The following “replies” took place on the Debunking Christianity website in early August 2019, underneath the post, “Things We Wish Jesus Hadn’t Said” (7-21-19), by Dr. David Madison. The sky fell down because (lowly ignorant Christian that I am) I dared to write (and announce there) a refutation of one of twelve podcasts that Dr. Madison presented in his article (I’ll be writing many more, too: possibly replies to all twelve). Words of the attackers will be in various colors:
sir_russ = blue
Jim Mallett = green
Zeta = purple
Zarquon5 = brown
John W. Loftus = red
I have now thoroughly replied to the supposed “embarrassment” of what Jesus said about “hating” families:
Let me say I am nowhere near as educated as most on this blog in refuting believers. But, in reading your “defense” on your blog. I can safely say all you have succeeded to accomplish is to quote bible verses to prove the bible true. Not impressed. Sorry bud, it doesn’t work that way with unbelievers Also, a little advice, don’t link your blog on Mr. Lofus’ blog. If you want traffic, do it somewhere else.
I’m not trying to prove the Bible to be true by citing it. That would be circular reasoning. I’m trying to prove that the Bible teaches x in verse y: a completely different thing. Dr. Madison claimed that Jesus taught believers that we ought to literally hate our families. I showed that He did no such thing.
Whether one believes that the Bible is inspired or that Jesus said these utterances is a completely separate question (as Dr. Madison himself acknowledged). It need not be presupposed in order to assert that the Bible teaches thus-and-so on topic z.
I linked to my reply to the piece above this combox. This is what I consider a courtesy. I do quite well in traffic. I’m generally in the top three on the Catholic Patheos channel.
Why should I or anyone else give a s*%$ about your interpretation of the bible? Convince me in ONE sentence why I should believe you. No bible quotes, just your own words. What makes you so special among the millions and millions of apologists who spout the same tired defense?
Why does god need your need help relaying what he really meant? That is the funniest part about preachers and apologists. Hilarious..
Eat another jesus wafer, then spend some time pondering why your Catholic church fathers have committed so many heinous crimes.
“Smart people learn from everything and everyone, average people from their experiences, stupid people already have all the answers.”
The fact that Armstrong’s god needs preachers and apologists to explain what he really wants to say is indeed hilarious. And in a big way too. Exhibits include
Norman L. Geisler’s 864-page (!) tome:
Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics
or his 672-page tome
The Big Book of Christian Apologetics: An A to Z Guide
All these just show that this god (if it exists) is truly an extremely poor communicator, not worthy of the fantastic attributes that it supposedly has. Lots of human authors have done or can do a much better job. Apologetics on this scale is a slap on the face (if it has one) of this god.
Yet another person who refuses to discuss the topic at hand. It’s equal parts ridiculous and entertaining.
[Mallett “responded” with this meme]:
Again, your defense is to site bible verses and quote other apologists. Is that supposed to impress anyone?
The word is “cite”, not “site.”
Wow my phone used the wrong word. Never happen to you? What do you think of the pic? Try to defend your Big Papi and his cronies with all their billions of dollars, while millions live in squalor and starve to death.
“Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
I think it’s more evidence that you are an intellectual coward. It’s still zero interaction with / refutation of my counter-reply from anyone.
You sir are typical arrogant, self delusional, who is blind to the horrible &*%$#@^ atrocities your own &*%$#@^ church has done for thousands of years. First, refute why your priests like to &*%$ little boys.
Deal with your anger issues, then come back and provide rational, on-topic replies to my reply to Dr. Madison. Thanks!
You might know this one. Just insert yourself where the word”fool” is used.
Do not answer a fool according to his folly,
or you yourself will be just like him.
Answer a fool according to his folly,
or he will be wise in his own eyes.
Sending a message by the hands of a fool
is like cutting off one’s feet or drinking poison.
Dr. David Madison replied to someone else:
The gospels are riddled with contradictions and bad theology, and Jesus is so frequently depicted as a cult fanatic—because cult fanatics wrote the gospels. We see Jesus only through their theological filters. I just want to grab hold of Christian heads (standing behind them, with a hand on each ear) and force them to look straight ahead, unflinchingly, at the gospels, and then ask “Tell me what you see!” uncoached by apologist specialists, i.e., priests and pastors, who’ve had a lot of practice making bad texts look good.
