Ancient Bible fragments reveal a forgotten history

Ancient Bible fragments reveal a forgotten history
Geniza palimpsest with Hebrew (shown upside down) written over the top of a 6th-century copy of Akylas' Greek translation (c. 125 CE) of the Books of Kings (shown the right way up); T-S 12.184r. Taylor-Schechter Genizah Research Unit, reproduced by permission of the Syndics of Cambridge University Library.

New research has uncovered a forgotten chapter in the history of the Bible, offering a rare glimpse of Byzantine Jewish life and culture.

The study by Cambridge University researchers suggests that, contrary to long-accepted views, Jews continued to use a Greek version of the Bible in synagogues for centuries longer than previously thought. In some places, the practice continued almost until living memory.

The key to the new discovery lay in manuscripts, some of them mere fragments, discovered in an old synagogue in Egypt and brought to Cambridge at the end of the 19th century. The so-called Cairo Genizah manuscripts have been housed ever since in Cambridge University Library.

Now, a fully searchable online corpus (www.gbbj.org) has gathered these manuscripts together, making the texts and analysis of them available to other scholars for the first time.

"The translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek between the 3rd and 1st centuries BCE is said to be one of the most lasting achievements of the Jewish civilization - without it, Christianity might not have spread as quickly and as successfully as it did," explained Nicholas de Lange, Professor of Hebrew and Jewish Studies in the Faculties of Divinity and Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, who led the three-year study to re-evaluate the story of the Greek Bible fragments.

"It was thought that the Jews, for some reason, gave up using Greek translations and chose to use the original Hebrew for public reading in synagogue and for private study, until modern times when pressure to use the vernacular led to its introduction in many synagogues."

Close study of the Cairo Genizah fragments by Professor de Lange led to the discovery that some contained passages from the in Greek written in Hebrew letters. Others contained parts of a lost Greek translation made by a convert to Judaism named Akylas in the 2nd century CE. Remarkably, the fragments date from 1,000 years after the original translation into Greek, showing use of the Greek text was still alive in Greek-speaking synagogues in the Byzantine Empire and elsewhere.

Manuscripts in other libraries confirmed the evidence of the Cambridge fragments, and added many new details. It became clear that a variety of Greek translations were in use among Jews in the Middle Ages.

Not only does the new research offer us a rare glimpse of Byzantine Jewish life and culture, but it also illustrates the cross-fertilisation between Jewish and Christian biblical scholars in the Middle Ages. "This is a very exciting discovery for me because it confirms a hunch I had when studying Genizah fragments 30 years ago," said Professor de Lange.

The online resource enables comparison of each word of the Hebrew text, the Greek translation - knows as the Septuagint after the 70 Jewish scholars said to have translated it - and the fragments of Akylas' and other Jewish translations from antiquity.

The resource was created following collaboration between research teams at Cambridge University, including Dr Cameron Boyd-Taylor and Dr Julia Krivoruchko, and King's College London. "This ambitious piece of collaborative digital scholarship required challenging technical difficulties to be solved," explained Paul Spence, who led the team at the Centre for Computing in the Humanities at King's. "It draws together a wide variety of materials under a standards-based framework which provides multiple entry points into the material."


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Dec 28, 2010
Screw physics, I'm basing my entire understanding of the universe on this piece of paper.

Oh wait, that would be ridiculous!

Dec 28, 2010
Screw physics, I'm basing my entire understanding of the universe on this piece of paper.

Oh wait, that would be ridiculous!


lol

"If what I see with my own eyes contradicts this piece of paper... my eyes must be broken."

Dec 28, 2010
Screw physics, I'm basing my entire understanding of the universe on this piece of paper.

Oh wait, that would be ridiculous!


I agree. It would be ridiculous.

Dec 28, 2010
No one said a word about physics. While I vehemently oppose those who use religion to distort science, I also abhor those who denigrate religion simply because they do not believe. Academic integrity is admirable but bigotry in the name of science is just as bad as ignorance in the name of religion. Don't forget that scientific luminaries such as Albert Einstein made strong statements in support of their religious faith. In takes a very narrow mind to deny science in the name of religion; it takes a truly small mind to deny faith in the name of science.

Dec 28, 2010
Screw physics, I'm basing my entire understanding of the universe on this piece of paper.

Sensible plan, but why say screw physics?

Dec 28, 2010

lol

"If what I see with my own eyes contradicts this piece of paper... my eyes must be broken."


Well, that could actually be the case. Suppose you're color blind, then you probably can't tell most shades of red from green.

Or suppose you have some other vision Impairment...

At any rate, your example flies in your own face, as it is quite possible to be visually impaired, and even in such a drastic fashion as color blindness, and yet not even realize it.

If you are color blind, then your eyes(and brain,) are in fact wrong, and whether or not anyone else can "prove" it to you.

I hope you can see how this shows that your notion of what does or does not constitute "evidence" is very narrow minded.

Dec 28, 2010
Einstein did not believe in a personal god. He wrote in a letter that he would be considered an atheist by a priest. His god was the univerese. And opposing religious dogma for any reason is not bigotry, just opposition. These documents prove nothing about the truth of any religion.

Einstein said "The more I learn of science, the more I believe in God." I never said these pieces of paper prove anything, they don't. The point I'm making is that making fun of someone for their faith is bigotry. You may disagree with someone, oppose their beliefs, without denigrating him. Respect is the key. No one is asking you to accept any belief, just have a little respect for other people when you disagree with them. I've said this before, religion and science are two totally seperate disciplines. Niether one should be judged by the other.


Dec 28, 2010
I would add that some people make fun of other people all the time; that doesn't make it right. Someone might call my sister ugly. I might hit them. In a world that has seen myriad wars because of religion is it too much to ask for a little personal restraint and some respectful silence when one disagrees? Or if you must say something, simply state your own beliefs without making fun of or denigrating someone else.

Dec 28, 2010
Hear, hear, CarolinaScotsman, and bravo for speaking up.

Dug
Dec 28, 2010
CarolinaScotsman - I understand your reasoning, but your logic is incredibly bad. You don't get rid of willful ignorance by tolerating it in any way or any form. Information - good or bad has to stand up to ridicule. There are 45+ testaments that were excluded from the bible by Constantine and company. This should be enough to make you more than a little suspicious about the lack of source credibility and the inherent censorship that produced this incredibly disjointed myth. The myriad of wars - came not from religious intolerance, but from tolerating what we know and can prove can't be true by virtue of any religions own terms. Regarding Einstein misinformation you offer: "I received your letter of June 10th. I have never talked to a Jesuit priest in my life and I am astonished by the audacity to tell such lies about me. From the viewpoint of a Jesuit priest I am, of course, and have always been an atheist." - Albert Einstein, letter to Guy H. Raner Jr, July 2, 1945.

Dec 28, 2010
is it too much to ask for a little personal restraint and some respectful silence when one disagrees?

CS,
Yes, it is too much to ask. Respectful silence isn't appropriate when the "faithful" pump money into your state to deny citizens the right to marry. Respectful silence isn't appropriate when they distort text books used in our children's schools.

Respectful silence is for those who are intelligent enough to know we aren't talking about them when we make jokes about believing literally in the "Word of God."

Dec 28, 2010
I am hardly what you would call religious.........but there are suspicions are lot of the more revolutiuonary thinking, progressives chapters in the bible were ripped out and literally burned by those religious nutters who wanted to control people under their thumbed....hence why a lot of the bible is overtly twisted

Dec 28, 2010
No one said a word about physics. While I vehemently oppose those who use religion to distort science, I also abhor those who denigrate religion simply because they do not believe. Academic integrity is admirable but bigotry in the name of science is just as bad as ignorance in the name of religion. Don't forget that scientific luminaries such as Albert Einstein made strong statements in support of their religious faith. In takes a very narrow mind to deny science in the name of religion; it takes a truly small mind to deny faith in the name of science.


No, religion is poison, not to be respected. We should not respect irrational beliefs. Yes, some great people were religious, but this does not speak for the religion. Einstein made great contributions because he was a great scientist. A great mind denies faith, for faith requires little or no thought.

Dec 28, 2010
"religion and science are two totally seperate disciplines. Niether one should be judged by the other"

Wrong. Religion has always lived in the gaps of our scientific understanding. "God of the Gaps". Those gaps are closing rapidly. Religion and science both make claims about our world, about reality. They are not separate domains, and science has proven a much more effective way to make sense of this reality. I know it's politically correct to attempt to separate the two, but they simply are not. I respect your wanting to make peace and I DO agree that we should all be respectful. There is a respectable way to disagree with people's religous claims. Unfortunately, the religious have managed to make it politically incorrect to even question their beliefs, as if it is hands off. Well, it is not!

Dec 28, 2010
"religion is poison, not to be respected. We should not respect irrational beliefs"

I agree, but there is a difference between not respecting irrational beliefs and disrespecting the person that holds them. I have learned that you are doing nobody any good by disrespecting the person. In fact, you are only solidifying there beliefs when you become combative. The ego is the most powerful force in the universe!

Dec 28, 2010
Why would you want to question non-falsifiable statements?


Not all religious claims are meta-physical or non-falsifiable. Many are. Again, religion and science are not separate domains. Religion makes claims about our physical world all the time that can be debunked.


Btw, you are generalizing with "the religious have managed". I question that you have scholarly knowledge of all religions. Seems you mean "some religious have managed".


Fair point. I'm specifically speaking to the dominant religion of my country, Christianity.


Dec 28, 2010
Again, religion and science are not separate domains.

They most certainly are.
Religion makes claims about our physical world all the time that can be debunked.

The point is, debunking is no obstacle to religious belief while it is the cornerstone of science.

Dec 28, 2010
Einstein was very religious,A knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, of the manifestations of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty - it is this knowledge and this emotion that constitute the truly religious attitude; in this sense, and in this alone, I am a deeply religious man. (Albert Einstein)

I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it. (Albert Einstein, 1954)

I believe in Spinoza's God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with the fates and actions of human beings. (Albert Einstein)

Dec 28, 2010
Yeah but they still haven't found the first page:

"This is a work of fiction and any resemblance between the characters and persons living or dead is purely co-incidental"

Dec 29, 2010
Neither physics, nor God is a "wrong answer" God created the universe and physics is merely the explanation of the mechanics used by God. The Bible does depart from current laws of physics, but if God has the powers indicated in the Bible, then he would also have the power to change or at least temporarily suspend the laws of physics, space, and time...which would go a long way to explaining the discrepancies between the events of the Bible and the current laws of physics.

Dec 29, 2010
A great mind denies faith, for faith requires little or no thought. - trekgeek1


Not being completely of the faith, I disagree with this particular statement and support a lot (not necessarily all) of carolinascotsman's words. There are numerous tools and institutions outside of the church these days where science has dumbed down humanity, almost as if science were becoming it's own religion. Computer's, calculator's, TV's, eReaders and scholar's who are right just because they spent an insane amount of time researching something and can produce "unquestionable" statistics are just a few examples. Someone told me recently that God must have a sense of humor; he gave human beings brains. After reading through these posts, I am inclined to agree.

Dec 29, 2010
"The translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek between the 3rd and 1st centuries BCE is said to be one of the most lasting achievements of the Jewish civilization - without it, Christianity might not have spread as quickly and as successfully as it did,

God long ago intended that the Israelites be a shining light to the world. They failed miserably in that task.

I wouldn't be surprised that God planned the translation of the bible into Greek for the very purposed effect mentioned by the researcher. All things point to it being the case: Jesus' coming and then His commission to the Apostles. Followed by His express commissioning of Paul to preach to the gentiles - most notably the Greeks. Read into it what you want - I'm of the opinion God prepared for that task long ago. After all, He knew the Israelites would fail - as predicted in Deuteronomy.

Dec 29, 2010
@Damiens:
The point is, debunking is no obstacle to religious belief while it is the cornerstone of science.

Very questionable statement this. Maybe it applies to the ideal "Science" but not to science as practised by those who have a preconceived idea that there is no Creator.

Let's take the simple case of the existence of comets - by all known laws of physics, there shouldn't be any, not after 4 billion years. Comets only have a lifespan of max 100K years so these objects should have disappeared from the scene long before man got to observe them. Yet here they are. So what do the scientists do in the face of such damning physical evidence? They find NO OBSTACLE to invent an Oort cloud to supply comets. This absolutely fabulous [as from fables] thing has never been observed and also from all known physics even if it does, the clumps it could supply would be of the wrong size and not enough in number.
Don't even mention the poor Kuiper belt either. Both of them have no comets.

Dec 29, 2010
Very questionable statement this.

Not in the least.
Maybe it applies to the ideal "Science"

There is no ideal science, just like there is no christian science. Science is science - that's it.
Let's take the simple case of the existence of comets - by all known laws of physics, there shouldn't be any, not after 4 billion years.

You're having a laugh. I fail to see how the two subjects are linked.
Comets only have a lifespan of max 100K years so these objects should have disappeared from the scene long before man got to observe them. Yet here they are. So what do the scientists do in the face of such damning physical evidence? They find NO OBSTACLE to invent an Oort cloud to supply comets.

Yup, you are having a laugh!

Dec 29, 2010
You don't get rid of willful ignorance by tolerating it in any way or any form. Information - good or bad has to stand up to ridicule.

I assume by "Willful Ignorance" you mean those who refuse to accept solid evidence as opposed to those who don't agree with conclusions drawn from that evidence assuming the disagreement involves things that are testable and falsifiable.

I also assume you mean scrutiny rather than ridicule. Ridicule only results in retaliation and entrenchment.

Dec 29, 2010
Every time I read one of these articles, I seem to gather that we all know what religion is by saying what it isn't. If anything, religion is subjective and even people following a certain tradition have varied views on what that tradition is due to interpretation. Scientific theory provides objective proof, whether backing or denying this religious idea, to show us what and how things really work. However, even what we prove scientifically occasionally is wrong and to debate that we know for a fact every little thing that is current is futile.

