Atheism Fails Because There Is No Ultimate Justice?

Atheism Fails Because There Is No Ultimate Justice? December 30, 2019

Ultimate justice—Christians have it and atheists don’t. That’s the argument from Christian apologist Greg Koukl (podcast). With this topic, he thinks he’s found a winner.

I think the problem of justice is a double down for us because not only is there no justice executed in an atheistic worldview, which is trouble, but there is no justice in an atheist worldview in the sense that the word can’t get any traction. The word justice itself, which requires that there is a right and proper end for those who do what is wrong, entails objective right (justice) and objective wrong, which are categories which don’t even exist in a naturalistic worldview, so in a certain sense they have a double problem with the issue of justice. (@11:05)

Koukl identifies atheists’ “double problem” with justice as (1) there is no ultimate justice within an atheist worldview and (2) the word justice itself makes no sense without objective morality to ground it.

I wonder how many things are wrong in this one brief paragraph. Let’s count them.

Note that this isn’t the introduction to a longer discussion. I’m not strawmanning his position by responding to just this paragraph—this is Koukl’s entire argument.

1. We can’t let Hitler get away with it . . . but is the Christian view any better?

The idea of Hitler starting World War II and encouraging the Final Solution and then using suicide as an escape with no further consequences frustrates Koukl. If you do the crime, you should do the time. But Christians themselves don’t do the time. They claim that accepting the sacrifice of Jesus gets them a suspended sentence and a ticket into heaven. So what happened to justice?

Maybe that’s how it worked with Hitler. Hitler was raised Catholic. Suppose in his final hours in the bunker, he returned to his roots, accepted Jesus into his life, asked for forgiveness, and then pulled the trigger. He might be in heaven right now playing shuffleboard with Jesus, and to hell with justice.

2. God’s mercy conflicts with his justice.

Koukl likes to imagine everyone getting what’s coming to them. But God doesn’t do it that way. When God gives justice, we get what we deserve, but sometimes he gives mercy and we get less than what we deserve. So which is it?

Christians celebrate both mercy and justice, but they can’t apply at the same time.

3. God’s “justice” fails when judged against modern, Western justice.

God’s primitive justice may have made sense in the time of Jesus, but it is ridiculous from a modern standpoint. God, the perfect judge, apparently is too dull-witted to conceive of anything but two options: perfect bliss in heaven and perfect torment in hell. That’s it.

That’s not “justice” by any definition used by people here on earth. “The punishment must fit the crime” is a maxim that we imperfectly strive for here on earth, but God doesn’t even bother trying.

4. There’s no evidence for objective morality or ultimate justice.

Koukl said, “The word ‘justice’ itself . . . entails objective right and objective wrong, which are categories which don’t even exist in a naturalistic worldview.” While the Christian worldview imagines objective morality, that’s nothing more than wishful thinking.

Look up morality or justice in the dictionary. There is no objective, ultimate, absolute, or transcendental anything in the definitions. Not only does the dictionary argue against him, but Koukl doesn’t make any meaningful case for objective morality. Admittedly, he didn’t have the opportunity to argue for objective morality here, but he’s had it in the past and provided nothing compelling. I’ve minced Koukl’s childish view of objective morality in prior posts.

5. The claim is that Christianity is useful, but wishing it were true doesn’t make it so.

Koukl doesn’t like the atheistic or naturalistic worldviews, but he makes no argument that Christianity is true or atheism false. Koukl may be implying that Christianity is useful or happy (I think atheism as a worldview is invigorating and empowering and makes much more sense of the facts we see around us), but my only interest is in which worldview is true, not which has the happier story. At the top of my list of 25 Stupid Arguments Christians Should Avoid, was “The consequences of atheism are depressing.”

Koukl will fume that Christianity has the happier viewpoint, but (1) no, it doesn’t, and (2) who would care about a happy worldview that didn’t have evidence to back it up?

6. What’s the point? The Bible makes clear that we’re all good.

Paul said, “For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous” (Romans 5:19). We’re tarred with Adam’s brush, but we’re made clean by the sacrifice of Jesus.

Paul says the debt has been paid, and we’re all righteous, Hitler included. So much for Koukl’s justice.

Science has never killed or persecuted a single person
for doubting or denying its teachings,
and most of these teachings have been true;
but religion has murdered millions
for doubting or denying her dogmas,

and most of these dogmas have been false.
— George P. Spencer

.

(This is an update of a post that originally appeared 11/4/15.)

Image from Rae Allen, CC license

.

"I've often wonder why all the self-proclaimed TBs® aren't snake handlers."

Who Has the Burden of Proof? ..."
"Spelling, punctuation, sentence structure and the same naive and incessant missing of basic points.I have ..."

Top 20 Most Damning Bible Contradictions
"That would require him to be an honest person. I haven't seen much evidence of ..."

Outrageous Kim Davis: Homophobe and Hypocrite
"I have to admit that I'm not overly fond of this analogy.It works if you ..."

Who Has the Burden of Proof? ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!


TRENDING AT PATHEOS Nonreligious
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • “The consequences of atheism are depressing.”

    One of those insufferable Fundagelicals I know of claims that “atheism is the most depressing religion in existence as it offers no hope and/or salvation”. Also, of course, said man is ludicrously ignorant of science and claims Martian life is far more protected than the one of foetuses, which should give a clue.

    • Michael Neville

      The consequences of something have nothing to do with whether or not it’s true.

      https://www.smbc-comics.com/comics/20120715.gif

      • ephemerol

        That’s true, and it makes me sad.

      • Ann Kah

        The truth of something has nothing to do with the consequences either.

      • Ficino

        This bald guy oughtta be sad. Because his argument is missing a middle term. Quaternio terminorum, a howler of a fallacy.

        But the pointed finger bestows an air of authority that effaces all fallacious reasoning.

      • And yet even professional apologists will use this argument. In public. Without embarrassment.

    • Wisdom, Justice, Love

      That stance is funny coming from the people TERRIFIED of Hell. The people that view science and everyone not in their group as an enemy. Cognitive dissonance is claiming to be super happy while also being “under attack and a victim”.
      I guess they can’t understand how not worrying about it can be liberating. Although, it’s probably not as euphoric as dreaming about a place where you get everything you want with no effort. People that believe in Santa Claus are super happy. Becoming an adult and paying your bills can be depressing.

      Fake Joy™
      EDIT to add:
      I also guess Hoping for (and working towards) a better Earth world, the one we all love in now, doesn’t count as hope. Salvation? From what?

      • Carol Lynn

        ”Salvation? From what?’ From what they are going to do to you if you don’t do what they want?

  • Michael Neville

    Darren Wilson, the cop who killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, literally got away with murder. Koukl will claim that his god will spank Wilson’s bottom forever after Wilson dies. There’s a lot of folks in Ferguson who aren’t satisfied by that “justice”.

  • Lord Backwater

    Maybe that’s how it worked with Hitler. Hitler was raised Catholic. Suppose in his final hours…

    The Holy Roman Catholic Church does not maintain the “salvation exclusively by faith” hilarity. That is typically a Protestant thing.

    Please don’t make me defend the Holy Roman Catholic Church.

    • Jim Jones

      > Please don’t make me defend the Holy Roman Catholic Church.

      Don’t worry. Even Jesus couldn’t manage this.

    • Plus, they say suicide is a mortal sin.

    • Carol Lynn

      And Catholics say suicides go automatically to hell – they are not even allowed burial in Catholic cemeteries – so it’s a fail on two levels.

  • Lord Backwater

    Koukl said, “The word ‘justice’ itself . . . entails objective right and
    objective wrong, which are categories which don’t even exist in a
    naturalistic worldview.”

    But he used the word “entails”, so that makes it true.
    /s

  • Carstonio

    It’s a variation of “if there is no god then life would have no meaning.” (An argument that conveniently excludes the possibilities of meaning existing without a god, or a god existing that has nothing to do with meaning.) How humans feel about ultimate justice is irrelevant to whether it exists or not.

    If I had the power to create ultimate justice, I wouldn’t create eternal suffering after death. That idea is so monstrous that I question the morality of anyone who believes it’s warranted. My version would instead be remorse. I was always bothered by Timothy McVeigh dying unrepentant, which represented another victory over his victims. I would much rather have him repenting for his crimes and pledging the rest of his life to making amends to the families.

    • Jim Jones

      ISTM that justice comes down to two options.

      Either you can do your worst to them, like torturing them to say whatever you want them to say and then killing them in agony (the preference of the religious), or you can do the least that will make you safe, like LWOP or some other thing.

      Considering the abject failure of the US justice system and others, the death penalty is simply unsafe. LWOP is the only sane choice. It’s also far more cost effective.

      As an example:

      Will Florida kill an innocent man? | Opinion

      • Carstonio

        Good points. My opposition to the death penalty is total and unconditional. It’s absolutely wrong to decide who deserves to live or die, and the death penalty amounts to just such a decision, less for the perpetrator and more for the victim.

        My point about repentance assumes a hypothetical where I possess a power to make any wrongdoer experience remorse.

    • abb3w

      It’s a variation of “if there is no god then life would have no meaning.” (An argument that conveniently excludes the possibilities of meaning existing without a god, or a god existing that has nothing to do with meaning.)

      Cue yet another digression to Hume on “is” versus “ought”, with side digression to the mathematics of posets.

  • If God exists he doesn’t actually give us a rundown of who is or isn’t in Hell, and why they’re there. So we have no idea of what his objective morality is.

  • ephemerol

    Gоd, thе pеrfесt judgе, apparеntly іѕ tоо dull-wіttеd tо соnсеіvе оf anythіng but twо оptіоnѕ: pеrfесt blіѕѕ іn hеavеn and pеrfесt tоrmеnt іn hеll. That’ѕ іt. That’ѕ nоt “juѕtісе” by any dеfіnіtіоn uѕеd by pеоplе hеrе оn еarth.

    I dоn’t knоw, I thіnk thеrе’ѕ a lоt оf сhrіѕtіanѕ hеrе оn еarth wіth еxaсtly that dull-wіttеd dеfіnіtіоn оf “juѕtісе”…

    Chrіѕtіanѕ сеlеbratе bоth mеrсy and juѕtісе, but thеy сan’t apply [bоth] at thе ѕamе tіmе.

    Surе thеy сan. If yоu’rе ѕtraіght, whіtе, сhrіѕtіan, and rеpublісan, thеn yоu ѕhоuld gеt mеrсy.

    At thе ѕamе tіmе, еvеryоnе еlѕе dеѕеrvеѕ juѕtісе, thе rоughеr thе bеttеr.

    Paul ѕayѕ thе dеbt haѕ bееn paіd, and wе’rе all rіghtеоuѕ, Hіtlеr іnсludеd. Sо muсh fоr Kоukl’ѕ juѕtісе.

    Surе, thе dеbt haѕ bееn paіd fоr Trоо Chrіѕtіanѕ™, lіkе Ηіtlеr, Davіd Dukе, Drumpf, and Pооtіn. Yоu knоw, fоr pеоplе whо undеrѕtand Jеѕuѕ’ mеѕѕagе оf bіgоtry, соrruptіоn, lоw taxеѕ, ѕmall gоvеrnmеnt, and bіg gunѕ.

    Nоt ѕо muсh fоr thе rеѕt оf uѕ.

    …My оnly іntеrеѕt іѕ іn whісh wоrldvіеw іѕ truе, nоt whісh haѕ thе happіеr ѕtоry.

    Evеryоnе knоwѕ happy ѕtоrіеѕ arе alwayѕ truе, and truе ѕtоrіеѕ arе alwayѕ happy! Yоu сan’t tеll mе оthеrwіѕе! /ѕ

  • Ann Kah

    “…no justice executed in an atheistic worldview…”

    Hey, if it were objective, our “worldview” wouldn’t matter in the least. He has just explained that because we don’t believe it, it isn’t so. That means that IT ISN’T SO, and Greg scores another own goal.

    • Michael Neville

      Apologists often don’t think their arguments all the way through. Mainly because they’re not making the arguments with us in mind but rather for their fellow theists. Koukl is saying, “look at them silly atheists, they ain’t got no justice ’cause they ain’t got no objective morality, y’all don’t wanna be like them silly atheists.”

      • Jim Jones

        > That’s the argument from Christian apologist Greg Koukl (podcast).

        Well, he thought the part through about comments. None of those, because mean people kept laughing at his ideas?

      • epeeist

        Apologists often don’t think their arguments all the way through.

        FIFY

  • Jim Jones

    We all remember the ‘justice’ when the church ruled the world. Deceit, fear. torture and murder, based on nothing except imagination.

    The current system of justice, imperfect as it may be, is atheistic to the core. It’s all about proof beyond a reasonable doubt, not rubbish pulled out of a priest’s rear end.

    • Pofarmer

      Give it time, McConell is working on it.

      • Jim Jones

        The library has Soylent Green waiting for me. And TCM just reran it. There are a lot of rich people who would be OK with a world like that.

  • Cozmo the Magician

    Yeah, lets talk about how ‘just’ god is… i’ll give you THREE words that sums it all up: Priests &#8203Rape Children.

    • Michael Neville

      I can sum up Yahweh’s “justice” in two words: Canaanite genocide. Here’s two more words: Egyptian firstborn.

    • JustAnotherAtheist2

      Yeah, thanks god but no thanks. I’m good with subjective morality and the justice it can dispense.

      “You either have a god who sends child rapists to rape children or you have a god who simply watches it and says, ‘When you’re done, I’m going to punish you.’ If I could stop a person from raping a child, I would. That’s the difference between me and your god.”

      -Tracie Harris

      • Freodin

        This basically says it all: not even Christian priest believe in this ‘divine justice’.

        Could there be so many priests, nuns, Christian laypeople, who do crimes like that, or lesser ones, or worse… if they really believed there was a “just God”?
        Could there be so many millions of Christian believers who, while themselves not commiting such gross evil, defend their institutions which cover up these crimes?

        They simple do not believe that there is any justice. “Justice” means “I’ll be fine.”

    • mfm420

      pastors as well (just in case fundies want to play the “oh, that’s catholics, not christians” b.s. card)

  • Lex Lata

    Of course, the flip side of traditional Christian soteriology is its ultimate injustice. Billions of relatively decent human beings are consigned to an eternity of torment, we’re told, simply for the unforgivable sin of not dying while members of The Most Correct Religion. Nazi concentration camp guards who later repented and earnestly accepted JC as their savior? Forgiven, with slots in Heaven. Anne Frank and millions of other Jews who didn’t convert to the faith of their tormentors? Wailing in a lake of burning sulfur.

    An afterlife that’s pretty much like our prelife–a whole lotta nothing–doesn’t really punish wrong-doers, true enough. But it also doesn’t punish humanity’s innumerable wrong-believing do-gooders, either. Universal nonexistence is at least as just as an afterlife narrative that involves the orthodox notion of Hell.

    • Carstonio

      Many denominations define hell not as a Hieronymus Bosch painting but as “separation from God,” whatever that means.

      • Jim Jones

        They’re still making it up as they go?

        • Robert Baden

          The Universalism that led to the UU church I was raised in has been around since the late 1700s.

      • Lex Lata

        Quite correct, although presumably Ms. Frank still winds up worse off than her repentant camp guards.

        There are even more heterodox, liberal soteriologies, such as universal reconciliation. Those strike me as the most defensible, from a love-and-mercy perspective. Heresy, of course, to many denominations.

        For what it’s worth, polling indicates that about 60% of Americans say they believe in Hell.

        https://www.pewforum.org/religious-landscape-study/belief-in-hell/

        • I also heard that a belief in reincarnation also exists, even in Christian circles, though it is less common. (I heard a medieval group whose name I can’t remember believed in reincarnation.)

        • Carol Lynn

          Cathars, also called Albigensians. “The purpose of life was to renounce the pleasures and enticements of the world and, through repeated incarnations, make one’s way back to heaven. “

        • Raging Bee

          That, at least, makes more sense than either Heaven or H3ll. If you don’t get life right, try again until you do. What else is there for a soul to do anyway?

        • Greg G.

          If you don’t get life right, try again until you do.

          The last person who hasn’t got it right has to be the Adam in the next world.

      • Greg G.

        Separation from the Omnipresent? How does that work?

        • Raging Bee

          Like an emotionally-distant stalker husband?

      • eric

        Isn’t that what Earth is?

        • Raging Bee

          Yabbut hell is EVEN MORE SEPARATE!

      • Michael Newsham

        Just as bad, if you follow it through. All things derive their goodness from God: water has the virtue of quenching thirst, fire warms us, food sustains us. Since you rejected God, you rejected all the goodness He made. You will be eternally thirsty, without means to quench it, eternally roasted ( and eternally frost-bitten), eternally hungry etc.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          Well said, I should have just scrolled down.

      • JustAnotherAtheist2

        They do that to make it sound passive, but then tie god to all pleasure, comfort, satisfaction, etc. An existence absent those things sounds like hell to me.

    • Nonexistence cannot be felt and has its advantages -and disadvantages-.

  • eric

    God’s primitive justice may have made sense in the time of Jesus, but it
    is ridiculous from a modern standpoint. God, the perfect judge, apparently is too dull-witted to conceive of anything but two options: perfect bliss in heaven and perfect torment in hell. That’s it.

    Oooh, you went that way. Here I thought you were going to point out that God’s primitive justice includes collective punishment (both laterally – whole populations – and vertically – later generations), slaughtering animals for the crimes of their owners, “forcing” rapists to marry their rape victim, as well as death sentences for a variety of trivial offenses such as teasing bald men or lacking in charity to strangers.

    Yeah, I get the point that his afterlife justice system is primitive and backwards. But so is his current life justice system.

    • Wisdom, Justice, Love

      Yeah. Look at the Flood Story.
      Imagine God is in love with horses, cows, eagles, deer, any-species-other-than-sapiens.
      How’s this for jurisprudence:
      Hey sapiens, it’s God. I’ve got some bad mews. See, I’m really in love with _species_. But they, not you, have behaved in a way that displeases me. As a result most of them and most of you will have to die to pay for their sins; you’re not being punished for your own behavior.

      Had _species_ acted in a pleasing manner, I would have rewarded them, not you; you guys had no chance of receiving any reward.

      • Carol Lynn

        Ah, yes, the ‘charming’ story of genocide for children or, as my daughter asked the first time she understood it, “God killed all the puppies? Why would he do that? That’s wrong!”

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          Good for her. She apparently has that child-like mind Jesus was so fond of.

      • WayneMan

        Yes he could have just snapped his fingers and reset the world back to Earth V1.0, but nooooooo. Let’s do an Earth V2.0 which requires drowning virtually every man, woman, child, infant, and kitty cat on the planet. That will teach them. Except they’re all dead and any lessons learned drowned with them. And that plan failed in the end anyway because he later had to come up with the Jesus as a human sacrifice scheme.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          “The cruelty is the POINT!”

          🙁

        • BertB

          Exactly. The whole Noah-and-the-Flood story is designed to spread terror.

        • Michael Neville

          According to the propaganda the OT god is a sadistic bully who’s unhappy unless he’s smiting someone. He kills people just because he can and the words “innocent bystander” and “collateral damage” mean nothing to him.

        • WayneMan

          As I have often said, if there is a god that designed this planet with random indiscriminate destruction and suffering on a massive scale (due to earthquakes, volcanoes, hurricanes, tornadoes, and many diseases) that god is evil and worthy of no ones worship.

        • Greg G.

          You would think that an omnipotent, omniscient god thingy could make perfection more resilient than to become geologically unstable and asteroid orbits be disrupted so as to crash into planets because somebody ate a fruit. Why give the sun a limited supply of hydrogen if he didn’t expect the gardeners to eat the fruit?

        • Original sin is a mess, and the more thinks on its implications the more that it is.

          Worst is not only how Fundies keep hammering heathens with something that has a quite different meaning in Judaism, it’s their insistence on it having really happened (no allegory or theology fiction)

        • Greg G.

          it’s their insistence on it having really happened (no allegory or theology fiction)

          I heard “Jesus didn’t die for a metaphor” maybe forty years ago.

        • Wisdom, Justice, Love

          Imagine…
          Ford Motor Company needs you to save the Mustang you own so they can have more. Sure they invented it. But without YOU saving a design, they won’t be able to make any more.
          Either FMC is a fraud or they are lazy. And laziness for an all-powerful being should never be a thing. Laziness is about evaluating the effort needed to do something:
          Scratch you ear. Not much effort.
          Carry 10 boxes for 40 miles/km. Way to much work for me.

  • JustAnotherAtheist2

    I’m still confused by the concept of “objective” morality. Setting aside the befuddling mechanics of such a thing, what does it actually accomplish?

    If “good” things are those that mirror the standard, then we are incapable of evaluating the standard itself because even the most dastardly standard will grade out positively when compared to itself. This means we have to assume a priori that it is good, which doesn’t provide the bedrock and certainty theists crave. And if we can justify the standard – by pointing to the consequences of misalignment, for instance – then we are necessarily appealing to another standard, making the “objective” one superfluous.

    Either way it solves none of the problems theists complain about.

    • Pofarmer

      You ask too many questions.

      • JustAnotherAtheist2

        This isn’t the first time I’ve heard that.

        • BertB

          That reminds me of this little couplet:
          Science is a lot of questions and a few answers.
          Religion is a lot of answers and no questions.

        • “Science doesn’t know everything.
          Religion doesn’t know anything.”
          — Aron Ra

        • Ignorant Amos

          “Science knows it doesn’t know everything; otherwise, it’d stop. But just because science doesn’t know everything doesn’t mean you can fill in the gaps with whatever fairy tale most appeals to you.”

          ― Dara O’Briain

    • Raging Bee

      If “good” things are those that mirror the standard, then we are incapable of evaluating the standard itself…

      That depends entirely on what “the standard” is, and where you got it from. Care to specify?

      • JustAnotherAtheist2

        Ask a religious person.

        • Raging Bee

          What?! Theists falling back on grade-school subjectivism?! That’s INCONCEIVABLE!

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          Quite. I just enjoy conceding theistic arguments and showing why they still fail.

  • Georgia Sam

    I propose an experiment: Select a random sample of devout, churchgoing, Bible-believing Xians. Pose a difficult problem of justice to them, & ask them to give you a solution based strictly on the Bible. Observe how consistent or inconsistent their answers are. Xians like Koukl claim that God has given them unambiguous & indisputable answers to every moral & ethical question, but they constantly bicker among themselves about an infinite number of issues around faith, doctrine, the proper way to worship, etc., etc., etc., etc., etc.

    • Matt Brooker (Syncretocrat)

      In his debate with Christian radio host Justin Brierly, YouTuber Rationality Rules did just such a test with his (mostly-Christian) audience. It was a very effective counter to Brierly’s deployment of the moral argument.

    • sandy

      I like it. If you don’t mind, do you have a favourite scenario/problem for justice that you could recommend to ask a Christian?

      • Ask them to provide the objectively correct response to abortion, euthanasia, capital punishment, or any other current moral issue. If they simply give their opinion, demand an answer that is reliably accessible to everyone (in other words, an objective morality that people can’t reliably perceive is useless).

        • sandy

          Thank you and good points. Abortion is always a good go to.

  • Wisdom, Justice, Love

    Justice:
    Kiss my butt or you’ll be punished.
    Does this fly in any court system? Can I be convicted on not worshiping a judge, lawyer, or court stenographer?

    Anything beside not kissing my butt can be forgiven.
    Can I tell the judge I’m really sorry for what I did and alleviate any prison sentence?

    • Kev Green

      I’m pretty sure that this is the way it works in Trump’s White House.

    • You know that $20 I borrowed from you last week? I was a bit worried because I promised to pay you back today and didn’t have the money, but it’s all good. I prayed to God, and he forgave me!

      I’m sure glad to have that problem resolved. Praise the Lord.

      • Ignorant Amos

        Reminds me of this oldie, but goldie…

        I prayed every night for a new bicycle when I was young

        Then I realized that is not how God works

        So I stole one and prayed for forgiveness instead

        Boom! Boom!

        • Greg G.

          You pray for a bicycle or to be cured of cancer and it is verifiable that nothing happens because God is not a vending machine.

          You pray for forgiveness and salvation, POOF, you are forgiven and saved but that is not verifiable.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yeah…the unverifiable has always been a great little earner, and the gullible have been buying into it hand over fist for…well, the life of the religion really.

          Indulgences brought in a packet, until Pope Leo X of “Since God has given us the papacy, let us enjoy it” repute, ripped the arse clean out of it, so Luther grew a conscience and fucked the whole racket right up.

        • Pofarmer

          Never seen it stated quite that way.

      • Greg G.

        When are you going to give me the $20 I owe you?

        • After I give you the $40 you owe me.

          Snap! Don’t try to out-logic me, mister.

        • Greg G.

          Here’s the plan. You give me two $10 bills. Then I can break one of those bills. Do you have 2 twenties for a ten? Then I will give you the $40.

          So you give me $20 then I give half of that back, leaving us both with $10. Then you give me $40 and I give you $40. So we’re even, we each give the other $50

        • Now my brain hurts.

  • RichardSRussell

    “The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact than a drunken man is happier than a sober one.” —George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950), Irish writer

    • Machintelligence

      Ultimate justice is right up there with “pie in the sky — when you die.”

  • Matt Brooker (Syncretocrat)

    1) If the moral argument claims that morality is only meaningful if it’s objective, and morality can only be objective if a god grounds it, then the supporters of the argument need to produce their god in order to show that said grounding exists. In other words, the moral argument does not “prove” the existence of a god; on the contrary, you need to demonstrate the existence of the right kind of god to confirm the moral argument.
    2) Assuming you could produce a god on demand, how would you actually show (not assert) that that god is the source/grounding of morality? Given the arguments we have at the moment, you’d still be reliant on a gullible acceptance of either scripture or that god’s own word. Is gullibility a good path to truth?
    3) Do believers in fact have an objective way to demonstrate that they are in contact with, or following the instructions of, a god? Looking at theist’s experiences of their various gods, they appear to be entirely subjective. If your basis for believing in theistic morality is subjective, then the argument that theists have access to objective morality boils down to “because of my subjective experiences I believe that a particular interpretation of an ancient text is a guide to objective morality” and I would refer said claimant to points 1 and 2.

  • zenlike

    In the end, what “objective right” and “objective wrong” (needs to! (*)) boils down to for people like Koukl, is “what supports Gods will” and “what goes against Gods will”. I posit that this is not justice, but tyranny. There is no justice executed in Koukls worldview, just authoritarian slavery to a tyrant.

    (*) Needs to, because every moral dilemma in his worldview has an asterisk that says it is ok to do it if done by God, or if ordered by God. “Willfully killing a child” is not an objective moral wrong in his worldview, since “wilfully killing a child if done by God or if ordered by God” is an objective moral right. The act of killing the child carries no weight in determining the right or wrongness of the action, the only thing that matters is if God gives you the ok or not.

  • rationalobservations?

    Religionism fails because it spurns the natural justice of the equality of each and every member of our recently evolved species of ape and it embraces and promotes taboos, prejudice and discrimination.

  • Len

    We’re tarred with Adam’s brush, but we’re made clean by the sacrifice of Jesus.

    Something that’s never really been clear to me (even when I was a believer): I didn’t ask to be tarred with original sin – why should I have to ask to be made clean?

    • Raging Bee

      Adam’s brush? I thought we were tarred with Eve’s bush!

  • Raging Bee

    The idea of Hitler starting World War II and encouraging the Final Solution and then using suicide as an escape with no further consequences frustrates Koukl.

    Um…would Kokul care to remind us which side the atheists were on in that war? Here’s a hint: they weren’t on Hitler’s side — Hitler was explicitly fighting for THE LORD!

  • Raging Bee

    Look up morality or justice in the dictionary. There is no objective, ultimate, absolute, or transcendental anything in the definitions.

    Those four words are not the same, and not even similar.

    …Koukl doesn’t make any meaningful case for objective morality.

    So let me do it instead: “objective morality” is any set of moral rules based on observation of real-world consequences of various actions; with verifiably beneficial actions being called “good” and verifiably harmful actions being called “bad.”

    There, I’ve done Kokul’s job for him. So who do I call to collect Kokul’s paycheck?

    • Lord Backwater

      with verifiably beneficial actions

      beneficial to whom?

      • JustAnotherAtheist2

        And {puts on theist hat} beneficial according to what standard?

      • Raging Bee

        Whoever is affected by said actions.

        And yes, it often gets complicated, what with different people with different sets of circumstances and interests — but complicated =/= subjective.

  • JustAnotherAtheist2

    Am I the only one getting no notifications from Disqus? Even when I refresh the notification page, none of the responses on this page appear.

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      It’s apparently a known issue they’re working on.

    • Greg G.

      I was getting that, too. I would see responses when I left a tab open but it would take an hour or so to update on my Recent Comments page.

    • It has been broken for several days. No notifications of any kind work.

      • Greg G.

        I have been getting emails of replies and posts show up on my Recent Comments page. I saw your posts by the latter.

        The forum has been slow the past couple of days. I presume it’s due to holiday festivities and hangovers.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          My most recent notifications haven’t updated in five days.

        • BertB

          Mine seem to be working fine. Check the Email address in your Discus settings. Maybe they lost it. Also check your Spam.

        • Greg G.

          Could it be…..

          SATAN

          ?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Aye, same here…others on other blogs have been experiencing the same things.

        • Greg G.

          Maybe it’s that Y2K problem that was supposed to do us in 20 years ago.

        • Greg G.

          What is worse than that is that there is no new Jesus and Mo today.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The notifications have started to appear from days ago…it’s a game of catch up now.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          The horror!

  • Ficino

    When I was in IVCF, some of us went one evening to “witness” to the youth group of a Methodist church that, we thought, did not “preach the Gospel.” The kids could not understand our explanations of how ultimate justice is satisfied if the worst criminal, upon repentance, gets saved equally with a lifelong believer, while someone in ignorance leading a virtuous life goes to hell.

    • IVCF?

      • Greg G.

        I bet it ends with “Christian Fellowship”.

      • epicurus

        Inter Varsity Christian Fellowship

    • WayneMan

      I’m with the kids. It makes zero sense.

  • Ficino

    Yahweh thought it a good idea to watch babies, bunnies, kittens and puppies swimming, swimming, swimming during the Flood but eventually drowning or being eaten by sharks. That’s what it took for omnipotent and omniscient Yahweh to give Himself a do-over on his Creation after it got f–ed up the first time

    • WayneMan

      Yes, an omnipotent god could certainly, and much more easily, just do a presto-redo and start over without all of this mass murder.

  • WayneMan

    Well yes atheists say there is no evidence of any ultimate justice, but just because Christians claim there is one does not make it fact. There still is no evidence of this claim. As far as we know there still is no ultimate justice no matter which religious group claims it. And as pointed out in the article there are loopholes in the rules. Either those “sinners” are saved because of Jesus, or if Jack The Ripper truly asked god for forgiveness on his deathbed and swore his love for Jesus, presto no ultimate justice.

    • Either those “sinners” are saved because of Jesus, or if Jack The Ripper truly asked god for forgiveness on his deathbed and swore his love for Jesus, presto no ultimate justice.

      But there was ultimate justice done. Don’t you remember that bad weekend that Jesus had? He took the punishment that we deserve.

      Really, It’s much easier to understand if you don’t think about it too hard… Better yet, don’t even think about it at all. Just nod your head in agreement and everything will be fine.
      /s

      • WayneMan

        Yes, basically don’t think at all because we can’t make sense out of nonsense.

      • Greg G.

        Just nod your head in agreement and everything will be fine.

        And say “Amen!” every time they pause to take a breath.

        • Otto

          Surrender Dorothy

      • WayneMan

        Yes, any thinking at all about most religious stories is typically fatal for the religious story. Noah’s flood is another good (bad) example. It would literally require 700 feet of rain per day for 40 days to cover Mt Everest. The methane gas alone would have killed everyone on that fantasy boat. LOL

        • Greg G.

          There was a guy on talk.origins who insisted that Ye Olde Ark had a moon pool in the bottom of the ark to dump the dung out. He couldn’t conceive that it requires air pressure to keep the water out or else it is just a huge leak.

        • A whole lot of literalists ignore that in the time that was written down, “40” meant an uncountable number, or “a lot” if you prefer so.

        • Greg G.

          So you’re saying it could have been as few as 22 days because that is uncountable after you’ve taken off your shoes and pants.

        • WayneMan

          Nope. You are just making that up to try to make sense out of nonsense. 40 sometimes meant a generation (maybe 20 years) but that does not work here because they were only on the boat for slightly more than a year. Even if 40 meant a year, which nothing justifies that, it would still be about 77 feet of rain per day. The story is complete nonsense.

        • That is something I’ve seen somewhere, that in the times that was written down “40” was an uncountable number. Of course it’s as unrealistic as in the forty days being truly forty days.

  • BertB

    How is it “justice” if a murderer or rapist or any other criminal can get into Heaven by repenting his “sins” and believing in the Almighty? But a person who lives a good life, abides by the law, is a good citizen, but doesn’t believe goes to Hell. That’s the opposite of justice.

  • Kev Green

    “Christians celebrate both mercy and justice, but they can’t apply at the same time.”

    Mercy is what God shows Us. Justice is what God shows Them.

    Christians are all for God punishing everyone else, but they made sure to include a loophole so they didn’t have to worry.

    • Don Camp

      Christians are not “all for God punishing everyone else.” That is a stereotype created by anti-theists. The fact is, we spend billions and many of us spend ours lives to rescue your “everyone else” from the justice that is certain if grace is not received. I would love it, Kev, if you found God’s mercy.

      But not only do we spend ourselves to rescue you from ultimate justice, we give ourselves to bring justice (the other sense of the word) to those who have been deprived of justice in the here and now.I have a friend working in Guatemala to build water systems for villagers in the mountains. My daughter worked in India to create a home for rescued trafficked girls. I have friends in India who have created a school and home for the children of women in the sex trade. The church I served welcomed the irregular people who would end up as the outcasts of society but for ordinary Christians who cared and were willing to give themselves for others.

      Be careful of stereotyping.

      • Otto

        You are correct that not all Christians are happy about their God “punishing everyone else”, there are plenty who do look forward to that very scenario. These are just a few quotes from Christian leaders past and present and were found on a Christian website, so it is not exactly a stereotype.

        https://tentmaker.org/Quotes/hell-fire.htm

        Peter Lombard, the Master of Sentences

        “Therefore the elect shall go forth…to see the torments of the impious, seeing which they will not be grieved, but will be satiated with joy at the sight of the unutterable calamity of the impious .”

        Martin Luther

        “When questioned whether the Blessed will not be saddened by seeing their nearest and dearest tortured answers, “Not in the least.””

        Thomas Aquinas

        “In order that the happiness of the saints may be more delightful to them and that they may render more copious thanks to God for it, they are allowed to see perfectly the sufferings of the damned. . .So that they may be urged the more to praise God. . .The saints in heaven know distinctly all that happens. . .to the damned.” [Summa Theologica, Third Part, Supplement, Question XCIV, “Of the Relations of the Saints Towards the Damned,” First Article, “Whether the Blessed in Heaven Will See the Sufferings of the Damned. . .”]

        • Don Camp

          I am more interested and more moved by what Jesus said and felt.

          When he looked out over Jerusalem, he wept (Luke 19:41). He knew their refusal of God and his Messiah would lead to destruction – which happened within just 40 years – and his heart was broken for them. If Jesus is grieved at the torments of the impious, how can Lombard say the righteous will be satisfied? I think they will not be satisfied. They will know that they have been rescued by grace and their willingness to receive it. They will be grateful and humbled. But they will; like Jesus, grieve for those who refuse grace.

          Justice is sobering. But it is necessary.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          How can I refuse something I don’t believe is real? If I told you that you would be punished in the afterlife for not believing in fairies, could you convince yourself in an effort to avoid punishment?

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          I get that you like your story.

          But until you provide us with evidence, that’s ALL that it is: a Just-So Story.

          So provide evidence or stop wasting our time.

        • BertB

          Oh, c’mon, Hairy. You KNOW that his evidence is all in the BuyBull.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          /s

          😉

        • NSAlito

          The very premise of Christianity is that people are being saved from being blamed for something that their ancestors did hundreds of generations ago.

        • Otto

          “If Jesus is grieved at the torments of the impious…”

          Obviously Jesus does not grieve because according to your mythology Jesus is all powerful and could do something about it. That is like saying a mob boss grieves the people he has ordered to be killed…. and no that is not justice.

      • Ignorant Amos

        Christians are not “all for God punishing everyone else.”

        Ah, the No True Scotsman.

        I think you’ll find that many really are…unless they repent.

        That is a stereotype created by anti-theists.

        Nonsense.

        In Christian theology, Hell is the place or state into which, by God’s definitive judgment, unrepentant sinners pass in the general judgment, or, as some Christians believe, immediately after death (particular judgment). Its character is inferred from teaching in the biblical texts, some of which, interpreted literally, have given rise to the popular idea of Hell.

        https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=fUqcAQAAQBAJ&pg=PA753&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false

        The fact is, we spend billions and many of us spend ours lives to rescue your “everyone else” from the justice that is certain if grace is not received.

        Whose “stereotyping” now? While that may have some basis, it is irrelevant. The justice that is certain if grace is not received for his “everyone else” is eternal punishment.

        Be careful of stereotyping.

        Spoiiiinnng!

        That is a stereotype created by anti-theists.

        You DO know the difference between anti-Christian and anti-theist, right?

        • Don Camp

          In Christian theology,

          What is your point?

          The justice that is certain if grace is not received for his “everyone else” is eternal punishment.

          It is also what those who refuse God’s grace choose, separation form God..Otherwise, why would anyone pursue a course in life that excludes God and violates the standards of righteousness? It is a choice. It may be a totally cray choice, but it is a choice.

          2 Thess. 1 6 God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you 7 and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. 8 He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might 10 on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed.

          But maybe I am assuming too much. You may answer for yourself. Would you choose eternity with God?

        • BertB

          Eternity would be very boring.

        • Don Camp

          You have no imagination or appreciation of your own potential.

        • BertB

          I certainly do not have the imagination that you have.

        • NSAlito

          Millions long for immortality who don’t know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon.

           —Susan Ertz

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Dang it, I should have read down here first!

          Agreed on the quote, though.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          I have plenty of *both*… but also remember the pithy phrase:

          “There are those who long for immortality who cannot entertain themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon”

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          I’d choose *evidence*

          Provide me some for your proposition.

          All I’m seeing is evidence that you’re a hateful, bloodthirsty authoritarian sadist69-wannabe.

        • Ignorant Amos

          What is your point?

          My point is that your assertion that the idea of God punishing everyone else, i.e. non-Christians, is an anti-theist stereotype, is complete and utter Don Camp fuckwittery. It is part of Christian theology, believed by billions of Christians, for nearly two millennia.

          It is also what those who refuse God’s grace choose, separation form God..Otherwise, why would anyone pursue a course in life that excludes God and violates the standards of righteousness? It is a choice. It may be a totally cray choice, but it is a choice.

          Stop talking crap to us Don, save it for the gullible fuckwits who suck the crap up that you publish on your silly block of bullshit.

          But maybe I am assuming too much. You may answer for yourself. Would you choose eternity with God?

          I don’t want an eternity with anyone. I quote an Irish bard at this point…with a minor alteration…

          “What must it be, then, to bear the manifold tortures of hell heaven forever? Forever! For all eternity! Not for a year or an age but forever. Try to imagine the awful meaning of this. You have often seen the sand on the seashore. How fine are its tiny grains! And how many of those tiny grains go to make up the small handful which a child grasps in its play. Now imagine a mountain of that sand, a million miles high, reaching from the earth to the farthest heavens, and a million miles broad, extending to remotest space, and a million miles in thickness, and imagine such an enormous mass of countless particles of sand multiplied as often as there are leaves in the forest, drops of water in the mighty ocean, feathers on birds, scales on fish, hairs on animals, atoms in the vast expanse of air. And imagine that at the end of every million years a little bird came to that mountain and carried away in its beak a tiny grain of that sand. How many millions upon millions of centuries would pass before that bird had carried away even a square foot of that mountain, how many eons upon eons of ages before it had carried away all. Yet at the end of that immense stretch time not even one instant of eternity could be said to have ended. At the end of all those billions and trillions of years eternity would have scarcely begun. And if that mountain rose again after it had been carried all away again grain by grain, and if it so rose and sank as many times as there are stars in the sky, atoms in the air, drops of water in the sea, leaves on the trees, feathers upon birds, scales upon fish, hairs upon animals – at the end of all those innumerable risings and sinkings of that immeasurably vast mountain not even one single instant of eternity could be said to have ended; even then, at the end of such a period, after that eon of time, the mere thought of which makes our very brain reel dizzily, eternity would have scarcely begun.”

          Because on that scale, there ain’t much difference between the two.

        • Greg G.

          Not only that, in this short life, we are forced to sleep about a third of it away. Would we get a respite of unconsciousness when heaven has become a bore?

        • MR

          I don’t buy the “heaven would become a bore” argument. An omnipotent God would be able to make heaven interesting. The problem is, he appears to be impotent.

        • BertB

          Good idea! We could sleep half of eternity away! Wait….how long is that? :>)

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          More than *half*… 😉

        • Greg G.

          To die, to sleep, perchance to Dream; aye, there’s the rub,
          For in that sleep of death, what dreams may come,

          I wrote that and my wife and I wrote all of his sonnets.

        • epeeist

          I didn’t write this:

          UNDER the wide and starry sky
          Dig the grave and let me lie:
          Glad did I live and gladly die,
          And I laid me down with a will.

          This be the verse you ‘grave for me:
          Here he lies where he long’d to be;
          Home is the sailor, home from the sea,
          And the hunter home from the hill.

          EDIT: Another piece of Disqus/Patheos incompetence. Why can’t they fix the copy/paste problem where it inserts multiple blank lines?

        • Don Camp

          I have spent much of my life outdoors enjoying creation. From the tiniest leaf back lit by a spring time sun to the grand sweep of the Milky Way on a crystal clear winter night in the Oregon high desert I have seen the glory of God’s handiwork. I could have spent all night under the Milky Way or on my stomach enjoying the play of light and delicate details of the leaf. But there was more to see. Much more.

          Eternity will be long, but God’s creation is as big as eternity is long.

          Then there are the people to enjoy. And of course there is God himself. That is wonderful beyond telling. I don’t think I will find it boring.

        • BertB

          I too have much of my life outdoors enjoying nature. I don’t see any justification for your superstitions. I do not need them to enjoy life.

        • I have spotted the same, plus galaxies so far away that their starlight requires hundreds of millions of years to reach us. Stuff that existed long before us and that continue long after we’re gon, and that are far beyond our comprehension, especially the one of the writers of those texts who did not even know the actual size of the planet.

          If you think that can grasp what really means both eternity and infinite, and their implications, you’re seriously deluded.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Don should read Richard Dawkins “Unweaving the Rainbow”…

          It is of little concern whether or not science can prove that the ultimate fate of the cosmos lacks purpose: we live our lives regardless at a “human” level, according to ambitions and perceptions which come more naturally. Therefore, science should not be feared as a sort of cosmological wet blanket. In fact, those in search of beauty or poetry in their cosmology need not turn to the paranormal or even necessarily restrict themselves to the mysterious: science itself, the business of unravelling mysteries, is beautiful and poetic.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Odd, I get outside and enjoy the Universe…without needing to overlay some foolish tale about ‘creation’ to allow me to feel awe and wonder at it.

        • rubellapox2

          Me too… go figure…

        • Greg G.

          Odd, I get outside and enjoy the Universe…without needing to overlay some foolish tale about ‘creation’ to allow me to feel awe and wonder

          I enjoy an awesome sunset but compared to what an omnipotence should be capable of, it’s like getting a one-size-too-small Disneyland t-shirt because your parents left you at home.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Don needs to believe that some imaginary entity had a hand in it all in order to enjoy it. Conveniently forgetting that he’s committed his imaginary entity to having a hand in all the unenjoyable shite too.

        • BertB

          In my younger years, I did a lot of hiking, climbed quite a few mountains, including Mt. Whitney, Lassen, and a lot of peaks here in Southern CA. I have always enjoyed the outdoors, but I have never given a single thought to any Big Daddy in the Sky creating it.
          In fact I think that would have been a distraction.

        • The awe in nature that comes from Christianity is pathetic and laughable compared to that we get from science.

        • Greg G.
        • Thanks. Someone got the gong.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6D-SqQV_T04

        • Ignorant Amos

          Much more.

          And aren’t you the lucky one? Sitting in your ivory tower and having the kind of life that is able to enjoy such stuff. Your imaginary gods didn’t deem it fit for untold billions to enjoy.

          See, the thing is, no gods are required for said enjoyment. What’s required is far more important than that, but you are just too dumb to know it.

          Eternity will be long, but God’s creation is as big as eternity is long.

          And there the shite talk continues.

          Then there are the people to enjoy.

          Hmmmmm!

          And of course there is God himself.

          And Santa Claus, the Invisible Pink Unicorn, the Tooth Fairy, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, and every other imaginary entity that anyone and everyone can think up. And that list is very long indeed.

          That is wonderful beyond telling.

          Whatever…believing in pie in the sky when ya die being the delusion, will have that effect. If ya don’t actually consider the ramifications in any great detail of course.

          I don’t think I will find it boring.

          Oh, I never said I’d find it boring. I said I’d find it torturous. Sucking the hole of some sky daddy forever? No thanks. Being in the same state I was before I was born, that wins hands down every time for me.

        • I have seen the glory of God’s handiwork

          You seem to be confused. You do know, I’m guessing, that for every glorious clear night sky, it’s easy to find diseases, parasites, natural disasters, and more that make some humans’ lives miserable. That’s (apparently) God’s handiwork as well. Don’t give us one side without making clear that you know about the other.

        • Geoff Benson

          When I observe nature with my thinking hat, I see nothing but fear and danger. Animals all the way down the food chain fearing they are about to become a meal, scrabbling for food that others are equally fighting for, bacteria invading living organisms, wasps laying eggs in other insect so their larvae have a food source; it goes on and on. And god created this nasty mess!

        • Don Camp

          Oh. A romantic as well as a poet.

          Real life if you dig deeper depends on the food chain that begins with the energy of the sun which allows for life and growth of plants which are consumed by various animals, who then consume others as we go up the food chain. Then we come to you.

          Though living things should be respected, they are not to be protected – unless you want to starve. The American Indians had the right idea. They were thankful for the fish deer they used as food. They considered them a gift of the creator. And so do I.

        • Raging Bee

          It is also what those who refuse God’s grace choose, separation form God…

          That doesn’t make it right. Just for starters, God CREATED H3ll, not us, and God chose to create a Universe where “unrepentant sinners” ended up inevitably going to said H3ll — that’s not something we chose. This “you chose to go to H3ll” excuse is no better than an abusive father or husband insisting his victims “chose” to make him lose his temper.

      • Are you an Universalist? If not then STFU.

        I will also pray Venus (the planet) for you. May her light guides your soul, so you’ll not have to walk unprotected on her hostile surface.

      • Damien Priestly

        Exactly…don’t stereotype missionaries! In my wife’s SE Asian country — Protestant Missionaries are now banned by law from coercive proselytizing — after using abusive practices such as threats, using sexual assault as “God’s” punishment and inviting minors to bait-and-switch Jesus camps without their parents permission.

        Missionary works has always been at least partly racketeering and criminality.

      • JustAnotherAtheist2

        What “justice” is certain if grace is not received?

        • Don Camp

          Evil destroys. You only have to spend an hour with the evening news to know that. “Justice” is and the salvation of humanity from self-destruction requires the condemnation and punishment of evil. It also requires the restoration of those who have been damaged by evil. (There are two sides to justice.)

          But justice would require the condemnation of all of us because all are guilty of evil on some level. But God not desirin g to condemn the world chose a different solution.

          Romans 3:23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. 24 Yet
          God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this
          through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.
          25 For
          God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right
          with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his
          blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back
          and did not punish those who sinned in times past, 26 for
          he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this
          present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he
          himself is fair and just, and he makes sinners right in his sight when
          they believe in Jesus.

          That is grace. But grace must be received for us to be made right in his sight.. Otherwise we are left responsible for our sin.

