Reasonable Doubt About "Adaption Theory"

Why didnt Jesus give us any NEW information before we discovered it ourselves? Using the History of Science this article demonstrates a reasonable doubt about the idea that Jesus adapted his teaching to suit humans. While I don't think there is actually a theory called "Adaption Theory", there should be to encapsulate this idea that the ancients were not sophisticated enough to handle the truth. All of the characters in the bible had contemporaries in science. This article lists the more famous ones, briefly describes what they did and provides a link to more information about them. I rushed to get this out in support of Johns article The Accomodation Theory of the Bible.

Did you ever wonder why there is no mention of any of the Ice Ages in the Bible? They took so much time to detail the parameters of the ark but didn't spend a word on "there was time when the world was frozen, and the melting ice caused the flood!". It would not have made it any more true, but it would have made it more plausible and hard to deny.

Did you ever wonder why a God on Earth wouldn't allot some time to write anything down?

Pythagoras, not a prophet, just a sinner, is reportedly to have said "numbers are the essence of things" at least 500 years before Jesus and a thousand years before Mohammad. This appears to be true since many discoveries about nature occurred through mathematics. If Jesus had given us a clue about the concept of Zero (discovered by Ptolemy about 130 ad, then rediscovered between 598 - 876) we may have been able to develop more quickly in terms of technology and intellect. Many medical, charitable, evangelical (etc..) organizations greatly benefit from technology enabled by mathematics that use zero. Jesus could have busted many incorrectly held beliefs that could have been empirically verified through the ages.

Jesus could have given us Ptolemies Tables before Ptolemy (140ce) or got the jump on Dioscorides (50ce) and wrote a little something about pharmacology. Jesus could have told us that the world is not flat and that the stars are not rooted in a dome over the earth. Eratosthenes (240 bc) proved the world was not flat and Tyco Brahe (1577) proved there were no domes around the earth. If these had come from divine revelation from a prophet, just think how much this fact would support a belief in Jesus.

Instead Zero came from the Hindus and Algebra came from the Muslims (generally speaking) and Jesus apparently erroneously predicted his return before all his apostles died (Mt. 16:28).

Jesus could have told us about the earths water cycle, precipitation, how to build better materials, how to improve sanitation, how to handle infections better, how to do agriculture better, that God doesn't live in the clouds, etc. Jesus should have come as the engineer/leader/politician type anticipated by the Jews. He could have changed the face of politics forever.

Jesus could have told us about the Fibonacci series in Nature, Quantum Mechanics (1900), the Chaos theory (1903) that there is energy stored in matter (1905), Jesus could have told us that randomness in a closed system, much like what can be demonstrated by running a 'chaos theory' program on a computer, is common in nature. Jesus could have told us about Evolution (1859).

Jesus could have prevented or corrected the errors in the old testament regarding the flat earth and the domed sky, or the fact that anything with wings (Lev.11:23), that is not mythical, does not have four legs or the Pi is not three, or all the other ones listed here at this site. Even Jesus philosophy of reciprocity or "the golden rule" first appeared in "The tale of the Eloquent Peasant" between 1670 - 1640s BC, a good four hundred years before it was attributed to Moses.

I know that scripture are not history or science treatise, but heck, even Dan Brown gets facts about the world he lives in correct and scientists make predictions that get verified all the time and they are just a human.

Here's a list of People that added new information to the world that were, more or less, contemporaries of Moses, Jesus and Mohammad

- BCE 3000 Astronomy Egyptians, Babylonians and Chinese
- BCE 530 Pythagorus - Pythagorean theorem
- BCE 350 Aristotle - Started biological classifications for animals, founded western philosophy.
- BCE 320 Theophrastus - Started botanical science
- BCE 300 Euclid - "Father of Geometry"
- BCE 260 Archimedes - Inventor and discoverer of Priciples of Density and Buonancy.
- BCE 240 Eratosthenes - Proved the world was round, first to calculate the size of it.
- BCE 134 Hipparchus - Developed accurate models of motion for sun and moon
- CE 50 Dioscorides - Wrote the first five books that started Pharmacology
- CE 140 Ptolemy - Discovered methods to model the solar system and map the Earth.
- CE 180 Galen - Set the standard for Modern medicine
- CE 876 Brahmagupta - Discovered Zero, the most important discovery in mathematics.

Why doesn't God give his religious leaders or scientists verifiable revelations?

There's no time like the present! Here's a list of past and present from Wikipedia but I'm sure you know some more that I missed.

- List of Christian Thinkers in Science
- List of Muslim Scientists

As far as I know, not one of them has said "God gave me a revelation when I was praying one day. It had nothing to do with dedicating a large portion of my life to research. Here's the proof, you can verify it for yourselves."

37 comments:

Mark Plus said...

That just goes to show the the gospels writers created a Jesus that reflected their intellectual limitations. If someone like Archimedes set out to write a gospel based on his extremely high mathematical & scientific intelligence, it might show Jesus discovering and inventing things like a genius character from a science fiction story.

Jason said...

