Why William Lane Craig Is A Vacuous Tit, Part 2: Craig Considers Abortion A “Loving Act”, Feels For The Poor Abortion Doctors Who Do God’s Good Work.

Posted on June 4, 2011. Filed under: Apologetics, Atheism, Atheist Ethics, Humour, Religion |

Us atheists hate William Lane Craig.  He’s such a paragon of bullet-proof logic.  I find myself having

Dr. Death shows his fangs in this file photo.

to re-think everything I’ve ever assumed based on his biting critique of my worldview.

God has certainly blessed this man. (fair warning, that link takes you to la-la land)

He almost had me rushing down to the river for a baptism, ready to drown in The Spirit- until I found out that he is not just Pro Choice, a stand I completely agree with….but Pro Abortion.  As in it is the best possible thing for a mother to do.  As in it is preferred to letting fetus’ go full term.

William Lane Craig thinks killing babies is the Christian thing to do.  I can’t possibly condone the senseless murder of children just to save their precious little souls.  I guess I’ll have to remain an atheist.

Quoting Dr. Death himself:

Moreover, if we believe, as I do, that God’s grace is extended to those who die in infancy or as small children, the death of these children was actually their salvation.  We are so wedded to an earthly, naturalistic perspective that we forget that those who die are happy to quit this earth for heaven’s incomparable joy.  Therefore, God does these children no wrong in taking their lives.

So Dr. Death Craig is making it perfectly clear that the murder of infants actually constitutes their salvation.  My own un-Christian worldview has me tied too firmly to my earthly, naturalistic perspective.  Shame on me for putting earthly value on these poor little souls.  I should be ashamed of myself, I guess.

So whom does God wrong in commanding the destruction of the Canaanites?  Not the Canaanite adults, for they were corrupt and deserving of judgement.  Not the children, for they inherit eternal life.  So who is wronged?  Ironically, I think the most difficult part of this whole debate is the apparent wrong done to the Israeli soldiers themselves.  Can you imagine what it would be like to have to break into some house and kill a terrified woman and her children?  The brutalizing effect on these Israeli soldiers is disturbing.

This is where Dr. Death Craig is pleading for Christians to show compassion and

In this photo, Dr. Craig contemplates how he might undermine his own arguments.

mercy to the poor abortion doctors, who are just assisting in the salvation of infants.  Shame on you for being so judgmental!

But then, again, we’re thinking of this from a Christianized, Western standpoint.  For people in the ancient world, life was already brutal.  Violence and war were a fact of life for people living in the ancient Near East.  Evidence of this fact is that the people who told these stories apparently thought nothing of what the Israeli soldiers were commanded to do (especially if these are founding legends of the nation).  No one was wringing his hands over the soldiers’ having to kill the Canaanites; those who did so were national heroes.

That last part dovetails nicely with Dr. Death Craig’s  statements in several debates that morality is objective.  I believe it is.  Dr. Death wants you to know that it isn’t really.  If you lived in  the Bronze Age Middle East, it is entirely relevant to remember and give weight to the moral compass of the time.  Since an eminent and well respected Christian Apologist has told us that proper interpretation of the bible is that morality is relative, and since he concedes along with me that morality is objective, he is de facto telling me that the bible is not to be trusted.

Or maybe he is not to be trusted….

Regardless, William Lane Craig is a Vacuous Tit.

Thanks to Café Witteveen for the heads up.

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98 Responses to “Why William Lane Craig Is A Vacuous Tit, Part 2: Craig Considers Abortion A “Loving Act”, Feels For The Poor Abortion Doctors Who Do God’s Good Work.”

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It’s interesting how common it is for Christians to become moral relativists when asked to defend the morality of much of what God supposedly orders in the Old Testament. I remember as a kid getting the same response from my mother when I asked about it. Even at 8 or 9 the inconsistency between this defence and their claims concerning absolute Moral Truth (TM) was pretty obvious.

A justification of why a thing may appear to be immoral but is actually moral is not moral relativism. For example, when Craig says:

“No one was wringing his hands over the soldiers’ having to kill the Canaanites; those who did so were national heroes.”

He was speaking from their perspective in the culture. Craig was not saying that the acts were right or wrong based on the culture, rather explaining that events like this would not raise an eyebrow the same way it would if it happened in St. Louis next week.

John,
I’ll address my responses at the sane theist, so expect some of my comments to deal with the other (objectively insane) theist commenter on this thread.
Here is the thing. You are right to consider that this post is not entirely serious, but as they say: “There is much truth in jest”.
I’m a liberal atheist. You know it, I know it. Sometimes liberals and atheists say things I don’t agree with, and I have no problem accepting that you can be liberal and be wrong, you can be an atheist and be wrong. There are obviously places where I agree with liberals; like on our duty as humans to help “the least of these”, the role of government to be more than just a war machine, that we get further by focusing on our responsibilities as opposed to the responsibilities of others. There are things I obviously agree with atheists about; that the evidence for God is so lacking as to be unworthy of consideration, that faith in unfalsifiable claims is unwarranted, that the verity of religions cannot be proved by the insistence of a book.
But liberals say things sometimes that I can safely disavow as being based on bad logic (like that Republicans don’t like Obama because he is black), as atheists do as well (like relative morality, or logic is merely a convention). We can easily believe in and defend the truth of our worldview without having to defend every argument made by those who self-identify to a similar worldview.
Sam Harris and I have similar views on morality, yet I fundamentally disagree with some of his claims on that same subject.
When someone like WLC makes comments like these, you don’t necessarily have to agree with them. You are free to distance yourself from moments when Christians make claims that are patently ridiculous. That you try to belabour yourself with the job of disproving me, as opposed the bad logic of WLC, implies that you wish to defend his views. I would caution that this is a mistake.
If WLC had have said that God’s morality is not our morality, and left it at that, I would concede to your point. If he left his argument at the point that what God commands is always moral because the command is from God, then I would concede your point. If he stopped at “Israel would have greeted them as heroes for doing the work of God”, this post would be very different. WLC did none of those things.
What Dr. C argues is that the command was perfectly moral by our own standards. He argues that the problem is with us, that we invest earthly value where earthly value is the least important consideration. By doing so, he argues that God did not “bend” the rules of objective morality, he argues that God committed what we should all consider to be an objectively moral act. He is saying not that the act was only moral on God’s command, but that the act was moral in and of itself. He is arguing that we should all feel bad for the people who had to commit a moral act that they wrongly detested.
I really wish you could disagree with his argument. Because I believe it is wrong. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe killing babies doesn’t require a “bending” of objective morality by an omnipotent deity- maybe, as Craig argues, it is objectively good to kill infants. I’m just saying that I feel like this makes “objective morality” seem absurd.
What WLC then continues with is that we ought to consider the moral zeitgeist of the time. This, again, seems to undermine the idea of “objective morality”. An objective moralist would have considered this fact irrelevant to any argument for or against the slaughter of the Canaanites.

If it would help, I’d be glad to make a case for why I believe killing infants is morally wrong. I really feel ill at the thought that I have to build a case that it is so, because I can’t imagine why on earth we cannot agree on this simple point. If you need me to do so, let me say that I will. I feel sick that any human would insist that this point needs to be evidenced.
My point is that WLC, in this case at least, is appealing to an epistemology that is dangerous. Not that Christianity is dangerous, but that this opinion is. When I say WLC is a vacuous tit, I mean him no ill will. He is an expert debater. He is a skilled defender of his faith. I am saying that apologetics in general is vacuous, because it is (This is not to be confused with Theology). Any person as smart as WLC who would argue like he did in this particular post is a tit.

I think the biggest roadblock for skeptics understanding what Craig is saying is a matter of perspective. From the atheist worldview, our limited human perspective tells us there can be no possible moral justification or moral good that can come from killing an infant or child (except abortion, but I digress). Therefore if the frame of reference is our own, we naturally can see no good, and it gets transfered to the “hyothetical” God who, in my opinion, is on the same plane as humans according to skeptics, and as a result, because we can find no justification, neither can God.

Of course, on the Christian view, God has rights over his creation that his creation does not share. So there is never a point where God would unjustly take a life, even if we are not privvy to the justification.

I am fully aware this sounds like an argument from speculation or special pleading, but given the limitations of communication between Christians and Atheists (by that I mean there are many premises Atheists will not grant and it creates a gap in the common ground) that it is nearly impossible for an Atheist to be charitable to those arguments.

I am under no illusion that this or any answer is satisfying to the skeptic on this issue, and I can understand why. But theres not alot that can be done.

John,
If WLC’s argument were yours, would he need make any case for the worldly morality of infanticide? Would it not have been better to say what you have here, that there are things that we are not capable of understanding when we refer to the choices of an omnipotent deity?
Don’t be fooled, I am quite literate on the arguments of most of the great apologists, I can think of many better arguments then the one offered by Craig in this response. I’m highlighting, albeit in a lighthearted way, that the argument offered by Craig in this case is ridiculous and wrong. He can be quite right on other things, and he is still an intelligent man, but this is not one of those moments.
The argument he uses is an abuse of logic, his argument is vacuous.
I understand full well that he is speaking Christianese, and that an objective person would walk away horrified and confused by his comments. Is objectivity not something to strive for though? I was being facetious when I implied that this opinion of his would translate to abortion in the Christian mind, but I won’t back down on the opinion that this is an example of Christian doublespeak.

I have to agree, Craig’s apologetics regarding the Old Testament slaughter of the Canaanites are disturbing. One of the dangers of believing in Biblical inerrancy is that it forces believers to perform all sorts of mental gymnastics to justify Biblical horrors, including genocide.

Dude, if your belief system involves justifying GENOCIDE, maybe you need a new belief system!

I think the more progressive Christian take is the most logical take on passages like ones that show God commanding people to kill babies and other innocents: The older stories in the Bible are coming from a pre-historic/beginning of recorded history time. ALL the writing/storytelling that comes from that time period (all that I’m familiar with, anyway, and certainly the bulk of it) falls under the mythic/epic sort of storytelling styles.

In reading any literature, it is vital to understand the writing style(s) being used. It would be silly to treat poetry as a scientific treatise or a legal brief as science fiction.

I see no rational reason to presume that the storytellers in the early part of the Bible wrote in a fashion that was different than other storytellers of the time. Thus, the Epic of Gilgamesh and the Bible’s stories about killing babies both employ the writing convention of saying God (or the gods) did this or that and that these stories were meaningful IN THE CONTEXT of understanding epic or mythic stories. But treating such stories as valid ethical treatises or literal histories of what God did or didn’t do is not a reasonable position to take.

Seems to me.

Dan T.,
As a former Christian, I am still not entirely comfortable hearing Christians turn the bible into a non-literal document. This even after I was guilty of it myself during my life as a Christian.
Where I think your interpretation makes me uncomfortable is that unlike a creation account, where I would plead for allegory, the story of the slaughter of the Canaanites is seeingly written in a more historical light.
I won’t begrudge your opinion though, especially given that your comments jive with my understanding of the OT as the story of a Bronze Age war God. I think tribal victories would be a necessary element of any narrative of faith in a tribal world.

Ultimately though, I still remain uncomfortable with the idea that you can be a Christian and take the bible as that allegorical.

As I said, it just makes sense to me. The “birth” of a more modern style of history-telling didn’t begin to happen until about the time of Jesus. Before that, history-stories just weren’t told with an eye towards literal history, not in the sense that we usually try to tell history today. I know of no examples of such history-telling and I believe smarter people than I would agree.

Given that the people of the time WERE people of their time, I just see no reason to assume that these stories were told in a different manner than was common to the day.

Which, to me, in no way denigrates these stories or makes them “false.” They’re the stories the people of the day passed on about God. Consider Jonah’s story. That story holds its own and passes on valuable truths about love for all people – even hated enemies, about how you can’t run from God, about second chances, about repentance and forgiveness… all these truths are passed on regardless of the historical reality of a “great fish” that Jonah did or didn’t swallow a man named Jonah.

Why does that story need to be totally literal?

Dan T,

>>Why does that story need to be totally literal?

Not literally, but plainly. Yes the Bible has obvious parables and hyperbole but its plainly obvious that Noah actually lived to 900 years old. That the earth was created in six days. You see, once you start to “write off” things then you will “write off” the miracles that Jesus performed and question EVERYTHING that was written in God’s Word. No, this path of judging what is and what is not true, is a very dangerous one. Caution!

“If sinners are converted by the intellect (the wisdom of men), they will fall away by the intellect.”

D.A.N…

You see, once you start to “write off” things then you will “write off” the miracles that Jesus performed and question EVERYTHING that was written in God’s Word.

But that’s the problem with most inerrantists, they don’t seem able to hear another Bible reader say, “This seems to me to be fairly obviously written NOT in a modern historic style but instead, seems to be written in an epic style AND THIS STORY CONTAINS GREAT TRUTH, once you take it in the context it was written…” inerrantists can’t hear that without presuming that the first person is “writing off” the Bible. Far from it! I’m striving to take it in context so that I get the TRUTHS literally correct.

Let me give you an example: If someone were to read one of the stories where the Israelis are apparently commanded to kill children with the assumption that this is a modern treatise on how to conduct warfare, THEY WOULD HAVE REACHED A HORRIFYINGLY AWFUL conclusion about the intent of the story. Understanding a story in its context and writing style can be a CRITICAL key to actually understanding a story.

If someone were to correct the “warfare treatise” interpretation of that person and they responded, “You’re just writing off the Bible,” they would have missed the point. It’s NOT writing off the Bible AT ALL to try to understand the context and style in which it was written.

I would assume you agree that it’s vitally important to understand the writing style/mechanisms in order to best understand a passage of writing, yes?

So, are you saying that YOU AGREE with me that it’s important to understand the writing style BUT DISAGREE about my conclusion? No problem. Disagree if you wish. If you think that represents a literal history told in a modern style (that didn’t even exist back then), I disagree with you. No harm done. We disagree.

But neither of us is “writing off” anything by disagreeing, can you agree to that? We’re just understanding the writing to be from two different genres.

Can I “prove” I’m correct? No, not really. All I can do is offer the evidence that there appears to be NO instances of anyone history-telling in that modern style in this ancient time period. Can you “prove” that you’re correct? Not that I can tell, but you can certainly try if you wish.

And for the record, I was raised a traditional Southern Baptist literalist/inerrantist. I believed that way the first half of my life and the first ten-fifteen years of my Christian life. My conservative Southern Baptist teachers taught me TWO great truths: To take the Bible literally and to take it SERIOUSLY.