Religion, is and is not a poison, it depends on how one chooses to accept their faith or lack of. A religious, yet open-minded individual who has decided to live life with respect to others may accept scientific evidence and mold it into his belief without forcing it on another I fail to find that a poison. It is how he chooses to live his life. A man, however who kills and belittles others with opposing beliefs would be a well defined poison

TLO
Dec 29, 2010
No one said a word about physics. While I vehemently oppose those who use religion to distort science, I also abhor those who denigrate religion simply because they do not believe. Academic integrity is admirable but bigotry in the name of science is just as bad as ignorance in the name of religion. Don't forget that scientific luminaries such as Albert Einstein made strong statements in support of their religious faith. In takes a very narrow mind to deny science in the name of religion; it takes a truly small mind to deny faith in the name of science.


Well said!

Dec 29, 2010
Someone might call my sister ugly. I might hit them. In a world that has seen myriad wars because of religion is it too much to ask for a little personal restraint and some respectful silence when one disagrees? Or if you must say something, simply state your own beliefs without making fun of or denigrating someone else.
I can counter this argument with one word.

Scientology. And if you don't like that one, here's my second piece of evidence, Fred Phelps. Do you think we should let them have their beliefs or should they be shamed for the disgusting things they do within our world to advance their religion?
This absolutely fabulous [as from fables] thing has never been observed and also from all known physics even if it does, the clumps it could supply would be of the wrong size and not enough in number.
Even better example right here, Kevinrtrs. His religious beliefs have made him overtly ignorant of reality. Do you think that isn't to be ridiculed and shamed? Y

Dec 29, 2010
Unfortunately, the religious have managed to make it politically incorrect to even question their beliefs, as if it is hands off. Well, it is not!
Why would you want to question non-falsifiable statements?
The majority of the statements that put the church at odds with science and secularists are completely falsifiable. For example: The Noachian flood for one. Slavery, sexism, Genocide, and infanticide being a moral act. Safe sex practices being shunned dogmatically. Child marriage being moral and encouraged (in some sects).

Where the church is wrong and refuses to acknowledge it is where the rift begins and ends. The religious freedoms granted in secular nations have given rise to many modifications of religion because it allows for questioning dogma, hence why the US has about 4,000 sects of christianity within its borders. Much of religion is falsifiable, and the rift is formed when the right to question is removed.

Dec 29, 2010
I agree with this post of your's almost 100% and you might find it interesting to know that Christ would have as well.
He wouldn't have said anything. If your source material is accurate, which it isn't, Jesus was entirely mute on these attrocities except for Matthew 5:17 where he approves of the law (Deuteronomy) and the actions of the prophets, including the genocides of Moses. If you believe in the Jesus being an avatar of god as many christians do, then the commands to commit these immoral acts came from the very same entity/person.
Maybe you should read a little of what He said instead of having an understanding of what He said based on the false teachers in the pulpits for pay.
Like Matthew, Mark, John, and Luke?
Luke 16:17, Jesus declares that all the vicious, irrational laws of the Old Testament are binding forever.
Matt 18:25, advocation of slavery by Jesus.
Mark 6:11, threats of infanticide and genocide from your gentle Jesus

Try again.

Dec 29, 2010
Bibles are easy to find, you might try reading what Christ said for yourself. Peace.
On average, those who claim secularism or atheism are more aware of the content of the Bible, probably because we have actually read it, as opposed to having it read to us selectively.

Dec 29, 2010
I've said this before, religion and science are two totally seperate disciplines. Niether one should be judged by the other.
Some religious beliefs simply are incompatible with the Universe as shown by science. Thus they are NOT separate disciplines. Only some religious beliefs about the actual Universe can avoid scientific testing EVEN when no one was trying to test those beliefs.

If you believe the Earth is young then you are wrong.
If you believe that one man his three sons and four wives were the only human survivors of a flood 4400 years ago then you are wrong.
If you believe the Earth was formed by a giant cow licking a giant block of ice then you are wrong.

All those beliefs and many more are incompatible with science. Claiming that religion and science are separate won't change that. So your statement is simply wrong.

I am pretty sure I pointed this out to you before. It is time for you to accept reality. Some religions are not compatible with reality.

Ethelred

Dec 29, 2010
The Bible does depart from current laws of physics, but if God has the powers indicated in the Bible, then he would also have the power to change or at least temporarily suspend the laws of physics, space, and time...which would go a long way to explaining the discrepancies between the events of the Bible and the current laws of physics.
Why would a god make the Universe look exactly unlike the Universe described in the Bible? Why would that god punish those that go on the physical evidence instead of the writings of men?

Why would you want to believe in a god that would do such things?

I go on the physical evidence and don't blame a non-existent god for the writings of ignorant men.

There may be a god but its not the one in Genesis.

Ethelred

Dec 29, 2010
There are 45+ testaments that were excluded from the bible by Constantine and company.


I look at the Second Council of Nicaea as a group deciding what 'facts' they would accept for membership in their 'club'. If you don't accept those 'facts' as laid out by the founders of the 'club' then you are not a member of the 'club'.

Example: If your 'club' doesn't accept 'Apostolic Tradition' as 'fact' then your 'club' isn't part of the old 'club'.

Solution: Form your own 'club', and do not claim membership in the original 'club', as your new 'facts' are heretical to the old 'facts'.


Dec 29, 2010
Luke 16:17, Jesus declares that all the vicious, irrational laws of the Old Testament are binding forever.
Matt 18:25, advocation of slavery by Jesus.

I think you should read those passages again, because clearly you either didn't understand what you read, or else you are intentionally lying about what you read. The passage in question is a parable, also known as an analogy, and in itself does not show Jesus advocating slavery. You lie.

Mark 6:11, threats of infanticide and genocide from your gentle Jesus.

Again, you lie.

Infanticide and genocide are the wholesale killing of someone without cause, based solely as a matter of convenience, such as Leftists who commit ABORTION.

What is described here is divine judgment based on criminal acts and the fact that the people, such as yourself, have willfully rejected God's one and only option of forgiveness.

You already know this, but being an habitual liar, you have no reservations about lying in a discusssion.

Dec 29, 2010
So ironically, you want to fault God for enforcing moral law, particularly in the case of capital punishment, but you don't mind murdering babies...

Further, at the rate humans are killing their own babies in modern times, (what are we up to now, 50 or 60 million in the U.S. and Europe just in the past 40 years,) it seems unlikely that there would be any children or infants in a city at the time God decides to do this, since you fools will have already killed them all. You leftists are the "infanticidal" maniacs, via abortion, and you're too big a liar to even admit it.

When he does this, it will be the same as sentencing a serial killer to death by lethal injection, etc, because they deserve it, because not only did they do the evil, such as killing babies, but they neither had pity or remorse, nor accepted God's salvation, nor asked for forgiveness.

We eliminate murderers for the protection of those who are at least half-way decent. God will do the same one day.

Dec 29, 2010
Let's take a recent example in world history of what Divine Justice is analogous to.

After WW2, the Nazi's were put on trial for their genocides, and those found to have been guilty in the chain of command with direct influence, responsibility, and involvement in these and other ware crimes were executed.

We do not find fault with executing a murderer for their crimes, and have even done so recently with Saddam and other murderers and terrorists.

Such is what is done by God in divine judgment.

Now most murderers, or mostly any other criminal, aren't going to admit they did anything wrong, certainly not during the trial anyway, which I suspect will be the case right up to the end with everyone under divine judgement.

You can look at the divine judgment as the only trial in the history of the universe where all the facts are known absolutely by the judge and jury. The criminal will get even fairer treatment there than anywhere else, because everything will be known.

Dec 29, 2010
The passage in question is a parable, also known as an analogy, and in itself does not show Jesus advocating slavery. You lie.

Do you even know what a parable is? It's a story used to enforce a point. The point of that parable was the enslavement of those who had an ideological disagreement with Christianity, ie: Slavery of non-believers is A-OK." Islam got it from somewhere...
What is described here is divine judgment based on criminal acts and the fact that the people, such as yourself, have willfully rejected God's one and only option of forgiveness.
So that makes it ok to say a city full of men, women, children, and infants should be destroyed...
you want to fault God for enforcing moral law,
There's nothing moral about your god.
We eliminate murderers for the protection of those who are at least half-way decent.
And that doesn't make it a moral act.

Your rose colored glasses would be rather quickly removed by a single read through of your Bible.

Dec 29, 2010
QC, answer me this.

Why would God give you a brain, and then tell you not to use it? Just answer that for me, clearly, succinctly, and in one post. No bullshit and scripture necessary, jsut tell me why he'd give you all the tools of reason and then punish you for using them. Don't say the devil does it, because that just leads right back to your "creator of everything, who has a plan".

Dec 29, 2010
The point of that parable was the enslavement of those who had an ideological disagreement with Christianity,


Uh, no, it clearly isn't. Once again, either you have absolutely no idea what you're talking about, or else you are knowingly lying about the passage in question, as anyone can read it for themselves.

This is a parable about two sinners and God. The first servant, representing any unforgiving believer, intially repents and asks to be forgiven of his horrible debt, but refuses to forgive another servant, representing any other believer, of a much smaller debt. So because the first servant refused to forgive the second servant, the Lord then decides that he will in fact not forgive the first servant, and throws him in prison, representing hell.

This passage in NO WAY supports slavery.

A similar passage is in the Lord's Prayer, where he says that if you do not forgive everyone their trespasses then God won't forgive you of your trespasses. Lk. 11:4, Matt. 6:14.

Dec 29, 2010
QC, answer me this.

Why would God give you a brain, and then tell you not to use it? Just answer that for me, clearly, succinctly, and in one post. No bullshit and scripture necessary, jsut tell me why he'd give you all the tools of reason and then punish you for using them. Don't say the devil does it, because that just leads right back to your "creator of everything, who has a plan".


He wouldn't and doesn't.

It's precisely because I use my brain that I know and believe God exists.

You can't even read this passage correctly, of which the meaning is widely known and accepted in all denominations of christianity, and yet it requires about a second or third grade reading comprehension, and you can't even do that.

Why should I give 2 bits what you argue about anything else, when it's clear you cannot even correctly interpret and assimilate knowledge from a passage of an 8 year old reading level, particularly when he gave his own interpretation in verse 35 and others

Dec 29, 2010
If the law said, "Thou shalt not..." and everyone did just that, and moreover, everyone willfully rejected God and his forgiveness, which is not hard to obtain by the way, then they are all guilty.

What is so hard for you to understand that criminals are justly punished, and if anyone has the ability to punish only those who are guilty, that would be God.

It's a small thing for the God who made hundreds of billions of galaxies, each containing hundreds of billions of stars to judge who is and is not guilty and see that only those guilty are punished.

This isn't some indescriminant killing, as even in the case of Sodom we find that God sent messengers to warn the few good people who were still there, and sent his judgment only after having given them time to flee. No innocents were harmed in any way. Well, not quite, because the people in the city tried to rape the messengers, which only serves as further evidence that God's judgment was well deserved.

Dec 29, 2010
Show me a love particle and I'll worry about whether there's a god or not. I'll believe what I want, and you can believe what you want. I know that love is a real thing though, but I can't prove it.

Philosophical discussion asside, the study of religions and the history of religions is very informative about the history of man. It is a source of recorded history from times and places when there are no other records. Funny how that pattern is duplicated in so many different cultures around the world and throughout history. Why is it that people learn to write and sculpt and the first thing they do is write a "bible" and make an idol?

Dec 29, 2010
And that doesn't make it a moral act


Sure it does, and by the same reasoning as any rational person would use.

If you end up having to kill some lunatic in self defense, or go to war with a rogue nation because of self defense, then your actions are justified.

Eliminating such criminals is both moral and justified because of the safety of othe rpeople who they may, and probably will, continue to hurt. If I have a choice to kill one murderer, or stand by and know he is most likely going to do it again and again, then by God, yes, eliminate him.

If you had YOUR way, civilization itself would be impossible, because all the Nazis, terrorists, serial killers and other murderers and rapists would eventually just wipe everyone out, including one another. You clearly haven't thought this sort of thing through very well.

Dec 29, 2010
Why is it that people learn to write and sculpt and the first thing they do is write a "bible" and make an idol?


A prophet in the Bible posed much the same question, in rhetorical form, as part of God's indictment against the apostates in Israel, in Isaiah 44:9.

You see, the real prophet from the real God is mocking the fakes, because they worship the works of their own hands. Whereas there is only one true God, and he is not made by man, nor is he worshipped with the works of our hands.

Aside from pointing out the vanity and insanity of idolatry, one of the purposes of this passage is to clearly demonstrate that God is not some figment of anyone's imagination, nor the invention of man, but that he is the creator of heaven and earth. yet people, in their willful rebellion, would rather worship a tree or a rock than to know the truth or to worship God.

Sadly, people in east asia still worship sticks and stones and stars, as do many atheists the world over.

Dec 29, 2010
GS:
I know that love is a real thing though, but I can't prove it.
But you can demonstrate it.
QC:
He wouldn't and doesn't.
Certainly does. Hence the whole "test" bullshit you guys proffer to us non-believers.
It's precisely because I use my brain that I know and believe God exists.
If you were using your brain you would know that you cannot know anything that you cannot demonstrate.
You can't even read this passage correctly, of which the meaning is widely known and accepted in all denominations of christianity, and yet it requires about a second or third grade reading comprehension, and you can't even do that.
Let's pull another passage and see what you have to say of that.

"Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones." Psalms 137:9

What's your reasoning for this being a valid and "moral" stance?
If you end up having to kill some lunatic in self defense
Justification is not morality.

Dec 29, 2010
People commit idolatry all the time today, and even boast about it knowingly.

I had an economics instructor who once called Alan Greenspan "God". How wrong and insane she was. Some people worship their favorite celebrity, athelete or sports team, and will nearly die in an attempt not to miss a game or a chance to meet the person.

Some people worship the scientific method, believing that if something cannot be repeated in a laboratory then it must not be real, etc.

Some people worship the constitution, believing that it is somehow the perfect legal framework, and etc.

