Imagine what you could do if you applied all that intellectual effort into doing something useful instead of apologizing for a God who can’t speak up for himself.

        • Actually, wrestling with these matters has led to quite a few results which do depend on God having designed reality a certain way, but also open up vast new possibilities for how humans could live together. Two keys:

          (A) recognize an ontological difference between coercive power and non-coercive power
          (B) allow for pre-designed synchronization between every human telos

          If (A) is legit and (B) is true, then the kind of society which could be built is radically different from that imagined by secular liberalism or Christian theocracy or Islamic theocracy. Instead of some bare overlapping consensus being all we can hope for, built on “1. Refuses to commit itself as a whole to any one view of the nature of the universe and the role of man in it.” (WP: Secularism § Secular society), maybe there is an alternative which can have deeper foundations and thus rise to higher heights.

          I think this is a much more promising approach than, for example, that being taken by American sociology, whereby two absolutely contradictory things are simultaneously believed:

          (1) Individuals need to be freed from oppression by institutional structures.
          (2) Institutional structures need to be designed to ensure (1).

          These are contradictory if you reject (A), and I’m pretty sure the majority of American sociologists reject (A). It’s not even clear that (A) makes sense on naturalist premises. As long as you reject (A), the only way to accomplish (1) is to coerce people below the level of consciousness. If all that matters is what you feel then maybe this is a successful way to accomplish (1), but that can be shown to be trivially false: if a deprive a girl of a good education, she may never consciously feel harmed, but I will nevertheless have been cruel to her.

        • adam

          “Actually, wrestling with these matters has led to quite a few results
          which do depend on God having designed reality a certain way”

          But of course, you can’t possible demonstrate that this is true, and you have no qualms about LYING for Jesus.

        • What does this have to do with the supernatural? If nothing, then I’m not interested.

          Sounds like you’re just looking at social constructs that make a better society. An interesting project, but not relevant to a discussion of Christianity.

        • It’s not clear that naturalist metaphysics can do (A). Note that if I subconsciously coerce you, I am still coercing you. As far as I can tell, (B) is extremely statistically unlikely to obtain on if our universe is merely randomness conditioned by laws. I’m pretty sure (B) would need to be explicitly designed into the fabric of things.

          You suggested that I’m wasting my time on these issues. And yet, when I look at how Christianity has gone wrong, and read works like Jacques Ellul’s The Subversion of Christianity, I’m provoked to think about stuff like I just indicated. So you’ve declared a result of my work on Christianity as an “interesting project”. Not clearly a waste of time, it seems!

        • If you don’t want to discuss apologetics, then don’t engage with me. Time’s too short, unfortunately.

        • Ok, but I’m fucked if you restrict the conversation so that I cannot deal with presuppositions which guarantee you victory from square zero.

        • Kodie

          Oh well?

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          Indeed, if there is a god who can speak for itself religious texts, missionaries, and apologetics books are completely redundant (if a god can read to us a book that argues for it’s existence- catch-22). I still haven’t found anyone who can answer why an immortal and omnipresent person would shoot itself in the foot (though I suppose putting the “gun” in its mouth is more apt) by using written language (not to mention telling us about a god-tier master deceiver, putting everything in the text into futher question).

        • busterggi

          On the other hand he was able to top three sundaes with cherries.

        • The flaw here is your cherry picking and thinking that you’ve salvaged Jesus’s reputation.

          Jesus didn’t say “Don’t own slaves,” therefore the claim that he was a person of the omniscient and omnibenevolent creator of the universe is false. It’s real simple.

        • The flaw here is your cherry picking and thinking that you’ve salvaged Jesus’s reputation.

          How does my finding a few verses to rebut the claim that “no[ scriptures] can be found that even militates against slavery” fall prey to the fallacy of cherry-picking?

          Jesus didn’t say “Don’t own slaves,” therefore the claim that he was a person of the omniscient and omnibenevolent creator of the universe is false. It’s real simple.

          Again you presume direct access to objective reality. But I’ll grant you something close to that, and say that if Jesus entailed “Don’t own slaves”, that’s plenty good. And I say he did, in no uncertain terms. Your apocalyptic reading of Mt 20:20–28 does not work, as I’ve argued.

        • adam

          “Again you presume direct access to objective reality.”

          NOPE, just to your “Bible”

        • How does my finding a few verses to rebut the claim that “no[ scriptures] can be found that even militates against slavery” fall prey to the fallacy of cherry-picking?

          Irrelevant. That quote illustrates the view popular among one group of Christians.

          My own view (as you’ve heard me say) is that you can make the Bible say just about anything you want. That you can pick verses arguing against slavery does nothing to challenge my point.

          Again you presume direct access to objective reality.

          Wrong again.

          Here’s the lamentable situation we imperfect humans find ourselves in. We must do our fallible best to make sense of claims. We keep the true ones and reject the false ones. With me so far?

          When you have the combination of (1) omniscient and omnibenevolent god + (2) insane violent immoral shit done by this god, you must do your best to see if the claim is worth keeping.

          And we’re done. Game over. QED. You haven’t proven that God doesn’t exist, but you’ve shown that there is no good reason to think so—at least not with those properties and tied to that book.

          But I’ll grant you something close to that, and say that if Jesus entailed “Don’t own slaves”, that’s plenty good.

          What does it say to you that you must stoop to arguing, “Well, Jesus kinda said some good shit, so can’t we just call that perfect and move on?”?

        • Irrelevant. That quote illustrates the view popular among one group of Christians.

          What? Here’s how the conversation went down:

          Slaveowner: There exists nothing in the Bible which suggests X.
          Luke: Here are three verses which, put together, suggest X.
          Bob: You’re cherry-picking.
          Luke: Ummm, all I needed was to find anything?
          Bob: Irrelevant.

          My own view (as you’ve heard me say) is that you can make the Bible say just about anything you want. That you can pick verses arguing against slavery does nothing to challenge my point.

          I’ve responded to your infinite-interpretations hypothesis elsewhere. I wasn’t challenging your point, but instead I was challenging the slaveowner’s point. Which I think I did quite effectively. The slaveowner puts makes himself out to be superior to Jesus.

          When you have the combination of (1) omniscient and omnibenevolent god + (2) insane violent immoral shit done by this god, you must do your best to see if the claim is worth keeping.

          When you say “insane violent immoral shit”, do you mean “shit you personally dislike”, “shit which violates objective morality”, or something else? The way you speak sounds awfully like how someone would speak of objective morality. When I try to map it into the “shared values” framework, I can’t help but weaken it appropriately. And yet, the way you write sounds as if you really don’t want to it to sound weaker. You want the full force of speaking as if there’s objective morality. As if you couldn’t possibly be wrong about what you think is moral (at least on some issues).

          What does it say to you that you must stoop to arguing, “Well, Jesus kinda said some good shit, so can’t we just call that perfect and move on?”?

          Given that there’s other awful shit besides slavery, and that the passages I listed militate against a good deal more awful shit than just slavery, it really doesn’t bother me. If Jesus has said “no slavery”, he would also have had to say “no wage slavery”, and also a lot of other things. Why not nail a ton of them at once? It people can’t work out the implications, I suggest their problem is a moral one and not an intellectual one. They just want to dominate their fellow human beings, and are happy to do that within whatever rule-set is provided them by the authorities.

        • I wasn’t challenging your point, but instead I was challenging the slaveowner’s point. Which I think I did quite effectively. The slaveowner puts makes himself out to be superior to Jesus.

          Good. Go an challenge the slaveowner’s point. That you say slavery is bad and he says slavery is cool simply proves my point.

          The slaveowner does no such thing w/r Jesus; he simply has an interpretation of the Bible. Like you. Prove that yours is correct and his incorrect.

          When you say “insane violent immoral shit”, do you mean “shit you personally dislike”

          Yes, obviously. Is there another option??

          The way you speak sounds awfully like how someone would speak of objective morality.

          Holy shit. Enough with pinning the objective morality on me. You won’t even pin that on yourself!

          Given that there’s other awful shit besides slavery, and that the passages I listed militate against a good deal more awful shit than just slavery, it really doesn’t bother me.

          Interesting. God is a Bronze Age savage, a typical god for his time and place, and you’re cool with that. “Nobody’s perfect,” I guess?

          It’s odd how I have high standards for the morality of a god worthy of worship and you don’t.

          If Jesus has said “no slavery”, he would also have had to say “no wage slavery”

          Uh huh. Looks like it’s a lot more than just the slaveowner who makes himself out to be superior to Jesus. I suggest you write the Other Gospel of Luke to help ol’ Jesus out.

        • The slaveowner does no such thing w/r Jesus; he simply has an interpretation of the Bible. Like you. Prove that yours is correct and his incorrect.

          Interpretations don’t work this way—anywhere. There are always and forever ‘free variables’. This is even true in science. All I can argue is that one is better than the other, appealing to a faculty of judgment in you which is probably not algorithmic. This is why I have said that no matter how good the laws are, evil people will always be able to game the system and do terrible things. Sunday School kids I taught understood this implicitly: there are kids who follow all the rules and yet are mean. They understood that following the rules is never enough; you have to actually want to do good things for others.

          Yes, obviously. Is there another option??

          I can’t help sensing a difference in strength between “I dislike X” and “X is wrong”. I even suspect people generally know this, and say “X is wrong” because they want something stronger than “I dislike X”. It’s really not clear that mapping “X is wrong” to “society collectively dislikes X” is any better, because then e.g. one cannot challenge slavery in any way other than, “I dislike X”. With slavery in the antebellum South, it’d be “I dislike X” vs. “X is right”. Which wins when that’s the competition?

          Interesting. God is a Bronze Age savage, a typical god for his time and place, and you’re cool with that. “Nobody’s perfect,” I guess?

          No, you’re utterly misrepresenting my point. If a statement strongly condemns X, Y, and Z—but does not name them specifically—this is not necessarily worse than explicitly condemning X, and may in fact be better.

          It’s odd how I have high standards for the morality of a god worthy of worship and you don’t.

          All you’re saying is that your personal likes and dislikes may vary with respect to God’s. That’s not a very strong statement; indeed, it has zero rational power when we’re talking about matters of existence. And yet, you speak as if it does.

          Uh huh. Looks like it’s a lot more than just the slaveowner who makes himself out to be superior to Jesus. I suggest you write the Other Gospel of Luke to help ol’ Jesus out.

          No, I’m quite happy that Jesus entailed much more than “no slavery”. It is an empirical claim to say that “History would look better had Jesus explicitly prohibited slavery.”, and I doubt you can prove the truth of that. But we could investigate something related: whether the more explicit rules you give a person to not be evil, the less evil that person is. Surely there’s a way to explore this model of human nature, today? We could, for example, go to Selma and see if the felt superiority of whites over blacks has been abolished via law, or whether actually the situation is still really shitty. Possibly the problem is not letter of the law, but spirit of the law. If you’re happy with a world that gets stuck in a local maximum of such shittiness, then ok, but I’m not.

        • adam

          “If a statement strongly condemns X, Y, and Z—but does not name them specifically—this is not necessarily worse than explicitly condemning X, and may in fact be better.”

          So if a statement strong approves slavery, rape and killing of gays—but DOES name them specifically, this IS worse than condemning slavery, and is not better.

        • So Jesus not saying anything against slavery is actually more powerful than if he did.

          Wow–you got me there. I walk away chastened.

        • “Don’t murder Jews on Tuesdays” is much more specific than “Don’t murder”, but not actually better. “Don’t own slaves” is much more specific than “Do not dominate other people”, but not actually better.

        • adam

          NOW, lets have the HONEST conversaton

          Slaveowner: There exists nothing in the Bible which SAYS don’t own slaves
          Luke: Here are three verses which, put together, suggest MAYBE, if you squint your eyes on a full moon night with a gunny sack of raw potatoes while hopping around on one leg suggests that MAYBE Jesus wasnt all that good with slavery, kind of.
          Bob: You’re cherry-picking. The Bible still still says you can own slaves.
          Luke: Ummm, all I needed was to find anything?
          Bob: Irrelevant, because it doesnt say what you claim…

        • But hey, it’s best to interpret the Bible as terribly as possible, amirite?

          Why is this difficult for you? The Bible claims to be the sole book that comes from God. As a result, that claim must be tested against a very, very high bar. When the “god” starts talking bullshit, like how to properly beat slaves, one is obliged to reconsider the claim.

        • You don’t seem to understand how fundamentalist you sound in presupposing a very specific kind of inerrancy. The Bible must be a certain way or it can’t be from an omnimax deity. My response is twofold: (i) your suggestions for how it would be better for God to act at least sometimes result in a worse world on some measures†; (ii) there are actually other ways to attain arbitrary amounts of goodness than your particular method.

          You also seem awfully confused, both simultaneously denying objective morality and yet talking as if you can access a “very, very high bar”. How is this not fundamentally incoherent? You actually seem to have a very specific idea of what ‘objective morality’ would be like! And yet, I doubt you can give the slightest justification for it. Far from my supposing the existence and access to objective morality (and thus bearing the burden of supporting it rationally and empirically), you are the one supposing it.

          It doesn’t really matter that you are only supposing objective morality ‘temporarily’, in the hypothetical where you try to imagine that maybe God does exist and did create the world and influence the creation of the Bible. I claim you can still be wrong when you’re working in these hypotheticals, and I claim that it’s not my responsibility to accept whatever [temporary/​tentative] beliefs you have in this domain as true-by-default. I can question these beliefs just as validly as I can question any upon which you predicate actions.

          † For example, you have proposed magic, which would actively oppose humanity’s endeavor to better understand how reality works. I claim this is an evil.

        • adam

          “You don’t seem to understand how fundamentalist you sound in presupposing a very specific kind of inerrancy.”

          You mean “God” inerrancy?

          What kind of omnipotence cant write a good “Good Book”?

          A STUNNINGLY piss one:

        • You don’t seem to understand how fundamentalist you sound in presupposing a very specific kind of inerrancy.

          No, I think I understand.

          The Bible must be a certain way or it can’t be from an omnimax deity.

          This is hard only because you’re determined to make it so. “The Bible must be a certain way or the evidence argues that it can’t be from an omnimax deity.”

          You also seem awfully confused, both simultaneously denying objective morality and yet talking as if you can access a “very, very high bar”. How is this not fundamentally incoherent?

          It’s not, despite your best efforts. We do our imperfect best to set a high moral standard. Let’s see … does supporting slavery meet the standard? Does demanding genocide? Does drowning millions of people?

          Nope. Yet again, that doesn’t prove that there is no god who’s perfectly good but did the shit in the OT, but that’s where the evidence points. And we must follow the evidence.

          Far from my supposing the existence and access to objective morality (and thus bearing the burden of supporting it rationally and empirically), you are the one supposing it.

          Old kindergarten try, eh? Fail.

        • No, I think I understand.

          Ok, then please escape fundamentalism and realize that the model of inerrancy you’re proposing isn’t the only way of dealing faithfully with the Bible. Stated differently, I doubt you can provide a logical proof that the model of inerrancy you’re proposing is required for humans to have any confidence that God has spoken.

          This is hard only because you’re determined to make it so. “The Bible must be a certain way or the evidence argues that it can’t be from an omnimax deity.”

          Where’s the argument? Where is the justification that you know how an omnimax deity would interact with humans? That sounds awfully like you having direct access to something like absolute morality.

          We do our imperfect best to set a high moral standard.

          High in comparison to what? You admit to having zero objective standard with which to compare your standard. You don’t even seem to want to say that the DSM IV is ‘higher’ than the DSM I when it comes to homosexuality.

          Yet again, that doesn’t prove that there is no god who’s perfectly good but did the shit in the OT, but that’s where the evidence points.

          You’ve given zero reason for how you have the slightest clue as to what perfect goodness is. You say that shared morality is simply all that is needed to explain everything you know about morality, right?

        • I doubt you can provide a logical proof that the model of inerrancy you’re proposing is required for humans to have any confidence that God has spoken.

          I’m simply taking the Bible at its word. Or maybe God at his word. And rubbing your nose in it.

          It simply is the case that the Bible says this shit. You’ve got to deal with it. “Well, I just don’t read the Bible that way” doesn’t avoid the problems.

          Where’s the argument?

          Getting forgetful? It’s that (1) God is omni-benevolent and omnipotent, and (2) God demands crazy immoral shit in the OT.

          Where is the justification that you know how an omnimax deity would interact with humans?

          Already answered in another comment. To repeat: I don’t know. That’s not how this works. We imperfect humans receive evidence, and we must evaluate it. The 2-part God claim above fails.

          It’s not like this is hard.

          High in comparison to what? You admit to having zero objective standard with which to compare your standard.

          Your childish puzzlement isn’t cute anymore. I never have claimed an objective standard, so you can stop crowing about how I point to an objective standard. You know what a high moral standard is. You evaluate things morally all the time.

          You’ve given zero reason for how you have the slightest clue as to what perfect goodness is.

          I don’t claim access to perfect anything. How about you? You making such a claim? Cuz I’d be eager for evidence of that.

          You say that shared morality is simply all that is needed to explain everything you know about morality, right?

          Yep, and I’m losing patience waiting for you to give me something left unexplained by this hypothesis.

        • I’m simply taking the Bible at its word.

          No, you’re not. You’re bringing all of your cultural baggage to the Bible as well. And you’re incredibly resistant to considering that some of that baggage may be wrong.

          It simply is the case that the Bible says this shit. You’ve got to deal with it. “Well, I just don’t read the Bible that way” doesn’t avoid the problems.

          Actually, my response is that your model of human nature is what’s at fault, and that your model of human nature is empirically testable. For example, we could look at the idea that “more laws” ⇒ “better situation” through the lens of Philip K. Howard’s The Death of Common Sense: How Law Is Suffocating America. As long as you’re able to hold this model of human nature above question, I’m fucked and should give up.

          Getting forgetful? It’s that (1) God is omni-benevolent and omnipotent, and (2) God demands crazy immoral shit in the OT.

          It’s not immoral, it’s stuff you don’t like. You reject any connection to objective morals, and thus you cannot possibly have a fucking clue what omni-benevolence is.

          Already answered in another comment. To repeat: I don’t know. That’s not how this works. We imperfect humans receive evidence, and we must evaluate it.

          But you have no evidence when it comes to morality, because evidence is external and no morality is external, by your definition. You don’t have imperfect access, you have zero access.

          You know what a high moral standard is. You evaluate things morally all the time.

          According to you, I merely prefer some things over others. Highness is merely my idiosyncratic ordering. Well, society influenced me a lot on these things.

          Yep, and I’m losing patience waiting for you to give me something left unexplained by this hypothesis.

          I am sorry, but I’m still convinced that your very arguments against the existence of God (along the moral perfection dimension) presuppose access to objective morality. Otherwise you would express pure agnosticism, not knowledge, and not probabilistic claims. You would say that you “have no idea what moral perfection would be”, because you don’t have any connection, however imperfect, to an objective [moral] reality. You only have an imperfect connection to objective [empirical] reality.

          P.S. None of this commits me to accepting your particular interpretation of the OT. For example, Noah’s Flood is likely a polemical response to competing flood myths. When one compares how God is portrayed, one sees a superior conception in Torah. It is as if… humans gain a successively better conception of God just like they gain a successively better conception of reality. It is as if we “see through a glass darkly” on both fronts.

        • adam

          “You’re bringing all of your cultural baggage to the Bible as well.”

          Yeah, all that cultural baggage that says owning other people is immoral

          How DARE YOU BOB…

        • adam

          “Actually, my response is that your model of human nature is what’s at fault,”

          Obviously, since war mongering homophobic misogynists actually wrote the Bible instead of your “God”

        • It’s not immoral, it’s stuff you don’t like.

          What’s the difference??

          You reject any connection to objective morals, and thus you cannot possibly have a fucking clue what omni-benevolence is.

          I reject objective morality because I see no evidence for it. You think otherwise? Then defend the idea of some sort of god-given morality that we humans can reliably access.

          You’re acting like an alien. “Is this what you humans mean by the word … love?” It’s adorable, but it’s not. Do you really not understand how we humans evaluate moral issues? It’s not like we’re puzzled when someone hits someone else for no good reason. We don’t have to pray about it. We figure it out within ourselves.

          Or perhaps you do it differently on your planet?

          But you have no evidence when it comes to morality, because evidence is external and no morality is external, by your definition. You don’t have imperfect access, you have zero access.

          Yeah, I’m pretty much done with this pointless conversation.

          Everyone is born with moral programming, and we pick up additional rules from society. No, we don’t have zero access at what is good and bad.

          Highness is merely my idiosyncratic ordering.

          And for the umpteenth time, yeah, duh. You do it differently?

          I’m still convinced that your very arguments against the existence of God (along the moral perfection dimension) presuppose access to objective morality. Otherwise you would express pure agnosticism, not knowledge, and not probabilistic claims.

          Holy shit.

          We come out of the box with moral programming, and the rest comes from experience and society. I’m still waiting for a way to evaluate moral issues with anything else.

        • What’s the difference??

          You use the term “omni-benevolent” as if it is objective, but you will only allow it to be subjective. That means it’s utterly irrelevant when talking about God’s existence. All you’re actually talking about is whether a God exists who agrees with societies current moral values. The answer to that is clearly, “No.”

          I reject objective morality because I see no evidence for it.

          That’s fine. Just don’t make arguments predicated upon thinking you (i) know what objective morality is; (ii) have any access whatsoever to objective morality. Is it that hard?

          Do you really not understand how we humans evaluate moral issues?

          That’s not my beef. My beef is that you write as if you know what omni-benevolence is, even in part, even probabilistically. You don’t, on your own admission. That’s because God being omni-benevolent does not mean him being subjective good according to your notion of goodness. It means he is objectively good. But you have no access to objective morality, on your own admission. Therefore, you have no idea what objective goodness is, and therefore you don’t know what omni-benevolence means. That term is properly meaningless to you, based on your beliefs.

          Yeah, I’m pretty much done with this pointless conversation.

          So am I. I simply cannot make sense of your words without holding you to be self-contradictory: on the one hand you assert zero ability to interact with objective morality, and yet you speak as if God falls short of your subjective morality, when the claim is that he exemplifies objective morality. If this were a programming language, you would be getting a “data type mismatch” with “no implicit conversion available”.

          Everyone is born with moral programming, and we pick up additional rules from society. No, we don’t have zero access at what is good and bad.

          Straw man; I was not talking about “what is good and bad”, but “what is objectively good”.

          And for the umpteenth time, yeah, duh. You do it differently?

          I hold out the possibility that we can objectively say that the DSM IV constitutes progress over the DSM I when it comes to homosexuality no longer being treated as a psychological disorder. I hold out the possibility that we can objectively say that slavery is wrong, as well as rape. There just seems to be a way we talk about and reason about these things which is not well-captured by “it’s just shared values”. And holy shit, 56.4% of philosophers lean toward or accept moral realism (Philpapers). You treat me as if I’m a loon when the majority of philosophers think that there is objective morality.

          We come out of the box with moral programming, and the rest comes from experience and society. I’m still waiting for a way to evaluate moral issues with anything else.

          On this reasoning, “anything else” would be explained by you as a product of evolution and society and thus you have an unfalsifiable explanation. There are literally no data which could falsify your explanation, except “God did it”, which no scientist would accept as proper falsification. Your “shared morality” is a just-so story, not a testable scientific hypothesis.

        • All you’re actually talking about is whether a God exists who agrees with societies current moral values. The answer to that is clearly, “No.”

          Right. We decide what is good and bad. And many of God’s actions are bad.

          You got something better? Morality that is true whether or not humans are here to perceive it? I await the evidence.

          Just don’t make arguments predicated upon thinking you (i) know what objective morality is; (ii) have any access whatsoever to objective morality. Is it that hard?

          (i) I use WLC’s definition of objective morality, used one paragraph above.

          (ii) Yes, apparently for you this is quite hard. I don’t appeal to objective morality. This must be the fifth time you’ve accused me of something that I declare I don’t do.

          My beef is that you write as if you know what omni-benevolence is, even in part, even probabilistically.

          We do the best we can at approximating perfect qualities. That’s all we can do.

          God fails our metrics. Therefore, not enough evidence to accept the God hypothesis.

          ”Yeah, I’m pretty much done with this pointless conversation.”
          So am I.

          Hallelujah.

          I simply cannot make sense of your words without holding you to be self-contradictory: on the one hand you assert zero ability to interact with objective morality, and yet you speak as if God falls short of your subjective morality

          Ah, now you’re getting it. Not hard, is it?

          Straw man; I was not talking about “what is good and bad”, but “what is objectively good”.

          Objective good? Give me a demo.

          You treat me as if I’m a loon when the majority of philosophers think that there is objective morality.

          And I’d pose them the same challenge. Would they do any better?

          On this reasoning, “anything else” would be explained by you as a product of evolution and society and thus you have an unfalsifiable explanation.

          Falsify what? I’m simply giving a theory of morality. What’s left unexplained?

        • You got something better? Morality that is true whether or not humans are here to perceive it? I await the evidence.

          I think I might. But like Francis Bacon, I think multiple idols have to be destroyed before appreciable progress can happen. You just don’t want your idols smashed—you don’t even want them discussed.

          (ii) Yes, apparently for you this is quite hard. I don’t appeal to objective morality. This must be the fifth time you’ve accused me of something that I declare I don’t do.

          How can you avoid making something like this argument:

          (1) God is morally perfect.
          (2) Moral perfection is objective.
          (3) Humans have zero access to objective morality.
          (4) Humans do have some shared moral notions.
          (5) I understand God as portrayed in the Bible as X.
          (6) X conflicts with my (4).
          (7) Therefore, God does not exist.

          ? It’s flatly invalid; (7) can only refute (1) if you accept that (4) gives insight into objective morality, which (3) denies.

          We do the best we can at approximating perfect qualities. That’s all we can do.

          If you have zero access to said “perfect qualities”, you cannot know whether or not you are approximating them. When it comes to the quality of perfect morality, you deny that you have any access, perfect or imperfect, probabilistic or otherwise.

          Ah, now you’re getting it. Not hard, is it?

          So… you were trying to illustrate this contradiction by pretending it isn’t contradictory in your arguments?

          And I’d pose [academic philosophers] the same challenge. Would they do any better?

          I don’t know. If you insist on super-simplistic answers, my guess is “no”, just as an ‘evolutionist’ cannot always give a creationist super-simplistic answers. Sometimes you actually need to examine presuppositions, understand intuitions, etc.—all before forming firm conclusions one way or another.

          Falsify what? I’m simply giving a theory of morality. What’s left unexplained?

          According to Karl Popper’s notion of falsification, an explanation is only scientific if it says that certain imaginable empirical situations never occur. That is, a hypothesis only ‘explains’ if it says that certain things don’t happen, with a concrete notion of what those things are. So for example, F = m d^2x/dt^2 means that we do not observe F = m d^3x/dt^3. If the only thing your ‘explanation’ actually rules out is “God did it”, with all the vagueness generally implied by atheists with that statement, you haven’t explained anything. Instead, you’ve provided a just-so story. The distinction between [possibly] scientific explanations and just-so stories is their ability to be falsified, and not by “God did it”.

        • adam

          “I think I might. ”

          You think?
          You might?

          So once again you have NOTHING that you can demonstrate your claim is true.

          “You just don’t want your idols smashed—you don’t even want them discussed.”

          And AGAIN

          It is Bob’s fault, and not yours.

        • It is Bob’s fault, and not yours.

          What, again?! Dang.

        • adam
        • Sure, that, or you could deal with what I actually say:

          (1) God is [said to be] morally perfect.
          (2)
          (3) Humans don’t have a perfect understanding of morality, but we have a decent one (see the dictionary if this is confusing).
          (4)
          (5) I understand God as portrayed in the Bible as [an asshole].
          (6) [God being an asshole] conflicts with my (3).
          (7) Therefore, [this supposed god] does not exist.

          If you insist on super-simplistic answers, my guess is “no”, just as an ‘evolutionist’ cannot always give a creationist super-simplistic answers.

          If morality is objective (defined as: true whether or not humans exist to perceive it) and it’s reliably accessible, I’d like a demonstration of this claim, either from you or your philosopher friends. To you, this is an outlandish demand. Tough shit.

        • adam

          “If morality is objective (defined as: true whether or not humans exist to perceive it) and it’s reliably accessible, I’d like a demonstration of this claim, either from you or your philosopher friends. ”

          I have lost count of how many times you have asked this of Luke, and he has run away cowering.

        • I don’t think there will be much more. I’m pretty much done with the Lukester.

        • adam

          It is very sad really.

          Outside his religious blindness, he had the potential to be quite an interesting character with a great deal of ‘interesting’ resources.

          I gave up when he kept linking to articles that clearly didnt say what he claimed and he kept avoiding the REAL QUESTIONS like spit on a griddle.

          Sad, very sad

          Perhaps one day Luke will give up superstition….

        • MNb

          How unsurprising.

        • LB: How can you avoid making something like this argument:

          (1) God is morally perfect.
          (2) Moral perfection is objective.
          (3) Humans have zero access to objective morality.
          (4) Humans do have some shared moral notions.
          (5) I understand God as portrayed in the Bible as X.
          (6) X conflicts with my (4).
          (7) Therefore, God does not exist.

          ? It’s flatly invalid; (7) can only refute (1) if you accept that (4) gives insight into objective morality, which (3) denies.

          BS: Sure, that, or you could deal with what I actually say:

          (1) God is [said to be] morally perfect.
          (2)
          (3) Humans don’t have a perfect understanding of morality, but we have a decent one (see the dictionary if this is confusing).
          (4)
          (5) I understand God as portrayed in the Bible as [an asshole].
          (6) [God being an asshole] conflicts with my (3).
          (7) Therefore, [this supposed god] does not exist.

          How is ‘morally perfect’ not on an absolute scale, making it absolute morality? I really don’t understand what you mean by ‘morally perfect’, because you cannot even say that the DSM IV is better than the DSM I when it comes to classification of homosexuality. This refusal to establish ‘better’ is consistent with a belief in relative morality, because once you establish something between a partial order and a total order, you can “take the limit” and get a value which is, ding! ding!, an absolute.

          If morality is objective (defined as: true whether or not humans exist to perceive it) and it’s reliably accessible, I’d like a demonstration of this claim, either from you or your philosopher friends. To you, this is an outlandish demand.