        • nydiva

          This is old superstitious nonsense about a deity that needs a blood sacrifice to turn away from releasing its wrath. Frankly, I don’t understand folks who still believe in Jesus despite the fact he failed to return soon like he promised 2,000 years old. Not surprisingly, since dead men don’t return to life.

        • BertB

          I don’t understand folks who still believe in Jesus despite the fact he failed to return soon like he promised 2,000 years old. Not surprisingly, since dead men don’t return to life.

          In fiction, they can.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          I think they more believe because they were hit with it before the age of reason and the inchoate terror gripped their psyches…and for some, they USE that terror in others to bolster their undeserved privilege.

        • BertB

          I feel so lucky that my parents did not subject me to that form of child abuse. But the result is that I can’t understand how anyone can just accept faith-based ideas when every neuron in their brain is saying, “No, wait a minute!” I don’t see how they can ignore that.

        • MR

          I don’t blame my parents, but oh, to have all those lost years with brain damage back.

        • nydiva

          Yes, in fiction, that’s the important word here. In reality, no.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Umberto Eco left a message for you decades ago…here is a portion of it:

          (Note to mods: The quotation is full of words that’ll set off the Patheos Nanny Filter)

          “You are the Devil,” William said then.

          Jorge seemed not to understand. If he had been able to see, I would say he stared at his interlocutor with a dazed look. “I?” he said.

          “Yes. They lied to you. The Devil is not the Prince of Matter; the Devil is the arrogance of the spirit, faith without smile, truth that is never seized by doubt. The Devil is grim because he knows where he is going, and, in moving, he always returns whence he came. You are the Devil, and like the Devil you live in darkness. If you wanted to convince me, you have failed. I hate you, Jorge, and if I could, I would lead you downstairs, across the ground, naked, with fowl’s feathers stuck in your asshole and your face painted like a juggler and a buffoon, so the whole monastery would laugh at you and be afraid no longer. I would like to smear honey all over you and then roll you in feathers, and take you on a leash to fairs, to say to all: He was announcing the truth to you and telling you that the truth has the taste of death, and you believed, not in his words, but in his grimness. And now I say to you that, in the infinite whirl of possible things, God allows you also to imagine a world where the presumed interpreter of the truth is nothing but a clumsy raven, who repeats words learned long ago.”

        • Greg G.

          Evil destroys.

          It says that God destroyed all but a boatload of people and animals. You only have to spend an hour with the first book of the Bible to know that.

          Evil is not a real thing. It’s an extreme adjective on a scale of how much we dislike something.

          We are supposed to believe that we are held responsible for how we are made by the thing that made us. You are trying to scare us with fairy tales. Or is it just that you want to believe nonsense that can only be believed when you see somebody else fall for it?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Evil destroys.

          “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace and create evil: I the Lord do all these things”

          Of course…

          The word translated “evil” is the word ra. It also means sorrow, calamity, disaster, afflictions, and adversity.

          Those are hardly good things, and one wonders why a committee of Christian theologians would choose “evil” as the most representative translation?

          “For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.”

          If “evil” destroys, then it must be a force. And if evil is a real force, then according to Christian beliefs, YahwehJesus must have created it. Otherwise evil would be a force outside of YahwehJesus’s power and that would make YahwehJesus not omnipotent.

          Hoist by yer own petard…AGAIN!

      • Greg G.

        Christians are not “all for God punishing everyone else.” That is a stereotype created by anti-theists.

        It is the churches themselves that teach that. Young people are leaving the church while people like you are blaming anti-theists. There are churches all over the country giving themselves new names to drop “Baptist” out of it but will not admit that the name on the sign isn’t the problem, it is the message taught in the church that turns people off.

      • Jennny

        Yeah, I got a few anecdotes too about x-tian missionaries. how about homeschool-alumni, Renee Bach,
        who posed as a medical professional and had a hand in over a hundred deaths in Uganda (roughly 1 in 9 of the ‘patients’ she took in). Or Compassion, which was thrown out of India because the government said however much it cloaked its projects in humanitarianism, its real purpose was x-tian evangelism. Or my friend who has a visa to live in an arabic country to ‘learn the language,’ but his home church has a big display board asking for prayer for him to make converts..I think that’s called ‘lying for jesus.’ No fundy organisation from those who dig wells to those who rescue kids from prostitution has any other motive than to proselytise as their god told them to.

        • Don Camp

          The hope of every Christian missionary I know is that people would come to know Jesus Christ as Savior. That is the greatest good anyone could do for those who remain in darkness. But that does not mean we use compassion as bait. Nor did Jesus. He had compassion for people, even those he knew would not respond to him in faith. His gave his life for you, Jenny, whether or not you ever place your faith in him. Though his desire is that you would.

        • nydiva

          Don: The hope of every Christian missionary I know is that people would come to know Jesus Christ as Savior.
          Ha…that you know, but there are hundreds of Christian missionaries you don’t know who may be doing and feeling the exact opposite. I’ve met my share of dishonest Christian missionaries. So if there was god who desired that Jenny or others would place their faith in it, then it better provide some evidence of its existence and cease using PR folks like you to talk it up.

        • Otto

          That is the greatest good anyone could do for those who remain in darkness.

          Do the people you hope to convert agree? Would it matter if they did? It doesn’t sound like it…you know what is best for them and that is all that matters amiright…?

          But that does not mean we use compassion as bait.

          Oh many Christians do just that. I have witnessed homeless shelters and soup kitchens withhold their compassion unless their desperate prey agree to be proselytized to.

        • Jennny

          Utter rubbish. You seem unaware that many many of us who read and comment on P/NR blogs are former zealous, 24/7-sold-out-for-jesus fundies. It was with mounting horror for some of us to find we were wrestling long and hard with the fact, as we now saw it, that it’s all a fiction. We didn’t deconvert because we were lukewarm x-tians, we knew our bibles, studied theology, so chucking a few cherry-picked verses at us won’t hack it, we know them well already. As the excellent Bruce Gerencser says ‘I have found the Promised Land, why would I want to return to Egypt?’ Happy yelling at the ceiling for me and the rest of us here!

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Why try to convince people of something for which you have no reputable evidence?

        • Thanks4AllTheFish

          Why can’t you have the decency to just leave people alone who don’t wish to hear about your favorite religion?
          Does your religion and your beliefs not offer enough satisfaction on their own?
          I’m sure you can find some Bible verse somewhere that instructs you to stop your Great Commission if it is fruitless to persist. Go with that one.

        • Rudy R

          You lost the argument when you resort to proselytizing.

        • Greg G.

          I think he knew he had lost all of his arguments so he went to Plan B: Proselytizing.

      • Ficino

        Christians are not “all for God punishing everyone else.”

        You are lying. Christians ARE for the thesis that apart from confessing faith in its doctrines there is no salvation. And Christians ARE for all that God brings about. The title of Bob’s OP gets to this: those who do not confess Christian doctrines (or the name of Jesus or however you want to word the phrase that has to be confessed and believed) are unjust already, and cosmic justice demands that they be punished. and you have to want cosmic justice, by your own principles.

        At least be consistent. Aquinas talks about the redeemed glorying in the sufferings of the damned. Why don’t you at least man up and be consistent with your loathsome system?

        Or else, Don, let it fall away and step into the simplicity of just being a human being.

        • Don Camp

          Even God does not want what you seem to mean by “cosmic justice.”

          2 Peter 3: 9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise [of final judgment] , as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

          Ezekiel 18:23 Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign Lord. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?

          2 Timothy 2:3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

          And:

          John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten Son that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world may be saved through him

          I don’t know what Aquinas did with those passages, but I read in them that God loves you, Ficino, and that his desire for you is that you find salvation in his Son. That is my system,and I will gladly own up to it.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Why do you bother to quote a book just about everybody here considers fiction for its lack of supporting evidence? The idea here is to convince us of a REALITY…and fiction is generally not a useful way to explain that.

        • Ficino

          Other verses present the contradictory of your thesis that God’s will can be brought to nought by creatures. But I shall not quote them, writing for those who know.

          I already bought the defective appliance that you are trying to convince me to buy again.

        • Don Camp

          So what do you do with verses that seem to contradict each other?

          I accept the tension between the two ideas because I understand that there are some things that I will not be able to understand. Essentially, as a biblical theologian rather than a systematic theologian, I believe what I read. If it says God elects, I believe that. If it says “The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come!’ Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life,” I believe that. Ultimately I don’t believe those two ideas contradict.

        • Ficino

          So what do you do with verses that seem to contradict each other?

          I accept the tension between the two ideas because I understand that there are some things that I will not be able to understand.

          What do I do? I look at all the verses for what they say. If they contradict each other, that’s just what they do. The thesis that the Bible is a human document, not inspired by God, leaves us ready to interpret the different texts for what they are. Your and others’ attempt to make the ENTIRE COLLECTION free from contradiction fails.

          So, since you do not understand what you’re selling, don’t come on here trying to make claims about the (broken) product that you’re selling.

        • Don Camp

          The thesis that the Bible is a human document, not inspired by God,
          leaves us ready to interpret the different texts for what they are.

          Okay. It’s good to lay our cards on the table, so to speak. My assumption is that the Bible is God’s word and makes sense when one accepts that. And why do I make that assumption? On the basis of the many times what seem to be contradictions are resolved after more careful examination and on the basis of what should be expected when it comes to theological truth. Theological truth, such as the conundrum of free will and God’s election, often deals with issues that cannot be fully understood from our perspective. So I accept those truths that are clearly expressed at face value.

          On what basis do you assume that the Bible is a human document not inspired by God?

        • Ficino

          There are lots of writings from ancient times. I don’t start out assuming that any of them is divinely inspired. In order to come to that conclusion about any of them, many features have to be established. The Bible does not rise to that level. Errors, contradictions, absurdities. Just read the thing.

        • nydiva

          On what basis do you assume that the Bible is a human document not inspired by God?

          By simply reading it without the special pleading of apologists like yourself. If a god did desire to communicate his will or character to humankind, I would assume it would do a better job that the mumbo jumbo found in the Bible. The imaginary deity depicted in it is unjust and evil to say the least. I refuse to allow Liars for Jesus like you to tell me not to trust my “lying eyes.” I prefer to think for myself, thank you.

        • Susan

          On what basis do you assume that the Bible is a human document not inspired by God?

          More burden shifting.

          All documents are human until someone can show otherwise.

          Special pleading doesn’t fix it.

          Oh, Don. If you were new at this, I’d have some patience and sympathy.

          But you’ve been doing this for a long time.

          So, I have to assume you are dishonest.

        • Pofarmer

          “often deals with issues that cannot be fully understood from our perspective.”

          Garbage like that kinda gives the game away.

        • Susan

          “often deals with issues that cannot be fully understood from our perspective.”

          But Don “knows”. As did goatherders from a special thread of humanity, even though they didn’t know where the sun went at night.

          All the other god theories don’t have “historical value” but the Jesus story does.

          Garbage like that kinda gives the game away.

          Yes. It’s very disappointing.

          But that’s how it is with snake oil.

        • epeeist

          All the other god theories don’t have “historical value” but the Jesus story does.

          You missed out “because reasons” at the end…

        • Rudy R

          Don Camp is proselytizing now, so he knows he lost the argument. I suspect he’ll be moving onto another atheist blog soon, to inflict his tired, stale Christian dogmas on more atheists. That seems to be his track record.

        • Greg G.

          he knows he lost the argument.

          I should have read this one first.

        • nydiva

          This is a rather long video I first learned about on DC. It describes Don Camp as an apologist to the tee. Many of the arguments Don uses are described in this video with great clarity. “The Book is not a science book,” a Don Campism. It’s a great video to give to a Christian having doubts. Enjoy! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gpw-TSd36l8

        • Ignorant Amos

          Enjoy!

          And enjoy it, I did.

          Thanks for posting it.

          Into the favourites it goes.

        • Ignorant Amos

          On what basis do you assume that the Bible is a human document not inspired by God?

          On the basis of what I know about the bloody thing. It looks exactly like a compendium of human documents and nothing divinely inspired. Once the process of how it came to be compiled and put together, is understood, it is just another made up texts for religio-political purpose in ancient times.

      • nydiva

        Don Camp: Be careful of stereotyping.
        Now that’s rich coming from you who frequently equate the genocidal actions of political dictators with atheism. You frequently stereotype so practice what you preach.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          I’d agree with ‘rich’, but in this context it’s the same rich that fertilizes the south forty…

          😉

      • Raging Bee

        So it was “anti-theists” who made up all that stuff about H3ll?

      • You argue convincingly that humans often work hard to improve the lot of people on earth. Too bad the Christian god doesn’t do the same.

  • Brian Curtis

    He’s using a “justice” argument? That’s a surefire loser. Kokul’s argument is silly on its face, because justice is a 100% human activity. It has no other source. Every single instance of justice has always come about through human activity, and never from anywhere else. If anything, the existence of justice make theism look bad, because it shows how impotent God is.

    • Machintelligence

      There is no justice — just us.

      • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

        Richard Pryor had something to say about that (NSFW):

        https://youtu.be/HVHaioBfWiE?t=69

        • Machintelligence

          I couldn’t remember where I had encountered the quote, but after a search, I suspect it was from Terry Pratchett’s novel “Mort” (1987).

  • The Apistevist

    Justice is abstract, so it has different meanings to different people. In the end, you’ll notice it’s never applied to non-humans. If a tree fell over and killed a mother and her child, it’s perceived as tragic, unfortunate, but not immoral. The tree doesn’t suffer. If a hippopotamus eats its offspring, no one calls it immoral and worthy of punishment. Had a human done either of these, he or she would be punished.

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      Apes and canines, at the very least, have been demonstrated to understand fairness / UNfairness.

  • Don Camp

    Bob: “Koukl will fume that Christianity has the happier viewpoint, but (1) no,
    it doesn’t, and (2) who would care about a happy worldview that didn’t
    have evidence to back it up?”

    The person who does not believe in a world that ultimately makes sense is faced either with depression or an existential leap to something that offers hope or relief from meaninglessness. If the world is truly meaningless as you seem to conceive it, then why not leap to something that provides a happy worldview? It appears that you have done so – without evidence to back it up, I might add. Why complain that others have chosen a different worldview that makes them happy and provides meaning?

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      Why do you waste our time pushing nonsensical strawmen which YOUR KIND claim are representations of us?

      Meaning is created by each person…but the Universe shows no signs of either being sentient or caring…which is all we have to work with.

      • Don Camp

        The creation of meaning in a universe where there is none is classic existentialism. That is exactly how you represent yourself here. No straw man.

        You may see where it leads by reading Sartre, Camus, and Kafka. Rarely does someone find a healthy existential solution to meaninglessness. Kierkegaard. may be the only one I know of.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Nope, it just shows that meaning is SUBJECTIVE…or group subjective, if it becomes a movement.

        • BertB

          When a religious believer emotes about how his conversion gave “meaning” to his life, I feel sorry for him. Somebody else had to tell him how to make his life meaningful? We give meaning to our life by the things we do, not by what we believe. Pathetic.

        • Otto

          Just because you convince yourself that you have a million dollars buried in your back yard doesn’t mean you actually are a millionaire.

        • Raging Bee

          It DOESN’T?! Who knew?! Thanx for saving me a lifetime of laborious self-deception…

        • Otto

          I am here to serve.

        • Ignorant Amos
        • Don Camp

          Good summary of Existentialism. Question for you, Amos. If we were playing the existentialism game, how is your leap of faith better than mine?

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Who’s claiming to use faith?

          Generally, over on the atheist side, we want *evidence*, and are willing to say “I don’t know, and will withhold belief until the evidence comes in.”

        • Ignorant Amos

          First, define how you are using “faith” first?

          See, what we find is that Christers have a terrible dishonest habit of saying one thing with more than one definition, when they mean another…then copping and changing when cornered.

        • Thanks4AllTheFish

          In what meaningful way does the universe you live in as a theist differ from the universe I live in as an atheist?

        • Don Camp

          Much in every way. Reality, for one thing, is much bigger. It includes the reality of what is perhaps best described as the heavenlies. The universe as you know is limited to the material. The larger Reality includes God as well as other spiritual beings who can and do interact with the material universe, though they are not limited to it.

          Reality includes the possibility of God interacting with us. A purely material universe does not allow for that. That doesn’t mean that God does not interact with those who think that reality is limited to the material. But it does often mean that those who believe in a purely material reality don’t realize it.

          The larger reality also means that reality is not bound by the limitations of the physical universe or by the physical laws. This universe is temporal and headed toward oblivion. It will be replaced by a new creation that is not time bound.

          It also means there is real purpose in reality. Maybe this essay on purpose will help explain that https://biblicalmusing.blogspot.com/2019/04/does-universe-have-purpose.html?view=timeslide

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Nope.

          Assuming your imagination *defines* reality, rather than riffing on it, doesn’t expand reality, it shrinks your understanding and thirst for knowledge.

          And why shill for your 69shitty apologetics site? Around here, you’re going to get ZERO takers, so no 69hits on your 69hit counter.

        • I suspect that for the same reasons that JW shill came: to receive flak, knowing his links to his group will reinforce that way.

        • Don Camp

          I don’t write for you. I write for those who might be deceived by you.

        • Otto

          You are selling snake oil, you may believe it has magical properties but it is still snake oil.

        • nydiva

          I don’t write for you. I write for those who might be deceived by you.
          And we challenged your religious nonsense for those who might deceived by you.

        • Don Camp

          Happy New Years, diva.

          I like the challenges. I’ve lived my life from college on searching for the challenges. I have a commitment to truth, and no truth can be truth that can’t stand the challenges.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          You’re deluded and attempting to spread your lies, either through terror imprinted on your psyche before you had rationality to shield against it, or because you want to harm others by terrorizing them with your lies if you can.

        • nydiva

          It would be an even happier new year if you would spare us your silly proselyting about your imaginary friend. But you are a fool for Christ so I guess that ain’t happening. Fortunately, your special pleading demonstrates the false claims of Christianity so it’s not a total loss having you hang around with your “come to Jesus” foolishness. Believers can see in real time that Christians apologists don’t have evidence for their beliefs, just delusional reasons for faith.

        • BertB

          Good. I am glad to hear you say that. So…now tell us about the “truth” of Christian belief. No, do not spout the bible. By now you should know that it is a piece of fiction. If you don’t accept that, then there is nothing more to say, and you are wasting your time here.
          I mean that seriously. The bible is not a credible historical document. If you think it is, you have not read it with your critical thinking cap in place. So I challenge you…give us evidence…real, credible evidence that the claims for miracles and supernatural events in the bible should be considered seriously. The way you can do that is to give us multiple independent sources for your claims.

        • Don Camp

          I have yet to see anyone actually make a case that the Bible is fiction.

          I have been hearing quite a few here saying that the Bible is not a credible historical document but without evidence. I figured they must be getting that idea from somewhere rather than coming to the conclusion based on their own investigation and critical thinking. So I thought I would look for a source. One I found was http://www.biblicalcatholic.com/apologetics/ShreddingTheGospels.htm

          Since I am interested in maps and geography and there was a section on the errors Mark made in geography, I started there. Diogenes the Cynic claimed that Mark didn’t know what he was saying in Mark 7:31. So I checked the maps and the grammatical analysis he/she used to come to that conclusion.

        • Greg G.

          I have yet to see anyone actually make a case that the Bible is fiction.

          I have been hearing quite a few here saying that the Bible is not a credible historical document but without evidence.

          I gave you plenty of evidence. I told you that you could deny each little piece but then you end up with a pattern you need to explain. But you tried it anyway. You still never explained the pattern.

          You tried closing your eyes and sticking your fingers in your ears before you ran away.

        • epeeist

          I am a fan of Dorothy L. Sayers’ Peter Wimsey stories.

          In her Five Red Herrings she includes descriptions of Galloway (including a pub, which I have visited) and detailed train timetables for the trains of the era.

          Should one therefore conclude from the accurate descriptions she provides that Lord Peter Wimsey existed and was a much better detective than Sherlock Holmes (whom moves around an accurate map of London in many of the stories about him)?

        • Don Camp

          An accurate description of the place or territory does not prove that the story is true. BUT it does prove that the description was not made up. One of the claims I’m am hearing here and certainly a claim made by Diogenes the Cynic is that Mark’s description was fiction or at least made up by someone who had never seen the territory. It is that that is debunked.

        • Ignorant Amos

          But it is Christian scholars that noticed the issues with gMark and his errors in geography.

          In Mark 10:46 however, we read that Jesus was in Jericho. The sentence above shows that Jesus and his group were travelling from Jericho to Jerusalem via Bethphage and then Bethany. This, however, is quite impossible. Bethany is further away from Jerusalem than Bethphage is. The Biblical theologian, D.E. Nineham, comments:

          “The geographical details make an impression of awkwardness, especially as Bethphage and Bethany are given in reverse order to that in which travellers from Jericho would reach them…and we must therefore assume that St Mark did not know the relative positions of the two villages on the Jericho road…” ~Nineham, Saint Mark (Westminster John Knox Press, 1978), pp. 294-295

          https://www.bismikaallahuma.org/bible/geographical-errors-new-testament/

          Nineham was an ordained minister Don. Along with …

          He was appointed professor of Biblical and historical theology at King’s College London in 1954, becoming professor of divinity at the University of London in 1958. In 1964, he was appointed Regius Professor of Divinity at the University of Cambridge, a post held in conjunction with a fellowship at Emmanuel College. He returned to Oxford in 1969, as warden of Keble College, a post that he held until 1979; he was appointed to an honorary fellowship of Keble in the following year, and to an honorary fellowship of Queen’s in 1991. Between 1980 and 1986, he was professor of theology and head of the theology department at the University of Bristol; he was also an honorary canon of Bristol Cathedral for this period.

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

          Christian scholars have had to hold their hands up in admission to the problems for a long time.

          https://www.sbl-site.org/assets/pdfs/presidentialaddresses/JBL60_1McCowan1940.pdf

          So don’t go criticising us here when it is your own lot that has pointed this out. You are in complete denial Don.

          https://vridar.org/2010/08/06/mark-failed-geography-but-great-bible-student/

        • Greg G.

          “The geographical details make an impression of awkwardness, especially as Bethphage and Bethany are given in reverse order to that in which travellers from Jericho would reach them…and we must therefore assume that St Mark did not know the relative positions of the two villages on the Jericho road…” ~Nineham, Saint Mark (Westminster John Knox Press, 1978), pp. 294-295

          I can’t help wondering if the geographical errors in Mark are just left over from the expurgation process of Secret Mark. One of them quoted by Morton Smith was in Mark 10:46 which has an awkward phrasing about entering Jericho then leaving Jericho before encountering Bartimaeus.

          Perhaps a mission to Sidon and a mission to the Decapolis were dropped in Mark 7:31. Maybe something was expurgated in Mark 11:1 that required him to go back to Bethany.

          I stole these from somewhere but I don’t have a link:

          Mark 4:11
          ◦the mystery of God’s Kingdom
          ◦those who are outside
          Mark 9:25-27
          ◦Similar to the Raising of Lazarus
          ◦Similar to the Secret Mark 1
          Mark 10:21
          ◦“One thing you lack. Go, sell whatever you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me, taking up the cross.”
          Mark 10:32
          ◦He again took the twelve, and began to tell them the things that were going to happen to him
          Mark 10:38-39
          ◦“You don’t know what you are asking.”
          ◦”Are you able to drink the cup that I drink,”
          ◦”and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?”
          Mark 12:32-34
          ◦“You are not far from God’s Kingdom.”
          Mark 14:51-52
          ◦A certain young man in a linen cloth

        • Ignorant Amos

          It seems that Secret Mark was problematic for the early Christers of a particular flavour. A poor redaction could excuse some of the problems, but I can’t see how his lack of knowledge in Jewish customs can be accounted for.

          I read this earlier…which seems to be how Don Camp operates…

          Fundamentalists, when they do not try to argue for the King James reading mentioned in the above note, have largely resorted to “argument from authority” to salvage their beloved doctrine of biblical inerrancy. In other words, “experts (read: fundamentalist apologists) have studied these and found no error” and, presumably, that should be enough for believers.

          One example is Lee Strobel’s fundamentalist bestseller The Case for Christ. In recounting his interview with John McRay, when the issue of Mark 7:31 was raised, all Strobel could muster to defend Biblical inerrancy here was simply to note that McRay “pulled a Greek version of Mark off his shelf” and opened “large maps of ancient Palestine” and then:

          Reading the text in the original language, taking into accounts the mountainous terrain and probable roads in the region…McRay traced a logical route on the map corresponding precisely with Mark’s description.
          “When everything is put into the appropriate context,” he concluded, “there’s no problem with Mark’s account.”

          And that’s it! Without explaining how the route was “logical” and exactly what “Greek text” McRay read, this is supposed to convince readers that the problem is resolved! Needless to say this “argument” fails to convince skeptics.

          Don thinks we’re being unreasonable and his logic is sound.

        • epeeist

          An accurate description of the place or territory does not prove that the story is true.

          Of course it doesn’t, but it is worse than that.

          Let us assume that Diogenes is wrong, what does this show? Merely that Diogenes is wrong.

          What it doesn’t show is that therefore the biblical account is true. We have been through this before, this is simply another instance of false dichotomy. All hypotheses stand on their own merits, not on the “problems” with other hypotheses. What you need to provide is actual evidence for the biblical account (and no, the bible cannot serve as evidence for the biblical account).

          If we go back to our discussion on Copernicus, what we are looking for is consonance, multiple lines of evidence leading to the same conclusion.

        • Don Camp

          I was responding to the criticism that Mark was inaccurate regarding geography and therefore unreliable as testimony to Jesus.

          But you are right, debunking an idea is not the same as adequately supporting an idea with multiple lines of evidence. Which should be a caution to our friends over on debunkingchristianity.

          I like your point: “All hypotheses stand on their own merits, not on the “problems” with other hypotheses.”But Isn’t that how most atheists argue for atheism?

          What you need to provide is actual evidence for the biblical account (and no, the bible cannot serve as evidence for the biblical account).

          I would take exception to your limitation regarding the biblical account. The biblical account is a historical document. It should be considered along with others, and actually historians do. But in any case, a book that I read recently Jesus and the Logic of History addresses your request. But Bart Ehrman also addresses your request in Did Jesus Exist?

          Both are limited, as historians must, to the question of historical accuracy. The theological issue such as “is Jesus the Son of God” cannot be decided on the basis of multiple lines of evidence. For example, it can be decided using the normal historical methods that Jesus existed, that he performed miracles, even that he rose from the dead. But it cannot be decided that he was the Son of God. We reach that conclusion based on logic.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I like your point: “All hypotheses stand on their own merits, not on the “problems” with other hypotheses.”But Isn’t that how most atheists argue for atheism?

          Nope.

          The theist comes here and makes an unsupported claim. The theist is asked to support the claim with evidence. Evidence that is convincing. That never has happened to date. The theist trots out some garbage or other and what happens here is the claim is refuted. The theist either cries of, or moves onto the next piece of garbage which has been dealt with ad nauseam.

          I would take exception to your limitation regarding the biblical account. The biblical account is a historical document.

          The document is historical, the claims it makes, not so much. They are a record of what some first century Jews believed. That says nothing about the veracity of said claims or their historical value as facts.

          It should be considered along with others, and actually historians do.

          Historians deal with what probably happened and most of what the gospels claim most probably didn’t happen, and the small number of things that scholars claim most likely did happen, can’t be supported.

          But in any case, a book that I read recently Jesus and the Logic of History addresses your request.

          Perhaps you can outline just how bishop Paul Barnett addresses epeeists request, since you’ve read his book, and we haven’t?

          But Bart Ehrman also addresses your request in Did Jesus Exist?

          Now that book I have read. Does he fuck. That book is such a scholarly fuck up that there are others that believe it is the work of his graduate students. Bart Ehrman doesn’t argue for anything more than the reliability of a few basic “facts”, which he supports very poorly. The book is a clusterfuck and has been torn apart, bit by bit by the scholarship. Not least in the rebuttal book released by those folk he misrepresents or downright lies about. That book I’ve also read. But here’s a link to 80+ articles that take his garbage to task…

          http://www.mythicistpapers.com/2012/10/02/80-mythicist-responses-to-b-ehrmans-did-jesus-exist/

          For example, it can be decided using the normal historical methods that Jesus existed, that he performed miracles, even that he rose from the dead.

          No, it can’t. And you keep repeating this fuckwittery is both dishonest and tedious. Support your claim, or do us all a favour and fuck away off.

        • Don Camp
        • Ignorant Amos

          ????

        • Greg G.

          I bet he hit the “Post as…” button when he meant to hit the “blockquote” button. I have done that a few times in the past month or two.

        • Don Camp

          The theist comes here and makes an unsupported claim. The theist is
          asked to support the claim with evidence. Evidence that is convincing.

          Convincing for whom?

          The recent topic has been the geographical reliability of Mark. I think I have shown that the complaints of some here and Diogenes the Cynic are false and that the description of geography in two separate passages in Mark is accurate. I presented maps and an analysis of the language where Diogenes got it wrong. Did it convince you?

          If not, what else might have?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Convincing for whom?

          Whaaaa?

          In any argument, the evidence has to be convincing to the skeptic. There’s not much point in it being convincing to the already convinced, is there?

          The recent topic has been the geographical reliability of Mark.

          No, the recent topic was on whether the buybull is a work of fiction.

          I think I have shown that the complaints of some here and Diogenes the Cynic are false and that the description of geography in two separate passages in Mark is accurate.

          Nope, you haven’t. You’ve given two alternative explanations. But you forget the overall context of Mark as a whole.

          You said…

          Apparently Diogenes thought Mark could not be right about Jesus and the disciples going back to Galilee from Tyre through Sidon. On a flat map that make some sense. But I looked a little deeper and discovered that the topography of the region favors a return to Galilee thought Sidon. It is at least as good as the southern route. Today a modern road follows that route. So Diogenes is debunked.

          As David Barr, Professor of Religion at Wright State University remarked: “the itinerary sketched in 7:31 would be a little like going from New York to Washington, D.C. by way of Boston”! It is simply not possible to go through Sidon from Tyre to reach the Sea of Galilee. What is worse, it is a known historical fact that there was no direct road from Sidon to the Sea of Galilee during the first century CE. There was, however, one from Tyre to the Sea of Galilee. There are thus two geographical errors in the above passage:

          Firstly, the author obviously did not know the relative positions of Sidon, Tyre and the Sea of Galilee.

          Secondly, he did not know that there was no direct road between Sidon and the Sea of Galilee during the time of Jesus.

          Such a widely travelled native of Palestine such as John Mark (as our New Testament sources assure us that he was) could not have made such blatant mistakes about Palestinian geography.

          https://lutherwasnotbornagaincom.wordpress.com/2015/01/16/evidence-that-john-mark-did-not-write-the-gospel-of-mark/

          I presented maps and an analysis of the language where Diogenes got it wrong.

          Don, if you think going through Sidon from Tyre in order to get to the Sea of Galilee, even given the topography, is the most practical route, you are even more crackers than I thought. And given that such a detour would be even more ridiculous, because one can’t travel by road from Sidon to the Sea of Galilee at the time, because no road existed. If you look at a different first century map of the area, you can see that you are talking ballix…again.

          http://urantia-book.org/archive/graphics/mapgif1.htm

          Diogenes the Cynic (whoever he is), like many others before and since, including NT scholars, are not wrong.

          As to the language nonsense. Using map orientation has fuck all to do with it it. I live about 12 miles north of Belfast, we still say we’re going up to town for the night out. While when I lived in the city suburbs, we would say we were going down the town, even when downtown was north. But that is irrelevant.

          31 And again, having gone forth from the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, he came
          unto the sea of Galilee, up through the midst of the coasts of Decapolis,

          The passage says that Jesus went through Galilee up to Decapolis (emphasis on the “up”).

          Ah, the lies and dishonest misrepresentation continues. You can’t even be honest about a source you cite. Which translation of Mark 7:31 are you using? Certainly not the one cited at the essay.

          Now Diogenes is thinking map orientation where north is up and south is down. But Mark didn’t have a map. He was speaking of up as up in elevation. And that would make perfect sense if, as I believe, Peter was the source of his information.

          But Diogenes isn’t even making the claim definitive.

          This may or may not be an error but I mention it because it’s said directly in conjunction with another error and the entire verse gives an impression that Mark did not have an accurate understanding of the geography he was describing.

          Did it convince you?

          Nope. Because you are talking the biggest loada pish.

          If not, what else might have?

          There not being all the sources that agree with his conclusion…many from biblical scholars, would go some way…that, and my own common sense that the trip is nonsensical as set out in the passage, also, the cumulation of ALL the evidence favours the thesis that Mark made a mistake, because he wasn’t familiar with the area and wasn’t consulting someone with deep knowledge who was.

          But Don, it can’t be reiterated enough times. And as nydiva’s video to Ehrman debate emphasises. The author of gMark knowing the geography of the area exactly as it was back in the day, in no way makes the tales in his gospel historical facts. This is tortured thinking. You know fine well that fact. That there was a Baker Street in London in the 19th century, during the reign of a queen called Victoria, an actual historical figure, in no way verifies Dr. Watson’s diarist accounts of Sherlock Holmes escapades during his detective work.

        • Greg G.

          That there was a Baker Street in London in the 19th century, during the reign of a queen called Victoria, an actual historical figure, in no way verifies Dr. Watson’s diarist accounts of Sherlock Holmes escapades during his detective work.

          But there really was a Troy, therefore Odysseus really did blind Polyphemus.

        • epeeist

          But Isn’t that how most atheists argue for atheism?

          No, most start from the fact that there is little or no evidence for the existence of gods. so why should you bloat your ontology with them. After all if one allows one thing in without substantive justification how can one deny all the other things that are waiting in the wings.

          The biblical account is a historical document.

          What, all of it? Including the Genesis accounts, the miracles, demons, resurrections etc.? And there are multiple lines of evidence to support these?

          We reach that conclusion based on logic.

          We have had this conversation before, so go on provide us with the logical schema for which “Jesus is the son of god” is the conclusion.

        • Don Camp

          No, most start from the fact that there is little or no evidence for the existence of gods.

          That is just debunking on a personal level. It is what you described in your previous post. And what follows is more of the same. It is an evasion. You wrote, “All hypotheses stand on their own merits, not on the “problems” with other hypotheses.” But you avoid a hypothesis that explains life and the cosmos. So where does the denial of God or gods leave you? What is your ontology?

        • epeeist

          That is just debunking on a personal level.

          This really is a disingenuous message.

          One isn’t “debunking” anything in that the word assumes the existence of gods of some kind.

          But you avoid a hypothesis that explains life and the cosmos.

          But that is a separate subject, why should I address it here?

          If you want to claim that it was your god that created it then you have a fair amount of work to do, firstly you have to show that the universe was indeed created, that the creator was a god of some kind and finally that it was the god of an obscure tribe of a tiny part of a small planet, that planet being part of the solar system of an average star in a galaxy of tens of billions of others and that galaxy being one amongst hundreds of billions of others.

          So where does the denial of God or gods leave you?

          And once more your mendacity shows. This time you use the word “deny” which again implies that gods of some kind exist.

          As for my ontology, I take a Lockean view. I don’t know, there are observations and theories which provide a reasonable explanation back to the Planck epoch. Before that (if “before” actually means anything in this context) all we have is speculation.

          I note the fact that you have avoided producing the logical schema that I asked you for.

        • Don Camp

          Ah, yes. The scientific worldview. I’ve just been scanning Ralph Lewis’s book Finding Purpose in a Godless World. That is his answer as well, “it just is.” Get over it. But that isn’t very satisfying. The scientists who are looking for a “how” this incredibly improbable cosmos came to be testify to that.

          If you want to claim that it was your god that created it then you have a fair amount of work to do, firstly you have to show that the universe was indeed created

          And you show that reality has natural causes. When you do, that worldview will be vindicated. Up until them we are at a stalemate.

          finally that it was the god of an obscure tribe of a tiny part of a small planet, that planet being part of the solar system of an average star in a galaxy of tens of billions of others and that galaxy being one amongst hundreds of billions of others.

          Not really. I see no reason why there could not be many places where life like us exists, though I have to say the chances are small. But it would not undermine my faith in God as Creator if there were.

        • epeeist

          That is his answer as well, “it just is.”

          Since when has “it just is” being synonymous with “I don’t know”?

          And you show that reality has natural causes.

          Can I prove this? No, which is why I only tend towards metaphysical naturalism rather than claim that it is so.

          Up until them we are at a stalemate.

          Ah, I love the smell of false equivalences first thing in the morning. Can I demonstrate the existence of the natural? Yes. Can I show that in cases where we can determine causes that these are natural? Yes. Do our theories describe the development of the universe from it initial stages and are they consistent with our observations? Yes.

          What have you got?

          But it would not undermine my faith in God as Creator if there were.

          And this is the crux of the matter isn’t it, regardless of the soundness of the arguments or the weight of evidence against your ideology you will not change your mind. If anything you will simply bind to it even more closely.

        • Don Camp

          What have you got?

          Jesus. If Jesus is who he claims to be and who the Gospel and NT writers claim he is. He is a worldview changer. He is a life changer. Of course, belief in the material universe as ultimate reality is a life changer as well. That is how our deeply held convictions work. They affect our lives.

          And this is the crux of the matter isn’t it, regardless of the soundness
          of the arguments or the weight of evidence against your ideology you
          will not change your mind.

          I have tested my faith in Christ with the “evidence and arguments” of critics, skeptics and atheists for over 50 years. The first challenge came in a college philosophy of religion class at Portland State University. My professor challenged all the Christians in the class to apply the rest of falsifiability to the claims of our faith. It was a serious challenge for a young Christian. I determined to either work my way through it or discard the claims of my faith.

          It took a couple of years, but after reading a number of books and doing a lot of thinking I found that the challenge was met and solved. This was before the surge in apologetic books and the Internet. Pretty much the on ly books I had were anti-Christian books.

          I went on from there to additional challenges. Some took years to work through. Some changed some of my presuppositions and my life.I discarded the young earth paradigm. I discarded the traditional doctrine of inerrancy. I accepted the evidence for change in living things (populations) over time. I accepted the possibility of a universe that contained more sentient beings than those on earth. But in the end those things did not upset my faith in God and Jesus; yes, the challenges bound my faith more firmly.

          I continue to look for challenges. The recent upsurge in the mythical Christ challenges has been one. The questions raised by the New Biblical Scholars – who really are unbelievers and more about undermining faith than in understanding the Bible – regarding the historicity of the Bible has been another. I do take these seriously. I do the research and thinking. But in each case I am convinced they are without merit.The result of my thinking and research has been that my faith is firmer.

          I think an unchallenged faith, whether that is in Jesus or faith in the ultimate reality of the material cosmos, is a shaky faith.I don’t want to believe something that is not true. I want a solid, reasonable, rational faith – whatever that is.

          If you want to look at a more complete response to the scientific worldview and Lewis’s book and his defense of the scientific worldview, I direct you to my blog. I’ll risk nydiva’s ire.

        • Greg G.

          So all you have is religious belief, like most people do. But since all of these religious beliefs are different, we know that most people are wrong, no matter how strongly they believe, but they could all be wrong.

          You have demonstrated that you cannot back up your belief with facts so your beliefs do not appear to be any better than any other religious belief.

          So we are still waiting for unambiguous evidence or a reasonable argument for a valid religion.

        • Ignorant Amos

          So all you have is religious belief, like most people do. But since all of these religious beliefs are different, we know that most people are wrong, no matter how strongly they believe, but they could all be wrong.

          Don gave me rise to dig out my copy of John Loftus’ “The Christian Delusion”, because I’d forgot much of the content. I read the first four chapters again last night and realized just how much I’d forgot.

          The reason for digging it out, was the fact that Don Camp spent so much time over there DC, and I can’t fathom how he could’ve avoided the subject matter. His delusional belief system and why it is problematic, is well laid out. The psychology is explained by PhD doctorates in the relevant fields. He is doing and acting here, exactly as they contributors to the book lay out. He is a textbook example.

          You have demonstrated that you cannot back up your belief with facts so your beliefs do not appear to be any better than any other religious belief.

          His whole argument is circular, wishful thinking, confirmation bias, and impossible to support.

          Jesus. If Jesus is who he claims to be and who the Gospel and NT writers claim he is.

          He just doesn’t get it. Jesus made no claims about himself. Jesus wrote nothing about anything and what others claim he said is just that claims that can’t be supported. I notice Don says who the gospel and NT writers claim he is, not who or what early Christians said he is…he’d be fucked otherwise.

          So we are still waiting for unambiguous evidence or a reasonable argument for a valid religion.

          Never gonna happen.

        • epeeist

          I direct you to my blog.

          Flagged

        • Ignorant Amos

          It took a couple of years, but after reading a number of books and doing a lot of thinking I found that the challenge was met and solved.

          Such a pivotal time and enterprise that you haven’t explained it…go figure.

          This was before the surge in apologetic books and the Internet. Pretty much the on ly books I had were anti-Christian books.

          Whaaa? You worked it out all on your own? Where’s your book? Ya missed a trick if you got the skinny before the surge of modern apologetic books. Are the modern apologetics making better arguments than the apologetics books of 50 years ago?

          I continue to look for challenges.

          Nah ya don’t. You’ve completely ignored arguments you can’t win, while cherry-pick snippets of comments you think are low hanging fruit and weak sauce. Even those ya fail repeatedly to refute. But that’s how Christer psychology works. Find answers for the weaker arguments against your faith and use cognitive dissonance and confirmation bias to stoke yerself while ignoring everything else.

          The recent upsurge in the mythical Christ challenges has been one.

          And since no one to date has successfully refuted the the position, what’s your point?

          The questions raised by the New Biblical Scholars – who really are unbelievers and more about undermining faith than in understanding the Bible – regarding the historicity of the Bible has been another.

          Ah, the No True Scotsman Fallacy. Sure, ya ignored the position of not-so-new biblical scholars too. You ignore any position that is counter to your own. You are an intellectually dishonest proselytizer. But what you are engaging in here is the ad hominem fallacious engaging. Probably because you are so deeply invested, the new discoveries and theses scare the shit out of ya.

          I do take these seriously.

          Not from what you’ve demonstrated here in the past number of weeks, nor what I can see at Debunking Christianity, or yer own blog.

          I do the research and thinking.

          Demonstrably not. So you are lying. Even Dr. Hector Avalos, a bona fide bible scholar at an R1 research university has taken you to task because of your ignorance and stupidity. It is clear to those here that have enged you here that you are as dumb a fuck as Avalos alludes.

          But in each case I am convinced they are without merit.The result of my thinking and research has been that my faith is firmer.

          Yeah, it’s a well understood psychological phenomena which is not exclusive to you, Christianity, or even religion. Other woo-woo beliefs in nonsense are included.

          For someone who makes such haughty claims, you seem to know diddly squat. Which is particularly nauseating since you blew so much hot air over at DC before bugging the shite out of us here with your repetitive bilge and pigswill.

          If ya refuse to read the book, at least read an article.

          http://www.debunking-christianity.com/2010/07/dr-valerie-tarico-responds-to.html

        • Greg G.

          while cherry-pick snippets of comments you think are low hanging fruit and weak sauce.

          In many cases, what he thinks is low-hanging fruit is actually his failure to understand the point.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Correct. I was reading last night that believers will look for what they see as weak counter-apologetics arguments. Find an argument what convinces them it is easily refuted. Then run with that in the delusion that their belief is intact. It appears that it is a well understood psychological concept. Handwave off the awkward. Faith is bolstered.

          Don did it here with the geographical discrepancies in gMark. He thought he’d debunked one internet essay, about a single data point, thus wining the overall argument. But he didn’t even get his nonsense right to begin with. But then what happened? He fucked off to Croydon to press the reset button. Because that’s what weaseling dishonest fuckwit Christer do, it’s in their nature. We see it here day in, day out, week in, week out, month in, month out, year in, year out…it’s getting to the decade in, decade out stage ffs.

        • Greg G.

          I had the same thing with the debate over whether Jesus was crucified before the Passover or after. He was on about there being two meals. I showed that the Diaspora had two meals because they couldn’t be certain which day was the new moon as determined in Jerusalem. Then he said it was an earlier version of it. I showed that one ended about a thousand years earlier. He said Jesus was trying to re-institute the old one. I pointed out that John specifically said it was before the time of Passover and each of the Synoptics said it was the time of the Passover before the crucifixion. He then decided to stop responding to me.

        • Ignorant Amos

          A seen that too.

        • Don Camp

          Such a pivotal time and enterprise that you haven’t explained it.

          I have explained it a number of times. Maybe not here, however.

          Are the modern apologetics making better arguments than the apologetics books of 50 years ago?

          Apologetics books respond to current challenges. The challenges were not so specific 50 years ago. So they make arguments appropriate to the challenges. I don’t agree with many of the arguments. I think some are weak and some are too philosophical. But that is just me.

          Dr. Hector Avalos, a bona fide bible scholar at an R1 research university has taken you to task because of your ignorance and stupidity.

          Dr. Avalos is a self-described minimalist. I am not. There is bound to be differences, just as there are between his position and the position of equally qualified archaeologists who are not minimalists. Personally I think the minimalist position is a hide. But that is only my opinion.

          Dr. Avalos has access to research I do not have. So when Dr. Avalos shared his information – and conclusions – I paid attention.

          I will read the blog you linked. I have read Tarico at some length in the past.

          I do wish you’d moderate your provocative language, Amos, but it is perhaps the consequence of atheist angst. I’ll live with it. You should know that mockery is not an argument; it is an attitude.

        • Greg G.

          I do wish you’d moderate your provocative language, Amos, but it is perhaps the consequence of atheist angst.

          Or it is just part of the local dialect where he lives.

        • Pofarmer

          It could just be dealing with a dumbass.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I have explained it a number of times. Maybe not here, however.

          Is it on your blog…a would be willing to venture if it is?

          Apologetics books respond to current challenges. The challenges were not so specific 50 years ago. So they make arguments appropriate to the challenges. I don’t agree with many of the arguments. I think some are weak and some are too philosophical. But that is just me.

          But since you give no indication what those arguments are, other than the ones you’ve already had your arse soundly scalped on so far already, so that comment is meaningless incoherence.

          Dr. Avalos is a self-described minimalist. I am not.

          So what? It really doesn’t matter. Nor does it seem to you either. Your criticising everyone and anyone who doesn’t to your particular tortured position. Arguments appear secondary. You are like all those other eejit apologists, if the evidence contravenes the scripture as viewed by Don Camp, then the evidence is wrong. Regardless of the source of the evidence. You are close minded. Because you are afraid to be otherwise.

          And anyway, you are trying to cop out by using a non sequitur. Your arguments were solidly refuted by Avalos. Both on DC and in the 28 paper he produced decimating your nonsense and outdated position. You reluctantly conceded. Though didn’t make it clear on your own blog. A bit shady, that.

          There is bound to be differences, just as there are between his position and the position of equally qualified archaeologists who are not minimalists.

          Don, try and stay focused. Avalos is not an archaeologist. But the point is this, you, who are not either an archaeologist, nor a biblical scholar, refuse to engage honestly with those who are, on either side. When it comes to archaeology though, there are some things very more likely the case, than others. So when the consensus is on one side, particularly when it is the latest research, it is justified to run with it until it is soundly shown to be erroneous. That’s not you. You are a conspiracy theorist. The whole “modern scholarship” thing is a concerted effort at an attack on your faith in your deluded mind.

          Personally I think the minimalist position is a hide.

          A what? The minimalists had to be dragged kicking and screaming to that position. It was only when a number of complimenting evidential ducks lined up, that the theory was taken seriously. Thomas L. Thompson’s doctoral dissertation made him a pariah in the world of bible scholarship and for many years he was an academic cast out. Largely because of knuckle-dragging dinosaurs like you, who refuse to see the writing on the wall. That’s because to think otherwise, scares the shite out of ya.

          But that is only my opinion.

          We know. We’ve seen it all before and by better than you Don. And it’s also your opinion, and an opinion that you have failed to support in any meaningful way since ya got here, so pah!

          Dr. Avalos has access to research I do not have. So when Dr. Avalos shared his information – and conclusions – I paid attention.