Since the OT is a history of the Jews and the NT expounds on the guidelines for salvation and describes the beginnings of the 1st century church, what relevance would it have been for God to have mentioned the Ice Age or Jesus the Fibonacci series in Nature?

Jospeh said...

Jason, it would have established the credibility of his credentials, in revealing his divine scientific foreknowledge. Isn't this one of the purported evidences that Christian apologists sometimes use to prove the divine inspiration of Scripture, anyway (e.g. pointing to Old Testament laws regarding diet and sanitation)? I can't think of a better way to convince people of his God-nature than to reveal knowledge that only God could have about his creation.

But, let's say that Jesus only came to address the salvation issue. Fine, then he could have addressed it definitively with absolutely no room for anyone to get it wrong. And yet, we're still debating it to this day (e.g. Protestants vs. Catholics, faith alone vs. baptism, eternal security vs. falling from grave).

This is not to take away from what Jesus did give us. It's just that both of these articles have posed some interesting questions that may lend some to doubt the divine nature of Christ.

Allen said...

You said: "Jesus should have come as the engineer/leader/politician type anticipated by the Jews."

Isn't that the biggest hole in accomodation theory? The jews beleived their scripture promised the Messieah would deliver them from the evil oppressive and sinful Roman rule and re-establish the throne of David so that god's people could once again be free, independant and able to worship without supervision of a pagan power. All good and noble thoughts. And yet the alleged Messiah comes sneaking into the world literally under the heel of the paga power, looking like the bastard son of a peasant girl, garnering no polticial power and actually saying things tha indicated he had no intention of rocking the Roman boat. Can the honorable religous folks of his day be blamed for refusing to accept the horrible blasphemy of bastard kid of a peasant claiming, against everything they thought God had told them in their scriptures, that he was god?

If he accomodated the people's false beliefs in all those other things, why didn't he make it possible for them to beleive he actually was God by acting more like their concept of an all powerful God and less like any one of the hundreds of human charltans making false claims that existed in their day and have been present in every age of human history? Some "accomodation."

George Hasara said...

Very good article. I have current dialog with a Christian friend with a related topic. Instead of scientific knowledge, it concerns the Bible's (both Old and New Testaments) lack of being ahead of the curve when it comes to social issues - slavery in particular.

The Bible like all "revealed" knowledge never provides any actual NEW information. That information has to come from observation, examination, study and testing.

Jason said...

Joseph,

That doesn't answer the question. Whether or not we think God could have done a better job of imparting divine scientific knowledge is beside the point - if news of the Ice Age wasn't relevant to establishing the history of the Jews or the establishment of the 1st century church, then naturally it wouldn't be included. It's the same reason why God doesn't mention how North America was colonized or who built the first wheel. They're irrelevant to mankind's salvation and Jewish history.

Regarding Jesus and salvation, Christians arguing amongst themselves isn't indicitive of Jesus's lack of clarity, it's a symptom of man's inability to deal with the hard facts.

The only way things these sorts of discussions do is highlight biases and pre-determined 'requirements of divinity'. Neither are reasonable or logical grounds to disprove Scripture. Just because Jesus didn't mention the Aztecs or dinosaurs doesn't mean he wasn't divine - it means these topics had no relevance 1) to the NT Jews, 2) to the Gentiles and 3) to the overall workings of God's plan with mankind. Romans 1 is a good read regarding credibility.

lowendaction said...

lee,

great post. Your points go undisputed by me.

All I can offer is how this very real and valid obstacle of faith is working on me.

As I've mentioned before, I believe that God has a vested interest in those who are willing to "jump through the hoops" and thus "prove their worth" to Him. So in that vein, I believe that as easy as it should have been for God/Jesus to have included such undeniable facts to satisfy the skeptics doubt, He perhaps felt as though it would make things "to easy".

I know that this has the air of lunacy, but hear me out. I don't see God as highly interested in showing off how great He is, or rejoicing when we've unlocked another one of natures mysteries. He is focused only on one thing: love. He IS love, and that's what He's been desperatly trying for us to understand.

The definition of love (according to God):

1 If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.
2 If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing.
3-7 If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.
Love doesn't strut,
Doesn't have a swelled head,
Doesn't force itself on others,
Isn't always "me first,"
Doesn't fly off the handle,
Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn't revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
8-10 Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.

I Chorinthians 13:1-10
The Message


Here's probably one of the worst examples EVER of what I'm attempting to get at, but hey what's the worst thing that could happen...you get a little chuckle and discover what a closet nerd I am. So here goes.

The world through God's eyes. Think of this world as one giant Hollow Deck (pause for general laughter and copious eye rolling), and thus everyting around us, though amazing, complex and beautiful, is really just there for our amusement and has no REAL value or substance. The reason for all this, is for the meaningful content of it: us and Him. That's His focus and therin lay His priority. He's looking for people who are willing to reach beyond their comfort zone and trust in Him.

Fully aware of the scientific and skeptical lacking in any of this, I appreciate your indulgances, and hope you do not judge me to harshly for being a closet Trekkie.

thanx

Dillie-O said...

