Book Review — Disproving Christianity. Refuting the World’s Most followed Religion

Don't you just love the cover?

For some time now, I’ve wanted to start a book review section of BABS.  Science and skeptical based books have been quite important in my life and have opened me to new ideas, so I feel a strong need to share with you the best of these books. Believe it or not, the difficult part has been deciding what book to review first.  Maybe it was only my inherent procrastination but I wanted something very recent and close to the BABS subject line to start it out, so I’ve been scanning through Amazon and the Barnes and Noble shelves looking for the perfect book for a starter review.  Months passed and I found nothing.   Then lo and behold, I get an email regarding a soon to be published refutation of Christian beliefs using their own Bible against them, “Disproving Christianity, Refuting the World’s Most Followed Religion” by David G. McAfee.  Well, hey! Sometimes good shit just drops right into your lap.  Do you know what they call this?  Chance!  Pure random chance!

To begin, this is not a book to disprove the existence of God, rather this is, capturing my own heart, a book that wades right in and proves the inconsistency of the Christian religion by using the Bible as the primary weapon against Faith. David McAfee makes no bones about it.  He is out to battle that popularly rising Christian tide, Biblical literalism, that is a view that the entire Bible must be taken literally and is completely infallible.  As any regular reader of this site is aware, I firmly believe that Biblical literalism is a joke, but  Mr. McAfee is out to prove it concisely and systematically. Since believers swear it’s infallible, all you should have to do is prove just a single section false and it shatters the whole concept.  If they insist on putting all their eggs in a single tattered and duct taped basket, it should only take a small tear to bring them crashing to the ground.  McAfee goes further and by the end of the book, he has gnawed holes large and small throughout the basket.  In fact, by the end of the last argument there isn’t a basket left, only a few believers left juggling the rotten eggs of their beliefs.

This is a book that really should come in a pocket edition, because you may want to carry it with you.  It is, however, available on the Kindle and therefore can be carried on any ipod touch or iphone, though it’s none too big even in its print edition. Disproving Christianity lays out a variety of arguments where a literal interpretation of the Bible is either not what today’s Christians follow or where the Biblical writings are contradictory with themselves.  McAfee hammers these arguments home with the technique of a master debater, laying out the Christian view and then laying out Biblical passages that prove it incorrect or giving multiple examples of where the Bible says one thing then later says, if not the direct opposite, often something in another direction entirely. Many different points are driven home, calmly and rationally.  Although, most arguments are not new and shiny (how many arguments ever are), there are several that I was not familiar with, and all points are cited chapter and verse.  Disproving Christianity is a book based on reason not emotion.  There are no jokes or puns, nothing funny at all. I do believe that Mr. McAfee should consider embracing the concept of humor as a tool of instruction, but even with its lack the writing is interesting and far easier to read than Stenger.  (I like Stenger, but trying to read his books is like trying to swallow horse pills without water.)

If I have a complaint about Disproving Christianity, it’d be the very conciseness I talked about earlier.  Opinions will vary, and anyone familiar with this site knows I have difficulty shutting the hell up, but even so, sometimes arguments can be made too brief.  There are a few sections that could use a bit more illustration, a few more examples or even just a bit more rambling on.  Often, clarity comes with repetition, and this book in its clean and mean form has little of that. In lieu of that, I suggest doing what I did and read it twice.  Make your own repetition and think about what this book is pointing out. There is little doubt that it would be worthwhile.

Overall, this book would be a valuable addition to any skeptical library, particularly for an atheist new to his or her skepticism.  These short little arguments will give you the strength and tools you will need to fight battles internal and external.  It will not be the only tool you need, but will add to your arsenal.  This plus selected books by Hitchens, Dawkins and Stenger can make a new skeptic understand that the doubts he or she has had for so long are quite legitimate. This book can help recovering theists on their road to recovery from that largest of all cults, Christianity.

I give it four out of five capital A’s  It’s available for purchase at Amazon here

  1. That’s another one for the book list then. You and Amy between you are going to (a) cost me a fortune, and (b) cause me to move to a bigger place just so’s I can fit more bookshelves in.

    On a similar subject, but focussing more on translations and transcriptions of the Bible, I’d like to recommend Bart D. Ehrman’s ‘Misquoting Jesus’.

    • Wayne Robinson
    • July 29th, 2010

    Just purchased it as a Kindle (which doesn’t include the cover, alas, but is visible on the home screen of both the iPad and the Kindle for Mac, so all isn’t lost).

    It is a small book, less than 90 pages, and costs less than $5 for the Kindle, and is a complete rip-off of almost $15 for the paperback. But it is probably well worth it for reading on the train or in church meetings just for the visibility of the cover …

    • jakefw
    • July 29th, 2010

    I’m half way through it now, it is an essential for any atheist willing to challenge the beliefs of Christians and for any Christians willing to chalenge their own beliefs.

  2. Interesting post. I have to admit that I have not heard of this book previously, so obviously I have not read it and am only able to go off of the premises you’ve laid out here in your blog.

    What I think you and many other atheists might be surprised to know is this: the inerrancy of the Bible is not necessary for Christianity to be true. There are specific principles that are necessary (the existence of God, the belief that Jesus is the Son of God and is fully God, and that Jesus is the only way to salvation, primarily), but belief in the inerrant Bible or disbelief in evolution are not. These would be considered secondary or tertiary issues by theists. So maybe a more accurate title for the book would be “Disproving an Inerrant Bible.”

    That said, perhaps I should read more of your posts for your reasons why Biblical literalism is a joke. Or perhaps I should read this book. I haven’t heard a sufficient argument in favor of this view yet. But the lack of necessity for inerrancy is why you will find most credible theistic scholars do not use this argument as a support of Christianity, but instead choose to debate on more scientific grounds.

    Not trying to pick a fight or troll by any means; just wanted to provide you with an alternative viewpoint from someone on the other side. :-)

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Mr. Sabepahubbo: You are most certainly not a troll. I may not agree with everything you believe, but that’s hardly a requirement. Reasoned talks are always welcome. They are the realm of the rational mind. We call these talks about disagreements discussions. Though it may be true that biblical errors, logical or otherwise, cannot disprove Christianity, there are a growing group of fundamentalists who insist on this very point. In their very unhumble opinion you either take the entire Bible as truth or is just another book. Well, I must admit I do like their point, but I come down firmly on the other side. If God’s word is flawed this is just another nail in the coffin of theism.

  3. KKBundy,

    Thank you so much for welcoming me into the discussion warmly. Not all blogs are as welcoming, so it is with great delight that I read your response. Hopefully in the future meaningful dialogue will continue to happen.

    The “entire truth or just another book” has some weight to it, and I can see why some believe that. I would only say to that point that if everything was wrong except the primary issues I listed above, it’s still a valid book, just like if Darwin got everything wrong except the concept of natural selection, it wouldn’t make people completely reject the Origin of Species.

    So I wouldn’t call it a nail in the coffin per se, just a strong argument against that theists would have to scramble to answer. I guess that’s why it’s such a debated topic, because non-theists see flaws and theists don’t.

    Looking forward to reading the book. Thanks again!

    • Paul York
    • August 4th, 2010

    Wow KK. A theist contributor who actually uses real English words…. Phew.

    Sabepashubbo.. You need to read kk’s post on why he’s doing this to realise that this site is a reaction to the more fundamentalist literalists that there are out there.

    Mind you on a personal note I do wonder, if the bible is sooooooo full of inconsistencies how anybody can say they are following the word of God even in a ‘rational’ sense.

    You may as well live your life according to what you pick and choose from The Wind in the Willows’.

    • Truly Paul, I think the Wind in the Willows would be a far superior book to base your life on. It has all the basic ingredients for morality without any of the viciousness associated with the Bible. But then it would have that toughness that has allow Christianity to survive through the ages. By that i mean the ability to wallop the hell out of
      whoever got in their way and call that walloping, God’s will. I think history shows that truly “nice” religions get their asses kicked. That’s why Christianity has been reluctant to throw away the old testament. It gives them tons of excuses to turn tongue dark side and remain ” righteous”.

      • Hi Paul and KKBundy,

        Thanks for your input. Paul, I guess that’s where we would disagree, because speaking as someone who is not purely a literalist, I have to say I haven’t seen even one inconsistency in the Bible, let alone “sooooooo” many. I think the correct way of looking at the Bible is to take what appears to be symbolic as symbolic (e.g. most of what is in Revelation) and take what appears to be literal (e.g. love your neighbor as yourself) as literal. A solely literal reading of the Bible leaves a lot of questions, but if you understanding the concepts of sole meaning and objective hermeneutics you can actually see the Bible for what it is instead of what people interpret it to mean.

        KKBundy, I think if you were to ask non-fringe Christians, you would find that the Old Testament is not around to justify inflicting punishment and suffering, because you’re not really seeing that today by anybody other than fringe groups who use the over-arching banner of Christianity to hide behind. The Old Testament is merely a means of establishing context for the New Covenant (see Matthew 5:38-48, for example), which was ushered in with the death of Jesus and the sending of the Holy Spirit. It is this covenant that the church is bound to, and nowhere do you see war, inflicting punishment, or any of the “walloping” that you speak of in this covenant. I’m not here to debate history, because neither you or I can change what happened in the past. We can only discuss what’s happening currently, and a true Christian today would be living by the principles laid out in the New Testament.

  4. sabepashubbo :
    I haven’t seen even one inconsistency in the Bible, let alone “sooooooo” many.

    Genesis 1:26, Genesis 2:7.

    How far did you actually read?

    • Paul York
    • August 4th, 2010

    Aaah symbolism. Now where is that book again that tells you which parts of the bible are symbolic and which are literal? Oh that’s right, there isn’t one.

  5. I replied, but it’s awaiting moderation, possibly ;cause I used html code to make a quote. If so, please feel free to delete it KK.

    I triedto point out a major inconsistency right at the start in reply to

    “sabepashubbo :

    I haven’t seen even one inconsistency in the Bible, let alone “sooooooo” many.”

    Genesis 1:26 and 2:7, wherein God creates mankind and then erm … creates mankind again. And that’s just in the preamble before we get into the main story!

    Of course, you’re not a literalist so that probably doesn’t reflect on your belief, but then that begs the question, how unliterally do you have to take it before the inconsistencies blur blur out of the picture?

  6. Daz,

    Have you never heard of a recap? Where does it say that these are two completely different stories? If you really hold to that view, then any prologue to any book that recaps what happened in the previous entry in the series would have to be telling two different stories, and should be taken as such. We know that’s not the case, so why do you attribute different rules to the Bible if we are looking at it in a literary sense? How far do I need to read? How far did YOU read? Did you read Genesis 2:8 and beyond where it talks about man being placed in the Garden of Eden after all of the plant life and all of the animals were already there (which supports the Genesis 1 account)? So I ask, where is the inconsistency? I don’t see it. Give me one that you found in your actual reading of the text instead of one you read from a website or book, because that horse has been beaten to death.

    Paul,

    Let me ask you where symbolism should be taken into account for the following:

    1) Paul York is as a bird floating on the winds of time.
    2) Paul York is going to the store to buy some meat.

    Should I take those both literally? Of course not. When the Bible wishes to be symbolic, it will appear symbolic. When the Bible wishes to be literal, it will appear literal. Any meaning that is attempted to be extracted differently than such (for instance, Bible code) is not looking at the objective meaning of the text.

    If you would like to present me with specific examples of what you would like to know if it should be taken literally or symbolically, then let’s do so. But to make such a statement means you have not really taken an objective look at the text hermeneutically.

    KKBundy, if you would like me to stop, please let me know. I don’t want to infringe on your blog in a way you do not permit.

    • Sabepashubbo:
      This is a blog of discussion. That is what we want. A discussion of only a single side is not a discussion, only a monologue. All discussion as long as it is not rabidly viscious will be tolerated. Even some visciousness will slide for quite a while. The people here aren’t going to have their feelings hurt by a few contrary opinions. However they will defend themselves vigorously, as will I.
      So Mr. Sabepashubbo, to arms. Defend yourself sir. Anyhting less than your best efforts to parry will result in bruises, both mental and emotional.

      En Garde!

      • KKBundy,

        Thank you so very much. You are very much in the running for the nicest atheist I have ever met. En Garde! :-)

    • Most scholars agree, I think you’ll find, that the Pentateuch, Torah, whatever you want to call it, is an amalgamation of at least four different tribal traditions, the final form we now read having been written by four separate authors. What it is, is a collection of myths, which were known to be myth by those who compiled it in its final form. That’s why they didn’t edit for consistency. They were aware it was myth and expected the reader to do so as well.

      Th problem comes, as KK points out, when that myth becomes enshrouded as ‘fact.’

      Having read your interesting views on Methuselah’s age, by the way, I’m wondering if you’d like to clarify your statement that you’re “not purely a literalist”?

