The Bible Not Fit For Today (I)

My drive to work definitely isn't a boring experience, and this is not because of the brisk 6 o' clock traffic I must fight either. It is because I am a regular listener to The Michael Savage radio talk show, The Savage Nation. Savage is interesting, not because I sometimes agree with him (OK...I confess, I am a rather conservative atheist), but because he gets so easily bent out of shape and angry over the smallest things. I guess I'm one for drama. Savage is the oldest in talk radio, but because of his high energy level, he comes off a lot younger and more zealous than his fellow right-wingers. He is well known for tearing viciously into those people and issues he considers to be the biggest problems facing the world. The man, though often belligerent and rude to his callers and guests, is well read and holds a doctorate from Berkeley of California. His usual topics include welfare reform, illegal immigration, the evils of hollywood and the media, which he believes to be responsible for many of the woes of the world today, and "Islamofascism" and the war on terror. Other political hot topics run across his airwaves delivered at a much hotter tone than the usual conservative talk radio drekk that tends to bore me.

But that is not the purpose of my writing on this subject. As of last week, an even more interesting topic came up that Savage seldom touches on - evolution and the six day creation of Genesis. So you can see why I had to write about it!

As good as Savage can sometimes be presenting the facts of evolution (he believes a god made the world through evolution), he took on a subject that his ultra-conservative fundy audience just couldn't quite handle. I wasn't shocked when they called in opposing him instead of extending the usual subservient flattery of "you're so right, Dr. Savage."

I found myself chuckling when savage made the following remark...

"After millions of years of evolution. God put a soul in a ape, or excuse me, an ape evolved into a human, and God gave it a soul."

Let me stop here and say just how comical this is to me: a god taking an unprincipled, uncivilized, feces-throwing, tree-climbing beast, and transforming it into an image of himself! Educated, non-fundamentalist Savage had no problem saying it, but his audience sure did. Who is Savage's audience that he labors so hard to educate and enlighten? Fundamentalist, white, middle-class, Christians, who only care to be educated with books like the Bible. Savage's audience has no problem stating that the universe was created just 6,000 years ago, nor does his audience mind reading and accepting as truth, this archaic book with talking snakes, talking donkeys, and floating axeheads. His audience has an agenda, the agenda of maw and paw's book they were instructed with back when they were knee-high.

So forget trying to point out that there are trees on this planet now living as old as 6,000 years! Forget about geographical distribution, showing how, after a mountain pass or valley, different forms of life came and died out in the fossil record over long periods of time. Forget about similarity of structure between life forms. Forget about DNA testing. Forget about evidence of ice ages every 100,000 years, and you can sure as Hell forget about changes in magnetic polarity over time. Since a very old book, coming from a time drenched in superstition said it, that settles it. No possibility of error for them. Oppose the fundies and they'll attack you, just like they attack evolution. Einstein's equations are not biblical, but they don't get attacked, why? Because those numbers dared not oppose a wargod who demands 7 human sacrifices to end a famine (2 Samuel 21:1-9).

Caller after caller poured in their support for the old book...

Caller: "uhhh..yes...uh Dr. Savage. I...um...gotta disagree with you here... I believe the earth is 6,000 years old, cause there was some trees found under Antarctica ice."

Savage: "[pause]....well, sir. I'm afraid you don't know enough of science to discuss this with me..."

One Jewish chemist who called in told us he believed the earth was "millions of years old". How generous of him! "In the beginning", said he, was not yet when God started counting time in the days of creation. So we are to believe that the earth is some unknown vast number of years old + 6 literal days! This taking of liberty by the creationists to insert huge chunks of unaccounted-for time is known as The Gap Theory, the usual way out for Jews and progressive Christians who try to finagle the findings of the sciences to fit scripture.

Finally, Savage seemed to get off the point because of the resistance of his audience. They just couldn't connect with him. But again, Savage made a concerted effort to show that the Bible cannot be "interpreted literally" and applied to today. The Bible teaches stoning adulterers, blasphemers, and witches...

Savage: "Do you want to do that today? Are you going to pick up a rock and smack someone with it? No, you're not. If we did that, we'd be like the Islamofascists and the Taliban."

True indeed. The Bible is on the same moral level with modern Iran. Savage has pointed this out repeatedly and it is a good thing.

The Bible is just not for today. To be made to fit a civilized society, it must be watered down, reinterpreted, and compromised. It fits neither the culture, nor the education levels of this generation, despite a growing number of exceptions who choose to remain ignorant and backwoods-ish by way of educational preference. Except among those who are stubbornly wound up in it as a belief system, the Bible has no appeal.

(JH)

27 comments:

Johnny said...

"Because those numbers dared not oppose a wargod who demands 7 human sacrifices to end a famine (2 Samuel 21:1-9)."
For being part of a group which often claims misrepresentation, you guys do not often seem to be able to fairly represent what the Bible actually says.

JustinOther said...

As a liberal, it's nice to hear when a conservative is speaking rationally instead of attacking liberals. Now, I'm not saying all conservatives do this, just the most outspoken fundamentalists. Anyway, Savage makes a good point that the Bible is not practical for today. It was written, as we all know, at a time when people knew little about the workings of their environment. They needed something to explain what was going on around them and, just as children will, they made up stories to explain the mysteries. I used to believe (or at least think maybe) God created the Earth millions of years ago and let it evolve. That was at the time between being theist and atheist. Now that I know there is no God, I realize my error. But at least Savage is telling his fundamentalist listeners not to take the Bible so litterally.