Dec 29, 2010
The morality of your Holy Books is contemporary to the time in which they were written. If your God is as you say, unchanging, eternal, and timeless the morality of your religion would not change, and you would be in your backyard stoning your children to death for talking back. The Christian Judaic and Islamic interpretations of god are chronologically and culturally contemporary to the period in which they were depicted. Everything known that can be demonstrated stands in opposition to your beliefs, yet they do not change. Get with the times, and if you care to keep your faith, allow it to change with the times and remain healthy. Otherwise YOU are the problem.

Dec 29, 2010
I know that love is a real thing though, but I can't prove it.
But you can demonstrate it


Oh yeah? Prove that you exist.

I was an atheist until one summer when I had things happen to me that I can't explain. I'm a believer now, but I still strongly oppose organized religion. There is a church in St Joseph Missouri where they actually require members to submit the previous year's tax forms and then have a tithe direct withdrawn from the bank based on a percentage of income. I think that's just beautiful. ..They have guys rip telephone books in half and hold snakes on stage. The minister has a jet.

Dec 29, 2010
Justification is not morality


You realize in a perfect world murder wouldn't exist. However, because murder does exist, good people sometimes have to kill evil people in order to prevent them from doing worse than they already have. I think this is pretty obvious, though for some reason you seem not to cmprehend this fact.

The passage in psalm 137 is no different than, for example, the U.S. declaring war on Osama and his ilk after 9/11. It is a realization and a cry that a great injustice has been done, and that those responsible must pay for their crimes.

When they destroyed Israel, they completely leveled the place to the ground, killed over 2/3rds of the nation's entire population, and raped the women, and enslaved anyone who survived. This was basicly the "original" Holocaust, and based on context from the writings elsewhere in the Bible, somewhere on the order of 8 or 9 million Jews, perhaps even more, were killed in this unprovoked war.

Dec 29, 2010
Oh yeah? Prove that you exist.
Well the screen name known as Skeptical Heretic certainly does exist. So either I exist, or I'm the best representation of a Turing machine ever created.
However, because murder does exist, good people sometimes have to kill evil people in order to prevent them from doing worse than they already have. I think this is pretty obvious, though for some reason you seem not to cmprehend this fact.
No, I comprehend it, I don't lie to myself and say that killing is moral, regardless of the cause.
It is a realization and a cry that a great injustice has been done, and that those responsible must pay for their crimes.

By smashing their innocent children's heads on the rocks? What is wrong with you?
This was basicly the "original" Holocaust, and based on context from the writings elsewhere in the Bible, somewhere on the order of 8 or 9 million Jews, perhaps even more, were killed
There weren't 8 or 9 million Jews at the time.

Dec 29, 2010
Moreover, if you would simply READ the entire Bible in context, and let scripture interpret scripture, you woldn't get so confused about what is going on.

You'll find elsewhere that we are told point blank that God does not punish the children for the sins of the fathers, and so on.

So your concerns about anything of that nature are unwarranted.

Dec 29, 2010
Well the screen name known as Skeptical Heretic certainly does exist


I suppose that if you could prove that the Universe exists, then that argument would be valid. As it stands, since the Universe may not exist it doesn't make sense to say that your screen name does. How do you even define existence, without being circular?

No matter how much of reality you can explain without invoking God, there is always a point at which our understanding of reality breaks down and you are left with only the possibility of something supernatural.

Dec 29, 2010
There is a church in St Joseph Missouri where they actually require members to submit the previous year's tax forms and then have a tithe direct withdrawn from the bank based on a percentage of income. I think that's just beautiful. ..They have guys rip telephone books in half and hold snakes on stage. The minister has a jet.


This is exactly why I recently made a comment on here that no true Christian should attend "Church". They are not interested in truth or morality or worship of God. They are interested in your pocket book.

The Biblical Christian is constantly giving and helping others whenever they have the means.

The modern pulpit Christian or even pew-sitting Christian does little other than demand from everyone else, and the false pastor and two or three of his cohorts make more money than the next 10 or 100 people combined in his false church that teaches a false and twisted theology and doctrine.

Dec 29, 2010
Moreover, if you would simply READ the entire Bible in context, and let scripture interpret scripture, you woldn't get so confused about what is going on.
Is that why you have all of these non-scriptorial answers for the travesty found within its pages?
You'll find elsewhere that we are told point blank that God does not punish the children for the sins of the fathers, and so on.
Complete nonsense. Deut. 5:9 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me...
Luke 16:17 It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the least stroke of a pen to drop out of the Law.

Now do you want to cite the passage that states that children won't be "killed" for the sins of the father? Sure, go ahead. But killed and punished are not one in the same, and that's simply the scripture telling me so.

Try reading before you preach.

Dec 29, 2010
No matter how much of reality you can explain without invoking God, there is always a point at which our understanding of reality breaks down and you are left with only the possibility of something supernatural.
No, you were perfectly correct until you said "supernatural". Replace that word with "unknown" and you'd be quite correct.
How do you even define existence, without being circular?
The sum total of observed and demonstrated experience. Or to use another's words, "Cogito ergo sum."

Dec 29, 2010
There weren't 8 or 9 million Jews at the time.


there were several million at the time of the Exodus some ~800 years earlier. There were also over a million million at the time of the census which David illegally performed, several hundred years earlier, and at that time. See 1 Chrn. 21:5, which gives 1,100,000 for Israel and 470,000 for Judah. He was only counting armed, able-bodied males of military age.

So that's already 1,570,000 armed able-bodied military age males. Then you'll find that in the next verse it states that he didn't even count the tribes of Levi and Benjamin at all, so fair estimate add another 1/5th since he only actually counted 10 of the 12 tribes...so we're at roughtly 1,900,000 able-bodied, armed males, over a half-millenia prior to the events in question.

Now figure women and children...

Now figure population growth for a civilization which, unlike ours, believed child bearing was a good and noble thing, and was their duty to God.

Dec 29, 2010
SH:

Read the next verse, you deciever.

Deut. 5:10 "And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments."

And also notice that verse 9 says, "of them that hate me," such as yourself. He is not referring to any decendents who don't hate him...

Now do you want to cite the passage that states that children won't be "killed" for the sins of the father?


Try the 3rd, 18th, and 33rd chapters of ezekiel.

Ez. 18:20...The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him
23:Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?
32:For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.

And now we know for a fact you've never read the Bible...

Dec 29, 2010
there were several million at the time of the Exodus some ~800 years earlier.
Nonsense. The Hyksos numbered in the hundreds of thousands, not millions. There weren't even 8 or 9 million people in the region of Judea and Israel, let alone of a particular cultural decent. The best reconstruction we've been able to make is that there were 50 million people or so in total on the planet at the time.
There were also over a million million at the time of the census which David illegally performed, several hundred years earlier, and at that time.
tell us how you feed 100 Billion people, let alone 100 billion people before the advent of basic industrial agriculture. And if you're from the UK, go ahead and shorten that to 1 billion, because you still can't do it.

Absolutely out of your mind.
He is not referring to any decendents who don't hate him...
He's still visiting the sins of the father upon the child, isn't he. Comeback when you've read it.

Dec 29, 2010
You'll also notice, that it goes even farther than that, not merely saying they won't be killed for the sins of the father or vice versa, but saying that the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.

Which is also summed up in the Biblical saying paraphrased as, "you reap what you sow," which is found all throughout the Bible in both the old and new testament.

Dec 29, 2010
The sum total of observed and demonstrated experience


total:A whole quantity; an entirety

demonstrated:To show to be true by reasoning or adducing evidence; prove

experience: The apprehension of an object, thought, or emotion through the senses or mind

Circular.

Everything is real because you can perceive it, and you can perceive it because it's real. Is perception even real?

Dec 29, 2010
And now we know for a fact you've never read the Bible...
There's a reason why I'm an atheist, and more prominently an anti-theist. I read your material. It is full of bigotry, murder, genocide, incest, and other human traits I find quite deplorable, all of which were considered well and good for the age in which the book was written. To bring the barbaric traits of pre-ironage culture forward, and then further it with such ridiculous lies as the Kingdom of Israel having a "million million" residents is jsut absolutely ridiculous.

If you want to go on believing that the Earth is only 6000 years old, that an unknown and unknowable deity has a plan for you, and that the Bible, in all its grotesque glory, is true and legitimate, that's quite fine. Keep it away from my culture, my laws, my ethics, and my kids because it is utterly deplorable and vacant of reason.

Dec 29, 2010
I accidentally typed Million twice, I meant to say "Million", not "billion," which is crystal clear from the text I quoted. Get a life.

You can read the thing for yourself, the numbering of the people in Exodus, several places in Judges and the book of...numbers, how quaint, and in the kings and chronicles consistently gives the population well into the millions, only counting able-bodied, military age males...

If you don't want to believe the historical documents of the people who were actually alive at the time, then that's your choice to be an idiot.

Dec 29, 2010
This is exactly why I recently made a comment on here that no true Christian should attend "Church".
-Said like a true religionist- always judging the behavior of other believers and people in general. Youre just chock full of opinions arent you QC? Twenty-two posts and counting today, and all of them 1/5s. You really think your opinions are that valuable? You rarely test any of them before you post. What do you think is wrong with you?
there were several million at the time of the Exodus
There were never 2M jews in Goshen, per archeology. This one of the many facts which proves that your bible is full of lies.

Dec 29, 2010
You stupid moron, the "million million" was a typo, which was obvious to anybody reading the post, both from the passage I was referencing, and also from the context of my post.

IT WAS AN ACCIDENTAL DOUBLE, YOU MORON. GROW A BRAIN.

Read the rest of the post in which I added the amounts given in the Bible of 1,100,000 plust 470,000 and then pointed out they only counted 10 of the 12 tribes, so I added those together and then "estimated" another 20% to figure for two more tribes, giving 1,900,000 military aged, armed, able-bodied males.

I never said anything about "billions". That was a typo.

Dec 29, 2010
I accidentally typed Million twice,
Ok, we'll let that one pass because I don't think even you could be serious when saying that.
You can read the thing for yourself, the numbering of the people in Exodus
Which never happened.
several places in Judges and the book of...numbers
Also never happened.
and in the kings and chronicles consistently gives the population well into the millions
Which also never happened.
only counting able-bodied, military age males
Because women and children weren't considered to be people. They were lumped in with cattle by the classification of the time period.
If you don't want to believe the historical documents of the people who were actually alive at the time
The KJV is not a historical document. Neither are any of the Pentateuch as there are no originals in existence. We have found a great many stories that had nothing to do with your Christian history that have the exact same story.

Dec 29, 2010
This is funny:
A prophet in the Bible posed much the same question, in rhetorical form, as part of God's indictment against the apostates in Israel, in Isaiah 44:9.

You see, the real prophet from the real God is mocking the fakes
-except the 'real prophet' never existed, the apostates never existed, and god himself did not, and does not, exist. All fake. And you use the word 'rhetorical'. Ha.

Dec 29, 2010
Read the rest of the post in which I added the amounts given in the Bible of 1,100,000 plust 470,000 and then pointed out they only counted 10 of the 12 tribes, so I added those together and then "estimated" another 20% to figure for two more tribes, giving 1,900,000 military aged, armed, able-bodied males.

this here is the best part QC. You think that a book that states the ages of some men were in the hundred of years in an age when we KNOW the average person didn't live much past 25 is accurate in a census of million when they barely even had the concept of a million at that time. It really is unbelievable what you claim to "know".


Dec 29, 2010
This also is funny:
Moreover, if you would simply READ the entire Bible in context, and let scripture interpret scripture, you woldn't get so confused about what is going on.
-In the context of what? History as it actually was, from what we've learned by studying actual evidence, or the contrived fairyland portrayed in the bible?

This IS what you mean by letting scripture interpret scripture, isnt it? Because the world that scripture describes never existed anywhere else but in the bible. So scripture never has any hope of making any sense whatsoever, except within the phoney world it portrays. And even then it is full of inconsistancies and errors, which are embarrassingly easy to point out.

Dec 29, 2010
There were never 2M jews in Goshen, per archeology. This one of the many facts which proves that your bible is full of lies.


Why everyone assumes population in the ancient world was a few dozen is beyond comprehension.

As an example of other nations military power at that time.
From Wikipedia:
Xerxes set out in the spring of 480 BC from Sardis with a fleet and army which Herodotus claimed was more than two million strong with at least 10,000 elite warriors named Persian Immortals. Xerxes was victorious during the initial battles


Just to put in perspective, the numbers are not without similar examples from the same time period.

Which clearly shows that your claim that they didn't know what a "million" was is false.

I can show you the number "400 trillion" expressed in the New Testament, if you like...

Dec 29, 2010
Why everyone assumes population in the ancient world was a few dozen is beyond comprehension.
We're not assuming, and we never siad anything about dozens. The estimated population on the planet during the bronze age was in the area of 50 million give or take 100,000. This is supported by archaeology, genomics, cultural data, and surviving documentation from the various world empires of the time.
Xerxes set out in the spring of 480 BC from Sardis with a fleet and army which Herodotus claimed was more than two million strong with at least 10,000 elite warriors named Persian Immortals. Xerxes was victorious during the initial battles
Frank Miller Graphic Novels are not historically accurate.
Just to put in perspective, the numbers are not without similar examples from the same time period.
Produce one. Produce an example of the number 1 million from before the Greek empire in an original document. Won't happen.
"400 trillion"
No, you can't.

Dec 29, 2010
Dan. 7:10 A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened

100 million at end times judgment.

Which is clearly the author's own tally. Perhaps the people he saw were in rows or collums so that they were easily countable, such as the case at any organized public event.

Rev 5:11
And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands;

This is usually taken to express 400 trillion. 10000 times 10000 times thousands of thousands is at least 400 trillion.

However, the author also states that they cannot actually be numbered by a human being. This was his initial estimate, but later he gave up counting (Rev. 7:9).

You're claim that they didn't knew what one million was is ridiculous.

Dec 29, 2010
Produce an example of the number 1 million from before the Greek empire in an original document. Won't happen....No, you can't.


I already gave several in the Bible and one extra-biblical, which in the case of the greco-persian wars is also the number even given on the History Channel.

You just can't handle the fact you're completely ignorant.

2.Genesis 24:60
And they blessed Rebekah, and said unto her, Thou art our sister, be thou the mother of thousands of millions, and let thy seed possess the gate of those which hate them


Wow there's the very word "Million" in the Bible, and it's a thousands of millions, i.e. at least "four billion".