          Well, it’s not just his access to research ist it? It’s his body of knowledge that blows yours completely out of the water, and his many years of studying to doctorate level and teaching after. But none of that would matter if you had an argument that could be supported. Ya didn’t and ya haven’t. As for paying attention…you are joking, right?

          I have read Tarico at some length in the past.

          You show no evidence of such.

          I do wish you’d moderate your provocative language, Amos,…

          Stop tone trolling, it doesn’t suit ya. I speak how I wiil…am very common that way.

          …but it is perhaps the consequence of atheist angst.

          Ah yes, the passive/aggressive Christer. Neat. Nope. No angst here, am not the shite scared of imaginary god thingy’s or what they might do if I don’t lick enough celestial arse. What grips my shite is the inncessant troop of fuckwit Christers who do exactly what your doing. Angst, nah, frustration, defo.

          I’ll live with it.

          Until Bob S marks my card, you’ve not got much choice.

          You should know that mockery is not an argument; it is an attitude.

          Bwaaaahahahaha!

          “if an opinion cannot stand mockery” then it similarly would be “revealed to be ridiculous”. As such all serious claims of knowledge should be subjected to it. ~ Anthony Ashley Cooper, 3rd Earl of Shaftesbury, was an English politician, philosopher and writer.

          This was a view echoed by René Descartes, who saw mockery as a “trait of a good man” which “bears witness to the cheerfulness of his temper … tranquility of his soul … [and] the ingenuity of his mind.”

          https://i1.wp.com/www.opindia.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/rushdie.jpg?resize=600%2C200&ssl=1

        • Don Camp

          If Dr. Avalos is not an archaeologist (his training is in anthropology) then he might be more cautious about his archaeological claims. It was archaeology we were talking about and archaeology he wrote about in his paper. If I remember right it had to do with the Ibaru.or the Amarna letters. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/6cb567a75fc1f58e55ffc80ca23d6dbd19208212626c6b9edf7c7d14c755e9d8.jpg

        • Ignorant Amos

          If Dr. Avalos is not an archaeologist (his training is in anthropology) then he might be more cautious about his archaeological claims.

          Don, your senile dementia is showing. First, ya think he’s an archaeologist. Then you think that the argument youse had, was about archaeology. You are not an archaeologist either Don, nor have you any training in any allied subject, but thought you knew more than a professor teaching at a research university enough to take him to task on a detail in one of his videos, and in doing so, got outed as a kook and got yerself a new arse tore in the process.

          This was less than three years ago, but perhaps you engage with world renowned scholars on such topics all the time, and the incident has slipped your mind.

          It was archaeology we were talking about and archaeology he wrote about in his paper.

          Nah…it was actually about the interpretation of a particular inscription on the Amarna tablets.

          Avalos’ training makes archaeology and knowledge of said, an allied trade to his other qualifications. But he is talking about the work of others for the most part.

          You did that thing that Greg and I were discussing earlier. Something the psychologist point out. You picked what ya thought was the Achilles heal of his presentation and thought if you demonstrated this on point erroneous, the whole presentation is untrustworthy.

          I can understand your nefarious modus operandi, this stuff must scare the trunks off ya.

          To the audience, watch what Don ignores…

          How Archaeology Killed Biblical History

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BP5LdELd_0o

          If I remember right it had to do with the Ibaru.or the Amarna letters.

          If you remember right? Jaysus. You try to take down a bible scholar on your pissy website, he takes the time to write a 28 page paper showing why your fuckwittery is ignorant fuckwittery, you spend an extended time in the comments section in a back and forth trying to argue the same ignorant crap, but you are not sure what all the fuss was about? Seriously?

          You took umbrage that Avalos asserted that there is an absolute lack of historical and archaeological evidence for a biblical Exodus.

          You were critical about the figures being used and the evidence in the Amarna letters referencing the “Hebrews” circa 14th century BCE. So ya wrote this parcel of shite…

          http://biblicalmusing.blogspot.com/2016/08/the-promised-land-or-bust.html

          Forcing Avalos to defend himself with this rebuttal essay.

          https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bzb0eku2aJg3MUNYUlVxakpMV0k/view

          Your back and forth on Debunking Christianity can be read here…

          http://www.debunking-christianity.com/2017/04/the-use-and-abuse-of-amarna-letters-by_20.html#comment-3269194923

          You are as dishonest as they come Don Camp. All the arguments you’ve engaged in here, have been refuted time and again, by the top scholars in the field no less…go away ya deluded little man, you are just stinking up the place at this point. Nothing of substance to bring to the adult table.

        • Don Camp

          First, ya think he’s an archaeologist.

          Wait !! Didn’t you just here post a link to a video titled “How Archaeology Killed Biblical History?”

          If Avalos chooses to speak on achaeology, he must consider himself qualified. Wouldn’t you say?

        • Ignorant Amos

          If Avalos chooses to speak on achaeology, he must consider himself qualified. Wouldn’t you say?

          Nope. He might just consider himself to be qualified to speak about the archaeologists that are qualified to speak about archaeology. Which his credentials suggest he is. That doesn’t mean he needs to be one. Though I think he knows more than most laypersons on the subject of ANE archaeology. And certainly a lot more than you apparently.

          You aren’t qualified in a whole loada stuff you are not qualified to speak of, including archaeology. Yet here you are.

          Your problem was, you didn’t know what you were talking about, when you tried to be flash and take Avalos down a peg, but Avolos did. See, all your bluster about research and thinking, is just that. Hence Avalos was able to hand you yer own arse.

          But carry on digging the hole you are in, go ahead, double down. I can do this all day.

        • Don Camp

          Of course he knows more than me. But what Avalos was doing was interpreting the raw data. That is, of course, what everyone does. Raw data means nothing until some kind of explanation of it is made. But Avalos operates under the principle of minimalism. He said as much to me as we were conversing. That means he doesn’t go very far in interpretation – unless it suits his biases evidently; he certainly was not shy in doing that in the video. Other qualified archaeologist are willing to go further than Avalos. And Avalos knows that. Sometimes they are called maximalists. I simply choose to refer to their findings and interpretations.

          When we talked about the Hapiru, it happens that Avalos had done some significant research and thinking about the subject. Great. He concluded that the Hapiru were a group of nomadic marauders. And I agree. History seems to point that way. Even Egyptian texts. I simply picked up on the opinion of others that this is the way the Hebrews might have been seen by the Canaanites. They came from the desert. They lived in tents.They were attacking Canaan. It seems reasonable. So when we read in the Amarna letters about the Canaanites being invaded by people from outside Canaan at the same time that the Hebrews would have been moving into Canaan it makes sense to connect the two.

          Avalos was not willing to make that connection, though others were. But he is of the opinion that there was no conquest of Canaan – despite the fact that the Canaanite kings though they were in danger of falling to these invaders – so his interpretation fit his biases. I simply chose to take what I thought was the more reasonable interpretation.

          I do not make up my own conclusions. I look to see what the issues are and make a choice between the possible interpretations. You could look at the posts I made on my blog on the subject of the Exodus. Nothing I said was unique.

          Avalos knew that, I have no doubt. If he didn’t, he wasn’t doing his research.

          I appreciate his work, and he is welcome to his interpretations. Sometimes I agree. Sometimes I don’t. I just don’t consider him the final words. I expect that he will argue his point of view. I was simply arguing mine.

        • Greg G.

          A month ago @ https://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2019/11/would-god-want-you-to-tell-a-gunman-yes-im-a-christian-2/#comment-4714778201 you said in response to me:

          The name “Hebrew” might be a transliteration of “Habiru”

          Some have speculated so. Dr. Hector Avalos disagrees. I think that Habiru was a term used for nomadic marauders but not necessarily a particular ethnic group. It might have been used of the Hebrews, but we have no evidence for that.

          I agree with you that the Habiru were not a particular ethnic group. It was just a general word for marauders. But here you say:

          When we talked about the Hapiru, it happens that Avalos had done some significant research and thinking about the subject. Great. He concluded that the Hapiru were a group of nomadic marauders. And I agree. History seems to point that way. Even Egyptian texts. I simply picked up on the opinion of others that this is the way the Hebrews might have been seen by the Canaanites. They came from the desert. They lived in tents.They were attacking Canaan. It seems reasonable. So when we read in the Amarna letters about the Canaanites being invaded by people from outside Canaan at the same time that the Hebrews would have been moving into Canaan it makes sense to connect the two.

          Avalos was not willing to make that connection, though others were. But he is of the opinion that there was no conquest of Canaan – despite the fact that the Canaanite kings though they were in danger of falling to these invaders – so his interpretation fit his biases. I simply chose to take what I thought was the more reasonable interpretation.

          That is the point I was making, that the Hebrews were just another Canaanite tribe who invented a history based on the histories they found in the Babylonian libraries. They read about the “Habiru” marauders and incorporated that into their invented “conquest of Canaan” narrative.

          Many years ago, I had seen where someone had made the connection that the Hebrews who conquered Canaan were the Hapiru (transliterated) but I could not find them around at the time in what I read, so I set it on the back burner. But when I read about the findings of Finkelstein and Silberman that showed no cultural shift at the time the Exodus was supposed to have happened, I re-evaluated my thoughts. It seems that Avalos and I came to similar conclusions independently.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Of course he knows more than me.

          Was it ever in doubt?

          But what Avalos was doing was interpreting the raw data.

          Nope. This demonstrates you haven’t a clue wtf you are talking about.

          Do you even know what “raw data” is ffs?

          Raw data is the stuff that the experts in a particular discipline, collects. In this case, archaeology. The raw data is then refined and collated to form a working hypothesis to be used as evidence.

          Avalos is looking at he body of evidence and forming a theory on what most likely probably happened, but also, what likely never happened.

          That is, of course, what everyone does.

          Nope, I don’t, whwere am unqualified to do so.

          Don’t be a dopey prick. No it isn’t. Everyone isn’t qualified to assess the raw data in every subject. Do you train to be so asinine, with just the one head?

          Raw data means nothing until some kind of explanation of it is made.

          Correct. But the data has to be explained by an expert who has the capability to interpret the raw data. A burger flipper in McDonald’s will not be able to interpret a brain scan. You are talking bubbles.

          But Avalos operates under the principle of minimalism. He said as much to me as we were conversing.

          Yep. He would be more towards minimalism. He makes no secret of the fact. But the academy has moved on a bit from the “us and them” approach. To a let’s take each argument and assess it on its own merits kind of approach.

          That means he doesn’t go very far in interpretation – unless it suits his biases evidently;…

          haaaa? Demonstrate this assertion. You do know what the term “minimalist” means, right?

          … he certainly was not shy in doing that in the video.

          He was presenting the evidence of the scholars he was citing. Did you watch the same video I did.

          Other qualified archaeologist are willing to go further than Avalos.

          Again, Avalos isn’t a qualified archaeologist as far as I know. He has a working knowledge of the subject and cites the work of those in the field that are well qualified.

          And Avalos knows that.

          Knows what? Go further than what?

          Sometimes they are called maximalists.

          I could give zero gucks. I know what the terms mean, obviously you don’t.

          I simply choose to refer to their findings and interpretations.

          It isn’t a popularity contest. When the data and body evidence becomes so convincing that one theory is dropped in favour of another, there is what’s known as a paradigm shift in favour of the new theory. Of course, the new theory has to be able to explain the old theory and more, that’s what is occuring in critical biblical studies. Who you choose is of no consequence here, your confirmation writes you off.

          When we talked about the Hapiru, it happens that Avalos had done some significant research and thinking about the subject. Great.

          Indeed. Using a lot more recent and reliable scholarship. You relied on outdated, defunct, and sources misrepresenting the scholarship.

          He concluded that the Hapiru were a group of nomadic marauders. And I agree. History seems to point that way. Even Egyptian texts.

          Well, history points to the Hapiru covering a number of labels of people types, over quite a lengthy period and area.

          Habiru (sometimes written as Hapiru, and more accurately as ʿApiru, meaning “dusty, dirty”) is a term used in 2nd-millennium BCE texts throughout the Fertile Crescent for people variously described as rebels, outlaws, raiders, mercenaries, bowmen, servants, slaves, and laborers.

          I simply picked up on the opinion of others that this is the way the Hebrews might have been seen by the Canaanites.

          But the Habiru consisted of Canaanites,too among folk from other cultures and ethnic groups. They covered the regions from Nuzi to Anatolia as well as Northern Syria, Canaan and Egypt.

          They came from the desert.

          Did they? All of them, all of the time? I doubt it.

          They lived in tents.

          Well, yeah…nomads lived that way.

          They were attacking Canaan.

          They were attacking the out-group wherever the were attacking and when, not just the Canaanites.

          It seems reasonable.

          It seems reasonable that the group reject flotsam and jetsam, known as the Habiru, over a 600-year period from the 18th to the 12th centuries BCE, is the root for the naming of the group later known as the Hebrews, which eventually became the Israelites. I’m not sure it is the most reasonable explanation. But not completely out of the question I suppose.

          So when we read in the Amarna letters about the Canaanites being invaded by people from outside Canaan at the same time that the Hebrews would have been moving into Canaan it makes sense to connect the two.

          But that’s not what the Amarna letters say about the attacks. They don’t say the Canaanites are being invaded by people from outside Canaan.

          If the Hibiru in the letters were the Hebrews escaping slavery from Egypt, and the letters are correspondence between the Egyptian pharaoh and the Canaanite hierarchy overseeing Egyptian interests in the Egyptian occupied territories, don’t ya think the traffic between the two about the whole enterprise?

          And all those Habiru/Hebrews popping up in the historical record all over the place in the 4 centuries before the mention in the Amarna letters, when they are supposed to be enslaved in the Nile Delta. What’s that all about?

          I think the pragmatic explanation isn’t yours. But get this, even if the Habiru were Hebrews, that still doesn’t get you to the Exodus described in the buybull.

          Albright thought that Abraham was a Habiru caravaneer btw.

          I do not make up my own conclusions. I look to see what the issues are and make a choice between the possible interpretations.

          I don’t care. Your argument stands or falls on it’s own merits, just like the next guys, but at least ya admit you are trying to interpret the “raw data”.

          Here’s an hypothesis for ya. The author writing the Exodus narrative in the first millennium BCE knows the story about the Habiru. So they’ll do for the origins of the Hebrews. The story has the Hebrews conquer Canaan and settling in Israel. Those, the Habiru have been fictionalised into the Israelites. The Exodus doesn’t have to be an historical fact for the story to be written.

          You could look at the posts I made on my blog on the subject of the Exodus. Nothing I said was unique.

          I did. Being unique or not, is not the issue. Fitting the data and the most up to date scholarship and evidence is though. You mention Dever, the Menetaph Stele, and the reference to Israel, like it is a deal breaker. It really isn’t. But you’d know that if you were consistent and on top of things.

          William G. Dever has certainly has softened quite a bit and changed his tune quite a bit over the past 20 years or so.

          Avalos knew that, I have no doubt. If he didn’t, he wasn’t doing his research.

          You are being dishonest again. And more than that. It is apparent from this comment and others that you didn’t read the rebuttal paper he wrote in response to your drivel. If ya had, you’d know this comment is disingenuous.

        • Don Camp

          Raw data is the stuff that the experts in a particular discipline,
          collects. In this case, archaeology. The raw data is then refined and
          collated to form a working hypothesis to be used as evidence.

          Nope. Raw data are the facts. Those may be artifacts, texts, or scientific data like

          Relative dating. …

          Stratigraphy. …

          Seriation. …

          Faunal dating. …

          Pollen dating (palynology) …

          Absolute dating. …

          Amino acid racimization. …

          Cation-ratio dating.

          The raw data is then refined and collated as you say, and interpreted to form a hypothesis. The hypothesis is not evidence, however; it is a narrative that attempts to explain the raw data.

          That is, of course, what everyone does.

          Nope, I don’t, whwere am unqualified to do so.

          Don’t check your brain at the door. You can do your own thinking. Choosing one point of view as authoritative means that you are at the mercy of the authority. Think critically. Look at the evidence and the different was qualified people put that evidence together in a hypothesis or narrative. Dr. Avalos represent one point of view. But his not the only point of view. Reme4mber each is going to argue hard for their narrative, especially in this hotly contested topic of archaeology and Israel.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Don, I suggest you go look up the definition of “raw data” before commenting further.

          Raw data are the facts. Those may be artifacts, texts, or scientific data like…

          I never said differently. Try reading for comprehension. But those facts have to be refined, cleaned by the experts in the field of study.

          Relative dating. …

          Stratigraphy. …

          Seriation. …

          Faunal dating. …

          Pollen dating (palynology) …

          Absolute dating. …

          Amino acid racimization. …

          Cation-ratio dating.

          And you think anyone without training could look at all that stuff a interpret it accurately?

          No, and that’s not what Avalos did either in the video. He cited numerous experts in the field who had done. So no, Avalos wasn’t interpreting the raw data, he used the data processed by the experts to make his point.

          The raw data is then refined and collated as you say, and interpreted to form a hypothesis.

          I know I said it, and that’s not what Avalos was doing.

          He took the hypotheses based on the evidence from the archaeological data of those other scholars and put them together as evidence in support to make his argument.

          The hypothesis is not evidence,

          Did I say it was? What it is, is based on the the evidence.

          …however; it is a narrative that attempts to explain the raw data.

          There ya go again with the raw data bulshit again.

          Right. An hypothesis is a narrative based on the evidence. In this case, Avalos is using a narrative that is based on the evidence, found in the evidence based narratives of a number of experts.

          https://www.jstor.org/stable/186801?seq=1

          Either way, he wasn’t interpreting any raw data. Non experts aren’t qualified to interpret raw data, because they don’t know what is sound data, and what isn’t.

        • Don Camp

          You took umbrage that Avalos asserted that there is an absolute lack of historical and archaeological evidence for a biblical Exodus.

          I still do. As an aside, I find it interesting that lots of folk here will quote Josephus as the historical authority and ignore that he was convinced the exodus happened.

          Forcing Avalos to defend himself with this rebuttal essay.

          I was amazed that he took the time to do that. He really has other things to do. But I wonder if the reason was that there was enough sense in it to warrant a rebuttal. Who knows?

          All the arguments you’ve engaged in here, have been refuted time and again, by the top scholars in the field no less

          I am interested in who you consider the top scholars in their fields. It does not surprise me that the New Biblical Scholars would want to refute my theses. It is their theses I want to refute. But they are not the only top scholars in their fields.

          I consider N.T Wright a top scholar in the field of biblical studies. I’d consider Gregory Boyd a top scholar. Boyd “is Yale-educated open theology advocate and senior pastor at the mega Woodland Hills Church in St. Paul, Minneapolis. An atheist who became a Christian in 1974, Boyd turned to open theism in response to the many unanswered questions and objections that he saw raised by traditional understandings of God.”

          I consider D.A. Carson a top biblical scholar. I consider Ben Witherington a top biblical scholar. I consider PaulBarnett a top biblical scholar and historian. I consider Craig Blomberg a top biblical scholar.

        • Greg G.

          As an aside, I find it interesting that lots of folk here will quote Josephus as the historical authority and ignore that he was convinced the exodus happened.

          Josephus lived in the first century AD so he was an eyewitness to events of the middle of that century. The further back in time from his lifetime, the less likely he is to have reliable facts on.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I find it interesting that lots of folk here will quote Josephus as the historical authority and ignore that he was convinced the exodus happened.

          That’s a queer aside,

          Who are the “lots” of folk here quoting Josephus as the historical authority?

          What is it that the “lots” of folk here will quote Josephus as the historical authority on, exactly?

          What were Josephus’ sources for his believing the Exodus as historical?

          Was Josephus privy to the sciences, methods, and techniques that historians have since developed to hone their craft?

          Josephus was an historian in antiquity, and like all historians in antiquity, things weren’t subject to as rigorous scrutiny by historians.

          You, being a scholar of literature should know that, so you are being stupid…again….or dishonest…again.

        • Greg G.

          Who are the “lots” of folk here quoting Josephus as the historical authority?

          Moi, perhaps? I cite Josephus as a historical authority for his time but recognize that his knowledge of the past were records. I also note that he is prone to add “prophecy” where it probably was not in the source material, per his tale of Moses’ nativity story from Exodus.

          i also cite him as a source for the Synoptic Gospels, as an authority for them, and as a literary source. Where Josephus goes away from his source and the gospel follows is good evidence of that.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I cite Josephus as a historical authority for his time…

          But that’s not as an historian. That’s more of a chronicler. You are using him as a contemporary source as a record for his time. I don’t think I’ve seen anyone here cite Josephus writing as a historian about his own past as an authority on that history.

          …but recognize that his knowledge of the past were records.

          Exactly. A reporter’s account only becomes history years after the facts. And usually as a source for another historian.

          I also note that he is prone to add “prophecy” where it probably was not in the source material, per his tale of Moses’ nativity story from Exodus.

          Indeed. This sort of thing is par for the course for ancient historians. Lot’s of what they write about the past is greatly embellished. Often with the supernatural. If it isn’t completely fabricated. Plutarch’s account of Romulus, complete with biographical backstory, is just such an example.

          i also cite him as a source for the Synoptic Gospels, as an authority for them, and as a literary source. Where Josephus goes away from his source and the gospel follows is good evidence of that.

          And again, I don’t think that’s the same thing either. Citing gMark as a source for gMatt and gLuke is not using the author of gMark as the historical authority.

          And anyway, a you on yer own hardly constitutes “lots of folk”. Don loves to punt to literary licence when it suits him, I’ll give him.

        • Pofarmer

          It’s funny. When I got labeled an anti-semite the Jewish folks there basically seemed to say that Josephus was writing propaganda, and that’s not how things were at all. What there sources were/are, I have no idea. I kind of just faded out.

        • Ignorant Amos

          N.T. Wright, Bishop, theologian, Christian…New Testament scholar…comes to the table with a bag of bias.

          Gregory Boyd, ditto on the bag of bias. Raised an RC. He became an atheist as a teenager, but at 16 became a pentecostal Christian. Hmmmm, not really impressive.

          D.A. Carson? Oh dear, that’s three for three.

          Ben Witherington, Paul Barnett, and Craig Blomberg for a full house.

          Of course you think they are great scholars of the buybull, they are buybull believers ffs.

          A bet there are some Muslims that think these guys are great scholars of Islam too.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:21st-century_Muslim_scholars_of_Islam

        • Greg G.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:21st-century_Muslim_scholars_of_Islam

          I see Hamza Yusuf on the list. I think he steals William Lane Craig arguments (fallacies and all) but shows they work as well for Islam as for Christianity.

        • Don Camp

          Of course you think they are great scholars of the buybull, they are buybull believers ffs.

          are you implying that only non-believers can qualify as Bible scholars? Doesn’t that reveal a bias that closes the door to real honest inquiry?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Nope. I’m implying that when it comes to certain subjects within NT studies, being a Christian theologian exempts those with that bias.

          You’ve been doing it since you got here. It’s called special pleading.

          How can a Christian address the issue of the resurrection objectively and honestly, if they have a predisposition to belief that it is an historical fact?

          Raphael Lataster makes this point in his book on the matter of the historical Jesus.

          A Muslim scholar of the Qur’an will be predisposed to believe the flying horse tale as historical fact. You wouldn’t wear that, would ya?

          A scholar with no skin in the game has no reason for dishonest enquiry. Therein lies the problem with NT studies, most scholars in the field are Christian’s working Christian institutions with a lot to lose if they thought to, or dared to go off piste. This is well understood among scholarship. I cited Donald Akinson to you the other day. But like everything that doesn’t sit well with you and you’ve no answer, it was conveniently ignored.

        • Pofarmer

          You have to wonder, how many of the resurrections in the Bible are historical? I know that there are at least 2?

        • Ignorant Amos

          There’s ten.

          Not just in the bible though, all resurrections. Bayes Theorem demands it.

        • Greg G.

          An army of bones were brought to life in Ezekiel 37 but I think it was the mushrooms he ate.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Then there is the “zombie apocalypse” in Matthew 27:51-53…

          “Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.”

          This resurrection of several believers was one of the phenomena accompanying the resurrection of Jesus Christ to underscore that monumental event. These saints came back to physical life. (In the Bible, the word saints means those who are sanctified or set apart as holy, meaning all of God’s true followers.)

          How many dead folk in the tombs of Jerusalem were true God followers is anybody’s guess. I would expect there were quite a few, yet not a sinner noticed this phenomena worthy of mentioning anywhere in the historical record. Go figure!

        • Don Camp

          You’ve been doing it since you got here. It’s called special pleading.

          But that is what you do when you eliminate the scholarship of Christian scholars. And that is the dilemma we both face. It is also the reason we should not check our brains at the door.

          I try to read the critics of Christianity as open minded as I can. I think I have more often read them than Christian scholars. But of course, my biases cannot be suppressed entirely.

          I cited Donald Akinson to you the other day. But like everything that doesn’t sit well with you and you’ve no answer, it was conveniently ignored.

          I don’t remember seeing it. Sorry. I do not read everything; you and Greg have been so prolific in your posting that time does not allow me to read or respond to everything. If you think it was significant, cite Atkinson again.

          Raphael Lataster

          Do you mean The Case Against Theism? The title sounds interesting. Will I find something a little less biased than Dawkins’ The God Delusion ? I didn’t find that engaging. His rhetoric gets in the way.

          A scholar with no skin in the game has no reason for dishonest enquiry.

          Show me one who doesn’t have skin in the game. What I read on Lataster”s website doesn’t suggest that he is a disinterested spectator. Even your description of his book tells me this is a polemic.

          But you are right. The issues are serious enough that there are probably no disinterested spectators. It is for that reason – because it is serious for billions who don’t even know this is going on – that I continue to write and confront the non-believers who write polemics against Christianity.

        • Greg G.

          But that is what you do when you eliminate the scholarship of Christian scholars.

          Do you eliminate Ken Ham?

        • Don Camp

          On closer look, Lataster seems to be carrying on a war with Wlliam Lane Craig specifically.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d8ea3cf9c0dc3be6462def4390a37163abb897345f1c8ac2f5d2336cc616d2fd.jpg

          There is not time in my life to drop into an ongoing beef.

        • Ignorant Amos

          On closer look, Lataster seems to be carrying on a war with Wlliam Lane Craig specifically.

          More dishonesty.

          Look closer. Not all of his time is taken on this issue…and you are mistaking his attacks on Craig’s position with that of the man, ya silly pants.

          This monograph offers a critique of arguments for the existence of a specifically Christian God advanced by prominent scholar William Lane Craig. The discussion incorporates philosophical, mathematical, scientific, historical, and sociological approaches. The author does not seek to criticize religion in general, or Christianity specifically. Rather, he examines the modern and relatively sophisticated evidential case for Christian theism.

          https://www.amazon.com/Case-Against-Theism-Cross-cultural-Philosophy/dp/3319907921

          For his doctoral work, Raphael will analyse the major philosophical arguments for God’s existence (as argued by William Lane Craig, Richard Swinburne, Alvin Plantinga and Thomas Aquinas), attempt to demonstrate the logical impossibility of the monotheistic concept, explore the theological tendencies of Philosophy of Religion, and formulate a conditional logical argument for a pantheistic weltanschauung.

          There is not time in my life to drop into an ongoing beef.

          Spooooiiiing!

          Oh, I’m well aware that you’ll avoid that like the plague. You can’t even hold yer own with the lay folk here ffs.

          Anyway, who asked ya to drop into any ongoing beef you perceive? Not that it bothers ya to do it elsewhere.

        • Don Camp

          Amos, I skimmed through many pages of the book, everything on the preview. It looks about as unreadable as WLC is at any length. I did not notice that it is a doctoral work. Had I, I would have stopped there. I have not encountered many doctoral theses that were readable or interesting. I am also not so much interested in philosophical arguments for or against God. They leave you at last with a logical position but nothing to live by. But enjoy your read; to each his own.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Don, will you try and stay focused and read for comprehension. You seem to be assuming I was refering to a book which I’m not.

          Re-read the initial comment which refers to Latster and explain to me how in ny way, shape, or form, it refers to the book you are whittering on about?

          I’ll give ya a clue, I gve you heads up in the this comment…
          https://disqus.com/home/discussion/crossexamined/atheism_fails_because_there_is_no_ultimate_justice_14/#comment-4749463368

        • Don Camp

          Have you actually read Lataster’s book. If so congratulations. In my scanning of the book via Amazon preview I think I would find it unusually mind-numbing.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Have you actually read Lataster’s book.

          Yep.

          If so congratulations.

          Why? Should someone be congratulated for reading a book?

          In my scanning of the book via Amazon preview I think I would find it unusually mind-numbing.

          You mean like reading the buybull…the reason why most Christians haven’t read it?

          I’ve no doubt you would, it goes against everything you stand for.

          Anyway, I suspect we are not talking about the same book.

          I suspect you are talking about this book…

          https://bibleinterp.arizona.edu/articles/questioning-jesus-historicity

          …while I’m talking about this book…

          https://www.researchgate.net/publication/317280358_Jesus_Did_Not_Exist_A_Debate_Among_Atheists_By_Raphael_Lataster_with_Richard_Carrier

          The former is published by a major academic publishing house and at £158 a pop, is too rich for my pocket.

        • Don Camp

          Ah. A debate with Richard Carrier. I did catch colors of Carrier’s mythical Jesus ideas in Lataster. It is clear on the last part of the review you linked.

          I have been down the road with Carrier. I along with almost most historians, think Carrier is either nuts, a conspiracy theory fanatic, or trying too hard to find some reason to reject the historicity of Jesus and the Bible.

          For that reason I have to say again that life is not long enough to follow his rabbit trail.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Nope…no debate with Richard Carrier in the book mentioned.

          I have been down the road with Carrier. I along with almost most historians, think Carrier is either nuts, a conspiracy theory fanatic, or trying too hard to find some reason to reject the historicity of Jesus and the Bible.

          Most historians dont give the subject a second thought. very few have looked into it.

          Christian NT scholars definitely, but they they don’t count, which was th point in referencing Lataster ffs.

          You obviously haven’t been down the road with Carrier that far, because you clearly don’t know how he arrived at his current position. A clue, it was not through trying too hard to find some reason to reject the historicity of Jesus and the buybull. The later was well rejected many years ago for other reasons. The historicity of Jesus makes no difference to atheism either way. The Jesus of the buybull is a myth even if modeled on a real guy. And that’s something secular historians can, and do agree on, even Christian ones.

          As for you and what you think about Carrier, I could give zero fucks about any of that. I only care about what can be demonstrated by anyone wishing to engage. So far, no one who has tried, has sucessfully rebutted Carriers thesis, so pah!

          For that reason I have to say again that life is not long enough to follow his rabbit trail.

          It’s your rabbit trail ya prick, nowhere did I even mention Carrier in this subthread, I refered to Lataster for a completely unrelated reason.

        • Pofarmer

          Doesn’t that reveal a bias that closes the door to real honest inquiry?

          Lol. No. It actually opens it.

        • Greg G.

          Doesn’t that reveal a bias that closes the door to real honest inquiry?

          That is what being forced to sign a faith statement does and, moreso, being willing to sign it.

          Since there are many different Christian religions, being Christian does not help to get to the truth, as faith is an impediment to accepting contrary facts.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I am interested in who you consider the top scholars in their fields.

          What I think about who they are, is irrelevant.

          It does not surprise me that the New Biblical Scholars would want to refute my theses.

          Why? How is it in their interests to stick their necks out and rock the boat?

          It is their theses I want to refute.

          Not very good at though, are ya? Why are you here? Why aren’t you pathfinding on these guys blogs, or at the blogs of New Biblical Scholars supporters, showing them all the folly and error of their ways? You’d at least have a chance of success at one of those. You are floundering here badly.

          But they are not the only top scholars in their fields.

          Who gets to decide? The top scholars according to Don Camp? The top scholars according to other biased Christer believing scholars? Who?

        • Don Camp

          I’ll agree with Tarico on this: “The possibility that Christianity—along with say Islam, Hinduism [and scientism]—is a
          human construction raises fascinating questions about the human
          potential to be simultaneously sure and mistaken. It raises questions
          about the power of culture to script a world view.

        • Ignorant Amos

          But Tarico didn’t say that, so you are being dishonest lying toerag yet again.

          What is scientism in your opinion?

        • Don Camp

          Amos, I copied and pasted from her statement that was on the Debunkingchristianity blog. Look at the blog again.

          What is scientism in your opinion?

          I am happy with the following :

          sci·en·tism /ˈsīənˌtizəm/ noun rare

          noun: scientism

          thought or expression regarded as characteristic of scientists.

          *excessive belief in the power of scientific knowledge and techniques.

          Or:

          Scientism is the promotion of science as the best or only
          objective means by which society should determine normative and
          epistemological values. Wikipedia

        • Ignorant Amos

          Oh for feck sake. She doesn’t mention “scientism” in the comment you copied and pasted, that’s your addition, so whatever you are agreeing with her on, scientism isn’t part of it. So you are being dishonest.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Ah, yes. The scientific worldview. I’ve just been scanning Ralph Lewis’s book Finding Purpose in a Godless World. That is his answer as well, “it just is.” Get over it.

          His answer to what?

          That the universe is a brute fact? It may well be, and it’s the philosophical position of some philosophers and scientists alike. And it just might be the case.

          I SHOULD SAY THAT THE UNIVERSE IS JUST THERE, AND THAT’S ALL – BERTRAND RUSSELL

          Some scientists argue that the “Big Bang” Theory amounts to the statement that the universe is a brute fact. This is because the singularity at the moment of the Big Bang has no ‘before or after’, no ’cause or effect’ – the normal rules of science and logic don’t apply until the universe starts expanding. The whole idea of ‘explanation’ doesn’t apply to the singularity.

          That god is a brute fact, i.e. “it just is”. No explanation required. Get over it. Is the theist position. How ta fuck is that pish anymore satisfying?

          Since you don’t give that quote of Lewis’ in any context, we have no idea how honest you are in citing it, and plenty of reason to think you are being dishonest…again.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2C5yZLUrKc

          Anyway. You seem to be somewhat confused…again.

          Epeeist isn’t suggesting such, so why should he care what Lewis wrote about the subject?

          But that isn’t very satisfying.

          Well, since it is a straw argument on your part, knock yerself out. The unsupported assertion that some supernatural entity did it, is even less satisfying to the non-believer in said entity, which includes you when the plethora of other non-YahwehJesus entities is placed on the table. Which they must for the issue of parity.

          The scientists who are looking for a “how” this incredibly improbable cosmos came to be testify to that.

          Indeed they do. But to date they are all in the epeeist camp of, “I don’t know, there are observations and theories which provide a reasonable explanation back to the Planck epoch.”

          And get this, not a single one of them to a person, as far as am aware, is looking to a god as the answer, nor looking in the buybull in particular, so pah!

          And you show that reality has natural causes. When you do, that worldview will be vindicated.

          You really are this much of a knucklehead. Every single phenomena in the history of humanity that has been explained, has had a natural explanation. Everyone. Supernatural explanations score zero, zip, zilch, nil, none, nadda. Every phenomena that was once attributed to the supernatural has been explained by the natural, or has no explanation to date.

          I have no reason to expect that future explanations will not be natural, while, as an auld internet friend proposes, should hold Reasonable Expectations Based on Prior Evidence that they will be natural.

          Those of us who follow the debates with the religious, and/or engage in such debates, have often been accused of relying on “faith” in our daily lives while hypocritically subjecting faith in deities to ridicule. My missionary neighbor presented me with the case of having “faith” that a chair would not collapse under me, before I would take a “leap of faith” by sitting down in it (a blind backward leap at that).

          I like to ask these accusers about their own experience of religious faith. If you are talking with a “true believer” you will be quickly able to get down to the deep emotional feeling they associate with “faith.” I don’t have a personal relationship with the concept of my chair, no matter how close the physical relationship may be when a very personal part of my anatomy is firmly pressed into it. Now, I know about chairs because I have seen and used chairs from before I even knew the word for that object. (This is not like the “know” that believers say happens re their deities before you are even born, because I did actually see and touch those chairs.) I have a model in my conscious mind about what a chair is, and what it is for, and what I should reasonably expect to happen if I try to sit in one. So, my answer to my neighbor is that I don’t have “faith” in my chair, I told him, “I have reasonable expectations based on prior evidence.”
          ~ Q Quine

          Theology? Yes? Am waiting?

          Up until them we are at a stalemate.

          You’d love that to be the case, but it just isn’t. For someone who spent so much time at Debunking Christianity, you don’t seem to have read or learned much.

          But it would not undermine my faith in God as Creator if there were.

          Am sure not. But what if that other life was not like us? What if that life was far and away so superior to us that we are at the level of the ant in comparison? Who is the universe created for in that scenario?

          It is said that a god of dogs, will look like a dog, and a god of horses, will look like a horse…a guess a god of ants will look just like an ant. I wonder what a god of vastly superior alien life will look like?

        • Don Camp

          not a single one of them to a person, as far as am aware, is looking to a
          god as the answer, nor looking in the buybull in particular,

          No. Because they limit themselves to science. And that is appropriate for scientists writing as scientists. Many of them,however, are believers as well. They write about that when appropriate. They also don;t find the facts of science at odd with their believe.

          But what if

          I’ll deal with the “what ifs” when what ifs become real. I am not convinced that they will.

        • Ignorant Amos

          No. Because they limit themselves to science.

          So your point in bringing up scientists was????

          And that is appropriate for scientists writing as scientists.

          Ah…you’ve jumped from looking, to writing.

          Many of them,however, are believers as well. They write about that when appropriate.

          Who gives a fuck if their being scientists is irrelevant ya dopey Dime Bar?

          They also don;t find the facts of science at odd with their believe.

          Who cares? There are no scientific cosmological models with a god in them, so what ta fuck is this mindwanking rabbit hole of a tangent you are wittering on about?

        • Don Camp

          I think you brought made the statement that no scientist includes God in their scientific considerations about the universe.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I think you’ll find that was in response to your…

          The scientists who are looking for a “how” this incredibly improbable cosmos came to be testify to that.

          If scientists are leaving their religion at the lab door when considering the “how”, and they are, then wtf does it matter what their religious beliefs are,? They are irrelevant.

        • Greg G.

          But Bart Ehrman also addresses your request in Did Jesus Exist?

          Ehrman’s independent Gospel sources are Mark, Q, M, L, sayings source, passion narratives, and protoThomas. We have Mark. The others are hypothetical and based on the assumption that there was a Jesus and people wrote about him as a first century person. That is circular reasoning.

          Mark has Jesus stories with similarities to many non-Christian sources that have similar stories but not about Jesus. The closest Mark comes to a Christian source is Paul’s epistles but they do not support a first century Jesus. Only Paul’s ideas were put into Jesus’ mouth.

          Matthew and Luke certainly had other sources but they were not about Jesus, either. Matthew used a lot of quotes and ideas for Jesus speeches that came from the Epistle of James which never cited Jesus as the source, even though that would have strengthened his points.

          For example, it can be decided using the normal historical methods that Jesus existed, that he performed miracles, even that he rose from the dead.

          Normal historical methods reject miracles and resurrections first. New Testament scholars have invented their own criteria to support the existence of Jesus because normal historical methods do not work for Jesus.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I have yet to see anyone actually make a case that the Bible is fiction.

          Are you asserting that it is an historical factual document from cover to cover?

          I have been hearing quite a few here saying that the Bible is not a credible historical document but without evidence.

          Now you are not even trying to disguise your lying auld arse. Or you really are a senile auld dolt.

        • Don Camp

          I have yet to see anyone make the case that the Bible is fiction.

          But I have heard a lot of people here expressing that opinion, actually, so many that I wondered where they got the idea. Since they didn’t provide much more than a sketchy statement, I figured that they were getting it from some source on the web. So I looked, and sure enough there is a site that sounds like the source http://www.biblicalcatholic.com/apologetics/ShreddingTheGospels.htm

          Because one of the complaints has been that Mark got his geography wrong, I thought I’d check it out. There was a section in which Diogenes the Cynic described several instances of inaccurate geography. One was Mark 7:31. Apparently Diogenes thought Mark could not be right about Jesus and the disciples going back to Galilee from Tyre through Sidon. On a flat map that make some sense. But I looked a little deeper and discovered that the topography of the region favors a return to Galilee thought Sidon. It is at least as good as the southern route. Today a modern road follows that route. So Diogenes is debunked.

          But there was more. Diogenes claimed that Mark 7:31 says that Jesus went through Sidon and up through the region of Decpolis to Galilee. That would make no sense, of course. Mark must have it all screwed up. But no. Diogenes was not thinking and not reading the Greek carefully. Mark 7:31 actually says

          31 And again, having gone forth from the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, he came
          unto the sea of Galilee,up through the midst of the coasts of Decapolis,

          The passage says that Jesus went through Galilee up to Decapolis (emphasis on the “up”). Now Diogenes is thinking map orientation where north is up and south is down. But Mark didn’t have a map. He was speaking of up as up in elevation. And that would make perfect sense if, as I believe, Peter was the source of his information. Peter was a fisherman on the Lake of Galilee. He could sit in his boat and see Hippus in the region of Decapolis. And sure enough it is up.Hippus and the other towns are on the Golan Heights above Lake Galilee. If you search you can find a photo taken from Hippus looking down on the Lake.

          So Mark is right on both counts. He had his geography right. He had is travel routes right. Diogenes is debunked.

          Now I don’t have the time to test all of Diogenes’s claims. But this one is false. It is Diogenes who is writing fiction. Go figure.

        • nydiva

          on Camp: have yet to see anyone actually make a case that the Bible is fiction.

          You have yet to make a case for the Bible as the word of a god. But let’s see. A talking snake, a talking donkey, a big fish swallows a man, a flood that wipes out all living things except those on a boat., folks living to 500 and 900 year old, etc. Nope, there no fiction in da Bible! It’s all the word of da Lawd! Lordy, Lordy.”

          Well Delusional Don, maybe if you take your fingers out your ears and open your eyes and stop repeating La, La, La, you might learn something.

        • Don Camp

          I think you’ve made this point before. I must have failed to communicate adequately. We were talking about the Gospels and their historical reliability, not the foundational stories of the Old Testament. Sorry that I failed to make that clear.

          As for the Gospels, I am convinced after a lot of reading, research, and thinking that they are historically reliable.

          As for Genesis, in many places there is no intention that the stories are relating historical facts. I think the genre of Genesis 1,2,3 and various other pericopae is story with a theological truth being argued in the story, not history. Now, you should ask how we can tell story from history. The answer is whether on close examination of the text we can identify historical statements that can be verified by the usual historical methods or not.

          The creation story is clearly not intended to be a reliable historical narrative. What it is is a theological argument for God as Creator in the face of the many competing religious beliefs. The story of the flood may have historical roots, but it too cannot be verified by historical methods. And so on. When it comes right down to it, it does not matter if these stories are historical. What matters is the lesson or theological truth illustrated in the story.

          When we come to the Gospels, almost all the historical claims are verifiable – or not. They are theological treatise of course, but they are based on actual history. So they either stand or fall on their historical reliability assessed by normal historical methods. So far I have not found that they fail the test.

        • nydiva

          Okay if you say so. Wink, wink.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I think you’ve made this point before.

          No ya didn’t in this thread. There’s the problem right there, your inability to think rationally.

          I must have failed to communicate adequately.

          Ya failed to stay focused on the conversation and what you are complaining about.

          We were talking about the Gospels and their historical reliability, not the foundational stories of the Old Testament. Sorry that I failed to make that clear.

          Nah ya weren’t. What ya took umbrage at was Bert’s assertion that the Bible is fiction. The gospel tangent is your red herring.

          I have yet to see anyone make the case that the Bible is fiction.

          From what I can remember, the Bible includes the OT and all those books of the NT which are not the gospels, too.

          As for the Gospels, I am convinced after a lot of reading, research, and thinking that they are historically reliable.

          We could give zero fucks about what has you convinced the gospels are historically reliable. Your ability has been shown to be severely lacking. When that lacking has been pointed out, you go elsewhere, hit the reset button, and carry on like the issue hasn’t been addressed. What matters is what you can demonstrate. And since no NT scholar to date can demonstrate the historical reliability of anything in the gospels, there is no reason to accept the fuckwittery you assert, particularly since you are so lacking and demonstrably so.

          As for Genesis, in many places there is no intention that the stories are relating historical facts.

          But that has not been the case historically. It is science that has uncovered the problem. Genesis was using the current understanding of the folk that wrote it. Hebrew cosmology at the time is what is being relayed in the books. It is only fairly recently that Adam & Eve not being the the first progenitors of humanity, has been accepted. Christians until about a century and a half ago, believed the creation story as historical fact. And there are still millions today that hold the same position. So stop lying about this state of affairs.

          I think the genre of Genesis 1,2,3 and various other pericopae is story with a theological truth being argued in the story, not history.

          It’s a creation myth invented by human beings, plagiarised from other creation myths. In other words, it’s fiction, pure and simple. There are hundreds of creation myths to choose from out there.

          Now, you should ask how we can tell story from history. The answer is whether on close examination of the text we can identify historical statements that can be verified by the usual historical methods or not.

          The creation story is clearly not intended to be a reliable historical narrative.

          Not that clearly apparently. Nearly half Americans haven’t got it yet. And historically, Christians, Jews, and Muslims, believed it was, so pah!

          What it is is a theological argument for God as Creator in the face of the many competing religious beliefs.

          It’s made up nonsense by folk who didn’t know where the Sun went at night, that’s what it is…and it should be sent the way all ancient creation myths have.

          The story of the flood may have historical roots, but it too cannot be verified by historical methods.

          That’s because it’s a friggin’ myth too ya cretin. Flood myths are ten a penny too. And many of them predate the Noahic account.

          Creation myths from Egypt to Scandinavia involve tidal floods of all sorts of substances — including the blood of deities — purging and remaking the earth.

          Flood myths are so universal that the Hungarian psychoanalyst Geza Roheim thought their origins were physiological, not historical — hypothesizing that dreams of the Flood came when humans were asleep with full bladders. The religious purists now upset with Hollywood probably don’t want to hear that it’s really just all about drinking too much water before bedtime.

          And so on. When it comes right down to it, it does not matter if these stories are historical.

          So you are admitting it’s fiction? We know it doesn’t matter, but you are doing the apologetic two-step that gets shown to be devious dishonesty in that video that nydiva put up yesterday. Before commenting further, I’d advise that you take the time out to watch it, because you are making a complete idiot of yourself here otherwise.

          What matters is the lesson or theological truth illustrated in the story.

          Only to you and likewise eejits. WTF is a “theological truth” found in a made up story? You mean like Aesop’s Fables? Give us one “theological truth” that you think matters for anyone?

          When we come to the Gospels, almost all the historical claims are verifiable – or not.

          Nope. Not a single claim is verifiable as historical.

          They are theological treatise of course, but they are based on actual history.

          They can not be shown to be based on actual history, while most of the claims can be shown to be made up nonsense or taken from ANE texts and neighboring cultural ideas around at the time.

          So they either stand or fall on their historical reliability assessed by normal historical methods.

          Pure nonsense. The methods used in NT scholarship had to be invented, because the normal historical methods didn’t work. This is not a big surprise. It is well known to the academy. And it’s also well known in the academy of NT scholarship that the methods invented are problematic.

          https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0567377237/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i3

          So much for your lot of reading, research, and thinking…you are in complete denial.

          “Donald Akenson, Professor of Irish Studies in the department of history at Queen’s University has argued that, with very few exceptions, the historians of Yeshua have not followed sound historical practices. He has stated that there is an unhealthy reliance on consensus, for propositions which should otherwise be based on primary sources, or rigorous interpretation. He also holds that some of the criteria being used are faulty.

          He says that the overwhelming majority of biblical scholars are employed in institutions whose roots are in religious beliefs. Because of this, he maintains that, more than any other group in present day academia, biblical historians are under immense pressure to theologize their historical work and that it is only through considerable individual heroism that many biblical historians have managed to maintain the scholarly integrity of their work.”

          So far I have not found that they fail the test.

          That’s because you are lying to yourself…or demented.

        • Greg G.

          Q: What’s the difference between a truth and a theological truth?
          A: One is true and the other is theology.

