Psalm 137 is a Genocidal Passage!

Here is the text of the Psalm in full:
1 By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept
when we remembered Zion.

2 There on the poplars
we hung our harps,

3 for there our captors asked us for songs,
our tormentors demanded songs of joy;
they said, "Sing us one of the songs of Zion!"

4 How can we sing the songs of the LORD
while in a foreign land?

5 If I forget you, O Jerusalem,
may my right hand forget its skill.

6 May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth
if I do not remember you,
if I do not consider Jerusalem
my highest joy.

7 Remember, O LORD, what the Edomites did
on the day Jerusalem fell.
"Tear it down," they cried,
"tear it down to its foundations!"

8 O Daughter of Babylon, doomed to destruction,
happy is he who repays you
for what you have done to us-

9 he who seizes your infants
and dashes them against the rocks.
I'll make this short. This Psalm was written by someone with nationalist fever. Jerusalem was home to the one and only God in that his temple was there. And it was destroyed by the Babylonians. It's written from the perspective of someone carried away from Jerusalem who is now in Babylon, and there is no joy for him as he contemplates where he is and what has happened.

The Psalmist is upset at what had happened, and in verse seven he's praying to God for revenge. That's what it means to "Remember..." What else could it mean? He's asking God to remember what they did to God's people, or in other words, don't forget it. People who refuse to forget an evil deed are people who want to repay that evil deed.

The Psalmist probably had the same view of God as can be found in the book of Job, where God brought disaster on Job and his family (yes, we're told God did it: Job 2:3; 42:11; see also Isaiah 45:7). You see, nothing happened but that God had a hand in. So if the Babylonians are to be destroyed then the Psalmist believes God will bring it about. The Psalmist is gleefully awaiting the day of their destruction. The people who smash these babies against the rocks will be doing God's will, and they should be happy to be used by God in this way.

The language is definitely picturesque. The only reason to hope that the babies will be smashed against the rocks is because the Psalmist is hoping for a complete and total genocide of these people. For only if the parents are first dead could they do such a thing. It was clean up work after the parents have all been killed. The Psalmist is hoping for God to bring a genocide on his enemies to the extent that even all of the innocent babies are killed in this horrific way.

Christians and Jews believe this Psalm was inspired by God, and that the children (or daughters) of Babylonia are "doomed to destruction." These words are believed to be expressing not just the Psalmist's views, but God's views. God himself doomed the children of Babylonia to destruction!

Let's have a sermon on this passage! Let's hear some "Amens" too.

The Bible debunks itself. Its authors are nationalists, racists, and genocidal maniacs. Why would anyone believe anything else they say since this is so patently obvious?

[This was first posted in 2008].

105 comments:

Theological Discourse said...

If its in a 'case against Christianity' Psalm is not a genocidal passage. If its in a 'case against persians' then Psalm is a genocidal passage.

Theological Discourse said...


The Psalmist is upset at what had happened. He prayed to God for revenge. That's what it means to "Remember..." What else could it mean to "Remember" what they did to God's people?

It doesn't matter if they want revenge on Babylon or not, the happy people are the persians not the jews, certainly not the Christians. So your 'case against Christianity' amounts to a straw man. You are basically using the fact that the persians were happy to kill babies as a case against Christianity. That would be laughed out of any courtroom.


And when it comes to the people who should be happy to repay them, the Psalmist is continuing the theme he started with the word "remember." The Psalmist probably had the same view of God as can be found in the book of Job where God brought disaster on Job and his family. You see, nothing happened that God didn't have a hand in. So if the Babylonians are to be destroyed then the Psalmist believes God is causing it. The Psalmist is gleefully awaiting the day of their destruction. So the people who smash these babies against the rock will be doing God's will and they should be happy to be used by God in this way.

The psalmist PROBABLY had the same view of God? really? for someone whos thesis is built upon Christians using the word probably you seem to be awfully fond of the word. How Ironic. Going by your logic Loftus, the psalmist had the same mind set of God when God said eye for eye, tooth for a tooth. God is repaying babylon for what it did to the Jews. However in the process God is grieved, like he is grieved before the flood, and grieved when the angel was causing calamity on jerusalem. So whether the psalmist wants revenge is irrelevant, since he can want revenge, but be grieved in the process, or the psalmist could want revenge but want it in a different way. Surely the desire for revenge is not enough to prove someone was happy for the murder of children! or perhaps we should conclude that every american that wanted revenge against the Japan for peral harbor was HAPPY to see them bombed.


The language is definitely picturesque. The only reason to ask for the smashing of babies against the rocks is if the author is hoping for a complete genocide.

This is a genocidal passage and the Psalmist wants it.

Whether the psalmists wants dead babies to be killed or not there is not enough information in 137 to come to an accurate conclusion about that. What we can conclude is the happy ones are NOT the psalmists, jews, or Christians, the happy ones are the Persians. What we CAN conclude is that wanting revenge is not enough to prove someone is happy about the destruction of children.

What we can conclude is that you speak half truths.

Steven Carr said...

I guess TD doesn't realise that his alleged god inspired people to write the inerrant truth that smashing the heads of enemy children against rocks made the God-believers happy.

Theological Discourse said...


I guess TD doesn't realise that his alleged god inspired people to write the inerrant truth that smashing the heads of enemy children against rocks made the God-believers happy.

That inerrant truth that the Psalmist was inspired to write specifically states the happy ones are the Persians. I guess you don't realize that the happy ones are the Persians, I guess you don't realize that you cannot logically conclude that a different race and culture of people being happy killing babies cannot prove the jews or Christians are even GOD are happy about killing babies, since God specifically states MULTIPLE TIMES that He can be grieved when He kills people, or when people are killed. What we can conclude is that you don't realize what you are talking about, and that Loftus speaks half truths.

Anthony said...

TD, this will probably be my last post to you, at least on this topic. Firstly, I do not think anyone disagrees that the one being blessed, the one who will destroy Babylon, the one doing the baby smashing is the Persian army. Secondly, the point is that the Psalmist is wanting revenge for what the Babylonians did to them and is taking comfort in the idea that God will use the Persians to utterly destroy Babylon even to the point of genocide.

You may not like the fact that we use this passage against the Bible and Christianity and I'm sure you and most Christians will disagree, but you cannot deny what this passage is teaching. Check out some commentaries and you'll see that the essence of John's exposition is dead on.

Steven Carr said...

Time to quote the Bible, I believe.

O Daughter of Babylon, doomed to destruction, happy is he who repays you for what you have done to us he who seizes your infants
and dashes them against the rocks.

Steven Carr said...

It goes without saying that there is no mention of Persians in the Psalm.

How could there be? TD says it is about Persians, so the very last word you will find in the Psalm is 'Persians'

John W. Loftus said...

When this passage says "happy is he who repays you for what you have done to us- he who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks." The word for happy also means "blessed." It's pronouncing a blessing on those who do this.

†[אֶ֫שֶׁר S835 TWOT183a GK890, or אָשָׁר, cf. LagBN 143] n.[m.] only Pl. cstr. אַשְׁרֵי happiness, blessedness of 1 K 10:8 + 32 times & c. sf., v infr.; abstr. intens. exclam. O the happiness, blessdness of, עֲבָדֶיךָ אֵלֶּה אַשְׁרֵי אֲנָשֶׁיךָ אַשְׁרֵי happy thy men, happy these thy servants 1 K 10:8 ( = 2 Ch 9:7); אֱלֹוהַּ אַשְׁרֵי אֱנֹושׁ יֹוכִיחֶנּוּ blessed the man whom Eloah correcteth Jb 5:17; אַשְׁרֵי תְמִימֵי דֶרֶךְ blessed the perfect in way ψ 119:1; אַשְׁרֵי בָנָיו אַחֲרָיו blessed his children after him Pr 20:7; elsewhere cstr. with אָדָם ψ 32:2; 84:6, 3 Pr 3:13; 8:34; 28:14; with הַגְּבֶר ψ 34:9; 40:5; 94:12; 127:5; (הָ)אִישׁ ψ 1:1; 112:1; אֱנֹושׁ Is 56:2; הַגֹּוי ψ 33:12; הָעָם ψ 89:16; 144:15(×2); before ptcp. ψ 2:12; 32:1; 41:2; 84:5; 106:3; 119:2; 128:1 Is 30:18 Dn 12:12; before verbal clauses without relative ψ 65:5 Pr 8:32; with שֶׁ־ ψ 137:8, 9; 146:5; with sf. אַשְׁרֶיךָ (for אֲשָׁרֶיךָ) O thy happiness! Dt 33:29 ψ 128:2; אַשְׁרֵיךְ Ec 10:17; אַשְׁרֵיכֶם Is 32:20; אַשְׁרָיו Pr 14:21, 16:20; אַשְׁרֵהוּ Pr 29:18 (on these forms v. Ges§ 93, R. 1, E).

Brown, F., Driver, S. R., & Briggs, C. A. (2000). Enhanced Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon.

John W. Loftus said...

If you don't believe me do your own concordance study of the word.

1 Kings 10:8: “How blessed are your men, how blessed are these your servants who stand before you continually and hear your wisdom."

Psalms 119;1: How blessed are those whose way is 1ablameless, Who bwalk in the law of the Lord"

Proverbs 20:7: "A righteous man who awalks in his integrity—How blessed are his sons after him."

Isaiah 56:2: “How blessed is the man who does this, And the son of man who btakes hold of it; Who keeps from profaning the sabbath, And keeps his hand from doing any evil.”

Theological Discourse said...

Loftus surely you won't engage in a composition fallacy?. Happy does not ALWAYS mean blessed, because happy means blessed in some other passages does not prove happy means blessed in this one. Furthermore you continually dodge my points, address them loftus.

John W. Loftus said...

TD your points have been addressed.

Translators decide how to translate words. And they are all believers. So naturally they will translate the word "happy" to deflect the fact that it means "blessed." English words are used to translate Hebrew words. Several English words are needed to translate a Hebrew word since there isn't a one-to-one correspondence between words in different languages. The Hebrew, however, means what it does. A blessed man is a happy man and a happy man is a blessed man.

Besides, this one word doesn't solve the problem you have with the whole context anyway. But this word in its context does add more weight to your problem.

That's just one of many problems you have. Good luck reconciling them. Is it really as easy to do as you make us believe? It cannot be unless you are simply not thinking about the problem.

Theological Discourse said...

There is actually no problem for me here, since you are asserting this as a case against Christianity the burden of proof is on you to prove that this is a genocidal passage and the jews are the ones that are happy about the deaths of a child.

Furthermore Loftus, what is particularly damaging is not the context since wanting revenge does not prove the jews were happy about the deaths(a point you did not address) God could've had a hand in it but that does not mean God was happy (another point you did not address)but in regards to the happiness blessing, they are used INTERCHANGABLY, but when someone is blessed it is made APPARENT, a blessing such as 'may the Lord bless you' is separate from the word happy.

Genisis 2:3 God BLESSED the 7th day and sanctified it, As you can see the word blessed in this context is entirely different than the context of blessed/happy in Psalm 137. So it does not create a problem for me, but for you, since the word blessing when used interchangably with happy is a completely different use of the word. The blessing you are asserting God is giving the Persians is the type of blessing that is found in Gen 2:3, but the type of blessing that is found in 137 is not the same, it is used INTERCHANGABLY with the word happy, so it actually strengthens my position, since blessed can mean the same thing as happy (in the psalm 137 context)and God blessing someone to do something which can be found in Genisis 2:3 is not the same type of blessing found in Psalm 137.

So there are points you have NOT addressed, which I pointed out, and the blessing/happy problem is not a problem for me, but for you.

John W. Loftus said...

I think you refuse to see the point here, TD. I won't belabor it so you'll probably conclude I failed to address something you think needs to be addressed.

The point is that those who dash the children on the rocks are declared by the Psalmist (and by proxy, if you believe these words are God's words) to be happy or blessed. It's like saying "bless you my son," or "you are blessed," or "may you be blessed," or even "you are happy," or "may you be happy," or "happy are you my son." These are the same kinds of sayings we see in the Beatitudes. The same thing is said by Jesus when he said "Blessed are the meek." The Greek word seen in them is the same one used by the Septuagint translators to translate the Hebrew word in Psalm 137. And since the Psalmist was a Jew and this Psalm made it into the Jewish canon they were indeed happy to think such things.