It was the VERY ACT of studying the bible prayerfully, literally and seriously that LED ME AWAY from taking it literally. There simply was no scriptural grounds for thinking so. That is, a serious study of the Bible – even from a starting point of inerrancy – does not lead one to conclude that one must take the Bible inerrantly. Or, at least it didn’t for me.

To me, taking the Bible seriously, I just don’t even see the term “Inerrant” to be a relevant term when speaking of the Bible. These words are “without error?” What does that even mean? Words are words, it’s the meaning that we imbue upon them that can be errant or inerrant – right or wrong. The Bible is not a magic book that somehow has words that never pass on “wrong” information. It’s just a book, inspired by God, we Christians believe, but not a magic book.

If someone reads the best of words – “Love your enemies,” for instance – and reaches a wrong conclusion from those words, that person has an errant interpretation. It’s our interpretations that have errors or not, not the words themselves, which are, after all, just words.

And it was starting from a conservative traditional literalist position that led me to these conclusions.

For what it’s worth.

I don’t want you to interpret my comments as a reproof, Dan.
As an atheist, I feel very comfortable reading the bible and understanding the value of what it has to say without the burden of the parts that offend our sensibilities. I have told you before, I’m a big fan of Jesus. I love the guy. It’s his fan club I can’t stand.
But speaking as someone who struggled with these questions as a “fake Christian” (that was a hat tip to the other Dan, who says that no one who is not a Christian was EVER a Christian), I find it difficult to defend the view that the bible is a mishmash of truth and myth, and we can discern which is which using our human capacities. It seems like a tenuous position, but one I respect….if you can defend it logically.

George…

I don’t want you to interpret my comments as a reproof, Dan.

No problems, here.

George…

But speaking as someone who struggled with these questions as a “fake Christian…” I find it difficult to defend the view that the bible is a mishmash of truth and myth, and we can discern which is which using our human capacities. It seems like a tenuous position, but one I respect….if you can defend it logically.

Well, all I know brother George, is what makes sense to me.

1. If we have a document (ANY document) that is claiming to be a book of Truths and Morals, then it would seem to me that we need to make sense of that document, IF we believe it to be a valid source of Truth and Morals.

2. In the case of the Bible, we have an APPARENT (or outright) contradiction:

A. Is it wrong to shed innocent blood?
OR
B. Is it sometimes good and right to shed innocent blood?

3. We ALL face that apparent contradiction – bible believers on the Leftish side, believers on the Rightish side, non-believers, all of us.

4. Those on the Right-ish side of things tend towards saying, “Well, it IS wrong ALWAYS to shed innocent blood, UNLESS God tells you to do it, then it’s NOT wrong.”

5. The problem THEN becomes that this NEW position (“Wrong unless God commands it”) appears to be a contradiction to OTHER passages (including “God does not tempt anyone to sin”) and those on the Right have various twists and turns and exceptions and whatnot they offer up to try to explain away these contradictions.

6. ON THE OTHER HAND, if you’re starting from my tribe’s starting point – one which does not presume that pre-modern history storytellers told stories in a way that was contrary to the norms of the day – then it’s a fairly simple thing to say, “well, we are under no obligation to take this story as a literal representation of God’s will, this appears to be written in the Epic style which was common to the day, not in a literal style. It would be a mistake to take a passage out of its literary context, leading to bad exegesis…”

7. My kind of thinking assumes that the Bible was written/recorded/told by and for the people of its day. For that reason, we don’t have a Genesis creation account that reads like a modern science text book. What would pre-historic folk listening to a story do with concepts like “billions of years ago…”? No, we assume that it was written (told, actually, at first anyway) in a way that made sense to the folk of the day.

I just see no significant reason to presume that some of these more incredible stories NEED or OUGHT to be taken literally. George or DAN (since Brother John has cut me off, apparently), can you offer any reason why we ought to rationally consider these stories as NEEDING to be interpreted fairly literally?

Because I just can’t see any good reasons.

Dan T,
As I mentioned, I think you build a strong case for your argument. I won’t begrudge anyone for a well thought out epistemology, whether it agrees with mine or not.
The positive aspect of your understanding is that you are equipped to view the bible from non-denominational interpretations and open yourself to the possibility that there are things more profound than literalism in the scriptures. The negative, if you can call it that, is that you lack the seemingly prerequisite arrogance and certitude that seems to define theistic faith. As we all know, certitude is the most important part of an epistemology, regardless of the truth or falsity.

The short answer is that you need to take the bible plainly and literally in order to have the requisite certitude to boldly announce that you have all the answers and you cannot be wrong. Otherwise, what is the point of religion, if not for certitude?

I find it difficult to defend the view that the bible is a mishmash of truth and myth

If I may try one more shot at this:

1. No one generally on the believers’ side of this equation is suggesting that the Bible is a mishmash of TRUTH and myth, but FACTS and myth (although I probably wouldn’t use the term “mishmash…”).

2. More correctly stated, we’re saying it’s a book of Truth that contains many stories (some more factual than others) and teachings told in a variety of writing styles. SOME truths are passed on via parables, SOME truths are passed on via fantastic mythic stories, some truths are passed on through proverbs, some through epic stories, etc, etc.

3. The Bible itself offers no “key” to sorting out which stories/passages are written in which styles. We’re left to our own devices to decide, “THIS passage in Psalms represents the psalmists’ wishes, written in poetic form – NOT God’s wishes…” and “THAT passage in 1 Kings represents an Epic story (or an historically accurate story) showing…” There IS NO KEY to deciphering this, just our own God-given reasoning.

4. We ALL do this – Left, Right, Amish, Liberal, Primitive Baptist, inerrant, etc. NO ONE takes each and every line in the bible as a literal representation of God’s wishes. I REPEAT: NO ONE takes each and every line literally. We ALL use our reasoning to sort out imagery from fact from poetic flourish from command from parable… And generally, most of us don’t think it’s that hard to sort it all out. It’s just that there isn’t universal agreement OR a way to “prove” that THIS line is literal, THAT line is metaphorical, etc.

5. I say that to just point out that we ALL are using our reasoning to decipher what to take literally and what to not take literally. Just try to get some traditionalists to take the more communistic commands from both the OT and NT literally and see how quickly they start backpedaling (“Well, now, that’s not a UNIVERSAL command for all times… that’s not a literal command for TODAY…”).

Just some more thoughts…

George…

The negative, if you can call it that, is that you lack the seemingly prerequisite arrogance and certitude that seems to define theistic faith.

Well, I guess I’d think of that as a positive of true faith: Doubters and those who are unsure and generally less-than-perfect are welcome. Christianity is the group whose made a Saint of a fella nicknamed “DOUBTING Thomas,” after all.

I’d suggest (and I’m probably wrong) that the “prerequisite arrogance and certitude” is more a marker of a strain of faith best identified as “fundamentalism” (whether Christian, Muslim or Other – including, I’d posit, atheism) rather than faith in general.

Now all we can see of God is like a cloudy picture in a mirror.
Later we will see God face to face.

Now, we don’t know everything, but then we will,
just as God completely understands us.

But for now there are faith, hope, and love.
But of these three, the greatest is love.

~St Paul

Umm. I think you have some extrapolation and context issues here. As you rightfully assume, I am very familiar with WL Craig’s Death’s position on this issue, and I have to say, this level of juvinility is not expected from you.

Unless this is wholly intended for humor as your tags may suggest.

Before we can even address any of that, you have made some assumptions of your point that you will have to defend before the claim is even valid. Like Razi Zacharias said that I highlight in one of my posts, you have just invoked a moral law, or standard in raising that claim that your worldview cannot account for. That is your presupposition of the claim, is it not? Otherwise, the claim self destructs. I should stop here but I am moving on.

If we kill children we do not have the ability to bring them home to us. God does posses that ability. He can justify His actions, you cannot. Its apples or oranges but its PERFECTLY UNDERSTANDABLE that you believe its on the same plane because you believe the “self” is god. If one believes they are god, as you may, then it follows that you believe you are on the same temporal plane as God. God resides in the eternal plane if you were confused. You will NEVER be on the same grounds as God, as your point implies and outright demands.

Look, those kids are saved and with Christ as we speak. Granted. But at what expense? Another life. I want no one to end up in hell, even parents of aborted babies, even though those babies make it to Heaven. Its still a huge cost. That is my worldview. My Mom might well be in Hell. I have faith that God will make that OK somehow. (Revelation 21:4)

With that mindset, everyone should die. You are really advocating a reverse Jesus. Kill everyone before the age of 13 so everyone killed goes to Heaven. I am sure that does not sound logically or morally right, does it? To me, a bunch of children in Heaven, when all their parents are in Hell, is not Heaven at all. No, I will trust God and still fight the good fight.

Also that would be saying that Andrea Yates did a good thing for God. No, that does not make sense to even the most hardened Atheist. We are not to enact God’s will.

BTW, when people speak of the Canaanites, was that Genocide, or Capital Punishment?

I agree with Dr. Craig, but he, in no way, flippantly endorses abortions. Shame on you for making that case George. Your illogical mind is dangerous. When you say “vacuous” are you looking into a mirror? *pshaw

Georgy Porgy,

I forgot to add a few things. Your entire argument here in this post is called a Texas sharpshooter fallacy. Look it up, you will recognize it very quickly with a D’oh!

Also, just in case you want to make the absurd case that Children may go to hell. I did a post about that one too, calledChildren in Hell?

Georgy Porgy, pudding and pie,
Kissed the girls and made them cry.
When the boys came out to play,
Georgy Porgy ran away.

Poor Dan,
Trying to make a unicorn out of a rhinoceros again. 😉
You look up Texas sharpshooter fallacy. Please.
You explain to me how it applies to this tongue in cheek post.
1. Abortion can be considered the killing of infants
2. WLC argues that the killing of infants is objectively moral, regardless of whether God commanded it or not
3. (from 2) WLC believes killing infants is objectively moral
4. (from 1 & 3) WLC believes having an abortion is objectively moral

P.S.- I won’t make the case that children may go to hell because….wait for it…..wait for it…..I don’t believe in hell. The doctrine of hell is the easiest in the entire bible to disprove. Just ask Julie, she did a fantastic job in the book she is publishing this month, which I edited. Even if I conceded that the bible was true on every count, which I can’t possibly see happening, I would still not have to believe in an invention of men to scare little children (and later, adults). Hell is a joke. A sick joke, but a joke nonetheless.

Glad to see the spanking you got on the last post hasn’t stifled your opinions any. I bet at least 25% of my hits here come from your abject insanity. You are the best inside joke…..ever!

Georgy porgy,

>>You explain to me how it applies to this tongue in cheek post.

Well since you NOW are claiming it was merely a “tongue in cheek post” its a Bandwagon fallacy. Great job! Keep up that wonderful work.

Will you be here all week? Don’t worry I already tipped the waitress. This would be hilarious if you were not headed to hell at break neck speed. Its sad really.

Keep this comment in mind and see if it fits here:

“I’m sure every person reading [this] blog is going to believe that you were joking. You may want to take some classes on delivery, because you really missed the mark.

The reality though, is that your target audience (who is not me, or my readers) are just gullible enough to believe that your comment was written in jest. You tried to misrepresent a fact, you got caught, and then you plead comedy. That is the only joke around these parts.

You’ll have to do better than that……”

Pot meet kettle *snicker
>>P.S.- I won’t make the case that children may go to hell because….wait for it…..wait for it…..I don’t believe in hell.

Yes, yes and assuming that the Bible is not evidence for God because you do not believe God exists, is question begging also. Really, nice work (exposing your own logic).

>>Hell is a joke. A sick joke, but a joke nonetheless.

Is it possible that you could be wrong? Even in the slightest chance you are, you must face it for what it is. Despair is your future. It does not have to be that though.

>>I bet at least 25% of my hits here come from your abject insanity.

Wow, that just makes me sad even more for you. I still care for you enough to bring you that truth, even if I am a forth of all your traffic. If you ever wish to find me, as you are sprinting to hell, just look behind you. I will be the one with my arms wrapped around your legs trying to stop you.

@D.A.N.
He isnt NOW claiming it was tongue in cheek, it was tagged with humour (the obnoxous foreign spelling). If you follow George, it should have been immediately obvious.

@George
I can no longer take Traube seriously when it comes to biblical discussion. Which is why I no longer respond to him on my religious posts. He prefers to “interpret” the bible as figurative, allegorical, mythical, anything but as it is written whenever it comes to a part which forces a Christian to defend God’s character on something distasteful, violent, politically incorrect, or anything that isn’t just so very inclusive, “tolerant” or “accepting” and kumbaya.

I actually find christians who do that incredibly disgusting. You either take God for who he is, or invent your own (which is what has been done, but its just not realized).

John B,

>>He isnt NOW claiming it was tongue in cheek, it was tagged with humour (the obnoxous foreign spelling).

Ahh, you got me. I did not notice that…thanks. Now I don’t know what is more disturbing. That George was fallacious in his arguments or that he thinks this is a humorous subject. Hmm, George laughs about dying babies? The topic of abortions in the ‘humor’ section? Meh.

Touché though.

John…

I can no longer take Traube seriously when it comes to biblical discussion. Which is why I no longer respond to him on my religious posts.

You are, of course, free to ignore me if you wish. However, it makes it a little more difficult to take your position seriously when you want to just ignore others who have different opinions. Is it your position that Christians must all agree on everything? I’m sure that you don’t think that.

So, why not take my hunches about God for what they’re worth, without trying to demagogue and ignore and belittle?

John…

He prefers to “interpret” the bible as figurative, allegorical, mythical…

I strive to understand the Bible as it is written as best I can. I’m sure that’s okay with you, isn’t it?

John continuing…

anything but as it is written whenever it comes to a part which forces a Christian to defend God’s character on something distasteful, violent, politically incorrect, or anything that isn’t just so very inclusive, “tolerant” or “accepting” and kumbaya.

I DO want to rightly understand God’s character, which is exactly WHY I don’t think that those who represent God as a deity who sometimes commands people to commit atrocities (and killing babies IS an atrocity, don’t you agree?).

The problem with your position, it seems to me, is EXACTLY THAT IT CONTRADICTS THE BIBLE. The Bible tells us that it is wrong to shed innocent blood. And we don’t even need the bible to tell us that, it is self-evident to our own conscience – God’s Word written upon our hearts.

So, you may disagree with my interpretation of the Bible. You may ignore my position if you wish. But I would ask that you please not misrepresent my position, because doing so comes too close to bearing false witness, which as the Bible tells us, is wrong. One of the Big Ten, I’m sure you know.

