Hey Hey Yahweh, How Many Kids ...

The number of children dying in the name of Jesus just keeps going up. As documented in multiple different cases here on DC, there is simply no reliable way for a believer to differentiate rationality from irrationality within the mindset of religion.

Yet it keeps happening over and over. The most recent case is the worst of the lot, for it appears this child wasn't even ill. He was starved to death at the age of 1 because he refused to say "Amen" after meals.

After denying Javon Thompson food and water for two days because he wouldn't say "Amen" after meals, the one-year-old's caretakers waited for a divine sign that their message had been heard: a resurrection.

For more than a week, police say in charging documents describing the scene, the child's lifeless body lay in the back room of an apartment. Queen Antoinette, the 40-year-old leader of a group that called itself 1 Mind Ministries, brought in her followers and told them to pray. God, she said, would raise Javon from the dead.

Instead, Javon's body began to decompose.

The boy's mother, 21-year-old Ria Ramkissoon, and four other people authorities say are members of the group face first-degree murder charges in his death. But Ramkissoon's mother and attorney say that she was brainwashed by a cult and acted only at the group leader's will


You can read the whole awful story for yourself.

The questions I continue to have for believers:

1. What test should "rational Christians" use to differentiate texts in the Bible that should be taken figuratively from texts in the Bible that should be taken literally?

2. How are believers to use their faith? Should they expect supernatural intervention from God on their behalf during their lives, or is this also figurative?

3. At what point can we differentiate rational religion from child abuse and murder? For example, was Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac good, or was it torture? If a modern parent did this to a child, would we allow that child to stay with that parent?

19 comments:

zilch said...

Evan, I already know what the believers will say: those people who say they are Christians and behave badly are not really Christians. In other words, when push comes to shove, they use the same standards we atheists use to judge people: how they behave.

And as far as cherry picking the Bible, which all believers do (or are there some of you who believe that bats are birds?), I guess I could be considered a Christian too, if I only pick Matthew 7:16 and consider the rest of the Bible corrupt or metaphorical.

Robert_B said...

Jhn 14:26 (NASB) "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you."

Perhaps Jesus did not teach that one should not murder one's children.

BahramtheRed said...

This sounds a lot like something thatr just happened in Balitmore, except the kid was 4...

I seriously hope these are the same story with some minor points wrong, otherwise I happened twice... Scary.


But to what zilch said, I know many people who flat ouyt disregard parts of the bible they don't like. I know a guy who claims to be a fundamentlist. I point out the bible says he should be put to death and is going to hell (He cheated on his wife) he just syas I have faifth.

Matthew 7:16?

GordonBlood said...

Perhaps the main reason I dont visit DC much anymore is its total failure to regard the Church (and by that term I refer to the entire collective of persons, both good and bad, claiming to follow Jesus) as a sociological body just as much as a spiritual one. Obviously a body of 2 billion persons is going to have some nutjobs. Its as frank and obvious as that. There are atheist philosophers who believe in legalized infanticide (in any context). There are even atheist philosophers who believe we should perform mass liquidations of human life to destroy the "Scourge" that is us. Now to most people (and I believe everyone on DC) this is crazy. But there are atheists who believe this sort of junk. All it does is reflect badly on them, as individuals, not on the church as a collective whole (especially when practically all Christians would regard the behavior of parents like this absolutely disgusting).

BahramtheRed said...

Agreed, there are nutjobs and fanatics in every orginization.

But you know what? Our nutjobs generally talk a good game. Yours are doing stuff. Complete with leadership roles and disturbingly demand and get blind faifth.

Want to claim some sort of morale majority? We're (atheists) what maybe 10% of the US population tops right? Bring me an example of an atheist atrocity I'll match you with 10 equal christian ones. Care to play? We can make the first round starving childern for god.

Evan said...

Gordon I'm sorry to see that you are fed up with us pointing out the senseless deaths of the children of believers. I'm actually fed up with the senseless death of the children of believers itself, not the pointing out of it.