And once again, since you missed it, a blessed man is a happy man and a happy man is a blessed man. This is the Hebrew conception of their word. Just because two English words can be used to translate one Hebrew word means nothing except two English words are needed to translate that word. But the Hebrew conception is one and the same. Someone who is blessed is a happy person, and a happy person is one who was blessed. They cannot be separated in the Hebrew mind even though we do that with the English equivalents. The reason we have two separate words in English probably means we think there is a difference between being happy and being blessed. We know that blessed people are not always happy and that happy people are not always blessed. But this was not the case for the Hebrews. That was the whole problem with the story of Job.

In any case, unless you say something new and important I won't respond. Your points have all been addressed more than I need to do so.

Cheers.

Daddy Cool said...

Luftus you is still damn ugly.

Gabe said...

TD is trying to avoid what is obvious. The pathetic part is that if he were to somehow succeed, then it simply means he has dozens of other similar passages waiting in line that he must deal with next. Damn, defending inerrancy is a tough job!

Jason said...

So the Psalmist is remarking the the person or people who gives the 'daughter of Babylon' its dues will be happy doing it. Sounds much more like a simple statement of fact rather then an act of racism, nationalism or genocide. It's kind of like the Iraqi population telling the Americans they're doomed to destruction and that the doombringers are going to be happy to destroy them. This kind of rhetoric is hardly unique to a people held captive by their oppressors and I don't believe it's ever branded as "racist".

david said...

So the people who smash these babies against the rocks will be doing God's will, and they should be happy to be used by God in this way.

Two issues are being conflated:

a) The decretive and preceptive wills of God
b) The normative and descriptive nature of inspiration

Apropos a), there are different ways in which the Bible speaks of events being in accordance with God's will. I ate oatmeal this morning, but this action was neither forbidden nor required by God's preceptive will. It was in accordance with his decretive will, i.e. what He decreed to happen before the foundation of the world.

The decretive will is where the problem of evil should be dealt with, but certainly this particular passage is not different from any other description of evil in the Bible. Remember, evil is what is opposed to God's preceptive will.

Rachel said...

By way of brief introduction, it's been awhile since I've posted here, but I have interacted extensively in the past with many posters here. Specifically, I have had lengthy debates with Lee Randolph, Joe Holman, Stan (the Half-Truth Teller), and Dr. Avalos, among others.

Regarding this article, frankly John it surprises me that you would post it. You often do post thoughtful articles, but unfortunately I can't say this is one of them. I agree with Jason above... a "defense" for this is pretty straightforward. Clearly the author is using poetry to express his desire for justice to be served. Verses 8 and 9 are an example of a type of Hebrew poetry, parallelism. "He who repays you for what you have done to us" in vs. 8 is simply a parallel to "he who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks" of vs. 9. The Psalmist is merely asking God to avenge the evil that the Babylonians had done to them. It may even be then that the Babylonians performed such acts as verse 9 mentions, since the Psalmist requests that the Babylonians be repaid for what they did to the Israelites.

Or perhaps he is merely generalizing in asking for justice - given the dramatic orientation of those in the ANE, this would make perfect sense. There is no reason to think the Psalmist was hoping for babies' heads to be smashed against rocks. It's simply a colorful and dramatic way of expressing his desire for appropriate justice to be served.

This kind of article is beneath you, John. Leave this one to the teen atheists on gaming forums.

John W. Loftus said...

Okay Rachel, you're right, it is poetry.

Tell me this though, what kind of justice do you think would satisfy the Psalmist's thirst for revenge? A fine of ten dollars? A night in jail?

Come on now, even though it's poerty and not to be taken literally in every sense, please tell me what sort of justice would satify the Psalmist, given these very harsh words. The language of genocide is as strong as it gets wouldn't you agree? And we do find the Hebrew God commanding genocide too, when it came to the Amelekites and the Canaanites. Judges 22-23 is chilling to the bone. So we have other examples of this. I think the Psalmist, given the bloodthirty nature of the Hebrews, would accept this type of justice if God dished it out.

busterggi said...

How can this be used against
Christianity asks TD.

Last I knew Christians were claiming the OT was part of their bible and that it laid the foundation for the NT.

Has that changed?

And have either Jews or Christians, who claim that Solomon wrote the Psalms, noticed the anachronism of Solomon authoring writings about events that happened centuries after his death?

Reverend Phillip Brown said...

Hi Everyone,

I saw this post and because when as I Christian I was horrified to read it I worked hard at the text.

Before I give my answer I would just like people [atheists more perhaps] that here in Australia in the Prayer Book of Australia [shorter edition] they leave the last versus out of the lectionary? That I find interesting and it appears to echo the discomfort of the Anglican Church to this post.

I will begin with some contextual considerations.

John claims in his post that...

'This Psalm was written by somone with nationalist fever.'

John is right, though the fever is not nationalism, it is justice, which will be explained later.

This psalm falls into the category of a 'historical psalm' meaning the phrases and places reflect historical circumstances.

Furthermore John states...

He's asking God to remember what they did to God's people, or in other words, don't forget it. People who refuse to forget an evil deed are people who want to repay that evil deed.

He again is totally correct in my view. Even John Rhetoric here is, I believe, fair. The Juridical strophe has its background in Israel's legal history. (See Childs, Memory and Tradition in Israel, 1962, p.32)

The judge [God in this case] is being presented with evidence against Edom, but this is more an outcry than a considered case in a court of law. More like a crying widow at the court house demanding justice.

John states...

You see, nothing happened that they believed God didn't have a hand in. So if the Babylonians are to be destroyed then the Psalmist believes God will bring it about.

Again John is spot on the money as I see it. But I think John simplicity in his explanation [which he stated he was doing] fails to undergird his point. If the Psalmist is appealing to God he must by definition be appealing to God's word. Jeremiah 51:56 pronounces a specific judgement on Babylon in this instance, and it is hardly a coincidence that three of Jeremiah's principle words are related to the three words in verse 8.

Moreover, verse 8 demonstrates that something previously has happened to Israel. Consequently the actions is verse 9 are meant as but a mirror of what happened to Israel previously.

• 2 Kings 8:12 says...
And Hazael said, "Why does my lord weep?" He answered, "Because I know the evil that you will do to the people of Israel. You will set on fire their fortresses, and you will kill their young men with the sword and dash in pieces their little ones and rip open their pregnant women.

Which shows the historical context of the Psalm. What's more the reason for Israel's situation at the hands of their enemies is outlines in 2 Kings 17:7-23, which is too long to post here.

So the context is for God to repay and eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. It is for justice.


John claims,

Christians and Jews believe the Psalmist who wrote this Psalm was insired to do so by God, and that the children (or daughters) of Babylonia are "doomed to destruction."

These words are believed to be expressing not just the Psalmist's views, but God's views. God himself doomed the children of Babylonia to destruction!

Let's have a sermon on this passage! Let's hear some "Amens" too.

The Bible debunks itself. Its authors are nationalists, racists, and genocidal maniacs. Why would anyone believe anything else they say since this is so patently obvious?

John's claims can be separated into two separate complaints,

(1) Pre-ordained destruction of a nation, [genocidal maniacs].

(2) Moral inappropriate behavior sanctioned by God.

The first issue can be thrown back to Genesis 12:1-3 where God makes a promise to Abraham to bless whom blesses Abraham [Israel] and curse whom curses him [them].

The appeal to dash the babies against the rocks is for God to uphold His [this] promise. But in this context it is not just because they were out there on there own minding their own business. It is directly because of the violence done previously to Israel. Calling to God for revenge justice. That's why blessing can be an appropriate translation, the one who does God's will is blessed, the one upholding God's promise. Not the one committing violence in isolation as John seems to paint the case.

The second complaint is self refuting. Notice that we have no evidence that anyone who said these word's did this? This is a legal cry, a protest and an angry out-bust which comes at the audience 'white-hot.' This is not we will do this for sure, this is simply not what the Psalm suggests. To call to God for justice is what is happening here.

I Hope this explains the Psalm a little better.

Regards, Rev. Phil.

P.S. I have posted a refute of 'Is religion the root of all evil' on my blog if anyone is willing to comment.

akakiwibear said...

So John you have found a passage that you think empowers your cause! You clutch at straws which may or may not be part of a straw person (trying to get myself PC)

From memory, the psalm and the overthrow of Babylon was all around 550BC. These were rough times!
When armies conquered in those days they laid waste on a grand scale and took as slaves or killed the inhabitants
– dashing the babies was par for the course, genocide was a given, one did not simply defeat, one replaced the identity of a people with ones own.

So, in context what is the psalmist saying? Is the psalm a call to a special God inspired genocide? Clearly not, it simply reflects the practices of the times.

Further, you can’t ignore the accepted division of the poem into different ‘persons’ or ‘voices’ – it is important, it is the internal context of the poem.

V1-3 – the psalmist laments
V4 - the Levites respond etc …. to
V8-9 the voice is that of the conquerors and the happiness is theirs.

As to the semantics of the word happy = blessed, implying that Cyrus (- was it him ? not sure) is blessed by God for his conduct, recognising the ‘voices’ means it is the voice of the Persian so TD had a point I just think it was badly made – or deliberately misunderstood.

It is obviously also a straw man to argue that the Persians should have adhered to some radical new/different code of conduct or rules of engagement set by God when they were not followers of the psalmist’s God.

Clearly the psalm is not a call to genocide for the conquerors, nor is it in praise thereof – it was a fact of life back then, he is commenting on it – and yes he is glad at the thought of being free to sing the old songs and does not seem to shed much of a tear for the Babylonians (the psalmist is after all human) … by then Jewish theology had not evolved to Christ’s ‘love thy enemy’.

It could be argued that the prevailing attitudes of the time and acceptance of the conduct of armies was part of the reason for Christ’s coming to advance the understanding of God’s will.
Obviously if the people already understood the message Christ was to bring, there would be no point in Christ’s coming to deliver it.

God’s progressive revelations to the Jewish people (and others) was an obvious force educating society away from practices such as human sacrifice and genocide.

Sala kahle - peace

sconnor said...

TD,

Bottom line TD, is, this is a portrait of what the psalmist thought of your eventual christian god -- you know the one who never changes, is the same today as was yesterday. It was written by the psalmist, who was raging, in anger and longed for his homeland, during the time of the Babylon exile and was urging god to enact revenge -- knowing that this is how his god worked (your god too, TD) by seeking vengeance on his enemies, even reveling in the idea god would cause babies to be smashed against rocks. Ancient Jews believed that anything that happened was caused by your god. God was just as responsible for the destruction of Jerusalem as he was responsible for the revenge of it's enemies. Face it, TD, the god you worship is a human construct, that personifies all the weaknesses people possess, including horrific genocidal revenge.

Your god -- according to the ancient Jews -- is entirely, responsible for the atrocities, adversities, calamities and even the evil of the world.


(KJV Bible) Ec. 7:14 14 In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of "adversity" consider: God also hath set the one over against the other, to the end that man should find nothing after him.

Which can easily be translated with:

(The Contemporary English Bible)
Ec. 7:14 When times are good be happy but when times are bad think what it means. God made both to keep us from knowing what will happen next.

Furthermore,

The Hebrew word for "adversity" is [r or Ra' meaning:
adj
bad, evil
bad, disagreeable, malignant
bad, unpleasant, evil (giving pain, unhappiness, misery)
evil, displeasing
bad (of its kind - land, water, etc)
bad (of value)
worse than, worst (comparison)
sad, unhappy
evil (hurtful)
bad, unkind (vicious in disposition)
bad, evil, wicked (ethically)
in general, of persons, of thoughts
deeds, actions n m
evil, distress, misery, injury, calamity
evil, distress, adversity
evil, injury, wrong
evil (ethical) n f
evil, misery, distress, injury
evil, misery, distress
evil, injury, wrong
evil (ethical)

2Ki 6:33 And while he yet talked with them, behold, the messenger came down unto him: and he said, Behold, this evil is of the LORD; what should I wait for the LORD any longer?

Isa 45:7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

Pr 16:4 The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.

God -- according to your holy book -- is responsible for all the calamities and evil, in the world. But you know he's an all-loving god, albeit, a psychotic, disturbed, evil, megalomaniac, who uses terrorist threats, genocide and infanticide, to rule the world.

--S.

