Schizophrenia Candidate Genes Affect Even Healthy Individuals

This is an article providing information about Biological Bases for Behavior.
It is intended as evidence to weaken the doctrine of punishment for sin as a result of freewill and the concept of an absolute freewill.

ScienceDaily.com

In the largest study of its kind to date, scheduled for publication in the October 1st issue of Biological Psychiatry, researchers sought to examine the impact of a few particular genes, known to be associated with a diagnosis of schizophrenia, on a healthy population.....
.....
In other words, they found that the healthy individuals who possessed the risk variants within the DNTBP1, NRG1, and DAAO genes exhibited small reductions in their cognitive performance and had atypical experiences that might be associated with schizophrenia.....
.....
Dr. Stefanis, explaining the importance of this study, comments that "these findings support the notion that even at the general population level, the genetic liability to psychosis may be expressed as minute and 'undetected to the naked eye' alterations in brain information processing capacity and behavior." Dr. Krystal adds, "Consistent with a growing body of evidence, this study suggests that there may be subtle cognitive impairments that are present when these common risk gene variants are present in the general population." Clearly, these findings will have an important impact on the future genetic work in this area.

I couldn't have said it better.

This casts doubt on the principle of punishment for sin is a better principle than nurturing remediation. Where is god when you need him? Oh yea, everything happens in gods time.
And the check is in the mail.

References
Sciencedaily.com: Mind and Brain
Scienceblogs.com: Brain and Behavior



79 comments:

SadEvilTan said...

In my opinion all the study made on this "Illness" is not going to make the slightest difference on 'Potential sufferers'-'You are most likely to be a sufferer if you had an ill upbringing'-ie. those that are abused etc. as a child, the mentally weak would be vulnerable to this 'debilitating disease'!

B H said...

Thankfully, genuine research doesn't rely on people's uninformed opinons.

GordonBlood said...

Pretty much every Christian, clergy or layman, that I have ever met believe that God will judge a person on what they have to work with. This point was made by CS Lewis with a clarion clear call years and years ago. If a person is perfectly sane, reasonable and intelligent then one logically has to believe God will judge them for their behaviour more-so then someone who is severely mentally ill etc etc. The point is you tried with what you had, not what you did and thats enough. A similar vein of thought would be Jesus saying that the woman who gave a small amount of money but could barely afford it would be found to be much better in heaven than a person who gave alot more but was rich.

richdurrant said...

I have to little problems here. the first is actually directed at Gordonblood. I think we have established that we are accountable for our actions and that people wit limited ability to understand right and wrong won't be judged the same as those who can, so lets skip over that point.

What Lee is after is that we all have some sort of impairment in our ability to make choices. Did I come around Lee?

Problem 2 then is that we should be able, as those healthy ones, to recognize things we have a hard time controling and do something about it. So the only reason to be punished for any sin would be our refusal to attempt to overcome the sin that we fully recognize and understand to be wrong, does that make sense?
So the only way I see this weakening sin/ punishment is if we don't eve have a chance at repentance and forgiveness. I should qualify that with healthy individuals who have candidate genes.

Joseph said...

Troubling to me as a Christian was the utter silence of the Bible towards these kinds of tough cases. There is no indication that the psychopath, the demented, or the schizophrenic will be judged any differently than the "normal" person who breaks god's law. We educated moderns would like to think so, but the Bible offers no such assurances as far as I can tell. The most that we can imply from Scripture is that mental illness may have been considered demonic possession in Jesus day.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi all,
Joseph, I agree with you, but I suspect (and have been expecting) the response to our view as "the bible says we have a sinful nature".

I already know that Rich thinks there is an "hierarchy" of forgiveness (correct me if I'm wrong) and it sounds like Gordon thinks that way too (again cmiiw). If that is the case, where in the bible (sorry rich but the viewpoint here is evang. christ.) does it say that?

Rich has my viewpoint correct when he says that I think we all have some sort of impairment to our ability to make choices (with respect to each other) but more so I don't think our attitudes are solely the result of our will and our decisions.

We get cues from our environment that for some reason we "find favorable" or "don't find favorable". That starts from the womb and continues to the last nano-second. It is a positive feedback loop that shapes their attitude as they develop. Some christians I have known are bigots, but they love christ with all their hearts. The picked it up from their environment, and it 'fit' in their brains architecture of thinking. I know they don't choose to be a bigot, they don't even realize their words are bigoted, so they don't even realize they are doing wrong till someone points it out.

I think gordons viewpoint could uproot the whole judgment thing to the point that we can say that only a small group of people are deserving of punishment. Then at that point, what was the point of the Flood? What was the point of punishing everyone after adam for his decision (if you believe in adam)? What was the point of putting on the big show of god pretending to torture and kill himself on the cross if everyone was defective from the start? What is the point of god putting a 'game' in motion with defective pieces to the point that some pieces are so defective they can never "function correctly", half way through god punishes himself as a reconciliation to himself, and then judging them on how they overcome these defects as they interact with each other? There seems to be a sliding window of judgment necessary, since all defects are different and affect the decisions differently, even to the point of not realizing that something is wrong and then there is the problem of who is qualified to be so defective they should be saved anyway. There is also the problem of apparently useless suffering and how it shapes the environment of the 'participant'. The rape of the innocents for example. If they believe in god, they know that he had the power to stop it but he CHOSE not to. I think the innocent would find this an 'unfavorable' environmental cue and I wouldn't blame them a bit for being upset with god.

Don't say god can figure it out because there is a problem with the whole premise.

Then there is the question of "do you choose who you love". Rich (I think) said he doesn't and I know I don't.

gordon, do you choose who you love?

Lee Randolph said...

Hi gordon,
I forgot to include biological cues in my previous comments, such as who we are aroused by.
there is a chemical in womens urine the men respond to and a chemical in mens sweat the women respond to.
I suppose it has to do with their sexual orientation.

Did you choose your sexual orientation? Could you be aroused by a man?

WoundedEgo said...

I'm not sure what point is being made in this blog. Is it that Christianiy is deficient and morally inadequate because the deity does not express any awareness of or provision for mental illness and is therefore unenlightened?

If so, I don't find that to be an accurate assessment.

I would be remiss if I did not mention a wonderful book called "Guilty by Reason of Insanity."

Bill Ross
http://bibleshockers.com

Joseph said...

"I'm not sure what point is being made in this blog."

That's for sure! How about reading the heading at the top of the page? Or the FAQ? You really should before commenting. Otherwise, you'll be taken for a troll (as your comments elsewhere seem to indicate).

richdurrant said...

Mornin' Lee,

"If that is the case, where in the bible (sorry rich but the viewpoint here is evang. christ.) does it say that?"

I've accepted the EC viewpoint here and it's why I speak out against Christian and Atheist alike;) It's actually a good challenge for me to find some things in the bible, so I don't mind at all.
So back to the matter at hand, I couldn't find any specific statement regarding exactly how the judgment will work for each person, the bible is already long enough for cryin' out loud. You have to put the pieces together. God will be the final judge, his judgment will be just, righteous, and so on. Will will be judged according to our works, and I actually didn't find anything specifically about accountability except for age reference. We believers, and you when you believed, trust God to do the right thing, as he is perfect so he can't make a mistake. I have to use my daughter again here, but she is 11 years old with the mental capacity of a 2 year old. So is she accountable or not? Most 11 year old certain are accountable, but then she's not most. I tihnk everyone agrees that she wouldn't be accountable, but isn't this based on the fact that mentally she is 2? If yes then somehow we understand that accountability isn't just about age alone, it has a bigger picture.
Going there I think we can extend that to every single person and say that each individual is accountable for different things based on numerous factors, are we ok here?

"Some christians I have known are bigots, but they love christ with all their hearts. The picked it up from their environment, and it 'fit' in their brains architecture of thinking. I know they don't choose to be a bigot, they don't even realize their words are bigoted, so they don't even realize they are doing wrong till someone points it out."

Since you brought up this example I will use it specifically to demonstrate accountability as it applies, IMV, to what I will now call "normally impaired people";) The instances of being a bigot prior to having their bigotry pointed out, even though it is still a sin, they are not accountable for. Upon realizing that they were in the wrong, if they fix the problem and don't continue in their bigotry, no problem, if not they are now accountable for that sin and, left unrepented, will not be forgiven.

"Then there is the question of "do you choose who you love". Rich (I think) said he doesn't and I know I don't."

That answer was the result of mulling the question over and intending to answer as I think the reasoning Evan. Christian probably should, hence the hesitation. Rich the Mormon ( I almost let that slip through with Moron instead, sheesh that would have been bad for me;) actually believes quite differently but I am trying to stay on track here.

I am interested to here from some of the Evan. crowd here. I have much more to say but it will have to come later as I have to take one last look at my fantasy teams before the day starts!

Mark Plus said...

>Troubling to me as a Christian was the utter silence of the Bible towards these kinds of tough cases. There is no indication that the psychopath, the demented, or the schizophrenic will be judged any differently than the "normal" person who breaks god's law.

The people who wrote the bible lived in small villages and probably never met more than a few hundred other individuals their whole lives. Naturally with such a limited sample they would miss out on a lot of the extremes of human behavior. They wouldn't have likely encountered men with high functioning autism who can solve abstract mathematical or physical problems, for example.