I disagree with your hunch about interpreting some OT stories NOT because I’m unwilling to “defend” God’s character, but exactly because I AM defending God’s character: God does NOT command us to commit atrocities. God does NOT command us to kill babies, this is contrary to God’s nature (“For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does God tempt anyone…”)

So, I would hope that you could rejoice that I’m doing exactly what you’re advocating: Defending God’s character from those who’d misrepresent it.

Does that seem more reasonable, now that I’ve explained what I’m actually doing?

Dan,
OOPS….looks like you jumped the gun….again. As John points out, I tagged the post under humour. John acknowledged as much in THE VERY FIRST comment on the thread. It seems there are those here for who reading comprehension is a foreign subject.
Heads up Dan- I never said the bible was not evidence of God, I said I don’t believe in hell. There are many forward thinking Christians who have done their homework and agree with me. In fact, I think that if you take the bible seriously, then you must strongly question whether hell is a myth. All the evidence is there, if you open your eyes. As far as the bible being evidence of God, I think you entirely miss the point of my objection. I don’t consider The Philosopher’s Stone to be evidence of Harry Potter, I don’t consider Naturalis Historia to be evidence of dragons (to be clear: large fire breathing lizards with wings), and I don’t consider the bible evidence of God. In the strictest possible sense, I consider my high school biology textbook to be only evidence, and not proof of, the things that reside inside it.
Dan, you live in a world where everything that works against your own arguments is a fallacy. Hell, you even create fallacious arguments in order to attribute them to me and point out their fallacious nature. You go around searching for fallacies, because you cannot be bothered to examine or evidence your own arguments or worldview. You have a fallic obsession. Yes, that was a joke.

Before we can even address any of that, you have made some assumptions of your point that you will have to defend before the claim is even valid. Like Razi Zacharias said that I highlight in one of my posts, you have just invoked a moral law, or standard in raising that claim that your worldview cannot account for. That is your presupposition of the claim, is it not? Otherwise, the claim self destructs.

Is Dan arguing that “It is wrong to kill infants” is not an objective moral fact?
Am I to defend this because you disagree?
How do you know my worldview cannot account for it? Prove it can’t.
Prove that objective morality cannot exist without the subjective opinion of your God to make it so. Please. I double dog dare you.

George,
on a materialistic naturalism all things are chemical interactions driving physical components. Every thought is a result of chemical reactions. Us and the rest of the universe is just molecules interacting and bumping into eachother.

So how does a naturalist justify the molecule interaction that we describe as stabbing as bad. Why is so different about that chemical interaction, aside from personal preference?

I know it sounds like an over simplification, but how do we get oughts from essentially dominoes falling?

Georgy,

Saying something is wrong is not what is at question here (moving the goal posts). What is at question is accounting for your atheistic worldview that cannot say bad is bad or wrong is wrong objectively. I just didn’t want to engage you in a discussion about morality until you first justify your ability to reason about morality. Again I will go back to that question, how do you know that your reasoning about this or ANYTHING is valid?

D.A.N.
I understand where you’re coming from, but am I remembering correctly, or do you make this demand: “how do you know that your reasoning about this or ANYTHING is valid?” everytime you leave a comment?

I don’t think atheism can account for it either, but you can’t shut down discourse and attempt to win every argument on a technecality. Sometimes you have to suck it up and address the topic at hand.

Refusing to discuss anything moral with a professed Atheist until he grounds his morality is a discussion ender (Not just because it may not be possible, but because it’s tiresome). Just like if someone refused to talk about God until you’ve proven conclusively He exists before every theological discussion. If you have something to say, say it.

John B,

Yea, I know it seems repetitive but its really to get the Atheist to think.

Presuppositional apologetics tends to be a conversation ender as it should be. Its Biblical to do. We do not want to keep placing God on trial as the Atheists often do. Its probably a bit clearer if Sye explains it to you. He is much better at it then I. Its to reveal the Atheist’s position of Reductio ad absurdum. We are doing it for their benefit.

>>Just like if someone refused to talk about God until you’ve proven conclusively He exists before every theological discussion.

Now that one is easy. :7)

>>If you have something to say, say it.

Not always according to Scripture. Matthew 7:6

I appreciate your support of my point, John.
I don’t want to derail this post, but I would really like to find out why you think I cannot account for objective morality. Not now, necessarily, but sometime. maybe you could point me to a post you have written on the subject.
Anyway, I plan on writing a post on morality in the near future, and I am sure I’ll hear from you then.

Dan,
Grow up. I’m not the one questioning objective morality. If you think I cannot account for it, then you are the one who has to prove that I cannot. You cannot ask me to build a case for objective morality from first principles in order to argue that murdering infants is wrong. Well, you can ask, but no reasonable person would expect me to answer it.
If you think I can’t account for it, then build your case. I know for a fact that you just misunderstand the issue.
Can you be certain that I cannot account for objective morality? If so, how?

Georgy Porgy Puddin’ Pie,

I happen to think this is a thoughtful, serious topic—one that needs to be addressed and contemplated. It is a terrible shame what the lie of eternal torment has done to Christianity. I read all of the “Christian” responses here, and I feel sad because I totally understand their confusion and blindness in these issues…trying to find reasonable answers from vast misinformation. That was me not so long ago. The lie of ET has brainwashed people so terribly that they can somehow internally sanction killing of children as an “act of mercy.”

I visited Dan’s post about “Children in Hell,” where he stated the following:

God is not the evil overlord that many believe He is. God is not “an evil tyrant Who condemns innocent children to eternal destruction.” He is kind, loving, and just that knows all things. His righteousness is more then we could ever imagine. God would not arbitrarily send children to hell, just because they are too young. In fact, children go to Heaven.

Dan, don’t you see the irony here? If only you would listen to yourself. God is not an evil tyrant who condemns anyone to hell! Nor does He even allow them to choose it. If God is truly fair, in order for Him to sentence anyone to hell or for them to even be allowed to choose it, He would have to provide a level playing field where every person has the same choices available to them. The truth is that God will not lose one. The one act of the second Adam undid the penalty brought about by the first Adam for all (Rom. 5:18). This is why God declared from the beginning, speaking to Abraham, “Through your seed all the families of the earth will be blessed.”

As to your reference to the following verse:

Matthew 18:3-5 “And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”

Getting into the “Kingdom of God” is not “going to heaven” or even a “a place.” I believe it is a citizenship in the new system of true justice that will come upon the earth in future ages. A study of the Greek word “basileia” (Strong’s #932) will reveal this truth but here are the primary definitions:

royal power, kingship, dominion, rule; not to be confused with an actual kingdom but rather the right or authority to rule over a kingdom

Throughout the Bible, we see evidence of all people being brought into this Kingdom through a process of correction and reconciliation with God and man. This is the purpose of the ages, summed up nicely in Colossians 1:15-20

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. 18 He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. 19 For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, 20 and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.

Again, George, I think you are doing a wonderful thing to bring up these kinds of issues because it really shows how Christianity has gotten so far off—how vulnerable they have become to brainwashing—by embracing the fallacious doctrine of hell.

As to the biblical accounts of God sanctioning murder of the innocent, I struggle with that myself. At this point I’m trying to give God the benefit of the doubt, believing that somehow He has been misrepresented. It’s something I’ll just have to wait and see about but I admit it’s a hard pill to swallow.

Julie,

I did not get this comment in my email so forgive me for not responding. Word-press, and George’s blog is just too weird for me to grasp how to communicate fluently. Moving on.

>>Getting into the “Kingdom of God” is not “going to heaven” or even a “a place.”

First, it says “kingdom of Heaven” not “Kingdom of God” as you’re claiming. Although I understand your point about “basileia” (Strong’s #932) as dominion. Its still ‘dominion’ of Heaven.

Heaven, ‘ouranos’ Strong’s G3772, is “the region above the sidereal heavens, the seat of order of things eternal and consummately perfect where God dwells and other heavenly beings”

>>I believe it is a citizenship in the new system of true justice that will come upon the earth in future ages.

No disrespect here, and allow me to type gently with kid gloves because souls are at stake here, but who cares what you believe? Really, is it not what the Bible says that matters instead of our beliefs about it? The worst thing you can do is ask someone in Bible study what a verse, chapter, paragraph means to them, instead of what the verse, chapter, paragraph means. Its the difference between exegesis method of interpretation and an eisegesis method. One is right and one is horribly, demonstrably, wrong. Eisegesis is a capricious attitude. It may even be breaking the 2nd Commandment and making a god to suite yourself. I think I have even said this to you before.

>>It’s something I’ll just have to wait and see about but I admit it’s a hard pill to swallow.

Are you sitting in the judges seat and God is on trial? I sure hope not.

>>I’m trying to give God the benefit of the doubt, believing that somehow He has been misrepresented.

What if He hasn’t been misrepresented? Then what? God on the docket?

I still have not purchased your books because I just cannot tell from what authority are you speaking from. Remember Eve judged God and reasoned the fruit from that tree would make her wise and that eating from the tree would not harm her, with help of the serpent. We all know how that one played out. Caution to you Julie.

Oops, I did get this comment in my email. Belay my last (point about word-press).

Hey Dan. According to historians, Matthew is the only gospel that uses “Kingdom of Heaven” while the others all use “Kingdom of God.” This is because the book of Matthew was written to Jews, who considered the name of God too holy to speak, so they didn’t say “Kingdom of God.” (This probably also indicates that the most original manuscripts used “Yahweh” instead of God throughout the NT.

As to all your theological intimidation tactics, which I don’t appreciate, I share two verses with you:

“Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13).

“At that time Jesus said, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants” (Matt. 11:25).

Ironically, this is one of the verses you quoted on your post. Do you really think Jesus was only speaking of children? He called His disciples and followers little children in John.

Its not false witness, it just my interpretation of your linguistic gymnastics. I see the great lengths you go through to make the text say, not just something else, but you actually figure ways to make it say the opposite of what it says. I do not trust that you are looking for the truth of the matter, you are looking for the convenience of the matter. You don’t like what it says, you don’t like the conclusions you must draw, and so you change what it says until you’re comfortable . That is the last I will say to you, here or anywhere else.

Again, you are free to do as you wish. I’d just ask that you do so humbly. Presuming to know another’s motives and desires is taking a step away from humility and towards presumptuousness. In fact, I am seeking God’s will and, believe it or not, I disagree with your hunches on the matter.

I could be mistaken (I guess it IS possible that God DOES sometimes command people to kill babies), but I don’t think so in this case. Regardless, my motives are nothing as shallow as seeking “comfort” in this case. My motive is doing what’s right, my motive is seeking God’s Truth. Disagree with me if you wish, but I’d caution you against presuming you can know another’s motives: It does not speak well of your humility or rationality.

Peace to you, brother John.

To the topic at hand, John guessed…

You don’t like what it says, you don’t like the conclusions you must draw, and so you change what it says until you’re comfortable .

Again, this is an erroneous conclusion of my motives, but let me explain once again for the benefit of anyone who might care…

1. We have a passage in a sacred text where God says, in short, “Go kill all those people, including the women, children and babies.”

2. We have OTHER passages – ones that are clear and have the benefit of being morally rational beyond what the Bible says – that say, “It is wrong to shed innocent blood.” This second line of thinking is an abundantly clear and consistent teaching of the Bible.

3. Given the rationality of WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS about shedding innocent blood, the self-evident righteousness of that position, readers of the sacred text have a problem with the FIRST passage, which seems to contradict the second passage and, in fact, what our own God-given conscience tells us. So, what do we DO with the passage?

4. I’m not suggesting ignoring it. Being a fan of the Bible and an adherent to its teachings, I don’t advocate “ignoring” or changing anything, even with the goal of making the Bible internally consistent. BUT, I do think it wise to consider the text and context. When reading the Bible (or any text), it is important to deal with it IN THE STYLE and CONTEXT in which it was written.

5. The passages that contain “Go kill babies” sorts of commands are ALL from a time in early/pre-history where NO HISTORY STORIES were told in a modern linear strictly factual method. History-telling in a more modernistic/linear/factual style did not begin emerging until 500 BCE – 500 CE (or, 500 BC – 500 AD, if you prefer). Herodotus is generally called the “father of history,” and he lived in the fifth century BC. Thucydides is often considered the father of modern or scientific history, and he lived in the fifth century BC. [source ]

6. So far as I can tell, there are NO stories around from the time period of the “genocide” stories that told literally factual and linear history in the more modern style. Given this apparent fact, I have NO GOOD BIBLICAL OR RATIONAL reason to presume that I should consider such a story represents God’s nature – that God sometimes commands shedding innocent blood – especially since that position would undermine the abundantly more clear position that it is WRONG to shed innocent blood.

This, in an extremely shortened fashion, is the reasoning behind those who hold my position. It is borne of a desire to ADHERE to sound biblical teachings, not to find more “comfortable” positions. From where I sit, it is those who try to defend a literal interpretation who do rational and verbal gymnastics, twisting the Bible and moral reasoning in order to make the Bible hold to their cultural traditions, rather than holding to a more logical, straightforward interpretation of what the Bible is and isn’t saying.

I hope this isn’t off topic, George.

You can find it on “who needs morality”. Replying from my phone would be a pain making it a link, but click on the “philosophy” tab on my site and scroll down in the “atheism/naturalism” section.

John,
I read the post and left a brief comment. I plan on making a post out of it, so we will have another forum then….

I’m subscribing to comments, so I can see this play out.

Dan T,

>>It was the VERY ACT of studying the bible prayerfully, literally and seriously that LED ME AWAY from taking it literally.

How? How is that possible? Genesis 1:1 speaks of six literal days in creating the universe. It even speaks of it in Exodus later within the commandments of the Sabbath (Exodus 20:11) How can you possible conclude “Meh, just a story” from that? How can you conclude that Noah was NOT 900 years old from scripture. I see that you’re doing that, by my question is the method and process that you come to these conclusions.

Like I said we are to read the Bible plainly, not literally. If God says Noah was 900 years old, I trust that. I am sure you would concede that an omniscient, omnipotent being could reveal things to us, such that we can be certain of them. So why is it such a stretch to trust the words and the writer? What specifically lead you to believe that these were merely stories?

How? How is that possible? Genesis 1:1 speaks of six literal days in creating the universe. It even speaks of it in Exodus later within the commandments of the Sabbath (Exodus 20:11) How can you possible conclude “Meh, just a story” from that?