Philip R Kreyche said...

Aka,

So God saw the conduct of armies back then, said to Himself "Hmm, I don't like this" and proceeded to send Jesus ... 500 years later? Do you think He could gave taken longer?

And since the practice of murdering babies during wars apparently didnt stop, God's plan wasn't very effective, was it? Would God not have known that His plan would fail?

david said...

Phillip,

I'm with you there. More babies are murdered from late term abortions in our modern day then they could have ever imagined.

akakiwibear said...

Philip God's plan wasn't very effective, was it? I think you miss the point – or is it plan.

God does not stop us doing things, murdering babies or anything else. These are decision we make for ourselves.

His plan is to enlighten us – show us the way – and then it’s up to us!

As for being ineffective – I’d say the number of Christians in the world today (not counting other religions that teach a ‘love’ message) attest to the effectiveness of the spreading of God’s word. What we do with the knowledge remains our choice.

You have resorted to the convenience of creating the straw person of a false expectation for God and then delivering the “proof” of God’s failure to meet the false expectation

– most of the atheist argument on this site hinges on this principle; even JWL’s OP is built on a false premise.

Sala kahle -peace

James said...

Theological Discourse: Is there any string of words that could possibly be found in the Bible for you to reject its inerrancy? In other words: if you found a sentence that said "God ordered the men to rape the 3-year-old infants before cannibalizing them and serving them to the Israelites ground up in mahtzo balls", would you thus reject Scripture as not God-inspired or inerrant? I'm just wondering.

Either way, how have you decided that the Bible is the "inerrant" word of God? What method did you use, may I ask?

akakiwibear said...

James & Steven bible inerrancy is so ‘ho-hum’ and a red herring to boot. Sure there are Christians who hold a literal and inerrant view, but they are a minority.

If they are the ones you want to turn to atheism, I see a parallel in the kiwi saying that emigration for New Zealand to Australia raises the average IQ in both countries ;-)

Sala kahle - peace

James said...

Akaki writes: "If they are the ones you want to turn to atheism ..."

It's not that I want to "convert" anyone to atheism. However, it seems few Christians are willing to entertain the possibility that the Bible is flawed, that it was written by humans and that it may not be possible to use it to determine the thoughts and desires of an eternal and transcendent Being and that it may not exist solely to use as a weapon in condemning others.

I can live with an attitude of "this is what I think is the truth based on my limited understanding". This isn't the attitude of those at Triablogue (where I was just banned for asking too many pesky questions and for not allowing them to control the conversation), for example, or at most conservative Christian sites.

I'm not even really an atheist: I'm more of a marginal Deist (although I tend to think that God has fallen into a very deep slumber some time ago).

Theological Discourse said...

Loftus, you speak HALF TRUTHS. The Hebrew word for Happy in Psalm 137 is Esher. Esher is used to either convey someone being HAPPY or BLESSED. So what you have posted is in fact correct, the word blessed or ESHER in Hebrew is being used to convey that someone is blessed, but you have dishonestly omitted the fact that the same word ESHER is used 15 times to convey happiness.


Psa 144:15 Happy [are] the people who are in such a state; Happy [are] the people whose God [is] the LORD!

Psa 146:5 Happy [is he] who [has] the God of Jacob for his help, Whose hope [is] in the LORD his God,

2Ch 9:7 Happy [are] your men and happy [are] these your servants, who stand continually before you and hear your wisdom!
Job 5:17 "Behold, happy [is] the man whom God corrects; Therefore do not despise the chastening of the Almighty.
As you can see, it means HAPPY in 137 not blessed. There is a distinction! The Hebrews used the exact same word as blessed, so we can be sure that when the word ESHER was used in 137 it was used to convey happiness since they knew the difference and knew how to convey blessed. If they meant blessed it was used as blessed, if it meant happiness it was used as happiness. So your ‘point’ about happy means blessed is a HALF TRUTH. It is used to convey blessed, but it is also used to convey happiness, but since they know the difference between the 2, which you just proved, we can be sure that if the word was supposed to convey blessed it would’ve said the word blessed, which is seen in the scripture you posted. 137 does not say blessed, it says happiness. So you were speaking HALF TRUTHS Loftus. A regular skeptic could get away by claiming ignorance, you of course, are not ignorant. You were a pastor for 14 years and you know this stuff, this is why I call you dishonest, this is why I say you speak half truths, because ITS TRUE.
Furthermore Loftus, it specifically states once again a point you conveniently ignore that the blessed happy ones are the PERSIANS.
You speak more half truths Loftus:

And once again, since you missed it, a blessed man is a happy man and a happy man is a blessed man. This is the Hebrew conception of their word. Just because two English words can be used to translate one Hebrew word means nothing except two English words are needed to translate that word. But the Hebrew conception is one and the same. Someone who is blessed is a happy person, and a happy person is one who was blessed. They cannot be separated in the Hebrew mind even though we do that with the English equivalents. The reason we have two separate words in English probably means we think there is a difference between being happy and being blessed. We know that blessed people are not always happy and that happy people are not always blessed. But this was not the case for the Hebrews. That was the whole problem with the story of Job.

Happiness is the RESULT of a blessing, not a guarantee of it, the lack of happiness in a blessed man was not the ‘problem’ with Job; you only say it is a problem because it is an ENTIRE BOOK that completely destroys your point. What problem is there of Job? It just shows how God tests faith, the 3 jews talking to Job were not concerned about his happiness, they were concerned about how Job was being punished but he had not sinned, there was no problem with happiness, they were not puzzled by the supposed ‘fact’ that job was not happy because he was blessed, there were puzzled at how Job was being afflicted and punished but supposedly had not sinned, his happiness was thrown in with his health, families well being, income, housing, so that was not the problem, jobs lack of happiness was not the problem, it’s only conveniently a problem because it destroys your point, how dishonest of you. With that said, Happiness is one of the RESULTS of a blessing Loftus, a happy man might be a blessed man, but a blessing does not ENSURE happiness, happiness is merely the result of a blessing. Blessed people can be unhappy, in the OT David who was blessed by God was unhappy.
“O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!”
That’s really happy! But he’s blessed, so he should be happy all the time! According to Loftus! Jesus said “blessed are those that morn, for they will be comforted” morning is by definition UNHAPPINESS, yet according to your logic these people are happy. That is not true, for if they were happy there would be no need to comfort them. Your logic is flawed and your dishonesty is exposed. Even in the OT days someone could be blessed but not happy. Happy is a RESULT of a blessing, but it is not a guarantee, so you dishonestly try to oversimplify and say a happy man is a blessed man and this was always the case for Hebrews, then try to dishonestly throw the book of Job out by saying ‘it’s a problem.’ It’s only a problem for your point. After this huge exposure of your half truths and dishonesty I don’t expect you to respond or anything, I expect you to do what you did in the last thread, leave the conversation on an irrelevant and incorrect assumption, or simply ignore this, like how you ignored my earlier poitns regarding revenge and God blessing someone but not liking it.

sconnor said...

aka,

His plan is to enlighten us – show us the way – and then it’s up to us!

....and how do you know this? How did you come by this information?

As for being ineffective – I’d say the number of Christians in the world today (not counting other religions that teach a ‘love’ message) attest to the effectiveness of the spreading of God’s word. What we do with the knowledge remains our choice.

God's word is to teach love, right -- that is your assertion?

How, exactly, is love being taught by christians, who lead bigoted campaigns, against homosexuals, where millions of dollars are spent, in denying the benefits in marriage?

How is love being implemented by christians when they believe gay people are not equal?

How is love being used by christians who also fight against adoptive children going to loving gay couples?

How is love applied when condoms being used is regarded as a sin causing millions to die each year?

How is love being used when the catholic hierarchy covered up mass abuses and rape of children?

And how exactly is the message of love spread to other people? Do you just say, it's all about love?

Most the christians I know who go to church do so as an obligation and besides putting some money in the basket and an occasional donation to the poor I don't see much "spreading of love" going on.

I think you have to differentiate between the number of christians, in the world, with the number of christians who supposedly, "spread the message of love" -- whatever that entails. Maybe you can indulge us? What exactly does this massive plan entail? How exactly, are christians putting this plan into action? How does the message of love work?

And more importantly, how do you know this is what god wants?

Additionally, if god's plan is to "enlighten us – show us the way", then how come he is doing such a shitty job relaying this information? You would think, god being god, could relay this information and make it crystal clear, but obviously, that is not the case, particularly, when you see it in a historical perspective.

--S.

Philip R Kreyche said...

I suppose it's easy for Aka to contend that atheists only deal with false expectations for God ... when he himself obviously has zero expectations and zero standards for God.

Philip R Kreyche said...

Sconnor,

It doesn't matter to him at all. With Aka's logic, if a 5 year old fails to catch a baseball that his father pitched too fast or too screwy, it's the child's fault for not catching it.

sconnor said...

TD,

I expect you to do what you did in the last thread, leave the conversation on an irrelevant and incorrect assumption, or simply ignore this, like how you ignored my earlier poitns regarding revenge and God blessing someone but not liking it.

Right, you're one to speak, you jumped ship and still have not addressed the points below, from past posts, nor my post, to you, on this thread, above.

1. Can you or can you not argue to the specific of my points or are you going to continue to bitch and moan and diverge and use the excuse, "because someone else diverged it's OK that I do it"?

2. Now, care to rescind your claim the JW's say they are not christian?

3. Can you comprehend that one can not prove a negative? (can you see how ridiculous your argument is, yet?)

4. Please share; what's your idiosyncratic definition of a true christian.

5. Divulge what is your religious affiliation -- what are you scared of?

Again, still waiting..................

--S.

akakiwibear said...

James - thank you for reminder that I should reserve my judgements of people and their motives!

I too find it hard to understand those of the literal inerrant brigade – no personal offence intended to any reading this, but it is a tough position to understand and the mental gymnastics to rationalise some positions are quite beyond me.

You say God seems to have nodded off – perhaps your perception of His role is not aligned with His activity, hence you miss it.

Sunday school theology tends to project an image of a God that interferes in a very physical way but of course physical interventions = miracles are quite rare. They have to be; they may upset the laws of nature on which we all depend and deprive us of our freewill.

What is not rare (but not as dramatic or visible) is the work of the Holy Spirit (remember that Christ’s promise was to send the Holy Spirit – He did not promise to circumvent wars, disease and natural disasters, actually He said they should all be expected).

The work of the Spirit is within people leading them to better lives – we see the evidence of this in unselfish acts, in inspiring aid workers etc. (and no it is not limited to Christians)

We also see many cases of people not responding to the Holy Spirit and that freedom of choice is ours to exercise.

Sala kahle - peace

joshua said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Sharon

http://www.autoloans101.info

John W. Loftus said...

I find it interesting that TD just doesn't want to think about this issue. He merely parrots pre-programmed conclusions that don't actually consider what's going on in the specific text and the OT context. Others have done so here, but not him. He continues on making distinctions between the English words as if they define what the Hebrew word means. They don't. The English words chosen by the translators can only be approximations since there is no exact corresponding English word. And translators are believers so they have largely chosen a word that deflects the force of what is going on in this Psalm, because translators are in fact interpreters. Other translations use the word "blessed." He shows no awareness of the biblical concept of blessings and curses. He fails to grasp that the Hebrews at the time believed happiness and blessedness are one and the same thing.

Instead he asserts that the Persians will be happy to dash these children against the rocks without thinking of the bloody mess such actions will cause, nor of what a mother might think of watching them do this. In the context of this Psalm it's obviously a cry for revenge. It is the Psalmist himself who declares those who do these deeds will be "blessed" or "happy." This is supposedly God's word. Therefore God declares they will be blessed for doing so. The blindness of TD's faith is made apparent here, since blindness is what is required for him to believe.

Now comes Job. Here's the problem. If Job was righteous then why wasn't life good for him? If he was righteous then life should be good for him. He should be blessed, or happy. But life shit on him. So therefore his friends accused him of sin. "Sin caused his pain." No answer is given by God as to why he did this to Job. And no answer is given by TD for the problem in Psalm 137. I guess TD is just doing what God did, eh?

icelander said...

No need to twist around a poem to find genocide in the Bible. Jericho, Ai, and Amalek were are instances of genocide quite gleefully recounted in the Old Testament. And the worst part is that these are the few parts that are backed up by archaeological evidence.