By contrast, we have a database of literally billions of people to study, and we encounter far more variety than the ancients could have imagined. (For one thing, we can find, educate and employ the functionally autistic men to work in the sciences, write software, engineer new technologies, etc. The concentration of such men in high income careers makes them more attractive as husbands, so we now see assortative mating that tends to produce more chlidren with autistic neurologies.) So, naturally, we also enounter a lot more of the individuals who offer the hard cases for moral reasoning based on limited prescientific notions about human behavior.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi woundedego,
This is an article providing information about Biological Bases for Behavior.
It is intended as evidence to weaken the doctrine of punishment for sin as a result of freewill and the concept of an absolute freewill.

It uses examples, some of them related to mental illness, as evidence to support that argument. It is part of a series that began with this article

WoundedEgo said...

Thanks, Lee. The original post was not visible and I did not realize that I had to expand it to read it.

(I see someone on this board has a bit of hostility toward me for disagreeing on another blog. My post, however was completely germane, reasonable and gives no odor of a troll.)

>>>This casts doubt on the principle of punishment for sin is a better principle than nurturing remediation.

Are you saying that you think people are not responsible for any of their actions because they are birth defects? Ie: that, for example, when someone downloads copyrighted music off the Internet, it is merely a function of his damaged genetic makeup and that therefore the Bible is hogwash, since it views him as accountable? Is that the point you are trying to make?

I'm not being facetious, and not trying to put words in your mouth... I just don't want to respond to a post who's thesis I don't have a clear handle on.

Thanks,

Bill Ross
http://bibleshockers.blogspot.com

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Rich,
You have to put the pieces together. God will be the final judge,...
This is interpretation isn't it? What else can we find to support MY interpretation? You know we can. This is exactly what we were getting into when you, jason and I were chasing our tail in the other thread.

I have to use my daughter again here, but she is 11 years old with the mental capacity of a 2 year old. So is she accountable or not? ...
Going there I think we can extend that to every single person and say that each individual is accountable for different things based on numerous factors, are we ok here?

I am challenging the premise of punishment for sin.
I am not saying we are not accountable, I am saying that the process of developing our attitudes, personality etc, mitigate a lot of our accountability because it is beyond our control. It shapes the mechanisms we used to make decisions, it affects our ability to make decisions, Attitude, environment, genetics and physiology. Your daughter and the psychopath, the promiscuous teenager, the homosexual, the atheist, the alcoholic, the drug addict and you and I are all limited by the development and functioning of our brains. This development was a process of the positive feedback between all those factors. Who we love and how we love figures into all this. If we don't have a choice in who we love, and I think I see you backpedaling on this, then the atheist can't be held accountable for not loving god. I don't think you choose to love your daughter do you? Could you not love her? I doubt it. And if by some chance you are emotionally drained and are tired of taking care of her, and have lost your love for her, who could blame you? I know what it is like to take care of people like her and it is a heroic effort.

I take exception to your solution to the bigoted christian problem because you have not figured in the supposed influence of christ in thier life and the "indwelling of the spirit". In any case, I take the scientific view that none of it is supernatural and it is all psychological.

That answer was the result of mulling the question over and intending to answer as I think the reasoning Evan. ...Rich the Mormon ... actually believes quite differently but I am trying to stay on track here.
Don't, please say what you think and don't try to play a role.

It boils down to this, I don't see how we can be punished forever, or have an heirarchy of reward when all the players have been inequitably and demonstrably sabotaged in every way imaginable, physiologically, environmentally and genetically. It runs contrary to the principle of Justice as I understand it.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Woundedego,
i've seen some of you comments and I understand why you get reactions like that.
anyway....

see the last paragraph and read the comments in my other articles to get a good understanding of my argument. I am going to consolidate into a single article pretty soon.

Downloading music on the internet may be understood to be illegal by some but certainly not by all. (And while I understand the intent of your use of that analogy, I would point out that it is not clear that downloading copied music SHOULD be illegal. There are arguments from other artists that say that it actually helps the sale of thier albums.) The downloaders understanding is shaped by their environment. I have been saying over and over that it is a feedback loop between physiology, genetics, environment and attitude. That we are not completely responsible for our actions. It is not completely an unimpeded moral choice.

obviously we should try to remediate the perpetrator, and then do what it takes to stop harmful behavior. In the case remediation doesn't work, that would be good reason to investigate biological reasons. But this is not gods position is it?

Lee Randolph said...

Hi woundedego,
about your self published book, you say you have made
plain sense of the text [that] has been obscured by centuries of philosophy and religious tradition.

How is that you are more qualified than the rest to sort out the bible? Revelation?
It seems the christian publishing mafia stonewalled you the way they did JP Holding and his latest book.

WoundedEgo said...

Thanks, Lee, for your response.

So downloading copyrighted material helps some people, should be illegal so is a moral good, performed with true humanism and is therefore not morally bad. Ok.

So is there any act that is morally reprehensible? Or should all acts be considered either beneficial to at least the perp?

I mean, the CD industry would say that this is NOT a victimless crime.

But no matter...

What is your point? That if it can be shown that someone benefits from an illegal act then it SHOULD be legal and is therefore really a benevolent act?

OR

That genuinely heinous actions are actually mutations of overgrown Amoebas and thus should be exempt from moral scrutiny?

Again, I'm just trying to pin down what you are asserting. Maybe I agree? But how will I tell if I cannot determine something you will own as being a true assertion?

Bill Ross
http://bibleshockers.blogspot.com

OH, and I also have no problem understanding why I might be subjected to hostility for not being PC.

WoundedEgo said...

>>>...How is that you are more qualified than the rest to sort out the bible? Revelation?
It seems the christian publishing mafia stonewalled you the way they did JP Holding and his latest book.

I am more qualified because I use better methods.

Bill Ross
http;//bibleshockers.blogspot.com

Joseph said...

Bill/WoundedEgo: Sorry, no hostility intended. And yes, your posts on the other article did leave a sour taste in my mouth. I'll try not to let it affect my judgment from this point forward. Welcome to the discussion.

WoundedEgo said...

Thanks, Joseph.

I've watched the process that a new wolf has to go through to be accepted in the pack, so I'm not worried.

"Don't show weakness!"

Bill Ross
http://bibleshockers.blogspot.com

Lee Randolph said...

Hi woundedego,
So downloading copyrighted material helps some people, should be illegal so is a moral good, performed with true humanism and is therefore not morally bad. Ok.
I like to use the principle of charity so I have to ask did you deliberately misrepresent me or did you just not understand?

If the CD industry thinks it is a crime, and the artist thinks the control the cd industry has on them is a crime, there are two sides to the story. Who ultimately owns the music, the artist, the distributor, or the consumer? In my mind its the artist, but this is not the point of this post, only to show you that you and I are not qualified to judge since we are not participants in this fight. Here's a link that describes the artists point of view just a bit.

Again, I'm just trying to pin down what you are asserting. Maybe I agree? But how will I tell if I cannot determine something you will own as being a true assertion?
Actually I think you are either mocking me or trying like a bull in a china shop to get me to say something stupid so you can attack me on it. The dilemma you proposed in your comment was ridiculous.

My views on what is moral or not have nothing to do with my argument and I'm not going to waste my time filtering through your moral scenarios. I have already laid out my argument and committed to a position. If you can't figure it out then either I am a poor communicator or you are poor receiver.

you are avoiding the question of does the punishment fit the crime? Is the principle of eternal damnation better than remediation? Were the ancients too hasty in proposing solutions to complex problems and attributing it to a god? Is it Just to be so handicapped by biology and "the problem of evil" or environment so that it impedes our moral decision making capability? As we can see, it is hard enough to make a moral decision without being impeded by being genetically predisposed to crack under stress, to be subjected to apparently pointless suffering as a test, to suffer tiny effects of schizophrenia, or to have deteriorating pathway in the brain, or (more dramatically) a tumor in the prefrontal cortex to make it more difficult.

Dramatic brain disorders aside,
and as I keep pointing out, to say that god saves who he wants undermines the atonement and the commandment to follow his commandments. In the view that god saves who he wants , there should only be a small group of people that would be punished eternally and it contradicts the principle that warranted the mass destruction in the flood and for jesus to sacrifice himself for all the past, present and future sins of humanity. He could have just as easily have said "You guys have a sinful nature, of which some of you won't be able to overcome so I'm forgiving you all right now, so lets get on with a nice long life where I'll just live in a little cottage over here forever and you and your descendents can come by and visit until the world ends. Oh yea, here's a prediction for the doubters in the future. One day you are going to fly in machines made of metal and walk on the moon. Incredible but true. Now get busy being good."

And what is this "don't show weakness" business? Is there something you are insecure about?

Joseph said...

"I've watched the process that a new wolf has to go through to be accepted in the pack, so I'm not worried."

WoundedEgo, I have no interest in keeping anyone from the pack. My main concern is in contributing to thoughtful discussion and helping keep the discussion on track.

Lee Randolph said...

hi mark plus,
thanks for that interesting link.

richdurrant said...

Lee,
"I am challenging the premise of punishment for sin.
I am not saying we are not accountable, I am saying that the process of developing our attitudes, personality etc, mitigate a lot of our accountability because it is beyond our control."

