UNHOLY MOSES: Conservative Scholars Defuse Triablogue's Bombast

Sometimes amateurs don’t know enough to know they don’t know enough. A luminous example of this phenomenon is offered by Triablogue’s, Postmortem on Avalos, which has assembled a collection of conservative scholars to prove that I was wrong about Sargon.

To review briefly, I provided four irrefutable conclusions in my post of July 14, 2008 Moses is a Basket Case of Bad History:

I. There is no actual evidence that a Moses river-story was present in the seventh century BCE.



II. There is plenty of evidence that the Sargon river-story was present in the seventh century BCE.



III. Sargon’s presence in actual documents can be attested from the late third millennium BCE and far into the first millennium BCE.



IV. Moses’ presence cannot be found in any extra-biblical record before around 1-3 centuries BCE.

So, Triablogue assembled a group of conservative scholars, and then characterized the conclusions of this solemn assembly as follows: “Notice that although different scholars offer different explanations, not a single scholar I cite agrees with Hector's explanation.”

So let’s examine the statements of each major respondent collected by Triablogue one by one, and see if they were able to refute my main claims enumerated above. I will devote Part I of this post to these scholars.

In Part II, I will disassemble some other comments made on the Sargon issue by Triablogue in their post, Holy Moses.

PART I: CONSERVATIVE SCHOLARS

1. Duane Garrett

He promises a commentary that will defeat Brian Lewis’s claims. Promises do not an argument make.

2. James Hoffmeier

He actually refuses to argue his side. He just declares that I am so “ideologically committed” that he does not to even want to offer evidence in his response. So why does Triablogue consider Dr. Hoffmeier’s obvious retreat from my challenge as evidence for its side?

Yet, in another statement, Dr. Hoffmeier agrees that the Sargon legend “may well be the earliest example of the expose[d] child motif.” That would mean that my claim about the Sargon story predating the Moses story has been vindicated by Triablogue’s own expert.

I have considered the Egyptian evidence that Hoffmeier offers, and I have found some factual errors in his claims. For example, Triablogue cites Hoffmeier for their claim that the Hebrew word gome' in Exodus 2:3 is an Egyptian loanword. As Triablogue states: “ The first term, gome' is an Egyptian word that means ‘papyrus.’”

Triablogue, of course, cannot tell you if this is true or not as they are just relying on Hoffmeier. There has been plenty of debate about whether the Egyptian word identified by Dr. Hoffmeier is, in fact, the source of the Hebrew word, but I do think Dr. Hoffmeier’s linguistic evidence is strong on this point.

However, Dr. Hoffmeier also makes it appear as though his collection of Egyptian loanwords would not be known to later writers (Israel in Egypt: The Evidence for the Authenticity of the Exodus Tradition [New York: Oxford, 1996]) p. 140):

"Furthermore, it seems unlikely that a scribe during the late Judaean monarchy or the exilic period (or later) would have been familiar with these Egyptian terms."

Can Triablogue tell you whether this is true or not? No. They would have to know enough about Hebrew/Aramaic Jewish literature in the postexilic period to evaluate this claim.

The exilic period would be from about 586 to 538 BCE, and the 400s BCE would span part of the post-exilic period.

The fact is that we find the word gome’, translated precisely as “papyrus(-reed),” in Document 15 (line 15) of the Aramaic papyri from the Jewish colony at Elephantine (Egypt) published in A. E. Cowley, Aramaic Papyri of the Fifth Century B.C. (1923; Reprint, Osnabr├╝ck: Otto Zeller, 1967), pp. 45-47 + p. 281. This Jewish Aramaic document is dated to about 441 BCE based on similarities to other precisely dated documents (sometimes these documents include the year). More importantly, why did Dr. Hoffmeier omit this fact?

Thus, Dr. Hoffmeier’s efforts to restrict the knowledge of gome’ to pre-exilic Hebrew writings fails. Indeed, the use of gome' does not preclude a Jewish writer of the post-exilic period from composing a story about Moses using that Egyptian loanword.