John W. Loftus said...

Johnny, it's hard to fully describe a Biblical event in one sentence, but look at the actual relevant text:

Now there was a famine in the days of David for three years, year after year; and David inquired of the Lord. The Lord said, “There is bloodguilt on Saul and on his house, because he put the Gibeonites to death.” 2 So the king called the Gibeonites and spoke to them. 3 David said to the Gibeonites, “What shall I do for you? How shall I make expiation, that you may bless the heritage of the Lord?” 4 The Gibeonites said to him, “It is not a matter of silver or gold between us and Saul or his house; neither is it for us to put anyone to death in Israel.” He said, “What do you say that I should do for you?” 5 They said to the king, “The man who consumed us and planned to destroy us, so that we should have no place in all the territory of Israel— 6 let seven of his sons be handed over to us, and we will impale them before the Lord at Gibeon on the mountain of the Lord.” The king said, “I will hand them over.”

8 The king took the two sons of Rizpah daughter of Aiah, whom she bore to Saul, Armoni and Mephibosheth; and the five sons of Merabddaughter of Saul, whom she bore to Adriel son of Barzillai the Meholathite; 9 he gave them into the hands of the Gibeonites, and they impaled them on the mountain before the Lord. The seven of them perished together.....they did all that the king commanded. After that, God heeded supplications for the land
. [II Sam. 21]

Okay, now you describe what had happened, and why God caused the famine to cease. Your turn.

Daniel said...

Now, surely, we can't forget about all the other mentions of human sacrifice in Scripture.

Yahweh's love for blood spilled for him is just another facet of this god's unbelievability and contradiction in purported character/istics.

Mike said...

"...it's hard to fully describe a Biblical event in one sentence..."
Thanks for your honesty here, John. But my claim still stands: Mr. Holman is misrepresenting what the Bible says. There are other ways to describe this Biblical event that are far less connotative than that God "demands 7 human sacrifices...", ways with which it would not be difficult to come up. In this case, it's obvious that God chose to leave it up to humans' choice (choice being a phenomenon for which an atheist view cannot account, so if you have trouble with that concept I understand...) as to the retribution for the Gibeonites' household, as they had been mistreated. He chose to allow the Gibeonites to decide their fate, and the Gibeonites decided that they wanted to kill some members of Saul's family. This is far different than a savage God demanding human sacrifices, and if you wanted to sum this passage up from your point of view, you could do so more accurately: God is evil because He allowed humans to decide how they wanted to be paid back for being mistreated.
Does this help?

Jason said...

There is good reason to believe that the God of the Bible is evil that do not depend on how one interprets this passage. For example, condemning humans to eternal punishment for the crime of original sin is an inherently unjust act, no matter how you slice it. Even if you are correct and this passage does not demonstrate God's demand for human sacrifice, your ultimate cause is lost.

Anonymous said...

Finite sin against an infinitely holy God demands an infinite punishment. Is it just if it is sliced that way, Nihlo?

Mike said...

Brother Danny,
In response to your comment, I cannot convince you of the need for God to judge sin, for you are unwilling to accept the premises from which I deduce that He needs to judge sin. You apparently can only accept a God who is purely love, whatever your definition of love is; you cannot accept His holiness as well, which demands judgment for wickedness (both yours and mine, as well as the rest of humanity). I am not entirely sure what your comment was supposed to achieve: I certainly remain unconvinced that God ever required the death of someone who didn't deserve it. If Isaac ever sinned, didn't he deserve death (according to the Bible's own words)?

Mike said...

"There is good reason to believe that the God of the Bible is evil that do not depend on how one interprets this passage."
And these reasons are...?
You cannot seperate God's holiness from His love. He is not only one or the other; He is both. And that is the only way that you can interpret Scripture.

"For example, condemning humans to eternal punishment for the crime of original sin is an inherently unjust act, no matter how you slice it."
I'm not sure that the Bible says all humans are punished for the crime of original sin. Does it say that somewhere?

Daniel said...

Finite sin against an infinitely holy God demands an infinite punishment. Is it just if it is sliced that way, Nihlo?

What about finite/infinite mercy? Finite/infinite grace?

you are unwilling to accept the premises from which I deduce that He needs to judge sin. You apparently can only accept a God who is purely love, whatever your definition of love is; you cannot accept His holiness as well, which demands judgment for wickedness (both yours and mine, as well as the rest of humanity).

If you have the potential to be infinitely strong, must you exercise this strength at all times? If you are really really really fast, must you run everywhere you go? As Paul M pointed out with a twisting of the "rest" day -- it is a logical fallacy to say, "yes". If God is infinitely holy, there is no reason that God must exercise judgment in a way where holiness outweighs mercy or grace.

Your God asks us to forgive our enemies, but refuses to forgive His own. Your God does not recognize anything good about mankind worth rewarding, to balance the scales of justice. No good act is rewarded, to compense for a bad act which is punished for. No grades of punishment exist between a child who commits its first sin at 9 years old (or whatever) and Hitler -- it's all "infinite punishment/torture/whatever"

I would have to say that your basis for "justice" -- forgetting the other attributes of God, and insisting that one particular attribute must outweigh the others and be completely expressed (while the others are thus completely repressed) is the heart of your conundrum.