I do understand that you are not challenging accountability, but if in fact we can be accountable for sin then what is to happen with us at this point? This is where I am at, because I agree totally that there are things beyond our control, but for those things that are in our control, then what? Sin has a price that must be paid, we don't know what punishment for even a single sin is, but if Christ was able to suffer the consequence of that sin, atonement, and he isn't still suffering for sins, there must be an end to the actual punishment for a sin. I think that burning in a lake of fire forever because of one lie left unrepented for is just flat out wrong. Will you have to be punished for that one sin? Yes, but not eternally. If we are to say that you must be punished forever because of one sin then we must say that Christ is still being punished for our sins. In short Lee, I'm with you on the sin/punishment view as far as challenging that we are punished eternally for our sin left unrepented for. We certainly can't be punished for unaccountable sin or sins we repent of or the atonement was useless.

"I take exception to your solution to the bigoted christian problem because you have not figured in the supposed influence of christ in thier life and the "indwelling of the spirit"."

I don't know exactly what you take exception to and I did consider those factors.

"If we don't have a choice in who we love, and I think I see you backpedaling on this, then the atheist can't be held accountable for not loving god."

Yeah backpedaling a bit because I was trying to do something I won't do anymore. I think we made a choice before ever entering this world about who our family would be while here. I don't want to sidetrack down this path, but I would be willing to explain better in an email or something if you need.

"It boils down to this, I don't see how we can be punished forever,"

Me either for all but one sin, and I think that the biggest part of our punishment will be self inflicted, we are our own worst enemies.

"or have an heirarchy of reward when all the players have been inequitably and demonstrably sabotaged in every way imaginable, physiologically, environmentally and genetically"

I don't agree here because with all these factored into salvation, how could it possible be fair if everyone is judged equally without factoring in our environment, physiology, genetics? How can you judge a pathological liar the same as someone who isn't on lies? The examples are endless, but I see it as justice if God can use everything that makes us up and judge us based on all those factors and rewards us accordingly. I really don't see how it could be just any other way.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Rich,
Good to see you again.
This is where I am at, because I agree totally that there are things beyond our control, but for those things that are in our control, then what? Sin has a price that must be paid,
I challenge even that. The reason is that as I was walking back from lunch, I had an epiphany. ;-)
I'm taking the argument one step further.
Moral decisions would be much easier if we weren't so sabotaged.
God took an action on us to ensure it would be hard, and impossible in some cases to make the right decision.
Just insert that into my list of primeses.

I don't know exactly what you take exception to and I did consider those factors.
oh, sorry, It didn't seem to me you did, but lets put that on the back burner for now if you don't mind. ;-)

Me either for all but one sin, and I think that the biggest part of our punishment will be self inflicted, we are our own worst enemies.
what sin is that?

I think we made a choice before ever entering this world about who our family would be while here. I don't want to sidetrack down this path, but I would be willing to explain better in an email or something if you need.
I only have two things to say about that. Thing One
Thing Two

But, I have to say that if I had to choose, I like the Mormon philosophy on punishment better, but I think its all folklore anyway designed to 'fix' the problems with Christianity that this blog deals with. Rather than deal with the reality that the Bible can't be right, Joseph Smith amended it, patched it up. The gospels are a precedent for that, Matthew fixed mark, and Luke fixed Matthew and mark.

I see you guys defending the judgment. but i don't see you defending the premise. You are saying that assuming the premise is true then it makes sense that yada, yada, yada

But I am saying that the premise is not true because it is foolish and have given several reasons why. I'd like to see you show me why the principle of punishment for sin in these circumstances makes sense.

zilch said...

Thanks for another most interesting post, lee. You and woundedego seem to be at cross purposes here- I hope you don't mind if I add my random mutterings here, in hopes that another vantage point might help clear things up.

Humans are not solitary animals. Like ants, they live together in groups. And like ants, they must cooperate with one another in order
to enjoy the fruits of society. But unlike ants, humans make many decisions based on what they have learned, not just what their genes tell them to do. And also unlike ants, humans have developed complex societies based upon what they have learned and passed on, not just upon their genes.

Our societies have evolved far faster than our genes, and require many systems of control, not (or only incompletely) provided for by our genes, to achieve the levels of cooperation necessary for their existence. Indeed, a large part of culture consists of these systems of control: ideas of common sense, concepts of neighborliness and fairness, sexual morals, peer pressure, patriotism, laws, and religions have all evolved because they have successfully propagated themselves in the ideosphere, often (not always!) because they help build and stabilize the cultures they belong to, by shifting the balance away from the individual toward the society as a whole, while still allowing some freedom for individual rights.

But because we humans still have more or less the same genes we had ten thousand years ago, when we were still living in small tribal groups, there are often conflicts between our genes and the needs of societies. In addition, enculturation doesn't always work, for many reasons: families break down, subcultures arise, we drink or get old or sick- all kinds of factors are at play here. We don't always cooperate: it's part of the tragedy and glory of being human that we are both individuals and societies. However, I personally am glad to be a human and not an ant, even though we have lots of conflict, from within and without, that ants don't have to deal with. That keeps life spicy.

Anyway, we culture-designers are faced with various problems:

a) where do we draw the lines in balancing the needs of individuals with the needs of societies?

b) Why do people decide not to cooperate?

c) What can be done to achieve enough cooperation?

d) What should be done with those who do not cooperate sufficiently?

All very complex questions, and a great deal of human history consist of attempts to answer them more or less simply.

Religions one kind of attempt to answer these questions, and many put a carrot-and-stick wielding God behind the answers as dispenser of goodies and bouncer. I suspect many evangelical Christians would answer the questions more or less as follows:

a) The Golden Rule, thou shalt not kill or lust after your neighbor's wife, etc. Many laws in the Bible tell us how to cooperate with our fellows.

b) Because they are sinners.

c) Spread the Truth of the Bible.

d) Sinners should be punished on Earth (a hand for a hand, witches shall not be suffered to live) and/or [depending on particular sect] God will throw sinners into Hell.

Now, most atheists have a couple of problems with these answers. One, we don't believe in God, so although we might have more or less strong ideas about right and wrong, we don't think in terms of sin. Two, many of us (and I think this is lee's main point in this series of articles) believe we should have a more nuanced view of what causes people to cooperate or not, when someone should be considered accountable for their actions, and what should be done with those who transgress.

Of course, many modern Christians will also admit mitigating factors, and most do not advocate stoning adulterers. But as joseph pointed out, there's nothing in the Bible indicating that any adults should be given special consideration: that is a modern secular concept.

In any case, lines must be drawn in order to be able to make decisions, whether one is atheist or theist; but the lines in many religions, such as the stricter kinds of evangelical Christianity, are unrealistically dualistic: either one is saved or not, accountable or not, guilty or not. As this article and the others that lee has posted here make clear, either/or is not a realistic mapping of what is actually a continuum consisting of many interacting factors: genetic, educational, societal, and pure chance.

So my answer to woundedego would be: although lines must be drawn for laws to work, in order to achieve the cooperation and balance of satisfying needs necessary for societies, when you try to specify exactly where something becomes a sin, or a transgression, you are doomed to failure. Although laws must draw lines, that doesn't mean that the lines describe different kinds of being. Perhaps this is why we often say justice must be tempered with mercy: to build a little flex into a hard system.

Building culture is always a balancing act, an art, with conflicts and unrealistic pigeonholes built in. But I find it a continual source of wonder that we are able to do as well as we do, a lot of the time.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi zilch,
you're welcome,
an thanks for watching my back!
that was a nice comment.

Shygetz said...

I would also like to point out that I, too, am having a hard time finding Biblical justification for God judging the mentally deficient, children, etc. by a different standard. The God of the OT certainly had no problem punishing innocent children:

This is what the LORD Almighty says: 'I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt. Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys. (1st Sam 15:2-3)

Note, when punishing the Amalekites, God told His people specifically to kill "children and infants". Their innocence did not buy them shelter from God's wrath in the OT.

Prup (aka Jim Benton) said...

Shygetz:
There's an even more powerful example in the Bible -- though equally mythical. Egypt was a classic example of a 'divine right' despotism. The Pharaoh made the decisions on his own. The people of Egypt had no say in what he did, and legally had no choice but to obey. There was not the slightest hint of democracy to 'soften' this.

Whether or not they agreed with the policy of the Pharaoh, they were totally innocent as far as making it. And certainly the children of Egypt were particularly innocent.

Yet God 'sent an angel to slay the first-born children,' (and some of them must have been infants or very young) to affect Pharaoh's decision.

I am, as it should have become obvious by now, somewhat philo-Semitic, but as far as the Passover goes, well, slaying the innocent to put pressure on the government to change its actions...

Sounds like a good definition of terrorism to me. It was a 'good cause' yes, and it does make a powerful anti-slavery statement -- sadly mitigated by the laws in Deuteronomy. And of course the whole thing is false, ince there's no evidence of the Jews being 'slaves in the land of Egypt.' But still...

Joseph said...

Even more disturbing is the thought that God CREATES people with these kinds of mental handicaps. Exodus 4:11, "The LORD said to him, "Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the LORD." That brings up a whole other set of thorny moral questions.

GordonBlood said...