      • Evidence for your myth claims in the first paragraph. They seem pretty baseless to me, even if the four authors claim were to be true.

        Thanks for taking time to read my blog. Explain to me the issue of literalism in that post, because we’re talking years of life, which I can’t imagine being anything but literal. I wouldn’t call you being 43 years old or some such age symbolic for something else. Let’s call a spade a spade here. But just because I take one part literally doesn’t mean I take it all literally. Read what I’ve stated in previous comments, and do your homework, sir.

    • Paul York
    • August 4th, 2010

    Ok… So how should this be taken?

    For six days, work is to be done, but the seventh day shall be your holy day, a Sabbath of rest to the LORD. Whoever does any work on it must be put to death.

    Exodus 35:2

    I’m guessing symbolic… But sounds pretty cut and dry to me.

    • Sure sounds literal to me. Now read Hebrews for the context of New Covenant vs. Old Covenant. Let’s not cherrypick.

      • Sep06 Have you explored the eaertsn church fathers? They have these sets of a hundred sayings compiled from their spiritual advice that they gave to early Christians. Kind of like St. Josemaria’s The Way. They’re really good. Spiritual Reading ftw.

    • Paul York
    • August 4th, 2010

    I’ve nicked these from another favourite site.. But that are too good to be true..

    Mr Habbo what do you think has he been seen or hasn’t he? Which is literal which isn’t. I’ll stop now as there really are far too many examples

    And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.

    Genesis 32:30

    And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend.

    Exodus 33:11

    No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.

    John 1:18

    • LOL. I prefer to be Mr. Hubbo if anything, but I suppose Mr. Habbo will suffice. :-)

      Here’s a response nicked from a similar site:

      If no one has seen God, how is it that Sarai, Jacob, Moses et al, and Monoah and his wife are said to have seen God?

      Actually, this is a problem only for those who deny the deity of Christ while claiming to follow the teachings of the Bible. Let’s look again at John 1:18:

      “No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only (or Only Begotten), who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.”

      I think it is clear that John is speaking of the Father as the one who has not been seen. To paraphrase it, “No one has ever seen God, but the Son, who is at His side, has made Him known”. This interpretation not only seems to follow naturally from this verse, but is also quite consistent with the Logos doctrine taught in John 1. Recall, it is the Logos who mediates between God and man, and who reveals God to man. Jesus would later say, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” Prior to the Incarnation of the Son, no one had seen the Father, for it is through the Son that the Father is revealed.
      So for the Trinitarian, there is no Bible contradiction. No one ever saw God the Father, and what Sarai, Jacob, Moses, etc saw was God the Son. This can be seen from many perspectives, but let’s simply consider one from Isaiah 6. Isaiah “saw the Lord” (v 1). Seraphs were praising the “Lord Almighty” (v 3). Isaiah is overwhelmed and responds, “Woe to me, I am ruined. For I am a man of unclean lips [this rules him out as the servant in Isaiah 53], and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty” (v 5). Later, we read:

      “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” (vs. 8).

      Again, the plurality of God is implied. Isaiah asks God to send him, and then God gave him a message to preach.
      Now it’s time to jump to John 12:37-41. John claims that the peoples failure to believe in Jesus was a fulfillment of these teachings Isaiah received from the Lord in Isaiah 6. Then note verse 41.

      “Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus’ glory and spoke about him”.

      Here is a clear example where John equates Jesus with the Lord Almighty seen by Isaiah! This all fits together beautifully. Isaiah sees the Lord Almighty, yet he sees Jesus’ glory. Jesus speaks as a plural being (who will go for US). It is the Son who is seen, not the Father.
      Thus, John 1:18 does not mean that Jesus was not God, it only means He is not the Father. This verse presents no problems for the Trinitarian, and in fact, when studied, serves as a great launching point for finding Christ in the OT. Prior to the Logos dwelling amongst us and revealing the Father to us, no one had seen the Father. But because of the Incarnation, we can now cry, “Abba, Father” (Romans 8:15) and “Our Father who art in heaven”! Those who see the Son can see the Father.

  7. sabepashubbo :

    The four authors claim is pretty well established, and agreed on by both Jews and Christian scholars. I bow to their expertise.

    The ‘literalism’ point did look a tad like an ad hominem attack didn’t it. Sorry, it wasn’t meant as such, I was just trying to establish some parameters. You seem willing to believe that a man lived to the best part of 1,000 years old, and that the Flood actually occurred. I’m just wondering, in the face of those claims, which parts you don’t take literally, and how are we supposed to tell which aren’t to be taken that way? Gut feeling, personal judgement? In which case, why not go the whole hog and disbelieve the whole thing? It’s hardly an infallible manual for life, is it, if we have to make judgement calls on which bits are trustworthy.

    • Daz,

      I wouldn’t dispute the four authors claim. I don’t think whether there was one author or four authors really does anything to prove or disprove the Bible unless we had a statement from one of the authors saying, “I wrote Exodus and it’s pure fiction!”

      To be honest, I didn’t see your claim to my literalism as an ad hominem argument; it just looked like you hadn’t read my previous statements regarding my position. I am fully willing to admit that I believe that when it comes to the accounts of Methusaleh and the Flood that I take these accounts literally, because I see no language that suggests symbolism in either case.

      So what do I take symbolically? I often use Revelation because it is the easiest example. When it talks about a beast with ten horns and the ten horns giving worship to the beast, or a burning mountain being thrown into the sea, that type of language seems rather symbolic. That’s not to say that if God wanted to create talking horns or show His power by actually throwing a mountain into the sea He couldn’t do it, just that the nature of the language suggests symbolic interpretation rather than literal in this sense. It’s the same idea that I gave to Paul previously in the whole “bird on the winds of time vs. going to the store to buy meat” analogy. That’s not to say Paul couldn’t be a bird, but the language suggests a symbolic intent rather than a literal one.

      But when the Bible says, “Husbands, love your wives…” I can’t really see any other way this ought to be taken other than that we, as husbands, should love our wives. So I think looking at the text for what it actually says, we can get a pretty clear picture of how we are supposed to interpret it. Do you have any specific examples that you feel would be debatable? I’d be happy to discuss text in-depth.

      I think we’d have a much more difficult time looking at the text as infallible if we ascribe the above parameters to the text when looking at it objectively from a hermeneutical standpoint.

    • By the way, I just have to say that this is one of the nicest discussions on a subject between theists and atheists that I’ve had, so thank you all so much for mostly respecting my position, and I apologize if any of you feel like I have shown blatant disrespect for yours. I truly believe in fruitful discussion, and feel this is perhaps what we’re accomplishing here.

      That said, let’s have at it! (Nicely, of course.) :-)

    • David H – Great post keep the spidey cmnoemtary coming. The one thing I noticed about the art, was the shading around Peter’s eyes. It’s darker than the rest of his face, and is almost a negative of his spidey mask, which is colored, but has white eye spots. In a way, Peter is depicted as still wearing a mask of a hero.

  8. Sabepashubbo, I’m not sure that your willingness to talk politely counts in any way as showing blatant disrespect. The normal behaviour seems to be (a) tell us we hate something we don’t believe in, (b) paste swathes of out-of-context bible quotes (c) tell us we’re all going to a hell we don’t believe in unless we dedicate our lives to a Biblical figure we don’t believe in. You my friend, are a refreshing change.

    Anyway, I found this on my travels. I was honestly not looking for anything like it; I just noticed the title in passing. It’s a light-hearted take on the subject, but fun. And I’m also kinda curious as to whether it’ll appear as a link or as an embedded video, both results having previously occurred….

    On the subject of books, I’ve just picked up a copy of Asimov’s Guide To The Bible. Should be interesting, I’ll let you know how it goes, KK, when I finally get to it. My reading queue is getting a tad backed up at the moment!

  9. Fun video. Of course I disagree with the premise, but I completely understand how if the Bible was inconsistent it would be easy to make fun of. We do it all the time in pop culture, so it would seem appropriate.

    I’m glad that I am “refreshing.” Any Christian who comes on here without a sincere desire for the truth and preaching hellfire and brimstone, well, they are a bit out of touch. While the reality of hell is understood and believed by Christians, there is no use trying to convince you of those types of things if you can’t first be convinced of the existence of God. That seems a bit like putting the cart before the horse.

    Ultimately, if the BABS is truly aimed at seeking what truth is in the text and what is not, then I encourage you and say continue to do what you do. But if the BABS exists solely to revel in the supposed “inconsistencies” of the Bible, then I would kindly admonish you and plead that you look objectively at the text before discrediting it. I would be more than happy to be a guide from the theist perspective if you wish, because I feel like when taken for it actually is the Bible is “quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword.”

    But I’m not going to tell you that you’re bad people, because you’re not. We just disagree on a fundamental premise, and free will affords us that right to choose what we believe and don’t believe. I wouldn’t begrudge you your opinion, as long as you do the same for me (and you have) and are perhaps willing to listen with an open mind, as I am trying my best to do.

    Best to all, and talk to you again soon I hope!

  10. Mr Hubbo:
    Again Glad to have you here. Civilized disagreement is the food of thought. Sorry for arriving at the battle late, but alas, I had little choice. Dang! With all the great discussions raging back and forth, I feel like someone’s had a great party in my own house while I was gone. Sigh! This making a living sure gets in the way of my actual life.
    You say that I need to look at the Bible objectively and see it for what it really is ( I paraphrase). Well sir, I invite you to do the same. We are looking at the same object and seeing something completely different. The things you look at and see as logical progressions of the love of God, I see as arbitrary and cruel. You see the love of God suffused throughout this book, but I see squalid capriciousness within an , at times, great poetry. But sir, please remember, I came from your side. I was a born again Christian in my youth but have come to see the “light” so to speak. I know you would disagree but there it is.

    You asked for a contradiction. Well let’s go. These were not something I pulled off of other web sites. These thoughts are my own. Truly, I try not to read much else because I want to allow my ideas to grow. A huge example of inconsistency to me is the God making pharaoh stubborn or obstinate or obdurate. Like my posts on the subject have said too often, it is, to say the least, inconsistent. God demands the Pharaoh let his people go but refuses to allow him to make that descision. Nine (I believe) separate times the Bible claims that God either made the pharaoh stubborn or is going to. Pharaoh would be whipped intoletting them go and then God would change his mind and he would reneg on his deal. Why would any rational and moral being that has infinite power act like this. He could have freed the Hebrews at any time using a thousand other strategies, not least of which would be just teleporting them out of there. Why use such an oppositional strategy that is guaranteed to end in vast tragedy for all concerned? Why use a tactic that is going to end in you killing thousands of children (and perhaps adults) unless that is what you really wanted to do in the first place.
    I do not see how anyone today can justify this type of behavior. Obviously, I firmly believe in an relative morality, that is that morality has changed over the years and things that were perfectly acceptable in the ancient world are horrendous today. The Bible read much more like the morality in the Iliad than anything we can use today. Stories like this one emphasize this stronger than anything else. If there was a God and if he was truly omnipotent then this situation could have had a much better ending. Nearly any other ending would have been better.
    In fact, if God did take such an interest in the welfare of the Hebrews, why did he wait so long to show it? Why did the Hebrews languish in slavery in Egypt for a goodly share of the 430 years the spent there? Why did God allow entire generations suffer and then free them in a such cataclysmic manner if not to prove he was the biggest badass on the block.

    Why use the slaughter of innocents to free a people when just allowing the Pharaoh to free them after the first few plagues would have saved so many innocent lives? God knew how all this was going to turn out. Why did he force the actions of this man into a path that allowed God himself to slaughter children. Why did he take away the free will of this man to arrange the butchery? That is my question.

    How can this be anything but the acts of a monster? If anymember of humanity did this same thing, we would rise against them today, without a doubt.. They would rank with the Hitler and Stalins of the world. This seems a great example of Might makes Right. The biggest boy on the block can act in anyway he chooses for what he chooses is always right.

    I cannot see this in any other way way but as monstrous. Objectively, I do not understand how you can either.

    En garde, sir. I tip my hat.

  11. KKBundy,

    Thanks for responding! You raise some excellent questions, to be sure. If I were to do anything less than respond with vigor and in a way consistent with how I have done previously, I would put up a weak argument. I hope that’s not what you see at the end of this response.

    First, we need to look at the text. I could point you to my response on your other post, but let’s keep it here for sanity’s sake. If you look at the text, you will note that through the first seven plagues, the text says “Pharoah hardened his heart.” That is not the nine times that you say God did it. So unfortunately your facts are a bit in error when looking objectively at the text. Now, it does say that two times the Lord hardened Pharoah’s heart. Why?