Of course, I reject the dogmatic assertion that the BIble is a reliable indicator of God or God's character, any more than the Qu'ran, or the Hindu Vedas, or whatever...but I'm willing to grant your premises (that God is holy, just, gracious and merciful) to examine them for merit in your conclusion (that infinite holiness demands infinite punishment for sin, without considering the other attributes, or justice correlated to "degrees of sin").

If Isaac ever sinned, didn't he deserve death (according to the Bible's own words)?
We all get death in the end, right? So why did God feel the need to tempt the boy's own father to display obedience (although God already knew the outcome) by sacrificing his son as the pagans did (and as my link showed you, God still approved of multiple times)? Death comes to us all, so how does this justify murder being 'okay'? If you're going to prattle on about how the Mosaic Law hadn't yet been given, we of course have entered into a realm of relativity ("right" and "wrong" are relative to the time frame).

I certainly remain unconvinced that God ever required the death of someone who didn't deserve it.
Of course you are, because in your eyes, all humans deserve death. In your eyes, whether God executes this by "tempting/testing" Abraham with an evil act (murder of his own son, promised by God to be his progeny), God was still just and merciful and good. You're insane in the membrane, senor.

Your God is an unbelievable god. And so I don't believe It exists.

exbeliever said...

Mike,

You wrote: I certainly remain unconvinced that God ever required the death of someone who didn't deserve it.

So, did David's child deserve to die because David sinned?

2 Samuel 12:13-14--"Then David said to Nathan, 'I have sinned against the LORD.' Nathan replied, 'The LORD has taken away your sin. You are not going to die. But because by doing this you have made the enemies of the LORD show utter contempt, the son born to you will die.'"

Jason said...

Finite sin against an infinitely holy God demands an infinite punishment. Is it just if it is sliced that way, Nihlo?

No. For Adam and Eve, eating the fruit should never have been a sin in the first place, because they did not have moral knowledge. Furthermore, even if someone was of the opinion that eating a piece of fruit in a garden merits eternity in hell, the offspring of Adam and Eve did not eat of the fruit, and yet they share the burden. Born into sin, for an act they did not commit. This notion is something that is rejected on every level of human endeavour. "Ought implies can" the law school addage goes, and so we do not punish people that commit crimes when they could not have done otherwise. Yet infants cannot possibly be born into anything but sin, and yet they are punished by the Christian god.

Mike, please read the whole of my post before posting a reply. You asked me for an example of something that indicates the evil nature of God as if I hadn't provided one.

I'm not sure that the Bible says all humans are punished for the crime of original sin. Does it say that somewhere?

Would you be willing to admit that God is evil if I provide you with the requisite passage?

John said...

The callers were identified as white and middle class, but so are the majority of the posters at this site, I'll bet. What makes you better? Your beliefs? You no longer believe something that those "fundies" believe, so even though a lot of you come from the same demographic group as those people, you're superior? You're snobs.

Black ministers and their congregations believe that the Bible is true as well. But they always get a free pass at sites like this one. I dare you, if you're a white atheist, to stand up to black Christians and tell them how stupid that you think that their religious beliefs are.

As for Michael Savage, how often does he question the religious beliefs of his people?

Joe E. Holman said...

John said...

"The callers were identified as white and middle class, but so are the majority of the posters at this site, I'll bet. What makes you better? Your beliefs? You no longer believe something that those "fundies" believe, so even though a lot of you come from the same demographic group as those people, you're superior? You're snobs.

Black ministers and their congregations believe that the Bible is true as well. But they always get a free pass at sites like this one. I dare you, if you're a white atheist, to stand up to black Christians and tell them how stupid that you think that their religious beliefs are.

As for Michael Savage, how often does he question the religious beliefs of his people?"


Yes, I am white. This doesn't have directly to do with race. I was describing Savage's audience, who happens to be white aggressives who sing the same old song about making this a Christian nation again. They are the militants. They are Savage's audience. That's why I addressed them.

If you want me to speak against the shortcomings of black Christians, I can...and will, but had no reason to in this article. Blacks are very big believers in the Christian superstition, yes, but their white, generally more educated, counterparts are behind the I.D. movement and tend to be the big voices behind the fundy-izing of America. How often do you read of Bishop T.D. Jakes or Creflo Dollar wasting their time, trying to write books to convince scientists that the fossil record was a result of the flood and that there are no transitional species? They don't deal with it. They just pray and sing and reverberate to the beautiful sound of the organs in their local Holiness Pentecostal "Assemblies of Faith." Take a drive some time down "across the tracks" in your neck of the woods and see how active they are in bootlegging their religion into schools and government. I think you will be surprised. They may be fundies and uneducated, but they refuse to jump on the bandwagon of trying to suck up to western cultural standards of proof and evidence.

We are not snobs. Being "better" than someone else is the very antithesis of all posters here. Of that, I am certain. We don't fault someone for having beliefs, just for holding back our nation by trying to cram their own down everyone else's throat.

And I don't agree with Savage about a great many things. He is an angry bigot in many respects (this coming from a conservative atheist who is NOT a leftist). When he gets on his typical rants about how everyone is against white people, he is wrong, as is his bickering on putting god back into schools.

You see, we have the ability to listen to someone and make our own decisions and respect them for what they stand for on the things we approve of. I don't have to agree with a person for me to adopt certain of their beliefs.

So this has nothing to do with preferring one race over another. It has to do with the issues I addressed and the people involved.

(JH)

exbeliever said...