The reason I tend to avoid these sorts of discussions is the secular among us usually read the bible in the light-headed fundamentalist way that they otherwise retort. Im thinking of people quoting things from Deuteronomy like some sort of modern history book or interview, when skeptics otherwise will admit (like most Christian scholars) that it is, as Bruce Metzger put it, a matrix of myth, legend AND truth. The Old Testament was edited by and for the Jewish people for particular situations and in particular needs; it was never meant to be a book of law and punishment it was more a prescriptive text for individual cases, many of which are not mentioned in the Old Testament at all. Of course many of the atheists on this blog hold biblical inerrancy as their measuring stick for a religions truth and if one is going to take such a silly position then theres not much that anyone can do.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi gordonblood,
you take the prize as being the christian that has minimized the bible the most since I've been here. Remember the viewpoint here is debunking fundys.

In any case, I'll not disagree that the bible has truth in it, but I would disagree that the Jews didn't take it as seriously as you allege. And I disagree that it was 'ghost written' by god.

In any case, I'm challenging the premise of sin and the principle of punishment for it based on how we think. How would you defend it?

WoundedEgo said...

>>>In any case, I'm challenging the premise of sin and the principle of punishment for it based on how we think. How would you defend it?

Hi Lee. This blog has turned into a bit of a free for all about the evils of the Bible, etc, but I think you have set forth something akin to a thesis in the statement above, as well as a bit of a challenge. Yes?

Should we understand your argument to be a moral one? Ie: that you argue that the idea of punishment for sin is intrinsically wrong? For example, someone fails to download copyrighted music from the Internet, despite the fact that it is within his power to benefit these musicians by doing so, so he should take a class in downloading, rather than paying for the music?

Bill Ross
http://bibleshockers.blogspot.com

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Bill,
you seem to be talking about the legal system. I'm talking about god. Can you put my argument in your own words so I know that you understand it?

richdurrant said...

Let's start then with why a punishment for sin. We have laws we follow here and those who break those laws, commit a crime, are punished. I'm sure you don't have a problem the premise of crime needs a punishment. Granting the existence of a God, He gave us commandments(laws) to follow, breaking those laws is similar to crime, we call it sin. Other than not believing in God I see no reason to have a problem with sin carrying a punishment if you're ok with crime carrying a punishment. I can understand having a problem with a punishment but not punishment in the general sense of breaking commandments or laws. I can also see having a problem with one sin carrying eternal punishment. to me that's like stealing a candy bar at age ten and being sent to maximum security prison where the AC doesn't work and you're tortured constantly unti you die, which even at that there is an end to the punishment.

After some thought, I'll go a step further. God sent us here for the purpose of testing our obedience, in fact we understood that it would be tough. You even gave a glimpse of just part of what we're up against. This test has rules to follow(laws), and consequences for our choices. For good choices we get blessings, bad choices we get punishment. There's a lot that factors into the equation and we're well into that, I am making a feeble attempt to answer you're premise. I can feel my noodle baking.;)

"Moral decisions would be much easier if we weren't so sabotaged.
God took an action on us to ensure it would be hard, and impossible in some cases to make the right decision.
Just insert that into my list of primeses."

But here you seem to be saying that to believe in a good God, things must be easy for us. I say that to make us labor to be righteous makes it that much more important to us.
It's much the same as giving your child something verses having them earn it. It is taken care of much better if it is earned, I think knowledge is much the same.

I am putting some things on the back burner as we are trying to focus on sin/punishment. If I missed something you need answered let me know.

Shygetz and Prup,
I thought we were referring to judgment in terms of after we die. I realize your beliefs about this but if we are then having children killed here doesn't change their judgment after death.
I have been interrupted a few times while writing this comment and I just watched my train of thought head out of the station.

WoundedEgo said...

>>Lee:you seem to be talking about the legal system. I'm talking about god. Can you put my argument in your own words so I know that you understand it?

Lee, that is precisely what I have been trying to do. As I understand your argument to date (as identifying it is turning the calendar page) is:

* retards should be treated differently
* you don't see the Bible treating retards differently
* therefore, the Bible is a hunk of fly ridden turds about the size of Kansas

Have I understood you corectly?

Bill Ross
http://bibleshockers.blogspot.com

Joseph said...

Hi Rich, I don't know if I'm further derailing the train as it heads out of the station, but here goes: I'm wondering how you reconcile your belief God's punishment for sin with the Scripture I brought up about God creating people with certain conditions/handicaps (Ex. 4:11). By implication, that includes the schizophrenic, the psychopath, and perhaps tendencies that come about later in life, like dementia. If I'm wrong in implying that from the Exodus passage, please tell me where I err.

So, here's the dilemma: should God punish sin in these people, since he clearly made them this way? If YES, then God would seem to be unjust in creating a person bent towards destruction (a miserable existence in this life and a more miserable one in the next). If NO (he won't punish their sin), then God would seem to be unjust in not upholding his law by being a respecter of persons (Acts 10:34).

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Joseph,
nice one,

Hi rich,
I was going to answer along the lines of Joseph when I get back on the computer later, so If you want to answer him, that would save some time and keep the convo. lively. Then I throw in my two cents later.

richdurrant said...

Sweet, I figured eventually we would get back to this end of the duscussion. The train I was talkinf about was my own that took my thoughts and left me standing there, now I find out it derailed, crap!

OK, hello Joe,
to answer your first question, I would imply the same from that scripture, so we're off to a good start.
Next, no God should only punish us for unrepented sins for which we are accountable. I hope we covered that sufficiently, accountability that is, but we could repeat if needed. The atonement covers repented sins and sin for which we cannot be held accountable. I hope that is clear, it's short because I typed it on my pocket pc with a stylis. I can elaborate if needed.

Joseph said...

Thank you, Rich. I understand where you're coming from and don't dismiss your answers entirely out of hand. However, I still have a problem when I come up against Scriptures like Romans 3:10-12, which states rather emphatically:

"There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands,no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one."

So, I guess the question is, "Does 'all' mean ALL?" Are schizophrenics, sociopaths, psychopaths, and the demented included in this sweeping condemnation? I don't see an asterisk next to this segment of the population.

And, to make matters even more complex, Romans 5:12 states, "Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned." So, this goes beyond original sin and says that we each die because we each are sinful.

To sum up: it appears that the Biblical God created not only the "deaf...mute..[and] blind" (Ex. 4:11), but also (by way of implication) the other categories of people, with mental handicaps. So, he created them knowing that they would sin, but could do nothing about it (i.e. repentance, confession, turning to Jesus). Furthermore, God judges them with physical death because of their sin AND (also by way of implication) with eternal separation from God in hell, because they are incapable of repentance.

I see now why many Christians are Calvinists. They are the only ones brave enough to embrace this disturbing conclusion!

WoundedEgo said...

>>>>Joseph: I still have a problem when I come up against Scriptures like Romans 3:10-12, which states rather emphatically: "There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands,no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one." So, I guess the question is, "Does 'all' mean ALL?" Are schizophrenics, sociopaths, psychopaths, and the demented included in this sweeping condemnation? I don't see an asterisk next to this segment of the population.

Joseph, Paul quotes this Psalm saying that it address Jews:

Ro 3:19 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, ****it saith to them who are under the law****: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.

He was not referring to you or any other retards.

(Nothing personal, I just like the provocative word "retard.")

Bill Ross
http://bibleshockers.blogspot.com

http://bibleshockers.blogspot.com

Joseph said...

Ego, once again you have demonstrated the utter irrelevance of your comments and your poor Biblical grounding. Since you obviously think that only Jews are the real sinners, here's another one for you to make the point clearer (Paul is building his case that the entirety of the human race, both Jew and Gentile, are lost to sin): "What shall we conclude then? Are we any better ? Not at all! We have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin" (Rom 3:9).

Do us all a favor, Bill, and take your sedation.

richdurrant said...

I guess we need some spainin'. Joseph I feel your pain. I would need to read the whole chapter but if I recall correctly it is telling us why we need the atoning sacrifice. So yes he is saying that all sin, everyone of us, inclusive. The death spoken of here is spiritual death, or as you put it, separation from God. Just because you are unable to understand sin doesn't mean
yiu don't commit sin, thus all have sinned. Now we're back at accountability, which I think has been sufficiently covered.

So the atonment was to make it possible for all to have the ability to return to the presence of God, thus overcoming spiritual death. Or in other words, He did do something about it. While agree that you can look at it the way you do, it also fits nicely into what I have attempted to explain, IMO.

"To sum up: it appears that the Biblical God created not only the "deaf...mute..[and] blind" (Ex. 4:11), but also (by way of implication) the other categories of people, with mental handicaps. So, he created them knowing that they would sin, but could do nothing about it (i.e. repentance, confession, turning to Jesus). Furthermore, God judges them with physical death because of their sin AND (also by way of implication) with eternal separation from God in hell, because they are incapable of repentance."

Yes, created, yes knowing they would sin, planned atonment to cover sin of those who can and do repent, and sin of those unable to be accountable( infants, handicapped, ect...). By covering I mean they are not sent to hell because of the inability to understand sin, repentance, Christ, ect.., but their sins are wiped clean through Christ. Do you see, from my point of view, why the atonment was so important?

OK, I was really trying to abstain from biting on your disrespectful comments, woundedego, but I take great offense at the name retard in how you choose to use it. You show your lack of intelligence by trying to provoke others in such a manner.

Joseph said...