Just by reading and being informed. I know, for instance, that folk at that time did not tell creation stories from a linear, factual scientific point of view, but usually in a mythic point of view. I have no evidence that anyone told creation stories otherwise. The Bible itself does not dictate that this story should be taken literally, so why should I?

You do know, I suppose, that the bible never once internally suggests a literal reading of its stories? Nor a “plain” one (although I’m quite fine with a “plain” reading, which is what I’m doing – but then, “plain” is subjective, isn’t it?) The point of the Creation story, of the Noah story, is NOT Noah’s exact age or how long it took to create the earth, which are wholly irrelevant bits of fluff, but that God is here, looking out for us, watching over us, creating us. Those are the Big Truths in the Bible and I found, starting out as a biblical inerrantist, that there was just no BIBLICAL foundation for the notion of “inerrancy” as its being used.

The Bible is a book of TRUTHS, and those TRUTHS properly understood, are without error (as Truths are wont to be). Which is not to say that the “facts” are in error, but that they’re not the point. If one gets hung up on little facts, one is prone to miss the bigger Truths.

And so, HOW is it possible to read the Bible starting out as an inerrantist and moving away from that position? Because THERE IS NO BIBLICAL FOUNDATION FOR THAT POSITION, none that I can see. This is a little off topic so I don’t know that we’d want to belabor the point, but if you think there is ANY FOUNDATION AT ALL for that position that I have somehow missed, feel free to write me and tell me. I can be taught, but ONLY if there are biblical and logical reasons for being taught. Browbeating does little in the way of convincing me.

why is it such a stretch to trust the words and the writer? What specifically lead you to believe that these were merely stories?

Anytime conservative types use phrases like, “Trust the words and writer,” it is showing me that they’re not getting my point. I DO trust the words and the writers. The question isn’t whether they’re trustworthy, but what style of storytelling they were using. I trust Jesus 100%, even though he used parables, and I read the parables as parables, for what they were meant to be.

I just see no logical or biblical reason to think the Creation stories or some of the other stories are told in a modernistic history-telling sort of way.

Dan T,

>>2. In the case of the Bible, we have an APPARENT (or outright) contradiction:

Apparent to who? You? So you BELIEVE, subjectively I will add, that the Bible MUST have contradictions and therefore not true? Could you be wrong? The Bible claims its truth. Is that wrong too? I do not see ANY contradictions in the Bible. Care to point to any to flesh them out? Who claims the blood is innocent in your example? Was it wrong to destroy everyone who was not in the Ark? If so, how?

One verse says “shed no innocent blood.”

Another verse says, “Kill those people – babies included.”

Babies are, by definition, innocent.

Therefore, there is an apparent contradiction, just using standard English understandings of words.

Do you disagree that there is an apparent contradiction in these words? I can’t see how that’s possible, unless you’re going to argue that babies aren’t innocent, but if you’re arguing that, then that first command (shed no innocent blood) is meaningless, since its impossible (IF one thinks that no one is innocent).

DAN…

So you BELIEVE, subjectively I will add, that the Bible MUST have contradictions and therefore not true?

? I did not say either of these statements, not sure where you’re getting that from.

1. I did not say the Bible “MUST” have contradictions, I was pointing out an obvious apparent contradiction. I DON’T THINK there is a contradiction there. I think the APPARENT contradiction is explained by the epic nature of the story where folk are commanded to shed innocent blood.

2. I did not say the Bible isn’t true. I BELIEVE THE BIBLE TO BE A BOOK OF TRUTHS, and, as such, IS true. I just don’t think every interpretation is valid, a point on which I’m sure you agree.

Can I be wrong? Yes! We ALL can be wrong, right? I can be wrong, YOU can be wrong, am I correct? We’re fallible humans and thus, entirely capable of being wrong and/or mistaken.

The Bible no where in all its pages says that “each line of these 66 books is factually correct and must be read that way.” Do you agree that this is the case? Obviously, it is. The Bible does not REFER to itself, and certainly never says, “Take all these lines literally.”

DAN…

So why is it such a stretch to trust the words and the writer? What specifically lead you to believe that these were merely stories?

One thing I came to realize, back when I was more conservative and woodenly literal in my biblical interpretation – back when I used to say things like DAN has above – is that my supposed “traditional” view of inerrancy was actually a modernistic take on storytelling and sacred scriptures.

I used to say and think things like, “Well, those LIBERALS sure have a low opinion of Scripture if they think they’re MYTHS! Why don’t they trust what the writers are saying? They actually think the writers of the bible are LYING!!!”

No, no, no. As the sweet old grandmother used to say, “I’m not lying, I’m telling a story.” It is a modernistic chauvinism that devalues stories simply because they may be told in a mythic or epic form. The point in these WONDERFUL and POWERFUL stories is NOT the literal facts being presented and IF the facts are NOT literally as they are presented, that does not mean the stories are invalid.

The “fact” that Jonah was (or wasn’t) swallowed by a great fish is NOT the point of the story. To get caught up in the “facts” of the story is to miss the point of the story: That you can’t run from God, that God loves everyone, that we have a responsibility to reach out to our neighbors, our enemies, even the icky and evil Ninevites!

Thinking that the creation story in Genesis is obviously told in a mythic form (“long ago…” “In the beginning…” “God created…” “the serpent came to Eve…” – these are stereotypical mythic forms and that’s okay) in no way is to suggest that anyone is lying or can’t be trusted, it in no way devalues the beautiful truths of the story.

It’s a modernistic chauvinism, not traditional understanding of storytelling, that devalues these beautiful stories in their proper context.

I will say this.
Dan T has done more in this thread to explain the bible in a way that lives up to the promise of Rom. 1:20 then a decade and a half of preachers and DANs arrogant apologetics. That, of course, is coming from an atheist, so take it how you will.
What I am saying is that there looks to be Christians out there who do not need to live in a world of conspiracies and denial of the abilities of man to use the faculties that God bestowed upon us (supposedly) in order to hold to the truth of the bible. I’m sure this must plainly be a trick of Satan in order to draw people away from God.
I’ll tell you what though: I would go to Dan T’s church. If I were still a Christian, I would feel entirely comfortable in the explanations he offers. I guess that means it must be wrong, because God isn’t supposed to make sense, or be temporally consistent, or His invisible attributes clearly seen.

Dan T,

>>I know, for instance, that folk at that time did not tell creation stories from a linear, factual scientific point of view, but usually in a mythic point of view.

How do you know this? Was it extra Biblical knowledge, for example? If so, how can you trust it? Faith?

>>I have no evidence that anyone told creation stories otherwise.

You mean outside the Bible? Let me show you why you shouldn’t read the Bible like Aesop’s fables. Look in Hosea 1:1, see the time line, the Bible talks about specific and exacting historical events with details of surroundings and time frame. Stories don’t include details like the Bible which should be taken as fact. Its a historical narrative. On what basis can you claim a mere story? I don’t see it yet.

>>The Bible itself does not dictate that this story should be taken literally, so why should I? / You do know, I suppose, that the bible never once internally suggests a literal reading of its stories?

O’rly! Luke 1:1-4 is just one example.

These authors provided historical context of names, places and events which are useful for verification, ALL of this you consider it ti be “wholly irrelevant bits of fluff”. 2 Kings 25:27 does not show a mere story. Its a historical narrative like I am claiming as evidence. What do you provide? Oh yea this:

>>Just by reading and being informed.

That will not cut it, as evidence, for your knowledge. What you are calling “wholly irrelevant bits of fluff” is FAR more relevant then you can even imagine. These details can be, and WERE, verified throughout history to not be taken lightly and to be understood as truth revealed.

>>Because THERE IS NO BIBLICAL FOUNDATION FOR THAT POSITION [being inerrant], none that I can see.

Said the man who never read Psalm 119:160, 2 Peter 1:21, or 2 Timothy 3:16-17. How can it be from God and be in error?

Granted their are copyist errors. “Biblical documents are 98.5% textually pure. The 1.5% that is in question is mainly nothing more than spelling errors and occasional word omissions. This reduces any serious textual issues to a fraction of the 1.5% and none of these copying errors affects doctrinal truths. Dead Sea Scrolls showed how accurately it was transmitted.” ~carm

Like I have already said, Logic says the Bible is Supernatural. Prophecy is NOT a man made construct. Prophecy fulfilled, cannot be taken as merely a story by any stretch of your imagination.

>>The Bible is a book of TRUTHS, and those TRUTHS properly understood, are without error.

Then you CANNOT, logically, say that the revelations within the Bible are merely stories. The details of Noah and his life are TRUE! If you agree, then you have no choice to agree that he lived to the ripe ol age of 900 years. Otherwise you DISCOUNT the truth revealed in the Bible.

>>Browbeating does little in the way of convincing me.

My argument is not intended to be convincing, I am merely commanded to speak the truth and rebuke, ‘convincing’ is out of my hands. Suggesting that, you would be drawn to a different message that is clearly unbiblical, and clearly an attempt to dissuade people from using the Bible as a Historical Narrative. You are trying to give an entirely different meaning to “Biblical Authority”!

>>The question isn’t whether they’re trustworthy, but what style of storytelling they were using. I trust Jesus 100%, even though he used parables, and I read the parables as parables, for what they were meant to be.

Now we are getting somewhere. When obvious parables and hyperbole are used ,its merely a literary devices. Have you ever seen of a sunrise? You might say ‘yes’. But that would make you wrong! The sun does not rise at all. But that is merely a literary device in express something. That is entirely different then what you are claiming that the Bible is, as just story telling to make a point. The Bible claims and is written as a historical narrative.

There are a plethora of justifications for the Bible being inherent. Please explore them all. God willing, you will be lead to truth.

There is a Howard Huge difference between:

There once was a man from Nantucket. Who kept all his gold in a bucket…

and

These are the sons of David who were born to him in Hebron: the firstborn, Amnon, by Ahinoam the Jezreelite; the second, Daniel, by Abigail the Carmelite, the third, Absalom, whose mother was Maacah, the daughter of Talmai, king of Geshur; the fourth, Adonijah, whose mother was Haggith; the fifth, Shephatiah, by Abital; the sixth, Ithream, by his wife Eglah;…~1 Chronicles 3:1-3

Learn the difference please. Your soul might depend on it.

>>This is a little off topic so I don’t know that we’d want to belabor the point, but if you think there is ANY FOUNDATION AT ALL for that position that I have somehow missed, feel free to write me and tell me.

George, I think, understands that blogs are a conversations. Important things needs to be addressed that’s all. Anyone here should not have a problem of where this post’s comments are headed. If any point needs to be belabored its this one of yours.

>>Babies are, by definition, innocent.

Again you’re wrong. Babies, by Biblical definition, are evil. Your logic and reasoning falls apart from there. Again BIBLICAL AUTHORITY!

>>1. I did not say the Bible “MUST” have contradictions, I was pointing out an obvious apparent contradiction.

According to YOU, that is. I see no such contradictions.

>>I just don’t think every interpretation is valid, a point on which I’m sure you agree.

Sure, as long as and especially, it includes yours. Its not, “what does that passage mean to you?” Its, “what does that passage mean.” Like I told Julie, now you, its the difference between exegesis method of interpretation and an eisegesis method. One is right and one is horribly, demonstrably, wrong. Eisegesis is a capricious attitude. It may even be breaking the 2nd Commandment and making a god to suite yourself.

>>We ALL can be wrong, right?

Wrong! Can you be wrong about God’s existence? (please answer its very important) The ones who stand on the side of truth, by definition, cannot be wrong. Look, I fully understand that truth always is confrontational, there is always someone on the wrong side of truth. This is a very serious and real subject for you and I. If I didn’t love you enough to tell you the truth, then I wouldn’t. Truth hurts, I understand. :7)

>>We’re fallible humans and thus, entirely capable of being wrong and/or mistaken.

ONLY if its your claim that an omniscient, omnipotent being could NOT reveal things to us, such that we can be certain of them. Is this your claim?

>>The Bible no where in all its pages says that “each line of these 66 books is factually correct and must be read that way.”

That is also why you’re wrong.

>>Do you agree that this is the case? Obviously, it is.

Obviously, you’re wrong yet again.

Do you believe that the “stories” were passed off as a historical narrative?

>>The Bible does not REFER to itself,…

Wrong again! Luke 24:27, John 13:18, 2 Timothy 3:14-16

>>and certainly never says, “Take all these lines literally.”

Hasty generalization fallacy. It would never say that with obvious parables, hyperbole, songs, and poetry.

First, DAN, let me thank you for the detailed response. I much prefer someone giving a response to those who just make charges and ignore further conversation.

Beyond that, I have to consider how much time I have (or George would want) to deal with your many points. There’s just so much time in the day and we all, of course, have other obligations beyond blogging.

Having said that, I’d like to try to tackle at least a couple of your points, if George does not feel it’s straying too far afield.

You asked me how it’s possible that I read the Bible and was lead AWAY from literalism. I attempted an answer. In short, by reading the Bible, I could see that there was no demand/call to read the Bible literally. Not as far as I can see. A few points, then…

1. The thing is, we ALL (we who are striving to follow God and who believe the Bible to be God’s revelation to humanity) read the Bible, prayerfully seeking answers and to learn better to walk in the Way. Can we agree upon that?

2. We all are capable of being wrong. We are fallible humans, as evidenced by the Bible and by our own eyes. Can we agree upon that?

3. Yes, God is capable of revealing God’s Self to us, but BECAUSE WE ARE FALLIBLE, we are just as capable to not understand everything perfectly. In fact: NONE OF US understands everything perfectly. This is especially true when speaking of the finite and fallible striving to understand the infinite and perfect. Agreed?

Back for more later…

Just a note of clarification: I’m asking these questions to clarify where we do and don’t disagree. If we can begin by finding where we have common ground, then it becomes easier to identify where it is we part ways and, hopefully, understand each others’ position better.

I find this to be a better idea than presuming that I can guess another stranger’s position aright (as you have presumed some with me – for instance, when you say, “Said the man who never read…” – you presume too much; having been a Christian for 38 years now and a student of the Bible for all of my 48 years, there’s nothing I haven’t read and re-read in the Bible).

Also, I’d posit that a little respect and humility goes a long way when you are trying to communicate with strangers. For what it’s worth.

More then, when I get a chance…

Having established (hopefully) that we all agree that we are all fallible human beings, let me return to what you described as “If any point needs to be belabored its this one of yours…” that is, my crazy contention that babies are innocent, by definition.