          Do you insist that the demonstration be exactly as you outlined? Must it resolve exactly the questions you want, without questioning any of your presuppositions?

        • adam

          “How is ‘morally perfect’ not on an absolute scale, making it absolute morality? ”

          So now Bob has done half of your work for you.

          Now all you NEED to do, is demonstrate that it is true and that your “God” is not IMAGINARY….

          “If morality is objective (defined as: true whether or not humans exist
          to perceive it) and it’s reliably accessible, I’d like a demonstration
          of this claim, either from you or your philosopher friends. ”

          STILL NO DEMONSTRATION…

        • So many questions! You’re adorable!

          Too bad you have little interest in the answers.

        • I find that when theists say that atheists are simply in rebellion against God—you know, claiming to know atheists’ minds better than the atheists do—this is seen by atheists as absolutely despicable. But for some reason, it’s ok for you to claim to know my mind better than I do. I guess it’s ok when the righteous atheist does it but not the filthy theist? You have “Seen the light!” and all that?

          Getting away from useless psychologizing, I really don’t understand the difference between ‘perfect morality’ and ‘absolute morality’. They seem like the same thing.

        • it’s ok for you to claim to know my mind better than I do. I guess it’s ok when the righteous atheist does it but not the filthy theist?

          Not what I do.

          I really don’t understand the difference between ‘perfect morality’ and ‘absolute morality’. They seem like the same thing.

          Could be. WLC’s definition of objective morality: “moral values that are valid and binding whether anybody believes in them or not.” That’s the definition I find interesting.

        • Not what I do.

          You’re doing precisely that: because I do not show my interest in these issues in your Approved Way™, I am therefore not interested in them. It couldn’t possibly be the case that my approach is different from yours but still valid. It couldn’t possibly be the case that other people (e.g. Susan) also see a problem differentiating “morally perfect” and objective morality.

          Could be. WLC’s definition of objective morality: “moral values that are valid and binding whether anybody believes in them or not.” That’s the definition I find interesting.

          Ok. I’ll note that said definition requires neither that objective morality exists external to our beings, nor that we have direct, perfect access to objective morality.

          I’ve spent a few hours now trying to figure out how to carry this conversation forward under your word/​complexity limit, and have failed. Perhaps after I have discussed the issue with other folks who do not impose the constraints you have, I can come back and we can continue. Until then I doubt we will be able to make any further progress on the ‘objective morality’ front, unless you relax your limits.

        • You’re welcome to be interested in whatever you want. Your charge of hypocrisy or mind reading is still false.

          I’ll note that said definition requires neither that objective morality exists external to our beings, nor that we have direct, perfect access to objective morality.

          WLC’s definition of objective morality does indeed require a morality external to humans. I agree that his definition doesn’t require that we humans can access it; what I’m saying is that it might as well not exist (so therefore I wouldn’t care) if we can’t reliably access it.

          I’ve spent a few hours now trying to figure out how to carry this conversation forward under your word/complexity limit, and have failed.

          Perhaps after I have discussed the issue with other folks who do not impose the constraints you have, I can come back and we can continue.

          I’m not sure what constraints you’re referring to. Using the definition of objective morality by a well-known apologist (even if he’s a doofus) seems a reasonable place to start. If you’re referring to the stuff that I do and don’t find interesting to engage on, yes, that would be a constraint.

        • Your charge of hypocrisy or mind reading is still false.

          It is as true or false as is “Too bad you have little interest in the answers.” I do want to answer your questions, but I just don’t think the answers are as simple as you require them to be. You don’t get to dictate how simple or complex reality is.

          WLC’s definition of objective morality does indeed require a morality external to humans.

          That was not necessarily entailed from the specific words you chose. (A natural law theorist could have uttered them.) However, I went beyond your representation of WLC and found this Q&A, where we find that WLC rejects natural law theory in favor of divine command theory. I’m happy for divine commands to become intertwined with the resultant reality, but the form of objective morality WLC prefers and you find interesting seems nothing more than a moral Occasionalism, which fares no better than laws of nature which are set apart from matter–energy. As far as I can tell, both are unbridgeable dualisms. You can then discard the idea of laws of nature altogether, or switch to a notion which isn’t dualistic. I suspect the same can be done with objective morality.

          I’m not sure what constraints you’re referring to.

          An example would be whatever led you to say:

          BS: You’re determined to complexify because the straightforward conclusion is displeasing.

          You think that if objective morality exists, it can be demonstrated to you simply and without much examination of your presuppositions. This, despite one of the most famous books in twentieth century moral philosophy making the case that the very framework for possibly building objective morality was systematically sabatoged by Enlightenment thinking: Alasdair MacIntyre’s After Virtue, with 19,000 ‘citations’.

          If someone like you had whined and complained to scientists of Francis Bacon’s era, that they couldn’t demonstrate much of anything useful to the common person and “therefore science is worthless”, what could they say? If Bacon were to start discussing four idols, your eyes would glaze over and you’d dismiss him.

          When I was a creationist, I could make precisely that comment about ‘complexify’. I would have been [almost certainly] wrong. But somehow, you’re allowed to do it and be [probably] right.

        • Ignorant Amos

          What was it that convinced you to be a creationist and what changed your mind that it was wrong?

        • You think that if objective morality exists, it can be demonstrated to you simply and without much examination of your presuppositions. This, despite one of the most famous books in twentieth century moral philosophy making the case that the very framework for possibly building objective morality was systematically sabatoged by Enlightenment thinking

          Fuck the most famous book in the cosmos. I’m not talking to MacIntyre, I’m (trying to) talk to you. I gave you a challenge that I say you should be able to meet if objective morality exists and is accessible. Your response should be to accept that definition of objective morality and show (1) that the challenge can be met or (2) that the challenge can’t be met but that that definition of “objective morality” is stupid or meaningless or unhelpful or not as interesting as another one.

          You did neither. Neither did MacIntyre. Instead, you’ve blathered on with your complexifying agenda.

          Good luck with that. Not interesting to me.

        • Yup, if it’s more complex than you are certain that it ought to be, it is necessarily wrong/​doesn’t exist.

        • Kodie

          Stop being such a willful asshole. It’s words in a book written by primitive people who told stories about their superstition. When you complexify it, you are creating your own superstition, not a rational or valid interpretation of words in a myth book.

          Why is it meaningful for you to convey this interpretation and for others to validate you? When you are criticized, you just brush it off instead, and label people according to your prejudices. You can’t argue what doesn’t exist into existence for people who already learned how this scam works. It’s not that you’re simply too incapable of explaining this rationally – it’s actually irrational. People who learned how this scam works, that’s us, are incapable of adopting beliefs that are fucking screwy, no matter how you “interpret” them.

        • Nice! I throw down the gauntlet, and you have nothing but insults in response.

          I kinda did think you might’ve responded to the challenge. But that’s really my bad–I should’ve known better.

          I’ll try to not make that mistake again.

        • I don’t have nothing but insults. I gave you a tremendous amount of respect by doing and saying this (note the “few hours”):

          LB: I’ve spent a few hours now trying to figure out how to carry this conversation forward under your word/​complexity limit, and have failed. Perhaps after I have discussed the issue with other folks who do not impose the constraints you have, I can come back and we can continue. Until then I doubt we will be able to make any further progress on the ‘objective morality’ front, unless you relax your limits.

          You didn’t want to leave it at that. You wanted to push the issue. And so I was harsher to drive my point across.

          Maybe sometime later, after I’ve worked on the issue more, I’ll be able to present something to you which does not exceed your complexity limit. You seem extremely unwilling to leave it at that. It is as if you have to have “won” by the end or something.

        • MNb

          That’s Lukieboy: play along his rules or he accuses you of being uncooperative and antagonistic.

        • Susan

          Yup, if it’s more complex than you are certain that it ought to be, it is necessarily wrong/​doesn’t exist.

          That’s not even close to what he said.

        • I’m pretty sure he thinks that either (i) objective morality exists and can be explained succinctly to him; or (ii) objective does not exist or at least is inaccessible to humans. Do you disagree?

        • Susan

          I’m pretty sure that he’s asking you to demonstrate that it exists if you’d like to make that case.

          Alisdair McIntyre hasn’t demonstrated that it exists either. I’m not even sure that he would claim he has.

          What Bob S. said was:

          Your response should be to accept that definition of objective morality and show (1) that the challenge can be met or (2) that the challenge can’t be met but that that definition of “objective morality” is stupid or meaningless or unhelpful or not as interesting as another one.

          What do you mean by objective morality? On what basis can you demonstrate that it exists?

          What does Yahwehjesus have to do with it?

          That AM has a very famous book does not mean that philosophers agree with him. Often, it can mean that philosophers disagree enough to argue against.

          All of that is irrelevant as I’ve learned to take your links to small things and large things with a grain of salt.

          They generally don’t suggest what you think they do.

        • I’m pretty sure that he’s asking you to demonstrate that it exists if you’d like to make that case.

          I’m pretty sure it’s more than that. For example: that if I cannot demonstrate objective morality under his constraints, then humans have no access to objective morality.

          Alisdair McIntyre hasn’t demonstrated that it exists either. I’m not even sure that he would claim he has.

          Pretty sure I didn’t claim that MacIntyre has demonstrated such a thing.

          What do you mean by objective morality? On what basis can you demonstrate that it exists?

          I don’t have anything like a fully developed theory of objective morality. Instead, I have bits and pieces that don’t seem like they necessarily fit with subjective/​shared morality. I would like to talk about them, but Bob doesn’t seem up for it. Instead, he seems to want me to present some sort of case that he can then “cross examine”. I’ve repeatedly told him that I’m not prepared to do this, and his response is to repeatedly try to badger me into doing it. I’m… not sure what else to say, at this point.

          What does Yahwehjesus have to do with it?

          I’m not sure I have an answer developed enough for you, especially given our proclivity to miscommunicate to each other. I will say that MacIntyre notes that emotivism, which he thinks characterizes modernity behaviorally, obliterates any genuine distinction between manipulative and non-manipulative social relations. (After Virtue, 22–23) This seems to me like the distinction-destroying of “might makes right”, and it seems to me that one needs a different paradigm of power usage to restore ethics as a distinct thing. Perhaps like we see in Mt 20:20–28 and Jn 13:1–20. But I would really like to understand that distinction between manipulative and non-manipulative social relations better.

          That AM has a very famous book does not mean that philosophers agree with him. Often, it can mean that philosophers disagree enough to argue against.

          Except for the frequency of ‘often’ (I just don’t have the statistical knowledge to say that), I agree. But I find that my own assertions are generally dismissed in environments like this one. If I can find someone respected enough among scholars, then it indicates that the assertions may be worth talking about instead of dismissed out-of-hand. That is all.

          EDIT: Percentage of phllosophers who subscribe to virtue ethics is 18.1% in this survey, with caveats.

          That’s rather irrelevant to the bit I picked out as important in AV.

        • MNb

          “I have bits and pieces that don’t seem like they necessarily fit with subjective/​shared morality. I would like to talk about them, but Bob doesn’t seem up for it. Instead, he seems to want me to present some sort of case.”
          Applause. You surpassed yourself. You confirmed a thumbrule of mine: never assume that someone on internet can’t sink any lower.
          Those bits and pieces you claim to have are exactly the “some sort of case BobS wants you to present” – indeed, he wants to crossexamine them. You know, that’s why he calls his blog Crossexamined. You explicitely wrote that you’ll only present them when BobS’ attitude is cooperative and not antagonistic. That directly contradicts your “I would like to talk about them.”
          Stupid, dishonest or both?

        • MR

          “I hold the keys to the universe but I’m not going to tell you ’cause you hurt my widdle feewings… :'(”

          It doesn’t promise to make for a convincing case.

        • MNb

          So much for Lukieboy giving a tremendous amount of respect.

        • Myna A.

          This, despite one of the most famous books in twentieth century moral philosophy making the case that the very framework for possibly building objective morality was systematically sabatoged by Enlightenment thinking: Alasdair MacIntyre’s After Virtue

          The Enlightenment rescued the world ripe and bone weary ready for the collapse of Christian theocracy.

          If you are discussing McIntyre, discuss his critics. They are right there in your link.

          But above all, you are as centric as the last apologist a couple of weeks ago, although he was more learned. You speak as though the Western world is the only view to consider in terms of morality or spiritual story. This planet is not made up of the almighty White European. Hell, even your messiah wasn’t, but I bet you’d pick out White Jesus with his Renaissance nobility in a line-up before a Lenny Kravitz in dreads. Or White Mary in her blue robe before a Winona La Duke.

        • Kodie

          Luke, you write a lot, so there is no guessing. You think we are biased toward you before you step in, but you have given all of us plenty of information just by being yourself. You feel compelled to argue in defense of your favorite fictional character at great tedious and fallacious lengths*.

          If theists (like you) would listen to what we’re saying and not try to defy it with silliness and propaganda, you would maybe have a better idea where we’re coming from. There is no difference between perfect morality and absolute morality – they are both fictional, unless you can come up with an argument that doesn’t rely on climbing inside your skull and fastidiously cataloguing the amazingly delusional features of your mind.

          *I know you so well, your answer to this is that I don’t give evidence so you can easily dismiss my claims. Nobody takes you and your denials seriously. You live in a fucking fantasy that no one can intrude, no matter what. Your posting history is an avalanche of shittiness in the form of dishonesty, stubborn denial, mountains and mountains of extra work you (hopefully) aren’t getting paid for, and we’d just like to know what you get out of it. Do you feel like you’re a better person? Are you trying to get somewhere? Do you have any idea you come off as a lunatic like all the other Christians, on your own damned merits, and not as some battered rational rare type of Christian? Nobody is making shit up about Christians – they all tell us who they are and what they’re about, and you’re forgetting what ex-Christians have been through as believers and coming out of it. You’re clearly very deeply delusional. No amount of pretending to be scholarly can hide it or make you sound intellectual.

        • Susan

          I really don’t understand the difference between ‘perfect morality’ and ‘absolute morality’.

          Neither do I. They both seem incoherent.

        • LB: I really don’t understand the difference between ‘perfect morality’ and ‘absolute morality’.

          S: Neither do I. They both seem incoherent.

          Well, if you cannot understand a difference, then clearly “you have little interest in the answers.”

        • Kodie

          Do you read yourself sometimes? Clearly, you have little interest in the answers, but I’m sure you’ll make some up after you check the toilet.

        • MNb

          Luke’s playing the victim again. It becomes silly rapidly.

          “it’s ok for you to claim to know my mind better than I do.”
          No it isn’t and that’s why BobS doesn’t. He draws a conclusion from the very comments you posted on his blog. It’s an inductive one and he uses it to make a prediction. Of course that doesn’t mean the conclusion is correct. But psychologizing it ain’t. It would if BobS worked out a hypothesis why you have little interest in the answers. But BobS refrained from that.

          Of course I am willing and ready to do that. Like so many christian apologists you are dishonest. Apologetics is nothing but looking for lame excuses. You’re a fine example. You can’t emotionally afford to admit you’re wrong, not even once, except on very very minor points. So like so many apologists you have developed a cheap trick: playing the victim.
          Here. I have read your mind. And I agree it’s useless. It does reflect the impression you make on me: a worse waste of time and internet memory than the worst creationist that visited this blog. I suspect many regulars here subscribe.
          Remember “nobody gives a penny for what you think important?” The signs are obvious. BobS doesn’t either. Prediction: he will pretty soon quit reacting to you, because he’s arriving at the same conclusion as me.
          .

        • Kodie

          Hey fucko, can you read? Can you remember? Bob isn’t the one who claimed god was morally perfect – you were!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Holy shit, you moron, get a fucking clue.

        • Bob isn’t the one who claimed god was morally perfect – you were!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          Where did I assert this thing? I generally only feel the responsibility to defend claims I have made or implied.

        • busterggi

          So your god isn’t omnipotent, isn’t omniscient, isn’t omnibenevolent and is morally flawed?

          Damn, you just worship the biggest bully on the block just because he’s the biggest bully. You aren’t a theo-philosopher, you’re a self-glorified Grover Dill.

        • adam

          WAAAAAAAA
          WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
          WAAAAAAAAAAAA

          Cry baby

        • Susan

          Bob isn’t the one who claimed god was morally perfect- you were

          Technically, Luke was asking Bob how he could avoid making a particular argument in which Bob’s first premise must be:

          1) God is morally perfect.

          I don’t know. It’s Disqus and Luke’s manifesto. The combination can get nauseating.

          Very simply, Bob is asking for evidence. Luke hasn’t provided any.

        • Kodie

          I wish Luke would take up another hobby.

        • adam

          WAAAAAAAAAAAA
          WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
          WAAAAAAAAAAAAA

        • MNb

          Suggestion: let your god be the first idol to be smashed.
          You’re invited.

        • Kodie

          You have a lot of bullshit here, just saying.

        • Greg G.

          1. For God to be judged morally perfect, there must be an objective morality which is independent of God and to which God is subject to.
          2. The argument that God defines morality means that morality is subjective to God and arbitrary.
          3. If the argument is that morality is defined in relation to God’s nature, then the claim that God is morally perfect is circular and morality is arbitrary as God is subject to whatever his nature happened to be.
          4. If God controls his nature, see #2.
          5. If morality is objective, how does God know what it is? You can’t just claim he is omniscient without proving he could know something that is independent of him which requires proof of existence.
          6. How are humans supposed to know anything about objective morality? Humans can only study the empirical consequences of actions where the consequences are not always consistent.

        • 1. For God to be judged morally perfect, there must be an objective morality which is independent of God and to which God is subject to.

          You’ve presupposed moral platonism. I’ll illustrate: “For a thing to be red, it must partake in the Form of Redness.” We generally reject such reasoning. The idea that redness is merely subjective (a result of the primary/​secondary quality distinction) is made problematic by Colin McGinn, as I recently explained.

          This is also rendered problematic by requiring an explanation for how I can access said ‘objective morality’. If instead it has actually been placed on the other side of an unbridgeable dualism, then one can question the legitimacy of that dualism. We see this very problem with substance dualism, which was constructed in order to obtain a particular notion of ‘objectivity’. Descartes saw his mind as set over and against the body, the mind as unmoved mover of the body. When this dualism is disassembled, ‘objectivity’ doesn’t die, but it does change—enough to undermine your 1.

          2. The argument that God defines morality means that morality is subjective to God and arbitrary.

          This doesn’t at all follow; classical theism holds God to be necessary, which is one might call the precise opposite of ‘arbitrary’. (Another contender is ‘contingent’, but that seems awfully close to your ‘arbitrary’.) Something which is relative to (= a function of) something necessary is itself necessary.

          6. How are humans supposed to know anything about objective morality? Humans can only study the empirical consequences of actions where the consequences are not always consistent.

          They can be wrong about morality, if morality inevitably is accompanied by prediction. “If we set up society this way, it will be good.” I was just reading a book about transhumanism which mentioned a predictive aspect to morality:

          Whether in secular or religious terms, it is not unusual for people to define “the moral meaning of the present” in terms of the future, judging what is against what they hope (or fear) will be. After all, it is moral choice in the present that creates a future, so such visions influence how we live and treat each other today. (Eclipse of Man, 8)

          Now, I’m pretty sure this kind of predict-test loop will be quite different from science. But that’s ok; values and facts are different beasts, even if they are more intertwined than dichotomies and dualisms would lead us to believe.

          The criticism will of course be that measurements of ‘goodness’ are 100% subjective, but that merely begs the question. The idea of a complete disconnection from reality is represented in scientific anti-realism (which I take to mirror moral noncognitivism); perhaps the only response is to assert a connection with moral/​empirical reality which can deepen.

          For the time being, I’m going to be resistant to talking more about “how we can be in contact with objective morality” except through discussing scientific realism vs. anti-realism, as well as whether ‘objective reality’ is being problematically rendered like the disembodied ‘laws of nature’ (probably inspired by Occasionalism) which are being increasingly doubted (see, for example, Sean Carroll’s use of “unbreakable patterns”). The reason for this resistance is that I suspect certain damaging presuppositions are framing the debate. If they have been rejected in other areas, perhaps they ought to be rejected here, as well. For example, there are other conceptions of the laws of nature which don’t have the aforementioned problems. An example would be the ‘causal powers’ notion, exemplified by Rom Harré’s and E.H. Madden in Causal Powers: Theory of Natural Necessity. Empirical philosopher of science Nancy Cartwright finds that scientists generally think according to this ‘causal powers’ approach. I suspect that view ‘objective morality’ as inhering in beings (via teleology) instead of separated as a Platonic Form may be a viable approach.

        • adam

          ” I’ll illustrate: “For a thing to be red, it must partake in the Form of Redness.” “

        • adam

          “My beef is that you write as if you know what omni-benevolence is, even in part,”

          All of us with access to a dictionary knows what it means, except apparently YOU, WHEN IT IS CONVENIENT for your ‘arguments’

          Omnibenevolence (from Latin omni- meaning “all”, and benevolent, meaning “good”)[1] is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as “unlimited or infinite benevolence”.

          Obviously not this character:

        • Kodie

          My beef is that you write as if you know what omni-benevolence is, even
          in part, even probabilistically. You don’t, on your own admission.
          That’s because God being omni-benevolent does not mean him being
          subjective good according to your notion of goodness. It means he is
          objectively good.

          If what god does is “objectively good,” then people shouldn’t complain and put us in jail when we kill them. I mean, I think your beef is with yourself, because omni-benevolent would seem to imply that god was all good, then you go and tell us that whatever god does, no matter what he does, is objectively good, but they don’t mean the same things humans are recommended to do. If god was objectively good, and slavery is wrong, then his recommendation should have been to cease the practice, not offer advice like an owner’s manual for keeping an appliance in good condition without voiding the fucking warranty.

        • MR

          whatever god does, no matter what he does, is objectively good

          Then it would be objectively good for us, too, to commit genocide, allow slavery, etc., because if God is objectively good, then those things would be objectively good for us, too, otherwise they’d be, you know, subjective.

        • busterggi

          “You’re bringing all of your cultural baggage to the Bible”

          Thank Chemosh that you would never do that.

        • Straw man.

        • adam

          “Straw man.”

          Of course, when someone using YOUR OWN WORDS, in the same context that you did.

          We know, it’s all busterggi’s fault!
          AGAIN

          WAAAAAAAAAAAAA
          WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
          WAAAAAAAAAAAAA

          Luke the VICTIM…..

          Here is what a REAL victim looks like:

        • Kodie

          Denial.

        • MNb

          “Where is the justification that you know how an omnimax deity would interact with humans?”
          That question applies to you as well – and every single believer. So there is no reason at all to assume that the Bible (or any other Holy Book) contains god’s word. That suits me excellently; you just gave us an fine reason to neglect every single comment you have made.
          Because: where is the justification?

        • adam

          “Or, he’s working with extant intuitions to make a point.”

          You mean like aliens with the technology to transport themselves halfway across the galaxy, can only run farmers fields with crop circles as a communication tool.

          Your “God” is that impotent?

      • Argus

        is a beating the same as a paddlin?

    • Kodie

      Seems to me, the bible is an allegory. I don’t know if you read the first passage right if you think it’s in your favor.

      Look, it’s pretty biblical that Jews knew that slavery sucked, when they were the slaves. Let’s not pretend that’s not part of the story.

      • No, no–slavery for Jews sucked. There’s a difference.

        • Kodie

          Because the Egyptians didn’t have god to tell them how to be nicer at owning people?

    • Greg G.
      • That reminds me of the multiple planets Captain Kirk visited which were run by robots; said robots created very restrictive realities for the humans they administered.

        • Greg G.
        • No, the two I’m thinking of: with one, there’s an asteroid traveling to a new world, and with the other, there’s ‘carnival’ every so often. But IIRC the one you linked has an awesome scene of ‘ridiculous dance’. Oh TOS.

    • Argus

      “Do not think I came to negate the Law…” Jesus

      Also, if what you say is true..Jesus would hate Pauline Christianity…

      • Do you think your interpretation of that verse is consistent with all of the other things Jesus is recorded as saying?

        • Argus

          Yes.

        • It is there that we probably differ, and I’m applying the principle of charity. From the text, it is more obvious that to own slaves is to put yourself above Jesus, than it is that Jesus happily approved of people owning slaves.

        • Kodie

          Why do you bias yourself?

        • adam

          “Why do you bias yourself?”

        • Argus

          It’s all kind of academic. Either some historical person named Jesus said he did not come to obviate the Law or he did not say it or never existed.

          If we take the Gospels as accurate representations of what this Jesus figure said or did, then it seems pretty clear that he at least had no interest in ending the slavery condoned in the OT.

          I have no good reason to think a Jesus figure said any or most of the Gospel accounts — especially given how much they are removed (40-60 years) from the time they allegedly happened. So perhaps trying to parse what this figure (legendary or otherwise thought about slavery) is not even useful.

          Bottom line: Jesus’ alleged opinion on slavery really needs have any relevance to modern humans opinion of slavery any more than Muhammed’s opinion on pork. I find owning and beating slaves to be immoral. The Bible’s opinion means nothing.

        • busterggi

          It must be nice to know that Jesus, even through anonymous authors & multiple redactors, always agrees with your version of principles.

        • I do not think Jesus always agrees with me, so you’ve constructed a straw man. I suggest facing the scientific facts presented in Creating God in your own image.

        • adam

          “Creating God in your own image.”

          Suggest away, all you other ‘suggestions’ FAIL to demonstrate what you claim they did.

          You have no more credibility here

        • adam

          “I do not think Jesus always agrees with me, so you’ve constructed a straw man.”

          Yes, agreed, you sound more like a Paul worshiper than a Jesus guy anyway…

        • adam

          “It is there that we probably differ,”

          Yeah, maybe except when you don’t………probably.

          In philosophy and rhetoric, the principle of charity requires
          interpreting a speaker’s statements to be rational and, in the case of any argument, considering its best, strongest possible interpretation.

          It is much more RATIONAL, given JesusasGod’s statements that it is ok to own people as property (slaves) AND Argus’s Jesus quote that best, strongest possible interpretation is that of Argus.

          And YOU are just blowing smoke up everyones ass YET AGAIN…

        • Ignorant Amos

          I’m applying the principle of charity.

          Only because it suits your argument by today’s standards.

        • Argus

          You seem to be straining a gnat to try and make the gospels say what you want.

        • Really? So when the context is people performing actions in order to be seen by others, the only reasonable interpretation is that it is never allowable to act when there is the bare possibility that it could be construed as performing in order to be seen (and praised) by others?

        • Argus

          Strawman Fallacy.

        • Do please explain.

        • adam

          “Do please explain.”

          Just skip the insincere request and continue with your incessant whining and crying…

        • Kodie

          The context is that the prayers are for god, not other people, and that the people who wrote that down were aware that people did use their faith to impress others instead of to have a relationship with their god. For the most part, it seems like every author of the bible was neurotic about something, and judged others, and had a lot of pet peeves and regular peeves. So that, if there was a god, don’t be a douche about praying to gain social standing, because it’s obvious you’re not using the special relationship you might have with god to take the time out to speak with him out of sight.

          I do the same thing with phone calls. I don’t have a lot of connections, but when I do call, I don’t do it to pass the time. It’s not that I can’t call my dad while I’m at the grocery store, but I don’t get bored with my tasks and use social connections to make it more fun. I can’t call people while I’m cooking or cleaning either. I call them when I make time especially to talk and engage. Your fools in the bible praying out in public are doing the ancient version of texting while driving, checking their phone because they can’t put it away, and using social connections as a diversion rather than really connecting with them. They are the ancient version of people who curate their facebook posts to always look like they’re doing stuff and being positive because their relationships are so shallow that they can’t share something real, because then people will know you’re a mess, and maybe won’t give a response because it’s too awkward.

          It’s not that you can’t pray in public, it’s that you’re really out doing other stuff, and you should save prayer to engage authentically and with your whole attention.

        • MNb

          Why assume that Jesus only said consistent things?

        • Ignorant Amos

          What recorded things that an alleged Jesus said can be discarded and which things must be adhered by and how do you know a Jesus said any of them?

        • busterggi

          Well if Luke can produce an indisputable chain of custody for them I’ll gladly listen to any sound recordings that Jesus said. It’s not as though an omnipotent being couldn’t have made any.

        • I am not aware of anything that Jesus allegedly said which needs to be discarded. I am aware that when a person says a thing, sometimes it doesn’t mean what I immediately thought it meant upon first hearing it.

        • busterggi

          Matthew:

          10:34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.

          10:35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

          10:36 And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.

          10:37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

        • Yep; now was that sword physical war or ideological war? If we look at the US Civil War, we see that it was ideology which was fought over, and that families were split apart. Contrast this to tribalism, where protecting your own is more important than any vaunted ideals.

          A huge thrust (heh) of the NT is that the true battle is fought in the spirital/​ideological plane, not the plane of flesh and blood. It’s not merely a matter of people trying to have enough to eat (We Already Grow Enough Food For 10 Billion People — and Still Can’t End Hunger), but of different groups of people trying to impose their idea of how the future ought to be on everyone else. Jesus offers a radically different approach (e.g. Mt 20:20–28 and Jn 13:1–20), but it is not one which will be accepted lightly. The idea that maybe forcefully imposing your view of reality on others is wrong is the most possibly damaging idea to tyrants. (That Christians have done this ought not be surprising; see The Subversion of Christianity.)

        • adam

          “The idea that maybe forcefully imposing your view of reality on others is wrong is the most possibly damaging idea to tyrants.”

          And of course the ultimate tyrant in literature is the “God” of the bible…

        • Kodie

          In abusive relationships, the abusive partner tries to isolate you from your family and friends. So, this must be why religious people are doing that homeschool indoctrination, passing the abuse down the line, and kicking their gay or atheist kids out of the house. I mean it does tear apart families, but they tried really hard to raise everyone uptight so they wouldn’t have to be unless absolutely necessary to rid the household of evil influences. Sick cultists.

        • adam

          “Yep; now was that sword physical war or ideological war? ”

          You tell us, your your own “God”

          BTW, it doesnt say war, but sword.

        • Greg G.

          A huge thrust (heh) of the NT is that the true battle is fought in the spirital/​ideological plane, not the plane of flesh and blood.