Lee,

I need to premise all of this with the note that I've been reading this blog pretty intensely for a while now and love the fact that (barring a few individuals) we are having some legitimate discussion here. I don't want you to think my next statements are designed to be inflammatory in any regard.

I say in all due respect that this argument sounds rather silly to me.

Why didn't Jesus reveal relativity to us as well? How about the definitive answer of time travel? What about aliens from another planet (actually I'd love to see a topic on this one). Plate tectonics? Viruses vs infections?

Why didn't he mention the formation of this "United States" thing down the road? What about this baseball thing? I'd love to know if Barry Bonds is really off the hook now that he has the home run record.

I think the answer to this is that we were still developing as a human race. Shall I go to my 15 month old daughters tonight and explain calculus or computer programming to them? It'll go over their head. Besides, I want them to figure it out for themselves, to some degree, the acquisition of knowledge by ones own means seems to do some wonders to the soul.

So then this trickles back to accommodation again. Do I tell my kids about the full reproductive cycle the first time they ask at age 5? That would go over their head as well. However, I do tell them the jist of things and as they continue to grow in knowledge, this core of knowledge gets to be developed and unwrapped a bit more.

Maybe it's considered lying, maybe its considered instilling the core of belief of the concept in a means that can be grasped and meditated upon as one's capability continues to grow.

SteveJ said...

Regarding Jesus and salvation, Christians arguing amongst themselves isn't indicitive of Jesus's lack of clarity, it's a symptom of man's inability to deal with the hard facts.

Baloney. The assertion that the doctrines of Jesus and salvation are crystal clear and utterly consistent throughtout the NT is just naive. In one text, Jesus calls himself "I AM," in another, he says, "Why do you call me good? There is only one who is good, God." In one text, Jesus says that those who keep his commandments will enter eternal life, in another, he says that all we need is to believe in him. One text says, "...baptism saves you." Another says that if we "believe that God raised him from the dead" we will be saved. One says that we're justified by faith without works, another says, "You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith only."

Regardless of whether these texts can be harmonized (a separate question), we can't justly state that God handed us a completely unambiguous roadmap in the Bible. And I'm so weary of people blaming man's stubborn, corrupt heart for the widespread lack of agreement among Bible readers. (The person making the charge usually is the one who has the correct interpretations, of course.)

SteveJ said...

... because Jesus didn't mention the Aztecs or dinosaurs doesn't mean he wasn't divine - it means these topics had no relevance ...

That's true, but here's the problem: The Bible's version of natural history rules out the age of dinosaurs. Don't you see that as a problem for inerrancy?

Jason said...

“Baloney.”

Really? Show me where infant sprinkling was practiced in the NT. Or the existence of the doctrine of purgatory. Or heaven-going. Or where the NT church was told to worship Mary.

"The assertion that the doctrines of Jesus and salvation are crystal clear and utterly consistent throughtout the NT is just naive. In one text, Jesus calls himself "I AM," in another, he says, "Why do you call me good? There is only one who is good, God."

Firstly, where does Jesus call himself “I am”? Secondly, what exactly are you arguing by referencing those two quotes?

"Regardless of whether these texts can be harmonized (a separate question), we can't justly state that God handed us a completely unambiguous roadmap in the Bible. And I'm so weary of people blaming man's stubborn, corrupt heart for the widespread lack of agreement among Bible readers. (The person making the charge usually is the one who has the correct interpretations, of course.)"

If they can be harmonized then there’s no problem.

Secondly, whether or not you’re weary of the blame game doesn’t make my point irrelevant. Who’s to blame for people thinking Adam & Eve ate an apple in the Garden: Ignorant man or unambiguous God? Who’s to blame for people quoting Revelation to explain the fall of Satan before creation: Stubborn man or unambiguous God? The list goes on. And on.

"That's true, but here's the problem: The Bible's version of natural history rules out the age of dinosaurs. Don't you see that as a problem for inerrancy?"

I don’t. But then this is a complete separate topic unrelated to the original post. If you think what I'm saying is true, then my point has been made.

Stargazer said...

Firstly, where does Jesus call himself “I am”?

John 8:58--(Jesus speaking)Before Abraham was, I am. (Most generally used translations read in this way.)

SteveJ said...

Jason,

You may think these issues are all cut and dried. But they're not so simple. During my many years of Bible study, I changed my mind on doctrinal issues a lot -- even when I was certain my old interpretation was dead-on accurate. Scholars who know the original languages and the ancient historic context disagree with one another regularly. To suggest that it's always a matter of a proud, unyielding heart on someone's part is not only uncharitable, it's nutty.

I'll prove it: Crack open the book of Zechariah and tell me its straitforward, easily accessible meaning.

Jim Jordan said...

Steve said That's true, but here's the problem: The Bible's version of natural history rules out the age of dinosaurs.

Not so. In your own words, "Scholars who know the original languages and the ancient historic context disagree with one another regularly". Very true.