Your response was…

Babies, by Biblical definition, are evil. Your logic and reasoning falls apart from there. Again BIBLICAL AUTHORITY!

Your attempted point was, if I’m not mistaken, that the Bible defines innocent differently than standard English. I didn’t watch your video, but feel free to summarize their point, if you wish. I suspect that, like much of your other biblical citations, you are begging the question or just doing poor biblical exegesis – inserting cultural biases and your own EISEGESIS, instead of looking at what it actually says in context.

Based on your little story at the bottom, you think that we can reasonably call babies “evil,” because they are so far removed from God’s perfection, in your estimation, is that your point?

Allow me to provide some standard English definitions – that is, this is how MOST people define these words in normal usage – if you want to use standard English words in some non-normative way, you’ll want to make your case, not just use the word with your own special secret meaning.

From Merriam Webster:

Innocent: : free from guilt or sin especially through lack of knowledge of evil [an innocent child]
Guilt: the fact of having committed a breach of conduct especially violating law and involving a penalty; broadly : guilty conduct
Sin: an offense against religious or moral law

And, since that last word is a more religious-y word, I reference a Bible dictionary (Bible Gateway) to see that it is defined…

Sin is “any want of conformity unto or transgression of the law of God” (1 John 3:4; Rom. 4:15)

Now, when I say that babies are innocent, I mean it in the standard English usage of the word – babies ARE free from guilt, because GUILT results from a breach of conduct since, being UNAWARE of sin or conduct, they CAN’T breach what they don’t know. Babies are, in the normal, sane, English-speaking world, the very definition of Innocence.

Now, if you have some case to make that when the Bible uses the word “innocent,” it means something other than what the normal English speaking world means, you can try to make that case, if you’d like. But if not, I hope you can appreciate how insane (no offense intended, seriously) it sounds to say that babies are not innocent and that, in fact, babies are evil.

People who say things like that sound beyond rational. I’m quite sure that you are not wholly irrational and that you’re trying to make some point, but I’d suggest if you have a point to make, you go ahead and make it rather than just choosing to sound insane (and again, that’s truly NOT intended to sound like or be an insult, just emphasizing how utterly crazy it sounds to most people to call babies “evil.”)

My suspicion is that you are referring to verses like, “all our righteous acts are like filthy rags” from Isaiah or “I was born in sin” from Psalms, where the poets are using exaggerated, hyperbolic language to emphasize a point about our sin and how much we need God. There simply is no biblical support nor certainly not any rational support for the claim that babies are NOT innocent or are evil.

You aren’t truly trying to make that case, are you? Or, let me frame it this way so as to help our understanding of one another:

A. Do you believe that babies/humans are so far removed from perfection that, by comparison to a perfect and omnipotent God, it is AS IF even our best moments are bad/evil?(which is a hyperbolic comparison)

OR

B. Are you saying you actually believe that babies are actually evil, in standard English understanding of the word?

Or something else?

Just one more response to some of your biblical references and to answer your question of me.

I said, “The Bible does not say anywhere that it ought to be/needs to be taken literally.”

You responded,”O’rly [not sure what that means]! Luke 1:1-4 is just one example.”

But, LUKE 1 DOES NOT SAY that the 66 books of the Bible need to be taken literally. It does not say anything like that.

What it says is…

Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.

Anyone can look at this passage and see that CLEARLY there is no command to take the Bible literally. It just isn’t there. You are doing exactly what you suggested some of us are doing: You are reading into the passage something that just isn’t there. At all.

This is Dr Luke telling us that he has attempted to write down and “orderly account” of the eyewitness stories of Jesus, a point which I am not contesting. BUT, this does NOT say that the Bible as a whole needs to be taken literally. This is NOT EVEN SAYING that Luke’s writings need to be taken literally.

If you truly believe otherwise, I suppose you might be just so caught up in your traditions that you can’t see your own eisegesis when it’s right under your nose.

This is also the case for your few passages you offered to try to suggest that the Bible refers to its 66 books. Those passages are not saying what you’re thinking they’re saying, they just aren’t. Does Luke 24 refer to PARTS of what we know today as the Bible? Yes, it does. If that’s all you’re saying, then we can agree. The Bible DOES refer to SOME BOOKS of the Bible, but that wasn’t my point. My point was that the Bible doesn’t reference the 66 books of the Bible, speaking of itself in toto, and it does not demand that we take it literally.

This is eisesgesis.

Now, you asked me…

Can you be wrong about God’s existence? (please answer its very important) The ones who stand on the side of truth, by definition, cannot be wrong.

Yes, I am a fallible human being. I can be wrong about anything. I could be deluded, I could be crazy and not know it. The Bible teaches us that we only see as through a glass darkly now, our understanding is ONLY IN PART now. The Bible teaches we are fallible human beings, lacking in perfect knowledge.

Do I THINK I’m wrong about God? No, not at all.

As to “the ones who stand on the side of truth, by definition, can’t be wrong…” I believe you are conflating “aren’t” wrong with “can’t be” wrong. If, at the end of all things, we find out that there is a God, then we who believe WILL be right, after all, but that won’t have changed the fact that we COULD have been wrong. Consider this: In Christendom, there are those who believe that Christians ought not fight in wars. There are others who believe that Christians CAN and OUGHT to fight in wars. Now, if it turns out that group A was right, then we’ll have discovered that they ARE right, but that doesn’t change the fact that they COULD have been wrong.

I’m not saying there is no right and wrong. I’m just acknowledging that any of us flawed, fallen, foibled humans cAN be wrong or mistaken. It’s part of the human condition.

Are you suggesting that humans have the ability to be perfectly “right” on all matters? You realize that this position would be near-heretical for orthodox Christianity?

I have to say I am really enjoying this dialogue.
Dan T. , DAN will conflate certainty with certitude over and over till he is blue in the face.
The laughable thing is that your position is more in line with scripture than his, as you have so elegantly laid bare here.
I hope DAN doesn’t just disappear from this thread, I am learning a mountain of things from this conversation.

One more set of responses to some of DAN’s questions. I’d suggested that I have no reason to suspect that the biblical storytellers were using a more modernistic style of history-telling that by all evidence did not exist at the time the earlier parts of the Bible were written. DAN asked…

How do you know this? Was it extra Biblical knowledge, for example? If so, how can you trust it? Faith?

I repeat: I SEE NO EVIDENCE that the early storytellers did not employ the styles common to the day. Do you have ANY EVIDENCE that modern history-telling occurred 3000-6000 BC, the sort of story-telling with an emphasis on facts and dates, that did not engage in fanciful imagery?

I went on to say…
>>I have no evidence that anyone told creation stories otherwise.

And, again, DAN asked..

You mean outside the Bible?

Inside the Bible. Outside the Bible. Anywhere. I have NO EVIDENCE that they told stories in a manner that wasn’t common to the day. Do you have any evidence?

All you’ve offered thus far is…

These authors provided historical context of names, places and events which are useful for verification, ALL of this you consider it ti be “wholly irrelevant bits of fluff”. 2 Kings 25:27 does not show a mere story. Its a historical narrative like I am claiming as evidence.

The author of the Epic of Gilgamesh ALSO provides historical names and places. Epic stories are a mix of fact and fiction. That there are historical places found in OT stories is not evidence that the stories are not told in the mythic or epic style that appears to be common to the day.

In a question as to whether some biblical stories are told in an epic or mythic style, you cite that there are stories in the Bible that contain historical bits of information and claim that is evidence that it’s an historical narrative and, thus, it’s an historical narrative: That’s begging the question, DAN. I know there are historical bits of info in the stories told in the OT. The question is: Is there any evidence that it was written in a more modern style or is it more likely that it was written (told) in the style common to the day?

Do you have any evidence?

RE: my reference to “irrelevant bits of fluff,” let me ask you: What are the POINTS of the Jonah story? The TRUTHS being conveyed in that story?

Some that I can think of include: We can’t run from God; God loves ALL people; God is a forgiving God. For instance.

In that story, does Jonah’s age matter a whit, as to the TRUTHS being taught? Does Jonah actually being swallowed by a fish matter a whit? Does even the existence of Jonah matter, or if it was entirely a parable, would those truths still be valid? I say these “facts” are irrelevant bits of fluff – they don’t matter to the point of the story. Do you have any solid reason to think otherwise?

Dan T,

>> I’m asking these questions to clarify where we do and don’t disagree.

All three points are NO, we do not agree.

>>having been a Christian for 38 years now and a student of the Bible for all of my 48 years, there’s nothing I haven’t read and re-read in the Bible

That is why its so odd and makes you suspect, that you believe the Bible is the Word of God instead of Christ Himself. (John 1:1,14) That is what makes me question your claims of Christianity now. How are you certain that you are a Christian? For example, even the Devil can read the Bible and quote scripture. How do you KNOW for certain you’re saved?

>>Based on your little story at the bottom, you think that we can reasonably call babies “evil,” because they are so far removed from God’s perfection, in your estimation, is that your point?

No, we’re born evil. We are slaves to sin, we choose to be slaves to sin even, we choose our master, and our only saving grace is our Lord Jesus Christ to break that bond.

>>babies ARE free from guilt, because GUILT results from a breach of conduct since, being UNAWARE of sin or conduct, they CAN’T breach what they don’t know. Babies are, in the normal, sane, English-speaking world, the very definition of Innocence.

What you are claiming is that babies have no conscience. Any evidence for that? No children, even babies, have consciences. Otherwise we diagnose them with the label of sociopaths. Is that your claim that babies are sociopaths. It doesn’t matter when you break the 5th commandment, what matters is that you break the Law. You would have a lot less confusion if you watched the video. Scared?

>>There simply is no biblical support nor certainly not any rational support for the claim that babies are NOT innocent or are evil.

And that is where you’re wrong. Psalm 58:3. Look at 1 John 5:18, is it your claim that we are born into God? If so, explain the purpose of Jesus then.

>> Or, let me frame it this way so as to help our understanding of one another: A or B?

I am saying its B. We’re born evil and through Christ alone we are saved. That is not to say that babies go to Hell either. They get a pass. Its called God’s Grace and mercy.

>>But, LUKE 1 DOES NOT SAY that the 66 books of the Bible need to be taken literally. It does not say anything like that.

DUDE! You do understand the word ‘literal’ was not even invented until the late 14 century and ‘literally’ was invented and used in 1530’s. That is like saying that the word ‘computer’ is not in the Bible. Its illogical. No the Bible is clearly written as a historical narrative and to be read PLAINLY from its obvious songs, poems, hyperbole, and parables. Any other claim is absurd.

>>This is NOT EVEN SAYING that Luke’s writings need to be taken literally.

It says, ‘having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.’

How can you be certain of something that is not true? Are you really missing the entire point here?

>>This is eisesgesis.

I know its eisegesis, that is why I am trying to help you out. :7)

>> Yes, I am a fallible human being. I can be wrong about anything. I could be deluded, I could be crazy and not know it.

Then I am afraid to tell you, because of the evidence, that you are NOT a Christian. Do you concede that an omniscient, omnipotent being could reveal things to us, such that we can be certain of them?

>>Do I THINK I’m wrong about God? No, not at all.

Yet, you’re a fallible human being. You can be wrong about anything. You could be deluded, you could be crazy and not know it. Right? If so, you’re not a Christian. As a Christian, its my position that God has revealed Himself to all mankind so that we can know for certain who He is. Those who deny His existence are suppressing the truth in unrighteousness to avoid accountability to God. It is the ultimate act of rebellion against Him and reveals the professing atheist’s (and you as a professing Christian) contempt toward God.

>>If, at the end of all things, we find out that there is a God, then we who believe WILL be right, after all, but that won’t have changed the fact that we COULD have been wrong.

You are confusing a feeling of certainty with actual certainty. One cannot BE certain of something which is not true. Since you admit that one can BE certain, then that some feel certain does not defeat actual certainty.

>>I’m not saying there is no right and wrong. I’m just acknowledging that any of us flawed, fallen, foibled humans cAN be wrong or mistaken. It’s part of the human condition.

Then you are not a Christian and were NEVER born again. (2 Corinthians 5:17, 1John 2:19, and most important John 10:28) The Bible is clear in the parable of the sower (explained by Jesus in Matthew 13) not everyone that says Lord, Lord will make it to Heaven. There are definitely true and false converts. Not to merely accept Jesus Christ. Jesus doesn’t need you acceptance. You need to receive Him and submit to Him as your Lord and your Savior.

>>Are you suggesting that humans have the ability to be perfectly “right” on all matters?

Not ALL maters, certainly maters concerning God and His Word Jesus Christ. Unless an omniscient, omnipotent being could NOT reveal things to us, such that we can be certain of them. Is that your claim?

>> Do you have ANY EVIDENCE that modern history-telling occurred 3000-6000 BC, the sort of story-telling with an emphasis on facts and dates, that did not engage in fanciful imagery?

Yes, I do have evidence. God’s Revelation says that Scripture is to be read as an Historical narrative. Is it your claim that is impossible?

>>The author of the Epic of Gilgamesh ALSO provides historical names and places.

IS it your claim that the Epic of Gilgamesh is NOT obvious poetry? Once again you are DISCOUNTING literary devices to make your point. You’re at a loss.

>>In a question as to whether some biblical stories are told in an epic or mythic style, you cite that there are stories in the Bible that contain historical bits of information and claim that is evidence that it’s an historical narrative and, thus, it’s an historical narrative: That’s begging the question, DAN.

You’re annoying now. Pride is in your way at this point, I believe. Revelation tells us to take the Bible as a Historical Narrative. Its the same way I can be certain of anything, R E V E L A T I O N. How am I certain that the revelation is valid? Because God has revealed it such that WE can be certain of it. It is also the claim is that God has revealed Himself to EVERYONE, and that this is exposed with every truth claim, every knowledge claim, and even every rational thought you have.

Now, if you don’t see the futility of explaining something to someone who cannot account for knowledge, I can’t help that. You see, without such an account you can’t justify knowing that I have not already answered all of your questions.

The only possible way that we can know anything for certain is by Divine revelation from One who knows everything. It is the Christian position that God has revealed some things to us so that we can be certain of them.

Now, your turn. How is it possible for you to know anything for certain?

P.S. Note that I bolded the “some” things, because if He revealed ALL things then we would be omniscient. No need for us to have such omniscience. Although we will also have such knowledge someday. I trust God to fully let us know everything when He wants to reveal all that to us as 1 Corinthians 13:8-13 says which, if I understand it properly, that we may indeed have omniscience when we are with God. I certainly am very excited about that. I will trust Him, and Him alone, until that wonderful day.