          Platonism.

        • Necessarily so? I’m not convinced. On the other hand, the idea that “It is acceptable for some humans to absolutely dominate other humans.” does seem pretty purely ideological. But surely the naturalist who believes in monism can account for that.

        • Greg G.

          Ideological or not, it all plays out in flesh and blood.

        • Okay… your point? Surely you aren’t denying that ideas can be powerful enough to lead to violence, so I don’t know how this is related to my exegesis of Mt 10:34–37.

        • Greg G.

          Surely you aren’t denying that ideas can be powerful enough to lead to violence,

          But the violence is physical. The ideas are relayed from one physical being to the other through the medium of matter.

          Matthew is supplementing Mark. Mark 13:12 comes from Micah 7:6. Matthew recognized that and modified it for a new context for Matthew 19:35-36.

          Matthew then steals from Mark 8:34-36.

        • But the violence is physical. The ideas are relayed from one physical being to the other through the medium of matter.

          Given that you’ll almost certainly say that everything is matter–energy, I don’t know how one could get non-‘physical’ violence. Emotional abuse would be ‘physical’ violence because vibrating air molecules transmitted the harmful words and body language. If I deprive a young child of a good education, this is a kind of cruelty one might call ‘violence’, although that would seem to stretch the word. Now let’s consider economic sanctions: are they an instance of ‘physical’ violence, even though they employ fictions (money) which are agreed upon by the powerful, such that the less powerful must submit to them?

          Your language seems to engage in distinction-destroying. After all, according to you, ideas themselves are ‘just’ physical, right? They’re ‘just’ matter–energy configurations.

          And yet, I think it’s obvious that Paul is actually saying something when he claims that “we fight not flesh and blood but principalities and powers”. (I take Paul to be developing themes of Jesus’.) We understand the difference between fighting for mere biological survival, vs. fighting over what principles will reign and be used to shape society. Just look at the conflict between Marxism and laissez-faire capitalism.

          Tribalism is very bloodline-centric; under it there is a terrific amount of internal cohesion. You care more about your own than any principles. I’ve argued that Jesus is arguing that a shift is going to take place, where the ties of blood are less important. Indeed, being a member of a group ‘by pisteuō‘† instead of ‘by blood’ is a key component of Christianity, as can be seen in Romans 9–11 as well as Ephesians 2:11–22.

          † I think “trust” is a better translation of pistis and pisteuō than ‘faith’. There is the sense of having a common goal, being on the same team, wanting to create the same future.

        • Greg G.

          Given that you’ll almost certainly say that everything is matter–energy, I don’t know how one could get non-‘physical’ violence. Emotional abuse would be ‘physical’ violence because vibrating air molecules transmitted the harmful words and body language.

          Your language seems to engage in distinction-destroying. After all, according to you, ideas themselves are ‘just’ physical, right? They’re ‘just’ matter–energy configurations.

          The distinction destruction is your equivocation of the word “physical”. Emotions are generated through the interaction of physical entities. There is still a difference between emotional abuse and physical abuse, but the word “physical” has more than one definition.

          the spirital/​ideological plane, not the plane of flesh and blood.

          The distinction you make here is platonism.

          In narrower usage, platonism, rendered as a common noun (with a lower case ‘p’, subject to sentence case), refers to the philosophy that affirms the existence of abstract objects, which are asserted to “exist” in a “third realm” distinct both from the sensible external world and from the internal world of consciousness … —Platonism From Wikipedia

        • The distinction destruction is your equivocation of the word “physical”. Emotions are generated through the interaction of physical entities. There is still a difference between emotional abuse and physical abuse, but the word “physical” has more than one definition.

          Then I can rephrase what I said as following:

          LB‘: A huge thrust (heh) of the NT is that the true battle is fought in the spirital/​ideological physical_m plane, not the physical_b plane of flesh and blood.

          If you cannot show anything which cannot be re-mapped to the physical_m/​physical_b dichotomy, you have no valid criticism of my argument as Platonic.

        • Greg G.

          If you cannot show anything which cannot be re-mapped to the physical_m/​physical_b dichotomy, you have no valid criticism of Platonism.

          Oh, solipsism is fun. We are all just a dream of Vishnu. Maybe I am just a brain in a vat being fed nerve impulses. Maybe you are the brain in a vat. Maybe Vishnu is the brain in a vat dreaming us as brains in vats. All of that is part of the Matrix which came into existence Last Thursday. And so on…

          The criticism of all those are that they are evidence-free and contrived to remain that way.

        • I fail to see this as a rational response. Let’s review:

          (1) I argue for a physical/​ideological dichotomy.
          (2) You call that “Platonism”.
          (3) I question what looks like denial of a valid dichotomy.
          (4) You argue that all violence is physical.
          (5) I criticize you for destroying distinctions with ‘physical’.
          (6) You claim I equivocated with the word ‘physical’—as if it can mean two very different things.
          (7) I conclude that you’ve merely represented the same dichotomy in different terms.
          (8) You veer off into… solipsism?

        • Greg G.

          (1) I argue for a physical/​ideological dichotomy.
          (2) You call that “Platonism”.

          Your dichotomy was platonism. I provided the definition.

          (3) I question what looks like denial of a valid dichotomy.

          You defended the platonism with the remapping comment. It is not my burden to refute the existence of imaginary “planes”.

          (4) You argue that all violence is physical.
          (5) I criticize you for destroying distinctions with ‘physical’.
          (6) You claim I equivocated with the word ‘physical’—as if it can mean two very different things.

          I argue that emotions are states of a physical brain.

          (7) I conclude that you’ve merely represented the same dichotomy in different terms.

          Your concept is expressed as the happening in a different “plane”. I have no idea what you mean by physical_m and physical_b planes.

          (8) You veer off into… solipsism?

          That other “plane” is equivalent to any other form of solipsism. All are conceived without evidence and contrived to be immune from evidence.

        • Your dichotomy was platonism.

          Only if you require ‘ideological’ (which I used 2x) and ‘spiritual’ (which I used 1x) be abstract Platonic Forms. But I simply don’t think that is the only way to render the dichotomy I discussed. If I were to go to a barista at my local coffee shop and ask whether that person sees a requirement to appeal to Platonic ideas to distingiush between “people trying to have enough to eat” and “different groups of people trying to impose their idea of how the future ought to be on everyone else”, I doubt [s]he would say “yes”.

          Your concept is expressed as the happening in a different “plane”.

          So? Strong emergence has something that looks like different “planes”. It doesn’t require Platonism.

          I have no idea what you mean by physical_m and physical_b planes.

          You said that the “distinction destruction is your equivocation of the word “physical””; my response was to un-equivocate. When you do that to a word, you get at least two words out.

          That other “plane” is equivalent to any other form of solipsism.

          I’m pretty sure that “different groups of people trying to impose their idea of how the future ought to be on everyone else” has nothing to do with solipsism.

        • adam

          WAAAAAAAAAA
          WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
          WAAAAAAAAAA

          Cry baby….

        • Kodie

          I don’t take that passage to be ideological. I think a madman is trying to say he’s worth ditching your family for. And families do get torn apart over belief vs. non-belief. It’s really not a foreign concept that whole countries criminalize apostasy, as do families you may know reject their kin. I really don’t think atheists want to leave their families – this is real, Luke. Pay attention!!! There are atheists in the US, now, who do not want to come out because of how awful Christians and other theists can be. You have to confront the ugliness in your belief system even if you don’t particularly do those things. It comes from the WORDS IN THE BIBLE. It comes from having a superstitious fear that something bad will happen because one associates with atheists or that atheists exist in their own families. They reject us, and make life difficult, you ignorant asshole. There are atheists who love their family too much to risk total rejection and be shunned, disowned, thrown out of their house.

          Do you not get it yet? I don’t give a shit what you, Luke Breuer, thinks about atheists. I don’t give a shit if the best man at your wedding was an atheist. I give a shit how this shitty book informs shitty people how to behave shitty to other people over literally nothing. You can’t argue that you have a preferable interpretation, especially when you’re actually a shittier person than you think you are. Your “god” tried to communicate his ideas to people in some cryptic novel about a creepy madman who is literally quoted to have said “fuck up your family ties and come live with me.” I don’t give a shit about your weaselly shitty interpretations of a superstition you insist upon committing thousands and thousands and thousands of words to defending. I don’t give a shit about your fastidious compulsion to link to posts we all just fucking read a minute ago. That doesn’t make you reasonable, it doesn’t make you rational, it doesn’t make you have any better evidence. It’s bullshit, and we all have been through this before: you believe in nonsense, imaginary fucking nonsense. Once someone knows that, there’s really nothing in your artillery that can pierce through it. Give up and go home. Give up and get another fucking hobby. You are not a better Christian than those shitty Christians who do it wrong, in your not-so-humble opinion, you have given nothing to support that you are. NOTHING. Ignorance is what you have. This isn’t a debate club – you don’t win for being better prepared or more organized or extremely thorough. All you have is tricky shit that just doesn’t fly with critical reasoning abilities. If you had a great argument, you wouldn’t have to be so fucking weaselly about shit here, you know, and so fucking wordy.

          I don’t know if the internet still awards “attention whores”, but you are exactly that.

        • You complain that some Christians use a verse to be anti-atheist, and then take a dump on a Christian who is not only not anti-atheist, but had an atheist as his best man. Your irrationality is astounding. Your inability to understand that some Christians [who respect the Bible] aren’t terrible mirrors the inability in some Christians to understand the same of atheists. You have the disease you accuse your enemy of having.

        • Kodie

          You have not just a delusion, but many.

        • Ignorant Amos

          But thinks he’s far too clever for his own good to realise.

          Of course he claims to have been a creationist at one time, so maybe, just maybe, he’s a work in progress. Never say never.

        • adam

          WAAAAAAAAAA
          WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
          WAAAAAAAA

          Cry baby….

        • Kodie

          You obviously are incapable of reading what I wrote through they eyes in your fat head.

        • adam

          WAAAAAAAAAA
          WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
          WAAAAAAAA

          Cry baby

        • adam

          ……

        • adam

          “I’m not convinced.”

          Of course, you have your own delusions to see through.

        • Kodie

          Sounds like a cult.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The teachings of Jesus are extremely difficult to follow, which is perhaps a method of intentionally undermining Christians’ self esteem and make them dependent on the church. Most Christians are unaware of at least some of the difficult teachings of Jesus. The more self aware Christians have accepted the need to be selective about following his teaching. Of course, atheists do not accept these commandments are anything more than myths and fables.

          http://wiki.ironchariots.org/index.php?title=Selective_use_of_the_New_Testament

          Do you attend religious service Luke? Do you communally pray? If the answer is yes, then you are discarding what Jesus allegedly said in Matthew 6:6

          “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

          Are you a pauper Luke? Do you give all your wealth away to the needy? Do you have you savings? If the answer is yes, then you are discarding what Jesus allegedly said in Luke 18:22 and other gospels.

          “When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me”

          What Christians do/have done, is interpret Bible passages to suit themselves and the times. When a literal translation of a verse sits well, it is accepted as is, when a literal translation doesn’t sit well, pretzelmania apologetic’s ensue in order to contort the words to mean something else less embarrassing. History is replete with such Shenanigans. The slavery issue is just one such instance. Geocentric Universe, flat earth, evolution, a 6,000 year old Universe, etc.

          [I]f we are willing to interpret the Bible as freely as we please, contradiction can be avoided. But then, of course, we are placed in the awkward position of choosing how literal each passage should be taken, leading to a multitude of possible biblical interpretations and little final consensus. Perhaps this partially explains why some Christian groups forbid condoms, while others don’t, some prohibit abortion, while others don’t, some forbid masturbation, while others don’t, and so on and so forth. Metaphorical interpretation can lead to enormous variety in beliefs.

          http://www.clockbackward.com/2009/06/28/does-science-contradict-christianity/

        • This is no different from a creationist coming in and yapping about moon dust. Because you cannot make immediate sense of what the other believes, they must be up to something nefarious or at least, dubious.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yeah, yeah, yeah, but do you go to church and pray? Of course you do and therefore discard the words of your fictitious hero Jesus.

          Do you give all your excess wealth to the poor? Of course you don’t and therefore discard the words of your fictitious hero Jesus.

        • Did you know that if the universe were really that old, when the astronauts landed on the moon they would have encountered 50–100 ft of dust?

        • Ignorant Amos

          What ta feck are you wittering on about?

        • The same kind of bullshit you’re wittering on about. Of course, you think it’s ok when it’s the atheist doing it to the theist.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Ah, right…an avoidance tactic…I get it now.

          No problem. Keep calm and carry on.

        • Avoidance is all you can do with stubborn creationists. The same applies to atheists who are stubbornly fundamentalist about the Bible. Reasoning with such people is simply not possible.

        • adam

          ” Reasoning with such people is simply not possible.”

          Of course it is, but not with your childish behavior, ego and delusions.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Look Luke, I get it ….the answer to the questions vis a vis what is written in the scriptures, are too awkward to answer honestly. So you’ve resorted to obfuscation with “look, over there…squirrel’s”

          http://lolsnaps.com/upload_pic/LookoverthereSquirrels-63335.jpg

        • Kodie

          Your denial surely cannot go much deeper, can it?????

        • adam

          WWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
          WAAAAAAAA
          WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

          This is THE VERY BEST, that your ‘faith’ offers you to demonstrate that YOUR ‘God’ is anything but IMAGINARY….

        • adam

          Yeah, yeah, yeah, but do you go to church and pray?

          Or do you just WAAAAAAAAAAAAA, WAAAAAAAAAAA, WAAAAAAAAAAAAA

          Like a baby all the time..

        • Susan

          The same kind of bullshit you’re withering on about.

          (sigh)

          How is it the same?

        • Both are based on an insistence that the world must fit in a simplistic kind of understanding. If an explanation exceeds the requirements of simplicity, the person giving the explanation is suspected of duplicity and/or delusion.

        • Susan

          Both are based on an insistence that the world must fit in a simplistic kind of understanding.

          The moon dust claim just shows complete ignorance about the evidence and the predictions one can make based on the evidence. It is demonstrably wrong.

          I don’t see how it connects remotely to your claims about how to interpret what the Jesus character is supposed to have said.

          One can show why the moon dust claim is ridiculous.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Luke was once gormless enough to believe the moon dust claim too though…but now that he doesn’t, he thinks it’s a useful tool to use as a put down…go figure!

        • If you cannot see anything wrong with, “Either my simplistic interpretation of a text is right, or it can be interpreted infinitely many ways with no rational way to adjudicate.”, I’m afraid I cannot help you.

          The moon dust argument was originally based on erroneous computations on old evidence. The problem with creationists is that they refused to self-correct when new evidence was provided and error in computations were articulated. A suspicion motivating at least some creationists was that these ‘corrections’ were merely made to align the true evidence with a preestablished ideology.

          It is pointless to show that an analogy is not perfect; there is no such thing, for the point at which an analogy becomes perfect, it is no longer an analogy but an isomorphism.

        • Susan

          It is pointless to show that an analogy is not perfect

          It is not even close, Luke.

        • Without further information, the most probably reason you think so is that you, @Ignorant_Amos:disqus, and the Iron Chariots folks are fundamentalists when it comes to interpreting texts. You simply will not accept that there are other legitimate ways of interpreting. It is either your way, or irrationality.

        • Susan

          You simply will not accept that there are other legitimate ways of interpreting.

          There is no reason to necessarily accept the interpretation you require. Why is your interpretation reliable?

          There is every reason to reject the silliness about moon dust. It is demonstrably wrong.

          So, no. Not even close.

          You can explain why your interpretation is more reasonable than IA’s but it is not comparable in any way to the moon dust nonsense.

          You are just using that to call IA a fundamentalist.

          You have not made a case to justify it.

        • There is no reason to necessarily accept the interpretation you require. Why is your interpretation reliable?

          Any opportunity I may have had to address such questions has been closed off by the fundamentalism of @Ignorant_Amos:disqus, Iron Chariots folks, and as far as I can tell, you.

          There is every reason to reject the silliness about moon dust. It is demonstrably wrong.

          Yes, because you are open to (i) new evidence; (ii) questioning how extant evidence has been interpreted. It is characteristic of fundamentalism to be closed to (i) and (ii). When that closure is complete, there’s really not much that can be done to convince such people otherwise.

        • Susan

          When that closure is complete, there’s really not much that can be done to convince such people otherwise.

          You could be making your case rather than pretending that IA’s interpretation is equal to the moon dust nonsense.

          Making a case with evidence is how reasonable people deal with the moon dust nonsense.

          Make your case.

          Stop making silly comparisons.

        • Paul B. Lot

          “Stop making silly comparisons.”

          Well, as long as we’re making fantastical wishes: I’d like you to buy me a pony.

        • Making cases with fundamentalists is frequently a waste of time. @Ignorant_Amos:disqus can provide me sufficient evidence to think he is not a fundamentalist when it comes to how he interprets the Bible. Until he does so, I’m not going to waste my time.

        • Susan

          Making cases with fundamentalists is frequently a waste of time.

          Got it. You call IA a fundamentalist by comparing him to someone who buys into the moon dust nonsense, are unable to show that it’s an accurate comparison, and when asked to make your case, choose not to.

          I’m not going to waste my time.

          You’re not going to make your case, I see.

        • […] are unable to show that it’s an accurate comparison […]

          Actually, what is most strictly true is that I failed to convince you. But I will try one more time to argue my point. Take the following, with my edits:

          IA‘: What Christians do/have done, is interpret Bible passages to suit themselves and the times. When a literal my translation of a verse sits well, it is accepted as is, when a literal my translation doesn’t sit well, pretzelmania apologetic’s ensue in order to contort the words to mean something else less embarrassing.

          There is no way to argue against this, except to point out that it is unfalsifiable. IA has declared himself immune to (i) new evidence; (ii) differing interpretations. This is precisely what the moon dust advocate does.

        • Kodie

          There is no (i) new evidence, and (ii) differing interpretations are fucking meaningless. READ IT OVER. You don’t make the bible interpreted by Luke Breuer any more meaningful or real, or less delusional, no matter how much stuff you write and read and refer to. That isn’t anywhere near the same as fundamentalism. The bible is interpreted by every Christian as validly as the next. If you think they’re wrong, you’re not making a case for right interpretation.

        • adam

          “Actually, what is most strictly true is that I failed to convince you.”

          Since you’ve been here.

          See the pattern Luke?

          It YOU.

        • Kodie

          Your condescension is noted and famous already. He provided quotes, you provided quotes, why do you think he’s a fundamentalist with respect to the bible, a work of fiction and myth, but that you are not a fucking mental piece of work, making up shit that could be true instead, even though it’s not, but mostly because it would devastate you (not me, no Ignorant Amos, not Susan, etc.) if it wasn’t. Ignorant Amos provided quotes from people and sources that dig into problems like yours and get to the point, unlike you. They get right to the common emotional barriers that occur in freaks like you who can’t let go, but you choose to ignore that and just call him a fundamentalist. It’s getting really obvious, you don’t read posts or address points made in them. It’s so fucking obvious that doing this helps you stick to your beliefs instead of crush them.

          It’s really your own choice to be here, but I think it’s “uncharitable” of you to avoid reading what people have to say, especially when you don’t waste a minute to evade the topic at hand to call people lazy for not wanting to plod all the way through each of your delusional diatribes. It’s kind of important, if you wished to ever be taken seriously by anyone, that you not delude yourself at every opportunity. I wrote you everything that bothers me (and I gather, others) about you, and it’s your shitty shitty attitude. Your delusion. Your failure to address any of it and pretend it was about some other Christian style I have mistaken you for means you can’t or don’t wish to read or accept unpleasant observations made in your direction. That’s cool, nobody does. But it does make you dishonest, which is just obvious to everyone. Deny it if you want, ask me for evidence of your behavior, when anyone can look at the page and your posting history, your denial just defines your delusion. You don’t see the truth here, you won’t find it anywhere. So keep pretending the bible is a meaningful book somehow, nobody really hears your squeals of desperation.

        • MNb

          Yeah yeah, whining Lukieboy randomly throws accusations like fundamentalism around when he doesn’t feel like making a case. It’s the apologist version of the toddler who claims he can run harder than a car but refuses to show it when asked.

        • Ignorant Amos

          United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

          But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

          Please explain what this means other than what it says? Bearing in mind, that apparently in the first century, Jews prayed privately. They really did go into a secluded place and pray secretly.

          Albert Barnes note…

          Enter into thy closet – Every Jewish house had a place for secret devotion. The roofs of their houses were flat places, well adapted for walking, conversation, and meditation. See the notes at Matthew 9:2. Professor Hackett (“Illustrations of Scripture,” p. 82) says: “On the roof of the house in which I lodged at Damascus were chambers and rooms along the side and at the corners of the open space or terrace, which constitutes often a sort of upper story. I observed the same thing in connection with other houses.” Over the porch, or entrance of the house, there was frequently a small room of the size of the porch, raised a story above the rest of the house, expressly appropriated for the place of retirement. Here, in secrecy and solitude, the pious Jew might offer his prayers, unseen by any but the Searcher of hearts. To this place, or to some similar place, our Saviour directed his disciples to repair when they wished to hold communion with God. This is the place commonly mentioned in the New Testament as the “upper room,” or the place for secret prayer.

          About Matthew 6:6…

          After condemning ostentatious prayer in the previous verse, this verse outlines the proper procedure for praying. As with charitable giving the true believer should act in secret.

          Matthew 6:5

          “when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.”

          Eduard Schwietzer

          Schweizer feels that the room referenced in this would have been the storage room. Most of Jesus’ audiences would have lived in homes with only one room, but in Palestine it was common to have a separate storage area with a door to protect foodstuffs. This would have been the only room with a door. Schweizer feels this reference has been assimilated to the wording of Isaiah 26:20.

          The end of this verse closely parallels the end of Matthew 6:4. This verse adds the mention of the omnipresent God being in secret, as well as being able to see all that is in secret. As with Matthew 6:4 most scholars feel that “openly” is an erroneous addition at the end of this verse.

          Matthew 6:4

          “That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.”

          Eduard Schweizer (1913-2006) was a Swiss New Testament scholar who taught at the University of Zurich for an extended period. He won the Burkitt Medal for Biblical Studies in 1996.

          Isaiah 26:20

          Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.”

        • I claim that the following sets those verses in context:

          “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 6:1)

          I claim that not all practice of righteousness before other people necessarily has the purpose of “to be seen of them”. However, in a culture where this purpose is the norm, I can see a need to temporarily go to the extreme of “no practice of righteousness before other people at all”, to cleanse the culture of this bad, people-pleasing habit.

          But I know, I know, the above explanation is merely my doing the following:

          IA: What Christians do/have done, is interpret Bible passages to suit themselves and the times. When a literal translation of a verse sits well, it is accepted as is, when a literal translation doesn’t sit well, pretzelmania apologetic’s ensue in order to contort the words to mean something else less embarrassing.

          After all, what Jesus says in Mt 6:1 cannot possibly relate to what he said in Mt 6:2–6.

        • adam

          “Given my corrections on this to-date, this is in danger of being a bald-faced lie.”

          The bible is full of contradictions and errors.

          So is your ‘faith’

          WAAAAAAA
          WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
          WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

          Cry baby…

        • adam

          “Until he does so, I’m not going to waste my time.”

          Then take your lack of balls and go home.

        • MR

          You could be making your case

          The elephant not in the room.

        • Kodie

          You’re not offering anything valid or rational to change our views. You believe that you are, but you complain that we’re not accepting it as such. That might be fundamentalism, but it’s probably because all you have to offer is crap that makes no sense.

        • MNb

          “has been closed off”
          Yeah yeah, everybody can be blamed but whining Lukieboy.

        • Michael Neville

          Instead of whining about how mean everyone is by not accepting your explanation, why don’t you justify that explanation? Or is that less satisfying than whining?

        • adam

          ” Or is that less satisfying than whining?”

        • Fundamentalism is not being mean. I find that fundamentalism is generally an impossible position to argue against. I suspect that many atheists find the same. I think this is why, for example, those like John Loftus think that a good strategy is ridicule—emotional manipulation. The idea is that rational argumentation won’t work.

        • Michael Neville

          I see, nobody accepts your arguments and therefore we’re “fundamentalists”. Has it occurred to you that the reason we don’t accept your arguments is we’ve heard them before, considered them, and discarded them? For instance, you presented an argument about absolute morality which was emphatically rejected. As atheists we’ve debated morality and ethics with theists many times. You brought nothing new to the discussion.

        • I see, nobody accepts your arguments and therefore we’re “fundamentalists”.

          Nothing about your sentence is correct. First, this is not about any arguments I have made; it is about the closing off to any possible arguments. Second, this is not targeted at “regulars of CE” (see your “we”), but @Ignorant_Amos:disqus in particular, due to the following:

          IA: What Christians do/have done, is interpret Bible passages to suit themselves and the times. When a literal translation of a verse sits well, it is accepted as is, when a literal translation doesn’t sit well, pretzelmania apologetic’s ensue in order to contort the words to mean something else less embarrassing.

          The term “a literal translation” is a clear cipher for “my preferred way of reading it”. In fundamentalism, it becomes everyone’s preferred way of reading it, on pain of punishment if not excommunication.

          For instance, you presented an argument about absolute morality which was emphatically rejected.

          I’m pretty sure I did no such thing. I had some ideas about absolute morality, but I presented nothing like an ‘argument’, nothing like what @BobSeidensticker:disqus wanted.

          ———

          You might want to do a better job of getting the facts straight. If you just make shit up all over the place and stuff it in my mouth, you’re guaranteed to see shit coming out of my mouth, because I’m sure not going to ingest it.

        • Michael Neville

          I sit corrected. You’re not calling all of us fundamentalist, you’re calling Ignorant Amos a fundamentalist instead of replying to his comment. That does save wear and tear on the gray cells, especially since you didn’t understand IA’s comment.

          What IA was talking about is how Christians cherry-pick the Bible, interpreting it to suit each individual’s opinions and prejudices. There’s even a term for it, exegesis (hermeneutics is similar but not identical). If the Bible says what the Christian wants then it’s accepted. But if a particular verse or group of verses doesn’t say what the Christian wants them to say, then exegesis is performed to “draw out” the “proper” meaning.

          For instance, the Vatican discovers “papal infallibility” in Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV):

          Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

          There you have it, exegesis in action.

          You might want to do a better job of getting the facts straight.

          Mirror mirror on the wall.

        • If the Bible says what the Christian wants then it’s accepted. But if a particular verse or group of verses doesn’t say what the Christian wants them to say, then exegesis is performed to “draw out” the “proper” meaning.

          The problem with this is not that it describes no Christians. The problem is that it ostensibly describes all Christians. Did you mean “all”, or merely “some”?

          Mirror mirror on the wall.

          That perfectly explains this:

          William Wilberforce (24 August 1759 – 29 July 1833) was an English politician, philanthropist, and a leader of the movement to abolish the slave trade. A native of Kingston upon Hull, Yorkshire, he began his political career in 1780, eventually becoming the independent Member of Parliament for Yorkshire (1784–1812). In 1785, he became an Evangelical Christian, which resulted in major changes to his lifestyle and a lifelong concern for reform.

          Completely, 100% consistent.

          (I’m actually not sure that you will see Wilberforce as an anomaly to your ostensible scientific hypothesis. I actually suspect it is an unfalsifiable hypothesis, but I would be happy to find out that it isn’t.)

        • Michael Neville

          Of course I’m talking about all Christians. Each and every one of you interprets the Bible in your own personal way. Did you think otherwise? If you do, I’ve got some oceanfront property in Wyoming you might want to invest in.

          As for Wilberforce, so what? I mean so fucking what? I’ve already told you that he was an abolitionist. He was also a prude, a priggish snob who felt the “lower classes” were literally too stupid to do anything except what the aristocracy and wealthy told them to do. That he was a progressive in regards to slavery doesn’t mean he was an all around good guy. He was pompous, condescending, haughty and arrogant. Even people who agreed with him on slavery thought he was an asshole.

        • Of course I’m talking about all Christians. Each and every one of you interprets the Bible in your own personal way. Did you think otherwise?

          I request the empirical evidence you think is sufficient to establish your “all”. Just to be clear, you seem to see the Bible as a kind of Rorschach test, where there’s no sense of some interpretations being more likely true than others. That can be contrasted with the [I think?] generally held belief that there are more valid and less valid ways to interpret Shakespeare. It would be uninteresting if you were merely to point out some small amount of variation of interpretation of Shakespeare.

          As for Wilberforce, so what?

          His becoming a Christian seemed to exert a profound influence on him. Such influences beg for causal attributions. One possibility is that it was something in Christianity which can be identified, and identified as distinct from whatever allowed other Christians to think that slavery is acceptable.

          That he was a progressive in regards to slavery doesn’t mean he was an all around good guy.

          Relevance?

          ———

          The bottom line here seems to be that you’re advancing an unfalsifiable assertion. If so, then it is not a scientific assertion. If so, then it would appear to be dogma, which I thought was something you decry?

        • Michael Neville

          How many varieties of Christian are there? By one count over 40,000 different sects, each of them calling themselves the “one, true Christianity.” When the Catholic bishops hold contraception to be immoral and most American Catholic couples use the pill or other contraceptives that tells me that even the most dogmatic faiths have people who don’t agree with all the dogma. That’s why I can say that you all have your own interpretations of the Bible.

          So you’re impressed by Wilberforce. That’s nice. Personally I don’t give a damn but if you like sniffing his asshole go for it. I won’t stand in your way.

          Here’s a picture taken in a Caspar, Wyoming suburb last February. Doesn’t it look inviting? I can get you a time-share on this piece of property.
          http://www.rosewoodhotels.com/en/~/media/Images/Rosewood_Hotels_and_Resorts/Rosewood_Mayakoba/accommodation/suites/thumbnail_beachfront-studio-suite.ashx

        • […] each of them calling themselves the “one, true Christianity.”

          Really? I have no doubt that some do this. But each one? I attended a monthly meeting of atheists and Christians for a while, where the goal was to attempt mutual understanding. All the other Christians there were Methodists. I never once got the slightest impression from the Christians in attendance that only Methodists are the “one, true Christianity.”