Everyone I've ever met who holds strictly to the 6-day creation has been a self-righteous literalist. The Bible guides but also engages. The literalist has stopped thinking which means he is not engaged by the Bible, and soon he will not be guided by it either.

As for this post and the excellent August 8th post on The Accomodation Theory, they bring up serious questions about why the Bible doesn't drop a better hint or two solidifying it's claim to be from the omniscient God.

One answer might lie in the journey through the wilderness. The Shekinah glory cloud was leading the Israelites through the desert. Judging it took 40 years to get from Egypt to Israel, one could say it did a pretty lousy job! But...the point was showing these chosen people how to walk with God. Its the same dynamic with Jesus. A Spirit God would focus on the eternal more than the temporal.

I can't fully answer the question, "why didn't Jesus give us new information?" But what always fascinates me about Jesus is his wisdom. If you look at his teachings you have to admit the truth that "we are not there yet" and we never will be.

Perhaps we will find that the knowledge that zero exists is a wholly different type of knowledge than knowing God.

Jason said...

Now that it's been established were "I am" is found, how exactly does this contradict the phrase “Why do you call me good..." in Luke 18:29?

Steve, the issues I mentioned are cut and dry. The Bible is silent about purgatory, heaven-going, and infant baptism. I don’t see how these issues can appear to you as being muddled or ambiguous. How can a Christian support, defend and preach a doctrine when it isn’t found in the very book he considers inspired by God?

Zechariah is straightforward once an understanding of the symbols and analogies has been established. Reading the Bible logically, from front to back, starting at the beginning and finishing at the end, allows one to do this. The Bible can speak for itself. God and Jesus are separate beings, there are no fallen angels, Lucifer isn’t Satan, people don’t go to heaven when they die. Putting aside every religious bias and influence out there, the messages, lessons and doctrines in the Bible are crystal clear.

SteveJ said...

Everyone I've ever met who holds strictly to the 6-day creation has been a self-righteous literalist.

Everyone? I seriously doubt that. I know it's fashionable to portray fundies as walking dung-hills. And I'll grant that I've known my share who are arrogant, overbearing and sanctimonius. But I've also known lots of them who -- despite my profound disagreement with their views -- are kind, charitable, decent, humble, good-hearted people. But that's just my experience.

Steve, the issues I mentioned are cut and dry.

They are not, Jason. They're certainly not "crystal clear" as you insist.

I realize I'm veering off into a tangent from the real discussion, but let me give you an example. As far as going to heaven, it sounds an awful lot like Paul expected some intermediate state after death when he expressed his desire "to be with Christ, which is far better." I can see how someone might read this text and conclude that people really do ascend somewhere after death. Would a reader necessarily arrive at this conclusion because of a problem with his character? Not at all, he would simply be taking this text at face value, as you recommend.

The problem is that the Bible contains a diversity of perspectives on various issues. Sure, Paul appeared to believe in an immediate afterlife with Jesus. But on the other hand, the Psalmist and Preacher of Ecclesiastes make it clear that the dead have no consciousness at all. Paul took a lenient stand on the issue of eating food offered to idols, but the book of Revelation condemns it. Paul said we are justified by faith, James said we are justified by works.

The task of harmonizing all the Bible's views is futile. One of the silliest things a Christian can do is esteem the Bible divine and place this imperfect volume in the very center of his religion. People end up leaving once they start reading it critically and find out they've been duped.

Lee Randolph said...

hi Lowendaction,
I have to rush through this, sorry.

I'd like to give you some food for thought about 'god is love', all good, all powerful, all knowing, everywhere, etc

Love never gives up. - if there is a god, he gave up on some of us. He knows what it would take to convince us, it should be a small matter to a god.

Love cares more for others than for self. - then what is the point of praise? didn't he domonstrate his jealousy?

Love doesn't want what it doesn't have. - then why does he care about our souls?

Love doesn't strut, - then what was all that posturing in the old testament?

Doesn't have a swelled head, - then what is the point of praise? and all that talk about 'no other gods'?

Doesn't force itself on others, - didn't he pick the jews and then isn't the old testament the chronicle of him pounding them into submission?

Isn't always "me first," - then whats the point of praise, and there are no other gods and all that stuff?

Doesn't fly off the handle, - God never flew off the handle? for example, Lots wife? The guy that grabbed the Arc of the covenant to protect it? yada, yada, yada...

Doesn't keep score of the sins of others, - then why do we have to worry about going to hell or not?

Doesn't revel when others grovel, - then what is the point of praise and worship

Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, - then why does the theory of accomodation exist, and why are there such egregious geographical errors and scientific errors such as noted in my article?

Puts up with anything, - then why do we go to hell?

Trusts God always, - I love things but don't trust god

Always looks for the best, - then second best never has a chance?

Never looks back, - then why do we go to hell and why do we keep worrying about jesus?

But keeps going to the end. - if there is a god, he gave up on some of us. He knows what it would take to convince us, it should be a small matter to a god.