        • nydiva

          Dear folks, if you are unfamiliar with Bart Ehrman, may I encourage you to read some of this books. Enjoy the video. Cheers. Bart Ehrman debates Peter J Williams, are the Gospels Historically Reliable?
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=foLI3KGbMnk

        • Ignorant Amos

          I’ve a number of Ehrman’s books on the shelves and on the whole, find his work on point. Which is why when I read “Did Jesus Exist?” I was worse than disappointed. I’ve gone off him a wee bit since then. As a layperson, I rely on the accuracy of an experts scholarship, so when it is demonstrated to be so lacking on one subject, I show caution in other areas. Which is a great pity.

        • nydiva

          Yes, I have read where some atheists were disappointment with Ehrman’s defense of the existence of Jesus. I have no great interest in the topic one way or the another. Ehrman is still a great resource for religious believers and non-believers alike. Cheers.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yes, I have read where some atheists were disappointment with Ehrman’s defense of the existence of Jesus.

          Whether one is an atheist or not, should be irrelevant to the veracity of his argument, his methodology, and honesty in the endeavour.

          I have no great interest in the topic one way or the another.

          The topic is not the issue. Accurate scholarship is the issue. If a scholar is demonstrably in error, not just a little, but cover-to-cover, then as a layperson I feel a bit betrayed. Fortunately, those same scholars that point out Ehrman’s going rogue on this issue for x, y, or z reasons, still recommend his body of work in general.

          Ehrman is still a great resource for religious believers and non-believers alike.

          Well he’s certainly a better resource for non-believers than believers in my opinion. Which is why I’ll still read him and cite his work.

          Cheers.

          Yes, cheers for putting up another great video that I hadn’t seen. Thanks.

        • nydiva

          Whether one is an atheist or not, should be irrelevant to the veracity of his argument, his methodology, and honesty in the endeavour.

          I said nothing about not caring about the veracity of Dr. Ehrman’s research on whether or not Jesus existed regardless of who reads it for whatever reason. I simply posted I have no opinion on the topic; therefore, I have no idea whether or not his scholarship on this topic is accurate or not. I am not aware, however, on how this topic has generated a lot of passion on both side of the divide. I have no further comment on this issue.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You seem to be missing my point.

          My comment is in relation to your statement…

          Dear folks, if you are unfamiliar with Bart Ehrman, may I encourage you to read some of this books.

          I was giving a cautionary caveat to that statement. If the first book read by a layperson from the “some of his books” is “Did Jesus Exist?”, then that layperson will be grossly misinformed. The subject matter should not be an issue on whether a scholar is doing solid work, that it appears to be, is an issue for me. If he can be so erroneous in one book, how can I, as a layperson, be confident that he is being solid in another? Fortunately, his peers, even among those he detracts, state that it is safe to do so. So, as I said, this seems to be an anomalous one off. For which I’m thankful. I’d hate to think I wasted all that time, effort in reading, and money, on the numerous works I’d already invested in prior to “DJE?”. So, to anyone wishing to follow your advice, to which I’m supporting btw, to go read Ehrman, avoid “DJE?” as your starting point at least.

          I have no further comment on this issue.

          Grand.

        • nydiva

          Don Camp: But I have heard a lot of people here expressing that opinion, actually, so many that I wondered where they got the idea. Since they didn’t provide much more than a sketchy statement, I figured that they were getting it from some source on the web.

          If you were listening instead of viewing everything through your religious bias, it might surprise you that people of all persuasions get their ideas about religious or Christianity from many sources much like yourself. I like this particular Biblical scholar, Francesca Stavrakopoulou. She has written quite a bit on Biblical history. Check her out. The Bible as fiction.

          ://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTCBbCDqEvs

        • Greg G.

          Wow! I have never heard of her but so much of what she said is exactly what I told Don Camp.

        • nydiva

          Dr. Stavrakopoulou has been around for a few years. She’s featured in a lot of YouTube videos. I like the way Dr. S. handles religious Biblical scholars. She’s not rude, but firm. She doesn’t back down and gladly id herself as an atheist. Check out her wiki bio; she has a PhD from Oxford in the Hebrew Bible.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I’m surprised you’ve not heard of her. I’ve cited her work on a number of occasions and linked to her videos.

          She has done a number of interesting documentaries on UK terrestrial telly.

        • Greg G.

          When it’s slow at work, I pass the time on Patheos but videos are blocked.

        • Greg G.

          Another interesting thing she said was that when they OT writers were writing about bondage in Egypt, they were really referring to their captivity in Babylon. That reminded me how later writers referred to Rome as Babylon.

        • nydiva

          I think a more accurate term for the Bible may be religious propaganda than fiction. Obviously, the various and often anonymous writers had a religious agenda. In any case, the Buybull is hardy a divinely inspired book. Doesn’t take much scholarship to ascertain that.

          For those newbies reading this blog, I would like to introduce you to Biblical scholar Francesca Stavrakopoulou. Check out her wiki page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francesca_Stavrakopoulou and listen to her many YouTube videos. They are very informative and touch on a variety of subjects on the Hebrew Bible. Cheers.

        • Don Camp

          I don’t dispute that the Gospel writers had an agenda or a thesis. Probably Mark less than the others. But that does not require that they would have to play fast and loose with the historical facts. It is that idea I dispute.

        • nydiva

          The anonymous Greek writers certainly played fast and loose in their failed attempt to make Jesus fit OT prophecies which makes much of what they write suspect. Maybe they get the correct names of cities or officials here and there. Big deal. So does the writers of Spider Man and Harry Porter. Get a grip. The gospels are not a retelling of actual events (the miracles or resurrection).

        • Don Camp

          I did give Stavrakooulou a try several years ago. But I’ll give her another try.

          ***************

          Okay, I just watched https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-IoHx8NA6nQ I wonder that anyone can make sense of this. Yes, it is short clips, but really she doesn’t make any kind of case for her position. She makes claims without evidence. And even those claims are all over the map.

          She is a bonafide professor at a respected university, so I’d expect her to make a better case in the classroom. But she hasn’t shown me anything worth discussing.

        • nydiva

          O Yawn. Don, I didn’t post this video for your benefit. Of course, Dr. Stavrakopoulou hasn’t shown you anything worth discussing. Your previous posts have more than demonstrated that currently you are too delusional to consider anything that challenges your fantasy relationship with your imaginary friend. I posted this video for those silent readers who are watching. Woo Hoo!

        • Don Camp

          Let’s try one more of Diogenes’s claims. He says that Jesus went by boat to the region around Bethsaida to get some time alone away from the crowds.

          Jesus tells the disciples to get in the boat and start heading across the lake to Bethsaida which was on the northeast shore. Jesus somehow gets rid of the crowd and then goes up a mountain to pray. That night the disciples get to the middle of the lake. Jesus sees them (somehow from the shore in the middle of the night) straining against the wind. He walks out to them on the surface of the water, the disciples freak, Jesus tells them to chill and he gets in the boat. Then they continue across the lake until they land in Gennesaret….which is on the northwest shore, the same side of the lake they presumably started on.

          The problem our friendly cynic has is with the direction the disciples rowed when they left Jesus. It happens that all four Gospels record this story. So we can compare.

          The point of origin of the first voyage is not identified specifically in any of the Gospels, but there is a clue. It is that the crowds were large and gave Jesus no privacy. That is more likely to have happened in Capernaum or Gennesaret. or somewhere on the west side of the lake. The population there was large and there was no way for Jesus and the disciples to have simply walked away to a lonely place.

          The place they chose to row to is described as Bethsaida in Luke. It was a small town on the north east shore of the lake.East of Bethsaida was a lonely place. From Gennesaret it would have been a couple of miles by boat and only three to four miles by foot. That would have allowed the crowd to follow him if they chose, and they did. The boat probably was never out of their sight.

          The point to which they returned is described as Gennesaret in Matthew and Mark and Capernaum in John. But since Capernaum and Genessaret are so close to one another, Capernaum or that area would have been accurate enough. Luke does not say where the disciples landed. He does not even record the walking on the water incident.

          So far all four Gospels are in agreement and the description of a lonely place fits the the geography. The problem comes in Mark 10:45 where Mark where says Jesus sends the disciples on ahead of him to Bethsiada. That contradicts the description of the other Gospels. It was from Bethsaida or that region they were sailing, not to.

          So Mark is accurate in every way except in the pronoun to.. How could that have happened? There are several possibilities. One is that Mark doesn’t know what he is talking about, and he was just wrong. The problem is that he has every other detail right and he agrees with the other Gospels where they describe the scene.

          Another is that he just got the preposition “to” wrong or we read it wrong. It is the only place in the story that is out of sync with geography and with the other Gospels. The Greek word translated “to” is pros.It usually means “to a final destination.”
          But on occasion it can be used for a direction, “toward,” rather than a destination.Did Jesus plan to meet the disciples at Bethsaida and join them for the final leg of the trip? It is possible; they would have sailed by Bethsiada going to the the location of the feeding of the five thousand at a lonely place east of Bethsaida. The final final destination could still have been Gennesaret. That explanation fits the geography and the story better than most.

          But it also might have been a grammar error. The Greek word for “from” might be either apo or ek or Mark could have chosen just to use Bethsaida in the genative case. But he did not. Bethsaida is in the accusative case, which fits the preposition pros and neither of the other two prepositions. A grammar error seems unlikely.

          Or it might have been a copy error. But that would have had to have been in the first generation copy because there are no variations noted in this verse. That too seems unlikely.

          Mike Licona mentions several other explanation in an essay you can look up if you choose, But he ends up rejecting them because they are ad hoc and fail to be reasonable. So Licona simply says he doesn’t know.

          I think the explanation of Bethsaida as a an intermediate destination between where they started and their final destination is the best. It fits geography and the story. It is reasonable from the point of view of the grammar. After all, Jesus would have to meet them somewhere. Why not at the half-way point. Of course, the storm intervened and the disciples were blown off course and never made it to Bethsiada. And that requirde that Jesus meet them out in the lake. But that’s all in the story.

        • Greg G.

          The place they chose to row to is described as Bethsaida in Luke. It was a small town on the north east shore of the lake.East of Bethsaida was a lonely place. From Gennesaret it would have been a couple of miles by boat and only three to four miles by foot. That would have allowed the crowd to follow him if they chose, and they did. The boat probably was never out of their sight.

          Luke 9:10 has the Feeding of the 5000 in a desert region of Bethsaida. You are saying that they are going to float in a desert to the city they are already in. The other gospels say they are going to Bethsaida but they end up somewhere else. I think Luke objected to the idea that Jesus would make a mistake and end up in Gennasaret instead of Bethsaida. Luke 9:18 jumps from Mark 6:46 to Mark 8:27 in mid-sentence to the events in Bethsaida. Where Luke skipped over the walking on water, the Feeding of the 4000, and jumping over a spit miracle is known as The Great Omission.

          The problem comes in Mark 10:45 where Mark where says Jesus sends the disciples on ahead of him to Bethsiada. That contradicts the description of the other Gospels. It was from Bethsaida or that region they were sailing, not to.

          If they were leaving Bethsaida, they were not in a deserted place. There would be no need for Jesus to feed them. Matthew and Mark both say they were in a deserted place, which means not the city of Bethsaida. John 5 has Jesus in Jerusalem. John 6:1 has Jesus and his entourage go to the other side of the sea of Galilee which is across the lake from Bethsaida. Luke is the only one that puts the Feeding of the 5000 in Bethsaida.

          But it also might have been a grammar error. The Greek word for “from” might be either apo or ek or Mark could have chosen just to use Bethsaida in the genative case. But he did not. Bethsaida is in the accusative case, which fits the preposition pros and neither of the other two prepositions. A grammar error seems unlikely.

          Or it might have been a copy error. But that would have had to have been in the first generation copy because there are no variations noted in this verse. That too seems unlikely.

          Or you are torturing the Bible to make it confess to what you want it to say.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Funny, I write for those who would be deceived by YOU.

          And Reality is on my side…you merely offer lies, and inchoate terror, to bolster your own unearned and unDESERVED privilege.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You write for ignorant and gullible fuckwits, because they’re the only ones that’ll be taken in by the lying bilge. An lying bilge it is, and has been demonstrated as such.

        • Raging Bee

          So that’s your excuse for spouting nonsense and pretending our responses to it don’t matter? That might be a decent excuse, if you didn’t suck69 at it…

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          The larger reality also means that reality is not bound by the limitations of the physical universe or by the physical laws.

          Not at all. Physical laws are mere descriptions of how reality behaves, not constraints. If empirical evidence demonstrates god’s existence and allows us to describe him, then the physical laws will be modified to accommodate this new information.

        • BertB

          Right. Physical “laws” are derived from observations of how nature works. Nothing is “bound” by those laws. And they have changed over time. Quantum Mechanics is a good example of that.

        • Don Camp

          Physical laws describe how physical reality functions. They are limited to that realm. God, however, is the logical originator of the physical laws and so is indirectly affirmed by those laws.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          YOUR KIND have exactly *zero* evidence of any other ‘realm’.

          Come back when you have *reputable* evidence.

        • Greg G.

          That is circular logic with a diminishing radius.

        • Zeta

          Don Camp: “God, however, is the logical originator of the physical laws ”

          Your god started out as an invented local tribal war god of the ancient Israelites who fought alongside them to kill their so-called enemies (who also happened to be his own creations). He was not even capable of defeating warriors riding iron chariots. He had to come down from heaven to personally see what the people were up to when they were building the Tower of Babel. He was also afraid of what these people could achieve. What a coward! Such a god is “the logical originator of the physical laws”? Your are funny. Hahaha!

        • epeeist

          God, however, is the logical originator of the physical laws

          I love the way that some people seem to think putting the word “logical” in a sentence actually makes it logical.

          So, go on, provide is with an actual logical argument that this is the case.

        • nydiva

          Reality includes the possibility of God interacting with us.
          The reality, however, is that you live in a fantasy land with your imaginary friend.

        • Raging Bee

          Your reality is bigger because it includes your personal fantasies? Big deal — we have fantasies too. And they can make our realities bigger without us pretending they’re real.

          Reality includes the possibility of God interacting with us.

          …but not the reality of any god existing in any demonstrable way.

          The larger reality also means that reality is not bound by the limitations of the physical universe or by the physical laws.

          What “limitations” are you talking about? This objective reality we observe looks pretty unlimited to us. That is, in fact, why so many people embrace simpleminded limiting religious beliefs: because the material universe is TOO UNLIMITED for them, and they have to retreat to a simpler one bound by comforting simple beliefs. And that, in turn, is why nothing in our universe is more limiting than backward authoritarian religious beliefs.

        • Don Camp

          …but not the reality of any god existing in any demonstrable way.

          I hear this complaint regularly. And I have replied several times. But you may be new to the discussion. So…

          Direct evidence of God is not possible in any scientific way because science is limited to physical phenomena. But indirect evidence is abundant.
          1) The universe displays the kind of fine-tuning that would be expected of intelligent design. (laws and development of the universe.)

          2) Nature displays the kind of design that would be expected of an intelligent creator.

          3) Human nature displays a God consciousness that is unique and consistent with the description in Genesis 1 of man being made in the image of God.

          4) The Bible displays an organization just like the plot in a story, which would not be expected of a collection of writings written by many authors over 1000 plus years.
          5) History confirms the accuracy of prophecy.
          6) Israel confirms the promise and warnings of God.

          7) Jesus. He claimed to be the eternal Messiah and the Son of God. Those who knew him best declared that he was God who took on flesh. His resurrection from the grave confirmed those claims.

          8) The personal experience of God who speaks and answers prayer. This has been the experience of millions of Jews and Christians over 3000 years.

          No one piece of evidence is sufficient to warrant the conclusion that God exists. That is seldom the case with indirect evidence. But the agreement of many pieces is sufficient to conclude that God exists.

        • nydiva

          Don: Direct evidence of God is not possible in any scientific way because science is limited to physical phenomena. But indirect evidence is abundant.

          In other words, there is no reliable way to demonstrate to your claims. Yet the so-called indirect evidence you cited is limited to physical phenomena. And supernatural claims have so far never been demonstrated and you know this.

          Points 1-3, intelligent design etc has been repeatedly debunked. Check out the Dover School District vs Kitzmiller for further reading on how the intelligent design folks failed to make their case in a court of law.

          Points 4-6 is is simply the Bible says it, so I believe it. The Bible is not a special collection of writing, and history has more than demonstrated the failure of Biblical prophecies, the most prominent the failed Second Coming of Jesus.

          Point 7. Jesus’ so-called claim that he was the son of a god is a claim, not evidence that he was a son of a god. Ditto for those who allegedly knew him (you believe this, not know this) and ditto for the so-called resurrection.

          Point 8. Personal experiences are subjective. Folks from other religions will say the same thing about their experiences. Nothing you cited in your so-called indirect evidence warrants a reasonable conclusion that a god might exists.

        • Don Camp

          I do not capitalize intelligent design because I am not attempting to make their argument. . Here’s a ID website that defines ID https://intelligentdesign.org/whatisid/ You see in the last section “Is Intelligent Design a Scientific Theory?” that their answer is yes. I personally do not think so. But the elements of design are present in nature. It requires only inductive reasoning to conclude an intelligence behind the design. Because it requires reasoning rather than the demonstration of a fact in the usual scientific way, I don’t think we can call it a scientific theory, thus does not belong in a science class.

          history has more than demonstrated the failure of Biblical prophecies

          Not the history I read. But let’s take the very first prophecy found in the Bible, Genesis 3:15.

          And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”

          This was a prophecy delivered to Satan (the serpent). It predicted that Satan would be crushed by the offspring of the woman(the pronoun “he” is singular) , though he would inflict injury upon the offspring of the woman. It has to do with one man who will appear sometime in the future. That man will destroy Satan and his work inciting sin. Satan will however, injure the man.

          The fulfillment is realized in Jesus and his death on the cross. Jesus was the “offspring” of the woman. His death on the cross was the injury done to the man. This part of the prophecy was accomplished in history.

          The destruction of Satan’s work in inciting sin resulting death for mankind is also accomplished by the cross because the cross provides for forgiveness and eternal life for all who avail themselves of that grace.

          There are many more prophecies. If you are interested I’ll provide a list.

          Jesus’ so-called claim that he was the son of a god is a claim… ditto for the so-called resurrection

          The resurrection is a claim for an event that either happened or did not happen in history. It is therefore just as open to historical investigation as any historical event. You are no doubt familiar with the argument for it as a historical event. In opposition to that evidence there is only the “claim” that it did not happen because dead people do not come back to life. You’ll have to provide evidence for that, and in particular that Jesus did not come back to life.

          That should be pretty easy to do. All you have to do i show where he is buried and that his bones remain in the grave. I’ll wait…..

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Nope.

          YOUR KIND redefine *complexity* as *design* for unworthy purposes of deceit.

          Try again.

        • nydiva

          What Would It Take to Prove the Resurrection?
          How to think about claims, even the Resurrection

          (https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/what-would-it-take-to-prove-the-resurrection)

          By Michael Shermer on April 1, 2017

          According to the Oxford English Dictionary’s first definition, a “skeptic” is “one who holds that there are no adequate grounds for certainty as to the truth of any proposition whatever.” This is too nihilistic. There are many propositions for which we have adequate grounds for certainty as to their truth:

          There are 84 pages in this issue of Scientific American. True by observation.

          Dinosaurs went extinct around 65 million years ago. True by verification and replication of radiometric dating techniques for volcanic eruptions above and below dinosaur fossils.

          The universe began with a big bang. True by a convergence of evidence from a wide range of phenomena, such as the cosmic microwave background, the abundance of light elements (such as hydrogen and helium), the distribution of galaxies, the large-scale structure of the cosmos, the redshift of most galaxies and the expansion of space.

          These propositions are “true” in the sense that the evidence is so substantial that it would be unreasonable to withhold one’s provisional assent. It is not impossible that the dinosaurs died a few thousand years ago (with the universe itself having been created 10,000 years ago), as Young Earth creationists believe, but it is so unlikely we need not waste our time considering it.

          Then there are negative truths, such as the null hypothesis in science, which asserts that particular associations do not exist unless proved otherwise. For example, it is telling that among the tens of thousands of government e-mails, documents and files leaked in recent years, there is not one indication of a UFO cover-up or faked moon landing or allegation that 9/11 was an inside job by the Bush administration. Here the absence of evidence is evidence of absence.

          Other propositions are true by internal validation only: dark chocolate is better than milk chocolate; Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” is the greatest rock song; the meaning of life hinges on the number 42. These types of truth are purely personal and thus unverifiable by others. In science, we need external validation.

          What about religious truths? The proposition that Jesus was crucified may be true by historical validation, inasmuch as a man whom we refer to as Jesus of Nazareth probably existed, the Romans routinely crucified people for even petty crimes, and most biblical scholars—even those who are atheists or agnostics, such as renowned religious studies professor Bart Ehrman of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill—assent to this fact. The proposition that Jesus died for our sins, in contrast, is a faith-based claim with no purchase on valid knowledge. In between these is Jesus’s Resurrection, which is not impossible but would be a miracle if it were true. Is it?

          The principle of proportionality demands extraordinary evidence for extraordinary claims. Of the approximately 100 billion people who have lived before us, all have died and none have returned, so the claim that one (or more) of them rose from the dead is about as extraordinary as one will ever find. Is the evidence commensurate with the conviction? According to philosopher Larry Shapiro of the University of Wisconsin–Madison in his 2016 book The Miracle Myth (Columbia University Press), “evidence for the resurrection is nowhere near as complete or convincing as the evidence on which historians rely to justify belief in other historical events such as the destruction of Pompeii.” Because miracles are far less probable than ordinary historical occurrences, such as volcanic eruptions, “the evidence necessary to justify beliefs about them must be many times better than that which would justify our beliefs in run-of-the-mill historical events. But it isn’t.”

          What about the eyewitnesses? Maybe they “were superstitious or credulous” and saw what they wanted to see, Shapiro suggests. “Maybe they reported only feeling Jesus ‘in spirit,’ and over the decades their testimony was altered to suggest that they saw Jesus in the flesh. Maybe accounts of the resurrection never appeared in the original gospels and were added in later centuries. Any of these explanations for the gospel descriptions of Jesus’s resurrection are far more likely than the possibility that Jesus actually returned to life after being dead for three days.” The principle of proportionality also means we should prefer the more probable explanation over less probable ones, which these alternatives surely are.

          Perhaps this is why Jesus was silent when Pontius Pilate asked him (John 18:38), “What is truth?”

          Michael Shermer is publisher of Skeptic magazine (www.skeptic.com) and a Presidential Fellow at Chapman University. His new book is Heavens on Earth: The Scientific Search for the Afterlife, Immortality, and Utopia (Henry Holt, 2018)

        • nydiva

          A short excerpt from Wiki since so much of what you believe is based on the BuyBull.

          Historical reliability of the Gospels: Main article: Historical reliability of the Gospels
          The historical reliability of the gospels refers to the reliability and historic character of the four New Testament gospels as historical documents. Little in the four canonical gospels is considered to be historically reliable.[57][58][59][60][61]

          Historians subject the gospels to critical analysis by differentiating authentic, reliable information from possible inventions, exaggerations, and alterations.[25] Since there are more textual variants in the New Testament (200–400 thousand) than it has letters (c. 140 thousand),[62] scholars use textual criticism to determine which gospel variants could theoretically be taken as ‘original’. To answer this question, scholars have to ask who wrote the gospels, when they wrote them, what was their objective in writing them,[63] what sources the authors used, how reliable these sources were, and how far removed in time the sources were from the stories they narrate, or if they were altered later. Scholars may also look into the internal evidence of the documents, to see if, for example, a document has misquoted texts from the Hebrew Tanakh, has made incorrect claims about geography, if the author appears to have hidden information, or if the author has fabricated a prophecy.[64] Finally, scholars turn to external sources, including the testimony of early church leaders, to writers outside the church, primarily Jewish and Greco-Roman historians, who would have been more likely t

        • Don Camp

          Ah! Wikipedia. Just out of curiosity I decided to check some of the sources cited. (this is how I taught my writing students to use Wiki.)

          Number 57 in the wiki article referred to Craig Evans’ paper “Craig Evans, “Life-of-Jesus Research and the Eclipse of Mythology,” Theological Studies 54 (1993) p. 5.”

          I looked up the essay. Page 5 deals with writers and ideas that Evans argues were mistaken. Here’s what Evans wrote on page 14.

          The New Testament Gospels are now viewed as useful, if not essentially reliable, historical sources. Gone is the extreme skepticism that for so many years dominated gospel research.43 Representative of many is the position of E. P. Sanders and Marcus Borg, who have concluded that it is possible to recover a fairly reliable picture of the historical Jesus. Borg notes that more and more scholars are coming to the conclusion that “we can sketch a fairly full and historically defensible portrait of Jesus.

          The anonymous wiki writer might have done well to go to the original sources. (It is what I taught my writing students to do.) But n0 he/she lifts a piece out of Evans’ essay and then goes on to make a point that Evans debates. That means the writer is using his/her sources improperly if not dishonestly. (If my writing students did this I would have given them back their paper and sent them back to the original sources.)

          In the case of the other source I could access, “A Historical Introduction to the New Testament by Robert M. Grant,.” I cannot see anything that leads to the conclusion the wiki author comes to.

          In your second quote from wiki there is another bit of misinformation. “there are more textual variants in the New Testament (200–400 thousand) than it has letters (c. 140 thousand).”

          That is probably true but irrelevant. I can look at all the variants in the critical apparatus of my UBS Greek New Testament. By far the variants have to do with matters of spelling or the repeat of a word by a scribe. There are very few variants that have to do with significant issues. All of those are identified in most study Bibles. If historical reliability is the issue, none of the variants in the Gospels, to my knowledge, impinge upon that.

          I am sorry. Sometimes wiki disappoints. But it would be wise to always check the sources whether the article agrees with you or not.

        • nydiva

          Ah! I checked the source and it was convenient for this post. The writers of wiki are not anonymous like the gospel writers. You can check their id (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WikiScanner) if you like.

          Yes, you looked up the essay and mine quote as you often do.

          Wiki quote: The New Testament Gospels are now viewed as useful, if not essentially reliable, historical sources. Gone is the extreme skepticism that for so many years dominated gospel research.43 Representative of many is the position of E. P. Sanders and Marcus Borg, who have concluded that it is possible to recover a fairly reliable picture of the historical Jesus. Borg notes that more and more scholars are coming to the conclusion that “we can sketch a fairly full and historically defensible portrait of Jesus.

          Don’t see how this paragraph supports the historical reliability of the NT. I’ve read a little of E.P. Sander back in the day (he is from Union Seminary) and he hardly defends Jesus as the son of a god or much of the theology you hold.

          Don: In the case of the other source I could access, “A Historical Introduction to the New Testament by Robert M. Grant,.” I cannot see anything that leads to the conclusion the wiki author comes to.

          Surprise, surprise. No fooling? Do you ever see anything you don’t agree with?

          Don: If historical reliability is the issue, none of the variants in the Gospels, to my knowledge, impinge upon that.

          Well, you might want to take Dr. Hector Avalos’ advice and expand your knowledge beyond your theological biases.

          I am sorry. Sometimes wiki disappoints. But it would be wise to always check the sources whether the article agrees with you or not.

          I am sorry. The Bible disappoints. But it would be wise to always check the sources of the gospel to discover whether it agrees with reality or not. Cheers!

        • Don Camp

          Don’t see how this paragraph support the historical reliability of the NT.

          It doesn’t. Craig Evans is surveying the evolution of Jesus studies relative to the historicity of the Gospel witness. But my quote does indicate that even liberal scholarship is moving toward an understanding that there is more historical content than previously thought. Current scholarship of even the New Biblical Scholars, the mythologists excepted, disagree with Reimarus and his extreme skepticism.

          Evans does get to his own conclusions and reasons for his conclusion about the historical reliability of the Gospels. See pages 34-36. His reasoning is based primarily upon the miracles recorded in the Gospels and their plausibility. If you go back to page 21, you’ll find his analysis. His conclusion is expressed on page 21. “In my judgment the following seven criteria support those scholars who have argued that Jesus performed miracles.”

          So again, the wiki author is talking about an idea about the historicity of the Gospel that has been long rejected by modern scholars, both liberal and conservative.

        • nydiva

          Okay, if you say so. So Don, are you going to continue to promote your blog here although it is against the terms of use? I’ve noticed you ignored this question. Why don’t you start your own blog? Does anyone want to make a bet Don won’t respond?

        • nydiva

          Still believe in miracles? Well, lookee here. https://www.amazon.com/Case-Against-Miracles-John-Loftus/dp/1839190086/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8. The case against miracle is here. Enjoy the reading. Cheers.

        • nydiva

          I find it ironic that you would critique the accuracy of an Wiki article when the only source for your religious beliefs is the Bible. Wiki is a quick informal reference on a variety of subjects, but the Bible is unfortunately regarded as a word of a god which can’t be further from the truth. It’s a modern day tragedy that folks in the 21st century still defend the Bible as a divinely inspired book.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I found this website recently…

          http://www.badnewsaboutchristianity.com/

          …a treasure trove of wee gems all in one place.

          Edit to add correct link.

        • nydiva

          This article is also a treasure trove on the resurrection.
          https://michaelshermer.com/2017/04/how-might-a-scientist-think-about-the-resurrection/

          The problem with believers like Don Camp is that they believe the gospels are historical events instead of religious propaganda written by anonymous greek authors. Who knows what the original so-called manuscripts said if anything about a resurrection. So faced with skeptical doubts about the so-called resurrection of Jesus, it’s no wonder folks like him ask nonseniscal questions like, “Where is Jesus’ buried?” It’s a silly question, but they ask it with all seriousness because they assume the gospel accounts are true. Did Jesus live? Perhaps. Was he the son of a god? Given the lack of evidence, the answer is no more than Zeus was.

        • Ignorant Amos

          “Where is Jesus’ buried?” It’s a silly question, but they ask it with all seriousness because they assume the gospel accounts are true.

          It’s beyond ridiculous. That a grown man with his, admittedly self proclaimed, education, could even suggest such nonsense, is flabbergasting.

          Don probably thinks that the place at Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem, is really the empty tomb.

        • nydiva

          Yes, Don Camp is a self-proclaimed Bible teacher and literature expert. And like many true believers, Don Camp is also a public nusiance.

        • epeeist

          And like many true believers, Don Camp is also a public nusiance.

          The kind of bible thumper one crosses the street in order to avoid.

        • Greg G.

          I spent a while reading that yesterday.

        • Greg G.

          This was a prophecy delivered to Satan (the serpent). It predicted that Satan would be crushed by the offspring of the woman(the pronoun “he” is singular) , though he would inflict injury upon the offspring of the woman. It has to do with one man who will appear sometime in the future. That man will destroy Satan and his work inciting sin. Satan will however, injure the man.

          You forgot about crawling on its belly. It is not about Satan, it’s about serpents. If it was really Satan, then God owes an apology to snakes.

        • nydiva

          I was recently talking with a friend about why Jews largely reject Jesus as the promised Messiah. I pointed out that the anonymous New Testament Gospel writers deliberately misquoted the Old Testament to create the impression that Jesus was a fulfillment of OT prophesies. My acquaintance refused to believe it because he was married to the belief that everything in the New Testament was the inspired word of a god. I want to encourage all reading these posts to check out the Jewish responses to claims like the ones Don Camp is making in his post. They are very easy to find on Google. Cheers.

        • Don Camp

          I have no doubt that you can find Jewish responses to the claims Jesus made and to the claims of the New Testament. You don’t even need to search the Internet. None of them are new. You can read them in the New testament itself.

          RE: misquoting the OT.

          Some of those are merely disagreement with the interpretation. Using Isaiah 53 as a Messianic prophecy is an example. The difference is interpretation.

          Others are, ironically, the use of rabbinic interpretive strategies. The reference in Matthew to the sojourn of Jesus’ family in Egypt is an example. Matthew used the event as an example of Jesus recapitulating the history of Israel, in other words, his fully identifying with Israel. In other cases Matthew uses a rabbinic interpretive technique called the remez. Those may not be familiar to Jewish people today, so they could seem like misquoting. I do not think they would have been seen as misquoting to Jews in Jesus’ day.

          However, since Matthew is clearly written for Jews (almost every commentator recognizes that) it would be self-defeating for Matthew to have misquoted the OT. Misquoting would have been as much a tell that Matthew was not honest for those first readers as it is to you.

        • nydiva

          Regardless of who wrote Matthew (hint: we don’t know who wrote any of the gospels or have the so-called original manuscripts), the Bible is NOT a reliable guide of the so-called historical events it records (e.g., Census of Quirinius, etc.). The Bible is a theological book and it doesn’t take much research to discover there is little contemporaneous accounts of Jesus outside the Bible. All you really have are claims from the Bible which proves simply that someone wrote something.

          And no matter how Christians interpret it, Isaiah 53 is not a Messianic prophecy. And yes, I remember you baseless claim on DC about a double prophecy. I have no idea (and neither do you) how Jews during Jesus time interpreted Isaiah. I do know from history that the majority of Jews back then and now reject Jesus as the promised messiah. Your special pleading won’t concealed these facts.

        • Ignorant Amos

          It is of little concern whether or not science can prove that the ultimate fate of the cosmos lacks purpose: we live our lives regardless at a “human” level, according to ambitions and perceptions which come more naturally. Therefore, science should not be feared as a sort of cosmological wet blanket. In fact, those in search of beauty or poetry in their cosmology need not turn to the paranormal or even necessarily restrict themselves to the mysterious: science itself, the business of unravelling mysteries, is beautiful and poetic.

          A lot of us have, Intensively. Don thinks he’s brought an epiphany to the dance floor. He’s a two left footed fuckwiot. it’s all very quaint.

          It has been a decades long journey for some here, and for some of those and others, they were ballix deep invested in the bullshit.

          I was lucky on that part. I had the political angle that the shitebags maintained, which helped.

        • Len

          All you have to do is show where he is buried and that his bones remain in the grave.

          Are you saying that all the Kings, Queens, heroes, villains, children of gods, etc whose stories we can read about but whose bones we can’t find were all resurrected and are alive today? Or does that only apply to Jesus? If so, then why only him? (Try to answer without resorting to circular reasoning.)

          ETA Oh and by the way: atheists don’t have to prove Jesus didn’t come back to life (that’s the normal situation). You must prove that he did (the unusual situation).

        • epeeist

          Oh and by the way: atheists don’t have to prove Jesus didn’t come back to life (that’s the normal situation).

          That’s really all he has isn’t it, an illicit attempt to shift the burden.

        • epeeist

          Are you saying that all the Kings, Queens, heroes, villains, children of gods, etc whose stories we can read about but whose bones we can’t find were all resurrected and are alive today?

          Hic Jacet Arthurus Rex Quondam Rexque Futurus

          https://ih2.redbubble.net/image.6020958.8304/flat,550×550,075,f.jpg

        • Len

          Once and future.

        • Michael Neville

          So you didn’t capitalize “intelligent design”, you just used it as an argument. Yawn. As for the ridiculous nonsense that ID is “scientific”, that was refuted in the Kitzmiller trial which showed that intelligent design is Biblical creationism with God replaced by an Intelligent Designer with all of the attributes of the fundamentalist God but with the serial number filed off.

          As for Satan, do you know what’s weirder than having an imaginary friend? Having an imaginary enemy. You have to show that Satan is anything other than a figment of the imagination before you can make claims about Satan and the real world. Besides, your own Bible says that Satan isn’t an enemy. The first chapter of Job shows that Satan and God are best buddies who get together from time to time to chat and making peoples’ life miserable just for grins and giggles.

          You have to show that Jesus existed before you can make claims that he was resurrected. The only place where the resurrection is mentioned is in the collection of myths, fables and lies called the Bible. Got any real evidence that Jesus was real or the resurrection happened? Of course you don’t. So stop making a fool of yourself by talking about a piece of fiction as if it had the slightest relationship with reality.

        • epeeist

          In opposition to that evidence there is only the “claim” that it did not happen because dead people do not come back to life.

          Let’s take this in Bayesian terms shall we, Your hypothesis is that this Jesus came back to life, let’s call this J, the hypothesis that he didn’t come back to life would be ~J.

          We can write two equations:

          P(J | E) = P(J) . P(E | J) / P(E)

          and

          P(~J | E) = P(~J) . P(E | ~J) / P(E)

          Where the first provides the posterior probability for Jesus’ resurrection given the prior probability and the likelihood of some evidence E. The second is the the posterior probability for Jesus not resurrecting.

          A little manipulation allows us to calculate the Bayes Factor

          BF = P(E | J) / P(E | ~J)

          What evidence do we have? The fact that there have been billions have people who have lived and few, if any, are known to have resurrected. This would mean that the Bayes Factor is extremely small, so small in fact that we can count it as overwhelming evidence for ~J.

          One should also note that confirmatory evidence for ~J disconfirms J

          So what have you got that would invert the Bayes Factor, turning it from extremely tiny, to reasonably large, I should note that one would be looking for a value greater than 10 and preferably 100+.

        • Ignorant Amos

          That’ll explode his head for sure.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Am reminded of Dr. Freed’s “Craig’s Calamitous Cock-Up — Bayes’ Theorem and the resurrection of Jesus”

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Rz9J6qXIzc

        • Ignorant Amos

          The fulfillment is realized in Jesus and his death on the cross.

          Nope. It was Joseph Smith…or was it John Frum?

          The resurrection is a claim for an event that either happened or did not happen in history.

          Which resurrection? Tammuz, Osiris, Asclepius…which are historical and which are myth…and how do you know?

          Historians have no truck with supernatural events being historical ya onion. They can only report the claim.

          It is therefore just as open to historical investigation as any historical event.

          Nope. That’s a bar faced lie and you know it. As pointed out to you already, even proper historians who are Christians refute this nonsense you are peddling.

          Do Historians Exclude the Supernatural?

          https://jamestabor.com/do-historians-exclude-the-supernatural/

          On the resurrection of Jesus…

          https://jamestabor.com/cold-case-christianity-and-the-resurrection-of-jesus-read-these-six-posts-and-you-will-never-view-things-the-same/

          You are no doubt familiar with the argument for it as a historical event.

          Only by Christians. Mormons make an argument for the historical golden tablets and the angel Moroni. They’ve got written affidavits from a number of eyewitnesses who testified to the fact and everything. Muslims will argue the historicity that Mo rode a flying horse to visit the archangel Gabriel. Claims are not historical facts ya woo-woo merchant.

          In opposition to that evidence there is only the “claim” that it did not happen because dead people do not come back to life.

          Oh ffs…the sheer dumbfuckery you come out with is beyond stupid. Do horses fly? Is it only a “claim” that horses don’t fly?

          You’ll have to provide evidence for that, and in particular that Jesus did not come back to life.

          Nope, that’s not how it works ya daft eejit. Call yerself a literary scholar? My arse. Your claim, your onus probandi. We have no more onus to demonstrate that, which IS actually just a “claim”, than you have to provide evidence that Mo didn’t ride a flying horse. A story making that claim, in a book written by believers, isn’t evidence.

          That should be pretty easy to do. All you have to do i show where he is buried and that his bones remain in the grave.

          Show me where the winged horse is buried? Should be pretty easy, right? Where did the golden tablets that Joe Smith buried end up?

          I’ll wait…..

          Don, are you suffering from a form of senility? I only ask, because it would excuse a lot of your responses and I would be forced to disengage with this relative absolute nonsense you keep spewing. It being an unfair match and all that jazz.

        • Greg G.

          That should be pretty easy to do. All you have to do i show where he is buried and that his bones remain in the grave. I’ll wait…..

          That nonsense comes from 1 Corinthians 15:3-4. The verse says it was “according to the scriptures” which meant the Old Testament. It says that “Christ died for sins” which tells us that it was not an eyewitness report. An eyewitness cannot determine that a particular death was for sins and every other death was not. It shows that it came from Isaiah 53:8. Then it says he was buried , which is found in Isaiah 53:9. Then it says he rose on the third day “according to the scriptures” which likely comes from Hosea 6:2, since Paul cites the names of Isaiah and Hosea while quoting them one after the other in Romans.

          Paul didn’t know anything about a Jesus from Galilee. That was an invented back story for the imaginary Epistle Jesus.

        • Zeta

          Don Camp: “That should be pretty easy to do. All you have to do i show where he is buried and that his bones remain in the grave. I’ll wait…..”

          Suppose someone claims that he or she has found Jesus’ bones and some DNA has been extracted. How do you verify that the bones belong to Jesus? Don, your help is needed here. Do you happen to have one of the numerous “Holy Prepuces” in existence for DNA comparison and verification?

          Wikipedia: “Depending on what you read, there were eight, twelve, fourteen, or even 18 different holy foreskins in various European towns during the Middle Ages.”

          Don, your comment shows that you are getting worse and worse, sinking deeper and deeper into senility. You need (and should ask for) help from the holy spirit in your daily conversation with him.

        • Don Camp

          I probably am sinking into senility. Pray for me.

          Suppose someone claims that he or she has found Jesus’ bones and some DNA has been extracted. How do you verify that the bones belong to Jesus?

          Good question, but usually a Jew was buried as Jesus was in a temporary grave. The bones would then after a year or so be transferred to an ossuary. Sometimes ossuaries were sometimes inscribed with the name of the person buried. Maybe you could get lucky.

        • Zeta

          Don Camp: “I probably am sinking into senility. Pray for me.”

          I just prayed to the Tree Stump Deity and the Rock Deity in my garden for you. They both chided you for seeking help from elsewhere and not from your omnipotent and omniscient personal deity, the holy spirit whom you talk to daily. You are showing a great disrespect for this ghost who, as you claimed before, has been granting so many wishes to you.

        • Greg G.

          How do you verify that the bones belong to Jesus?

          Haploid DNA?

        • Michael Murray

          I always like to push this book from my home town

          https://www.amazon.com.au/Honk-If-You-are-Jesus/dp/0207177376

        • Zeta

          Thanks. I am looking for the book. The book description and the review on Amazon sound interesting.

        • 1) Debunked several times. Go read something that is not apologist sites.
          2) Bullshit. Examples of suboptimal design abound.
          3) Do you have another references of what you state?. Dunno.
          4), 5), 6), 7), 8) are more of the same based on the same as 3)

          I will pray the seven known planets of TRAPPIST-1 for you. Either them or the Seven Sisters daughters of the goddess Mystra.

        • nydiva

          LOL!

        • Don Camp

          Suboptimal design does not refute design. Think about the Model T Ford. I would say suboptimal in the extreme in comparison to the 2010 Mustang. But then we’ll probably be saying the same about the 2020 Mustang a few years hence. However, for its time and it purpose the Model T served. ( That is one test of deign btw.Does it have a purpose?)

          Actually, none of us are in a position to say that what you call suboptimal design is not the very best design for the time and purpose.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          We need not refute design.

          YOUR KIND have to *demonstrate* design.

          Complexity does NOT require design, no matter how much you dislike that fact.

        • Greg G.

          Suboptimal design does not refute design.

          It confirms suboptimal intelligence at work or no intelligence at all. The Model T was built by designers who had little experience at designing automobiles.

          Actually, none of us are in a position to say that what you call suboptimal design is not the very best design for the time and purpose.

          What can a Model T do that an all-wheel drive Ford F-250 cannot do better?

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          the Model T Ford was a miracle of optimized design FOR ITS TIME, and the technology available.

          Why, it sounds like you accept that reality *evolves* as progress is made!

        • Suboptimal design refutes it if the designer has the attributes that people as you consider to have.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Direct evidence of God is not possible in any scientific way because science is limited to physical phenomena. But indirect evidence is abundant.

          No, you mean there’s NO evidence, and YOUR KIND are trying to fool us into accepting hand-waving and arguments as evidence…not gonna happen, bucko.

          The rest of your Gish Gallop is duly discounted and disregarded.

        • Greg G.

          1) The universe displays the kind of fine-tuning that would be expected of intelligent design. (laws and development of the universe.)

          You mean an intelligent black hole designer. Most of the universe is lethal to us, way too cold or way too hot with little O2 in a safe concentration.

          2) Nature displays the kind of design that would be expected of an intelligent creator.

          It displays what one would expect of random mutations and natural selection.

          3) Human nature displays a God consciousness that is unique and consistent with the description in Genesis 1 of man being made in the image of God.

          Human nature is a step above chimpanzee nature. Ape nature is a step above monkey nature.

          4) The Bible displays an organization just like the plot in a story, which would not be expected of a collection of writings written by many authors over 1000 plus years.

          The story of the Old Testament was written around 2500 years ago with some faked writings that pretended to be older than it was. The New Testament was formed by writings based on other writings, then a small number of them were selected out a large number, then edited to make them cohere.

          5) History confirms the accuracy of prophecy.

          Two thousand years of history are gleaned over and the “prophecies” are reinterpreted to match the gleanings. It’s like Christians are seeing bunny rabbits in the clouds.

          6) Israel confirms the promise and warnings of God.

          That was done intentionally to fulfill an overdue prophecy. It was supposed to lead to the coming of the Messiah in a generation. I remember when it was supposed to be a 40 year generation. When it didn’t happen in 1988, they said it was a 70 year generation. It didn’t happen in 2018, either. I think it now means when the last person born in or before 1948 dies.

          7) Jesus. He claimed to be the eternal Messiah and the Son of God. Those who knew him best declared that he was God who took on flesh. His resurrection from the grave confirmed those claims.

          You are a grown man who believes fairy tales.

          8) The personal experience of God who speaks and answers prayer. This has been the experience of millions of Jews and Christians over 3000 years.

          Christians and other prayer believers have a ton of excuses for unanswered prayers. Too bad they cannot see their own confirmation bias.

          No one piece of evidence is sufficient to warrant the conclusion that God exists. That is seldom the case with indirect evidence. But the agreement of many pieces is sufficient to conclude that God exists.

          You are substituting wishful thinking for evidence. The agreement of many pieces of wishful thinking will always be sufficient for the gullible to believe anything.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Thank you.

          I *love* a good fisk!

        • Kaja

          6) Israel confirms the promise and warnings of God.

          ‘That was done intentionally to fulfill an overdue prophecy. It was supposed
          to lead to the coming of the Messiah in a generation. I remember when it
          was supposed to be a 40 year generation. When it didn’t happen in 1988,
          they said it was a 70 year generation. It didn’t happen in 2018,
          either. I think it now means when the last person born in or before 1948
          dies.’
          Pretty much what Jehovah’s Witnesses did with their 1914 end of the world “prophecy” calculation since 1914 after it did not pan out – multiple times.

          Notice that the “Israel will become a nation again” “prophecy is based on out of context Old Testament scripture (ex.post Babylonian exile). Despite being asked specifically by his disciples for “signs of the end” (ex. Matt 24), Jesus never said that Israel would become a nation again. How could the supposed greatest prophet miss that one ? The “prophecy” appears to an invention of John Nelson Darby – the creator of the rapture doctrine.

        • Ignorant Amos

          …then edited to make them cohere.

          And not even very well when books are read in context of other books within the buybull.

        • Raging Bee

          Your points # 1 and 2 are based on nothing but mere assertion and prejudice; #3 is meaningless because no one has defined what “God consciousness” is; #4 and #5 are laughably, obviously false; Israel is just a country like all the others; #7 is unproven; and #8 applies to EVERYONE who claims to have had an answered prayer or a divine experience, and not all such people are Christian.

          And even if all those pieces were “in agreement,” which they clearly aren’t, that still doesn’t prove WHAT SORT of “god” “exists.”

          Try harder, okay?

        • Michael Neville

          In other words you have zip point zero evidence that your god is nothing more than a figment of your imagination, just like every other theist for the entire history of mankind. Your numbered “evidences” have been refuted over and over again but you bring them out as if they actually meant something. Plus there’s the point that arguments are not evidence. Evidence is rational, falsifiable and repeatable. It does not involve pointing at the collection of myths, fables and lies called the Bible and murmuring “evidence”.

          No one piece of evidence is sufficient to warrant the conclusion that God exists. That is seldom the case with indirect evidence. But the agreement of many pieces is sufficient to conclude that God exists.

          A collection of weak arguments does not add up to one strong argument.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Brought to mind the old joke with the punch line “We can lose money on *every* sale, but make it up on VOLUME!”

          😉

        • Len

          Regarding points 1 & 2: the puddle thinks that the hole it’s in was specially designed for it. (Thanks to Douglas Adams.)