Do you have answers to my three questions?

gatesofsplendor said...

Umm... are there texts in the bible that advocate starving your child because he does not say, "amen"?

"1. I don't know... maybe exegesis?

2. How are believers supposed to use their faith? Do you mean live their faith?
As Zilch noted Christians judge others by how they behave. I think there was a Jewish guy in first century Palestine who said something about "knowing people by their fruits".

I personally do not expect God to play the role of a magician for me. Can he do miracles in my life if he so pleased? I do not see why not, but do I expect it? No, he is not a genie, or better yet an idol.

3.Did Isaac actually kill his son? I do not recall that part of the story. Do you have a different version found at Nag Hammadi?

I would say that Isaac's obedience was a good thing...including all of that teleological suspension of the ethical stuff. If a greater good came out of Abraham's testing, then did anything wrong happen?

A far as justifying child abuse from the Bible, you can't. I do not think that there are any didactic texts that command believers to kill their children. Of course I could be wrong, but I do not recall any passages like that.

Evan said...

Gates, thanks for your comment. It is nice that a believer is finally stepping up and answering my questions. I guess most of our regular commenters who are on this site didn't want to touch this one.

Let's first dispense with the easiest objection you make:

A far as (sic) justifying child abuse from the Bible, you can't. I do not think that there are any didactic texts that command believers to kill their children.

Buzz. Try again. Deuteronomy 21:

18 If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him, 19 his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town. 20 They shall say to the elders, "This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a profligate and a drunkard." 21 Then all the men of his town shall stone him to death. You must purge the evil from among you. All Israel will hear of it and be afraid.

So so much for that. There is more than enough Biblical injunction right there.

You also ask:

Umm... are there texts in the bible that advocate starving your child because he does not say, "amen"?

Nope. But there are texts of the Bible that instruct people to obey leaders in the church and follow their instructions. So you can see how someone in a position of authority in a church could use those texts to get someone who was gullible to do something stupid like starving a child. There aren't any texts in the Bible that say you should use your own judgment and reason to evaluate your life. In fact reason and judgment are considered bad for believers. Paul says in 1 Corinthians:

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written:
"I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate."

Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.


According to the apostle, if your are doing something that seems dumb, it's actually a good thing. You agree with that?

Finally you say:

3.Did Isaac actually kill his son? I do not recall that part of the story. Do you have a different version found at Nag Hammadi?

Do you think that putting a child through a mock sacrifice where you lift a knife in your hand to stab him is a good thing for the child? Do you really think that?

I think it's torture. It's not murder, but it's surely torture. God commanded Abraham to torture his son. If you do that to a child and it gets reported, you will go to jail for assault.

How are believers to judge what is good when the Bible gives so many examples of awful behavior that is rewarded?

BahramtheRed said...

I'm with evan on this. He hit all my points and then some.


I will ask this thought. What possible greter good could have come from a man taking his son to the alter and getting ready to sacrifice him only to hear god announce "Just kidding, your faifth is enough".

Is this the kind of god you want to worship? What greater good came come from this?

From where I sit this is one of the arguments I use to show god is inherinatly evil.

gatesofsplendor said...

Evan,

I did not quote Deuteronomy 21 because I did not view it as a matter of child abuse, but one of civil law being carried out. Of course from a modern view of values it may appear to be child abuse (for those who do not care to read), but why should I assume that a modern view of ethics is correct when applied to this situation?

Also what is meant by son in this text? Son could be any age, and not necessarily a child. The text does say after all that the son is a drunkard. I do not see a young child getting plastered and the family being unable to stop him/her. I think you are reading childhood into this text, in order to up the emotional response in from this text. So I do not think that this text is dealing with a young child. It probably has to do with a son bringing shame upon his family for acting like a jackass.