Rich, I'd just like to say that it is a joy exchanging ideas with a calm, rational human being for once! You make some good points and I'm going to chew on what you said for a little bit before responding (it's been a long, long day).

Peace

richdurrant said...

Fair enough Joseph. Thank you for the exchange also, you really have good points yourself and I enjoy the challenge.

WoundedEgo said...

>>>>Since you obviously think that only Jews are the real sinners,

Joseph, I think no such thing. I am merely trying to correctly understand Paul when he applies the verses you cite to Jews. What do you (oh master of all things linguistic) think this says????:

19 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, ****it saith to them who are under the law***: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.

Asshole.

Bill Ross
http://bibleshockers.blogspot.com

Lee Randolph said...

Hi all, except for bill,
I enjoy the discussion with rational people as well. I’m ignoring Bill from here on out.

I see the topic of the atonement and accountability still being discussed but as I see it, the question of whether the atonement was necessary is not as important as checking the validity of the premise.

We know the premise. We were made in Gods image. However we were made with a sinful nature. We naturally want to disobey god. We must fight that nature and worship god. Obey God, Love God, repent of our wicked ways. Jesus came down showed us how to live and then played the role of having himself tortured and killed as a blood sacrifice to himself because of a rule he made up for himself. At that point we were all absolved and left up to our devices to depend on and obey god. Some of you interpret that the innocents are covered somehow using dubious interpretations and others of you say they are not using more straightforward interpretations (IMO).

Here are some analogies to try to illustrate the problem as I see it.
Consider a basketball game. The point of the game is to play as well as you can and try to win. They have rules that they all follow etc. The basketball game is like the circumstances god set up for us. We have to get through life according to rules.
In the game we have to react to each other within the rules and within the circumstances. Consider both ‘the parameters of the problem’. Each player is more or less unimpeded to do their best and more or less is performing at least at their average. But the analogy breaks down at this point because in the game of life, we have had disadvantages introduced. We could have been perfect, but we are not.

So lets impede our basketball players. Lets tie one arm of one, tie the feet of another, tie the knees of another, cover one eye of another, totally disable a couple of them, etc until we have disadvantaged all but one player. Now PLAY BALL! The players that do the best with working around their disabilities get the reward. But we are going to reward those that we have completely disabled, just as a distraction and further impediment to the rest of the players.

The goal of the game can’t be met. The lessons they learn in their interaction are not relevant to the game because they are doing them from a disadvantage. They are forced to handle the situation the best they can under the disadvantage.

Now lets see how this works in reality. Lets avoid the extreme cases like psychopaths and talk about the average person. In the case of the positive feedback loop for hedonistic behavior, the brain is set up with pleasure centers in the limbic system. It was evidently evolved as a result of success in survival. It was triggered when doing things that contributed to survival like warmth, cold, satisfying hunger, sex etc. Now there are some things that stimulate this area and some chemicals that over stimulate this area. Some of these things are what people get addicted to. So in the first try, the stimulus is recorded as “good” and all the memories of the situation get recorded as well. When you are reminded and those memories come back, you have a reinforcement of the stimulus. You want it. The more you repeat it, the more you want it. As you go through this cycle, your brain changes, in a way that accommodates and depends on it, whether psychologically or physically. Some people have genetic risk factors that make it more likely they would get addicted to things. This doesn’t only work for drugs, but other things that set off that pleasure stimulus. Like chocolate ;-), sex, ice cream, heroine, lying, spouse abuse, pedophilia, pornography, insert your vice here, etc. or even for good things like volunteerism, learning, insert your good behavior here, etc.

In the case of the ‘sinner’ or person that chooses to do things that are culturally deemed ‘bad’, it seems to me that this is like tying one arm of a basketball player in a game. The player would do better and be happier if the player could play as he/she wished. There really is no point in sabotaging the game like that. The quality of the game, and the quality of play, and the quality of learning would improve if they were not hindered in that way.

Now lets look at boot camp. Boot camp is designed to make it hard on people so they won’t crack in the stress of compbat. Lets not cripple these participants but let them go as planned. They get out and use what they learn to ensure their survival. But the analogy breaks down here because there boot camp situations are not as bad as their wartime situations.

Our time on earth is relatively bad compared to heaven and we have to learn for what? Ensure survival in heaven? That’s not what the scripture says, but it would make sense if it did.

If my analogies are whacked, think up real world analogies of your own where a principle analogous to the ‘sin’-forgiveness-reward-damnation can be shown to make sense.

I hope this clears up my position on the challenge of the premise. The premise doesn’t make sense, and if the premise is faulty, then the rest cannot follow. No atonement, no spiritual sin, no Problem of Evil test, no worrying about if innocents are punished etc.

What makes more sense is that ‘sin’ is simply a label for behavior that has been judged to be inappropriate whether it is putting your elbows on the table, putting rabbits in the wood chipper or not worshipping god, and the bible is folklore that tries to explain it (and other puzzling worldly concepts) in a manner that was understandable to the ancients.

WoundedEgo said...

Paul is not lumping Jew and gentile together. He treats them each differently. In chapter two he addresses the genttile:

12 For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law;
13 (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.
14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:
15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)
16 In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.

But I have instructions from Joseph and Lee to not interfere with their pontification by introducing the actual text....

Bill Ross
http://bibleshockers.blogspot.com

Shygetz said...

rich said: God sent us here for the purpose of testing our obedience, in fact we understood that it would be tough.

Testing it to what purpose? He already knows the results...

Shygetz and Prup,
I thought we were referring to judgment in terms of after we die.


The OT doesn't talk much about after you die. Their YHWH was a god of the here-and-now. Don't believe me, look it up. But the long and the short of it is, the OT God judges and punishes the innocent and the guilty. Does it matter if the punishment is in the real world or later? It's still God meteing out his divine wrath on infants.

The reason I tend to avoid these sorts of discussions is the secular among us usually read the bible in the light-headed fundamentalist way that they otherwise retort.

I'm sorry, gordonblood, please tell me the metaphorical reading of God telling His people to slaughter men, women, children, and infants. I'm sure it's an uplifting story that makes the heart leap with the goodness of God.

The Old Testament was edited by and for the Jewish people for particular situations and in particular needs...

You're almost there; the OT was written and edited by and for the Jewish people.

it was never meant to be a book of law and punishment it was more a prescriptive text for individual cases, many of which are not mentioned in the Old Testament at all.

Bull. Shit. The Jews (most notably the Orthodox) take the 613 mitzvot in the OT very seriously; it quite literally WAS a book of law and punishment (and a "history" of YHWH's relationship with His people). The Jews made a very serious business of not only enforcing the mitzvot, but also enforcing rules handed down essentially as extensions to ensure that God's commandments are not broken (e.g. the separation of all meat and dairy in the diet, including separate utensils and plates, to keep the commandment not to boil a kid in its mother's milk).

People did get stoned for stupid stuff. People are still punished in the Jewish community for breaking these rules. many thousands of years later. Get your facts straight.

Joseph said...

Ego said, "Paul is not lumping Jew and gentile together."

Romans 3:9-10: "What shall we conclude then? Are we any better? Not at all! We have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles ALIKE are all under sin. AS it is written: 'There is no one righteous, not even one.'"

I see how this works, now. Pick the scriptures you want that back up your POV and ignore the ones that don't. Ego would fit in well with my old fundy pals. Unfortunately, he has contributed nothing of value to the present conversation.

WoundedEgo said...

Joseph, when Paul says "are we any better than they?" who exactly is "we" and who exactly are "they?"

What I was saying was that when Paul quoted the Psalm he did so to deal with the "we" part - the Jews - those who are *under the law.* In the summary that you are quoting now (before you were quoting the Psalm, which Paul says speaks of those under the law) he concludes that Jews are no better than gentiles.

But rather than hear out my accurate observation you rail:

>>>Ego, once again you have demonstrated the utter irrelevance of your comments and your poor Biblical grounding. Since you obviously think that only Jews are the real sinners, here's another one for you to make the point clearer...Do us all a favor, Bill, and take your sedation.

But once again I was showing that I know whereof I speak and you are putting words into my mouth.

You go on:

>>>>...I see how this works, now. Pick the scriptures you want that back up your POV and ignore the ones that don't. Ego would fit in well with my old fundy pals. Unfortunately, he has contributed nothing of value to the present conversation.

I was accurately pointing out that the psalm was quoted and applied to Jews. His case for the gentiles is made elsewhere.

Of course none of your cronies on this list will say anything to my defence, so you have the support of the pack, even when you are clearly and demonstrably wrong, so I guess you feel no need to defend your position against me, just rail.

If you want to defend your position, that the psalm was quoted by Paul as invection against gentile schizophrenics, have at it. But he really argues that the gentiles are under different standards, and that those standards are more like the "light that you have" kind of thing that you are arguing is absent from the Bible:

1 Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.
2 But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things.
3 And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?
4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?
5 But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;
6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds:
7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:
8 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,
9 Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;
10 But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:
11 For there is no respect of persons with God.
12 For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law;
13 (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.
14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:
15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)
16 In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.

THAT is what you need to consider in regard to divine justice toward gentile retards and schizos.

Or just keep on running your mouth in ignorance.

Bill Ross
http://bibleshockers.blogspot.com

John W. Loftus said...

Bill, knock it off. Just stop it. Can you be civilized? If not go away.