          You seem to be employing the scarcest bits of evidence for dramatic empirical claims. Do you really have nothing better, upon which your beliefs about empirical reality are based?

        • Michael Neville

          Maybe, that’s maybe, I was indulging in a bit of hyperbole, but only a bit. Some of the more liberal Christian sects will accept that other Christians, while heretical, might have a slight clue about what Christianity is all about. But most Christians will claim their church is the only one to be entirely correct. “There’s no one left but thee and we, and we’re not sure of thee.”

        • Where are your data?

        • Michael Neville

          If you’re trying to get me to link to a peer-reviewed paper or something of that order then both of us know such a thing doesn’t exist. If you’re trying to get me to agree that each and every Christian interprets each and every Biblical verse identically then you’re even stupider than I previously thought (and I don’t have a high opinion of your intelligence).

          As I said before, there are over 40,000 sects of Christians, differing wildly on how the Bible should be interpreted. Ever since I listened to two Christians arguing about infant versus adult baptism and using the same Biblical verses to support their point of views then I knew that uniform Biblical interpretation was a non-event.

        • I take you to be a person who only forms beliefs on sufficient evidence. You stated the following belief:

          LB: The problem with this is not that it describes no Christians. The problem is that it ostensibly describes all Christians. Did you mean “all”, or merely “some”?

          MN: Of course I’m talking about all Christians. Each and every one of you interprets the Bible in your own personal way. Did you think otherwise?

          It is quite curious that you later backtracked on this “all”:

          MN: Maybe, that’s maybe, I was indulging in a bit of hyperbole, but only a bit.

          And so, I simply asked for your data. So far, it seems that the only data you have are a count of denominations, with zero analysis as to the actual doctrinal diversity. (The idea that every new denomination constitutes more doctrinal diversity is a point you actually need to establish with evidence.)

          I can only conclude that you form wild conclusions on the scantiest of evidence. When challenged, you fall into [ridiculous] false dichotomies:

          MN: If you’re trying to get me to link to a peer-reviewed paper or something of that order then both of us know such a thing doesn’t exist. If you’re trying to get me to agree that each and every Christian interprets each and every Biblical verse identically then you’re even stupider than I previously thought (and I don’t have a high opinion of your intelligence).

          The first option is an extremely high bar. The second option is an absolutely ridiculous position. This dichotomy allows you to ignore whether your position on the spectrum is a reasonable, evidence-based one, or whether it engages in gross speculation.

          Ever since I listened to two Christians arguing about infant versus adult baptism and using the same Biblical verses to support their point of views then I knew that uniform Biblical interpretation was a non-event.

          This point was never under contention, so this is a red herring and/or straw man.

        • adam

          tldr, typically doesnt demonstrate what is claimed.

          WAAAAAAAAAA
          WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
          WAAAAAAAAAAA

        • Kodie

          You are our data. You, Luke Breuer, are one in a long line of Christians who come here to say, in on form or another, “we’re not all like that”, as if to say, there is a right way to practice Christianity, and Bob’s critical blogs are against the kind that y’all already agree are wrong. Has a formal study been conducted as to the veracity of one form of Christianity against another? Is that what you’re holding out against? Our collective experience with you and other Christians would bear it out. There are too many subtle interpretations that read a fictional book and get some kind of guide from a fictional deity out of it, and all live their lives accordingly, for the most part; and all argue for the veracity of their version of faith against all the others.

          Do you really think you’re so special?

        • Michael Neville

          Personally I believe that all Christians, each and every single Christian who has ever existed, has their own interpretation of the Bible. But since I can’t justify that, I changed it to most Christians.

          No, I can’t provide firm, irrefutable data to support my claim. I’ve already admitted it. However you haven’t shown that most if not all Christians agree on Biblical interpretations. So we’ve got a standoff. Neither of us can show our conclusions. My conclusion isn’t “wild”, it’s a conclusion based on reality, something which, as a theist and particularly a Christian theist, you have barely a nodding acquaintance with (see, I can thrown meaningless insults around as well).

          My comment about adult versus infant baptism was an example of how Christians do not agree on Biblical interpretation. So it’s neither a red herring nor a strawman. I strongly suspect you don’t know what either of those two fallacies are or else you wouldn’t accuse me of using either or both (they are not identical).

        • Kodie

          Luke is well aware of other Christian interpretations that don’t fit his conception of Christianity. His only defense on this point is to request data, a study, some research done along the way. It’s by definition, what it means to be Christian – no one can interpret the whole bible to be infallible as it is written. Everyone must interpret troubling passages to mean something else, if they are to believe it is a message from an actual god. He knows this and isn’t troubled by it because he has his own methods, which he never explicitly explained, to derive any veracity from the bible, and knows they differ, sometimes greatly and disturbingly, from other conclusions. Just like all the other Christians on the progressive side of things (or the fundamental, conservative side), Luke takes offense at his methods (or conclusions) being lumped in with faulty reasoning of other denominations. What he fails to see is the similarities. He has no standing on his own interpretation, not rationally, than any other denomination, but his heightened sensitivity to being mistaken for having those wrong beliefs tells me he knows the data doesn’t just not exist – it’s absolutely fucking obvious to everyone, even him.

          He’s making a protest where none is needed, in order to prolong our agony of finding him in our company. It’s one of those “smart” moves you do when you are losing, to put the other person off their game, oh gosh, data, I guess I lose this debate and Luke Breuer wins, oh!!! He knows as well as anyone that this is what other Christians are like, he is just a fool for his interpretation that he can’t stand to lose, and in great denial that he’s already lost.

        • adam

          …..

        • Can you sell me swamp land in Florida as well?

        • Michael Neville

          Of course. There’s even a nice ski-slope in the middle of it for the winter season.

        • Kodie

          The power of suggestion? Every Christian who reads the bible is influenced – some in extremely ugly ways. Would you attribute that to its reality? You’re not getting it.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You’re not getting it.

          Nope. He definitely isn’t, is he?

        • Wilberforce pointed to his Christianity to justify/support his anti-slavery stance, and millions of slave owners did the reverse.

          The Bible is a mirror–not especially useful if we’re looking for good advice.

        • MNb

          I would have been impressed had Wilberforce’s views emerged in the 4th, 5th and 6th Century. Now I’d like to know how come that christian universal anti-slavery stance arose in exactly the same century as Enlightenment.

        • That is an odd coincidence. Makes you wonder just what caused what.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Dum Diversas is a papal bull issued on 18 June 1452 by Pope Nicholas V. It authorized Afonso V of Portugal to conquer Saracens and pagans and consign them to “perpetual servitude”. Pope Calixtus III reiterated the bull in 1456 with Inter Caetera (not to be confused with Alexander VI’s), renewed by Pope Sixtus IV in 1481 and Pope Leo X in 1514 with Precelse denotionis. The concept of the consignment of exclusive spheres of influence to certain nation states was extended to the Americas in 1493 by Pope Alexander VI with Inter caetera.

        • How does your claim avoid being unfalsifiable?

        • It’s unfalsifiable because every book is a mirror?

          Not if it were written or inspired by God. He’s plenty smart enough to make an unambiguous book that isn’t open to meaningful, accidental misinterpretation.

        • It’s unfalsifiable because every book is a mirror?

          If this is a scientific statement, it must be falsifiable. If it is not, then why should I accept your dogma?

          Not if it were written or inspired by God. He’s plenty smart enough to make an unambiguous book that isn’t open to meaningful, accidental misinterpretation.

          Suppose this is true. Then this language would be indistinguishable from mind control, right? Just like a programming language [with kernel access] can force a computer system into any desirable state, God’s language could force us into any desirable state. How would moral freedom survive under such a scheme? Would God’s language only have perfect control over some aspects of our brains?

        • Paul B. Lot

          BS:[God is] plenty smart enough to make an unambiguous book that isn’t open to meaningful, accidental misinterpretation.

          LB:[1]Suppose this is true. [2]Then this language would be indistinguishable from mind control, right?

          I see no reason to acquiesce that #2 follows from #1. You’re quite bad at logic, doubtless you don’t see what I mean and you think that I’m just being a meanie or a shaitan or someone who twists words, so here’s a counter example of what it *could* look like if we “Suppose this is true”:

          http://www.fullmoon.nu/articles/art.php?id=tal

        • Wow–talk about unfalsifiability.

          If I were an excellent algebra teacher, and you didn’t know algebra, I could teach it to you. That is, I could force you to accept algebra. Your understanding algebra and accepting my claims about it as true is a desirable state for me, and I could force you into it.

          Not what I would call “mind control.” Not really a draconian world, either.

          No, as usual, I’m not seeing the problem.

        • Wow–talk about unfalsifiability.

          Are you excusing yourself from indicating whether or not every book is a mirror” is falsifiable?

          If I were an excellent algebra teacher, and you didn’t know algebra, I could teach it to you. That is, I could force you to accept algebra. Your understanding algebra and accepting my claims about it as true is a desirable state for me, and I could force you into it.

          The fact that algebra is value-free and value-neutral renders your analogy questionable.

        • Kodie

          Are you excusing yourself from indicating whether or not “every book is a mirror” is falsifiable?

          I thought you were the one who brought it up. You used Shakespeare as an example.

        • Are you excusing yourself from indicating whether or not “every book is a mirror” is falsifiable?

          I ignored your response because it made no sense.

          The fact that algebra is value-free and value-neutral renders your analogy questionable.

          You said that God communicating clearly would be mind control. I gave you what most of us would think is a harmless example and showed that it was, by your standard, “mind control.” I think the analogy worked just fine.

        • Kodie

          If he could line up the 10 Commandments, I don’t see how that’s “mind control”. Everyone I know breaks some of them.

        • adam

          What, LYING is one of the Commandments that Luke uses on a regular basis.

        • Kodie

          Well, of course. But, the main point is, he doesn’t consider it mind control to have a list of rules in the bible. One only has to think how to get around them and still feel like they are a good person.

        • God dammit am I tired of being accused of breaking the 10 Commandments.

        • Paul B. Lot

          “The Bible is a mirror–not especially useful if we’re looking for good advice.”

          I disagree.

          Mirrors, themselves, can be wonderful tools for advice if, for example, you want to know how to angle the razor blade to take the hair and not the jugular.

          Further, the collection of works we call the Bible contains some books, intermixed with the absolute offal of humanity, which are stunningly beautiful and/or filled with the wisdom of their age.

          Finally, it seems to me that introspective humans can glean wisdom from most sources. Hell, even @LukeBreuer:disqus is a great source of insight into how-not-to-live.

          With all that said, it certainly isn’t anything approaching a perfect tool for finding wisdom/morality – the ease with which even the [not-irredeemable-parts] are used and abused to evil ends is absurd.

        • Myna A.

          Just to be clear, you seem to see the Bible as a kind of Rorschach test…

          That’s because it is a Rorschach test. You, yourself, have your own interpretation that your comments continually bear witness to. To be fair, most things in life are a Rorschach test, it’s just that the Christian bible is the ultimate one.

          There will come a time when Christianity will be equivalent to the Greek Parthenon. It’s inevitable. It will fall before Judaism and before Islam. Why? Because there is no cohesion. That was lost with not only the advent of Protestantism, but the rise of secularism. Protestantism will likely crumble before Catholicism simply due to the fact that Protestantism is more fractured, but the rule of Church and State is as dead as a door-nail.

          That can be contrasted with the [I think?] generally held belief that there are more valid and less valid ways to interpret Shakespeare.

          Only to English Lit professors. Shakespeare’s a poor example for you to use because his works do not influence the world outside of stage drama. That the Bard had an uncanny insight into human agenda is surely intriguing, but no one’s attempting to use his compositions as a framework for social policy.

        • MR

          There will come a time when Christianity will be equivalent to the Greek Parthenon. It’s inevitable. It will fall before Judaism and before Islam. Why? Because there is no cohesion. That was lost with not only the advent of Protestantism, but the rise of secularism. Protestantism will likely crumble before Catholicism simply due to the fact that Protestantism is more fractured, but the rule of Church and State is as dead as a door-nail.

          From your mouth to God’s ears.

        • Ignorant Amos

          A landmark in national life has just been passed. For the first time in recorded history, those declaring themselves to have no religion have exceeded the number of Christians in Britain. Some 44 per cent of us regard ourselves as Christian, 8 per cent follow another religion and 48 per cent follow none. The decline of Christianity is perhaps the biggest single change in Britain over the past century. For some time, it has been a stretch to describe Britain as a Christian country. We can more accurately be described now as a secular nation with fading Christian institutions.

          http://www.spectator.co.uk/2016/05/britain-really-is-ceasing-to-be-a-christian-country/

          The British government also has the highest number of gays than that of any other country in the world.

        • That’s because it is a Rorschach test.

          Is this a scientific explanation? If so, how have you attempted to falsify it?

          There will come a time when Christianity will be equivalent to the Greek Parthenon. It’s inevitable.

          If you believe this for the same reasons that many sociolgoists and intellectuals believed in the secularization thesis, you should know that it has shown to be empirically wrong. See, for example, prominent sociologist Peter Berger’s The Many Altars of Modernity: Toward a Paradigm for Religion in a Pluralist Age.

          Just for fun, how about you indicate some guesses as to how you might be wrong on this issue? I like to collect long-term predictions that people make about the future, especially when they’re so sure about some empirical matter.

          Only to English Lit professors. Shakespeare’s a poor example for you to use because his works do not influence the world outside of stage drama. That the Bard had an uncanny insight into human agenda is surely intriguing, but no one’s attempting to use his compositions as a framework for social policy.

          So is your thesis that if it does “influence the world outside of stage drama”, then you get something like what I’ve called the “infinite interpretations hypothesis”?

        • adam

          “Is this a scientific explanation?”

          Why should WE do all the work here.
          If you want to know that you should do the work yourself.

          You seem to have plenty of free time that you use to WHINE like a little 5 year old.

        • Myna A.

          Is this a scientific explanation?

          It is the perception explanation, relating to patterns and interpretation of those patterns. Influences are variable…ie: cultural, familial. In terms of Christian interpretation, how many denominations can dance on the spine of a book binding?

          See, for example, prominent sociologist Peter Berger’s The Many Altars of Modernity: Toward a Paradigm for Religion in a Pluralist Age.

          Far be it from me to not humble before prominence.

          Religions rise, eventually to fall. Let them rise and fall, for they will rise and fall again. The Egyptian religion lasted 3000 years. That’s a long time in cultural terms.

          My argument will always be that for collective well-being, it is imperative to fight against any theocracy or dictatorship that prevents freedom and expression of the mind. Fit religion into that where you want to. Democratic secularism appears to be able to assist in that overall well-being.

          Just for fun, how about you indicate some guesses as to how you might be wrong on this issue? I like to collect long-term predictions that people make about the future, especially when they’re so sure about some empirical matter.

          How about you have fun with yourself and your own enchantments. I haven’t the time nor the inclination at present to ride the carousel.

          Speaking of riding the painted ponies that go round and round, you’ve been quite tireless, I see: http://blog.rongarret.info/2014/09/christians-show-their-true-colors.html

        • Paul B. Lot

          “How about you have fun with yourself and your own enchantments. I haven’t the time nor the inclination at present to ride the carousel.”

          A+

        • Kodie

          That’s Luke Breuer commenting on that article, isn’t it.

        • It is the perception explanation, relating to patterns and interpretation of those patterns. Influences are variable…ie: cultural, familial.

          I don’t deny that your cultural background influences how you interpret; I affirm it. What I want to examine is this notion that one can interpret utterly freely, which I call the “infinite interpretations hypothesis”. The popular imagination of the Rorschach test is that the ink blots are utterly meaningless and there is no more or less correct interpretation of them. The implicit claim behind this is “death of the author”: no longer can the authors intentions even be probabilistically interpreted, but instead I can only fill in the author’s words with myself. What this really means is that true communication between actually different people is impossible. It entails the dichotomy of cultural imperialism/​cultural relativism, with no hope of transcending the dichotomy (of a “fusion of horizons”).

          Far be it from me to not humble before prominence.

          I only say such things because what I say is so frequently dismissed, otherwise. So I indicate that a well-respected scholar said X, in order to have the bare possibility that the legitimacy of X might be considered.

          My argument will always be that for collective well-being, it is imperative to fight against any theocracy or dictatorship that prevents freedom and expression of the mind.

          Ahhh, then what do you make of stuff like The EU wants the Internet to be a “Safe Space”? Is this phenomenon of ‘hate speech’ actually censorship, or can we pursue collective well-being by abridging speech whenever it makes someone ‘uncomfortable’? (See also the phenomenon happening at US colleges.) One might even say that ‘toleration’ always meant domination.

          I would also question what you possibly mean by the term ‘religion’; whether it is even a natural kind (something we can speak about scientifically) is dubious.

          Speaking of riding the painted ponies that go round and round, you’ve been quite tireless, I see: http://blog.rongarret.info/201

          Ahh yes, [atheist] Ron Garret and I are friends. Just yesterday I attended a talk on the philosophy of science he gave at Berkeley and he drove me back home.

        • Myna A.

          Ahh yes, [atheist] Ron Garret and I are friends.

          This would explain Mr. Garret’s indulgence. Do you always [bracket] your friends?

          phenomenon of ‘hate speech’

          Hate and its vocalization is as old as the species and is a by-product of fear, competition for control and learned behavior. Suppressing it won’t do away with it. I will leave this subject and any remedy thereof to your own investigation.

          What this really means is that true communication between actually different people is impossible.

          Who are these “actually different people”? Are you speaking here of communication or surrender?

          My position remains that the Christian bible is akin to a Rorschach test…that, or is the original rule book for a tragic game of Dungeons & Dragons, whichever you prefer.

          …the term ‘religion’

          Respecting your penchant for consultation, I leave you to consult Our Lady of Definition, Merriam. I would concur with said offering.

        • busterggi

          The bible is not nearly as well thought out as even the 1st edition of D&D –
          I know, I’ve read both.

        • This would explain Mr. Garret’s indulgence. Do you always [bracket] your friends?

          That conversation took place before we became friends, so it doesn’t explain his “indulgence”. (I wonder if he would describe it that way.) I included the “[atheist]” to make a point.

          I will leave this subject and any remedy thereof to your own investigation.

          Interesting. Because it seems like a new set of blasphemy laws, but without what most atheists wish to call ‘religion’. It suggests that one doesn’t need a deity to get ‘religious’ behavior. It casts in doubt the idea that ‘religion’, as your average atheist would define the term, is actually the culprit.

          Who are these “actually different people”? Are you speaking here of communication or surrender?

          I am quite different from Ron Garret. One culture is quite different from another. And I mean communication, not surrender. This is entailed by “fusion of horizons”.

          My position remains that the Christian bible is akin to a Rorschach test…that, or is the original rule book for a tragic game of Dungeons & Dragons, whichever you prefer.

          Is this a scientific statement? That is, is it falsifiable?

          Respecting your penchant for consultation, I leave you to consult Our Lady of Definition, Merriam. I would concur with said offering.

          So… do I get to go with the third definition under “Simple Definition”: “an interest, a belief, or an activity that is very important to a person or group”?

        • adam

          “What I want to examine is this notion that one can interpret utterly
          freely, which I call the “infinite interpretations hypothesis”. ”

          Let’s call it what it is

          Luke making up stuff AGAIN….

        • Ignorant Amos

          His becoming a Christian seemed to exert a profound influence on him.

          What? Was he not always a Christian? Why did this “becoming a Christian” experience not have the same profound influence on all those slave owner Christians of the time? That would have been a lot more impressive.

          Such influences beg for causal attributions.

          They might, but you don’t get to just shoehorn in your fave causal attributions, especially when they fly in the face of reason and are just your assertions.

          One possibility is that it was something in Christianity which can be identified, and identified as distinct from whatever allowed other Christians to think that slavery is acceptable.

          Seriously contrived thinking.

          One possibility is that it was something in outside Christianity which can be identified, and identified as distinct from whatever allowed other Christians to think that slavery is acceptable.

          See how easy that was?

          Is that not a more rational hypothesis given how many Christians, including Christian clerics, that lacked this “something” you seem to believe inherent in Christianity?

        • What? Was he not always a Christian? Why did this “becoming a Christian” experience not have the same profound influence on all those slave owner Christians of the time? That would have been a lot more impressive.

          Read the first paragraph of WP: William Wilberforce. As to your empirical question, I’m sure it has an empirical answer. You might start with Creating God in your own image. Of course, you’ll almost certainly have to extrapolate from better data in the present to worse data in the past, although there’s still plenty of slavery today and the innocence of the West is questionable.

          They might, but you don’t get to just shoehorn in your fave causal attributions, especially when they fly in the face of reason and are just your assertions.

          Actually, I’ve had to work hard to establish sheer possibility; before I do that, any other work in this domain would be useless—since I don’t have the resources or training to do a full-fledged, double-blind study. I’m not even sure that’s possible, given the voluntary and non-forcible nature of conversion, not to mention the study I just linked.

          Now, after establishing sheer possibility—I have to combat the automagic “No True Scotsman” applied to-date in these comments—we can move on to what would qualify as decent probability. We could explore the phenomenon of two people claiming to believe the same thing, with wildly divergent behavior. Is it ever scientifically acceptable to put those two people in different groups?

          You’ll have to explain the “fly in the face of reason” bit, especially after taking the rest of my comment into consideration.

          One possibility is that it was something in outside Christianity which can be identified, and identified as distinct from whatever allowed other Christians to think that slavery is acceptable.

          Of course. So how do we turn the full set of possibilities—which carve up the logical space of what could be the case—into probabilities?

          Is that not a more rational hypothesis given how many Christians, including Christian clerics, that lacked this “something” you seem to believe inherent in Christianity?

          Not that I can see. Suppose that 90% of those who call themselves ‘Christian’ lack this “something”, and only 10% have it. I don’t see how this immediately points to a source outside of this thing called ‘Christianity’. What creates a problem is if you cannot pick out anything unique to the 10% other than merely the fact that they had this “something” and it manifested a particular way. What you want to do is find some other characteristic, even essence, which entails that “something”. This is precisely what Jacques Ellul does in The Subversion of Christianity. He argues that whether or not Christians pursue power—that is, whether they adhere to or violate Mt 20:20–28—results in a natural kind distinction.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Read the first paragraph of WP: William Wilberforce.

          Did you read it? It doesn’t answer my question. It says nothing about whether he was already a Christian or not does it? Now, it appears he was raised a Church of England Protestant before being sent to live with an evangelical aunt and uncle who it would seem had a perceived bad influence on him. So much so, that his Mother brought him back to Hull. His mother was keen to see William brought up in the traditional Anglican Church tradition and was not keen on her son having a nonconformist upbringing.

          He appears to have drifted away from religiosity for a few wilderness years from eighteen when he entered university. Returning to Evangelical Christianity after touring Europe with his Ma and sister.

          Of course, it would have been an exceptional case had Wilberforce not been raised a Christian during that time, hence my asking the question.

          Therefore, the statement…

          His becoming a Christian seemed to exert a profound influence on him.

          …is somewhat misleading. I will add that having looked at a number of sources, the story differs somewhat. But I think it is fair to say he was already a Christian. One might say, “His returning to becoming an evangelical Christian seemed to exert a profound influence on him”, which would be less misleading.

        • busterggi

          Only Luke can tell when someone has become or unbecome a REAL Christian.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Anno…he’s just so special.

        • Paul B. Lot

          Therefore, the statement…

          His becoming a Christian seemed to exert a profound influence on him.

          …is somewhat misleading.

          Full marks for understatement.

        • It’s a pretty common theme among Christians that you might grow up ‘Christian’, but you have a choice to either “make your faith your own”, let it just be a cultural thing you do but have never really grappled with, or abandon the faith. If you want a sociological treatment of this, it can be found in sections of Peter Berger’s A Far Glory. So, I see no problem suggesting that Wilberforce “made his faith his own”, and that this is what triggered his abolitionism.

          Of course this will be contested; in my experience, a certain segment of atheists fight very hard to deny that ‘religion’ can cause such extraordinarily good things as what Wilberforce went on to do. The idea that ‘religion’ can exert a causal force that isn’t entirely derivative of ‘society’ is antithetical to much modern thought. It seems to me that this would amplify any rational probability that Wilberforce’s Christianity did not play in important role.

          Given that it might be impossible to really know, I think the more interesting question is whether it is probable enough that Wilberforce’s Christianity really did exert a powerful influence on him, causing him to either fight slavery when he wouldn’t otherwise have, or fight so strongly. Any system of thought which cannot handle such probability would seem to be wrong.

        • adam

          “Given that it might be impossible to really know, I think the more interesting question is whether it is probable enough that Wilberforce’s Christianity really did exert a powerful influence on him, causing him to either fight slavery when he wouldn’t otherwise have, or fight so strongly.”

          What is OBVIOUS, is that he went AGAINST Jesus as “God” and the words of said “God”

        • Paul B. Lot

          in my experience, a certain segment of atheists fight very hard to deny that ‘religion’ can cause such extraordinarily good things as what Wilberforce went on to do.

          I agree. Many atheists, for whatever concatenations of reasons, are viscerally and reflexively opposed to any and all things said by theists. This can be especially frustrating, as a fellow atheist, and it happens even here at CE.

          So, I see no problem suggesting that Wilberforce “made his faith his own”, and that this is what triggered his abolitionism.

          <= The statement above is not equivalent to the statement below =>

          His becoming a Christian seemed to exert a profound influence on him.

          [Becoming a Christian] is not equivalent to [being raised Christian, straying, then returning] is not equivalent to [being raised flavor XYZ of Christian, then “making flavor WYZ your own”].

          You have re-worked your ideas, after being challenged by @Ignorant_Amos:disqus.

          An honest and humble interlocutor would acknowledge the truth of his assertion: “[your] statement…is somewhat misleading”.

          You did not.

          Instead you re-defined your position, doubled down, complained about atheists, and then went back on the offensive: “Any system of thought which cannot handle such probability would seem to be wrong.”

          All without any hint that had sidestepped, much less that anyone had called you out on it.

          The idea that ‘religion’ can exert a causal force that isn’t entirely derivative of ‘society’ is antithetical to much modern thought.

          This isn’t “antithetical”, so much as it seems irrational/undefined.

          What part of ‘religion’, or the causal force it can apply, is non-societal? Is there an aspect of ‘religion’ which testably and reliably provides causal force on society which originates outside the interactions of humans?

        • adam

          “An honest and humble interlocutor would acknowledge the truth of his assertion”

          Well we know this is something that Luke is NOT.

        • adam

          “I agree. Many atheists, for whatever concatenations of reasons, are
          viscerally and reflexively opposed to any and all things said by
          theists.”

          I think this is more from the evidence from people like Luke, who apparently NEED to LIE and be DECEPTIVE to demonstrate their ‘Gods’ are anything but IMAGINARY.

          Couple that with theists believing in MAGIC over SCIENCE, and you can see how unreliable theists are, especially in discussions about their “Gods”

        • Ignorant Amos

          See Luke Breuer’s link…

          ..“People may use religious agents as a moral compass, forming impressions and making decisions based on what they presume God as the ultimate moral authority would believe or want. The central feature of a compass, however, is that it points north no matter what direction a person is facing. This research suggests that, unlike an actual compass, inferences about God’s beliefs may instead point people further in whatever direction they are already facing.”

          http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/2009/11/30/creating-god-in-ones-own-image/

        • Sigh. See also my response, where I distinguish between what the evidence actually says, and how philosophical and theological beliefs are required to get it to say what you claim it says.

        • Kodie

          Holy Horseshit!

        • Ignorant Amos

          Flabbergasting isn’t it?

        • Kodie

          Luke has a brilliant skill at warping reality so his beliefs can stay intact. He’s really shitty at everything else.

        • adam

          “and how philosophical and theological beliefs are required to get it to say what you claim it says.”

          You mean what he quoted….

        • Ignorant Amos

          Sigh.

          But didn’t you say the study can support either or position? Especially if you squint hard enough through those magic “interpretation spectacles” you have glued to yer face.

        • Nope, I didn’t say “… ? Especially if …”; the underlining radically changes the meaning. Apparently you think that people are simply born with certain theological and philosophical beliefs—or that they are rationally defensible—and that I’m the odd one for saying that we should be skeptical of them and let that skepticism impact our interpretations of the evidence.

        • adam

          “and that I’m the odd one for saying that we should be skeptical of them
          and let that skepticism impact our interpretations of the evidence.”

          Sure, Luke, sure…

        • Ignorant Amos

          And I didn’t say you said “Especially if…”, I’m saying “Especially if…”.

          You inferred that the study can support either or position. I just think that you are distorting the study to support your own aims, but fine, squint away. I’m just taking you up on that and using your own source against you. What’s the problem?

          This is your game Luke. You take a comment and search for a word or turn of phrase that you can latch onto in order to rip into a comment in order to avoid addressing the issue. But ya get agitated when the favour is returned.

        • You inferred that the study can support either or position. I just think that you are distorting the study to support your own aims, but fine, squint away. I’m just taking you up on that and using your own source against you. What’s the problem?

          The problem is that you have provided no argument for your opinion. (“The study is it’s own argument.”) This is really another instance of your fundamentalism: things just appear a certain way to you, and when they appear differently to someone else, that person is automatically wrong. You make no effort to offer a rational argument and you make no effort to charitably understand why your interlocutor differs.

          This is your game Luke. You take a comment and search for a word or turn of phrase that you can latch onto in order to rip into a comment in order to avoid addressing the issue. But ya get agitated when the favour is returned.

          I have little idea of what you’re talking about. One thing I know I do is to question possible presuppositions. If you think this is a tactic to “avoid addressing the issue”, then I’ll simply ask whether you’ve stopped beating your wife, yet.

        • MR

          This is your game Luke.

          Double ^1

        • adam

          Yep, Luke, the quote doesnt say what it means.

          Just like the bible, according to you….

        • Kodie

          Don’t forget, people don’t make these inferences themselves. People like Luke look for sources to direct them further in the direction he wants to go. He keeps referring to them, and sometimes doesn’t read carefully.

          I learned a term, probably wrong, a while ago, “dead reckoning.” In general, it means making some kind of estimation in navigation based on the last place you were certain you were and evidence you could estimate on the way to where you intend to go. Somehow, I learned it more by being stubbornly certain where you are (even if you’re wrong) and then heading in the direction you think your destination is, or following bad directions or following others. For example, if you don’t know how to use a compass, and you are dropped off in a city you recognize as east of your home, you might point the needle to W and go that way.