Apparently the commandment should read "Thou shalt not kill, unless I tell you to, then you kill EVERYTHING. Yes, even the sheep and oxen. Yes, even the babies. Well, except for the virgins. Keep them for yourself."

But I guess all those babies and livestock were filthy sinners who had it coming to them, eh TD?

dvd said...

I think there is a misunderstanding here. The passage reminds me of another passage...

My God, My God why have you forsaken Me?

Well, it was not saying God did forsake his servant, rather it was a real expression of a person going through tremendous pain and suffering.

People, who have had their children killed in barbaric ways must have an avenue of expression, and the ancient jews plus this Psalmist are in anguish and in their anger their expression must be seen and I believe it is an honest expression that the Holy Spirit revealed.

This is a scream of the heart to God for a pain that can not be described, a prayer of vengence, much like the prayer asking where was God.

There is a spirit behind the passage.

No wonder the gospel says this...

Luke 24:45
Then he opened their minds so that they might understand the Scriptures.


If it was just some easy straightforward read all the time, then Jesus would not have to open the minds of his disciples.

timothwc said...

This Theological Discourse guy is basically speaking to himself. Essentially every post is a pep talk to himself. He is trying to convince himself that he and his little sect (among thousands) are superior to everybody else, the only ones who "get it", while telling himself the rest of you (who are not in the sect) are faceless losers who deserve to be eternally tortured anyway.

Trust me. I used to be like him. I used to feel I was slaughtering you guys in my own mind.

Lvka said...

... and here's a little sound to go with the text ...

Theological Discourse said...


I find it interesting that TD just doesn't want to think about this issue. He merely parrots pre-programmed conclusions that don't actually consider what's going on in the specific text and the OT context.


Ad nasueam. You already brought up OT context and that 'point' was refuted. The fact that the jews wanted revenge is not proof that they took pleasure in the deaths of babies, if you wouldn't ignore points then maybe you wouldn't say the same things over and over. You have the nerve to say IM parroting pre programmed conclusions, I am actually debating you are the one that says the same thing over and over.

Others have done so here, but not him. He continues on making distinctions between the English words as if they define what the Hebrew word means. They don't. The English words chosen by the translators can only be approximations since there is no exact corresponding English word. And translators are believers so they have largely chosen a word that deflects the force of what is going on in this Psalm, because translators are in fact interpreters. Other translations use the word "blessed." He shows no awareness of the biblical concept of blessings and curses. He fails to grasp that the Hebrews at the time believed happiness and blessedness are one and the same thing.


Loftus, you continue to repeat teh same stuff over and over, not to mention you shot yourself in the foot. The word ESHER means blessing or happiness, so you saying 'it means blessing TD' is no different than me saying 'it means happiness LOFTUS.' You seem to forget that your statement APPLIES TO YOURSELF AS WELL. Furthermore you make a baseless assertion that the translators chose a word that deflects the FORCE of whats going on. Really Loftus? can you prove that? not only is that an unsubstantiated claim, it is completely illogical. If you claim that believers translated it to deflect the force, then I can equally claim that UNBELIEVERS translate it to suit their needs, that is called SPECIAL PLEADING Loftus. Not to mention your entire point about 'a happy man is a blessed man' and 'the jews did not differentiate between happiness and blessed' is completely untrue. A list of the blessed peopel that were NOT happy.

Moses unhappy he could not go into the Holy Land]
Abraham uhappy because he thought he had to sacrifice his son
Sarah because she couldn't have a child
Elijah when he ran for his life from Jezebel
Job obvious reasons
David unhappy for his son
those that morn: by definition they are unhappy.
the persecuted
God who is the most blessed and most high gets grieved!


the evidence completly debunks you claim that the Hebrews did not differentiate between happiness and blessed, when in fact, the most important figure in the EXISTENCE of the Hebrews, God, and the GREATEST Hebrews, were in fact, at many times blessed and unhappy, furthermore you said TRANSLATIONS, there is only ONE translation that has the word 'blessed' instead of happy and that is the NASB, which no mainstream churches preach from. Its either the KJV, the NKJV, or the NIV.


Instead he asserts that the Persians will be happy to dash these children against the rocks without thinking of the bloody mess such actions will cause, nor of what a mother might think of watching them do this. In the context of this Psalm it's obviously a cry for revenge. It is the Psalmist himself who declares those who do these deeds will be "blessed" or "happy." This is supposedly God's word. Therefore God declares they will be blessed for doing so. The blindness of TD's faith is made apparent here, since blindness is what is required for him to believe.

I assert that because thats exactly what the Psalmist says, the happy ones are the persians. THere you go talking about revenge again when I just said that jews wanting revenge does NOT PROVE that they were happy about the death of children. By your logic Loftus, all the americans that wanted revenge for the japanese attacking peral harbor were HAPPY at all the childrens death when the atomic bomb was dropped. You continually ignore my points, then you LIE and say you addressed them. You are dishonest as you are illogical. Lets look at Loftus ridiculous logic a bit closer.

1. The psalmist declares that those who do the deeds are happy.
2. Its God's word.
3. Therefore God declares they will be BLESSED for doing so.

At face value one might think this makes sense, a closer look will see Loftus convieniently omit a key word and make a critical error in logic.

#3 omits the word HAPPY, when #1 has it, we can see that Loftus convieniently omits the facts when they destroy his point.
A declaration has nothing to do with anything. The psalmist might be doing nothing but stating a fact. God does not have to MAKE the Persians happy, God can simply be telling the Psalmist "The persians are happy" God is simply STATING A FACT, "the persians will destroy Babylon and kill their babies, and they will be happy doing it" Just because the psalmist or God is stating a FACT does not mean God had anything to do with it, it is no different than a historian saying "They killed all those people in rwanda and enjoyed it" just because the historian stated a fact does not mean the historian himself is happy.
In fact, another piece of evidence that Loftus convieniently omits, God never blessed another nation or another set of people that WERE NOT HIS CHILDREN. So Loftus stating that these people were blessed, if we take it at face value, they were blessed NOT OF GOD, since God only blessed HIS PEOPLE, the persians were not HIS PEOPLE.


Now comes Job. Here's the problem. If Job was righteous then why wasn't life good for him? If he was righteous then life should be good for him. He should be blessed, or happy. But life shit on him. So therefore his friends accused him of sin. "Sin caused his pain." No answer is given by God as to why he did this to Job. And no answer is given by TD for the problem in Psalm 137. I guess TD is just doing what God did, eh?

Loftus has tried to change the subject again. This is about how Psalm 137 can be used as a case agaisnt Christianity, Loftus tries to change the subject to 'God not giving an answer' Sorry Loftus, I am not having it. The burden of proof is ON YOU to prove that Psalm 137 can be used in a case against Christianity, so far you have not. You still ignored my point about Job as well. Job's happiness was thrown in the same category as his family, income, house and well being. The 3 jews that were talking to him were talkign SPECIFICALLY ABOUT this 'if you are blameless/blessed/righteious you would not be punished or afflicted, but here you are punished and afflicted, therefore you must not be blameless/blessed/righteous. Jobs happiness of course was a concern but it was NOT the CENTRAL PROBLEM. The central problem is job is blameless and yet job is being afflicted. Not Why isn't Job happy.

Loftus has failed to address these points, but he has downright lied and said he did.

1.Wanting revenge is not proof of the Jews being happy about dead babies, by that logic all the Americans that wanted revenge for peral harbor were happy when the atomic bomb killed babies.

2. If we take your assertion at face value and say God had a hand in it, that does not mean God was happy about it since God was grieved and unhappy when he caused the flood, and the angel that was causing calamity in Jerusalem

3. Your assertion that a happy man is a blessed man flies in the face of key OT biblical figures such as Moses, Sarah, Abraham, Elijah, Job, David, and others.

4. God did not bless other people or other nations in the OT, so your point about God 'blessing' the Persians killing babies holds no water. If we take your assertions at face value and say the Persians were blessed, they were not blessed by God or the Jews.

5. The Psalmist and God could be stating a fact, like a historian does. Example: A historian might say of the genocide of Rwanda "They killed all those people in rwanda and enjoyed it" just because the historian stated a fact does not mean the historian himself is happy, similar to the Psalmist, the Psalmst could simply be stating a fact.

6. Your assertion "And translators are believers so they have largely chosen a word that deflects the force of what is going on in this Psalm, because translators are in fact interpreters. " holds no weight since I can easily say "Unbelievers want to translate the word so it suits them."

As I said, the burden of proof is ON YOU to prove your assertion that Psalm 137 can be used in a case against Christianity. So far you have not done so, so far all you ahve done is lied, speak half truths, brought up a couple good points, but you have NOT even gotten CLOSE to prove your assertion.

akakiwibear said...

JWL Here's the problem. If Job was righteous then why wasn't life good for him?
Come now John you know the bible as well as most and you know the answer, let’s not have another straw person/thing.

Sconnor – you pose lots of hows. They fall into two groups
1) How do I know this or that … easy, I read and study and criticise. I post my views on this and other atheists sites to be tested (and again I thank John and all at DC for having helped my belief in and understanding of God mature and grow). Above all I am sceptical and treat rants such as yours accordingly.

2) The how do Christians spread love part of your rant. You seem to have missed the point of my comment. I said God’s message was one of love and that the message had been spread by Christianity and other religions. I then said that what we do with the message is up to us – we have freewill. So some people chose to not live a love ethic in their lives ...
that's God's fault how?

You ascribe the human failing to God - why?

I recommend some sound, sceptical, research.

Philip if a 5 year old fails to catch a baseball that his father pitched too fast or too screwy, it's the child's fault for not catching it. … and you draw this conclusion from what I said with logic and reasoning ?? ??

Sala kahle -peace

sconnor said...

dvd,

There is a spirit behind the passage.

With that kind of rationalization, I wouldn't want you near my children, just in case the "holy spirit" overcame you.

--S.

sconnor said...

aka,

How do I know this or that … easy, I read and study and criticise.

Whoop-d-doo. Now answer the questions specifically, without dodging them. Otherwise you are nothing but an insane man sputtering nonsense -- not being able to substantiate anything, he says.

I can pull crap out of my but and out of thin air too, like my car is not running well -- invisible gremlins are destroying the engine. Using your loopy logic and diverging tactic, I too can pretended to substantiate -- it if only in my head -- by saying, I read about them and studied them and criticized as well.

Now do answer the questions, specifically. You said it -- now substantiate it.

His plan is to enlighten us – show us the way – and then it’s up to us!

1. ....and how do you know this? How did you come by this information?

2. How, exactly, is love being taught by christians/other religions?

3. And how exactly is the message of love spread to other people?

4. Do you just say, it's all about love?

5. Like for instance, convince me of this message. You still have not said what the message is, explicitly.

6. I think you have to differentiate between the number of christians, in the world, with the number of christians who supposedly, "spread the message of love" -- whatever that entails. Maybe you can indulge us? What exactly does this massive plan entail? How exactly, are christians putting this plan into action? How does the message of love work?

In order to, honestly, substantiate this mega-love plan is actually working and is effective, you must show how it works, how it is spread and what the results are -- so far you have given vague assertions and lame definitions -- do try harder.

7. Additionally, if god's plan is to "enlighten us – show us the way", then how come he is doing such a shitty job relaying this information?

8. And more importantly, how do you know this is what god wants?

I'll expect your thorough answers........but in reality know you have no option but to diverge and give trite, unrelated answers.

Oh what to do what to do? How will aka weasel out of this?

Will he say he doesn't have time?

Will he appeal to my "ranting" again?

Will he suggest he doesn't like the tone?

Will he just simply ignore this post?

Will he say he answered the questions, when he knows he didn't answer?

Will he do and say anything, so he won't be accountable for his words?

Will he do and say anything, so he won't have to substantiate his assertions?

Rationalize it away, rationalize it away, rationalize it away..........

--S.

dvd said...

sconnor

Perhaps you missed my point. Nowhere do I feel that the passage is "condoning" this, but rather is an expression of anger and rage in a prayer of vegence. Much like married couples, when they fight sometimes they say some of the most vile insensitive things imaginable.

These are the expressions of people who lost their loved ones in ways that we can't imagine.

The same can be said of "My God, My God why have you Forsaken Me". It is the expression of suffering.

sconnor said...

TD,

WHY DO YOU IGNORE MY QUESTIONS?