        • Ignorant Amos

          Or as epeeist also says, the universe is intelligently designed for black holes. Since there is more of them and they can exist in a lot more places.

        • 1) The universe displays the kind of fine-tuning that would be expected of intelligent design. (laws and development of the universe.)
          2) Nature displays the kind of design that would be expected of an intelligent creator.

          I suspect that theists would say this no matter what nature looks like. I regard this as a virtually unfalsifiable claim.

          4) The Bible displays an organization just like the plot in a story, which would not be expected of a collection of writings written by many authors over 1000 plus years.

          But this shouldn’t be surprise when the books that become canon are selected for. This is especially true if this was one of the criteria for being selected into the canon. It’s not like the people who compiled the Bible just selected books at random, and how many books were excluded from the canon?

          5) History confirms the accuracy of prophecy.

          Every time I’ve ever looked at a supposed “prophecy” of the Bible many of them are some kind of weak subjective interpretations, or cannot be demonstrated to have been written before the event in question. Even if we had something that looked like a real prophecy, why is God a more likely explanation than something natural and ordinary?

          7) Jesus. He claimed to be the eternal Messiah and the Son of God. Those who knew him best declared that he was God who took on flesh. His resurrection from the grave confirmed those claims.

          The gospels claim that Jesus said these things, but it’s not like we have Jesus’ own words here. All we have are your religious holy texts, and what they say.

          Also, we haven’t established that the resurrection even happened, so you’re getting ahead of yourself. We simply have claims that Jesus rose from the dead, and that’s about it. Even if Jesus rose from the dead this does not establish that any gods are necessary, as you cannot show that resurrections necessarily require a god.

          8) The personal experience of God who speaks and answers prayer. This has been the experience of millions of Jews and Christians over 3000 years.

          Can you name me even one example of a confirmed “answered prayer”? Studies done on prayer have shown it to be no more effective than chance. It’s easy to ignore the all misses, and overweight all the hits, when you’re dealing with stuff like this.

          No one piece of evidence is sufficient to warrant the conclusion that God exists

          Even all of these together don’t come close to justifying the belief that God exists.

        • Don Camp

          I suspect that theists would say this no matter what nature looks like. I regard this as a virtually unfalsifiable claim.

          Quite a few people have tried. They point to things like less than optimal design and fact that life is rare for a universe designed for life.

          It’s not like the people who compiled the Bible just selected books at random.

          No they weren’t selected by random, but are you suggesting that they were selected on the basis of how well they fit a pattern with a plot? If not, what do you understand the criteria to be?

          Every time I’ve ever looked at a supposed “prophecy” of the Bible many of them are some kind of weak subjective interpretations, or cannot be demonstrated to have been written before the event in question.

          There are some that are subjective in interpretation, or may seem so. But the problem I’d guess you are having with prophecy is that they are not easily identified as prophecy or understood until after their fulfillment. I think that is by design. The prophecy is less important than the hand of God in their fulfillment.

          There are some that are so specific , however, that it is not difficult to recognize that they do predict future events. The prophecy often called the “Seventy Weeks” in Daniel 9 is one of those. The prophecy has to do with the future of Israel and Jerusalem (v. 24) and the death of the Anointed One (Messiah) the following destruction of Jerusalem (v. 26) and ultimately the another leader who will set up an abomination that causes desolation in a rebuilt temple.

          Between the order to rebuild Jerusalem to the final period when the leader to come will make a covenant with the Jews and allow the second rebuilding of the temple will be “seventy sevens.” That number will be divided into 69 sevens and a final seven (vv. 26,27). The key to understanding the prophecy is the meaning of a seven.

          That is fairly easy because the Jews used “seven” as a reference to a week. So the total might be 70 weeks. But “seven” doesn’t always mean a week. It might be seven periods of time such as a year, as it is in Genesis 29:27 in the second use of the word.

          If a week 70 X 7 would be 490 weeks. That is a little over a year, If it is a year it would be 490 years. The 69 sevens would be 483 years.

          The 70 sevens begins with the order to rebuild Jerusalem beginning with the temple. That happened in the 20th year of Artaxerxes (Hehemiah 2:1-8). That year was 456 B.C. If we add the first period of 69 weeks or 483 years to 456 B.C. we come to 27 A.D . That is the best guess based on the NT texts for the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. Daniel 9:26, however, says that it will be after that when the Messiah will be put to death. If Jesus died three years later in 30 A.D. that is a close “after.”

          But Daniel adds other information. The people of the ruler to come will destroy the temple and the city. That happened in 70 A.D.

          Those two events, the death of the Messiah and the destruction of the city, are very specifically described and the dates are very accurate.

          There is one more seven. Daniel divides the 69 and the last seven which implies that the last seven does not merely continue the 69 but is a separate period of seven years. That part is described in detail as well, but those events have not happened yet. The event that begins that seven will be the covenant of the ruler at that time regarding the Jews and the new temple yet to be built.

          The accuracy and specificity of the first 69 periods of seven is sufficient, however. It leaves us with a prophecy and fulfillment that is specific and sufficiently clear to demonstrate that prophecy is fulfilled.

        • No they weren’t selected by random, but are you suggesting that they were selected on the basis of how well they fit a pattern with a plot?

          I’m saying that if they didn’t at least make for a coherent plot, the book would likely have been rejected. The fact that certain selection criteria produce certain effects shouldn’t surprise us.

          There are some that are so specific , however, that it is not difficult to recognize that they do predict future events. The prophecy often called the “Seventy Weeks” in Daniel 9 is one of those.

          I plug this one into the “subjective interpretation” category. If we pick this arbitrary event as the start, and then interpret “week” to mean “decade”, then this almost lines up Jesus. A prophecy must have very clear predictions so that it can be falisifed, such as the names of the people, exact years, specific events. Of course, this introduces the problem of self-fulfilling prophecies, but that’s not my problem either.

          Bob wrote more about the problems with this “prophecy” here: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2014/03/daniels-end-times-prediction-70-weeks/

        • Greg G.

          Don, you must type the “blockquote” tags correctly. Please use the tools that Disqus provides at the bottom of combox. Paste what you are quoting, highlight it, then click the appropriate tool for the HTML. The “blockquote” tag is the one that looks like an “open quote”.

          All of the tools are not there on a smart phone. It hit the “B” for “bold”, paste my text between the tags, then fill in “lockquote” in the open tag and the close tag.

        • Don Camp

          Some comboxes do not have the tools. This one for, for example, does not. I have to type the HTML tags in. I sometimes don’t get them right. Sorry.

        • richardrichard2013

          we have seen how you are embarrassed by jesus’ false predictions and how you try to make them say what they clearly do not say.

          my question to you is about muhammad.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=VEd2R4KqMbo&fbclid=IwAR36wqQLP-E0Q5IXEIJvy22wdkoB-kdglOnnoAd46j6Rd1-0FCFXXLrR3jk&app=desktop

          according to the moslims, muhammad miracles have eyewitnesses testimony and according to the video his prophecies are coming true.

          any attempt you make to try to discredit mo, you will use your jesus glasses to try to reconcile them.

        • Don Camp

          we have seen how you are embarrassed by jesus’ false predictions and how you try to make them say what they clearly do not say.

          Really. I do not think I am embarrassed at all.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Well, ya should be.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Am told those millions that are involved in the universe of *World of Warcraft interact with a god too.

          Years ago, in the ruined temple of Atal’Hakkar, loyal priests of the Blood God Hakkar the Soulflayer attempted to summon the wrathful deity’s avatar into the world. But his followers, the Atal’ai priesthood, discovered that the Soulflayer could only be summoned within the Gurubashi tribe’s ancient capital, Zul’Gurub. Newly reborn in this jungle fortress, Hakkar took control of the Gurubashi tribe and mortal champions of the trolls’ mighty animal gods. The Soulflayer’s dark influence was halted when the Zandalari tribe recruited heroes and invaded Zul’Gurub.

          Believing in a fantasy world, doesn’t get you any nearer to it being a reality ya daft fool.

          *Swap out and replace favourite imaginary fantasy.

        • WoW sucks big time

        • Ignorant Amos

          A wouldn’t even know chum. Even as a board game pre-gaming console, I had no interest.

          I was more a WW2 tank battle wargamer maself. There was something satisfying in spending ones pocket money on a plastic modelling kit. Constructing the kit, painting it up in the livery of the conflict. Collecting enough pieces. Then spending hours in fantasy world reenacting out the Battle of the Bulge with a set of dice, measuring ruler, and book of instructions.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Maybe this essay on purpose will help explain that https://biblicalmusing.blog

          Repeatedly promoting your own blog on others blogs is seen in bad taste, poor netiquette, and breaks the T & C’s.

          And most of all, reading your proslytizing fuckwittery on your pissy website is even more distasteful than having to read it here.

        • MR

          Oh, this explains so much.

        • Don Camp

          There is an easy solution. DON’T READ IT.

        • nydiva

          Don: There is an easy solution. DON’T READ IT.

          Atheist blogs are where the action is at, Ignorant Amos. So of course, Don comes here to gain readers. He can’t get readers on his own (why anyone would read his blog after reading his lame posts.). So Don pretends he wants a dialogue with atheists when what he really wants is to promote his blog. He was asked to stop promoting his blog on Debunking Christianity, but Don ignored the restriction and was eventually kicked off the blog. It’s not surprising, Don is here. He needs help getting views. LOL! The old guy seems to be losing his cool. LOL!

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Sa-WEET!

          😉

        • Ignorant Amos

          I’ve been. What I read was mindwankery of the highest order, but that is besides the point I’m making. You are being a complete arsehole by continually linking to it, and breaking the T & C’s here in the process. You wouldn’t want banned from yet another blog for being the resident arsehole again, would ya?

        • epeeist

          I am a fan of the moderation system they use on SlashDot. If a post has significant down votes then it’s content disappears from view. You can still see that the person has made a post but you have to click on a link to see the text.

          You can tune it in your personal settings, adjusting the level at which the text disappears.

          Much better than Disqus where a down vote only decrements a counter.

        • nydiva

          Don, I know you ignored Debunking Christianity’s request not to proselytize or promote your blog, so I guessing you will as a good Christian fail to honor that Terms of Use on Patheos.com. I’ve posted a link for everyone to review. https://www.patheos.com/terms-of-use

          C. You agree not to use any part of the Patheos Site to:

          i. aggressively and/or repeatedly attempt to proselytize or convert others to what you believe;

          ii. to ask for money for yourself, for another individual, or for any for-profit cause;

          iii. promote on-line or off-line sites, products or services;…

          Don, I am not afraid of your post; but your endless promotion of come to Jesus is a bit tiresome to say the least.

        • There is also an easy solution if you don’t like to receive flak and to have your statements ignored: GO AWAY.

        • Zeta

          Don Camp is very unwilling to leave the companionship (and enjoys the flaks he inevitably invites) of atheists and skeptics. Over at Debunking Christianity over the past 3 or 4 years, he promised to leave at least two times, even said his goodbye, and disappeared for a short period of time. But then the loneliness was too much for him and he quietly slipped back! He continued peddling his same old stale goods that nobody wants. He also continued proselytizing until John Loftus could not stand it anymore and banned him.

          It is not easy for him to leave on his own accord unless he is banned again.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          So Don Camp is an annoyaholic? Or an attentionholic? Or an atheistholic?

          😉

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          There’s an easier solution…don’t be an 69ass and spam your idiot blatherings where they aren’t wanted.

          You’re as bad as a 69friggin’ graffiti vandal.

        • nydiva

          So Don, why don’t you start your own blog on patheos instead of the self promotion of your blog here. You now know it’s against the terms of use to promote your blog on a patheos blog. Afraid no one will pay attention to your blog if you strike out on your own?

        • Thanks4AllTheFish

          Yes, those are words.

          You eschew the material and embrace the ethereal. By doing so is your appreciation of the beauty and vastness of the universe any different than mine? Do flowers smell better, are sweets any sweeter, does poetry lose its meter, does love no longer evoke passion, is the scent of a rose any less less fragrant, or does a breeze on a hot and humid day not cool your skin the same as mine?

          You speak of purpose and meaningfulness as if such things are unbelievable without your compunction to live your life in the third person. That is of course, your choice, but to many of us who have been where you are or who have always been too pragmatic to compartmentalize and set aside the here-and-now for an unlikely, uncorroborated, unspecified ethereal place of everlasting bliss, we find purpose and meaningfulness in every breath we take.

          Should any ethereal entity actually exist, I highly doubt it will condemn us for being true to ourselves. So while you may believe you possess some magical spirit that sets you apart from your fellow primates, we still accept you as one of us with whatever gifts or faults you may possess. We hope you do the same.

        • Ficino

          Believe in my religion or else you’ll be sad? What a crock. It’s your religion that made me sad. I am NOT going back to buy that broken appliance you are trying to sell us.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          Exactly. Don isn’t seeing atheism as it is, only how it appears through the prism of his Christianity.

        • BertB

          It’s a little more than that. Like most fundagelicals, he demonizes us and attacks us with strawman attacks. Hang in there, and listen to his preachings…and call them out when you see them for what they are.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          The broken appliance that irregularly administers painful shocks, no?

        • Raging Bee

          No, the broken appliance that BURNS YOUR WHOLE HOUSE DOWN AND KILLS YOUR FAMILY…and then blames your house and family for being so flammable…

        • Sample1

          Have you ever see this 5 min. vid by The Thinking Atheist? It belongs somewhere in the category of videos that gets to the core of all proselytizing systems. I was not the same after seeing it. It’s not earth shocking or sophisticated, just spot on.

          https://youtu.be/cJrqLV4yeiw

        • Ficino

          I remember Al Martin, pastor of Reformed Baptist in Hawthorne, NJ and maker of zillions of “teaching tapes”, declaiming that a baby is “a little bundle of depravity. Did anyone ever have to teach you how to lie?” Case close.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Brilliant.

    • I will pray Chauntea, the Great Mother, for you. However since you’ll claim again she is a false goddess without even bothering to check from where she comes from, I will pray the Virgo Cluster of galaxies instead.

    • epeeist

      The person who does not believe in a world that ultimately makes sense is faced either with depression or an existential leap to something that offers hope or relief from meaninglessness.

      Strange, that was what I thought religious people did. Unable to find meaning within their own lives they resort to inventing something external with which to imbue meaning.

      • BertB

        As I said elsewhere in this thread, I feel sorry for people who bleat that they found “meaning” in their life when they converted to Christianity. Somebody else had to tell them? What sad, sad people who think that what they believe about some Daddy in the Sky gives meaning to their life. We give meaning to our life through our actions, not what we believe.

        • MR

          Yes, for me this argument always makes the Christian look extremely foolish. Ask the average person, ask the average Christian on the street what gives meaning to their life and it’s the day to day things that give us all meaning. Ask them about ultimate meaning and watch them flounder. What, after all, is the ultimate meaning of life? That’s a question everyone, including Christians don’t have an answer for.

    • JustAnotherAtheist2

      Who says the world doesn’t make sense? What does it mean to say the world is meaningless?

      • NSAlito

        I say the world doesn’t make sense…but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Neither Trumpistas nor chess aficionados make sense to me.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          But “Chess 69nuts boasting in an open foyer” is a funny 69punch line… 😉

        • Judgeforyourself37

          LMAO, that was great.

    • JustAnotherAtheist2

      Don, it might be helpful to know that every complaint you levy against atheism is really a betrayal of your own issues. When you say, “atheists believe” or “atheism leads to…” what you really mean is “this is what happens if I take my worldview, remove god but retain everything else.”

      For clarity, let’s put this in the context. If you claim, “under atheism, people are just another collection of atoms!” what you are really saying is, “my mother has no value of her own accord; until god gives her value, she is worth no more than a rock or a grain of sand.”

      My question is, do you really believe this? If it were somehow proven tomorrow that god doesn’t exist, would you then consider your mother completely worthless?

      • Don Camp

        If it were somehow proven tomorrow that god doesn’t exist, would you then consider your mother completely worthless?

        Of course not. But that would not change the fact that the pain and the joy she experienced in life in the whole scheme of things was meaningless. Just as it would be for me or you. “Let us eat, drink,and be merry, for tomorrow we die.”

        • Ignorant Amos

          “Let us eat, drink,and be merry, for tomorrow we die.”

          The message of Ecclesiastes…my fave book in the compendium.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Nope.

          The pain and joy she experienced in life was meaningful FOR HER and those around her….and, if she was a good enough author or somebody near her was and used her as an example, future generations who read the writings.

          There’s no need for any ‘ultimate’ meaning…which is good, because there’s zero reputable EVIDENCE for it, either.

        • Otto

          Than your car is ultimately meaningless…can I have your car?

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Don eating is meaningless, too…he should stop (with thanks to Dara O’Briain…)

        • Raging Bee

          Right…you wouldn’t consider your mother meaningless…just her entire life.

          Wotta idjit!

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          So her life does have value of its own accord? Then why would her experiences have none? Wouldn’t her experiences have value at least in proportion to her godless value?

          I also must ask, what is the value distribution of a person? 50/50? 70/30 god over innate? How is this measured?

          Lastly, if we allow our personal worth to be fully determined by what someone else thinks of us, that is a sign of emotional and psychological unhealth. Why should this be any different if the “someone” is god?

        • Len

          But that would not change the fact that the pain and the joy she experienced in life in the whole scheme of things was meaningless.

          Don, your mother’s pain and joy in such a situation might seem meaningless to you but that doesn’t mean it would have been meaningless to her. That you cannot put yourself in someone else’s shoes and see things the way they see things is probably a (sad) result of your belief system. It might be worth re-examining that to see whether that belief system really has any value for you.

          EDIT for clarity.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Failure of mirror neurons? Sociopathy?

        • epeeist

          Sociopathy?

          In commenting on the Catholic child abuse over the years I have come across very few Catholics who have condemned the actions of the church. Where they have to choose between empathy for the victims and Catholic dogma they almost inevitably choose the latter.

          Not so much sociopathy, more the fact that their person identity is so closely tied in with the church makes it impossible for them to criticise it.

        • Otto

          Where they have to choose between empathy for the victims and Catholic dogma they almost inevitably choose the latter.

          Pointing this out got me banned from He Who Shall Not Be Named site on the Catholic Channel. Apparently saying this out loud is “anti-Catholic” and is bigoted…smh.

        • Sample1

          Right. Because though you aren’t doing it, such a comment is perceived as naming any Joe Catholic commenter a pedophile or pedophile supporter. And that’s an ad hom (which is banhammer-worthy for many faith sites) though ironically/inversely an equally moderation-worthy straw man in its own right and for which said Joe Catholic will be allowed to maintain and receive upvotes.

          Mike
          Apologies for the wonky grammar.
          Edit done.

        • Sample1

          Stockholm Syndrome comes to mind, though not quite. I think you’ve nailed it. Much like Trump, any criticism of him leads many to take it as a affront to them.

          Something Andrew Yang (my hopeful 2020 presidential nominee) understands. Resultantly, Yang is siphoning off disaffected Trump supporters. He rarely criticizes Orange directly. Rather, he focuses on the problems that helped elect him.

          Likewise, perhaps it’s better to keep focus on the challenges (sociological/philosophical) that all humans encounter rather than the guy in the Vatican, temple or mosque?

          Questions questions.

          Mike
          Edit done.

        • epeeist

          I think you’ve nailed it.

          I come at my position via Salman Rushdie:

          At Cambridge I was taught a laudable method of argument: you never personalise, but you have absolutely no respect for people’s opinions. You are never rude to the person, but you can be savagely rude about what the person thinks. That seems to me a crucial distinction: people must be protected from discrimination by virtue of their race, but you cannot ring-fence their ideas. The moment you say that any idea system is sacred, whether it’s a belief system or a secular ideology, the moment you declare a set of ideas to be immune from criticism, satire, derision, or contempt, freedom of thought becomes impossible.

          This was something I was initially happy with, but when you come across like Don and Candy Smith it becomes obvious that whenever you attack the systems of ideas that they adhere to then they see this as a personal attack since, as I said, their personal identity is so tightly bound with their religion.

          To be fair, this doesn’t just apply to religion. I have seen similar behaviour in political ideologues too, also climate change deniers, anti-vaxxers and Brexiteers…

        • If you don’t expect life to be meaningful “in the whole scheme of things,” then you won’t be disappointed. The universe doesn’t owe anyone a meaning.

    • eric

      The person who does not believe in a world that ultimately makes sense
      is faced either with depression or an existential leap to something that
      offers hope or relief from meaninglessness.

      Maybe for you, not for me. I do not demand that the universe make sense to humans in order to have hope and find meaning in my life.

      After all, how narcissistic can you be? Must every party be your party to be entertaining? Can’t you enjoy being at someone (or something) else’s party? Heck, let’s posit a party thrown for no reason or person or thing whatsoever…does that mean you can’t enjoy being at it?

      I can.

      • JustAnotherAtheist2

        Great response. I wish I thought of it.

      • MR

        If God decreed that when we die, we die, he’d accept and defend that. Why can’t we accept it on our own?

    • Ficino

      The person who does not believe in a world that ultimately makes sense is faced either with depression or an existential leap to something that offers hope or relief from meaninglessness.

      Your mansplaining is just your mansplaining. Along the lines of what the marine biologist character says in Mon Oncle d’Amerique: “Le pourquoi de chaque être est être.”

    • NSAlito

      The person who does not believe in a world that ultimately makes sense
      is faced either with depression or an existential leap to something that
      offers hope or relief from meaninglessness…

      …or a life full of family love or a chance to play golf or the joy of solving the mysteries of nature or an opportunity to take tango lessons or….

      • rubellapox2

        I’ll take option number 2 please…:)

        • Greg G.

          I’ll take option 2 after I do the tango with NSAlito!

      • Don Camp

        Isn’t that an existential leap? It reminds me of Ernest Hemingway. Fishing, hunting, and women ultimately did not satisfy.

        • Greg G.

          Fishing, hunting, and women ultimately did not satisfy.

          Maybe EH was doing it wrong. I am more than satisfied and I don’t hunt or fish.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          “First pillage, THEN burn!”

          😉

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Why pick a 69suicide? Why not Stephen Hawking, who, even confined to a wheelchair and unable to breathe on his own, took delight in life right up until the end…no ‘god(s) needed’

        • Otto

          That just won’t do…that doesn’t fit Don’s conclusion so it must be tossed out.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          &ltinsert 69shit-eating grin here&gt

        • Ignorant Amos

          What’s your point in citing Hemingway?

        • epeeist

          What’s your point in citing Hemingway?

          It’s done in order to allow him to make a hasty generalisation from a single case to the general one.

        • NSAlito

          There’s no “leaping” when you do what engrosses or fulfills you. I have a lot of joy and laughter in my life.

          If someone obsesses about meaninglessness, I’d advise them to get screened for clinical depression (e.g., serotonin deficiency).

        • Raging Bee

          NSAlito doesn’t seem to think it’s a leap; so why should you?

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          Isn’t that an existential leap?

          No, that’s just you confusing atheism for “Christian dogma minus god” again.

    • Michael Neville

      Believing in an imaginary god and following the rules its spokescritters have laid down do not give life meaning.

    • Raging Bee

      “a world that ultimately makes sense” =/= “a world created and ruled by a god(ess).”

    • Lord Backwater

      If the world is truly meaningless as you seem to conceive it…

      I get annoyed at people who elide lack of absolute meaning with lack of meaning. Especially when they contradict themself in the next sentence.

      • MR

        =’D

      • Otto

        …and they have never demonstrated that their meaning is actually ultimate, they just continually bleat that it is.

      • BertB

        Why does belief in a Big Daddy in the Sky give meaning to life? I don’t need it, and have never needed it. I get meaning from my life by my actions…what I do, and the people I share my ideas with. How would belief in a supernatural entity give more meaning than that?

    • Raging Bee

      If the world is truly meaningless as you seem to conceive it…

      Please quote ANYTHING by the author that shows he thinks “the world is truly meaningless.”

      • Don Camp

        I’ve lost track of which author you mean. But let’s take Franz Kafka.

        In a book it is the general message that builds rather than a simple quote. In The Trial, Joseph K. is accused of something and arrested and put on trial. But he is never told what he is on trial for. There is also no defense. How could there be a defense if there was no specific charge? There is no truth because every truth can be spun to mean something else. It is a nightmare. And that is how Kafka saw life.

        • Ignorant Amos

          How does that quote demonstrate that Franz Kafka thinks “the world is truly meaningless”?

          He seems to have found plenty of things in it that gave it meaning to him.

          Btw, Kafka isn’t a great example. It was thought he suffered from mental disorder.

          I think the author RB might be alluding to, is your reference to Hemingway.

        • Don Camp

          In which case I recommended Hemingway’s book The Old Man and the Sea for the theme of meaninglessness and the existential leap to something, however inadequate, that provides some meaning.

        • Ignorant Amos

          A seen the movie starring Spencer Tracy.

          It’s a work of fiction.

          Anyway. You’ll need to flesh out your assertion with some substance, because I don’t see it.

        • Don Camp

          Of curse it is a work of fiction. Wasn’t that clear?

          It is first of all a novel. It then became a movie, but the movies is quite faithful to the book. I think it is one of the best movies based on Hemingway’s work.

          The question was is there some quote from anything Hemingway wrote that substantiates his conviction that life was meaningless in the sense the Existentialist meant. I replied that Santiago fought a fight with a huge fish. It would be the best prize of his life. But the fish was eaten by sharks before he could get it home. That is a picture of Hemingway’s worldview and his life. Even the most heroic efforts fail to be ultimately satisfying. His motto of grace under pressure failed him.

          Was it Hemingway’s personal view of life? I think so. He spent his life fishing, hunting, and chasing women.It was fun while it lasted. In the end as he was feeling the effects of age, Hemingway didn’t want to face the end loss of everything he had lived for. so he took his own life.

        • Ignorant Amos

          That’s seems to be just your interpretation. I want to know on what basis you take that opinion. Personally, I don’t think ya can. And like just about everything you’ve contributed to this blog, it’s a loada ballix.

          Hemingway didn’t want to face the end loss of everything he had lived for. so he took his own life.

          How do you know why he took his own life? Remember the other day when you pulled me for saying Avalos used an hypothesis as evidence for a claim? Guess what you are doing here?

          Why Ernest Hemingway Committed Suicide

          While an answer to this kind of question can never be offered with any certainty, given the complexity of mental health, and the time that has passed, there are several plausible possible explanations.

          While we’ll never be able to pinpoint exactly why he killed himself, it’s clear Hemingway suffered from physical and mental deterioration in the years and months leading up to his death, and seems to have been quite sick at the time he pulled the trigger.

          https://www.artofmanliness.com/articles/why-ernest-hemingway-committed-suicide/

          Existential angst through a meaningless life? My arse. A better diagnosis would be PTSD. But there are better even than that.

          No one really knows why Hemingway shot himself in the head. But there are better hypotheses than yours.

          Some answers were offered in 2006 by a long article in the American Psychiatry magazine, called “Ernest Hemingway: A Psychological Autopsy of a Suicide”. It was by Christopher D Martin, whose official title is Instructor and Staff Psychiatrist at the Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston Texas. Martin had read widely in the 15 or so biographies and memoirs of Hemingway and offered his expert analysis – based, inevitably, at second hand, but still a convincing evaluation. He had no trouble in diagnosing the author as suffering from “bipolar disorder, alcohol dependence, traumatic brain injury, and probably borderline and narcissistic personality traits”. He notes that many in the Hemingway family – his father and mother, their siblings, his own son and his grand-daughter Margaux – were prone to manic-depression (Margaux’s was the fifth, or possibly sixth, suicide in four generations) and suggests that it was Ernest’s manic episodes that drove him to his astonishing feats of creativity. But he locates the writer’s trauma in two childhood experiences.

          https://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/profiles/being-ernest-john-walsh-unravels-the-mystery-behind-hemingways-suicide-2294619.html

          Was it Hemingway’s personal view of life? I think so. He spent his life fishing, hunting, and chasing women.It was fun while it lasted. In the end as he was feeling the effects of age, Hemingway didn’t want to face the end loss of everything he had lived for. so he took his own life.

          Absolute and utter shite. Typical Don Camp woo-woo pulled from yer arsehole. Quit the brain farts, they are stinking the place up. Go away and wise ta fuck up

        • Don Camp

          Yes. It is my interpretation. But so are the two that follow in your post.

          I happen to agree with the Christopher Martin. All the symptoms were there. The interesting thing about manic depression is that in the manic phase a person can be extremely creative. One of my best friends from the 90s suffered from bipolar disorder. In his depressive phase he often contemplated suicide. In his manic phase he wrote beautiful and insightful poetry.

          And certainly Hemingway was narcissistic. And he had the freedom to indulge his narcissism to the max.

          But he was also highly intelligent, another trait often true of manic depressives. So I would include in the list of symptoms and medical and personality disorder causes his worldview. That can hardly be denied if you are acquainted with his life and work. A melancholy worldview provided him no hope.

          My friend with bipolar disorder found that his firm faith in God, which he found late in his life, and the future allowed him to face his disorder, get help from psychiatric care and medications available, and find a place of peace with who he was. It also enabled him to face death from the cancer that was the result of agent orange with courage and peace.

          Bipolar disorder presents differently in different people. Sadly, another friend who was a sufferer of bipolar disorder, even though a Christian, did not rest in the peace that could have been hers. She ended up taking her life. I don’t blame people for their disorder. But real hope does allow people to face their disorder effectively.

        • nydiva

          Don Camp: “But real hope does allow people to face their disorder effectively.”

          Brain disorders can be very difficult to treat. So real hope lies in getting the proper medical intervention (e.g., medication, therapy, etc.) along with emotional support from family and friends. Faith, however, substitutes real help with false hope in an all powerful deity. I’ve known many Christians suffering from brain disorders who were shamed by other Christians for needing medical help,

        • Don Camp

          Yes brain and personality disorders can be difficult. And I urge people to get medical help. The faith of which I am speaking is not in healing. I am of the opinion that when there is medical help, that is as much God’s provision as a miracle. Faith does not substitute for medical help.

          Yes. I too know Christians who have been shamed by other Christians. Often it is the”health and wealth gospel” that sets people up for that. Nevertheless, a worldview that offers hope allows people to face those the difficulties that are the lot of all of us at some time better than the melancholy worldview of hopelessness. The conviction that God can carry one through difficult times is far better than the other options, for example, Hemingway’s dependence on alcohol.

        • nydiva

          Don Camp: The conviction that God can carry one through difficult times is far better than the other options, for example, Hemingway’s dependence on alcohol.

          The belief that an imagined god can carry one through difficult times might work for a season. But I’ve seen Christians (and other religious believers) slipped back into hopelessness despite their faith and depend on alcohol and drugs to alleviate a situation that faith never really took away. No wonder since they were expecting help from something that doesn’t exist.

          I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard testimonies about how “god” delivered this one from drugs, or that one from homosexuality, etc. only to see these same people years later back where they started. All because they didn’t get the treatment or deal with the situation that really caused their hopelessness in the first place. Faith in god or an afterlife is no substitute for getting real help when one needs it.

        • Don Camp

          I’ve seen Christians (and other religious believers) slipped back into hopelessness despite their faith

          I have too.

          No wonder since they were expecting help from something that doesn’t exist.

          Or they just did not hold onto the promise given. Philip Yancy wrote a book addressing that. It is Disappointment with God.

          The irony is that, in my experience, those who expect a miraculous deliverance are more prone to disillusionment than those who simply take God at his word and rest in that, knowing that God knows best.

          I’ll agree again in the need to get help when it is available.

        • nydiva

          Don Camp: Or they just did not hold onto the promise given. Philip Yancy wrote a book addressing that. It is Disappointment with God.

          Nope, they did hold onto the promise given and discovered that the promise maker didn’t exist. John W. Loftus wrote a book addressing that. It is Christian Delusion: Why Faith Fails.”

          Don Camp: The irony is that, in my experience, those who expect a miraculous deliverance are more prone to disillusionment than those who simply take God at his word and rest in that, knowing that God knows best.

          The irony is that, in my experience, those who simply take imaginary Bible god at his word and rest in the false belief that this non-existence god know best are the most disappointment by this reality.

        • Don Camp

          My experience has been quite different. I have found that God has provided for me over and over again, sometimes in unexpected ways. I find that God has protected me and my family in fairly dangerous situations. I don’t know what your experience has been, but I am satisfied.

        • Greg G.

          Things have worked out well for me, too, so I am satisfied. People all over the world would say the same. The religious would praise their gods and the non-religious wouldn’t need to. Civilization is a wonderful thing.

          But there are a significant number of people who cannot say any such thing.

        • nydiva

          Being satisfied proves nothing other than you have faith in a religious delusion.

        • Don Camp

          Nor did I intend to prove anything by it. But I can understand how you don’t want me to confuse anyone, So thanks for your comment.

        • nydiva

          Don Camp: “Nor did I intend to prove anything by it.”
          Sheesh! Your whole purpose for being on this blog is to evangelize. You have posted as much hundreds of times. You really exemplify the term, “Liar for Jesus.”

        • Ignorant Amos

          You really exemplify the term, “Liar for Jesus.”

          And has no shame about it either.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The cunt picks and chooses on a whim though.

        • epeeist

          It’s the sheer arrogance that gets me. His supposed god creates a universe consisting of hundreds of billions of galaxies, each of which contains hundreds of billions of stars and (it is now looking like) a similar number of planets.

          But this god of his takes time out to ensure that Don doesn’t splinters in his foot from walking barefoot on a wooden floor or something similar.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The irony is that, in my experience, those who expect a miraculous deliverance are more prone to disillusionment than those who simply take God at his word and rest in that, knowing that God knows best.

          Not just your experience. Prayers are answered at the level of a thing happening by pure chance. In other words, praying to a milk carton will have the same effect as praying to any gods.

          The irony is, that those who expect the miraculous deliverance, are taking God at his word.

          Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

          But at least yer admitting that the word isn’t worth diddly squat.

          https://whywontgodhealamputees.com/god5.htm

          I’ll agree again in the need to get help when it is available.

          Bwaaaahahaha!

          Always best to hedge ones bets. Not showing a lot of confidence there Don.

        • Don Camp

          Not showing a lot of confidence there Don.

          I have a great deal of confidence that God has provided for us remedies for nearly all our diseases. If I don’t avail myself of what he has provided, that would be lack of confidence. God does work miracles, but I don’t think I need a miracle when I have the other remedies he has provided.

        • Please list some diseases and their God-given remedies.

        • Don Camp

          Oh, come on Bob. Every remedy is provided in the natural world that God created. You know, my doctor would think this conversation hilarious.

        • No problem–you and your doctor can laugh at me. I’m still waiting for that list.

          Go.

        • Don Camp

          Penicillin.

        • As a cure for cancer? That surprises me.

          And why the hide and seek? Humans had to discover penicillin less than 100 years ago. Why isn’t that in the Bible? God just doesn’t care about the health of his favorite creation, I guess.

        • Don Camp

          Search for natural remedies on google. Here’s one https://www.mdlinx.com/internal-medicine/article/3813

          God’s purpose is not hat we live perfectly disease free lives until we just drop over dead at maybe 100. If it happened that way,I suppose you’d complain that Hod doesn’t care about his favortite creation.

          The fact is, and the conviction of Jews and Christians has been that death is a consequence of sin BUT that there is a remedy for that. It is LIFE through God’s mercy.

          So cancer? We’ve made good progress in treating and overcoming cancer. One of the more successful lately is immunotherapy.

          Immunotherapy is the treatment of disease by activating or
          suppressing the immune system. Immunotherapies designed to elicit or
          amplify an immune response are classified as activation immunotherapies,
          while immunotherapies that reduce or suppress are classified as
          suppression immunotherapies.

          Amazing how God made us.

        • Let’s take a step back. You said, “Every remedy is provided in the natural world that God created” and mentioned how your doctor would laugh . . . presumably at your ridiculous statement.

          Natural remedies, you say? I wonder then why hospitals only use a few of these (willow bark = aspirin, etc.). And why modern medicine still throws up its hands

          In your list, I noticed echinacea, which has been debunked as a remedy for colds. I noticed peppermint—maybe that’s the cancer remedy? It seemed to be a very short list.

          I wonder what natural remedies you recommend for diseases caused by bacteria or viruses. Or maybe prion disease—has God got a cure for that?

          God’s purpose is not hat we live perfectly disease free lives until we just drop over dead at maybe 100.

          No, but the Bible says you’re supposed to live to be 120 (Gen. 6:3).

          Tell us about God’s purpose after you’ve provided evidence for God.

          death is a consequence of sin BUT that there is a remedy for that. It is LIFE through God’s mercy.

          How convenient that the proof of that remedy can never be tested. It’s weird how God is so afraid of the spotlight. For someone who is so comfortable receiving worship, you’d think that he’d like to take a public bow now and then.

        • Don Camp

          I said provided in the natural world. That does not mean “natural remedies” only, though there are many. What I mean is that the natural world provides all the raw material for every remedy we have.

          I wonder what natural remedies you recommend for diseases caused by bacteria or viruses.

          Well, penicillin does deal with some bacterial infections. But as I said, the other remedies we have developed come from the raw materials God provided.

          No, but the Bible says you’re supposed to live to be 120 (Gen. 6:3).

          Even if it did, what is your point. Some people live to 35, my step-father. Some to 69, my mother. And some to very close to 120. It is likely that if we ate right and lived right and if it were not for the environmental hazards we have created for ourselves, we might well live to 120. But what Genesis 6:3 does not say is that everyone will live to 120.

          Tell us about God’s purpose after you’ve provided evidence for God.

          I have done that more than once.Look it up on my profile.

          How convenient that the proof of that remedy can never be tested. . . .you’d think that he’d like to take a public bow now and then.

          He took a bow when he raised Jesus from the dead. At least the several billion who not only believe in the resurrection but have experienced the renewing work of the Holy Spirit in their own lives. It is kind of what we do when we celebrate Easter.

        • I said provided in the natural world. That does not mean “natural remedies” only

          Do you know what “synthetic” means? Synthetic compounds don’t come from another world; they come from this one. Sure, medicine makes lots of useful synthetic medicines, but that’s no credit to God.

          Well, penicillin does deal with some bacterial infections. But as I said, the other remedies we have developed come from the raw materials God provided.

          So, in your view, God should be able to receive credit for all of mankind’s insights in making medicine?

          Isn’t it kind of embarrassing having to tip the playing field so far in his favor? The guy wouldn’t even have to exist, and you’d have the same biased defense for him.

          “Tell us about God’s purpose after you’ve provided evidence for God.”
          I have done that more than once.Look it up on my profile.

          If you want to add it (or a link) in this comment, I’ll follow up.

          But you do agree that the unbelievable claims about God must be defended, and the burden of proof is yours. Right?

          He took a bow when he raised Jesus from the dead.

          It’s a story, bro. Lots of religions have stories. You need to show that the stories in the Bible are not what they’re screaming out to be—mythology and legend, at the base of a manmade religion.

        • Don Camp

          So, in your view, God should be able to receive credit for all of mankind’s insights in making medicine?

          It is not my view. It is the view of a lot of students of the Bible.

          Psalm 8:5 You have made them a little lower than the angels
          and crowned them with glory and honor.
          6 You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
          you put everything under their[g] feet:
          7 all flocks and herds,
          and the animals of the wild,
          8 the birds in the sky,
          and the fish in the sea,
          all that swim the paths of the seas.

          Being made the rulers over the works of God’s hands, I think and many others think, means that God gave the world to mankind to manage and use for the good of mankind. That means God gave man the intelligence to do it. That would include the intelligence to make the synthetic compounds you speak of.

          But you do agree that the unbelievable claims about God must be defended, and the burden of proof is yours. Right?

          Every Christian is encouraged to give an answer for the hope we have;

          1 Peter 3: 15 Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,

          That but we are told to give an answer (apologetics) not to defend God but for the benefit of those who challenge our faith. There is, however, no burden of proof. We are expected to be able to give an answer, not win an argument. To be honest, winning an argument will not get anyone anywhere, neither side in the argument.

          It’s a story,

          It is a statement of historical fact. It is either true or not. Approaching it as an event using the methods of the historian, I believe, demonstrates it to be fact.

          I do not know how to link a previous post. So here is the evidence:

          Direct evidence of God is not possible in any scientific way because
          science is limited to physical phenomena. But indirect evidence is
          abundant.
          1) The universe displays the kind of fine-tuning that would
          be expected of intelligent design. (laws and development of the
          universe.)
          2) Nature displays the kind of design that would be expected of an intelligent creator.
          3)Human nature displays a God consciousness that is unique and consistent
          with the description in Genesis 1 of man being made in the image of
          God.
          4) The Bible displays an organization just like the plot in a
          story, which would not be expected of a collection of writings written
          by many authors over 1000 plus years.
          5) History confirms the accuracy of prophecy.
          6) Israel confirms the promise and warnings of God.
          7)Jesus. He claimed to be the eternal Messiah and the Son of God. Those
          who knew him best declared that he was God who took on flesh. His
          resurrection from the grave confirmed those claims.
          8) The personal experience of God who speaks and answers prayer. This has been
          the experience of millions of Jews and Christians over 3000 years.

        • “So, in your view, God should be able to receive credit for all of mankind’s insights in making medicine?”
          It is not my view. It is the view of a lot of students of the Bible.

          You said that God gets credit for putting the raw materials for making medicine for all ills in our environment.

          Being made the rulers over the works of God’s hands, I think and many others think, means that God gave the world to mankind to manage and use for the good of mankind. That means God gave man the intelligence to do it. That would include the intelligence to make the synthetic compounds you speak of.

          So then what do you say to those generations in the centuries before antibiotics, anesthesia, vaccines, and all the rest? And what do you say to people today that we haven’t yet figured out the cures it’ll take us another century to create. “Sucks to be you,” I guess. That’s an odd policy for a god, but it’s your religion, so whatever.

          Every Christian is encouraged to give an answer for the hope we have;

          Too bad they have no ammunition.

          “It’s a story,”
          It is a statement of historical fact.

          That’s a rather bold statement. One of these days, you’ll have to defend it.

          here is the evidence:
          Direct evidence of God is not possible in any scientific way because
          science is limited to physical phenomena.

          God desperately wants a relationship with us but (somehow) never gets around to making his very existence obvious? Sounds like he doesn’t exist.

          fine-tuning
          design

          All of us could respond in our sleep.

          Human nature displays a God consciousness that is unique and consistent with the description in Genesis 1 of man being made in the image of God.

          Many apologists refer to God’s mysterious ways. They apologize for God’s barbaric excesses in the OT as if he is judged with different rules than we are. You should bring them in line first.

          The Bible displays an organization just like the plot in a story, which would not be expected of a collection of writings written by many authors over 1000 plus years.

          Makes zero sense. It looks precisely like a blog of an ancient people, not like the simple, streamlined, focused message of a god.

          History confirms the accuracy of prophecy.

          Show us.

          Jesus. He claimed to be the eternal Messiah and the Son of God. Those who knew him best declared that he was God who took on flesh. His resurrection from the grave confirmed those claims.

          I have pointed out that the Bible is just a story, haven’t i?

          The personal experience of God who speaks and answers prayer.

          God answers prayers? Conduct an experiment and prove it, or withdraw your claim.

        • Don Camp

          You said that God gets credit for putting the raw materials for making medicine for all ills in our environment.

          Yes. And for giving us the intelligence to be able to do that. And for providing those who ask the wisdom to do it effectively for good.BTW we alone of all the creatures on earth have the ability to make the earth better or destroy it. Right now I think we are making progress on the destruction side.

          I imagine you have heard of the two books, the book of the written word and the book of nature. I believe that is biblical and that taken together we might know to navigate in this world. That includes the challenges of our physical weaknesses. We know, however, that life in the here and now is not the ultimate purpose for us. He has a better world to come. And we stretch out to that even as we try to do as much good in this life as we can.

          God desperately wants a relationship with us but (somehow) never gets around to making his very existence obvious?

          You are kidding, of course. God makes his presence and care known to us in providing us with the things we need

          he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy. (Acts 14:17)

          Then too there is Jesus. In him God is fully revealed.

          Col. 2:9 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form,

          Makes zero sense. It looks precisely like a blog of an ancient people, not like the simple, streamlined, focused message of a god.

          Think of it as a story. (Story is by far the most common way people have communicated through the millennia. So why not God?)

          It has an introduction (Genesis 1-5) that reveals the setting, the characters (God, Satan, and man), and the conflicts. It has an ascending series of conflicts (the history of Israel’s struggle with their own faithfulness among other things) that lead ultimately to the crisis (the Gospels) in which God overcomes the enemy and destroys his work of death. There is a descending series of resolutions to the problems through history since the cross, and there is a final resolution of the conflicts (Revelation) ending in the denouement of Revelation 20-22..

          That is a classic plot. If the Bible were read that way, as a story, as a real life story, it would make more sense. But it is a big book and the plot is not easily seen when we take random pieces by themselves. It is like beginning a novel in the middle of the book. That prevents both believers and non-believers from seeing and appreciating the scope of the story that is man’s story from beginning to end.
          See basic plot structure on the internet.

          God answers prayers? Conduct an experiment and prove it, or withdraw your claim.

          I underwent a serious life threatening medical crisis this summer. for a number of days I was within an hour of dying in ICU. I prayed for healing, if it was his will, but I was good with either living or dying. But here I am.

          In the middle of that my wife and I had to face the expenses of four weeks of medical care in a top medical center with an army of surgeons and nurses and the expenses of travel back and forth daily 80 miles through big city traffic. I did not pray for God’s provision for those costs; he had already personally promised and demonstrated his ability to care for us two weeks before it all happened. But I did thank him. Today thousands of dollars in expenses later, we have had every need supplied. Thank you.Lord.

        • Greg G.

          I underwent a serious life threatening medical crisis this summer. for a number of days I was within an hour of dying in ICU. I prayed for healing, if it was his will, but I was good with either living or dying. But here I am.

          It sounds like God was trying to kill you but the doctors won.

        • Don Camp

          You know, I considered either option a win. I was blessed with the most intense experience of God in the middle of the crisis. I was perfectly ready and willing to go on to enjoy him in an even closer experience. I was willing also to have him lift me up, as he did. I believed then and still do that God had a purpose for me to complete. But I would have preferred to go on to be with him.

        • MR

          As usual, the doctors do all the work and the imaginary god gets all the credit. He should alter his story to leave out the part about the doctors, it undermines his story. Maybe throw in some angels who lovingly cared for him, yadda, yadda.

        • Don’s got some ‘splainin’ to do when he stands in front of the white throne of judgment.

        • Ignorant Amos

          God makes his presence and care known to us in providing us with the things we need

          Just not everyone though.

          Thank you.Lord.

          Haa! Those folk on that plane shot down by the Iranians, they didn’t get much of a chance, did they? Your god concept is one sick and twisted entity.

        • Don Camp

          Who did that, Amos. Not God. Man’s unwillingness to be governed by God and live at peace results always in conflict.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Who did that, Amos. Not God.

          Oh, I know it wasn’t a god’s fault. But you appear to be having difficulties with the basics.

          “I underwent a serious life threatening medical crisis this summer. for a number of days I was within an hour of dying in ICU.”

          Who did that Don. Not God. Yet you think it was your God that saved you. Why? Does it have a plan? Do you think you a specially chosen?

          “I prayed for healing,…”

          And low and behold, God answered the prayers, through the actions of all the medical establishment no doubt, eh? But those on that plane got no such chance. And that has been the case throughout history. Even those that did get the chance, multitudes have perished unanswered. But hey. You were just fortunate that you won the god fixing lottery. You just seem to have born in the correct place, at the correct time, to get the one true god…right? But what about all those folk all over the world who pray to not YahwehJesus, yet claim as you do, god responded, through all those medical folk of course? What do you say to that? It’s like all gods answer prayers at the same rate as your god…and a milk carton. That of pure chance.

          Man’s unwillingness to be governed by God and live at peace results always in conflict.

          Boy, the shite that comes out of the hole in your face is rancid.

          You do know that Yahweh is a war god, right?

          “The LORD is a man of war; Yahweh is his name.” ~ Exodus 15.3.

          https://biblehub.com/exodus/15-3.htm

          And the buybull is testimony to that claim.