And while Egyptian loanwords may offer evidence of an Egyptian source or context, this does not make it a context of 1400-1200 BCE. And it does not preclude also a Mesopotamian source that might have provided some preceding motifs for the Moses story. I have already offered evidence for Mesopotamian parallels that Triablogue does not address (e.g., the ana ittishu laws).

3. Richard Hess

Hess states “The Sargon Story is as Avalos says.” And so how did Triablogue conclude that not one expert agreed with me?

Moreover, Hess agrees that there is no historical evidence for Moses from his time outside of the Bible. What he offers is HOPE that one day we will find it.

In addition, I do not state that Moses did not exist. I do claim that there is no evidence for the existence of Moses from his time anywhere outside of the Bible. That is a true statement, and neither Hess nor Triablogue has offered us a single historical source to refute this statement.

Hess offers us this rationale: “X can be historical even if there is no evidence for the historicity of X.” That is fine, but just apply that to everyone else. King Arthur may be historical despite lack of evidence for his historicity. Superman may be historical despite lack of evidence for his historicity. Sasquatch may be historical despite lack of evidence for his historicity.

This is the difference between rigorous history and wishful thinking. We minimalists will only declare something historical when we find actual evidence for it.

Hess also does not address my discussion, in The End of Biblical Studies, of the House of David inscription, which also contradicts biblical history, depending on certain readings. In that book, I also pointed out that King Arthur has inscriptions mentioning him, but no one considers Arthur to be the historical figure described by Medieval historians.

4. John Currid

Apparently Triablogue is now so ideologically committed that they cannot realize that Currid is refuting their notion that the Moses story preceded similar Near Eastern legends. What Currid says, however, is that the Egyptian legends are more important than the Mesopotamian legends. Currid says that the author of the Moses story was using some common “motifs” found in other birth stories. But motifs imply literary, not necessarily historical, features.

5. Allen Ross

He apparently also sees the story of Moses may be drawing on at least some literary, rather than historical motifs, of earlier stories:

"While we may not be dealing with a genre of story-telling here, it is possible that Exodus 2 might have drawn on some of the motifs and forms of the other account to describe the actual event in the sparing of Moses--if they knew of it. If so it would show that Moses was cast in the form of the greats of the past."

6. Alan Millard

I am not sure that he offers a strong endorsement of historicity:

"The story of the foundling rising to eminence may be a motif of folklore, but that is surely because it is a story that occurs repeatedly in real life."

Fictional novels and folklore are replete with things that happen all the time. This does not make any particular incident in novels historical.

7. Tremper Longman

He offers another weak endorsement of historicity:

“While certainly a folklore theme, the practice of placing a child in the river may have been a widely practiced form of abandonment, similar to the more modern practice of leaving a child on the doorstep of a house.”

Just as with Millard’s comment, there is a difference between the occurrence of a general phenomenon (abandonment) and the occurrence of a specific instance of that phenomenon (Moses’ abandonment). Proving the general occurrence of a phenomenon does not constitute proof of the specific occurrence of a phenomenon.

The fact that people fly in jet airplanes does not mean that specific instances depicted in the movie, Airplane, actually happened. Comprende?

8. Reuters

What in there disagrees with anything I have said about foundling wheels in the Middle Ages?

PART II: TRIABLOGUE WRONG ALL OVER

The fusillade from Triablogue’s Holy Moses post makes it all the more apparent that we are dealing with amateurs who are very ill-read even in the scholarship they cite. Triabloguers apparently are not even reading directly some of the scholars they cite for evidence. Just a few examples.

1. They cite Lewis through another source, and do not address the direct quote I have from Lewis where he leaves the Legend of Sargon’s composition open to a wider range of dates. Apparently, Triablogue writers cannot afford to buy the book or find a library with the book.

2. Emanuel Tov is cited, but not directly, to prove that he has discussed the problematic nature of the Urtext. Triablogue is apparently unaware that, in The End of Biblical Studies (pp. 79-80), I already critique Tov’s change in his definitions of "Urtext" from the first edition of his manual to the second edition of his manual.

3. Triablogue ascribes a belief to Cyrus Gordon, but it does not cite where he is supposed to have expressed this belief.

I won’t bother to respond to all of the items found in Holy Moses, but here are a few of the more amusing ones.