Still waiting...........

--S.

sconnor said...

dvd,

Perhaps you missed my point. Nowhere do I feel that the passage is "condoning" this, but rather is an expression of anger and rage in a prayer of vegence. Much like married couples, when they fight sometimes they say some of the most vile insensitive things imaginable.

These are the expressions of people who lost their loved ones in ways that we can't imagine.

The same can be said of "My God, My God why have you Forsaken Me". It is the expression of suffering.


Again, if the holy spirit came over you, either because you were mad, upset or whatever and it got into your mind the most reprehensible and unimaginable thought of smashing babies into bloody pulps against rocks -- I wouldn't want you near any children, let alone mine -- comprende?

--S.

John W. Loftus said...

For anyone who has subscribed to this thread you can see quite plainly DC is under attack from Christian trolls. You can just click on my name and find that the last commnet was not from me.

John W. Loftus said...

Blog terrorists are trying to shut down several different threads here at DC today. I guess it's their Christian duty. It looks like they are just doing what Psalm 137 dictates, eh?

sconnor said...

how infantile and pathetic.........

Can you out these morons?

--S.

John W. Loftus said...

sconner, Touchstone is working on a HTML text that allows us to ban accounts, but they can start new ones as fast as a a couple of clicks.

The other option I am seriously considering is not to allow any comments at all, but if I do that they have won.

This comes and goes. They get tired of it after a short while.

AdamH said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
John W. Loftus said...

AdamH, you are banned. No personal attacks are allowed.

Anthony said...

The last comment from sconnor did not come from him, it came from our Christian troll, Daddy Cool.

akakiwibear said...

John, thanks for removing the comment


Sconnor –I am surprised that one who holds such strong contrary views is not able to answer the questions you pose, even if you do not fully appreciate the answers. Your questions show a real lack of understanding of the Christianity you criticise so strongly – but I will indulge you:

1. ....and how do you know this? How did you come by this information? since “study” was too vague for you, try study theology, read the works of writers like C S Lewis maybe even John’s book to see how the other side thinks (or not as case may be) ... there is so much out there that I can’t list it all … certainly I have gained a lot from the bible and the formal books of other religions as well.

2. ….how, exactly, is love being taught by christians/other religions? its called teaching they present the messages e.g. “Love your neighbour as yourself” and they discuss them. It is not a complex model, you may have encountered it in other fields.

3. And how exactly is the message of love spread to other people? ideally by example, but many don’t get that right

4. Do you just say, it's all about love?, no but it’s a good start

5. Like for instance, convince me of this message. You still have not said what the message is, explicitly. I like to keep it simple, stay with “Love your neighbour as yourself” until you feel you can progress

. I think you have to differentiate between the number of christians, in the world, with the number of christians who supposedly, "spread the message of love" -- whatever that entails. Maybe you can indulge us? What exactly does this massive plan entail? How exactly, are christians putting this plan into action? How does the message of love work? I have already indulged you, but I will give you a practical example:

In the small New Zealand town of Putaruru, the sawmill is to close on 20 Dec and around 200 jobs are to be lost. Bad news in a town with a population of only 3500. However, in the neighbouring town of Tokoroa (pop 4000) the workers at the mill there have agreed to restructure their shifts and reduce their hours and take home pay to create about 160 new jobs for those laid off in nearby Putaruru.

That is how it should work – and yes I know it does not always work that way. However you can’t blame the message or the messenger if people choose to ignore it.

Sala kahle -peace

akakiwibear said...

meant to add a link for the mill worker story
www.stuff.co.nz/4771305a13.html

John W. Loftus said...

Okay, carry on. Comment moderation has been enabled.

Philip R Kreyche said...

Aka,

When sconnor asked you how you know what God wants, you said he should study CS Lewis.

Who said CS Lewis is privy to what God is like and what It wants? Why do we need humans to tell you what God wants?

sconnor said...

1. ....and how do you know this? How did you come by this information? since “study” was too vague for you, try study theology, read the works of writers like C S Lewis maybe even John’s book to see how the other side thinks (or not as case may be) ... there is so much out there that I can’t list it all … certainly I have gained a lot from the bible and the formal books of other religions as well.

Your whole defense boils down to, "I read it in a book". Sorry, this does not substantiate your claim, "you know how god uses His plan is to enlighten us and show us the way", in very much the same way I can say, I studied Gremlins and conclude they are tampering with my car, because I read about them in several Royal Air Force Journals that include many eye-witness testimonials how creatures tampered with planes.

The onus is upon you to offer objective evidence for your extraordinary assertions. You must substantiate how you know god is "enlightening us and showing us the way"; you must give objective evidence that what you interpret from the bible is from god and that it is truly his plan to "enlighten us and show us the way" as opposed to -- let's say -- many primitive authors writing about who they thought god was to them and then using god's supposed voice, as their own, to add credibility, where there is none. Can you do that?

Now substantiate your incredible claim, that you know god has a plan to enlighten us and show us the way.

2. its called teaching they present the messages e.g. “Love your neighbour as yourself” and they discuss them. It is not a complex model, you may have encountered it in other fields.
3. ideally by example, but many don’t get that right
4. Do you just say, it's all about love?, no but it’s a good start
5. I like to keep it simple, stay with “Love your neighbour as yourself” until you feel you can progress


So this is god's profound, message? It's a wonder why he just didn't reduce the bible down to a pamphlet or even a paragraph telling us to love one another. You know not convuluting it with so many mixed messages -- that would have solved a lot of problems.

A. If god, wanted to get his message of love to us, then why would he relay his, all so important message, in a book, using difficult or vague texts, parables, poems, songs, dream imagery, switching from literal to non-literal, that could so easily be misinterpreted, perverted or interpreted, so many different ways?

B. If god's plan was so important, why didn't he consider, that putting it into a convoluted book, written centuries ago, couldn't possibly, get to the masses, because of language barriers, land barriers, water barriers, etc?

C. If god's message of love was so important, why didn't he consider that his whole plan hinges on fallible humans, where pesky little emotions get in the way of love -- like, jealousy, anger, envy, fear, rivalry, lust, rage, revenge, greed, etc.

D. If it was so important to teach about love, why are there are 34,000 separate christian sects and denominations, in the world, that have varying and vast ideas about the bible and what god's ultimate message is --all claiming they know the truth, because they studied the bible and did research? Things that make you go hmmmmmmmmmmmmm?

E. Most importantly, how is it, that little old, akakiwibear, knows exactly, what god wants and what his true message is, while differing, conclusions of others, are wrong? Why are your conclusions -- based on your idiosyncratic interpretation of theology -- the one correct interpretation?

F. You would think god would have had a better plan, at delivering his all-important message, to everyone equally and unequivocally, but that is just not the case -- why is that?

(aka supplied a small example of people helping people, in New Zealand) That is how it should work – and yes I know it does not always work that way. However you can’t blame the message or the messenger if people choose to ignore it.

Oh, I do; I did, with the many assertions I made up above. God's plan is morbidly inept and tragically flawed; please address each issue specifically -- if you can, please.

I noticed you conveniently ignored 7 and 8.

I'll let you off the hook, seeing that my other assertions and questions, above cover them.

You also ignored the second part of #6.

In order to, honestly, substantiate this mega-love plan is actually working and is effective, you must show how it works, how it is spread and what the results are -- so far you have given vague assertions and lame definitions -- do try harder.

G. Where's the data that suggests this plan is effective? Telling us how many christians there are in the world or how many religions preach about love is not evidence for an effective plan.

Please substantiate why you think the plan is effective, especially, in light of the many points I make, above, as to it's entirely inept and feeble execution.

--S.

dvd said...

sconnor

So what your saying is that a person who's child is viciously murdered should just be quiet in court and not have say and expression?

Blame the victim?

Gandolf said...

akakiwibear said...James & Steven bible inerrancy is so ‘ho-hum’ and a red herring to boot. Sure there are Christians who hold a literal and inerrant view, but they are a minority.

The bible is so ho-hum and full of errancy ! not inerrancy though thats the problem aka :)

But you are right its even a red herring.Somethings a bit fishy anyway! :) there`s a whole lot more than love and love thy neighbor etc in it thats for sure.Hell if that was what the main message God wanted us to learn, why the need for so much more delusional material then.

If its supposed to be a (manual on life) given to us as divine insight by some (god) then why the hell wouldnt we expect to take it literally?.

Hell even mere (man made) rode codes and medical books we are supposed to read literally,because they are damm serious books that why :).

You argument trys to suggest this god cant give divine guidance to write a decent life manual.Funny that when mere man can get manuals set out a lot better and more understandable without him.

Apologists apologizing with a weak defense for justification once again.Trying to have us believe this god is some how to be expected to be complicated or illogical etc.

They just wont see and accept,its plain to see this book as only work of ancient mere man.

After a while one day they will realize who is the only one thats fooled though.


John W. Loftus said..."For anyone who has subscribed to this thread you can see quite plainly DC is under attack from Christian trolls. You can just click on my name and find that the last commnet was not from me."

"Blog terrorists are trying to shut down several different threads here at DC today. I guess it's their Christian duty. It looks like they are just doing what Psalm 137 dictates, eh?"

Oh well John its to be expected.

Doesnt do a lot for peoples faith in faith though.It is! kinda like smashing the baby against the rocks.

As the saying goes "give man enough rope and he`ll hang himself"

sconnor said...

dvd,

So what your saying is that a person who's child is viciously murdered should just be quiet in court and not have say and expression?

Nope, I'm saying if the hocus-pocus, holy spirit came over you and you had the sick and perverted thoughts of smashing baby's skulls into rocks, I wouldn't want you near children -- get it?

--S.

dvd said...

sconnor

You have made a poor case as to why a person who has lost children can't have a justified feeling of revenge. The feeling does not equate action. Unless, you are now thinking that people only succumb to each and every thought? You surely are not arguing this now are you?

sconnor said...

dvd,

You have made a poor case as to why a person who has lost children can't have a justified feeling of revenge.

Oh and I'm sure your degree in psychology and years of research into the thinking of people who want revenge and think that way is just stellar.

Additionally, even if you can show evidence of people who supposedly think this way, you would still have to admit, that thinking to harm innocent little babies -- causing mass infanticide -- by smashing their heads into rocks, until they died, is nothing less than repugnant and would only come from someone who was sick -- certainly, not justified thoughts.

Unless, you are now thinking that people only succumb to each and every thought? You surely are not arguing this now are you?

The potential is most, certainly there. That is why we are so fortunate to have mental institutions and therapists, in the 21st century, to help disturbed and mentally ill people who are having these repulsive thoughts, so they will not act upon them.

And one has to wonder why the magical holy spirit overcomes someone and makes them have such vile, disturbing thoughts, of harming innocent children instead of -- oh let's just say, off the top of my head -- "turn the other cheek" or perhaps "love your neighbor". You know, if the holy spirit had any foundation in logic?

--S.

sconnor said...

akakiwibear,

Are you going to address the questions, I posed, A-G, above?

--S.

Deist Dan said...

I am not sure why TD is struggling to get the passage to mean that the Persians are the only evil ones here. Apparently TD never read that God promised to make the Israelites EAT THEIR OWN CHILDREN for their disobedience. I think that is slightly worse than dashing them on rocks. Also TD don't forget all the God ordained children massacres either (Numbers 31).

Deu 28:53 And you shall eat the fruit of your womb, the flesh of your sons and daughters, whom the LORD your God has given you, in the siege and in the distress with which your enemies shall distress you.
Deu 28:54 The man who is the most tender and refined among you will begrudge food to his brother, to the wife he embraces, and to the last of the children whom he has left,
Deu 28:55 so that he will not give to any of them any of the flesh of his children whom he is eating, because he has nothing else left, in the siege and in the distress with which your enemy shall distress you in all your towns.
Deu 28:56 The most tender and refined woman among you, who would not venture to set the sole of her foot on the ground because she is so delicate and tender, will begrudge to the husband she embraces, to her son and to her daughter,
Deu 28:57 her afterbirth that comes out from between her feet and her children whom she bears, because lacking everything she will eat them secretly, in the siege and in the distress with which your enemy shall distress you in your towns.
Deu 28:58 "If you are not careful to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that you may fear this glorious and awesome name, the LORD your God,

Web-ling said...

OK, Psalm 137 is a genocidal passage. So what?