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

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yPfFx9JTQl8

          There is someone in denial on these boards and his name is Delusional Don Camp.

        • And for giving us the intelligence to be able to do that.

          God either cares about us or doesn’t, and you want to have it both ways. He cares enough to give us the fodder to (eventually) make medicines that work, but not enough to just give us the information directly so that people could’ve been saved this misery centuries ago.

          He has a better world to come.

          Make-believe.

          “God desperately wants a relationship with us but (somehow) never gets around to making his very existence obvious?”
          You are kidding, of course.

          Deadly serious.

          God makes his presence and care known to us in providing us with the things we need

          God is a solution in search of a problem. Drop the God hypothesis and nothing more is unexplained.

          he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy. (Acts 14:17)

          You speak, of course, of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (sauce be upon him). Yes, I agree.

          Think of it as a story. (Story is by far the most common way people have communicated through the millennia. So why not God?)

          Yes, it’s a story. And no more believable than any other story full of mythology.

          Break the spell and think for yourself.

          See basic plot structure on the internet.

          What’s surprising? The Bible was written by ordinary men. Yes, Joseph Campbell’s thinking comes into play. Some basics transcend cultures.

          I underwent a serious life threatening medical crisis this summer. for a number of days I was within an hour of dying in ICU. I prayed for healing, if it was his will, but I was good with either living or dying. But here I am.

          I’m glad to hear that you survived your medical scare. Thank modern medicine, since it saved you.

        • Don Camp

          He cares enough to give us the fodder to (eventually) make medicines
          that work, but not enough to just give us the information directly so
          that people could’ve been saved this misery centuries ago.

          Maybe we just didn’t listen. For far too long, we in the West have seen nature as something to be conquered as something of our enemy. So we have bulled our way around trying to tame nature rather than working with nature. Ironic isn’t it that many “primitive” peoples have discovered how to work with nature better than we have.

          Drop the God hypothesis and nothing more is unexplained.

          Really, I wonder. How about evil? Explain evil without God. But oh, we only have to deny evil, right? That seems to be the liberal strategy.

        • Maybe we just didn’t listen.

          How long are you going to keep apologizing for this joker? He makes you look like an idiot for continually answering for him. He can’t speak himself? Pick a god that actually exists before you worship it.

          Ironic isn’t it that many “primitive” peoples have discovered how to work with nature better than we have.

          We have lost something, but living conditions are in general much better in the West.

          Really, I wonder. How about evil? Explain evil without God.

          What’s hard to explain? In a society created by evolution, we have good and bad points. Explaining why society has ills is falling-off-a-log easy. What’s hard is explaining why omnipotent God can look on this semi-shithole and smile with satisfaction.

        • Don Camp

          In a society created by evolution, we have good and bad points

          Bad points? Maybe someone stealing my car is a bad point. But someone murdering 12 million people is evil.

          In what other species has evolution created evil behavior at that magnitude? And as you know, it was not an aboration. There have been repeats just in the past century. Of course, you could say we are a young species and it is yet to be seen if we will earn the right to continue. Maybe we should turn the world back to the apes. The trouble is we will take perhaps half of the earth’s species with us. Evolution is heartless.

          “But living conditions are in general much better in the west.” Really. Is that justification for evil? I think in a twisted way that was Lenin’s justification for evil. And Mao’s. Cultural cleansing and all that.

          Evolution can do all that?

          I don’t believe it.

          And I don’t believe God is smiling with satisfaction. I see no hint of that anywhere in scripture. The opposite actually. Why would he pay the price he did to redeem us and the society we have created? It is no game. It is life and death. Choose life.

        • In what other species has evolution created evil behavior at that magnitude?

          It’s no surprise that some species is #1 in bad behavior. Curiously, that same species is also #1 for changing the world in a better way (vaccines, antibiotics, etc.).

          Evolution is heartless.

          Yep.

          Cultural cleansing and all that.
          Evolution can do all that?
          I don’t believe it.

          Huh? What’s explainable only with God?

          And I don’t believe God is smiling with satisfaction.

          The world is either the way he wants or it’s not. But how could it possibly not be the way he wants? He is omnipotent, right?

          Why would he pay the price he did to redeem us and the society we have created?

          Pay the price? You mean Jesus dying? Big deal. I’d “die” and get resurrected to save my kids that ordeal. You, too, I’d bet.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Bad points? Maybe someone stealing my car is a bad point. But someone murdering 12 million people is evil.

          Well, it’s subjective isn’t it? Who murdered 12 million?

          Is the capturing of virgin girls as war booty for sex slaves and paedophile rape wives, evil?

          In what other species has evolution created evil behavior at that magnitude?

          Oh, it’s a numbers game, is it? The level of evil is dependant on the numbers involved, is that what yer saying?

          And as you know, it was not an aboration. There have been repeats just in the past century.

          How is that even possible, given God belief? Obviously no fucker really takes the God nonsense seriously.

          Of course, you could say we are a young species and it is yet to be seen if we will earn the right to continue.

          Earn the right from who? How old was the species at the time of the earth cleaning flood for a lot less?

          Maybe we should turn the world back to the apes. The trouble is we will take perhaps half of the earth’s species with us.

          Indeed.

          Evolution is heartless.

          Psssst! We know Don. But here’s the rub, according to your beliefs, by extension, so is God.

        • Pofarmer

          Why would he pay the price he did to redeem us and the society we have created?

          Because it’s a story created by Iron Age goat herders?

        • Ignorant Amos

          How about evil?

          What do you mean by “evil”?

          Explain evil without God.

          So evil is as a result of God? Funny, when pointing this out to Christers, they vehemently deny it?

          Without God, evil is easier to explain. You are just too stupid to know it.

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

          But just for shits and giggles…your god can be described as an evil God and you can’t show any different.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WiufsmxiUiU&feature=emb_logo

        • Ignorant Amos

          2) Nature displays the kind of design that would be expected of an intelligent creator.

          Given the subject of this particular subthread, I’ll direct you to birth defects.

          https://cdn.images.express.co.uk/img/dynamic/78/590x/Baby-Harlequin-Ichthyosis-genetic-condition-India-757659.jpg

          Some intelligence at work there, right?

        • Don Camp

          What we see in birth defects is in many cases devolution. We are simply developing more and more genetic problems, But we also contribute. The first child my wife and I had died of serious birth defects. The cause of them were the lack of folic acid in her diet. We did not know that at the time. It was not intended by God to be so.

        • Ignorant Amos

          What we see in birth defects is in many cases devolution.

          Absolute cretinous bunkum.

          We are simply developing more and more genetic problems,

          So, folk are born with a talent or genius, and it’s a gift from a god. But children born with birth defects, fuck all to do with gods. Right? Is it any wonder we think your heads away with the fairies.

          But we also contribute.

          Oh, that’s not the issue. You want all the positives in life to be attributed to your god, even those positives made via human agency like medicines, but gods are off the hook for all the negatives…they are down to us. You’re a two faced hypocrite Don. Nothing in your reply addresses the issue. In a world where an omnipotent god exists, birth defects are unnecessary, whatever the reason you try and come up with..

          The first child my wife and I had died of serious birth defects. The cause of them were the lack of folic acid in her diet. We did not know that at the time.

          Whose fault is it that your wife needed folic acid in her diet in the first place? Why didn’t youse know this important piece of data?

          It was not intended by God to be so.

          It never is. A plane crashes with loss of life for all on board. Fuck all to do with gods. There’s one survivor, it’s a god willed miracle, right?

        • Greg G.

          Whose fault is it that your wife needed folic acid in her diet in the first place? Why didn’t youse know this important piece of data?

          I don’t think coveting makes the top ten worst offenses. Why not instead have a commandment that says, “Thou shalt include leafy, green vegetables and citrus fruits in your diet.”

        • Ignorant Amos

          Even put it in the dietary section of the 613 mitzvot. Between 143-169, after all, there’s some real nonsense in there that no omniscience would command.

          http://www.jewfaq.org/613.htm

        • Greg G.

          Most animals are immune to scurvy because most animals produce vitamin C. Primates and guinea pigs do not but they don’t miss it because their type of diet usually provides sufficient amounts of vitamin C.

          Humans can produce vitamin D using sunshine but need fewer skin pigments to produce enough year-round away from the tropics. But greater amounts of skin pigments protect the folic acid in the bloodstream from being broken down by sunshine.

          Plants and bacteria can make folate. If God didn’t want babies suffer from a lack of it, then animals could produce it, too.

        • Today, folic acid is standard advice to pregnant woman. When your wife was pregnant, perhaps not so much.

          So God generously gave us folic acid but we had to figure out that it was an essential nutrient, all while people are dying? You and God need to have a talk.

        • Pofarmer

          Ya know Don. Penicillin isn’t a man made compound. It’s a naturally occurring fungus. Same with Amoxicillin, which was discovered, I think, at San Born field at the University of MO. How many untold billions would have been saved if God had just made them known a wee bit sooner? I’m sorry Don. Your apologetics are just sad.

        • Don Camp

          The idea God had was that as we pay attention to his wisdom and direction we could be most effective in completing the mission God gave mankind. Yes, penicillin has around a long time, so have a lot of other natural remedies. Many we have not yet discovered, I am sure. Could we have earlier? I think so. Even primitive people have done so.

          That is why losing so many species is such a tragedy. We are losing natural plants which might harbor the next penicillin. God really did give us a wonderful world which, if we only had followed him and attended to his wisdom, would be a healthy place for us.

          You guys have a weird view of God. Somehow you think he should be your nanny. Or that he is magician doing magic tricks for our amusement. And when he doesn’t, you cry that he has failed.

          He wants you to grow up. He wants you to take your place, the place you were created for, as his partner in caring for creation. If you would, he will give you all the wisdom and direction you need to play the part he has for you.

        • Pofarmer

          Don. Your idea of God here, is entirely consistent with the idea of a God that is non-existant, which also happens to be my view. Look at that. To quote Mark Twain “People do all the work, God get’s all the credit.” The jig has been up on this stupidity for quite some time. It’s not that God has “failed”, that’s a moronic interpretation of what atheists believe. It’s that it’s easier to come up with a rational view of the world as it is without God than with one. When you give up this childish idiocy, so much of the world makes sense. To quote another atheist. “We are evolved Apes, not Fallen Angels.” It’s up to Humans to do what we can for one another, no gods required or in evidence. Now, you can keep on with your proselytizing foolishness, I suppose no one except the blog owner can really stop you. Just be aware, we’ve already been there, done that, seen through it. Some things, once you unsee, you can’t be forced back in.

        • Don Camp

          It’s that it’s easier to come up with a rational view of the world as it is without God than with one.

          In the period of the Enlightenment men in the West with a “rational view of the world” thought that the future lay in their hands and it was bright. We are far enough into the Enlightenment now to know the men of the Enlightenment were wrong. All on our own we have brought our species to the point of destruction on so many levels it is hard to catalogue them.

          Let’ take just one, global warming. I don’t know if you think people are responsible for global warming or whether it is primarily a natural phenomenon, but it is clear we haven’t responded to it with wisdom. We know, or at least many of us know, that global warming threatens civilization and has already resulted in the demise of many many species creating a cascading effect that will probably with sweep Homo sapiens away with them. But, of course, war will be the result. We will not walk silently into that dark night.

          Ironically we know what we can do. We can step back from our industrialized society and make radical steps to recovering an agrarian society and reduce our population, though it is probably too late for that. But we will not do that. We will build breakwaters around our coastal cities and make feeble attempts to reduce emissions of CO2. But we will not stop the clearing of our rain forests or allowing our forests here to deteriorate into tinderboxes that will burn and pour more CO2 into the atmosphere.

          Do you know that the American Indians and the Australian Aborigines had a solution to keeping our forests healthy? See https://www.cnn.com/2020/01/12/world/aboriginal-australia-fire-trnd/index.html By the way, I am not a believer in the noble savage.

          The Brave New World envisioned by the Enlightenment has failed us.

          What might have been? Well, likely it was too late by the time we came to the Enlightenment. The world shakers and movers were already too dependent on a machine of wealth and power that any return to a world friendly society was out of the question. I think the reality is that our course was already set to self-destruction. We know we must live light on the land, but we will not.

          That is the wisdom God would give us if we were willing to live and work in step with him. To be honest Christians have been as at fault as any, and we should have known better. But in the 4th century we made a pact with the devil and have been paying the piper along with you ever sense.

          The same can be said for almost every ill society suffers right now, including the topic of health and longevity that has been our recent conversation. It certainly can be said for our dilemma of armed conflict.

          What might have ? What might have been? Better than this for sure.

        • Pofarmer

          Dude. The World is safer than at any time in human history. You are less likely to die of disease. You are less likely to die a violent death. You are less likely to die of hunger. You are much less likely to be sold into slavery. I’m sorry, but only the most myopically blinkered can think that we haven’t gone forward and that Enlightenment values are the main driver.

        • Don Camp

          Really. Got any statistics?

          My daughter was involved in rescuing girls who had been sold or kidnapped into slavery, and she would challenge the slavery thing. It is huge today.

          It also makes no sense to say we are less likely to die of disease. What do we die from ordinarily? We in the U.S. may be living longer. May. But we are not healthier. We are being propped up by our technology. Temporarily. But our carelessness about the environment will catch up to us.

          Violent death? Maybe in the U.S. But don’t try to fly that idea in Syria. We are not in a full blown war, but there are plenty of people dying violent deaths today. And a wider war is almost inevitable following the pattern of the last century when there as hardly a year without war.

          Hunger? I’ll wait for your statistics.

          But that is the good news. We are about to pay the piper for the centuries of narcissistic behavior that is about to visit upon us hell in environmental disaster, mass extinctions (Wait. That is happening right now) and the war that we’ll see as nations try to maintain their slice of the pie in a super stressed environment. This is what the Enlightenment has provided us.

          In the U.S. we are tied up in a polarized political struggle that will not let us cooperate in finding even intermediate solutions. We are just not serious about the really serious danger to the future.

          So I think you are in denial.

        • Pofarmer
        • Add to that the incidence of just about any disease, not just in the West.

        • Pofarmer
        • Ignorant Amos

          So I think you are in denial.

          For a teacher of literature, your reading for comprehension skills are appalling.

        • Pofarmer
        • Greg G.

          That is amazing! Over a third of the world population was living on less than $2 a day. Now there are over 2 billion more people in the population but there are over a billion fewer people at or below that level of poverty. (https://www.worldometers.info/world-population/world-population-by-year/ )

          Have the gods become more powerful? Or is it the increase in the number of cell phones?

        • Pofarmer

          What’s striking is the blinkered, pessimistic viewpoint of people like Don.

        • MR

          … through such eyes, our world must appear bad and wretched. But these eyes have always seen in the same way, in all ages.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Don needs the here and now to be shite, so that he can look forward to his “pie in the sky when he dies”….his investment in this is 50 years in deep….what a waste.

        • Isn’t God the captain of Don’s ship? You’d think he’d have a better attitude about how God is doing, otherwise he’d jump ship.

        • Pofarmer

          It goes back to that nifty bit of Evangelical teaching, everything right is because of God, everything wrong is because of me. It’s just pernicious.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Hunger? That’s hard to measure, but you can’t really think that folk are more likely to die of hunger today, than in the past?

          http://www.fao.org/hunger/en/

          Famine?

          Compared to earlier historical periods, very few people have died in famines in recent decades. Here we show two bar charts based on our dataset of famines. The blue bars show the number of famine deaths in each decade since 1860. The number of famine deaths varies hugely from decade to decade depending on the occurrence of individual catastrophic famines. Nevertheless the last four decades have seen low numbers of famine deaths by historical standards.

          https://ourworldindata.org/famines

          Undernourished?

          https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/global-population-defined-as-undernourished?time=1991..2017

        • Wow. It’s almost like Don has his head up his ass.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Don wears Don like a balaclava.

        • Pofarmer
        • Yes, slavery still exists and is still a big problem. Per capita, however, it’s gone down quite a lot.

          Here are a couple of charts that are tangential to this issue but show social progress.

          https://s3.amazonaws.com/infobeautiful-bnews/images/71/71-billion-out-of-poverty.svg
          https://s3.amazonaws.com/infobeautiful-bnews/images/59/59-slavery-illegal.svg

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yes, slavery still exists and is still a big problem.

          And one of the main differences is that slavery is illegal in every country, recognized as a country, on the planet.

          Not only was slavery legal in the buybull, but it was YahwehJesus ordained.

        • when he doesn’t, you cry that he has failed.

          All atheists want, for starters, is good evidence that he exists. And he can’t even do that.

          Did you get your God beliefs by picking from a hat? Cuz you sure got unlucky. This one is a moron.

        • Don Camp

          All atheists want, for starters, is good evidence that he exists. And he can’t even do that.

          I used to think that might be true. I no longer think so. You are quite willing to accept a worldview and an ontology that has no evidence. Zip.

          It does not even have solid logic. Remember the sand sculptures? You are willing to bet your life on the idea that the universe in all its variety and complexity came into being mindlessly by itself from nothing.

          To me that idea is foolishness. So why would intelligent people choose the most foolish of options? Why? It is more reasonable to believe that the universe was created by some cosmic kid with a universe creation kit or a super video game, because intelligence is written on every molecule and cell in your own body and every other living thing.

          No. I have an idea that the reason for not at least being a Theist or allowing it to be an open possibility is the fear of God exercising some control over your life. I think it really is good old fashioned western independence.

        • nydiva

          Don Camp: I used to think that might be true. I no longer think so. You are quite willing to accept a worldview and an ontology that has no evidence. Zip.

          Based on your posts, I used to think you were just a delusional, misguided and perhaps lonely Christian who thinks an atheist blog is your mission field. And you will say anything to justify an opportunity to preach at us. You have gone from outright ho-hum predictable preaching to trash talking. Anything to get a response so you can counter with a sermon. I hope Bob will reconsider your participation on this blog. You are being downright silly and as usual dishonest. You obviously ignore what was written in response to your posts. No one here believes the irrational things you just alleged in your post. Shame on you for dishonesty and conceit. You ain’t doing your imaginary friend any favors.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I hope Bob will reconsider your participation on this blog.

          It’s really that time, isn’t it? Don is taking up too much bandwidth and nothing worthwhile in return benefit…well, except for leaving us in no doubt how much the god virus can fuck an individual right up.

        • Don Camp

          Trash talking?!! Take a look at Amos’s posts.

          I am trying to be as honest with you all as I can. Not every atheist fits in the category of determined independence. There are many, I would imagine, who are atheists because they are not convinced that God exists. I suppose that was the good old fashioned atheist. But things have gotten more intense lately, and the new atheist is more militant. They are not merely atheists; they are anti-theists. At that point, I think, something else takes over. In the West I would call that the American ethos of independence, though it is not unique to the West, as we are seeing with commenters from other cultures.

          What I hear from most of you who reply to me – a rather small number of all who comment on the blog – is an determined independence from God. To me, as I have said, atheism is irrational since the evidence available to us runs counter to the assumptions of atheism. So any atheist who is rational will, at least, give attention to the evidence. The anti-theist has gone beyond that to fighting the God idea.

          Many of you have been Christians at one time. Everyone who has described their journey as a Christian and the environment they came from describes what I would call a dysfunctional Christianity. Some of your experiences have been awful, and I am embarrassed that Christians act like that. I am sorry that you had that experience. One of my goals is to help my fellow Christians to reevaluate some of their mistaken and unbiblical positions and move on to maturity and a rational faith. That will not help you who have decided it is not for you – sometimes with good reason. But it may help others.

          The experience in dysfunctional Christianity you all describe results in your arguments against Christianity being misinformed. Many of the references to what the Bible actually says – Bob being a good example – reveals a poor understanding of what the Bible says. Persisting in that course, however, means you are using a straw man argument rather than exploring the more rational and mature Christianity that is well represented on the Internet and in the resources I’ve linked from time to time.

          I have not claimed to speak ex cathederally. I can be wrong, and I am wrong at times. I am thinking through the issues rather than relying on the thinking of others. Forgive my errors.

          However, my purpose has not been to irritate you all. I have desired a rational conversation. When you all begin to think I am just trash talking I have come to the point irritating. I will consider and pray today about discontinuing the interaction.

        • MR

          …describes what I would call a dysfunctional Christianity.

          The dysfunctional Christianity that you espouse in almost every post is the reason I left Christianity. The issues are at the core.

          I will consider and pray today about discontinuing the interaction.

          Skip the praying, it’s useless. Just, yes, please do discontinue.

        • nydiva

          Yes, trash talking and I knew that you would respond with a “but look at Amos.” If you don’t like his responses then may I suggest you stop telling atheists how much we need your imginary friend. I’ve always doubted your honestly because it become apparent you were not interested in an honest debate or conversation; you are here to evangelize whether or not you admit it. You probably enjoyed the backlash; no doubt you think you are brave solider for Jesus besides being a iiar for him as well.

        • Ignorant Amos

          What nydiva means by your “trash talking” is what we here where I live, as “talking rubbish”, stateside, “talking trash”. It means you are talking nonsense. And most of the time, that’s exactly what you do. And what that whole combox comprises of, complete and utter ballix.

        • Susan

          the new atheist is more militant

          Ballshorts.

          What I hear from most of you who reply to me – a rather small number of all who comment on the blog – is an determined independence from God.

          No. You are desperately attacking a strawman. That is not what people tell you.

          I am sorry you had that experience.

          You’re lining up dud after dud, here Don. Standard apologetic crap.

          It’s as though you haven’t read anything anyone here has said, and are focused instead on selling your imaginary car. Ignoring the problems with your product and focusing on the sale.

          So dishonest.

          I have desired a rational conversation.

          No. You want to proselytize. You want to make a sale. I can only guess at your motivation for that, but you have done everything you can to avoid an honest conversation.

          I will consider and pray today about discontinuing the interaction.

          No need to pray. Just stop. Stop being dishonest. Stop pretending that you are interested in honest discourse.

          Just.

          Stop.

        • MR

          So dishonest. He´s nothing but yet another professional Liar for Jesus. Sigh.

        • nydiva

          However, my purpose has not been to irritate you all. I have desired a rational conversation. When you all begin to think I am just trash talking I have come to the point irritating. I will consider and pray today about discontinuing the interaction.

          You have known for quite some time your unwanted evangelizing was uncivil. You said on Debunking Christianity you didn’t want to be an irritant but you kept on preaching anyway. What is there to pray about? This is the same arrogant statement you made on DC that your imaginary friend put in on your heart to pray for us. You just couldn’t keep that to yourself and yet you wonder why folks view you as an irritant. Be off if you can’t learn how to have a conversation without preaching. You dishonestly justify your preaching by claiming “we all” have a distorted view of Christianity; yet, there are many Christianities, not just the one you embrace. If you really want to have a rational conversation with those who don’t hold your worldview, then drop the “come to Jesus” nonsense and listen for a change. It might help you.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Don is an out and out liar.

          He wants to discuss his holey buybull, but refuses to accept the scholarship. His dishonest tactic is to cry “modern biblical scholarship” and assert that it is some kind of secular conspiracy. He is either ignorant of the fact, or thinks we are ignorant of the fact, that much of what these “modern biblical scholars” are saying, is not modern scholarly thinking. Even Christian scholars seen these problems a century ago. But Don is hanging onto those in the academy that are evangelically invested and not doing their scholarship from an honest base.

          The best I’ve seen is his citing on his silly blog, the scholar William Dever. He dishonestly cites Dever on the Mernateph Stele as evidence that the Exodus is an historical fact. It doesn’t, and Dever doesn’t hold the Exodus as an historical fact either. The evidence is so overwhelming that the Exodus is a myth, that only buybull adhering believers think it isn’t. But Delusional Don thinks it’s the rest of us that are in denial.

          When his buybull woo-woo is refuted, the preaching nonsense begins. He’s a feckin’ train crash.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Remember the sand sculptures?

          Remember what about them, ya feckin’ eejit?

        • Greg G.

          Don’t you get it? If there was no god, big, heavy rocks would wash up on the shore as often as grains of sand. What good is a castle made of big, heavy rocks?

          If that is not a miracle, I don’t know what is.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I must be too stooopid ta grasp Don’s mindfartery.

        • You are quite willing to accept a worldview and an ontology that has no evidence. Zip.

          My worldview has no evidence behind it? Tell me more.

          You are willing to bet your life on the idea that the universe in all its variety and complexity came into being mindlessly by itself from nothing.

          What’s this “from nothing”? Science doesn’t have an explanation for the Big Bang.

          There’s no good evidence for God; therefore, that hypothesis isn’t worth accepting. Is that what you’re struggling to say about my worldview?

          It is more reasonable to believe that the universe was created by some cosmic kid with a universe creation kit or a super video game, because intelligence is written on every molecule and cell in your own body and every oth er living thing.

          Nope. The “DNA alone proves design!” argument fails.
          https://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2015/11/argument-from-design-busted-2/

          I have an idea that the reason for not at least being a Theist or allowing it to be an open possibility is the fear of God exercising some control over your life. I think it really is good old fashioned western independence.

          Western independence? And you grovel before a god that doesn’t exist. Stand on your own two feet. You do, in fact. Your successes are your own. No need to praise a nonexistent god for them.

        • Women are people

          How do you see design in a lipid molecule. Walk me through that, please.

        • Don Camp

          I am not a chemist, so my perspective on lipids is related to its function, but that function is vital to life. If I may quote wiki ” Lipids have many different biological functions such as fuel molecules,
          structural building blocks for phospholipids and glycolipids, covalent attachments to guide molecules to specific membrane locations, and intracellular messengers.”

          That alone speaks of design. If you found a single element of a complex machine that served as many functions, you would automatically recognize it as intentionally incorporated in the design of the machine. I think the same of lipids.

        • Women are people

          I don’t see how that screams design to you.

        • Don Camp

          Designed things work — at least, well designed things work Lipid molecules work together and serve a very important purpose in a very complex system.

          Randomly occurring things seldom work. When they do function to some degree, they do not work well, and they do not work well in a complex system. That is true in every case where we can identify something as randomly occurring.

        • Women are people

          “Designed things work”

          Uh huh. So why does it fail so often?

        • Don Camp

          Does design have to be so perfect that it will never fail?

          Both mechanical things and biological things wear out. If I were speaking as a biblical Christian, both the universe and biological systems were designed to wear out. Life is limited by design. It sounds to me reading the Bible that God planned obsolescence into the present systems of the universe and life. Why? Because he has a new model planned.

        • Women are people

          Well one expects an all powerful perfect being wouldn’t design a plan that fails so…frequently. In fact, it fails a hell of a lot more than it succeeds.

          Which means there are two options:

          A) There is NO God, and evil and suffering would naturally occur in a Natural environment devoid of a creator and overseer and theists are forced create realities and fabricate bizarre excuses to justify God’s obvious failings in order to continue belief and avoid cognitive dissonance.
          Or:
          B) There IS a God, but he is flawed, uncaring, fallible, incapable, irresponsible, reckless and un-empathetic.

        • Don Camp

          You’ll have to be more specific about the failures. I think that second guessing the purposes of an intelligence that far exceeds ours is almost bound to fail. I think that may be option C.

          But I’ll listen.

        • Greg G.

          The greatest failure is the failure to think for fear of pissing off an imaginary god thingy.

        • Women are people

          How can an intelligence far exceeds ours when we can design a better system?

          Every single technological and medical advancement is testament to your god’s apathy and utter incompetence.

        • Don Camp

          How can an intelligence far exceeds ours when we can design a better system?

          Better for what? Design almost assumes a purpose for the design. Even a work of art which may have no practical purpose has an aesthetic purpose. So how can you say that one system is better than another if you do not know what the purpose of the designer is?

          You might assume what a designed thing is intended to accomplish when it has another purpose entirely. Your improvement would not necessarily be an improvement if . your “better” design does not accomplish that purpose but rather a different purpose. Your example below illustrates that.

          Every single technological and medical advancement is testament to your god’s apathy and utter incompetence.

          What are your assumptions about the design as it is? Is one assumption that the designer would like you to live forever? If so, that is not the purpose of the biblical God. Is it that the designer should take better care of you? If so are you really thinking that a designer who cared would be your nanny.

          It may be that the designer wants you to be aware of your mortality so that you would seek true life from him.It may be that the whole deigned universe, including you and me, were not deigned to function forever. If it were, then the law of entropy would be one serious flaw, right? But the law of entropy is so integral to the development and functioning of the universe there would be no life without it, for life depends on the transfer of energy. So maybe you are too hasty to be critical of the deign.

          It may also be that the designer wants you to use the brain and resources he has given you to be his associate in caring for his creation and in doing so give you a noble purpose. Maybe the designer wants you to grow up and take up your calling. .

          Those both are the purposes of the biblical God in creation. How does your implied “better” design accomplish those purpose better?

        • Women are people

          “It may be that the designer wants you to be aware of your mortality so that you would seek true life from him.“

          So God fails to prevent suffering just so that we’ll pay attention to him?

          Do you understand just how psychopathic that is?!? Why in the hell would you worship a being like that?!?

          Can I can cause you suffering just so that you’ll pay attention to me? Would that be cool with you?

          Your excuses for god’s utter incompetence, indifference and downright negligence tells me that you don’t even believe the shit you claim. You worship out of fear that if you call a spade a spade, that you will be denied a reward.

          Id rather go to hell knowing I’m more moral than your god and standing on my feet by calling god out for his immorality and sadistic behavior than compromise my integrity to drop to my knees for a reward.

          You are immoral for not only your silence in the face of god’s evil, but immoral for your twisted justification for god’s evil.

          You make me sick, Donnyboy.

          Do me a favor. Fuck off to the edge of a cliff with your immoral self serving behavior, and when you get to that edge, take a deep breath, dream the impossible dream and fuck off a little farther. Damn.

        • Women are people

          Designed to wear out? Lol. If you just purchased something, that’s supposed to last around 80 years, and it last 1 month, you would return it, and otherwise consider it defective, no?

        • Don Camp

          Are we supposed to last 80 years? Is that the designer’s purpose for every human being? The biblical answer is that the designer has an individual purpose for each of us. Eighty years – or one hundred and twenty years – may be potential for every human IF. IF what?

          My wife and I lost our first child to a birth defect. The cause of the defect, which we did not know seventy years ago, was the lack of folic acid in her diet. Is that the fault of the designer? If we had eaten a better diet our baby girl might today be enjoying a full life.

          You reference a birth defect that is caused by a genetic mutation in a following post. What causes genetic mutations? What causes that particular genetic mutation?

          What we are beginning to find is that many genetic mutations are caused by the environment or diet. Is that the designer’s fault when we could avoid those things?

          Life comes with no guarantees. But it comes with responsibilities. When a car owner drives his car with no oil in the engine, is that the car designer’s fault?

        • Greg G.

          An omnipotence could correct a mutation that would cause agony as easily as not. An omnibenevolence would do so if it was powerful enough. Nothing could stop an omnibenevolent omnipotence from doing it.

        • Don Camp

          That may be correct, but systems are complex. One piece depends on others. Changing one may mean a change in everything, the law of entropy for example, who could not be changed without creating a whole new universe. And that is where the designer is going eventually. But meanwhile, the whole system may just have to function the way it is.

          It is simply not true than an omnipotent being can do anything. Some things are mutually incompatible, like round squares.

          But there is also the purpose of the designer to be considered. You assume that the designer would purpose perfection. But nothingbiblically indicates that the designer’s purpose is perfection in this universe or this life. His purpose is that the imperfections would causes us to look forward to the perfection to come.

          Romans 8:18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

        • Greg G.

          That may be correct, but systems are complex.

          Is God no longer omnipotent? Complexity is nothing to omnipotence.

        • MR

          Don limits God to his own will.

        • Susan

          Changing one may mean a change in everything, the law of entropy for example, who could not be changed without creating a whole new universe.

          Then, how do you claim a resurrection? That violates entropy.

          It is simply not true than an omnipotent being can do anything.

          Then, why use the term “omnipotent”? What can an “omnipotent” being do and how would you know you are dealing with an omnipotent being?

          His purpose is that the imperfections would causes us to look forward to the perfection to come.

          What about all the other earthlings, the non-human ones, who have suffered to death for hundreds of millions of years? What was “His” purpose for them?

          My goodness, what a cold-blooded and delusional imaginary world you live in.

          You really don’t care what happens to anyone but you and those few humans with whom you are close, do you?

          Babies born only to suffer to death with genetic mutations, factory-farmed sentient beings who live miserable lives and suffer miserable deaths, koalas being roasted to death in raging forest fires.

          You don’t care if this story you tell makes sense evidentially, morally, or logically.

        • MR

          Thanks for exposing the ridiculousness of his position, Susan.

        • Susan

          Thanks for exposing the ridiculousness of his position.

          Again, thank Don. He did all my work for me.

          Now, how much do you want to bet that he’ll ignore me completely, change the subject in a burden shifting way or appeal to mystery?

          My money’s on the first, but it wouldn’t be a bad idea to bet the trifecta either.

        • Ignorant Amos

          In Don Camp world, that’s just the way his god designed it to be. So deal with it. It really doesn’t occur to him that it looks exactly like something undesigned. And exactly not like something a perfect designer would do. Don has to resort to the imagined future perfection that awaits the select few. Without the unfalsifiable, he’s up shit creek without a paddle. But that’s the cleverness of religion and god belief. The adherent can spew any ballix they can think and because of mysterious ways, they think they’ve a valid argument. But that is their Achilles heel, because in an instant, everyone and anyones bullshit gets a place at the table. Don is just too stupid to realise this. He can’t claim ignorance, he spent too much time at Debunking Christianity for that claim to stand. So asinine with just the one head. Fascinatingly sad to watch.

        • Don Camp

          Then, how do you claim a resurrection? That violates entropy.

          Interestingly Paul addresses that very question in 1 Corinthians 15. He says that Jesus’ resurrection body, and eventually ours was of the character of the new heavens and new earth. In other words, Jesus rose from the grave, not in a resuscitated earthly body but a new physical/spiritual body. It did not violate entropy because his earthly body did die. And his new body does not violate entropy because entropy does not apply in the new universe.

          Then, why use the term “omnipotent”? What can an “omnipotent” being do and how would you know you are dealing with an omnipotent being?

          “Omnipotent” is a word we use to describe what the Bible says about God being able to do anything. But condensing down to one word the idea of able to do anything. If we look more closely, what we find is God can do anything he chooses to do within the limits of his character and purpose. For example, the Bible declares that God cannot do moral evil. God also cannot do things that are logically contradictory. But that is beyond what we have been talking about. That is that God will not do that which is contrary to his purpose.

          What about all the other earthlings, the non-human ones, who have suffered to death for hundreds of millions of years? What was “His” purpose for them?

          That is a question only people in the 20/21st century find important. Prior to the more recent centuries,animals were animals. They were different from humans, and we were different from them. Animals deserve respect, but they are not people. The idea of evolution changed that; it sees us as animals and causes us to think if we have tremendous value then animals also have tremendous value. If we suffer,and to the degree we suffer, animals also suffer.

          If you talk to a rancher or a hunter, they think that a little strange and out of touch with reality. They know that animals experience pain, but not suffering in the sense we do. They try to minimize the pain out of respect but not because they think animals suffer as we do. Our suffering is as much emotional as physical and is probably due to our consciousness.

          I personally have seen injured wild animals with wounds that would cause us so much suffering we would be incapacitated. They are not.

          So wringing our hands over the suffering of animals is a bit crazy from the point of view of my rancher friends, about as crazy as thinking your dog is a fur baby. .

          God’s purpose for animals is to fill the earth and be part of an ecosystem that makes our physical lives possible. They also are for our enjoyment as they demonstrate God’s creativity in their beauty. I personally find the amazing animal world an endless source of pleasure and awe.

          You really don’t care what happens to anyone but you and those few humans with whom you are close, do you?

          My goodness. I certainly hope not.

          You don’t care if this story you tell makes sense evidentially, morally, or logically.

          I do care that it makes sense. And I think that it does. I think it makes more sense than the scientific Materialistic worldview.

        • Greg G.

          God can do anything he chooses to do within the limits of his character and purpose.

          That is “free will” not omnipotence. If the character allows unnecessary suffering, then we must toss “omnibenevolent” as an accurate description.

          God’s purpose appears to be to remain invisible, irrelevant, and non-existent.

        • Women are people

          “ God can do anything he chooses to do within the limits of his character and purpose.“

          I guess that makes me omnipotent too then, eh?

        • Susan

          Paul addresses that very question in 1 Corinthians 15.

          Paul didn’t know a thing about entropy. Paul lived in a time when people believed in all sorts of resurrections. But let’s pretend that when Paul wrote that, that Paul was trying (as you’re doing now) to backpedal on his original appeal to entropy as an excuse for Yahwehjesus not being able to do a thing to prevent suffering because he created this universe with entropy.

          Jesus rose from the grave, not in a resuscitated earthly body but a new physical/spiritual body.

          Then, what happened to the atoms of Jesus’s earthly body? Did they disappear? If so, that is a loss of information which violates entropy.

          If not, then you don’t have a “resurrection” at all. You have a sort of cloning of whoknowswhat? from another universe. Not a resurrection. Jesus’s body rotting in the ground while Jesus wanders around on the earth.

          How does that sort of thing not violate entropy?

          Prior to the more recent centuries,animals were animals. They were different from humans, and we were different from them. Animals deserve respect, but they are not people.

          And people were animals. We still are. It doesn’t matter how humans saw it, they were and still are animals. Anyway, not all cultures were as human-centric as ours is, and especially not as human-centric as Abrahamic religions describe the world.

          The idea of evolution changed that;

          As it should. It describes the facts about life on this planet, of which we are a tiny part.

          I didn’t need and don’t need evolution to recognize that my fellow earthlings suffer as I do, and that that has been the case for hundreds of millions of years.

          Our suffering is as much emotional as physical and is probably due to our consciousness.

          If you think that emotional and psychological suffering began with and is unique to humans, you’ll have to show it.

          God’s purpose for animals is to fill the earth and be part of an ecosystem that makes our physical lives possible.

          Just another argumentum ab rectum from you, Don.

          Why did he have to make countless sentient beings suffer for hundreds of millions of years (most of which are underwater) to create an ecosystem just so humans would have an ecosystem and so that you Dishonest Don could go to heaven one day?

          It makes no sense. There’s no logic, no morality, no evidence.

          Just a big, old stupid book among many.

          I wouldn’t harm a kitten, let alone torture one for eternal life.

          But for christians like you, it’s not a big deal.

        • Greg G.

          Good points! The new resurrection body runs into the Star Trek transporter problem where one body is annihilated and another is created from energy somewhere else with the same memories. If the one body was not destroyed, there would be two bodies with the same memories with both thinking they are the original. But only one has a continuity of existence. We replace the atoms and molecules that make up our bodies continuously so it is not the material that is us. Yet it is the interactions of the material that form our short-term memory, out long-term memory, and produce our awareness.

          If you make an identical copy, it is not the original. Both would think they were the original whether the copy was produced while the original existed, simultaneously with the deadly destruction of the original, or at some point later than the destruction of the original. But it would not be the continuously existing original.

        • Greg G.

          It is simply not true than an omnipotent being can do anything. Some things are mutually incompatible, like round squares.

          I use the weakest possible definition for “omnipotence”: The ability to do everything that is logically possible to do. Any result of suffering is logically possible to do. So there is no need for the suffering.

          I have read and heard about gene editing using CRISPER to cure genetic diseases.

          If you are saying God cannot do a miracle, say like not allowing a fertilized egg with the mutation that would produce a Harlequin baby to implant or to spontaneously abort as most fertilized eggs do, then don’t pretend your god thingy is omnipotent.

          Romans 8:18

          No matter how great the glory would be, it would be greater without the taint of unnecessary suffering.

        • Don Camp

          The ability to do everything that is logically possible to do. Any
          result of suffering is logically possible to do. So there is no need for
          the suffering.

          Logically possible is only one of the criteria. Some suffering is self-inflicted. God allows that though he does not cause it.I have asked what causes this mutation. No one seems to know, but any mutation that is recurring and not merely random must have a cause that is repeating and that could be known. It is part of God’s plan that we should be partners with him in bringing order and good into the world. So let’s work on it.

          Of course, God could do a miracle. But that might circumvent his design for us.

          Part of his plan is also that all of life including suffering should whet our appetites for the eternal new heavens and new earth. Suffering like the Harlequin baby should drive us to tears. We should long for the time when all suffering will cease. But one of the things the scientific Materialistic worldview does is blind us to the goal of God’s plan. We think that this world is all there is. It is like watching a construction project underway and complaining that it doesn’t look very good with the scaffolding up and the facade uncompleted. If we are patient, all that scaffolding will one day come down and the new building will emerge.

        • Greg G.

          Some suffering is self-inflicted.

          It doesn’t have to be self-inflicted and most is not intentionally self-inflicted. But most suffering is not self-inflicted.

          It is like watching a construction project underway and complaining that it doesn’t look very good with the scaffolding up and the facade uncompleted. If we are patient, all that scaffolding will one day come down and the new building will emerge.

          Scaffolding and patience are for builders that are not omnipotent. It is indistinguishable from a universe with no god thingies with most people pretending there are many different kinds of god thingies and every one of those people thinking they and their friends are the only ones who got it right.

        • Don Camp

          Scaffolding and patience are for builders that are not omnipotent.

          Why? God’s deign is far more complex than the design of a building. It may be that in the intermediate stage of progress toward the goal the designer has a purpose for that stage. Speaking biblically, I’d say that indeed he does.

          One of the purposes of the designer is for believers to progress toward maturity of faith. Believe it or not, suffering is part of the discipline (as in training and not punishment) that produces maturity. Since I have been engaging on this topic, I have been thinking back over the many believers I’ve known who have gone through suffering, myself included. I do not know one who has not said that the suffering brought them closer to God and resulted in greater peace, patience, and joy.

          In my experience last summer of nearly dying and being in Critical Care for five days, I have never had a more intense experience of God than in those hours. It has given me greater empathy toward others in like circumstances. It has given me great peace regarding the future – it is not very hard to die, you know. It has encouraged my pursuit of God and in that may daily joy in fellowship with him. I would not exchange those days of summer for any freedom from suffering.

          When my wife and I lost our first child to a birth defect, that was hard – more for her than for me, of course. Yet it created in her a peace with what God was doing in our lives at that moment and, again, a increase in empathy for others.

          A good friend who has been a Christian for many years a few years ago got cancer in one eye, had the eye removed, then the cancer returned requiring further surgery. In the middle of this the chemo caused a situation in which he had internal bleeding to the place of nearly dying. He still has frequent difficulties. But he, like me, would not trade those experiences for perfect health. His experience of God was incredible.

          Suffering for a Christian is not what you seem to think. It is faith building. Only for those who have no desire to become more like Christ and share in his sufferings is suffering unbearable.

        • Greg G.

          Why?

          Because omnipotence.

          God’s deign is far more complex than the design of a building.

          You really need to contemplate what omnipotent means.

          I do not know one who has not said that the suffering brought them closer to God and resulted in greater peace, patience, and joy.

          Which proves it is logically possible to “get close to God” (if he exists, otherwise suffering is fooling you). So then omnipotence could do the same thing with or without the suffering. The suffering was not necessary. They were tortured either because the omnipotence was indifferent or the omnipotence was malevolently sadistic.

          Suffering for a Christian is not what you seem to think. It is faith building. Only for those who have no desire to become more like Christ and share in his sufferings is suffering unbearable.

          You are not getting suffering. No matter what good you think comes from suffering, if there is an omnipotence, that same good can be done with no suffering at all. It would just be torture for something between indifference and sadism. You can have exactly the same good but better because it would not have the taint of unnecessary suffering.

        • Don Camp

          Sorry. I don’t buy your syllogism.

        • Greg G.

          Sorry. I don’t buy your syllogism.

          You don’t have to buy anything. You just need to own the implications of the attributes you claim for your god thingy.

          The existence of suffering proves that there is no entity that is both sufficiently powerful to prevent suffering and sufficiently caring to do so.

          You need a new god thingy. Yours is broken.

        • Don Camp

          I was hoping you would ask WHY I don’t buy your syllogism. But in lieu of that, I though I would explain.

          Your argument is a deductive argument. A deductive argument stands or falls on the truth of your premises.

          If one of the premises is not true, the argument is invalid. If all the premises are true the argument is valid and the conclusion can be considered proven true.

          See this brief review of deductive reasoning if you are not sure of the meaning of the terms I am using.
          https://web.stanford.edu/~bobonich/terms.concepts/valid.sound.html

          Most deductive argument depend inductive reasoning. In other words, they depend on whether the the conclusion of the

          inductive argument rests on good and adequate observations that make the conclusion probable.

          Your argument, however, is build on semantics (the definition of your terms). In that case, if the argument has to do with the biblical description of God, the definition of your terms must be derived from those biblical descriptions. If it is not, it may be a valid argument for a hypothetical God but invalid if the premises are not built on biblical descriptions of God. I think that is the fault in your deductive argument.

          Here is your argument in brief as I understand it:
          Premise one: God is omnipotent and could eliminate suffering.
          Premise two: God is omnibenificent and would eliminate suffering.
          Premise three: Suffering remains.
          Conclusion: Therefore God is not omnipototent or is not omnibenificent or both.

          That argument is similar to one you can find on http://www.qcc.curry.edu. It is a Word doc, so google “omnibenificent.” But here is the summary:

          ,
          1. God is all powerful
          2. If omnipotent God exists, there can be no evil
          3. God is all good
          4. If omnibenificent God exists , there can be no evil
          5. Evil exists
          6. If Evil exists, there can be no God
          7. Therefore, it is not logically possible for God to exist.

          Either
          I. God does not exist at all
          II. God is not all powerful- lacking in some power
          III. God is not all good- lacking in something good,
          e.g., knowledge or power

          The problem with your deductive argument is that your definition of omnipotent is not true as it pertains to the biblical God. (Niether is omnibenificent.) Your argument is based on your definition of those term and not on the biblical descriptions of God.

          You define “omnipotent” as the unlimited and absolute ability to do anything. That may describe a hypothetical God. It does not describe the biblical God. In a similar way your definition of “omnibenificent” is that God is good without limit or condition. That may describe a hypothetical God. It does not describe the biblical God.

          If even one of your premises is untrue, and it is, then the whole argument is invalid as it pertains to the biblical God.

          I’ve already listed three places where God cannot do just anything. One was when what is in view is logically contradictory. The second is when what is in view is not consistent with his character. The third when what is in view is not consistent with his design or purpose. The same kind of limitations pertain with omnibenificent, but in particular the contradiction with your definition is when it is not consistent with his character.

          Regarding the last, your definition assumes only the single aspect of character, goodness. Any simple reading of the biblical description of God reveals that there are multiple aspects of God’s character, one being just. That means that God is acting perfectly in character when he judges sin and uses suffering to judge sin.

          For that reason I find your argument both invalid and unsound. The conclusion is not proven regarding the biblical God.

          Now, for a hypothetical God, your argument may be valid. But I am not debating a hypothetical God. I am interested in a
          biblically described God.

        • Greg G.

          Now, for a hypothetical God, your argument may be valid. But I am not debating a hypothetical God. I am interested in a
          biblically described God.

          My argument is based on the definitions of the words “omnipotent” and “omnibenevolent”. If your god thingy is not omnipotent or it is not omnibenevolent, then the argument doesn’t apply to your argument. If that is the case, you are not being truthful when you use the term that does not apply.

          If your god thingy cannot do everything that is logically possible to do, just admit it that it is not omnibenevolent. If your god thingy has ever failed to be benevolent at any point, then it is, at best, almost omnibenevolent, which means not omnibenevolent.

          When you speak of the biblical god, is that the god who stopped the earth from spinning in Joshua 10:1-15? That would be a powerful god thingy to keep every thing on earth from flying into space at 1000 mph or so, and having the continents slide into the ocean.

          St. Augustine scoffed at those who thought God created the universe in six days. He thought God was so powerful that he would have done it instantaneously.

          Or are you talking about a god thingy you have invented for yourself?

          Didn’t you notice the argument I put in my last post?

          The existence of suffering proves that there is no entity that is both sufficiently powerful to prevent suffering and sufficiently caring to do so.