A. "As to Hebrews living in Babylon, that's an allusion to the Documentary Hypothesis, a theory which even a secular Jew like Cyrus Gordon didn't take seriously. So Avalos is simply propping up one bad argument with another bad argument."

What? Why would the Hebrews living in Babylon be necessarily an allusion to the Documentary Hypothesis? We have plenty of evidence for Hebrews living in Babylon. Has Triablogue ever heard the Babylonian captivity or of the Murashu documents?

If Triablogue believes in the historicity of its own Bible, then surely it must know that Abraham comes from Mesopotamia, and that the Hebrews were taken to Babylon and they lived there (see 2 Kings 25, Ezekiel 1, Ezra, Daniel, etc.)

I am not an advocate of the Documentary Hypothesis, at least not in the classical form. I believe that there are many more sources than what was posited by the classic Documentary Hypothesis (J, E, D and P).

And why cite Cyrus Gordon as an authority here? Apparently, Triablogue is unaware that Cyrus Gordon thought the Hebrews (or Phoenicians) had made it all the way to North America, but perhaps Triablogue has not heard of the controversy over the Paraiba inscriptions that involved Gordon.

B. "To my knowledge, our earliest copy of books 1-6 from the Annals of Tacitus dates to the 9C. And books 11-16 date to an 11C MS. Is Avalos just as sceptical of Tacitus as he is of Moses?"

I already discuss why we cannot trust automatically what Tacitus and many other Roman authors have to say. What they say has to be checked against data from the actual time of the Roman empire. See The End of Biblical Studies, pp. 115-121 and 215, n. 34.

C. "Since, however, he repays my discreet loving-kindness with this resentful outburst, I'm now compelled to divulge the further fact that he's published no fewer than three—count 'em, three!—titles with Prometheus Books! Oh the shame!"

This presumes that there is a stigma attached to Prometheus. I was just stating a simple fact that the publishers Triablogue regards as authoritative have also published some of my work. Various well-known scholars have written for Prometheus, including Richard Freund, director of the Bethsaida Excavations, and Gerd L├╝demann.

Apparently, Triablogue doesn’t mind Christian presses publishing biblical scholarship, but somehow atheist presses cannot be respectable in biblical scholarship. For Dr. Tremper Longman, for example, I also count no fewer than three---count ‘em three!—titles with NAV Press. Is this really a scholarly press? I find their mission statement to be mostly ministerial rather than scholarly:

"to advance the Gospel of Jesus and His Kingdom into the nations through spiritual generations of laborers living and discipling among the lost."

What we should divulge, of course, is that Hayes and Co. have published ZERO (count them) significant items, in any respectable press or peer-reviewed journal. Triablogue doesn’t count.

D. "There is no actual evidence that a Moses river-story was present in the seventh century BCE.’ That would only be pertinent if you assume a liberal view of Scripture, according to which the final text was the end-product of centuries of oral development and subsequent redaction.”

First, notice that Triablogue could not cite one piece of evidence for the existence of Moses even in the seventh century BCE.

My conclusion is not dependent on whether my view of scripture is liberal or not. It depends on whether we have any actual artifact with a Moses river-story from the seventh century BCE. There either is or is not an artifact from that century with a Moses Story.

This is no different from saying that we have no evidence for a Bill Clinton presidency story in the eighteenth century. There either is actual evidence or there is not. The truth won’t depend on whether one is a liberal democrat or a right-wing zealot.

E. “Where, exactly, is the parallel? Sunshine is a luminous phenomenon. Starlight and moonlight are luminous phenomenon. A torch is a luminous phenomenon. A campfire is a luminous phenomenon. This is a good example of parallelomania.”

Again, this shows how little Triablogue knows about Akkadian words and literature. My claim is that Moses and Sargon share a motif of seeing a luminous phenomenon (Akkadian word: nurum).

The word nurum, especially when used in omens and sacred literature, is quite specifically applied to divine phenomena. Thus, in the Enuma elish, the Babylonian creation story, we have a reference to the nuru sha ilani("the light of the gods") in Tablet 6, line 148.