Okay, you truly are making comments in such a manner as to suggest at least a bit of delusion – not clinically, but seriously, babies are “evil??” DAN, I’m not quite sure how much sense it makes to try to hold a rational discussion with someone behaving irrationally. I’ll try to tackle at least a little bit, though.

You said…

How are you certain that you are a Christian?

As is so often the case, conservative Christians (or at least the ones on these internets) quickly get to denying the faith of those with whom they disagree. This is truly off topic, so I’ll give a short answer and hope George does not mind terribly…

DAN, I am a Christian by standard orthodox Christian “measure.” By biblical “measures.” I am a sinner saved by the grace of God through faith in Jesus, the Son of God. I’ve confessed my sins, asked for forgiveness and asked Jesus to be “the Lord of my life,” as they say in Evangelia. Standard, orthodox Christian salvation.

Do you think that someone needs something other than repentance and trusting in God’s grace through faith in Jesus in order to be saved? Because it SOUNDS like you’re saying IN ADDITION TO the normal gospel message of repentance and grace, one also MUST BE “RIGHT” on certain rather random issues. “Right” according to, in this case, DAN.

ARE you saying that? If so, I’m sure you know (but maybe not, I don’t know you that well) that you are speaking of the rather heretical notion of salvation by WORKS, not grace. That is, it’s sounding like you’re saying repentance and grace are not enough, one must also have “perfect knowledge” in some areas.

That is not orthodox Christianity, nor is it biblical.

A couple of times, you said…

God’s Revelation says that Scripture is to be read as an Historical narrative.

Chapter and verse, DAN. Give me some BIBLICAL citation that says what you’re saying. It doesn’t exist and I hope you’ll excuse me for pointing out that just because you SAY, “This verse says the sky is purple and made of marshmallows,” does not mean that the sky is purple and made of marshmallows. You’re making a claim, all you have to do is back it up with a passage that SAYS WHAT YOU’RE SAYING.

More…

Just to return to your most irrational position, you said…

we’re born evil. We are slaves to sin, we choose to be slaves to sin even, we choose our master, and our only saving grace is our Lord Jesus Christ to break that bond.

I gave you the standard English definition of “innocent.” Babies fit that definition. I gave you the standard English definition of guilt and sin. Babies do NOT fit those definitions. I’ve asked you to provide YOUR definition, to explain what you’re trying to say using the wrong word. I’ll ask again for you to explain what you mean, because you’re using non-standard definitions for normal words. You can’t use non-standard definitions and expect to make any sense, isn’t that reasonable? You can’t refer to how much you love to eat candy, but by “candy,” you mean “excrement,” and expect to make ANY sense at all. So, I’d ask you to define your words.

Since you’ve thrown out the ridiculous suggestion that babies are “evil,” let me provide the NORMAL definition of the word, so you can see why you’re sounding wholly irrational… again, from Merriam Webster:

Evil: a. morally reprehensible
b. arising from actual or imputed bad character or conduct

As you can see, babies aren’t “morally reprehensible,” nor have the had actual bad character or conduct. One can’t engage in “bad conduct” or be “morally reprehensible” as a baby. In what possible way could a baby be morally reprehensible?

Clearly, babies aren’t “evil” in the normal usage of the word. Do you have some alternate meaning you’re assigning to the word, or are you delusional, because I can’t really see any other options.

DAN said…

That is why its so odd and makes you suspect, that you believe the Bible is the Word of God instead of Christ Himself.

This is another example of you just sounding not quite rational and certainly not very gracious or respectful. The Bible is FREQUENTLY called “the Word of God,” it’s a common term for the Bible. I can’t imagine that you’re not familiar with that term.

Yes, of course, in the Bible there is a passage that refers to Jesus as the Word (In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God…), employing a metaphor to refer to Jesus. But the fact that some stranger in the blogosphere used the term “Word of God” to refer to the Bible, THAT makes me “suspect?”

What does what name I use to refer to the Bible have to do with GRACE? Where is the GRACE in finding someone suspect over mere words? Are you actually suggesting that someone calling the Bible “Word of God” might be enough to suggest that they’re not saved?? What if they refer to it as “the Holy Book” – is that suspicious, too?

Oh, also, whether or not I’m a Christian by your apparently non-orthodox standards, that’s an ad hom side attack that doesn’t get to the questions being discussed. It helps in conversations to stay on the topic and not go down the ad hom trail.

We were discussing your non-standard English definitions for words and your lack of support for the position that the Bible says it must be taken literally, and that certain OT stories must be considered having been written in a modern historical style. My salvation status is neither here nor there as it relates to those questions, so you’d probably do best to send me an email if you want to go down that road, rather than engage in ad homs.

Fair enough?

Perhaps the problem is that you, Dan T., focus on standard English definitions of key words rather than the Hebrew or Greek biblical definitions. Innocent has a much different meaning in modern English than it would in theological Hebrew or Greek. Maybe it would suit you better to use a Bible dictionary instead of a Websters.

John…

Perhaps the problem is that you, Dan T., focus on standard English definitions of key words

John, I am an English speaker, amidst other English speakers. If someone is communicating to me in English, I assume they are using standard English word usage, unless they say otherwise. Isn’t that only reasonable?

I would suggest, John, that if someone is going to say something that sounds as crazy to English-speaking ears as “babies are evil,” that the onus is on them to define their non-standard English word. Doesn’t that just make common sense?

If I were to say, “John is a puppy-rapist” BUT by “puppy-rapist” I MEANT something other than standard English, I MEANT “good fella” -wouldn’t EVERYONE who heard me say the outrageous comment in English be put off by MY use of the word, even if I honestly meant something different. If you are using non-standard English definitions of words, I’d suggest you would do well to define what you mean so that people don’t think you’re crazy.

I mean, come on John, doesn’t someone saying “Babies are evil” sound crazy to you?

As to the Bible dictionary, that is a fine idea. IF there were a verse ANYWHERE in the Bible that says “babies are evil” I could look up the word “evil” there and find its Greek/Hebrew definition. But there’s not a verse like that in the Bible, is there? DAN offered two verses that I recall, from Psalm 58 and 1 John 5.

Psalm 58:

Even from birth the wicked go astray;
from the womb they are wayward, spreading lies.
Their venom is like the venom of a snake,
like that of a cobra that has stopped its ears

1. This does not say that babies are evil.
2. This is poetry, where the writer is obviously engaging in imagery and exaggeration to make a point, right? The “wicked” aren’t ACTUALLY like venom? They’re not ACTUALLY going astray “from birth,” or do you think that on day 2, a baby is somehow going astray? What is a two day old baby doing to go astray? John, surely you agree with me that a two day old baby is NOT sinning in any normal sense of the word, not in any biblical sense, either, right?
3. Even if you thought “the wicked” was referring to “when they were two days old,” this passage is directed at certain people, not all babies, right? Look it up.

1 John 5:

We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the One who was born of God keeps them safe, and the evil one cannot harm them.

This does not say that babies are evil. Do you see that there ANYWHERE?

Please, John, don’t engage in just make a swipe and move on, answer some questions.

How do you think “innocence” is defined in the Bible, John? I see that most of the instances in the OT in Hebrew is…

In all the other places the Hebrew is niqqayon, and the innocence expressed is the absence of pollution, Hosea having reference to the pollution of idolatry

I’m sure you know that the word translated “innocent” is referring to several Hebrew/Greek terms? Which definition are you speaking of?

John,
I don’t want to accuse you of being argumentative just because you don’t like Dan T., but I really think that is what you are doing.
If babies are evil, I want some biblical grounding for that. Because Jesus, Paul, and several OT authors continually use children as a metaphor for abject innocence. I also think that if we cannot agree that children are innocent, then any concept of innocence in the bible is entirely meaningless. It would render moot several passages in the gospel.
I don’t know of many theologians who would argue differently, but you are welcome to take a stab at it.
I understand the basis of DAN’s argument: that all humans are born into sin via the curse of Adam. That is hardly synonymous with “evil” in any sense that we or biblical contemporaries would use the word. I don’t even concede that this is the best interpretation of “Original Sin” as I understand it.
DAN’s whole argument is even beyond the scope of Hyper-Calvinism. It is beyond Total Depravity.
I don’t disagree that we ought to be looking to contemporary historical and linguistic context when we read scripture, but in the case of Dan T. and DAN, that argument cuts both ways. I don’t think either party is entirely blameless for conflating popular usage with biblical usage in their arguments. In point of fact, I think DAN is the one doing it, and Dan T. is merely reacting to it.

George

Surely you are familiar with the book of Romans. All have sinned and fall short. Not some, not most, all. The doctrine of original sin predisposes everyone towards sin. The bible says we all deserve judgement. Now the biblical definition of innocent is almost entirely used with reference towards God’s law. No one is innocent. Dan T. knows this, and you ought to know this. Biblically, evil does not necessarily mean some shady old man looking to rape and murder. Every sin is evil, and any person could be considered evil who is at enmity with God, which the Bible says we all are before coming to a saving faith. Dan T. (should) knows this, and you should know this.

I get the impression that Dan T. and others like him know that the vast majority un-believers have zero knowledge of biblical theology, and use it to their advantage when discussing the bible, and so in order to sound a little more soft and loving, they bring in modern english usages when they should be explaining the Hebrew/Greek usages. English BIbles are a translation. (slavery for example)

I have said before, I think Dan T is being dishonest (perhaps unintentionally) when he argues the way he does for his position. I’m saying it really gets under my skin when people do this. (I’m not trying to steer the discussion, I am just offering an example) As you are aware, and even Oscar posted on this, the bible teaches homosexual sexual relationships are sin. You may disagree, you may think the Bible if full of crap, but it says what it says. Dan T. tries to argue the Bible says no such thing.

The same thing is going on here. As soon as an issue where God’s character has to be defended because of an aparent distasteful quality, all of a sudden the Bible says no such thing. Dan T. argues from emotion. “God wouldn’t kill an innocent baby would he?? Then it must be metaphor.” “Marriage is a good thing right?? Therefore homosexual sexual relationships are not sin.” Its nonsense. I think christians like this do more damage to the Church than do Atheists and any other religious system. They lead people into a false sense of security. They preach “peace, peace, when there is no peace”.

The writers of the OT claim God commanded the desolation of a particular community and everyone within it. Now the Jews for thousands of years understood this as history, not some metaphor. You don’t have to like it, but if you are going to be honest, stand up and defend it. I can defend it without having to appeal to allegory or metaphor, and perhaps I’ll do so on my page.

I do realize I am being a bit hostile. But this type of argumentation really gets on my nerves. If anything fires me up it’s people like Dan T. I’m sorry for letting my anger get the best of me and letting it show on your page.

John,
I am very familiar with Romans 3, which, although passages prior to and preceding it deal with similar themes, is the chapter you are doubtless referring to in your comment. I also understand the doctrine of Original Sin, from which you derive your biblical justification. I have good reason to believe, through a plain reading of scripture,that the concept of original sin is a misunderstanding of the context and meaning of the Genesis account as well as the passages that reference it.
Because I understand the Gospel to be saying something very different, I understand why you think what you do, but I don’t agree-even in a biblical sense-that it is so.

I should perhaps write a post about the concept of original sin and why it doesn’t follow from a plain reading of scripture, though I’m starting to think that an atheist blog full of theology is bordering on irony. It would, I’m sure, make for a lively discussion though. We need to draw a distinction between biblical theology and extra-biblical doctrines based on eisegesis. That a position is counterdenominational, heterodox, or heretical within a specific doctrine does not make that position unequivocally un-biblical. Those positions that are un-biblical are the ones I would consider heresies.
I believe the position of Original Sin to be eisegetical, and has the effect of impelling its defenders to resort to strenuous apologetics in order to make it consistent with the entirety of scripture. I don’t believe it is heretical, but I believe it is misplaced.
It is in this spirit that I will move to your comments about Dan T.. Your charges ring empty. Dan T. has, as you have said, made arguments that are extra-biblical for his positions. There is nothing inherently wrong with that, given there is an accompanying biblical case. You conveniently point to a conversation the three of us had previously on homosexuality as an example. You gladly bring attention to his extra-biblical justifications and entirely disregard his biblical basis for them. He has, without any cogent argument from you to the contrary, made a case that in each instance the bible refers to homosexuality, it does so in the context of pagan ritual, and not in a way that is inherent to the act itself. You disregard the meat on the plate and refuse to call it dinner.
In the case of Deuteronomy, and the slaughter of the Canaanites, you and DAN have continually told him he is wrong without addressing his argument for a context to the narrative. By doing this, you come across as flippantly disregarding the argument in favour of a different doctrine, without ever considering if his position is biblical or rational.
I enjoy listening to Dan T.. I’m not saying I wholeheartedly agree with him (as an atheist that would be untenable), but as someone who is free to read scripture unencumbered by doctrine and denominationalism, I see much merit to his interpretation. He has been instrumental in showing me that one can profess the bible as true without having to use strenuous arguments that raise as many questions as they answer. You and DAN might be correct, perhaps I do need to guard against my rational mind. To me though, this seems to cloud the meaning of Romans 1:20, and stand in opposition to general revelation.

John, my question would be: WHY are we making this about me at all? I am just who I say I am and believe just what I say I believe. I don’t use a pseudonym, I live in Louisville, KY just like I say, was raised at a traditional Southern Baptist (Victory Memorial Baptist) just as I’ve said, my sweet traditional parents live just down the road from me, just as I’ve said. I attend Jeff St Baptist Community, just as I’ve said, which is a sort of a formerly Southern Baptist Church (driven out because we believe in women pastors and gay marriage – oh the horrors!) and is now a rather progressive/anabaptist-leaning church, just as I’ve said.

I’ve always been quite upfront about who I am. I have always been upfront that I could be mistaken about anything, but that I honestly believe what I say I believe and honestly reached this point from prayer and Bible study. Growing up traditional southern baptist, I just did NOT read “liberal” writers, it’s not anything that I would do. The influence that I’ve had has been predominantly from the Bible, just as I’ve said.

But why make it about ME at all? In logic terms, that is called an ad hom fallacy, drawing attention away from an argument by attacking the person rather than the argument. You know this, so shouldn’t we just let that angle go, altogether?

If you don’t like my definitions (ie, the standard English definitions) of “innocence” and “evil,” then make your case ON THE POINT and then we can discuss the topic respectfully like brothers who disagree. How do you think the Bible is defining these words?