    Look at what happened during the seventh plague. Pharoah relented, and God let him! Then what happened? The plague went away, and Pharoah again hardened his own heart. Pharoah placed his bets with his own gods and defied the true Lord. What you see from God here is what you will find in context elsewhere as “righteous anger.” God has a reason to be angry when Pharoah basically gives Him the finger. Surely you wouldn’t begrudge anyone that emotion in similar situations.

    So why did God harden Pharoah’s heart for the last plagues? Well for one, we see that Pharoah didn’t really respect God, because he continually tells Moses to go to “the Lord YOUR God.” He is not God to Pharoah. Note also from the text that the Lord tells Moses to tell Pharoah to let the people go; God does not tell him directly, though if this God is real He has it very much in His power to do so. Why does He instead send Moses? Because it gives Pharoah complete free will from the get go. Obviously Pharoah used it to harden his heart seven times.

    Let’s take a couple of modern day examples to parallel this story. Let’s say you have a 10-month old child, as I do currently. Let’s say this child tries to eat an onion off of the table. You stop her once, twice, three times…seven times in total, and each time she goes back to the onion to try to eat it. So on the 8th try, you let her have it. Why? Because you stopped loving her? No, because you wanted her to learn by experience that what she was doing was not beneficial to her.

    Now let’s go further. Suppose this child is now 8 years old, and mouths off to you. You send her to her room. She apologizes through the door once, twice, three times…but each time after she apologizes she calls you a meanie and says she hates you for putting her in her room. Then after the seventh time, she says she’s sorry and sounds really sincere. You forgive her, but tell her she has to wait in her room another half-hour as a lesson that it’s not OK to mouth off to her parents like that. Does that mean you stopped loving her? No, again, you’re using this as a lesson to teach her about respect for authority and the consequences for disobedience.

    Now let’s go back to Exodus. How are either of those stories different than how God treated Pharoah? Your answer would probably be this: well thousands of innocents (especially children) died as a result of this, and this is capricious and unloving. Two points in response.

    First, if you were to look for internal context, the book of Hebrews discusses how those placed in positions of authority (as Pharoah was) are much more accountable than others, so in his defiance of God he committed a very deep act of sin against the Lord.

    Second, your perspective is that you know what the true definition of love is. No offense, but what arrogance on any of our parts to claim that we know what perfect love is. We fail at that every day, so for us to claim that we know what love is and that God didn’t exhibit it is folly. That puts you in the position of power, because God has to act in accordance with your definition of love, otherwise He is cruel and mean. If you are sincere in your study, that means that you have to come from a position of, “Hey, I’m not as good as this God if He exists, so who am I to say what He should or shouldn’t do?” Also, if God is subject to your concept of love, then He is an independent being of love, and how can He then be expected to perform in that manner?

    What, in effect, you are doing is placing your moral relativism on God and saying, “Well if it was right then, it’s not right now, and I think You should be held accountable to me for what You did in the past.” Yikes! First, your definition of His “cruelty” is that He inflicted unnecessary suffering. How is this any different than how the British treated the French in the French & Indian War, and how the Americans treated the British in the Revolutionary War? The losers suffered greatly, but it was done to the benefit of all in the long run. But yet God is not allowed to do this, because He is held to a higher standard of your morality, which says that what He did was wrong. So if God exists, He is more accountable to you than the person next to you is. Do you see how foolish this sounds?

    The issue with moral relativism is that it means nothing is really wrong, because it depends on social and cultural factors. So what is wrong for you may not be wrong for me (see Nazi Germany, for example). If you really believe that, then for starters how can anything that God has done or will do be wrong, because all morality is relative?

    So what you need to say is that some morals are absolute, and some morals are relative, and God broke the absolute code. This also puts you in the position to play God, because this means you get to decide what morals are absolute and what morals are relative. How did you get so lucky? And what if my absolute morals are different from your absolute morals? Are we both right, even if I say killing is wrong and you say killing is OK? And if only one of us is right, who gets to decide?

    No, all we can be left with to justify your opinion of God as a monster, cruel and capricious is objective morality, where some things are wrong all the time, regardless of circumstances. Let’s look at an example from Exodus, since you’re there.

    Is killing wrong? I had one of your fellow atheists tell me that the Bible was inconsistent today because the Ten Commandments say “Thou shalt not kill” and then later God says to slay the Amalekites. Let’s look at the original text (the Hebrew text, not the King James Version). The word translated “kill” is actually better translated from the original text as “murder” or “with murderous intent.” This is internally verified when Jesus, in Aramaic, says, “You have heard it said of old, ‘You shall not murder.’ But I tell you this, anyone who hates his neighbor has committed murder in his heart.” So is killing wrong? Nope. But MURDER is, and it is this kind of objective and absolute morality that you find in the Bible. Internally consistent, objective morality.

    So before we can go any further with this discussion, you need to tell me how you can believe in both moral relativism and that God is subject to morality, or you need to retreat on your point and admit that objective morality does, in fact, exist, to which I would ask, “Where does it come from?”

    Your move, sir. En garde.

    • This is going to be lengthy. Bear with me. The actually references to this hardening are eight. I thought that there was one more later but since I lost my Bible on my last trip out of town and all my highlighted passages are gone I’ll stick with the eight. All in Exodus 4/21, 7/3, 9/12,10/1, 10/20, 10/27, 14/4 and finally 14/8. Eight of them, so both of our facts weren’t in order. In each instance over several translation God did the hardening. God made him stubborn.

      Here are all the relevant verses in five different translations not including the NAB which I have already used. In every instance it says the God hardened his heart. Look at the plague of locusts and that Pharaoh hardened his own heart. That is not what any of my translations say. Look down to Exodus 10/20 below. “But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not let the sons of Israel go.” To put it back on you sir, Your facts are in error when looking objectively at the text. You said that the Bible only says that God only hardened his heart twice. I have it here that it is eight times… using five different translations… several considered to be the most literal or most accurate. God said he was going to harden it before this entire thing began. He wanted it to happen this way.

      I will give you that the Pharaoh in a moment of pique after the hail hardened his own heart but the Bible clearly states eight separate times that god will or did do the hardening. God said he was going to and Pharaoh’s heart did.

      You tell me not to begrudge God his moment of righteous anger when pharaoh gives him the finger, yet Pharaoh himself can be slapped around all day for his human frailties. We must expect better of God that we do of Pharaoh. Pharaoh is a weak human yet must be punished for his errors, but God being able to do anything he wants can label it as righteous anger and make it ethical. That what I dislike most about the very idea of God. He gets all the credit for everything great and beautiful. Every sunset, every idea, every bit of the too rare human greatness that has drug us out of the swamp of ignorance is credited to the glory of God. But he gets none of the blame. It’s always someone else’s fault. We are all sinners in the hands of an angry God. We are to blame for it all, or conversely, it’s for our own good. You take every situation and elaborately twist your way through making God out to be perfect. You, sir, are making excuses for him. His actions speak far louder than your words. I always like to think of it like this. If he were a human, we’d have went to war with him already. He would be considered evil, but since he is God, he gets to decide the definition of evil and that always always always falls on anyone but him.

      It is not we who are cherry picking the Bible to support our claims. It is you who are sinuously picking your way through a mine field to arrive at what conclusion you need to have. You are looking at the Bible the same way the Moslems look at the Koran, as infallible. You will look at the Koran and find all manners of inconsistencies there. I would find them too. But members of Islam look and find perfect consistency, perfect internal agreement. They need to find these things. It’s what gets them through the day. Very few people can look at the illogic in their own lives and face it down. It hurts. I know from experience. When I first realized that the Bible was rife with immorality and contradictions, I rejected the very idea. I even stopped reading it so I could go on with my blinders on. But back I came and out went my faith. I have been where you are now. I know who where you stand better than you know my place. I have been you sir. I could simply no longer deny the truth. The contradictions tore me apart.

      To me your YEC admission is proof. The vast preponderance of evidence supports a very old earth claim. Only those on the absolute fringe can claim otherwise at this point. It requires a vast deal of cherry picking to reject 99.99% of all scientific data and analysis to arrive at this conclusion. You must toss all the radiometric data( and a vast amount it truly is), all the geologic data (ditto) and the vast majority of nearly every other science and grab on to as your nearly sole chuck of “Evidence” a book written by nearly illiterate desert herders and some foot prints in rock that resemble human and dinosaurs together (even though the human prints are 18 inches long)

      Why do I put such faith in science? Why do I trust science more than the Bible? Look around. The world is full of the benefits of science. It has solved vast problems. It’s ideas work consistently on a day to day basis. Our entire existence is based on science today. science looks to the future.

      Religion cannot say the same. Looking around there is little that religion has built that science has not put into it’s hands. You cannot reproduce any results. All religion can do is claim all of science for the glory of God and then try to take credit for everything. Religion continues to look to the past for it’s answers.

      Although Daz did a great job on your examples let me bring more to the table. You have your ten month old who is trying to eat the onion. You claim that after warning her several times, you finally just let her have it and she will learn. That is not a valid analogy with the Pharaonic story. Here’s a more accurate if more disturbing one. You warn her and warn her. Finally you get angry and shoot her brother telling her of your great and mighty power and how she must listen to you. You continue destroying everything around her until she does. Moral? No!

      Your eight year old mouths off. You lock her in your room and when she screams through the door you drag the neighbor boy in and shoot him in the head as a lesson on respect and authority. Moral? Hell no! Your analogies touch on this horror very lightly if at all, but it is the horror that is the point. You are dancing around an issue that I think bothers you. For your own internal peace, you must manufacture a cocoon to protect yourself. You have convinced yourself that God is the absolute and you will twist your own morality around to make sure that you don’t find out that he is actually a myth.

      I agree fully with those who are in power are to be held more accountable. In fact, I couldn’t agree more. Let’s even say that the pharaoh was to blame. Then kill him. Not everyone else. Punish the guilty not the innocent. I’ve heard it said that here and in the flood, there were no innocents. This is so reminiscent of the whole nits grow into lice idea that slaughter vast number of aboriginal peoples around the planet. I find the idea abhorrent. But let’s take this one step farther. God, according to you, is the most powerful of all. Yet you resist the very idea that we can hold him accountable for his actions. Why? In the words of Uncle Ben “With great power comes great responsibility”. Were he to exist, he is responsible for everything. He should be held accountable.

      It is true I do not know what the definition of true love is. Such wonderful but abstract principles do not have a single definition or form. But I do know what it isn’t, and that’s the murder of thousands of innocents during the passover or the genocide of everyone on earth during the flood. That is not love. Absolutely not. God has to act in accordance with basic decency or he is not worth worshipping. Would you, sir, worship the God of the Koran if we would prove to you that he was the one true God. I, for one, would not. I think he’s a murderous bastard.

      I think it is you with the moral relativism. If god does it, no matter how horrible, it’s right. These are the same arguments brought forth by militant Moslems and everyone through history who worshipped a cruel god.
      I’m not going to continue any more along these lines. Here’s my point as honestly and as bluntly as possible. The God you envision is a monster that I could not worship. I shrink in horror from such an image. He is no different, maybe worse than gods like Zeus and Hera. He is the Lord genocide and proud of it. Honestly, I am not capable of even respecting such a being let alone worshipping him. He isn’t worthy of my worship or even friendship. If he were proved to be real, I think we would achieve our moral pinnacle by warring against him, by fighting his cruelty. I view your god the same way you view Odin or Allah, as vicious myths. But if he were real and just like you say he is, we should be burning his altars and throwing his crosses to the ground.

      I am not going to convince you, I know. But here are the relevant translations of the eight different verses.

      EXODUS 4/21
      NASB 21  The Lord said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders which I have put in your power; but I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go.22  “Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the Lord , “Israel is My son, My firstborn.
      NIV 21 The Lord said to Moses, “When you return to Egypt, see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders I have given you the power to do. But I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go.22 Then say to Pharaoh, ‘This is what the Lord says: Israel is my firstborn son,
      ASV 21 And Jehovah said unto Moses, When thou goest back into Egypt, see that thou do before Pharaoh all the wonders which I have put in thy hand: but I will harden his heart and he will not let the people go.22 And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith Jehovah, Israel is my son, my first-born
      TNIV 21 The Lord said to Moses, “When you return to Egypt, see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders I have given you the power to do. But I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go.22 Then say to Pharaoh, ‘This is what the Lord says: Israel is my firstborn son,
      NJB 8 The Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, so that he pursued the Israelites, who were marching out boldly.
      EXODUS 7/3
      NASB “You shall speak all that I command you, and your brother Aaron shall speak to Pharaoh that he let the sons of Israel go out of his land.3  “But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart that I may multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt.4  “When Pharaoh does not listen to you, then I will lay My hand on Egypt and bring out My hosts,
      NIV You are to say everything I command you, and your brother Aaron is to tell Pharaoh to let the Israelites go out of his country.3 But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and though I multiply my miraculous signs and wonders in Egypt,4 he will not listen to you. Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and with mighty acts of judgment I will bring out my divisions, my people the Israelites.
      ASV Thou shalt speak all that I command thee; and Aaron thy brother shall speak unto Pharaoh, that he let the children of Israel go out of his land.3 And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt.4 But Pharaoh will not hearken unto you, and I will lay my hand upon Egypt, and bring forth my hosts,
      TNIV You are to say everything I command you, and your brother Aaron is to tell Pharaoh to let the Israelites go out of his country.3 But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and though I multiply my signs and wonders in Egypt,4 he will not listen to you. Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and with mighty acts of judgment I will bring out my divisions, my people the Israelites.
      NJB 2 You must say whatever I command you, and your brother Aaron will repeat to Pharaoh that he is to let the Israelites leave his country.
      3 But I myself shall make Pharaoh stubborn and shall perform many a sign and wonder in Egypt.
      4 Since Pharaoh will not listen to you, I shall lay my hand on Egypt and with great acts of judgement lead my armies, my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.