The Bible also says that God Himself will eventually judge the whole world, and that all who have rejected Him will be sent to Hell for eternity. Now, that's real genocide!

This is because the Bible also says that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). According to the Bible, there are no innocent people. In spite of popular belief, babies are not innocent - they are sinners, because they have inherited sin natures from their parents. We are all basically defective from conception. None of us deserves to live, because we are all sinners.

God is not only a God of love; He is also a God of righteousness, holiness, and justice. These are not mutually exclusive, as some would claim.

How does God solve this apparent contradiction? By paying the penalty for our rebellion Himself, those that have accepted God's gift will go to Heaven; those that don't, will go to Hell.

The genocide in Psalm 137 is completely consistent with a God who will tolerate rebellion only for a time before judging and punishing.

As for 'blessing' the people who carry out God's judgment, God will bless those who carry out His will. Yes, bashing the heads of babies is gory and disgusting, but so is sin. This passage isn't saying that those who kill babies because God has judged a nation should get some sort of perverse thrill from doing so - they should be sickened, appalled, and grieved, as is God. Rebellion against God is hideous business.

God is neither evil for punishing, nor for blessing those who carry out His judgment. Rather, humankind is evil for rebelling against God.

I don't see how this is a case against Christianity or the Bible. The Bible declares that all are sinners and deserve to die. Psalm 137 is one example of how people die. Where's the contradiction?

Deist Dan said...

Web-ling you are a true believer, a believer that will seek to justify anything because after all "that is what the bible says." If your standard of ethics is based solely on what the bible says then your right, there is nothing wrong with smashing babies against rocks or causing people to eat their own babies for their disobedience.

However that response is not intellectually satisfying for critical thinking people. Simply saying that everyone is a sinner so we all deserve anything and everything that happens to us is insane.

Web-ling, not everyone accepts the assertion that we are "sinners" against YHWH, anymore than you accept the assertion that you are a sinner against the flying spaghetti monster and so you deserve whatever you get.

Only a true believer (aka nonthinking and delusional person) can justify babies being killed because after all, they are just sinners like everyone else.

In your sick world whatever your god does is right, because after all he is god. So then right and wrong is merely a matter of the whims of your unstable god. Maybe human sacrifice and blood drinking will be ok one day, and the next will be wrong because after all, god can decide whatever he wants.

Web-ling do you not see the danger of your beliefs, have you not considered how you would feel if a new religion sweeps across the world next year called weblinganity. Weblinganity creates its only holy book based on whatever beliefs they make up about their god. Then there popularity spreads and they move into your neighborhood. Next thing you know some weblingarians knock on your door and say you have sinned against their god and so they are going to torture you and your family and then kill you. After all you are a sinner according to weblinganity and so you don't have any say in the matter, no rights, because their god decides what you deserve.

Sound crazy? Sound unfair? Yet that is what you are advocating. That is what Christianity has done for centuries also. You are the reason sights like this are necessary. To debunk your silly and dangerous beliefs from harming others.

DeistDan

sconnor said...

web-ling,

I don't see how this is a case against Christianity or the Bible. The Bible declares that all are sinners and deserve to die. Psalm 137 is one example of how people die. Where's the contradiction?

Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.

Causing us to die is one thing, causing children to suffer is an entirely different monster.

It's the very definition of a contradiction:
Eternal, torturous, suffering awaits those who question god's infinite love. cuckoo, cuckoo, cuckoo.

Is your god so insecure and petty, that he will torture you, in the flames of hell, for all of an eternity, simply, because we don't see any objective evidence of his existence?

Let me answer for you: YES, he is an insecure, petty, and sadistic entity -- which would be repulsive, if an entity, like that actually existed.

Psalm 137, the Almalekite massacre, coupled with, all the acts of genocide -- in the bible -- commanded or perpetrated by your god, that caused the inexcusable, repulsive suffering of innocent children and babies and their ensuing deaths, demonstrates, the God of the bible, to be nothing more than a made up entity, painfully constructed by infallible humans. He is a mirror into human behavior, at it's worst. The God of the Bible, possesses all the contemptible flaws of humanity, an apathetic monster, who makes all genocidal maniacs, combined, pale in comparison -- a being who should be far above and immune to such abhorrent attributes, and should encompass the best of what humanity has to offer, on a level, at least, equaling the magnitude of the universe but sadly, in the end, the God of the bible is far below us.

--S.

daniel hutchinson said...

John, I like this blog, and your posts are certainly thought provoking.

When it comes to the Psalms, remember this is poetry, and hence deserves poetic interpretation.

If you give a poem to a high school class to interpret, you need to inform them of poetic devices such as metaphor, simile, hyperbole, personification etc.

Let's keep those possibilities in mind when looking at Psalm 137.

It's possible that the psalmist was speaking of literal revenge against the Babylonians who had destroyed Jerusalem, or, the verse could be interpreted more figuratively to imply that God ensures that the "children" (future successors) of the Babylonian empire are "dashed against the rocks".

The latter interpretation would draw a line from Babylon to other oppressive regimes all the way to the present day, and yes there is still a connotation of "Babylon" in many traditions world wide when it comes to the oppressive modern states such as the imperial powers of recent times for instance.

This draws out the prophetic currency of the Psalm.

Ever thought of that John?



Ever thought of that?

Rob R said...

The psalms speaks psychological truth of the dehumanizing nature of oppression such as the Israelites felt at the hands of the Babylonians, that people could be so demoralized that their attitude could be represented by glee for smashing the enemies baby.

Steven Carr said...

I think I see Rob's point.

If somebody wants to smash your children's head against rocks, make them wear yellow stars, or insist they live in separate areas, you must have done something pretty bad to them to make them want to do that...

Matt K said...

I echo the point made by many of the earlier commenters about the need to read the passage as poetry. While clearly the passage is violent and unsettling, it is not at all clear how this would undermine an inerrantist position (which I myself do not hold, at least not as it is understood in more conservative theological camps). John, your critique only carries weight against somehow who holds that the bible is strictly literal and virtually void of any literary technique and flourish. It's still a graphic image and probably ranks up there with Judges 19 in my mind as the most unsettling passages in the Old Testament.

Steven Carr said...

So you would shrug off people claiming they would feel happy about smashing open the heads of your children as a 'literary flourish'?

Matt K said...

Not at all, Steve. Did you read what I said about it being one of the more disturbing passages in the Old Testament? I just said that it doesn't provide a very solid argument for a person who wants to attack the concept of inerrancy.

Russ said...

Let's assume it to be true that oppression can account for why "people could be so demoralized that their attitude could be represented by glee for smashing the enemies[sic] baby."

Then, what shall we use to account for why right now in Africa, Christians, washed in the blood and possessed of the Holy Spirit, are committing inhuman atrocities on their own children. For those children, having a parent who is Christian is an atrocity; having a parent who is washed in the blood is an atrocity; and, having a parent who is possessed of the Holy Spirit is an atrocity.

To make this horror story still more poignant, US Christians are pumping money into the hands of those African clergy who goad parents into barbarism against their own children. Many of the clergy heading these ghastly groups brag about witches they have killed themselves as well as the overall body count of witches they have helped to see tortured and murdered.

We might grant that that oppression can account for why "people could be so demoralized that their attitude could be represented by glee for smashing the enemy's baby," but we can see with our own eyes that the supernatural fog of Christian thought can induce parents to maim, torture and murder their own children.

Wayne D said...

John, you are a sick pup.

Jay said...

The psalmist is rejoicing that the retributive justice of God will be done. He's not rejoicing at the smashing of babies against the rocks.

busterggi said...

For those who think this is too harsh on poor Yahweh & his people - please reread all those passages where Yahweh commands the genocide of the Ammonites, Midianites, Moabites, etc.

Your god is a bloodthirsty monster.

beowulf2k8 said...

I would encourage everyone to comment on this very same Psalm at the evil Calvinist Turretinfan's blog. He's erased all my comments so far except one because I strongly disagree with him.

Daniel said...

I think this mostly calls for a 'critical realist' approach to the Old Testament, which Jesus himself seemed to hold. Yahweh was in part a construct of Jewish tribal life, but not solely so.

Wayne D said...

Come on! This is a sad psalm of the Jews in exile. How it has been interpretted as a gnocidal passage is beyond me. John, you are really off base on this one.

beowulf2k8 said...

"Happy is the one who smashes your infants skulls on the rocks" isn't a statement essentially supporting genocide, Wayne D? Given the pseudo-history of Israel where they claim a divine mandate to kill off all of the various tribes of Canaan, I don't see how a statement like this could be interpreted in any other light? Its one reason why I'm a Marcionite.

Russ said...

In seperate comments, Wayne D, says

John, you are a sick pup.

and

Come on! This is a sad psalm of the Jews in exile. How it has been interpretted as a gnocidal passage is beyond me. John, you are really off base on this one.

Wayne, John is not a sick pup and he is not off-base with the view that the verse is genocidal.

Why do you say he's a "sick pup"? Is it that he has thoughtfully considered many interpretations of the verse but fails to reach your preferred conclusion? If you wish to assign fault for not seeing it your way, perhaps you should start with the many distinct interpretations of it by those calling themselves Christians, more specifically, Christian theologians - the studied professionals. John is certainly not alone in finding creative interpretations of that verse, and among the different Christianities and their theologians, there are lots of them dating back centuries.

Is it worth noting that all those varying creative interpretations by Christian laymen, clergy and those oh-so-astute theologians, have been arrived at under the guidance of the Holy Spirit? Mull that over just a bit. They are all reading the same words, supposedly worshipping the same god, and are guided by the same Holy Spirit, yet they render so many mutually incompatible conclusions? Why would their Christian gods and holy spirits steer them into disagreement with each other? What the hell could the old Holy Spirit be thinking?

Given this I think John deserves to be cut a little slack.

Maybe, just maybe, there are so many distinct versions of this passage among all those Holy Spirit-guided Christian theologians because they all have different gods and different holy spirits. Even though they all claim there's one and only one god and holy spirit, maybe what they really mean is that they themselves worship only one god and are filled with only one holy spirit - their own version of god and their own version of holy spirit. That would certainly make sense of it, wouldn't it?

With this in mind I think John deserves to be cut even more slack.

Or perhaps, just perhaps, there is no god and no holy spirit and all those professional Christian theologians have reached different conclusions based on their own knowledge, experience, biases, social pressures, desire for an emotionally satisfying outcome, and self-interest, among other factors. This is an especially effective explanation for why they see things differently.

Considering this possibility I think John deserves to be cut every bit of slack there is.

Russ said...

Wayne D,

Here on this comment thread we've been told by believers, several trying to convince us with their language filled with absolutes and authority - kind of like theologians, that this passage is to be viewed in the following ways:

very human psychological truth,

poetry,

a colorful and dramatic way of expressing a desire for justice to be served,

the people happy to kill babies are Persians - not the psalmists, Jews or Christians,

there is not enough information to decide about it,

a sign that Christian gods can be grieved,

having words that don't always mean the same thing,

a statement of wanting revenge,

not a verse that makes a Christian god happy,

evidently loaded with semantic problems in making the happy/blessed distinction,

a statement of fact,

a clarifying verse for distinct wills of Christian gods,

certainly this particular passage is not different from any other description of evil in the Bible,

supposed to be interpreted as other literary forms using metaphor, analogy, simile, hyperbole, personification, symbolism, parody, irony, satire, oxymoron, for instance,

literal revenge or figurative revenge,

rejoicing that the retributive justice of God will be done,

this verse "calls for a 'critical realist' approach to the Old Testament, which Jesus himself seemed to hold" [Same person says, "Yahweh was in part a construct of Jewish tribal life, but not solely so."]

Damn! What a farce! People beat themselves up endeavoring to make sense of the "divinely inspired" words in the Bible and as this list points out, in considering just this one passage, the number of different possibilities and approaches given us by Christians themselves guarantees that consensus even among Christians is impossible. Christians cannot agree about this or any of the other verses in the Bible making it patently absurd to claim that some lone Holy Spirit is guiding this process, or that some version of a Christian god is out there judging people based on what they believe.