          The argument proves that even god thingies that are both potent but weaker than omnipotent and benevolent but less nice than omnibenevolent don’t exist either.

          So you need to prove that suffering is absolutely necessary because it can do things that god cannot accomplish or that god is so impotent so as to not be able to prevent suffering or is just not caring enough to do so. IOW, admit that your god thingy is either not omnipotent or not omnibenevolent.

        • Susan

          If one of the premises is not true, the argument is invalid. If all the premises are true the argument is valid and the conclusion can be considered proven true.

          That’s plain wrong. Here you are lecturing Greg G. on someting as basic as deductive reasoning and you’ve got it wrong.

          An argument is valid if and only if it takes a form that makes it impossible for the premises to be true and the conclusion false.

          “Validity” refers to the structure of the argument.

          The premises can all be true and the conclusion false if you begin with an invalid argument.

          One can make a valid argument in which the premises are false, and the conclusion can be true or false. If true, it’s not due to the argument.

          A “sound” argument requires a valid argument in which all the premises are true.

          I am no expert in logic but it’s annoying that I have to correct you on something so basic. I suggest you retract your lecture and acknowledge that you got it wrong.

          You define “omnipotent” as the unlimited and absolute ability to do anything.

          No. He defined “omnipotent” as being sufficiently powerful to prevent suffering. Explicitly. You’re attacking a strawman.

          He did the same for “omnibenevolent” (though you used “omnibenificent”, a word I haven’t found yet in a couple of dictionary searches, which is odd, given that you make such a deal about literature and poetry… it might exist… but… anyway… )

          He defined “omnibenevolent” as being sufficiently caring to prevent suffering.

          You haven’t shown that Greg G.’s argument is invalid and you haven’t shown that his premises aren’t true.

          He was very specific about his definitions and you’ve ignored them.

          You refer to the “Biblical God” without providing any definitions of your own.

        • Greg G.

          No. He defined “omnipotent” as being sufficiently powerful to prevent suffering. Explicitly. You’re attacking a strawman.

          Actually, I define “omnipotent” as the ability to do everything that is logically possible to do, which is the weakest possible definition. The “sufficiently powerful, sufficiently benevolent” argument works for a weaker god thingy that is not necessarily omnipotent and not necessarily omnibenevolent. But of course, omnipotence and omnibenevolence do fulfill the “sufficiently” requirements.

          Thanks for pointing out the flaws in his logic lesson. I skipped over it without really reading that part.

        • richardrichard2013

          i have a question . is god the creator of every moment ? so from your perspective, is every thing which takes place tomorrow willed by god?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Isn’t it quaint that you are lecturing Greg G on Logic and deductive reasoning?

          If all the premises are true the argument is valid and the conclusion can be considered proven true.

          Not necessarily. Not all valid arguments are sound. Don’t you know that Don?

          You define “omnipotent” as the unlimited and absolute ability to do anything.

          Nope, that’s not how Greg G defines God at all. That’s the strawman you need to defeat his argument. Roll-up, roll-up, roll-up…we’ve another Christer liar in our midst!

          That may describe a hypothetical God.

          All God’s are hypothetical ffs. But, go to your source above, The SEP, and search “omnipotence”.

          The problem is defining “omnipotence”, something I haven’t seen you do yet. But Greg G doesn’t even require omnipotence for his argument, just sufficiently powerful will do.

          It does not describe the biblical God.

          Now we’re onto something. Describe the biblical God and tell us all how you know, and what method you use to verify that knowledge?

          Is your God a “necessary morally perfect” being for example? Yes of course it is you say, how could it not be?

          Well that doesn’t sit well with omnipotence either.

          Omnipotence and Necessary Moral Perfection

          According to the New Testament, “God cannot be tempted with evil” (James 1:13) and it is “impossible for God to lie” (Hebrews 6:18). Traditionally, these divine inabilities are taken quite seriously, and are said to follow from God’s attribute of impeccability or necessary moral perfection. According to this view, it is impossible for God to do evil. It seems, however, that no being could be both omnipotent and necessarily morally perfect, since an omnipotent being could do anything, but there are many things a necessarily morally perfect being could not do.

          The argument can be formulated as follows (Morriston 2001: 144). Consider some particularly evil state of affairs, E, such as every sentient being suffering excruciating pain throughout its entire existence. Then:

          (1) If any being is necessarily morally perfect, then there is no possible world at which that being brings about E

          (2) If any being is omnipotent, then that being has the power to bring about E

          (3) If any being has the power to bring about E, then there is some possible world at which that being brings about E

          Therefore,

          (4) No being is both necessarily morally perfect and omnipotent

          Some theists have simply accepted the conclusion, replacing either necessary moral perfection or omnipotence with some weaker property. For instance, Nelson Pike famously argued that, although no being would deserve the title “God” unless that being were morally perfect, there are nevertheless possible worlds in which the being who is in fact God is not morally perfect, and therefore is not God (Pike 1969). Pike’s view is, in essence, a rather complicated version of the claim that God is only contingently morally perfect, a view which some have regarded as extremely objectionable from a theological standpoint (Geach 1977).

          In a similar way your definition of “omnibenificent” is that God is good without limit or condition.

          Nope, just sufficiently good that it would want to avoid all unnecessary suffering. Greg G even allows for some suffering afaicr…the sort of stuff like an injection for a child’s greater benefit. I think it’s a concession too far, but no matter.

          That may describe a hypothetical God.

          All god’s are hypothetical, that’s why there are so many of them, even among those of the same faith or religion.

          It does not describe the biblical God.

          Suppose you provide a description of the biblical God. One that adherents to the bible agree with. Specifically the definitions of “omnipotence” and “omnibenevolence”. In this way we can avoid all the goalpost shifting fuckwittery thar Christers get up to in these discussions.

          The third when what is in view is not consistent with his design or purpose.

          Then his design or purpose entails suffering that omnipotence could prevent, and therefore “omnibenevolence” is not an attribute.

          If suffering is necessary as part of God’s purpose or design, then he cannot achieve his purpose or design without suffering. Therefore God cannot do something without suffering, that he can do with it. So not omnipotent. This is a blockage in your thinking ability.

          But it not being consistent with his purpose or design, could also be consistent with no omnipotence. How could you even know?

        • Ignorant Amos

          That may be correct, but systems are complex.

          But they don’t have to be when dealing with an omnipotent designer.

          One piece depends on others. Changing one may mean a change in everything, the law of entropy for example, who could not be changed without creating a whole new universe.

          But if the creator of the Laws of Everything can change or override even one law, then why not any other? And “miracles” are just such things.

          And that is where the designer is going eventually.

          An assertion pulled from your arse, not in evidence.

          But meanwhile, the whole system may just have to function the way it is.

          Hmmmm…so the omnipotent designer can’t change his own design? Got it.

          It is simply not true than an omnipotent being can do anything.

          We know. That’s why the term omnipotence is nonsense.

          Some things are mutually incompatible, like round squares.

          Yeah, we know. But let’s leave the litany of omnipotence paradoxes to the side for now. Let’s take C.S. Lewis concept…

          His Omnipotence means power to do all that is intrinsically possible, not to do the intrinsically impossible. You may attribute miracles to him, but not nonsense. This is no limit to his power. If you choose to say ‘God can give a creature free will and at the same time withhold free will from it,’ you have not succeeded in saying anything about God: meaningless combinations of words do not suddenly acquire meaning simply because we prefix to them the two other words ‘God can.’… It is no more possible for God than for the weakest of his creatures to carry out both of two mutually exclusive alternatives; not because his power meets an obstacle, but because nonsense remains nonsense even when we talk it about God.

          Happy with that?

          Now, what is a divine miracle?

          A true miracle would, by definition, be a non-natural phenomenon, leading many thinkers to dismiss them as physically impossible (that is, requiring violation of established laws of physics within their domain of validity) or impossible to confirm by their nature (because all possible physical mechanisms can never be ruled out). The former position is expressed for instance by Thomas Jefferson and the latter by David Hume. Theologians typically say that, with divine providence, God regularly works through nature yet, as a creator, is free to work without, above, or against it as well.

          So your argument is a loada ballix. Either God is all-powerful in this sense, or is not. If not, then sack the attribute omnipotence, if so, then the omnibenevolence and problem of evil, makes it a logical impossibility. Either way, not the God most Christians believe in.

          But there is also the purpose of the designer to be considered. You assume that the designer would purpose perfection. But nothingbiblically indicates that the designer’s purpose is perfection in this universe or this life. His purpose is that the imperfections would causes us to look forward to the perfection to come.

          Apologetics woo-woo. Fuck even perfection. What we see is way well short of even the work of a shitty designer. Let alone one that adherents believe infallible.

        • Women are people

          I’m very sorry for your loss. I lost a pregnancy due to anencephaly. Which isn’t genetic. It’s just a failure for the neural tube to close. That’s all.

          Again, any plan of an omnipotent and benevolent god that involves that kind of suffering is incompetent.

          Right now, as it stands, I can design a world where no suffering exists, and things aren’t random occurrences. Am I just more moral and competent?

          Stop making excuses for an all powerful god as if he simply couldn’t have done better or designed better.

        • Don Camp

          Again, any plan of an omnipotent and benevolent god that involves that kind of suffering is incompetent.

          I agree, and so do every one of the biblical writers. It would be unjust and monstrous. But they also unanimously agreed that the God they knew was not unjust and monstrous and that this was not the whole of his plan. His plan includes what the later biblical writers (as well as some in the OT like Isaiah and Job) called the new heaven and earth where in there is both justice and righteousness but alos no more pain and suffering.

          The problem that scientific materialists have is that they cannot see beyond the present world. They cannot see the justice and peace to come. When you cannot see the completion of the designer’s purpose in his design, it is impossible to see God as anything but monstrous. It is impossible to see beyond the pain and suffering.

        • MR

          Because there is simply no justification for it. Your own words condemn your own belief. Thank you for showing us the ridiculousness of your position.

        • Women are people

          If everything is according to God’s plan, than god planned everything, including suffering.

          Stop making excuses for an all powerful being for its incompetence.

        • Don Camp

          He planned for or allows suffering but did not cause it, at least that which is not the result of judgment. That is the difference. Much of our suffering is self-inflicted and is the consequence of our free-will and our failure to follow God’s instructions. or seek his wisdom.

        • Women are people

          Bull-fvcking-shit.

          “ Much of our suffering is self-inflicted and is the consequence of our free-will and our failure to follow God’s instructions. or seek his wisdom.”

          How is pediatric cancer self inflicted by the child? How is being born with an incompatibility with life self inflicted? How is the death of millions through natural disasters self inflicted?

          You are making excuses for god. Stop it.

          The free will argument is nonsense and you know it. That’s like saying that we must allow people to contract small pox, polio and rickets in order for them to be healthy.
          This so-called “free will” argument can mean only one of two things:
          A) There is NO God, and evil and suffering would naturally occur in a Natural environment devoid of a creator and overseer and theists are forced create realities and fabricate bizarre excuses to justify God’s obvious failings in order to continue belief and avoid cognitive dissonance.
          Or:
          B) There IS a God, but he is flawed, uncaring, fallible, incapable, irresponsible, reckless and un-empathetic.

        • Don Camp

          Dear Lady,I am sorry. I have decided not to continue conversations with people who cannot carry on a civil conversation. It encourage such behavior.

        • Susan

          I have decided not to continue conversations with people who cannot carry on a civil conversation.

          Ah, nothing like a little passive agressive tone trolling to get you out of the problems that WaP raised.

          Your glib indifference to most suffering is perfectly civil.

          But when Women are People challenges you on its implications, she is being uncivil.

          Good old-fashioned christian morality.

          I remember its stench.

        • Women are people

          Telling me that my daughter somehow caused her own anencephaly isn’t civil!

          Just because you didn’t use a swear words doesn’t mean what you are saying isn’t offensive as f’ck.

          It’s truly irritating to listen to people get all sanctimonious about civility when what you are saying is far worse than my saying “bull-fvcking-shit”

          Are you aware of how offensive it is for you to either say directly, or by implication, that either my daughter is responsible for her own dumb luck of a congenital malformation, or to imply that I am, or to imply that it’s reasonable to impose suffering on innocent people because Adam ate a piece of fruit?!?! Is saying offensive things considered “civil”? Yes or no?

          So please. Stop being a hypocrite. What you said to me is far worse than me using a swear word to accentuate a f’cking point.

        • Women are people

          Moreover, what kind of god would allow such suffering on all of mankind, because Adam ate fruit when mankind had nothing to do with it.

          I’m sure you’ll tell me it’s because Adam disobeyed. Ignoring the fact that Adam could not have known it was wrong to disobey before he ate the fruit that gave him knowledge of right and wrong, but my child disobeys me all the damn time. That’s key to his childhood development. He is supposed to test his boundaries . Is god just ignorant of normal mental human development?further, is my son’s disobedience – or adam’s for that matter – justification for allowing suffering to be visited upon people who weren’t even born at the time this disobedience occurred? If my son drank poison when I told him not to, can I punish his children’s children’s children’s children’s children’s children’s children for that? Or would you instead simply ask me why I put something dangerous (the tree) where he could access it?

          You are more moral than the god you worship. Open your eyes and stop blindly worshipping a sadistic psychopath.

        • Greg G.

          The problem that scientific materialists have is that they cannot see beyond the present world.

          But neither can theists. You can only pretend your imaginary world beyond is real based on writings of those who took advantage of hard-working farmers and shepherds.

        • Women are people

          Please explain the design of Harlequin ichthyosis and tell me how that is “designed to wear out”, hmmmm?

          Btw- I question the morals of a person that knowingly and willingly worships a being that creates that kind of suffering.

        • Don Camp

          Please explain the design of Harlequin ichthyosis and tell me how that is “designed to wear out”,

          Are you assuming that God creates suffering? Why do you think so?

          Harlequin ichthyosis. This is a genetic disease, right? It is the result of a genetic mutation, right? What causes the mutation? Tell me that, and we can go from there.

        • Greg G.

          Are you assuming that God creates suffering? Why do you think so?

          We don’t assume God exists. But going by what the Bible says”

          Isaiah 45:7
          New International Version
          I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things.

          English Standard Version
          I form light and create darkness; I make well-being and create calamity; I am the LORD, who does all these things.

          King James Bible
          I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

          If it doesn’t involve suffering, it can hardly be called a disaster, a calamity, or evil.

        • Don Camp

          Creating calamity is in the context of judging evil. Start at 45:1. The passage is speaking of God calling Cyrus to defeat Babylon and send Israel back to Jerusalem. In that process God brought calamity on Babylon. Yes he did. It should not be taken as creating moral evil or general calamity.

        • Greg G.

          Pay attention to what the passage says. “I form light and create darkness” is braggadocio and it continues to the peace and evil. Those two are together so it is talking in general terms there. We are talking about suffering, remember? If God does something that doesn’t cause any suffering, it is not a disaster or a calamity. If God causes an actual disaster, God caused every bit of the suffering involved.

          Edit because I can’t spell “braggadocio”.

        • Don Camp

          Those two are together so it is talking in general terms there.

          Isaiah 45 is a poem. Expect figurative language, analogies, and most of all parallelisms. Here creating light and dark is a simple statement of two extremes called a merism .It means that God created light and dark and everything in between. Creating peace and evil is also a merism. In the the poetic genre it is a way of saying that God controls all these things and in particular the things that he will bring upon Babylon through Cyrus.

          If God causes an actual disaster, God caused every bit of the suffering involved.

          I am not debating that. I am just saying that the calamity in view is related to the judgment of God on the Babylonians. That he caused. But the suffering I experience when I am injured or sick is not usually a judgment and is not caused by God. It is a simple reality in a world that is not perfect.

        • Greg G.

          Isaiah 45 is a poem.

          When it’s inconvenient, it’s just a poem. The whole thing is a fairy tale.

          Creating light and darkness is poetry but it isn’t profound. If you don’t create light, you already have darkness. Genesis 1 gets that right.

          But the suffering I experience when I am injured or sick is not usually a judgment and is not caused by God. It is a simple reality in a world that is not perfect.

          The suffering is unnecessary if there is an omnipotence. Unnecessary suffering means there is no entity that is both omnipotent and omnibenevolent.

          richardrichard2013 makes some interesting points at https://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2019/12/atheism-fails-because-there-is-no-ultimate-justice-2/#comment-4763407482 and https://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2019/12/atheism-fails-because-there-is-no-ultimate-justice-2/#comment-4763405344

        • Don Camp

          Just a poem? You are talking to the wrong person. I am a lover of literature and believe that poetry takes communication to a level beyond what “mere” prose or informational language is capable. It speaks to the soul.

          Creating light and darkness is really more of a metaphor than a description of the order of creation. God as you say did not create darkness; darkness is the absence of light. We might use the image of black and white, though that isn’t quite equivalent. The phrase is in parallel to peace and disaster. In the Hebrew poem a parallel is intended to increase our understanding the idea. In this case it

        • Don Camp

          Just a poem?!!!! You are talking to the wrong person, Greg. I am a lover of literature. I especially love poetry and believe that a good poem speaks more deeply and truly to the human soul than mere informational language.

          Creating light and darkness is poetry but it isn’t profound. If you
          don’t create light, you already have darkness. Genesis 1 gets that
          right.

          Yes. As far as creation in Genesis is concerned God did not create darkness. He created light. Darkness is the absence of light. That actually is part of the point Genesis makes – bringing order out of chaos.

          In Isaiah 45 light and darkness is more of a metaphor than a description of creation. It is equal to the second part of the parallel structure. Taken together, the twp parts mean that God is the source of both good and bad/calamity. .Light and darkness simply express extremes of that difference.

          See my comment to Susan on “omnipotence.”

        • Ignorant Amos

          it is a way of saying that God controls all these things and in particular the things that he will bring upon Babylon through Cyrus.

          If God controls all those things, then God controls all those things. So when those things happen that are bad, God is responsible. If God can bring about an x through a y, as you claim, his judgement upon the Babylonians through Cyrus, then he causes a bad thing to happen from a Babylonian perspective. You are hoisting yerself by yer own petard…AGAIN, For seem reason, you idiots think that it’s okay for God to get stuff done by annihilation or such other catastrophe. The whole nonsense is a theological backstory to explain the history of the Hebrews and why bad shit happened to them.

        • richardrichard2013

          “But the suffering I experience when I am injured or sick is not usually a judgment and is not caused by God.”

          so there are other causes beside yhwh?
          when did these causes come in to existence? how did they come into existence if yhwh was not their cause?

          you sound like a deist. it is like a god who creates an easily corruptible engine and then watches it self destruct because he does not have absolute power and control .

        • Don Camp

          so there are other causes beside yhwh?

          Yes. Though God is the designer and purposer hew has given people free-will. That means we can be the cause.

          when did these causes come in to existence?

          When man became man.

          how did they come into existence if yhwh was not their cause?

          I think I’ve replied to this issue before. But yes, God is the ultimate cause and designer. Part of his design is that we have free-will and that we are responsible to use that freedom for good. Part of his design is that this present world is not the final goal of his design. That is the hard one for every scientific Materialist. They see this world and this cosmos as the limit of reality. That is not a biblical idea. I am a hold a biblical worldview. I see a reality that is larger (I do not mean spatially. I mean in dimensions. ) than the material universe.

          I am definitely not a Deist. I believe that God does have absolute power and control. But I believe that he delegates some of that to men, whom he has appointed to be the managers of this world. God can override our poor judgments, but he does not often choose to. He is not a micromanager.

        • Except there’s no good evidence that contra-causal free will is even a thing.

        • Don Camp

          From a scientific Materialistic evolutionary point of view, you are probably right. Which then puzzles me that atheists have so much trouble with religion. If there is no free will, then neither is religion a free choice. Being angry with religion is like being angry with green eyes.

        • Being angry with religion is like being angry with green eyes.

          Jesus H Christ Don, you really are ignorant aren’t you!? No influences after I’m born are going to change my genetics such that I no longer have green eyes. Short of cosmetic surgery my eye color cannot change. The same is not true of my beliefs, including my religious beliefs.

          And no, Don, contra-causal free will is not required in order for our beliefs to change. Even if our beliefs are determined, they are clearly not fixed, like eye color is. They clearly have the ability to change. That you would falsely equate fixed traits with malleable beliefs, only reminds me of just how indoctrinated into nonsense you actually are.

        • richardrichard2013

          so there are other causes beside yhwh?

          “Yes. Though God is the designer and purposer hew has given people free-will. That means we can be the cause.”

          in other words we will out of yhwhs will?

          our will and yhwh’ will co-exist?

          two willing beings?

          when did these causes come in to existence?
          When man became man.

          how did they come into existence if yhwh was not their cause?

          “I think I’ve replied to this issue before. But yes, God is the ultimate cause and designer.”

          how? we will our own things into existence. god wills and humans will out of gods power and control.

          if god is INVOLVED , then we are not FREE in our will. either the will is gods ENTIRELY or we are limited in our will.

          ” Part of his design is that we have free-will and that we are responsible to use that freedom for good.”

          we bring our own good into existence without the need of god to will our good into existence. there are two willers.

          ” Part of his design is that this present world is not the final goal of his design.”

          he is just a “designer” which brings into existence an INDEPENDENT willer who is able to will without him.

          “I am definitely not a Deist. I believe that God does have absolute power and control.”

          how? if x is able to stab to death y, god didn’t will any of this into existence, it is the x who willed into existence what god had no power or control over.

          ” But I believe that he delegates some of that to men,”

          when he is “delegating” he is no longer has his will in the one who wills to stab some one to death. how DID this INDEPENDENT will to stab someone to death come into existence? it cannot come from god, since gods will and our will CO-EXIST

          “whom he has appointed to be the managers of this world. God can override our poor judgments,”

          how did “our poor judgments” even come into existence ? thats because we willed them and our will co-exists with gods. when our poor judgements are brought into existence, god is not responsible, he is not involved in this will. we are just like god creators of our own will.

          ” but he does not often choose to. He is not a micromanager.”

          he is not absolute and maximally perfect in his power and control

        • Don Camp

          we will our own things into existence. god wills and humans will out of gods power and control.

          Of course we will some things into existence. Artists and writers, fro example, will their creations into existence. We can will to do evil or good. We can choose to go to Chicago rather than New York. These things we have freedom to do because God allows such freedom. So they fall under God’s will in allowing. What being under God’s will means we do have accountability for the decision we make. If that is limited free will, okay. But it is free will within those limits.

          if x is able to stab to death y, god didn’t will any of this into existence, it is the x who willed into existence what god had no power or control over.

          X has the freedom to stab Y to death, but X will be accountable for that act. That is the exercise of God’s will case. However, God does reserve the right to override X’s will to save Y from death. He does have control, but for his purposes he often allows the evil of A to prevail for the moment.

          how DID this INDEPENDENT will to stab someone to death come into existence? it cannot come from god, since gods will and our will CO-EXIST

          They do not co-exist entirely. Our freedom is limited. God created us, so his will is prior, and our will cannot relieve us from the responsibility of our choices.

          how did “our poor judgments” even come into existence ?

          I would not call X killing Y “poor judgment.” I would call it the disobedience to God’s instructions for life. In other words, it is sin. It came into existence by the exercise of our free will in contradiction to God’s will. In other words, rebellion.

          he is not absolute and maximally perfect in his power and control

          I don’t know why the idea that God allows that which he does not directly will is a limit to his absolute power and control. If we were able to do so with impunity, then we might say God’s will is limited, but if there if justice and accountability for our choice then God’s will is ultimately absolute.

          We might say that the law of the land is absolute, even if it does not stop every crime, if the criminal is ultimately brought to justice.

        • richardrichard2013

          “Of course we will some things into existence. ”

          then our will does not depend on gods will.
          if i will x and god wills y, my will prevails because i have free will.

          “Artists and writers, fro example, will their creations into existence.”

          yes, yhwh is just like a watch maker, who wills a watch into existence and does not have ABSOLUTE power and control over the watch. yhwh is a limited god in will, power and control just like the artists and writers.

          “We can will to do evil or good. We can choose to go to Chicago rather than New York. ”

          when i will to do evil, did i will evil INDEPENDENTLY of yhwh OR DEPENDENT on yhwhs will/choice or did BOTH yhwh and i will my WILL?

          “These things we have freedom to do because God allows such freedom.”

          meaning yhwh, like a watch maker , is not in absolute power and control. a human can make a CHOICE and yhwh is not INVOLVED in that choice in anyway….meaning a human WILLS outside of yhwhs will.

          “So they fall under God’s will in allowing. What being under God’s will means we do have accountability for the decision we make. If that is limited free will, okay. But it is free will within those limits.”

          did i WILL to type these letters independently of yhwh
          or did i type these letters because yhwh willed me to type these letters ? am i willing and yhwh willing ?

          if x is able to stab to death y, god didn’t will any of this into existence, it is the x who willed into existence what god had no power or control over.

          “X has the freedom to stab Y to death, but X will be accountable for that act.”

          did x stab y WITHIN the will of yhwh or OUTSIDE of the will of yhwh or did both yhwh and i WILL together making me and INDEPENDANT willer besides yhwh?

          DID GOD already SEE x stab y and WILL the DEED of x into existence or IS X not only a WILLER but a CREATOR of his own actions ?

          ” That is the exercise of God’s will case. However, God does reserve the right to override X’s will to save Y from death.”

          meaning god is reduced to a super human like creature….if y does die , the x WILLED and brought into existence his own choice. god was not involved in it at all . TWO independent willing beings . yhwh and the x

          gods over riding authority is not absolute just like a watch makers or engine makers authority is not absolute .

          ” He does have control,”

          not while x is stabbing y. remember, x has his own WILL to bring into existence his action, while yhwh sits on his chair and watches. adam brought his will into existence while yhwh sat on his chair and watched like watch maker WATCHES his watch working independently of the watch maker. the control is NOT absolute, it is not even intermittent.

          “but for his purposes he often allows the evil of A to prevail for the moment.”

          if yhwh did not will into existence evil and evil just popped out of nowhere, then this “allows” makes sense? evil CAME ABOUT ALL by itself . the virus just POPPED into existence. yhwh is just like a human watch maker, but he does not have ABSOLUTE power and control just like the watch maker. the worse thing for yhwh is that an ENTITY LIKE DEATH and evils POPPED into existence without yhwh WILLING them. “allow” makes no sense here.

          INDEPENDENT entities don’t require allowance.

          how DID this INDEPENDENT will to stab someone to death come into existence? it cannot come from god, since gods will and our will CO-EXIST

          “They do not co-exist entirely. Our freedom is limited.”

          so now we have limited freedom?

          “God created us, so his will is prior, and our will cannot relieve us from the responsibility of our choices.”

          HOW is his “will prior,” he did not INVENT the death, disobedience, ebola ….

          how did “our poor judgments” even come into existence ?
          “I would not call X killing Y “poor judgment.” I would call it the disobedience to God’s instructions for life.
          In other words, it is sin. It came into existence by the exercise of our free will in contradiction to God’s will.”

          god did not WILL this contradiction in to existence. human WILLED his sin into existence. god is not the CREATOR of everything. god is not the WILLER of everything. god is like a WATCH maker who does not have absolute control.

          “In other words, rebellion.”

          which freely and indenpendatly popped into existence . yhwh is very human like creature. a virus called “rebellion” has a SELF EXISTENCE of its own. yhwh and rebellion co-exist.

          he is not absolute and maximally perfect in his power and control

          “I don’t know why the idea that God allows that which he does not directly will is a limit to his absolute power and control.”

          now you slipping in the words “directly will”
          so god “indirectly” is part of rebellion ? what does that mean?

          does OUR direct will to do x TRUMPS gods will ?

          is my will to do x carried out and gods will to do y not carried out ?

          ” If we were able to do so with impunity, then we might say God’s will is limited, but if there if justice and accountability for our choice then God’s will is ultimately absolute.”

          this is just smokescreen. your god is limited in his will , power and control. justice and accountability does not answer the problem that god is not in full power and control over every freakin atom.

          “We might say that the law of the land is absolute, even if it does not stop every crime, if the criminal is ultimately brought to justice.”

          law of the land is not absolute. law of the land is blind and limited.

        • richardrichard2013

          A:
          my choice is FREE and not willed by god

          B:
          gods will DEPENDS on my will (MY WILL TRUMPS yhwh)

          c:
          gods wills and i will (we are PARTNERS)

          d:only god wills what i will, my will is dependent on gods

          so, which best describe your god?

        • Greg G.

          I believe that God does have absolute power and control.

          He is not a micromanager.

          Those are contrary statements.

          If he cannot micromanage to control suffering, he is not omnipotent. If he will not micromanage to control suffering, then he is not omnibenevolent.

        • richardrichard2013

          thats what i am thinking. you can’t use “absolute” and “maximally perfect” in power and control, if there are INDEPENDENT willing beings

        • Don Camp

          I don’t think they are contrary at all. I think I said that God chooses those things that are not contrary to his purposes. I cannot guess at his purposes in specific situations; I only can give you his general purposes.

        • Greg G.

          The purpose is irrelevant when it comes to unnecessary suffering, except in the case where the suffering is the purpose. Either way, you lose omnibenevolence.

          Failing to micromanage is an absolute indication of a lack of absolute power or a lack of absolute control, and maybe both. You can’t say there is “absolute control” when the details are not controlled.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Bwaaahahahaha!

          Another deluded Christer who claims to know the impossible to know.

          You cant’t guess his purposes, but you can give us his general purposes?

          Do you know how absolutely moronically deluded you sound Don?

        • MR

          That was indeed rich. Spoken like a true cult fanatic! “Hear ye, hear ye the words and thoughts of the Lord our God, spoken through Prophet Don!” (whisper: ‘just don’t ask for details’)

        • richardrichard2013

          when debating christians it is as if christians want u to think only their view exists.

          now lets asks yhwh’ APPLE of his eye:

          No, this is indeed the opposite of what the text is getting at, and the alternative translations are also struggling with this concept.

          Good and evil in the Jewish world are not the good and evil of the Christian world. The modern perception traces back to the Zoroastrian notion of competing forces; Good versus Evil, two metaphysical forces struggling against each other until an end time. This is not what the text addresses as, understandably, a “good” force cannot do “evil.”

          In the Judaic perception, there is no “spiritual evil” which stands opposite God. Good and evil are not external forces but definitions set forth by the singular Deity regarding that which is desirable or not for us. In turn, Isaiah 45 is stating a world view that God is ultimately responsible for everything and there is no other power to contend with, to the point that He can help or hurt (which is not the desirable outcome, but one that He has the potential for).

        • richardrichard2013

          here is something john kessler wrote:

          What’s interesting, however, is that the Dead Sea Scrolls text of Isaiah 45:7, 1QIsa(a), pairs “evil” with the Hebrew tov (rather than shalom/peace as the MT does), which means “good,” not “peace.” This same pairing is found in Genesis 2-3 referring to the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” Since the DSS has the more “difficult” reading by stating that Yahweh makes an “evil” which is the opposite of “good,” it probably contains the original reading, and scribes of the MT may have altered the text because of unease with Yahweh’s creating evil. You can view the scroll here: https://ao.net/~fmoeller/qum-38.htm. Notice this comment below the heading “Variations in Q from the Masoretic Text”:

          Line 13: 2nd word: Q = “tov” (good) and M = “shalom” (peace).

        • Greg G.

          That is interesting. It means that “calamity” is an incorrect translation. It really should be translated as “evil”.

        • richardrichard2013

          to be honest withya christianity is fucked. if EVIL pops into existence by itself, then it could pop into existence in heaven. the deity is not absolute in his power and control and things which he does not cause come into existence.
          how can a christian trust such a god?

        • richardrichard2013

          if the deity created an easily corrupted creation which required a flaming sword to protect the tree, then such diety is clearly not absolute in his power. william lane craig likes to talk about “maximally perfect,” but we know that he cannot be maximally perfect in his power if he is not ABSOLUTE in his power. within christian belief the devil seems to be yhwhs COMPETITOR. lol

        • Greg G.

          Some say the devil is just God when he’s drinking.

        • Ignorant Amos

          william lane craig likes to talk about “maximally perfect,” but we know that he cannot be maximally perfect in his power if he is not ABSOLUTE in his power.

          One of the reasons behind why the philosopher and metaphysician J. M. E. McTaggart became an atheist. And why he thinks omnipotence is not possible.

        • Women are people

          I don’t need to assume. Not only did he state that he created evil, it logically follows that he created suffering.

          To imply otherwise indicated that: a) god didn’t create the universe, and everything that’s in it, including suffering. Perfect beings don’t create imperfect things.

          And if suffering happened unintentionally, are you telling me that god cannot, in fact, know the future? Surely such an all powerful and intelligence being that can design a universe can surely have a little foresight, no?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Harlequin ichthyosis. This is a genetic disease, right? It is the result of a genetic mutation, right? What causes the mutation? Tell me that, and we can go from there.

          Oh ffs..so the genetic mutations that lead to useful evolutionary traits are God’s work, but the shitty ones, no way?

          You don’t even see the problems you’ve painted for yerself here…that’s how bad your bias has you twisted.

          Is a genetic mutation that causes Harlequin Babies, beyond your God’s scope and powers to deal with?

          You’re fucked Don. If your God exists, it is a rotten piece of shite and you can crammit.

        • Ignorant Amos

          This one is a moron.

          There just might be something to the imago dei nonsense after all. Don certainly fits the bill.

        • good one.

        • Ignorant Amos

          If you want to add it (or a link) in this comment, I’ll follow up.

          I wouldn’t bother. The 8 point list he provided is pathetic and complete nonsense.

        • MR

          He’s been indoctrinated to believe that list, but he can’t defend it in any way.

        • Don Camp

          Penicillin

        • nydiva

          Where’s the list?

        • MR

          The doctor would probably be laughing not for the reasons he thinks.

        • That makes a lot more sense. Surely that’s what Don meant.

        • Ignorant Amos

          His doctor could be just as bug nutty, bat shit, crazy, barking at the moon, lunatic Christer as what Don has demonstrated himself here.

        • MR

          Perhaps, but any doctor worth their saline solution is going to be laughing their ass off at Don.

        • nydiva

          Oh, come on Don. If your doctor read your special pleading, he might find your posts hilarious. Too bad your god didn’t give folks the cure for the Black Death before it killed millions in Asia and Western Europe before someone used science to combat the illness. Prayers were useless. So claiming natural remedies for god is rather convenient. No surprise as scientific investigate arose, your wonder working god stop performing miracles.

        • Don Camp

          You all seem to believe in magic. I don’t. I believe God has given us brains and a world that can be understood and used for our benefit. That is science, and science is not contrary to God; it works because we live in a world that makes sense, a world created by God.

        • nydiva

          No surprise you are being disingenuous yet again and again, but I guess you can’t help yourself. Still you do serve one good purpose and that’s you are a perfect example of the irrationality of religious faith.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You all seem to believe in magic.

          Nope. We are pointing out that god believers punt to magic when it suits them.

          I don’t.

          Don’t lie Don, of course ya do, ya just call it something else, that’s all.

          That is science, and science is not contrary to God; it works because we live in a world that makes sense, a world created by God.

          That’s modern Christer thinking. It has had to be dragged kicking and screaming to this point. Yeah, evolution is true, but it is God driven, amarite? That’s because you’ve no choice. So you second science and claim it as godly. You’re pathetic. That’s because magic performing god only shows up, about on a par with chance…or my milk carton.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I have a great deal of confidence that God has provided for us remedies for nearly all our diseases.

          Bwaaaaahahahaha!

          Nearly? Perfect YahwehJesus and “nearly”, there’s a thought. Who created the diseases in the first place, Don? Do ya wanna clue? Isaiah 45:7.

          Your god cures folk at the same rate science and humans discover, what a coincidence. Here’s an idea, cut out the middleman

          Milk cartons do exactly the same job. .

          If I don’t avail myself of what he has provided, that would be lack of confidence.

          But your god is not 100%, so not perfect. In fact. Your god works on a par with the milk carton. All hail the milk carton. My milk carton works at least as well as your god, but costs a lot less, and expects a lot less. My milk carton is way superior to your god…nah, nah!

          God does work miracles, but I don’t think I need a miracle when I have the other remedies he has provided.

          My milk carton does work miracles, but I don’t think I need a miracle when I have the other remedies it has provided. Of course, the bastard is responsible for the ailments in the first place. Btw…what’s the remedy for a Tsunami…or that plane shot down by those Iranian fuckwits? My milk carton, like your god, is silent on that score.

          Don, not all illnesses have remedies. You are talking absolute ballix…again. Your god has left you standing here naked from the waist down with everyone pointing and laughing at the pathetic spectacle on show.

        • Greg G.

          Milk jugs don’t ask for 10% of your income. They don’t even have to have milk in them. You can steal one from your neighbor’s trash. It will still answer prayers as effectively as praying to any deity.

          PS: Imaginary milk cartons work as well as real ones.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I have a great deal of confidence that God has provided for us remedies for nearly all our diseases.

          Nearly all? Why not all?

          If I don’t avail myself of what he has provided, that would be lack of confidence.

          It’s pathetic that you take all the hard graft of scientists and give your particular flavour of god the credit. The lack of confidence is in the god described in your silly holey book. That god says all you need is prayers, but you don’t have confidence, so hedge yer bets by availing yourself of modern medicine. Something not available to everyone, so many die because of it.

          God does work miracles, but I don’t think I need a miracle when I have the other remedies he has provided.

          See, the problem is, the remedies that you praise your god for providing, are far from perfect. They don’t all work all of the time. And plenty of ailments have no remedies. So, not very perfect intelligent creation after all. Just exactly what would be expected from fallible beings like humans.

          It hilarious how you’ll contort and contrive an out for your god from the status quo.

        • Greg G.

          If I don’t avail myself of what he has provided, that would be lack of confidence.

          Did God provide arsenic? Have you availed yourself to that or do you lack confidence?

          Mark 16:15-18 (NRSV)15 And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation. 16 The one who believes and is baptized will be saved; but the one who does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: by using my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes in their hands, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

          Why would you use medicine when you can be cured by the laying on of hands?

        • Ignorant Amos

          I am of the opinion that when there is medical help, that is as much God’s provision as a miracle. Faith does not substitute for medical help.

          Bwaaaahahahaha!

          Priceless!

          Nevertheless, a worldview that offers hope allows people to face those the difficulties that are the lot of all of us at some time better than the melancholy worldview of hopelessness. The conviction that God can carry one through difficult times is far better than the other options, for example, Hemingway’s dependence on alcohol.

          But not for God believing Hemingway. Or the millions of others that it didn’t work for either. It’s almost like it is a loada useless fuckwittery.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Wouldn’t Don be hilariously funny, if he wasn’t so pathetic?

        • Ignorant Amos

          But real hope does allow people to face their disorder effectively.

          Fuck off with yer tripe Don…

          https://www.masskids.org/index.php/religious-medical-neglect/cases-of-child-deaths

        • epeeist

          Not that it started off that much differently but Don seems to have reverted almost completely to preaching.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yip, others and I, pointed out his proselytizing fuckwittery a number of days ago. But he’s oblivious to it. His heads that far away with the fairies that he’s a lost cause.

        • Greg G.

          I noticed that as well.

    • I have plenty of meaning and happiness in my life, and I’m an atheist. Truth is a good place to start.

      How long does the comfort of a lie or a delusion last?

      • Don Camp

        I was not trying to tell you how you feel. I was expressing what the Existentialists of the last century felt and the reasons for their angst. I use them as examples because they more than most spent considerable time considering the implications of a meaningless universe.

        • I think you got off on the wrong foot. Please define “meaningless universe.” You have not been clear about this.

        • Don Camp

          Good question. Maybe a little history as I move toward a definition .

          From the middle of then 19th century, science became more and more the determiner of our understanding of reality. By the end of that century, the scientific worldview was exerting an influence on American literature. Authors that we call Realists or Naturalists like Theodore Dreiser, who may be the best representative of the genre, wrote about common people who were carried along by the events life and their own nature (determinism) and inclined toward achieving success by any means, though largely immoral means.

          Naturalism was influenced by Darwin’s theory of evolution as much as anything. The world of the Naturalism had no meaning or purpose or direction. Life was controlled (determined) by natural forces and we were pawns.. THAT MIGHT BE A DEFINITION OF MEANINGLESS. Basically Naturalistic authors applied the evolutionary view of life to their writing and explored the consequences.The outcomes were bleak.

          Beginning in the early 20th century, there was a reaction to meaninglessness in literature and philosophy. Thinking people decided that living in a meaningless world was unbearable. Existentialism was the answer in literature and philosophy. Existentialists still lived in a meaningless world but they chose not to live as though it was meaningless. They made their own meaning. The authors of that period explored the existential life. Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea is a story of a man who refuses to allow meaningless to conquer him. He, Santiago, will fight against it, and though his labor is pointless since the fish is consumed by sharks, he has won. But to what end? He has lived out Hemingway’s philosophy of life grace under pressure, but it ends in pointlessness beyond the moment.

          That is meaninglessness. There is no point beyond the moment. There is no inherent direction in life or purpose. We are animals who live and die and that’s it. Any meaning is what you make. That is the existential leap. But even that is ultimately meaningless. It ends in the grave.

          Science has affirmed that. Not only does our life end in the grave, but civilization will end in oblivion; our solar system will end; the universe will end. And that is that. We can play the game as long as we are in it. We may find temporary meaning in the game as we might in playing the machines at a casino. But it is a game. Solomon , who expressed existentialism as well as anyone, in Ecclesiastes said, “Meaningless, meaningless, all is meaningless.”

          In my opinion, postmodern literature addresses the existential angst by declaring that it is just the way it is. Life doesn’t make sense, but who cares? That is where we are right now.

          In contrast to that, the Bible has consistently declares that life makes sense and that it is going somewhere and that what we do in life has eternal consequences. It is a worldview of hope rather than ultimate hopelessness. It refuses to see us as pawns of scientific determinism but as creatures of free will who can choose our future and can effect the future of others because God has a future for us. The biblical worldview declares that the future is unlimited and potentially wonderful.

        • Damien Priestly

          No, the bible says life is a tryout for the afterlife. And that is very depressing !!

        • Don Camp

          Where? I know that some have said so, but where in the Bible do you get that?

        • Greg G.

          It is implied in Daniel 12.

          Daniel 12:1-3 (NIV)1 “At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered. 2 Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. 3 Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.

          There is nothing about the Christian salvation formula.

        • Don Camp

          You will not find the “Christian salvation formula” everywhere. What we find implied is that the purpose of God for the people of Israel will be continued and fully realized in the resurrection. That continuation of the grace of God toward his people is reflected in John 11

          25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.

          Life begins now. For those who find life here, it will continue into the future and forever. The idea that life is a “tryout for the afterlife” suggests that there is some test to pass or right to be earned. There is not. Life is a gift to be received, available to all who choose.

        • Greg G.

          But the New Testament has several formulae for salvation. Maybe all of them are required just to keep the Evangelical riff raff out of heaven.

          Various Creeds and Bible passages base personal salvation on an individual:
          •having been baptized
            ◦Matthew 28:19
            ◦Mark 16:15-16
            ◦John 3:5
            ◦Acts 2:38
            ◦Acts 2:41
            ◦Acts 8:36
            ◦Acts 22:16
            ◦Romans 6:3-4
            ◦Galatians 3:27
            ◦Colossians 2:12
            ◦Titus 3:5
            ◦1 Peter 3:21
          •repenting of past sins
            ◦Matthew 19:27-30
            ◦Mark 10:28-30
            ◦Luke 9:59-62
          •trusting Jesus as their Lord and Savior
            ◦Romans 3:28
            ◦Romans 5:18-19
            ◦Romans 10:9-13
            ◦1 Corinthians 15:21-23
            ◦Ephesians 2:8-9
          •believing that Jesus is the Son of God
            ◦John 3:15-16
            ◦John 3:18
            ◦John 3:36
            ◦John 6:47
            ◦John 8:24
            ◦John 11:25-26
            ◦John 12:48
            ◦John 20:31
          •remaining with Jesus
            ◦John 15:4-6
          •hearing Jesus’ word and believing in God
            ◦John 5:24
          •doing good works
            ◦Matthew 25:31-46
            ◦Luke 10:25-27
            ◦John 5:28-29
          •following church rituals and sacraments
            ◦Galatians 3:23-26
            ◦Romans 10:18
          •avoiding certain specific behaviors.
            ◦Matthew 19:27-30
            ◦Mark 10:28-30
            ◦Luke 9:59-62

        • Don Camp

          Let’s send that to Abraham. It seems he was relying on faith.

        • Greg G.

          Paul and James had an interesting argument on that topic. In Galatians 3:6, Paul says Abraham was justified by faith, citing Genesis 15:6.

          James 2:17-26 argues that faith without works is dead. He also quotes Genesis 15:6 and says it was Abraham’s offering of Isaac that justified him.

          In Romans 4:1-3, Paul points out that if Abraham was justified by works, he would have something to brag about, then cites Genesis 15:6 again.

          Now, throughout Galatians, Paul is down on circumcision. He even points out that James sent members of the circumcision faction to Antioch, which implies he is a leader of the group. James ignores that and only harps on following the whole law. In Galatians 6:13-14, Paul accuses the circumcisers of boasting about the Galatians’ flesh. James speaks out against boasting, possibly in response to that, in James 3:5, 3:14, and 4:16. I suspect the bit about Abraham having reason to boast might be a dig in response to those.

          But in Romans 4:10-12, Paul wins the debate by pointing out that the justification of Abraham in Genesis 15:6 was before he was circumcised which happened before Isaac was born, so it had nothing to do with his works.

          Rabbi Hillel was an ancestor of Gamaliel, who is mentioned in Acts 5. Hillel was famous for his knowledge of scripture. One day he was in a hurry to be somewhere when a man challenged him to quote the Torah while standing on one leg. He stood on one leg and said, “Don’t do what your neighbor hates. All the rest is commentary. Now go and learn.”

          Paul seems to have studied that because, in Galatians 5:14, he says the whole law could be summed up by Leviticus 19:18, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

          James 2:8-11 jumps on that and insists that one must follow the whole law, apparently thinking that if one doesn’t follow the law, one will be murdering and committing adultery.

          In Romans 13:8-10, Paul responds. He quotes back the commandments against adultery and murder in the same incorrect order that James used, and adds the ones against stealing and coveting. He quotes Leviticus 19:18 again and points out that love does no wrong to your neighbor so you would be obeying the law anyway.

          Edit at 26 minutes: Inserted a missing name.

        • available to all who choose.

          No choice necessary, as Romans 5:19 makes clear. We’ve all received divine forgiveness.

        • Don Camp

          It actually says “the many”

          19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.

          You can’t divorce one passage in a composition from the others.

          See 4:23

          23 The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, 24 but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead.

          That introduces the ideas in chapter five. See 5:1

          Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.

          And that moves into the passage you quoted. So it seems Paul means that the many who are made righteous are those who have placed their trust in God’s mercy made available to them through Jesus Christ.

        • It actually says “the many”

          What’s your point? That it says “the many” and not “everyone”? If you want “everyone” read the previous verse.

          See 4:23
          23 The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, 24 but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead.

          You’re saying that the Bible contradicts itself? I agree.

          it seems Paul means that the many who are made righteous are those who have placed their trust in God’s mercy made available to them through Jesus Christ.

          The symmetry in Rom. 5:18–19 is unavoidable. If everyone is tarred with Adam’s brush, then everyone is saved by Jesus’s sacrifice.

        • Don Camp

          Yes. Thank you. There is symmetry. But you still cannot make scripture argue against scripture. Especially in the connected passage. So the solution is that all men are under condemnation for Adam’s sin and all have the promise of justification and life through Christ. That justification and life is appropriated by faith. Paul is not a universalist. Otherwise why is faith so important?. Or why does Paul continue to speak of condemnation at all? And in particular why would he say Romans 8

          Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,

          Not all are “in Christ Jesus” even though the sacrifice of Jesus is sufficient to cover all sin. Those who are “in Christ Jesus” are those who have placed their trust in his sacrifice and the mercy of God.

        • you still cannot make scripture argue against scripture.

          Why not? When scripture says two different things, I will point out the contradiction.

          You see the problem, right? The Bible says pretty much everything. When I point to a verse that says X, you can point to another verse that says not-X. So what do we do with that? Have you trumped my X?