I am trek fan as well. If there is a god he must necessarily be more like Q than the biblical god because the biblical has the same problems that infinity has. Paradoxes. He cancels himself out. He is so good and loves so much that we can't understand it so needless suffering looks like evil and sending 70% of the population of the world to hell doesn't look like love.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi dillie-o,
I respect your opinion and expect your disagreement. Thats what we're here for right?
:-)

sorry but i have to rush through this.

you have leaped over to the extreme.
The point is that with 70% of us going to hell worldwide, gods plan in pretty inefficient. Not what you'd expect from a god and a bunch of bags of chemicals like us.

If jesus was what the jews waited for, then they would have accepted him. He would have been the engineer/statesmen that they expected then he could have started in with the new rules. That is what they would have expected.

He didn't need to throw out any geniousy things, just some NEW information that could have been easily digested in that time period. As I have demonstrated, the ancients weren't as dumb as christians are led to believe.

As I stated, if christ had told them about Zero (for example) and showed them how to use it, that would have led some credence to his claims of being all knowing.

and anyway, if god created everything, set up conditions, knows the future, gave us all the potential to be christian or not, he knows who would accept and who wouldn't, he doesn't give out hardships equitably, and still destroys 70% of the worlds population, there is no sense in that.

Think about it for a minute. Gods got the same problem that infinity has, he cancels himself out with paradoxes. Since he knows ahead of time who is going to have success, there is no point in the exercise.
thats a lot of roasted meat. Using the stats from the world book, if we extrapolate it back, 70% of the worlds population for all time cooked meat. thats a big barbecue.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Jason,
if news of the Ice Age wasn't relevant to establishing the history of the Jews or the establishment of the 1st century church, then naturally it wouldn't be included. It's the same reason why God doesn't mention how North America was colonized or who built the first wheel. They're irrelevant to mankind's salvation and Jewish history.
are you sure you want to say that there is nothing in the bible that is not irrelevant to mans salvation and jewish history?

but you've done what dillie-o did and jumped to the extreme without considering the topic. I think as God on Earth, and the new messiah I think it was incumbent on him to explain some of the jewish customs about hygiene, introducing germ theory. That would have been relevant and NEW information. I for one would be thinking "surely he was god because the gospels are the first place that germ theory is recorded and only god could have known that at that time". and I think christianity would easily be top dog among religions.

GordonBlood said...

Hmm I dont have a whole lot to say for this as none of it seems terribly polemical. Firstly I would like to ask why John doesnt allow anonymous comments, just because its annoying to sign in every time. As for why God didnt make his existence blatantly obvious (I think we can all agree that if the bible gave us some real hard science, such as explaining the mechanisms of evolution or the way the universe formed than that would be pretty convinving). I think id be troubled by this if I viewed the bible as inerrant or what not. Now the question is, of course, related to the hiddenness of God question. I dont think I need to go through alot of arguments but I think that perhaps God does not want his existence to be so obvious that if people wish to dwell, happily, in the materal world without any thoughts about anything else they can do so. Now of course in such a world a small percentage will, at least somewhat try to find God and fail. If God is merciful, which I again believe, than that will be forgiven. But yes my answer to the question is that God, at least to an extent, wishes his creation to force itself to humbly pull itself ever so slightly from the primordial ooze in which we were spawned, look to the sky and simply say "hello?"

GordonBlood said...

But yes Lee, I dont think anyone will argue with you on this point. Of course one answer to the question is God is hidden because God doesnt exist. However once we come to that stage of the game we have to enter the field of natural theology, philosophy and historiography which takes us far further than this post.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Gordon,
I think I can field the 'sign in' question. We were having trouble working around the abusive people and the non-abusive people that we wanted to converse with. We would spend a lot of time trying to talk around the trash-talk while responding to "anonymous @ 1235" and "anonymous @ 0922" etc.

I just tell the blog to remember me and go on about my business. Is that not an option for you?

Dillie-O said...

I may be pushing it too far, but let's say jesus did reveal the concept of zero way back then. Are you SURE you wouldn't also be asking for germ theory and other items today? How much is enough for you?

You're right, they weren't that dumb back then. Heck, I think most things are still footnotes to Plato and Aristotle 8^D

What did jesus use for his credibility? Prophecy, intense knowledge of the scriptures, and miracles. I think that these held a lot more credo in the day. When challenged by the Pharisees and Sadducees,jesus showed immense logic and insight in his responses.

Is this enough credibility to believe the rest of what jesus has to say?

Darren said...

The Bible being silent on certain issues is only a problem if you can show where the Bible should have necessarily addressed those topics. Of course, no skeptic has ever shown this. The best they can do is argue through innuendo. In other words, it's a dumb argument.

Goldstein said...

Perhaps Jesus was more concerned with how we lived our lives, ethically speaking, than with more scientific knowledge, per se.

After all, increased scientific knowledge has put us in a position where a world filled with nuclear weapons is taken as a given.

When you think about it, civilization could be laid waste in half an hour or so, in a scenario chillingly similar to the Book of Revelation.