John,

You wrote: Black ministers and their congregations believe that the Bible is true as well. But they always get a free pass at sites like this one. I dare you, if you're a white atheist, to stand up to black Christians and tell them how stupid that you think that their religious beliefs are.

What the hell are you talking about? I don't know of any time that people here have made a distinction between white Christians and black ones. We talk about Christian belief in general, not "white" Christian belief.

I'm a teacher, and the school I teach at is 52% African-American and 48% hispanic. The vast majority of staff are black.

I don't think I agree with Joe's statement, "They just pray and sing and reverberate to the beautiful sound of the organs in their local Holiness Pentecostal 'Assemblies of Faith.' Take a drive some time down 'across the tracks' in your neck of the woods and see how active they are in bootlegging their religion into schools and government. I think you will be surprised. They may be fundies and uneducated, but they refuse to jump on the bandwagon of trying to suck up to western cultural standards of proof and evidence."

The African-American teachers at my school are educated and do try to push their religion on the school (mainly by openly opposing the gay-straight alliance on campus). Teachers preach their religion in the classrooms (and this was proven in a recent law suit against the school).

I've never even thought to divide my opposition to Christianity between black and white Christians. As a progressive, I have a lot of criticisms of the white middle class (of which I am a member), but I talk about Christianity generally, not racially.

Paul Manata said...

Ex-B wrote:

Mike,

You wrote: I certainly remain unconvinced that God ever required the death of someone who didn't deserve it.

So, did David's child deserve to die because David sinned?

2 Samuel 12:13-14--"Then David said to Nathan, 'I have sinned against the LORD.' Nathan replied, 'The LORD has taken away your sin. You are not going to die. But because by doing this you have made the enemies of the LORD show utter contempt, the son born to you will die.


Hmmm, why does a child who is a rebel in God's universe, a criminal of the Lord of the Land, not deserve punishment?

Poor ex-b, can't seem to grasp the concept of an internal belief.

Anyway, interesting that your worldview allows women to kill "innocent" children simply because the mother wants to, and for no other reason.

Keep tossing them softballs, Ex-b.

going yard,
Paul

DagoodS said...

Paul Manata:
Hmmm, why does a child who is a rebel in God's universe, a criminal of the Lord of the Land, not deserve punishment?


Uh…I thought Mike was trying to head away from original sin. Are you saying that all people deserve death, for the “crime” of being Human? And how do you address the verses that explicitly state that the baby boy was being punished for David’s crime, not its own?

If God can transpose punishment, would it be acceptable for him to send your child to Hell in my stead? Since your child is equally deserving, being an equal rebel. (Not saying this to inflame, just to make a point—“transposable” punishment is reprehensible. The Crime of being “human” is what Mike was avoiding.)

Paul Manata said...

I don't care wgar Mike was trying to do.

And, the enemies of the Lord showed contempt, so God punished the child. This was an occasion to blaspheme the Lord. God hated David's sin, he chose to punish the child to show it.

The child, though, was not innocent and was worthy of the death penalty.

So, because of David's sin it was the occasion God used to put the child to death.

The child had no rightful claim to life before God.

All life is God's, He may do with it as He pleaseth.

"If God can transpose punishment, would it be acceptable for him to send your child to Hell in my stead?"

No, because my child could not stand in your stead, sinner that he is.

Christ is the only one who could.

Did you say you used to be a Christian?

DagoodS said...

Paul Manata, if you don’t care what Mike was trying to prove, why would you criticize ex-believer for addressing his point? No wonder you thought ex-believer didn’t grasp the concept, you weren’t following the conversation! You’re forgiven.

Even if God hated David’s sin, he had pardoned David and commuted the sin! It was as if it had never happened. “The Lord has taken away your sin.” 2 Sam. 12:13 With no sin (per God’s statement) there was no one to punish. There was no reason for the child to die

What “enemies of the Lord” by the way? Nathan had just finished saying this was done in secret. That God was going to bring it to light. (vs. 12) How could they have contempt for something they didn’t know about? And what was the blaspheme?

It seems as if you are just tossing out phrases in an attempt to absolve your God.

If all life is God’s, why the justification for the child dying? Why not simply say, “all life is mine, and I am snuffing out this child”? Why worry about the sin at all? Why let the child pine away for 7 days, if God was going to kill him anyway?

So a Child can “stand in the stead” of a person in this life, and take death as a punishment for a sin that didn’t occur, but cannot for afterlife punishment? Where is that? God said whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed. (Gen 9:6) Yet in this instance, did not follow that obligation. Who is to say that God is bound by any such statement for afterlife punishment?

Paul Manata said...

Well, because Ex-b made the claim that the child *did not* deserve death. I simply responded that he did.

Pardoning the sin does not mean there is "no sin." It means that God forgave the debt.

What enemies of the Lord? Are you serious????? So, you just read the two verses but dinn't read anything after that??/ How "scholarly" of you. All can see now that you have no interest in learning have seeming inconsistent, yet you just open your yap in order to "refute" people. You're like a wild gunslinger who gives his position away to the sniper who patiently waits for a kill shot.

Let's look at v. 14:

Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die.

It seems as if you're just ignoring phrases (verses) to absolve your hatred of God. I am truly embarrassed for you.

And you used to be a Christian?

Why the justification? Well, because God is *just* and never does things arbitrarily.

Why why why? Well, I'm not God and so it is unfair to ask me what reasons God had for what He did.