          That game is meaningless—if the Bible can say X and also not-X, it’s unreliable, and I will point that out.

          So the solution is that all men are under condemnation for Adam’s sin and all have the promise of justification and life through Christ.

          So not symmetric, then? That’s certainly not what I get out of Rom 5:18–19.

          Otherwise why is faith so important?

          Uh, it’s not. Or so Paul would have you believe in Rom. 5:18–19.

          Or why does Paul continue to speak of condemnation at all? And in particular why would he say Romans 8 . . .

          And now we’re playing dueling Bible quotes again.

          Not all are “in Christ Jesus” even though the sacrifice of Jesus is sufficient to cover all sin.

          This is a tangent, but you see the bizarre nature of Jesus’s “sacrifice,” right? When I pay back a loan to the bank, the case is closed. We’re done. There’s not some extra something or other that I have to do. Similarly, if there’s a debt to God that Jesus paid for, the case is closed. Nothing more required (such as having faith or behaving a certain way or whatever).

        • Don Camp

          That game is meaningless—if the Bible can say X and also not-X, it’s unreliable, and I will point that out.

          The the difference between us is that I expect the Bible to make sense, so I look for ways to integrate two apparent contradictions.

          Uh, it’s not. Or so Paul would have you believe in Rom. 5:18–19.

          And that is a good example of what I mean above. You create more problems than you solve because you make the choice to place one statement above another rather than seek a way to integrate the two. You end up with so many contradictions that I don’t wonder that you conclude that nothing can be trusted.

          When I pay back a loan to the bank, the case is closed. We’re done. There’s not some extra something or other that I have to do.

          I know you’ve been around long enough to know how I will respond to that conundrum. So I’ll skip that. But the more fundamental mistake is the assumption that reconciliation does not mean reconciliation.

          2 Corinthians 5:14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again….17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin] for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

          Sorry for the long quote.

          The mistake is thinking that forgiveness is kind of like a free ticket to heaven, that it does not expect or lead to reconciliation with God. And that is why your analogy is inadequate. A better analogy is that your loan has been paid for you by a benefactor because the loan is greater than you can ever pay. But the completion of that deal requires that you accept the gift. We do that according the the Bible by taking God at his word and receiving the gift offered. That is faith.

          Why would anyone not accept that kind of gift? One answer is pride. We just do not want to be in debt to, so to speak, to another.

          But there may be another answer. We just do not want to be reconciled to God. We would love to enjoy heaven, but we are not interested in the God of heaven.

          And there is another. We really would like God indebted to us by earning his approval by our own efforts.

        • Susan

          the difference between us is that I expect the Bible to make sense

          So, you begin with your conclusion.

          If that’s your strategy, there is no reason to take anything you say on the subject seriously.

        • Don Camp

          Do you expect nature to make sense? I expect you do. You don’t expect that it will be chaotic and that you will be unable to make sense of it. At least I don’t think you do?

          Why? When you figure out why, you will understand why I can make the statement I did.

        • Does nature make sense? I guess it depends on what “makes sense” means. When you’ve got to get a doctorate to deeply understand one sliver of science, I wouldn’t call that “making sense.” And who knows what fraction of reality is beyond our ability to ever know?

        • Susan

          Do you expect nature to make sense?

          Not necessarily. But that’s irrelevant and an attempt to avoid your dishonest attempt to begin with your conclusion.

          With a slimy move to analogy.

          You point at reality and claim your unevidenced claims are somehow connected.

          Again, this is just dishonest.

        • Ignorant Amos
        • The the difference between us is that I expect the Bible to make sense, so I look for ways to integrate two apparent contradictions.

          Right. You assume that it must make sense and keep looking until you can find a satisfactory approach. You never consider that it might just be a human book.

          And that is a good example of what I mean above. You create more problems than you solve because you make the choice to place one statement above another rather than seek a way to integrate the two.

          Nope. I place the two verses side by side, point out the contradictions, and let the open-minded person draw their own conclusion. If they think that a contradictory book is just the thing a perfect god would give us, then I guess there’s not much I can add.

          The mistake is thinking that forgiveness is kind of like a free ticket to heaven

          Sin separates us from God? Jesus removed that sin. Problem solved.

          A better analogy is that your loan has been paid for you by a benefactor because the loan is greater than you can ever pay. But the completion of that deal requires that you accept the gift.

          It never works that way in human interactions.

          We do that according the the Bible by taking God at his word and receiving the gift offered. That is faith.

          That is faith? How are using that word here?

          If a benefactor pays a bill for me, there’s no equivalent of this step.

          Why would anyone not accept that kind of gift?

          The Flying Spaghetti Monster offers you a gift of eternal life on an island with a beer volcano. Who’d not accept that gift?

          If you find that question ridiculous, perhaps you can imagine my reaction to yours.

          One answer is pride.

          And another is that there is far, far, far too little evidence to support the unbelievable claim you make. Y’know, kinda like how you respond to the claims of the Sikh or Shintoist.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Right. You assume that it must make sense and keep looking until you can find a satisfactory approach. You never consider that it might just be a human book.

          Which is rich, but even more so, if one believes Don is a scholar of literature.

          He thinks Hemingway offed himself through existential angst and everything being meaningless, because Don read it in between the lines of “The Old Man and the Sea”, never mind the fact that Hemingway was a Christian. A Catholic convert from Protestantism. Poor Don is crackers. There can be no other explanation as far as I can see.

          I’ve now change my preferred analogy of the Sherlock Holmes tales, to that of Bram Stoker’s “Dracula”. It is far closer to the nail in comparison to the Jesus yarn.

          There seems to have been a glut of programmes on the topic here just recently, given aunties three part adaptation on the story.

          https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000cs1t

          https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07rxf89

        • The Dracula billboard is pretty clever. The image is made with shadows.

          https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07zr254

        • epeeist

          Which is rich, but even more so, if one believes Don is a scholar of literature.

          I note the other day he was holding forth on the rise of science in the 19th century and the reaction to it in the form of existentialism. Someone who had a good knowledge of literature would surely have mentioned the Enlightenment and the rise of the Romantic movement in reaction to it.

          He also waffled on about naturalism being influenced by Darwin, completely ignoring the Enlightenment again as well as proponents of a materialist view of life such as La Mettrie, the Baron D’Holbach and Diderot.

          I was going to quote Pope’s “A little learning”, but here’s another piece of Pope, the one on Newton’s epitaph:

          NATURE and Nature’s Laws lay hid in Night:
          God said, “Let Newton be!” and all was light.

          It isn’t difficult to find someone from the era who was antipathetic to Newton, here is William Blake’s “Newton”

          https://www.tate.org.uk/art/images/work/N/N05/N05058_10.jpg

          Both Pope and Blake were of course long before Darwin or the Existentialists.

        • Ignorant Amos

          A better analogy is that your loan has been paid for you by a benefactor because the loan is greater than you can ever pay.

          That’s not a better analogy. Vicarious redemption is a disgusting concept.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=By9JJSVzlTw

        • Don Camp

          So you want to do it yourself?

          The trouble is you can’t paid the price. So it is nice to have a benefactor who can.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Is there something wrong with your basic comprehension skills?

          Paying the price is not the issue. Removing the guilt is the issue. There is no benefactor that can remove the guilt responsibility from the perpetrator of the action ya clown. End of story.

        • Don Camp

          In a way that is true. I can not forget. In that sense the problem is forgiving myself. But I can and I do rest in God’s love and grace. As I do that I am encouraged to give up my own self-judgment and enjoy his perfect acceptance of me.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Verbal diarrhea. Grow a set and take responsibility. Throw away that crutch you lean so heavily on, ya coward.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Poor Don is in complete denial.

          In the New Testament (NT), we find a difference in views as well. The apostle Paul called the Law of Moses “a curse” (Galatians 3:13), and in one unguarded moment compared it to “dung” (Philippians 3:8). Yet we find in the Epistle attributed to James (supposedly the brother of Jesus) a very high regard for the same Law calling it “the Law of liberty,” “the perfect Law” and “the royal Law” (James 1:25; 2:8). Indeed what can be more contradictory than these two verses: “[A] man is justified by faith apart from the works of the law” (Romans 3:28), and “[A] man is justified by works and not by faith alone” (James 2:24)?

          Even Paul contradicts himself. That’s if ya believe all his NT epistles are genuine Pauline, which all rational NT scholars will deny. And if there are forgeries, then the whole edifice of the bloody thing is fucked.

          Even the words that are shared between the pastorals and genuine Pauline Epistles have markedly different meanings. “Faith” for Paul meant a sense of trust one has in the redeeming feature of Jesus’ death (e.g., Romans 1:16-17). However, in the Pastorals the word is used to mean the body of teachings of the church (e.g., Titus 1:13).

          The Christian Delusion: Why Faith Fails (p. 167). Prometheus Books. Kindle Edition.

          On a side note. Don cites the buybull archaeologist, William Dever, in support of his evidence for the Exodus, over on his silly pants blog, even though Dever’s position is…

          William Dever, an archaeologist normally associated with the more conservative end of Syro-Palestinian archaeology, has labeled the question of the historicity of Exodus “dead.” Israeli archaeologist Ze’ev Herzog, provides the current consensus view on the historicity of the Exodus: “The Israelites never were in Egypt. They never came from abroad. This whole chain is broken. It is not a historical one. It is a later legendary reconstruction—made in the seventh century [BCE]—of a history that never happened.”

          Don cites Dever and the Merneptah Stele in some tortured attempt to demonstrate the validity of the Exodus yarn. But what does Dever actually think?

          Is there mention of the Israelites anywhere in ancient Egyptian records?

          No Egyptian text mentions the Israelites except the famous inscription of Merneptah dated to about 1206 B.C.E. But those Israelites were in Canaan; they are not in Egypt, and nothing is said about them escaping from Egypt.

          It’s the earliest reference we have to the Israelites. The victory stele of Pharaoh Merneptah, the son of Ramesses II, mentions a list of peoples and city-states in Canaan, and among them are the Israelites. And it’s interesting that the other entities, the other ethnic groups, are described as nascent states, but the Israelites are described as “a people.” They have not yet reached a level of state organization.

          So gradually the old conquest model [based on the accounts of Joshua’s conquests in the Bible] began to lose favor amongst scholars. Many scholars now think that most of the early Israelites were originally Canaanites, displaced Canaanites, displaced from the lowlands, from the river valleys, displaced geographically and then displaced ideologically.

          https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/article/archeology-hebrew-bible/

          Dishonest Don is in complete denial, but he thinks he is the rational critical thinker here, he’s done all the research after all. Don Camp, pious fraud that has been lying for Jesus for over 50 years.

        • Greg G.

          It is a later legendary reconstruction—made in the seventh century [BCE]—of a history that never happened.

          Would you happen to know why Dever thinks the Exodus myth was constructed in the seventh century BC rather than the sixth century BC?

        • Ignorant Amos

          I’ve not read anything from him specifically. But I imagine it’s because that’s when King Josiah of Judah implements massive reforms.

          A book is suddenly discovered hidden the temple…nudge, nudge, wink, wink, say no more…the Book of the Law. Kicking the whole monotheistic thing off.

          Deuteronomic Reform, great religious reformation instituted in the reign of King Josiah of Judah (c. 640–609 BC). It was so called because the book of the Law found in the Temple of Jerusalem (c. 622 BC), which was the basis of the reform, is considered by scholars to be the same as the law code in the book of Deuteronomy (chapters 12–26). The reform consisted of removing pagan altars and idols from the Temple, destroying rural sanctuaries and fertility cults, and centralizing worship at the Temple of Jerusalem.

        • DC2: Good question. Maybe a little history as I move toward a definition .

          GW2: That’s fine, but be sure to get to the definition eventually.

          DC2: From the middle of then 19th century, science became more and more the determiner of our understanding of reality. By the end of that century, the scientific worldview was exerting an influence on American literature. Authors that we call Realists or Naturalists like Theodore Dreiser, who may be the best representative of the genre, wrote about common people who were carried along by the events life and their own nature (determinism) and inclined toward achieving success by any means, though largely immoral means.

          GW2: Realists can live mostly moral lives.

          DC2: Naturalism was influenced by Darwin’s theory of evolution as much as anything. The world of the Naturalism had no meaning or purpose or direction. Life was controlled (determined) by natural forces and we were pawns.. THAT MIGHT BE A DEFINITION OF MEANINGLESS. Basically Naturalistic authors applied the evolutionary view of life to their writing and explored the consequences.The outcomes were bleak.

          GW2: We create meaning and purpose in our own lives. There is no god who creates our lives to make his life meaningful and purposeful. There is no over-arching meaning or purpose to all our lives. Even though some outcomes are bleak, delusions and lies are ultimately unhelpful to us.

          DC2: Beginning in the early 20th century, there was a reaction to meaninglessness in literature and philosophy. Thinking people decided that living in a meaningless world was unbearable. Existentialism was the answer in literature and philosophy. Existentialists still lived in a meaningless world but they chose not to live as though it was meaningless. They made their own meaning. The authors of that period explored the existential life.

          GW2: There is no god which establishes a meaning or purpose for our lives. Any meaning or purpose which our lives have is created by us!

          DC2: Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea is a story of a man who refuses to allow meaningless to conquer him. He, Santiago, will fight against it, and though his labor is pointless since the fish is consumed by sharks, he has won. But to what end? He has lived out Hemingway’s philosophy of life grace under pressure, but it ends in pointlessness beyond the moment.

          GW2: Our lives might have meaning and purpose to those who survive us on Earth. For example, you might be a model of honesty for your children even after you die.

          DC2: That is meaninglessness. There is no point beyond the moment. There is no inherent direction in life or purpose. We are animals who live and die and that’s it. Any meaning is what you make. That is the existential leap. But even that is ultimately meaningless. It ends in the grave.

          GW2: Well, just because all lives end in the grave doesn’t mean that all lives are meaningless. Meaning is added, not intrinsic.

          DC2: Science has affirmed that. Not only does our life end in the grave, but civilization will end in oblivion; our solar system will end; the universe will end. And that is that. We can play the game as long as we are in it.

          GW2: All of that is true, and in addition, God does not exist. So, how shall we live our lives, given this reality?

          DC2: We may find temporary meaning in the game as we might in playing the machines at a casino. But it is a game. Solomon , who expressed existentialism as well as anyone, in Ecclesiastes said, “Meaningless, meaningless, all is meaningless.”

          GW2: Our lives have meaning to the extent that we create it. So, your life may be meaningless, but mine is meaningful.

          DC2: In my opinion, postmodern literature addresses the existential angst by declaring that it is just the way it is. Life doesn’t make sense, but who cares? That is where we are right now.

          GW2: Life is what life is. Who said that it has to make sense in some cosmic way? Can’t we create our own sense of life?

          DC2: In contrast to that, the Bible has consistently declares that life makes sense and that it is going somewhere and that what we do in life has eternal consequences.

          GW2: The authors of the Bible were mistaken, delusional, or dishonest about this. There is no overall sense to life.

          DC2: It is a worldview of hope rather than ultimate hopelessness.

          GW2: It is a worldview of false hope. It’s like a narcotic addiction. It makes you feel good for short periods of time but the costs overwhelm you ultimately. And then you die anyway. So far, there is no way to defeat death. If somebody tells you that there is, don’t believe them. Be skeptical.

          DC2: It refuses to see us as pawns of scientific determinism but as creatures of free will who can choose our future and can effect the future of others because God has a future for us.

          GW2: Why would divine determinism be any better or worse than scientific determinism? Free will may just be an illusion. But even if determinism of some form is true, people still create meaning and purpose for their lives.

          DC2: The biblical worldview declares that the future is unlimited and potentially wonderful.

          GW2: That is a false statement. According to Christianity, the future is limited and potentially awful.

        • Don Camp

          That is a false statement. According to Christianity, the future is limited and potentially awful.

          Potentially. The choice is yours.

          Life is what life is. Who said that it has to make sense in some cosmic way? Can’t we create our own sense of life?

          Quite postmodern.

          No one says that life has to make sense. But if it is intended to make sense, that changes things. If that is true, then missing the purpose of life would be tragic. Of course, if there is no God as you claim, then sense is whatever you make it to be.

        • GW2: That is a false statement. According to Christianity, the future is limited and potentially awful.

          DC3: Potentially. The choice is yours.

          GW3: If Christianity is true (and I don’t think it is), then the future is limited to Heaven or Hell for each person in some afterlife. This contradicts your claim that “The biblical worldview declares that the future is unlimited…” Also, if a person’s future is Heaven, then that would be wonderful, as you said, but if a person’s future is Hell, then that would be awful, as I said. The choice you imagine is a false choice. When it comes to death, you have no choice at all – you are going to die and will never exist again.

          GW2: Life is what life is. Who said that it has to make sense in some cosmic way? Can’t we create our own sense of life?

          DC3: Quite postmodern.

          GW3: No, it’s not postmodern at all. It’s factual and modern.

          DC3: No one says that life has to make sense. But if it is intended to make sense, that changes things. If that is true, then missing the purpose of life would be tragic. Of course, if there is no God as you claim, then sense is whatever you make it to be.

          GW3: I think we agree on your branching statement, roughly “If G, then X, but if no G, then Y.” But God does not exist, so we must create our own purpose, meaning, and sense. For example, one of the purposes I’ve selected for my life is to demonstrate that God does not exist.

    • The person who does not believe in a world that ultimately makes sense is faced either with depression or an existential leap to something that offers hope or relief from meaninglessness.

      Is that what you did? Grabbed the worldview that offered hope, regardless of whether it was true or not?

      If the world is truly meaningless as you seem to conceive it

      Nope. I think the world has plenty of meaning.

      why not leap to something that provides a happy worldview?

      Seriously? I should rank worldview based on how cheerful they are and pick #1?

      (Hint: I can imagine lots of variations of worldviews that are much more cheerful than Christianity.)

      It appears that you have done so – without evidence to back it up, I might add.

      Nope, my worldview is based on evidence.

      • Don Camp

        Seriously? I should rank worldview based on how cheerful they are and pick #1?

        But most people do. Hardly anyone choose a worldview on how depressing it is. Even if you choose a worldview that based on service to humanity, that is a worldview that gives them satisfaction and happiness. But I would be interested in what worldview a person would choose not based on happiness.

        Nope, my worldview is based on evidence.

        What worldview and what evidence?

        • “Seriously? I should rank worldview based on how cheerful they are and pick #1?”
          But most people do. Hardly anyone choose a worldview on how depressing it is.

          But quite a few choose a worldview based on how well it comports with the evidence.

          Not you, apparently.

          “Nope, my worldview is based on evidence.”
          What worldview and what evidence?

          I’m an atheist. I’ve written a blog with the evidence.

        • Don Camp

          But quite a few choose a worldview based on how well it comports with the evidence.

          I am not so sure. I think the general population, at least in the U.S. is more occupied with dealing with the challenges of life or riding the wave. They are not interested in what either of us are saying. But they do live by a worldview.

          When I was teaching this stuff to teens, I tried to make it simple. I defined a worldview as what you believe to be real, what you think is important, and given that what you should do. (Not my creation, I got it off the internet.)

          Evidence has relatively little to do with it formot, though I wish it did. What people think important has much more to do with their worldview. If happiness is the primary importance, a it i for most, they will act accordingly and care less about what is real. The real becomes their happiness in the moment.

          Christians choose a biblical worldview based on what they believe to be real – God. They have plenty of reason to do so. There is adequate evidence to begin. More will be found as they proceed.

        • nydiva

          Christians choose a biblical worldview based on what they believe to be real – God. They have plenty of reason to do so. There is adequate evidence to begin. More will be found as they proceed.

          Here you go, speaking for millions of Christians you don’t know. What one believes is real doesn’t necessarily mean it is real. For example, a belief in a god doesn’t make it real. And while some folks may have their reasons for believing, as you have demonstrated from hundreds of posts there is no evidence for your god. I was a Christian for nearly 20 years and the more special pleading I read, the more I realized I had been sold a bill of false hope.

        • Don Camp

          there is no evidence for your god

          Have you ever been to a sand sculpture contest. There is one held every year in Ocean Shores, WA, where I lived for a while. Each of those sculptures from the simplest to the most elaborate are made of sand found there on the beach and water, also easily at hand.

          It is fun to watch them rise from the beach and form into everything from castles to Disney characters totally untouched by any hand.

          If you can believe that you can believe that you can believe there is no God.

        • nydiva

          Please take a break from posting. You are losing your mind and becoming completely silly.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Losing it? That ship sailed a long time ago.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Who makes the sand sculptures Don, if they are not touched by hand?

          You do know you are fuckin’ crackers, right?

          I lived near the Levante beach in Benidorm. I’ve whiled away many an afternoon sitting at a beach bar watching sand sculptors at work.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Obf99ppNos

        • Ignorant Amos

          You do know that there are Christians that don’t believe in God, right?

          You do know that there are God believing Christians that don’t believe the resurrection was a real physical historical event, right?

        • Ignorant Amos

          But most people do.

          Hardly anyone gets to choose their worldview at all, it’s foist upon them. For a number of different reasons. How depressing it is, matters not. Ask most North Koreans.

          Back in the day, Christers were expert at it…and they still don’t do to bad at it still.

          For a fortunate few, we get to change ours without much trial or tribulations.

          Hardly anyone choose a worldview on how depressing it is.

          It’s not really the same thing though, is it? Most people don’t get much of a choice at all.

          You don’t seem at all happy in your worldview, and you claim to have chose yours.

        • Don Camp

          Ask most North Koreans.

          Yes. Ask them. I would be interested. What I do know is that there are many North Koreans who are Christians. They have chosen their worldview against the tide and threats of the regime. They pay dearly for their convictions when they are discovered.

          Most people don’t get much of a choice at all.

          And that is why I spend my life offering that choice. Just as I offer it to you.

          You don’t seem at all happy in your worldview, and you claim to have chose yours.

          I am not a very emotional person. But I have not experienced as much joy in anything as I do in my relationship with God. I would not trade that for mere hapiness.

        • Ignorant Amos

          What I do know is that there are many North Koreans who are Christians.

          Many? Okay, if 1.7% of the population is considered many, fill yer boots.

          They have chosen their worldview against the tide and threats of the regime. They pay dearly for their convictions when they are discovered.

          Which is relevant to what I said how? In fact, you are making my point for me. Choose a worldview that is counter to the regime and reap the consequences. Well done Don, hoist by yer own petard, again. In other words, the choice is “our way, or else” which for most, is no choice at all. Which is exactly what I said, ffs.

          “Ask most North Koreans.”

          They pay dearly for their convictions when they are discovered.

          You don’t even smell the irony in that statement. One example straight off the top of my swede. The Spanish conquistadors in South America committed genocide. Cortés massacred the indigenous folk for refusing to destroy their idols. So the point isn’t who pays dearly for their convictions ya moron. It’s about the being allowed to choose a worldview. Your head is really fucked up Don.

          And that is why I spend my life offering that choice. Just as I offer it to you.

          And I’ll say it again, because you seem to be too dumb a fuck to get it the first time.

          “Most people don’t get much of a choice at all.”

          Your proselytising fuckwittery would be better invested where you have a chance of it impacting. You are wasting your time here Don. Honestly. Can I suggest you take your Great Commission to the North Senegalese, you’d have a better chance.

          I am not a very emotional person.

          Not a bad thing in my opinion. I’m pretty emotional maself. As you’ve witnessed. Life has made me so.

          But I have not experienced as much joy in anything as I do in my relationship with God.

          That’s great Don. Knock yerself out with your preferred delusion. Others with their delusions claim the same. But you’ll poo-poo them for it, because you happen to believe you just happened to land on the one true Scotsman. I have no problem with folk believing whatever fuckwittery they choose. But try and keep it to yourself, there’s a good lad. Stop fucking the place up for the rest of us.

          I would not trade that for mere hapiness.

          Who is asking you to? You came here, remember? You’re the dickhead who is trying to get others to give up their happiness and joy. You still don’t seem to get it that just about everyone here was in your place once upon a time. We bought the snake oil. We drank the Kool-aid. We are not about to go there again. And certainly not with your pathetic attempts at persuasion.

          Your head is mince. For some reason, you believe that the stuff we are saying is a result of the new age. It isn’t. It’s as old as Christianity itself. But it gained traction with the Enlightenment. I was sitting in the cancer unit yesterday, waiting on my partner having her 6 monthly MRI scan. I was reading John Loftus’ “The Christian Delusion” again. It’s been years since I read it, but thanks to you being here, I’ve started reading it again. There is so much in there I’d forgot. You should read it.

          Paul Tobin’s chapter has an addendum.

          ADDENDUM: THE LIBERALS AND THE BIBLE

          I have argued that the evangelical belief in biblical inspiration cannot be defended in the light of modern scholarship. However, there are many Christians who are not evangelicals, members of the mainline Protestant churches, such as Lutheran, Anglican, and Methodist churches, who do not accept the evangelical position. These churches subscribe to some forms of liberal-modernist theology. Liberal or modernist theologians would happily admit to all of the findings mentioned in this chapter but would dismiss them as “insignificant” objections to their faith. Yet, strange as it may seem to the average person, these theologians still consider themselves Christians. Liberal modernist theology has its roots in the Enlightenment—an intellectual movement that started in the eighteenth century—which placed reason above all else. The skepticism of philosophers such as David Hume (1711-1776) and to a certain extent, Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) presented many difficulties for Christian theologians. Even more troubling to theology than philosophy was natural philosophy, or, as it eventually became known, science. The Copernican revolution, which showed that the sun, not the earth, was the center upon which everything in the then-known universe revolves, took away the earth’s, and thus man’s, place from the center of the universe. It became harder to believe how man could be the crowning glory of creation when he is placed in an insignificant corner of the universe. The plight of the theologians continued to pile up in the nineteenth century. The publishing of Charles Darwin’s (1809-1882) treatise on evolution, On The Origin of Species (1859), meant that science had gone one step further against the theologian. The theory of evolution presented by Darwin showed that man is an evolved animal, no more and no less. If evolution is true, and the evidence marshaled by Darwin in his book is compelling, then Genesis is false; far from being created in God’s image, humankind bore all the marks of an animal ancestry.

          Within Christendom, the development of biblical criticism, especially in its “higher” form, began to show that the Bible was not a unique document (as we’ve shown). Christian theology bifurcated into fundamentalist/ conservatism on one side and liberal/modernism on the other. While the fundamentalist side rejected the assured results of science and biblical criticism, the liberal side embraced them and subsequently reinvented their Christian faith. Thus the liberals did not reach their position by abstruse theological reasoning. Instead they were forced into it by external circumstances—the findings of science, comparative religions, enlightenment philosophies, and textual and historical criticism. The position of the liberals on the Bible can be divided into two broad, not necessarily mutually exclusive, positions. The first is that the biblical myths convey symbolic truths, as expressed in a report published by the Anglican Church Commission on Christian Doctrine in 1938: “Statements affirming particular facts may be found to have value as pictorial expressions of spiritual truths, even though the supposed facts themselves did not actually happen. In that case such statements must be called symbolically true…It is not therefore of necessity illegitimate to accept and affirm particular clauses in the Creeds while understanding them in this symbolic sense.”

          This report, probably on purpose, never made it clear which clauses of the Anglican creeds were to be understood in this symbolic sense. The second position asserts that the Bible, while being fallible, is in general the inspired word of God, as Carl Lofmark summed up the views of liberal R. P. C. Hanson and A. T. Hanson:

          They recognized that the Bible contains errors and cannot be divinely inspired, that its world view is “pre-scientific” and its accounts of history mainly myths, legend, or fiction, that its miracles never happened and that parts of it are unedifying if not disgusting…They agree that the Bible text is unreliable and the original words (including the words of Jesus) have often been altered. Yet they still believe that the Bible’s “general drift” or “impression” is a “true witness to the nature of God.”

          The unedifying texts are “balanced” by others, which reveal the truth. Deep significance is not found everywhere in the Bible, but only in its “high spots.”…This approach is eclectic: they select from the Bible those passages which they find edifying and construct from those passages their own impression of the Bible’s “general drift,” while rejecting the bulk of what the Bible contains. Only the better parts are a true witness to the nature and purpose of God. The first problem to note is that if modern liberals are right about the Bible, then most Christians have failed to understand God’s true message throughout church history until recent time. Put in this way, the liberal position sounds smug and pretentious.

          The second problem is that the question remains as to which passages are to be taken literally and which are to be taken symbolically. If the intent of the biblical authors is rejected by the method of selection, then this leaves the door wide open for selecting which passages should be symbolic and which should not. Thirdly, how are those passages to be interpreted symbolically? There is no guide or generally accepted method of symbolic interpretation. How does one know which symbolic interpretation is correct? Fourthly, just because the stories are defined as symbolic by the liberals, it does not mean that the issue of the criterion of truth has been successfully avoided. What happens when two liberal theologians come up with two mutually exclusive symbolic truths from the same biblical passage? And finally, many so-called interpretations of the symbolic truths of the Bible are actually devoid of any cognitive meaning.

          Take for instance an Ascension Day sermon written for an English newspaper by an Anglican bishop: “[The ascension of Jesus is] not a primitive essay in astrophysics, but the symbol of creative intuition…into the abiding significance of Jesus and his place in the destiny of man. It might be called a pictorial presentation of the earliest creed, Jesus is Lord…Creed and scripture are saying in their own language that here is something final and decisive, the truth and the meaning of man’s life and destiny—truth not in theory but in a person-life in its ultimate quality, that is God’s life.” From what he said only one thing is clear: the good bishop does not believe that the ascension story is to be taken literally. Apart from this, it is very difficult to fathom what it is he is trying to say and how what he is trying to say is derived from that story told in three verses in Acts, if it is not grounded in an actual historical event. While we can forgive the author of Acts for his lack of knowledge of astrophysics, it is hard to know what to do with the bishop.

          As for the “take some and leave some” approach to the Bible, the central question remains: if some parts of the Bible are false or unacceptable, what guarantee do we have that the other parts are true, or are of any special value? Thus the moment one admits that some parts of the Bible are untrue or unacceptable, the position of the Bible as the inspired word of God becomes very difficult to objectively defend.

          Take for instance this passage from American liberal theologian Leslie Weatherhead: “[W]hen Jesus is reported as consigning to everlasting torture those who displease him or do not ‘believe’ what he says, I know in my heart that there is something wrong somewhere. Either he is misrepresented or misunderstood….So I put his alleged saying in my mental drawer awaiting further light. By the judgment of the court within my own breast…I reject such sayings.” The question here is simple: if he could use his own judgment to accept and reject biblical passages, why rely on the Bible at all?

          This leads us into the liberal theologians’ views of Jesus. It is obvious that since the late nineteenth century these theologians have ceased to believe that the main events of the Gospels are historical, especially the virgin birth, the associated nativity stories, the miracles, and the bodily resurrection of Jesus. The liberals trip all over themselves trying to avoid saying the actual truth: if the bodily resurrection of Jesus is not historical then traditional Christianity, in any form, is no longer valid. This is the skeptic’s position, of course. But the liberals added that the resurrection is to be understood in a different sense, but just exactly what sense is not clear. Their writings contain so much garbled speech that it is difficult to even see if they agree with one another. Most of the liberal interpretation involves accepting the resurrection as some kind of internal revelation of the disciples. This experience, they proclaim, is what really matters, not the actual historical fact of resurrection. But why should it, we ask? Why should the visions or dreams of a few ill-educated, first-century Galilean peasants be of any significance and be treated any differently from others all over the world and throughout history? Because it is about Jesus? But take away the historical claims about his supposed supernatural powers, his miracles, and his bodily resurrection, and what do we have? A first-century, xenophobic, ignorant Galilean peasant who thought the world was going to end (as Loftus proves in chapter 12). If this is so, why not just dispense with it altogether? It’s high time they did. As Hector Avalos has argued very effectively in The End of Biblical Studies, it’s time that biblical studies as we know them should end. ~The Christian Delusion: Why Faith Fails (pp. 169-173). Prometheus Books. Kindle Edition.

          Scholars and theologians have known it is fuckwittery, but the corporation is too big a money spinner to inform the gullible minions. So they are all in the Mushroom Club, keep them in the dark and feed them shite. Fortunately, the light is being shone more and more.

          You’ve bought a pig in a poke Don, sold a pup, you just haven’t/can’t/won’t admit it…yet.

        • Don Camp

          Your proselytising … would be better invested where you have a chance of it impacting. You are wasting your time here

          I don’t expect to impact you, Amos. I hope, but I don’t expect that any reasoning I might provide will make a difference. As you say, you’ve been there done that. But I am learning the arguments put forth by atheists and anti-theists. I use that to prepare others to face that kind of sophistry.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I don’t expect to impact you, Amos.

          That’s another lie, because you keep proselytizing.

          I hope, but I don’t expect that any reasoning I might provide will make a difference.

          There’s no chance. You haven’t shown any coherent reasoning since you got here.

          As you say, you’ve been there done that.

          As has most here. We know both sides, we actually have chose the rational and reasoned side.

          But I am learning the arguments put forth by atheists and anti-theists. I use that to prepare others to face that kind of sophistry.

          Sophistry? You haven’t demonstrated that any of your interlocutors have been using sophistry. While every argument you’ve entered into has been shown that sophistry is all you’ve got. I’d have thought that was obvious by now and you’d have fucked off to Croydon. But it’s apparent that you are too thick to even realise that much. Poor Delusional Don. It’s embarrassing to witness.

          Now quit the proselytizing ya eejit. Anyway, I think you are lying again. You said elsewhere you reasoned all this out 50 years ago. Well before there was all the apologetics books on the matter.

        • Greg G.

          Paul Tobin’s chapter has an addendum.

          I exchanged a couple of emails with Paul about his web site. It was no longer up the last time I checked.

        • And that is why I spend my life offering that choice. Just as I offer it to you.

          May I ask you to consider Scientology, my friend?

        • nydiva

          LOL! That’s a good one.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Am surprised you aren’t proselytizing Mormonism. That one is way better supported than the others. And Don’s version of Christerism.

          https://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2017/03/7058/

          https://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2017/04/mormonism-beats-christianity-or-does-it-2-of-2-2/

        • Scientology seems to be a bit more ridiculous. That’s why I wanted to parallel Don’s proselytizing with it.

        • Greg G.

          But most people do.

          Which might be why most people have religious beliefs.

          What worldview and what evidence?

          The evidence is the same for everyone. A “worldview” is a system that privileges some information above other information which tends to distort the perception of reality. I try to avoid that.

          All supernatural claims are treated the same. But the supernatural is claimed to be imperceptible, so a supernatural claim turns out to be nothing but an attempt to exempt a claim from scrutiny. It’s a stinking pile of confirmation bias.

          There is a Buddhist art tradition which creates an ornate artwork out of colored sand. After a few days, it is washed away. It symbolizes the transient nature of beauty. It teaches that one should appreciate the meaning of things while they exist.

          A river flows from here to there. It’s tributaries feed more H2O molecules in as the river flows into another river, lake, or ocean while some molecules evaporate.

          Our memory of what we had for breakfast three weeks ago is replaced by the memory of what we ate this morning, and so on. Some of our cells are replaced. Some of the molecules within the cells are replaced. We are in constant flux.

          Heraclitus was right when he said, “A man cannot step into the same river twice for it is not the same river and he is not the same man.”

          I submit that philosophies and religions that require eternal permanence of something to appreciate meaning are the failures.

        • Don Camp

          Poetic, Greg. And I appreciate and share your wonder and enjoyment of the transience of beauty and nature. I love seeing the turn of the seasons, especially here in the Pacific Northwest.

          That enjoyment, however, is based on the fact that transience is eternal – for the Buddhist at least.

          If heaven (which is actually in Christian teaching a new heaven and earth) were frozen in time like a museum exhibit, yes, it would become boring. If it were anything like the popular conception of playing a harp while sitting on a cloud it would become mind numbing. But it is not. It is dynamic.

          God made us to enjoy creation and he made creation for our enjoyment. It is inconceivable to me that the new heaven and new earth would be totally different.

        • Greg G.

          Poetic, Greg.

          Thank you, Don. I did some severe editing of the first draft.

          If heaven (which is actually in Christian teaching a new heaven and earth) were frozen in time like a museum exhibit, yes, it would become boring. If it were anything like the popular conception of playing a harp while sitting on a cloud it would become mind numbing. But it is not. It is dynamic.

          Do you remember the Bugs Bunny cartoon where Yosemite Sam is the royal cook? When he serves a gourmet lunch, the king kicks it out of his hands and says,”Oooh, get away! Everyday it’s the same thing, VARIETY! I want something different! Fix me HASENPFEFFER, right away!”

          https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x6nle0y

          Edit to put the “P” in “hasenpfeffer”.

        • Ignorant Amos

          What about the ugly, Don? You don’t enjoy that too much, do ya?

          But it is not. It is dynamic.

          That’s made up woo-woo and wishful thinking that you can’t posibly know.

          God made us to enjoy creation and he made creation for our enjoyment.

          Pass me bucket, am gonna be sick.

          On the whole, God made a shitty job of of both.

          It is inconceivable to me that the new heaven and new earth would be totally different.

          All seems a bit pointless in that case. We realise that you need your comfort blanket and the thought of being without it, scares the crap out of ya. But that doesn’t make your particulr flavour of woo-woo anymore real than the next religionists woo-woo.

        • Don Camp

          I would not be scared, if in fact life was close ended. But I would be disappointed. We are made for more. Anyone who loves life understands that disappointment. That is why we create bucket lists for ourselves; we want to have as much as we can in the limited time we have.

          Your reply does, however, imply that you may not fully understand the design of God for us. So let me develop that a little.

          In Genesis 2 mankind is given the assignment of ruling over creation. That does not mean to dominate creation for our own purposes. That idea is the expression of our narcissism. God did not create us for that.

          What God created us for was the enhancement of creation and to look to him as the designer and creator for the wisdom needed to do so. I don’t have to tell you that we are not doing well with that.

          But that assignment means work. And work it turns out is both a dynamic activity but one of the things that brings us the greatest satisfaction. There is no indication that will end in the new earth, if fact the opposite. There will be work.

          There is also community. We were created for that. Right now community tends to be dysfunctional, but that is the result again of our narcissism. Community in which we each seek the good of others and enjoy the blessing of the companionship of others is a wonder. That is God’s design for us. I don’t have to tell you that we are not doing well with that.

          Community is relationship. And the greatest and most intriguing and satisfying relationship is the relationship we may enjoy with God. We were made for that, it is implied in the fact that we are made in his image. We may have a foretaste of that relationship and the joy it is in the here and now. Those who do find it to be the most incredible experience in life. In the new earth and eternal kingdom we will enjoy that relationship fully. It will not be impeded by sin.It will not be limited by time.

          And there will be the enjoyment of God in his creation. It will be like enjoying the creative work of a master painter but to the max. I expect that the new heavens and earth will present the opportunity to enjoy and marvel at the creativity of God in the entire universe. That is definitely dynamic. And exciting.

          I can enjoy all these things now to a degree. And I do enjoy them. But I look forward as well to the opportunity to enjoy them to the max. That will be the completion of God’s purpose for me and for mankind.

        • Women are people

          “ And the greatest and most intriguing and satisfying relationship is the relationship we may enjoy with God. ”

          Uh huh. Only if you ignore all the emotional and mental abuse that comes with that relationship. Let’s examine some of those, eh?

          1) Love me or else. That’s not love. Claiming that god loves me unconditionally, but only under certain conditions, is not unconditional love at all. Nor is it love for god to create and send me to a place where I will burn for all eternity, not because I was an immoral person who would deserve that, but because I didn’t love him back, or because I loved someone else and not him.

          2) you are broken and worthless without me.

          Imagine if your daughter’s boyfriend said that to her. You would tell her to run in the other direction. Yet that’s the entire premise of Christianity.

          3) put no one else above me and don’t you dare say my name with a shitty attitude.

          My goodness does god sound like an insecure abuser who can’t handle any other Gods getting attention, eh?

          4) I will test you.

          That’s abusive. My goodness. Knowing what I will do, because he planned for me to do it, then punishing me for it, is the workings of a psychopath.

          5) I will punish you for your own good because it’s your fault.

          Gaslighting much?

          6) you will never be as good as me, you will never understand me for I am better than you at everything.

          7) even though I control everything and have all the power, everything is your fault because you didn’t listen to me.

          Relationships with god are founded on abusive tactics to make the person believe that this relationship is healthy. It’s not. And the worst part is? It’s a relationship that doesn’t even exist! You are an abusive relationship with your imaginary friend and it has made you sacrifice your humanity to be sycophant. It’d be sad if it wasn’t so damn pathetic.

        • Doubting Thomas

          But I would be interested in what worldview a person would choose not based on happiness.

          This might come as a surprise to you, but come of us choose our worldview based upon reality.

  • NSAlito

    I know, I’ll just embrace the idea of karmic reincarnation. That way I can get justice without deities!

    • Greg G.

      Isn’t that what you said in your last lifetime? You must have a lot of bad karma to work off.

      /s

      • NSAlito

        I was hoping to be reincarnated as an otter.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          The reincarnator had otter ideas 😉

        • Greg G.

          I badgered the reincarnator to make me an otter but he made me beg ferret.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          “I yield my remaining time to Greg G.”

          😉

        • MR

          What a weasel.

        • NSAlito

          For that comment, you’re coming back as a pubic louse.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Hmmmm…the *possibilities*….

          😉

        • Ignorant Amos

          Am more a beaver man maself.

        • Judgeforyourself37

          LMAO!

        • Judgeforyourself37

          I want to be a spayed female cat in a home that adores cats.

  • sandy

    A bit off topic, but I’m thinking of declaring myself a secularist or humanist as we enter 2020. It just seems to go over better than Atheist (same thing really) and seems to keep the conversation going rather than putting up a conversational wall with theists. Atheists should have the emotional and intellectual security to go this root and it just might gain an ear or two towards the rationality and reasons for our stance.

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      There’s all kinds of tactics…I say you do you, and may it work for you 🙂

      • sandy

        Thank you. Sometimes it’s best to know your audience and choose the appropriate stance. You catch more with honey than vinegar is where I was going. Too often I’ve found using the term Atheist is like kicking an ant hill. Problem is the education of the meaning of atheist for most people. I’m just thinking the easiest root to educate is through secularism.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The thing is, using the term “secularism” says nothing about one’s beliefs in deities. Many theists of all stripes are also secularist. Humanist would be a better way to go in my opinion.

        • sandy

          “The thing is, using the term “secularism” says nothing about one’s beliefs in deities.” Yes you are correct about that and my error. An atheist would also be secularist, obviously, so I think I will remain calling myself and atheist and a humanist and work on making the term atheist more understood and acceptable as Lord Blackwater has pointed out. An interesting discussion for sure.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I consider my self an igtheist. But for the purposes of convenience in meat world, atheist does the job.

    • Lord Backwater

      Fine. My plan is to call myself an atheist, and thus make that term acceptable.

    • Phil Rimmer

      I’ll call myself a moralist.

      My trick will be, to not subcontract the task.

      • sandy

        Well done!

    • I recommend “secular humanist” to you.

      • sandy

        As I just pointed out below to Amos…. I’m going with “atheist and humanist” which atheist then implies secularist as well.

  • Phil Rimmer

    Justice.

    Atheists ever inch towards it over the generations.

    The religious abdicate any real responsibility.

  • Sample1

    Ultimate justice. Hmm. When justice just isn’t enough? A close idiomatic and emotional cousin to life. When life’s just not enough, well…try afterlife™

    Mike

    • Phil Rimmer

      Terms and conditions apply…

      • Sample1

        Indulgences sold separately…

        Mike

        • Otto

          Your millage may vary…

    • Ficino

      Maybe they will try “radical justice” next?

  • Judgeforyourself37

    Life is not a dress rehearsal, my friends. Life is here and now. There, in MHO, is no “heaven”, nor is there any “hell.” We make our own heaven or hell by our actions, our compassion, or lack thereof, our kindness or lack their of, and how we treat others.
    No, I do not think that we should allow ourselves to remain in an abusive relationship, or allow ourselves to be used by others, financially or any other way, as there are always some people, even relatives, who will try to take advantage of us sexually, financially or use our name to their advantage without our permission. That being said, we should always try to listen to others, not tell them what to do, unless it is to seek needed help, we should smile more, hold doors for people exiting a building and are right behind you, do not be reluctant to let a car ease in in front of you, help when you can, but do not be afraid to tell someone that you really cannot help to the extent that they want you to help.
    You will always have some folks who dislike you, for religious reasons, or for the color of your skin, or your ethnicity, please let them go. Even in the case of a relative, you may have to tell that person, that while you may care about them and forgive them, their toxic treatment of you means that their constant taking advantage means that you need a break from them.
    Be as kind, compassionate, and forgiving, even if that forgiving means that you have to walk away. Be this type of person and when you die, and we all die, you will be remembered as a good, kind, compassionate, forgiving person and this will be your “Heaven.”
    Be miserable, constantly complaining, not saying “Thank you,’ even for small things, speaking ill of someone with whom you disagree, always wanting to be the center of attention, always putting another person down if they happen to have more than you do, are more handsome or prettier, always asking for money because you think that someone
    “owes you,” because you are related, (unless you borrowed money from that person, then work a few more hours and pay that relative back, even if it is in agreed upon installments) or trust me you will not be remembered well, and that will be your “Hell.”
    There is no “place with fires and devils” nor is their a place “up there” filled with “glory,” it will be as how we are remembered after our death.

    • I don’t see how justice and forgiveness are compatible. If you think otherwise, please explain and defend your position.

  • Jim X

    I like the quote at the end of the article.

  • GW1: Bob, this is another very good essay, and I agree with almost all the points you made, but I’d like to focus on a couple others.

    BS1: When God gives justice, we get what we deserve, but sometimes he gives mercy and we get less than what we deserve.

    GW1: That’s correct, but don’t forget the other side of injustice. Under the Christian system, a person who commits a minor sin but who does not accept salvation through Jesus Christ gets MORE (punishment) than what he deserves – an eternity in Hell.

    BS1: While the Christian worldview imagines objective morality, that’s nothing more than wishful thinking.

    GW1: Morality consists of moral rules. Moral rules are not objects which are objective in the sense that they can be touched or seen. They are ideas about how all human persons should behave or not behave in different kinds of situations. They can be objective in the sense that different “moral legislators” can CONVERGE on the same moral rules, if they are similarly and properly trained, they set aside their biases and prejudices, and they use the reason toolbox to derive the rules.

    GW1: Instead of imagining one god, i.e. God, proclaiming a moral code, imagine a panel of gods using reason to come up with a moral code. Now, go the next step and imagine a panel of human persons with high moral expertise using reason to come up with a moral code. I think this would be the best we could do, and the code would be “objective” in one sense of the word.

    GW1: Definitions of Objective:
    1. Unbiased or low in bias. “Juror #5 would be more objective than Juror #8.”
    2. Accessible to the external senses. “Viewing the eclipse is objective, but having a Near Death Experience is not.”
    3. Reliable among persons. “Descriptive conclusions are more objective than prescriptive conclusions.”
    4. Accessible to or resolvable by reason. “One day an objective morality will be developed.”

  • Judgeforyourself37

    Justice should be administered here on Earth, IF a crime was committed.
    As for an “afterlife,” who has come back to tell us if there is a life after death? No one! Thus the intelligent conclusion should be that life is here and now, or to use a catch phrase, “Life is not a dress rehearsal” so make as many friends as you can, be kind, compassionate, as generous as you can, without depleting your resources so you do not have to depend on others for your food, shelter and a decent comfortable life. I cannot bring myself to believe in a Heaven or a Hell, other than how we are remembered after we die.
    If we have been kind, compassionate, good to others, polite and kind to waitstaff and others who cross our path we shall be remembered with kindness and this is Heaven.
    If we have been demanding, cruel, to others have tried to con others out of money, or sex and been a miserable, mean, nasty, conniving, person, we will be remembered as such and this is our Hell.
    The same pertains to alcoholics and drug abusers who refuse to at least try to be rehabilitated. Yes, rehab does not always succeed the first, second or third time, but admitting that someone HAS the problem is the first step and I know many who have succeeded. I know others who never admit that they are wrong, and play the “blame game,” they will be in Hell for the havoc they caused in the lives of their family and friends.