      EXODUS 9/12
      NASB 12  And the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not listen to them, just as the Lord had spoken to Moses.
      NIV 12 But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart and he would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the Lord had said to Moses.
      ASV .12 And Jehovah hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he hearkened not unto them, as Jehovah had spoken unto Moses.
      TNIV 12 But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart and he would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the Lord had said to Moses.
      NJB 12 But Yahweh made Pharaoh stubborn and, as Yahweh had foretold to Moses, he did not listen to them.
      EXODUS 10/1
      NASB 1  Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants, that I may perform these signs of Mine among them,2  and that you may tell in the hearing of your son, and of your grandson, how I made a mockery of the Egyptians and how I performed My signs among them, that you may know that I am the Lord .”

      NIV 1 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his officials so that I may perform these miraculous signs of mine among them2 that you may tell your children and grandchildren how I dealt harshly with the Egyptians and how I performed my signs among them, and that you may know that I am the Lord.”
      ASV And Jehovah said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh: for I have hardened his heart, and the heart of his servants, that I may show these my signs in the midst of them,2 and that thou mayest tell in the ears of thy son, and of thy son’s son, what things I have wrought upon Egypt, and my signs which I have done among them; that ye may know that I am Jehovah.
      TNIV 1 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his officials so that I may perform these signs of mine among them
      2 that you may tell your children and grandchildren how I dealt harshly with the Egyptians and how I performed my signs among them, and that you may know that I am the Lord.”
      NJB 1 Yahweh then said to Moses, ‘Go to Pharaoh, for I have made him and his officials stubborn, to display these signs of mine among them;
      2 so that you can tell your sons and your grandsons how I made fools of the Egyptians and what signs I performed among them, so that you would know that I am Yahweh.’

      EXODUS 10/20
NASB 20  But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not let the sons of Israel go.
      NIV 20 But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let the Israelites go.
      ASV 20 But Jehovah hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not let the children of Israel go.
      TNIV 20 But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let the Israelites go.
      NJB 20 But Yahweh made Pharaoh stubborn, and he did not let the Israelites go.
      EXODUS 10/27
      NASB 27  But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he was not willing to let them go.
      NIV 27 But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he was not willing to let them go.
      ASV 27 But Jehovah hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let them go.
      TNIV 27 But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he was not willing to let them go.
      NJB 27 But Yahweh made Pharaoh stubborn, and he refused to let them go.
      EXODUS 14/4
      NASB 4  “Thus I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will chase after them; and I will be honored through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord .” And they did so.
      NIV 4 And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them. But I will gain glory for myself through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord.” So the Israelites did this.
      ASV 4 And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he shall follow after them; and I will get me honor upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host: and the Egyptians shall know that I am Jehovah. And they did so.
      TNIV 4 And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them. But I will gain glory for myself through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord.” So the Israelites did this.
      NJB 4 I shall then make Pharaoh stubborn and he will set out in pursuit of them; and I shall win glory for myself at the expense of Pharaoh and his whole army, and then the Egyptians will know that I am Yahweh.’ And the Israelites did this.
      EXODUS 14/8
      NASB 8  The Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and he chased after the sons of Israel as the sons of Israel were going out boldly.
      NIV 8 The Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, so that he pursued the Israelites, who were marching out boldly.
      ASV 8 And Jehovah hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued after the children of Israel: for the children of Israel went out with a high hand.
      TNIV 8 The Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, so that he pursued the Israelites, who were marching out boldly.
      NJB 8 Yahweh made Pharaoh king of Egypt stubborn, and he gave chase to the Israelites. The Israelites marched confidently away,

      • Hi KK,

        Thanks for the correction. What I was referring to was during the plagues. Look again at the text and note that up until the Exodus 9:12 one all of these claims from God happened before, saying “I will harden Pharoah’s heart.” Guess what? He did, starting at plague number eight. So God hardened Pharoah’s heart twice, just like I said, and through seven plagues Pharoah did it himself. No problems there.

        So if you don’t know what true love is, how can you say what it isn’t? Again, how can we claim to know whether God was or wasn’t acting in love if we don’t know what defines love? You are putting your definition of love in and calling it the way it is. You are not God, my friend, and especially if such things are relative there cannot be a “what it isn’t,” because “what it isn’t” is constantly changing, so what you see as “what it isn’t” might not have been true for the time, and so perfectly valid. I’ll hit this point again in response to Daz.

        I firmly believe against moral relativism, so you saying that I am being morally relativistic is a bit offensive to me. If I was morally relative, then I wouldn’t be mad at God for killing innocents, because although it might not be a good thing in my eyes, it might be in His, and if morality is relative than that’s OK. If something is clearly wrong no matter who does it or in what time period, than that is objective morality. So again, you need to clarify what side of the fence you’re on. You can’t have it both ways.

        Again, if you want to call him mean, cruel and capricious, then you also have to admit that there is objective morality to measure His actions by. You haven’t seemed willing to do so yet. Until you establish objective morality, NOTHING IS WRONG WITH ANYTHING. I can’t really put it more clearly than that. So again, it seems like we can’t go any further until we establish a legitimate base for morality.

        To sum up: if morality is relative, then God cannot be held accountable, because no one can be held accountable for their actions. If it is objective, then we can move forward and discuss this more in-depth.

        En garde. :-)

  12. Hubbo, I’ll let KK respond to the rest (poor chap’s evidently feeling left out…), but I couldn’t let this point stay unanswered.

    Let’s make your own example closer to the story:

    As head of your household, you commit a crime. The police come round and warn you several times, sometimes ‘setting you up,’ so that you have no choice but to re-offend, sometimes leaving it to your free will. You ignore them and carry on offending anyway. Eventually the police decide you’ve had enough ‘mild’ warnings, so they come round and shoot your child, plus several children of your neighbours, who had no say in your choices.

    How is this moral, by any modern standard?

    • Daz,

      I’ll respond more in-depth to your other one, because that’s where KK responded, but if morality is relative, then if the police think it’s OK, then it’s OK. It doesn’t matter what happens to anybody else, because it works for them and they don’t mind or feel bad about it. To them, it’s moral, so it’s justified no matter what you or I or anybody else thinks.

      See Nazi Germany as an example of this, as I’ve stated many times. If morality is relative, then their genocide is completely justified and OK, because it fits with the Nazis morals.

  13. Just want to stick my oar in again. Morals HAVE to be relative. Here’s an extreme example.

    At the moment in most societies, procreating with children just out of puberty is quite rightly considered immoral. Marrying your first-cousin is, if not immoral, then frowned upon. For the next generation of first cousins in that family, even more so.

    Now imagine a huge catastrophe. All out nuclear war, say. If this sounds like a Mad Max film, please remember that mine and my Mothers generations grew up believing it was bound to happen.

    The human race is sent back to the stone age. Between poor diet, terrible harvests, the loss of organised medicine and high death rates due to the now massive radioactive background, life expectancy drops to about 30 years old. Infant mortality rockets. Humans are living in small bands, like stone-age hunter-gatherers. It suddenly becomes extremely moral for girls to become pregnant as soon as possible and have as many babies as the local food supply can cope with.

    Say a girl has six or seven pregnancies between puberty and the onset of whatever illness kills her in her late 20s. four or five will probably be still-born or die very young. The ONLY way the race, or more importantly to them, the tribe/band in question will survive is to do what all animals do. Have enough offspring to offset the deaths. And to do that, with the fertile period of a woman’s life so short, she has to start early.

    And the first cousins? Within a couple of generations of such a small population, and no transport, all the people you know will be related to you. You can’t avoid it.

    Like I say that’s extreme, but it does show, I think, how morals have to change with circumstances.

    • I can’t agree with you more Daz. Going back and using the ld testament as an absolute guide to morality scares the shit out of me. People who have done this in the past, which is to say most of them in the western world have used this book to justify every atrocity they have done. For the crusades to the conquering of native people in America and Australia to the conquering of Ireland or the religious wars to so decimated the continent to black slavery to the horrendous subjugation of Africa and India have all been justified by looking into the old testament and seeing how God acts towards those people who are not his, and let’s be honest here, vast numbers look at other people as not true Christians. I hear that so much. Looking back into the Old Testament as a moral guide can only lead to more slaughters and Genocides. If you follow God’s morality, that is if you don’t do what we say, and of course, God’s on our side, then you deserve what you get. This is why the one true faith frightens me so. Once you’re convinced God talks to you, it is only several small steps to him telling you to subjugate peoples for their own good and destroy others. Anyone who doubts this should read more history. History shows this so readily.

      That said, I firmly believe it’s that holding onto the vengefulness of the old testament that has allowed Christianity survive. Jesus may have said turn the other cheek, but only a quick glance into the pre-Christian writings show you any number of ways to beat the shit out of those in your way, conquering those people who have land you want, robbing those who are richer. The love that it does instill for like minded individual kept them together and the hate that books like Exodus allows them to harbor made them very strong. It made them quite fit, evolutionarily.

      But that was then; this is now. That niche is closing. We now need science to succeed, rationality, reason. Adaptable superstition is no longer going to allow us to be strong. Without rationality are doomed! We need to go forward not back!

      • Hi Daz and KK,

        I am continually amused at you guys, because it seems like you are not reading my posts very well. Let me talk to KK first before I back up to Daz.

        KK, let me reiterate again that I am not here to defend history. I can’t change the past of what anyone did claiming they were under the Christian banner. What I can tell you is what modern-day Christians are bound to, and that is NOT THE OLD TESTAMENT. The Old Testament is great for understanding context (again, see Matthew 5 for examples of this), but when Christ came, the New Covenant was established, and it is these principles that we are bound to. Stop justifying your hatred of Christianity by saying that historically they used the Old Testament. Look at Christianity today, and make your beefs with IT, not the past.

        Now to Daz. You’re missing the initial premise needed to back up your entire argument. Why are these things immoral in societies today? What is the measuring stick for calling pedophilia or incest immoral? If morality is relative, then I could commit incest right now and it is COMPLETELY OK, because if my morals say it’s OK, then it’s in line with my morals, and therefore moral. What you think or what anyone thinks HAS NO CONSEQUENCE OR BEARING on this situation. Now, that’s not to say I think incest is moral, but in the case of moral relativism, it absolutely would be. (I felt compelled to add that last sentence so no lazy readers assume that Christians think incest is OK.)

        But, if there is OBJECTIVE morality, where some act can be bad at all times and for all people, then we can consider this immoral. But to do that we have to first determine the measuring stick. How do we know it’s immoral? Because there is an objective morality by which we measure all things, and this act would fall on the immoral side of the measuring stick.

        Ultimately, the reality is this. In moral relativism, there are no absolutes. That means everything is fair game. So something cannot be considered absolutely wrong (or in KK’s previous response, absolutely unloving–his words, not mine) because there is no basis for absolutes. In moral relativism, I can’t get mad at you for cussing me out or shooting my cat or kidnapping my daughter, if it’s in line with your morals. Is that really the viewpoint you want to be putting forth, that everything’s OK? If not, then you have to give some credence to at least some absolutes existing. Only then can meaningful dialogue continue.

      • Aug 12, 2011 10:34 am MSC ..worked out the pattern. When I open page 2 the top 3 pix do not show an image in their saurqe though they are clearly there, when you click on the space they display, the next two rows of 3 show a thumbnail image. when the image is displayed the task image seems to be forced onto the first response, that is the first saurqe. You have to leave the page and return to restore..hmmm!!

  14. Score one for Godwin’s rule.

    Your point about incest is well-taken. Think about it though. What’s actually wrong with it, provided contraceptive care is taken? That’s not to say I don’t find it repulsive (making that point for the same reason you did), but that’s my upbringing and cultural heritage. The rulers of ancient Egypt certainly saw nothing wrong with it, and most royal houses come perilously close.

    I think you’re seeing this as too black & white, one thing or the other. Of course there’s an object side to all morality:

    “Thou shalt not hurt others if at all avoidable.”