Guess these "caveman" could count and plan ahead after all.

Dec 29, 2010
Of course you'd use a retranslation from 1651. Of course you'd assume that the document had never, ever been re or mis- translated. Of course.

As for the History channel, LOL.

The Greeks did not have a character for one million.

The romans didn't even have a character for one million until legacy Italian was the primary language of the former empire.

You're wholly ignorant of history. If you even wanted to try, at all, you would have said Herodotus used one million, which he didn't in the original manuscript.

Just pointless trying to show you anything that disagrees with your set in stone ideology.

The earliest texts for the passage from genesis that you cite states: "And they passed fortune unto Rivqa, and said unto her, Thou art our sister, be thou the mother of children countless as the stars in the sky, and let thy legacy possess the gate of those which curse them.

If you actually cared to be accurate, you would know of retranslations in the text.

Dec 29, 2010
If everyone had 4 or 5 kids, or more in many cases, because they had no birth control and they believed that lots of kids was a good thing, which we see in the Bible, "Happy is he who has his quiver full..."

Then population can double literally almost every generation.

If every couple averages 4 kids per generation, which is not unreasonable since until recently it was even that way in relatively modern times in europe and america, I have 16 great aunts and uncles on one side of the family, and 12 on another, for example, and the muslims are still like that today...

Then after just ten generations the population of the tenth generation alone has mulitplied 1000 times over the first generation.

If you assume some sort of mistake in the numbers, and started with 10000 people at the exodus, then after ten generations you would have ~ten million born in the tenth generation alone.

Almost eveyrone named in the Bible had 5 to 10 children or more, so this is even conservative

Dec 29, 2010
Then after just ten generations the population of the tenth generation alone has mulitplied 1000 times over the first generation.
Because infant and maternal mortality wasn't 50% or higher until the 1600's, there were never any famines, disease, war, etc....

Have you ever thought that you're wrong, ever?

Dec 29, 2010
This conversation between QC and SH is just hilarious ... I think the best tactic would simply have been not to feed the troll, but since it's already started ...

QC, as SH at least partly points out, all of your examples of large numbers are either re-translations or as math - that is, x times y, not the the number itself. SH wasn't trying to say that they had no concept of large quantities, but that they didn't have actually numbers for them, such as million and billion, which is completely accurate and which your quotes actually PROVE rather than disprove. He was just pointing out your ignorance in that specific case, as a side bar to pointing out your ignorance in estimated population for certain geographies based on multiple verifiable methods as compared to the counts provided in your bible.

Dec 29, 2010
Your belief that this is impossible just shows how ignorant you are and how little actual thought you've given to this.

Like I said, my great grandmother on my dad's mother's side, had 16 kids. She has several hundred descendents after just 5 generations. I have so many cousins on just that one branch of the family that I literally do not even know them all. Some of them I've never even met. If I go to my grandmother's family reunion, who is just 1 of the 16, there are so many cousins and relatives that I can't even keep track of them.

Now picture that ten or 20 generations or more, in a row. For 800 years even...wow...there was time to make millions and millions of decendents, and even kill one another in pointless civil wars and other crap as recorded, and still have plenty time for that to happen.

Dec 29, 2010
Your 400 trillion example is also ridiculous as its two separate multiplications.

The back and forth with this verse says this oh but this one says that is also just hilarious ... SH made a mistake in asking you to show a passage that contradicted the passage he quoted about the sins of the fathers being visited on the sons ... the funny thing though is that your response, though refuting his specific point, actually points out a CONTRADICTION in the bible - one of the least of many. THAT is the real issue, to me - if the nonexistent god has a certain moral set that disagrees with mine, so be it, MAYBE I'll have to accept he exists (depending on other evidences, though not necessarily follow him) ... but if that moral set is contradictory ... well, that just proves his nonexistence.

Also, math is wonderful, but archeology, genetics, etc. are much more appropriate for estimating populations as SH pointed out already.

Dec 29, 2010
...estimated population for certain geographies based on multiple verifiable methods as compared to the counts provided in your bible.


Yeah, let's not use a nation's own census to count their population at a given time frame. Let's just make up some number you pulled out of the air, about like all the other crap in modern dating and archeology.

You realize how ridiculous that is?

You discarding the Biblical text accounts of the census, are equivalent of calling up the U.S. census board and telling them they were off by a few orders of magnitude in counting our population.

Dec 29, 2010
To clarify - math is of course a part of the archeological and genetic analysis, my point is that your simple math is meaningless. Math cannot provide an accurate representation unless it has a reasonable percentage of the relevant factors accounted for. Thus, archeology and genetics and so on provide evidence which allows the required math to be much smaller in scope.

But I digress.

And cure the character limit on physorg ... brevity is good, but some ideas are just hard to explain in a tiny number of words.

Dec 29, 2010

Yeah, let's not use a nation's own census to count their population at a given time frame. Let's just make up some number you pulled out of the air, about like all the other crap in modern dating and archeology.


First of all, it's not pulled out of the air, it's based on facts and evidence.

And although it's perfectly valid to doubt their census - after all, a lot of the math and surveying methodology involved was much less developed at the time - the error in the numbers may not originate from the census itself. It could be a translation or copying error. Think of the telephone game.

Dec 29, 2010
SH made a mistake in asking you to show a passage that contradicted the passage he quoted about the sins of the fathers being visited on the sons
Wasn't a mistake:)
the funny thing though is that your response, though refuting his specific point
Which he didn't do.
Yeah, let's not use a nation's own census to count their population at a given time frame. Let's just make up some number you pulled out of the air, about like all the other crap in modern dating and archeology.
The only evidence you have for the existence of David is a mound in Tel Dan that says "House of David" in Assyrian. Now you're going to tell me you have a copy of the census from the time period.

Please do show it to us.
You discarding the Biblical text accounts
Stop right there sonny. You're going to have to prove that self contradictory document is accurate first.

Dec 29, 2010
And yeah, war and human sacrifice are probably, almost certainly, the number 1 and 2 reasons world population stayed as low as it did as long as it did.

The spartans, that all of modern western civilization idolize, used to take their new born babies and thow them out in the wilderness for a few days to see if they died. If they died then too bad. If they lived, they thought "good deal, this one's tough."

I guess it's no wonder that a modern culture that worships greco-roman "classics" wouldn't find much of anything wrong with abortion after all.

And what is the obsession with cultures that practiced human sacrifice anyway? The New age movement loves those central american cultures...

Dec 29, 2010
Now QC is backpedaling and sidetracking. Can't argue the population point any more because he so completely and utterly, provably wrong. Also hasn't addressed the issue with biblical contradiction, yet using that book (which is of course an arbitrarily assembled mess of many, many writings, translated and retranslated and copied and recopied) as incontrovertible evidence for his ridiculous claims.

Dec 29, 2010
And yeah, war and human sacrifice are probably, almost certainly, the number 1 and 2 reasons world population stayed as low as it did as long as it did.
No, famine, disease, and infant mortality hold that crown.
The spartans, that all of modern western civilization idolize, used to take their new born babies and thow them out in the wilderness for a few days to see if they died.
No they didn't. The priest of the temple would examine them for physical defect and toss them into a chasm if they didn't pass muster. Come on, be at least a little accurate.
I guess it's no wonder that a modern culture that worships greco-roman "classics" wouldn't find much of anything wrong with abortion after all.
/facepalm Jesus Christ is a name found on the temple of Zeus, Ei Sous Khristos, or "Hail Zeus, the Annointed One". Through a mirror darkly...
And what is the obsession with cultures that practiced human sacrifice anyway?
You mean like Abraham?

Dec 29, 2010
And what is the obsession with cultures that practiced human sacrifice anyway?
You mean like Abraham was going to?

lol awesome ... wonderful to see QC demonstrated as an absolute moron, as always, but you're feeding into his (probably unintentional) distraction ... I really want him to finish the population argument or admit he was wrong (in my dreams), and to address using an internally flawed document as his primary source of evidence for his ridiculous claims.

Dec 29, 2010
Wow, that quoting didn't go as intended ... you get the idea though :P

Here's a good place to start on bible contradictions: www. infidels. org/library/modern/jim_meritt/bible-contradictions. html

Dec 29, 2010
And what is the obsession with cultures that practiced human sacrifice anyway?

You mean like Abraham?

You know, let's remove Abraham, because he didn't actually do it and you can justify that however you want, but Christianity on the whole is based on human sacrifice.

Without a martyred Christ, there's no forgiveness for Christians.

Dec 29, 2010
All goes to show it was easier to use Greek, they owned the holy land for a while. Their generals were given large swaths of territory that later became nations like Egypt...Cleopatra was Greek not Egyptian. Hebrew was probably suppressed for centuries, living on as an 'underground' language like Ukrainian in the Soviet time. Interesting to see the neat letters in the age of no movable type...before Gutenburg's press was invented over a thousand years later. Note that the Bible was the first job for Gutenberg's press, and the reformation soon followed as the common people got their hands on real Bibles, real cheap, in real live languages for the first time in history.

Dec 29, 2010
Why would you want to question non-falsifiable statements?
The majority of the statements
...
Your statements are agreeable. Their juxtapositioning with my question, however, is not, as they are not answering that question.


I cannot speak for SH's motives, but I can speak for my own. QC is clearly past help and will not see the light of day no matter how many times he completely fails to argue on these boards (er, comment pages). However, others read these comments, and so it is worth addressing utterly false statements which he makes. Now, that contradicts my statement about not feeding the troll ... maybe I'm wrong about that and he simply does need to be dealt with, or maybe I mean that is why I enter into a protracted argument, but a simple statement on his part should be left alone in order to prevent further idiocies. Not sure.

Dec 29, 2010
I cannot speak for SH's motives, but I can speak for my own. QC is clearly past help and will not see the light of day no matter how many times he completely fails to argue on these boards (er, comment pages). However, others read these comments, and so it is worth addressing utterly false statements which he makes.
My motives are two, and perhaps three fold.
1) Learn something I didn't know prior ior gain a unique viewpoint on a topic.

2) Ensure that ridiculous statements have an appropriate disclaimer beneath them to prevent toxicity in our textual legacy. (see your explanation above).

3) To ensure I stay sharp in conversation.

Unfortunately I tend to miss number 3 and use profanity when confronting ingorance. That seems to be about the only thing some people understand lately.

Dec 29, 2010
I wouldn't claim to "have actually read the Bible" as long as I don't have read the Greek and Hebrew sources.
That's opposed to have read some selected translations.
Read the stories of the septuagint and the hexapla to get an impression of the meaning of Bible translations.
You're quite correct, allow me to make a post correction.

You cannot argue a topic with no knowledge of said topic. The reason why most secularists have disavowed religion is because they have read enough on the matter, using contemporary and sometimes ancient texts and translations to understand that the religion at play is of no interest ot them. That is as opposed to having selected translations uttered to them with no interactive feedback.

For example: I can carve up all of GW Bush's speeches and selectively present them and everyone would agree with the statements therein. That says nothing of the content of the original speeches.

Dec 29, 2010
For example: I can carve up all of GW Bush's speeches and selectively present them


So you're saying that people tend to ignore certain unpleasant parts of the bible in favor of other parts which they like? For example, we might not want to be too vocal about what the bible says about women and their place in life?

Dec 29, 2010
So you're saying that people tend to ignore certain unpleasant parts of the bible in favor of other parts which they like? For example, we might not want to be too vocal about what the bible says about women and their place in life?
Yes, exactly. This isn't a problem in and of itself, but when you allow someone to now say that the Bible is the inerrant word of God, and to change it is tantamount to heresy and punishable by death, you present a disgusting and horrific amoral environment where the thoughts of men who were very ignorant, bigotted, and lacking in civil ability now have a platform by which to enforce their regime of disgusting activity upon the "faithful".

Corporate Avenger said it best "The Bible is bullshit, the Koran is a lie, the Bhagivad Gita did not fall from the sky. These are all books that were written by men..."

If you like metal, you're probably already familiar with the song.

Just think of Deut. when someone hates gays, but eats Red Lobster.

Dec 29, 2010
And what is the obsession with cultures that practiced human sacrifice anyway?

You mean like Abraham?

You know, let's remove Abraham, because he didn't actually do it and you can justify that however you want, but Christianity on the whole is based on human sacrifice.

Without a martyred Christ, there's no forgiveness for Christians.
As far as hebrews and infanticide goes, their term for hell, gehenna, comes from the trash ravine outside jerusalem where they would throw unwanted babies, as a supposed gift to the canaanite god moloch.

-And youre right, martyrdom is essential to revolution and christ showed the world how to do it in style. OT = conquest; NT = revolution. Millions sacrificed themselves for the cause of the peaceful little godman, who said 'I have come to bring not peace but a sword...' And central to the faith, the eucharist, the prehistoric rite of cannibalism which, as practiced for real by religionists today, is the cause of kuru.

Dec 29, 2010
Greek or Hebrew, I don't know. Wish I could understand what those flame letters I saw meant. An aramaic or
ancient Hebrew word written in fire in the air.
You see what I'm saying? You can't record this down.
It's like writing on water. You see?

Dec 29, 2010
So far, the actually funniest bit from QC that I've noticed here, spans the conjunction of the following two quotes:
because murder does exist, good people sometimes have to kill evil people in order to prevent them from doing worse than they already have

if you do not forgive everyone their trespasses then God won't forgive you of your trespasses. Lk. 11:4, Matt. 6:14.

Aside from the stark contrast between the Old Testament "eye for an eye" vs. the New Testament "offer the other cheek"...

How does one choose between righteous martyrdom, vs. mortal life prolonged through mortal sin ("preventative" murder)? What's more important to a true believer: an infinitesimal extension of a vanishingly short existence, or infinite bliss after death?

I can never understand why true believers (who ARE NOT rank hypocrites at heart) even bother with self-defense, or medicine, or mourning for the dead: they should WELCOME and CELEBRATE death, as passage out of toil and into bliss!

;-)

Dec 30, 2010
Screw physics, I'm basing my entire understanding of the universe on this piece of paper.