My point was more basic, which you missed by the way. The objection presupposes that the child had a rightful claim (before God) to life. This is a false premise. If you're going to critique the Christian worldview then you need to critique the Christian worldview. I know it's fun to leave out relevant premises just to make it easier on yourself, but you should really decry the atheist hankering for intellectual laziness.

As far as your other conjectures (which is all your argument breaks down to) I'll cite Henry:

"4. His pardon declared, upon this penitent confession, but with a proviso. When David said I have sinned, and Nathan perceived that he was a true penitent,

(1.) He did, in God's name, assure him that his sin was forgiven: "The Lord also has put away thy sin out of the sight of his avenging eye; thou shalt not die," that is, "not die eternally, nor be for ever put away from God, as thou wouldest have been if he had not put away the sin." The obligation to punishment is hereby cancelled and vacated. He shall not come into condemnation: that is the nature of forgiveness. "Thy iniquity shall not be thy everlasting ruin. The sword shall not depart from thy house, but, [1.] It shall not cut thee off, thou shalt come to thy grave in peace." David deserved to die as an adulterer and murderer, but God would not cut him off as he might justly have done. [2.] "Though thou shalt all thy days be chastened of the Lord, yet thou shalt not be condemned with the world." See how ready God is to forgive sin. To this instance, perhaps, David refers, Ps. xxxii. 5, I said, I will confess, and thou forgavest. Let not great sinners despair of finding mercy with God if they truly repent; for who is a God like unto him, pardoning iniquity?

(2.) Yet he pronounces a sentence of death upon the child, v. 14. Behold the sovereignty of God! The guilty parent lives, and the guiltless infant dies; but all souls are his, and he may, in what way he pleases, glorify himself in his creatures. [1.] David had, by his sin, wronged God in his honour; he had given occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme. The wicked people of that generation, the infidels, idolaters, and profane, would triumph in David's fall, and speak ill of God and of his law, when they saw one guilty of such foul enormities that professed such an honour both for him and it. "These are your professors! This is he that prays and sings psalms, and is so very devout! What good can there be in such exercises, if they will not restrain men from adultery and murder?" They would say, "Was not Saul rejected for a less matter? why then must David live and reign still?" not considering that God sees not as man sees, but searches the heart. To this day there are those who reproach God, and are hardened in sin, through the example of David. Now, though it is true that none have any just reason to speak ill of God, or of his word and ways, for David's sake, and it is their sin that do so, yet he shall be reckoned with that laid the stumbling-block in their way, and gave, though not cause, yet colour, for the reproach. Note, There is this great evil in the scandalous sins of those that profess religion, and relation to God, that they furnish the enemies of God and religion with matter for reproach and blasphemy, Rom. ii. 24. [2.] God will therefore vindicate his honour by showing his displeasure against David for this sin, and letting the world see that though he loves David he hates his sin; and he chooses to do it by the death of the child. The landlord may distrain on any part of the premises where he pleases. Perhaps the diseases and deaths of infants were not so common in those days as they are now, which might make this, as an unusual thing, the more evident token of God's displeasure; according to the word he had often said, that he would visit the sins of the fathers upon the children."

DagoodS said...

Uh, Paul Manata. Even if I didn’t read the verses in a Bible, you had quoted the verse in your previous response. Perhaps I was not clear—I was asking “Who are the enemies of God that Nathan was referring to?” Your Henry answered this anyway.

Do you see the problem? Henry sure doesn’t address it. He claims these enemies were “the wicked generation of that age” and “when they saw one guilty of such enormities….” Not two sentences earlier God had said this was done in secret! How could these be the enemies of God showing contempt, if they didn’t know about it? In fact, the only way FOR them to learn about it (according to God) was that God was going to make a spectacle of David and his wives being raped in the open by David’s enemies. (I did notice that Henry sorta breezed over that bit. I do not wonder why.)

This is a convoluted problem. God decrees that adulterers must Die. David commits adulterer. No body knows. Now God appears and says, “You did it in secret, so I will bring it to light.” David says, “I sinned.” Now God brings it to light anyway.

God is afraid that the “enemies” would be contemptuous or commit blaspheme if He didn’t punish somebody. Why? Who was arguing that God can’t absolve a person of their sin? David had just done it with Absalom’s rape. God does it with David’s census. Where are these “enemies” that will confront God and say, “Hey, you didn’t punish David?” Worse, God punishes a child. Are the “enemies” equally appeased as long as God punishes somebody?

But now we are having more trouble with the fact of God punishing a baby. Not God absolving David of the sin, but levying punishment on an innocent. That isn’t causing contempt and blaspheme of this depiction of a God? Of course it is.

Paul Manata: Why why why? Well, I'm not God and so it is unfair to ask me what reasons God had for what He did. Exactly. Thank you. Honest answer. It is the very reason I ask “why” questions. You don’t know the answers. Unfortunately, it then undercuts everything else you say about God. “I don’t know. I don’t know. I’m not God. So let me tell you what God does/says/is..” If you don’t know, any assertion you make about this God of yours is pure speculation and by your saying as much, reveals that there is no basis for this belief. Just conjecture.

No, I am NOT saying you have to know everything about God. Just enough to explain what he did, and at the moment, in this one particular instance, and even that is too much. Even that requires the traditional “God is mysterious” answer, showing how all of this is made up guesses.