    This extends to financial harm, emotional harm etc, not just the obvious physical damage. It can be expanded as:

    “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

    If I want to be treated well, I should treat others well. It makes evolutionary sense as well. If I earn more respect, I’m more likely to be looked on favourably by the opposite sex.

    Nazi Germany, as a society, did not follow that rule. Nor did the Crusaders, the Conquistadors or Japanese guards in WW2 POW camps. That doesn’t invalidate the rule, it just means that some people and societies are more morally advanced than others. Yes, a German death-camp butcher was acting morally by the lights of his society, but that doesn’t mean that society’s moral code can be viewed as correct, any more than a KKK member using Bible passages to validate his ‘right’ to hang coloured people from a tree-branch.

    You have yet to persuade me that God’s purported actions toward the first-born of Egypt** can be in any way thought of as morally defensible, or a healthy guide to how to live in the modern world.

    (**Including those of the slaves, who can hardly be said to have had ANY choice in the matter — not even that of getting out of town when they saw which way the wind was blowing.)

  15. Sorry, I skipped a major point. You think that acting immorally has no consequence in a godless world?

    ‘Moral’ is the consensus view of a society on the right way to deal with a particular issue. To work out who’s been harmed and if it was someone’s fault. We have courts for that.

    The only difference between a secular society and a religion based one is that a theology judges people on what they believe, and a secular society judges people on how they act.

    I’m getting lost here. can we pick a post and stick to one comments page?

  16. I agree with Daz. Lets keep the comments here. It too confusing jumping back and forth. Mr. Hubbo: It’s not that we are not reading your posts, do not get upset about that. Its that we disagree with the way you have put things. I disagree strongly, in fact. I truly can’t understand how someone in the modern age can believe in such a atavistic belief system. It’s not that we don’t read it. It’s that in light of all we can PROVE with today’s science, we simply don’t understand how you can believe it.

    First let’s talk about moral relativism. You have a purposely very narrow view of this subject and are trying to force everyone into on camp or the other. You said that I can’t have it both ways. You are implying here that you either believe in one absolute and eternal morality, via God, or everyone believes that everyone else can do whatever feels good to them. This is bullshit! This is forcing reality to bend into what you need it to be. I’ll let you speak for the first group, but virtually no one thinks like this last group. Everyone on earth has code of morality that they then judge others by. The definition of relative morality that you Fundamentalist Christians use is invalid. Of course, people must be judged according to their their time and culture. This must be relative. If not, every great and small figure of history becomes burdened by our morality. Everyone more than a hundred years ago becomes an asshole. I’ve had this argument a dozen times. Your point of view wants to push the onus of historical denigration on to moral relativism, but I want to try to understand the past. That can’t happen if you don’t adjust for the difference in the moral zeitgeist of that time. You Christians can’t agree on a definition of morality. There are just under 30,000 different protestant sects in the world now. They all disagree however slightly.

    Reading history as much as I have, I can come to no other view than our morality has changed considerably and will continue to do so. You don’t want to debate the past. If I were on your side I would want to either. But show me a single time in the past where a Christian nation has thought exactly as you do on morality. Then tell me how it worked out.

    I believe change in ethics is a must. I also think that the Bible proves this. Even the change from the old to the New Covenants is very indicative of moral relativism. If morality was absolute why have two such radically different ways of dealing with humanity. Why deal so harshly at first with a people who you created and then try a different strategy? Didn’t he know what would work? Obviously, his strategy needed some altering. And I admit that that altering has made you historically strong. But remember these were people he created. Why create people who were such a mess and then demand they tow the line. And please don’t try that “Free will” argument here. I’ve heard it. Look at humanity. Why are some born with an accommodating personalty that makes it easy to follow your god’s rules, while others are born with difficulties that make it near impossible. No one starts with an equal chance. No one has equal free will. The very starting point is capricious and cruel. And if you believe that God gives everyone an equal chance, you need to prove that to me, outside the Bible. You need to show me in the real world.

    Our subjective morality does not fit within your narrow little definition. Although, your definition would also be a type of relative morality, the vast majority of people who believe in a subjective morality think its bunk. We believe morality changes, not every man for himself. That is not the vast majority of thought. This is a straw man argument, forcing us into a box in which we do not fit, then attacking us. We do not believe that everyone should do what feels good to them. We believe in a code of morality that involves not causing unessessary pain and suffering in others. We believe in helping people rise to the highest level to which they are able. We will fight ferociously things like rape and murder, but also those culturally relative things like genital mutilation. We do not believe anyone can do anything. Please! We just believe morality changes.

    The argument has been made to me that this, even well meaning, eventually slides into destruction. I argue the opposite. I know you don’t want to argue history, but sir, the proof is in the pudding. The history of Christianity and the western world proves that things not only have changed dramatically on the moral front in the last 2000 years, but that if these nations or governments were lead by a god, he was a mean one. I argue that it is a belief in a one true morality based on sacred writings that has aided in a vast number of atrocities in the past.

    You can make the Bible say nearly anything, and in the past it has been used to justify atrocity after atrocity.

    I also argue that you are a moral relativist. An absolute morality would force God to act within the same moral framework that we must today. Having your God act one way and forcing us to act another is morally relative. We could never accept the murder of children to punish or even test their parents but the Bible has stories of God forcing both.

    You can always say that God is the judge and do we hold our judges accountable when they sentence people to die. But killing the guilty is different. We would be dragging the judge out of his house and down to the gallows if he sentenced the killer’s children to death. You have accused me more than once of not reading your posts. Yet, still you are not answering the real question of why your perfect god did this and does it on a regular basis in the Bible. You may use what ever rhetorical flourish you like, but down deep I suspect you believe that God can do what ever he wants and morality be damned. You seem to feel it is up to you to find a torturous path through reason and decency to justify it.

    You view that Bible as right and infallible. I know your argument s against this from the beginning; I don’t believe them. Your view heuristic view starts off with the very basic idea that God and his Bible are absolutely right, and you then find your way through the minefield of irrationalities to justify this. You don’t believe it rained before the flood??? Are you serious?? How are you any different that the most ignorant Moslem herdsman on the planet??? How can I take your statements about moral relativism seriously when you refuse to see the real world for anything other than a projection of your particular branch of fantasy??? You are disallowing all evidence just to support your fringe theory. How is this any different than those who believe that we faked the moon landings, who believe in UFOs, who believe in astrology???

    My science allows us to live the way we do today. My science has pushed us forward and surrounds us everyday in repeatable testable ways. The very fact that your are using the internet typing out these replies is great evidence that science works. The fact that our children do not die off at incredible rates as they did in more superstitious times shows me that science works. We have gone to the moon! You and your ilk are greedily sucking on the tit of science while out to tear down any proof it brings forward that negates the need for your God. I ask you, what has your God provably done? Where is your evidence for any of your theories outside of this bronze age work of fiction? Cherry picking data anyone?

    But still the main question remains. Prove the existence of your god. Give solid evidence of his existence, testable evidence, not just vague feelings. You have built your house of cards on a singe belief, that everything in the Bible is accurate, that God is real and that that god is Yahweh. It is not up to us to prove that God doesn’t exist. It’s up to you to prove he does. You said until we have a basis for morality, we can’t argue it. I say until you bring forth solid proof of the existence of your god, and not just some prime mover type, Yahweh of the old testament, until you do this then the basis for your entire argument is based on vapor.

    Until you show me that Yahweh exists without using the circular logic of the Bible, the rest of your arguments remain vapor.

    Like an astrologer, until you prove that your fringe way of viewing the world has any basis in reality, your predictions are invalid.

    • KK,

      I would appreciate it if out of respect for me you would leave profanity out of our discussion. I think that we can use more reasonable words to have an intelligent debates. My purpose in coming over was not to engage in those types of arguments.

      That said, I feel like on moral relativism you just refuted your entire argument. If you say that morality changes with the time and culture, then you can’t judge the morality of anyone from the past, because you can’t know what the morality of the time is. So you can’t judge God for anything in the Bible, because the only clue you have as to this time period (which I conceded to Daz–thanks for adding fuel to my argument, Daz!) is the Bible you say is inconsistent. If you can’t know the morality, you can’t judge the morality, ergo your argument for inconsistency falls apart.

      It doesn’t matter what your basis for morality is except for in modern times, according to your view, because you can’t apply it to anyone else. So if that’s the case, the only inconsistencies you can find in the Bible would be literary, because you can’t judge the past. So before we go any further down THAT road, you need to adjust your definition of “inconsistency” to not include anything that is based on morality, or you have to deny your argument that morality changes based on time and culture. Your decision.

      As to the proof of the existence of God, I can’t. No one can. You can’t prove He doesn’t exist. I’m not asking you to. If we could prove something, wouldn’t everyone believe it? Of course. All that we can is postulate that our worldview provides the most plausible scenario for how we came to be in the state that we are in.

      Let me digress for a second to touch on one of Daz’s points from the other post. As to the Big Bang, if this is an example of ‘Prime Mover,’ then this would be an Uncaused Cause, which would then be the origin of the universe. The Wikipedia article Daz wouldn’t go to says this about the Big Bang: “Without any evidence associated with the earliest instant of the expansion, the Big Bang theory cannot and does not provide any explanation for such an initial condition; rather, it describes and explains the general evolution of the Universe since that instant.” So the Big Bang is not an Uncaused Cause, let alone a Prime Mover. The naturalist still doesn’t have an answer.

      Let’s dive further on the Big Bang. Daz talks about quantum fluctuations. The only place these fluctuations have occurred is where the total energy is extremely minute, like inside-of-a-proton minute. These fluctuations, however many times attempted, have not been shown to happen in any bigger amounts of energy. And yet we’re pointing to this to explain the biggest explosion in the history of our universe? Doesn’t sound very plausible to me. So what we have is an explosion that would basically have to be a miracle for it to happen the way current scientific thought purports it, and that still doesn’t explain the Uncaused Cause of the universe.

      Now the theist puts forth a view that allows for not only a Creator of the universe, but a Sustainer (google horizontal cosmological argument AND vertical cosmological argument for these), so the idea of a Prime Mover doesn’t exist for most theists. How is that less plausible of a theory for the beginning of the universe than no theory? The science gives the advantage to the theist on this one.

      What the theist is attempting to do is use arguments like the cosmological argument, the teleological argument, and the moral argument to explain the plausability of our viewpoint. I can’t even get you to agree on whether or not there is objective morality (KK says there isn’t, Daz says there is some), and your (KK) morality is based on the time period and therefore can only be relevant today, so I think my argument for a Tertium Quid is still on solid ground here.

      So to wrap up my argument here, I’ve laid out several very specific ways (without using the Bible) to understand why the theist’s view is not only plausible, but most plausible. I’ve also shown that your morality is only valid in our current time period, and so can’t be used as a basis for any judgment on the Bible, so your inconsistency argument is invalid. Only if morality is objective can it be used to judge the past, so once again I ask, which side of the fence are you on? You can’t have it both ways.

      Thank you again for mostly being respectful within this discussion. I am doing my best to do so as well, so if I am not please let me know, and I apologize in advance.

  17. Wow— this is a great discussion. It is, however, abundantly clear that Mr. Hubbo did not read the book on which this forum began!

    Mr. Hubbo. You talk about the figurative language of the bible as if it is in metaphor, but it isn’t. It doesn’t say that “paul is as a bird in the wind”- it says “paul then turns into a bird and flies into the wind” as if it were a first-person account, in many instances.

    But there are so many cut-and-dry inconsitincies that we can point out. I’ll quote my own book for this one, how old can humans live to be?

    “One-Hundred and Twenty Years—In Genesis 6:3, the Bible reads thusly: “And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.” This verse indicates, and most biblical scholars agree, that the Lord is limiting each human’s lifespan to one hundred and twenty years of age. This is problematic for the scripture because it gives critics an exact point of comparison in which a contradiction can be created if anyone lives to be more than one hundred and twenty years old. That is a very long time to live, but indeed some people have surpassed it —and with advances in modern science, we expect this trend to continue. If the Bible explicitly indicates that man will not be able to live beyond this age, and all available records indicate that even just one person has, we are to conclude that the Christian Bible is not the infallible word of God.

    A second problem with the one hundred and twenty year age limit proposed in Genesis lies within the Bible itself. Psalms 90:10 states very clearly that “the days of our years are three score years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be four-score years; yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.” This verse is implying that man’s time on earth is limited not to one hundred and twenty years, but to a maximum of eighty years. Obviously these two pieces of the Bible cannot be true because they disagree explicitly, but neither are true according to scientific and historical evidence.” -Disproving Christianity: Refuting the World’s Most Followed Religion

    • Hi David,

      Thanks for the contribution! Glad to see you’re enjoying the discussion as much as I am. Am I to understand that you are the author of this book? If so, what an honor! I admit that I have not read the book, although I did look for it at the local library; it hasn’t made it there yet.