You don’t write an omen text saying Sargon saw a nurum if that meant just ordinary moonlight. An omen text, by its very nature, suggests that there is something special and meaningful about what he saw.

This is even clearer in another omen also quoted by Lewis (Legend of Sargon, p. 139), which reads: “omen of Sargon who marched into the land of Marhas[h]I and (to whom) Is[h]tar appeared in a burst? of light.” Again, the word “burst” might be unclear, but not so the word for “light” which is the same Akkadian word (written here with the Sumerogram: ZALAG2) used in the omen I quoted before.

Thus, it is clear that both Moses and Sargon share a motif in which a divine being appears to them in association with some divine luminous phenomenon.

Instead of being an example of parallelomania gone astray, it is an example of the sheer and profound ignorance of Near Eastern and Sargonic literature exhibited by Triablogue.


F. “‘In fact, I have written extensively on science and religion.’ So has Ken Ham.”

Yes, we need to differentiate writing in respectable scientific publications, such as Mercury: The Journal of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, from sectarian creationist drivel. Here is another instance where Triablogue lacks sufficient training to identify the difference. This is truly ironic because they otherwise extol the difference between Prometheus press and Oxford University Press, both of which include work of mine.

CONCLUSION

A post-mortem is given when someone or something has died. My four following claims are still alive:

I. There is no actual evidence that a Moses river-story was present in the seventh century BCE.



II. There is plenty of evidence that the Sargon river-story was present in the seventh century BCE.



III. Sargon’s presence in actual documents can be attested from the late third millennium BCE and far into the first millennium BCE.



IV. Moses’ presence cannot be found in any extra-biblical record before around 1-3 centuries BCE.

So, if there is anything that has died, it is Triablogue’s illusion that an assembly of eminent conservative scholars were going to deal a mortal blow to my four claims. May Triablogue’s ignorance rest in peace.

27 comments:

John W. Loftus said...

While I thought what you previously wrote was already devestating to their case, this is the final nail in the coffin. But alas, the Triabloggers will not recognize their arguments are dead in the water.

There are other parallels of the Old Testament beyond the Sargon legend, and for anyone interested there is an anthology of them to be found here. Look inside the book at the Table of Contents.

Alexis said...

Thank so much Dr. Avalos.

Evan said...

Post mortem indeed.

Gabe said...

Dr. Avalos,

I almost flipped out when I saw that Dr. Duane Garrett is planning on posting a response! He was my Hebrew and Old Testament professor at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky from 2005 -2006. I deconverted from Chrisitianity in the spring of 2006shortly before receiving my Master of Divinity. And Southern Seminary will not allow you to attend their school in you are what they would consider a heretic!

When I was a Christian taking Dr. Garrett's Old Testament class, I actually thought he was somewhat of a compromising Christian who would not take the book of Genesis and other stories in the OT for what they were clearly saying. For example, Dr. Garrett taught us that the parting of the Red Sea or "sea of reeds" in the book of Exodus was simply a natural phenomenon called a set-down effect, in which the wind can actually divide a shallow body of water. While hearing Dr. Garrett teach this to our class, I wondered how a shallow body of water dividing and then collapsing could manage to drown Pharaoh's entire army! And Dr. Garrett's book, "Rethinking Genesis," falls in line with other conservative Christian scholars who try to wheezle the book of Genesis into agreeing with modern science. Apparently they recognize that taking Genesis at face value is completely absurd in the face of our knowledge of our planet and the universe.

Great job Dr. Avalos! And by the way, your debate against Dr. William Lane Craig is a classic. I enjoyed hearing you tear down their great defender of the faith!

Anthony said...

John, would you be willing to devote a section to the blog site for deconversion stories? I would love to read Gabe's and it would give me a place to put mine once I have it written.

Scary Jesus said...

I'd sit down and do my story as well. Great Idea!

John W. Loftus said...

People have sent me their deconversion stories via email and I have posted them with their permission. Unless you're someone important or unless you're willing to reveal your real name I'd rather have people send them to David over at www.ex-christian.net. But in your cases I might make exceptions. Try me.

Mona Albano said...