Complain about it all you want, but why have atheistic scientists (Richard Dawkins assures us most scientists are atheists) provided nuclear weapons to any government that will pay?

Fundies may talk about the end of the world, but science has made it possible.

Even Einstein remarked to the effect that our scientific knowledge had already far exceeded our moral knowledge.

lowendaction said...

lee,

for a rush-job, you still answered quite a bit, so I will try and retort Hemmingway style (not in content but in leangth!!):

Love never gives up. - if there is a god, he gave up on some of us. He knows what it would take to convince us, it should be a small matter to a god.

I would argue free will here. We give up, not Him.

Love cares more for others than for self. - then what is the point of praise? didn't he domonstrate his jealousy?

I'll answer this one for all the praise related ones. I think our definitions of praise might differ in context here. Considering that God IS love as well as all the other omni's, it is really not praising another person as you and I might one another. I think of it, as recognizing and appreciating what and who He is. Plus, since God is perfect (results pending;) He is not burdoned with such pesty things as ego and pride. Only we are blessed with such handicaps.

Love doesn't want what it doesn't have. - then why does he care about our souls?

Great point! Though I believe the "wanting" is in reference to the posession of something. It's my understanding that God wishes for our love and attention through relation, but I'm pretty sure He does not seek ownership of us as such.

Love doesn't strut, - then what was all that posturing in the old testament?

Not 100% sure what you're refering to. I do know, that the OT relationship was quite different than the A.D. one, in that He chose to make His presence allot more "visibly" known. I like to think of this in more paternal terms than Him "showing off".

and all that talk about 'no other gods'?

Is this any different than saying "I do" in marriage? I'm not sure that exclusivity is synonymous with pride.

Doesn't force itself on others, - didn't he pick the jews and then isn't the old testament the chronicle of him pounding them into submission?

Also, IMO, more of a paternal approach. He says, "Here are the ground rules. And now here come the consequences of you breaking them." I personally am a big fan of a God of decisive consequences. I think our modern version of the "all loving, all good, fuzzy-wuzzy grace-filled" God is not entirely accurate. Though I do believe in His grace, and am obviously quite thankful for it, there is no mention of grace making Him "weaker" or "softer" regarding His character and nature.

Doesn't fly off the handle, - God never flew off the handle? for example, Lots wife? The guy that grabbed the Arc of the covenant to protect it? yada, yada, yada...

Clear set of rules. Concrete consequences. I don't see any emotions involved here.

Doesn't keep score of the sins of others, - then why do we have to worry about going to hell or not?

We don't go to hell because we are sinners (EVERYONE is a sinner...even Christians!). We go because we choose not to accept God through Christ. God is also quite clear about the fact that He does NOT keep score of ANY of our sins. They have already ALL been forgiven (and that includes not only future sins, but for ALL mankind...not just Christians!). Asking for the forgiveness of sins, is a really bad description of what is essentially, recognizing and accepting a fact. Though that might sound simple, it's really pretty deep when you consider all the implications therein.

Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, - then why does the theory of accomodation exist, and why are there such egregious geographical errors and scientific errors such as noted in my article?

IMO, truth is referring to the character and nature of God. Specifially, flowering is an image of the journey towards discovering who God is.

Puts up with anything, - then why do we go to hell?

Not related. I think this falls in the 'patience and understanding with regards to inter-personal relationships' category.

Trusts God always, - I love things but don't trust god

God = love.

Always looks for the best, - then second best never has a chance?

That's borderline silly...It doesn't say "Only accepts the best", it is an admiral trait to always strive for the best. I think it's more of an attitude/perception thing: Glass half full.

Never looks back, - then why do we go to hell and why do we keep worrying about jesus?

Of course, this list represents the "perfect" qualities of love, which I am arguing are in fact one and the same with God's. So it is not a question of how this reflects on us, but merely a guide or goal for us to measure oursleves by.
So hell? I'm not sure how one goes to hell by looking back? As far as "worrying" about Jesus. I guess you could say that we are "looking back" at history when reading about Him, but the scriptures also describe themseleves as being living, so one could argue that they are really right now. I think the only people that "worry" about Christ, are those that wish to discredit Him. Most Christians are actaully looking forward to His return.

But keeps going to the end. - if there is a god, he gave up on some of us. He knows what it would take to convince us, it should be a small matter to a god.

This again implies ownership. The whole idea of freedom discounts that. Everyone enters this life on a level playing field (from a Godly perspective), the choices we make from then on, is entirely ours.
What would be more meaningful to you? A woman that fell in love with you, entirely of her own accord, based soley on who you are? Or the one you've slipped a little Spanish Fly in her drink (presuming there was a formula that would cause a person to fall in love, despite themselves)? Just because you can, does that really make it worth it? It's often the journey, the unknown, that makes the having so much sweeter.

I think this is where that whole "personality type of the skeptic" thing might have some merit. I would argue that for the former, the need for instant facts over ultimate payoff can be overpowering.

Q as God...now there's a scary thought!!! I think I'd rather go for the unknown given those options.

thanks lee.