Joseph said...

Rich, I'm back in action after that little distraction. Allow me to respond to your previous points.

Rich: "I would need to read the whole chapter but if I recall correctly it is telling us why we need the atoning sacrifice. So yes he is saying that all sin, everyone of us, inclusive."

Yes, that is precisely Paul's point in Romans 3. At least we can both recognize it without any problem. The Scriptures pronounce every human being as guilty of sin ("for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God," concludes the chapter I quoted from earlier).


Rich: "The death spoken of here is spiritual death, or as you put it, separation from God. Just because you are unable to understand sin doesn't mean you don't commit sin, thus all have sinned."

That's a really good point and one which I'd like to build on. If it is true that a person is "unable to understand sin" (yet he still commits sin), how is it that God can judge him guilty? If we say it is because of the holiness of his character, then we must assume that the demented and psychopath will be held guilty for the sins they commit--even though they don't fully comprehend what they are doing. If we say that God's compassion will cause him to relax his judgment in those cases, then we must ask, "On what basis?" The only one that Christian theology allows for is the basis of cross of Christ--but how can psychopaths, et al truly respond to Jesus through heartfelt repentance and faith?

The only other basis I can think of (theoretically speaking) would be for God to say to himself, "You know, I'm really the one responsible here for making this guy the way he is. Maybe I should take the fall for this one and let him into heaven." I certainly don't see any Biblical precedent for this, do you?

WoundedEgo said...

Welcome back, John.

John, may I ask if you agree with my assessment of to whom Paul addresses the Psalm 3 quote?

The reason I ask is that in response I was characterized as not having even a basic understanding the Bible, my comments were said to be irrelevant, I have words put in my mouth, and in general, I have been the victim of vicious insults. I admit (and apologized for) having overreacted. Yet you only address me. Why is that?

Were the insults I received to my ***accurate and relevant*** comment civil? Why the double standard?

Bill Ross
http://bibleshockers.blogspot.com

richdurrant said...

I am still here but with limited time. I plan to respond to Joseph, Lee , and Shygetz as soon
as I can. It has been a very intriguing topic. So stay tuned.

Joseph said...

Ego, I'm breaking my silence with you for a moment to applaud you on such a wonderful performance. You play the victim very well (or at least good enough for comic relief). I'm pretty sure everyone can see you through you. While you're busy trying to elicit sympathy for yourself (pitiful, just pitiful), let me assemble a list of the "vicious insults" and assaultive language that YOU have leveled against me, both here and in your comments the Gay Marriage article.

Bill ("Buy My Book") Ross' Ad Hominem Hall of Shame

* "GOOD FOR F*)(*)* YOU! Yeah!"
* "I loathe people like you. Words can't even say. Why do you exist? You have a frickin' brain so why don't you use it?"
* "Fuck you, liar."
* "So show me where I said it, asshole."
* "Ditto for the rest of you drivel."
* "Why (the fucK) do you insist on putting words in my mouth? I never said that."
* "He was not referring to you or any other retards."
* "Asshole."
* "THAT is what you need to consider in regard to divine justice toward gentile retards and schizos.Or just keep on running your mouth in ignorance."

And let's not forget it was you who said: "There is nothing like a good insult to really give an argument a solid edge..."

So, I don't see what you're whining about. You're acting like a child ("Yet you only address me. Why is that?...Why the double standard?"). Grow up, already.

Now, on to serious discussion (can you ride with it, Bill? I'll play nice if you will).

To address the Paul/Romans 3 question (hopefully for the last time), Paul condemns BOTH Jews and Gentiles as lost sinners (vs. 9) and he does so by quoting the Psalmist (vv 10-18), who basically says, "There's none who does good, no not one." Technically, you're right, in that the Psalm that Paul quotes was written by Jews, for Jews. Paul even reminds them of that in verse 19-20. However, Paul uses the Psalm's relative truth to establish a larger argument in favor of a global condemnation of humanity. Another point to consider: Paul's letters were read out loud to the entire church. They didn't tell Gentiles to stay for chapter 2, but leave the room for chapter 3. Paul simply interjects messages to different audiences throughout.

Read Romans 3:9 again and see how naturally it flows into verses 10 and 11. Paul uses the Psalm to back his statement in verse 9.

Can we move on now?!?

WoundedEgo said...

>>>Now, on to serious discussion (can you ride with it, Bill? I'll play nice if you will).

That is my policy.

>>...Technically, you're right, in that the Psalm that Paul quotes was written by Jews, for Jews. Paul even reminds them of that in verse 19-20...

Well, technically is the best way to be right.

>>>However, Paul uses the Psalm's relative truth to establish a larger argument in favor of a global condemnation of humanity.

Yup.

>>>Another point to consider: Paul's letters were read out loud to the entire church. They didn't tell Gentiles to stay for chapter 2, but leave the room for chapter 3. Paul simply interjects messages to different audiences throughout.

Please listen carefully and unemotionally to the following because I am going to disagree with you...

Paul has very clearly laid out a different scenario for gentiles and their judgment. This difference is germane to the discussion at hand, which is how gentiles are judged and whether that judgment is relative to "the light that one has" and such. If the Bible is being judged by how its judgment is applied to the nations then it is important that its position is properly represented.

The only thing worse than a bad argument FOR the Bible is a bad one against it.

>>Read Romans 3:9 again and see how naturally it flows into verses 10 and 11. Paul uses the Psalm to back his statement in verse 9. Can we move on now?!?

This will, I hope, be my last word on the subject:

If you fail to accurately discern the different judgments described in Romans 2 and 3 then your current effort to evaluate the nature and quality of Biblical judgment based on the words of Psalm 3 as quoted by Paul will not be valid. It will be bad science and hence a bad argument (though Christians don't really understand the book either, so I guess they wounldn't object, unless they happened to read my writing!

Bill Ross
http://bibleshockers.blogspot.com

Joseph said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joseph said...

"The only thing worse than a bad argument FOR the Bible is a bad one against it."

Agreed. In this particular instance, I'm not arguing against the Bible, per se. I'm using a commonly accepted Evangelical Christian doctrine (the depravity of man, as expounded in Romans chapter 1-3) to make a point about God's judgment relative to schizophrenics, psychopaths, et al. No one else seemed to have a problem with my introduction of the Romans 3 text. It's commonly preached from pulpits everywhere.

"If you fail to accurately discern the different judgments described in Romans 2 and 3 then your current effort to evaluate the nature and quality of Biblical judgment based on the words of Psalm 14 as quoted by Paul will not be valid."

Again, I don't fail to discern anything. I do fail to see how you can ignore the transition into Psalm 14 and 53 (not Psalm 3, as you inaccurately stated) by way of these words: "We have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles ALIKE are all under sin. AS IT IS WRITTEN: 'There is none who do good,' etc."

Is he addressing the Jew, here? Sure. Is his point that both Jew and Gentile are hopelessly sinful? Surely. That's all I was trying to show with producing this particular text. In your attempt to rebut me, you have assisted me in proving my original point!

I would surmise that the ONLY reason you picked such a technical argument to champion is because you simply don't like me. You were pissed off that I challenged you about gay marriage and had to fight back in a particularly mean-spirited way. It is significant that no one else felt the need to nitpick such a small point, but you did.

In the end, you are not helping further the discussion or bringing us any closer to enlightenment. You are acting in cannibalistic fashion, counterproductive to the mission of this blog. And the Christians who oppose this blog have got to be sitting back and smugly enjoying show.

John W. Loftus said...

Bill, because we have a polite discussion here unless provoked.

As far as homosexulaity and the Bible goes chech this out: link.

Cheers.

Prup (aka Jim Benton) said...

John:
Thanx for one of the inspired typos:

homosexulaity

Of course, as an ex-Catholic, I'll have to admit that it wasn't the 'laity' that was as gay as the clergy.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi rich,
I forgot something in my analogies. Whoever sets up the situation already knows the outcome.
Just insert that somewhere in the premises of each of them.

richdurrant said...

OK, I start with Lee. I hate trying to do analogies because they are difficult to make really good. Yours was decent enough to use so here goes.

First I assume that the purpose of winning was meant to be equal with getting to heaven. While that works pretty good I think I would add that even moreso it's purpose is to learn to play your best game possible given what you have. If someone can overcome their impediments and succeed will be put an the allstar team with no impediments. My allstar team would consist of those who will make the best with what their dealt beecause it shows strength of character, and that their willing to play by the rules regardless. Likewise I don't want those who would do the opposite. I already know that if you perfect, without impediment, you're stellar.

" The player would do better and be happier if the player could play as he/she wished."

Agreed, but the question is does the player know what happier can really be? The player in this case is only looking at the game at hand, and looking for short term pleasure, not long term happiness.

"There really is no point in sabotaging the game like that. The quality of the game, and the quality of play, and the quality of learning would improve if they were not hindered in that way."

I agree here mostly, except a qualifier of reasons that we know. I'll try the dreaded analogy now. A certain person prays to gain strength. God tells him, see that boulder? Bob says yes he does. God says I want you to push on that boulder every day. Bob agrees and begins pushing. After several weeks he hasn't moved the boulder and is getting frustrated. He goes again to God and says, "I've done all you asked, I push every day but I can't move the boulder, I have failed. It's just too big and I'll never be able to move it." God replys, "I never asked you to move the boulder, I just asked you to push on it. Now look at yourself, did you not ask me to give you more strength? Your shoulders are much broader, and muscles are bigger. In fact you are much stronger as you requested."