It is kinda funny to watch the argument over TAG on other blogs, and then have you come here, and addressing my questions about this God of yours, have you say, “Its not fair to ask me why God does what he does.” Fair? Don’t cower from these questions—you have God on your side. You have TAG. I have but lowly earth logic which is not even mine, but borrowed (according to your position as I understand it.) How can it be that my questions force you (and your God) to back off with “not fair, not fair”? It should be the reverse.

Further, this demonstrates that you DON’T have any assurance that God wouldn’t send your Child to hell in my stead. You don’t know what God does, or what God’s reasons are for what he does.

A Human says God makes Law One: Murders must be punished with Death.
A Human says God makes Law Two: Believe and you will be Saved.
A Human says God violates Law One: Murder is not punished with Death.

Now why should I believe a human that tells me God is sovereign, but won’t violate Law Two? Especially one that says they don’t know the reasons for what God actions God takes. And I did notice that Henry said “souls are his” not lives. Perhaps Henry agrees that God can substitute souls as well as lives?

I dealt with the theory of “God is just” and specifically with David’s baby in a previous blog. Until addressed, I presume this is simply a “throw-away” term for “I can’t figure out any reason why God would do this either, so I will us the prestigious term of ‘just’ and hope that somehow that makes it go away.”

What law, Paul Manata, was God following that allowed Him to kill a baby, but take seven days (Ol’ Henry skipped that bit, too.) in the stead of David? Would it have been unjust for God to NOT kill the baby, or for God to kill it immediately?

I’m not saying that there was no sin. I am agreeing with you that God forgave the debt. Or, if you prefer, I am agreeing with Henry that “The obligation to punishment is hereby cancelled and vacated.” Let that sink in for a moment. No punishment. Cancelled. Absolved. Commuted. Pardoned. Take your pick.

There would be no punishment. And what is the next thing God does? Enact punishment! The commentators simply say it happened, but no one ever explains this quandary. If there was to be no punishment, why kill the baby? More importantly, why take seven days?

None of this is conjecture, Paul Manata, it is easily seen right there in the verses. I encourage anyone and everyone to look at it. I ask the important “why” and you, honestly, admit you have no answer for that. Hence the problem. No body has an answer, and this is what the original blog is addressing—why drink something so filthy?

O.K. People have no rightful “claim” to life. So God can kill whoever, for whatever reason he wants? Then why (again) does God bother with a justification? Not just smack the child? What, exactly, DO people have a “rightful” claim to, and what verses do you base that on? (Careful, I’ll pull out Rev. 21:8)

Paul Manata, there is no “one” Christian worldview. I will try to address the problem within your Christian worldview, but you cry out “unfair” when the questions get too difficult. We have a situation, explain it! Or is your only explanation, “God can do whatever he wants, label it ‘just’ and I don’t know why.” Not very persuasive, eh?

I am trying to fit it in a Christian worldview. If I was critiquing it in my worldview, I would be noting that that this is purely legend. A myth of a story. The only non-Jewish proof of David’s existence is a questionable artifact that may (if the spacing is changed) state “House of David” which may or may not be a claim to an actual person.

That King David was most likely a Tribal chief, with a few exploits that turned into legend and then myth. That this story demonstrates how the myth developed before Mosaic Law (among other stories of David.)

The fact that Moasic law mandates the killing of Hittites, so David having one killed would not be murder. Or that Bathsheba was not included in the punishment of adultery, against Mosaic Law. Or that God would have David’s wives raped by another for punishment instead of death. Or that a child would die in the stead of his parents.

But that doesn’t progress us, claiming it is a myth. You think it was a real God, and a real prophet and a real King. But don’t know why any of it happened.

You can cite Henry all you want. Didn’t improve my knowledge of your position any. For just one example, Henry talked about the “not die” as in “not die eternally.” This shows a lack of knowledge to the Jewish concept of death/resurrection. No Jew would worry about dying “eternally” they do not have such a concept. Only Christians do. It would be the same as my telling you, “don’t worry, you will have an afterlife.” You would think, “you ignorant dolt! Everyone has an afterlife, either in Heaven or Hell. Telling me that I will have what I already know I have is meaningless.”

Henry also conveniently skips the troublesome parts of letting the child live for seven days, the punishment of raping David’s wives, the secret vs. contempt of enemies. In fact, he avoids all of those difficult “why’s” that I ask!

I’m glad you responded, but this is the difficulty in taking these stories literally. It is attempting to line up how King Arthur obtained Excalibur—through the stone or the Lady of the Lake. It is a myth, made up by humans. It is not SUPPOSED to align.

Paul Manata said...

dagoods,

your ignorance continues to astound me. I'm fine with ignorant people, but with men all pumped up with machismo and testosterone, who try and act "bad," it gets bothersome.

Not all adultary was punishable by the death penalty. For example, in cases where an adultaress is not found in the act, but confesses to the priest, she is not inflicted with capital punishment (cf. numbers 5:11-31).

Riddle me this: Why should I spend my time conversing with someone who is ignorant of a subject, acts like a know-it-all, is not interested in learning, etc?

The *sin* was in secret, the punishment would not have been. The punishment would have given the Lord's enemies occasion to mock Jehovah! Especially since the Lord's annointed was the one who committed the sin. Are you purposefully trying to be dense?

I never said "it's not fair to ask me what God does what He does." If you would have asked that I would have answered, "God does all that He does for His own glory." You actually asked me why God did what he did." You asked me to get into His mind and see what reason he had for wating 7 days as opposed to 6. So, please don't cower in fear of this weak theist by having to misread what my intention was back into what i wrote. That's fallacious. I know it makes you feel all big -n- buff, but we're not buying your hot air filled muscles.