To be sure, this passage is bizarre, horrific, and morally vulgar and reprehensible. But, from the standpoint of one who cares deeply for his fellow man and who is particularly sensitive to the concerns of children, that would be me, it is every bit as bizarre, horrific, and morally vulgar and reprehensible to inculcate a child with religious beliefs - corruptly packaged with the notion that getting the beliefs wrong means eternal Hell, fire and brimstone - when none of the people and things they're counseled to accept as authorities in such matters - parents, clergy, theologians, saviors, holy spirits, and gods - can agree on any of it.

The child burns if the parent is wrong. The child burns if the theologian is wrong.

Christian laymen, clergy, and theologians seem uninterested in, oblivious to, or ignorant of their disagreements with each other concerning matters of eternal fate, even the eternal fates of their own children.

This should lead all those here defending the faith to stand back and give John all the leeway, all the slack they give each other.

sconnor said...

Great refutation Russ!

I would also, like to add the authors of the OT and the ancient Jews of the time (the ones who constructed the fictional character Yahweh) believed that god was responsible for ALL the suffering in the world (including the Psalm 137 passage).

A good read on the subject is God's Problem How the Bible Fails To Answer Our Most Important Question -- Why We Suffer by Bart D. Ehrman.

This is why christians languish in cognitive dissonance because their construct of god doesn't fit the character in the OT and they vomit up every possible excuse they can muster (which you tirelessly compiled; which only represents a small sampling -- all things considered). And when the christian is confronted with the idea that Yahweh is just a fictional character (which easily remedies the situation) they find it unfathomable

Psalm 137, the Almalekite massacre, coupled with, all the acts of genocide -- in the bible -- commanded or perpetrated by Yahweh, that caused the inexcusable, repulsive suffering of innocent children and babies and their ensuing deaths, demonstrates, the God of the bible, to be nothing more than a made up entity, painfully constructed by fallible humans. He is a mirror into human behavior, at it's worst. The God of the Bible, possesses all the contemptible flaws of humanity, an apathetic monster, who makes all genocidal maniacs, combined, pale in comparison -- a being who should be far above and immune to such abhorrent attributes, and should encompass the best of what humanity has to offer, on a level, at least, equaling the magnitude of the universe but sadly, in the end, the God of the bible is far below us.

--S.

Double A said...

Losing a child would be ultimate pain. The Psalmist is wishing ultimate pain on those who he yearns for revenge against. But John 'assumes' that if the Psalmist is asking for the infants to be killed, then the parents must have already been killed, hence genocide. This is an example of convenient interpretation. Now, I am not arguing that killing peoples infants would be any better than genocide. However, revenge is a very human tendency, and because there are instances of it in the bible, this does not discredit the bible, in my opinion. TD took John to school on this, I believe.

Steven Carr said...

Still people acting repulsively by defending claims that Allah inspires people to want to kill American children as revenge for air bombing of Iraq.

Or would that be different?

sconnor said...

Double A

Now, I am not arguing that killing peoples infants would be any better than genocide...

According to the bible -- doesn't this quote, below, from scripture, suggest that god invites unjustified vengeance and suffering on his earthly children?

1Sam 15:3 The Lord says, Go and attack the Amalekites! Destroy them and all their possessions. Don't have any pity. Kill their men, women, children, and even their babies.

Many deluded christians have to do mighty back-flips and mental gymnastics in order to condone and salvage their sky-father's vile, sadistic actions by offering bloated rationalizations like the Amalekite children were being sacrificed to false gods, and children living with evil people would be better of dead, blah, blah, blah.

So, lets get this straight, an all-loving, god created these children and babies, knowing they would be abused and suffer egregiously, with evil people (which god created according to scripture), some of them being burned alive, in heinous sacrificial offerings, but still chose to put these innocent children and babies in these vile, unimaginable situations anyway?

And god's only solution to the problem was to rescind his commandment of thou shall not kill, thereby ordering in a barbaric army of men, to destroy everyone, including, pregnant women and innocent children and babies, showing them no pity, using the primitive weapons of the day -- cutting throats, chopping off heads, plunging swords into bellies, bludgeoning and eviscerating, causing some to suffer for hours or days as they slowly died?

Now these same psychotic christians will assert that god gave them life, so he can take it -- BUT why did he have to cause them (innocent children and babies) to SUFFER in egregious unthinkable ways first?

Why would an all-loving, god create and send these children into these horrific situations, in the first place?

And why would a god -- who could simply wish the universe into existence -- not just simply wave his hand and make these children disappear into his awaiting arms, forgoing all the immense pain and mass suffering?

And shouldn't an ALL-loving god be above such "human tendencies" such as vengeance and genocide? Isn't Yahweh just a construct that mirrors fallible (atrocious) human tendencies -- a made-up entity?

This one passage alone contradicts everything christians are taught about their ALL-loving god. 1Sam 15:3, coupled with ALL the vile atrocities, acts of violence and vengeful genocide caused by Yahweh and his band of evil marauders (who blindly followed his blood-thirsty orders) absolutely discredited the bible for me -- it decimated ANY belief of a loving personal god which led to conclude Yahweh was just a figment of the imagination, constructed and compiled by the ancient Jews -- who made it ALL up.

--S.

Double A said...

Samuel is telling Saul what the Lord told him in that passage. In my humble opinion based on logic and not based on ultimate knowledge of the bible: The Word of the Lord could possibly have condemned the Amelakites as wicked, and Samuel could have taken it upon himself to interpret that to mean he should wipe them off the face of the earth.
Jesus, for instance, would not have led an army to battle against the Amelakites because they were deemed 'wicked' by God. But Jesus was not simply a man, like Samuel.

sconnor said...

Double A

In my humble opinion based on logic and not based on ultimate knowledge of the bible: The Word of the Lord could possibly have condemned the Amelakites as wicked, and Samuel could have taken it upon himself to interpret that to mean he should wipe them off the face of the earth.


Logic? This is ONLY based upon mere speculation, where you disregard the actual passages and make it mean whatever you want it to mean by layering your own idiosyncratic interpretation to suit your own needs -- in order to salvage your god-concept.

Stick with the actual passages. The passage is very clear. Contextually, god orders the annihilation of the Amakelites and this is what Samuel conveys to Saul. Contextually Samuel DOES NOT take it upon his self to interpret anything -- he follows orders from the lord and tells Saul to wipe them out!

But if you were to read the rest of the passage Saul does take it upon himself to disobey god's direct orders by not fully decimating everything; he spared King Agag and kept the livestock for himself.

How exactly does that fit into your deluded interpretation?

More speculation?

Maybe Samuel is confused?

Maybe Samuel is Just making shit up?

Maybe Samuel was just pretending that god was relaying a message?

Are we to assume that ANYTHING that god said to his people -- in the bible -- was an erroneous interpretation? Or just the ones that suit your needs?

Maybe Samuel was using the supposed voice of god -- as his own -- to justify and push his sadistic agendas but none of this can be extracted from the actual context of the story. This is why you must jump through hoops shoveling mounds of speculation, while you ignore the context of the story, just so you can satisfy your own deluded conception of who god is.

Point is the bible is a hodgepodge of ideas; a virtual grab-bag, where anyone can pick and choose, making it mean whatever they want it to mean, so they can support any deluded agenda they want.

Your god is nothing but a human construct a fictional character out of a book -- a figment of your imagination, a definition, based on your myopic, interpretation of scripture and flights of fancy.

Can you stick to the actual context of the story?

I await more speculation and pulling crap out of your arse to justify the blood thirsty megalomaniac character from the bible that you worship as your god.

I suspect you will resort to diverging tactics that don't address my refutation specifically.

--S.

Double A said...

Sconnor you have made my arguments for me. You can take the passages contextually, and I will take them with my interpretation. By no means do I declare mine to be 'right'. However, I believe in God and have asked Jesus into my heart and I call it like I see it. How I see it: Sure, Samuel could have been confused. It's hard for me to believe Samuel had a direct line to God. I mean, who does have a direct line to God? Samuel may have believed he had a direct line to God. I'm sure he was a very Godly person. But that sort of destruction, I don't believe God would order up. And I haven't seen the part in the bible where God signed off on what Samuel said He said.

Double A said...

I grew up around born again Christians and have witnessed undeniable love and caring and bible study and in no instance was anyone talking about killin' sinners and evil people per God's word, the bible. So yes, I will diverge from your refutations as I see courses to do so. I am biased for God!

sconnor said...

double a

Sconnor you have made my arguments for me. You can take the passages contextually, and I will take them with my interpretation.

Right just like the other 34,000 separate christian groups, in the world, who use their particular interpretation of scripture to believe in a whole host of absurd and contradictory beliefs.

Can you see how your argument is fallacious? Can you see how this argument is NOTHING but a rationalization that can be used to believe in a whole host of absurd ideas?

Didn't your omniscient god-concept (the creator of the infinite universe) realize that his ALL-important messages would be up to interpretation -- where you can make it mean whatever you want it to mean, which allows for the interpretation to be perverted or misinterpreted to push any agenda? Didn't he realize that there would be 34,000 separate christian groups in the world, All with different understandings; ALL with differing interpretations; bastardizing his message and ALL claiming their interpretation of scripture was TRUE!? Didn't he take into account that fallible human beings would have vast interpretations concerning how one is saved? -- relegating the majority of his earthly children to be tortured in the flames of hell for an eternity?

How can it be that the creator of the infinite universe put his ALL-important messages into a book that uses difficult or vague texts and translations, parables, poems, songs, metaphor, dream imagery, switching from literal to non-literal, that could so easily be misinterpreted, perverted or interpreted, so many different ways?

If god is using the bible to get his, all important, message across, you would think, an all- knowing, all-powerful god, could do a better job at delivering the crucial laws, commandments and messages to everyone, equally and unequivocally, but sadly and most certainly this is not the case -- why is that?

By no means do I declare mine to be 'right'.

Oh deluded one -- it is implicit that you think your interpetations are "right"; otherwise you wouldn't believe in them.

However, I believe in God and have asked Jesus into my heart and I call it like I see it.

It's your drug of choice -- whatever floats your boat. I've already concluded delusional people can convince themselves of anything. Christianity is your form of a motivational speaker, nothing but a rah, rah device to kick yourself in the butt, where you pretend something spiritual has happened, that god had his hand in it, and that your particular interpretation of scripture is the one true interpretation; none of which can be substantiated -- that's lunacy.

Again, you have simply fabricated an insanely and fantastic, massive delusion by idiosyncratically interpreting the superstitious, spurious words of scripture and by erroneously attributing emotions to your Jesus-character. You are pretending to have a relationship with a fictional character out of a book -- you are mentally ill.

How I see it: Sure, Samuel could have been confused. It's hard for me to believe Samuel had a direct line to God.

Really? I assume you believe moses had a direct line too god -- right?

Using your asinine logic, one could surmise (interpret) that moses didn't have a direct line to god, either and he just made up the ten commandments.

Why we could go through the whole bible and use your loopy logic and generalize god NEVER had a direct line with anyone in the bible. Hmmmmm? the whole thing was made up.

But nooooooo, you pick and choose what you want to believe, don't you double a? -- just so your concept of god is hunky-dory!

sconnor said...

~contimued~

I mean, who does have a direct line to God? Samuel may have believed he had a direct line to God. I'm sure he was a very Godly person. But that sort of destruction, I don't believe God would order up.

Really? According to your book of fairy tales, that sort of destruction wasn't anything, compared to the flood that god ordered up.

Consider Andrea Yates: She was the mother who drowned her five children in a bathtub. A heinous massacre where everyone would agree that she was either mentally ill or evil. Can you imagine the scene?

Time Magazine:

"On June 20, 2001, when the police reached his modest brick home on Beachcomber Lane in suburban Houston, they found Andrea drenched with bathwater, her flowery blouse and brown leather sandals soaking wet. She had turned on the bathroom faucet to fill the porcelain tub and moved aside the shaggy mat to give herself traction for kneeling on the floor. It took a bit of work for her to chase down the last of the children; toward the end, she had a scuffle in the family room, sliding around on wet tile below a poster that proclaimed the epithets of Christ: SAVIOR, SHEPHERD, BISHOP OF SOULS. She dripped watery footprints from the tub to her bedroom, where she straightened the blankets around the kids in their pajamas once she was done with them.