In short, all the impediments equal the boulder, God just wants you to push. If you actually move the thing, great. But that's not what's asked of us, just push. If the boulder was smaller, we would have no trouble moving it, but then that wasn't what was asked of us.

"Be ye therefore perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect" There's the expectation, be perfect. But what are we asked to? Try our best, fix our mistakes, and at the end we will have gain more than if we had been given everything in the beginning. Why? Because you can't be given experience and satisfaction of knowledge you gain by yourself.

"What makes more sense is that ‘sin’ is simply a label for behavior that has been judged to be inappropriate whether it is putting your elbows on the table, putting rabbits in the wood chipper or not worshipping god,"

Precisely

"the bible is folklore that tries to explain it (and other puzzling worldly concepts) in a manner that was understandable to the ancients."

Does that make irrelevant to us as a tool to learn about correcting behavior?

richdurrant said...

Joseph asks,
"That's a really good point and one which I'd like to build on. If it is true that a person is "unable to understand sin" (yet he still commits sin), how is it that God can judge him guilty?"

He can't if he is just. Since Shygetz brings up a good point about the OT and God dishing out punishment, I should clarify that I am talking specifically abount the final judgment that is to come after our death, which is to decide our eternal fate.

"...The only other basis I can think of (theoretically speaking) would be for God to say to himself, "You know, I'm really the one responsible here for making this guy the way he is. Maybe I should take the fall for this one and let him into heaven." I certainly don't see any Biblical precedent for this, do you?"

Yes, your onto it, it's what we call the atonment. The price of every sin was paid for by Christ and this was the gardin of gethsemane when it made Christ bleed from every pore. I can't see anywhere that this is treated in the bible either. I haven't given up totally yet, but almost.

Joseph said...

Rich, that's not exactly the Biblical doctrine of atonement. As I understand it, God "is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to REPENTANCE" (2 Pet 3:9). Were it not for that sticky repentance requirement, the obvious solution to this problem would be universalism.

By the way, what do you think of 2 Timothy 2:25-26? "Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that GOD WILL GRANT THEM REPENTANCE leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will."

It sounds like God cannot save anyone until they first repent, but they can't repent until he lets them--meaning he would first have to "cure" people mental illness or brain disorders before they could understand their sin and, hence, repent. Yet he doesn't do that. Why? Why not? It sounds like we're backed into either a Calvinist position (God creates some for destruction) or an atheist position (the atonement is a logically inconsistent, self-defeating doctrine).

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Rich,
I don't see how that analogy is similar enough. You haven't accounted for the degrees of handicap. In my analogy, I said the reward goes to the player that overcomes the impediment the best, but thats not relevant to my criticism of your analogy. In your analogy, you are assuming that the task god gives you will improve you, or make you better than you were before you started. Here is some evidence to the contrary that I was saving for anther post.
In this study they determined that "caregivers" (people taking care of the helpless) suffer genetic deterioration at the molecular level due to stress. Stress causes the onset of mental disorders as well. So to your analogy, I would say that after pushing on that rock for so long and getting stressed over it, you body has taken some damage, which I will say decreases the value of whatever you have gained carrying out the task. Especially if it pushes you into depression.

Lee Randolph said...

Bravo Joseph,
the atonement is logically inconsitant, you and i recognize that but other people do their best to wiggle an inference they can live with out of it.

Hi all,
That is the whole point of my attempt to collect EVIDENCE, scientific data that undermines whatever inference they come up with. The human is built to sin. Its not that we have the choice, it is that we are compelled by biological factors in our make up to 'sin'. This is our nature, and by inference god made us that way. Its not that god made us with the even odds of making the right moral choice, it is that once we have made the wrong choice we like it and want to it again. Its true that in some instances we like the right choice and want to do that again, but in the case of the nympho, or the alcoholic, or person that grows up abused and so carries on abusing because they are more comfortable in that type of environment, it self-perpetuates, it feeds back into itself to ensure its survival! That is sabotage.
Helping an old lady across the street doesn't fit in our brains receptors as well as the result of drinking that jack and coke.

I could even go so far as to say, with plenty of evidence to be comfortable in doing so, that the problem of evil, the atonement and the problem of sin are compelling evidence for an evil god.

The only way out of this is to conclude that both good and evil god hypothesis are wrong given that chance would logically produce these results. Thus chance accounts for both situations and must be the better hypothesis.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Rich,
did you ever wonder how anyone knew about the episode in the garden if Jesus was alone and the disciples were sleeping?

richdurrant said...

"As I understand it, God "is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to REPENTANCE" (2 Pet 3:9)."

Which should tell you that God would have us all back if we would repent, once again up to us.

"Were it not for that sticky repentance requirement, the obvious solution to this problem would be universalism."

And what exactly is wrong woth requiring repentance? We make mistakes and that gives us a way to erase them so to speak, and move on. The only catch there is not repeating the sin.

"By the way, what do you think of 2 Timothy 2:25-26? "Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that GOD WILL GRANT THEM REPENTANCE leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will."

Well, I suppose you could read that way and it doesn't seem far off. I always have trouble with translation because it is practically impossible to translate meaning. That God would "grant repentance" doesn't really make sense to me when you consider he "would that all would come to repentance". Doesn't that mean he should grant repentance to everyone? I ran into a lot of people that I would ask if they were coming to church on sunday. Almost all would respond, "God willing". My problem with that was always, why wouldn't God be willing, those are His rules not mine? So is this a similar saying?

"It sounds like God cannot save anyone until they first repent"
no he can't

"but they can't repent until he lets them"
Isn't consistant enough for me

"Yet he doesn't do that. Why? Why not? It sounds like we're backed into either a Calvinist position (God creates some for destruction) or an atheist position (the atonement is a logically inconsistent, self-defeating doctrine)."

I conclude differently, because as complex is our world, so is the atonment. It's not at all self defeating, it takes care of every problem imaginable, from mental disorders to age.

richdurrant said...

"Hi Rich,
did you ever wonder how anyone knew about the episode in the garden if Jesus was alone and the disciples were sleeping?"

Not since Jesus was the one there actually no.

You're right Lee, there is alot going against us, but does that make it impossible? People overcome great odds all the time. Why should it be easy? Why should we be handed something we didn't work for? Everyone would like it to be easier, even Christ in the gardin asked that the cup pass over him. He knew it couldn't be and he went through with it even though he asked not to, and he left it up to the Fathers will. A little less suffereing would sure be nice, making it easier to do what is right would be nice, but neither are our reality, so we accept it and do our best, that's all were asked.

Joseph said...

Rich said: "And what exactly is wrong woth requiring repentance? We make mistakes and that gives us a way to erase them so to speak, and move on."

You kind of missed the point of my argument. I was not objecting to repentance as a concept, but to the requirement of repentance for those who are mentally disabled and psychologically disturbed. If you say there is none for them, show me where in the Bible you draw that line of thinking from? As I've been saying all alone, a sin is a sin is a sin. And according to the Bible all sin must be repented of or punished eternally.

Rich (responding to 2 Timothy 2:25-26): "Well, I suppose you could read that way and it doesn't seem far off. I always have trouble with translation because it is practically impossible to translate meaning."

If I remember right, in my first article on messianic prophecy, whenever my arguments hit a little close to home you would do a bit of special pleading like this. The Scripture is plain when you want it to be, isn't it? But when Scripture is equally plain about ideas that don't quite fit into your theological construct, you say we can't really be sure of what it means, that our translation is unclear. Why is that? And how do you determine when a Scripture is translated correctly? When it agrees with your theology or when the English words best pair with the Greek? When should a Scripture be taken at face value and when should it be considered open to interpretation? You need to come clean about your hermeneutic before you start heading down the "we can't be sure of what it really means" rabbit trail.

Here are a couple of other translations of 2 Timothy 2:25-26:

NIV: "Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, IN THE HOPE THAT GOD WILL GRANT THEM REPENTANCE LEADING TO A KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRUTH, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.

NASV: "With gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, IF PERHAPS GOD MAY GRANT THEM REPENTANCE LEADING TO THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRUTH, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will."

NLT: "Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. PERHAPS GOD WILL CHANGE THOSE PEOPLE'S HEARTS, and they will learn the truth. Then they will come to their senses and escape from the devil’s trap. For they have been held captive by him to do whatever he wants."

NKJV: "In humility correcting those who are in opposition, IF GOD PERHAPS WILL GRANT THEM REPENTANCE, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will."

Now they can't all be wrong. There's not a single translation that diverted from the emphasized thought. It appears that our poor souls are caught in a tug of war between the devil and God. So why does God have such a hard time winning, if he's the one who can ultimately gives/grants the act of repentance? Why would he leave any of us at the mercy of the devil ("having been taken captive to do his will" doesn't sound like a free-will choice to me!).

So in summary, here's my argument:

1. All have sinned, hence all are sinners.

2. Those who aren't saved are eternally lost.

3. According to the Bible, repentance (confessing and turning away from sin) is necessary for a sinner to receive salvation.