There is "one" Christian worldview. The Christian worldview is made up of all true propositions. We may not know all the details, but the simple fact of the matter is that if, say, the Bible teaches paedobaptism then the baptists do not have the complete Christian worldview.

I never said God can kill whoever He wants for what ever reason he wants. That's an invalid inference. Again, I know it makes you feel like a stud to beat up imaginary arguments, but to those who are engaged in real fights, with real arguments, we're not impressed by all your huffin' -n- puffin'. No one has a rightful claim to life before God, that's a presupposition of the Christian worldview. But it does not follow from this that God can kill whoever he wants for whatever reason he wants. You see, the *reason* why no one has a righful claim is that all men are created and all men are sinners. Because of this they have no rightful claim from which they can stand before the almighty.

Anyway, come back when you got something. If your next post shows your dishonest spirit again (dishonest because you tried to act like you care about dialogue and consistency), I'll have to dust my feet off. But hey!, at least you'll get the warm fuzzies, you know, the ones you got from your false Christian life, that come from beating up straw men.

DagoodS said...

Paul Manata, I know of no law, rule or policy requiring you to converse with me. You are free to quit any time you want. The internet is grand, isn’t it?

I have studied this issue of David’s baby backwards and forwards. I am always interested in some new perspective that I could learn something. True, you hauled out the same old tired excuses I have heard before, and I may have dealt with them too brashly. I am looking for something new, unique, unthought-of. Sorry if I came across too rough.

Yes, the sin was in secret. God commuted the sin, pardoned it, removed the requirement of punishment. Therefore, the punishment was non-existent. God then made it a spectacle anyway by killing the child. The punishment was not going to be obvious, because it didn’t exist!

Let me try a (perhaps poor) analogy:

“Kids—don’t eat the cookies.”
Child one eats the cookie, and I am the only one that knows.

“O.K., you know the rule. If you eat the cookie, I have to beat you with a stick. You know your mother will make fun of me, and point out what a rotten parent I am, so I will beat you in front of her to show her I mean business.”
“Dad, I’m sorry.”

“Oh, that’s all right. You are forgiven. It is like the cookie was never eaten. I will not punish you.”

Then I beat child two in front of his mother, because we can’t have cookies eaten without some type of punishment, can we?

Isn’t this, frankly a bit ludicrous? To say the punishment was in the open, AFTER God pardons the sin, is a mis-reading of the verses.

I never said "it's not fair to ask me what God does what He does." Well, not exactly. You said, I'm not God and so it is unfair to ask me what reasons God had for what He did. I did not realize which questions you have been unable to answer, and which ones you have been choosing to not answer. When I am not getting answers, tough to tell the difference, see?

If God can’t kill any human for any reason, for what reason is God prohibited from killing a human? You paragraph on this was unclear. First you say that God can’t, then you say no human has a claim to life, and then you say that all men are created sinners. (Ahem. “All”? Even Adam? Forget it, unimportant.) So God can kill anybody, true?

I do notice, now that you are completely skipping the part about God substituting a soul, such as your Child, for mine. Scary, with your concept of God, huh!

The Numbers passage? Shall we clear up Mosaic Law? Lev. 20:10 says both the adulterer and adulteress shall be put to death. However, a death sentence can ONLY be imposed by 2 or 3 witness, not just one. Deut 17:6. Numbers 5 only comes into play when there are no witnesses at all. Vs. 13.

I have discussed with Christians who have argued that God did not impose the death sentence upon David, because there were not 2 or 3 witnesses. Because it was secret, there were none. (‘Course you can’t argue this, because then there couldn’t be any punishment either, under Mosaic law.)

The problem with this is that God is the witness in this case. He doesn’t need 2 or 3 human witnesses. God imposes the death sentence on his own witness. (Besides it is silly to say God is limited by Mosaic Law, and then fails to follow Mosaic law. Is he limited or not?)

So, using Numbers 5, you have introduced the problem of witnesses. If there were none, then maybe you could use Numbers 5, but for the fact that Uriah can’t complain for 3 reasons:

1) He was not a Jew under Mosaic Law.
2) Being a Hittite, he was under a death sentence himself,
3) He was dead.

We can’t use Numbers 5, being no witnesses, either, because then God (assuming you are limiting him to Mosaic Law) couldn’t impose the death sentence. If you are NOT limiting him to Mosaic Law, then why is David worrying about dying for being caught?

A final side note: In every response to me, now, you keep referring to my former Christianity. Is it really THAT important to you? If I was still a Christian, somehow God would give you the answer in a flash of light? But since I am an infidel, God refuses to provide you with the insight to respond to these questions?

I get the foreboding feeling that you don’t have a response to these questions (don’t fear—no one does) so you are trying to use accusations, and insults (?) to bluster your way out of it. If it makes you feel better, go right ahead! If inclined, I will continue to point out the lack of response to questions, and the problems presented.

methuselah said...

I have to agree with dagoods. It seems that Paul is falling into the same trap as many cristians trying to defend lost causes. There are many examples in the bible that say God is one thing or another, only to be redifined in a latter text. Many times these come in conflict with each other creating the paradoxes we see in situations like David's son. Instead of realizing the truth of occam's razor, they escape logic by using the "mind of God" argument. It is this stubborness to change that will inevitably destroy the fundamentalist movement. Most of us believe in the good in humans prevailing God's judgements, not the sin. Is it not good enough to have faith and be a good person? To exude only peace, love, and understanding? Or is it more important to bend the will of rational people? In my experience we to often see this ugly side of cristianity that justifies such events as the will of god.