Let's see... current archaeological evidence is that the Hebrew culture developed around 1200 - 1500 BCE in the area of Caanan, and they told the stories of conquest to give themselves a legitimate" hold on the territory. There's no evidence of a sojourn in Egypt. There's no archaeological evidence for a Moses. Instead, there are recycled legends. Nope, you're not going to convince a true believer just because you have the facts on your side.

Lee Randolph said...

Dr. Avalos,
I am writing a piece on criteria for sources of information, based on a recent comment I made in one of my articles.

would you mind listing some criteria, if only off the top of your head, so that I might reference it in my article?

thanks in advance, and thanks for supporting DC.

Dr. Hector Avalos said...

Hello, Lee Randolph,
Please send me an e-mail, and I will be glad
to discuss these criteria.

Otherwise, I can post something if you can
clarify what you mean by "criteria for sources
of information." Do you mean how to judge what the best sources are? That is often also dependent on what the issue is. Are you speaking of primary sources or
of secondary studies of those sources?

Lee Randolph said...

thanks,
I'll send you an email.

NBM said...

Dr. Avalos,

In my opinion you make some rather "strained" conclusions on subject matter. For example you say the following regarding Triabalogue's linguistic evaluation ability:

"Triablogue, of course, cannot tell you if this is true or not as they are just relying on Hoffmeier."

"Can Triablogue tell you whether this is true or not? No. They would have to know enough about Hebrew/Aramaic Jewish literature in the postexilic period to evaluate this claim."

DC is in the SAME if not worse condition...THEY rely on YOU. They offer no more linguistic evaluation professionals than DC does by offering you and your evaluations. In fact in evaluating this subject objectively, I feel much more comfortable with an array of scholarship on the subject as they have offered INSTEAD of just taking your word as a finaly authority. So I'm not impressed by your suggestions regarding this matter.

You also identified your position with this statment, "We minimalists will only declare something historical when we find actual evidence for it."

I wish to thank you for identifying yourself as a minimalist as we know that a minimalist will not verily believe almost ANY historical event and deciphers all evidence that confirms biblical events as NON-EVIDENCE. This, in my opinion, is one of the worst ways to decipher history and actual historical events, but nonetheless you are to be commended for making your position plain.

Regarding Dr. Millard's comments you said this, "Proving the general occurrence of a phenomenon does not constitute proof of the specific occurrence of a phenomenon."

While I agree with that sentiment, it also DOES NOT provide proof that the phenomenon DID NOT occur.

These are the types of arguments atheists and mimalists make all day declaring their success against biblical arguments. I would hope an argument such as this would receive similar treatment in your view.

Finally, Dr. Avalos, at this point I'll conclude that your assertions in your conclusion are correct, simply because I have not examined enough material regarding the subject, however that does not affirm that the writer(s) of the biblical narrative borrowed from the Legend Of Sargon to create the biblical narrative.

Nonetheless, this is an interesting topic and as your are held out as an expert for anti-biblical views, it's good to hear directly from a source interpreting his own words.

Since the main fight here seems to be between you and Triabolgue, I'll simply consign myself to studying the complete narrative on a little more indepth basis before drawing deeper conclusions.

Thank you.

Toby said...

Nbm wrote,

DC is in the SAME if not worse condition...THEY rely on YOU. They offer no more linguistic evaluation professionals than DC does by offering you and your evaluations.

Let's take this theory of yours to test...

Tribalogue has 0 professional bible translators
DC has 1, possibly 2 (Daniels?) that I know of.

Yes, you're right, DC is in worse condition because 0 is greater than 1. What?! Even if the scholarship credentials were only on par with tribalogue, Avalos has backed all of his assertions with fellow professionals who are subject matter experts in each of his posts to Tribalogue.

You also wrote,

In my opinion you make some rather "strained" conclusions on subject matter.

But then you finish with,

Finally, Dr. Avalos, at this point I'll conclude that your assertions in your conclusion are correct, simply because I have not examined enough material regarding the subject...

Okay, you haven't even read all of the pertaining materials and you are making "strained" conclusions of your own.