SteveJ said...

What would be more meaningful to you? A woman that fell in love with you, entirely of her own accord, based soley on who you are? Or the one you've slipped a little Spanish Fly in her drink (presuming there was a formula that would cause a person to fall in love, despite themselves)? Just because you can, does that really make it worth it?

Sure it does. If the woman is in danger of being tormented for all eternity unless she falls in love with me, then I think slipping her that Spanish Fly is the moral option. Don't you?

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Dillie-o,
I may be pushing it too far, but let's say jesus did reveal the concept of zero way back then. Are you SURE you wouldn't also be asking for germ theory and other items today? How much is enough for you?
God on earth is a fantastic claim. volvo in your garage is not. If you tell me you have volvo in your garage, I would probably believe you, if you tell me there was a god on earth, I want to something a little more than your word and what the bible says. I want to see some of those claims and present day claims backed up with some evidence. It makes a difference to me if there really is a god, it doesn't make a difference to me if you have a volvo.

I got an education, so I am predisposed to believe things and go about life with reasonable proofs. I suppose each proof should match the force of its claim.

What did jesus use for his credibility? Prophecy, intense knowledge of the scriptures, and miracles.
Jesus predicted he'd come back before the apostles died. Pentecost doesn't count because it doesn't meet the criteria of the prophesy or it was a bait and switch. If you say that jesus performed miracles that convinced the people of his time and all we are left with is the story, then that is all you can confidently say, it is a story. The force of Jesus predictions don't compel me to take him as god on earth. The force of the predictions of your average famous psychic don't compel me to believe in them. But the force of the predictions of scientists that have been discovered to be true, einsteins relativity is a famous one that someone mentioned in a comment, compels me to believe in them.

Now are you sure that your faith is not a system of cogintive biases?

Lee Randolph said...

hi all,
I'm preparing comments offline, I'll post them later. please check back and thanks for your participation!

Jason said...

"They're certainly not "crystal clear" as you insist."

Steve, I'm not insisting on anything. I'm simply making a statement that you happen to disagree with. :)

"As far as going to heaven, it sounds an awful lot like Paul expected some intermediate state after death when he expressed his desire "to be with Christ, which is far better." I can see how someone might read this text and conclude that people really do ascend somewhere after death."

Really? Then they obviously haven't read the verse, "And no man hath ascended up to heaven..." Jhn 3:13 Seems pretty clear, no?

Paul was merely saying he was caught between the desire to live and support the church and the desire to die and be with Christ. Being with Christ would occur at Paul's resurrection, a doctrine he spent much time explaining, versus going to heaven which John 3:13 touches on.

"Paul appeared to believe in an immediate afterlife with Jesus."

No, Paul believed in death and resurrection, not an immortal soul. Read 1 Cor. 15, namely verse 52.

"Paul took a lenient stand on the issue of eating food offered to idols, but the book of Revelation condemns it."

The book of Revelation is a self-proclaimed book of prophecy, not a book of laws and ordinances.

"Paul said we are justified by faith, James said we are justified by works."

Read: "Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith ONLY." Jam 2:24 Paul and James were writing to two different groups of people, those who promoted faith over works, and those who promoted other works over faith. Both were explaining that faith AND works are required not one or the other.

It's easy to blindly pick a few verses here and there and claim they contradict each other. Understanding the context and thinking about the audience, as most people do when they're reading a book, is vital. It just seems to be a job that most would rather avoid.

Nonetheless, my point in all of this was to show the reason why the Bible didn't introduce new information, like Quantum Mechanics.

Jason said...

Lee,

"are you sure you want to say that there is nothing in the bible that is not irrelevant to mans salvation and jewish history?"

Er, no, that's not what I'm saying at all. Would you not agree that Quantum Mechnics has nothing to do with anything from a Biblical point of view?

"I think as God on Earth, and the new messiah I think it was incumbent on him to explain some of the jewish customs about hygiene, introducing germ theory."

lol Why? If people don't believe in God because He failed to mention germ theory 2000 years ago, their problems are more deeply rooted then a missed science lesson. :)

Lee Randolph said...

HI Darren,

The Bible being silent on certain issues is only a problem if you can show where the Bible should have necessarily addressed those topics. Of course, no skeptic has ever shown this. The best they can do is argue through innuendo. In other words, it's a dumb argument.
Nice dodge back to asserting the case for proving a negative. But let me see if i can clear up my position a bit. When i go to the library and I want to pick up a book on a topic written by an expert, I expect that after using it I will not have the thought "this author was not an expert". As a Christian, the first time I read the bible cover to cover I thought to myself there is no way God helped write this book. After that I got in a logic loop with innerancy and that is another story, anyway....

So while I can't pick a topic and say that the bible should have necessarily addressed it, I can say that for a god he did a crappy job with what history, geography and science that did make it in the bible.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Goldstein,

Perhaps Jesus was more concerned with how we lived our lives, ethically speaking, than with more scientific knowledge, per se.
I'll buy that.