Ken Fields said...

Open question to all,

Please be patient with me if you have answered this question previously, I cannot read everything here ... especially in light of how many comments each post receives.

DOES ANYONE HERE BELIEVE IN OBJECTIVE TRUTH?

If so, where does one find it?

Discussing and arguing subjective points (i.e., "are you telling me that my 'Christian experience' was a figment of my imagination") is wearisome and pointless.

If there is no objective truth, all is relative. And if all is relative, on what basis do you argue against Christianity?

G. Charmley said...

Ah, sweet mystery of life...

Are you wallahs atheists, agnostics, or summat else, as they say in Hull? Well, you're not in Hull, so I guess the last one's out. Well, on the question of Cryonics. Right now, I don't recommend it. On cyborgs, so long as they don't become the evil cyborgs from Star Trek, I don't have a problem. After all, this is medicine, and last time I looked, all Christians agree that medicine is okay. The idea that people with pacemakers are going to hell is absurd.

I don't need to quote Bible Chapter and Verse on those, but common sense. The same is true of 'life beings at conception.' Afertillised egg, provided noting goes wrong, will come out as a living baby in nine months. The very idea that at some point God reaches down and puts in a soul is redolent of the medieval schoolmen.

Now, chaps, on space exploration, why not? After all, it's just like climbing mountains, only you climb higher. Aliens? Well, given that we're not likely to find any in this solar system, the point's academic, but I direct you to Andrew Fuller for some answers.Yes, the eighteenth century English Baptist, wrote about ETs. Maybe they'd have no sin, maybe not, maybe they don't exist. We simply have no data!

Babies born with both organs? Toss a coin and chop, or just chop, as that seems easier. Transgender? Counselling, lots and lots of counselling.

Clone children will have souls, and will be infected with Sin. If we ever make any. Fertillity clinics, some dubious practice re. embryos, so be careful here, I reccomend the works of Dr. David Cook. As for artificial intelligence, like aliens, I'll wait until this is a real issue, not a hypothetical which could be answered every which way.

The shallowness of thought here is astonishing! Clearly we think better in Wales.

Sincerely

Charmley

Daniel said...

Ken,

There is objective truth.

Your "spiritual" experiences are subjective, but that doesn't mean they weren't real. Read this article, which provides evidences that there is a real physical causation behind certain "spiritual" experiences. People have known for years that temporal lobe epileptics have serious out-of-body experiences and are often highly religious [Dostoevsky]. They have also known for years that stimulating particular loci in the brain can elicit visual or auditory hallucinations, trigger vivid memories, and give a sensation of well-being and peace. That said, I think the more we learn about the brain, the less "mystical" our mystical experiences will be.

What do you want to argue about?

Of course objective truth exists. Scientific facts and laws are not "subjective". They are also not "absolute truth", which is what I think you meant to ask.

Objective simply refers to a frame of reference from which we can both attain the same answer. IOW, is something subject to a particular mind's interpretation?

Even there, though, we have some problems and distinctions. Objectivity in the metaphysical sense of existence is much easier to deal with than in the "judgment" sense. For example: the bicycle that just went by both of us exists, that is an objective fact. The bicycle was traveling at 30 km/hr, however, is quite subject to the frame of reference from which the motion is observed.

Long story short, Ken, God is, unfortunately, largely a matter of judgment rather than an observable [we only see secondary causes even if there is a Prime Mover of Aquinas]. That does make a great deal of the argument here difficult to even begin on the same ground. However, there are objective frameworks against which we can judge specific claims about God, ie that "God is just" or "God is good". We can use logic, induction, experience [objective human experience], etc., to arrive at a measure of truth value for these claims.

Presuppositionalists know this, and so they attack the basis upon which we use logic, and say that we cannot "justify" logic. I don't hear them saying we cannot "justify" matter, but they may move in that direction eventually.

Morality is quite different than questions of existence, insofar as the "naturalistic fallacy" is concerned where because something is, an ought can be derived from it [or something like that]. IOW, evolution happened/s...can we logically say, "since survival of the fittest is a law of nature, therefore we ought to just stop using medicine to preserve life, since we're making the gene pool a lot softer and weaker"? Do you see the error there in jumping from is to ought? So, although objective morality exists, it is not directly derivable from nature. An objective morality is quite possible, given a system like Utilitarianism. But, on this board, we mostly argue as to whether God's actions in some OT story are moral or immoral (eg ordering the killing of babies and "sucklings" in 1 Sam 15:3). And that is where the presuppositionalists try to undermine our ability to call something God does anything but GOOD, regardless of what it is, but they fail to see they are caught in the Euthyphro dilemma. That means that murdering babies is not objectively wrong, because when God orders you to do it, it becomes right...and so their system of morality is, indeed, relative. The weakness of their morality is that they depend on knowing what God thinks is good in order to know what is good. Obviously, some "prophets" said one thing, and some another, and some "holy books" say one thing, and some another. Their morality is relative to which covenant they are in, which time period, and whether or not God "had yet revealed" some "new and better way".

Do you have a particular point to make, Ken? Truth(s) exist, and many of them are objective, and I would argue that some of them are absolute. That means we have plenty of common ground from which to argue with one another.

Do you want to challenge a particular notion?