4. God gives/grants people the privilege (and presumably the desire) to repent of their sins.

5. Some people are unable to repent of sin because they do not fully comprehend what sin is due to mental/psychological problems (i.e. psychopaths, schizophrenics).

6. Therefore, it is evident that God has not chosen to give them the gift of repentance, implying that he has created them for the sole purpose of a miserable life and an eternally miserable afterlife.

7. This is inherently cruel and unjust.

You say that you "conclude differently" and that the atonement "takes care of every problem imaginable, from mental disorders to age." But where is your biblical justification for that conclusion? How do you answer these seven points?

richdurrant said...

I figured you'd go there with the translation thing so here's my question to you. I pointed out to you the obvious contradiction between the two scriptures you used on purpose. So which is right then, that God wants all to repent, as in Peter, or decides who gets to repent, as in Timothy? Whats more consistant with Gospel teaching? Isn't the basic gospel messsage to ask ALL to repent and be babtized? So, for me I think it highly likely that God wants ALL to repent, not only those He choses. How rediculous to tell us we have need of repentance if we have to be "chosen" for repentance. Why not just leave it at predestination? I find alot more evidence to support my theology that all can repent then God chooses those who can repent. So why then talk about translation? H ve you ever stopped to think about the sayings we use in the engish language? I speak fluent spanish and I can tell you how hard it is to translate Back and forth because of common phrases. How about "pretty ugly"? Is it Pretty or ugly? Of coarse you know, but how will that look to one who doesn't speak our language? "God willing"? Used all the time. God willing I'll repent, God willing I'll read the bible, God willing I'll pray. Based on your knowledge of the gospel, does this mean God decides who prays, goes to church, reads the bible, ect...? Hasn't God already willed all that stuff? Hasn't God already willed all to repentance? Needless to say I feel confident that I'm right about this. I never said the translation was wrong, in fact it's most likely right. My point is that translating words and meaning are two different animals.

"If I remember right, in my first article on messianic prophecy,..... Now they can't all be wrong."

This was a lot to go through realizing I was misunderstood. Once again so we're not missing my point, no "special pleading" needed, translation fine, how does the meaning fit into bible taught gospel? So one scripture that says God grants some repentance, is more right than many that say all can repent?

1-3 points agreed. 4 If you include all people. 5 agreed. 6 Is the big problem here isn't it.
Without a lot of looking I come accrossed Romans 2:12. Is there a chance that those without law could contain mental disorders? 7 only follows if those unable to understand sin end up in hell. just to through another wrench in the works, 1Pet 3:12. What is spirit prison? How does this fit with heaven/hell? Sounds like a different place. And why preach to those who are eternally lost?

Joseph said...

Rich, I think this discussion is helping us both to understand each other better and at the same time fine-tune our arguments.

I want you to know, first of all, that when I was a Christian I held the Arminian view quite strongly, so please don't think that the intention of my previous comments were to prove or disprove Calvinism.

You asked, "So which is right then, that God wants all to repent, as in Peter, or decides who gets to repent, as in Timothy? Whats more consistant with Gospel teaching?" To which I respond: why do we have to choose between Peter and Timothy? As a Christian, I sought to harmonize problematic Scriptures. Now it is apparent to me that the Bible contains many competing ideas that cannot be fully reconciled. This may, in fact, be one of those instances.

Rich: "Isn't the basic gospel messsage to ask ALL to repent and be babtized?" Yes, and that brings us full circle to the problem that Lee and I have with this concept. Namely, that folks with mental/psychological and brain disorders sin, but cannot fully comprehend the gravity of their sin, so they cannot repent and receive Jesus.

"How rediculous to tell us we have need of repentance if we have to be 'chosen' for repentance. Why not just leave it at predestination?"

Even though I have never been a big fan of predestination, I will attempt to answer on behalf of the Calvinist: "We would preach repentance anyway, because it's God's will for that message to be preached. Besides, preaching repentance may in fact be the predetermined means of bringing the elect into the kingdom of God."

Rich: "So why then talk about translation? H ve you ever stopped to think about the sayings we use in the engish language? I speak fluent spanish and I can tell you how hard it is to translate Back and forth because of common phrases."

I took a couple years of Spanish in college and also tutored Japanese exchange students, so I well understand the problems with English idioms. I also know from my pastoral studies that Hebrew and Greek have their own unique phrases. I don't believe the 2 Timothy 2:25 is a valid example of this at all. Nor do I think that you really mean to suggest that we have inaccurate translations of the Bible.

Rich: "My point is that translating words and meaning are two different animals." Agreed. So please tell me how you interpret the meaning of the phrase, "if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth."

Rich: "So one scripture that says God grants some repentance, is more right than many that say all can repent?" Oh, there are several others. Here's one: "Therefore repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray the Lord that, IF POSSIBLE, the intention of your heart may be forgiven you." Does this imply that a person can repent and pray for forgiveness, yet be turned away by God? Or how about Jesus' statement in John 6:44: "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day." Again, why wouldn't God enable EVERY person with mental/psychological problems to be "drawn unto him"? It seems only fair, since they're not exactly on a level playing field with those who do understand the gravity of their sin.

Rich: "Without a lot of looking I come accrossed Romans 2:12. Is there a chance that those without law could contain mental disorders?" I don't know, perhaps. However, this Scripture sounds pretty damning to your point of view. It says those who are without the law will do what without the law? Perish!

Rich: "1 Pet 3:12. What is spirit prison? How does this fit with heaven/hell? Sounds like a different place. And why preach to those who are eternally lost?"

The 1 Peter 3:8-22 is an intriguing passage which has presented commentators with great difficulty interpreting. It's been a while since I've looked at it. If you want to bring it into your argument, perhaps you could develop the thought a little further--especially as it applies to the population group we're discussing here.

richdurrant said...

The interesting thing here is that I was already looking to come up with what happens to mentally disabled people because of my 14 year old coming home from school with the question. So along with the other articles Lee has written already had me searching for an answer. The bible doesn't seem to offer much help. The Romans verse is a stretch at best, and I'm like you, just not real sure which is why I threw it out to the critics to see how it is responded to. As far as being damning to me, not really as much as you first think. Yes it does say perish, but look further and it says perish without the law, and those that perish without the law are not judged by the law. Only those that are given the law are judged by the law. I think this actually includes a few sets of people, infants, mentally disabled, and people who never get to hear of Christ. Would you agree?
So enter Peter about teaching to spirits in prison. If these same set end up in this place called prison, then they apparently get the opportunity to here of Christ and choose to follow him or not. I'm not trying to say this IS the solution to anything, but a possible solution to some problems. Also keep in mind that this is, as you say, trying to reconcile beliefs with what is written in the bible.

I didn't think you were Calvanist, but just noticing that is where this kind of heads. We are not agents of choice but make choices that we can't control. I do agree that we make some choices outside our control, but I also believe we make plenty within our control. Those with mental disabilities make all choices outside their control. So for me for God to be Just he can't condemn them for something that is outside their control. Since we don't have much to go on for an answer, it makes a tough debate, especially for me.

Now back to translation. I don't think we are completely accurate with bible translations. I think it has passed through so many hands that some things have probably been forgotten, left out, or a few words change that make minor differences. Since you have a good concept of what I mean by translating meaning, you're right also to say that this isn't an idiom, I'll add to my point. I just used idioms because the are the most easily recognized examples of translating a meaning over words. While I think that most likely the words are fine the way the are, I don't believe it was to suggest that God will keep some from repenting. I think we are all granted repentance, those that are capable of sin.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi rich,
The interesting thing here is that I was already looking to come up with what happens to mentally disabled people because of my 14 year old coming home from school with the question.
I would really like to convince you that this is one piece of emotional baggage that you don't have to carry. I wish I could convince you that you can be at peace and at ease over this topic. This is one reason why I hate religion. Because it TAKES AWAY FROM PEACE OF MIND.

IT COMPOUNDS SUFFERING.

Joseph said...

Rich, thank you for engaging in a thoughtful and respectful debate. I've enjoyed it very much. Hopefully we can pick up strands of this conversation in a future post! I've got my hands so full right now that I'm going to have to say goodbye to this particular one for now.

richdurrant said...

Sorry Lee I should have mentioned that the 14 year old is the older sister, not my handicapped child. I do appreciate the sentiment, very thoughtful.

I know it may not seem like it to you because I do bring her up here at times, but I do feel pretty secure with what I believe about those in her state. For purposes here I usually like to see the back peddling people do when they say they're lost, you know what I mean;) It's a matter of interest to me see what the bible might say for example about such things. I don't think that everything is answered in the bible, so I don't consume myself in such chases, but I always look. Anyway, I don't pack emotional baggage around from her because of my religion.

Thanks for another good chat!

richdurrant said...

Likewise Joseph and I'll mix it up elsewhere

Lee Randolph said...

Hi rich,
you are one of my favorite commenters.

anyway, I still think the bible better supports my assertion that there is no salvation for those that don't repent or know god, and if there are verses that are apparently contradictory, then it is evidence that there is no divinity about the bible.

I bowed out of the convo because you and joseph were debating scriptural interpretations. My point was that we were made without sufficient means to handle moral questions that will get us 'separated from god' for eternity and that there are biological mechanisms built into us that increase the likelihood that we will 'sin' by overwhelming our 'freewill'. I'll continue to post research that supports this assertion.

I guess I'll see you on another thread.