Oh wait, that would be ridiculous!


Amateur.

Dec 30, 2010
I can never understand why true believers (who ARE NOT rank hypocrites at heart) even bother with self-defense, or medicine, or mourning for the dead: they should WELCOME and CELEBRATE death, as passage out of toil and into bliss!

One can be happy for someone who dies, while also being sad at the loss of a friend. Anyone can understand this simple dichotomy between empathy for others and empathy for oneself.

In terms of self defense, "turn the other cheek" is widely regarded as an admonition against taking revenge for an insult. Other admonitions regarding specific circumstances are widely regarded as making sure that death of Jesus went according to God's plan. In this view, self defense is permitted as long as the intent is to neutralize an aggressor without killing them.

Nothing prohibits the use of medicine and it can be argued that failure to defend oneself from an ailment without just cause is tantamount to suicide.

Dec 30, 2010
loss of a friend
how does that matter at all? How does *anything* matter at all, when we're talking about ~70 years of lifespan vs. INFINITY in afterlife? And aren't you also permanently reunited with all your friends and family, at that point? ;)
self defense is permitted as long as the intent is to neutralize an aggressor without killing them
That would at least argue pretty solidly against capital punishment. (Indeed, how do you "love your enemy" and "pray for them" while simultaneously murdering him/her?)
Nothing prohibits the use of medicine
Well, there are a few sects who might beg to differ.

Disease and pestilence are all part of ghost's plan, you see... Who are you to presume to dodge bullets sent at you by the almighty and mysterious ghost? The ghost will cure you, if you just pray to it hard enough: it giveth, and it taketh away. Medicine, on the other hand, is witchcraft by another name: a material cure for the material body -- i.e. Satan's domain.

Dec 30, 2010
You can mock God all you want,
Can't mock something that doesn't exist. I can't be bother to try myself.
but you better be really sure you have it right.
I am sure that the god of Genesis does not exist UNLESS it is a liar in which case I see even less reason to go on the Bible.
Can you prove God doesn't exist?
Done it for the god of Genesis. Which is clearly the god YOU are talking about.
IF so then prove it to yourself and make damn sure you get it right for you own sake
Thanks for silly threats of punishment from a god that would punish those that go on the physical evidence that YOU claim is the work of Jehovah.

And no that isn't mocking Jehovah since there is no such god. Its pointing out that you are making silly threats based on ignorance. YOUR ignorance.

Ethelred

Dec 30, 2010
Quibble about the Bible all you want. Pick on mistakes and mis-understandings all you want. It is written in a way that makes no sense to unbelivers.
No, that's also nonsense. It was written by a cohort of men at different times, then retranslated and changed multiple times. It is not inerrant, or unchanged.
The Old Testament is the old agreement between God and man. Christ established a new agreement which is why the Jewish leaders at the time wanted Him dead.
No. Again, check your gospels. The whole easier for everything to be destroyed than any words to fall from law ordeal. I posted it above.
I treat cancer patients of all beliefs and I do it with love and compassion for all.
So do secularists, and other religious backgrounds. Cancer is awful, just one more argument against a benevolent and caring god.
Can you prove God doesn't exist?
Which one? There's a few hundred thousand gods.

I don't want to do this again today...

Dec 30, 2010
Quibble about the Bible all you want.

Thanks, we will.
Pick on mistakes and mis-understandings all you want.

Thanks again.
It is written in a way that makes no sense to unbelivers.

You got that right - it makes no sense to people that don't need to be told what to think.
Once someone comes to believe then they can understand it.

As long as they check their brains at the door.
"My sheep know me and they hear my voice".

Yup, it takes a sheep to believe.
I treat cancer patients of all beliefs and I do it with love and compassion for all. I judge no one.

Brill.
The look of peace on a believer's face as they pass into the next life

It's good to be high (I'm told).
the look of terror on the unbeliver when they realized that they have made a terrible mistake.

How could they if they don't believe?
You can mock God all you want

Cheers!
Can you prove God doesn't exist?

Can't prove a negative.

Dec 30, 2010
The problem with religion is that its adherents will distort their science to accommodate their beliefs. Scientists will not distort religion to adhere to their scientific beliefs.

I think Jewish (or any religious for that matter) scholars doing archeology will hide or destroy their findings if those findings challenge their beliefs. Religious people are on a constant search for confirmation of their beliefs, just as scientists are. The difference is that scientists worship the truth, the religious by definition don't.

Dec 30, 2010
In this view, self defense is permitted as long as the intent is to neutralize an aggressor without killing them.
History proves you woefully naive grasshopper. And if necessary, you too would become a soldier for christ. Would you actually let all who believe in him be killed off in his name? Or even just the members of your particular sect? What would you do to the people whom you knew were merely planning to do that, or had proven by past actions that they would inevitably try?

You're no different from any other fanatic with the propensity for violence written into your book, just waiting for the opportunity to be used... For your lovegod. Hypocrite.

Dec 30, 2010
How does *anything* matter at all, when we're talking about ~70 years of lifespan vs. INFINITY in afterlife?
It may be inconsequential relative to eternity, but in the present we feel the loss just like anyone else. It is the knowledge that we will be reunited that helps ease the pain of our loss.

That would at least argue pretty solidly against capital punishment.
Agreed. I do not believe in capital punishment.
Well, there are a few sects who might beg to differ.
Disagreement is common among people.
Who are you to presume to dodge bullets sent at you by the almighty and mysterious ghost?
Who am I to reject God's help in the form of human knowledge? Nobody ever said having faith was easy.

Dec 30, 2010
Would you actually let all who believe in him be killed off in his name?
I would defend them and myself with the intent to neutralize their ability to attack. If I kill an attacker in the defense of another or myself then I will be held to account.
You're no different from any other fanatic with the propensity for violence written into your book, just waiting for the opportunity to be used... For your lovegod. Hypocrite.
And you just demonstrated your bigotry and hatred.

Dec 30, 2010
It may be inconsequential relative to eternity, but in the present we feel the loss just like anyone else.
But WHY should you? Do you "feel the loss" every time you say goodbye to a friend in full knowledge that you'll see them again just a few days later? Then why should you feel the loss when instead of a few days, you only have to cope with a few years, or a few decades? In the final analysis, even a few MILLENNIA would be utterly vanishingly small and inconsequential. "Feeling the loss" betrays a lack of true faith and conviction, IMHO. Same goes for the fear of death: true believers ought to be utterly fearless.
I do not believe in capital punishment.
Then don't you find it strange that a country like USA does, even while being overwhelmingly Christian and much more ardently religious than most others?
Disagreement is common among people.
So is there a True Faith in a True Ghost?
God's help in the form of human knowledge
Isn't that the Forbidden Fruit?

Dec 30, 2010
Christ established a new agreement which is why the Jewish leaders at the time wanted Him dead.

Agreement?!? I DEMAND ARBITRATION!!! Wait, I've seen this before. Episode 4X13 of Star Trek TNG, "Devil's Due".

Dec 30, 2010
Believers should just keep their faith to themselves, its a personal choice anyway and when you speak/write in defense of it your reveal a little naivety if not outright ignorance when comparing it to Science. There are so many bizarre contradictions in various religious teachings and texts that it seems unbelievable that anyone could accept, without questions such teachings.
Three comments for consideration from Sam Harris: "You are using your own moral intuitions to authenticate the wisdom of the Bible - and then, in the next moment, you assert that we human beings cannot possibly rely upon our own intuitions to rightly guide us in the world."
— Sam Harris (Letter to a Christian Nation);
"Religious moderation is the direct result of taking scripture less and less seriously. So why not take it less seriously still? Why not admit that the Bible is merely a collection of imperfect books written by highly fallible human beings."
— Sam Harris (Letter to a Christian Nation)
MORE >>>

Dec 30, 2010
Another Sam Harris quote FYI: "It is time we admitted, from kings and presidents on down, that there is no evidence that any of our books was authored by the Creator of the universe. The Bible, it seems certain, was the work of sand-strewn men & women who thought the earth was flat and for whom a wheelbarrow would have been a breathtaking example of emerging technology. To rely on such a document as the basis for our worldview-however heroic the efforts of redactors - is to repudiate two thousand years of civilizing insights that the human mind has only just begun to inscribe upon itself through secular politics & scientific culture. We will see that the greatest problem confronting civilization is not merely religious extremism: rather, it is the larger set of cultural & intellectual accommodations we have made to faith itself. "
— Sam Harris (The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason)

Lots more logical commentary from Sam is available if you are interested.

Dec 30, 2010
And you just demonstrated your bigotry and hatred.
Sorry. Ive been through this condemnation before on this board. All religion is the belief in and dependence upon things which dont exist. I REJECT THIS.

A religionist will invariably reject all beliefs but his own. I only go one religion further than you do. You think all beliefs but yours are silly and dangerous. I think yours is too. Who makes more sense- me or you?

I think the ability to reject ALL idiot beliefs in superstition is a virtue. Dont you agree? Substantially that is?

ALL religions cause problems that the world need not live with any more. We have the right to live free of your selfishness and your sickness, and some day we will. Time to grow up- surrender your fairy godmothers and your never-neverland. There is no god.

Dec 30, 2010
Believers should just keep their faith to themselves, its a personal choice anyway and when you speak/write in defense of it your reveal a little naivety if not outright ignorance
-an understatement. Religionists cannot keep their faith to themselves, because unbelievers threaten a believers reward in the hereafter. All religions require adherents to spread their faith, and as we know this can get very nasty at times.

The Great Commission
"And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen. (Matthew 28:18-20)

-Typical.

Dec 30, 2010
-And even if theyre not so keen on proselytizing, theyre still supposed to own the place:

28 God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground." Gen1

-The implication being that there is no proper place for unbelievers unless they are creatures to be ruled over. This is the 'First Mitzvah', the command which sets in motion the conquest of the planet by whichever religion can pull it off. Those left standing are the 'chosen ones' by default.

Sadly, even before the last contenders are killed off or converted, the prevailing religion always manages to calve off competing sects; because nobody can ever agree upon who is more 'chosen' than whom for long. And so the whole miserable process begins all over again.

Dec 30, 2010
makes sense. greek was the vernacular.

Dec 30, 2010
Page 1 of 2
But WHY should you? Do you "feel the loss" every time you say goodbye to a friend in full knowledge that you'll see them again just a few days later?

No because I can communicate with that friend.
"Feeling the loss" betrays a lack of true faith and conviction, IMHO. Same goes for the fear of death: true believers ought to be utterly fearless.

My faith is not perfect because I am not perfect, I am human. I do not fear death, I fear suffering. Despite my fear, I will endure suffering.

More >

Dec 30, 2010
Page 2 of 2
I do not believe in capital punishment.
Then don't you find it strange that a country like USA does, even while being overwhelmingly Christian and much more ardently religious than most others?

Not really. Many people believe in an "eye for an eye". I cannot justify something I do not believe. Ask them to justify it to you.
So is there a True Faith in a True Ghost?

We will find out at death.
God's help in the form of human knowledge
Isn't that the Forbidden Fruit?

No. The forbidden fruit was the knowledge of good and evil, not knowledge in general.

Dec 30, 2010
Not really. Many people believe in an "eye for an eye". I cannot justify something I do not believe. Ask them to justify it to you.
But as a Christian, of whatever sect you may chose, do you not have a scriptorial obligation to tell these "believers" that they're incorrect?
No. The forbidden fruit was the knowledge of good and evil, not knowledge in general.
But if within the bounds of faith all is to be judged, would that not leave all knowledge to be that of good and evil?

Dec 30, 2010
Pink_Elephant:

How does one choose between righteous martyrdom, vs. mortal life prolonged through mortal sin


I know the Universe is about to explode because of some kind of basic violation of physical laws, but I rated that whole Pink_Elephant comment a 5/5. That was a really good post Pink. And for the rest of you here, when you see me rate a Pink_Elephant post 5/5, you should know that I had to have three people help me click on the button and I'm probably going to need weeks of therapy to recover from the PTSD from doing it. :)

Dec 30, 2010
On the other hand, I also love this post by A2G:

Quibble about the Bible all you want. Pick on mistakes and mis-understandings all you want.


That was a great post too.

Personally, I like the line "thou shall not kill" and the line "god is all-forgiving".

It really kinda covers all the bases. I am not sure what I believe. I tend to take the stance that I don't know crap about all this stuff. Like a person who claims to have seen a UFO, I've had an experience over the course of a couple weeks that changed my mind about God. It's a very personal subject.

Dec 30, 2010
Sorry. Ive been through this condemnation before on this board. All religion is the belief in and dependence upon things which dont exist. I REJECT THIS.
I don't demand that people believe as I do and I am not an evangelist. In this thread, I answered a question posed by PinkElephant and tried to provide my perspective. I have been courteous in my posts and I only ask the same in return.

Dec 30, 2010
Other admonitions regarding specific circumstances are widely regarded as making sure that death of Jesus went according to God's plan. In this view, self defense is permitted as long as the intent is to neutralize an aggressor without killing them.
You preach. This leaves you open to criticism. And you choose to chastise:
And you just demonstrated your bigotry and hatred.
-'Judge not lest ye be judged.' Religion is bigotry itself, as it invariably divides people up into 'us' and 'them'. And it causes the overpopulation which inevitably causes conflict, and brings this unholy equation to the fore.
I have been courteous in my posts and I only ask the same in return
I don't think you realize just how dangerous and irresponsible your hobby can be.

Dec 30, 2010
But as a Christian, of whatever sect you may chose, do you not have a scriptorial obligation to tell these "believers" that they're incorrect?
I cannot know God's mind and therefore cannot say my interpretation is correct. I can share my belief, I cannot force anyone to agree with it.
No. The forbidden fruit was the knowledge of good and evil, not knowledge in general.
But if within the bounds of faith all is to be judged, would that not leave all knowledge to be that of good and evil?
I believe that general knowledge is neutral, its usage is good or evil.