Richard Carrier rates the existence of Jesus, 1 chance in 3, and he is highly critical of shoddy arguments that have been advanced by some mythicists. I don’t say to Christians, “Aha, he never existed.” At the end of the day I never claim that. But I DO say, “Deal with the really bad stuff in the gospels.” Are you SURE you’ve not make a big mistake endorsing this particular Lord and Savior? That’s the whole point of this series of Flash Podcasts, because a helluva lot of Christians would agree, right away, that these quotes are bad news—if no one told then that they’ve been attributed to Jesus.
“Deal with the really bad stuff in the gospels.”
Not so much “bad” as wildly misunderstood and miscomprehended by critics. Usually, I’ve found that it is either misunderstanding linguistic genres and context, or so-called “contradictions” which really aren’t at all (from a strictly logical standpoint).
That’s what I have invariably found, in my scores and scores of replies to such charges. I have a very extensive web page of critiques of atheism, and I would like to tackle some of your claims here, over the next week or so, depending on how much is involved and time-permitting.
[Jim Mallett “replied” with this meme]:
Mock away. Meanwhile, I have just completed my counter-reply, which I shall post in this combox. You’re welcome (along with Dr. Madison) to overcome it with rational argument rather than memes. I surely won’t hold my breath.
2000 years have passed, yet YOU have the key to understanding the New Testament. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
Yeah, I won’t hold my breath either.
Right. Well, I won’t expect any substance from you. But thanks for the chuckle.
Jesus wasn’t Divine because nobody is Divine. If God brought light to Judea, he would bring it again, today, practically everywhere, because there are now places worse than Jesus ever saw. There you go, not a meme in sight.
No meme, but also no interaction whatever with the topic at hand: whether the real Jesus or (as one might think) the fictional “Jesus” portrayed in the Bible taught folks to literally hate their families.
You said, “whether the real Jesus or (as one might think) the fictional “Jesus” portrayed in the Bible taught folks to literally hate their families.”
From my standpoint, what the Bible’s Jesus character said or did not say is not as important as, say, Christians today abusing and killing children as witches. [link given] Are you one of those Christians? Is that how you read the Bible? If you are not one of those Christians, do you realize that there really are Christians who kill children today as witches? Just as an idea maybe you could fix children being killed in the name of the Bible, and then work your way back to quibbling about what words are associated with the Bible’s Jesus character.
I’m sure that ironing out all the bugaboos of exactly what the Jesus character said is a real important way to spend one’s time. But, it seems to me that Christians have more urgent matters to address.
I ain’t gonna be distracted from the topic at hand. Nice try. If the topic is so utterly unimportant in your eyes, then take it up with Dr. Madison, who seems to think it was important enough to devote 12 podcasts to it.
I imagine you as one of those philosophical hacks who, like all the others, has nothing that would show anything Christian specific to be true. What you work from is the assumption: let’s pretend Christianity is true. Then, you beat the snot out of Biblical semantics. Fun, but really no point to it.
I think it’s really important to note that if the Bible was dictated, handed down, or inspired by the creator of the universe, then the creator of the universe is one piss poor author or muse. And, your need to fight over silly words put into the mouth of a fictional character in a book of fairy tales just underscores that.
A matter of much greater concern to all Christians should be that if Bible-God and Bible-Jesus were real and really cared about people, why did they write such a shit book. A book so s*&%$# that it has you, Dave Armstrong, up in arms over a trifle. You’re twisting yourself in knots, itching for a fight, about a few words in a book that the people who say they believe in it won’t even read. Not exactly a glowing endorsement.
Here are some links to Christians and others fighting about the same topic. Stop acting as if one has to see the world differently than you do to get “Jesus wants me to hate my family” from the Bible. [six links provided]
These are all from Christian or Jewish sites.
If I’m such an idiot and a hack, then by all means refute my counter-replies to Dr. Madison (which will be three after I post two more in the next 90 minutes). We’re all waiting with baited breath. Put up or shut up. Can’t you figure out by now that I don’t play your games?
You said, ” I have a very extensive web page of critiques of atheism,”
That is all well and good, but a criticism of one thing, here atheism, is not the same as proving that some other thing, here Christian theism(or any theism for that matter), is true, is it?