The kids were still having breakfast when she began. First was "Perfect Paul," the 3-year-old who had been her most joyful and least trouble. He died in seconds, held violently underwater by the mother whose hands had carefully washed his hair so that the soap would not sting his eyes. She carried his soaked body to her bed, tucking him beneath a maroon blanket, his head on the pillows. After Paul, she drowned Luke, 2, and moved on to John, 5. Next she killed their baby sister Mary, whom she had distracted with a bottle so she wouldn't scoot away and hurt herself while her brothers were being killed.

Noah, her firstborn, was the last to die. The 7-year-old left his half-eaten cereal on the kitchen table when Andrea summoned him. Walking into the bathroom, Noah saw his sister facedown in the water, her tiny fists clenched. He asked, "What's wrong with Mary?" and then, according to the account Andrea would give police, he tried to run away. His mother chased him down, dragged the wailing boy to the bathroom and forced him facedown into nine inches of cold water in the tub, his sister's body floating lifeless next to him. Noah came up twice as he fought for air. But Andrea held her grip. She then laid Mary in bed with her brothers, wrapping their arms around the baby. She left Noah in the tub."


Can you imagine? Can you imagine those trusting children as they gasped for air -- only swallowing water into their lungs? Can you imagine the terror sweeping over them as they looked into their mothers eyes through the water? The panic, the fear, in the last minutes of their lives?

sconnor said...

Now, all we need to do is go about four pages into your holy book and imagine an entire world flood where your heavenly father, your all-loving god drowned ALL his earthly children -- millions of lives wiped out; the devastation of a world flood with massive walls of water -- wreaking havoc. Your god committed mass genocide, unequaled by ALL genocidal manics combined but that is not what I take issue with. Most christians try to condone god's egregious actions by rationalizing, "God created them so he can kill them". Fine go with that insane rationalization -- but why did he have to cause them to SUFFER first? Why did children, babies and pregnant women have to suffer first?

How, exactly were babies and children wicked? Why did they have to suffer the same consequences? Speculating that they were to grow up and become wicked still doesn't answer the question, why did god cause them to suffer?

Drowning is a horrible way to die. And being consistent with what really happens to flood victims who die, then it's safe to say that during the Genesis flood, thousands were crushed by debris, suffering for hours before they died, while others clung to rafts and boats, only to starve to death. Not everyone was wicked and violent, basically your severely, disturbed, and maniacal god -- in an analogy -- burned down an entire orphanage because some of the other kids were bad.

This is not a clean and easy way to die. This is NOT a scolding where the men women and children could learn from their mistakes, this is not constructive criticism this is mass genocide -- which accomplished NOTHING. Not only did he kill them he made then SUFFER first -- this is not an all-loving god; this is a megalomaniac, evil character who causes his earthly children to suffer.

Presumably your god is omniscient -- why did he create them in the first place? He would've known that he was just going to destroy them anyway? He could have chosen not to create them and/or he could have simply wished them out of existence -- but NO -- your god decided to inflict as much anguish and destruction as he could causing millions of young children and babies to suffer egregiously -- that's fucking evil.

The Deluge: A punishment inflicted on the human race by an all-knowing God, who, through not having foreseen the wickedness of men, repented of having made them, and drowned them once for all to make them better - an act which, as we all know, was accompanied by the greatest success. -- Voltaire

Why did God fill the world with his own children, knowing that he would have to destroy them? And why does this same God tell me how to raise my children when he had to drown his? -- Robert G. Ingersoll

Was the god of the Hebrews so wise that he couldn't think of anything better than flooding the whole earth to kill those evil humans? That's like burning down the barn to kill rats, or using a sledgehammer to debug a rose bush. Even the world's dumbest surgeon doesn't use a guillotine to remove a mole on someone's neck. -- Skip Church

I don't know who the worst sinners are on this planet, but I am quite sure that if a High Intelligence wanted to exterminate them, It would find a very precise method of locating each one separately. Carelessly murdering millions of innocent children and harmless old ladies, and dogs and cats, is absolutely and ineluctably to state that your idea of God is that of a cosmic imbecile. -- Robert Anton Wilson

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

I grew up around born again Christians and have witnessed undeniable love and caring and bible study and in no instance was anyone talking about killin' sinners and evil people per God's word, the bible...I am biased for God!

And none of what you just professed make any of your delusional claims or beliefs anymore true.

Additionally, you have a romanticized version of a loving christian history. You are a member of a club that has a long, disturbing and bloody history.

Consider christianity, in it's infancy -- the horrors of the Crusades and Inquisitions which left rivers of blood in its wake, that spanned centuries -- "If you don't think the way we do and you don't become a christian, then we will torture you and slaughter you".

Let's not forget how "loving" christians declared people to be witches and burned them at stakes.

Or how about those "loving" bunch of christians from the catholic church who led massive cover-ups, allowing priests to rape children over and over again. (Father So and So couldn't have raped little Johnny, he's a christian and a man of god).

And those "loving" catholics also preach abstinence and the sins of condom use, allowing millions to die in undeveloped countries.

Or how about those "loving" christian parents of an eleven year old girl -- and other parents like them -- who let their children suffer and die, because they only prayed over her, neglecting medical intervention?

Let us not forget the "loving", albeit, sick christians who blow up abortion clinics.

How about those "loving" christians who condoned slavery and tortured slaves when they "got out of line", in America.

How about the "loving" christians who think gay people are an abomination so they brutally beat them to death?

You know what double a come to think of it -- once again using your asinine logic and making unsubstantiated interpretations from scripture and considering god doesn't have a direct line with anyone -- then it would be safe to assume god wasn't the one who relayed this information about gay people being an abomination -- right?

Come to think of it -- using your asinine logic -- god's supposed message of salvation is also suspect. In fact, using your dumb-ass logic -- everything in the bible is suspect!

Thanks for that! Using your loopy logic you just admitted the bible is NOT the word of god.

And don't forget what has happened in the modern age of the twentieth and twenty first centuries with these OH SO "loving" christians:
1. Loaded weapon toting Christians in Northern Ireland, Catholics vrs. Protestants in a 30 year old bloodbath.
2. Kosovo -- Serbian Orthodox Christians committed mass murder against the mostly Muslim Albanians.
3. Bosnian genocide -- Serbian Orthodox Christian forces committed genocide against the Bosnian Muslims.
4. The Second Chechen War -- Russian Orthodox Christians vrs. Chechen Muslims. Many atrocities have been alleged on both sides.
5. Uganda -- Christian rebels of the Lord's Resistance Army are conducting a civil war in the north of Uganda. Their goal is a Christian theocracy whose laws are based on the Ten Commandments. They abduct, enslave and/or raped about 2,000 children a year.

Oh christians are soooo loving.

Face it double a,

You do not know the will and character of Jesus/god.

You do NOT have any objective evidence for ANY of your extraordinary christian/god claims.

You do not possess any special knowledge of god, his plan or his morals.

You simply attributed your own deluded thoughts and stunted imagination to an imaginary deity.

Now, off to your bunker of bibles and rose colored christian glasses where you can bask in morbid ignorance and wallow in deluded superstitious explanations of the reality around you, so as to protect your feeble beliefs and your warped world-view.

--S.

Double A said...

Sconnor,
I feel as though I've been taken out to the woodshed and had my backside tore up.
You are an amazing talent with the pen, I have to say.
I am not mentally ill.
I do not ascribe the actions of murderers you cited to 'loving' Christianity.
I do not claim to possess any 'special' knowledge.
I do, however, see God as good, and feel that having Jesus in my heart is good.
None of your non-deluded, historically accurate refutations will change the way I feel.
Maybe I'm a liberal Christian. Maybe I'll burn in hell for it, I don't know. If things I say 'disprove' some fundamentalist Christian viewpoint of the bible, so be it.
But I do believe we have a Creator and, although I see your point that 'why would He do those things', the underlying force of sin and evil is to blame. God is not to blame.
You can scream your fairness doctrine all you want.
I don't buy it.
I cannot apologize for that.
AA

sconnor said...

double a

~Yawn~

Notice how double aa stomps and whines, with his fingers in his ears like an obstinate child, while shouting, "I believe in my god-concept, I believe in my god-concept, I believe in my god-concept!!!!" -- all the while ignoring ALL the relevant and germane arguments I present.

It's painfully obvious, you can NOT refute my arguments, specifically.

The mind virus of christianity still has it's leash on you, which keeps you shackled to your romanticized version of your god-concept, where you must bury your head in the sand like an ostrich, ignoring the specifics of my arguments and make feeble excuses and bloated rationalizations to condone bible-god's evil actions and salvage his malignant, vile reputation.

Now the only question is: will you ever be honest with yourself and admit what I wrote above is tenable?

An extraordinarily good read on the subject of suffering and the bible is: GOD'S PROBLEM -- How the Bible Fails to Answer Our Most Important Question--Why We Suffer by Bart D. Ehrman

I dare you to read it -- triple dog dare you.

I'm not sure why I suggested this book to you -- It will be a hard read, with your head buried and all. I suspect you will be too much of a chicken shit to read it!

May reason find you.

--S.

Double A said...

To me, God is not evil, and His reputation is not vile. That's the difference between you and me.

sconnor said...

double a

To me, God is not evil, and His reputation is not vile. That's the difference between you and me.

Your morbid ignorance is summed up in this one sentence alone.

It's completely evident that you have a difficult time absorbing information.

The difference between you and me is I'm firmly grounded in reality, while you're a delusional christian who claims to know the will and character of god without any objective evidence -- coupled with contradictory information you have interpreted from a book that can NOT be proven to be accurate in it's depiction of god!

Now get this through your thick skull: I do NOT believe god is evil or his reputation is vile.

Please take your time and really comprehend my position.

The fictional character portrayed in your book of fairy tales is evil and vile which is evidenced by ALL the atrocities committed or commanded by your deranged deity in the fictionalized stories of the bible.

Do....you....under....stand?

I believe there could be some sort of ultimate reality (an unknowable mystery). I just do NOT believe in a personal christian god, nor the loony christian doctrines that are based on someones interpretation of spurious scripture, that paints a portrait of a schizophrenic, contradictory character.

My position is IF a living god exists no one knows the will and/or character of god (good or bad).

There is NO objective evidence that the bible accurately depicts a living god.

Get it?

You DO NOT know the will or character of god, either.

To say you "know" the will and character of god is hugely disingenuous and delusional.

The absolute arrogance and insanity that is needed to believe in such nonsense -- "my god is good, my god takes an interest in me, listens to me, answers my prayers, loves me, accepts me and will reward me for being a good little christian with the blissful pleasures of heaven" Cuckoo, cuckoo, cuckoo.

The only way you think you "know" the will and character of god is by your idiosyncratic and SELECTIVE interpretation of scripture. You pick and choose the attributes of bible-god you like, while ignoring or rationalizing the attributes you do not like and the rest of your god-belief is pure fantasy -- where you simply make it up.

Furthermore, the attributes you do like from the bible have no reference in reality. In other words, you have NO objective evidence that which was written about god is true; as opposed to fictional stories made up by the ancient Jews.

Does....this....compute?

You constructed (made up) a god character, which only exists in the confines of your mind.

If a living "god" exists, our understanding or definition of god would be wholly inferior. A god (an ultimate reality) shouldn't have all the faults of humanity; IT should be far above us at least in equaling the magnitude of the universe. IF there is a god -- IT would have to transcend all thought; IT would have to be something that we can't even begin to imagine, let alone giving IT inept human attributes. Which I humbly submit, If god exists, I do NOT know god; god is unknowable and christians sure as shit don't know god either!

Read and re-read what I wrote, until you thoroughly comprehend what was said or go away, grow up, get a proper education, read some books like GOD'S PROBLEM -- How the Bible Fails to Answer Our Most Important Question--Why We Suffer by Bart D. Ehrman and then come back and we'll talk.

May reason fall upon you like an anvil.

--S.

scooterwes said...

TD and the other biblicists here are splitting hairs, and they know it. If they did this with any other piece of western literature, they would be laughed out of lit class.

This bible-toting, witnessing, theology-degree-bearing ex-christian used to do it myself, before I woke up from my slumber and came to my senses (took 46 years!!).

The verse says what it says. Quit trying to wring other meanings out of it.

tshiamo said...

sconnor put it like It should be put. we are too inferior in intelligence to know god(ultimate mystery/truth). Even we Bantus had that belief b4 the confusion that is christianity was forced on us. the sooner we can all come to this basic tenet/principle the more hope there will be for this planet. thanks sconnor u rock man.