Secondly, you also give a sorry eisegesis of the 1 Corinthians 1:18-25. In context Paul is combating a group in the Corinthian church who are splitting the body because of their arrogance. They are challenging the message of the gospel. Of course Paul is saying that God makes a mockery out of Greek wisdom, which believed that the divine was above the physical world, and that it made foolish the Jewish belieg in asking for a sign, but does any of this say that Christians cannot use reason? Paul does after all use rhetoric and logic in his letters. You may disagree with his conclusions, but it does appear that as a Jew educated in Jerusalem and apparently having a Hellenistic background that he no way disparaged the use of reason.

Third, do you have a good reason for finding Abraham's actions morally wrong? Or are you just going to judge him by 21st century western norms?

I do happen to believe what Abraham did was right, because God commanded it. As far as the greater good defense is concerned, I do not have to know the out come of what that greater good is,because it is based upon the uncanging goodness of God. You will disagree with that, but I do not see how we can judge God according to another standard of ethics, because that would put something outside of him that would be more ultimate. Morals and ethics are based upon the nature of God, so what he does is by definition good.

Evan said...

Gates, I can't really tell if you are saying something like the divine command theory of ethics, which you seem to suggest when you say, "I do happen to believe what Abraham did was right, because God commanded it", or if you believe that ethics evolve with societies over time which you seem to suggest when you say, "Of course from a modern view of values it may appear to be child abuse (for those who do not care to read), but why should I assume that a modern view of ethics is correct when applied to this situation?"

Now I would guess that you subscribe to a divine command theory. If so, than you would do virtually anything God commanded you to, correct?

And that would include starving a child to death because they wouldn't say Amen, right?

Because of course the God of the universe cannot command an immoral act. Therefore, from your point of view, what the woman did to her child was absolutely morally correct if she actually believed she was following the dictates of God.

Please, show me how a believer is to separate the eternal truths of God from crazy shit that someone who has a position of authority in the church is espousing?

Reformed Baptist said...

Sorry if I was not clear. What I was asking is how do you, as an atheist think that you can justify telling others what is morally proper or improper? I have a basis, you do not. A person abusing a child should be no different than a male lion killing its cubs in your worldview. We do not get morally outraged about lions, so why should we be outraged when the human animal does it?

More later, I must walk my dog. :)

Evan said...

Reformed, are you Gates on some other handle now?

If you are, please tell me whether you accept the Divine Command theory as I've outlined it above, because if you do, then you are totally without an objective standard for morality.

For you, whatever God tells you to do is moral and that comes from the subjective mind of God -- which sadly you can never know and therefore you are left with someone else's interpretation of what God thinks or your own interpretation, both of which are again necessarily subjective.

So your argument seems to fail on that point if you subscribe to Divine Command which is certainly what Gates (and you, if you are Gates) seemed to suggest.

Additionally, you still have given us no method for the believer to determine what characters in the Bible to emulate and what characters to avoid emulating -- again leaving the believer in the subjective situation of having to figure out for herself if she should punish her rebellious son for not saying amen after every meal.

Heather said...

I have to comment that everyone seems to be focusing on the Old Testament and the laws of the Old Testament. It seems as if you all have read the Bible, don't you remember reading that once Jesus died for our sins, works meant nothing?

"Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
This is the first and great commandment.
And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."
Matthew 22:36-39

As a Christian, it would be very difficult to follow the first and second great commandent, and starve my child. In no way can starving anyone or anything be showing love.

Is it possible to locate every instance of obscene child abuse done at the hands of non-christians? I am sure that it is happening at an alarming rate, however, isn't it a much better story and headline to see a Christian committing child abuse? Whether or not that person is or is not truly a Christian, that is just a small insignificant detail. If the headline was "A servant of the devil starves child", well, we already know that happens, right? That won't sell many papers...but a Christian starving a child, JACKPOT!

Any person who chooses to live their life as close to Jesus as humanly possible would not starve their child. If only more people had Jesus in their heart, choosing to love as He did, treat others as He did, have faith in God as He did...think of the world we could live in.