Obviously this site is going to be bias against Christianity, but your own Christian bias seems to be affecting your own judgment as well. Your post make it seem as though you start with the assumption "Dr. Avalos is wrong, let me just figure out where."

How about starting by reading his book, "The End of Biblical Studies?" Then get back to us with some thoughts.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

I'm sorry I signed in under the wrong blogger account previously, but NBM is me.

Toby ~ "Okay, you haven't even read all of the pertaining materials and you are making "strained" conclusions of your own."

What I'm saying is Mr. Toby is that I'm giving Dr. Avalos the "benefit of the doubt" that he is correct due to my lack of knowledge on pertinent subject matter. reading his book won't all of a sudden give me a balanced approach to the information necessary to make a solid conclusion...somehow you think that's all that needs to happen..."read atheist material and know the truth"...YEA RIGHT!

I confident that you don't know all regarding the subject at hand either and probably have been more or less molded by the atheist arguments you readily read and almost uncritically (I'm sure)digest.

Unlike you, I'm willing to give a person who has addressed issues that I know that would be of concern the "benefit" because I haven't yet had the opportunity to hear those same points addressed by scholars who's opinions I have valued and trusted for over 27 years. So my position is no way inconsistent it has more than the "pop wisdom" than you seem to apply in interpreting my statements.

Thanks.

Toby said...

Harvey wrote,

Unlike you, I'm willing to give a person who has addressed issues that I know that would be of concern the "benefit" because I haven't yet had the opportunity to hear those same points addressed by scholars who's opinions I have valued and trusted for over 27 years

What? I don't think I fully understand what you are saying, but it seems "you can dish it, but you can't take it." I merely mentioned that you make strained conclusions yourself, but criticize Dr. Avalos for the doing the same. Your conclusions are strained because you have not read his discussions with the Tribalogue group, nor his book. (Maybe I was misreading you and you did read those posts?)

You also wrote,

So my position is no way inconsistent it has more than the "pop wisdom" than you seem to apply in interpreting my statements.

Again, I'm not totally understanding your criticism for me, but I am curious as to what you mean. Are you giving me this same "benefit" you spoke of that you give to people?

You also wrote,

I confident that you don't know all regarding the subject at hand either and probably have been more or less molded by the atheist arguments you readily read and almost uncritically (I'm sure)digest.

I actually have read all of the blogs between Avalos and the Tribalogue group. No, I do not perfectly understand everything that said, but I have enough information to make an opinion of my own with out being a subject matter expert. I have also read Dr. Avalos' book. Yes, my opinions of those posts and his book are shaped my bias. However, I have my own prior experiences in theology that have also shaped a bias on the other side. For example, I graduated from North Central Bible College and Assemblies of God Theological Seminary. At the time, I wholly accepted the apologetics offered by my Christian professors and the books I read. I personally would argue that as my abilities to think critically grew, the more I began to reject the Christian belief system I once whole heartedly accepted.

Your opinion (though just as biased) does matter, and I will appreciate your thoughts and contributions to the discussion after you've read through more of the materials pertaining to this topic. While I'm sure I'll disagree with some of your assessment, I will enjoy the discussion.

The biggest problem I had with your criticism to Dr. Avalos was this:
DC is in the SAME if not worse condition...THEY rely on YOU. They offer no more linguistic evaluation professionals than DC does by offering you and your evaluations. In fact in evaluating this subject objectively, I feel much more comfortable with an array of scholarship on the subject as they have offered

DC is not in the same condition... or worse regarding this particular issue.

I was just on the phone with my best friend who teaches for an Assemblies of God College and is an ordained minister with that fellowship. He, too, disagrees with many of my conclusions, but what I enjoy about him is that we are able to discuss the issues, though we disagree on many, still we avoid attacking each other personally.

I don't pretend to not have biases, I do. I also try not to pretend to know things I do not. I often make mistakes. But argue your points with substance, not just that I'm an unthinking atheist. Tell me where I error in my thinking based on a critical analysis of my arguments. Don't tell me things like, "...[you] probably have been more or less molded by the atheist arguments you readily read and almost uncritically (I'm sure)digest.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Toby,

I was glad to have said something to stir your emotions toward your god...and that's just how you act when I said what I said about Avalos. Revisit the convo from the beginning:

Avalos said (speaking of linguistics): "Triablogue, of course, cannot tell you if this is true or not as they are just relying on Hoffmeier."