          It’s my understanding that church is a lot that way. They influence doubt that you know where you really are, tell you you are somewhere else, and then give directions to go where they want you to end up, which wasn’t where you were going in the first place. It’s a marketing trap where you are convinced you can’t rely on your own sensibilities anymore, but also confuse you about where you started and whether you want to go where they’re going, which is ultimately to church every week, possibly multiple times per week, influence to humble yourself and forget who you are and what you wanted and where you were really headed.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yeah…I’ve used DR both professionally and recreationally. The former while in the military, the later while participating in orienteering competitions. It is easy to get it desperately wrong, especially because of map scale unfamiliarity. A lot of self doubting with DR, hence a lot of checking and re-checking.

          Great analogy Kodie.

        • Kodie

          I have recently confronted my terrible sense of direction. I get anxious going places, even if I’ve been there before, if I haven’t memorized the route, and I don’t like getting lost, but recently it really smacked me in the face as not just a thing where people get lost sometimes. I am pretty good at a lot of things, but this I now know. Every time I don’t know where I am, I attempt to right my direction but make the wrong choice, every single time. If I continue to go this way, I’ll eventually arrive somewhere I recognize, but it’s usually so much farther away than if I turned on a different street in the other direction. It’s something about, well, this road also goes west, but all of a sudden I’m almost in Rhode Island, or going North on a major highway when I was supposed to go over it, or on a toll road with no exits for 10 miles, because there are always signs telling you how to get to the pike, but the last sign means no backing out or turning around. One of those occurred with a gps after having driven the route 3 other times without making a mistake. After making hundreds of trips to my grandmother’s apartment as a passenger, and once as a driver, I got lost for over an hour in an unfamiliar city.

          Anyway, knowing this, and maybe a lot of people have a better direction sense than I do, or rely on tools (I still don’t have a smartphone, but soon I will), and don’t notice the lack of their own common sense. It’s true that some religious people have a knack for making good choices and their lives seem to go more seamlessly than others, that they can’t help but confirm that god is over their shoulder guiding them, but are flawed in seeing how others can use the same imaginary guide and get terribly lost. That just tells me it’s personal and imaginary. A lot of people have a better sense of direction than I do, a better ability to recognize “that tree” as one you’ve passed before, and read signs and get in the correct lane because they know what towns they should pass through to get home. To me, everything looks alike, and I can’t interpret (for lack of a better word) signs quickly enough. When there’s a choice between going this way and that, and you’re not sure, and I mean it more metaphorically, at least half the time, you would choose correctly. Some people have better odds, and some have worse, well, that’s religion. That’s also denying personal knowledge, awareness of evidence, like actual signs. “Lucky I made a left back there” isn’t such a matter of equal choices. Some people don’t realize how aware of their surroundings they are, and calculate the right choice more often and more quickly, while others like me, are basically making a coin toss.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I have a very good sense of direction, but my partners is atrocious, so I get what you are saying.

          It’s like comparing these people…

          http://myfirstclasslife.com/top-10-ludicrously-wealthy-pastors/?singlepage=1

          …to these people…

          http://www.wired.co.uk/article/global-poverty-oxfam-world-economic-forum

          …but then God sure does work in very mysterious ways…or he’s just a figment of fuckwit imagination.

        • Myna A.

          #50

          Why is Bill Moyers on that list of miscreants?

        • ex-pastor?

        • Myna A.

          Here is a link to a biography on Moyers: http://www.americanswhotellthetruth.org/portraits/bill-moyers

        • “He was also ordained as a minister while an undergraduate and went on to earn a Master of Divinity in 1959 from the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary following a year of study at the University of Edinburgh as a Rotary International Fellow. Moyers even served for a time as a Baptist minister in Weir, Texas.”

        • Myna A.

          Exactly. That’s what I related to Amos. He was a pastor briefly in the late 1950’s. He would have been in his 20’s. He did/does not, as the list implies, make his living fleecing people in the name of religion, although I assume whatever church it was he worked under likely passed the donation plate among the parishioners, but we’re not talking about some little church of brief association in Texas in the 50’s in comparison to people like Joel Osteen. Moyers being on the list is not only misleading, it is the product of not doing even a cursory investigation by the person or persons who compiled the list.

          Thus my protest of #50 on the list.

          [Edited]

        • Ignorant Amos

          I guess it’s because he is a pastor and wealthy, which flies in the face of the Jesus message about accumulated wealth. Which is the point I’m attempting to portray.

          There’s nothing about the list that says those on it are otherwise bad people, though by your “list of miscreants” remark I’m guessing at least more than a few are bad apples. I’m not up-to-speed with the lifestyles of stateside millionaire holy rolling pastors.

          For the purposes of my point here, he’s fit for purpose, so he stays…soz.

        • Myna A.

          Moyers served as a pastor only briefly in the late 1950’s, returned to his passion for journalism, served as press secretary under Johnson and again went on into a distinguished career in journalism. He’s one of the most highly respected journalists for Public Broadcasting.

          The others on the list either make their living by fleecing the sheep or are bullshitters for their own cause.

          I don’t think you should take the link down. That’s not my purpose. My purpose is to protest #50.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yeah…I went and read a wee bit about Moyes after your comment…so thanks for that.

          Moyers served as a pastor only briefly in the late 1950’s,..

          Yeah, it seems that once a pastor, always a pastor

          Edit: Disqus ate the bottom half of my comment and I’m too ticked off to reconstruct it…ffs.

        • Michael Neville

          It’s interesting that to find a “good” Christian you have to reach back to the early 19th Century for a specimen. Are “good” Christians that rare?

          Incidentally you still haven’t justified Wilberforce as a “good” Christian. Sure, he was an abolitionist but other than that he was a reactionary Tory. He was attacked by radicals for campaigning for slaves abroad while voting against every workers’ aid bill. William Cobbett said to Wilberforce: “Never have you done one single act in favour of the labourers of this country.” He fought against Catholic emancipation (Catholics couldn’t be members of Parliament until 1829). He supported the suspension of habeas corpus in 1795 and the “Gagging Bills” which banned meetings of more than 50 people.

          Wilberforce opposed giving workers’ rights to organize into unions, in 1799 voting in favor of the Combination Act, which suppressed trade union activity throughout the United Kingdom, and calling unions “a general disease in our society”. He also opposed an inquiry into the 1819 Peterloo Massacre in which eleven protesters were killed at a political rally demanding reform. Wilberforce’s actions led William Hazlitt to condemn him as one “who preaches vital Christianity to untutored savages, and tolerates its worst abuses in civilised states.”

          I’m unimpressed with your hero Willy.

        • It’s interesting that to find a “good” Christian you have to reach back to the early 19th Century for a specimen.

          This is an irrational conclusion.

          Incidentally you still haven’t justified Wilberforce as a “good” Christian. Sure, he was an abolitionist but […]

          We probably differ on the usage of ‘good’. I take God to use broken vessels to nevertheless do great things; I challenge anyone to read Hebrews 11 while rejecting this. Perhaps in two hundred years, people we would pick out as moral heroes will be seen as pretty terrible for not vehemently objecting to the role of consumerism and advertising (including in political campaigns) take in the US today. What I say is important is what impact a person has on the moral trajectory of his/her time. I need no direct, unmediated access to moral absolutes to say this.

          I’m unimpressed with your hero Willy.

          He’s not my hero (otherwise I would know much more about him), but I doubt that you’d be unable to perform a hatchet job on just about any human in history. Even Siddhārtha Gautama is said to have abandoned his wife and child—who does that? I’m sure you have plenty negative to say about Jesus as recorded in the Protestant Bible.

        • Michael Neville

          What’s irrational about it? Are you claiming that Wilberforce didn’t live in the early 19th Century? Because if you are then that’s irrational.

          All I said was that the paragon of Christian virtue who you place next to Jesus as an exemplar of all that’s good about your delusional beliefs was someone who died nearly two centuries ago.

          Even Siddhārtha Gautama is said to have abandoned his wife and child

          Am I supposed to be impressed that you know about non-Christian religious figures?

        • MN: It’s interesting that to find a “good” Christian you have to reach back to the early 19th Century for a specimen.

          LB: This is an irrational conclusion.

          MN: What’s irrational about it? Are you claiming that Wilberforce didn’t live in the early 19th Century? Because if you are then that’s irrational.

          I’ve added underlining to help answer that question.

          All I said was that the paragon of Christian virtue who you place next to Jesus as an exemplar of all that’s good about your delusional beliefs was someone who died nearly two centuries ago.

          How did what I write entail the underlined?

          Am I supposed to be impressed that you know about non-Christian religious figures?

          No.

        • Michael Neville

          What is irrational about pointing out that your paragon of Christian virtue lived in the late 18th and early 19th Centuries? You were the one who touted William Wilberforce (1759 – 1833) as the Christian par excellence because he was an abolitionist. You’re the one claiming his evangelical Christianity was the driving force behind his hatred of slavery.

          I’m just saying that Willy lived two centuries ago and that he was a reactionary Tory, both of which statements are true.

        • What is irrational is the representation of Wilberforce as “[my] paragon of Christian virtue”. I never said he was nor did I imply it. You have constructed a straw man.

        • Michael Neville

          Then why did you keep lavishing praise on Wilberforce? Why did you keep saying that Christianity is what made him an abolitionist? Why did YOU bring Wilberforce up in the first place?

        • Can you not see how the following—

          LB: Given that it might be impossible to really know, I think the more interesting question is whether it is probable enough that Wilberforce’s Christianity really did exert a powerful influence on him, causing him to either fight slavery when he wouldn’t otherwise have, or fight so strongly. Any system of thought which cannot handle such probability would seem to be wrong.

          —requires neither that Wilberforce be “the paragon of Christian virtue”, nor that he be “[my] hero”?

        • Kodie

          Are you arguing that the power of Christ is selective, or that people make choices according to their own personal views of right and wrong, even if they aren’t in line with the majority, some of the time? I mean, people attribute a lot of things to god, you have to lump in a good thing with the bad things people attribute to god, since they’re either all right or all wrong.

        • MNb

          Only a huge ego like LB’s can expect to get answers while refusing to provide answers themselves like those of MN.

        • Ignorant Amos

          “People may use religious agents as a moral compass, forming impressions and making decisions based on what they presume God as the ultimate moral authority would believe or want. The central feature of a compass, however, is that it points north no matter what direction a person is facing. This research suggests that, unlike an actual compass, inferences about God’s beliefs may instead point people further in whatever direction they are already facing.”

        • Try building a rational argument from explicitly stated premises (including the empirical data from those studies) to that conclusion and you’ll either find an invalid argument or theological and philosophical beliefs I would expose to skepticism.

          The question is, will you expose the beliefs you espouse to rational criticism, or will you hide them somehow?

        • adam

          ….

        • Ignorant Amos

          Whaaaaa?

          The study is it’s own argument.

          The study is stating something that everyone has been telling you for weeks.

          Luke, the study doesn’t support your hypothesis no matter how hard you squint at it.

          Start with the title… “Believers’ estimates of God’s beliefs are more egocentric than estimates of other people’s beliefs”…it is not set in the form of a question, it is a claim which the study sets out to demonstrate.

          People often reason egocentrically about others’ beliefs, using their own beliefs as an inductive guide. Correlational, experimental, and neuroimaging evidence suggests that people may be even more egocentric when reasoning about a religious agent’s beliefs (e.g., God).

          Religion appears to serve as a moral compass for the vast majority of people around the world. It informs whether same-sex marriage is love or sin, whether war is an act of security or of terror, and whether abortion rights represent personal liberty or permission to murder. Many religions are centered on a god (or gods) that has beliefs and intentions, with adherents encouraged to follow “God’s will” on everything from martyrdom to career planning to voting. Within these religious systems, how do people know what their god wills?

          The Jewish and Christian traditions state explicitly that God created man in his own image, but believers and nonbelievers alike have long argued that people seem to create God in their own image as well (2–5).

          etc., etc., etc….

          There is just too many points to put up here that argue against your position. I’d need to copy & paste the whole paper on here.

          Are we reading the same paper or do I need to borrow those spec’s of yours, because no matter how hard I squint while reading it I just don’t see it the way you do.

          Anybody else?

        • There is just too many points to put up here that argue against your position.

          No, it’s not actually that hard. You have two basic models: (i) person with God as projection; (ii) person influenced by God. Both of these models can easily result in a person’s beliefs closely following his/her estimate of God’s beliefs. So we need a way to differentiate between them. The method chosen is to try influencing the person’s beliefs—studies 5 & 6. This presupposes what I shall call (T): that these studies could only alter a person’s estimate of God’s beliefs under (i). That is, the methods of alteration ought not alter a person’s estimate of God’s beliefs under (ii).

          But (T) is a theological belief. It says something like: God would not want us to learn of his beliefs via rational arguments (as one among multiple options for learning). One version of (T) would be that the only way I ought to change my estimate of God’s beliefs is via reading the Bible. Another version would allow ordained ministers. Another version would depend on the Magisterium. No version would permit rational argument by psychological experimenters.

          The study is it’s own argument.

          If you’re not able to make a formal argument from the study—with premises, intermediate steps, and a conclusion—then I shall suggest you don’t rigorously understand the study. Instead, you would probably understand enough to see that (not “how”) it could plausibly support the point of view you had before you ever set eyes on the study. I have shown what is required for this support: two contentious beliefs, one philosophical and one theological. I elaborated on the ‘theological’ belief, above.

        • Kodie

          Will you expose the beliefs you espouse to rational criticism, or will you continue to ramble on at tedious length and not read the links you keep posting, because it’s hilarious.

        • Susan

          Why did YOU bring Wilberforce up in the first place?

          Because he assumed the point that the bible can mean anything to anyone meant that the bible can only mean any evil thing to any evil one.

          It was pointed out almost immediately after he completely missed the point that that was not the point. He ignored the obvious even when it was pointed out to him.

          He chose instead to go into to his “at least plausible” dance on an issue that was irrelevant to the original point and has dug his heels in once again on a point he is unable to make.

          Interacting with Luke seems to lead nowhere except to more interacting with Luke.

          How many fingers am I holding up?

          (Just checking.)

        • MNb

          “Interacting with Luke seems to lead nowhere except to more interacting with Luke.”
          Yup – and when the discussion doesn’t make progress everyone is to be blamed except Lukieboy himself. As a result “making progress” means “taking over Lukieboy’s infinite wisdom”.

        • Paul B. Lot

          His becoming a Christian seemed to exert a profound influence on him. Such influences beg for causal attributions. One possibility is that it was something in Christianity which can be identified, and identified as distinct from whatever allowed other Christians to think that slavery is acceptable.

          Perhaps the short answer is that @LukeBreuer:disqus mistakenly thought that Wilberforce was ever !Christian? 😛

          But seriously, I suspect that Luke’s motives are quite easy to tease out here. His goal is to provide support to the argument [the story of Judeo-Christianity (the story of Earth/humans) is the story of God working his righteousness through and in the world].

          If that is the case, then his mention of Wilberforce (apart from the hiccup about his “becoming a Christian”) was intended to illustrate an example of [Christianity causing a person to act better than they would otherwise have done.]

          It’s a clever move on a few levels…

          First, it’s unfalsifiable in principle. Because of [the arrow of time/”free will”/MWI Quantum Mechanics], we will never be able to test whether or not Wilberforce would have/could have done ought else, even if we were able to strip him of his childhood faith/eventual interpretation of same.

          +1

          Secondly, it allows him to point to [societal progress] and publicly guess that the cause, or at least one of the causes, of this progress was the light of Christ entering a man’s heart…a bit.

          The fact that Wilberforce has other reprehensible qualities doesn’t change the fact that he was FOR abolition. Thus Luke gives himself the out (well, those that indoctrinated Luke taught him how to give himself/themselves the out) fact that [Christianity] works slowly and partially at any given time, in any given human.

          A BIT of God’s/Christ’s true justice entered the man’s heart, softened it, and caused him to be anti-slavery. Of course the man’s heart was too hard to accept perfect justice, so he still did ____________, which we now know is evil, but he was at least better than his peers. This is because: god.

          God can’t force us to become better than we can be, faster than we can be, because that would be “mind control” – so the fact that we progress only as fast as “secular” values improve is proof of God’s work in/through us.

          Luke gives himself the intellectual room, through evasion, wordiness, muddy writing and vague concepts, to guess at supernatural causes, and have those guesses remain unchallenged long enough to be forgotten as he moves onto the next-step of Christian philosophical world-building.

          +1

          Thirdly, he’s setting up a point related to the last one: just because [some/many/most “Christians” do or say or teach xyz at any given time] does not mean that [xyz is characteristic of the underlying truths in Christianity].

          I think that the phrase “something in Christianity which can be identified…as distinct from whatever allowed other Christians to think that slavery is acceptable” is especially well-crafted to his end-goal here.

          He’s telling us how he salves his conscience, and why his exemplar of “some progress” is not necessarily an exemplar of “ultimate progress”.

          God works exactly as fast as society progresses, by definition and tautology, and therefore we can’t point to [the backwardness of some Christians at time X] as evidence of [faults with Christianity].

          +1

          With all that said, let me finish with this:

          I don’t know that he knows he’s doing this. Therefore I don’t think he thinks he’s being disingenuous when he mentions his confusion and accuses of you “strawmanning” him, these seem sincere and accurate.

          Wilberforce, per se, is not the point. (And never was – people are not ends in themselves on Luke’s view. They, their dignity, their pain, their struggles, their damnation or redemption, are stepping stones to an apocalypse, judgment, and final utopia where God will force people to stop being mean to Luke.)

          The point is that the story of Judeo-Christianity (the story of Earth/humans) is the story of God working his righteousness through and in the world.

        • adam

          “I don’t know that he knows he’s doing this.”

          I disagree, I think his whole attitude and evasiveness is telling the true story of Luke.

          ” Therefore I don’t think he thinks he’s being disingenuous when he mentions his confusion and accuses of you “strawmanning” him, these seem sincere and accurate.”

          Again, they seem more sarcastic than sincere and accurate.

          I dont think Luke is stupid at all, but just playing a dishonest game like virtually every apologists I have run across.

        • Paul B. Lot

          I hope I’m not being misleading/confusion, and I hope you don’t get me wrong.

          I flatter myself that I’ve had longer and worse interactions with Luke than you have, and I have trouble imagining anyone disliking him more than I do.

          But I want to dislike him for correct reasons.

          From what I can gather, cobble, and imagine of what Luke’s worldview must be, his assertion here of being confused with a strawman is accurate.

          Wilberforce was not the “paragon”, on Luke’s view, that @michaelneville:disqus concluded Wilberforce must have been.

          I think his whole attitude and evasiveness is telling the true story of Luke.

          I agree, just on a different level. I think the man is an intellectual coward and a rhetorical thug precisely because he allows his own views and biases and cognitive bifurcations to evade the scalpel which he so “reluctantly” but “for their own good” applies to others….for Christ, don’t you know.

        • adam

          “I hope I’m not being misleading/confusion, and I hope you don’t get me wrong.”

          No problem, I respect your postings

          “I flatter myself that I’ve had longer and worse interactions with Luke than you have,”

          I gave up on him, when it was obvious that he was being dishonest.

          “and I have trouble imagining anyone disliking him more than I do.”

          I dont know him, but I do consider such lying and deception to be psychopathic.

          “From what I can gather, cobble, and imagine of what Luke’s worldview must be, his assertion here of being confused with a strawman is accurate.”

          See, what I gather from this is his dishonesty.

          “His becoming a Christian seemed to exert a profound influence on him. Such influences beg for causal attributions. One possibility is that it was something in Christianity which can be identified, and identified as distinct from whatever allowed other Christians to think that slavery is acceptable.”

          There’s the set up.
          “Such influences beg for causal attributions.”

          “One possibility is that it was something in Christianity which can be identified”

          He he is setting up again.

          See how ‘careful’ he is to not make any ‘real’ claims except to put Wilberforce as the epitomy of the ‘christianity’ that Luke professes is antislavery.

          All the while ignoring the facts that this same ‘christianity’ left Wilberforce a piece of shit in other aspects of his life. (He didnt claim ignorance of Wilberforce’s assholeness, did he?)

          “I agree, just on a different level. I think the man is an intellectual coward and a rhetorical thug precisely because he allows his own views and biases and cognitive bifurcations to evade the scalpel which he so “reluctantly” but “for their own good” applies to others….for Christ, don’t you know.”

          Couldnt agree more.

          It is the intellectual cowardice that indicates to me, that he understands WELL what he is doing. And that he probably gets a kick out of his own dishonestly.

          You know fucking with the infidels.

        • Paul B. Lot

          Yeah, but in his mind “dishonesty” is not “dishonesty” if you’re lying/obfuscating/avoiding for god.

          He’s just following in Jesus’ footsteps (and Paul’s, and Jason Bourne’s), after all:

          LB:It seems more likely that he meant to strategically take the suffering others dish out—like Paul and crew sometimes escape persecution and sometimes don’t in Acts 13–14. Jesus hid himself from persecution some of the time. Oh, as to Paul and crew making all sorts of escapes, I reminded my Pastor of Jason Bourne after he noted that Paul probably know what “immanent persecution smackdown” looked like, given that he used to be a master at it.

          Since every time we call him out on a mistake or faulty logic we are, in actuality, “persecuting him” – he has found a loophole to avoid acknowledging any of it.

        • adam

          “Since every time we call him out on a mistake or faulty logic we are, in actuality, “persecuting him” – he has found a loophole to avoid acknowledging any of it.”

          Or as I suspect he is TRYING desperately to be a martyr, and if dishonesty helps him feel persecuted then Jesus

          Psalms 9:13 Have mercy on me, O LORD; consider my trouble which I suffer of them that hate me, you that lift me up from the gates of death:

          Psalms 119:86 All your commandments are faithful: they persecute me wrongfully; help you me.

          Jeremiah 20:11
          But the LORD is with me as a mighty terrible one: therefore my persecutors shall stumble, and they shall not prevail: they shall be greatly ashamed; for they shall not prosper: their everlasting confusion shall never be forgotten.

          Matthew 5:12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

          John 15:18 If the world hate you, you know that it hated me before it hated you.

          John 15:20
          Remember the word that I said to you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.

          Romans 8:35
          Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

          2 Corinthians 12:10
          Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in
          necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

          2 Timothy 3:12 Yes, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

          1 Peter 4:16 Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this vehalf..http://www.godvine.com/bible/category/persecution

        • MNb

          “Or as I suspect he is TRYING desperately to be a martyr”
          This doesn’t contradict but rather reinforces the pleasure of having found an infallible loophole.
          Again – from the viewpoint of an outsider it’s dishonest. Lukieboy just doesn’t recognize it as such. He can’t afford to.

        • adam

          Yes, I understand that that would cause his reality to crumble.

        • MNb

          “but I do consider such lying and deception to be psychopathic.”
          Better not to abuse well defined psychological terms.

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

          Self deceit and intellectual cowardice are bad enough. And yes, he probably gets a kick out of it as well given his enthusiasm to post long comments. He just refuses to recognize – even to himself – that it’s dishonest.

        • adam

          “is traditionally defined as a personality disorder characterized by enduring antisocial behavior, diminished empathy and remorse, and disinhibited or bold behavior.”

          I see that all here pretty clearly, am I missing something?

        • Ignorant Amos

          You know fucking with the infidels.

          Which will only cease if and when he jerks off enough to get the hammer.

          Luke never get’s wanked out…he’s always ready and willing to snap another one off…perverted I’d say.

        • MR

          God I love language.

        • Ignorant Amos

          LOL

        • MNb

          Good to see you still can laugh after the referendum. Things don’t look too good for your particular corner of the world right now.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I’m a brexit voter…things will be alright.

          I’ve also got dual nationality, so if things go tits up I’ve always got my Irish/European passport to fall back on.

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

          On a lighter note, Norn Iron is playing in the second round of the Euros this afternoon, so I’m happy enough all around.

        • MNb

          Well, Sinn Fein already has announced they want to join the Republic, which of course pissed off the DUP. That looks worrying to me.
          Otherwise I’m not an alarmist. I’ll eventually vote against a Nexit, but the Netherlands are so insanely rich that even a loss of 10% of its prosperity after leaving the EU can’t be a disaster. Things look different from a Surinamese perspective. Last couple of months we lost 30-40% of our purchasing power (the Surinamese dollar went from 4,50 against 1 USD to about 7 against 1 and Suriname has an import economy). The poor suffer the most like they always do, but I have seen worse. In Greece for instance.

          This year I root for Northern Ireland/Ulster just because and for Iceland because the Dutch newspapers forbid me to. So I’m happy as well. Unfortunately Portugal is also still in (Ronaldo missing a penalty made my day).

        • What recently happened that hurt the Surinamese economy so hard?? Is this just ups and downs, or was it an event?

        • MNb

          Well, if there was one single event it was President Obama ending the boycott of Iran ….
          The prices of raw materials went down from November 2014 on and hence Suriname’s income. The government supported the coin with all means for a pretty long time, but finally ran out of means.

        • President Obama ending the boycott of Iran

          Thanks, Obama.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uhY9Zxv1-oo

        • Ignorant Amos

          Well, Sinn Fein already has announced they want to join the Republic, which of course pissed off the DUP. That looks worrying to me.

          Yeah, and the shinners have been told to feck aff in no uncertain terms.

          This year I root for Northern Ireland/Ulster just because and for Iceland because the Dutch newspapers forbid me to. So I’m happy as well.

          LOL…ya put the scud on us.

          Unfortunately Portugal is also still in (Ronaldo missing a penalty made my day).

          He was squirming for a while, which was funny to see.

        • epeeist

          I dont know him, but I do consider such lying and deception to be psychopathic.

          It is fairly obvious that truth is of no interest to him. But there again, mendacity has never been a problem for certain Christians, as Luther said:

          What harm would it do, if a man told a good strong lie for the sake of the good and for the Christian church … a lie out of necessity, a useful lie, a helpful lie, such lies would not be against God, he would accept them.
          Martin Luther (Cited by his secretary, in a letter in Max Lenz, ed., Briefwechsel Landgraf Phillips des Grossmüthigen von Hessen mit Bucer, vol. I.)

        • adam
        • Myna A.

          Imagine that nailed to the door of the local Lutheran church.

        • adam

          “Content

          In the treatise……

          Section XI of the treatise advises Christians to carry out seven remedial actions. These are

          to burn down Jewish synagogues and schools and warn people against them;

          to refuse to let Jews own houses among Christians;

          for Jewish religious writings to be taken away;

          for rabbis to be forbidden to preach;

          to offer no protection to Jews on highways;

          for usury to be prohibited and for all silver and gold to be removed, put aside for safekeeping and given back to Jews who truly convert; and

          to give young, strong Jews flail, axe, spade, spindle, and let them earn their bread in the sweat of their noses.[9]”https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/On_the_Jews_and_Their_Lies

          Just ask the Jews from Hitler’s Germany

          Kristallnacht was held on Martin Luther’s birthday…

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

        • MNb

          To their credit, there are protestant theologians who unambiguously condemn Luther’s anti-semitism. This is demonstrated by the following attempt to apologetics, which mentiones several of them:

          http://www.theologian.org.uk/churchhistory/lutherandthejews.html

          http://www.christiantoday.com/article/martin.luther.reformer.man.of.god.antisemite/84000.htm
          http://rachelheldevans.com/blog/martin-luther-hated-jews

        • Myna A.

          Thank you for those links. The first seems vaguely familiar. The final two only goes to show how little adherents realize essential history. While I agree context must always be considered, the “evaluate the larger context” conclusion remains disturbing. It comes down to the same old, yes, we understand there are some issues, some embarrassments, but proselytizing the “otherwise good news” is the Christian duty (I would argue manipulation). [See conclusion Probst article, first link.]

          Reading the comments in the final link was an interesting adventure!

        • Ignorant Amos

          “Do you see the advantage of deceit? …

          For great is the value of deceit, provided it be not introduced with a mischievous intention. In fact action of this kind ought not to be called deceit, but rather a kind of good management, cleverness and skill, capable of finding out ways where resources fail, and making up for the defects of the mind …

          And often it is necessary to deceive, and to do the greatest benefits by means of this device, whereas he who has gone by a straight course has done great mischief to the person whom he has not deceived.”

          – Chrysostom, Treatise On The Priesthood, Book 1.

          https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=HCucAwAAQBAJ&pg=PA555&lpg=PA555&dq=%22Do+you+see+the+advantage+of+deceit%3F+…+For+great+is+the+value+of+deceit,+provided+it+be+not+introduced+with+a+mischievous+intention.+In+fact+action+of+this+kind+ought+not+to+be+called+deceit,+but+rather+a+kind+of+good+management,+cleverness+and+skill,+capable+of+finding+out+ways+where+resources+fail,+and+making+up+for+the+defects+of+the+mind+…+And+often+it+is+necessary+to+deceive,+and+to+do+the+greatest+benefits+by+means+of+this+device,+whereas+he+who+has+gone+by+a+straight+course+has+done+great+mischief+to+the+person+whom+he+has+not+deceived.%22+%E2%80%93+Chrysostom,+Treatise+On+The+Priesthood,+Book+1.&source=bl&ots=xRwXwMI5IH&sig=kI8aBuDA6U17l5TDkMTqOm5igN8&hl=en&sa=X&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=%22Do%20you%20see%20the%20advantage%20of%20deceit%3F%20…%20For%20great%20is%20the%20value%20of%20deceit%2C%20provided%20it%20be%20not%20introduced%20with%20a%20mischievous%20intention.%20In%20fact%20action%20of%20this%20kind%20ought%20not%20to%20be%20called%20deceit%2C%20but%20rather%20a%20kind%20of%20good%20management%2C%20cleverness%20and%20skill%2C%20capable%20of%20finding%20out%20ways%20where%20resources%20fail%2C%20and%20making%20up%20for%20the%20defects%20of%20the%20mind%20…%20And%20often%20it%20is%20necessary%20to%20deceive%2C%20and%20to%20do%20the%20greatest%20benefits%20by%20means%20of%20this%20device%2C%20whereas%20he%20who%20has%20gone%20by%20a%20straight%20course%20has%20done%20great%20mischief%20to%20the%20person%20whom%20he%20has%20not%20deceived.%22%20%E2%80%93%20Chrysostom%2C%20Treatise%20On%20The%20Priesthood%2C%20Book%201.&f=false

        • epeeist

          For great is the value of deceit

          Sounds awfully like Taqiya.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Aye…seems they’re all at it, but then again, what else have the?