If you don’t like my notion that the Bible does not demand that we take it literally, then make your case: Where does the Bible do so?

I’ve tried treating both you and DAN respectfully, just asking questions to clarify your positions, but communication becomes difficult if we don’t, well, communicate. I am sorry that I’m getting on your nerves, it’s not my intent. I’m just trying to express my opinions, I hope that’s okay with you, because I plan to continue doing so. For your sake: Life’s too short to be annoyed because someone has an opinion you disagree with, don’t you think?

On topic: As to “arguing from emotions,” I’m not sure where you are getting that. I’ve said that babies are, by standard English definition, innocent and the opposite of evil. There’s no emotion there, just a straightforward assertion.

Perhaps your admitted emotional involvement (your anger at me) is contributing to your not responding rationally? I don’t know, just a thought. How about just responding to my points and see if that doesn’t work better?

You said…

Dan T. argues from emotion. “God wouldn’t kill an innocent baby would he?? Then it must be metaphor.”

I’ve dealt with the emotion misunderstanding, on the rest of this: I’m suggesting it’s more metaphorical because that is what the evidence suggests to me. I see NO evidence for people writing at this time period in the manner you’re suggesting. What evidence do you have that this is the case? Beyond that, I’ve made the argument that a literal translation would conflict with clear biblical and moral teaching: That it’s wrong to shed innocent blood and that God would not command us to sin. THAT’s my argument against a literal interpretation, not anything having to do with emotion.

So, would you care to respond to my actual argument?

John, you have referred (in yet another ad hom attack) to my “dishonesty,” but the charge is vague and unsupported. IF you believe I have said something that sounds to you to be dishonest, CITE WHAT I’VE SAID and support your position. Like this, “When Dan T says _______, it sounds dishonest because __________.”

But vague, unsupported claims of dishonesty, well, there’s not much to do with them but to point them out as a vague and unsupported ad hom attack, isn’t that reasonable?

The closest you have come to supporting it is here…

I think Dan T is being dishonest (perhaps unintentionally) when he argues the way he does for his position.

Interrupting just a minute: What “way” is that? It sounds like you’re suggesting that because I disagree with you but say I believe the Bible, that THIS is dishonest, but I’m sure you and I agree that merely disagreeing with another Bible believer does not equal dishonesty, so you’d really have to support such a charge if you’re going to make it, IF you’re going to be adult about what you’re saying.

Continuing, you said…

As you are aware, and even Oscar posted on this, the bible teaches homosexual sexual relationships are sin. You may disagree, you may think the Bible if full of crap, but it says what it says. Dan T. tries to argue the Bible says no such thing.

Yes, I disagree with your position and I offer biblical and rational reasons why I disagree with your position. In what way is disagreeing with your position “dishonest?” I am telling you as straightforwardly as I can: I DO NOT THINK THE BIBLE SAYS THAT ALL HOMOSEXUAL BEHAVIOR IS SINFUL. You can think I’m mistaken to believe so, you can think I’m not very smart to believe so, but you can’t really say that my disagreeing with you is DISHONEST. It’s MY HONEST OPINION, how can an HONEST OPINION be dishonest??

Continuing, you said…

The same thing is going on here. As soon as an issue where God’s character has to be defended because of an aparent distasteful quality, all of a sudden the Bible says no such thing.

This appears to be a misrepresentation of my position, although you’re not very clear in what you’re saying. It sounds like you’re saying I find it “distasteful” to say that God commands people to kill babies (well, duh!) and that my reason for finding it distasteful is because of appeals to emotion. But I have dealt with this:

I FIND IT DISTASTEFUL BECAUSE 1. IT CONTRADICTS CLEAR BIBLICAL TEACHING AND 2. IT CONTRADICTS CLEAR MORAL REASONING.

Now, again, you might disagree and think that God commanding babies DOESN’T contradict clear biblical teaching (if so, make your case why “shedding innocent blood” isn’t happening here), but it is not dishonest that I hold this position. I HONESTLY (and truly, I feel ridiculous even having to say this) don’t think the Bible teaches us that God sometimes commands us to shed innocent blood.

You might think I’m MISTAKEN, but then argue against what you believe to be my mistake. But to call my holding such a position, “dishonest,” well, it’s just not supported.

Dishonest, how??

It is a serious charge to say that someone is being dishonest, and to do so publicly. Basic human decency, much less Christian grace, would say that IF we truly feel the need to make such a public charge, that we’d support it, rather than just make a slanderous statement and leave it flapping in the wind. IF you truly believe I’m being dishonest, SUPPORT your case.

Otherwise, you’re just engaging in slander and gossip and bearing false witness.

Which, as the Bible clearly teaches, as does our own human conscience, is wrong.

George…

I should perhaps write a post about the concept of original sin and why it doesn’t follow from a plain reading of scripture, though I’m starting to think that an atheist blog full of theology is bordering on irony.

Made all the more ironic by the fact that the atheist is more in line with orthodox evangelical Christianity than the Christians… or so it seems to the heretic…

Hey George,

It’s become clear, with much certainty, that you are not a real atheist.

You do not follow the true, Richard Dawkins-inspired route to pure, unadulterated, bone fide atheism, therefore, you are not an atheist.

You’re cavorting with the enemy too much. And you promote them in your side bars.

I’m sorry. Please put your atheist card and atheist t-shirt on my desk. Your career in atheism is now revoked.

Carry on.

Best,

Jeremy “Better-Atheist-than-You” Witteveen

Funny, Jeremy. At least atheists don’t eat their own, eh?

It is rumoured that we eat babies, but that’s just silly….
Everyone knows that the evil makes them taste bad. We only eat the Elect.

Jer,
Does this mean my privileges are revoked at the Unholy See? More importantly, do I have to give back the silly hat? As Archbishop of The Northern Wasteland, I warn you that you are flirting with a schism, I may just be starting a reformation here.
I understand that this is blatant accommodationism, but I’m really enjoying the conversation.
It’s like having Bart Ehrman in your living room when Mormons come to the door. There are arguments that I just can’t make on my own.

Oh gosh, no. I was using hyperbole to be didactic.

It would be an incredibly silly argument tactic to say, “You must not be a ‘real’ atheist, because you don’t do it right.”

Or you might say, “Jeremy, you post too much bullshit on your blog. You must not be a real atheist.”

Back in the day, I remember being taught that some people weren’t real Christians, and why you could tell them that. It fell from my lips in almost the same way it’s been written here. As a former evangelical, I see where the argument comes from, and I have to poo poo it.

Is Christianity like pro-sports where coaches say, “Yeah, I can see you LOVE soccer/basketball/football/rugby/golf … but you’re never going to make it in pro sports (which is the equivalent of heaven).”

I can see you think you LOVE Christ, but you’re never going to make it, because Jesus taught against wannabes like you.

This conversation is good in parts, but it’s just not pro enough for me. Let’s pick up the pace and show the world how PRO you guys are!

Dan T,

>>Because it SOUNDS like you’re saying IN ADDITION TO the normal gospel message of repentance and grace, one also MUST BE “RIGHT” on certain rather random issues.

No, once again, you would be wrong. Look, I believe that this universe was created in six literal days. If I am wrong will it affect my salvation? Not in the least. Are you saved? I have no clue. I do not know your fruit. Your fruit will tell you if you are or are not. I can be, and hope I am, wrong that you are not a Christian. It was a rebuke to make sure you are. My goal. Its between you and God to know with certainty.

Indecently, I am speaking to a man who just said I am not a Christian either. So I feel your pain, if any. No, I am glad we are making sure that Salvation is number ONE in our lives. We are passionate about Christ. Its a good thing.

>>Chapter and verse, DAN. Give me some BIBLICAL citation that says what you’re saying.

I have but two verses that sums up what I am saying.

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” ~Proverbs 3:5-6

“But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.” ~1 John 2:27

That is all we need to take from all of this. I am hopeful that we’re all sitting in Heaven, or before that, laughing about these times enjoying some cool lemonade.

Blessing brother.

>>Clearly, babies aren’t “evil” in the normal usage of the word.

Clearly they are, watch the video! (one point starts at about 2:25) Do you have children? Experience speaks. I have 6 kids.

Dan T,

“Do you have to teach a child to lie? Do you have to teach a child to be self centered? Do you have to teach a child to be selfish? Do you have to teach a child to be brutal to other children? Set them free, discipline them not, and see what you have in ten years…a monster. Why? Because what Scripture says is true!…”

I will let you listen to the rest of the video, because its for you Dan T.

D.A.N. said…

Are you saved? I have no clue.

Well then, thanks for at least that much humility and grace. But I would suggest IF YOU DON’T know something (as you have just stated), then the reasonable, moral and gracious thing to do would be to NOT SUGGEST IT. IF you don’t know someone is not a Christian, wHY would you make the suggestion that they are not, as you have done?

You know that old saying, “Better to be quiet and thought a fool, than speak up and remove all doubt…”? I think it applies here.

Anyone who knows me can attest that I am a sinner, saved by grace, a church-going, Sunday school-teaching, Bible studying, relatively decent father and husband whose life, flawed as it is, speaks of the fruit of the Spirit: There is the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control that one would expect to find. There is a working for and alongside the least of these for peace and justice. I would hope that one could even see it a little bit in the internets here, where I speak with my accusers and those who bear false witness with a decent bit of grace and humor, patience and gentleness and humility.

So, my question to you is, why in the world would you engage in an ad hom attack (ignoring the fallacy of that for a minute) about a complete stranger, someone whom you don’t know and who, by your own admission, you DON’T KNOW is a Christian or not? Where is the grace and goodness in that, DAN?

It just doesn’t seem rational, biblical or Jesus-y, in any way that I can see.

Okay, leaving that ad hom by the road, then, let’s proceed with the arguments at hand, shall we?

Dan T,

>>You know that old saying, “Better to be quiet and thought a fool, than speak up and remove all doubt…”? I think it applies here.

Is that Biblical? Here this is: Matthew 22:39, Leviticus 19:17-18 tells us how to treat people so that is what I do. I am not here to strive for popularity. It takes far more love to confront to ignore the situation. Perfect love is a constant confronter.

“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” ~Matthew 22:39 But what does this truly mean? Does that mean we are to love them no matter what they do because we are sinners also? Do we coddle them in their sins, tell them God loves them no matter what? Nope, Jesus was clear when he said this. He was telling us what the standard was. The way to show your love to your neighbor is to warn them and their sins will take them to hell without the Word of God, Jesus Christ.

The only way you can show your love to your neighbor was outlined in Leviticus 19:17-18 “Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbor, and not suffer sin upon him. Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself: I am the LORD.” (emphasis added)

The Bible is clear that I am NOT to “be quiet” but to lovingly rebuke. That is God’s command and instructions. Your words are empty to say to be quiet.

>>So, my question to you is, why in the world would you engage in an ad hom attack…Where is the grace and goodness in that, DAN?

It was never an Ad hom, it was a push back to see if you’re on firm foundation as explained above. I care too much for you just to allow you to live without God’s Word. Its certain destruction.

>>? You believe babies are “evil” using the standard English definition?? I don’t really know what to say to that, beyond pointing out how crazy that sounds.

Did you even watch the video? Yes even babies are evil. Your claim is not of God. THAT was my point, it was NEVER a personal attack. It was a rebuke. I am glad you have children as they are blessings from God. Thanks for sharing that with me. I only have one question, its personal though, …are they both soundly saved?

>>Doesn’t saying “Babies are evil” sound insane, or at least irrational?

Ignoratio elenchi. Seeking man’s opinion? Ray has an analogy: “A little girl was once watching a sheep eat grass and thought how white it looked against the green background. But when it began to snow she thought, “That sheep now looks dirty against the white snow!” It was the same sheep, but with a different background. When we compare ourselves to man’s standard we look pretty clean, but when we compare ourselves to the pure snow-white righteousness of God’s standard—His Law, we can see ourselves in truth, that we are unclean in His sight. That Law is the holy standard by which humanity will be judged on Judgment Day.”

>>Please, tell me DAN (or John), what is it you think that a two day old babe is “guilty” of? What “sin” have they committed? In what way are they “evil?”

Why two day old? Special pleading or Hasty generalization? I do not know the thoughts of a two day old. Do you? Is it possible that a two year old is thinking evil thoughts? If not, how? My 18 month old has broken the 5th Commandment many times though. Is breaking God’s Commandments evil?

>>You should not conflate the orthodox “they have a sinful nature” with the just bizarre “they are evil,” or, if you’re going to do that, you’ll have to explain what you mean by “evil,” since you’re not using the word in a manner that makes any sense in normal English conversation.

Equivocation fallacy. Being sinful is equivalent to being evil, according to Scripture. You’re opinion is irrelevant here. Would you like me to list some synonyms or the definition of ‘sinful’? Here is a short list: depraved, disgraceful, erring, evil, guilty, iniquitous, irreligious, low, morally wrong, reprehensible, reprobate, shameful, ungodly, unholy, unregenerate, unrighteous, vicious, vile, wicked, wrong.

Oops, looks like evil is one of them. You know in this “normal English conversation.”

I hope you can understand the problem you have in communicating your position…also. :7)

>>And those are fine, lovely verses. But neither supports your position

Granted, but it was to make a point. That you must trust God not any of us. Again, I just get in the way.

DAN, thanks for the conversation, but I can only go so far down a path with someone who’s not making much in the way of rational sense.

Babies are NOT evil, not by standard English usage of the term. They ARE innocent, by standard English usage of the term. It is irrational to suggest otherwise, unless you’re trying to offer some alternative meaning to the words (which you have yet to do).

I have many friends and acquaintances with mental illnesses and, God love ’em, some of them can be quite a challenge to have a conversation with. I can do it, out of love and compassion, but it’s not really a normal English conversation, it’s just passing the time with a loved one with no deeper meaning to the conversation than that.

No offense, but that’s where I feel we’ve reached with you: You’re just not making rational sense.

I will say that where you say…

I do not know the thoughts of a two day old. Do you? Is it possible that a two year old is thinking evil thoughts?

That, yes, we DO know roughly what a two day old babe is thinking: I’m hungry, I’m cold, I’m hot, I’m uncomfortable, I’m happy… those sorts of things. And no, it’s not rational to say that a two day old babe is thinking evil thoughts, not using the standard English definition of the word “evil.”

If you ever want to come back around and actually answer the questions I have that were on topic, feel free.

And, off topic, yes, my children ARE saved by God’s grace. NOT by their perfection. NOT by perfectly understanding some mysterious subset of extrabiblical tenets. NOT by agreeing with tradition for tradition’s sake. But by God’s grace alone.