Avalos said: "Can Triablogue tell you whether this is true or not? No. They would have to know enough about Hebrew/Aramaic Jewish literature in the postexilic period to evaluate this claim."

I said: DC is in the SAME if not worse condition...THEY rely on YOU. They offer no more linguistic evaluation professionals than DC does by offering you and your evaluations.

That IS TRUE. DC has Avalos NOW. Prior the initial post where my man Evan gotem all short in the curleys, DC had technically, NO (considered to be) linguistic expert. Smart people...I certainly don't take that away, but no so called expert.

Triab, has demonstrated that at least they have access to experts as does DC. I don't believe their evaluations were as are wrong as they were made out to be here at DC...They were and are debateable...but certainly not wrong.

And YES I have read the blogs but that's only BLOGS...there's much more info to be gained on the topic and I know enough to know...AS I SAID...what primary questions needed to be addressed...

Your god Avalos did that. He addressed certain issues that I would question right out of the box...HOWEVER...many of those same considerations have not been dealt with specifically by either the Triab scholars or others that I await.

So in short...WHAT'S YOUR ARGUMENT? N O T H I N G!

So my conclusions and statements weren't strained at all, they were well measured...

Peace my former fellow Holy Ghost believer!

Anthony said...

Harvey,

I do not see how some of the people on here continue to patiently communicate with you. The more I read your posting the more frustrated that I become. And the thing is, it's not your arguments that cause this, it's the fact that you do not listen. I just find how interesting it is that Christians are not any different than anyone else (where's the Holy Spirit that you all claim to have). You have been extremely arrogant and show animosity towards atheists. Are you not supposed to be witnessing to them? If not, then why are you here? Just to win an argument? Does that stroke your ego? I am just trying to figure you out.

Toby said...

Harvey,

Your last post is much clearer than your original one. I think I'm understanding you much better. You're right, I would have never argued with almost anything you said in this last post, but with out that context that you added, it was easy to misinterpret the first one.

Harvey wrote,
Your god Avalos did that.

HA! That's funny. ;) Yeah, I suppose I once would have thought the same thing about "DCers" when sitting on your side of the fence, but still humorous.

Anyway, thanks for the clarifying thoughts.

Sincerely,

Your false god worshiping, uncritical atheistism accepting, & misunderstanding of Christian posters...friend ;)

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Anthony~ "The more I read your posting the more frustrated that I become. And the thing is, it's not your arguments that cause this, it's the fact that you do not listen."

[Or is it the fact that I just don't accept the atheist critique without critique? Me thinks that's the problem here]

Anthony ~ "You have been extremely arrogant and show animosity towards atheists."

[Well in the atheist world my arrogance wouldn't matter now would it? Besides I like all anti-christ advocates the same...come over and have dinner with me any day.]

Anthony~ " Are you not supposed to be witnessing to them?"

[Ahhh...NO! I think they would appreciate it if I stay on the subject or pretty close. They, as you, have ALREADY made their decisions...I'm more valuable to those individuals sitting on the fence or wondering about various subject matter. And I have been contacted by more than a few readers saying they were thankful I was here because that actually KEPT them from falling into the LIE of atheism...so I'm doing what I need to do here.]

Anthony~ "If not, then why are you here? Just to win an argument? Does that stroke your ego?"

[1- I'm here to be light in darkness which is abundant...2- I'm here to sharpen my arguments and 3- as I stated to be a life preserver for someone else.

In addition, my best convo's have been with the likes of Bart W., Harry M., Evan, Lee and Dingo. I wouldn't trade the exchanges of thoughts and ideas and they are very reasonable people (at least to me) and I appreciate much of what I read and how they entertain opposing arguments. Dingo's a little rough around the edges...but what the hey...]


Ooh, by the way Anthony, I read your paper against Arminianism...I guess you were wrong once according to the bible and secondly according to you. Anyway...that's another story.