Before you try to impress or baffle or b&%^$#*@ us with your critiques of atheism, just do us the favor of showing us that anything Christian specific is true.
For instance, if Christian theism is true and there really is a god who answers prayers, we should see how the quality of life for those who are more faithful is observably better than the quality of life for those who are less faithful – especially atheists, but not excluding persons from other religious faiths and, of course, not excluding all those wrong types of Christians.
The most faithful of Christians in the US are found in the Bible Belt. Every year they rank at the top of religious observation among US states. So how do they rank for overall quality of life? That’s altogether different. Essentially every measure of personal and social well-being ranks them right at the bottom.
If a Christian god is real and the US Bible Belt Christians exemplify what it does for those who are the most faithful, I wouldn’t want to have anything to do with it anyway. It appears that those who believe most strongly get s%$# on the most. I like people; I don’t want that for anyone.
So have at it. Show us. If we’ve heard it all before, we’ll let you know.
I’m not here at the moment to prove that Christianity is true (though I’d be happy to do that in another context). I’m not here to do the “101 topics all at once” routine. I’m here to specifically critique Dr. Madison’s claims about Jesus. And I’ve only just begun.
So far, not one peep from him or anyone else here about my present argument. But that’s just how it usually goes with atheists, which is not particularly an indication that y’all (generally speaking) are confident about the criticisms of Christianity that you set forth. Otherwise you would defend them when they are scrutinized.
Now perhaps Dr. Madison has been detained and still intends to do so, and there can actually be intelligent, substantive atheist-Christian discussion about what Scripture teaches in specific passages. I hope so, and we’ll see. It very rarely happens once a Christian makes a plausible critique of atheist “exegesis.”
As Dr. Madison himself stated in this combox: “You have not addressed the issues that I raise, but move right away to obfuscation.” I know the feeling well!
The matter of what the Bible’s Jesus character said seems to be real important to you, but we know it’s essentially meaningless to Christians in general. How do we know?: Christians can’t even be bothered to read it. Christians literally spend more time reading horoscopes than they spend reading Bibles.You said,
Now perhaps Dr. Madison has been detained and still intends to do so,
and there can actually be intelligent, substantive atheist-Christian
discussion about what Scripture teaches in specific passages. I hope so,
and we’ll see. It very rarely happens once a Christian makes a
plausible critique of atheist “exegesis.”
So do you imagine yourself to the “Christian answer man”? Let me clue you in: you’re not. You have your opinion, but the Bible is so confused, incoherent, and inscrutable that PhD’s from every seminary and school of divinity fight over everything associated with Christianity. What you say is nothing more than one more opinion among millions.
Some Christians say god is real; others, not so much.
Some Christians say Jesus answers prayers; others say nope.
No one need accept what you happen to imagine as the “God’s honest truth” about anything Christian.
As far as anyone can tell the Bible’s Jesus character is just one more fictional creature.
You said, “I have now thoroughly replied to the supposed “embarrassment” of what Jesus said about “hating” families:”
You obviously accept it as an embarrassment, that is why you responded with more than 3,000 words of that mental masturbation called apologetics. You cite opinion after opinion to justify your opinion concerning David Madison’s opinion. And, then you bring your whiny assed Christian apologist self here to piss and moan about not being engaged.
Oh, wow, I just looked at comment counts on your blog. You are really desperate for blog traffic aren’t you.
You should start a new blog, one that is more honestly titled: Dave Armstrong Whiny Assed Catholic-type Christian Apologist. It’s a far more catchy title, and much closer to the truth.
As I said earlier, if that oh-so-stupid self-appointed creator of the universe you call God didn’t want there to be confusion it should have written a better book. That’s what real entities do. Matters are even worse for your mythical God because it is also claimed that it knew all this confusion was going to happen before it wrote the book. Wow. How totally screwed is that. How screwed is the book? Let’s see now: lots of Judaisms comes from the book; numerous Islams comes from the book; and tens of thousands of Christianities, including a glut of Catholicisms. Yeah, the book is totally screwed.
Ain’t is lucky we got Dave Armstrong beating his head against a wall to sort it all out for us. Cuz Dave Armstrong really, really knows. Only about almost all of Christianity and the rest of humanity ignore or disagree with him. That puts him a pretty exclusive club. Imagine that!: a Christian apologist lost in his own little philosophical construction of a Christianity. We’ve only seen a few thousand of those before.