Dec 30, 2010
@Code_Warrior,
No because I can communicate with that friend.
And what if you couldn't? What if it were 2000 BC, and there was no post, no telephone, and no Internet? Do you honestly think you'd mourn every parting under such circumstances?
My faith is not perfect because I am not perfect
I don't even know what "imperfect faith" could mean. You either believe, or you don't. There's no in-between; your set of options is completely binary in nature.
Despite my fear, I will endure suffering.
Again, why fear? Actually, I find that bit humorous in the Bible as well (as in, where Christ supposedly feared his own crucifixion.) What's a few vanishing moments of pain, compared to an ETERNITY of joy that follows? There seems to be absolutely nothing to fear, under any circumstances whatsoever: any tribulation, no matter how "terrible", is very obviously fleeting and insignificant in the grand scheme of things. At least for anyone who actually BELIEVES in the afterlife.

Dec 30, 2010
You preach. This leaves you open to criticism.
I provided an interpretation in response to PinkElephant's question. Calling that preaching is quite a stretch.
And you choose to chastise:
And you just demonstrated your bigotry and hatred.
-'Judge not lest ye be judged.'
You omitted your own judgmental statement that prompted my response.
Religion is bigotry itself, as it invariably divides people up into 'us' and 'them'. And it causes the overpopulation which inevitably causes conflict, and brings this unholy equation to the fore.
People who seek power can corrupt anything, including science, as a means to their ends.
I have been courteous in my posts and I only ask the same in return.
I don't think you realize just how dangerous and irresponsible your hobby can be.

Someone might use your words in these posts as justification to persecute Christians, should you not apply the same caution to your words?

Dec 30, 2010
ctd.
We will find out at death.
Or will we? Buddhists, for instance, claim that at death you are wiped clean of all your memories and knowledge, and just get reincarnated as something else.

More importantly, this is an area where science can actually make some conclusive statements. We are rapidly approaching the threshold of decoding the _mechanisms_ of consciousness and thought, and replicating these processes in completely artificial minds.

The nature and dynamics of the human experience used to be sufficiently mysterious and impenetrable, that people could easily believe in souls and transcendence. But now we have all but clinched the conclusion that the brain is both the hardware and software of the mind, and that as the brain fizzles out, so goes the person it embodied.

Here is yet another example where science stands in stark opposition to nearly every religion still in existence. And boy oh boy, when it comes to scientific threats to faith, this one's a real doozie.

Dec 31, 2010
And what if you couldn't? What if it were 2000 BC, and there was no post, no telephone, and no Internet? Do you honestly think you'd mourn every parting under such circumstances?
It would depend on the circumstances under which they were leaving. If it was the last time I would see them in my life, then I would likely be sad and miss them and I would probably mourn the loss.
I don't even know what "imperfect faith" could mean. You either believe, or you don't. There's no in-between
Being imperfect, I sometimes give in to temptation. If my faith were perfect, I would never give in to temptation.
What's a few vanishing moments of pain, compared to an ETERNITY of joy that follows?
Nothing, that is why I am willing to endure it. However, knowing I am not perfect, I fear I may lack the strength to endure when put to the test. Only a fool would believe themselves impervious to fear.

Dec 31, 2010
We will find out at death.
Or will we? Buddhists, for instance, claim that at death you are wiped clean of all your memories and knowledge, and just get reincarnated as something else.
Then I hope to come back as a Blue Elephant so that we can debate about which color elephant is better;)
But now we have all but clinched the conclusion that the brain is both the hardware and software of the mind, and that as the brain fizzles out, so goes the person it embodied.
If the time comes where science can conclusively demonstrate that, I think religious people will be the least of the problems that ensue. I suspect the fear of death will overwhelm people and will result in more atrocities in the search for immortality than anything religion has done to date.

Dec 31, 2010
I suspect the fear of death will overwhelm people and will result in more atrocities in the search for immortality than anything religion has done to date.
You should talk to a Jain before you make such a wild assumption.

Dec 31, 2010
You omitted your own judgmental statement that prompted my response.
I'm not bound by scripture. You're the one Who judged my fair criticism unfairly.
People who seek power can corrupt anything, including science, as a means to their ends.
But as I said, religion is designed to create animosity among groups. It's written into your book. It's required of adherents. It is what you BELIEVE.
Someone might use your words in these posts as justification to persecute Christians, should you not apply the same caution to your words?
I did use caution. If someone persecuted you using my words or not then they are doing you wrong, not me. Criticism is not persecution and you're combining the 2 is unjustified. Instead of addressing my criticism you imply that it is persecution to avoid doing so. My criticism of religion is entirely justified, and what you fear is it addresses the basic beliefs which constitute it.

Dec 31, 2010
But as I said, religion is designed to create animosity among groups.
Not all religions, but the majority of them certainly do.

Sam Harris said it rather well in a recent lecture.
"The problem isn't religion, it isn't even fundamentalism. It is the fundamentals of particular religions that are the true problem."

Dec 31, 2010
-And again, this is one school of thought. Bill maher would tell you that the existance of even one enables the actions of the most malevolent to occur.

As long as a religion defines a set of adherents as separate from others, and that this separation confers some special privileges within it's membership and/or with some higher power, then it encourages abuse. And the major religions today all have this separation written into their instruction manuals.

Whether individual members, congregations, or whatever choose to act on these instructions or not, to whatever degree, at this particular point in time, has no effect on their ultimate potential for doing so. Membership will inevitably favor it's own economically, socially, culturally, etc. because their books SAY unbelievers can't be trusted. This is not something which can be separated out from religion; it is part of the concept itself.

Dec 31, 2010
And again, this is one school of thought. Bill maher would tell you that the existance of even one enables the actions of the most malevolent to occur.
Take Jainism as an example. The more fanatical, the more devout, and the more fundamentalist a Jain gets, the less you have to worry about them. Look em up.
As long as a religion defines a set of adherents as separate from others, and that this separation confers some special privileges within it's membership and/or with some higher power, then it encourages abuse. And the major religions today all have this separation written into their instruction manuals.
No they don't. Not even all versions of Christianity have these tenets. Have you ever seen a violent fundamentalist Quaker?

Dec 31, 2010
Let's look at the word 'persecute':
1 : to harass or punish in a manner designed to injure, grieve, or afflict; specifically : to cause to suffer because of belief
2 : to annoy with persistent or urgent approaches (as attacks, pleas, or importunities) : pester

-This def leaves open a wide range of actions which could be considered persecution. I would suspect that many religionists would consider any sort of criticism at all of their beliefs as persecution, if not blasphemy, and if they had the power to do so would outlaw it, as we see in certain Islamist societies. Because it is one of the many instructions to be found in religious books.

And so I would caution against the invocation of the term as some might take it as attempts at oppression.

Dec 31, 2010
No they don't. Not even all versions of Christianity have these tenets. Have you ever seen a violent fundamentalist Quaker?
Not at the present perhaps but the potential is always there. All it takes is a little conflict and a few indignant people to open their book to the appropriate chapter for justification. Quakers were heretics in the spirit of Jesus himself:

"In 1650 George Fox was imprisoned for the first time. Over and over he was thrown in prison during the 1650s through the 1670s. Other Quakers followed him to prison as well. The charge was causing a disturbance; at other times it was blasphemy[citation needed] or refusing to swear an oath of allegiance to the country."

-They certainly caused much violence to be inflicted upon themselves and their families. Great potential for radical sects and offshoots. Richard Nixon was a Quaker and the source of a great deal of violence.

Dec 31, 2010
Not at the present perhaps but the potential is always there. All it takes is a little conflict and a few indignant people to open their book to the appropriate chapter for justification.
That can be done with any book. Do you not recall the insanity that resulted from Nietzche's work? Orwell is the base model for the DPKR and that's fiction.

Richard Nixon was a Quaker and the source of a great deal of violence.
Maybe in the loosest of senses.

Dec 31, 2010
That can be done with any book. Do you not recall the insanity that resulted from Nietzche's work? Orwell is the base model for the DPKR and that's fiction.
Neither Nietzsche nor Orwell said it was ok to kill people who disagreed with them. Neither claimed they were writing for god or were guaranteeing eternal life. Neither were promising to grant supernatural favors in return for service. The bible and the Koran both do. They say these things directly, and they require believers to obey them or face eternal damnation, or be killed as heretics themselves. Nietzsche and Orwell were merely misconstrued.

I hope you're playing devils advocate here.

Dec 31, 2010
You may next want to cite das Kapital or Mein Kampf directly, and I would agree with you there. But it's obvious that that's what those booke were written for- to incite violence as a method of salvation. They're very honest about it. So are the bible and the Koran for that matter.

The OT is about nothing else but conquest and how to maintain an expeditionary force engaged in it, through the construction of a nation in the midst of chaos. The NT is about nothing else but revolution and how to convince the people to martyr themselves to accomplish it. In both cases faith is only the essential means to these ends. Lasting victory cannot be accomplished without it.

The People who wrote these books cared nothing about what happened to people once they were dead; they cared a great deal what those people did in this life, which is why they wrote those books. The evidence is what people have done because they were written, and the civilization that has been established as a result.

Dec 31, 2010
The People who wrote these books cared nothing about what happened to people once they were dead; they cared a great deal what those people did in this life, which is why they wrote those books. The evidence is what people have done because they were written, and the civilization that has been established as a result.
I do not disagree with you and to an extent I am playing Devil's advocate, however, you cannot paint all religions with that same brush that you're brandishing so regularly. There are some ideologies that are socially toxic, no doubt. There are also some that are quite enlightened. Although they still operate on faith, they are open to revision and examination.

The problem with any ideology is when it becomes unquestionable and unchanging. Everything is questionable, everything including the very words you're stating against other questionable ideologies.

Dec 31, 2010
This is interesting:
"Social engineering is a discipline in political science that refers to efforts to influence popular attitudes and social behaviors on a large scale, whether by governments or private groups. In the political arena, the counterpart of social engineering is political engineering."

I've been referring to the combination as 'applied sociopolitics'.

"Before one can engage in social engineering, one must have reliable information about the society that is to be engineered and effective tools to carry out the engineering. Both of these became available only relatively recently: roughly within the past one hundred years."

-which is a very interesting example of disinformation ala Malthus: 'jeez, we didn't think overpopulation was a problem at all until Malthus here brought it up.' -thereby obscuring extreme Efforts to deal with it since the Sumerians and before.
Cont.

Dec 31, 2010
RELIGION is the most blatant form of social engineering conceivable, short of tinkering with genes directly. Can one think of a more effective way of getting people to act against their basic instincts of self-preservation and tribal affinity, than religion? The lord is my shepherd indeed. They bribe, threaten, and cajole, all to get you to surrender your self interest in exchange for theirs, andvthose of the state.

The state-sponsored religions are all purpose-built to manipulate the people. This is why they were created; this is what they are FOR.

Dec 31, 2010
The problem with any ideology is when it becomes unquestionable and unchanging. Everything is questionable, everything including the very words you're stating against other questionable ideologies.
You have the unfortunate dichotomy with any religion, that it is sanctioned by god but open to interpretation. The major religions take advantage of this by including contingencies for any occasion, up to and including war and genocide.

Dec 31, 2010
I suspect the fear of death will overwhelm people and will result in more atrocities in the search for immortality than anything religion has done to date.
You should talk to a Jain before you make such a wild assumption.

I didn't make an assumption, just voiced a suspicion. I'm sure many people will find a benign means to deal with such knowledge. I can only hope that my suspicion never actually occurs.

Dec 31, 2010
I'm not bound by scripture. You're the one Who judged my fair criticism unfairly.
Your criticism was:
You're no different from any other fanatic with the propensity for violence written into your book, just waiting for the opportunity to be used... For your lovegod. Hypocrite.
You have no evidence that I behave in that manner. You have no knowledge of me other than what I have posted. In fact, you have no evidence of any kind to demonstrate that I behave in that way. All you have is an assumption based on your stereotype of Christians. Your criticism of ME is most certainly not fair and is extremely judgmental.

Dec 31, 2010
I didn't make an assumption, just voiced a suspicion.
C'mon.
I can only hope that my suspicion never actually occurs.
It's not happening now and many of us around the world believe that the brain is deterministic and the non-existence of the soul already.

That's a fairly disgusting accusation that you toss out without realizing it. You're insinuating that without God people are lesser, more animal, unable to control themselves. You've basically just spit in my eye as I've been a life long atheist while never committing an attrocity in search of immortality. It's very cheap how you just toss that out there. I don't appreciate it, and you should recognize the condescention in your own words when you type it.
You have no evidence that I behave in that manner. You have no knowledge of me other than what I have posted.
Language is a very powerful tool of detection, especially the written word. If he didn't have evidence before, your comment above fits the role.

Dec 31, 2010
You have no evidence that I behave in that manner.
True, but I have evidence that you ascribe to a book which sanctions it, and a belief system with a long history of doing so.
All you have is an assumption based on your stereotype of Christians.
Drawing general conclusions about people based on stated affiliations is not unwarranted. You believe in non-existent things. Your ability to reason is therefore suspect.
Your criticism of ME is most certainly not fair
So don't preach. And unfair it is not. Unwarranted it is not.
and is extremely judgmental.
As is yours of me- im the hurtful bigot, remember? I'm the one who invites pesterly persecution on all xians just because I choose to criticize your vapor worship. Right?

Dec 31, 2010
@Skeptic_Heretic
You ignore my acknowledgement that there will be many who will handle that knowledge fine, and choose instead to put yourself into the category of people who won't and then use that choice to manufacture a personal insult when you could have just as easily put yourself in the category of those who could accept such knowledge.

Your choice to be insulted lacks credibility. Your conclusions about me are utterly wrong.

@Otto,
Your attempts to justify your statements against ME as being fair criticisms lack credibility as well.

People will decide for themselves what I have said and why. No further useful conversation can be had with either of you. Flame away.

Dec 31, 2010
Your attempts to justify your statements against ME as being fair criticisms lack credibility as well.
Sez you. Your capitulation lacks honor.

Luke 10:19
"I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you."

Victory. Schon wieder.

Dec 31, 2010
Sez you. Your capitulation lacks honor.

Luke 10:19
"I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you."

Victory. Schon wieder.


What capitulation? I said no USEFUL conversation can occur with you and to go ahead and flame me. Can you read? I can always hurl insults, they just aren't useful conversation and don't really get anywhere.