        • MR

          I agree he knows what he’s doing. Luke’s smart enough to know he’s not using real arguments. It pings his amygdala to pretend he’s pulled one over those silly atheists with his tactics, but it just feels so damned good—no matter how hollow his victory. But it doesn’t detract from the fact that they are just empty tactics.

        • adam

          “But it doesn’t detract from the fact that they are just empty tactics.”

          Call it what it is – apologetics.

        • MNb

          In addition in PBL underneath: I think exactly because Lukieboy isn’t stupid at all he excels at deceiving himself. So yes, he’s playing a dishonest game; he just has convinced himself that his game is a honest one.

        • adam

          But how else can you defend an imaginary character in a collection of stories as REAL, except by dishonesty?

        • Michael Neville

          I can see your point. I was focusing on Wilberforce while Luke was focusing on Christianity causing people to do good things. Luke was using Wilberforce as an example of a “good Christian”. Since I know something about early 19th Century British politics, I was thinking that Wilberforce was the kind of politician who nowadays would be a teapartier. Other than his abolishionism Wilberforce was an extreme conservative whose disdain for the working class and the poor was extremely evident.

        • Paul B. Lot

          FYI, this is one of my favorite brief forays into the question of Atheist vs. Theist morality. Watching Hitch get indignant at the question “Why not Steal/Rape/Kill if there’s no God” was one of the first experiences I had of tying my internal moral sense, which my authority figures had always insisted was proof of “God”, to a picture of reality which made sense naturalistically.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WwGkTA7Spls

        • Kodie

          Oh, bullshit, Luke. You are scraping the very bottom of the barrel to provide excuses why your faith should be seen as rational. Do you really expect to convince anyone with a half piece of shit Christian example who happened to be against slavery when that wasn’t trendy? You’re trying to show us examples of human beings who found the bible to instruct and inspire them in just the right way to demonstrate its validity, but failing to see why that’s really not evidence at all.

        • adam

          “I never said he was nor did I imply it. ”

          But you did, Luke, you did….

          “His becoming a Christian seemed to exert a profound influence on him. Such influences beg for causal attributions. One possibility is that it was something in Christianity which can be identified, and identified as distinct from whatever allowed other Christians to think that slavery is acceptable.”

        • Ignorant Amos

          Even Siddhārtha Gautama is said to have abandoned his wife and child

          And by today’s standards, he’d be a shitebag for doing it, yet became a paragon of virtue…go figure.

          Another of Luke’s broken vessels, only this one wasn’t a Christian.

          To cite Luke’s source…

          “People may use religious agents as a moral compass, forming impressions and making decisions based on what they presume God as the ultimate moral authority would believe or want. The central feature of a compass, however, is that it points north no matter what direction a person is facing. This research suggests that, unlike an actual compass, inferences about God’s beliefs may instead point people further in whatever direction they are already facing.”

          http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/2009/11/30/creating-god-in-ones-own-image/

        • adam

          ” I take God to use broken vessels to nevertheless do great things;”

          Or just as likely good people to turn into broken vessels

        • Michael Neville

          It’s interesting that when I show that Wilberforce, however enlightened he was about slavery, was a reactionary conservative in all other social matter you say it’s a “hatchet job.” Apparently his Christian concerns didn’t actually extend towards the British working class or the poor. Do you call every example of atheists showing Christian hypocrisy a “hatchet job” or am I the lucky hatcheteer?

        • adam

          “Do you call every example of atheists showing Christian hypocrisy a “hatchet job” or am I the lucky hatcheteer?”

          By his own post history, you are not that lucky…

          Luke is just the ultimate victim wannabe…

        • How you can ask this—after what I said about Hebrews 11—baffles me. There are almost certainly some presuppositions buried in your arguments with which I strongly disagree. That you thought Wilberforce is my “hero” and that you think I consider Wilberforce to be a “paragon of Christian virtue” indicates this.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You lucky, lucky, barsteward…a fundamentalist like me can only dream of being a hatcheteer.

        • adam

          “Even Siddhārtha Gautama is said to have abandoned his wife and child—who does that?”

          People who follow Jesus’s words?

        • Ignorant Amos

          I take God to use broken vessels to nevertheless do great things;

          God has no choice…according to Christianity we are ALL broken vessels.

          What you probably mean is that God seems to pick the most broken. Wilberforce seems to have been heavily influenced early on by a slave ship captain turned abolitionist and preacher. There were plenty of other abolitionists of various flavours of Christianity that influenced Wilberforce such as Thomas Clarkson. It is hard to claim Christianity as the driving factor for all their obviously better morality, especially as just about everyone involved was Christian. Seems to me that if Christianity was all that, then it should have been the majority behind the abolitionist movement with particular attention to the Churches, bar the Quakers. Instead it was kick back all the way by the majority for quite sometime.

          Heck, a nation of mostly Christians even went to war on the issue.

        • What you probably mean is that God seems to pick the most broken.

          Nope, I definitely don’t mean that. King David was by no means “the most broken”. Neither was Abraham.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Catch yerself on Luke.

          Ya’ll struggle to find a pair of fictitious arsehole’s more broken than those pair.

        • Darth Vader, Emperor Palpatine, Joffrey Baratheon, High Chancellor Adam Susan/​Sutler, Hannibal Lecter. That was a minute of thinking. Perhaps that’s “struggle”, to you?

        • adam

          Nothing compared to:

          SO you lose AGAIN….

        • adam

          Not even close….

          You lose AGAIN….

        • adam

          Not even close….

          Your ‘God’ brags about creating evil…

        • Ignorant Amos

          But you forget Luke, they are all villians so they are understandably broken and no one reading those stories puts them on the pedestal of righteousness. Whereas those two biblical bozos where expected to be better being Gods chosen, ergo they are defo more broken.

          BTW, ya were right…if I’d taken more than a couple of more seconds to think about my facetious comment, I would’ve realised there was at least one greater broken arsehole than those pair, I forgot about God.

          But anyway, thanks for not taking too long to support my assertion that you…

          “… take a comment and search for a word or turn of phrase that you can latch onto in order to rip into a comment in order to avoid addressing the issue.”

        • adam

          Broken?

          Broken???

        • The idea that King David was so “broken” is contradicted by the following sociological observation:

          There turned out to be enormous ethical implications to this proto-individuation. It is very clearly expressed in the dramatic confrontation between King David and the prophet Nathan recounted in the twelfth chapter of the Second Book of Samuel. David had caused the murder of Bathsheba’s husband in order to incorporate her in his harem—a perfectly acceptable expression of royal prerogative in terms of oriental conceptions of kingship. After Nathan cleverly leads David to condemn a man who shows no pity in destroying what another man loves, the prophet tells David that he is just such a man—”You are the man.” This sentence sovereignly ignores all the communal legitimations of kingship in the ancient Near East. Indeed, it ignores all the social constructions of the self as understood at that time. It passes normative judgment on David the man—a naked man, a man divested of all the trappings of a community, a man alone. I believe that this view of the relation between God and man, and therefore among men, continues to be normative for a Christian understanding of the human condition. (A Far Glory, 99–100)

          tl;dr Kings at that time got to murder whomever they wanted, and the idea that King David was (i) challenged on it; and (ii) repented instead of executing his challenger, was plausibly an incredible development in the rise of the individual as important, apart from position in society.

        • Ignorant Amos

          tl;dr Kings at that time got to murder whomever they wanted,…

          Missed that caveat when a read the Buybull, where can I find it?

          Where does Yahweh say to Moses, as recorded in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5, that Kings are exempt from these laws?

          …and the idea that King David was (i) challenged on it; and (ii) repented instead of executing his challenger, was plausibly an incredible development in the rise of the individual as important, apart from position in society.

          It is just as plausible that none of it ever happened at all, but for the sake of argument, it makes no difference whatsoever. He broke Gods rules.

          David knows Nathan is a prophet from God, not any old Tom, Dick or Harry, so he repents his inferred “misdemeanour”, which seems a bit strange given that according to your source he did nothing wrong.

          …a perfectly acceptable expression of royal prerogative in terms of oriental conceptions of kingship.

          Kings repenting for doing nothing wrong seems very peculiar to me, but whatever. Had it been any Tom, Dick or Harry accusing the King, do you think there would be any repenting gettin’ done?

          But David just didn’t repent because Nathan told a wee yarn that was analogous to what David had done, did he?

          You left out some important details Luke.

          7 “You are that man,” Nathan said to David. “And this is what the Lord God of Israel says: ‘I made you king of Israel and rescued you from Saul. 8 I gave you his kingdom and his wives; I made you king over Israel and Judah. If this had not been enough, I would have given you twice as much. 9 Why, then, have you disobeyed my commands? Why did you do this evil thing? You had Uriah killed in battle; you let the Ammonites kill him, and then you took his wife! 10 Now, in every generation some of your descendants will die a violent death because you have disobeyed me and have taken Uriah’s wife. 11 I swear to you that I will cause someone from your own family to bring trouble on you. You will see it when I take your wives from you and give them to another man; and he will have intercourse with them in broad daylight. 12 You sinned in secret, but I will make this happen in broad daylight for all Israel to see.’”

          13 “I have sinned against the Lord,” David said.

          Nathan replied, “The Lord forgives you; you will not die. 14 But because you have shown such contempt for the Lord in doing this, your child will die.” 15 Then Nathan went home.

          David admits his wrongdoing, something you’d think a King of the chosen would know an omniscient God might have known ahead of time. God forgives him, kills off a baby instead, God and David are a pair of broken cunts. End of.

          You do love an auld apologetic interpretation, don’t ya?The worlds prisons are chock full of repenter’s, talk is cheap.

        • According to Berger, King David was much less broken than his ANE contemporaries, who were allowed to kill whomever they wanted and take any wife they wanted. If you require perfection of David or some arbitrarily high standard in order to not call him a “cunt”, that’s of course your prerogative. You can hold out impossibly high standards for humans (vs. reasonable improvements given their context) and then look down on them when they don’t live up to these standards. I doubt that makes you very much fun to be around, unless a certain group of people gets exempted from such standards.

        • Ignorant Amos

          According to Berger, King David was much less broken than his ANE contemporaries, who were allowed to kill whomever they wanted and take any wife they wanted.

          Berger? According to God, David fucked up. So the commandments didn’t apply to everyone?

          It’s hilarious to see you trying to excuse this shenanigans, it really is indeed.

          If you require perfection of David or some arbitrarily high standard in order to not call him a “cunt”, that’s of course your prerogative.

          There is a huge gap between what David did and your imagining me requiring perfection of David, which I’m not by any stretch of that imagination. Righteous David was supposed to set an example, not break every rule in the book, he was specifically picked by God as the all that and he failed, ergo God fucked up. If a guy up the street did what David did, everyone would think him a cunt. But because David is Gods chosen, he gets a bye-ball and an innocent baby goes to the wall. That you don’t get it, means there is something lacking in you, story or not.

          You can hold out impossibly high standards for humans (vs. reasonable improvements given their context) and then look down on them when they don’t live up to these standards.

          Yeah…impossibly high standards, that’s me…oh, wait a wee minute, whose rules are those again? Not my standards, your Gods impossibly high standards.

          If your Gods chosen one can’t follow the rules, everyone else is fucked.

          What was it you were say about morals being objective again?

          I doubt that makes you very much fun to be around, unless a certain group of people gets exempted from such standards.

          Whaaaaa?

          If you think it is just fine and dandy to do what David did and a fair punishment on the perp is to off a 7 day old baby, you are fucked up in the head Luke, not me. Remember, this is the same God that elsewhere in the story book zapped a pair of idiots for burning the wrong incense…like I said, a broken cunt.

        • Berger? According to God, David fucked up. So the commandments didn’t apply to everyone?

          It’s hilarious to see you trying to excuse this shenanigans, it really is indeed.

          I just don’t understand how this is a rational reply. Here’s the basic configuration:

          (I) In the ANE, kings could kill whomever they want and take whomever they wanted as a wife.
          (II) The OT bucks this trend and that is a Big Deal in heading towards a robust individualism (vs. the individual being tightly bonded to the community, having ‘rights’ based on social position, etc.).

          This disparity seems important. But somehow you’re brushing it away, as if it were irrelevant, or worse, as if pointing it out throws up a smoke screen.

          Righteous David was supposed to set an example, not break every rule in the book […]

          Just to clarify: is the implication that David did break every one of the Decalogue your best understanding of how to read the history and the Decalogue, or are you only just channeling the understanding of some random internet Christian you found? I’d rather deal with your best understanding, than that of some random person on the internet.

          If a guy up the street did what David did, everyone would think him a cunt.

          So? Haven’t the rich and powerful frequently been held to different moral standards? What is important in the David–Nathan situation is that this idea that different people are held to different moral standards is itself put into question. That, argues Berger, is a big deal. Do you disagree on this precise point?

          Yeah…impossibly high standards, that’s me…oh, wait a wee minute, whose rules are those again? Not my standards, your Gods impossibly high standards.

          You’re conflating two sets of standards. One is the ideal human; another is what constitutes praiseworthy progress toward those standards, given the social, cultural, political, and economic context of the time.

          If your Gods chosen one can’t follow the rules, everyone else is fucked.

          This is terrible reasoning. If, on average, successive generations can get better at loving their neighbors (which fulfills the rules when done perfectly), then why doesn’t that constitute ‘success’? We stand on the shoulders of giants in matters empirical as well as matters moral.

          What was it you were say about morals being objective again?

          If they exist, we approach them via successive approximations, just like science works via successive approximation. That’s right: you don’t have direct, perfect access to matters empirical. You “see through a glass dimly” there.

          If you think it is just fine and dandy to do what David did and a fair punishment on the perp is to off a 7 day old baby, you are fucked up in the head Luke, not me.

          What was a breakthrough discovery in 1700 is something taught to elementary school children in 2000. Are you going to therefore call that discovery in 1700 “child’s play”? Or will you realize that it’s actually utterly invalid to apply standards across contexts like this? Perhaps a read of By the Standards of Their Day would help you.

        • Ignorant Amos

          He fought against Catholic emancipation (Catholics couldn’t be members of Parliament until 1829).

          Are you sure Michael? I thought I read somewhere that he fell foul of his peers for voting for Catholic emancipation.

        • Michael Neville

          I may be wrong on Catholic emancipation. I do know he voted against any trade union activity.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Oh he did that…and the rest of those points ya made were spot on.

          A found where a seen it…

          https://claphamsect.com/2016/06/13/how-tory-was-wilberforce/#more-356

        • MNb

          You don’t get it, Michael.
          Willy’s abolitionism credits the Bible and christianity in general.
          Willy’s less pleasant views have nothing to do with the Bible and Jesus.
          Lukieboy can’t go wrong that way.

        • Ignorant Amos

          A broken vessel cherry picked.

        • adam

          So once AGAIN, Luke’s ‘sources’ dont demonstrate his claims.

        • Ignorant Amos

          As to your empirical question, I’m sure it has an empirical answer. You might start with “Creating God in your own image”.

          Thanks for the link to that study. I’m not sure you really wanted us to see it as it supports the things we have been expressing on this site…to you.

          Epley’s results are sure to spark controversy, but their most important lesson is that relying on a deity to guide one’s decisions and judgments is little more than spiritual sockpuppetry. To quote Epley himself:

          “People may use religious agents as a moral compass, forming impressions and making decisions based on what they presume God as the ultimate moral authority would believe or want. The central feature of a compass, however, is that it points north no matter what direction a person is facing. This research suggests that, unlike an actual compass, inferences about God’s beliefs may instead point people further in whatever direction they are already facing.”

          I know most of us on this site disregard Luke’s links as a matter of course, but I implore ya all to read this one…

          http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/2009/11/30/creating-god-in-ones-own-image/

          …it’s a feckin’ cracker one. Talk about scoring an own goal, shooting oneself and getting hoist by ones own petard, all rolled into one. Go Luke!

          Basically, it is a study that supports one of Adam’s favourite memes.

          http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-s3oMtQo4t2A/USFi0SjggyI/AAAAAAAAAgY/KDA8hwm5-q4/s1600/AAA.JPG

        • First, I am amused that you seem to have read this:

          For many religious people, the popular question “What would Jesus do?” is essentially the same as “What would I do?” (Creating God in one’s own image)

          as this:

          For all religious people, the popular question “What would Jesus do?” is essentially the same as “What would I do?” (Creating God in one’s own image‘)

          Very interesting, that.

          I’m not sure you really wanted us to see it as it supports the things we have been expressing on this site…to you.

          What I find fascinating is that the results can actually support either point of view, depending on what you already believe. Epley et al admit this in one sense:

          Of course, significant correlations between people’s own beliefs and God’s presumed beliefs could reflect both egocentric projection onto God and the opposite (using God’s beliefs as a guide to one’s own). (Epley et al, 2009)

          Now, in order to skirt this ambiguity of correlation vs. causation, the experimenters tried providing to experimental subjects rational arguments for and against affirmative action and the death penalty. If they can influence a person’s beliefs, does this consequently cause a change in the person’s ideas of God’s beliefs? To answer this question “yes” is to go beyond the evidence. What is actually known is that when a rational argument was presented, the change in the person’s idea of God’s beliefs changed in a way correlated with the change in the person’s own beliefs.

          Only when you add some premise, such as “God would never approve of our ideas of his beliefs shifting based on rational argument.”, do you then get to answer that question “yes”, and conclude that a person’s bliefs are necessarily the causal power behind the person’s ideas about God’s beliefs. This is but a recapitulation of the voluntarist vs. rationalist debate about morality, when there is a third option: adopt neither extreme.

          The conclusions you quoted are not actually scientific (this is not all that uncommon for “Discussion” sections; they often extrapolate beyond what the evidence strictly says). Not only do they probably presuppose discredited epistemic foundationalism (a moral compass must perfectly face north else absolute relativism), but they depend on specific, contentious theological beliefs of how God would interact with people.

          After all, why would my beliefs differ too much from my best estimate of the beliefs of the God I worship? Some deviation is allowed, and some deviation was experimentally found. But too much deviation doesn’t make sense with a religion like Christianity.

        • Paul B. Lot

          Let us presume that the following, underlined, assertion you made is true: (I know, I know; that is a lot to ask in the first sentence of a post.)

          What I find fascinating is that the results can actually support either point of view, depending on what you already believe.

          If that is true, then one might wonder why you provided “the results” as if others should find them relevant in light of your introductory statement:

          As to your empirical question, I’m sure it has an empirical answer.

          You’re sure there’s “an empirical answer” to his “empirical question”….and you implied that you were giving him a source which might help provide that empirical answer….yet the source is one which can, by your own admission, be used to argue either way.

        • adam

          “.yet the source is one which can, by your own admission, be used to argue either way.”

          Once again lacking the honesty to have a rational discussion.

        • adam

          “After all, why would my beliefs differ too much from my best estimate of the beliefs of the God I worship?”

          Indeed, since you are the one believing…

        • Ignorant Amos

          Shakespeare. It would be uninteresting if you were merely to point out some small amount of variation of interpretation of Shakespeare.

          Well there is a vast amount of interpretation of Shakespeare’s work. I studied “Julius Caesar” for my English Literature “O” Level back in the 70’s and as a class we spent hours discussing the different ways the texts may be interpreted. Ambiguity in a text can do that.

          The reason Shakespeare is performed so often is that his plays are “open texts”. Directors, actors and film makers have been drawn to his plays in order to revise, reinvent and creatively interpret his work afresh. Many of Shakespeare’s characters and their relationships are very ambiguous, opening up new

          http://shakespeare.about.com/od/teachingshakespeare/a/ts_interpretation.htm

          http://www.enotes.com/topics/william-shakespeare/critical-essays/psychoanalytic-interpretations-shakespeares-works

          I’m not sure how this analogy furthers your argument. I’m sure the author knew what he intended by the texts he authored, everything else is pure supposition.

        • There are such things as bad interpretations of Shakespeare. If you don’t reject this, then your data here seem rather irrelevant.

        • adam

          Shakespear?

          Is he responsible for writing that terrible book The Bible?

        • adam

          “Just to be clear, you seem to see the Bible as a kind of Rorschach test, where there’s no sense of some interpretations being more likely true than others.”

          Exactly

        • MNb

          “you seem to see the Bible as a kind of Rorschach test”
          Not a bad analogy at all.

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

        • Susan

          That perfecty explains this:

          It does.

          The Bible can be used equally to justify slavery as to reject it.

          That you and I and Michael approve of abolition says nothing against the point that:

          If the Bible says what the Christian wants then it’s accepted.

          I would suggest that it’s a little more complicated than that but William Wilberforce is not an exception.

          =====

          Edit:

          1) To change “support” to “justify” as the intent was to make a distinction but I mistyped.

          2)To strike the word “equally” as I think it requires a lot of pretzeling to use the bible to fight slavery.

          Neither Yahweh nor Jesus seemed to consider it important enough to condemn it.

        • The Bible can be used equally to justify slavery as to reject it.[…]2)To strike the word “equally” as I think it requires a lot of pretzeling to use the bible to fight slavery.

          Do please explain how Mt 20:20–28 and Jn 13:1–20 are consistent with slavery, noting that Christians are called to “follow Jesus” and “imitate him” and to “obey his commandments”.

          That you and I and Michael approve of abolition says nothing against the point that:

          If the Bible says what the Christian wants then it’s accepted.

          I would suggest that it’s a little more complicated than that but William Wilberforce is not an exception.

          As far as I can tell, this is an unfalsifiable position and therefore I’m under no obligation to either accept it or refute it.

          Neither Yahweh nor Jesus seemed to consider it important enough to explicitly condemn it.

          I fixed that for you. I continue to maintain that Mt 20:20–28 and Jn 13:1–20 indicates that the practice of exerting dominance over other humans is antithetical to being a follower of Jesus. Indeed, Bob tried some pretzeling to get away from that interpretation, and it failed.

        • Myna A.

          …I continue to maintain that Mt 20:20–28 and Jn 13:1–20 indicates that the practice of exerting dominance over other humans is antithetical to being a follower of Jesus.

          Now THAT’S some impressive pretzeling. You’ve missed your calling.

        • Do you have any interest in providing a rational argument for your bare assertion?

        • adam

          “Do you have any interest in providing a rational argument for your bare assertion?”

          Why you never do.

          WAAAAAAAAAAAA
          wAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
          WWWWWWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

          Cry baby, hypocrite.

        • Myna A.

          Do you have any interest in providing a rational argument for your bare assertion?

          To be honest, no.

        • Ok. Were a Christian to make a bare assertion and then refuse to defend it rationally and refuse to retract it, I bet folks here would be all over him/her. As it is, you have an upvote already.

        • Myna A.

          You asked if I have any interest in providing a rational argument for my bare assertion. The honest answer is no. I have no interest in providing a rational argument, an irrational one nor a retraction. I have no interest, plain and simple.

        • MR

          No need to that I see. It’s not difficult for anyone else to come to the same conclusion.

        • Ignorant Amos

          As it is, you have an upvote already.

          That’s because a lot of folk here like Myna, they also like her honesty too.

          Good enough reasons for an upvote to be getting on with, don’t ya think?

        • That depends—is the chief goal to have rational argument where contentious assertions are either rationally defended or retracted?

        • adam

          “That depends—is the chief goal to have rational argument where
          contentious assertions are either rationally defended or retracted?”

          Since you apparently cant have a rational argument….

          What would you know about it?

        • Kodie

          That’s the chief goal, typically. The problem is you don’t realize what a huge time suck you are.

          And just suck.

        • Ignorant Amos

          It’s what he does.

        • Ignorant Amos

          What’s any of that got to do with whether one person upvotes another person?

        • adam

          I was interested, until YOU starting telling lies and being deceptive/irrational.

          Luke the hypocrite……

        • Nah–not that impressive. You must simply start with the truth–the Bible is the word of God–and it all falls into place.

        • Michael Neville

          Cursed be Canaan! The lowest of slaves will he be to his brothers. Gen 9:25 (NIV)

          Anyone who beats their male or female slave with a rod must be punished if the slave dies as a direct result, but they are not to be punished if the slave recovers after a day or two, since the slave is their property. Ex 21:20-21 (NIV)

          Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favour, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. Col 3:22 (NIV)

          All who are under the yoke of slavery should consider their masters worthy of full respect, so that God’s name and our teaching may not be slandered. Tim 6:1 (NIV)

          Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling Eph 6:5 (NIV)

          Tell slaves to be submissive to their masters and to give satisfaction in every respect Titus 2:9 (NIV)

        • S: The Bible can be used equally to justify slavery as to reject it.[…]2)To strike the word “equally” as I think it requires a lot of pretzeling to use the bible to fight slavery.

          LB: Do please explain how Mt 20:20–28 and Jn 13:1–20 are consistent with slavery, noting that Christians are called to “follow Jesus” and “imitate him” and to “obey his commandments”.

          Feel free to actually respond to my request. If we can establish a very strong contradiction, we can then ask whether that contradiction was actually meant to be resolved in a very specific way. After all, anyone who knows anything knows that society is not changed in a day; even bloody revolutions tend not to upset the status quo nearly as much as revolutionaries intend.

          You could also be honest enough to indicate whether you’ve ever researched How many slaves work for you; see also the recent Time article The Developed World Is Missing the Point About Modern Slavery. Maybe it’s ok if slaves make things you buy as long as they’re out of sight & out of mind?

          But perhaps the framework of the discussion here is that the theist has to be cross examined while the atheist gets to keep his/her, possibly as-problematic if not more-problematic views, veiled from pretty much any examination. (You do reveal bits and pieces with the questions you ask.)

        • Paul B. Lot

          You could also be honest enough to indicate whether you’ve ever researched How many slaves work for you; see also the recent Time article The Developed World Is Missing the Point About Modern Slavery. Maybe it’s ok if slaves make things you buy as long as they’re out of sight & out of mind?

          But perhaps the framework of the discussion here is that the theist has to be cross examined while the atheist gets to keep his/her, possibly as-problematic if not more-problematic views, veiled from pretty much any examination. (You do reveal bits and pieces with the questions you ask.)

          What a wriggly little viper you are.

          The topic is not [our personal lives], your cretinous attempt to shift the conversation notwithstanding.

          YOU are not being cross examined, the Bible is.

          Stay on topic.

        • Michael Neville

          But perhaps the framework of the discussion here is that the theist has to be cross examined while the atheist gets to keep his/her, possibly as-problematic if not more-problematic views, veiled from pretty much any examination.

          You’re missing a very important point. You came here to sell us your version of Christianity. As potential customers we’re examining the merchandise to see if it fits our wants, needs and desires. So far you’re not doing well peddling your product.

        • You came here to sell us your version of Christianity.

          False.

        • Michael Neville

          So why did you come here? Why are you pushing your version of Christianity so fervently? Why are you whining about how much abuse you’re getting yet still staying here?

        • Paul B. Lot

          He’s trying to learn how to make the world a better place.

          https://disqus.com/home/discussion/crossexamined/reason_rally_undercover/#comment-2734282822

          Of course, you can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs, sometimes you can’t learn how to fix things, without breaking them more to see how they work.

        • adam

          But the only thing Luke has broken is his impression of being a rational ADULT.

        • So why did you come here?

          To better understand atheists and in the process, myself. I find that discussions between people of opposing views can benefit both of them, if they will allow it.

          Why are you pushing your version of Christianity so fervently?

          It is difficult for me to see how I am doing anything like pushing for a fully-fleshed out conception of Christianity. I am doing things like pushing a particular view of particular verses—such as Mt 20:20–28 and Jn 13:1–20. I don’t see this as consituting “pushing a version of Christianity”. It is as if you don’t think any particular view on anything should be advocated. But if you think I’m doing something much more systematic, I would be interested in knowing what evidence caused you to believe this.

          Why are you whining about how much abuse you’re getting yet still staying here?

          I really don’t know what you’re talking about. Criticizing someone for being fundamentalist and therefore closed to alternative ways of understanding reality is not “whining about abuse”. I also have no problem with getting shit from Bob as long as I can hand it back. I think it’s kind of fun to trade insults, as long as there is some sense that both people are really on the same mission. I still have that trust in Bob.

        • Kodie

          You’re not making it at all clear that you are trying to understand atheism, since every critical comment bounces off you like rubber as you present bullshit justifications for your preferred interpretation. Nobody is lumping you in with all the other Christians except for the fact that none of you can capably and rationally justify your particular interpretation. You can push all you want, but until you see how flawed your reasoning is, until you can admit that we’ve already seen it and weren’t impressed a hundred times ago, you seem to think pressing on is the right course of action. That means, you don’t understand atheism, and you’re not trying to understand atheism. It means you are trying to promote Christianity in your own sense as the rational argument that will break through atheist “rebellion” or whatever it is you preconceive about atheists rejecting your horseshit on sight. We have thought about all your points since before we ever knew you. They’re not valid or rational. They are selective interpretations of a myth book written by humans millennia ago. You only seem to be scraping and twisting the words to mean what you’d rather they meant, and get all hurt when, of all things, people read words to mean what they communicate by definition. You’re in super denial, super duper deeply deep denial that your interpretation is come about any more rationally than ours, or anyone else’s.

          I mean, in what way is it good or rational for a god to post puzzles and riddles that you have to overthink to mean something entirely different? How is that approach supposed to convince people who already found out a long time ago that it was fiction, bullshit, a scam, nothing there there.

        • adam

          “To better understand atheists and in the process, myself.”

          then you’ve FAILED, by acting like a spoiled child in a sandbox rather than an adult.

          “I don’t see this as consituting “pushing a version of Christianity”.”

          then you’ve FAILED, by acting like a spoiled child in a sandbox rather than an adult.

          “But if you think I’m doing something much more systematic,”

          Yes, acting like a spoiled child in a sandbox

        • busterggi

          “I find that discussions between people of opposing views can benefit both of them, if they will allow it.”