Toby~ "Your false god worshiping, uncritical atheistism accepting, & misunderstanding of Christian posters...friend ;)"

[Now THAT was a good one...(LOL)]

Thanks fellas.

Philip said...

Harvey,

"Or is it the fact that I just don't accept the atheist critique without critique?"

Where's your critique hiding out? I haven't seen any such thing. All I've seen is your instinctively contrarian nature coming out as an apparently natural response to whatever "ATHEISTS LOL" claim. Again, no critiques, only observations amounting to "Well Triablogue doesn't agree." To critique something doesn't mean to state your disagreement with it.

You said you'd give Avalos the benefit of the doubt, yet you follow it with "reading his book won't all of a sudden give me a balanced approach to the information necessary to make a solid conclusion." What it will do, you fail to realize, is let you know his position and his justification for it. Unless you're not interested in delving any deeper into the challenges to your faith than quotes from atheists filtered through Christian apologetics.

Saying you're giving someone "the benefit of the doubt" doesn't equal weighing it equally with the opposite side's argument. Unless you've actually studied his position and know his main points with their respective proof, what's the point of giving him the benefit of the doubt at all? It's like putting a placeholder where rebuttals, evidence and research should go.

Since most of your comments on this blog that I've read have been basically "Atheists can't understand Christianity, so their arguments hold no water," "Evolution is racist because some early evolutionists were racist and scientists haven't spent time specifically refuting evolution's apparently racist conclusions," or "Well your scholars' conclusions differ from mine," I really don't see how you've offered anything besides trying to rile people up by calling them anti-Christs and using astonishing amounts of (LOL!)'s in response to our objections to Christianity.

You apparently don't take us (atheists, scientists, non-Christians) seriously, from what I've gleaned from the tone you use when condescendingly offering your opinions on things. So ask yourself: why should -you- be taken seriously?

Richard said...

Steve, over at triablogue has made some comments that I have not seen refuted, as of yet.

tigg13 said...

Richard, are you talking about the chess game?

It's an interresting analogy but they dragged the joke out too long.

Bottom line, if they want to waste time playing pretend games they should stick to apologetics.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

I said in a prior posting,

"What I'm saying is Mr. Toby is that I'm giving Dr. Avalos the "benefit of the doubt" that he is correct due to my lack of knowledge on pertinent subject matter. reading his book won't all of a sudden give me a balanced approach to the information necessary to make a solid conclusion...somehow you think that's all that needs to happen..."read atheist material and know the truth"...YEA RIGHT!

Well the benefit of the doubt is over baby...Avalos you've been put to rest as Triablogue blew up you and your tired arguments as well as yours too John.

The problem is that you guys can't have it both ways. You can't be a minimalist and maximize or extend any argument against Christianity and the Bible. You know that, you knew that, told ME that...but yet you persisted in making a greater fool of yourself and taking a position whereby you expand on the argument against the bible while holding real and significant information against your position under wraps. SHAME, SHAME, SHAME!

Further, you don't give even give an honest interpretation of facts from the book you endorse...Good Doctor...IT'S OVER....

Triab did the job. Let's see what lie you can come up with in response...and whatever you do don't use John...as confused and self-centered as he is he doesn't help you case AT ALL.

Later AC Advocates

PTET said...

Hey guys

After commenting a while Triablogue and quoting some great stuff from this thread, the cowardly and odious Steve has finally banned me. My last posts to him might amuse you.

Thanks again for all your wonderful work.

You can also find me at contrararian if you like.

P

PTET said...

...I'm being airbrushed from the history of Triablogue, although in the great tradition of silent bannination, some people think they are still talking to me.

I've kept the original threads for the hell of it.

P

John W. Loftus said...

PTET, I am banned as well.

PTET said...

Hi John

I can imagine.

The level of delusion over at Triablogue is a wonder to behold.

A most bizarre thing is the staggeringly different standard of proof and debate they demand from non-believers than that they offer themselves...

One word from a believing scholar trumps anything even a moderate christian might have to say.

Another wonder is the terror they have of leaving their hermetically-sealed evangelical world... A link to an outside resource is like a trip thru the gates of hell.

But then, you knew that already...

Peace & love

P