Interesting choice of Bible verse though. Equating yourself with snakes and scorpions seems about right. At least you're self aware. Explains a lot of your posts.

Dec 31, 2010
Interesting indeed. Note the inherent violence in this NT verse? God equates enemies- heretics- with vermin and says it's ok to trample them. Religionists- always us vs them.

Jan 01, 2011
Interesting indeed. Note the inherent violence in this NT verse? God equates enemies- heretics- with vermin and says it's ok to trample them. Religionists- always us vs them.
Your choice was interesting, but not for the reason you state. Verses 17 and 18 provide the context of demons and Satan for the verse you chose to quote, with verse 20 as follows:
Luke 10:20 Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.

Seems pretty clear to me that the verse you chose, Luke 10:19, refers to spirits in the form of demons and Satan and not to men.

Otto, you remind me of Vendicar Decarian. He brings some weak crap too. You're too easy for me to waste any more of my time. This thread has run its course. Goodbye.

Jan 01, 2011
Code_Warrior
Personally, I like the line "thou shall not kill" and the line "god is all-forgiving
Nice lines. Too bad Jehovah didn't practice it.
I tend to take the stance that I don't know crap about all this stuff.
Depends on which stuff you were talking about there. Genesis is a bunch of stories that don't match reality. Exodus shows Jehovah as a psychopath as does the Flood.

PinkElephant
What's a few vanishing moments of pain, compared to an ETERNITY of joy that follows?
That is silly. Except for absolute nutcase fanatics, the sort that strap bombs on themselves, people measure personal time by personal experience.

Code_Warrior
Then I hope to come back as a Blue Elephant so that we can debate about which color elephant is better;)
White of course. They are supposed to be pampered.
suspect the fear of death will overwhelm people and will result in more atrocities in the search for immortality
Why? Science isn't that far from stopping aging.

Ethelred

Jan 01, 2011
suspect the fear of death will overwhelm people and will result in more atrocities in the search for immortality
Why? Science isn't that far from stopping aging.
In a way, science will fullfil the promises that their God couldn't.

Jan 01, 2011
Think about it, you'd be removing the fear imposed by chance and nature. I'd be more concerned with the suicide rate going through the roof within the next 100 years afterwards. I'm not sure I would be able to handle an immortal life. At what age is a break from monotony necessary? At what age would the race of technology get outside the grasp of what I could keep up with? It certainly introduces a whole host of interesting questions. Then again, philosophy could fill an infinite lifetime as could exploration.

Could always wait until the ability to be Doctor Who came to pass. That would be extraordinary.

Jan 01, 2011
Seems pretty clear to me that the verse you chose, Luke 10:19, refers to spirits in the form of demons and Satan and not to men.
Typical godder bible interpretation; read only enough to make their point. From the context of the whole chapter it is clear that demons are a subset of all the enemies evangelists would encounter on their travels.

16 "Whoever listens to you listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects me; but whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me."

-And in this respect heretics are being grouped with actual demons and Beelzebub himself. For as you xians all know, doubt and heresy are satans work, and there is little difference between the evil spirit and the person possessed by it. Onward xian soldiers, stomping off to war.

You lose again and more conclusively this time for your truncated misuse of scripture.

Jan 01, 2011
"A great mind denies faith, for faith requires little or no thought."

What a fool

Jan 01, 2011
It's a metaphor you morons.

Jan 01, 2011
You know what upsets me the most about this whole thread? I am afraid it will drive the editors at Physorg to alter their news selection.

It is kind of like reality TV, in that I keep coming back, but I would really be better off if I never read it at all.

Jan 01, 2011
It's a metaphor you morons.

That's what you think, Dummy.

Jan 01, 2011
Most of us "Disciples of Science" believe in Evolution. I also believe in "Cultural Evolution."

Religion is a Cultural Institution that has been with Man since the beginning, and all signs are that it will stay. Why? Because it serves a fundamental need.

What satisfaction does science provide to sooth one's heart after the loss of a beloved child? What help is science when facing your death? To what extent is moral behavior reinforced by the idea that the soul is judged? Religion, not science, addresses these common human needs.

In the end, the decision to believe in God is simply a choice of hope over despair and purpose over the meaningless existence of random chemical reactions that happen to create stable pattern. I *choose* to have hope and meaning.

God is of the heart, not the mind, and He's here to stay.

Jan 01, 2011
In the end, the decision to believe in God is simply a choice of hope over despair and purpose over the meaningless existence of random chemical reactions that happen to create stable pattern. I *choose* to have hope and meaning.


Very moving post. I too choose to believe in God. I too choose not to ignore the world of science.

Religion is a construct. Made by man to try and explain the inexplicable. As such it is no wonder that religion is deeply flawed. That doesn't make its underlying premise of a Divine Being incorrect.

Jan 02, 2011


What satisfaction does science provide to sooth one's heart after the loss of a beloved child? What help is science when facing your death? To what extent is moral behavior reinforced by the idea that the soul is judged? Religion, not science, addresses these common human needs.

In the end, the decision to believe in God [...] I *choose* to have hope and meaning.
God is of the heart, not the mind, and He's here to stay.


Likewise, you can "choose" to rationally consider your actions and their consequences, and live your life mindful of both personal responsibility for your words and deeds,and your obligation to everything else -both living and inanimate- in the world.

God is entirely unecessary as a moderator of the interval between birth and death.

ELIMINATE THE MIDDLEMAN!!!!!!


Jan 02, 2011
That doesn't make its underlying premise of a Divine Being incorrect.
Lack of knowledge doesn't make it correct or necessary either.

Jan 02, 2011
1/2
What satisfaction does science provide to sooth one's heart after the loss of a beloved child?
None. What does Religion provide that is REAL?
What help is science when facing your death?
Reality as opposed to fantasy. Lying to myself is not helpful. Perhaps it is for you but it is still not reality.
To what extent is moral behavior reinforced by the idea that the soul is judged?
None at all. Go look up the religions of the prison populations. You will find VERY few Atheists or Agnostics. WAY below the percentage of those not in prison. Outside 15 percent or more. Inside below 1 percent.
Religion, not science, addresses these common human needs.
Not enough to believers out of jail in comparison the non-believers.
In the end, the decision to believe in God is simply a choice of hope over despair
Of fantasy over reality. I am not despairing though is you can't handle reality I suppose fantasy is best. However if you don't like reality why are you here?

More

Jan 02, 2011
2/2
God is of the heart, not the mind, and He's here to stay.
Hearts pump blood and I prefer my fantasy in books that admit to being fiction.

Since this went over:

Just which god do you believe in? Allah, Jehovah the Hairy Thunderer of Genesis, Thor, Cronus and his squabbling offspring, Quetzalcoatl, Jesus as a member of a trinity, Jehovah the Cosmic Muffin of modern Christianity, something more like Cthulu or one of lesser known gods? If you are a fan of the usual Christian groupings do you go with a vague version of the Trinity or are you partial to the Fundamentalist Jehovah that Flooded the entire Earth in the Biblical story?

I suspect you go for the vague version of the Trinity. Which would leave little to argue about except that you seem to be claiming you are religious because you can't handle reality and then there is implication that non-religious people are without morals and THAT is wrong as can be seen in the USA arrest and imprisonment rates.

Ethelred

Jan 02, 2011
1/2
Very much agree that there is a neurological need for spirituality
For some.
These New Atheists can't understand this - they don't recognize it in themselves
I am pretty sure the Atheists do and I, an Agnostic, certainly do understand that some people need to believe in things that fill some spiritual, genetic, need. Not everyone has this need. Some can learn to go on reality. Michael Schermer was religious and still has trouble thinking in a non-spiritual manner as a natural thing. He has to work at it to go with reality.
offer nothing to replace what they would excise from the human condition.
Nonsense. Reality and a joy in finding things out rather than going on a belief in ancient ignorance.
The non-rational inclinations, like empathy, compassion, emotions in general, cannot simply be denied/suppressed (we are thankfully not robots or Vulcans),
You haven't watched much Star Trek. Vulcans TRAIN themselves to avoid emotion. It is fiction of course.

More

Jan 02, 2011
2/2

Most humans practice emotional control. And there is NOTHING non-rational in empathy, compassion or other emotions. We evolved them because they have survival value.

We also evolved deceit. Several people that started religions clearly engaged in deceit. L. Ron Hubbard is the easiest example to bring up as few are going pitch a fit over it.
Failure to do so creates an imbalance, leaving part of the mind's desires un-fulfilled - a psychological deficit.
This is YOU not everyone.
In other words, the modern tyranny of left-brain-only rationalism leads to an unhealthy and incomplete human mind.
Nonsense. Despite claiming to be an Atheist you don't seem to understand the joy of learning REALITY instead of going on belief.
We are in dangerous sociological and psychological territory
I agree. Islam has gone off the deep end and a lot of Americans want to dive in themselves. They prefer living in a fantasy world because it fits their emotional needs.

Ethelred

Jan 02, 2011
Some ask "why not choose to believe in something real?" To those of us who believe in God, He *is* real. Trying to explain faith to a non-believer is like explaining love to a sociopath; I don't know how it can be done.

Some debate the veracity of the Bible and other texts to "prove" their point. I never said I believe in literal interpretation of any text written by the hand of Man. God was "speaking" to shepherds; I doubt they would have understood had he tried to explain a Big Bang, expansion, or his own statistical certainty in the evolution of Man.

Religious texts serve only to stimulate the heart and mind. The literal stories must be interpreted according to one's own heart and mind. It's hard work, but with success comes a peaceful soul.

Jan 02, 2011
God was "speaking" to shepherds; I doubt they would have understood had he tried to explain a Big Bang, expansion, or his own statistical certainty in the evolution of Man.

So you're saying the all powerful God is not all powerful?

Religious texts serve to stimulate the heart and mind, much as any other fictional story serves to stimulate the heart and mind. The problem isn't the book, it's that it is assumed to be unquestionable fact by the faithful in large part.

Jan 02, 2011

So you're saying the all powerful God is not all powerful?


That is simply being argumentative IMO.

Faith is a CHOICE. I can choose to have faith and you can choose not to. The only harm done is when I try to force my faith on you or you try to force your lack of faith upon me. When you stray into that zone - you become what you profess to despise.

Jan 02, 2011
2/2

"Just which god do you believe in?"

My own. He is is what emerged from my studies of many religious texts, the history of religion, philosophy, and science. Seek and you shall find. I sought, and I found.

"I suspect you go for the vague version of the Trinity."

Yes. Note, by the way, the New Testament was written in Greek, and the Trinity is widely ascribed to be derivative.

"... except that you seem to be claiming you are religious because you can't handle reality"

Faith does not displace reality, it compliments it with meaning and purpose. Heart and Mind vs Mind alone.

"... and then there is implication that non-religious people are without morals"

Absolutely not. Faith can be found through philosophy, meditation, etc. There are many paths to God. Folks who believe *their* path is superior to that of others are mistaken. I have not asserted that my personal faith or the path that lead me is superior to any other.

Jan 02, 2011
Modern atheists seem to have created their own religion. It is one based on their own perceptions of reality and what they choose to believe. Not one in 500 can understand 'string theory' or 'quantum mechanics' but they will rush to embrace it because it comes wrapped with all the trappings of a religion. That is, one must accept the inexplicable. One must understand that there are fundamental flaws in the religion that will someday be illuminated. Only the high-priests of this world can understand or explain this religion of 'cosmology' or 'global weather' or the 'theory du jour'.

Modern atheists don't find it sufficent to merely not believe though, they seem bent on converting others to their disbelief.

They have created a modern day crusade. They have created their own religion of disbelief. And like all religions, it tends to go awry when it tries to convert others.

Jan 02, 2011
"So you're saying the all powerful God is not all powerful?"

In the context of the statement regarding the inability of shepherds to comprehend a physics/math based description of creation, I believe the vision from God would have been correct, but the ability to put it into words was lacking.

Try this... find yourself a shepherd somewhere in the Middle East, explain the Big Bang, expansion, statistics, quantum theory, etc, then come back in 3 days and ask him to write down what you said. It may be correct in a general sense, but the details will be lacking. Of course *our* details are lacking as well ("Dark"ness abounds), so I suppose we shouldn't feel *too* superior.

Jan 02, 2011
I can choose to have faith and you can choose not to. The only harm done is when I try to force my faith on you or you try to force your lack of faith upon me.
Very hollow statement. The only person who can cause you to lose your faith is you. If what other people say about science, reality, reasonable things, etc bothers you, then that is your problem. I can't make you give up your faith. I wouldn't try, but I won't let you pass off delusions as fact.
Rational and moral are mutually exclusive, IMO.
Certainly not. Morality is a very rational thing, as is empathy. One is known to be psychologically irrational and amoral when diagnosed with psychopathy.

Very simply, name a moral thing that someone cannot logically reason out?

Jan 02, 2011
They have created a modern day crusade. They have created their own religion of disbelief. And like all religions, it tends to go awry when it tries to convert others.


Proselytizing Atheists?

Objectively, can you blame them -given the undue influence upon the body politic, and therefore impingement upon their lives- can you(legitimately) blame them?

Given the rise in influence over the last couple of decades of Fundamentalist Christianity, a strong dose of very vocal Atheism seems virtually required in order to restore balance to the"separation of church and state", don't you agree?

That's arhetorical question, of course. Your words have already betrayed you as anything besides a meek little conciliatory xian lamb.

Jan 02, 2011
Religion is a Cultural Institution that has been with Man since the beginning, and all signs are that it will stay. Why? Because it serves a fundamental need.
It reflects a fundamental flaw in our design, and all signs indicate that we are becoming able to live without it. The major religions are falling away, one by one. They will be gone one day and we will not miss them.

God will no longer exist because he is incompatible with Reason and Science. He will be gone and the people will finally be at peace. Heaven will have come to earth.