Evan said...

Heather if you're so sure that no true Christian would do that, can you please answer my questions?

I'll repeat them so you don't have to search for them:

1. What test should "rational Christians" use to differentiate texts in the Bible that should be taken figuratively from texts in the Bible that should be taken literally?

2. How are believers to use their faith? Should they expect supernatural intervention from God on their behalf during their lives, or is this also figurative?

3. At what point can we differentiate rational religion from child abuse and murder? For example, was Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac good, or was it torture? If a modern parent did this to a child, would we allow that child to stay with that parent?


In addition, I eagerly await you finding a story about a rational person starving a child to death because they refused to repeat a magical phrase. I eagerly await a story about a reasonable, educated parent denying insulin to their dying diabetic child because they had discussed all the options with the appropriate specialists and considered it the best of their choices. I eagerly await a story about someone who consulted doctors and hospitals to find out what best to do for their child's infection and ended up choosing not to treat it.

Find those stories about rational people who use the best evidence available to guide their decisions making decisions that shock the conscience and I will be happy to agree with you. I am not aware of any such stories.

BahramtheRed said...

Reformed Baptist said...
"Sorry if I was not clear. What I was asking is how do you, as an atheist think that you can justify telling others what is morally proper or improper? I have a basis, you do not. A person abusing a child should be no different than a male lion killing its cubs in your worldview. We do not get morally outraged about lions, so why should we be outraged when the human animal does it? "

This is the most self serving piece of shit in the entierity of the christian repitore. By invoking this you manage to both ditch any prestense of having to know what is right and wrong and invoke a power that lest you do anything you think should be done. You also get to challenge the validity of anyoe elses claim on morality since they didn't come from your god. This makes calling you scum an insult to pond scum, after all it is inherintaly netural. It exists only. You have chosen to reject any pretnese of sentience or right and wrong to mindlessly follow the word of a book you think it holy. Bet if we go over your life and the bible we find reasons you should be put to death.

I could explain the underpinnings of my beleives or maybe point out that people world wide have similiar morale under pinnings. Regardless of relgion. But that wouldn't shake your delusion that god is always right when every human except your ilk would reject the argument.

You reject the story of Issac with invented logic like maybe the kid was a drunkard. How does that mitegate issacs torchure? How does this improve the story?

Next you attack 21st western norms. Arn't they overwhelmingly chrisitan? Did not they influence everything? did they get curropted? Apparently not since god didn't call down another flood!

What is wrong with you? Are you so desperate to follow the word of god you ignore centuries of humanity that apperently didn't anger god enough to act?

Even under christian logic your lion example is a joke. Animals don't ahve souls so they can do whatever they want. Also didn't god make them that way? exactly as intended? Also lions only kill the childern of rival males when they take over a pride. It dosn't even compare to sacrificing your own child.

I really really hope puppy needing to tinkle lead you to post a bad interpertation of your beleifs. Otherwise you are the lowest of the low. Excatly the people I am against. Pray to your mericiful god we never meet.


Heather: Your precious first law is the most important yes? That's why it's first, right?

Pretty easy to say that loving god is more improtant than loving your neighbor. Under that logic it's pretty easy to justify starving someone.

Assuming you can't find a reason they should die uner the commands of god. Then your doing his will.

Heather said...

Evan,

Okay, here it goes:

1. If your term "rational Christian" means a person who allows God to live in their heart and has a personal relationship with him through prayer and studing his word will not NEED to differentiate the texts. Gods grace and love will come through the passages and guide a person to living a life as holy as humanly possible. (as a side note, in all the passages I have read, in all the praying I have done, all it has done is promote patience and understanding, especially with my children. I actually feel bad about the times that I have lost my temper with my children, not felt compelled to harm them)

2. I don't feel that there is or would be supernatural intervention by God. You can ask and allow God to work within you, you can listen to Him and follow the path laid out before you by him. It is still a personal choice to do this. All of my actions will still be my own actions. However, I have Faith that my personal relationship with God will allow me the patience and clarity to see his path that will be beneficial to me. If I felt that God was telling me to starve my child, I would not do it. I would realize that the enemy was attacking me and attempting to make me do something that God would never ask me to do.