You show yourself quite the colorful figure and pompous ass. These techniques don’t work with me. If you know so much, then you’d simply respond rationally to what I wrote instead of immediately going to ad hominem and obfuscation and throwing tons of manure against the wall, hoping some of it will stick.
It’s terrifically entertaining, though. I do grant you that much.
Why don’t you explain why a supposedly omniscient god needs apologists like you to explain what he wants to tell humans? Can’t he do it properly in the first place? Why does he need people like you to act as a middle man?
Off-topic yet again, but just this once: Why We Should Fully Expect Many “Bible Difficulties”.
Thanks for the response. I have just read your post. Some of the points you made are laughable, especially when you attempt to compare your holy book to scientific theories.
Yahweh was a local war deity invented in the ancient Near East, later promoted by his believers to be the Creator god endowed with fantastic attributes. If the father god is imaginary, so is the son. So, to me, your holy book is largely fiction.
Since you are not going to continue this discussion, I’ll also stop here.
As expected. Be well. I continue to await even the slightest response to my three critiques. The fact that none has been forthcoming leads me to suspect that there are no good replies; that the ability to do so is lacking. Why not blow the lowly and ignorant Christian’s arguments out of the water? But no one has yet done so; no one has even tried at all.
Since this comment is a reply to my previous comment, I need to add on to what I said before: Your holy book is largely a work of fiction about an invented god. From my point of view, what is the point of wading through piles of word salad that seek to defend an embarrassing verse from a piece of fictional work?
Thus, the thought of “loving Jesus more than one’s own family” is expressed by the non-literal “hate [one’s family, in order to] be my disciple.”
This is just shameless whitewashing. Why was the very strong word ‘hate’ used in the first place when the intended meaning could be very easily expressed in another way? This is a confirmation of what I said before: “All these just show that this god (if it exists) is truly an extremely poor communicator, not worthy of the fantastic attributes that it supposedly has. “
You quoted Socrates: “Smart people learn from everything and everyone, average people from their experiences, stupid people already have all the answers.”
I think it odd that you would highlight a quote that automatically places Christians into the “stupid people” category. Christians think they have all the answers, and, thus, are stupid people. And, those like you, Dave Armstrong, who have a deep enough understanding to know that Christianity is false (many of your blog posts support this) and, yet, still defend it for money, power, authority or social status, are plainly immoral.
You seem so very butthurt in your statement: “Why not blow the lowly and ignorant Christian’s arguments out of the water? But no one has yet done so; no one has even tried at all.”
Until someone can show that anything Christian specific is true, Christianity remains no closer to truth than any other mythology. There is no reason at all for anyone to indulge your fetish for philosophically pounding the s%$# out of mythological trivialities.
The number [of] comments and visitors on your blog demonstrate how you are quite capable of delivering long-winded explications to an empty house. You need no one else to be involved.
As a matter of record, I have had my blog at Patheos almost exactly four years (since 4 August 2015), and according to Google Analytics, my total page views over that period is 2,132,645, or an average of 1461 views per day average, the entire time.
That’s a helluva lot of people for an “empty house” ain’t it?
To approach it another way: let’s descend down to your silly level of insults-only and fallacies, and see how well it works, in terms of this “argument” of yours. In your mentality, all that matters is how many page views and comments one can obtain (which is, of course, the ad populum fallacy). The actual strength or merits of one’s arguments or the amount of truth and facts in them don’t matter a hill of beans.
So, adopting this goofy outlook, we see that Dr. Madison garnered 923 views of his first podcast in this series of twelve. It was posted on April 10th. My critique of it, on the other hand, has gotten 203 views in four days, which is an average of about fifty per day, compared to Dr. Madison’s average of eight per day over the time it’s been up. Therefore (by your “reasoning”) my post is more than six times more truthful and worthy of attention than Dr. Madison’s.
Remember, you, Dave Armstrong, are already, as a Christian, one of the stupid people who has all the answers. Worse yet, you, Dave Armstrong, are on one of those really stupid who defines themselves as having all the answers.
You said, “As expected. Be well. I continue to await even the slightest response to my three critiques. The fact that none has been forthcoming leads me to suspect that there are no good replies; that the ability to do so is lacking.”