Jan 02, 2011
To those of us who believe in God, He *is* real.
That is BELIEF not reality.
Trying to explain faith to a non-believer is like explaining love to a sociopath
Lovely choice of words there. How long did you spend in trying to come up with that? And its false in any case. Most non-believers were raised as believers. We looked at the beliefs we were brought up in and found them to be a collection of myths, legends and a little bit of distorted history. And no backing for the fantastic parts.
I don't know how it can be done.
I do. PROVE the Bible isn't just myth. I don't know how that can be done since it is quite clear that much of it is myth. But that is what is needed. Faith that something is real when you already know, from physical evidence and even history, is something that requires either ignorance or a denial of reality.
Some debate the veracity of the Bible and other texts to "prove" their point.
Yes some people do try to think about things and evidence.

More

Jan 02, 2011
I never said I believe in literal interpretation of any text written by the hand of Man.
Then why believe it if you don't really believe it?
God was "speaking" to shepherds; I
We have no reason to believe the shepherds, and many WERE NOT shepherds, actually had contact with Jehovah. If Jehovah did contact them why is so much just plain wrong?
I doubt they would have understood had he tried to explain a Big Bang
Its a god that is supposed to be all powerful. Surely it could have at least managed to have only one correct order of Creation instead two and BOTH wrong.
Religious texts serve only to stimulate the heart and mind.
Hearts pump blood. The mind can choose to go on reality or accept the claims of men. That is all you have. Claims of MEN. You included. You have no evidence just your word and you admit that you don't really believe in what the Bible says.

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Jan 02, 2011
Also, for those who are going to come in and start talking about rational reasons for altruism, I want to point out that, if it's rational, it serves one's self, and is no longer altruistic. I'm talking about pure, unreasonable sacrifice that is utterly self-destroying.
And you don't know what you're talking about, but you obviously enjoy talking. Intra-tribal altruism and extra-tribal animosity are part of the human dynamic. They are genetic, instinctive in properly-functioning individuals.

Jan 02, 2011
The literal stories must be interpreted according to one's own heart and mind.
Must be patched to fit your emotional needs. You can't fix them as they were writings of ignorant men NOT men inspired by an all knowing god.
It's hard work, but with success comes a peaceful soul.
With massive brainwashing one can evade reality and go the ignorance is bliss route.
My own.
Ah a Solipsist then. Seems a bit evase to me.
Yes. Note, by the way, the New Testament was written in Greek, and the Trinity is widely ascribed to be derivative.
It is also widely suspected to have been political in nature. It isn't Biblical without some MASSIVE force fitting.
Faith does not displace reality
In most cases it does. In ALL cases it is dependent on accepting the word of men and convincing yourself that they had contact with a god despite the lack of verifiable evidence and indeed against the many errors that show they were NOT in contact with an all knowing god.

More

Jan 02, 2011
Emotions are by definition non-rational.
They are part of defensive and motivational systems, good for initiating adrenaline and endorphins, and thus are very rational. Invoking Kant for any reason whatsoever is irrational, as he was full of crap.

Is this you Ryan? You tired of your old nick?

Jan 02, 2011
Heart and Mind vs Mind alone.
You seem to be under the delusion that emotions are part of the Heart and that emotions can replace reason when trying to discern how things really are. Just because you want there to be a god doesn't make that belief a match with reality.
Absolutely not.
You did imply it.
Faith can be found through philosophy, meditation, etc.
That appears to by another claim that faith is needed to be moral. The prisons show otherwise.
here are many paths to God
To a BELIEF in A god.
Folks who believe *their* path is superior to that of others are mistaken.
Nonsense. IF there is a god it is likely that one concept is a better match to reality than any other. Otherwise god would be a mass of contractions. Jehovah, as shown in the Bible, IS a mass of contradictions.
I have not asserted that my personal faith or the path that lead me is superior to any other.
You HAVE made clear that you think faith is superior to reason.

Ethelred

Jan 02, 2011
The genetic basis of intra-tribal altruism may or may not relate to the feeling one gets when an altruistic act is performed. I personally experience emotional inclinations towards intra- and extra-tribal altruism.
Perhaps because you have absorbed the current social view that your tribe encompasses a greater number of people.
doing it without a rational cause, is perfectly valid, but is denied by a rationalistic worldview.
-Not if it is an expression of genetic predisposition and part of a survival mechanism. In that case it would be entirely rational, understandable, and explainable.

Tribes with members who could support and sacrifice for one another were more apt to prevail over others without those traits. Modern societies have been able to extend this tribal dynamic over ever-larger groups.

If you are human, rest assured, you can be expected to act like one given the proper stimulus. Unless you are damaged in some way, as are most of us.

Jan 02, 2011
Likewise, you can "choose" to rationally consider your actions and their consequences, and [...] -both living and inanimate- in the world.


[....]tyranny of left-brain-only rationalism leads to an unhealthy and incomplete human mind. We are in dangerous sociological and psychological territory.


I thought that my meaning was obvious, but from this response, I suppose it wasn't. And in that I am being charitable.

No one in their right mind would deny the dualism of Rational/Emotional.

My point was that there is no need to subcontract volition out of either side or the middle of that dual nature to some supernatural agency. To do so is a crutch, a rationalization, an abdication of personal responsibility, and not -as you would have it- some enhancement or enoblement of that duality.

In other words, "God" didn't do it; the "Devil" didn't do it --YOU did it. And you did it regardless of whether it was a wholly rational response, or an emotional one.


Jan 02, 2011
Urges are rational now? they are biologically valid, sure, but how do they fit into the definition of rational that is high-order cognitive function?
Most are evolved phenomena and often function to protect us when our reason and conscious thought cannot. They compliment these things. They help us survive by leading us toward rewarding things and away from dangerous ones. In this respect they make sense; they are rational; they benefit us when functioning properly and when we understand their function.

Some are symptomatic of evolutionary over-development, of a species pushed to evolve beyond certain limits. This can be observed in some domesticated species whose emotions seem to have no survival benefit. And the oversized human brain is woefully prone to all manner of defect, damage, and degradation. It is by no means natural, and this can explain much of irrational human behavior.

Jan 02, 2011
Sounds like rationalization of non-rational thought patterns. Rational behavior involves acting in accordance with logical thought, not urges (rationalized post facto or otherwise).
No it involves acting in accordance with our best interests. Emotion and instinct often serve us better in this respect whereas reason may not. And we may at times believe we are acting reasonably when we are in fact acting according to some genetic predilection. There was a recent story here for instance about how liberal attitudes may be genetic.

Sorry caliban I did not mean to step on your dialectic but the dude downrated me-

Jan 02, 2011
No it involves acting in accordance with our best interests.
And this is where I would draw the line between rational and moral. A truly moral action is done without regard for self-interest.
I was talking about survival, about self-preservation. And a 'truly moral' action, as defined by society, can be fighting and dying to defend it. This too is behavior which would directly benefit successful tribes.
I would rather die than kill to protect myself - though I would kill to protect the weak, whales, etc.
It is hard to imagine where your sort of theoretical, self-destructive pacifism would benefit anyone but your own lyrical self-perception. Until it got you killed that is, to no ones benefit. You got an organ donor card maybe?

Jan 02, 2011
Have you considered that killing the sort of person who would want to kill you, would be doing a service to future victims? As well as preventing his or her genes from further contaminating the gene pool? Assuming you're the victim that is-

This action too would benefit the tribe as well as your own prospects for propagation, and so would have been selected for. Self-protection is moral in this sense as it promotes tribal cohesion. Win-win.

Jan 02, 2011
1/2
Modern atheists seem to have created their own religion
The new religious belief of the religious. Atheist have a religion. Bullshit. SOME Atheists have religious belief, they believe ACTIVELY that there is no god. That is again only some and it is NOT an actual religion.
Not one in 500 can understand 'string theory' or 'quantum mechanics' but they will rush to embrace it because it comes wrapped with all the trappings of a religion
Utter rubbish. Few rush to embrace it in the first place. It is ACCEPTED because it FIT THE EVIDENCE. Mostly anyway. Actual evidence is the difference between faith and reason.
That is, one must accept the inexplicable
You do like rubbish. It is explicable. May be wrong but still explicable. Helps to understand the math.
One must understand that there are fundamental flaws in the religion that will someday be illuminated
No. One must accept that all theories are subject to replacement by new theories that the known facts better

More

Jan 02, 2011
Quite unlike actual religious beliefs that often have to pretend that the facts that prove them false don't exist. Sometimes the religion actually changes. Rare but it happens. The Catholic Church has accepted evolution and even has apologized, finally, for its actions towards Galileo.
Modern atheists don't find it sufficent to merely not believe though, they seem bent on converting others to their disbelief.
Teaching other reality is not exactly a bad thing. However I see it as a reaction to the vitriol and hatred coming from the many of the Religious. Bush the First, the semi-competent one, actually said I and all Agnostics and Atheists are not Americans. I think that sort of crap tends to make a person want to defend themselves.

Defending yourself is NOT engaging in religion.
They have created a modern day crusade.
A modern day defense against ignorance.

Calling reality a religion is desperation.

Ethelred

Jan 02, 2011
but I'm being authentic in that I don't feel very worthy of the air I breathe or other resources in a dying world, but don't presume to project that lack of self-worth onto others.
This is a problem that we don't share and perhaps it is this perception that is causing you such discontent.

Jan 02, 2011
That needs cuddly, warm, fuzzy bunnies, etc.
You can overcome that silliness. This might do it. bunnies eat their own feces.
Emotions are by definition non-rational.
Your definition. They promote survival and I find that rational. Or at least a survival trait.
Rationality is self-interest-oriented.
That is just plain wrong. Rationality is about using REASON instead of always depending on emotion. Look where Bush the Idiot's gut feelings got us. Emotions are pro self-interest, reason often entails going against those emotions.
you must agree, considered non-rational.
No. I have no need to agree with poor reasoning.
- I would sacrifice myself for any number of things and often without a good reason.
Which is stupid. There ARE REASONS for going against self-interest. You are not going to live forever. Not yet anyway. So doing things that promote the human race against your own self interest IS rational reasoned behavior.

More

Jan 02, 2011
YOU can't handle the idea that half of your mind might be dormant, but I say it is.
Making shit up doesn't make it true. No ones mind is half dormant. Just as no one is using only 90 per cent of their brain.
Agreed re: Vulcan practice - you're _trying_ to be Vulcan, 100% logical,
Nonsense. This a site where I am discussing science. So logic is the order of the day. You should try it sometime.
and trying to convince yourself that reality offers you all you need.
I never claimed that. It doesn't matter if it doesn't offer all I want as reality is all there is. Lying to myself about that won't change reality.
Someday that will catch up with you, and your certainty about your rationalistic worldview will be shaken.
At 59 years old I think you are full of it on this latest pro-fuzzy thinking rant. You are not an Atheist nor an Agnostic if you really have this desperate need to think fuzzy.

Great we have another sockpuppet on the loose-lyhuman.

Ethelred

Jan 02, 2011
And this is where I would draw the line between rational and moral. A truly moral action is done without regard for self-interest.
Sorry I gave that a five by accident as it is crap. There is nothing immoral about self-interest. It is rather hard to be moral if you are dead. So self-interest counts as part of morality.

Frytoy, you are clearly NOT an Atheist you are pretty obviously the one responsible for the sockpuppet looselyhuman. You want to continue that crap it really isn't hard to respond in kind.

Duplicity is NOT moral. Even when it is in YOUR self-interest.

Ethelred

Jan 02, 2011
Your sockpuppet. It clearly exists to give you fives and you opponents ones.

I have not yet begun to flame.

Ethelred

Jan 02, 2011
I give you ones because you are dismissive,
Disagreeing rationally does not equal dismissive.

I don't know what else you mean, seriously.
I no more believe that than I believe your Atheist or a scientist. Your posts on this thread are anti-reason and anti-science.

Ethelred

Jan 02, 2011
Well, then I question your perception, because I truly am both
Question all you want. It is easy to claim things on the net. I simply don't see a sign of either on this thread. I see SOME indications of rational thought on other threads.
I'm just not vitriolic in dismissing the religious
Nor am I. I deal with it via evidence and reason. To start. When someone insists on posts the same exact crap time after time I tend to not bother with being polite. Active ignorance at the level seen on many forums is not something that I feel any need to be gentle with after many rounds.
nor certain that pure reason is good for the human mind.
Who the hell claimed it was? Humans evolved over long periods of time. The old emotionally based stuff is still there. This does NOT require people to go on ignorance and evade the truth to support an ancient religion that was based on ignorance.

Ethelred

Jan 02, 2011
Well, then I question your perception, because I truly am both
Question all you want. It is easy to claim things on the net. I simply don't see a sign of either on this thread.
the non-rational ones are instinct, intuition and emotion.
Those are all evolved biological short cuts that work well enough most of the time. They usually produce actions that are identical to a reasoned response in most animals. Humans have often learned religious beliefs that distort the emotional responses simply because those religions are based on ignorance.
It is considered rational to use reason in one's self-interest.
It is also considered rational to use reason in the interests of others. The one does not preclude the other no matter how often you act as if it is otherwise.

Ethelred

Jan 02, 2011
Your sockpuppet. It clearly exists to give you fives and you opponents ones.

I have not yet begun to flame.

Ethelred
Yah he mentioned Kant too. :P

Personally I think it's poor form to rate somebody when you're actually engaged in telling them how you feel in words. It's like sharapova grunting.

Jan 02, 2011
1/2
Reason and Science to replace g/God is what I see throughout this thread.
From Otto. From most of the rest of us it is to replace going on ignorance.
I don't act in any such way,
Many do. Sure you can engage in distorted reasoning to put everything in terms of self-interest. Marx did that with economics. Your use of the term 'dialectic', when other words would work better, shows you have a Marx fixation so I think you must be aware of his over the top efforts in that area. The US Civil War was about slavery. Everything that people claim was economic in that war ALWAYS boils down to the economics of slavery.
but we are talking spirituality on this thread
No. YOU are doing so. I am talking about human beings and we run on chemistry.

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Jan 02, 2011
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all of which are authentic facets of self that must be synthesized within a reasonable worldview to maximize "spiritual" fulfillment.
It is chemical no matter how you slice it. For all life fulfillment is reproduction. The Universe doesn't care about us one tiny little bit. Any warmth we must make ourselves and lying to ourselves makes that harder. Look at just how many of t