          Will everyone here who has benefited from Luke’s interpretive bible dance please raise your hand?

          Higher please, I can’t see you.

        • Atheist blogger Ron Garret had the following to say about me, in his attempt to understand why religious folks are religious:

          RG: This theory explains most of the observed data, but not all of it. In particular, Luke is still an unexplained anomaly, and that keeps me a little humble.

          Now, it’s not clear that he would describe my stance as “interpretive bible dance”, but hey, if you want to abuse language, don’t let me stop you.

        • adam

          Atheist blogger adam says you are a deceptive cry baby…

        • Paul B. Lot

          “Atheist blogger Ron Garret” needs to get out more.

          You’re unlike most religious people, in that you work hard to keep up an epistemological structure which can withstand the test of reality.

          Then again, you’re unlike most people in that regard too: most people don’t work hard at this at all.

          I’ve met dozens of people as committed to the esoterica of their chosen cult, as you.

        • adam

          “I’ve met dozens of people as committed to the esoterica of their chosen cult, as you.”

          But have you ever met any that didnt have to be dishonest to support their chosen cult?

        • adam

          “Atheist blogger Ron Garret had the following to say”

          And even a few days ago I said something similar.

          But reading your posts on Andrew’s site, convinced me that you actually have nothing new to add to the conversation about bible “God”, and are just another deceptive apologist who has no qualms about lying for Jesus.

        • adam

          “Atheist blogger Ron Garret had the following to say about me,”

          The atheist version of ‘bless your heart’ more than likely

        • adam

          I did learn that Luke is dishonest and lies.

          And that he cries like a baby when this is pointed out to him.

          Benefit analysis:

          Somewhere between that of a ingrown toenail and an itchy hemorroid

        • MNb

          Ah, Busterggi, you should read Lukieboy more carefully.
          “if they allow it”.
          Those who don’t benefit haven’t allowed it. And with “allow it” Lukieboy means bending to his rules, which are designed to only benefit him.

        • Kodie

          You’re not presenting any valid alternate ways of understanding reality as pertains to a god, your god, or any god, by supporting your preferred interpretation with quotations by authors (theological scholars?) who interpret it before you. They aren’t practicing any skill here in digging down to a better or more correct interpretation of a fictional character. You seem to think the more links you can provide to support your preferred interpretation will validate it. Any Christian with any interpretation and the commitment to do so can post links to scholars that support their interpretations. You haven’t done anything special. Just like almost every Christian by here, you seem to think if we just heard if from you, we’d “get it”, and if we don’t, we’re “closed off”. In that way, you’re just like almost every other Christian, no matter what interpretation of the bible they abide by.

          Can you fucking get a clue here? You haven’t taught us anything but that persistent Christians are more annoying than drive-bys, and equally wrong and closed off to the interpretation of the bible that says it’s fiction.

        • MR

          Apparently he can’t get his own blog, so decided to make Bob’s The Luke Breuer Blog.

        • MNb

          I rather think he’s afraid, when starting his own blog, that nobody will read it.

        • Kodie

          Your superstition is a phenomenon within our culture. What “problematic views” do atheists have that are veiled from “pretty much any examination”? We are all challenged by people who think a book written by goatherders is a valid guide for modern sociability, by many Christians, who interpret the words in that myth to mean many different things, but most of all criticized for our lack of humility and in some cases satanism. Go ahead, what examinations do you have for us? What framework do you have to work with to criticize atheist views? We’re not convinced by your crap logic? That’s basically it. We’re not convinced at all by your crap logic. If you had anything substantial, you would know what it was, and wouldn’t hang around so long hemming and hawing.

        • adam

          WAAAAAAAA
          WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
          WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

          Cry baby

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yeah, but what about the interpretation?

        • Michael Neville

          Oh right, these quotes are all about providing jobs to the poor or keeping able-bodied people off of welfare or whatever it is that isn’t slavery even through slaves and slavery are specifically mentioned. I’m sure Luke will “interpret” these verses for us.

        • busterggi

          Please provide a list of the names of all the slaves the bible says Jesus freed.

        • Paul B. Lot

          He freed us all from bondage, don’t you know?

          Bondage to the fear of the place he told us he would send us if we didn’t like him enough.

        • adam

          Like this:

        • Paul B. Lot

          🙂

          I was thinking of precisely this meme, which I imagine I first saw from one of your postings.

        • Paul B. Lot

          ” how Mt 20:20–28 and Jn 13:1–20 are consistent with slavery”

          Lol, in which sections of those passages does Jesus condemn the practice, pray tell?

          Is it here?

          You know that the rulers of the Gentiles ilord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 26 jIt shall not be so among you.

          I see Jesus telling his disciples not to be arrogant assholes to each other, like the Gentiles’ rulers treat them.

          Is it here?

          But whoever would be great among you must be your servant,1 27 and whoever would be first among you must be your slave

          Jesus is condemning the institution of slavery by telling his disciples to become eachother’s slaves?

          Is it here?

          You call me kTeacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, lyou also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, mthat you also should do just as I have done to you.

          Jesus stake-through-heart’ed slavery by….washing his disciple’s feet? Once?

          Or was it here?

          Truly, truly, I say to you, na servant3 is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.

          Jesus attacks slavery…by stating that servants are not greater than their masters, and that he is his father’s servant.

        • Ignorant Amos

          If only ya had the proper “interpretation spectacles” Paul…you’d see then what Luke see’s.

        • adam

          He doesnt even need a hat and seer stones….

        • busterggi

          Its amazing that all 40k+ Christian sects haven’t rallied and elected Luke there omni-Pope.

        • adam

          Jesus is SO lucky to have Luke find him after all these years….

        • MNb

          “Do please explain how ….”
          Please do explain how come that it took christian scholars at least 17 centuries to figure out that your interpretation is the correct one.

        • Ignorant Amos

          A Necessary Bondage? When the Church Endorsed Slavery

          In this Crisis Magazine classic, historian T. David Curp takes an honest look at the Church’s record on slavery, and explains why it isn’t all good.

          http://www.crisismagazine.com/2009/a-necessary-bondage-when-the-church-endorsed-slavery

        • Yup; King David also committed adultery and murder.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Good shout Luke.

          The character in the story, King David, broke every one of the Decalogue at a time when Yahweh was alleged to be pro-active in the world, yet Yahweh seen fit to punish him by offing his bastard baby. Good lesson there…unless I’m just being fundamentalist and there is a more charitable reading a la Breuer.

        • Every one?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Which did he not?

        • I rather think the onus is on you to support “broke every one of the Decalogue” with appropriate textual evidence.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Well since you like your Christian interpretations, I’ll let some Christians interpretate…

          DAVID BROKE ALL TEN

          In reality, David had broken all of the Ten Commandments when he sinned with Bathsheba. How had he broken them all? In two ways; first by his actions he broke them all. And secondly, by God’s standards he broke them all.

          1: “No other gods…”—David allowed his lust to be the god to which he bowed in obedience.
          2: “Not take the Name…”—David took the Holy Name of God in vain as he said he was God’s man and lived like the devil.
          3: “Not make a graven image…”—David engraved the image of naked Bathsheba as she bathed so deeply on his lustful soul, that he forgot even the God he loved for that moment of sin.
          4: “Remember the Sabbath…”—David didn’t keep the Sabbath or any other day holy for God once he allowed lust to rule.
          5: “Honor thy father and mother…”—David dishonored them and all his family as he sank into such wicked and premeditated sin.
          6: “Not kill…”—David sent the murder request to Joab, so it was not his sword but the arrows of others that David used–but it was his desire that Uriah be killed.
          7: “Not commit adultery…”—that was the clearest of all David’s law breaking.
          8: “Not steal…”—David stole the wife of his neighbor and trusted friend Uriah as Nathan clearly pointed out in the story of the lamb.
          9: “Not lie…”—David’s false response was a lie when the messenger came with the ghastly news of Uriah’s death; and even more, every day David lived in sin was a lie that he deceptively covered.
          10: “Not covet…”—David broke this law as he so coveted his neighbors wife that he would steal her and kill her husband to lie in sexual sin with her.

          Other Christian interpretations apply.

          http://www.sermonsearch.com/sermon-outlines/46432/david-the-man-who-broke-all-the-commandments/

          https://bibledigging.wordpress.com/2014/02/13/david-broke-the-ten-commandments-through-adultery-and-got-away-with-it/

          http://www.dtbm.org/sermon/davids-lust-led-him-to-break-all-of-the-10-commandments-/

        • I will keep this as a note for ways you approve of interpreting the Bible. (Otherwise this does not constitute support for your statement, from your point of view.)

        • Kodie

          What a piece of shit fundamentalist you are!!!

        • Ignorant Amos

          I will keep this as a note for ways you approve of interpreting the Bible.

          What part of …I’ll let some Christians interpretate… do you not understand.

          (Otherwise this does not constitute support for your statement, from your point of view.)

          You just don’t get it yet do you?

          Of course it doesn’t ya fuckwit, it was an exercise to show you your problem. Because it isn’t Luke Breuer interpretation after all. What ta fuck do ya think we have all been trying to tell ya? Nothing will constitute support for my statement, not even what your fellow Christians believe, because none of us have the special glasses on.

          I don’t believe any of it remember?

          We might as well be discussing whether Neo was right or wrong to take the red pill.

          a redpill Luke.

          Incidentally.

          It is interesting though that we are arguing about the minutiae on the details of Yahweh’s anointed one. A lying, whore mongering, multi adulterating, murdering bastard. There’s an fine example of biblical morality. Go Bible following objective moral Luke.

        • What part of …I’ll let some Christians interpretate… do you not understand.

          I was presuming that you did not mean the following:

          IA‘: Some Christians claim that The character in the story, King David, broke every one of the Decalogue […]

          Instead, I took “broke every one of the Decalogue” to constitute your best understanding of the relevant OT texts. Was I incorrect to make this inference?

          What ta fuck do ya think we have all been trying to tell ya?

          I take you to be advancing what I have called the “infinite interpretations hypothesis”, whereby all interpretations are equally valid and there is no rational way to adjudicate.

          Nothing will constitute support for my statement, not even what your fellow Christians believe, because none of us have the special glasses on.

          This makes no sense. When I look at different philosophers’ understandings of what Wittgenstein said, I don’t necessarily agree with them, but I can usually detect a rationale behind the various understandings. The way you speak obscures the possibility of my seeing a rationale for an alternative interpretation to my own, without thinking it superior to my own interpretation. This pattern of speaking is explicitly fundamentalist. That’s because the precise dual to fundamentalism (sociological definition here) is perfect relativism—or, the “infinite interpreattions hypothesis”.

          It is interesting though that we are arguing about the minutiae on the details of Yahweh’s anointed one. A lying, whore mongering, multi adulterating, murdering bastard. There’s an fine example of biblical morality. Go Bible following objective moral Luke.

          The Christian “hall of fame”, Hebrews 11, is filled with people who did terrible things. A major challenge for Christians today is to try and see how they could be morally very bad, even if they have learned to not be quite as terrible as their forebears. This is frequently admitted in word—”we’re all terrible sinners oh my!”—but it is not clearly admitted in deed by leadership. Perhaps the problem is thinking that in modernity we’ve really made it, we’re really righteous. Although, this wouldn’t be a problem unique to modernity.

          I get the objection of “Why would God work with such broken, horrible people?!” There is another objection: “Why would God let things get so fucking terrible?” And of course, “Why can’t God just communicate objective morality directly to people [and have it automagically work]?” I think these are all questions worth investigating, but there’s also the question of whether there’s hope for mortal me, with all my faults. If I look at Hebrews 11, I find encouragement that actually, many of the heroes of the faith were douches. @michaelneville:disqus recently argued that William Wilberforce was a douche.

          If there’s any overarching message in the Bible, it’s “You’re not as righteous as you think.” The most righteous person did not lord it over others, but instead served them. Wisdom “from above” shows itself as being from above by enhancing others. Any strong criticism is generally reserved for those in power, like religious leaders (see Jesus’ words for the Pharisees, or consult Ezek 34). God told Job that Job would be a god if he could put the arrogant in their place.

        • Kodie

          I take you to be advancing what I have called the “infinite interpretations hypothesis”, whereby all interpretations are equally valid and there is no rational way to adjudicate.

          You are advancing what I call the “Luke Breuer’s interpretation is correct” hypothesis, in which Luke Breuer capably demonstrates his interpretation to be more accurate and superior to other Christians’ interpretations, without forming any valid or rational way to distinguish it.

        • busterggi

          First you claimed only you can properly interpret the bible for all of Christianity and now you’re claiming that only you can properly interpret the bible for non-Christians.

        • First you claimed only you can properly interpret the bible for all of Christianity […]

          False. (But feel free to try to establish this.)

        • adam

          And so, AS USUAL for Luke

          Dodging and running from answering questions….

          And instead crying like a baby

          WAAAAAAAAA

          WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

          WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

        • Paul B. Lot

          I, too, was curious about whether or not some/most/all Christians viewed King David as having been an across-the-board-ruler-breaker, after reading Luke’s question to you, and now I have a few data points to satisfy that curiosity.

          So, since @LukeBreuer:disqus doesn’t have the balls, decency, or humility to do so, let me thank you for the time you put into researching an answer to his question.

        • Kodie

          I don’t care what kind of Christian anyone is – they all find some interpretation of the bible that makes exceptions to commandments and don’t feel guilty for breaking them. What’s weird is, to not feel guilty about justifying breaking the given rules, they look to other parts of the bible. Everyone is secular in interpreting the bible how they wish.

        • Ignorant Amos

          To be honest, I’ve already been down this road a few times before with other flavours of Christian to Luke, so I knew the info was there already when a made the assertion. But all your thanks is received graciously in any case.

        • adam

          Doesnt matter

          Luke will still be deceptive and lie about it.

          Then cry like a baby….

        • Paul B. Lot

          Don’t get me wrong; I agree with both you and @disqus_0FsPDLqpUy:disqus in your assessments.

          It’s just that, having dealt with a @LukeBreuer:disqus infection before, I know how persistent and draining they can be – I just wanted to give Amos a shout out for his work in crafting a cogent, researched response.

        • adam

          “I just wanted to give Amos a shout out for his work in crafting a cogent, researched response.”

          I understand and, thank you.

          I will continue to respond to Luke the Joke, as he has made himself out to be.

        • busterggi

          Please add another 499 upvotes.

        • adam

          “I find that fundamentalism is generally an impossible position to argue against. ”

          Funny, I find it the EASIEST position to argue against.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Any opportunity I may have had to address such questions has been closed off by the fundamentalism of Ignorant Amos, Iron Chariots folks, and as far as I can tell, you.

          That would work out brave and handy for you if true, wouldn’t it?

          Matthew 6:6 clearly states to pray in secret.

          Matthew 6:4 clearly states to be charitable in secret.

          Is one verse to be interpreted one way, but the other differently?

          Does the verses really mean to pray and give alms to others ostentatiously, in spite of the overall chapter theme in context, as long as the individual acting believes it to be secretive?

          Or are you guilty of the age old Shenanigans of…

          The more self aware Christians have accepted the need to be selective about following his teaching.

          …but can’t bring yourself to man up to your ridiculous antics.

          Please explain the proper interpretation Luke…do educate.

        • I know, the best way to understand what a person is attempting to communicate is to pick out individual sentences and ignore the textual context, the historical context, the sociological context, etc. All that shit’s irrelevant.

        • adam

          “All that shit’s irrelevant.”

          so far that’s all that you’ve been able to demonstrate.

          WAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
          WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
          WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

          Cry baby.

        • adam

          “Any opportunity I may have had to address such questions has been closed off by the fundamentalism of Ignorant Amos, Iron Chariots folks, and as far as I can tell, you.”

          No you’ve opportunity since you got here.

          It is YOU who have FAILED, young Luke
          It is YOU who have moved to the Dark Side and being deceptive and lying.

          It is ONLY YOU, YOU have to blame Luke, YOU and 5 year old sandbox cry baby mentality.

        • epeeist

          Yes, because you are open to (i) new evidence; (ii) questioning how extant evidence has been interpreted.

          So what you are saying is that it isn’t a matter of whether phlostigon does or doesn’t exist but how we interpret the evidence as to it existence. And that if the weight of evidence is against its existence then we don’t make the claim that it doesn’t exist but instead make the claim that its existence is metaphorical.

        • So what you are saying is that it isn’t a matter of whether phlostigon does or doesn’t exist but how we interpret the evidence as to it existence.

          No. Openness to alternatives does not entail that you will be convinced of them. It is more the openness that you might be wrong, and the willingness to honestly explore other rational explanations.

          And that if the weight of evidence is against its existence then we don’t make the claim that it doesn’t exist but instead make the claim that its existence is metaphorical.

          If you reject theory-ladenness of observation, then your problem is that you have prepackaged your prejudices and biases into ‘evidence’. That’s what I claim IA is doing. His “literal translation” = “his personal interpretation”, but with a patina of objectivity.

          As to your “existence is metaphorical” thing, that’s its own complex topic, as it can possibly cover Thomas Aquinas’ conception of God, before univocity of being became dominant in Christian theology, as Brad S. Gregory describes in No Room for God? (2008). Before metaphysical univocity was accepted, Anslem’s ontological argument couldn’t even get off the ground (Theology and the Scientific Imagination, 25ff). But if you mean a “metaphorical” with no causal powers, I reject that as bad theology.

        • Kodie

          No. Openness to alternatives does not entail that you will be convinced
          of them. It is more the openness that you might be wrong, and the
          willingness to honestly explore other rational explanations.

          How open are you to the rational explanation that there probably is no god, that what you’ve been spending all your time defending doesn’t exist, and that your interpretation of man’s written word comes from what you wish it said, and that you wish it came from a deity?

          The rest of us, for the most part, have already considered alternatives to that explanation, considered that there might be a god, and considered that the bible was at least one way to know god and know about god. You just don’t seem to realize that. We’re not atheists because we never thought about that stuff before you came along. Are you open to the rational explanation that we’ve all been through this before (over and over again, in many iterations), and concluded it was irrational garbage fiction, and didn’t need to worry or live our lives as though it were true?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yeah, but, but, but, none of us has viewed it all through the magic “interpretation spectacles” that Luke has been privileged to have a hold of, ergo we just don’t get it.

        • Kodie

          I’m hoping that one time, Luke will get it.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I’m just hoping you won’t be holding yer breath while waiting.

        • Kodie

          I’m not holding my breath, but sometimes Luke shows signs that he wants to. That’s not very often, might be my imagination. If he can give up creationism, maybe. Lol, sometimes it looks like Christians have a god-shaped tumor, and only need a little surgery.

        • adam

          “I’m not holding my breath, but sometimes Luke shows signs that he wants to.”

          He is TRYING to torment you…..

        • Ignorant Amos

          A suppose so indeed…never say never.

        • epeeist

          If you reject theory-ladenness of observation, then your problem is that you have prepackaged your prejudices and biases into ‘evidence’.

          Oh I rather think I my knowledge of the idea of theory-laden observations is adequate thank you. As it is your truth-relativism cuts both ways, why should I accept your interpretations rather than those of IA?

          As to your “existence is metaphorical” thing, that’s its own complex topic

          No, it isn’t. Do people claim that the existence of phlostigon is metaphorical, or do they claim that it doesn’t exist? That a claim of its existence is false?

          The difficulty that we non-believers have is that you and people like you won’t admit that, for example, the account of the flood in the bible is false, what you want to claim is that it should instead be “interpreted metaphorically” and that this has always been the case (but not for Jesus seemingly). And of course we are bewildered as to the decision procedure you have for deciding what passages should be taken literally and what metaphorically and what authority you have for doing so.

          But fair enough, if you are going to rate some passages such as Genesis as metaphorical then we are at liberty to claim that the cosmogony in Hesiod’s Theogony, the Norse Eddas or the Hindu Vedas are metaphorical. In which case, why should we privilege one set of metaphors over another?

        • As it is your truth-relativism cuts both ways, why should I accept your interpretations rather than those of IA?

          It’s hard to argue against a position which shields any and all reasons (or lack thereof) beyind the objective patina of “a literal translation”.

          No, it isn’t. Do people claim that the existence of phlostigon is metaphorical, or do they claim that it doesn’t exist? That a claim of its existence is false?

          I didn’t answer your analogy directly because it is a fairly bad one. The direct answer is no, people don’t switch to metaphorical phlogiston. But the idea that Christians switched to a metaphorical God is deeply problematic if you know your theological history. It is more like the switch was from non-univocal metaphysics → univocal metaphysics → God can no longer play a causal role → God is a metaphor. I would say the problem is in the first transition, to univocal metaphysics. I don’t think anyone describes Aquinas’ conception of God as being “metaphorical”.

          The difficulty that we non-believers have is that you and people like you won’t admit that, for example, the account of the flood in the bible is false, what you want to claim is that it should instead be “interpreted metaphorically” and that this has always been the case (but not for Jesus seemingly).

          If you travel to a part of Afghanistan less impacted by modernity, I bet you’ll find that the way they describe and navigate reality is quite different from how you do in some important respects. To impose your categories on them would be called “cultural imperialism”, and it is now known that you will distort their culture if you by doing so. We see this in J. G. Frazer’s The Golden Bough, where he dogmatically saw magic as pre-science—as if all people throughout time have had as their goal the manipulation and control of reality. Similarly, you insist on calling the flood account false, as if Jesus and those before him thought of history in the objective, fact-based way that we moderns do, today.

          The possibility apparently doesn’t enter your mind that Genesis 1–11 was a polemic against competing myths, myths which formed the backdrop of a value-infused kosmos. For example, it couldn’t possibly be that creation myths where humans are slaves of the gods could serve as legitimation for kings and emperors to claim to be divine image-bearers, and thus have the ontological right to rule over and dominate their subjects. In contrast, Genesis 1:26–27 indicates that all humans are image-bearers, in a way that is almost deliciously ambiguous between the individual, male and female as a unit, and all humans as a unit. The origin of humans is also entirely peaceful in the Genesis account, as if there is at core a potential for harmony, which is utterly denied by e.g. Hobbes’ state of nature. Oh yes: we have our own myths, today.

          So the difficulty that I have, as someone who tries to understand others on their own terms instead of press-fitting their words and worlds into my own, unalterable understanding, is that folks like you and IA and Bob (see his every book is a mirror”) make it appear as if press-fitting is the only thing we can possibly do. Or worse, that humans have always understood reality in approximately the same way (albeit with worse scientific knowledge as you go back in time).

          P.S. I doubt you’ll find ‘metaphorical’ to be a comprehensively useful term in a text such as John H. Walton’s Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the Old Testament: Introducing the Conceptual World of the Hebrew Bible.

        • Paul B. Lot

          For example, it couldn’t possibly be that creation myths where humans are slaves of the gods could serve as legitimation for kings and emperors to claim to be divine image-bearers, and thus have the ontological right to rule over and dominate their subjects.

          Yeah, the Christian god never claimed the ontological right to rule over and dominate it’s human subjects…

          John 13:1-20
          Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

          John 17:1-5
          Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. 2 For you granted him authority over all people

          Ephesians:6-5
          Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ.

          http://www.jasonstaples.com/bible/paul-a-slave-or-bondslave-misinterpreted-bible-passages-7/

        • epeeist

          It’s hard to argue against a position which shields any and all reasons (or lack thereof) beyind the objective patina of “a literal translation”.

          But “It says what it says. Why should you be able to substitute anything else?”. As it is you don’t come anywhere near answering the question I asked.

          The direct answer is no, people don’t switch to metaphorical phlogiston

          Well we agree on something, what they in fact do is agree that this is a false description of reality.

          But the idea that Christians switched to a metaphorical God is deeply problematic

          Well it would be if that was the point that I raised, which of course it wasn’t. I, and others, were specifically interested in what can and cannot be considered as metaphor in the bible. It was a nice attempt but I, and others, have seen this shell game from you before and make sure we keep an eye on where the pea actually is.

          If you travel to a part of Afghanistan less impacted by modernity, I bet you’ll find that the way they describe and navigate reality is quite different from how you do in some important respects.

          I don’t doubt it, but it has nothing to do with the subject in hand.

          The possibility apparently doesn’t enter your mind that Genesis 1–11 was a polemic against competing myth

          Well it wasn’t one that immediately came to my mind I will admit. However I did note the insertion of the word “possibility” in the sentence, now it is fairly easy to raise hypotheses, the hard thing is to provide justification for them. So again, why should I accept your interpretation and more importantly, what gives you the authority to interpret a document that is supposedly, in some way or other, a production (directly or indirectly) of your god?

          So the difficulty that I have, as someone who tries to understand others on their own terms instead of press-fitting their words and worlds into my own, unalterable understanding,

          Ah, so “there are no fact, only interpretations”.

        • But “It says what it says. Why should you be able to substitute anything else?”. As it is you don’t come anywhere near answering the question I asked.

          See my recent reply to IA.

          Well it would be if that was the point that I raised, which of course it wasn’t. I, and others, were specifically interested in what can and cannot be considered as metaphor in the bible. It was a nice attempt but I, and others, have seen this shell game from you before and make sure we keep an eye on where the pea actually is.

          I’m as suspect of claims that some aspects of the Bible are “metaphorized” as I am that God himself was “metaphorized”. As I’ve seen that term usually employed online, it is full of anachronistic modernist cultural imperialism.

          I don’t doubt it, but it has nothing to do with the subject in hand.

          If you want to avoid implicit cultural imperialism, it is relevant. But if you’re happy being a fundamentalist, taking for granted that things are as they appear to you, then it is irrelevant.

          So again, why should I accept your interpretation and more importantly, what gives you the authority to interpret a document that is supposedly, in some way or other, a production (directly or indirectly) of your god?

          You shouldn’t blindly accept my interpretation; you should employ reason and models of human nature and an understanding of God, which are all open to critique. You will inevitably stand on the shoulders of giants and you should neither blindly reject nor accept the way they have formed your thinking and feeling.

          I take my status as imago Dei to be sufficient to authorize my differing from the understandings of other imago Dei beings. Something like that imago Dei status is also a prerequisite for understanding God more and more—without such a potential, there would be nothing to be actualized. Where scientists say/​believe “Reality is arbitrarily comprehensible to us”, I say “God is arbitrarily comprehensible to us”.

          LB: So the difficulty that I have, as someone who tries to understand others on their own terms instead of press-fitting their words and worlds into my own, unalterable understanding, is that folks like you and IA and Bob (see his every book is a mirror”) make it appear as if press-fitting is the only thing we can possibly do. Or worse, that humans have always understood reality in approximately the same way (albeit with worse scientific knowledge as you go back in time).

          e: Ah, so “there are no fact, only interpretations”.

          I do not see how this follows. Perhaps you are referring to the apparent conundrum of the hermeneutic circle, a conundrum which vanishes upon critical analysis. The mere fact that anthropologists can study other cultures while not press-fitting their Western understanding on those cultures seems evidence enough that you’ve identified a pseudo-problem. The key, by the way, is for those anthropologists to see ‘the other’ as equal, such that they can challenge the scientist’s preconcieved notions. Once you start looking down on them, you do stupid shit like J.G. Frazer’s presumption that magic is simply pre-science, in The Golden Bough.

        • adam

          “I’m as suspect of claims that some aspects of the Bible are “metaphorized” as I am that God himself was “metaphorized”. ”

          And yet there is no way around it….

        • Ignorant Amos

          Why are you lying about all this?

          The problem I have is that there are things in the bible that the theist takes literally and there are things that must be interpreted to mean something else to the literal words written.

          Things that in the past that were once taken by the theist to be literal, are now interpreted to mean something entirely different. How does this work? What method is used to decide?

          My example was to highlight just such a state of affairs. It is obvious that there is stuff in the book that are not to be taken literally, but how do you decide which is which and why does that change as we move forward?

          If you travel to a part of Afghanistan less impacted by modernity, I bet you’ll find that the way they describe and navigate reality is quite different from how you do in some important respects. To impose your categories on them would be called “cultural imperialism”, and it is now known that you will distort their culture if you by doing so.

          Spoiiiiing!

          You mean like when Jesus gave instructions to give to charity and pray in secret was the way how to please God at that time? Something at the time was a literal practice according to some Christians, but is discarded by many modern Christians, including you? Which was my whole point, but what makes ME a fundamentalist, ya douche-bag.

          Matthew 5-7

          5“When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 6“But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

          7“And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. 8“So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.

          http://biblehub.com/context/matthew/6-5.htm

          Matthew 6:1-4 Our Lord next warned against hypocrisy and outward show in religious duties. What we do, must be done from an inward principle, that we may be approved of God, not that we may be praised of men. In these verses we are cautioned against hypocrisy in giving alms. Take heed of it. It is a subtle sin; and vain-glory creeps into what we do, before we are aware. But the duty is not the less necessary and excellent for being abused by hypocrites to serve their pride. The doom Christ passes, at first may seem a promise, but it is their reward; not the reward God promises to those who do good, but the reward hypocrites promise themselves, and a poor reward it is; they did it to be seen of men, and they are seen of men. When we take least notice of our good deeds ourselves, God takes most notice of them. He will reward thee; not as a master who gives his servant what he earns, and no more, but as a Father who gives abundantly to his son that serves him.

          http://biblehub.com/commentaries/mhc/matthew/6.htm

          Henry’s commentaries are primarily exegetical, dealing with the scripture text as presented, with his prime intention being explanation, for practical and devotional purposes. While not being a work of textual research, for which Henry recommended Matthew Poole’s Synopsis Criticorum, Henry’s Exposition gives the result of a critical account of the original as of his time, with practical application. It was considered sensible and stylish, a commentary for devotional purposes.

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

        • Why are you lying about all this?

          If you think I have lied, please precisely quote & link. Otherwise, I’ll label such instances as probable attempts at defamation of character.

          The problem I have is that there are things in the bible that the theist takes literally and there are things that must be interpreted to mean something else to the literal words written.

          Have you ever seen creationists take scientists’ words out of context? The creationists will claim that they’re just reading off the ‘literal meaning’ of the paragraph, sentence, or sentence fragment. And yet, there are numerous cases where this can be shown to be bollocks. Context and situation are important. Holy shit, you argued precisely this when it came to my interpretation of epeeist’s sentence, located in a comment. I was supposed to understand the entire context, according to you. There was a whole backstory which was crucially important to properly understanding it, according to you. Do these rules of interpretation fly out the window when you deal with a person or text you don’t like?