      Let’s get to your “inconsistency.” The one you have pointed out is actually one of the more interesting consistencies in the Bible I have seen, and I didn’t actually discover it until I looked up the verses you quoted.

      Genesis 6:3 says 120 years, you are correct. Now if we look at Genesis 5 for context and take the words here literally (as you are), then God was saying that no man born from this time on would live past 120 years. At the time, Noah would have been 500 years old. Genesis 7 says that Noah was 600 years old when the Flood hit, so anyone born even on the day of God’s declaration wouldn’t have made it past 100. So far, so good.

      Let’s look to the rest of the Bible. Do we see anywhere where a man lives to be older than 120? Answer: nope. The oldest one we get to is Moses, and he lives to be, well, 120. God fulfilled His promise but let Moses go the full distance. Now if we want to look to modern day and take these words literally (as you do), then the 122 year-old woman from France would still fit the bill, because she’s not a man (although reading in the Wikipedia article it still doesn’t seem clear regarding her actual date of birth). So if we’re being completely literal, we’re still in good shape. If we move to the symbolic, then we need to decide what parts are symbolic, as you clearly stated in your response to me.

      Speaking of Moses, let’s go to Psalm 90. This was written by our good buddy Moses, which is important in understanding the context. Let’s look at the verses immediately preceding the verse in question. Beginning in verse 7 (NIV): “We are consumed by your anger and terrified by your indignation. You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence. All our days pass away under your wrath; we finish our years with a moan.” Let’s stop there. When did God become angry with the Israelites (important, because when Moses is speaking about “our”, to whom is he referring?; has to be the people alive at his time if his words are to be taken literally)? If you go back to Exodus, the first evidence of His anger with Israel was in the golden calf incident of Exodus 32. So Psalm 90:10, if taken literally as you do, has to mean 70 or 80 years from the time of this writing.

      So let’s look at how long these people lived, because the generation of Moses would all die before seeing the promised land according to Deuteronomy 1:35. So how long were they alive starting from the first evidence of His anger?

      Well, we get some initial context in Exodus 16:35, when it says that the people of Israel ate manna for forty years. This time period is reaffirmed in Deuteronomy 2:7 when discussing the wanderings of the Israelites. Note that the context for the manna incident is about 2 weeks before the golden calf incident (Exodus 16:1 and 19:1).

      Now Deuteronomy 1 talks about the sending of the spies from Kadesh Barnea, whom the Israelites didn’t listen to and God made the promise of Deuteronomy 1:35. So let’s look at how long it took these men to die out from when they went to Kadesh Barnea. Luckily (or perhaps by design?), Deuteronomy 2:14 gives us that answer: 38 years.

      So we have 40 years of manna eating that started 2 weeks before the first evidence of God’s anger (which is seen in Psalm 90) before reaching Kadesh Barnea (Deuteronomy 1:3 for more context), and 38 years between reaching Kadesh Barnea and all of the men dying out. Sure sounds like 78 years to me, which is right in the middle of the “70 or 80″ in Psalm 90:10. Moses “had the strength” to reach 120, but even he didn’t outlive God’s promise in Genesis 6:3. So is the Bible inconsistent? On the contrary. It is remarkably so!

      Thanks for pointing this out to me. It just reaffirms how great a God I have. I’d be willing to discuss anymore such inconsistencies, because I think objective hermeneutics will favor me, as they did here.

      An honor to be discussing with the author of a book so controversial. Again, thanks for coming over and giving little ol’ me this distinction! God bless!

      • “Let’s look to the rest of the Bible. Do we see anywhere where a man lives to be older than 120? Answer: nope.”

        Now allow me to quote from your own writings on your own website:

        Adam was 130 years old when Seth was born (Adam: 130 years old);
        Seth was 105 when Enosh was born (Adam: 245 years old);
        Enosh was 90 when Kenan was born (Adam: 335 years old);
        “Kenan was 70 when Mehalalel was born (Adam: 405 years old);
        Mahalalel was 65 when Jared was born (Adam: 470 years old);
        Jared was 162 when Enoch was born (Adam: 632 years old);
        Enoch was 65 when Methusaleh was born (Adam: 697 years old);
        Methusaleh was 187 when Lamech was born (Adam: 884 years old);
        Lamech was 182 when Noah was born (Adam: dies when Lamech is 46).”

        “Genesis 5:26 says that after Lamech was born Methusaleh lived 782 more years. We know Lamech was 182 years old when Noah was born, leaving 600 years of Methusaleh’s life. How old was Noah when the Flood happened? 600! It’s quite possible that Methusaleh died in the Flood!”

        Erm …

      • Scrath that, I just reread your post and kicked myself. I totally misread what you said.

        Sorry!

  18. “As to the proof of the existence of God, I can’t. No one can. You can’t prove He doesn’t exist.”

    We don’t need to. The onus of proof falls on those making the claim for an unproven existence. There are many analogies for this. Carl Sagan’s Dragon In My Garage is a favourite of mine, but the Orbiting Teapot is perhaps more to the point. If you can’t prove it though, why is it okay for fundies to try to foist laws based on it into our lives?

    Again, I used the term Prime Mover to mean a creator-but-not-interferer god, not as a synonym for the big bang. And the reason I didn’t read the W/pedia article was that I already knew about the point we were discussing. And I pointed out that such things are not rare. They are known as virtual particles, and consist of which pairs of particles flash into and out of existence. This happens all the time. Granted, we don’t know how often this results in the formation of a universe (if indeed something like it is the cause behind the effect). I suspect we’ll never know. Scientists who turn up on popular-science tv shows and the like manage to give the impression that ‘there’s another you in another universe, reading another copy of this written by another me,’ have no proof, and are — IMO — seriously guilty of, let’s say over-simplification. But at least it’s an observable (well, highly inferrable from many extensively peer-reviewed experiments) phenomena, unlike the god hypothesis, for which you admit there is no real evidence.

    The uncaused cause argument goes both ways, however. If we accept a god-creator, what, or who, created that creator? That leads to an unsatisfactory infinity of turtles! Occam’s razor again: Which is more likely; the apparently spontaneous appearance of a large amount of disarranged matter, or the spontaneous appearance of an organised, intelligent, being, able to spontaneously create matter out of nothing? Which version requires the **least** amount of ‘supernatural’ or highly unlikely events?

    I’ve lost where I agreed that there is **some** absolutism in all systems of morals. I know I said it, but that was a couple of work-shifts ago at least, and I can’t remember what point I was making or answering. As KK says though, you seem to be falling into the all-or-nothing, either-or trap. All things in life are full of grey areas and sliding scales. There are no absolutes in that sense. Hitler was a nasty sod by all accounts, yet wrote some rather touching poetry about maternal love. Charles Manson had, apparently, a very charismatic and engaging personality.

    You keep calling yourself a theist. Please be honest. You’re a creationist, and to that extent a fundamentalist. By using the word ‘theist,’ you seem to be rather disingenuously trying to make your views appear less narrow than your literalist view of Bible stories would imply.

    My problem with religious fundamentalists of all stripes is that they take an unprovable (as you admit) assertion, then they take their interpretation of that assertion, together with all the curtain-twitching moralistic baggage that comes along with it, and then try to insist that we all apply those morals to our daily lives. Why is gay ‘bad’? Because it says so in our book. Why is polygamy bad? Ditto. The list is seemingly unending. That they insist that the lack of any supporting evidence for the veracity of their holy book doesn’t matter — that it has to be taken on faith, but that it’s perfectly reasonable to do so — would be laughable, if it wasn’t ruining (or prematurely ending) so many lives.

    I think debating the absolutist versus relativistic question is slightly side-stepping the point. Which is that basing **any** system of thought on a book of myths is as silly as basing one on a randomly picked-out episode of Dr Who. it may be (and is) a surprisingly well preserved book of myths, and there may be real events in it too, though probably highly distorted by the many rewrites according to the agendas of the rewriters, but at the end of the day, that’s all it is.

    PS in defence of KK, I don’t think he was intentionally trying to offend with his rather mild profanities. As a general rule, I try not to swear too much on t’interweb — there’s always the chance that a young child might view what I say (forced to read it by Mum, say, as a way of getting the kid to sleep…), and I’d rather self-censor than have to put up with silly filtering programs. I actually know someone who lives in Scunthorpe… (Google ‘Scunthorpe problem’ if that eludes you :0) ). The occasional mild swear isn’t that horrendous though, if it serves its purpose by indicating strong feeling. Swearing **at** someone is, however a total no-no, being the ultimate ad hominem.

    It’s a shame, but inventive cussing seems to be dying out as an art-form. The best I’ve ever managed: ‘May the flies of a thousand cow-pats infest your underwear drawer.’

    • Daz,

      I’ve heard this argument before. Atheists make a negative claim and therefore don’t have a burden of proof. I disagree, because anyone with a worldview has a burden of proof on the basis for belief in their worldview. The onus is not on me to supply proof, but rather plausability, because if I could prove it everyone would believe, and we know that’s not the case.

      As to the Big Bang, you basically said we’ll never know what created the universe according to the naturalist. So again I ask, how is not-an-answer a better position than an answer? Logically this doesn’t make sense.

      I think your premise of “who created the Creator?” is a fallacy, because the theist purports that God IS the Uncaused Cause. The theistic God is transcendent of time and space, so He is the one that created everything. If the Big Bang happened, then the Uncaused Cause can still be God. He did not spontaneously appear if He is infinite, so there is no randomness to the order of the way things are. The theistic view has the edge here. As for the evidence, I didn’t say there was no evidence; I said there was no proof. For evidence, take some time and research both the horizontal and vertical cosmological arguments and the teleological argument.

      I’m glad you at least admitted that you said that morality is objective, even if you’re recanting now. However, your examples of Hitler and Manson have nothing to do with morality. We’ve been discussing morality in terms of specific acts. You’re comparing apples to oranges.

      Why is gay or polygamy “bad”? Apparently it goes further than the Bible, because if only Christians disagreed this is wrong wouldn’t everyone else be doing it? Or at least everyone else would be in favor of its rights? But there are people in all walks of life, religious and non-religious, who are against homosexuality and polygamy. If the Bible were the only measuring stick, this wouldn’t be happening. If there’s an innate moral compass by which we can measure these things, then this is possible, for some could choose to reject the compass and head down their own paths and some could not.

      I think you’re remaking KK’s point with the last paragraph before the PS in your response, to which I think I’ve shown you for a second time that I can make the argument for God’s existence and objective morality without even using the Bible. I feel like your attempt to do so clouds the view of what we’re really trying to accomplish here, and that is to define what morality really is. We can reach this conclusion without the Bible; the Bible merely is the instruction manual, not the cause.

      • 機會係個天俾嘅 yes. BUT it is only those who are prepared that can see and caiazilpte the chance given. The people who always blames god/命/天 that there is no chance is absolutely wrong! If they haven’t prepared, work hard or think hard, how can they see the chance themselves, even if they see the opportunity is right in front of them, they wont have the skills, connection, knowledge or experience to take advantage of it.How sad!!!Bomb

      • I tried it and it was fine. Not satisfying my choc crniavg since 2 tbsp of cocoa was too much for my taste buds and it tasted bitter. I added some chopped almonds in place of choc chips. Sugar was a bit less so I topped it with some icing sugar to make it feel less bitter. All in all, practice will make it better. Thanks for the recipe :)

  19. Sorry, another thought.

    What is considered moral tends to be based on the consensus view. If I live in a society where everyone rubs blue mud in their hair on alternate Thursdays, then not doing so would probably be considered immoral.(Please feel free to imagine schisms involving those who decide that the proper form is green mud on the last Monday of every month with a ‘Y’ in its name, and such.) From a relativistic point of view, I do have that choice, but freedom to choose also carries with it the obligation to think through the consequences of that choice. If enough people come to agree with me that the habit is nothing but silliness, and stop doing it, then eventually the moral consensus will change. Of course, if they don’t, I’ll likely be punished. That possibility of punishment, be it social ostracism or burning at the stake, is the brake that keeps the process at a reasonable pace, and stops freedom of choice becoming a totally hedonistic anarchy.

    That, rather simplistically, is how morals change over time.

    • Daz,

      This is no different than everything we’ve been talking about. Why is this act considered immoral? And if that actually is the case, then we can’t judge the past, because if the society existed where this didn’t happen, your society can’t judge them because it wasn’t the morality at the time of the previous society. Only if every society rubbed blue mud in their hair on alternate Thursdays could you judge one against another. This would go throughout all times and cultures; that is the definition of objective morality.

      Ergo, KK’s argument against the morality of God still falls flat.

  20. The onus of proof is **always** on the person stating that something exists, be it a sub-atomic particle or a god. You say it’s there, we can’t see it, please prove it. Please google the orbitting teapot.