3. I don't feel that Abraham and his son Isaac have anything to do with the New Covenant with God. Maybe I am a freak of nature, but in all of my readings, I see that disipline of a child is neccessary. No where have I read that that means starving a child, or harming a child. Maybe my interpretations are way off base and all other Christians are interpreting things from the Bible differently. Before I became a Christian, I believed that spanking was not bad. I still believe, as a Christian, it still is not bad. How a parent treats a child should be viewed the same for all people, in the name of religion or not. There should not be two sets of principles when viewing the possiblity of child abuse taking place.

I didn't take a lot of time to search out different cases of child abuse. What I did find was the cases of Vegans starving their child with their views of what is an appropriate diet, and a couple so wrapped up in Video Games that they neglected their child and it starved to death. I am certain that you cannot be so closed minded to see that there are sick people in this world that do sick things. I don't feel that the people that harm their children are rational, no matter what they claim. They may claim that their reasons are rational and profess why their reasons are rational, but that doesn't make them rational people.

Bahramthered,

Love thy neighbor as thy self. I don't know about you, but even on a bad day, I couldn't starve myself. Let alone an innocent child, even if I felt God was telling me to (which he wouldn't).

I didn't understand the second comment, "Assuming you can't find a reason they should die under the commands of god. Then your doing his will." Are you saying that NOT starving someone (because that is not a command of God) would be by the will of God? I agree with that wholeheartedly.

On a side note, I am hoping and praying that he, "Reformed Baptist", meant that in YOUR view the lion story would make sense, not his own. I hope that is what he meant. I do feel that it was a very poor choice as a comparison. I don't think any rational, thinking, sane person would think that.

BahramtheRed said...

All: First aplogies. I wrote that (my last post) when I probally shouldn't have, tired from a long day at work and more than a little buzzed from celebrating a freind's birthday. Throw in my usual disjointed style and you get that. I stand by the sentiment, but not how I said it.

Heather:

My point is pretty simple. First off you seem fairly sane (I don't think anyone beleiving in god can be fully sane). But my point is really simple. You make it for me here:

Heather said...

"Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
This is the first and great commandment.
And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."
Matthew 22:36-39


Loving god is the best and greatest thing you can do. The bible says who have to die.

Put the logic toghter. Killing gods enemies is god. That is my major problem with the bible, well one of.

You say that you think you'd know the difference between god and the enemy telling you to do something. Exactly how do you think you'd know the difference? Didn't satan test jesus? Couldn't have been a good test if it wasn't convicing.

The second you yourself just admitted to cherry picking the bible passages you want to follow. Is this not the holy word of god? How do you know your not hell bound for violating or ignoring some ridiculous rule you think is trival? They say god forgives but you have to ask for it. How would you even know to ask?

Lastly I have to scream foul on you playing the relgion card on the reporting the abuse of childern. There's a lot of stories about abused kids (man that's a sad way to make a point). The media loves to report weird details. Cults are weird (regardless of origin). They also like to make villians of goodless athetists doing evil. I can name examples. There's no need for either of us to name all the stories, unless your taking me up on my earlier challenge. Atroicty for atrocity. I made that challenge because I've played that game before and it really shook the faifth and claim of morale superority in a person.


Finally back to reformed baptist, just to clarify. He pissed me off with his statement athetists have no morale basis since we don't have god.

He pissed me off with his excuses why it was okay to kill issac. and ignoring the point besides.

He said anything god demands is okay. (why isn't he in jail for some of those killings god demands?)

And his retarded question got me.

If his beliefs are what he said, I reaffirm this. I think he's the sort of chrisitian I think is evil.

BahramtheRed said...
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