          Things that in the past that were once taken by the theist to be literal, are now interpreted to mean something entirely different. How does this work? What method is used to decide?

          Where’s your evidence that the interpretation actually changed?

          When I read Mt 6:1–6, my first question would be, “Why command praying and giving in secret?” Praying and giving in public don’t seem to be necessarily bad. One option is just to go full-on [naïve?] divine command theory and see Jesus as declaring that such actions are always bad. But a different, more intelligible option is given in the text: there is a certain social/​theological pathology, whereby acts done in public are done merely to be seen, and not because they are good.

          Suppose that this pathology was in full-force in Jesus time (as he implies). What is a good strategy for defeating it? One option is to simply tell his audience to have good motives where the Pharisees have bad motives. But does this actually work, with human nature as we know it? No: peer pressure is incredibly strong. Society is very good at forming, storming, and norming. To escape the clutches of society, one must act outside of its purview; here, that means praying and giving in secret.

          If society is able to be cured of such pathology, then the need to do all giving and all praying in secret diminishes. There is, however, always the danger that the pathology will flare up again. If so then more stringent secrecy measures will be required again.

          Do please explain how I’ve twisted and distorted the text in interpreting as I have. I will ignore bare assertions that I’ve done this, but I will try to engage any rational argument you choose to present.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Where’s your evidence that the interpretation actually changed?

          Your argument on slavery for starters. It is a fact that throughout history, many Christians, including various Popes, had no problem with advocating slavery in light of an interpretation of the scriptures. You interpret differently, or in light of the times.

          This Matthew malarkey, clearly you are interpreting the text differently from many fellow Christians in the past.

          But what do Christians say?…

          BIBLE AND MORAL CHANGE

          by The Rev. Warner White (Ret.)
          St. Stepen’s Episcopal Church

          https://www.rci.rutgers.edu/~lcrew/dojustice/j116.html

          16 Ways Progressive Christians Interpret the Bible

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/rogerwolsey/2014/01/16-ways-progressive-christians-interpret-the-bible/

          How Has New Testament Scholarship Changed over Time?

          The contemporary world of New Testament studies therefore has a mixed heritage. The texts themselves have religious origins and aims, but scholars may align themselves with those aims in varying ways and to varying extents, or not at all. There may be a general consensus that scholarship should always proceed objectively, not depending on faith (or anti-faith) commitments, but absolute objectivity is simply impossible. At best, scholars debate their conflicting interpretations and help keep each other honest. Organizations such as the Society of New Testament Studies and the Society of Biblical Literature therefore encourage collaboration among scholars of all stripes, neither privileging nor deprecating faith. Critical study coexists today with study explicitly aimed at fostering religious faith in the same educational institutions, and even in same individual scholars. There are tensions, but food fights are discouraged.

          http://www.bibleodyssey.org/tools/bible-basics/how-has-new-testament-scholarship-changed-over-time.aspx

          5. The Bible is open to multiple interpretations, not just one meaning.

          The Bible is ancient and obscure, and its stories are “gapped” and flexible, which allows—even demands—readers to interpret the Bible legitimately in various ways. This is exactly what has been happening among Jews and Christians for over 2,000 years.

          http://www.faithstreet.com/onfaith/2014/10/06/10-things-i-wish-everyone-knew-about-the-bible/34414

          And from the fundamentalist perspective, because even they have a stake in this game…

          How has Literal Interpretation Changed?

          If anything, literalism has become more flexible in the 21st century. We understand oral history, textual composition and transmission, genre and contextual study much better than we did when The Fundamentals were written. The arguments for literal interpretation are strengthened because the Bible is not required to conform to modern tests of accuracy but can show its age. What was taken to be the Bible’s inferiority in the 19th century has become its greatest testament of superiority. It has not been tainted by realignment over the ages but has actually remained in essentially its ancient states. The very things that were once criticized are now its greatest strengths.

          https://fundamentallychanged.wordpress.com/2009/09/25/how-has-literal-interpretation-changed/

          I know, silly isn’t it?

        • None of that indicates that the interpretation of Mt 6:1–6 has appreciably changed. I’ve never argued that there has been zero interpretive change ever; any given text is written within a certain culture, from a certain way of viewing reality. The further one’s culture and way of viewing reality is from the author, the harder it will be to bridge the gap, to do what Hans-Georg Gadamer called “fusion of horizons”.

          The key to fusion of horizons is that you have some point of common contact. (Retrieving Realism, 130) When an athropologist tries to understand what other cultures understand as ‘magic’—instead of pulling a J. G. Frazer and dogmatically presupposing it is pre-science—the reason [s]he can do this is that [s]he will have some things in common with those cultures, even if there are also great differences. Returning to Jesus’ words, we are not foreigners to people who do works to be praised by fellow humans. This is a point of common contact. Judging from US politics, we might even be headed toward a situation where [virtually] all actions by public officials seem intended to garner praise by humans, instead of pursuing truth, goodness, excellence, etc.

          Your very focus on the term “literal” betrays a shallow understanding of history; see for example:

          Biblical literalism first became an issue in the 18th century,[16] enough so for Diderot to mention it in his Encyclopédie.[17] Karen Armstrong sees “[p]reoccupation with literal truth” as “a product of the scientific revolution”.[18] (WP: Biblical literalism § History)

          I could cite from scholarly works, but I’d probably get grief for it, e.g. unfounded/​poorly founded claims that I routinely misrepresent the sources I cite.

          Your argument seems to reduce to the claim that we cannot escape the hermeneutic circle and thus we’re screwed; this position has been rejected by prominent scholars, meaning that it is your responsibility to argue for it, instead of treat it as a default position.

        • adam

          “When an athropologist tries to understand what other cultures understand as ‘magic’—instead of pulling a J. G. Frazer and dogmatically presupposing it is pre-science—”

          But MAGIC IS PRE-SCIENCE.

          it is the IGNORANT God of the Gaps…

        • Ignorant Amos

          When I read Mt 6:1–6, my first question would be,….yadda, yadda, yadda,..

          Exactly, when you read Mt 6:1-6 you disregard the literal written words and interpret a different message.

          Your interpretation is not thee interpretation, other interpretations differ…so there is no correct method to know the correct interpretation. Yours suits your argument, the literal one I put forward with support from other Christian interpreters and what seems to have been the culture of Jews at the time, seems the more pragmatic explanation. I offered the Matthew example to show a place where you disregard scripture and have to read it differently, not because I believe the words are anything more than a device in a story book for a purpose. A purpose that you can no more show more probable than any other Christians purpose.

          Because of this I’m labelled a fundie…so what will we call you when you prefer a literal reading of a text elsewhere where and another prefers something else less literal, a fundie?

          Do please explain how I’ve twisted and distorted the text in interpreting as I have.

          Because other interpretations can be made from the same text, so all interpretations are a distortion of some sort without the having the author to explain the exact meaning and the literal words are what they are without interpretation. So, again what makes your interpretation the right one and all others wrong? Because it makes the most sense to Luke Breuer?

          I will ignore bare assertions that I’ve done this, but I will try to engage any rational argument you choose to present.

          You do what ya like Luke, I give zero fucks what ya about it. Like Myna, I will pick and choose what I reply to on my terms and time restrictions, not yours, and not for your benefit, but for the benefit for those others interested in reading my contributions. I might even decide to withdraw in providing anymore wanking material for you altogether, but I’ll decide on that, not you. Unless you do us all a favour and fuck away off, or get banned, in which case, both scenarios I will not shed a single tear about.

        • LB: When I read Mt 6:1–6, my first question would be, “Why command praying and giving in secret?”

          IA: Exactly, when you read Mt 6:1-6 you disregard the literal written words and interpret a different message.

          Really, you don’t try to understand plausible reasons for why people tell you things? I’ll also point out that you’re interpreting the text in this way:

              “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.
              “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
              “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. (Matthew 6:1–6)

          It wasn’t at all a leap for me to think that the bits I put in strikethrough are important, that they directly answer my Why.

          Your interpretation is not thee interpretation […]

          Did I say it was? Don’t project your literalism on me.

          […] other interpretations differ…so there is no correct method to know the correct interpretation.

          If this were really true, you couldn’t actually understand the words I write, except as if you had spoken them yourself. For there would be no [other] correct method to know what I had intended to communicate. And yet we both know this is absurd.

          Yours suits your argument, the literal one I put forward with support from other Christian interpreters and what seems to have been the culture of Jews at the time, seems the more pragmatic explanation.

          Ummmm, what? You need to learn about what Peter Enns calls the “Second Temple Hermeneutic” in his Inspiration and Incarnation. Here’s an example:

          The same day Sadducees came to him, who say that there is no resurrection, […] But Jesus answered them, “[…] And as for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God: ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead, but of the living.” And when the crowd heard it, they were astonished at his teaching. (Matthew 22:23–33)

          This isn’t a ‘literal’ interpretation of Exodus 3:6. And yet the crowd was astonished at this teaching and the Sadducees were silenced. Your knowledge of “the culture of the Jews at the time” appears dubious.

          Because of this I’m labelled a fundie…

          Here’s what I mean by ‘fundamentalist’:

          Resistances to pluralism have been conventionally subsumed under the category of “fundamentalism.” I am uneasy about this term; it comes from a particular episode in the history of American Protestantism and is awkward when applied to other religious traditions (such as Islam). I will use it, because it has attained such wide currency, but I will define it more sharply: fundamentalism is any project to restore taken-for-grantedness in the individual’s consciousness and therefore, necessarily, in his or her social and/or political environment. Such a project can have both religious and secular forms; the former concerns us here. (The New Sociology of Knowledge, 41)

          The idea is that ‘pluralism’ ⇒ ‘interpretive anarchy’, and so we must avoid this by declaring one interpretation correct by fiat. The only other option is to allow anarchy, and that is unacceptable. I object to the initial ‘⇒’, to my guess about your stance on the hermeneutic circle.

          So, again what makes your interpretation the right one and all others wrong? Because it makes the most sense to Luke Breuer?

          I’ve only actually been exposed to your alternative intepretation of Mt 6:1–6, and I’ve spelled out my reasoning for why I think my interpretation is better than yours. The bottom line is that I see Jesus’ restrictions as only necessary when public hypocrisy is a sufficient worry and I don’t think it’s always a sufficient worry. He tell us to do things because of public hypocrisy. I claim the meaning of the text is different with and without the sections I put in strikethrough; perhaps you do not?

          Like Myna, I will pick and choose what I reply to on my terms and time restrictions, not yours, and not for your benefit, but for the benefit for those others interested in reading my contributions.

          Atheist morality at its best—treating certain people as means, not ends?

        • adam

          “A theist morality at its best—treating certain people as means, not ends?”

          FTFY

        • adam

          “A theist morality at its best—treating certain people as means, not ends?”.

          FTFY

        • adam

          “A theist morality at its best—treating certain people as means, not ends?”..

          FTFY

        • adam

          “The problem I have is that there are things in the bible that the theist
          takes literally and there are things that must be interpreted to mean
          something else to the literal words written.”

          But, Luke, you have NOT demonstrated that this is true….

        • Kodie

          You seem to think you’re communicating such a point successfully, but when you say stuff, it’s like you’re saying what the bible really says is, “The busdriver was a duck and all the passengers were balloons. All the green ones got off at the refrigerator to ride the ferris wheel, but I didn’t know that’s what they were doing, so I warned them that the coffee in that shop was bleeding, and recommended another one in Minneapolis that had bleeding coffee and a ferris wheel.”

          Now, we all know that’s not what it says in the bible, but the contortions you go through to invent some rational interpretation of the words doesn’t make it rational.

        • adam

          “You simply will not accept that there are other legitimate ways of interpreting. ”

          ONLY because IDIOTS like YOU are incapable of demonstrating ‘other legitimate ways of interpreting’

          It is YOUR FAILURE, Luke
          Not EVERYONE elses…

          WWWWWWWWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
          WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
          WAAAAAAAAAAAA

          Cry baby

        • Kodie

          If you cannot see anything wrong with, “Either my simplistic interpretation of a text is right, or it can be interpreted infinitely many ways with no rational way to adjudicate.”, I’m afraid I cannot help you.

          Good, you’ve done everything you can do, now go find another hobby.

        • Greg G.

          Luke is saying that we cannot rule out MNb’s garden fairies who make the flowers grow.

        • adam

          WAAAAAAAAAAAA
          WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
          WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

          You cant even help yourself.

        • Kodie

          It’s not that your explanation exceeds the requirements of simplicity – it does not meet the minimum of rationality no matter how much you believe that it does. I wrote that to you, many people have in many ways, but you choose to ignore all that and push forward with your delusions. One of your delusions is that you believe in a superstition, another one is that you can support your superstitious beliefs with endless fantastical stretches and scrapes for a shred of plausibility of your superstition, and this is supposed to be convincing anyone; yet another one is that you think you’re succeeding at it. Yet another delusion you have is that atheists are just too stubborn to take what you say as rational. Another delusion you have is that you’re rational. Another delusion you seem to have is that you’re not afflicted with an annoying personality. Now it would be irrational to deny what you say just because your personality is annoying, but the rest just comes out. You don’t write too much to read or understand – you write too much to hide how delusional you are.

        • adam

          “If an explanation exceeds the requirements of simplicity, the person
          giving the explanation is suspected of duplicity and/or delusion.”

          No, just calling Bullshit
          BULLSHIT

          You have been impotent in demonstrating your claims, primarily apparently, by your DELUSIONAL thinking, or deception if you prefer.

        • Demonstrating which claims? I know you and others want to pretend that I’ve made a bunch of claims I couldn’t or wouldn’t defend, but I doubt you can actually quote me making them. I wonder why that would be…

        • adam

          We already have demonstrated such Luke.

          And you continue to LIE and be DECEPTIVE

          but we understand that LYING is the VERY BEST way that your ‘faith’ has prepared you to demonstrate YOUR “God” and it’s objective morality.

          You are no different than any other LYING apologists we’ve seen here., in that respect.

          So cry WAAAAAAAAAAAAA
          WAAAAAAAAA
          WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

          All you like.

          Cry baby……..

        • adam

          WAAAAAAAAAA
          WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

          WAAAAAAAAAAA

          The little baby is CRYING,

          AGAIN..

          Here is a REAL victim

          And not just of he own incompetence, like you.

        • adam

          Yeah, yeah, yeah, but do you go to church and pray?

          Or do you just WAAAAAAAAAAAAA, WAAAAAAAAAAA, WAAAAAAAAAAAAA

          Like a baby all the time.

        • But you see, Luke used to be a Creationist, but he’s open minded enough to have seen through that crap. So now he’s good.

          That’s got to be relevant to something …

        • Ignorant Amos

          It’s all about the interpretation don’t ya know?

          Those were back in Luke’s fundamentalist days, when he didn’t have the proper “interpretation spectacles”…or understand the science, so what the buybull said was what the bible meant. He’s edumacadeted these days.

          http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-TbEzjMi_QmY/TxyG2yzBWuI/AAAAAAAABAA/R6IkAgj6mO0/s1600/CreationismBored.jpg

          I needs to get me some of them there proper “interpretation spectacles”, the pukka ones that Luke wears mind, not those phoney ones that most Christians I know wears, the ones he got from the “Genuine God Products Shop”, they’re special ya know?

          http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_tZTt7ibhRfM/SXIRjWZaQPI/AAAAAAAAABQ/7nnXRvcydTs/s320/spectacles.jpg

        • I want the spectacles with the magic rocks that go transparent, like Joseph Smith used.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Handy as they’d be for addressing Mormon nonsense, they’d be useless in dealing with Luke’s nonsense…different books ya see.

        • Dang! He’s always outsmarting me.

        • epeeist

          I needs to get me some of them there proper “interpretation spectacles”

          Well you can’t get spectacles but you can get something similar on Ebay.

        • Ignorant Amos

          That one never gets boring.

        • It was almost entirely internet discussion which changed my mind on creationism. It was a long an arduous process, but I suspect many significant changes in belief are. Anyhow, anyone who says internet discussion doesn’t change deep-seated beliefs is wrong.

        • It is good to hear examples of people changing their mind from religious closed-mindedness.

        • I see what you did there.

        • Apparently not. My attempt was to congratulate you on your own change of mind and to celebrate open mindedness. Didn’t come across, I guess.

        • No, I got that. It was more the back-handed compliment I was talking about. You know—religion merely closes minds.

        • Susan

          It was more the back-handed compliment I was talking about. You know—religion merely closes minds.

          You were a creationist for non-religious reasons?

        • The problem is treating all religion as something with inherent mind-closing powers, which is not entailed by Bob’s comment, but I suspect, suggested. Here we possibly return to the idea—not rejected so far—that it is illegitimate to separate between different kinds of religion. This idea is reinforced by calling any attempt to separate, “No True Scotsman”.

        • Kodie

          Religion has the inherent ability to lead people from anything true or helpful by being a fiction, myth, and superstition. You are suffering from the delusion, because it might get some things right, if you twist the words to mean something you value out here in reality, that it’s knowledge coming to you from god through a book. https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/the-texas-sharpshooter

          Just because you think you’re smart, nice, not a violent extremist or whatever (though you are certainly a douche), doesn’t mean we let your silly beliefs off the hook. You are in a certain denial of your faith because other people use their faith to read a more plain interpretation without getting all metaphorical and overthinking it, and do shitty things. That’s the problem with following any superstition – they’re wrong, but you’re also wrong. You are putting an awful lot of yourself into your preferred interpretations, just like people who interpret it otherwise. It means what YOU want it to mean, but you hide behind your superstition to explain your behaviors and beliefs, not the other way around; you’re creating the superstition you like and making it behave the way you prefer by interpreting the words – just like all Christians do.

          Atheists see through it.

        • Paul B. Lot

          You were asked a question.

          Cowardice, while not entailed by your refusal to answer that question, is nonetheless I suspect, suggested.

          “Here we possibly return to the idea—not rejected so far—that it is illegitimate to separate between different kinds of religion.”

          No, we don’t return there.

          We return, instead, to the question:

          Were you a creationist for non-religious reasons?

        • Kodie

          Why do you think we don’t fucking understand you????

        • Susan

          I am aware that when a person says a thing, sometimes it doesn’t mean what I immediately thought it meant upon first hearing it.

          But you argued earlier that a single data point is enough to condemn epeeist. .

          He is a real person with real comments, comments that you couldn’t be arsed to put in context.

          You insist on context and accuse people of fundamentalism when they evaluate stories about what the Jesus character said but will use a single data point to justify the silencing of someone who made great contributions to discussion.

          The difference is that you are dealing with many people here who read everything the Jesus character is supposed to have said while you ignored the context of epeeist’s real contributions.

          When people don’t buy your interpretations, you accuse them of fundamentalism despite the fact that they have shown evidence that they have looked into the history of the sources and that they have read everything the Jesus character is claimed to have said.

          Still, a single data point is enough to take your opinion seriously when it comes to epeeist (and others), despite the fact that you never put any effort into the context of the situation.

          My god, you’ve been a hypocrite since the day I met you.

        • Michael Neville

          My god, you’ve been a hypocrite since the day I met you.

          We should petition Bob for a better class of troll.

        • Sorry–we’re on a budget.

        • Ignorant Amos

          “OUCH!” …That’s gonna sting.

        • But you argued earlier that a single data point is enough to condemn epeeist.

          Given my corrections on this to-date, this is in danger of being a bald-faced lie. Unless you just happen to define ‘condemn’ as “indicate that this person is ban-worthy on an internet site which requires civility”. I had no need to judge his entire character, as I’ve made clear to him, to PBL, to IA, and perhaps others.

          He is a real person with real comments, comments that you couldn’t be arsed to put in context.

          I’ve seen IA’s and PBL’s defenses of epeeist’s comment. I still think he was incredibly arrogant to say it. And I think the hostile atmosphere at EN (not just to me) constitutes pretty good justification for banning some of the regulars their from SN. I hold this line even if the people banned were good at logical argument, marshalling evidence, etc.

          You insist on context and accuse people of fundamentalism when they evaluate stories about what the Jesus character said but will use a single data point to justify the silencing of someone who made great contributions to discussion.

          I don’t see how the above is an accurate summary of the below:

          LB: Oh dear, here’s quite the arrogant statement:

          epeeist: By banning me Brandon has condemned [SN] to be a train wreck.

          If epeeist generally wrote that way, I can see why he’d be banned. This does not inspire confidence in his ability to engender truth-seeking conversation with people of very different views than his.

          You and others really do seem to like to pretend that I never write that “If”.

          […] you ignored the context of epeeist’s real contributions.

          You’ve yet to demonstrate how they are relevant. Are you saying, for example that the arrogant streak revealed in his post-ban edit was completely absent beforehand? I would find that hard to believe, because I generally don’t observe people managing to be two-faced in that way, in such situations. If you’re saying that epeeist made really great contributions to SN, I’m not sure that’s relevant if he were also poisoning the atmosphere. Given that I don’t recall seeing him push back against the poisonous atmosphere on EN, that indicates to me that possibly he’s quite happy with such a status quo.

          When people don’t buy your interpretations, you accuse them of fundamentalism despite the fact that they have shown evidence that they have looked into the history of the sources and that they have read everything the Jesus character is claimed to have said.

          I see, so it’s not remotely probable that Jesus was countering a habit of praying in public to garner the praise of man (as well as doing other things in public to garner the praise of man), that he was offering a treatment plan that was severe for a while to avoid relapses?

        • adam

          “Given my corrections on this to-date, this is in danger of being a bald-faced lie.”

          ONLY on YOUR part.

          BWAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

          WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
          WAAAAAAAAAA
          WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

          Cry Baby Luke….

        • Susan

          If epeeist generally wrote that way, I can see why he’d be banned

          A single data point. So fuck off about reports about reports about Jesus and endless contortions to find some moral truth in it.

          Like I said, you’re a hypocrite.

          You’ve yet to demonstrate how they are relevant.

          Context, Luke. Either you care about real context about a real person who was banned without warning and lies told about him and a real lying liar who banned him or you don’t.

          It’s real Luke. Not like the stories told about Jesus.

          All your chastising about you having to do all the work but all your work seems breathtakingly lazy, based on beginning with your conclusion and blue-linking rabbit holes that don’t lead where you imply they do.

          You and others really do seem to like to pretend that I never write that “if”

          “If” from an arrogant git with a manifesto is meaningless when that git is operating from a single data point.

          Nevertheless, we addressed your If. You were given copious help when you first got there to find your way to main threads

          A single data point.

          You are a hypocrite of the highest order.

          Because now IA is a fundamentalist, though he took the time to read the stories of what Jesus said, to put a tremendous amount of energy for many years now, into finding more out about their sources, more and more about what various factions of believers in Jesus stories officially declare. He’s put in the work and he’s a fundamentalist (edit: ’cause you say so)..

          You evaluated a single data point and couldn’t be arsed to look into the background. No matter how much effort people put into giving you access to the background.

          I have followed you down too many rabbit holes that don’t lead to where you say they do.

          You are not a subtle hypocrite. I am not basing this on a single data point I sought out to justiffy my position that evil must be fought on the internet.

          You are a breathtaking hypocrite. Almost relentlessly so.

          I have hundreds (possibly thousands) of data points available to support this. And a lot of witnesses.

          Anyway, back to Jesus/Yahwehjesus and what is at least plausible about your interpretation of the stories that found themselves into a book and a culture. In what seem to be like normal, natural, predictable human ways.

          And why IA is a “fundamentalist” if he’s grown tired of rabbit holes.

        • A single data point.

          Yep. A saying goes like this: “One data point does not constitute a trend.” Which would explain why I said “If epeeist generally wrote that way, I can see why he’d be banned.” What really seems to be the case is that you and others want to paint my comment in the worst light possible (which is something I was accused of doing which triggered my EN ban), and that you cannot help but distorting what I actually said in order to do so. Furthermore, you demonstrate that you and others on EN do not forgive, as my apology was never accepted, but often taken advantage of to criticize me further.

          Context, Luke. Either you care about real context about a real person who was banned without warning and lies told about him and a real lying liar who banned him or you don’t.

          I’m well aware of feeling unjustly banned. As far as I can tell, epeeist was unjustly banned; SN was not clever enough to include a comment policy clause, “The moderator’s discretion applies at all times.” But I don’t see the relevance; it’s not like two wrongs make a right.

          “If” from an arrogant git […]

          Coming from a group of people who ostensibly are what made SN great, whose absence from SN forever removed its greatness, this is a bit rich. This is only compounded by the hostile atmosphere y’all went on to create (or fail to prevent) at EN, which was not felt just by me. You yourself were awfully conflicted about this (underlining mine, strikethrough yours):

          S: As to the rest of your comment, I think something deeper is going on than that we are being relentlessly acting like a bunch of assholes. Theists could show up in droves but they don’t.[…]This is not a hostile environment for discussion. Jim wanted us to accept the term “truth” as a premise without explaining what he meant by it. I saw a lot of people work very hard to communicate why that was a problem.

          You blame this failure largely on ‘the other’. This is a key aspect to self-righteousness: the self-righteous person is simply better than others. This means that person doesn’t need to change; others do. There’s no real possibility of both parties sharing responsibility and both parties trying to change. This self-righteousness characterizes not just you, but a number of EN regulars. But of course, I’m the arrogant one and you’re the humble, rational, evidence-respecting ones.

          He’s put in the work and he’s a fundamentalist (edit: ’cause you say so).

          Ahhh, I need to establish that it is not just I using the term that way? Well, here’s a definition from an extremely well-respected sociologist:

          Resistances to pluralism have been conventionally subsumed under the category of “fundamentalism.” I am uneasy about this term; it comes from a particular episode in the history of American Protestantism and is awkward when applied to other religious traditions (such as Islam). I will use it, because it has attained such wide currency, but I will define it more sharply: fundamentalism is any project to restore taken-for-grantedness in the individual’s consciousness and therefore, necessarily, in his or her social and/or political environment. Such a project can have both religious and secular forms; the former concerns us here. (The New Sociology of Knowledge, 41)

          A key aspect to taken-for-grantedness is a refusal to investigate possible alternative explanations. This is precisely what he did with his “pretzelmania apologetic’s”.

          I have followed you down too many rabbit holes that don’t lead to where you say they do.

          Given how you have inferred illogical things from what I’ve said, I’m extremely skeptical that I actually said they lead where you thought. Of course, without explicit examples, it’s hard to say. Furthermore, you and others have worked hard to deligitimize anything I say, such that you don’t actually need to provide the burden of proof for your claims. You can simply cast aspersions and most people reading these comments will simply believe you. It’s nice being in the dominant group, isn’t it? You simply don’t have to play fair.

          And why IA is a “fundamentalist” if he’s grown tired of rabbit holes.

          I’ve never denied that some Christians do engage in “pretzelmania apologetic’s”. My objection is the ‘some’ ⇒ ‘all’ reasoning. I’m sure that some people do conclude ridiculous, absurd things from Shakespeare’s writings.

        • Paul B. Lot

          “But I don’t see the relevance…”

          And this is why you uttter falsehoods when you try to claim that you “understand” the people at EN and their complaints about SN/Brandon Vogt.

          You’re like a child trying to butt into an adult conversation, without having a grasp of the topics.

          How many times has this been explained to you before now? A dozen? Two?

          Forty nine times?

        • Paul B. Lot

          Furthermore, you and others have worked hard to deligitimize [sic] anything I say, such that you don’t actually need to provide the burden of proof for your claims. You can simply cast aspersions and most people reading these comments will simply believe you. It’s nice being in the dominant group, isn’t it? You simply don’t have to play fair.

          1) It is at least logically possible that your statement here accurately reflects the true nature of your exchanges with us.

          It is, however, also logically possible that it does not.

          2) It could be the case that you are entirely at fault, that you are the evil and self-deluded person that I, at least, take you to be.

          3) It could also be the case that you are mostly at fault for having difficulty communicating well, for choosing words or figures or phrases or chains of logic which failed to adequately convey your meaning to us.

          4) (other)

          Of course, I am exceedingly unsurprised that you chose to run with the scenario which paints you in the best light – I’ve never seen you do anything but. See #1.

        • adam

          “You and others really do seem to like to pretend that I never write that “If”.”

          No, we’ve learned to ignore it.
          As you use it so often to hide behind meaningless claptrap.

          WAAAAAAAAAA
          WAAAAAAAAAAAA
          WAAAAAAAA
          WAAAAAA

    • Paul B. Lot

      Webster’s:
      Full Definition of dominate
      dominateddominating
      transitive verb
      1
      : rule, control
      2
      : to exert the supreme determining or guiding influence on
      3
      : to overlook from a superior elevation or command because of superior height or position
      4
      a: to be predominant in
      b: to have a commanding or preeminent place or position in
      intransitive verb
      1
      : to have or exert mastery, control, or preeminence
      2
      : to occupy a more elevated or superior position

      “So, we have that Jesus refused to be served by people and he refused to dominate people… The institution of slavery requires domination.”

      HE may, or may not, have refused “to dominate” people. (Bitchfit in the temple?)

      He very clearly did not “refuse to be served by people” as you have claimed. ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anointing_of_Jesus )

      But, pacem. Let’s examine the word “dominate”, and see whether or not he condemns the practice of “domination” utterly, the practice on which slavery is founded.

      Origin and Etymology of dominate
      Latin dominatus, past participle of dominari, from dominus master; akin to Latin domus house — more at dome

      He spoke of his “father”, also “God”, as being his own “master”.

      The “master” is one who dominates.

      Therefore Jesus affirms the morality of a domination relationship, of master/slave relationships at least in theory, if only between “God the Father” as over “God the Son”/humanity.

      So, no. Jesus does not repudiate “domination” utterly. Nor does he repudiate “being served”, himself, utterly. Instead we have a character who offers nuanced and hidden moral codes which vary from time and place to time and place.

      (Although the rest of his rhetoric leaves it quite open to interpretation whether or not “loving one another as I have loved you” is fundamentally antithetical to quotidian slavery, ie. merely physical domination, vs. complete moral/psychological domination. Basically it’s a mishmash of jelly like pablum – it can be formed or shaped to mean a variety of different things.)