    Admitting to having no answer is better, and more intellectually honest, than proposing a fairy tale for which there is no supporting evidence. Unless one is somehow ashamed to show ignorance of something no one would expect one to know.

    “But there are people in all walks of life, religious and non-religious, who are against homosexuality and polygamy”

    Mostly because they’ve been brought up in societies shaped for many years by one of the three Abrahamic religions. Many ancient Greek cultures, for example, were extremely bisexual in nature. My main argument concerning polygamy is that if humans were naturally monogamous we would be physically unable to commit adultery. I suspect the custom of marriage would be unneeded too. Why would you need to make vows to keep strictly to a pact that it was impossible to break anyway. I don’t need to make a vow that I’ll never levitate to the moon. However, that’s not a moralistic argument, it’s a biological one. On the moralistic side, I really don’t see why three or six or ten people wishing to spend their lives together is any of my business, or yours, assuming they’re all consenting adults. That also applies to how they wish to organise their sex-lives. There’s also a lot to be said for the protection children would receive, having so many parents.

    You have yet to make a case for the veracity of the Bible, the existence of gods in general or of the Biblical god in particular.

    Neither myself nor KK has said that we can judge the past by modern moral standards. What we have said is that morals change, and to use Biblical morals to judge modern people and societies is as silly as using modern morals to judge societies in Biblical times.

    “And if that actually is the case, then we can’t judge the past, because if the society existed where this didn’t happen, your society can’t judge them because it wasn’t the morality at the time of the previous society”

    Sorry, but you seem to be agreeing with me that if a society changes then morals can change with it. Maybe I’m misunderstanding your meaning, or maybe you think we still live in a desert semi-nomad society?

    Still waiting on where all the water came from and went. If you want to stick to the ‘it didn’t rain until the flood,’ please answer the objections raised to that idea. Even if we buy (and we surely don’t) the not raining hypothesis, have a look at the huge difference between the volume of water needed to do the job, and the volume of water in actual circulation. Stipulating your argument as to where it came from, where on earth did it go afterwards?

    • Daz,

      Once again you miss the point. I’m not trying to **prove** anything. Read my previous comments for why. All I’m saying when it comes to worldview is that you have the same burden to establish why you believe your worldview is the right one. You can say, “I believe my worldview is right because there is not enough evidence for any of these other worldviews,” and that’s fine, but it makes you no different than any other worldview, so we’re all on level footing here in that sense.

      So are you admitting that you have no answer? That’s at least a step in the right direction. I’ve found that getting atheists to take a definitive stance on things is most difficult. Now if the theist purports an idea that has some scientific evidence on which to stand, which becomes the more plausible worldview? Answer with some science, or no answer with some science? You can attempt to discredit the theistic science all you want, but I am merely establishing that when determining plausability, the theist has the advantage because he/she has an answer with which to work.

      “Mostly because they’ve been brought up in societies shaped for many years by one of the three Abrahamic religions.”

      Ah, but it is society that shapes morality, is it not, according to your worldview? So in those societies, the morality of homosexuality and polygamy being wrong is completely justified. Regardless of that, it doesn’t matter because we’re talking about modern-day, and we’re still finding that people of all walks of life find these things wrong. Ergo, the morality of the day still holds true. Besides, you yourself says you can’t use the morality of the past in the present. You have to be true to your own arguments.

      We are not physically unable to commit adultery because of free will, but this has nothing to do with morality, because morality does not determine what one does or doesn’t do, but what one should or shouldn’t do.

      “You have yet to make a case for the veracity of the Bible, the existence of gods in general or of the Biblical god in particular.”

      I have shot down every single inconsistency thrown my way with reason and objective hermeneutics, and since the burden of proof is on you guys in this case, I’ll let that speak for itself. As for the existence of God, again I point you to both cosmological arguments and the teleological argument, as well as my opinion on the moral argument and the Tertium Quid that you still haven’t been able to break down, because you have stated that you can’t judge the morality of the past, so everything is fair game.

      “Neither myself nor KK has said that we can judge the past by modern moral standards. What we have said is that morals change, and to use Biblical morals to judge modern people and societies is as silly as using modern morals to judge societies in Biblical times.”

      And yet this is KK’s very argument for inconsistency in the Bible, that God was not acting morally when He allowed the innocents in Egypt to die. You can’t have it both ways, if your statement here is true.

      “Sorry, but you seem to be agreeing with me that if a society changes then morals can change with it.”

      I’m not agreeing with you at all. I am merely stating that if your view on morality is correct, then this is the result. However, whether your view on morality is correct or not is still highly questionable, especially since you stated previously that objective morality exists and then reneged.

      Finally, as to the water and the flood, let’s use a parallel example. What about the eruption of your volcanoes? Was there any volcanic ash before they erupted? Does that make the fact that there was no volcanic ash prior to the act impossible? Now, where did the water go and what about the volume needed versus actually circulating? I think I already made that argument, so please re-read.

  21. Mr Hubbo:

    Again, you refuse to understand any point that will not wrap into your dogma. You continue to proclaim that since I have relative morality that I can’t judge God? Are you serious?? This is a being to whom you give the appellation perfectly moral, yet it is wrong to for me to say that his murder of children is wrong. You, sir, have yet to explain to anyones satisfaction why your God is a murderer, a torturer and a sadist. You make bland excuses for him and talk about how we mere mortals can’t understand true love, but completely and purposefully avoid the point of his obvious and rampant Evil. In fact, you hop around the entire God creating evil motif.

    If we were talking about the God of Islam, you’d be fully on my side. Were we speaking of Zeus, you wouldn’t be talking about his perfect love for his people while he was setting loose the kraken or dropping cursed apples. But here you are telling me I can’t judge God because, one, I don’t know what perfect love is??? And two, I can’t judge anyone because I believe in a subjective morality???

    Your Dogma forces you to view everything in an such a narrow manner. You have all these pat and hardened answers given to you by the vast community of fundamentalists. I’ve been there. I’ve spouted the same nonsense. I know where you are. Back then though, there were still groups who denied the heliocentric model of the solar system. The sun went around the earth because that’s what the Bible implied. And here you are exactly one step beyond that belief, wrapped in superstition so tight that you refuse to see even the most basic science.

    You and your ilk see the world as you need it to be, not how it actually is. My side and science have come up with the germ theory of disease, Genetics, (you know the one where things called genes and some epigenetic factors decide the color of sheep wool not like Genesis 30/37-43). We have invented and improved nuclear power, all power plant tech in fact. Computers. Medicine. Ice Cream! Look around. What has your side done? Wallowed in superstition and tried desperately turn back the clock so your Dogma will not be obsolete. But like astrology, it is.

    I love when you try to use the pathetic parts of science that you refuse to understand to justify your cause. Just because science cannot explain the conditions behind the big bang does not mean you are able to fill in the gap with what ever flights of fantasy you like best. There needs to be proof. Now science has made fantastic strides forward having rid itself of most of the shackles of superstition, but there is a long way to go. Young Earth Creationists want to prevent us from ever getting there.

    I don’t hand you a prime mover deity as a given. Daz and my points were that even if you were to prove this it would be a very small step towards the Genocidal Yahweh of the Old Testament. You would have miles to go. Why wouldn’t Allah be this god or Odin or any other mythological tooth fairy for that matter. The point was show show that even that with a creator deity, the chances of it being The God of the flood and the death of the firstborn is absurdly minute. Even if you were to prove that some God exists, you’d have light years to go to convince anyone that it really The same Yahweh who kills Onan for spilling his seed on the ground and considers a man righteous when he offers his two daughters to a rapist mob. And before you get into it I know all about the Levirite and rules of hospitality. Anyone smell relative morality? I can have it both ways.

    What exactly have we attempted with quantum fluctuations that haven’t show any influence on the larger scheme? I must have missed that issue of Science.

    I weary of this so let’s skip right to the chase. You have this whole God of the Gaps argument down pat. To sum up. If science can’t explain it then God must be a part of it. We all know that science doesn’t know everything. If it did it would stop! But again because science can explain a certain event at this moment does not mean that an infinitely powerful God is the logical answer. You posit more or less that the universe is too complicated for it just too arise, yet the solution to this dilemma is to posit a being infinitely more complex that the thing you reject. The solution to unexplained complexity is infinitely more complexity? What?? The argument that quantum fluctuations creating the big bang is so implausible but the idea of an invisible, all powerful, and infinitely more complicated (and I do mean infinitely) tooth fairy seems perfectly rational?? Because we don’t fully understand the nature of electrical charges within electrons and protons does not mean we just put it down to fairies and elves.

    As to your not agreeing with your majority share of the burden of proof. You can’t just make a claim and not back it up with solid evidence, either historical or experimental. The burden of proof always lies with the positive claimant. Always! You have to prove your claim. Always! Because my world view doesn’t allow for a certain absurdity does not mean I have to prove it doesn’t exist. It is impossible to prove a negative. Is Big Foot really secretly running the mexican government through mind control? Is reality simply a thought experiment carried on by a massive colony of intelligent algae. Obama’s birth certificate isn’t real! George Bush Blew up the World Trade Center! They faked the moon landings!! Nixon Killed Kennedy!! Roosevelt Knew!!!

    We do not have to explain why our world view doesn’t buy this absurdity or that one. You have to explain why it must!

    Truly Hubbo, This site was formed to combat people like you, people who would reject everything that science, the greatest tool for truth known, and force us back into the Bronze age. You would have us throw away the one tool that has brought us up form the muck and slime of blatant superstition and sink back into the abyss. What is worse is that you wouldn’t even know it. Although you are completely unwilling to confront the evil of God or the vast evil your predecessors have done in his name, the indication of what’s going to happen lies there. After you throw out America’s greatest advantage over the world, it’s science, we will decline. Our science and innovation are the only things that keep us ahead, and nce they’re relegated to the section far behind people who believe Adam and Eve lived among the dinosaurs, we are doomed. You and people like you will not blame yourselves, just as your ancestors never looked inward. They did and you will look for someone to blame, someone who is bringing God’s wrath upon us. And like those before you, you will fall upon them. And hey, after the Homosexuals are all dead, there’s always that time honored scapegoat of your grandfathers, the Jews. (Read about the black plague)(Fascinating)

    You see, I know you. I deal with people like you every month. Ones who tell me that not only were humans and dinosaurs contemporaries, but that women shouldn’t be able to vote, that blacks might have souls but just aren’t as progressed as whites, that God created AIDS (that disease that has killed thousands of children) to punish America for tolerating gays. These are all real argument’s that I have had with YECs, face to face. And they all had Biblical verses and sinuous logic very similar to your own to back it up. In fact, the arguments all start just as this one did. And I believe this one will end somewhere near the same place. Once you believe in an absurdity like Young Earth Creationism, you open the door wide to believe in any. Once you throw out science, you junk most of your ability to tell reality from fiction.

    Mr. Hubbo, you are welcome to post what you will here. I will not stop that. However, I am finished with this discussion. You have continually berated us for not reading your posts carefully. Trust me. Several, I read three times. It becomes clear, the more you have written the more you confirmed your status. In my view you are no different that an astrologer or a psychic. You have reams of twisted logic that you substitute for proof read directly from the reams of dogma published by your presses. How are you any different logically from the radical Muslims?

    As with antivaxers, astrologers, satanists, Birthers, truthers, UFOlogists, Moon hoaxers, and other conspiracy nuts, your ideas deserve nothing but contempt. You will drag us all down and you will then blame us for your fall. Think I’m being too harsh? Read some of that actual history you are so unwilling to debate. While you continue to weave those elaborate houses of gossamer fantasy, I’ll go back and use the real history of what your religion did when times were tough.

    Farewell.

    Ash from volcanos ??? WTF??? Daz, he’s all yours!

  22. My worldview is **more likely** to be right because there is more evidence **for** it.

    Aside from that…

    What KK said. You’re not debating, you’re hair-splitting and sidestepping. you explain one absurdity with another and then claim that we can’t dismiss it because there’s no evidence against it.

    You need **evidence** for where the water came from and went, not suppositions and analogies.

    You need **evidence** that your orbiting teapot named God exists, not lack of evidence against it.

    You need **evidence** for miracles, not just word games that try to get the unbeliever to admit that they can’t be ruled out 100%.

    And yes, once again I will state that the onus of proof is **on you** to provide that evidence, not silly logic puzzles to make us admit to a gap that your beliefs just might possibly fit into. This is how we find things out, like what the atmosphere of Jupiter is made of, whether a virus can withstand being frozen, what weight of traffic a given design of bridge, made from such and such materials will stand. These things are all found out by people who look at them sceptically, even to the point of trying their damnedest to disprove their **own** results.