What in the world does that have to do with the definition of evil, or the lack of biblical support for your hunches on inerrancy?

Finally…

I am not here to strive for popularity.

Me, either. I haven’t tried for that since I was still a teenager. Instead, in conversations with strangers, I strive for respect, a little humor and being reasonable, trying to convey my opinions successfully in a way that makes some sense. I believe that’s a reasonable thing to do and encourage these as goals for all bloggers.

Dan T,

Its real simple, if you cannot determine the differences between Psalm 104:29 and Genesis 4:8-11 then I cannot help you. That is why I, with hand thrown up, I injected Proverbs 3:5-6 and 1 John 2:27.

Its so strange that I just read an article on this just today. If you are unable to differentiate between poetry and historical narrative then your problem is beyond my pay grade. Hebrew poetry has specific informational parallelism as that Psalm example. Do you see any in that Genesis example? NOPE! None. What we read is history, a narrative account. “There is no poetic parallelism anywhere in Genesis 4.” ~ICR. Please read the article, it may be helpful for you Dan. So I submit this article as more evidence for my case. I am just in awe that God dropped this article in my lap today for this discussion. God is Great, indeed.

Dan T,

>>No offense, but [you’re with mental illnesses]

O’rly! Or in Spanish, Why would I take offense to that? *pshaw

You need to look up the term “No offense” for some self examination. For a professing Christian, you act like a jerk. :7)

>>That, yes, we DO know roughly what a two day old babe is thinking: I’m hungry, I’m cold, I’m hot, I’m uncomfortable, I’m happy… those sorts of things.

This is a Equivocation. You are describing what a baby is EXPRESSING, not THINKING. Howard Huge difference. What if he is thinking “I want to kill this guy who won’t feed me” and expresses it with “whaa whaaa-aaa”, you’d never know.

>>If you ever want to come back around and actually answer the questions I have that were on topic, feel free.

Bare assertion. Next time try adding, for example

>>And, off topic, yes, my children ARE saved by God’s grace.

Now that is something I can celebrate with you. Good tree will bear good fruit. Remember the Bible does NOT save people, Its God’s Grace through faith in His Word, Jesus Christ.

>>What in the world does that have to do with the definition of evil, or the lack of biblical support for your hunches on inerrancy?

I was merely looking at the fruit of the tree, that is all. (Matthew 7:16-19) If you would of come back with “No they’re not, so what?” it would have been quite telling. You passed though. :7)

The evidence I provided for Biblical inerrancy should be sufficient of any rational being. I will stand on that record and links.

Just to clarify DAN’s position for you Dan T., he wants you to know that since you can’t be certain what infants are thinking, that this fact proves beyond a doubt that he is correct. Because as you know, DAN believes he is certain-he has certitude, and if you believe you are certain, then you cannot be wrong.

After I said that babies aren’t evil in the normal usage of the word, DAN responded…

Clearly they are, watch the video! Do you have children? Experience speaks. I have 6 kids.

? You believe babies are “evil” using the standard English definition??

I don’t really know what to say to that, beyond pointing out how crazy that sounds.

Yes, I have two lovely, sinful, wonderful children. One is an adult now and one is fifteen. They both have been flawed humans, but neither one of them has been “evil,” in the standard English definition of the word. BOTH of them, when they were babies, were INNOCENT, in the standard English definition of the word and WITHOUT SINFUL BEHAVIOR in the standard English AND biblical use of the term.

I think that perhaps you and John are confusing a hyperbolic statement from the Bible (“all have sinned”) and built a doctrine around it that defies reason. You appear to be using English words (the building blocks for communication) in non-standard ways and the result is, you just sound confused and irrational.

Am I wrong, anyone else?? Doesn’t saying “Babies are evil” sound insane, or at least irrational?

That sentence does not make sense in the English speaking world. Words have meanings.

In Christian theology, we believe that all people have a sinful nature, a tendency towards sin. That, given the chance, we ALL sin – do wrong – eventually, none of us are perfect. This is true and all people, believers or not, can agree to it, as it is self-evident.

But to move from saying “We all have a sinful nature” to “babies are evil,” is just not rational and not normative to the moral world, except that I recognize that there are certain segments of religious belief that ascribe to this way of thinking.

Please, tell me DAN (or John), what is it you think that a two day old babe is “guilty” of? What “sin” have they committed? In what way are they “evil?”

You should not conflate the orthodox “they have a sinful nature” with the just bizarre “they are evil,” or, if you’re going to do that, you’ll have to explain what you mean by “evil,” since you’re not using the word in a manner that makes any sense in normal English conversation.

Otherwise, I don’t know where this conversation can go. If you’re going to speak in gobbledygook, communication becomes nigh unto impossible.

I hope you can understand the problem you have in communicating your position.

Finally, I had asked DAN for “Chapter and verse, DAN. Give me some BIBLICAL citation that says what you’re saying [ie, “God’s Revelation says that Scripture is to be read as an Historical narrative.”].”

And DAN responded…

I have but two verses that sums up what I am saying.

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” ~Proverbs 3:5-6

“But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.” ~1 John 2:27

And those are fine, lovely verses. But neither supports your position (that the Bible teaches to take all of its teachings literally, as an historical narrative) those verses just DO NOT SAY that anywhere. So, if that’s the best you have, I hope you’ll undestand that, BECAUSE I SEE NO RATIONAL OR BIBLICAL reason to agree with you, I must respectfully disagree with you.

Peace.

George

I don’t think it is at all out of place for an atheist blog to discuss theology. It is important to be clear about the issues you reject. So many Atheists caricature Christianity and attack the caricature. This is why I follow your page.

Dan T

Are you suggesting that George’s denial of original sin is more in line with orthodox evangelical Christianity, and affirmation is not?

I could be wrong, but I don’t think George is denying the concept of original sin, he’s denying a certain hyper-calvinist take on it. Mostly, it was made as a joke.

I’m not a Calvinist, and I didn’t get a joke out of what he said.

Additionally, George, the reason much of Dan T’s case for “pagan contextualized” homosexual sexual relationships went unencumbered on my blog is that his views have been substantively challenged on other sites multiple times. He remains unconvinced by arguments against his position and I didn’t feel compelled to re-argue what had been argued over and again with him.

I do see the liability that creates, namely that his claims appear to go unresponded to.

Many factors speak against Dan T’s understanding of the “genocidal” passages as being anything but historical records. To name three:

–Jews through out history have taken them to be historical accounts of actual events.

–The fact that he relies upon modern definitions of English terminology, rather than contextualized definitions of the words in their original language.

–The accounts lack every inkling of poetry, imagry, allegory, metaphor, etc. And contain every aspect of historical narritive.

I’m not a Calvinist, and I didn’t get a joke out of what he said.

No, I was making a joke… and failed, I guess.

John…

Many factors speak against Dan T’s understanding of the “genocidal” passages as being anything but historical records. To name three:

–Jews through out history have taken them to be historical accounts of actual events.

Tradition, while it is a significant help and reference, is not infallible, any more than our understanding of the Bible is infallible. Appeals to tradition in lieu of actual arguments dealing with actual points are not significantly impressive, to me.

John…

–The fact that he relies upon modern definitions of English terminology, rather than contextualized definitions of the words in their original language.

I rely upon English definitions, John, because we’re SPEAKING IN ENGLISH. What language would you have me rely upon?

As I have said, IF you had a verse that says, “babies are evil,” THEN I could look up the Hebrew/Greek word for “evil” and see what that would add to the conversation. But, as already noted, such a verse does not exist.

IF you have a biblical reference for “evil” as it relates to newborns, by all means, share it and make your point. GIVE me the pertinent Hebrew/Greek word you want to deal with and its source and we can talk about it. But to say, “Dan’s wrong because he’s not looking at the original language…” and then not provide the original language you’re speaking of does nothing to make your argument.

Fair enough?

John…

–The accounts lack every inkling of poetry, imagry, allegory, metaphor, etc. And contain every aspect of historical narritive.

Says you.

What constitutes a Myth:

1. Myths teach a lesson or explain the natural world
2. Myths have gods/goddesses
3. The gods/goddesses are super-human
4. The gods/goddesses have human emotions
5. Myths contain magic
6. Gods/goddesses often appear in disguise
7. Good is rewarded/evil punished
8. Myths can be violent

There are at least several mythic traits that are found in Genesis, for instance. So, I don’t see how you can make a case that the Creation story, for instance, “lacks every inkling of poetry, imagery, etc and contain every aspect of historical narritive [sic].” Reasonably speaking, the creation story seems to be exactly written in a mythic form.

Which, just as a reminder, is NOT to denigrate the Creation story. Modern evangelicals equate myth with false and therefore “bad,” way too often, but this is just a modern hubris against old storytelling styles, not any significant argument against myth as storytelling method.

Seems to me.

John…

I do see the liability that creates, namely that his claims appear to go unresponded to.

John, given that you virtually shun me, with the exceptions of when you engage in ad hom attacks off topic, my claims and clarifying questions DO go un-responded to, no appearance at all. Have you answered ANY of my questions here?

Where is the harm in answering clarifying questions, in trying to find the common ground we likely share, before moving on to where we perhaps disagree? I’m not asking this to point you out alone, this is often (not always, but often) the response I have from my more conservative brethren on these internets. Even if you disagree with me on some point, why not answer questions? Why not deal with false accusations when they have been corrected.

Even a small, “my bad,” goes a long way towards respectful adult conversations.

To clarify my position: I do think the doctrine is wrong, I do not think it is un-biblical. There are many things we could extrapolate from the scriptures that would be wrong, though entirely consistent with the text. Even if other passages make that position precarious or unlikely, it might still be considered tenable given that it does not stand unambiguously contrary to any other passage. John agrees with this concept, and has discussed it himself in his explanation of apparent contradictions in the Bible.
I think I can give an alternate account that is less at odds with the rest of scripture, and is entirely biblical. My variation of the doctrine might be still considered Original Sin, but not in the same sense as the concept I learned in the church. I’m not even entirely sure that there is any denomination that professes or ascribes to my understanding of it. I feel that I came by it not through the teachings of my church, but through reading the bible myself and ruminating on the text.
I’ll write a post about it so that we can discuss how wrong I am.

Using a Bible dictionary (Holman’s), I looked up “innocence,” as found in the Bible, John…

Two roots are commonly translated innocent. The basic idea of the first is clean or free from (Exodus 23:7; 2 Kings 24:4); that of the second, righteousness (Genesis 20:4; Deuteronomy 25:1; Job 9:15). Though the innocent are frequently mentioned, the biblical writers were well aware that only God can create a right heart and remove sin

In the New Testament four terms are used for innocent. The first means unmixed or pure (Matthew 10:16; Philippians 2:15); the second, free from (Matthew 27:4,Matthew 27:24); the third, just, righteous, or upright (Matthew 23:35; Luke 23:47); and the fourth, clean or pure (Acts 18:6; Acts 20:26). Innocence is always relative to some standard.

None of which speaks against babies being innocent. In fact, the BIBLE SPEAKS OF INNOCENT BABES.

Under EVIL, Holman says…

That which is opposed to God and His purposes or that which, defined from human perspectives, is harmful and non-productive.

Which does NOT say that babies are evil. Moving back to DAN’s “mind-reading of babies” approach, the only way one could reasonably presume babies are evil would be if you could read their minds and determine that they are opposed to God and God’s purposes.

I just don’t think the Bible is saying what either of you think the Bible is saying and I can find no logical, moral or biblical reason to think otherwise. Since you all can’t provide a SINGLE VERSE that supports these sorts of crazy-sounding suggestions (ie, that babies are evil and NOT innocent, when in fact the Bible says the opposite about people in general, much less babies), I have no reason to give much credence to such suggestions.

I hope you can understand that rejecting such arguments as silly and irrational is the only thing reasonable people could do, given the paucity of support for your position.

Read Eph 2, Romans 3 again and see who is at enmity with God until they are reconciled to Him. I suppose I could save you a minute and tell you its everyone.

You keep working from a human perspective. Whether children have sinned against us or not is not the issue. God requires absolute perfection. Eph 2.3, we are BY NATURE children of wrath until we are saved. We are dead in our transgressions until we are saved. Rom 3.22-24 the righteousness of God is applied upon faith in Christ, ALL have sinned.

Can you now find a way to make Eph 2 and Rom 3 mean the opposite of what it says? I’ve got $100 that says you can..and will.

You keep working from a human perspective.

And you keep not answering questions and instead, keep trying to make this about me. As much as I appreciate the attention, it’s not all about me, friend John…

This is something that too many Christians do too often: Play the God card, suggesting that the other person is just thinking humanly and “I’m just listening to God, which makes sense to me…” intimating that the other person doesn’t care about God’s opinions. I did this back when I was more conservative too often, too.

John, all of us believers are interested in following God’s perspective, the question is: What IS God’s perspective? What IS God’s opinion about this matter? That is the case that you haven’t made, yet. I’m, of course, quite familiar with Ephesians and Romans. Neither passage says that babies are evil, by any definition that I see.

Do you think that these passages say something about babies being “evil?” If so, could you point out the specific passage and give your definition for evil, because I’m saying it’s just not there as far as I can see. Could I be wrong? Sure, but you’ll have to SHOW me how I’m wrong. You can understand, can’t you, that just because you say, “Well, Ephesians 2. So, there!” and expect me to say, “Oh, okay, babies ARE evil.”

Any chance that you could actually make your case and answer questions, rather than playing around at ad hom side tracks?

John…

Rom 3.22-24 the righteousness of God is applied upon faith in Christ, ALL have sinned.

An obvious hyperbolic expression, since babies CAN’T sin – one has to be aware of what they’re doing in order to sin. Yes, we ALL have a sinful nature, which is what these passages say, but you don’t make much sense if you say “babies sin” or “babies are evil,” UNLESS you’re using those words in some non-standard English manner. So, it REALLY would help if you would give us the non-English definition you’re using for any of these words, “evil,” “sin,” “innocent,” because I REALLY don’t think they mean what you think they mean.

John, IF you gave us the definition you’re using, then I could begin to try to make sense of your words. As it is, it’s as if you’re saying “cars eat salads for dinner…” those words make no sense in that sentence, using standard English definitions. IF you are using non-standard English, then the onus is on you to define them so someone doesn’t think you’re speaking gibberish.

“Babies are evil” is gibberish in standard English usage.

George, I’ll pass on pointing out that obvious sentiment, anymore.


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