After all, increased scientific knowledge has put us in a position where a world filled with nuclear weapons is taken as a given.
When you think about it, civilization could be laid waste in half an hour or so, in a scenario chillingly similar to the Book of Revelation.
Complain about it all you want, but why have atheistic scientists (Richard Dawkins assures us most scientists are atheists) provided nuclear weapons to any government that will pay?

That was very well constructed appeal to fear with a slippery slope and a nice unsubstantiated claim twist! I give it a ten.
The world has enough nuclear weapons to destroy itself, I'm told, but it also has enough medical technology and sanitation to increase our average life spans appreciably. When you think about it, civilization could be laid waste in a half hour or so IF NOTHING STOPS IT. And what atheists have give whom nuclear weapons?


Fundies may talk about the end of the world, but science has made it possible.
Even Einstein remarked to the effect that our scientific knowledge had already far exceeded our moral knowledge.

I'd say the Fundys are incredibly obsessed by the end of the world and should lighten up and use that energy for some greater good. And I'll also give you a ten for that fallacious appeal to authority, because I don't really think you believe that Einstein was an authority on morals or knowledge or human capacity for moral knowledge.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi lowendaction

That's borderline silly...It doesn't say "Only accepts the best", it is an admiral trait to always strive for the best. I think it's more of an attitude/perception thing: Glass half full.
That made me smile. borderline silly? come on, admit it, you secretly think it was fully silly don't you? You are so polite! ;-)
anyway, thank you for your restraint! and for the idea to do a "Reasonable doubt about God is Love" article.

This again implies ownership. The whole idea of freedom discounts that. Everyone enters this life on a level playing field (from a Godly perspective), the choices we make from then on, is entirely ours.
nice qualifier, godly perspective. How do you know what the Godly perspective is? you have presumed a lot. Go to an impoverished person in some poor country and tell them they entered this life on the same level playing field as you. You're lucky if they don't spit in your face.

What would be more meaningful to you? A woman that fell in love with you, entirely of her own accord, based soley on who you are? Or the one you've slipped a little Spanish Fly in her drink (presuming there was a formula that would cause a person to fall in love, despite themselves)? Just because you can, does that really make it worth it? It's often the journey, the unknown, that makes the having so much sweeter.
The spanish fly is too much, just a little attention, tenderness, you know, that stuff that sustains relationships.

I think this is where that whole "personality type of the skeptic" thing might have some merit. I would argue that for the former, the need for instant facts over ultimate payoff can be overpowering.
well, two can play at that game mister! That was borderline silly! ;-)
I think this is where that whole "personality type of the christian" thing might have some merit. I would argue that for the former, the lack of need for instant facts over ultimate payoff can be overpowering. I'm thinking cognitive bias again.

Thanks lowendaction.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Jason,

lee: "are you sure you want to say that there is nothing in the bible that is not irrelevant to mans salvation and jewish history?"
Jason: Er, no, that's not what I'm saying at all. Would you not agree that Quantum Mechnics has nothing to do with anything from a Biblical point of view?

Jasons loading up the shirt and pants with straw.....


Lee: "I think as God on Earth, and the new messiah I think it was incumbent on him to explain some of the jewish customs about hygiene, introducing germ theory."
Jason: lol Why? If people don't believe in God because He failed to mention germ theory 2000 years ago, their problems are more deeply rooted then a missed science lesson. :)

AND HE STANDS IT UP! THE CROWD GOES WILD, what a classic and efficient construction of a straw man we have seen here today ladies and gentlemen, it doesn't get any better than that!
you have missed the point. the point is not that god should have provided the answer to quantum anything, but what was included in the bible should have appeared to have come from a god and not a compilation of Folklore. God should have at least been able to get the history, geography and science that is in the bible correct if he couldn't manage to give us any new information. I think that is a reasonable expectation from a god don't you?

Lee Randolph said...

Hi all,
I'm going to close off my participation in the discussion at this point and give you all the last word. I have several articles on the back burner I'd like to work on.
I hope my sense of humor was taken as it was intended (lighthearted), and I thank you for your participation in this discussion.
See you on another topic!

Jason said...

Lee said: "...the point is not that god should have provided the answer to quantum anything, but what was included in the bible should have appeared to have come from a god and not a compilation of Folklore."

From the original post: "Jesus could have told us about the Fibonacci series in Nature, Quantum Mechanics..."

So, contrary to what you're saying, the point being made was that since Jesus never told people about things like Quantum Mechanics, the Bible must not be divinely inspired because he never shared any NEW information.

What I'm trying to figure out is based on the Bible's overall message, how does Quantum Mechanics logically fit into the history of the Jews, salvation, baptism, sin, the establishment of the 1st century church, etc.? The answer: it doesn't. Therefore, there's no logical reason for it to have been included. All in all, this is just another bizarre attempt to discredit Scripture and look intelligent in the process.

"God should have at least been able to get the history, geography and science that is in the bible correct if he couldn't manage to give us any new information. I think that is a reasonable expectation from a god don't you?"

lol Nice straw man :) Irrelevant and off topic.