    I too am sick of this. You might be politer than the average, but you’re just as blindfolded, mouthing big impressive sounding words you copied from a Ken Ham “how to debate atheists” leaflet or some such, without the slightest real idea of what you’re talking about.

    Science is a method, not a collection of knowledge or facts. That method boils down to:

    Get evidence

    Check the evidence

    Check it again

    Send your results to other people so they can check it

    Repeat until everyone agrees it seems sound.

    Bye

    • paul York
    • August 10th, 2010

    KK… Daz..and even Mr Hubbo. Well done. Your levels of perseverance far exceed mine.

  23. Gentlemen,

    I guess this is where I leave you. I’ve tried to explain time and time again that I’m not here trying to prove to you that God exists. No one can do that. I’m merely showing you that the theist purports the most plausible worldview. You keep asking for evidence. I keep pointing you to the evidence of the cosmological argument, the teleological argument, the moral argument. You’ve asked for miracles, I show you the Bible. You then say the Bible is full of inconsistencies, but have yet to show me one (even the author of this book failed to do so) that holds up to objective hermeneutics. If you are unwilling to listen to reason, that is your right to do so, but don’t say that I haven’t given you facts, logic, reason, the whole nine yards, and done so in a mostly polite and understanding manner.

    My explanation to you, KK, is that either an objective morality continues throughout time, by which we can judge all things past, present and future, or there is a subjective morality that changes with time and culture, and therefore cannot be a measuring stick for what happened in the past. The only way you can judge the God of the Biblical time period is through objective morality. Only then can we know what love, good and evil were in this time period. For you to submit that morality changes with time but that your morality must be the same morality that is applicable to that time is arrogant, sir. You don’t have a corner on the morality market. Daz doesn’t either. I don’t either. But if there’s an objective morality, only then can we discuss how good or how evil God truly was. But you can’t put the cart before the horse and say I need to justify God being a torturer, a sadist, etc., if you’re not willing to accept objective morality. You haven’t put the burden of proof on me yet.

    You don’t know me. I’m not a person who says that blacks are less-progressed than whites. I don’t think God sent AIDS to punish people. That shows a narrow-mindedness on your part to lump all people who are under the religious banner together and call me one of them. I am not. I am as much for the fair treatment of everyone as you are; remember, it came from the Book we’re discussing. Your science is the same as my science. I can’t discredit science; I can only discredit the scientific assumptions being made that are baseless (quantum fluctuations being responsible for the Big Bang, for instance). But I also bring my own science, which you guys haven’t really discredited. Was there rain before the Flood? I’m willing to step back and look objectively and say that there may have been. The Bible doesn’t say that the Flood was the first rainfall, so I could very well be mistaken (point for Daz). But what I am willing to be is objective, which is far more than I can say for you, KK, and you, Daz.

    What I will leave you with is something I’m sure you’ve all heard before. It’s called Pascal’s Wager. Pascal’s Wager essentially goes as follows:

    The claim of the atheist (who does not believe in God) directly contradicts the claim of the Christian (who believes in God), so both claims cannot be right. Either God exists or he doesn’t. If the atheist is right, then both people will permanently lose conciousness when they die and will eternally cease to exist once their bodies have completely decayed. In addition, if the atheist is right, then ultimately, neither person gains or loses anything. Conversely, if the Christian is right, he will go to heaven when he dies and spend eternity there, but the athiest will go to hell when he dies and spend eternity there. Essentially, this means that ultimately, if the Christian is right, his gain is infinite and the atheist’s loss is infinite, but that if he is wrong, he loses nothing and so does the atheist.

    From an eternal perspective, if the atheist is right, he gains nothing, but if he is wrong, he loses everything. Conversely, from an eternal perspective, if the Christian is right, he gains everything, but if he is wrong, he loses nothing. Essentially, the atheist’s position is synonymous with the worst possible investment, which has infinite risk and offers no reward, whereas the Christian’s position is synonymous with the best possible investment, which has no risk and offers an infinite reward. Therefore, no wise, sane, or logical man can choose atheism over Christianity.

    My best to you guys in the future.

    • Paul in York
    • August 10th, 2010

    Cheers Mr Hubbo.

    Unfortunately I’m sure that we all have an opinion on pascals wager that will differ to yours. I’m not going to teach any of the grandmas on here to suck eggs regarding the problems with it.

    Thanks for the good wishes.

  24. Pascal’s Wager always amuses me. Fundamentalists always bring this up like the argument was just run fresh off the presses. Blaise Pascal died 350 years ago for a lack-of-Christ’s-sake. Much has changed. There was no germ theory of disease. Sickness was caused by vapors and demons. The church still argued for a geocentric universe. People were burned at the stake for minor variations of belief. Are they seriously thinking the we should actually follow this ancient advice of belief. Pascal’s argument was barely tolerable in his own time. In our’s, we’d be better off quoting Homer Simpson.

    With the vast number of different of religions or their variations in the world today each vying for the most true position you’d have a difficult time hedging your bets here. Taking into account just Christians, we have 30 to 40 thousand different sects. Counting the Moslems. Buddhists, Hindus and the rest has to double that number. Take all the religions that have been worshiped throughout history must double it again. That’s 160,000 different branches. Believing in whatever particular branch of superstition doesn’t increase your chances much. From 0 in 160,000 to one.

    A better question is should we arrange our beliefs in order of what has the potential to reward us most? Should we believe in a God just for insurance purposes? Should we swallow a Nazi ideology just because it will prevent them from killing us??

    Should we Believe in and worship God simply on the off chance that the little Murderous Bastard is real and won’t torture us for eternity.

    What a bunch of shit!

    • Paul in York
    • August 10th, 2010

    Well said KK. I did right to keep my gob shut. Your prose is far more eloquent than mine would have been.

  25. I love the way fundies toss phrases like ‘scientific assumptions’ around. If it’s ignorance, it’s woeful. If it’s deliberate word-twisting it’s despicable. And either way, my irony-meter goes spoing when I think about the amount of assumptions their system of ‘thought’ is based on.

    And as for Pascal’s Wager, turn it around. What if the religious are wrong, what if all those horrible acts committed in the name of saving someone’s soul have been done in the name of so much marsh-gas? They’d probably find a way to wriggle out the responsibility for that too though.

    Here’s how I think the flood story began. I’ll grant it’s pure conjecture, but I think it’s a good one.

    Some chap, call him Noah, gets caught in a flood. He’s probably a river- or coastal-trader, since he has a fairly sturdy craft of some kind, and almost certainly it’s a family business, so his family’s on board. They manage to weather the storm that caused the flood, along with the cargo of domestic animals they had aboard when it all began. Maybe they rescue a few people or more animals off sandbanks and such. Anyhow, after a few years, this story has grown a bit in the telling, into ‘How Grandpa Saved The Village.’ A nice thrilling tale for all the grand-kids. Fast-forward a few more years and the family’s risen in status and power. Quite possibly having an intact cargo of livestock just after the flood was what started the family-fortunes off. Anyway, How Grandpa Saved The Village is a tad lowly-sounding for a family on the make, but it does have a kernel of truth, so with a little more embellishment it could be used quite effectively. So we get How Grandpa Saved Thousands. Another few years, and it’s become one of the founding-myths of an entire culture, and turns into How Grandpa Saved The World.

    Like I say, pure conjecture on my part, but we know floods like that happen all the time, especially before the flow of most major rivers were controlled by dams. We know that stories grow in the telling. And we know that dynastic families tend to hype up any story that makes their ancestry sound noble or heroic. And no miracles needed.

    • Amos M. Capps
    • October 15th, 2010

    Mr. Hubbo,

    Normally I read all the comments before adding my two cents, but it’s a long haul, and I have something to do. I got to your first mention of hell fire.

    That’s enough for me right there. Any god who would invent a hell, and send us there for not kissing his ass has no idea what love and justice are, let alone having these attributes himself. A god who does this and claims to love us is LYING. He loves only himself.

    The misogynistic and homophobic ravings of Paul the Demented tell me that Jesus only loves SOME people. And those he hates he hates for no good reason. It is far easier to believe there is no god than to believe in a god like that.

    John 3:16 says god gave his only son. Where is that son right now? You yourself say that he is beside god. Where is the sacrifice?

    You have read KK’s description of the flood and of the events in Exodus? Do you really believe that all that killing is ok? Especially the killing of innocents?

    This is all drivel. The fact that you believe there was a literal flood means to me that you are in the habit of not seeing evidence that contradicts your beliefs.

    • Amos,

      It’s quite clear that you read what you wanted to read. My first comment about hell was this:

      “Any Christian who comes on here without a sincere desire for the truth and preaching hellfire and brimstone, well, they are a bit out of touch. While the reality of hell is understood and believed by Christians, there is no use trying to convince you of those types of things if you can’t first be convinced of the existence of God.”

      How can you say God has no idea what love and justice are? How can you say that you have an idea of what love and justice are? According to the atheist, love and justice are subjective. If that’s the case, then everything is fair game to be considered love and justice. Just because it’s not your idea of love and justice doesn’t mean that it’s not. Unless of course such things are objective. Then something could either be absolutely loving or absolutely unloving. See the entire argument we had to these issues.

      I feel like I shouldn’t be wasting my time in responding to you, since you clearly haven’t read the arguments that I gave and that both KK and Daz thoughtfully put out there as well. It seems to me like you picked up on a word or phrase and just used that as a trigger to spew whatever venom you have spent years crafting in your head. Sure sounds like a lot of the stuff Dawkins, Hitchens, etc. put out there, and you guys think that we’re brainwashed. Take a look in the mirror.

      I take serious offense to your comment because I feel like you tried to undermine everything we accomplished over 2 weeks with one single post. I feel like if you don’t have time to read the discussion, then don’t comment on it.

    • Amos M. Capps
    • October 15th, 2010

    Second, your perspective is that you know what the true definition of love is. No offense, but what arrogance on any of our parts to claim that we know what perfect love is. We fail at that every day, so for us to claim that we know what love is and that God didn’t exhibit it is folly. That puts you in the position of power, because God has to act in accordance with your definition of love, otherwise He is cruel and mean. If you are sincere in your study, that means that you have to come from a position of, “Hey, I’m not as good as this God if He exists, so who am I to say what He should or shouldn’t do?” Also, if God is subject to your concept of love, then He is an independent being of love, and how can He then be expected to perform in that manner?

    This is purest drivel. This means that anything god chooses to do is just fine with you. You will find a way to justify it. That tells me, by extension, that if you believe god wants you to fly airplanes into a building you will do it.

  26. Oh Bog! Not this again. KK, if I’m speaking out of turn here, please feel free to slap me down.

    Mr Hubbo, I came to my conclusions regarding these things before I ever read a word of Dawkins et al. Can we lay off the generalisms please?

    Amos, while Mr Hubbo made some arguments that KK and I considered bad, he never spouted the usual guff about atheists hating god, rebelling against god, burning in hellfire etc, or, if I remember rightly, equated atheism with Stalinist etc atrocities, so maybe the ‘flying aeroplanes into buildings’ generalism and its like could also be considered out of bounds?

    Generalisms do neither side of any debate, no matter how heated, any good, and applying them to a debate that’s been dormant for several months without taking time to read the whole of that debate…

    • Not directed at you Daz. Sorry if I wasn’t clear enough on that issue. Talking about Amos. I agree with you completely about the generalizations, but here his specific argument jumps out at me from the God Delusion, which I’m currently making my way through. Just calling a spade a spade. Not including you at all, sir.

      • You’re reading Dawkins? Careful…

        In the words of Louis Jordan “I wouldn’t want my pastor to catch me out like this.”
        :-)

        Glad the back’s okay. I’m good, thanks.

      • Just realised how obscure my musical references can be…

      • Haha. My pastor’s the one who lent me the book. I figure we’re doing a disservice to ourselves and others if we don’t know what the leading figures on each side of the debate are saying. Just read a lot of stuff in my Systematic Theology book about the historicity of the Old Testament, including the Flood. Perhaps I’ll share sometime. :-)

  27. Damn, I meant to enquire about your back-problem the next time you appeared Mr Hubbo. How is it?

    • Hasn’t flared up again, thankfully. Thank you for your concern, Daz. Hope all is well in your neck (no pun intended) of the woods as well!

      • Pun away, Mr. Hubbo! Give Daz a pun for his money (Daz’ puns are simply *awful*–the best kind:))

    • Amos M. Capps
    • October 15th, 2010

    I’m glad that I am “refreshing.” Any Christian who comes on here without a sincere desire for the truth and preaching hellfire and brimstone, well, they are a bit out of touch. While the reality of hell is understood and believed by Christians, there is no use trying to convince you of those types of things if you can’t first be convinced of the existence of God.

    • Amos M. Capps
    • October 15th, 2010

    While Mr. Hubbo is more polite, MUCH more polite, in fact, than your average christian troll, he’s just as tiresome. I’m out of this thread.

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