You are correct. There are no good replies to the application of philosophy to fairy tales.
When a book, in this case the Bible, includes talking snakes, witches, demons, resurrections, immoral dictates from a rather hollow “supreme being”, and many, many factual errors about the world, an intelligent critical thinker can only conclude that the book is a fairy tale. To then apply philosophy to it, seriously apply it as you, Dave Armstrong, do, is pure farce. It doesn’t deserve serious consideration. Yeah, one can play with the semantics as an intellectual game, just as with any book, but, you, Dave Armstrong, are waging jihad for Jesus. Sadly, though, since you, Dave Armstrong, are a stupid Christian who has all the answers already, you could have your ass handed to you, and you would go off and, nonetheless, declare victory, so playing your game would be of no value to anyone. Since you are a stupid Christian, you have lost the capacity to learn what’s true about the world.
If you could show anything Christian specific to be true, you would. But, you can’t show anything Christian specific to be true so you want someone to join you in a dive into the cesspool of philosophy over useless trivialities about the Bible’s Jesus character. Too bad the authors of the Bible were not more than ignorant, barbaric and superstitious people; maybe they would have written a better book; maybe even a “good” book.
You said, “You show yourself quite the colorful figure and pompous ass.”
Actually, no, I am not a pompous ass, though, I might be a bit colorful. I am, however, accustomed to reading apologists who have defined themselves as having all the answers, despite all the rest of us being able to recognize that they don’t. You, Dave Armstrong. and your silly church do not have all the answers. Fact is, you have almost none. Maybe Friday fish fries and Bingo are good ideas, but nothing Christian specific makes sense at all.
Show me that you can show anything Christian specific to be true and I will give full consideration to other Biblical topics. I don’t want to waste time fiddling with fairy tales.
What does it say that you have about 46 comments for your last 20 essays? Given your mean spirited attitude, one probable interpretation is that your headlines grab attention from the massive amount of readers attracted to Patheos. But when people see how you treat others they leave you to your anger. And you are angry. That is clear. You hate people who disagree with you, which actually proves Dr. Madison’s point, that Jesus wants you to hate others in deference to him. Readers see this quickly then they go away.
I wrote in one of my papers:
In our postmodern culture today, to disagree with someone is to “hate” them. It can’t possibly be otherwise, because now people are their opinions (x = y); not separate from them (x has opinion y).
The people who commit these horrible acts of tough love must have hidden nefarious motives: so we are informed by the upholders of the secularization zeitgeist and idol. There are no absolutes. We either agree with other people (in which case we “love” them), or we disagree, which is intolerance and hate. Those are the only two possible scenarios. We can’t disagree and love them. Disagreeing (by definition) is hatred and touchy-feely / warm fuzzy agreement is love.
I am not a postmodernist and so, must necessarily (so we’re told) be a hater in the postmodernist’s eyes, because (routinely, in the course of doing apologetics) I dare to disagree with someone, and beyond that, even outrageously dare to tell them sometimes that they are wrong, for their own good (and to accept the same criticism coming my way). Thus, the “bad guys” in this brave new thought-world are those who reject postmodernist subjective-mush-relativism.
I wish I had a dime for every time I’ve been accused of “hating” someone just because I had an honest disagreement concerning what they believe or do. But fuzzy, illogical thinking is also part and parcel of postmodernism.
Your speech betrays you. I can get a bit angry when purposely misunderstood by self-proclaimed know-it-alls like you. But you enter a debate angry! You write as if Dr. David Madison is a non-entity, a non-being, who is mere fodder for your supposed “superior” debate skills. I cannot convince you of this I’m sure, but that’s what I see, and it’s one good reason I ignore you.
Just like you’re doing now . . .
I don’t hate anyone, including you and Dr. Madison. If anyone is hating (and I don’t even claim it here, but am merely being rhetorical and turning the tables), it is the 100% ad hominem (minus any rational substance in reply to my arguments) insult-fest directed towards me here. Since it can’t be justified, and is an embarrassing farce, you decide to project all that idiocy onto me, as if I am exhibiting it. Nice try, but no cigar.
Self-respecting intellectuals and thinkers will defend their assertions over against serious counter-replies. Dr. Madison has not so far (he may be otherwise detained), and no one here has, either.
That speaks volumes . . .